Tennis Prose



Sharapova Explains Players Resentment Of Emma

By Scoop Malinowski

When Emma Raducanu won the 2021 US Open as an 18 year old unknown qualifier, she became a world renowned and celebrated superstar icon overnight. Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 at age 17 and learned a hard lesson about how almost all the other WTA players resented her success.

Sharapova discussed this topic in her book “Unstoppable: My Life So Far.” She won Wimbledon at 17 and became the face of Motorola but “it was really not a huge deal.” Then “the offers flooded in after Motorola – TAG Heuer, Land Rover, Canon, Head racquets… I never planned to become a big pitch-person or public face, it just happened. It was more like a side effect of what I was doing at the tournaments, but it made me famous… And your life changes. It’s not the money or the fame, but the way the money and the fame separates you from the other players. They see it as a zero-sum game. We are all competing for the same dollars, so the reasoning goes, you will really dislike me for that, though you will never admit it to my face. Jealousy became a new thing I had to deal with on the tour. If they resented me, it was not because I was beating them on the court or because I was a better player, but because I was getting all those goddamn ads.”

Raducanu has signed lucrative deals with sponsors such as Tiffany & Co., Evan, Dior, Porsche, British Airways, HSBC Bank to add to her sponsorship contracts with Nike and Wilson racquets.

Sharapova even named names of players who mistreated her. “It drove some girls crazy. Elena Dementieva, a Russian who traveled with her mother, was always giving me dirty looks, laser beams. Then one day her mother complained to my masseur, a Russian who worked with a lot of Russian players. She told him, ‘Elena can’t get any deals in Japan because Maria has taken them all.'”

Maria understood her on-court success angered her opponents and made her a target: “Now they had an extra motivation when they played me. If they won, they’d not just be beating a girl from Russia, they’d be beating a Wimbledon champion.”

“You are under a microscope, being watched by other players and coaches and reporters all the time.”

“Suddenly the world, the only world you have ever known, is filled with girls who dislike you. They’re jealous of the money and fame. They want what you have and the only way to get it is to take you out. Every match becomes a big deal – if not for you, then for her… everyone has studied and scouted you, probed your weaknesses and come up with a plan. Everyone is waiting.”

Maria knows that in every match Emma steps on the court, the British girl is battling a lot more than just the one player across the net. “It’s the first big test of a long career – yes, you can win, but can you win again? That’s an even tougher task. The history books are (filled) with the names of athletes who got that single big win but never got a second Grand Slam. One-hit wonders. Not because they were not great, or won by luck. But because they never figured out how to adjust after everyone else had made their adjustments. They never figured out how to play as the favorite, which is another thing altogether. As the weeks go by the pressure mounts – you’ve got to win that second Grand Slam.”

Sharapova won her second Grand Slam title at 2006 US Open. Her third major came at 2008 Australian Open. Her last two Grand Slams were won at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014.

Before fame and fortune: Emma Raducanu at US Open qualifying practice in 2021.

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  • catherine · January 30, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    I can’t work out what’s going on with Emma. She doesn’t appear to be entered in any of the upcoming women’s events, or if she is no one seems to think it worth mentioning.

    The last time I saw her face she appeared to be in a TV commercial promoting apartments. That was just before the AO.

    I hope she’s not going to do a Bianca. Or disappear into the world of finance.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 30, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    Catherine, I would guess Emma’s resolve is weakening, her confidence and belief that she can be a steady top 10 player and win more majors has suffered damage. She trained and worked very hard last year and this past off season, we all saw the videos. But she has no titles to show for it. She could become a journeywoman by 21 or 22 or sooner.

  • catherine · January 31, 2023 at 5:35 am

    Emma might be torn in two. One half might want to carry on with the career path she would have followed if it weren’t for tennis and the other half wants to be a top player. Irreconcilable.

    But then what do I know ?

    Only that she’s not currently playing enough tournaments.

