Australian Newspaper Hits Back Over Controversial Serena Williams Cartoon - UBITENNIS
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Australian Newspaper Hits Back Over Controversial Serena Williams Cartoon

The national publication has rallied behind the creator of the image after widespread outrage.

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An Australian newspaper has defended their decision to publish a cartoon of Serena Williams earlier this week by publishing it once again on their front page.

There has been widespread anger over Mark Knight’s drawing of Williams that was featured in The Herald Sun following a dramatic US Open women’s final. The picture has been called by some a racist. Williams is shown as having a tantrum on the court and Naomi Osaka in the background speaking with the umpire. Knight decided to oversize Williams’ lips in his sketch and Osaka was white with blond hair. US Open champion Osaka has dark hair with blond highlights and is of mixed race.

“Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop.” Author J.K. Rowling wrote on Twitter in response to the cartoon.

Despite the controversy, the newspaper has defended their cartoon. In a special front page on Wednesday, they uploaded a series of satirical cartoons, including Williams’ one, with the headline ‘Welcome to the PC world.’ Attacking the ‘self-appointed censors‘ who have deemed the sketch as offensive.

“If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new political correct life will be very dull indeed.” The newspaper wrote on their front page.

Damon Johnson is the editor of The Herald Sun. On Tuesday he backed Knight in a post uploaded to his Twitter account. Saying that the cartoon “rightly mocks poor behaviour by a tennis legend” and that Knight “has the full support of everyone” at the paper.

Knight has also spoken out about the issue himself. Saying that his drawing had no racist motivation at all. He is an experienced editorial cartoonist that has worked in the industry for more than three decades. He also designs the Herald Sun’s Australian Foot League’s (AFL) Premiership commemorative covers.

“The cartoon was just about Serena on the day having a tantrum.” He said.
“A few days beforehand I had actually drawn a cartoon of Australian Nick Kyrgios and his bad behaviour at the US Open, so I’m not targeting (Serena). Serena is a champion.
“I drew her as an African-American woman, she’s powerfully built, she wears these outrageous costumes when she plays tennis – she’s interesting to draw.
“I drew her as she is. As an African-American woman, so this whole business that I am some sort of racist, calling on racial cartoons from the past, it’s just made up. It’s not there.”

At the US Open Williams was slammed with a game penalty following an intense argument with the umpire Carlos Ramos. The former world No.1 received a total of three warnings during the match. The fallout from the controversy has triggered a debate about if sexism played a factor. Something that Ramos has denied and the International Tennis Federation has insisted that he correctly followed the rule book.

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(VIDEO) Day Six At The ATP Finals: Line-Up Confirmed For Super Saturday In London

Ubitennis looks ahead to the two semi-finals matches set to take place at the season-ending finale on Saturday.

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Novak Djokovic has reiterated his credentials as a key contender for the ATP Finals title with the help of another clinical performance. The world No.1 dropped only five points behind his serve during his straight sets triumph over Marin Cilic. Meanwhile, rising star Alexander Zverev was another player to produce a powerful service display as he brushed aside John Isner. Zverev will take on Roger Federer on Saturday afternoon, followed by Djokovic against Kevin Anderson in the evening.  

 

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Why Becoming A Father Has Helped John Isner Achieve The Best Season Of His Career

The world No.10 reflects on becoming a father in September and the impact it has had on his life as a professional athlete.

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John Isner at the 2018 ATP Finals (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

John Isner exits the ATP Finals with a mixture of disappointment and pride following his loss to Alexander Zverev on Friday.

Isner, who was playing in the year-end finale for the first time in his career, was knocked out in straight sets by his 21-year-old opponent. Bringing a close to what has been the most successful season of his career. Isner has won two ATP titles, including his first at Masters level in Miami, and reached his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon.

“There’s definitely some things I could have done better. Didn’t come into this tournament with that much momentum. I think that maybe showed a little bit.” He commented about his week in London.
“I did have a good year, but I had a lot of losses, as well. I had three really good tournaments. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get inside the top 10, which is what I did this year.” He added.

