At the latest WTA tour event, in Rome Italy, Maria Sharapova appeared in the finals against a Chinese opponent ranked well below her. The “Russian” player who has lived all her life in the USA saw her opponent win more points over the course of the match, and served a whopping 10 double faults (twice as many as her opponent). She also had a first serve percentage nearly 10 points lower. Sharapova’s serve was broken six times by her diminutive adversary, and she lost the first set and the first four games of the second set. Yet despite her unspeakably woeful play she still won the match, in a third-set tiebreaker, because her opponent spontaneously imploded, suddenly and for no reason playing even worse than Sharapova.
Sharapova’s crazy dumb luck didn’t start in the finals. Before that point, Sharapova was never asked to defeat a single one of the tournament’s top seeds. Based on the draw, it should have been necessary for Sharapova to defeat both the tournament’s #4 and #5 seeds in order to reach the finals, however not one but both of those top players lost before the round in which they would have faced the Russian. And if not those players, then Sharapova should have seen the #7 and #10, including Italy’s top player on her home court. But again, both of those players lost before they could down Sharapova, too.
So Sharapova sailed into the finals of a major title without having to play a single really tough match, avoiding all four of the top ten opponents against whom she was drawn prior to the finals, and when she finally faced a top-ten opponent she played much, much worse and still won. This is why we call Sharapova the luckiest human being on earth. First she somehow manages not just to leave Russia as a child but to land in Florida, where she learns tennis from the world’s top teacher. Then she cakewalks through her career achieving a top rating by watching other players lose rather than defeating them.
As such, Sharapova is Russia in microcosm. All illusion, if you look only superficially and quickly you think both are formidable titans. Look beneath the surface, however, and you find what Russians call a Potemkin Village.
And she, like Russia, doesn’t care. The final in Rome was interrupted by rain for two hours just after Sharapova managed to survive a match point against her, as her opponent threatened to win the match for a second time. After the match, Sharapova quipped: “I don’t mind rain – actually I like it. One time it helped me a lot, when I won Wimbledon. In the semifinals it started raining when I was down and out against Lindsay Davenport. I was pretty much booking my ticket back home. But when we came back I managed to turn it around.”
She managed to turn it around? What a hoot! She managed to stand on the court while Davenport fell apart like a cheap suit, just as she did in Rome this year. And a careful student of the game will see exactly the same result in regard to virtually every title Sharapova has ever won in her entire career. Like her fellow Russians, who live in what Transparency International has repeatedly found to be the most corrupt major civilization on this planet, Sharapova isn’t just content with her fraud, she’s proud of it. She finds it hilarious.
Needless to say, fans of professional tennis don’t pay to watch players get saved by rain delays. If the sport were based on the likes of Maria Sharapova, it would have folded its tents years ago.