“If you are going to say something outrageous, offensive and altogether despicable, then clearly you are better off working in the world of tennis than in any other sport,” writes the New York Daily News’ Filip Bondy. While if you’re merely gonna invade Stuart Scott’s privacy, you can get a full time job with Gawker Media.
On one of those radio talk shows where people always get into trouble – The Junkies, on WJFK in Washington – Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimelstob called Anna Kournikova “a bitch” and “a douche.” He questioned the veracity of the back problems that caused Kournikova’s retirement and seemed to threaten her with physical harm when the two meet in a scheduled doubles match next month in World Team Tennis.Gimelstob also called Nicole Vaidisova, one of the top players on tour, “a well-developed young lady,” and declared that “female tennis players lack the social skills, they don’t go to high school, they don’t go to parties.”
“I take full responsibility for all the words that came out of my mouth,” Gimelstob now says. “And, while I can’t take any of them back, I hope my heartfelt remorse can begin to heal the wounds felt by many. Among the targets of my venom was Anna Kournikova, not to mention a general disregard and disrespect toward women.
“They all deserve and have my deepest apologies. While I see how it could be implied by my remarks, I assure you that I have the utmost respect for women.”
On a somewhat related note, David Mitchell of “Peep Show” and “That Mitchell & Webb Look” fame continues his Guardian blogging by suggesting Kournikova “was the perfect tennis player in every way apart from the tennis.”
Ana Ivanovic caused quite a stir at Wimbledon before being knocked out, largely because she’s pretty. This has a particularly amusing effect on the BBC’s ageing male commentators, who struggle to find a way to refer to the fact without saying anything sleazy. Their discomfort is palpable as they struggle with phrases like “very mobile and athletic”, “nice dress”, “young lady” and even “lights up the court”. They’re like tremulous uncles, weary and nervous of their own arousal.
They know they’ve got to mention it, you see – it’s good for the business that is women’s tennis. So they’ve got to say something but they know it mustn’t be “I, for one, would like to bang her!” or “What’s great about a player like Ivanovic is that she attracts a lot of teenage wankers as well as the tennis fans”. They don’t want metaphorical jizz on everyone’s mental centre court but, at the same time, they know that, if the internet’s taught us anything, it’s not to underestimate the masturbatory pound.