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What makes a great tennis champion? – PART 2 – THE WOMEN and gender differences

by admin. Average Reading Time: about 11 minutes.

In part 1 of this article, I examined the 12 best male singles players of the modern era of tennis (1968 – present).

In this second article,  I am looking into the women’s  field.  Separating men and women was intentional as I hoped to  I to find differences that would shed light on how the two genders approach  competition, tennis and maybe even  life.

This exercise is not meant to be quantitative research but rather a case study.  My objective was to look into relevant energies, trusting my astrological “eye” to notice what defies or confirms common wisdom.

 

Metholology

The use of the  same criteria to define “the best players” as in the men’s case study  (i.e. 5 grand slam victories after 1968), yielded  11 women singles players.  In order to have the same number of females as male tennis champions I introduced a second criteria, match winning percentage[i], for determing the best of the best.   From that group,  Kim Clijsters, who is still playing competitively, became  the 12th player. Both gender group samples are now equal in number,  making comparisons easier.  Below is the roster of  the greatest  female single tennis players of modern time:

                                                       Grand Slam Victories      First and Last Grand Slam Victory

Margaret Court                                                24                           1960 – 1973

Billie Jean King                                                 12                           1966 – 1975

Evonne Goolangong-Cawley                           7                            1971 – 1980

Chris Evert                                                        18                           1974 – 1986

Martina Navratilova                                       18                           1978 – 1990

Steffi Graaf                                                      22                           1987 – 1999

Monica Seles                                                    9                            1990 – 1996

Martina Hingis                                                5                            1997 – 1999

Serena Williams                                             13                           1999 – 2010

Venus Williams                                              7                             2000 – 2008

Justine Henin                                               7                              2003 – 2007

Kim Clijsters                                                 4                              2005 – 2011

 

Margaret Court  and Billie Jean King started before the modern era, but the number of grand slams they won after 1968 qualifies them anyway.  Contrary to the men’s field nobody new seems to break into this group of dominant players.  Henin has retired, the Williams sisters, both over 30 years old,  are at the end of their careers.  Kim Clijsters  retired when she became pregnant but made a comeback after the birth of her daughter.  That is something she has common with Margaret Court:  winning a Grand Slam event  before and after having a child.

I looked at the planetary energies more involved in the game:  the Sun (will), Mars (competition, action, and physicality), Mercury (mind) and the Moon as the ruler of the emotional world; how they are modulated by the signs, by special characteristics and by their aspects.  Since birth time is unavailable for some players and others have C ratings, I did not consider the Ascendant, Mc, house positions and house rulers.  When looking at aspects, I took into account conjunction, sextile, square, trine, quincunx and opposition.  Aspects to the lunar nodes were 4th harmonic only.  I considered mutual reception as an aspect because planets in mutual reception behave as in aspect.  The default orbs in the standard aspect of set of Solar Fire Gold we used.

 

1. Element Distribution 

table women

 

Fire  25%                                    Earth  13%                                    Air  38%                                    Water  25%

Air is the dominant element and Gemini is the dominant sign in both genders. Mutable air fits the game of  tennis as it represents agility and speed.  It is the sign that has rulership over  hands, arms and shoulders.  Although Air is dominant in both both genders there is major difference:  men have none of these four  planets in Libra and women have none of these four planets in Aquarius.  In fact women have also no occurrences  Capricorn, which with Aquarius are signs traditionally ruled by Saturn.  Besides Libra, men have also no occurences in Aries.

Comparison by element:

 

element comparison

Air and Water are virtually alike but there is an inverse proportion in fire and earth between genders.  Men have more earth and women have more fire.

 

2. Temperament patterns

This observation did not yield results in men’s but half the women’s have either  bowl  or a bundle.  The bowl represents a personality that is good at holding,  at sustaining, which suits  the demands and strain of training,  and the bundle represents self driving and concentrated energy.

 

3. Sun

In women, Gemini is the most represented sign whereas in men that distinction is shared equally with Leo.  Only Evonne Goolangong –Cawley has the Sun in its rulership sign.

The planets most aspected by the Sun are Neptune and the Moon, 5 times each.  There are no hard aspects between the Moon and the Sun signifying stability, an ease between their wants and their needs.  The Sun / Neptune suggest sensitivity and possibly the importance of visualization.  These champions are constantly facing the reality of winning and losing so maybe they need this dreamier, soft aspect as an escape mechanism.

The planets most aspected by the men’s Sun are Saturn and Uranus.  What a difference!

