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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Annals of Russian "Sportsmanship"

When Maria Sharapova was getting brutally whipped by American Lindsey Davenport in the semi-finals of the 2004 Wimbledon and it started to rain, the match was immediately stopped. After the delay, Davenport was a different player, and Sharapova prevailed. But what happens when Maria is winning? The Herald Sun reports:

Wet weather returned to Wimbledon yesterday morning as Sugiyama faced three match points against world No. 2 Sharapova's serve. The 26th seed complained bitterly to American umpire Lynn Welch that court one had become too wet after drizzle turned to rain. But after briefly inspecting the surface and glancing at an impatient Sharapova - who was standing ready to serve at the baseline - Welch directed the players to continue. By the time Sharapova clinched a 6-3 6-3 victory two minutes later, ground staff were milling around the court ready to cover it. Sugiyama bluntly made her feelings clear to Welch after the match as play was halted on all other courts.

The only other player to advance on a dismal day was defending champion and No. 4 seed Amelie Mauresmo. The Frenchwoman pounded Italian Mara Santangelo 6-2 6-1, leaving Sugiyama to wonder if she had fallen victim to Wimbledon's star syndrome. "It was very wet at the end," said Sugiyama, who is renowned for her fairness. "The last two games were really slippery. So I was a bit concerned about the condition. Right before the match point, actually, it start to rain. Of course, it's not easy to stop right there, on match point. But at the same time I didn't want to like give it away because if it's not easy to run, it seems like giving up, so I didn't want it. I just told them that it's too slippery. But she (Welch) like touched the grass, it was not so wet for her, so I couldn't say anything. I just thought it was too wet to play. It's her (Welch's) decision. It's their (Welch and Sharapova's) decision, actually. I couldn't really refuse to play," the No. 26 seed said.

Sharapova denied she had influenced Welch's judgement. "I was starting to get agitated," the Russian said. "I saw the rain in the middle of the second set. "I knew if it keeps going, obviously the grass is going to get wet. I didn't want it to be too dangerous to play out there. But it worked out well in the end. I didn't really feel that it was too slippery." Sharapova blasted a linesman for wearing sunglasses in the gloom, admitting she was beginning to choke in the last game amid a flurry of over-rules and poor calls. "It's just a weird situation because you know the rain is coming," Sharapova said. "It's the third call that the guy got wrong. You look at him and he's wearing sunglasses - he loses all credibility at that point. It's a little bit of a tense moment. That's why I was quite pleased to finish it."

If you thought this type of behavior was limited to Shamapova, think again. The men (who've never won the Wimbledon title and obviously have sour grapes) are ven worse. Classic Russian thugs. Check out the boorish comments of Russia's two leading men, from The Age:

RUSSIA'S two highest-ranked male players have attacked the running of the most prestigious tournament in tennis. Nikolay Davydenko, a man not renowned for his personality or flair, described Wimbledon as the world's most boring tournament. Apparently cranky at officials refusing to clear the backlog of rain-affected matches by playing on middle Sunday — the traditional rest day — Davydenko said there was no entertainment for players and that the past week had been a big yawn. "Wimbledon is the world's most boring tournament," Davydenko told the Sovietsky Sport newspaper. "There's hardly anything to do apart from tennis. You constantly find yourself yawning. There's no entertainment here." Davydenko's Davis Cup teammate, Marat Safin, vented his annoyance at the price of the food at the All England Club. "A plate of spaghetti costs $US25 ($A30)," he said. "Where else do you see such outrageous prices? "It's definitely not the Cipriani of New York. That's one of the best restaurants in New York, and I could have great pasta there for $20," Safin said. "And we could certainly get a better pasta in Russia for 20 bucks." Safin didn't stop at the spaghetti. The security guards irked the big Russian, too, even before security at the championships was increased following the attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow. "The only thing they do is search your bags and all your pockets about 300 times a day," Safin said before he was knocked out in the third round by defending champion Roger Federer. Davydenko, the world No. 4, has never been at ease on the slick lawns at Wimbledon, failing to progress beyond the second round in his five previous visits but he made a breakthrough this year to reach the last 32 for the first time after coming from two sets down to beat Australia's Chris Guccione. Despite his whingeing, Davydenko said things could have been worse — he could be staying in the suburb of Wimbledon. "We're staying in the city centre, so it's a bit better," he said. "If we rented a house near Wimbledon, it would have been a total bore. There's absolutely nothing to do besides tennis." Earlier this year, Davydenko slammed the Sydney International, labelling it a small tournament that no one cared about. The 26-year-old joined a multitude of big names to withdraw from the Australian Open lead-up event, supposedly through injury. When asked why he thought so many players were pulling out, Davydenko said: "Because it's a small tournament. "So I don't think nobody cares about here."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is Hector,

Gee, if only you could've seen sportsmanship shown at many of the baseball games I've been to. I wonder, would you see this as a shame to America?