Chris Evert was a great player, of that there is no doubt. Her record speaks for itself. But as a commentator, she polarises opinion. At Wimbledon last year she managed to antagonise Rafael Nadal and his whole support group though her comments.
Evert is part of the ESPN team here at the Australian Open and they are doing a fine job as a whole. But while The Tennis Space understands that all commentators are prone to the odd bit of bluster, in part because of how much air they have to fill, some are more prone to others, it seems.
Now Twitter can be a cruel medium at times and those listening to Evert during Wednesday’s match between Maria Sharapova and Ekaterina Makerova were not that impressed and a stream of her comments were listed under the hashtag, sh–chrissiesays (just without the dashes).
Here are a couple of examples. “I pick Federer because I like him better”; “If she finds her form…you know…things will go easier for her” and “I’m gonna pick Sharapova. I think she just wants it. Sheer will. She wants it.”
In the interests of fairness and balance it should be pointed out that on Facebook, there was one comment saying how enjoyable the American’s words were. I said one.
There’s nothing like a good on-court spat to get people talking. First there was Tomas Berdych refusing to shake Nicolas Almagro’s hand after the Spaniard hit him on the arm with a forehand and now there’s Hubergate.
Liezel Huber, the world number one in women’s doubles, caused a bit of controversy in her quarter-final with Lisa Raymond against Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina.
Now Huber is known as a feisty player but she caused some anger in the final-set tiebreak when, at 6-2 down and therefore facing four match points, she pleaded ignorance when asked whether she had managed to get to a Mirza volley on the first bounce.
The umpire had not called double bounce so the point went to Huber and Raymond but anyone in the stadium knew that the South African, now playing for the United States, had not reached the ball in time.
Huber and Raymond then saved three more match points but at 6-6, Mirza almost took Huber’s head off with a forehand return and she and Vesnina then clinched victory on the next point.
Later the same night, a Twitter response saw Raymond congratulate Vesnina, to which the Russian replied: “Thank you Lis! It was great match and you are better player and person on and off the court than your partner.”
Ouch. And double ouch because Mirza was due to come face to face with Huber again in the mixed doubles quarter-final later in the last match on Wednesday night.
Following on from yesterday’s grunting discussion, the so-called queen of the screamers took her chance to quieten the clamour for something to be done about it.
Responding to Agnieszka Radwanska’s comments that Sharapova’s screams are “annoying”, the Russian said: Isn’t she back in Poland already?
Sharapova is a master of the cutting remark and she didn’t let us down as she went on. “No one important enough has told me to change or do something different.”
The real question should be: who actually would be important enough for her and others to consider making some changes?