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tennisIlove09
Nov 10th, 2003, 07:28 PM
Graf, Seles, Sanchez, Williamses skip historic ceremony
Evert: No-shows better have 'really a good excuse;' Navratilova: Venus and Serena 'should have been here,' Steffi never gave much to anyone on tour

By Matthew Cronin
********************


Susan Mullane/
Camerawork USA
FROM THE WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS IN LA – On a day when Amelie Mauresmo showed her No. 1 potential by shocking top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 in the semi-finals of the Bank of America WTA Championships and Kim Clijsters continued to punch the clock in an admirable way by knocking out Jennifer Capriati 4-6 6-4 6-0, there were five notable absences from the WTA's 30th Anniversary Celebration.

A harrowing drum roll please for those women who came up with a reason not to thank Billie Jean King, the other original eight founding members of the tour and every other woman of note before them who made them multi-millionaires: Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Venus Williams and Serena Williams.

The combined prize money of the Fab Five no-shows? About $78 million and that's not counting off court earnings they banked as a result of their tennis stardom. Their off court-combined earnings must be in the $250 million range.

"I don't know what everyone's situations were, but I would be disappointed if there were some that could have made it here and didn't," said former No. 1 Chris Evert, who did show up. "That would be too bad. But if you can't, you can't. But it would have been nice. Steffi could have jumped on her or [Andre's] private plane. I would hope you have a really good excuse if you didn't come."

Martina Navratilova said that the Williamses should have showed up.

"They would have liked it if they would have come and be more part of the game and the evolution of it," Navratilova said. "You're part of the history and the present and future. It's too bad they don't make it. I know Serena is in town. I don't know where Venus is. They should have been here."

There were eight former No. 1s who did walk on court including Evert, King, Navratilova, Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne.

"It's a really special time for women's tennis," said King. "It was great to see so many off the former No. 1 players here. I think today's generation of players will continue to build on what we started."
Possibly, but when two of this generation's primary attractions – Serena and Venus – don't show, and when two of the tour's most popular players (Graf and Seles) don't attend, how are fans supposed to put much importance into the WTA Tour's history, meaning or future?

PEANUTS TO MEGAMILLIONS
When King gets on court and speaks about how they used to play for peanuts and that she earned $119,000 at the end of 1972 and Serena topped $3.9 million last year due to the former players commitment to grow the sport, what are fans supposed to think about today's stars being absent?

Here's what: That Serena – who lives in LA – is too busy taking acting lessons or designing dresses; or that interior decorator Venus had to run back to Florida to sketch out an expanded dining room for a wealthy Boca Raton doctor; or that super-parent Steffi is too overwhelmed with her toddler and new baby not to be able to take pack them up, skip over from Las Vegas and find a babysitter for a few hours; or that Monica has too may laps to swim at home in Florida while rehabbing her feet; or that Arantxa is too wrapped up with her commercial obligations in Europe.

They are saying that tennis doesn't matter much. As Evert implied, if someone is ill or is having a very dicey personal situation that need to take care of, they are excused.

Apparently, Sanchez already had a prior engagement and did know until a month ago. One source said that Graf didn't know up until a few days ago, while another said she was informed in sufficient time and said no.

But the Williamses had time to take in a Laker game last Sunday and put on a fashion show last Monday.

"The absence of the Williams sisters is very disappointing," Navratilova said. I wish they would play more. The tour needs them."

The last time we saw Seles in September, she was happy and relaxed with little on her plate. Graf is around the sport constantly and does nothing to help promote it.

Sure, she's a little shy and wants to have a private family life that has nothing to do with tennis. Everyone respects that. But after being retired for more than four years and not having to work due to her on-court success, can't she give a little bit back to the sport once in a while?

The "I have two kids" excuse simply won't cut it. There are millions of parents who do and assuredly a few of them were at the Staples Center on Sunday. Many of those parents, if not most of them, have traveled with young children and have hired babysitters – especially when it came time to pay homage to the company that paid their bills.

But no Steffi on Sunday.

