Tennis Prose



Ostapenko bold honesty and strength are so refreshing!

By Scoop Malinowski

Jelena Ostapenko performed perhaps the most honest, blunt and politically incorrect on court interview today in Birmingham after her 62 57 63 victory vs Rebecca Marino.

Showing no regard for political correctness, cliches and establishment scripts, Ostapenko answered questions about the match straight from her heart withouth any cares of concerns of criticism attacks from anyone. What a strong woman Ostapenko is!

Question: 6-2 5-1, what happened?

Ostapenko: The biggest opponent to me was myself. I played really well 62 51. She really didn’t do anything. She didn’t change anything until that score, then I start to fight against myself, missed some balls. But I’m glad I won. My level is way better than her’s today and I showed it.

Can you believe a pro tennis player actually spoke so honestly and boldly? It’s almost shocking that Ostapenko didn’t read off the WTA script and say, “Oh I just got a little tight and lost focus and stopped trusting the process. But I managed to regain my composure and get the win against a tough player today.”

I am going to honor Jelena Ostapenko with a special award from and declare her interview today as “the all time greatest and most sincere post match interview of all time.” Next time I see her I will give her a copy of my Facing Novak Djokovic book as her prize.

Former Roland Garros champion Ostapenko is currently ranked 16 in the world and is 15-9 on the year. The former world no. 5 has won five career WTA titles and over $10m in prize money.

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  • catherine · June 15, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    Sorry, but Penko’s witterings don’t compare to Chris Evert’s put down of Hana Mandlikova at Wimbledon in the 80s:

    ‘Hana didn’t use her head out there. She played sloppy, she really didn’t deserve to win Wimbledon. I wasn’t pushed this year I know, but I pushed myself. I always felt I was the superior player.’

    Anyone said that now in their victory speech they’d probably be banned.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 15, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    Whoa that is very blunt arrogance from Evert and even a hint of what could be interpreted as tennis or white supremacy, it’s hard to believe she would say that. Times were different and that is why tennis was so hugely populac back then, colorful personalities, even if Evert was a boring robot on court she certainly was colorful off court and with the media. The jackal blood thirsty media would crucify and cancel her today if she said this today.

  • catherine · June 15, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Scoop – no one could tell Chris what to say. She wrote the script. I wasn’t keen on her style of game but I always went to her press conferences.

    She was really trying to get Hana to pull herself together and try harder.

    Those on-court press things didn’t exist then. These days I’ve heard some hilarious babble. Kerber once actually forgot to mention the person she’d just thrashed. She’d got so wrapped up in herself.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 15, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Catherine, I don’t like the on court post match interviews. They take away from the mystique pf the player and force them to talk to millions when they don’t want to. Speaking of Kerber, I just learned this week from a reliable inside source, she hires fans to cheer for her, not to offend the opponent but to spark her she loves to be cheered for. I will get more info.

  • catherine · June 16, 2022 at 2:05 am

    I doubt Angie ‘hires’ fans in any monetary way but I do think she has a special feeling for her fans and this is reciprocated. She plays for her fans and draws strength from them. A glance at her twitter and IG posts makes that fairly clear. I’ll repeat a quote from Wimbledon last year:

    ‘Leaving Wimbledon with a smile on my face and a heart full of memories. The last few weeks have reminded me once again how much I love this sport. Thank you for the support through the highs and lows of my journey. It means the world to me .’

    That’s an expression of emotion you won’t hear from many champions of the sport although they might share it in different ways. Shows a vulnerability. Savvy players know that. Fans can be fickle.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 16, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Catherine, it came from a friend of hers. Not sure if she gives tickets to friends or hires strangers, I will try to investigate the details… All players love to have animated vocal support rather than dead silence which is the way for too many atp and wta matches. Hrbaty hiring those Long Island kids at Hamlet Cup and US Open proved this practice does happen in pro tennis and possibly on a much wider scale than anyone realizes.

  • Bill McGill · June 16, 2022 at 9:15 am

    While more polite, I always respect the candidness of Nadal interviews. Two of my favorites are after his loss to teenage Shapo at Rogers Cup:

    Q. Did you underestimate Denis?
    A: No. I am not this kind of person. I respect everybody. Yeah, obviously is a tough lose for me. Is a bad lose. Probably is the worst lose of the year we have, without a doubt, for me…
    Q. Why do you exactly say this is one of your worst losses of the year?
    A: Probably my worst loss of the year because I lost against a player with a much lower ranking….Always tough [to lose when] the draw was not that impossible…Is a bad lose. Just accept that and keep working.

    Another of my favorites was Nadal’s response to the idiotic question he got at Wimbledon ’19 following his easy victory over Sousa. Reporter asked whether he thought Ash Barty should have been on center court instead of his match, given that she was ranked no. 1 He demurred saying the tournament organizers make the court decision and he would have been fine either way, but also noted he was the world no. 2 and won 18 grand slams and said “You are putting Ash Barty in front of me…but in the world of tennis today, honestly my feeling is that today I am a little bit more than Ash Barty.”

  • catherine · June 16, 2022 at 9:33 am

    I can see Angie maybe giving tickets to children, can’t see her hiring strangers. That would be silly. Her box is usually full at tournaments but then so are most players’. I do recall Halep making a vow to have fewer people in her box – implied it was a distraction from her tennis. So maybe a few players gift tickets.

    Angie has her Academy in Poland and her involvement with the Bad Homburg event so I think she likes ways of giving back to the game which has been such a large part of her life. She’s clearly grateful for the support of loyal fans wherever she travels. But as we know some fans can be a bit weird. Chris Evert had problems there. So you have to be careful.

    PS: Don’t know what kind of ‘friend’ that would be of Angie’s. Possibly she’s an ex-friend now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 16, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Bill, good on Rafa to tell the truth but also a good thing the PC police didn’t crucify him for making a mockery of the equality crusade. Nadal is a very likeable guy, he just does what he has to do to be the best.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 16, 2022 at 9:46 am

    A figure in Polish tennis. Kerber is not a player who has cultivated a huge fan base naturally because of charisma and flashy style, she’s more of a blue collar grinder and very intelligent and took matters into her own hands about womanufacturing her fan base cheering to the level she wants it to be at.

  • catherine · June 16, 2022 at 10:04 am

    Bill/Scoop: Re Nadal’s comment, players should never be put in that position, commenting on someone else’s worth. I doubt Ashleigh was hurt by it but I do think scheduling should be handled in a realistic way. And no questions.

  • catherine · June 16, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Scoop – I’d agree with that analysis, Angie has built her identity around the game. Possibly this enabled her to continue playing when she wanted to give up earlier in her career. Petko, who is no fool, was one of those persuading her not to. Andrea has made the most of her modest talent, I’d guess, because she realised she would have always felt incomplete if, looking back, she knew that she’d never tried.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 16, 2022 at 10:55 am

    Catherine, Kerber has to be one of the most underrated big champions and surely a future hall of famer because Sabatini and Chang are in so Kerber is a lock. Yet Kerber does not have such a grand aura, she’s almost viewed as a one hit wonder who got lucky or hot three times.

  • catherine · June 16, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Ambiguity in my cómment. I meant that Petkovic knew how much a good mental approach counted in making the most of her own modest talent and she understood that Angie would always regret giving up the game, and perhaps she was able to get that across to her and help change her mind.

    Can’t see any reason why Kerber shouldn’t be H of F.



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