Who has had the most dramatic and colourful private life? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 19th, 2004, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Who has had the most dramatic and colourful private life?

This thread is intended as just a bit of fun OK, so I hope there is no Player X v Player Y arguments. I have just been reading a couple of tennis books lately and learned a lot more about some of the players private lives and it made me think that as if playing tennis on a high professional level was not an eventful enough life, lots of the greats have had amazing private lives filled with family tragedy and off court happiness and some great stories. So who has had the most colourful/dramatic life without mentioning tennis achievements. I don't know too much about some of the older players but I have learned some from books and the threads in this forum to know about some but if there is anyone I have missed or if you have any juicy gossip, post it here!

I would say Martina Navratilova who grew up under the Eastern Bloc regime, struggled with her sexuality, defected as a teenager and never saw her parents for many years, had affairs with a few fiery characters, the televised court case with Judy Nelson etc. All of that plus being the most famous sportswoman in the world during the 1980s.

Last edited by raquel; Oct 19th, 2004 at 10:10 PM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 19th, 2004, 10:17 PM
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I hope we have fun with this one!


Regarding Martina I can think of two dramatic incidents:

1. When she had her blowout with Rita Mae Brown the writer blew out her window of Martina's car as she was driving away! That's right-Rita Mae shot a gun in Martina's direction.

2. The whole defection must have been dramatic. Can you imagine hving spies following you around and fearing you'd be kidnapped?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 19th, 2004, 10:20 PM
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Some players have had to go on court after enduring the loss of a dear one:

Margaret Dupont won the US Nationals one year right after her father died in a car accident. The accident happened during the event clear across the country and her mother told her to carry on.

Those of us who saw Monica's run at the 1998 French were very moved. it was right after her dad had died of cancer and she wore his ring around a chain.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 19th, 2004, 10:23 PM
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My favorite catfight story comes from Germany in the late 1920s. Two tennis mothers got into it after one mother accused the other of hynotizing her daughter! It even went to court-and one of the women was the mother of Wimbledon champ Cilly Aussem.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2004, 02:38 AM
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I know that in her autobiography Rita Mae Brown kept going on and on about Martina having an affair with someone and writing about how Martina always denied it even though she saw them kissing one time. I *think* the person Rita thought Martina was messing around with was Billie Jean King. I say that because it was very clear from the book that Rita hated BJK and blamed her for her split with Martina She did like Virginia Wade though.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2004, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
My favorite catfight story comes from Germany in the late 1920s. Two tennis mothers got into it after one mother accused the other of hynotizing her daughter! It even went to court-and one of the women was the mother of Wimbledon champ Cilly Aussem.
I read in The Goddess And The American Girl how once Helen Wills was retiring from a match (might have been the infamous 1933, US Nationals) Helen Jacobs went up to her and I guessed just touched her arm or something. Anyway, Wills just hissed at her "Don't touch me" or something like that. I read that Wills was aware of Jacobs being a lesbian and just refused to be alone with her.

As for more recent catfights how about Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova and the "I am the queen" fight
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2004, 09:36 PM
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Roan-When I read Rita Mae's book I got the same feeling you did about BJK. Her hate of Billie Jean was personal and total.

Helen Wills had her diva moments. Just as Graf-Seles still has people going-the Jacobs-Wills "feud" split public opinion for much of the 1930s, especially when Helen Wills just walked off the court when losing the 1933 US final.

Wills claimed she in so much back pain that everything was spinning, yet she walked all the way off the court, through the complex, and across the street to her room at the Forest Hills Inn. Boos rained down on her as she left the stadium. Incredibly, she then told her partner Elizabeth Ryan minutes later that was ready to play the doubles final! Ryan wisely defaulted the pair, fearing what the crowd might do if Wills reappeared.



After Ryan/Wills defaulted officials decided to recruit Alice Marble to take Wills' place in an exhibition. Alice was hit right in the eye by an overhead by her Brit Betty Nuthall. Alice lay on the ground for several minutes and the match ended. Ryan must have felt she was cursed!

People alive in 1933 were still debating this contrversial match in the 1970s.
Ryan once said she could tell a lot more about Helen Wills and that day, but she thought better of it. Whatever that was, Liz took that secret with her when she died.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2004, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
My favorite catfight story comes from Germany in the late 1920s. Two tennis mothers got into it after one mother accused the other of hynotizing her daughter! It even went to court-and one of the women was the mother of Wimbledon champ Cilly Aussem.
Didn't the Mother Maleeva once attack someone in the stands while her daughters were playing a doubles match (at US Open I think)?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2004, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Joana: Didn't the Mother Maleeva once attack someone in the stands while her daughters were playing a doubles match (at US Open I think)?
Oooooh-has anyone heard of that one? The only Maleeva fracas I knew about was when Yulia ordered Manuela off the court in the Orange Bowl juniors one year-I'd love to hear a detailed account of that also.

Last edited by Rollo; Oct 20th, 2004 at 10:45 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2004, 10:43 PM
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Found the Aussem contrversy from 1928-this must have been front page stuff in Germany! I was wrong in saying it was two moms-One was a player herself
It would kind of be like, say, Jennifer Capriati taking a swing at Richard Willliams

I had a good laugh at the line in bold.

