In the late 70’s and early 80’s when people watched Chris Evert Lloyd and Martina Navratilova play tennis they saw christians vs. the rest of the world, they saw freedom vs. communism, hetro vs. homosexuality, beauty vs. brawn, ladieness vs. ambition and fantasy vs. reality . Detail 1
Martina’s dad leaft her family when she was 3 and he committed suicide when Martina was 8. Martina’s early coach was her stepfather. Martina grew up in communist Prague where even if you had a living and present father he was horribly emasculated by the government system which demanded obsequious obedience. The government made the decisions for the family. Many office buildings in Prague have tennis nets painted on the outside of them with distant fathers inside them and orphaned daughters hitting against them, the balls never penetrating and always coming back. Detail 2
In her mid teens – chaperoned by middle-aged male communist officials – Martina took her complicated psychology to the women’s tennis tour of the the late 1970’s where the players were given mops , cleaning detergent and ovens for winning tournaments. Detail 3
Chris Evert grew up amongst a big middle class suburban family. The family constantly posing with tennis trophies in white tennis clothes and under metres of shampooed blonde hair. Chris’s dad was a tennis coach and Chris – no more talented than her siblings – determinedly rose to the top of her fathers affections with faultless ground strokes and a stealy focus.
As the womens world tennis tour grew in the early 80’s it soon became a celebration of poor parenting. The women playing for money and fame could not compete against an opponent playing to win her father’s (coach’s) love.
Most of the girls farmed out to the tennis tour had barely developed out of the fairytale and pony stage. Underdeveloped and needy they live in hotels and airports, relentlessly compared and assessed , sponsored and then not. Finally – exausted and injured they are leaft in a pile somewhere in a foriegn country with only torn tennis dresses and a suitcase full of plastic trophies. They walk the streets looking for the joy and big hugs their fathers gave them when they won .This is what the painting is mainly about.