A player breaking through on the tour in their early thirties is becoming a regular occurrence in the world of men’s tennis. However, in Isner’s case, his rise hasn’t entirely been down to everything he has learned on the court. 2018 also saw him become a father. In September his wife, Madison, gave birth to a baby girl called Hunter Grace.

There is a saying that once somebody becomes a parent their perspective on life changes. Something the American No.1 agrees with. The question is what influence has it had on Isner’s tennis?

“I think it’s definitely a life-changing moment for myself and my wife. For me professionally, I think it can definitely help going forward.” He commented about fatherhood.
“I just think prior to our daughter being born, getting married is another big step. That definitely settles things down personally. We were always dating and together, but we took that next step. It was the perfect timing for all of it.
“Everything has gone pretty fluidly in my personal life, so I think that certainly helps. That’s why I’ve at times this year played remarkably well.”

The perspective is one that mirrors some of his peers. Novak Djokovic said in July that fatherhood was his ‘biggest motivation’ for winning Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Roger Federer once said in 2012 that his twin daughters “helped his game more than anything.’

Finding harmony in his life both on and off the court, Isner believes he can improve further heading into the new year. He ends his season with a win-loss record of 34-22, including his three victories over top 10 players at the Miami Open in March.

“Going forward, I’ll be looking to play well in the big events again. There’s still a lot of room for improvement for me. I started the year off in 2018 in pretty poor form. So I can improve on that. If I can, I can possibly improve my ranking and give myself more momentum early on in the season.”

Isner concludes 2018 inside the year-end top 10 on the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.

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Inspired By Netflix Film, Kevin Anderson Backs Efforts To Cut The Use Of Plastic In Tennis

‘Once you see it, it’s impossible to unsee it’ – how one movie has inspired the world No.6 to get involved in the fight against pollution.

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Kevin Anderson has praised recent initiatives implemented by the ATP to reduce the plastic waste footprint of their tournaments.

At this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, a series of new measures have been applied to help reduce the environmental impact it causes. More prominently concerning the use of plastic bottles. Water coolers and fountains have been provided for players and media staff long with reusable bottles. Players also have glass bottles provided to them in the locker room.

The approach is one Anderson hopes can be expanded and applied throughout the entire tour. The South African has been a vocal supporter on Twitter of doing more to protect the environment.

“In London and also at the Next Gen, there are quite a few initiatives trying to reduce plastic bottles, trying to reuse them.” Said Anderson.
“The idea is to take everything we learn from these couple weeks, then trying to create some bigger initiatives next year both from what the players can do and also promoting it to everybody who comes and watches tennis.”

Anderson, who is the vice-president of the players’ council, says his interest in the issue was elevated after watching a film on Netflix. A Plastic Ocean is a documentary movie about the effect of plastic pollution on oceans. It features journalist Craig Leeson and world champion freediver Tanya Streeter

“It’s always been on the back of my mind. Just generally I’d say being sort of aware of our environment, something that’s always been important to me.” Anderson explained. “Plastic specifically, during French Open, through Netflix of all places, I saw a documentary called Plastic Oceans. Once you see it, it’s impossible to unsee it.’
“My coach is also very passionate about it. Something we’re trying to build on.”

According to the ATP, The O2 sends less than 1% of its 3,500 tonnes of waste per year to landfill. The O2 is the current venue of the ATP Finals.

Earlier this week, the 32-year-old donated $2000 following one match played in London. The world No.6 vowed to give $100 for every ace he produced during his clash with Kei Nishikori to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), who are battling the deadliest wildfire in California’s history. In total, he produced 10 aces to raise $1000. On top of that, he also donated the same amount to the Humane Society of Ventura County in Ohio.

Anderson will return to action on Saturday when he will become the first African player to contest a semi-final match at the year-end tournament.

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