One would think that with the term “love-love” tennis would be a distinguished sport, and perhaps for the tennis players who have actively participated in it since its inception at the end of the 19th century, it was indeed the case. After all, they had to wear corsets and long skirts while playing, which most likely contributed to a woman’s reported fainting during a championship game on an excessively hot day in 1884. (L incident encouraged the idea that women were too fragile to be serious athletes.)
A few generations later, however, women’s tennis has grown into an entirely different ball game in terms of athleticism, competitiveness, speed, prize money, outfits – and drama. From the stab wounds of Monica Seles and the tantrums of Serena Williams to the doping of Maria Sharapova, here’s a look at some of the most controversial female tennis players in history.
Serena and Venus Williams
The exploits of sisters Serena and Venus Williams in the tennis world are legendary. With each sister winning dozens of singles and doubles titles, multiple Olympic gold medals and taking turns ranking No.1 in the world, their fierce competitiveness and unabashed demeanor have earned them both praise and accolades. critics in the two decades since their departure. pro.
Some of the sisters’ most notable controversies include:
- In 2001, Russian tennis star Elena Dementieva accused the sisters’ father and coach Richard Williams of rigging their matches. Not long after, when Venus unexpectedly withdrew from playing Serena in a semifinal game at Indian Wells that year, fans broke into anger, believing their games to be rigged.
- In 2010, Venus was at the center of the controversy when she designed her own short outfit, which some said looked like a negligee – a short black lace dress over flesh-colored undergarment – at Roland- Garros. While some considered the outfit disruptive to say the least, Venus focused on the game, ultimately beating her opponent, Swiss tennis player Patty Schnyder.
- In the 2009 US Open semi-final, Serena’s match against Kim Clijsters proved to be a lesson in humility. After being warned for slamming her racket when she lost her first set, Serena subsequently received a foot foul which sent her into a frenzy. Shouting curses and threatening the linesman, Williams was sentenced to a penalty point, a fine and two years probation. Although she initially refused to apologize, Serena humbly conceded.
âI just wanted to sincerely apologize because I am a very proud person, and I am a very intense and very emotional person,â she said in a statement. “I wanted to offer my sincere apologies to anyone I may have offended.”
- At the US Open in 2018, Serena once again had a verbal argument with a chair umpire after the official noticed her coach waving her coaching hand, which was prohibited. The referee slapped a code violation on Serena, which the player believed was undeserved. Later in the match, Serena received two other offenses, including racketeering and verbal abuse, calling the referee a “liar” and a “thief.”
Unlike many tennis stars whose dramas are self-inflicted, Monica Seles has fallen victim to it. As the youngest to win Roland Garros at 16 in 1990, Seles was taking the sport by storm. By 1993, she was at the peak of her professional career: not only had she fought off Steffi Graf to become the world’s No.1 tennis player, but she had also won seven of the eight Grand Slam tournaments in which she was competing at the time. .
But that same year, her winning streak was temporarily interrupted when a crazed Graf fan jumped onto the pitch and attacked Seles who was between a quarter-final match with Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, Germany.
The fan stabbed Seles in the back with a nine-inch boning knife, which influenced the star’s decision to take a two-year hiatus from professional tennis. Upon her return in 1995, Seles was able to add a fourth Australian Open victory the following year, but could never match the momentum she had before the incident.
Some sports historians and tennis players believe that if Seles had not been stabbed, she could have become the most decorated tennis player of all time.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is not only known for being a No.1 ranked tennis player, five-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic silver medalist, but she is also famous for her good looks, having attracted support contracts. profits from Nike, Canon and Cole Haan.
But in 2016, the Sharapova star took a horrendous plunge when she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, testing positive for a banned doping substance, meldonium. As a result, he was banned from playing the sport for two years. The sentence was reduced to 15 months after she appealed, stating that she had taken the drug “on the basis of a doctor’s recommendation … with the good faith belief that it was appropriate and compliant. to the applicable rules “.
