'Not an option': Former Wimbledon champ slams 'fake' tennis players

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli says modern players don’t feel the weight of losses the same way their predecessors do, arguing they can be ‘fake’ at times in response to setbacks.

Bartoli, 35, won the women’s singles in 2013 at the All-England Club and was runner-up in 2007.

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Speaking on the The Tennis Podcast, Bartoli opened up about a wide range of topics, including her struggles with anorexia after retiring.

Bartoli contrasted her own extreme fear of failure, which she also discussed, with the way players now prefer to hold perspective on their highs and lows.

Marion Bartoli, pictured holding the 2013 Wimbledon trophy after defeating Sabine Lisicki. (Photo by EMPICS Sport - PA Images via Getty Images)

“I felt that my parents gave up so much and put so much effort into me that being a failure was not an option,” she said.

“It was almost like a little death I had to survive from and rebuild and restart.”

When asked to compare her own approach to that of the best players today, Bartoli said she didn’t want to judge, but said the advent of social media had led to players presenting a more sanitised version of themselves to the public.

Bartoli said sometimes it didn’t seem as though players had just lost a big match.

It’s hard not to think of Ash Barty’s decision to bring her baby niece into her post-match press conference, after her Australian open semi-final loss.

Ash Barty brought her baby niece to the post match press conference after losing her Australian Open semi-final. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Barty’s move attracted a mix of reactions, some praising the World No.1 for her grounded attitude, while others felt it was an attempt to deflect attention away from the defeat.

“When I see some of the girls now and the way they react to a loss it’s like ‘did you actually really lose’ because it doesn’t seem that way when I’m seeing you,” she said.

“It’s very difficult to give lessons to someone or tell them you shouldn’t feel that way. But for me, it certainly was not an option to feel that way.

“I feel the way the new generation has been brought up, a lot more social media, a lot more ‘fake’ interaction with people, it’s more about how you can sort of fake it in a way.

“I try to step back and not judge the outside that looks a little bit fake, but I believe that if you want to win really huge things, you have to really feel a loss.

“I don’t think it’s possible to, whether you lose or you win, have the same spirit, that same feeling inside you.”