"Steffi doesn't talk much," Navratilova. "She keeps to herself. I never really had a conversation with her. I think she's asked me about four questions in my life, so how can you have a conversation? She never really gave much of herself to anyone on the tour. She's not going to start now. She supports Andre, but even there she is in the background, in the corner and not on camera. That's how she is and that's okay."

ATTENDANCE SUFFERS
Siggi Bucher
Yes, the tour is relatively successful compared to other women's sports, but despite increased attendance this week, the Staples Center has not been sold out. In fact, it has yet to be filled to its capacity of 20,000 fans. Maybe no non-Slam tournament can pull in that many fans, but Sunday's semis featured four great players and should have brought in more than 8,828 fans and couldn't. That's not a fact that any No. 1 can ignore.

If the tour had been able to promote the absent five's appearance on Sunday afternoon, it's probable that the tournament could have sold another couple thousand tickets. Steffi, Monica and Arantxa would have pulled in the 30-year-old to 45-year-old crowds and Serena and Venus would have attracted the kids and the twenty-somethings.

As Navratiliova said, "The biggest progress was made in the first 10 years. The last 15 years or so has been pretty much the same. It's been stagnating. That's the problem. The evolution of the product has stopped. The play hasn't stopped. It's never been better, but the structure needs to be revamped."

So do some people's sense of commitment.

DA FOREHAND
Nov 10th, 2003, 07:36 PM
Fuck Hue!!!! Fuck Hue!!

CondiLicious
Nov 10th, 2003, 07:41 PM
Why is it all focused on Serena and Venus... And to a lesser extent Steffi? Yet Monica and Arantxa virtually get away with no criticism for not turning up? I'm not too crazy about Steffi but if she is gonna get criticised when she has 2 kids and Monica has nothing but a sore foot and a dog to look after... It ain't really fair.

marsha
Nov 10th, 2003, 07:52 PM
Does anyone know what Arantxa's "other commitment" was?

And wasn't Monica also at the fashion show on Monday?

These five are gonna get "roasted" unless they do some pretty fast talking. Monica not being there surprises me most of all; anyone who ever thought Steffi would come is just "food for squirrels"! :)

BTW, I disagree with the previous poster that "it all focused on Serena and Venus....and to a lesser extent Steffi" I think all five of them had better do some fast damage control.

anabel
Nov 10th, 2003, 07:59 PM
Strange Arantxa wasn't there. She loves these kind of things.

raquel
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:03 PM
Strange Arantxa wasn't there. She loves these kind of things.
I was going to say that. As much as I love ASV, I always got the impression she loved being recognised and praised for her achievements, especially in public! I think it must have been something pretty serious to keep her away.

JonBcn
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:07 PM
I think its a fair question why two people who were in LA a few days ago, and who are the most popular and inspiring players in the sport right now chose not to attend. All 5 should/could have been there, but to be in town and leave on the eve of it is even more odd.

right1
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:08 PM
These people are taking this ceremony thing out of control. Who made them their parents to tell them they better have a excuse for why they weren't there. All five of them help this tour out and this writer is so stupid

right1
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:15 PM
I think its a fair question why two people who were in LA a few days ago, and who are the most popular and inspiring players in the sport right now chose not to attend. All 5 should/could have been there, but to be in town and leave on the eve of it is even more odd.
How do you know they left saturday. they had the fashion last sunday. that was a week ago why seat there and do nothing for a week when you can go home and do what you have to do

miranda_lou
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:22 PM
Steffi could have jumped on her or [Andre's] private plane. I would hope you have a really good excuse if you didn't come."

Andre doesn't have a private jet and hasn't had one since about 1997. :lol: But, of course, Chrissy wouldn't know that since she's too busy criticizing Steffi for not going to all these "events" that nobody cares about. :tape:

The "I have two kids" excuse simply won't cut it. There are millions of parents who do and assuredly a few of them were at the Staples Center on Sunday. Many of those parents, if not most of them, have traveled with young children and have hired babysitters – especially when it came time to pay homage to the company that paid their bills.

