Monday, 7 April 2008

Sports Illustrated's Wertheim on Monica Seles

There was a nice feature piece in yesterday's Observer Sport Monthly by L Jon Wertheim on Monica Seles, who had "perhaps the most tragically unfulfilled career in sports history"

It charts Seles' rise to the top as a teenager, how from 16 to 19 she won 8 Slams, enjoyed more than 100 weeks in the No 1 spot, and blew away Steffi Graf.

Then of course came the terrible court-side knife attack, followed by post-traumatic stress disorder. Werheim has a terrific take on the reaction in the locker room:

"For a sport too often dismissed as genteel country club divertissement, tennis can be remarkably brutal. Never was this more clear than when Seles's colleagues voted down a proposal to let her keep her number-one ranking during her absence. Gabriela Sabatini was the lone hold-out. 'Gaby is a human being,' Seles said at the time. 'The rest, they treated it like it was a sprained ankle or something."

Wertheim then goes onto look at the subsequent decline in her career, culminating in her 'double bagel' defeat to Hingis in Miami in 2000. But what is so great - and reaffirming - about the piece is how Seles put her life back together and became far "more popular - beloved, really - as a diminished player".

You can read it here


Women's Tennis Fan said...

It is sad to see Monica's career end like this. It would have been nice to see her and Steffi having a long rivalry like that between Martina and Chris.

John from Tennis Videos said...

I agree. Although it would make some the the tennis newsgroups and forums a little less interesting.

Steffi and Monica fans are always going at each other over what might have been.