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post #43 of (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2009, 05:38 AM
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Re: Bettina Bunge

Here is an excerpt from a recent article from The Jakarta Post of Indonesia, written by Bruce Emond, who has written many excellent articles for this publication. The player in question has not been identified but read on and see if you can guess who it is:

But not all the women players seek the fame and fortune that can come from selling their image. In the early 1980s, tennis’ glamour girls included “Darling Carling” Bassett, a blonde brewery heiress from Canada (she was later to suffer from anorexia and other eating disorders), and Hungary’s Andrea Temesvari, who was famous for wearing full makeup onto court.

And there was also another talented player who was pretty enough to gain a following. Her looks had already brought her success playing in Japan, always a receptive market for attractive young women players; she was ranked in the top 10 and had reached a major semifinal.

Except she did not want to be the center of attention. For her, being idolized for her looks – how others perceived her to be simply from her appearance – was a curse, and rising further in the rankings would only heighten her discomfort.

The player, who now resides in the US, is fiercely guarded about discussing her career. But today, 20 years since she retired due to injury, she says by email that she is glad she does not have to deal with the pressure and responsibilities that the game’s young stars face.

“I just wanted to go out there and play, I really couldn’t deal with everybody looking at me,” she says. “It got worse as my career went on. I really believe I was too sensitive to deal with it [the attention].”

Time and looking at the circuit from afar have helped give her a new perspective on tennis.

“It’s just a game,” she says. “People in tennis are so big on themselves, so I try to stay away from the tour. Even Roger Federer, he’s a great player and a nice guy, but he is just a tennis player. The real heroes are the people who do things for others, like the ambulance workers assisting people at accidents.”

For her, the price of fame and celebrity, even if it came with a bulging bank balance, was too much to pay.
I think Bettina is the unnamed player. Let's see -

Former top 10 player: check
Popular in Japan: check
Retired 20 years ago: check (retired in 1989)
Grand Slam semifinalist: check (Wimbledon 1982)

Link to the article:
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