As though oblivious to the rest of the world suffering precisely the same plight, the tennis elite have given us a glimpse into their shocking lack of self-awareness by painting themselves as the real victims of Covid-19 hysteria.
Being afforded near-unlimited liberty to travel all-expenses paid to the US Open, one of the world’s most exclusive sporting events which kicked off on Monday, while the rest of the world wallows in pity at the pandemic-induced panic wearing prophylactics and a frown, is “abominable” treatment and comparable to being a “prisoner.”
That’s according to world top 40 tennis player and millennial millionaire Kristina Mladenovic, whose woes of being able to earn gargantuan amounts of money through stable work with access to inexhaustible medical care during a supposed global crisis are so exclusive that literally nobody from the real world can relate to them.
“I would so much like to say a lot of things about what is going on here,” moaned Mladenovic, currently serving her sentence at the $53 million prize money Grand Slam held in New York City’s plush Queens district of Flushing, where she crashed out in the 2nd round to Russian young gun Varvara Gracheva on Wednesday.
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“It’s absolutely abominable how they treat us, but I don’t want that to be an excuse for my defeat…I have the impression that we are prisoners,” she lamented from her lock-up at a sponsored post-match presser attended by the world’s press and paparazzi.
For all her whining, you would think Mladenovic actually was spilling out her heart to a loved one on her one and only phone call before the warden called lights out on the wing, rather than having pocketed a cool $100,000 for her second-rate second round showing.
Mladenovic’s melancholy was brought on by throwing away a 6-1, 5-1, lead against Gracheva, but the 27-year-old ever so gracefully stopped short of holding the US Open organizers responsible – who footed the bill for her travel, accommodation, and equipment and employed the best medical care possible to ensure she was healthy – for her failure to convert four match points.
According to Mladenovic’s morose melodrama, being paid astronomical sums – she has earned a cool $9 million in career prize money to date – to jet-set around the globe to be pampered atop a pedestal is akin to being forcibly confined and denied freedoms under the order of the state.
The rest of the world wouldn’t understand, of course, as they are too busy…being forcibly confined and denied freedoms under the order of the state, only with the option to jet-set around the globe and earn handsome amounts of cash replaced by job uncertainty and the prospect of a harsh economic recession due to months of near-universal lockdown.
The reality is Mladenovic’s surroundings are effortlessly more All England Club than Alcatraz. Nevertheless the athlete, who also enjoys endorsement from sportswear behemoth Adidas, a company scarcely at risk from the pandemic’s threat to trade the world over, has still mustered enough superciliousness to compare a Grand Slam to the slammer.
In a twist of irony, if the free will free-for-all wasn’t enough for Mladenovich, she could have just opted out of competing, just as a number of WTA players including No. 5 Elina Svitolina and No. 9 Kiki Bertens had done, and stayed at home like millions of ‘free people’.
New York City has especially borne the brunt of strict lockdown measures in the US; hundreds of thousands of low income workers are without jobs due to a strict stay-at-home order enforced in March which has seen an initial 20 percent spike in crime and the city on course to lose a reported $10 billion in revenue.
And yet Mladenovic believes she is the real victim. But then what are we to expect from a sport whose elite constantly project the attitude they are above not only the law but the rest of mankind too?
When told the ATP Tour was on hold due to Covid-19 safety measures, men’s world number one Novak Djokovic went against recommendations to hold the Adria Tour, planned to take place across not one but four countries in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The result was eight Covid-19 infections to players who had participated and their loved ones, including Djokovic himself, and a swift cancellation of the rest of the tour.
One may be forgiven for thinking that if a group exiled from the office due to stringent lockdown rules decided to invite a select few colleagues for a work jolly-up at a string of beautiful summer spots in the Balkans where they all contracted Covid, they’d be treated with utter contempt from all corners of the mainstream media for daring to challenge the dictated safety rituals. Djokovic brazenly labeled any criticism a “witch hunt.”
Meanwhile the masses enjoy their freedom by remaining mollycoddled and muzzled on public transport trips limited to loved ones, furloughed and forced by law to spend the majority of their time in cramped living conditions and strained relationships and stripped of personal freedoms and rights.
It’s time the tennis elite got in touch with the millions of fans watching their predicament from the confines of more precarious circumstances, and ditched the haughtiness that has led some of the world’s richest athletes to believe they have the right to bemoan a swanky, globetrotting lifestyle while the rest of the world only dreams of being banged up with such benefits.
By all accounts, Mladenovic should count herself extremely lucky to be in ‘prison’, rather than be locked up in lockdown.