Australian Open 2010 begins and she's already packing her bags...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 4:30 PM GMT
    http://tinyurl.com/yb8hbr3

    MELBOURNE -- Seventy million dollars doesn't buy what it used to. Maria Sharapova, in an embarrassing-looking green dress/thing, played embarrassing tennis by making 72 embarrassing unforced errors.

    Seventy-two.

    And just five days after signing the richest endorsement contract ever for a female athlete, Sharapova lost in the first round of the Australian Open Monday, falling 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 to Maria Kirilenko.

    "I could be disappointed, or I could just take it as it is and just go back on the court and keep working,'' Sharapova said. "I choose option two.''

    Let's get right to it: What is Sharapova, anyway? Because she didn't get an eight-year, $70 million deal from Nike based on the way she's playing. At this point, she isn't a threat to top players.

    Her role is to be Anna Kournikova, only with results. She is a tough Barbie doll who wins Wimbledon. So that's the balancing act, and it's worth $70 million
    .

    But if she's going to dress up in a girl scout uniform from the 1970s with lingerie over the top, or mosquito netting, or whatever that was, and then go out and be afraid to hit a second serve, well, that's just embarrassing.

    To her. To women in general.

    "I don't think that was the reason I lost the match today,'' she said.

    "I served big when I had to. I served big second serves.''

    Eleven double faults. That's what she had. She had 42 second serves, and missed 11 of them.

    She is fully recovered from the shoulder surgery she had in 2008. She's in shape and rested. She has been back long enough to have shaken the rust. And she just lost in the first round of a major for the first time since she was 16.

    There is no excuse for this.

    I was thrilled when Sharapova came back last year. She fights to death and doesn't choke, the way so many of the other women on tour do. The game needs Maria Sharapova.

    That said, women's tennis walks a tightrope right along with her, between whether it's selling sport or sex appeal. It's fine to sell both, with the message being that women can be strong, fit, athletic and attractive all in one.

    But it's important that the only women's sport accepted into the mainstream doesn't drop the "sport'' side of the equation. You can't be legitimate, and base your appeal entirely on guys just wanting to watch beautiful, tan blondes in short skirts, sweating.


    That is a big part of the women's tennis audience, I know. And it's nothing new that sex sells. Good looks are part of what sells in all sports, men's and women's.

    It was part of Tiger Woods' and Michael Jordan's marketing appeal, too.

    But they wouldn't have sold without athletic success. And Sharapova is supposed to be more than just looks, yet she has gotten past the third round of a major just twice in the past two years.

    She makes statements not only with her grit, but also her outfits. They work together, and it's as if she plays the match on the red carpet.

    So it's particularly embarrassing when she dresses up in such a goofy outfit, and then stinks up the place.

    Let's draw a parallel to boxers. Sharapova's clothes are a boxer's pre-fight talking. So a boxer talks big, talks about pain and second-round knockouts, stuff like that, and then goes out and gets pummeled.

    Here's some more truth about Sharapova. Serena Williams fans can't stand her. There is something galling to them that Sharapova gets more worldwide attention, more endorsements.

    She is the white ideal, tall, blonde and thin. And that's in contrast to Williams.

    Yes, that's oversimplifying it. But Sharapova has won three majors, and the more money she gets, the more she needs to win.

    She has never been fast, never been good at the net. She wins by blasting with big power from the baseline, and doing it over and over.

    It's not easy to get your intimidation back, but she has time. She's just 22.

    "You know, just a bad day,'' she said. "A bad day's not going to stop me from doing what I love. I'm still going to go back on the court and work hard and perform.

    "I'll be back here on a Saturday of the second week, so you'll watch.''

    Yes, people will watch. That's for sure.
  • michxman

    Posts: 46

    Jan 18, 2010 5:58 PM GMT
    i don't know what her deal is either but she's been on the decline for a few yrs now.

    it'a a shame cause i enjoyed watching her play.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 18, 2010 6:23 PM GMT
    Hmm. This criticism seems a little over the top. As it points out, Sharapova is marketed largely as a Kournikova who can actually win. And the truth is, Sharapova is capable of winning. She's already won 4 Grand Slam titles and is only 22; Kournikova's retired and never won any.

    Losing in the first round of a Grand Slam event is always discouraging for one of the stars, but it's not exactly an unheard of thing. Agassi lost in the first round of the US Open in 1993 (after having made it to finals in several previous years of major tournaments), and the first round of the French Open in 2005 (a year he finished ranked 7th). Pete Sampras lost in the first round of Wimbeldon in 1990, a year he finished ranked 5th. Steffi Graf lost in the first round of Wimbeldon in 1994, a year right in the middle of her career where she was the dominant player on the tour, having won a ridiculous 54 consecutive sets and 36 consecutive matches at one point. And that's just in 3 of the first 4 big name tennis players of the past I checked (I couldn't find a first round Grand Slam loss by Martina Navratilova).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 7:05 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidHmm. This criticism seems a little over the top. As it points out, Sharapova is marketed largely as a Kournikova who can actually win. And the truth is, Sharapova is capable of winning. She's already won 4 Grand Slam titles and is only 22; Kournikova's retired and never won any.

