So RP calls this afternoon and says, "have you heard the BIG tennis news?" And I say "no, when did it break?" (I had been away from my computer for a few hours). But no, it was hours and hours ago that Justine Henin announced her immediate retirement. R says, well they say she's been in a slump. Yeah, a slump that any other player would kill for. She goes out on top--the only woman to ever retire in the #1 position.
As much as I thought Henin subverted some of the dominant paradigms of the game, and as much as I liked her backhand, and as much as I like saying that I remember her when she was just starting to become something other than an unknown (I saw her upset Kournikova at the US Open on Arthur Ashe many years ago when she was still wearing Le Coq Sportif*), I was never really a true fan. I never thought she was a true sportswoman and I think the whole hand up not ready yet signal at Roland Garros against Serena Williams incident really tainted her in my mind.
So that sadness referenced in this post's title is really about Annika Sorenstam's retirement--not effective immediately but coming soon--the end of the season. So me the tennis player says to RP the golfer, "Well, did YOU hear about the big news in golf?" She hadn't.
Anyway I am quite sad Sorenstam is retiring. I try not to get too attached to tennis players because sometimes they can have very short careers. (I am actually currently preparing myself mentally for Amelie Mauresmo's retirement which I feel is not that far away--though her career was certainly quite a bit longer than Henin's.) But golfers I feel stick it out for a while. It seems easier for them to cut back on their schedule if they want to reduce their travel and general wear and tear. And I mean, come on, it's Annika. Tournaments are going to let her in. But she wants to retire, clean break, and get married (again) and do other things like cook (isn't that what Babe Didrickson told the press when she needed to convince people she wasn't a lesbian?) and build golf courses and run academies and make millions and millions off her legacy. Fine. She deserves it. But I am sad that I never got to see her play in person.
*Whatever happened to Le Coq Sportif anyway? They were so hip and French and trendy for a while.