And why does Maria have to oblige with what people want to see?, she is on the court to win matches and tournaments not to be the winner of a popularity contest. The majority of players couldn't really give a damn about what the crowd expect them to do, so why should Maria do what the crowd and supporters wanted to see from her?
You're right that Maria doesn't owe anyone anything. But as a top tennis player, not only does she owe it to her sport to play the best she can (which she does) but also to represent her sport in the best possible light. I guess that is what this debate is all about. And I'm sure her big-bucks sponsors weren't too happy with the fallout of this match. As a sponsor, they certainly want the public to adore Maria and that match didn't help matters. Like I said, when I was in Miami, I enjoyed watching her practice and got a new appreciation for her game. But I must admit that I wished she had shown a little bit of concern for Golovin at the time of the injury - it would have done wonders for her public personna.
But like you say...she doesn't have to do it. She chose not to. Sometimes it doesn't matter what someone 'meant' by something...the perception becomes the reality. You know, JHH may very well have been too sick to continue the AO Final, but the perception was way worse and that perception will haunt her. I just hope that Maria will remember that and understand that the perception of 'not caring' is what people remember no matter what her true intention was. That's just the way it is.