    Losing in the first round of a Grand Slam event is always discouraging for one of the stars, but it's not exactly an unheard of thing. Agassi lost in the first round of the US Open in 1993 (after having made it to finals in several previous years of major tournaments), and the first round of the French Open in 2005 (a year he finished ranked 7th). Pete Sampras lost in the first round of Wimbeldon in 1990, a year he finished ranked 5th. Steffi Graf lost in the first round of Wimbeldon in 1994, a year right in the middle of her career where she was the dominant player on the tour, having won a ridiculous 54 consecutive sets and 36 consecutive matches at one point. And that's just in 3 of the first 4 big name tennis players of the past I checked (I couldn't find a first round Grand Slam loss by Martina Navratilova).


    I don't think the criticism is over the top. Steffi at the height of her career did not have such a lucrative contract, nor did Martina or any of the players who produced more.

    I'm probably being naive; but I'm tired of the preponderance of objectifying of people...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 7:57 PM GMT
    My issue about the Australia Open thus fare, was the New Australian's, the Croatians, were making trouble yesterday, before they even got into the game, and then about half a dozen had to be removed for misbehaving from inside the arena.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 8:10 PM GMT
    Pattison saidMy issue about the Australia Open thus fare, was the New Australian's, the Croatians, were making trouble yesterday, before they even got into the game, and then about half a dozen had to be removed for misbehaving from inside the arena.


    You really say things like this to get a rise out of people don't you? Let me help you out then!

    Australia was formed from the riff raff of society - ie. the scum of the earth. It was after all a penal colony.

    So the Croats are only demonstrating the behavior that is common to such a class of people.

    Are you happy now?
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 18, 2010 8:23 PM GMT
    Of course you don't think the criticism is over the top; you posted the original criticism with no counterargument, so it's quite reasonable to assume that you agree with it.

    It's true that Sharapova's endorsement deals are worth more than any other female athlete in history. But it's important to remember that a large amount of that is the march of time; as populations grow, and as more and more people gain more and more disposable income, entertainment revenues of all sort end up continually increasing. Of the top 50 all time highest grossing films, for example only 2 were made before 1990: ET and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the same light that the much higher gross from Kung Fu Panda isn't a strong argument about it being a better film than the lower-grossing Rain Man, comparing current to past endorsement deals of athletes is fraught with complications.

    There are reasonable arguments to be made about the racial politics involved in Sharapova having a more lucrative endorsement deal with Serena Williams, despite Williams' better record. They aren't entirely clear cut -- Sharapova's deal is an 8-year long one, and she'll be 30 at the end of it; if Williams had a similar deal she'd be 36 at the end of hers, and it's far more likely that Sharapova will still be actively playing singles at 30 than Williams will at 36 (even Navratiolva stopped winning at singles before she was 36) -- but they can be made reasonably. But I still find some of the points in this criticism stretched.

    For instance, Sharapova is criticized for being "afraid to hit a second serve". And part of that criticism is that 11 of her 42 second serves became double faults, which the author feels is too high. But, reasonably, the harder you hit your second serve, the greater the odds are that you are going to double fault; if you want to keep your double fault rate low, you don't hit your second serves anywhere near as hard as your first serves. Having a quarter of her second serves result in double faults is actually pretty strong evidence that she's not afraid to hit a second serve.

    Likewise, I agree with the argument that if women's tennis wants to maintain its spot as mainstream legitimate sport, it needs to not go so far on selling sex appeal that it drops the sport side from the equation. But that's why the proper comparison for Sharapova is Kournikova, not Williams. Kournikova was the previous giant endorsement deal for a relatively young female tennis star (Lindsey Davenport's endorsement deals having been earned over a relatively long career; she is 33 after all), while Williams is a far more established player. And Kournikova never produced tournament results equal to what Sharapova has already achieved. We should be glad that Sharapova is earning more in endorsements than Kournikova did previously; it's evidence that even when marketing a tall, thin, blond, female tennis player, better athletic performance results in better marketability.

    I think, fundamentally, Sharapova is a tennis player with a modeling side gig, while Kournikova was a model with a tennis side gig. Sharapova is not currently as good of a tennis player as Serena Williams is. She's also a lot younger, and Williams is still in her prime. How this will play out over the course of the endorsement deal and the rest of their careers remains to be seen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 8:30 PM GMT
    Blondizgd said
    Pattison saidMy issue about the Australia Open thus fare, was the New Australian's, the Croatians, were making trouble yesterday, before they even got into the game, and then about half a dozen had to be removed for misbehaving from inside the arena.


