REPORTING FROM THE ALL ENGLAND CLUB IN WIMBLEDON
Marion Bartoli climbed into the stands and hugged her father, Walter, who only politely hugged back. A few minutes later, she would interrupt her own on-court interview to say, “First of all, my dad, who is here with me today, means so much.’’
Bartoli had just won Wimbledon on Saturday, beating Serena-killer Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4. And this is when a tennis player’s emotions are at their most obvious and overwhelming. They’re in your throat. Know this: Bartoli has fired her dad, her coach, twice this year alone. And now, her first act as champ is to be with him?
Meanwhile, Lisicki was crying.
How did you feel about this match? No Venus or Serena Williams and no Maria Sharapova? The hard truth for tennis is this: That was a terrible match for the sport. Terrible. For most of the match, Lisicki was in complete panic.
But not only that. Women’s tennis is desperate for stars. And this is the sport’s greatest stage, greatest opportunity. Yet with so little depth, two underdogs got here. Lisicki had a small chance to catch on in the US. Small, because I have a feeling no one was watching. But she did beat Williams, and could have been the Wimbledon champ. She is super-powerful. She is comfortable and personable in front of a camera.
And in terms of growing interest in the game, she could appeal to the average testosterone-defined fan sitting on his couch in front of the TV: She’s an attractive, powerful blonde woman in a short skirt.
Bartoli – more hard truth – is not going to sell in the US. She doesn’t have magazine looks, and plays in an ugly way.
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