Marion Bartoli reports that her participation in the 2012 Olympic Games is unlikely. Players must have participated on their Fed Cup teams at least twice during the last four years in order to qualify to play at the Games, and Bartoli has not played. The French star wanted her coach, Walter Bartoli, to help coach her through Fed Cup participation, but the French Federation was against this, and Bartoli was not assigned to the team.
Bartoli says she does not have time to take her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. There is a small chance that the ITF will make an exception and let her participate. In the meantime, Bartoli describes the situation as "heartbreaking" for her. The Olympic Games will be held on grass courts, and Bartoli would be favored to win a medal.
I am of 2 minds about this. On the one hand I can understand why Marion would want her father to be there as her coach, but on the other hand you would think that a father would do what is best for his daughter in order to fulfill her dreams. He has coached Marion to a GS final, to Tour titles and to top 10 in the world, I am not sure how much it would have hurt her game if she was coached by the Fed Cup squad.
FWIW many players who play Fed Cup are not coached by their personal coaches. They are coached by their Federation coaches, so I am not quite sure what the deal is here. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this.
The French Federation strictly forbids any coach but the Fed Cup coach; Bartoli would have none of it. My understanding is that neither party would budge. I've never understood why Bartoli became so stubborn about this issue.
Given what I know about, it appears that Marion really did herself in. On the other hand, it's quite sad that France's top player--also a top player in the world--wouldn't get to compete in the Olympics.
It is sad and it really does make you wonder about the relationship between father and daughter in this situation. People talk about Woz and her father but I think the relationship between Marion and her father is much more sinister in its own way. Why not just step aside so that your daughter can represent her country as what is without a doubt the goal of many athletes the world over.
It may have been that he wouldn't step aside, but it may also have been that Bartoli refused to have it any other way. I don't think any of us will ever know.
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