Sunday, May 5, 2013

No Fairytales...

by Savannah

 photo b0b90eb5-afd5-4684-b4fe-aee6787d448c_zps159a99ac.jpg
Stan Wawrinka won the Estoril Men's Trophy with a decisive defeat of Spain's David Ferrer.

 photo dea858e7-fe2a-4de2-a3b3-e8f3018e026c_zpsd77cc65f.jpg
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won the Women's Singles crown at the same event.

 photo 67e7c076-5cef-4243-a1c8-4dbaef21f1f6_zpsc75b256c.jpg
Tommy Haas overcame what had to be a case of nerves late in his match against fellow German Philipp Kohnschreiber at the ripe old age of 35.

But no one is talking about any of these wins and what it means for tennis that a woman who considers herself an athlete shows up on court looking as if she's on the see-food diet and a thirty five year old man wins on the most mentally and physically demanding surface of them all or that the seeding for the French Open is up in the air.

 photo chrisevertjimmyconnors_zps58caf438.jpg

Instead everyone is talking about the couple pictured above. This was during happier times when love was new and there were pink unicorns and sunny skies. Or so we thought.

Jimmy Connors was never one of my faves. I used to watch tennis back when he was on top and knew he wasn't well liked by many of the commentators but I had no understanding of why this was. I know now that he was considered an outsider, not genteel enough for the country club set that set the standards for players back then.

Chris Evert had the image tennis wanted. Blonde, lady like, looking as if she barely broke a sweat defeating people like the overweight woman from then Czechoslovakia, Martina Navratilova.

Yet somehow they got together and became the ideal tennis couple. Chris at one point said that she lost a match because she saw Connors talking to another woman in the stands and couldn't concentrate.

But all the blue skies and lollypops are gone now. Connors, in what any woman would consider the ultimate betrayal revealed in his new memoir that Chrissie advised him over the phone that she was going to abort their child because her career meant more to her at the time. Evert, to her credit, has said via a press release that she will not comment.

Connors story is interesting enough on its own. He is still one of the only male players to have a female coach, his mother. Some of the teasers hint at dyslexia and a gambling addiction. He is from East St Louis and his early tennis was played in municipal playgrounds just like the Williams Sisters. He calls his wife the "love of his life" despite the fact that they split at least once that I know of. Why did he have to publish something that should only have been revealed by Ms Evert if she chose to? Editors always want something big. He could've, out of respect for the woman behind the image, said nothing.

For many this revelation has put Connors right back among the top douchebags of the sport. I can't argue against that. In making this revelation he destroyed not only an image but a trust. If his mother were alive I'm sure she would've told him to keep his mouth shut.

 photo ef247cc8-ee24-4ca2-9148-22457225dbad_zpsa49bccea.jpg

The other big news was made by Ms Sloane Stephens. No, she didn't win a title. In fact she lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the first round of the Madrid Tournament continuing the slide she's been in since the Australian Open.
In what has to be the worse interview ever given Stephens whines about Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Serena Williams not being nice to her. This comes on the heels of another publicity driven campaign that tried to make it seem as if Serena was somehow mentoring Sloane. This fantasy didn't make it out of Melbourne to be frank but some wanted it to be perceived as a fact and it percolated along in the background.

I guess all that smoke that got blown up Sloane's rear end has really clouded her mind. Sports is a meritocracy. Champions respect each other but they may or may not be friends. People with very competitive natures are not warm and cuddly. They want to beat you, either on the court, in the pool, or on the chess or checkers board. They may love you as a relative but when it's time to play a game all bets are off. They want to win and will beat you into submission any way they can.

The amazing thing to me is that Sloane still thinks beating a severely injured Serena makes her one of the elite. I'm beginning to think this is her view of the world not one that's been imposed on her. In the interview it's reported that her mother kept trying to stop her from saying what she said but that she ignored her. That is troubling.

Richard Williams and Oracene Price bore the brunt of the attacks against their daughters. They chose not to comment on many of the outrageous things said about them.

Toni Nadal has done the same thing for his nephew who is only now beginning to speak his mind publicly.

Martina Hingis mother performed the same function. So did Kim Clijster's father.

I can go on and on. If Sloane is not willing to listen to reason, to not offend her betters, yes I say betters, women who went through hell to make her way easier her problems are only beginning.

I blame the US tennis establishment for this. Why? Because they only know how to create discord. The north Americans still don't understand how Spain has created a situation where publicly their players show respect for each other while regularly playing competitive matches. Sloane is now being coached by men from the USTA Player Development team who use the Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi rivalry as a template for how top players should react to each other. Has she gotten good results with them? The answer right now, after a poor showing during Fed Cup and in every tournament since the Australian Open has to be no.

Meanwhile Madison Keys has kept her head down and worked on her game, making a good showing in taking out the number five seed Li Na as a Lucky Loser in Madrid.

It may be too late to do anything about Sloane's big mouth. If that is the way she wants to be perceived so be it. I wonder if she will take on the other bitch queen of the WTA Maria Sharapova? Somehow I doubt it. She's not winning fans or turning any sane person against Serena or Venus. Their careers speak for them. If Sloane has any sense she will focus on improving and letting her career speak for her instead of trying to tear down her betters.

Then again Sloane's career is speaking for her isn't it?

1 comment:

MJ said...

What a week. Add to that the sad event of Brad Drewitt's death, and of couse the Tomic event that happened before the proverbial ink was dry on your post. Crazy. Is there tennis being played in my home country? Barely noticed.