Sharapova: Poster Child for Russia

Maria Sharapova, the poster child (sometimes literally) for today's Russia, appears to have jumped the rails even as her country does the same. While Vladimir Putin is provoking a new cold war over Snowden and Syria, Sharapova is doing her best to match him stride for stride on and off the tennis court. There seems to be something about some Eastern European players who, like Sharapova, leave their countries for greener pastures, something that lingers under the surface and is disturbingly malevolent. Call it guilt complex, inferiority complex, or what have you, it makes for some dramatic events. In over four decades of operation, the Women's Tennis Association has only imposed the match penalty, default for violation of the Code of Conduct, twice. Both times it was imposed on Eastern European defectors. Irina Spîrlea, who defected from Romania to Italy, received the match penalty in 1996 in Palermo, Italy for cursing out the umpire in Italian. And Anastasia Rodionova, who defected...(Read Full Article)