I was given a great opportunity to interview Bethanie Mattek Sands and she did a great job answering my questions. I believe you’ll enjoy the interview. Bethanie seems to prefer the way men’s tennis players are dressed, she has quite a few very good friends on the WTA Tour in the times when camaraderie is very rare in professional tennis, and I also got to ask her what she thinks of the attitude of the Williams sisters towards participation in the Fed Cup. Enjoy!
You are famous for your tennis clothes, I’ve recently even made a short overview of them, so what’s your favorite outfit you have worn on the tennis court?
One of my favorites was my initial high sock outfit back a few years ago at Wimbledon against Venus. I’ve kind of made it my staple this past year along with my Under Armour gear. Next season I’m hoping to add some more colors and designs though. DryMax makes the high tennis socks especially for me so we’ll see what we can come up with for next year.
Whose on-court fashion style do you like?
I think Nike does a great job with Rafa! All his colors are coordinated, from wrist bands to shoes, and considering he’s extremely superstitious I’m willing to bet his undies are matching too! I’m loving all the neon colors he was wearing this year but I think what makes his style even better is that Roger is polar opposite!
Can you tell us something about the tattoos on your right arm? Are those the only ones you have?
The ink on my forearm is a swarm of bees. When I was young my nickname was killer bee and believe it or not now that I have a few inked on me I can’t bring myself to swat at or step on any of the little buggers! The flowers on my bicep are water lilies and along with being one of my favorite flowers it means enlightenment and change, so its kind of my own personal zen garden. I have one more (for now) and its my husband name scrawled on the inside of my left ring finger. Awwww! He has my name too!
Is there some player on the Tour that you, for whatever reason, simply hate to see as your next or possible opponent in the draw?
I think the hardest girls to play are your friends. I’m lucky that the girls I’m close to keep business on the court and don’t take the competition personally.
Can you name some of your best friends on the Tour? I recently read that Sania Mirza is one of them, where does Jelena Jankovic stand?
I’ve always gotten close with my doubles partners, Sania, Jelena, Nadia, YanZi, Meg just to name a few, but honestly I like to think I’m friends with a lot of the girls on tour… Mel and Jilly are great and we always end up practicing at most the tournaments we’re all at. The Americans are a pretty tight group but it’s neat having friends from everywhere. Timi’s from Switzerland, Iveta and Barbora are from Czech, Julia’s German, Edina and Sorana got Romania covered and all the Italians crack me up… But honestly I feel kind of bad because I’m one of the few that only speaks one language!
What do you think of the journalists’ habit to raise too much dust around young players doing well at tournaments, like in the cases of Melanie Oudin and Beatrice Capra at the US Open?
Everyone is always looking for the next young phenom, not just in tennis, in every sport! So I think it’s standard. Every young kid that rises to a pedestal quick always has given up a little of their childhood and is forced to grow up fast. The best thing they can do is have a good team around them to help handle the pressure and stress. I think Mel had a great year considering how much pressure and expectation was put on her. As one of my good friends, I think she’s had a great attitude and worked hard through it all.
What do you think of the Williams sisters’ participation in the Fed Cup? A lot of people are arguing it’s unfair of them to show up only when they have to, in order to be eligible to play the Olympics?
Well it does seem unfair considering Fed Cup is a team event, but at the same time, they are the top ranked Americans. I think if you had to point a finger at something it would be the rule. Why is it only 1 appearance in 4 years? Why not a full season, however many matches it ends up being? Like I’ve said before the US core group of Liezel, Mel and myself, along with some other keen young Americans, have gotten to 2 finals in a row. As cliche as it sounds, I consider it an honor to be able to play for my country.
Nashville – can you tell us more about the Nashville flood fundraising you’re doing? How did it start? Why Nashville? How much has been raised?
