Sunday, 20 January 2013

On Taste and Perception

Sorry, no. This isn't the first time we've seen a player overreact and I doubt it'll be the last.

Oh sure, it was OTT, unnecessary and, as Sloane would have it, "so disrespectful".

But quite a lot of the backlash seemed to be coming from fans rallying to Venus' defence. Which, however well-intentioned, seems, ultimately, to me to be ill-conceived.

Venus' own smirking eyes actually conveyed all necessary levels of disdain and derision in a far more economic yet powerful and exacting way. But not otherwise giving us any reason to think she felt especially slighted.

Why would she?

Thing is, it's Maria Sharapova - probably a mistake to expect her (or indeed most players) to abide by the specifics of the protocol you've set up to honour *your* fan hierarchy.

Some people even suggested the opposite: that it was an illustration of the esteem she holds Venus in. I'm not sure I go that far.

But what's far more telling is the inability of most outlets to frame the affair outside of the context of Masha's relationship with the Williamses. - some even going as far as to suggest "Sharapova reacted as if in order to slay Serena, she first had to get Venus".

If you say so.

She may simply have been overjoyed at playing her best spell of tennis in ages (more than one commentator has alluded to the parallels with her win here in 2008). And at not serving 20+ DFs per match. Or 70+ UFEs. Just a thought.

Perhaps I'd be more convinced if I saw similar levels of outrage at Rafa, Serena, Novak, Ana and countless other players doing much the same - and more. But you don't.

As for Novak's shirt ripping after his (actually) epic win over Stan today, well, you either like that sort of thing or you don't. Or, you're largely indifferent to it, but indulge him a little for playing a 5 hour 5 setter. Either way, it comes down to that slippery thing known as taste.

I'm not especially fond of it, but again, there's no shortage of counter examples of similarly extravagant exhibitions from others, or, indeed, commendable behaviour from Novak.

I guess what i'm saying is, I don't much care; tastes, values and perceptions differ, and jousting about the pseudo-ethics of it all doesn't always feel relevant, helpful or necessary.

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