|I'm not a tennis player, but|
I watch some on TV.
On the other hand, one reason why I love the Olympics so much is because of the chance to see such a variety of sports in such a short time. I like to think of myself as a diversified sports fan.
Anyway! I get irritated sometimes about how the general public acts toward athletes. It's almost as though the general public feels ownership over athletes, as if we are owed al the details of their lives and nothing is permitted to remain private. For instance, last Sunday before the Wimbledon final, a reporter asked Andy Murray what he and his girlfriend had done for dinner the previous night. When Mr. Murray said, "None of your business," Twitter suddenly filled up with comments about what a horrible sportsman he is. Erm, no. It really isn't anyone's business theirs. His sportsmanship has nothing to do with answering personal questions.
Of course, for Andy Murray, the public have no problem finding things to complain about. It started long before that, with the English press berating him for saying that he supported Anyone But England in the World Cup (coincidentally, that's who I support, too), and him finally getting exasperated and pointing out how much time he spends in England and how many English friends he has, which led to a backlash in Scotland about him being so pally with the English. For goodness' sakes.
And we do it in the US, too: I've lost count of how many times I've heard people complain about athletes not "respecting the fans" because they look bored during a press conference or have to hurry away or whatever. Seriously? I like that athletes thank their fans and acknowledge that other peoples' support is an encouragement and a help to them. But I don't for one moment think that elite athletes owe fans anything. We aren't there during their hours of training, we're not the ones getting up early and working out to the point of exhaustion, and most of us aren't in the family/friends circle. They're not obligated to devote their spare time to their fan base.
I understand that the reason athletes get paid what they do is because people make sports valuable. Without fans, there'd be not ticket sales, no contracts, no prize money. Granted. But that still doesn't make their private lives public, and it still doesn't mean fans have first dibs on an athlete's moods or time. And I think we need to get that and be okay with it.
What do you think?