In 1997, Martina Hingis became the world’s youngest No. 1 female tennis star at the age of 16. Among his many accomplishments during his 23-year professional career, Hingis won five Grand Slam tournaments, 13 Grand Slam doubles and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics.
But in 2007, at the age of 27, Hingis (nicknamed “Swiss Miss”), decided to retire shortly after finding out she had cocaine in her system after playing at Wimbledon.
“When I was informed that I had failed my ‘A’ test after my loss at Wimbledon, I was shocked and appalled,” Hingis said. “I am frustrated and angry because I believe I am 100 percent innocent and accusations like these don’t give me the motivation to continue. My only performance enhancer is love of the game.”
Although Hingis appealed the results, the International Tennis Federation suspended her from participating in the sport for two years.
Off the pitch, Hingis’ problems did not hold up any better. In 2013, her husband, French equestrian rider Thibault Hutin, told a Swiss newspaper that she had had several adventures and that he once caught her in the act. The two eventually divorced.
Despite his scandals, Hingis came out of retirement and made a comeback, especially in the doubles category, eventually winning 11 Grand Slam tournaments. She quit the sport for good in 2017.
Gabriela Sabatini was a tennis prodigy of the late ’80s and early’ 90s. At 14 she turned pro and throughout her brilliant 12-year career made over $ 7 million in awards, 27 singles titles, 14 doubles titles and a silver medal at the Seoul Olympics. At the age of 26, she retired from the game as the third best player in the world and went on to start a successful fragrance business.
It wasn’t until much later in life that Sabatini revealed a big secret: She would voluntarily lose matches to avoid the spotlight.
âWhen I was younger and thought I had to talk after winning a tournament, I often lost in the semi-finals so I didn’t have to. It was so bad!â she admitted in a newspaper in 2013.
Another tennis prodigy, Jennifer Capriati, entered the professional women’s tennis circuit in 1990 at the age of 13, just a month before her 14th birthday. After winning her first gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and several WTA tournaments, Capriati found herself in conflict with the law on two counts: one for shoplifting in 1993 and the another for possession of marijuana in 1994.
Exhausted from her meteoric rise to fame, an 18-year-old Capriati sought addiction counseling and admitted to having thoughts of suicide. After taking a break to recuperate, she came back to the game in full force. During her impressive 14-year career, she won 14 professional singles titles, including three Grand Slam tournaments, one women’s doubles title and one no. 1 world ranking in 2001.
After his retirement in 2004, Capriati was still struggling in his personal life. In 2010, she suffered a drug overdose and three years later was charged with harassing and assaulting her ex-boyfriend, although the charges were subsequently dropped. Despite her flaws, Capriati is considered one of the best tennis players of all time.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Mary Pierce may have learned to be a fighter on the pitch, but she wasn’t ready to come out of it – and with her parents no less.
In 1993, his father and trainer, Jim, was banned from all WTA events after displaying abusive behavior at Roland Garros, including shouting “Mary, kill the bitch!”
Pierce later admitted that her father, who implemented brutal training methods, abused her both physically and verbally and even threatened to kill her. After deciding not to work with him anymore, Pierce hired bodyguards and had two restraining orders filed against him. However, when his career started to dive, she brought him back as an ad hoc coach in 2000 and reconciled their relationship.
Before the Williams sisters raised eyebrows with their edgy outfits, there was Gussie Moran. In 1949, she was invited to Wimbledon as the fourth woman in the National Tennis League.
In preparation for the glamorous event, Moran asked Wimbledon host Ted Tinling to design an outfit for her. The finished product turned out to be a disaster – with a lot of frills to prove it. Under her short tennis dress, Moran wore ruffled shorts with a lace trim that revealed her panties every time she walked across the courts.
Her frilly panties earned her the nickname “Gorgeous Gussie” in the press, who did what she could to capture low shots of her to get a glimpse of her underpants. Conservative members of the tennis committee made an uproar over his risky attire, accusing Moran of bringing “vulgarity and sin into tennis.”
Despite the embarrassing incident, Moran enjoyed success as a finalist in the women’s doubles match that same year.