    You really say things like this to get a rise out of people don't you? Let me help you out then!

    Australia was formed from the riff raff of society - ie. the scum of the earth. It was after all a penal colony.

    So the Croats are only demonstrating the behavior that is common to such a class of people.

    Are you happy now?


    Sweet pea, do you feel better know ,that's you interpretation, and you own it. Yes one of the things that makes Oz diffrent from you Americans, is our founding forefathers were not religious fanatics, fundamentalist, something that resonates in America to this day. You can hate all the jews and the balck and the fags, so long as you pray and salute the flag.

    Yes Australia has a long history of letting in people who were not able to make it in their own country, so they come to Oz for new opportunities, yes we have a large population of peasants, and now people try to come here illegally via boat to get our kind of poor. Likely everone in America is privileged.

    But also in our founding days, Oz was also to receive pioneers, and not convicts, and my family come to Oz as Large Land owning Pioneering Aristocrats from Switzerland, a country that has never produced refugees.. We had already made it in Europe. So your personal attack on one just ran off like water off a duck back, because it does not involve I, but you have attacked other members of RJ, who's ancestry does come from convicts. Sorry you missed your target. I see the screw up fairy has visited agin.

    Sorry guys my post did relate to the Australian open, yet some-one used it to make personal attacks, because of their issues. Forums are for opinions, and diffrent ones. I bet you hate me because I'm pure white and blond and I think black is beautiful too, and no diffrent to white man either.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 8:33 PM GMT
    The money man will pay our sports heroes is ridiculous, and yet we still don't educate all the children.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Jan 18, 2010 8:38 PM GMT
    I don't get the criticism. Sounds like racially tinged bitterness and sour grapes to me. There isn't a tennis champion out there who hasn't lost at one time or another in the first round. Maria S. is a great champion and she deserves every penny of endorsements she's managed to get. If Serena hasn't gotten the same amount, deserving as she may be, that's not exactly Maria's fault...or problem.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 18, 2010 9:16 PM GMT
    When I watch her, the last thing I think of is whether she deserves a high income on the basis of her tennis skills. Mostly I just think "yep, this girl fuck-worthy. I'd like to put my balls on her court."

    maria-sharapova-picture-2.jpg

    oh, and that she reminds of the cute Dolce commercials...
  • cbrett

    Posts: 609

    Jan 20, 2010 12:46 AM GMT
    who cares how much money she gets, good on her for being able to get heaps for money icon_confused.gif
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 20, 2010 5:51 AM GMT
    That is correct. In scanning her bio I saw that she had 4 major tournament titles, and neglected to check that they were all Grand Slams -- it turns out that 1 of them was the 2004 WTA tournament. My mistake.
  • silverfox

    Posts: 3178

    Jan 20, 2010 6:40 AM GMT
    This is an interesting topic.

    I find it interesting....no mention of Roddick and his mojo? Remember? The mojo? The big endorsement prior to the US Open 2 years back I believe....and his elimination in the first round? Sexism? Hmmmmm.....

    Look, does Sharapova deserve the biggest endorsement contract known to mankind? Well....if it makes money for the company...of course she does. Because it is worth.....what it is worth. Meaning, a company here thinks that her endorsement will be worth this sort of financial undertaking. If it doesn't pan out...then it is a bad business decision. This is capitalism. I find it funny because I think there are other tennis "babes" out there that are more attractive than Sharapova, ....but that is neither here nor there.

    Should Serena get bigger endorsement money because she is a better player than Sharapova? Well....obviously companies don't think they can reap the same rewards from Serena that they can from Sharapova. Is that racist? No....it is capitalism. Don't blame companies because they want to maximize their investments.

    If there was a blond haired blue eyed American golfer that played as well as Tiger Woods...would he make more money than Tiger? What do you think? Of course.

    Gymnast Shawn Johnson (an American) won a medal at the 2008 Olympics for her performance on the balance beam but her teammate Nastia Lukin (an American...of Russian descent) won the all around individual Gold Medal- a much bigger accomplishment. Who got their picture on the Wheaties box and got the gig on "Dancing With the Stars?" Well Shawn Johnson of course...."the REAL American".


    Companies want to make money.....they can't help if people are prejudice, racist and unfair.




  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2010 11:27 AM GMT
    it'a a shame cause i enjoyed watching her play.
    ________________
    streaming movies
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2010 11:42 AM GMT
    I think the OP is being harsh. She has been out for a fair few months after surgery, so give her a break. I also think sponsorship deals and talent are not linked - Kournikova never won a singles title yet she was splashed around all over the place.