Why are they famous? Mary Pierce
Sunday 29 June 1997
Appearance: Sadistic junior hockey mistress at a boys' grammar school ball. Leni Riefenstahl protagonist. Candia McWilliam (glamour novelist) meets Zodiac (striding Gladiator).
Girl Power: In the era of muscly old dykes with iron-curtain names, the press had no choice but to get into a pretend lather about Gabriela Sabatini. This was replaced by the soporific limbo of Sanchez Vicario, Martinez, Huber etc. Seles was good value for off-court poses, giggles and grunts, but she was stabbed. Now, thank the Lord, there are some glamour girls pouting up the rankings to dampen our yawns: beaming infant prodigies, black Americans with beaded hair and Russians in pigtails. But Pierce, with her problem father (see below), her rumoured liaison with Seal, and but one measly Grand Slam title to her name, is top soap queen.
Sins of the Father: Too numerous to mention. Jim Pierce went for verbal haranguing and physical mistreatment to mould his little princess into a murderous ball-bashing machine. He is now forbidden from the court. See also: the father of Steffi Graf, imprisoned on a charge of tax evasion, and the mother of number one seed Martina Hingis, who named her poor prodigy after a great tennis champion, pre-empting the careers officer's talk by 17 years.
Fame Prospects: Pierce needs to win the odd tournament. Alternatively, she could develop an orgasmic groan instead of a Seles-style grunt. Or she could set up a PR company with Liz Hurley and Caprice Bourret, her only rivals in the fame-and-frocks equation.
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