“Quirky” became the catch phrase of almost every American commentator to describe Marion Bartoli as she played the finals match against the openly favored (not by me) Sabine Lisicki. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Sabine, as any regular reader of this blog knows. But against the nerd with an IQ of 175? I’m sorry, the lower-ranked blonde with the pigtail and ribbons and jagged-tooth smile didn’t have a chance, ever, in my view.
But this entry will not be another of my rants about how the tennis establishment becomes cock-eyed when a blonde chick with a pigtail picks up a racket. I promise.
Instead, it is a rant over the not-so-subtle belittling of Marion Bartoli by relentlessly describing her as “quirky” while this word is never used to describe Rafael Nadal, despite his constant and repetitive arse-picking, and finger-smelling, and hair-patting, and shoulder-adjusting – to name just a few of his expansive repertoire of quirks.
I cannot remember ever once hearing any commentator comment on the fact that Nadal picks his ass and smells his fingers. Sure they’re quick to talk vaguely about his ‘rituals’ and about how everything has to be ‘lined up just so’. But there is much compassion for what he needs to do in order to perform – as there should be for anyone trapped in the psychological prison of ritualistic repetition.
But Bartoli does not attract compassion. She gets derided, repeatedly, as “quirky”.