  • catherine · January 31, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Ha ha ha… No sooner had I typed the above than this popped up:

    ‘Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, will be among the players participating in the inaugural ATX Open. She joins Danielle Collins, Sloane Stephens and Peyton Stearns in committing to play the Hologic WTA Tour 250 tournament February 27-March 5 at Westwood Country Club.’

    Looks like she’s chosen to stay in the US at this point. But as I said ‘what do I know ?’

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2023 at 7:29 am

    She still attracts appearance fees.

  • catherine · January 31, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Yes, she does, but she’s not exactly poor so I think she probably chose a small tournament where she’s not so likely to be knocked out in the first or maybe second round.

    Possibly why Sloane’s there too.

  • Bill McGill · January 31, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    There is so little public information about players’ tournament appearance fees. My interest in this was sparked a few years ago when Zverev made some off-hand comment about not playing Citi Open again because they obviously decided he wasn’t worth the appearance fee they had been paying him and someone indicated that it was around $400,000. Which sort of shocked me for a tournament that size (I would guess it gets maybe around 50,000 or so full-paying attendees a year and lacks a real premium corporate box offering) for a player that is a top player but not exactly a draw for people that wouldn’t otherwise go, the way Fed, Nadal, Djoker, Murray or even Kyrgios might be.

    Appearance fees for WTA players have to be way, way less, right? I just seriously doubt any tournament is selling even 1,000 more tickets because Raducanu is playing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2023 at 2:47 pm

    Bill, this topic is rarely talked about. And I have never asked any of my player contacts about it. All I know is the story of Rafter and Sampras getting $500,000 fees to play Dubai. Pete lost early, took the money and flew home. Rafter lost a close three setter in the first round and declined the appearance fee, saying he wasn’t happy with how he played. A former player told me this story and another insider confirmed it to be truth.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    I also heard that Sam Querrey wanted the use of a Range Rover for the week to play the Sarasota Open a few years ago but that request was rejected and he didn’t play.

  • Bill McGill · January 31, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    It’s surprising there isn’t more reporting on the topic. Apart from the Zverev appearance fee, the only other one I have seen decent reporting on is the supposed 10 year $10MM contract between Halle and Federer. That one surprises me less. Federer made that tournament in my opinion. Federer is a unique draw worldwide and particularly in Germany. Halle was previously a clear second choice to Queens and I think now it’s almost the opposite. The tournament is probably twice the size of Citi Open and sells a lot premium corporate tix. It’s also at a point in the calendar that really maximizes tennis interest, sandwiched between French Open and Wimbledon.

    Am I correct in assuming there are no appearance fees for Masters 1000s, given they are supposedly mandatory tournaments? If my assumption is correct, did the big 3 nevertheless get appearance fees once they were old enough to not be subject to the mandatory tournaments?

    Would love to see more reporting on appearance fees if you manage to obtain information in the future.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    1000s are mandatory, no appearance fees. Though I have heard some whispers certain big big names got appearance fee to play certain 1000s. Remains to be seen how Halle survives without it’s biggest attraction. It’s really a private subject to discuss appearance fee details, nobody ever does on the record, just a few things sneak out. My ATP player source actually corrected me – Pete got $1m fee to play Doha and then tanked to Karim Alami 1R.

  • catherine · February 20, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I wonder if Emma’s studying Tursunov’s advice to Bencic:

    Haven’t seen much of Bromley’s finest for a while but she’s down for Austin and has a WC for IW.

    Puzzling schedule.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    Tursunov is the best coach in the business, every single player he works with suddenly explodes with excellent results. It’s like magic or something. Rafa, Dimitrov, Stefanos, Sinner, should be beating his door down with fat offers.

  • catherine · February 20, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Yes, but he doesn’t stay long with anyone.

    What’s Fisette doing these days ? Has he retired ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    I’d guess when they get the results and Tursunov starts to ask for adequate sufficient reward, the player abruptly ends it. I think this is part of the reason why he tried to get a long term commitment from Raducanu. Surprised Fisette is unemployed. But surely he will be hired again this year. There are many wta players who need the coaching spark he delivers.



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