Tag Archives: tennis

Serena Williams Reciting ‘Still I Rise’ Is All You Need Today (Video)

After winning her 22nd Grand Slam over the weekend at Wimbledon, Serena Williams solidified her place in history. Not only is she the greatest female athlete of our time, the 34-year-old might just be the best athlete – male or female – of this generation.

Yet, despite her continuingly dominating tennis and rack up championships, she still has her critics.

Williams’ celebrity hasn’t protected her from the viciousness of racism. Each time she adds another trophy to her collection, a loud chorus rises up to not only question her skills, instead pinning her win on pure athleticism alone, but also her femininity.

Still, she excels. So it’s only fitting BBC Sports would ask the champion to read Maya Angelou’s powerful poem, Still I Rise, to narrate her latest grand slam win.

In the two-minute epic tribute, Williams recites an abridged version of the poem.

In her post-match interviews, Williams said,

I didn’t come from any money or anything, but I did have a dream and I did have hope. That’s really all you need.”

A fitting way to honour Williams’ 22nd Grand Slam title — in addition to her general awesomeness, we presume.

Tennis Ace Martina Navratilova Predicts An ‘Avalanche’ Of Gay Athletes: “Any Revolution Starts With A Small Step”


Tennis superstar Martina Navratilova recently wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated. In it she says the “watershed” moment for gay people in sport has been reached – and she’s hoping for an avalanche.

Martina Navratilova

Navratilova writes

We’ve come a long way. In the 1980s I knew an NHL coach who was convinced there were no gay hockey players. Ever. Certainly not on his teams. Why? “This is a macho sport,” he said. Remember Reggie White? In the ’90s, the Packers star appeared in a newspaper advertising campaign to persuade gays and lesbians that they could “cease” their homosexuality. The NFL responded with … a lot of silence.

On her own coming out, she adds

When I came out, in 1981, I didn’t have much public support and I know I lost endorsements. But I never had to worry about losing my job. In tennis, there are no bosses, no general managers and no coaches who can keep players from competing. So I was safe in that regard. For team sports athletes, this is not the case.

A homophobic coach at any level — high school, college or pros — could keep a player from playing. Remember Rene Portland, the women’s basketball coach at Penn State? She proudly boasted she would not allow a lesbian on her team. In the past, that kind of homophobia would have had support from the front office. Why come out when — apart from dealing with all the other complications — it could kill your sports career!”

Martina Navratilova

But the game is changing, more and more stars are choosing to come out, from rugby’s Gareth Thomas to football’s Casey Stoney, support from straight and gay allies is helping to pave the way for sporting to be more inclusive.

But the times changed. Boy, did they ever change.

Martina Navratilova Proposes

As Navratilova encourages:

Any revolution starts with a small step. As I see it, this one started with Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and his R-rated (but darn smart and funny) editorial on Deadspin last year. That was a catalyst because it then became clear: Straight players were standing in support of gays in general — and their gay teammates, whoever they might be.

Those gay athletes might have been deeply closeted, but there was unspoken acknowledgement: We know you exist. Kluwe wasn’t shunned or ridiculed for his stance. The tables turned. It was the homophobes who were left standing in the cold, scorned and criticized by fans and the media. How is that for a turnaround in, relatively speaking, a very short time?

noh8 Martina Navratilova

She also highlights basketball star Jason Collins for his coming out and how he has paved the way for future generations in sport.

Navratilova wrote

He is the proverbial game-changer. One of the last bastions of homophobia has been challenged. Collins’ action will save lives. This is no exaggeration: Fully one third of suicides among teenagers occur because of their sexuality.”

In 2013, the Brooklyn Nets player was the first active male athlete to come out. Since retiring, Collins has dedicated much of his time to campaigning on LGBT issues in sport.

Now that Collins has led this watershed moment, I think — and hope — there will be an avalanche. Come out, come out wherever and whoever you are. It is beautiful out here and I guarantee you this: You will never, ever want to go back. You will only wonder why it took so long.”

