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Friday, July 20, 2007

Annals of Russian "Sportsmanship"

The International Herald Tribune reports that Russia has set yet another new benchmark of craven behavior in sport:

Anastasia Rodionova of Russia became the second player on the WTA Tour to be disqualified from a match when she smacked a ball Tuesday toward fans cheering for her opponent at the Cincinnati Women's Open. Germany's Angelique Kerber was handed a 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 victory when Rodionova hit a ball in the direction of three fans at one end of the court in a display of frustration after she lost the first game of the third set. The ball hit halfway up the wall in front of the stands where the fans were sitting and caromed back onto the court. Earlier, she had complained about fans applauding for Kerber during points. While the players were changing sides, the umpire called for tournament referee William Coffey. After a brief discussion, Coffey defaulted Rodionova for "unsportsmanlike conduct," he said. "I'm shocked," Rodionova said. "I still don't understand why they defaulted me. I'm really upset. I've never seen in my life anyone defaulted in this situation. I had no warning. I didn't hit the ball at anybody. I didn't swear at anybody. I didn't throw my racket." In the 36-year history of the tour, it is believed that there has been only one other default in the main draw of a tournament, a WTA Tour spokesman said. Irina Spirlea was disqualified in 1996 at Palermo for directing abusive language at an official.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

What's worst about this story is that players do exactly what she did ALL THE TIME. Many players strike missed balls into the stands -- Rodionova's ball didn't even go over the wall. It's a natural frustrated reaction that virtually all tennis players engage in. If it had been Sharapova, or a Williams sister or Henin who did it, there's no way in the world there'd be a DQ. This is just another way in which umpires treat lower ranked players with no respect while practically licking Maria Sharapova's asshole, ignoring the blatant illegal coaching she receives from the stands while DQ'ing a woman who hitting a ball in frustration.