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Sport The tennis problem exposed by teen star's ordeal

07:51  22 january  2020
07:51  22 january  2020 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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a person sitting on a bench: Amanda Anisimova pushed Ash Barty all the way in last year's French Open semi. © Getty Amanda Anisimova pushed Ash Barty all the way in last year's French Open semi. The press conference that left grieving teen Amanda Anisimova in tears raises alarm bells for Sam Smith who hit out at the "confrontational" environment that encourages journalists to overstep the mark.

Playing in her first grand slam since the sudden death of her father on the eve of last year's US Open, the American rising star lost a tough match to Zarina Diyas and was then asked in her media conference if she "felt unsettled" by her enormous personal loss.

Naturally, Anisimova was floored by the question, fighting back tears as she responded: "Do we really have to talk about this so fast after a match?"

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The question, reportedly asked by an 'Aussie writer', created a social media storm after it was quoted in a tweet by veteran tennis journalist Bill Simmons.

Condemnation was widespread, with a furious Nick Kyrgios, who is Anisimova's mixed doubles partner, leading the outrage.

https://twitter.com/NickKyrgios/status/1219598571311259648?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Renowned tennis commentator, Sam Smith, a leading voice of Nine's Australian Open coverage, said the question was "awful" but was unsurprised by the unnamed journalist's lack of sensitivity.

"I personally don't like the way that press conferences are set up, the dynamic," Smith told Wide World of Sports.

In Pictures: Last 20 Aus Open Champions

"A player at a desk in a very confrontational situation with the media, most of whom are older, male, in their 50s, and I feel that's an incredibly insensitive question to a young woman who lost her father out of the blue.

"It wasn't like an illness where she had time to get used to it, she's very young and I can't believe … I can believe she was asked that but I think it's awful."

Not only did Anisimova lose her father, Konstantin Anisimov was also her long-time coach who had overseen her phenomenal rise to French Open semi-finalist as a 17-year-old.

He played the most important support role in her life and then, out of nowhere, he was gone after suffering a heart attack in August, just before the US Open.

Australian tennis prodigy, 15, collapses on the court and dies while preparing for a junior tournament in Nepal

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It's a shocking thing for anyone, let alone a teenager in the public eye, to deal with and Smith said the media had a responsibility "to have some sensitivity".

That was sadly lacking yesterday but Smith said ultimately Anisimova would find comfort and support in her return to tennis.

"Tennis will be good for her because there's a lot of support for her," Smith said.

"Tennis is her family, it's what she does well, I'm sure that there's part of her playing to fulfil everything that her father wanted her to do and they dreamed together but she's a great player, she's going to be terrific.

"But she is grieving and you don't know how long that process is going to take and the press have just got to have some sensitivity."

  • Topics:
  • Tennis
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  • Australian Open
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  • Nick Kyrgios
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  • Ash Barty
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  • Serena Williams
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  • Naomi Osaka
  • /
  • Rafa Nadal
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  • Andy Murray
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  • Roger Federer
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  • Novak Djokovic
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  • Alex de Minaur

Australian tennis prodigy, 15, collapses on the court and dies while preparing for a junior tournament in Nepal .
Kent Yamazaki was in Nepal preparing for an International Tennis Federation tournament on Wednesday when he fell and hit his head, never regaining consciousness.Kent Yamazaki was in Nepal preparing for an International Tennis Federation tournament on Wednesday when he fell.

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