June 26, 2003

Tears of strife.: Does the race war continue in tennis? The view of one involved who thinks so. But, Serena rocks anyway ...

posted by Wulfgar! to tennis at 05:23 PM - 8 comments

Let's take the most important paragraph from the link: There are many other possible explanations for why some people were so vociferously against Serena as she lost her semifinal match: Justine Henin-Hardenne, the winner, is a French-speaking Belgian; there were many Belgians in the crowd. True Williams had made a modest complaint about a ruling. True There were political tensions between France and the United States last spring. True Serena Williams had won four straight Grand Slam tournaments. True Both parents, now divorced and existing on parallel planes during this tournament, see the outburst in Paris as mainly a manifestation of race. Wrong. It was a manifestation of nationality. Serena has reached such a status that she is now a symbol of America, and American might particularly in the sport of women's tennis. Booing an athlete as a political statement? Happens all the time. Richard and Oracene Williams should be proud. Their daughter has arrived on the main stage. Maybe someday she'll be revered like Ali. Also, she made an off-the-cuff remark last year disparaging the French as pacifists (I don't think she meant to be disparaging, I think she meant to be funny, but served wide) AND nobody boos chumps, they boo champions.

posted by vito90 at 06:10 PM on June 26, 2003

I'm not done yet, goddammit. We (America) picked the fight with the French. There's nothing they would rather do than cheer for Williams, a great champion as they no doubt realize. But our country decided to pour out French wine and champagne and stop buying their water, etc. How else would/could/should they treat Serena? I bet they wanted to applaud her, hell, I bet it bothered them to boo her. But they weren't booing her, they were booing us.

posted by vito90 at 06:15 PM on June 26, 2003

people boo her because she's a jerk, and the fact that the winner was a crowd favorite, while Serena is American, and they boo her because she made fun of French people recently. I'm guessing that more than anything, that last bit is what did it. Her mother must not be the sharpest knife in the drawer...

posted by Bernreuther at 09:58 PM on June 26, 2003

Bernreuther - other than her unfortunate gaffe last year when she imitated a French person saying "We don't like to fight..." when has she been a jerk? Remember this?

posted by vito90 at 10:06 AM on June 27, 2003

I'm with you, Vito90. I've always found her conduct exemplary--in her postmatch comments and in other interviews, I've enjoyed her lack of affect and her sense of humor. Tennis has just as many jerks as any other sport--maybe more--but Serena doesn't come off as one of them. And neither does her sister. Now Rusedski--HE'S a jerk.

posted by jason streed at 10:55 AM on June 27, 2003

I didn't see the match, but if I was going to pick a place where a black athlete's race was a reason for the crowd to boo, it wouldn't be France. The country has a long history of embracing African-Americans in the arts whose careers were limited by racism in the U.S. If anything, I'd expect them to be more sympathetic to the Williams sisters because of their race than they might be otherwise.

posted by rcade at 12:50 PM on June 27, 2003

early in her career, before she was good, she was generally unpleasant and had more of an aggressive personality. I can't remember any exact incidents but I've always gotten that impression. (I also don't know if apologizing was entirely appropriate, though I agree it wasn't condescending or mean-spirited.) It doesn't matter what I think. Her French comments would be an obvious cause for the french not liking her... not racism. I guess this is England and irrelevant, but the crowd seems to be very much in favor of Chandra Rubin right now, even if she's about to lose. Now, if SHE was also booed in France, then maybe Mama Williams (or whatever her last name is) has a point.

posted by Bernreuther at 01:24 PM on June 27, 2003

rcade, dude.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:27 PM on June 27, 2003

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