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post #1 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

Pam Shriver: Williams gets no love at French Open

The ESPN tennis commentator says there is a lack of support for Serena Williams at the tournament, which drags the tennis star down.
By DIANE PUCIN, On Sports Media
May 29, 2009
Good sports television brings an event to life. Good sports commentators bring context.

That's what ESPN's tennis crew does on a regular basis and no better than this week when former top-10 singles and doubles player Pam Shriver pointed out the lack of fan support Serena Williams receives at the French Open.Shriver noted that during Williams' first-round escape from Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, the crowd was clearly in Zakopalova's corner and that it wasn't the first time. "Serena doesn't get much support here," Shriver said. "I think it drags her down."

It was just a couple of sentences, but Shriver's notation of the atmosphere was appropriate because it validated what seemed obvious yet unreasonable.

"I hear that lack of support here more than any other place," Shriver said from Paris. "And I don't have a good reason that explains it."

She said the easy conclusion might be racism but noted that French fans have embraced French players of African ancestry such as Yannick Noah, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsongas. And it's hard to argue anti-Americanism when the French fans embrace Andy Roddick in the same way they seem to love Jerry Lewis -- for no logical reason.

"There's an undertone of a lot of things," Shriver said. "Maybe it's a combination of gender; maybe they've observed something about her fighting spirit that doesn't suit their eye, but it's very clear to me that the fan reaction here drags her down."

In a video of her post-match news conference, Williams was asked, "What do you think of the atmosphere? She was the underdog, and they seemed to be for her. It was a heightened atmosphere. Was it enjoyable despite the fact that most of the people were pulling for her?"

Williams was seen pausing for a moment before answering in a monotone. "It was what it was," she replied. "They don't really pull for me a lot here. That's fine."



http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-...,1357901.story
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post #2 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

Shes a black woman, they may embrace the black French males, but a black Americna female isnt the same thing. Please take this sh*t anyway Ree.

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post #3 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

nice read, and to think some were angry that the williams had ONE person cheering for them Lol.

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post #4 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:34 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

I've been to the French Open several times. Very hard to psychologically assess a pretty mixed crowd of folks at the RG, which can consist of various classes, nationalities, political perspectives, etc... Race, per se, can't be dismissed. Or better yet: the mix of race and gender and being American and being aggressive/"masculine" and not being an underdog.....that'll likely get you some lukewarm support at RG, unless you really try to work the crowd and play to their softer side.

Someone is quietly turning back the clock...to them bulldozer dayz...

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post #5 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:40 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

Does the same thing happen during the Paris indoor tournament?
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post #6 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

Best way to shut them up (or force them to cheer for you) is to win the whole thing.

Do it, Serena.
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post #7 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenus_2k8 View Post
Shes a black woman, they may embrace the black French males, but a black Americna female isnt the same thing. Please take this sh*t anyway Ree.
There's an easy answer to this--how did they react to that black figure skater several years ago--I forget her name. Something like Bonaly I think. She was French. Were they supportive of her? I'm asking.

Personally, I think it's not the black part, it's the American part. We all know there's a lot of tension between the French and Americans. Sometimes it's for good reason, other times not. But Maria--and I know she is Russian but she is so Americanized that it is easy to think of her as an American--also faces hostility from the French crowd. It's happened on more than one occasion and is very evident.

I just think the French don't care for American players much.

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post #8 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

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Originally Posted by Double Fault View Post
Does the same thing happen during the Paris indoor tournament?
Good question. Are they the same crowd? Been to Bercy several times, too, and got a different vibe/experience. For all players. Don't recall any booing or cheering subpar play.

Someone is quietly turning back the clock...to them bulldozer dayz...

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post #9 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

It does kind of suck the way EVERY other top player gets support but the Williams. When Federer was down against Acasuso it was like a funeral, so i don't buy that "underdog" theory. But then i think that's what makes them so special- the fact that they manage to produce even when most are against them. It's quite inspiring actually.

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post #10 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

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Originally Posted by I Heart Mimi View Post
There's an easy answer to this--how did they react to that black figure skater several years ago--I forget her name. Something like Bonaly I think. She was French. Were they supportive of her? I'm asking.

Personally, I think it's not the black part, it's the American part. We all know there's a lot of tension between the French and Americans. Sometimes it's for good reason, other times not. But Maria--and I know she is Russian but she is so Americanized that it is easy to think of her as an American--also faces hostility from the French crowd. It's happened on more than one occasion and is very evident.

I just think the French don't care for American players much.
people always say this (about being american) but does that make it ok? How would you feel if people were against you because of the country you are from? Or if at the US Open crowds were cheering against Tsonga or Mauresmo simply because they are french (no matter the opponent)?

They seem to have a bit of a mentality that Williams have some unfair advantage and the opponents require a crowd to even the balance. It reminds me of a mob mentality actually.

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post #11 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 03:58 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

French crowd just doesn't like them period............................................ ....

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post #12 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 04:04 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

pffh, I think serena gets huge applaud during presentation and she leaves the match. she's one of the few players they know.
i remmeber she particpated in a french tv show "le grand journal" and there was a great atmosphere.
seriously, now that mauresmo is out of the radar, there's no problem.
and french don't like winners, that's why they like roger. because he always loose to rafa.
another reason is that women tennis is not as liked as mens tennis . look at Madrid few days ago.

This place is too small to put all the players i like here.
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post #13 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenus_2k8 View Post
Shes a black woman, they may embrace the black French males, but a black Americna female isnt the same thing. Please take this sh*t anyway Ree.
basically.

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post #14 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

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Originally Posted by I Heart Mimi View Post
There's an easy answer to this--how did they react to that black figure skater several years ago...Personally, I think it's not the black part, it's the American part. We all know there's a lot of tension between the French and Americans..
This is certainly a factor. And Serena did make those comments right before the 2003 French Open. But I doubt it explains everything (again the crowd is made up of a mix of folks). I wonder what their reception of Capriati has been like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reeana View Post
...They seem to have a bit of a mentality that Williams have some unfair advantage and the opponents require a crowd to even the balance. It reminds me of a mob mentality actually.
From discussing the Williams sisters with many casual fans in Paris, this is certainly a factor. Race, being American (always winning, and without "style," nuance or "intelligence") and being masculine/aggressive are several notions at play when they describe Venus and Serena.

Doesn't mean that they're no Roland Garros fans of the Williams sisters!

Someone is quietly turning back the clock...to them bulldozer dayz...

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post #15 of 294 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Re: Pam Shriver - Williams gets no love at French Open

It might be the large belgian contigent that make up a significant portion of the FO crowd. Rochus played some french player and got a LOUD STANDING OVATION for the win.

But I mention that because Henin was practically adopted by the crowd. I remember the Henin V Serena match of 07, and in the second game, Serena just thought about challenging a call, she started inquisitively and there was a grumble from the crowd and a few boos. I honestly thought ligthening was going to emanate from the stands.

Like Pam, I also noticed that Serena was getting no support, mentioned it on the boards, only to be told it was not that bad. Too many austistic posters around here I tell you.

But without a crowd darling like Henin, Serena can probably handle cold receptions. Plus with the support of Richards girlfriend... she should go far
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