You work hard your whole life, and are rewarded with one of the highest accolades in your sport! Awesome! Then someone turns it into a discussion of your looks, of your body. Sigh. Being a lady … amiright??
I would say this would never happen to a guy, for instance Andy Murray (the men’s singles Wimbledon champion who everyone is acting like is the only U.K. Wimbledon winner in almost a century when a British woman last won the prize a mere 30-some years ago). Let’s face it, he isn’t exactly the Greek God rival Roger Federer is or the sex symbol Nadal. But, if a male tennis player were noticeably heavier than his rivals, there probably would be a discussion about it. Not only because a player’s physique is tied to the game and their performance, but also because our society is even meaner to fat people than they are to ugly people. You can be ugly and it is called eccentric or distinctive or nontraditional, but you’d better not be fat or people are just going to call you fat, fatty.
British TV presenter John Inverdale went with referring to her as not being “a looker,” compared her unfavorably to beautiful, gorgeous, crappy tennis player Maria Sharapova, and suggested she developed her talent to compensate for her looks. Particularly gallingly, he put these words hypothetically into her own father’s mouth.
Bartoli stayed awesome, though. She responded to the ordeal with the following: “Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes. [...] I’d rather have the body of a used car with a 350 horsepower engine than the body of a Ferrari with a 50 hp.”
So cool. But c’mon, she just effing won Wimbledon. Tennis is not a lazy person’s sport. Could we have done without the nonsensical body shaming? She’s obviously got a handle on her situation.