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Spoiled Sport
Sally Jenkins
March 29, 1993
Inclement weather marred the Lipton Championships, but not as much as players' whiny behavior
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March 29, 1993

Spoiled Sport

Inclement weather marred the Lipton Championships, but not as much as players' whiny behavior

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? Jana Novotna, the sixth-seeded woman, bad-mouthed the players' lounge, the linesmen and the fans after falling to Sabatini in the quarters. "Everything was against me," Novotna said. She called the playing conditions and the accommodations "the worst I have ever seen." She also suggested that linesmen favored Sabatini because she lives in Key Biscayne and because, as an Argentine, she is popular with Latin Americans in South Florida. "The whole community wants her; they are obsessed with her," Novotna said.

?Guy Forget of France, Marc Rosset of Switzerland and Michael Stich of Germany also voiced criticism. "They could just improve everything in this place," Forget said. "Our practice facilities, the locker room, the rest rooms." After Rosset lost to Patrick McEnroe in the round of 16, he could hold his tongue no longer. "I've been able to shut it out until today, but no more," said Rosset. Stich said he was almost relieved when he lost to 48th-ranked Marcos Ondruska of South Africa in the fourth round. "On the one hand, it's a mental test and you want to win," said Stich. "But on the other, you're glad you don't have to wait around anymore, wondering. When is this going to end?"

?Then there was the really immature snit of Tracy Austin, who didn't last long enough in Key Biscayne to endure bad weather. Austin, who is attempting a comeback after 10 largely inactive years, lost in the first round to Stephanie Rottier 6-3, 6-1. When a security guard who did not recognize her (shudder!) asked if she worked there, Austin snapped back, "Yeah, like I'm a maintenance person."

What the gripers needed were a couple of reminders. Apparently it did not occur to them that while the facilities in the players' lounge were not quite up to snuff, some people in Miami were still sleeping in tents because their homes had been destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. In fact, if the players had merely looked, they would have seen damage from the storm all around them. The pampered divas also seem to have forgotten that they were being generously remunerated for waiting out all those rain delays. As Washington said when asked if he minded actually playing tennis after all that sitting around. "It's what I'm paid to do."

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