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 is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.
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