Tennis Prose



Integrity In Tennis

By Scoop Malinowski

Patrick Rafter was paid a six figure appearance fee to play in Doha and lost second round. After the loss when he was supposed to be paid, Rafter declined to take the money because he told the tournament director that he wasn’t happy with his losing performance. Meanwhile, the no. 1 seed lost his first round match in straight sets to a qualifier (Karim Alami) and took his fat appearance fee check and ran.

True story bout Brian Gottfried from a witness. “So I’m at Bollettieri Academy in mid 1980s and they hosted a big time junior tournament. Gottfried is coaching a top junior named Steve. I’m at the back fence watching match and Brian is next to me, Steve is down a set and starts hooking the opponent really bad on every crucial point and wins second set! During changeover Gottfried calls Steve over to fence! Steve comes walking back with big smile. He gets in front of Brian and Brian says, “Go find yourself another coach!” And just walked away. They never worked together again! It showed Brian Gottfried’s integrity. I never will forget that.”

John McEnroe, then 21 years old, declined $1,000,000 to play an exhibition with Bjorn Borg in South Africa in 1980. At that time, the nation was executing “apartheid.” “That was the proudest decision I ever made, you know,” McEnroe later would say.

After winning $2 million for beating Brad Gilbert in the 1990 Grand Slam Cup final in Germany, the U.S Open champion said he will donate $250,000 to a cerebral palsy foundation. “This is something my father, Sam, and I talked about for a long time,” Sampras said after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Gilbert. “His two sisters passed away from the disease and it’s the least I could do when I win $2 million.”

Ons Jabeur donated a portion of her prize money from WTA Cancun tournament to help Palestinians in their conflict vs. Israel. “I am very happy with the win (vs. Marketa Vondrousova), but I haven’t been happy lately. The situation in the world doesn’t make me happy,” Jabeur said, before pausing and stepping away from the microphone as she broke down in tears. The crowd at the seaside Mexican resort town applauded Jabeur as she composed herself before speaking about the horrific images coming out of Gaza. “It’s very tough seeing children, babies dying every day,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking, so I have decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians. I want peace in this world.”

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  • Krzysztof · May 17, 2024 at 6:21 am

    Patrick Rafter has never played in Doha during his career, he played twice in Dubai but lost in 2nd round.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2024 at 8:01 am

    Krzysztof, then it’s Dubai where this incident happened. I heard the story and two insiders confirmed it. It’s a well known story in tennis. I get Dubai and Doha mixed up.

  • Krzysztof · May 17, 2024 at 9:09 am

    Please correct it because it was also not 1st round, but 2nd round. As for Alami, it was Pete Sampras who was beaten by him in Doha 1994 wasn’t he?

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2024 at 7:44 pm

    K, Rafter probably had a 1R bye. Yes Alami beat Pete. Not sure of the year.

  • Krzysztof · May 18, 2024 at 4:40 am

    No, Rafter played El Aynaoui 1st round in Dubai 1994 and Kiefer 1st round in Dubai 2001. Alami beat Pete in Doha 1994.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2024 at 8:38 am

    Rafter wasn’t a star in 94 to demand an appearance fee. I think he would have got one in 2001, maybe the loss to Kiefer 2001 is the origin of this anecdote.

  • Krzysztof · May 18, 2024 at 8:41 am

    No, he beat Kiefer first round in Dubai 2001, but lost in three sets to Medvedev in a second round. I found some information that the story you mentioned about appearance fee was probably about Lyon 1997 and 1st round vs Clement

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2024 at 9:30 am

    It’s possible the person who told me got his tournaments mixed up. But the overall story is true that Rafter declined a six figure appearance fee because he felt he played poorly and substandard to what the fans and tournament were expecting. Very honorable.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2024 at 1:19 pm

    This Agassi interview may be the most interesting I’ve ever seen related to tennis…



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