 

4.Mars

Margaret Court                                                                 Leo

Billie Jean King                                                                   Gem      Rx, OOB +24 21

Evonne Goolangong-Crawley                                          Can        T-square

Chris Evert                                                                          Pis

Martina Navratilova                                                        Pis

Steffi Graaf                                                                         Sag         Rx, OOB -23 52

Monica Seles                                                                     Ari          T-square

Martina Hingis                                                                   Sco         Square Nodes

Serena Williams                                                                 Leo

Venus Williams                                                                 Vir          T-square

Justine Henin                                                                     Lib          Yod

Kim Clijsters                                                                       Gem

One player has Mars in Aries and one player has it in Scorpio but more than half have a feature that makes Mars stronger either by being out-of-bounds, part of an energizing pattern or squaring the Nodes.  Men showed a similar picture where dignities do not play a role but other considerations do.

Mars is in aspect with Venus in 9 of the 12 charts, 4 with Uranus and Neptune.  Mars/ Uranus – quick action, risk taking -and Mars / Neptune are aspects often found in the charts of athletes.   The combination of strength and elegance (Mars/ Venus) is very visible as many players come to the courts wearing fashionable sports clothes  and jewelry.  These aspects reveal a love for competition.

In the men’s charts these are the same planets that Mars aspects more often, but the proportion is slightly different.  In the women’s field Venus is greater presence (9 times out of 12 to men’s 5 times out of 12).

 

5. Mercury

Margaret Court                                                 Can

Billie Jean King                                                   Sag

Evonne Goolangong-Cawley                       Vir

Chris Evert                                                          Sag

Martina Navratilova                                        Lib

Steffi Graaf                                                         Gem

Monica Seles                                                     Sco

Martina Hingis                                                   Sco

Serena Williams                                                 Lib          Square Nodes

Venus Williams                                                 Can

Justine Henin                                                     Gem

Kim Clijsters                                                       Tau         Unaspected

Mercury is in rulership signs only in 3 of the charts and there are not many distinctive features.  In the men’s charts Mercury had more special characteristics that made this energy play a bigger role in their psyches.

Uranus and Pluto are the planets most often aspected by Mercury – 5 times each.   These players have to be quick thinkers and the game requires mental focus. These are the same aspects that appear in men’s charts but in a slightly different proportion.

 

6. Moon

Margaret Court                                                 Leo        

Billie Jean King                                                   Lib

Evonne Goolangong-Cawley                       Can        OOB + 28 00

Chris Evert                                                          Sco

Martina Navratilova                                        Ari

Steffi Graaf                                                         Gem      OOB + 27 19

Monica Seles                                                     Tau

Martina Hingis                                                   Gem

Serena Williams                                                   Vir

Venus Williams                                                 Leo

Justine Henin                                                     Lib

Kim Clijsters                                                       Tau         T-square

Three players have Moon in fire signs which is a normal distribution but no men had the Moon in fire signs.

The Moon in the charts of these players aspect Saturn 6 times, Uranus and Neptune 5 times each.

The aspects to the Uranus and Neptune are also present in the same proportion in men’s charts possibly indicating how they deal with being on the road almost permanently and the elusiveness of home.  A larger proportion of women have Moon / Saturn contacts (6 out of 12 to 3 out of 12) indicating a sense of bleakness, the solitude of the singles game.

 

7. Nodes

Margaret Court                                 SA, UR square

Billie Jean King                                   PL conj NN

Evonne Goolangong-Cawley          VE opo NN

Chris Evert                                          SU conj NN

Martina Navratilova                        PL square, SA conj NN

Steffi Graaf                                         SU square, PL, JU, UR  opo NN

Monica Seles                                     SA opo NN

Martina Hingis                                   MA square

Serena Williams                                 ME, PL square

Venus Williams                                 MO conj NN

Justine Henin                                     MO, SA square

Kim Clijsters                                       SU conj NN, NE opo NN

In the men’s charts Mars squaring the Nodes was the single most frequent aspect of all which led me to look into the nodal axis.  Only one woman as Mars square to the Nodes and the other squares show nothing uncommon in their frequency.   However all of these 12 female players have a 4th harmonic aspect to the nodal axis whereas in the men’s chart only 7 out of 12 had these aspects.

