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Saturday, May 17, 2014

How I got duped by a top tennis player



“This is so disrespectful” has been probably the catchphrase of last year’s WTA season. The story behind it is famous, but tension at times is not only between players.

Respect is more than a word, it is one of the main teaching I was given in life: always respect the others and their work.
 
I am not saying it is easy to do, but one should always try to respect others, especially in their professional life.

Some people manage to remain faithful to this “naïve” attitude, even when they reach success and wealth, but for others apparently it is hard to and success leads to forgetting this principle.

This article may be seen as a rant, which probably is not far from true, but as in my view it is a way to make something of months spent chasing a top player, who deceived me in a very unkind manner.

The life of a young and unknown sports journalist is far from easy, as you may guess. It is hard to access big names, which means it is hard to get your name on the pages of papers or big websites. 
Making money out of your work is as hard, if not impossible, at the beginning.

Passion supplies for all the sacrifices and I have to admit, the majority of players are well aware of your struggle, so they are extremely kind and helpful.

Truth is that the relation between journalists and players is quite a strange one, as it runs on the edge of a knife because of its nature of professional interests.

However, both sides should and generally do respect the other part and that’s how the all system works.
 
It's a hard job, but passion is the fuel
When a top tennis player agreed for an interview with me, I got extremely excited and fast organised everything, in order to meet her: plane tickets, hotel and such.

Once on the place, she fulfilled her official duties of press conferences, but for the whole time of my stay asked to postpone the interview to another moment, because of different personal reasons.

I always agreed, after all, she was doing me a favour in sitting for a chat for some 15 minutes, but when the last day of the event arrived, she texted me saying she did not feel well and had to rush to the next tournament.

She gave me her email address, though, and asked if we could do the interview via email. As I had no other chances, I reluctantly agreed, because interviews via email are not as good as a one-to-one, but that was it.

I wrote her introducing myself and she kindly replied very soon asking for a few more details about myself and the interview, but after that email it was silence.

thankfully most players are not like that
I sent her the questions several months ago and, after that, a few emails congratulating her for the results she achieved and asking for when I would get the answers back, because I had editors ready to pay me for this interview.

Needless to say I never got a single word back.

Let us ignore the money spent for the trip organised last minute for her, let us ignore the income I will not be taking thanks to this interview and the horrible situation I was put in as I had to tell these editors I will not have the interview I was promised.

What I feel the most is the classless lack of respect this player gave me in return of the kindness I gave throughout the months.

I will not name her, because I think it would not be fair, not until I know her reasons behind this, the fact remains though.

Thankfully, most of the players are not like that.

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