There are few weeks in the sports news season like this one - at least for me, that is. It was on my mind last week to reflect on the anniversary of Monica Seles' stabbing - some 20 years ago in 1993 on April the 30th - which this year landed on a Tuesday. Then came Jason Collins' coming out Monday morning, which was above anything else shockingly refreshing and a news item - unlike the Seles anniversary - that brought a smile to my face.
The way that the news media covered these two vastly different stories - at least for the most part - couldn't have been more different, but in an extremely appropriate way. For Monica, memories of what was, and what could have been - including what I wrote
on The New York Times
' Straight Sets blog - flooded the web. And on Jason, at least in a majority of the coverage, was all about what a trailblazer this guy truly is at this point in history.
Tennis-centric Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated
was one of the few who was a part in the behind-the-scenes workings for the Collins coming out story, going to Los Angeles last week to help with the story. Wertheim penned a powerful piece
giving due props to Martina Navratilova Tuesday, reminding sports fans that it was she who had helped blaze the trail the Collins is now treading a new path down, way back in 1981.
In USA Today
Wednesday, Wertheim's peer Doug Robson took the temperature
of professional tennis on a gay player coming out - particularly a male. The piece quotes Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and Mike Bryan as supporting if an athlete would do so, though Bryan and Michael Russell cautioned where the sport stood as a whole.
I chimed in with my own two cents
Monday afternoon, writing for The Daily Beast that Collins' revelation was a massively big deal, and the rising up of big names - from Bill Clinton to Kobe Bryant - was a further positive from the situation.
Wertheim further addressed the issue
in his Mailbag Wednesday, but I have to wonder through it all: what about the women in pro tennis who are gay - yes, current players - that still won't come out publicly? There are plenty of them, so what has happened in that social space that haven't allowed them to feel like it's OK them to pull a Marti... er, a Jason?
Monica on our Mind:
Tuesday was Monica's day, including here on Tennis Now
where her horrific stabbing, which set her out of the game for nearly three years but more importantly altered her career and the history of women's tennis, was recounted.
On Tennis.com, Steve Tignor wrote about Seles' stabbing
interrupted his work day like no other moment in tennis history had - before or after it. Could Seles have won a calendar-year Grand Slam in 1993? Perhaps, he muses. But his take from the stabbing was that it snapped Monica out of a tennis trance she had existed in early in her career: the most important thing in the world was hitting a tennis ball, and hitting it well. After that Hamburg day, Monica knew differently.
While there was plenty written about Monica and that fateful day, Courtney Nguyen went after how the attack opened her eyes on just how accessible tennis players are
to fans - especially today. In hotels, on practice courts, around the grounds of tennis tournaments: the interaction a tennis fan can have with a player. And those are all away
from the court.
Could it be? Another run
for Franny at the French?! Perhaps. After Francesca Schiavone took the title in Marrakech last week, it's not that difficult to imagine her hoisting the trophy in Paris one more time. But it's more likely that Sara Errani or Roberta Vinci could make such a run, isn't it? Four years in a row of an Italian in the Roland Garros final? Yep, it could happen. | Tommy Haas tries on traditional Bavarian garb
in Munich. Need we say more? | Marion Bartoli was bounced in the first round of Oeiras (Portugal) this week, but is she worried about her clay play? Not so much, she says. "I think it is better to have these losses early while I am trying to find my best game on clay." She's 0-3 in her last three matches. Oh, Marion!
| Andy Roddick joins Mardy Fish as the first two tennis players to join Athlete Ally
, a straight support group rallying behind gay rights issues. Well done, fellas! | Who's the man behind Maria Sharapova? No, I don't mean Grigor Dimitrov. I mean Max Eisenbud
, agent to Maria (and Li Na) who is also a partner in Sugarpova and the ultimate "power agent."