Pressure points at Wimbledon 

June, 22, 2010
06/22/10
11:58
AM ET

On Monday, Elena Baltacha, the top-ranked woman in British tennis, lost in the first round at Wimbledon, and the reason seemed clear: She choked.

Baltacha got to 6-2, 5-4, but when serving for the match, she admitted, "I was nervous ... I did get slightly tight." And that was enough to allow Petra Martic to break serve, then come back for the win. At the official Wimbledon website, Alix Ramsay wrote of Baltacha: "Her self-belief appeared to evaporate."

Now, I don't particularly enjoy pointing this out, but there's compelling evidence that female tennis players choke more often than men. But I also think this choking makes women's tennis more fun to watch. Seriously.

Peter Keating

ESPN Senior Writer
Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. His column, The Numbers, appears in every issue.
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