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View Full Version : Seles' latest book is Food for Thought (no pun intended, honest),


Steffica Greles
Oct 25th, 2009, 02:16 PM
I read Monica's book a few weeks ago and, after a start which was just a re-hashed version of Fear to Victory, it turned into a really compelling read, I thought. It explained so many of the things about Monica which we all used to wonder about and come up with different answers. Why does she never get into shape? Why so many coaches? Why so shy? Is she asexual?

First off, it really dismissed any of the theories people used to put forward in her defense, such as 'slow metabolism' or 'this is her natural shape' or 'she's fit and in shape - can't you see?". The book was a litany of salivation at calorific foods followed by binges.

She explained that in 2001, or 1998, when people were saying she was in better shape and 'almost there', she was in fact still 20 lbs off her pre-stabbing weight. In 1997, early 2000 and the end of 2002, she was a staggering 35-40 lbs above her weight in early 1993!!

Now, on one hand it shows what a great champion she was that she could still attain a top 6 ranking for all of her comeback (when she played a full schedule free from injuries), even carrying that much girth. It was her sharp eyes, timing and technical skill which saw her through. It's sad to think what she could have achieved though.

I've also read sections of Serena's book, although I've yet to read it in full, and she too confesses to binge eating and playing whilst completely out of shape, something her fans have denied all along.

So really, without being judgemental this time, it makes you wonder just how many more of these players have this problem. There have been times when Kuznetsova, Safina, Ivanovic, Petrova, even occasionally Kim in the past, and to an even lesser extent, Sharapova, have looked like they need to lose weight, possibly 14lbs. Groenefeld and Bartoli are both extremely flabby girls with large guts, and Capriati sometimes looked like she hadn't stopped eating all week - these are the 28lbs over, or more. Kanepi and Kleybanova would be others in that section. It's causing injuries and not helping their tennis.

But we might ask whether it's realistic for these women to always be in top shape. The tour is a lonely place, and the women are not isolated from the pressures of advertising; in fact, they are now under the spotlight, and pressurised to look glamourous. Maybe food is one of the easiest comforts? I know it's my comfort when I'm feeling low or isolated. Like Seles said, it's my best friend when I feel crap. Her book has made me examine my own eating habits!

I do think the tour needs to be honest with itself though, and support some of the players to have healthy attitudes to food in the context of a professional sport. It will improve the standard of play and not make the game look like a joke when an obviously overweight woman - by athletic standards - steps onto the court clearly far below the sort of shape she needs to be in to play her best tennis. It's not good for the image of women's tennis.

As soon as Monica was out of that lifestyle, the pounds came pouring off her. It makes me wonder why she found it so hard to get help during her years on the tour, and also just how widespread her problem might be across the other players.

hingis-seles
Oct 25th, 2009, 02:53 PM
Another aspect to consider was that Monica never got the wake-up call Andre did when he slipped to the 140s and was losing in challengers. She was still ranked in the Top 5 and a perennial GS QFist in the watered-down second half of her career. She never tumbled so far down to realize just how severe her problem was.

mateusz2904
Oct 25th, 2009, 02:58 PM
is it REALLY worth to read? cause i'm thinkin about buying it..

hingis-seles
Oct 25th, 2009, 03:04 PM
is it REALLY worth to read? cause i'm thinkin about buying it..

There won't be any earth-shattering details we don't already know about, but it helped me to understand what was really going on once she returned from the stabbing (as opposed to everyone's speculation of she's getting fit, she's not fit, etc. when she was always overweight by a significant amount).

Sarah<Kim-fan>
Oct 25th, 2009, 05:37 PM
But we might ask whether it's realistic for these women to always be in top shape. The tour is a lonely place, and the women are not isolated from the pressures of advertising; in fact, they are now under the spotlight, and pressurised to look glamourous.

hm, worth the thought ... reminds me of something

I was at JFK airport somewhere in the 2nd week of the US Open. Before me in the line for hand luggage checks was Kaia Kanepi, all by herself. And suddenly it really struck me. When you go and watch tennis, and you see players you think what a nice life they have. But right there, I saw the downside of it all. There she was, all alone on this big airport, 10h flight ahead of her, and this is probably the same for like every week. Most young girls have a parent or coach travelling with them, but not everyone. some of those girls must be feeling lonely from time to time and pressure must be very hard!

Steffica Greles
Oct 29th, 2009, 11:25 PM
Or maybe Seles is still being too hard on herself?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Maybe it was inevitable that she'd never be the size she is now while she was on the tour?

LeonHart
Oct 30th, 2009, 12:30 AM
is it REALLY worth to read? cause i'm thinkin about buying it..

I'd recommend any tennis fan to read her book. It's really funny and enjoyable. Never once did I felt bored and compelled to put the book down.

bandabou
Oct 30th, 2009, 11:54 AM
Poor Monica..a shame. She never was athletic to begin with, so of course the extra pounds would impact her more than a Serena or whomever else.