Svetlana Kuznetsova, former US Open and French Open Champion, extends hand to the chair (above).  She did not shake hands with her opponent, Australian by way of Russia, Anastasia Rodionova, in what has been this year’s worst display of sportsmanship at The All England Club so far.

Svetlana Kuznetsova disgraced the game this afternoon after losing to journeywoman Anastasia Rodionova, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in 1 hour and 57 minutes, when she refused to shake Rodionova’s hand, who stood shunned, and stunned at the net at the conclusion of the hard fought match.  Frankly, while we have never loved Kuznetsova’s game or inability to get in condition, we have always respected her as a major champion, and one who Roger Federer calls his “favorite female player to watch.”

What would prompt the great champion to exhibit such poor sportsmanship?  Did it have anything to do with Rodionova’s decision to emigrate to Australia and become an Australian citizen?  We think not, especially when considering how many players move from their home country, including Kuznetsova, who moved to Spain to train as a child.  Rodionova, about the world’s 80th player, did not hurt Russia by ex-patriating, as the 80th best female would not be able to get near the Russian Fed Cup or Olympic teams.

Rodionova has a weird tic in her service motion which causes her to bounce the ball repeatedly, the same way Novak Djokovic did as a younger player.  In the deciding game, Rodionova bounced the ball 11 and 13 times, consecutively, on big service points, in the game she eventually won which won her the match, and preceeded Kuznetsova’s boorish snub at net when the match was decided.

Frankly, we are having trouble dissecting this turn of events.  Last year, when Kuznetsova won at Roland Garros, she showed extreme compassion to her opponent, and favorite Dinara Safina, who could not get past her nerves and gifted Kuznetsova the major title.  With all of the grunting that goes on in the women’s game which is so disturbing to some, and not being able to recall Kuznetsova ever not shaking hands, we are going to chalk this poor display up to her frustrations in the moment, and her overall frustrations of late.

Kuznetsova, a perennial top player on the female side, has slipped to # 19, and will move out of the top 20 with today’s loss.  Conversely, Rodionova handled the snub with class.  Today was her first victory over Kuznetsova in 5 career meetings.

She will meet 9th seed Na Li in the 3rd round.

Be a Good Sportsman,

Crack (