Well first off, Nashville was where my very first USTA national event took place, I was in the 14’s and my whole family piled in the van and drove down from Wisconsin. But it’s also an awareness to know that there are folks right here in the US that are having hard times, down on their luck, and need some help, and I think some of these issues get overlooked by all the International turmoil that goes on as well. Too many times I think people lose track of the amount of good they can do in their own country, state or even neighborhood. As far as the money count goes I think I’m around $9,000. I kind of lost track throughout my hectic schedule but I figured if I kept winning it would keep going up!
Thank you, Bethanie, for taking time to answer my questions! I hope I’ll have an opportunity to interview you in the future as well. (photos courtesy of Fiji Water, © Neal Trousdale, Women Who Serve)
Nice job Marija!
lovely maria!!! huge props!!!
You’re shaping into a proper journalist, Marija. Good interview (we want more 🙂 ). I think from her answer with regards to Williamses and Fed Cup it’s easy to detect they have mixed feelings about their participation. Hopefully, even if they play,Bethanie also will get included. She seems to have the right attitude for that kind of event.
Thank you, guys! 🙂 I also like how the interview turned out, and now that I see it complete I feel like I came up with some pretty good questions. That is largely thanks to Bethanie’s great answers. I like it that she didn’t avoid the straightforward answer to the Fed Cup question, but was still subtle and polite.
I may be in the minority here but I did not really like how the Fed Cup issue was posed. For one it put a fellow player on the spot and 2 it made it seem as if the Williamses only turned up for Fed Cup duty only when it is convenient for them.
Serena has been playing an extremely limited schedule for the past 2 years. Venus is closer to retirement than she is to even thinking of playing a full schedule. It is not as if people like Oudin and Mattek-Sands are beating up the rest of the Tour, i.e. heading to the later rounds of tournaments so in that regard they do have more time and energy to play Fed Cup.
I don’t think the Sisters have ever pushed themselves on to the Fed Cup team and frankly the way how writers have insinuated that they are only playing Fed Cup in order to qualify for the Olympics has done a great disservice to what these 2 women have contributed to American tennis.
One would think that with all the patriotism that people like Huber have shown why is it that she never ever played for her native Zimbabwe?
In 2005 after winning a gruelling Wimbledon final, Venus flew back to the States, did her duty to Billie Jean and played WTT and then went and played 3 ties in Fed Cup. Lindsay Davenport who lost in that Wimbledon final was supposed to be a part of that Fed Cup tie and declined to participate. I dont ever recall anything being said. As a matter of fact Venus did it again in 2007.
I am growing increasingly sick and tired of the one sided nature of this whole Fed Cup thing. Today, Venus has announced that she has shut down her season and so will not be playing Fed Cup or the YEC. I guess people will still speculate that she is not injured.
I can speak for our players Ana and Jelena, as I’m from Serbia, that they played Fed Cup a lot of times and it was obvious how they wanted to contribute to their country, even when it meant putting a lot of effort to show up and when their schedules were tight.
I understand what you are saying Marija but for years when there was no Bethanie, no Liezel, no anyone else, it was all Venus and Serena. Both of these women are in the twilight of their careers and I think the onus is now on them to manage their schedules in a way that reduces injury etc.
Lest we forget but didn’t Jankovic’s mother call out Ana earlier this year for not playing Fed Cup preferring to enjoy coffee with her boyfriend? It rankled many fans of Ana and indeed many Serbian fans as well.
I am just saying that as a noted tennis website and as someone who is embarking on a career in journalism, a little less snark and a lot more objectivity would go a long way.
TennisAce, Serena and Venus are definitely playing smart and saving themselves. It may not be fair towards other players, but in the long run it will so pay off to the Williamses. Nobody will remember how many tournaments they skipped, but it will be remembered how many titles they won.
As for Ana, yes, it was the case, and it was just the rage of Jelena’s mother, which I can understand, but I don’t blame Ana, I think it was good for her to skip Fed Cup to sort herself out and be away from tennis, even Fed Cup, as much as possible.