From the New York Times

Aug 21, 1928

Tennis Row Goes to Court

Because the mother of Cecille Aussem, champion woman tennis player of Germany,insisted that Frau von Reznicek had twice defeated her daughter by using hynotism, the latter put aside her racquet and boxed Frau Aussem's ears.

The courts will now be called upon to decide whom insulted whom. Frua Aussem has entered suit for alleged "insulting assault", and Frau von Reznicek
has started a counter-suit for "defamation of character."

Meanwhile the conqueror of Fraulein Aussem has been disqualified by the Tennis association for 6 weeks. She has appealed from this penalty on the ground that her boxing activity did not constitute a violation of tennis rules but was an act of self-defense, done to restore her honor.

The letter by Frau Aussem charging that her daughter had been hypnotized was written several weeks ago to the president of the German Tennis Federation. It was sent after Cecille, otherwise undefeated by German players, had been beaten by Frau von Reznicek first at the Riviera and then at Breslau.

When the victor in these matches heard of the letter she demanded a retraction and when this was declined she gave the unsuspecting Colgne woman an effective punch.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2004, 03:50 PM
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I think I have! Just joking I think Hana M might be a good choice...
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2004, 04:01 PM
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Most colorful? We've got some great candidates:


Martina - lived her life very publicly in an age when it was almost impossible for a lesbian to do so. Her run through role models included a champion golfer who planted the seeds of being professional as well as being a lover, a lesbian author who almost derailed her focus on being a great tennis champion and almost killed her in a bizarre incident in Virginia, a former basketball player who was bisexual and literally tortured Martina willing her to become a female physical specimen, a transexual eye doctor, a former TX beauty queen whom she gave a wonderful life to only to be betrayed by in a very public way, and that's not counting the other gurus and mentors that have come in and out of her life. One thing with Martina, she makes incredibly close associations and cuts strings like no one else.

Steffi - a person who had so little control over what happend to her. Who else had so many terrible things happen to her that were not of her fault? From her father's attempt to alienate her from everyone, his infidelity, his fist fight at the 1991 French Open, and his tax problems. And then of course there was the Seles stabbing. She, in no way, suffered in the same way or as seriously as Monica did, but she surely paid a price for it. Her record is widely questioned because of Monica's absence though she was turning her game around when it happened. And she lost, with all due respect to ASV, her one great contemporary that pushed her to get better and better.

And there are others but I think these two take the cake.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2004, 04:41 PM
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what about Alice Marble well that thread about her a while ago was full of drama or was it all fictive?

definitely Nav of course too. her youth in a communistic regime, her lovelife, the spy's she got after her when she started to live in the usa, the turning around she made from great player to legend with lots of dedication etc. etc.
I am surprised they didn't make a b movie about her yet

Evert and Martina the second when based on lovelife

I guess Court had some drama too (from what I read on her site)

In Steffi's case it's too much based on her father and his family. In her lovelife there didn't seem to be much drama by example, well except when she dumped Michael B and dog for Andre of course

When I go with a dramatic life then Maureen Connoly comes to mind, from what I read at least. But that's not really collorfull but more very sad
Monica had lots of drama's too of course but again that's not collorfull imho
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2004, 05:04 PM
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Jen's sex drugs and rock and roll story of the little girl who had it all lost it and got it back on her own terms (with the hideous tennis parent thrown in) is a good one - she turned out to be anything but the second Chris Evert that she had been marketed as back then.

BJK wins in the sex, politics and money department.

Regina M's drink-driving, manslaughter, incarceration and travel ban was a dramatic episode and then there's the gold-digging Lisa Bonder-Kreiss story as well.

In the area of sex and romance, Betty Ann Grubb-Hansen-Stuart-Dent's love life must be quite a fruity tale. There's her one-time doubles partner Renée Richards, too.

I often wonder if all the partner exchanges that were going on in the early 90s between Gigi, Natasha, Jana, Arantxa, Larisa and Helena didn't have a between-the-sheets dimension in some cases. Pam, Martina and Hana also had walk-on parts in that saga, too.

"colourful" is a lovely euphemism Raquel!
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2004, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irma
what about Alice Marble well that thread about her a while ago was full of drama or was it all fictive?
Alice's real life story is coming out bit by bit and it's a story worth telling. She played during a time when people such as John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde were around. The Depression was at it's height and Hitler was looming on the horizon. She hung out with beautiful people such as Carole Lombard and Marion Davies. William du Pont jr, a very wealthy man, wanted to marry her but could never have her. She was a champion and a beautiful woman who for some reason began drinking and making up stories. She hinted she was a spy during WWII. She wasn't. Beginning in the early 60s she started telling people she was married to the perfect "Captain Joe." She wasn't. What caused it? Was it guilt over her very hidden relationship with her much older female coach Eleanor "Teach" Tennant that came to an end? Mental illness? Not being able to deal with no longer being in the spot light? Or maybe a bit of all of those things? Lot of drama there.
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