View Full Version : The WTA Slams Sports Illustrated Fictitious Report

Sep 5th, 2002, 02:19 PM

WTA slams SI’s fictitious report

Portrayal of ‘Popova’ meant in good fun, reporter says


NEW YORK, Sept. 3 — Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim has some advice for WTA officials. “They need to relax,” he said. “They take themselves far too seriously.”

WERTHEIM WROTE THIS WEEK about Simonya Popova, a gorgeous 17-year-old junior player from Uzbekistan. She sounds too good to be true, maybe because she’s not true.

"That’s the great thing about fiction,” Wertheim said.
The WTA, however, was not amused.
Spokesman Chris De Maria called the story deceiving and was annoyed at its emphasis on Simonya’s sexuality.
“It was misleading and irritating,” he said. “There are a lot of great stories out there. We didn’t need a fake one.”
Wertheim dropped hints throughout the piece that Simonya — a send-up of the current film about a computer-created movie star named “Simone” — is a made-up character.

“It was meant in good fun, playful and hopefully creative,” he said. “It was not meant as some grand hoax.”
Sports Illustrated has dabbled in fiction before. In 1985, George Plimpton wrote about New York Mets pitching prospect Sidd Finch, who had a 168 mph fastball. Like Simonya, no one ever located Finch, least of all the Mets.

Sep 5th, 2002, 02:23 PM
Are You sure she doesn't exist? Wasn't she singing on American Idol?

Sam L
Sep 5th, 2002, 02:50 PM

Crazy Canuck
Sep 5th, 2002, 05:54 PM
Of all the things to get upset over :rolleyes:

Perhaps the wta should worry more about promoting their tour, and not the silly words of the mail bag guy ;)

Sep 5th, 2002, 05:56 PM
What the hell?

Sep 5th, 2002, 06:54 PM
I can see their point. It was debasing the tour. It was implying that the tour desperately needed this girl to come along and save it, when it obviously doesnt. It was disparaging (as most articles are) about Kournikova too. If you're the WTA's press officer and a load of journalists come and ask you what you thought of the article, you're hardly gonna say "If only it were true..."

Sep 5th, 2002, 06:58 PM
He took it easy on them. I fell for it. I had to read 'If only she were real' more than once to believe it was all a spoof. Hit hit an awful lot of things that are factors on the WTA tour. Like tempermental stars, and the media's all too apparent desire for a white blonde Russian champion.

I'll bet if you polled the players, when they stopped laughing they'd mostly say he hit the nail on the head.

Sep 5th, 2002, 07:45 PM
I'm finally going to read this trash. I think I have an interesting comment to make afterward, we'll see.

Sep 5th, 2002, 07:52 PM
Written September 2, eh? Just what I thought too, you get halfway down and all you start seeing is "Anna. Anna. Anna. Anna."

Reminds me of this Aug 26 article:

This, of course, is the height of disingenuous. You can't be Marilyn Monroe one moment -- a recent adidas ad has Kournikova in the Seven Year Itch pose, her dress blown by the breeze from a subway grate -- and Greta Garbo the next. But Kournikova's head is in the right place. Maybe it's time for everyone to dial back the hype. Time for Kournikova, first of all, to stop with this come-hither nonsense, the steamy videos and the soft-porn FHM photo spread. Time for her management and the WTA Tour to stop purveying her pulchritude. Time for tournament organizers to cease putting her on center stage, and assign her to Court 17 where she belongs. Time for the media to cease chronicling her every failure, each article accompanied by a poster-sized photo. (I hereby solemnly pledge that this is my final Anna column until she starts to win.) Time for fans to take a cold shower.

What a loser he is.

Sep 5th, 2002, 07:54 PM
Haha...well spotted, dh.

Sep 5th, 2002, 08:32 PM
Some dope in Pennsylvania bought this story hook, line and sink. He paid good money to cyber-squat the name "Simonya Popova". I just heard on the radio that he's mad as hell at SI for publishing this article...lol. :)

Sep 6th, 2002, 03:02 AM