Wertheim on Sweet Kimmie
While one can make the argument that Kim Clijsters' refusal to wear Adidas clothing at the Olympics so as not to break contractual obligations to Fila is commendable in its show of loyalty, do you not see it as a case of misplaced loyalty? I would imagine that the Belgian tennis program has put quite a lot of time and money into her development and this refusal is essentially a slap in the face and a cash grab under the guise of "professional and contractual obligation"? --Roman Draut, Middletown, Ohio
Let's see. Since August, Clijsters has accused Henin-Hardenne of faking injury, failed to apologize when members of her camp lofted shabby allegations that JH-H was a drug cheat, compiled a Nixonian enemies list, not only declined to play Fed Cup but also maligned the competition. And now she has threatened not to play in the Olympics unless she can wear the Fila clothes she endorses rather than apparel from Adidas, which sponsors the Belgian team. Um, can the aliens who abducted the delightful Kim Clijsters a few months ago and replaced her with this sour simulacrum please return her to earth? (Or to the tennis world, anyway?)
This latest p.r. gaffe induced a blizzard of angry e-mail. As John Bayalis of Atlanta wrote: "I know corporate sponsorship and clothing in the Olympics is a big deal in sports (see the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team) but doesn't Kim Clijsters' refusal to represent her country in lieu of a contract with Fila seem utterly disrespectful? Am I crazy, or is this indeed a horrible precedent to be setting for fans and children alike?"
John, of course, is not crazy. While Clijsters is not the first athlete to make a similar demand it is a shame she, of all people, is playing this ridiculous game of chicken -- which, apart from being completely at odds with the Olympic ideal, reflects poorly on both Clijsters and her sponsor. You'd like to think that a player who competes so often and as successfully as Clijsters does would have the leverage (and courage) to negotiate an exception from her sponsor. You'd also like to think Fila would rather Clijsters played in the Olympics -- even if it meant outfitting her in rival apparel for a few days -- than not play at all. Basically, this is a lose-lose proposition. The Clijsters camp can get vertigo spinning this as "loyalty" but no one's buying. The gesture comes across as just another avaricious athlete making a petulant, me-me-me demand.
In this case, it is particularly puzzling. In addition to being a top-flight player, Clijsters is "one of the good ones." She's self-possessed and genuinely humble and immensely well-liked by all of tennis' special-interest groups. (Personal testimonial: I've never found her to be anything less than a pleasure to deal with.) She has accumulated a lot of good will through the years and it would be a real shame if it evaporated because of a few silly "controversies."
And Sweetie Pie about Kirsten Flipkens
Well, that's very hard to say. It all, you know -- I'm not a -- I hope the sooner, the better for her. It's tough, you know, going from, you know -- it's a completely different circuit, you know, going from the Juniors to the pro tour. That's -- but I'm sure she'll get there. I'm not really, you know, a card reader or anything. I don't really know how long it's gonna take her. But I'm sure she's -- I mean, any junior who plays that well on a lot of surfaces, like her will -- I'm sure she'll get pretty far on the WTA Tour.
And logical question
About the quotation you ran last week from Kim Clijsters on Kirsten Flipkens: Is Clijsters that inarticulate due to concentration problems, or is it because of a general jock lack of education? --Cris Senior, New York
In one form or another, we get this question every week. You see a player quoted and the syntax makes you cringe. True, Clijsters' response won't overtake William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech as a barometer of eloquence. But cut her some slack. She had just suffered a demoralizing loss in the U.S. Open final, was forced to dissect a lousy day at the office and was doing so in her second tongue. Then, out of nowhere, she gets a question about the professional prospects of Kirsten Flipkens. Forgive Clijsters if she's a little tongue-tied and her extemporaneous answer is a bit scattered. What's more, if you've ever been interviewed on television and then read a verbatim transcript, you've no doubt cringed at how many of your sentences are peppered with "you knows," "ums" and "sort ofs."
thread moved to existing thread re the mailbag contents.
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Last edited by KaseyL; Dec 2nd, 2003 at 07:53 AM.