Getting Harder And Harder To Make Friendships On WTA Tour

Written by: on 25th June 2013
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Wimbledon Championships
Getting Harder And Harder To Make Friendships On WTA Tour

epa03759195 Serena Williams of USA serves to Mandy Minella of Luxembourg during their first round match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 25 June 2013. EPA/ANDY RAIN  |

John Isner called the Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova feud downright weird.

 

Roger Federer called their spat, “their thing.” Isner said that the two tours are completely different in that the men tend to get along and the women don’t seem to pursue friendships.

 

“I was just next to Roger in the showers and we were talking about [pro wrestling] because he’s really into it, just like I am,” Isner said. “ We all get along pretty well. It’s totally different with the women.

 

“It’s not just veteran players like Williams and Sharapova who don’t see eye to eye, it’s also some of the new generation. Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, 19, said she doesn’t try and actively try and pursue friendships.

 

“ I just find it hard because in the end we’re competing against each other,” she said. “I don t really want to have friends on tour. I just try to keep it to a few people.”

 

Bouchard has one real close friend on tour, Laura Robson, but says that while she is friendly with some other players such as another Briton in Heather Watson, and some of the American and other Canadian players, she hasn’t forged deep bonds with them.

 

“Superficially, we’re pretty friendly,” Bouchard said. “But it’s tough to be a real, true friend because, in the end, were all competitors. But we’re all together and see each other all the time, so it’s not worth it being mean to each other. So, it’s friendly but I really only have a few real friends.

 

Serena Williams is close to her sister Venus and gets along well with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki, two players who seem to be chums with just about everyone, but her closer friends are not tennis friends.

 

The same with Maria Sharapova, who also gets along with Kuznetsova and Maria Kirilenko, whom she was once close with as a junior but the two have now grown apart. Her best friends are people who don’t work in the tennis industry, although her closest friend, Estelle Laporte, does consult with the WTA on occasion

 

“ I’m not really friendly or close to many players,” Sharapova said. “I have not a lot of friends away from the courts, but in all different parts of the world. But I wouldn’t say I’m really close to a lot of players. I think just because you’re in the same sport doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone just because you’re categorized, you’re a tennis player, so you’re going to get along with tennis players. I think every person has different interests. I have friends that have completely different jobs and interests, and I’ve met them in very different parts of my life. I think everyone just thinks because we’re tennis players we should be the greatest of friends. But ultimately tennis is just a very small part of what we do. There’s so many other things that we’re interested in, that we do. “

 

Sharapova grew up with Jelena Jankovic, Tatiana Golovin, and Jamea Jackson at the Nick Bollettieri Academy. While they are friendly toward each other, none of them are close. In fact at Wimbledon on Monday, Sharapova and Golovin — who is now retired and is commentator for French TV — ran into each other outside of one of the interview rooms and while they greeted each other pleasantly, Sharapova had no idea what Golovin was doing on site in the first place and their conversation lasted less than a minute.

 

Sharapova has said that it was difficult to make friends at the academy because the competition was so intense.

 

Jankovic recently told Tennis-Journal that while that was true, once you get off the court you don’t have to hate each other.

 

But the Serbian also conceded that on today s WTA while it is common for players to greet each other, that it is getting hard and harder to cement real friendships.

 

“I don’t understand that part and that’s why life on the tour can be very lonely because there are not a lot of friendships, she said. “It’s basically teams and players stick with their team and families and that is how you go on for years. That’s why it’s such a tough because you have no social life.”

 

A prideful person, Jankovic says that she won’t go out of her way to try and make new friends. She gets turned off by those whom she thinks lacks perspective on the true meaning of life and what the future might hold for them

 

“I’m friendly with most players, not like best friends, but I talk to most girls,” she said. “I don’t try to do anything; there are people who are nice and social and there are players who don’t want to have anything to do with anyone and I think later in life they will have problems. You might be a successful player that people respect, but when you put your racket down what do you have? You have no friends and no one at all. Maybe your team is friends with you now because they work for you, but who will you have when they aren’t working for you anymore?”





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