Author Topic: Sportsmanship or not  (Read 10812 times)

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Offline wilsonboy

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Sportsmanship or not
« on: April 01, 2006, 02:10:58 PM »
This is a whole other topc right here (I got this from the tournament discussion thread).

Quote
coming from Peter Bodo's TennisWorld:  

Stone Cold Maria Sharapova

Posted 3/31/2006 @ 4:54 PM
Peter Bodo's TennisWorld

Can you believe how badly my beloved Masha got hosed last night, in the Battle of the Cleavages, by that incredibly rude Miami crowd – and what about that Tatiana Golovin, pulling the fake ankle injury when she saw she couldn’t win the match – just like that demented dwarf Justine Henin-Hardenne in Australia!


that was a stupid comment to make

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Okay, all you anti-Sharapova Kool-Aid Drinkers, are your heads spinning on your necks yet? Are you spitting green bile? How about those eye sockets, any dribbling blood yet?

Good. That takes care of that. The rest of this post is for the other folks, the ones who actually breath through their noses (insert favorite smiley face icon here).

I’m not sure exactly where I would rank Sharapova’s graceless and seemingly willful “You just got hit by a bus but how exactly does that affect me?” routine last night, but it’s right up there with the most flagrant examples of bad – not even bad, but utterly lacking – sportsmanship that I’ve witnessed in the past few years. You can read the match summary here if you missed it.

I guess I have some kind of kharma thing going here. I’ve gone out of my way a few times in the recent past to stick up for Sharapova, on the grounds that her absolute professionalism (work ethic included) and willingness to give her all - and put her all on the line - in every match fulfills the first and most important obligation that a player has under the Player Fan Pact.

Last night, though, we saw what happens when that desire and combativeness is taken to the extreme, and it wasn’t pretty. I happened to bump into Mary Carillo in the hall this morning, and when I asked her what she thought, she made an interesting point. “All her life, Yuri (Sharapova, Maria’s father) has been in this girl's face, screaming how she has to fight, fight, fight. Well, that’s what she does and this is what it led her to.”


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I felt pretty much the same way. You can cut it any you want, but last night, Sharapova didn’t merely seem poised – she appeared to be cold as ice. She didn’t merely seem focused – she appeared to be heartless. She didn’t seem professional – she appeared to be a dehumanized forehand-and-endorsement machine. Maybe it’s just a matter of taking the good with the bad, but just like it’s hard to love Sharapova’s game, it’s now become a little harder to love her person, too.

took the words right out of my mouth

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Sharapova fans are inevitably going to cut her slack when they read the explanation she offered for her callous indifference to Golovin’s troubles in a post-match presser (during which she was mostly lobbed softballs). Here's what she had to say about her lack of reaction to Golovin's injury:


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“Well, I did not know what happened until the ankle was being taped. I wasn't sure. I honestly thought it was cramps, that's why I was kind of getting ready, trying to get myself going, because I know after three or four minute layoff, you can get down and very sloppy. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

“When the ankle was becoming taped, I didn't know how serious it was, you know, until the first point, she just went for it and couldn't really walk. That's when I realized it was pretty bad. But, I mean, I didn't know for the first three minutes when she was down on the ground. I had no idea what happened.”



Okay. Sharapova also said that she was trying to see what happened on the monitors, and the images there suggested that Golovin was just down with cramps. Are you buying that? I’m not, for a simple reason: players are always acutely aware of what’s happening on the court (if not in the last row of the bleachers). Now imagine a Roger Federer or an Amelie Mauresmo or Kim Clijsters – do you really think they would have been deceived for all that time, as Sharapova claimed to have been, if she had even a smidgen of curiosity or sympathy.


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And then there were those two departures from the court at crunch time – the first for a bathroom break that Sharapova insisted she couldn’t delay at a crucial juncture, the other for a routine shirt change. It wouldn’t be seemly for me to speculate on an issue as delicate as the former, but Maria seems awfully young to be suffering from the kind of poor control that keeps pushing up the stock price of Depends. Besides, she gets all her stuff from Nike for free, right, so let’s assume that she. . . oh, let’s not go there.

But the thing is this: I go on Mary Pierce's case, big-time, for the long, momentum altering injury time out she took during her U.S. Open match with Elena Dementieva. I may be a hypocrite at times, but it's never willfully. So I have to hold Sharpova to the same high standard.

