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Friday, July 21, 2006

More Evidence of the Charade that is Russian Tennis

At the WTA Tour event in Cincinnati, Serena Williams returned on Wednesday to obliterate Russian Anastasia Myskina, ranked #11 in the world and seeded second in the tournament, in the first round. Though Williams had not played tennis for six months due to injury, was unseeded and not even ranked in the top 100 in the world, Myskina was able to win only four of the 16 games they played as Williams easily blew her off the court. One was reminded of the ease with which Martina Hingus destroyed the vaunted Maria Sharapova under similar circumstances, and of the fact that a Russian has hardly ever won a really significant match against a highly-ranked foreigner in form in the whole history of tennis (two of the three grand slams Russians have won came against other Russians, while the third came against Serena when she was hobbled by injury and about to disappear from the game).


guzhevnikov said...

boy you're really obsessed over tennis and female athletes. what gives??? russian hockey's pretty good---the national team sucks, but their children's schools and training methods are still the world's best. and their methods and tactics are original---not just a copy of canada. believe me on this one---i know. it's one thing that russians do very, very well.
i think of sharapova as an american. she lives and works in america. she pays mostly u.s. taxes. her English is better than her Russian. she's an american.
interesting website

La Russophobe said...

GUZHEVNKOV: If you would like to contribute some reporting on sports that involve Russia other than tennis, you are welcome to do so. Our e-mail address is posted and we will be happy to publish any substantive submissions of interest.

Having said that, I hate to break it to you sweetie, but being a fan of a particular sport doens't make you "obsessed." Maybe you don't realize it, but the vast majority of people in the world couldn't care less about hockey. Please don't try to tell me which sports I'm allowed to be interested in, OK? After all, if you will review the site you will find that only a small fraction of the

The fact that you feel you need to change the subject from tennis to hockey only goes to prove how very accurate my statements about tennis are. Russia's ability in tennis is grossly inflated and overstated and I am trying to dispel that inaccuracy. Moreover, I find Russia's image in tennis, which greatly elevates form over substance, to be a perfect microcosm of the deeper problems with Rusisa generally. Russia gets too much credit for economic viability because of its oil revenues, for instance.

I'm glad to hear that you think of Sharapova as an American! I couldn't agree with you more. But what you may not realize is that she constantly refers to herself as a "Russian" and claims that she is only in America because of her tennis needs, an outrageous lie. That is one of the main reasons I focus on her from time to time.

I think there's very little consolation to be found in the fact that children play ice hockey well in Russia when, as you admit, the national team sucks (remember the humilation at St. Petersburg?) despite there being a number of prominent Russian professionals. This highlights the reason we discuss sports from time to time, namely that Russian sports is a microcosm of Russian society, badly in need of reform but seemingly incapable of it.

Russians also like to repeat that their primary education system generally is among the best in the world. That's all well and good, but if the result is a KGB government and a $300/month average salary, then maybe Russian primary education needs to get worse rather than better. In any case, something obviously has to change.

guzhevnikov said...

less than 1% of russians play tennis. it's very much a sport just for the rich. that they have any success at all is remarkable. sports in russia is not a microcosm, but an exception. if the typical russian workplace is undisciplined and promotes laziness, then sports in russia is just the opposite. it's an exception. russians are physically-gifted and they know how to train.
i'm not trying to tell you what sport to enjoy. tennis is just a bad example of sports in russia as a whole.

La Russophobe said...

GUZHEVNIKOV: I'm glad that you seem to have some insights about Russian tennis, but there are many Russophiles who speak about Russian "dominance" in the sport and make other similarly benighted comments. This blog was created to do battle with such statements, and hence tennis is a topic we occasionaly deal with.

I couldn't disagree with you more where tennis is concerned. Being physically gifted means nothing in sports without having a work ethic and determination, and Russians show the same lack of this in tennis that they show in political and economic life. Sharapova in particular is very much out of shape and her record in long matches is pathetic. The other Russians on the tour are very similar, showing flashes of brilliance based on physical gifts which they cannot carry through into championship records. Russians need reform in tennis as well as in politics and economics, but they don't show the slightest willingness to do it.

As for other sports, I am not aware of any significant achievement by Russians in any sport. Russians didn't even make the FIFA tournament this year, much less do well in it, and they have suffered a host of other failures. If Russians really were as talented and hard-training as you say, they would have the results to show for it.

Instead, when Russians fail at sports they inevitably blame not a lack of training but foreign conspiracies, just as they blame foreign spies for causing Russia's economic and political problems.

Again, if you have some evidence of recent sports achievements by Russians, sent it over and we'll be happy to run it.