Did those parents at the Staples have a one-month old baby who is being breast fed? :rolleyes: And a two-year old toddler? :confused: And a husband who happens to be hundreds of miles away, working?

You don't just "hop on a plane" and leave your children alone with the babysitter. At least a responsible mother wouldn't.:mad:

I think these people have a lot of nerve to criticize someone for wanting a private life away from the back-biting and clicks of the tennis tour. These people weren't nice to her when she played anyway. I can't imagine she would want to be with them now. Especially, Billie Jean King!!!:devil: And Steffi Graf made more money for the tour and helped put more fans in the stands (internationally) than all of the Americans put together.:p

And Venus and Serena shouldn't be criticized either. They were both treated badly by these people also. Even now, Ms. Shriver uses every opportunity to knock both of them:fiery: and they haven't even played for the past six months. :(

And, why should Arantxa come all the way from Spain (or Andorra, or wherever she's living), travel 10 or 11 hours, in order to "pay homage" to tennis for a couple of minutes? :confused: It's ridiculous to even think she would want to do that.

JonBcn
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:24 PM
How do you know they left saturday. they had the fashion last sunday. that was a week ago why seat there and do nothing for a week when you can go home and do what you have to do

I was speaking figuratively. Obviously they didnt leave on Saturday, but they went to other less important functions during the tournament, so there was obviously a conscious decision made not to go to this ceremony. I just think its strange considering Serena lives in LA. At the end of the day I dont really care who there and who wasn't though; I just thought it was reasonable question why the two of the five who had been at the venue of the tournament didnt go.

CapFan#1
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:34 PM
Serena was at the Staples Center THAT DAY and DIDN'T ATTEND!!! That is just shameless.....

Knizzle
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:47 PM
We don't know what Graf, ASV, Venus, Serena, and Seles had planned for a Sunday evening in November, but I can tell you Venus and Serena probably were booked up, they always have something to do. Graf has 2 kids, one that was just born and Andre has a match in Houston tonite, if she wants to stay with her newborn and toddler and support her husband in his career, I call that being a good wife and mother. Being at one 30 year anniversary celebration or whatever is not going to make or break the tour. If that's the case all the players, No. 1 or not should have been there. Seems the players that were hated on the most when they came on tour didn't show up(with the exception of ASV because I don't know about her), maybe that had something to do with it.

Caz
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:48 PM
I see no reason why they should feel obliged to attend if they don't want to. Regarding ASV not attending, I agree it's quite strange in respect that she seems to love being recognised and getting public attention for her achievements, but honestly, as someone living in Europe right now, I really couldn't see myself bothering to travel all the way to LA just to take part in some ceremony!

right1
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:48 PM
Serena was at the Staples Center THAT DAY and DIDN'T ATTEND!!! That is just shameless.....
How do you know that she was there

Knizzle
Nov 10th, 2003, 08:53 PM
I wonder if Nav was really talking that much about the WS and Graf alone, or did they just choose to put that in this article. Sometimes she confuses me with the things she says about people.

Darran
Nov 10th, 2003, 09:07 PM
I too am really surprised at ASV not turning up, bus as people have said above, she loves these things, going to ceremonies in Berlin, Hamburg etc to recognise her achievements so I assume she did have a valid reason for not turning up.

I can't comment on the others, but i doubt any of the players would have thought... "hmm i cant be bothered going to that" so although many of us would like to jump on the bandwagon and criticise people for not attending we should just draw a line under it.

CapFan#1
Nov 10th, 2003, 09:30 PM
How do you know that she was there


Because Tracy (Tratree) was there and saw here, that is how I know!

Lee-Waters' Boy
Nov 10th, 2003, 09:35 PM
why didnt davenport walk on the court with the other #1s?