The first break was obviously a momentum breaker, because Golovin had just broken Sharapova to get back to 4-5. In fact, you couldn’t have scripted a more conspicuous time for Sharapova to take a break if your name were Yuri Hangeron. Here’s something about bad sportsmanship that every player should know but even John McEnroe never learned: it doesn’t matter if you didn’t mean it to be unsportsmanlike. It simply was.

The other break, later in the third set, for a shirt change, highlights one of my general beefs with the game these days, the lax standards that are creating so many needless, ambiguous situations and delays during matches. Tennis is a sport that doesn’t allow coaching. Yet every time I glance at the television screen, it seems to be showing Yuri or some other bad actor, well, coaching. It’s almost bad a situation as we had when ESPN was using Hawkeye, tournaments were not, and officials looked stupid. Such things really hurt the credibility of the game.

And this: Tennis is a sport of continuous play, but every time I jump out to the press box to catch a few games, some player or other is on a bathroom break, or taking an injury time out – often at some critical juncture. And how about the way people go to the towel between points now?

In fact, why do players have chairs on the court? These guys sit down more often than the folks working on the county road crew. And you wonder why some people still think it a sissy sport?

And what’s up with this leaving the court for a shirt change? Nike follows up the pudding-stained nighty look for Sharapova with this zippered, faux leather bustier thing that looks like something out of a bad Madonna video (I know, that’s redundant!).

Are you going to tell me that Sharapova can’t play a whole match on a cool night in one shirt? Or that she has to dress like a Sharon Stone Basic Instinct wannabe for “the good of the game”? How about a note to Nike and Maria: Why not try designing a shirt that’s actually practical to use for this activity called playing tennis?

Naw. At the end of the day – make that the night – Sharapova fans had the last laugh. Their girl ended up in the final, the other chick ended up in the hospital. Hey. it's a tough world out there, just ask Yuri! At the same time, there was a frosty majesty to the win, kind of like there was to the first album by the formidably gifted New Wave band, Television. People didn't buy that either, by the way.

When Sharapova was asked in her presser if she was surprised to hear the crowd booing her, she said: “No, it's part of the sport. It happens everywhere - NBA. I mean, the crowd needs entertainment.”

Maria: It wasn’t entertainment they needed, it was integrity, and the lack of it that they booed. I once called Venus Williams the Queen of Denial, but last night you knocked her off the throne and that's where you're staying until someone more deluded knocks you off.


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P.S. - Golovin update, and I'm sorry I didn't take more to write about what a gamer she was last night: Her injury was diagnosed as an "acute left ankle sprain." No word yet on how long she'll be out.

Of course, she didn't do a presser. The quotes she sent through a third person didn't touch on any of the controversies, but contained this statement:


"I've been playing beter in the last three or four tournaments, especially going to three sets against top players such as Amelie (Mauresmo) and Kim (Clijsters) at previous events. Against Maria, I felt like I had another good opportunity. I played solid tennis during this tournament. I had a great win against Dementieva here and tonight, the crowd was amazing and helped me out there, especially when i was 5-1 down."


Godspeed, Tatiania - see you in Europe!

Source : 66.232.148.140/blogs/tennisworld/index.asp


And now it begins...
Be the change that you seek.

Offline TennisStar05

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Sportsmanship or not
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 05:24:37 PM »
I can already see this is gonna start an argument sometime, as we know some people will be offended by this.

Offline wilsonboy

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Sportsmanship or not
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 05:30:31 PM »
this is a discussion thread. :)
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Offline TennisStar05

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Sportsmanship or not
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 06:07:10 PM »
until someone gets offended.

Offline wilsonboy

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Sportsmanship or not
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 06:09:33 PM »
then it's a heated discussion. There have been other topics like this posted be4 that didn't cause much harm. The ones bashing Serena were common but didn't seem to be a problem to anyone. This one is just about Sharapova.
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Offline TennisStar05

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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2006, 06:15:10 PM »
i hate all these threads, players try to stay focused and they get ragged for it. Same with her bathroom break, and she even got ragged on for going to change her shirt, thats pretty stupid considering ur allowed to do that. And i remember at the Australian Open Lindsay Daenport did that to Maria K, and nobody said nething then. Sharapova probly should have gone over to check on her, but atleast she showed that she cared at the net.

