TOPICS: Shot down in flames

SOMETIMES you can zero in on the moment that someone dents their public goodwill.

“You know, the girls, they are more unstable emotionally than us,” French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga told a press conference at the Australian Open this week. 

“But, I mean, it’s just about hormones and all this stuff. We don’t have all these bad things, so we are physically in a good shape every time, and you are not. That’s it.”

Whether that  lesson in gender studies spells the end of Jo-Willie’s dream run with 50per cent of the population, time will tell. 

But he got us thinking – who are sport’s modern villains? A certain cycling Texan comes to mind, but he can’t get a start in a fun run these days. 

We’re so used to Serena Williams’s humble brags (‘‘I’ve won so many, you know, I can’t remember!’’) that they’ve become kind of adorable.

One nomination for sporting villainy that we hear a lot in conversation kind of baffles us. Shane Watson.

Watto’s alleged crimes include not converting 50s to hundreds, his sullen reactions to getting out, and being too handsome.

So, fairly or not, our first certified sporting villain is Watto. 

Who’s yours, and why?

Super shooters

WE’ve been generous to Newcastle Herald photographers this week, and not because of the existence of any compromising shots (remember guys – we have a deal).

One of the shooters has a photo that’s been judged among the 50 greatest cricket images of all time.

Geoff Taylor, of Macquarie Hills, picked up a copy of the UK’s esteemed The Cricketer magazine for a flight home from Heathrow.

Something on the cover smacked of home. It was ‘‘The Ashes’’, Darren Pateman’s award-winning 2002 snap of club cricketers near Cessnock playing on in the teeth of a bushfire.

‘‘[Pateman] encountered a local cricket match that refused to pull stumps until the inferno had burnt to within twometres of the ground,’’ reads the caption.

It’s no mug’s list, compiled by 33 of the world’s leading cricket photographers and editors.

Also in there are classics like Andrew Flintoff comforting Brett Lee after England’s win at Edgbaston in 2005, and the final runout in the first-ever tied Test (the one every club cricketer knows because it’s on the cover of the team scorebook).

Not bad company for a third grade fixture between Kurri Station Hotel and Cessnock Supporters.

Birthday double-up

BUILDING on the theme of significant birthdays, raised by two Merewether mates who share theirs with Lance Armstrong, is reader Chrissy Gallagher.

‘‘Just thought I’d share with you my birth date: December 25,’’ says Chrissy, who never had a hope of evenly distributed presents throughout the year.

But here’s the kicker.

‘‘I also share my birthday with a sister, three years older than I,’’ she continues.

‘‘She is the Christmas Carol; I am the Chrissy Kid.’’

The youngest Gallagher child, born in July, is Noel.

The sisters might share a birthday with the Son of God, but reader Michael has gone one better.

‘‘April 9 – Hugh Hefner!’’ he proudly informs us.

‘‘I invite him to my parties every year. Hopefully one day he’ll start inviting me to his.’’

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