Maria Sharapova is one of the greatest tennis players around in the world now; never mind the dominance of the sport by the Williams’ sisters, especially Serena. Maria has just written a book, and though this is an essentially “African” blog, we must take notice of a book written by a talented, lovely, blonde lady who was also perhaps the highest paid woman in sport for years.
The book of course has been flying off the shelves, so to speak. We have been intrigued with some of the initial reviews of the work, but we consider the excerpt reproduced below (published in VOX) as a refulgent gem which would elicit smiles from many in Africa…
“…Williams and her sister Venus Williams are the two most successful tennis players in the modern era. They’re also black. And throughout their careers, every milestone they’ve hit has come with a side of racism and sexism. Their bodies have been scrutinized and lampooned. Their integrity has been questioned, and rumors about them taking steroids have circulated repeatedly. They’ve been called gorillas and likened to men playing against women.
The underlying theme throughout their careers has been centered on one thing: that there’s something incomprehensible and unfair about black athletes beating stellar — sometimes they’ll be mythologized as being superhumanly strong; other times it’s something more nefarious, like being on steroids.
Sharapova’s words about Williams in her book fit this pattern.
“First of all, her physical presence is much stronger and bigger than you realize watching TV,” Sharapova writes. “She has thick arms and thick legs and is so intimidating and strong. And tall, really tall.”
According to their official listed heights, Sharapova is 6-foot-2 and Williams (below) is 5-foot-9. It’s bizarre to see Sharapova refer to how towering another player is when she herself is 5 inches taller.
Further, Sharapova emphasizes her perceived smallness in a couple of phrases about how she thinks of herself as being a “skinny kid,” or her size in comparison to Williams’s: “She was a woman. I was a girl. She was big. I was small.”
Never mind the reality that Sharapova is taller than Williams, or that she was temporarily banned from tennis for taking a performance-enhancing drug; the picture she’s painting is one in which Williams is a physical Goliath and Sharapova is a David…”
* Excerpt courtesy of VOX