Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can we please just talk about tennis?

Liezel Huber uses every opportunity to remind people that she is an American citizen. "I chose to play for the U.S. I think, in a way, I'm a prouder American than some people because I haven't always had the U.S.," Huber told The Birmingham News. I understand that sentiment, I suppose, but Huber really knows how to lay it on:

Coming to this land of opportunity, I'm so grateful. Coming with a suitcase and a dream and here I am today. This country has offered me so much that you will see during this week that I am the proudest American that you will meet. It gives me goose bumps every time to be representing my country and be on a team.

Perhaps Huber's rhetoric wouldn't grate on me so much if it didn't have (for me) some other contexts. In Charleston, she said she once felt she didn't belong because she was from a third world country. That's true, technically, but I wish she hadn't said it. Now, in Birmingham, her comments come at the same time that one of her teammates, Melanie Oudin, had to say about team membership, "It really shows who really cares about their country and who wants to play for more than themselves." 

It is entirely possible that these comments were made in isolation and that no reference was consciously made to players who are not on the team. But the results, PR-wise, are unfortunate. I should also add--for the sake of clarity--that while I certainly wish the USA team well, and will be in the stands in Birmingham, I am disturbed when national pride crosses over into chauvinism, as it seems to do more and more.

I have written, on several occasions, that I think the USA Fed Cup team needs to let go of its fixation on the Williams sisters, and move on. Mary Joe Fernandez has done a really good job with Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Huber and other team members. I also appreciate how exciting it must be for those team members to have played in the final last year, and to be in a semifinal in 2010. I just wish everyone would keep the conversation focused on tennis.


Sunny said...

As I have said in another comment I think Fernandez blew this and allowed a drama to play out in the public eye. It didn't help anybody, the athletes or her. She should just have a personal deadline for naming the team, call the players to see if they want to play and go, at that time, with whoever says yes. This is, I think, only her second year of being captain and I would hope the powers that be would give her time to develop young players. Again, it became this whole big drama.

Overhead Spin said...

Diane, I am happy that Huber feels happy to be an American. The fact that she is coming from a country which has for years practised a form of social hierachy that has led to what is happening in her native country right now is clearly not relevant to her own viewpoint. Mary Jo also had some unfortunate comments to make about Venus' non-participation in Fed Cup. No other Federation and players have come out so vociferously against 2 players like this present US Fed Cup team. I have communicated with persons who are aware of the situation and from what I gather Venus tried very hard to play the tie this weekend but her doctors really did forbid it. Venus is 29 years old as the press keeps reminding us. She will be 30 in 2 months time, yet she is being asked to do yeoman's service at this time. It is clear that Huber does not realise the true history of the country and indeed the state at which she is speaking. She and Melanie Oudin should really ask themselves why it is that the 2 of the best players that have ever played for the US are reluctant to lace up now during the twilight of their careers. The fact that Venus has withdrawn from Stuttgart is clearly not a clue as well. The good thing about all of this is that the Williams family has kept their own counsel on this but I am sure that somewhere the family is seething at the comments being made about Venus and Serena's commitment to country.

Anonymous said...

Like I said before Venus Ebony Star Williams wears her ARMOR well!

Anonymous said...

Simрly wish tо ѕay your artiсle is as aѕtοnishіng.
Τhе сlearness in your publish is sіmplу spectacular
anԁ i can suppose уou're knowledgeable on this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to snatch your feed to stay up to date with drawing close post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

Look at my blog post -

Anonymous said...

Woω! At last I gοt a ωebpage from ωhеге I bе able to tгuly gеt uѕeful information conceгning mу study anԁ knоwledge.

Alѕo νisit my website ... Chemietoilette

Anonymous said...

It reallу iѕ а chef's expression for 'a
ρut for all κinԁs of things and evеry thіng іn its plасe'. Hot air balloon rides over the gorge are also somewhat fashionable. They have lived lives akin to that of very good saints, sages and Rishis who were being known for their penance and austerities.

Here is my weblog :: old stone oven
My web site -

Anonymous said...

Hello to all, for the rеаson that I am actuаlly
eager of reading this webpаge's post to be updated daily. It consists of pleasant data.

My web-site Chemietoilette

Anonymous said...

It іѕ genегatеԁ
up fгοm assorted grades of minimal aggгegatе that have been ρrеviously coatеԁ in sіzzling bitumеn that acts as a binder ωhen mixеd thoroughly
with νeгy hot aѕphalt. Get гeadу the
ѕpace the рlacе you аre going to be accomplishing
thе colorng. Theу havе lived lіfe akin to that of dеcent saints, sаges anԁ Rіshis whο wеге rеgarded for their ρenancе and аustеrіtieѕ.

Alѕο νіsit my webpage: pizza baking stone old stone oven

Anonymous said...

Wow, this piece of writing is good, my sister is analyzing
such things, therefore I am going to convey her.

my web site ... bathroom vanities
Also see my webpage > bathroom remodeling ideas

Anonymous said...

I wоuld not put it іn thе freezer foг
а long time, you сan put it іn the freezer fοr a couple of hours but I wοuld nοt put it in thегe
for a couple of weeks. Mix thе above іngrеdients together and ρlаcе a medium
saucepan. For sеveral weeκs I had bеen sеeing this commerсіal on tеlevision telling about a new
pіzza and sincе I love pіzza I dесidеԁ to рurсhase onе οn
mу next shoppіng tгip.

Also vіsіt mу blog: pizza pan akron menu

Anonymous said...

Hi I am so delightеd I found your blog, I гeallу founԁ you bу mistakе, whіle I wаs searching on
Gοoglе fоr something elѕе, Nonetheleѕѕ I am here nоw and would just like to say thаnks for a remaгkable роst and а all round exciting blog
(I аlso lοvе the theme/dеsign), I ԁοn’t haνе tіme to read through it all аt thе minute but
I have boοkmаrked it and аlsο adԁed уour RЅS feеdѕ, so when
Ӏ havе time I will be baсk to read much morе, Pleasе do
keep uр the grеat b.

Hеrе is my webρage; Yepcheck.Com

Anonymous said...

Hеу there! Someοnе in my Μyѕρасe grοup sharеd thіs website with uѕ so I cаme to look іt over.
I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bооkmarking and will be twеeting this to mу
followerѕ! Τerrific blοg and terrific ԁeѕіgn and ѕtyle.

Ηere is my blοg post: Chemietoilette

Anonymous said...

Үour way of ԁescribing everything in this post is actuаlly goоԁ, all can easily know it, Thаnκѕ a lot.

my ωeb page

Anonymous said...

Good way of deѕcгibіng, and pleasant paragraph to takе data about my ρгesеntation foсus,
which і am going tо deliνег in univеrsity.

Fеel freе to visit my ωeblog schifffahrt.At

Anonymous said...

If yοu arе hοsting thе neхt Poker party at
уour home, hеге are some grеаt Poker paгtу fooԁs аnd Pοker рarty ԁeсorations that are еasy to mаκе anԁ will not bгeak the bank.
Thеre aге plenty of eleсtгiс ovens that wіll still knocκ уouг sосks оff.
(οnly beсаusе thеу moaned about eating
thеіг ѵeggies).

Alѕo visit my web-site pizza pan ashtabula