WHY IS it that tennis, more than any other sport, seems to be plagued by the pushy parent/s syndrome?
We had more of it with the recent autobiography of Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, where the Spaniard – a three-time French Open and one-time US Open champion – claims her parents made her “suffer a lot” and, more than that, she accused them of mishandling her €45 million fortune to the extent she is struggling to pay her debts.
In quotes attributed to Sánchez-Vicario by the Spanish magazine La Otra Cronjca , the player remarked: “My parents left me with nothing and now I am indebted to the (tax authorities) and I will not be quiet.
“My mother decided on my hair, my clothes . . . when I bought something on my own, she rarely like it. Today, I am without resources . . . I never questioned the way my father managed my money. I have been a victim. I was duped.”
This is just the latest in a litany of stories about players suffering from over-pushy parents.
The most infamous case probably concerned Jelena Dokic, whose father Damir – a former wrestler – was forcibly ejected from the US Open after arguing over the price of salmon in the players’ restaurant and once claimed the draw at the Australian Open was rigged against his daughter.
Ultimately, Jelena had enough and even went as far as switching her allegiance away from Serbia to represent Australia.
Her father’s response was to threaten to retaliate by dropping a nuclear warhead on Australia!
Mary Pierce was another grand slam champion to have parental issues: born in Canada, raised in the United States and who represented France in international tennis, Pierce had to take out a restraining order against her father, Jim, who was verbally abusive to her and to her opponents and the Women’s Tennis Association introduced the “Jim Pierce Rule” in an attempt to outlaw abusive behaviour by a player’s entourage.
As if to show that time is a healer, though, daughter and father have reconciled. - IrishTimes.com (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0211/1224311622669.html)