There is lot of discussion about the precise meaning to the nodes.    I do not mean to get into that discussion here but these are the Lunar Nodes, they have a dimension that includes the Sun and the Moon, the Tao of the chart. I resonate with Tracy Marks’ interpretation that the Lunar Nodes  “…  show how we became attuned to the spiritual and evolutionary  forces which guide us and suggest how we find nourishment at a universal level by ingesting and digesting energies which extend in time and space beyond this lifetime and beyond our bodies”[i]

8. Comments on the differences between genders

  • Fire and earth signs have inverse proportions, men having more earth and women having more fire. This seems to indicate that  men need more grounding and stability and women need more enthusiam and vitality from the quality of their experience.  This is corroborreted  by the fact that some women have the Moon in fire signs and no men do.
  • Aries – Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius. Men do not have any of the four planets considered in the Aries- Libra axis.  Women do not have any of these four planets in Capricorn and Aquarius, signs traditionally ruled by Saturn.  It is as if  men are saying  “I have enough competitive drive, I have enough “ I vs. we”  as a dimension of my experience because Mars  is very prominent.”  Whereas women are saying   “I have enough discipline in my life, I have taken an usual path, I do not need any more”.
  • Different competitors.  Mars, the archetypal competitor,  is much more of a central issue in men’s charts, the total number of aspects to all other planets and nodes being 40 to women’s 30, more special features, greater involvement with the Nodes.   Women draw the drive and determination of Mars from their temperament patterns, which together with Fire are more wholistic features.   Women are also more driven by the love of competition  (Mars / Venus aspects in 9/12 charts) and certainly more elegant competitors.
  • Mercury also plays a bigger role in men’s chart but the way they mentally approach the game is similar.
  • Different  hero  – heroine. The archetype of the hero/heroine is the Sun which has very different aspects modulating its energy – a softer heroine (Neptune, Moon), and  hard, cold hero (Saturn, Uranus).  Whatever Saturn represents – ambition, discipline, fear of defeat –  is present in the game for both genders.  Women deal with it at internal level (Moon/Saturn aspects) and  men at a more conscious one.
  • Lunar Nodes – all 12 female players have a 4th harmonic aspect to the nodal axis, which raises the question: Is being a tennis champion part of their evolutionary path and not just a transitory success?

9. Enter neurobiology

Advances is brain science bring new light into structural and hormonal differences between men and women.  I am not competent to comment on this matter but I would point out some discoveries that might explain the findings above.

  • “In the brain centers for language … women have 11% more neurons than men”[i]  – might explain Mercury’s lesser role in women.
  • “The principal hub for emotion and memory – the hippocampus – is larger in the female brain[ii]” – maybe that is where (Moon) they chose to process difficult Saturn.
  • “Men have two and half times the brain space devoted to sexual drive as well as larger brain centers for action and aggression, … have larger processors in the core of the most primitive area of the brain, which register fear and triggers aggression – the Amygdala”[iii] – might explain why Mars is so dominant and men’s chart and Sun harder than the women’s.

 

10. What now?

How gender biology influences the psychological functions of our personality as symbolized by planetary energies and our behavioral traits as symbolized by the signs of the zodiac I do not pretend to know.  However, every professional astrologer that I talk to confirms that they approach the chart of a male or female differently, but cannot be precise in their approach.  What this brain biology research seems to indicate is that science confirms the stereotypes relative to gender differences in a much more complex view than men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  This raises some important questions:

Can we as astrologers ignore the biologically driven gender differences because we are fearful of falling into the stereotype?  How can we approach astrologically the biological, hormonal driven differences?

I hope the findings of this case study, with its insufficiencies, might spur discussion, that will eventually lead to further research and advance in astrological knowledge.

 


[1] greatest-players.com/Female-Tennis-Players.htm

[1] Born July 16, 1942, time unknown, Albury, Australia – source http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0179b.htm

[1] Born November 22, 1943, 11:45 am, Long Beach, CA – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born July 31, 1951, 12:00 pm, Barellan, Australia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born December 21, 1954, 4:30 am, Fort Lauderdale, FL – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born October 18, 1956, 4:40 pm, Prague, Czechoslovakia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born June 14, 1969, 4:40 am, Mannheim, Germany – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born December 7, 1973, 5:00 am, Novi Sad, Serbia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born September 30, 1980, time unknown, Kosice, Slovakia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born September 26, 1981, 8:28 pm, Saginaw, MI – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born June 17, 1980, 2:12 pm, Lynwood, CA – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born June 1, 1982, 4:20 pm, Liege, Belgium – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1] Born June 8, 1983, 2:17 am, Bilzen, Belgium – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/

[1]  Tracy Marks, “The astrology of Self-Discovery”, CRCS Publication, Sebastopol, CA,USA,  1985, pag 76

[1] Louann Brizendine, M.D., “The Female Brain”, Broadway Books, New Yor, USA, 2006, pag 5

[1] Louann Brizendine, M.D., op. cit., pag 5

[1] Louann Brizendine, M.D., op. cit., pag 5

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