Offline wilsonboy

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Sportsmanship or not
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2006, 06:19:29 PM »
The reason she was ragged on was b/c it was perceved as her trying to buy some time to come back against Golovin. The bathroom break broke the rules. If she wanted to go that badly, then that means she would have needed to go be4 her service game. It was just too coincidental that she had to go down a break at 4-5. The only reason acted like she "cared" at the net is b/c she realized she slipped up by taking breaks in addition to not showing any inclination to see how golovin was. Mind u, it was very nice of her to clapp as Golovin walked off. But, too little too late in my opinion.
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Offline TennisStar05

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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2006, 06:28:20 PM »
see now, this is where i beleive that if we were talking bout Serena it would be different, thats y this thread never should have been started, its just gonna turn bad quick.

Offline wilsonboy

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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2006, 06:45:49 PM »
Actually, it went this exact same way. I would just be playing the role of defender which u are occupying now. I'm not trying to start an altercation. I'm simply presenting my side oppinion w/ support while u are countering w/ ur arguments. That's what all the threads are. Now, back to the topic, I don't understand why it's always Serena that is used in every single comparison to something wrong Sharapova has done. But if u can't beat them, join them...

Serena doesn't play a lot and that's why people are fed up w/ her. Sharapova on the other hand is disliked simply b/c of...herself. It's just Sharapova they don't like. And that's why she's an easy target whenever she slips up.
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Offline imkonadian88

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sharapova.
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2006, 08:50:03 PM »
sharapova may have seemed heartless, but it was the right thing to do. otherwise the game would have slipped. maria was doing what she does best: being prepared and cold out on the game.


but sportsmanship in this case is really just hard to define. does people hate her because she was being ready to play tennis, or because she was 'heartless'?

i don't know about you, but if i was playing for semi-finals (i think) for a national competition, i would do anything to stay ready at all times. and don't forget that she did show care towards tatiana when she finally had to withdraw the match.

(btw, tatiana has some spirit in her. it was truly amazing to see a player like her out there just keep coming back at maria)

all said and done, I would have liked to see the end of the match. the twist is, i think, tatiana would have won only if she didnt sprain the ankle.
move it.

Offline wilsonboy

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Re: sharapova.
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2006, 08:54:24 PM »
Quote from: "imkonadian88"
sharapova may have seemed heartless, but it was the right thing to do. otherwise the game would have slipped. maria was doing what she does best: being prepared and cold out on the game.


but sportsmanship in this case is really just hard to define. does people hate her because she was being ready to play tennis, or because she was 'heartless'?

i don't know about you, but if i was playing for semi-finals (i think) for a national competition, i would do anything to stay ready at all times. and don't forget that she did show care towards tatiana when she finally had to withdraw the match.

(btw, tatiana has some spirit in her. it was truly amazing to see a player like her out there just keep coming back at maria)

all said and done, I would have liked to see the end of the match. the twist is, i think, tatiana would have won only if she didnt sprain the ankle.


I agree w/ that much.

I think that Mary Carillo (dispite my distatse towards her) summed it up pretty well...

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"What makes Maria so tough is the way she plays, the way she competes," the longtime broadcaster Mary Carillo said. "The best part about Maria is her focus. But not to be reacting when somebody's down on the ground, not to even move from the back of the baseline, somehow you've got to shift out of that mode. That's when her focus can look very unattractive."

Carillo added: "It's not enough to watch greatness. You have to want to connect to it."




excuse my arrogance.
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Offline imkonadian88

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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2006, 11:29:29 PM »
like i said, depends on how you look at it.

do you like her for being ready at all times, or do you hate her for being so aloof that she can't even come over to see if tatiana was okay.


i see it two ways. it is quite confusing and amusing at the same time, how people react differently.
move it.

Offline NJtennis11

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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2006, 11:33:08 PM »
I'm torn on this topic, I said previously I didn't see anything wrong with it.  But now, I'm not too sure.

Offline Chris1987

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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2006, 11:36:06 PM »
Being friendly and and kind to your opponent doesn't win you titles, staying focused and ready to start again does. Too much is made of it as it is Maria in question, most other players would have found nothing said about them but people love to hate Maria. Maria needed to stay totally focused and in a purely determination mood, as she wasn't aware of when Golovin would be able to carry on. There's plenty of time after the match and off the court for kindness, on the court there isn't really a call for it.
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Offline NJtennis11

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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2006, 11:44:30 PM »
Now that I do not agree with and the more I think about it, the more I disagree with what I said previously.  If something happens, to your opponents even if it is cramps, you should go over and see what is wrong, even if it is cramps you did the right thing by going over to see what was wrong.  People would have had a lot more respect for her, had she shown some sympathy for Tatiana.  And this isn't just a pick on Sharapova thing, because if Serena, Venus, Henin-Hardenne or any other player did something like this, people would be acting this same way, it may not be the same people but some people would be up in arms, while others would defend their actions.  However, regardless some already had the impression that Sharapova was well a bit heartless and this only added to that impression.  It's obviously the right thing to do to go and check on your opponent after they sustained, however it might not be the best thing to do for you to win the match.  The question is what will win out, the right thing to do or the winning thing.

