Some people I have spoken with don't like Maria Sharapova because they think she's too pretty--and not much else (besides a good tennis player).
I think she's pretty smart and has a good sense of humor. I love the way she deals with the corps of media folk who ask her largely inane questions.
And Sharapova continued to handle herself well yesterday when asked to respond to Frenchman Gilles Simon's comments about how tennis should go back to the days when women got paid less than men at the Grand Slam tournaments. Simon thinks men's tennis is more entertaining; that the matches are more interesting. Of course he didn't offer any means of how to measure entertainment value. He didn't note that the rest of the year women earn less at their tournaments than the men do at theirs. And he was forced to acknowledge that his straight-set loss at Wimbledon was probably not that entertaining.
Simon was recently elected to the ATP Players' Council, which seems to be providing him the platform for the airing of these grievances. He reported that every other man in the draw feels the same way, they are just afraid to say anything. But here's the thing. Even if most of them believe equal pay is unfair--the top men (the ones who were asked to comment on the statements) aren't suffering because the women got a pay raise at Wimbledon in 2007. Do you think they are going to take the time to fight equal pay? Are they going to band together and hire a consultant to study the entertainment value of men's versus women's tennis? Activism on the men's tennis tour? I don't think so.
And Sharapova's response to all this:
''I'm sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his."
When hearing about Sharapova's response, Serena Williams laughed and wholeheartedly agreed.