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Last night, something amazing was happening. All four women in the US Open semi-finals were American, and three of them were women of color. I was waiting for Trump to be Trump and tweet out encouragement to CoCo Vandeweghe, the only white girl in the bunch. (CoCo is awesome, btw. My favorite kind of player, a feisty head case.)
.@SloaneStephens stuns Venus, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 to reach her first Grand Slam final!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2017
As I was losing my mind at the amazing three set battle between Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams, I saw an excerpt from Maria Sharapova’s new memoir, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, in which she was talking about Serena Williams.
First of all her physical presence is much stronger and bigger then you realize watching TV. She has thick arms and thick legs and is so intimidating and strong. It’s the whole thing — her presence, her confidence, her personality.
Hoooo boy, I was pissed. Let me tell you why.
I have never liked Sharapova, and neither have the players on the WTA tour.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands was in the ESPN commentary booth during the CoCo/Lucie Safarova quarterfinals match. Lucie is Bethanie’s consistent doubles partner (they have won multiple Grand Slam doubles titles together), and she and CoCo are on the USA Fed Cup team together. Bethanie was nothing but gracious to both CoCo and Lucie, clearly showing a love and respect and a real sense of sisterhood for them both. It was wonderful to see women supporting women, especially when people say girls are just jealous and can’t support each other. That idea is pure bullshit. Where there is smoke there is fire, and it’s obvious Maria is the one who is burning.
Sharapova knows what she is doing when she calls a woman a thick. We all live in this world where thinness is beloved and broad is derided. Her use of thick is meant to be an insult. It’s meant to say, “Look at me! I’m Maria, thin and lean, with no boobs. I’m model-esque. Serena is just so…big!”
Sharapova’s comments are untrue. Ask anyone who has seen Serena in person. Ask me! She is not bigger in person. TV is not to be trusted (just ask Monica Geller), and in person, Serena looks smaller than you expect. Serena looks lean and fierce. Sharapova is five inches taller than Serena. It’s not Serena’s frame that intimidates Maria; it’s Serena’s ability to ruin her on the court.
The media and Maria try to pretend there is a rivalry between these two women. There isn’t. Maria has not beaten Serena since 2004. Their record is 19-2. To Serena, Maria is a fly, easily swatted away.
Sharapova is playing the white girl victim. Poor thing suffers from pre-diabetes and her drug of choice is no longer permitted. Maria is weak and suffering, you guys. And then this strong black woman comes on the court, and Maria gets the vapors. Serena is Maria’s misogynoir nightmare. Thick. Intimidating. Thick with personality. I am glad that when Maria also wrote “angry,” her editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux had the good sense to edit that out.
Maria is Unstoppable, sure. Unless she is playing Serena. Or unless she is playing Anastasija Sevastova who knocked her out of the Open in the round of 16.
But I’m done talking about Maria. As an American, I am so sick of Russians. Sit down and shut up, Becky, because we have a tennis match to watch. Madison Keys versus Sloane Stephens. One of these women will be hoisting a trophy in Arthur Ashe stadium in front to 23,771 people, while Maria will be signing copies of her book at a card table, in a Paramus, New Jersey, Barnes & Noble.
— Happy Hubster (@HappiMarriedMan) September 8, 2017