Saturday, July 16, 2016

So much talent, so little hunger


I was not surprised by the news that Victoria Azarenka is pregnant.  Somehow this fit right in with my impression of a woman who was just too dickmatized for her own good, ya know?  Of which pregnancy is (or seems to be) the natural result, no?

You ask how did I arrive at my impression that Azarenka was the type of woman to end up pregnant for a rando that barely anyone knew she was dating?  Well, it might have something to do with her decision to date that over-aged and under-talented clown who still calls himself Redfoo – during which period she seemed to morph herself into looking like a cast-member of ‘Love and Hip-hop’.

And then there was her cringingly terrible decision to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her “good friend” Monfils at the 2014 US Open, even though she cannot carry a tune to save her life.  Not to mention her sad Twitter-flirting with Nick Kyrgios that seriously bordered on the desperate.  Just to name a few of the occasions when her decision-making seemed to come straight from her vagina.
 I am aware that, per the rules of current definitions of feminism that includes such (seemingly) disparate characters as Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian, I am supposed to say how fantastic it is that Azarenka feels empowered enough to declare her right to have a baby, and then return to her career a la Clijsters.  But do let’s be brutally honest – Clijsters has always been the exception, not the rule.

The more realistic picture is the one represented by Kimiko Date who left tennis, raised her kids, and then returned to tennis at an age far closer to 40 than 26.  But this might be too much realism for those in the Azarenka camp of denial.  Her defenders love to highlight the fact that she has beaten Serena on several occasions, most recently at 2016 Indian Wells. 

But the reality is that their head-to-head record favors Serena by a ratio of 17 to 4.  That lopsided head-to-head is not meant at all to detract from the fact that it is in the matches against Serena that you get a sense of Azarenka’s formidable potential.  (Then again, if you want to see any player’s true potential, just watch the way she plays against Serena, right?)  I just question whether Azarenka also has Serena’s intrinsic hunger, passion, and discipline to sacrifice so that she can achieve. 

As an aside, I have often wondered about Sam Sumyk’s decision to fire himself as Azarenka coach after several successful years. Sumyk has never made public his reasons for terminating a professional partnership that took Azarenka to #1 with two Australian Open wins.  I would like to believe that he was not heartless enough to end their relationship just because she was injured.

Could it be that he himself had far more hunger, passion, and motivation than his student did?  Or could it be that, with time, we started hearing more abut her romantic relationships than we did about her tennis?

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