Lee-Waters' Boy
Nov 10th, 2003, 09:38 PM
Nevermind, she did but they didn't mention her in the article ;)

Tratree
Nov 10th, 2003, 09:39 PM
I did not personally see Serena, but she was at the brunch they had Sunday morning before the matches. That was confirmed by numerous sources. One source tells me she had a falling out with a WTA staffer about an appearance she was set to do and left before the ceremony.

miranda_lou
Nov 10th, 2003, 09:50 PM
We don't know what Graf, ASV, Venus, Serena, and Seles had planned for a Sunday evening in November, but I can tell you Venus and Serena probably were booked up, they always have something to do. Graf has 2 kids, one that was just born and Andre has a match in Houston tonite, if she wants to stay with her newborn and toddler and support her husband in his career, I call that being a good wife and mother.

That's what I call it!! :angel:

Seems the players that were hated on the most when they came on tour didn't show up(with the exception of ASV because I don't know about her), maybe that had something to do with it

Thanks for pointing that out. I felt the same way. Steffi was totally treated like dirt by all the players who criticized her. Evert, Nav, BJK, especially, but also Austin and Shriver. And we know how V&S were/are treated by these same people. Why in the world would any sane person voluntarily show up in the same state as these witches, let alone the same building? :devil: I can easily see all of them staying as far away as humanly possible. (I remember when the Fed Cup was in Las Vegas a few years back, some of the "girls" got their panties all in a twist because Steffi didn't bother to show up at any of the matches and didn't invite any of them to her home. Like she would want these vermin in her house.) :mad:

CondiLicious
Nov 10th, 2003, 10:24 PM
BTW, I disagree with the previous poster that "it all focused on Serena and Venus....and to a lesser extent Steffi" I think all five of them had better do some fast damage control.

Well Monica and Arantxa won't if every article continues to barely mention them.

ttaM
Nov 10th, 2003, 10:55 PM
Rumor has it Monica and Donald Trump were married over the weekend. Must be because she is having his baby. ;) I guess that is why she is a no show. Hope to see her Mahwah! ;)

vogus
Nov 10th, 2003, 11:02 PM
What is it with this writer Matt Cronin? He seems to think everybody owes him something. I'm not too impressed with his attempts to be controversial. Wertheim is much better.

vogus
Nov 10th, 2003, 11:09 PM
I also agree that Steffi Graf has got better things to do than hanging out with people like Evert, Navratilova, and BJK.

Kart
Nov 10th, 2003, 11:42 PM
I'm not surprised Venus, Serena and Steffi didn't turn up if that's the kind of kind of reception they're going to get from their colleagues.

I'm sure all the ladies had their reasons and even if they didn't, missing one small ceremony is no big deal. It's hardly worth comments like 'they never supported the tour.'

I suspect they would all have turned up if they could / had been given enough notice - all were present at the US open stadium opening a few years ago.

selesfan1
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:41 AM
How about Margaret Court? Was she there?

raquel
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:43 AM
How about Margaret Court? Was she there?
On the Sabbath? ARE YOU MAD?!!! :p

Infiniti2001
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:46 AM
I'm not surprised Venus, Serena and Steffi didn't turn up if that's the kind of kind of reception they're going to get from their colleagues.

I'm sure all the ladies had their reasons and even if they didn't, missing one small ceremony is no big deal. It's hardly worth comments like 'they never supported the tour.'

I suspect they would all have turned up if they could / had been given enough notice - all were present at the US open stadium opening a few years ago.


:worship: Venus and Serena have never uttered a negative word about the uptight chris or navratilova in public, yet we always hear what they think /have to say about them. Heck , I would personally avoid them both if I were in their shoes.. :fiery:

Veritas
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:57 AM
:worship: Venus and Serena have never uttered a negative word about the uptight chris or navratilova in public, yet we always hear what they think /have to say about them. Heck , I would personally avoid them both if I were in their shoes.. :fiery:

:worship:

Martina and Chris are wonderful ladies and without a doubt, are great champions. But once they open that damn mouth of theirs once in a while.... :fiery: :mad: :o :devil:

Kart
Nov 11th, 2003, 01:18 AM
:kiss: Infiniti :hearts:

How about Margaret Court? Was she there?