Offline imkonadian88

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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2006, 11:50:18 PM »
compassion or competition on the court?

i'd go with competition first, than compassion later if i was a pro player seeking to win a title.
move it.

Offline Chris1987

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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2006, 11:51:08 PM »
Quote from: "NJtennis11"
Now that I do not agree with and the more I think about it, the more I disagree with what I said previously.  If something happens, to your opponents even if it is cramps, you should go over and see what is wrong, even if it is cramps you did the right thing by going over to see what was wrong.  People would have had a lot more respect for her, had she shown some sympathy for Tatiana.  And this isn't just a pick on Sharapova thing, because if Serena, Venus, Henin-Hardenne or any other player did something like this, people would be acting this same way, it may not be the same people but some people would be up in arms, while others would defend their actions.  However, regardless some already had the impression that Sharapova was well a bit heartless and this only added to that impression.  It's obviously the right thing to do to go and check on your opponent after they sustained, however it might not be the best thing to do for you to win the match.  The question is what will win out, the right thing to do or the winning thing.


The winning thing should be looked at as the most important thing when on the court, then once the match is over, that's when you want to see if your opponent is okay and if they'd want anything, you can help them then. I would say that once Golovin had her ankle taped and was ready to return, just before Maria was about to serve Maria may then have said are you okay? and then get on with the match, for me that's maybe what Maria could have done differently.
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Offline NJtennis11

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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2006, 11:56:24 PM »
I mean, but obviously when the trainer was taking off her shoe and began taping, she knew that it wasn't just cramps, to me she could have gone over then at least.  Although, going over right when she fell is the best thing to do, and would have certainly gained her respect from some people.  Tennis is everything, sometimes caring about somebody's well-being is more important.  Sharapova's bathroom break and clothing break also contributed to outburst about this.  They also were taking as bad sportsmanship, especially the bathroom break at 5-4, that was just wrong.  So combine that, with the fact that she didn't go over to see if Golovin was ok, and it really gives the notion that Sharapova could care less about her opponents, and all she really cares about is winning.  The bathroom antic was Henin-Hardenne like.

Offline Chris1987

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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2006, 12:05:56 AM »
Quote from: "NJtennis11"
I mean, but obviously when the trainer was taking off her shoe and began taping, she knew that it wasn't just cramps, to me she could have gone over then at least.  Although, going over right when she fell is the best thing to do, and would have certainly gained her respect from some people.  Tennis is everything, sometimes caring about somebody's well-being is more important.  Sharapova's bathroom break and clothing break also contributed to outburst about this.  They also were taking as bad sportsmanship, especially the bathroom break at 5-4, that was just wrong.  So combine that, with the fact that she didn't go over to see if Golovin was ok, and it really gives the notion that Sharapova could care less about her opponents, and I'll she really cares about winning.  The bathroom antic was Henin-Hardenne like.


Maria will have been concerned about Golovin once she knew the extent of the injury and once they were off court, but while they were on court she saw it best to remain focused as she didn't want to lose that competitive edge at such a crucial stage and after playing 2 and a half hours. She felt that Golovin could possibly continue and knew that she had to stay in the right mind set for this and try to get the job done. It's about getting the job done and Maria doesn't really let the crowd bother her so whatever they think about the toilet breaks and not going over to Golovin will not have bothered her. I don't like the toilet break issues or the fake injury time out's, I think when a player is definitely doing it in a psychological way it is really bad, but I think we are now at a stage where it is well and truly part of the game and the majority of players are going to use it if they think it may work for them. Maria's had to sit and wait in her chair before for players to go to the toilet or to have treatment, so IF it was tactical(and we can't say if it definitely was) then Maria may look at it as people have done it to me, so what's the problem with me doing it to them?
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Offline cgw

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Sportsmanship or not
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2006, 10:59:36 AM »
Quote from: "ChrisTaylor1987"
...Maria's had to sit and wait in her chair before for players to go to the toilet or to have treatment, so IF it was tactical(and we can't say if it definitely was) then Maria may look at it as people have done it to me, so what's the problem with me doing it to them?


I think this statement/argument may fall under moral relativism, perhaps even consequentialism...

Consequentialism: An action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable.
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