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By Karen Walker
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In recent years top French tennis stars have had media attention for all the wrong reasons. The popular French-trio of Virginie Razzano-Marion Bartoli-Aravane Rezai is often found engaged in verbal vollies due to their on-court spats and several unjustified reasons.
And to everyone's delight, the French media covers the alleged Cat-Fight to perfection. The story goes back in time when former French and Australian Open champion Mary Pierce was quoted as saying that everytime she loses a match, she is referred to as 'Canadian born French' as opposed to her adopted nationality of being a Frenchwoman.
Last year, Virginie Razzano accused Bartoli of taking undue mental advantage during matches by making a fuss about minor injuries. In response to this, Bartoli refused to shake hands with Razzano after retiring from the semifinal match at Aegon International last year.
"She can stop any time in any match," Razzano commented. "If you stop to look at her because she has pain everywhere, she tries to make your concentration go down and you can't play because you are thinking what has happened.
"What she said about me in the newspaper was not really brilliant, but I get that's the way she is," Bartoli said. "I could never say that about another player."
In the latest edition, Bartoli has shown her anger and disapproval over the French media's excessive attention towards Madrid champion Aravane Rezai. Bartoli is ranked higher than Rezai and lost their previous meeting in the final at the year ending Bali championships.
"I don't give a damn," Bartoli said about media's attention to Rezai despite a comparatively lower rank than hers. "When I played semis in Miami, I had the impression that nobody cares. Nobody notices. You can manage the way you want. I don't care. I try and play well and win matches."
When asked about her ambitions, Bartoli later added - "There is no ambition, you know. The player who had ambition is the player you mentioned before."
Rezai, who is in phenomenal form these days and is more than eager to hog the limelight, didnt waste anytime in responding to Bartoli's comments - Marion is a difficult girl. She already attacked me two years ago when I reached the final in Istanbul. If she has a problem with me, I don't know, because I did nothing. That's a bit of a shame, but that's her education. I mean, she attacked me many times in the press."
"I don't have the same education as the one she has. I think I have respect for players. I do what I have to do. I get on with many people. But with Marion, it's very difficult. She has difficulties getting included with the other girls," Rezai added.
Bartoli may be a common element in these few instances but the truth is that the way the French media has handled the entire series of spats not very admirable. When Mary Pierce was going through the rough phase in her career, she wasn't really handled well by the native media
Now a look at the other side of the coin shows that some of the issues have been handled with grace and dignity as well. Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo's coming out as a Lesbian could have been given a controversial stint, but things turned out in Frenchwoman's favour due to the fine media coverage.
Unfortunately, in the current scenario, the increasing spats between WTA players and the media coverage has added a different flavour to these tournaments, especially the French Open, which is already dogged by severe criticism for mis-management.
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