Considering her stance on homosexuality, I would have been stunned to see her at a ceremony which essentially payed homage to a lesbian.

ktwtennis
Nov 11th, 2003, 01:32 AM
Personally, I don't see Monica missing an opportunity to honor BJK w/o a good excuse--she loves the woman!

XaDavK_Kapri
Nov 11th, 2003, 02:04 AM
I agree with most of the article. It's important to pay tribute to the sport that has been your whole life. This is particularly directed at Graf. I know she doesn't like these things, but you know. It doesn't hurt once in a lifetime.

LeonHart
Nov 11th, 2003, 02:11 AM
Venus and Serena should be ashamed!! They are greedy B*ches for not showing up!

Knizzle
Nov 11th, 2003, 02:13 AM
Venus and Serena should be ashamed!! They are greedy B*ches for not showing up!

Greedy Baches?? Boches?? Buches??

Is that spanish??

Chance
Nov 11th, 2003, 02:44 AM
yeah it's a shame they weren't there...I know I wanted to see Monica,Venus and Serena stick their finger up....

faboozadoo15
Nov 11th, 2003, 03:08 AM
but diva-- let's not forget all those other times monica has been injured and showed up to tournaments as a spectator and signed autographs and such. she gives a lot when she's not healthy. maybe she had a treatment with her foot and didnt want to fly accross the country to go to some ceremony which would interrupt her preparation for the australian open.

and arantxa fly in from spain??? for a ceremony??? how big was this ceremony???

steffi had better reasons to be there than these 2... she's in vegas, and could have gotten there. she has done nothing for tennis since she retired...

don't venus and serena live in la??? i didnt bother to read all the prior posts, ill admit, but i thought they resided there.

Lynn
Nov 11th, 2003, 04:58 AM
From a different article concerning the ceremony:

"From what I understand, there was some miscommunication, because some of the players only found out about it a couple of days ago," Navratilova said. "That's what I heard."

R&J
Nov 11th, 2003, 06:06 AM
From a different article concerning the ceremony:

"From what I understand, there was some miscommunication, because some of the players only found out about it a couple of days ago," Navratilova said. "That's what I heard."
That sounds like what the WTA would do - tell some of the players before hand, and tell some of them just a few days before.;)

Grice
Nov 11th, 2003, 06:50 AM
After all the shit thrown upon Monica by the WTA, esp. the recent Sanex Hero fiasco... it's just as well she doesn't turn up.

treufreund
Nov 11th, 2003, 07:43 AM
Williams sisters are the worst of all. they were in Los Angeles and cannot be bothered. Of course they "admire" Steffi Graf who is just as aloof as they are apparently. :fiery:

irma
Nov 11th, 2003, 08:18 AM
the double standards are so clearly showing

I understand being a fan means biasm and so but this is ridiculous to say it nice

but then what else is new. a certain person could kill somebody and certains fans would still try to blame it all on Steffi :rolleyes:

Knizzle
Nov 11th, 2003, 08:30 AM
Williams sisters are the worst of all. they were in Los Angeles and cannot be bothered. Of course they "admire" Steffi Graf who is just as aloof as they are apparently. :fiery:

They admired Seles.
;)

Knizzle
Nov 11th, 2003, 08:31 AM
the double standards are so clearly showing

I understand being a fan means biasm and so but this is ridiculous to say it nice

but then what else is new. a certain person could kill somebody and certains fans would still try to blame it all on Steffi :rolleyes:You are not allowed to be quiet or shy or keep to yourself on the WTA tour. You must make friends whether you like it or not. Didn't you and Steffi receive the memo??
;)

Alley
Nov 11th, 2003, 08:36 AM
Martina Navratilova is without a doubt the biggest Bitch tennis has ever seen. It doesn't matter how old she gets she continues to be the most classless woman to ever play tennis. It seems she can't understand the concept that for people like Steffi or the Williams sisters, the WTA is not the only thing in their lives.

irma
Nov 11th, 2003, 08:38 AM
I know that's why I am on social skills training these days;)