You may be surprised at how many people would be interested in hearing – in real time – that Maria Sharapova is eating a bowl of pasta. Maria Sharapova may also be surprised to hear.
Sharapova has decided against being on Twitter as she often finds she has bored herself, and she doesn’t want to bore everyone else with the details of her life: “I’m bored with myself on a daily basis, and I think that if I’m bored, like eating a bowl of pasta in a restaurant, I don’t need to let the world know that I’m at this restaurant eating this bowl of pasta.” Perhaps Sharapova should take a look at her own Facebook page, where she has more than seven million fans. More than 30,000 of them ‘liked’ a picture of her posing with a chess set, more than 12,000 a photograph of a beauty salon by LAX Airport, and more than 42,000 an image of her posing next to a fountain in Rome.
Sharapova could tweet about peeling an apple, or publish an image on Facebook of her making a cup of tea, and tens of thousands of her fans would show their appreciation. An indication, you might think, that modern life isn’t quite as busy as people imagine it to be, or maybe just a sign that there is no end to to the public’s appetite for information about their favourite celebrities.
Next weekend, Roland Garros could end up with two champions that they have never shown great affection for.
Yes, Rafael Nadal could win a record seventh title on Court Philippe Chatrier, but the relationship between the Spaniard and the regulars has never been as warm as it should have been. That’s not that fault, by the way, of a player they have called L’Ogre. Nadal and his uncle Toni are unlikely to have forgotten the lack of support they felt in 2009 – the year that Rafa suffered his only career defeat at Roland Garros, in the fourth round to Robin Soderling – which prompted Toni to call the crowd “stupid and conceited”. Relations between Nadal and the French tennis public would not have been helped by the skit which Canal Plus broadcast earlier this year – a man resembling Nadal was shown filling up the petrol tank from his own bladder. He is later stopped by police for speeding, and the message, ‘Spanish athletes, they do not win by chance’, is shown on the screen. And we haven’t even mentioned Yannick Noah.
And the French have not always taken to Sharapova – they see her as Americanised, entitled, noisy. Perhaps she tries to win them over with her tales of prawn linguini.
Unless you work in the sports industry, it is unlikely that you will have heard of Tony Godsick. But the disclosure, by Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, that Roger Federer’s agent has resigned from the sports management group IMG – and that Federer is no longer a client – was an interesting mid-tournament story.