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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Williams Sisters, and Maybe Rafa Nadal, Are Out

Shockingly, just a short time after Serena was beaten at Wimbledon today, sister Venus also went down. Venus lost to Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, the same player who beat her at last year's Wimbledon. It will be only the third time since 1999 that one of the Williams sisters will not win Wimbledon.

The message boards on several websites lit up today with charges of racism because the Wimbledon crowd cheered heartily against Serena today in her match with Marion Bartoli. Let us just say, we can almost guarantee that 98% of those people who think it's racist to cheer against Serena or Venus know nothing about sports, and therefore, have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. Throughout the history of sport, especially in tennis, the audience has always picked one person whom they root for, and very often, the audience roots for the underdog. It has nothing to do with race. If these people who are so casually accusing others of racism would do their homework, they'd find that whenever one player dominates tennis for awhile, the audience almost always cheers for their opponents. Cases in point: we can remember vividly when tennis crowds cheered against Martine Navritilova, Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis, and the last time we checked, none of those women are African Americans. Serena and Venus have dominated tennis for so many years now, you can feel a fatigue the audience has for them, especially when they easily beat their opponents in straight sets, robbing the audience of an interesting match. In last year's Wimbledon final, Serena dominated Vera Svonareva so thoroughly that it made the match boring and very disappointing. And Serena doesn't do herself any favors when she makes barely disguised swipes at the player who just defeated her, as she did today in her post-match press conference. But as we've said many times before, sport is all about the story, and the drama, and what better story was it today when Marion Bartoli, who almost never challenges Serena, was suddenly playing well enough to beat her. That's what the people were cheering for; they weren't cheering against a Black woman.

Someone fell asleep today at Wimbledon. We're guessing it was someone watching Maria Sharapova's match. The only thing more boring than watching Venus and Serena blow little girls off the court is Maria Sharapova's style of play. It's like watching paint dry, while someone's pulling your fingernails out.

Luckily, over on the men's side, as all the top men are still in the tournament. Pictured at right is Mikhail Youzhny, eating grass in his loss against Roger Federer today. Rafael Nadal beat Juan Martin del Potro in four sets today, but he might be out of the tournament with a foot injury. Let's hope not. And miraculously, we still have an American in the tournament. Mardy Fish beat Tomas Berdych today to advance to the quarterfinals.

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