Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Wimbledon "Rebels"

Last month I noted how a grunting black French man probably wouldn't sit so well with the Wimbledon traditionalists. Gael Monfils may not even have to utter a guttural syllable to irk some. (And I didn't see any coverage--if there was any--of his first round match to be able to calculate the decibel level.) 'Cause Monfils has undone the corn rows he was sporting at Roland Garros. So he has this great not-quite-an-afro going on. The only thing holding it all back from being completely "wild" is his Nike headband. James Blake is also sporting a Nike headband--blue--but it holds back nothing and seems like it might just create a very odd tan line.
Of course Monfils lost in the first round. It doesn't look like he is playing doubles. The mixed draw isn't out yet, though. But it appears that any raised eyebrows Monfils may have garnered have past.
So too those raised at the appearance of Svetlana Kuznetsova's first round opponent, Romina Oprandi have quieted now that Sveta dispatched the other Swiss miss (OK she's really Italian but she was born and lives in Switzerland) in straight sets today. This player isn't exactly miss material--if you read between the lines of the match report. The Wimbledon web site noted that Kuznetsova had some troubles against the heavy-hitting Italian:
While the Russian was finding the range, however, Oprandi, with her cap back to front and a couple of rings adorning her lower lip, struck out like the young blood she is.
Hmm...what could this mean? Backward cap plus facial piercings. Anyone else reading this as Wimbledon's hints that we may have a lesbian out there on the grass?
Even if that's not what they are hinting at, someone felt the need to point out that Oprandi's appearance is non-normative. Except that I don't think it is that non-normative. Two facial piercings and a backward cap? Please, that's nothing. (NOTE: it took me a long time to find a photo in which you can actually see the piercings--and you still have to be looking for them.)
But in tennis apparently it is something. I remember when Mauresmo first played with her tattoo and that was all commentators were talking about. And then when Kournikova was around there was wild speculation that the back wrap peaking from her short shorts and crop top was actually hiding a tattoo!! I wonder if there is some fear of tennis devolving into sports such as basketball or football where tattoos are ubiquitous.
I am actually more surprised that more tennis players haven't pierced and inked parts of their body--the ones that are visible anyway--given the growing numbers of the rest of us folk who have.


Diane said...

They practically fainted over Bethanie Matteck's tube socks, shorts, long earrings, and eyebrow piercing. That's Bethanie...she's going to find a way to work with the all-white restriction. No hints of lesbianism, however--just horror that she would wear such an ensemble. And an accusation of being an "ex-hippie" from the eternally clueless Pam Shriver.

I think that anything anyone (except Nadal) wears that is out of the ordinary at Wimbledon gets everyone all in a dither. Remember how Rosebud was always getting kicked off the courts after Ted Tinling dressed her?

ken said...

I heard something about tube socks but never saw anything because everyone at ESPN had moved on to the Nadal match.
So I went to look up some pictures. Basically the tube socks were the only thing out of the ordinary. I have seen bigger earrings, shorter shorts and lower cut tops and even the headband was fairly normal looking to me.
So why is Nadal exempt from criticism? Have the clam diggers just been accepted?

Diane said...

I really don't know why they lay off of Rafa. I'm glad they do--I like his capri pants.

And you're right--there have certainly been lower cut tops and shorter shorts than what Bethanie had on. I think it was the ensemble as a whole--her snubbbing of the Wimbledon tradition that made everyone head for the fainting couch. Her interview was wonderful; she is a breath of fresh air (she is also a very good, but highly inconsistent, player). She got $1,000 for wearing an ad patch, and when asked how she could have gotten $5,000, she said probably if she had gone onto the court braless.

ken said...

Remember the days when Monica Seles went braless? I don't think she got paid for it either.