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Why Do Venus and Serena get Blamed for the State of the WTA?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Articles and headlines like those that I read today are part of the impetus for my starting this blog. It absolutely infuriates me that 99% of the WTA is comprised of non-Black players, yet that less than 1%, namely Venus and Serena catch hell every time the WTA is suffering from poor television ratings, tournament withdrawals or injuries. "Dangerous When Interested" and "Serena has our Attention, but Does Tennis Have Hers"? The assumptions and backhanded allegations being thrown piss me to no end. It never stops. As long as Venus and Serena show up, invigorate the crowd, haul in those television ratings and kick ass on Sunday, it's all good, no matter what the other players are doing. But the second that they don't, the state of the WTA is in jeopardy and the the names Venus and Serena negatively fall from sportscasters lips 24/7, no matter what their reasoning.

When Maria Sharapova, women's tennis "great white hope" recently withdrew from last weeks East West Bank Classic 20 minutes before her semi-final match with Nadia Petrova, all you heard at the time and ever since is "concern" for her health. NOBODY questioned or questions the legitimacy of her injury or how long she'll be out (nevermind that she's been out for a substantial period just recently with "injuries"). The only concern is how soon she will be well again. But the second that Serena or Venus withdraw from an event, every word that they utter is questioned. Today, during the Roger's cup final you could hear all type of inuendo from Ted Robinson and Mary Jo Fernandez regarding Serena's withdrawal from the Pilot Pen Tournament because of her lingering thumb injury.

When Maria Sharapova defeated Serena Williams and won her one and only Wimbledon title in 2004, you could hear the glee in all of the tennis voices that be, "a star is born". They thought for sure that tournaments and ratings would no longer be so dependent upon the presence of the Williams sisters. Much to their chagrin it hasn't worked out that way. Neither has the dominance that they believed/hoped Maria Sharapova would have over tennis.

I've read that John McEnroe has stated that withdrawals in the WTA are "epidemic".

Did you know that world No. 7 Amelie Mauresmo has pulled out of the Pilot Pen Tournament also? You certainly don't know this because of the multitude of headlines questioning her dedication to tennis day after day. That's because they don't exist. Ms. Mauresmo gave her reasoning, withdrew, and that's the end of that.

I constantly have to wonder, is this a sport within which it's difficult to be a Williams sister? Or a Black sista?

Posted by Shelia

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