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U.S. Open Gods
Monthly Entertainment Column
October 2001

Why did I stay up late after midnight watching the Sampras and Agassi U.S. Open tennis match?

Of course, I appreciate seeing great tennis being played, but the other real reasons are those small glimpses into the players' personal lives.

For example, I heard Agassi got Stefi Graf pregnant.  I wanted to see what she looked like pregnant.  Fortunately, the director chose to show a picture of her. Thanks to the camera man who found her partly hidden behind a wall at the very back of the stands.  She definitely looked pregnant, nothing like the thin, fit, athlete we all know her to be.  Her face showed she had gained weight and she had a serious expression, possibly for her concern of Agassi’s fate.  After seeing her in this state, I was able to relate with all the weight gain.  She no longer looked like the tennis star, but a future mother, and we all know, when you become a mother, you experience daily doses of reality.  She will soon be living in the real world, and not in the tennis star spotlight she knew too well.

What else made me stay up late to watch?  To have a glimpse of Sampras’ latest love interest.  I heard he had gotten married, so the gorgeous blond being shown on the stands must have been his wife.  I wanted the announcers to confirm this, but they did not, at least in the time I was watching, which was the latter part of the match.

So here I am on a Saturday afternoon to watch the Sampras and Safin semifinal match to find out if Sampras is indeed married.  Finally, I am told Sampras did get married and the gorgeous blond who was shown the night before and who was to be shown numerous times again during this Saturday match was indeed Sampras’ wife.

So why am I interested in the players’ relationships?  Because these are the realities in life that we can relate with.  Yes, these players are gods in the tennis world and have proven themselves many times to be the few who can heighten the level of tennis, and thus, they are gods.  But a glimpse of their wives and significant others bring them back down to earth.

Could this be the same reason why my husband, who enters the room, stands in front of the TV, completely ignoring the fact that he is blocking my view, just so that he can find out who Sampras’ wife is?  He asks, "Is that Sampras’ wife?  I heard he got married.  I heard they broke up, but they must have gotten back together."

"Yes, he is married," I tell him.  "Now please move out of the way and stop blocking my view."

In this brief scene, imagine Sampras and his wife, or Agassi and Graf having a similar conversation.

So while the announcers praise these players like gods so they can have and keep their announcing jobs, we aren’t fooled and know that these U.S. Open gods can be mortal after all.

 

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