US tennis star feels some people don’t want Black players to succeed
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The thing about having good white women on the court is that so many of the white guys tend to be jealous of them. And if you’re a black female tennis player, you’re really in the deep end of the pool.
That was the unfortunate message tennis legend Martina Navratilova had to deliver Friday during a tribute to the late Virginia Wade, who played only seven matches between 1988 and 1995 on the Women’s Tennis Association tour before going missing.
“I don’t see how you could have a black woman who was the top player at the time, the best player that I ever saw, who was a top player,” Navratilova said during the ceremony, which featured several top players, both women and men. “It’s just like being in the deep end of the pool.”
“If you are not the best in what you do, that’s just a bad thing. And if you are not the best in what you do, to have that kind of role, that is very attractive.”
But tennis has long had its fair share of “black women” Venus and Serena Williams, Marion Bartoli, Lindsay Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams, and Serena Williams herself, to name but a few.
Wade, after all, was the first black woman to reach the top spot on USTA’s rankings, and she was a three-time Wimbledon champion.
There are other black women on the Women’s Tennis Association tour, and even more on the WTA tour, who’ve been able to hold up their own in this sport. Among them is Venus and Serena Williams, who has five Grand Slam singles titles to her credit.
Wade’s longtime coach, Kathy Kraemer, and some of her former tennis peers have talked to the media about why they think Navratilova’s comments were insensitive, since it was Kraemer who was coaching Wade at the time.
Other WTA players who’ve been successful and are black, like Maria Sharapova, are not as outspoken