Taylor Townsend, the No. 1 junior, is a victim of a health crusade in the U.S.. The former star Wilander said: "To play you have to be in shape, not look like a model."
Strong enough to win, but too fat to play. Taylor Townsend is sixteen years old, she is the number one tennis player in world ranking under 18, the current junior champion at the Australian Open, but for the federation of her country, the United States considers her not sufficiently "fit" in her form in order to participate tournaments. At one meter and sixty to eighty pounds (after diet), Taylor is definitely a size extra large, which is considered almost a mortal sin in an American Obama era, as understood by his wife, Michelle. The First Lady two years ago launched a "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity, which is a very serious problem in the country with a lot of junk-food availability. Keep moving is the message. Play sport, lose weight, and with great will, you can avoid heart problems and trauma to the joints. But what about if one of the best young athletes in the country (and the world) is on the court not looking the desired way? It’s not a good example, thought the USTA. Michelle would not be happy. So after a first round loss in Vancouver this summer,
Taylor’s funds were cut. She received no wild card for the main draw of the U.S. Open, no expenses paid to play in the tournament for under 18’s. "It is better if you stay at home and train better.” Taylor and mother Sheila have digested the penalty. Taylor attended at her own expense at the Open, winning in doubles and reaching the quarterfinals in singles, and together with her parent she was granted an interview on ABC in which she attacked the decision of the federal technicians.
"I wanted to be here, I'm doing everything to become a professional."
Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport, two former No. 1s, who in the past have had more of a problem with weight, were deployed immediately to her side. "It's a shame," tweeted Lindsay, and even a male very "fit" as Mats Wilander has admitted that "you have to be fit to play, but not necessarily look like a model."
Serena Williams, another champion not just ethereal, made even heavier suggestions that lurk behind the exclusion of racial discrimination, as well as aesthetic. "Taylor is a very sweet girl and works hard - she said after her victory in New York – and if they do not allow her to play it would be a tragedy. A girl, especially a black girl and especially in the United States, should not be faced with such problems. In sport there are women of all colors, shapes and sizes. Tennis is the best example." True.
By Serena, Davenport, by Kvitova to Bartoli in women's tennis examples of champions with impeccable physicality is abounding. In the 90s Richard Krajicek, who had an eye on the mass of oversized Marianne De Swaardt, ventured to define her colleagues' “fat physicality" and was crucified. The USTA has now decided to re-evaluate that opinion in the odor of male chauvinism as it is seen as definitely politically incorrect?
"We want Taylor to compete and win in New York and in the biggest tournaments in the world, when the time comes,” - replied Patrick McEnroe, brother of the great John McEnroe who directs the youth sector of the USTA - but not under these conditions. Our long-term concerns regarding her health and her growth as a player, not the immediate results."
If professional sport must have a humanitarian soul and keep it healthy, as well as maintain the insatiable appetite for victories, it now remains an open question.