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Martina Navratilova Responds to Homophobic Comments By Ukrainian Tennis Player

Veteran tennis star Martina Navratilova has responded Ukranian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky recent homophobic comments.

He said he would not let his daughter play tennis, as “almost all” female tennis players are gay, after saying that most male professional players are “normal”, meaning straight.

Also read: Ukraine Tennis Star Hits Out Martina Navratilova and Other Lesbian Athletes

Navratoilova took to Twitter to hit back at Stakhovsky, saying she would like to speak to him in the future about his comments.

Did you really say this Sergiy? That you don’t want your daughter to play tennis because she might turn into a lesbian? That is how it is translated. What you said was homophobic. Perhaps we can speak sometime in the future.”

Stacey Allaster, the chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Authority also commented, saying:

It’s sad to think in this day and age there are people who are narrow minded and speak derisively about women based on sexual orientation. It’s a sad reflection of old thinking and I’m proud of all our WTA players who are forward thinking, treat everyone equal and reflect life in the 21st century.”

Ukraine Tennis Star Hits Out Martina Navratilova and Other Lesbian Athletes

In an interview published on Wednesday 8th July, Ukraine tennis player, Sergiy Stakhovsky – who is famous for knocking Roger Federer out of Wimbledon 2013 – said he would not let his daughter play tennis as “almost every other” female tennis player is a lesbian.

Sergiy Stakhovsky

In the interview, he was asked if there was any sexual minorities in tennis, he replied: “I think not.”

According to a translation by letsecondserve.com, he continued

You see, on the ATP we have a normal atmosphere. If there were anything, we’d know about it, because it’s a very closed circle.

Earlier there used to be talk about Gasquet, about Nadal. Even about Federer.

I won’t sacrifice my hand for the whole tour and the new guys, who are just joining, but in the backbone of the top 100 there are definitely no gays.”

He then drew attention to female tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, who said earlier this year that she couldn’t believe no male tennis players are gay.

She can think that in the women’s locker room. She has no clue at all what men’s tennis is. And she’s has nothing to do with it. On the WTA tour, almost every other player is a lesbian.

Can you imagine – half of them!

So I for sure won’t send my daughter to play tennis.”

Also read: Homophobia in Sports: When Poor Sportsmanship Becomes a Problem

Shorty after the outing of her on-court rival Billie Jean King, Navratilova followed King’s suit by revealing her sexual orientation in a column in the Dallas Morning News. Unlike King, Martina came out on her own terms, setting a precedent for many LGBT athletes to come.

Amélie Mauresmo Faces a Wave of Homophobic Comment After Announcing She is Expecting Her First Child

Yesterday, former Wimbledon and Australian Open tennis champion Amélie Mauresmo has announced that she is expecting her first child on Twitter. The 35-year-old, who revealed she was gay in 1999, is now coach of World No 3. Andy Murray and captain of the French Fed Cup team.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 16.40.47

But sadly her announcement has been hit by a wave of homophobic comments on twitter – “My kid has a chance to live with his father and his mother, not like that Mauresmo born from donated sperm”, “Who is the father bestiality,” “Oh Mauresmo is pregnant, I thought it was her father “…

Mauresmo has unfortunately already experienced this situation when she first came out , posing with his girlfriend at the time Sylvie Bourdon, in a Paris Match.

Then she faced comments from the the public, media and fellow competitors, including Martina Hingis, who had said: “She lives with a girl so is half a man.”

Mauresmo due to give birth in August.

Also read: Andy Murray Hires Amélie Mauresmo as His New Coach

Andy Murray spoke warmly of Mauresmo’s influence after reaching the Australian Open final earlier this year where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

I’m very thankful for Amelie for doing it (agreeing to coach me). It was, I would say, a brave choice for her to do it and hopefully I can repay her. A lot of people criticised me for working with her … women can be very good coaches as well.”


