Friday, August 30, 2002
Certain names can change name of game
By LYDIA HINSHAW | News-Journal Staff Writer
DAYTONA BEACH — There's something to be said for a double standard that works against men.
But not much.
German tennis player Tommy Haas became a minor cause celebre Wednesday when he showed up for his U.S. Open match wearing a sleeveless shirt.
The clothes police arrived almost immediately to tell him to cover up. And so he did, switching to a polo-style shirt with sleeves and a collar.
Brian Earley, tournament referee, decreed the first shirt, which was considerably more modest than a tank top, was not "customary" attire as described in the rules.
Earlier, Serena Williams had played in a short-short, skin-tight body suit whose color was pretty darn close to her skin tone. From some camera angles, Williams looked as if she was wearing, well, nothing.
She didn't have sleeves, either.
This is customary tennis attire? Where?
WILLIAMS' CLOUT SHOWS
The double standard here is related to clout as well as gender. Williams is American, the No. 1 player in the world, the winner of the past two grand slam events, the most important tennis player on Earth right now.
Williams had had her outfit OK'ed in advance. But then what, short of a thong bikini, would Open officials have denied Williams?
Haas is a smaller fish with much less clout. He's German, not a household name until Wednesday and ranked No. 8 in a men's top 10 that is pizzazz challenged.
The men's No. 1, Lleyton Hewitt, is fun to watch but an off-court jerk. If he becomes popular, it will be in the John McEnroe manner, long after he's retired. Pete Sampras, winner of 13 grand slams, is about to become a daddy and admits he doesn't have the focus and drive to be No. 1 anymore.
Andre Agassi already has a baby and is nearing the end of his career as well. Andy Roddick is still just a hope for the future.
The men could use somebody, or something, to steal a little bit of the spotlight from the women.
Haas' bare shoulders are at least worth a try. And think of the attention he'd attract by showing up in a Kournikova-style hip-hugging skirt.
Speaking of promoting the men's tour, well, don't ask Hewitt. Last month, he refused to do a 15-minute interview with ESPN, which was televising the Tennis Masters Series event in Cincinnati. ATP rules require a player to fulfill certain promotional commitments, or forfeit half his prize money for the week.
Hewitt argued that he didn't mind doing promotional stuff for the ATP but didn't want to do promotional appearances for the media. Uh, Lleyton, an interview on ESPN is a pretty darn good tour promotion.
The ATP is likely to reduce Hewitt's $103,000 penalty to something in the $10,000 to $20,000 range.
Richard Williams doesn't appear to be at the U.S. Open, but he's tried to get into Jennifer Capriati's head from afar.
Williams said in a magazine story that Capriati should clean up her language and listen to her father. Capriati fired back that Williams has no class.
HICI Special Report — Women Around the World: Rights and Wrongs