Rxn on the message board to Justine - a little sanity
A lot of what comes out of Justine's mouth is maybe not-so-positive, but it's also just after matches. What you say when you're sore, tired, and just went through something highly emotional is not what you say normally. You're responsible for it, but circumstances do matter.
If she were a guy, we'd say Justine has pretty classic 'little man syndrome'. Small athletes sometimes get an attitude when they ALWAYS have to compete against increasingly bigger athletes. (Bear in mind, the great 'We' have been wrong before this.)
But perhaps, Justine's recent behaviour is not wholely out of the ordinary, much as we might hate to admit it.
Justine's first GS title was not met with the universal acclaim one might have expected, largely, but by no means entirely, because of her own behaviour. In the USA, there was more ink about the crowd and Justine's sportmanship than there was about her game. I'm sure that wasn't true in Belgium, but we're a slightly bigger market. Anyway you slice it, when you win RG, you expect headlines that read 'CHAMPION'. Not 'cheat', 'poor sport', 'racist crowd', etc. Justine beat a player who had won five straight GS titles, and people were already comparing (favorably, which is insane) to Steffi Graf.
And instead of adulation, she gets this crap. If I were her, I wouldn't be wasting my time being nice to people either.
Comparisons are tough, because most players have unique circumstance. Still, compare reactions to other players winning their GS titles. The difference is startling.
The closest example I guess would be Venus winning Wimbledon 2000. First GS title, foreign country, already established top five player. I live here, so it's hard to know what the all 'foreign' press said. Certainly there were no accusations of cheating or poor sportsmanship that time. (Not that Venus hasn't suffered her fair share of accusations.)
Monica, Martina Hingis and Serena all won their first so young that the press was all writng about them winning so young.
Lindsay was an American winning the US Open.
Jenn was a walking soap opera.
Winning your first GS title is in many ways a coronation. As long as they keep tennis records, your name is going to be on the books. It's a 'glory' moment. To an extent, Justine had that taken away.
It's sort of like when that person jumped into the Olympic Marathon toward then end and ran into the stadium well ahead of the real leader. A huge cheer went up, as it always does. When the real leader entered the stadium, fully expecting that emotional surge form the crowd, it never happened. Of course, the deception was discovered almost immediately, and the correct person was awarded the gold medal. But you can't get back the moment when 50,000 people SHOULD have been cheering you for something you've worked all you life to accomplish, and they aren't.
Note the 'sort of'.
Anyway, the Justine-bashing has passed, in my eyes, from legitemacy to (virtual, of course) lynch mob. People are criticizing Justine now for the 'fun' of saying nasty things about someone else. And of course, for the fun of tweaking Justine fans, because of percieved or actual slights involving THEIR faves form Justine's fans.
Last I checked, Justine hadn't killed anyone, joined a far-right hate group, kicked a dog or get caught pulling the wings off flies.
Poor sportsmanship is not a crime and it isn't exclusive to Justine.
In tennis, have you NEVER called a ball out that maybe clipped the line?
In volleyball, do you call yourself EVERY time you inadvertently touch the net?
In basketball, how often do you REALLY foul your opponent? (Not 'what did the ref call?')
There IS that 'speck in your neighbor's eye, log in your own' thing, y'know.
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.