Andy Murray Hires Amélie Mauresmo as His New Coach

Yesterday the Andy Murray, appointed two-time Grand Slam women’s champion and out lesbian Amélie Mauresmo as his New Coach.

The move to appoint Mauresmo – the former Women’s World No 1 is seen as a groundbreaking one, and shows that Andy Murray prepared to think outside the box.

Murray is looking for is someone who can add that little extra input which, at the rarefied level he plays at, can be the difference between winning and losing.

‘I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired. She’s faced adversity plenty of times in her career, but was an amazing player and won major titles, including Wimbledon. I have a very strong coaching team already in place, but I think Amelie brings with her experience and tactical expertise and will push us all to improve. Everyone I know talks very highly of Amelie, as a person and coach, and I’m convinced that her joining the team will help us push on – I want to win more grand slams.’

Andy Murray

As Murray has said the presence of a woman can tame the egos that sometimes prevail when you have an all-male team, and that Mauresmo is someone he can respect as she is a proven winner like he is, rather than purely a professional coach who can work as a technician on his game, which is unlikely to radically change anyway at this point of his career.

Andy Murray is not the first male for Mauresmo to coach, she also has experience of coaching Frenchman Michael Llodra in 2010 when he won the Eastbourne ATP event. She was also in the team of Marion Bartoli when she won Wimbledon last year, so she is well qualified on all sides to understand the pressures.

Amélie Mauresmo was an all court player who won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and she is relishing the challenge of taking on such a fascinating individual who always has the capacity to surprise.

‘I’m really excited to be able to work with Andy. He’s an amazingly talented tennis player and I feel I have plenty to offer both him and the team around him. I’m looking forward to getting down to work and helping him win more Grand Slams… Andy contacted me a few weeks ago and we started to talk about this possibility to work, to be working together. It’s not really something that I was thinking doing when I stopped being a tennis player. Then we talked again a little bit more about how to do the things maybe about his game, about different things. We came up with the will from both sides to, yeah, to give it a shot.

Amélie Mauresmo

‘We all know his mother was a big part of his tennis career. I think he’s maybe looking for something different, about emotions and sensitive things. It’s not really interesting for me, this part of the story, to be honest. All I’m interested in is to be able to help him in his goals. That’s about it. The rest is the story for you to write, I guess. But, yeah, for me it’s a challenge. I want to take it.’

It is not unprecedented in tennis for a woman to coach a man. Jimmy Connors was coached by his mother, Gloria. Djokovic’s first coach was a woman, Jelena Gencic. Billie Jean King once coached Tim Mayotte. Andrei Chesnokov, who reached the top 10 in 1991, was coached for his entire career by Tatiana Naumko. While none of the top 30 female players are coached primarily by a woman, 49th-ranked Denis Istomin is coached by his mother, and 54th-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin is coached by his wife. But there are not many examples in other major sports of women coaching men. A few women have been assistant coaches in Division I men’s college basketball. Nancy Lieberman coached in the N.B.A. Development League. Helena Costa was recently hired by Clermont Foot 63, a second-division soccer club in France, becoming the first female manager in one of the top two divisions of Europe’s five major soccer leagues.

Murray has already drawn praise from many figures in the women’s game such as Chris Evert for contemplating having a woman in charge, and now he has followed through on that.


8-Minute Ice Cream Ad That Will Melt Your Heart

Now are you sitting comfortably, because Cornetto’s newest Ice Cream Ad is an eight-minute short film that is totally worth the watch.

This beautiful crafted video, directed by Lloyd Lee Choi, is a love story not necessarily about ice-cream, but about two women falling in love. It is clever, cute and funny – And cameos Lily Allen’s, who also narrates the spot

The ad is part of a video campaign Cornetto have released – 40 Love, which is series of short films for the Cornetto Cupidity series.


Game, set and it’s a match made in heaven when a young girl finds herself as an accidental target for love. Her relationship with a tennis pro doesn’t start off well but will our Cupid, Lily Allen help to bring them together?

We don’t want to give the whole thing away—you’ll want to watch it for yourself.