Roland Garros 2009: Hey Kid, Just Shut Up and Play

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Roland Garros 2009: Hey Kid, Just Shut Up and Play
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Across the world, in many different countries, there are young boys and girls who love the game of tennis.

They grab a racquet and head over to a local court to hit with friends. Or maybe just hit off a wall somewhere if they can't find a hitting partner. And like every generation before them, they have their heroes and role models.

Add 16-year-old Portuguese prodigy Michelle Larcher de Brito to the list of players not to aspire to.

In a matchup of two lesser-known players, Court Philippe Chatrier bore witness to one of the most embarrassing hour and 40 minutes of tennis the WTA has ever had to offer.

After frustrating No. 15 Jie Zheng a few days ago, Michelle was moved up to the premier facility of Roland Garros to face French woman Aravane Rezai, who is ranked in the low 50's.

I feel truly sorry for any young girl who tuned in to see this match, or heaven forbid, watch it live.

Forget the final line score -- 7-6, 6-2, in favor of the French woman.

Forget the fact that the Portuguese teen essentially handed the match away, donating over a dozen free points in double faults and 50 errors in total to Rezai.

As the first set progressed, it went from shaky to horrific very quickly. The first break of serve, which went to Rezai in the fifth game of the match, saw Larcher de Brito not only slamming her racquet into the ground in disgust but screaming like an little girl after her parents told her "no".

Oh, that was only the beginning. Her screams grew more pronounced every game after that, to the point of tantrums after points lost. She was making Maria Sharapova seem ridiculously normal.

As the announcer stated, people could probably hear the match several blocks down the road.

It also did not end there. The older Rezai began to drop to her level, imitating Larcher de Brito's screams fairly well and at any opportunity. But it was no help to her cause, as the tennis itself was almost a side story.

With Michelle leading 4-3, Rezai asked the chair umpire about the noise level. The tournament referee also came down.

"She's shouting too loud. There's a limit. You really can't shout that way." commented Rezai to the umpire.

Play on.

The set would painfully head to a tiebreak. Turn away from the TV and you'd swear it sounded like two cats attempting to club each other to death. But the louder and more pronounced Michelle was, the more it seemed to throw fuel onto Rezai's fire.

Not that it mattered, the sad part was still to come. Larcher de Brito thought she was completely right in what she was doing.

"Do you tell Sharapova to keep quiet? I don't think so!" she told the chair.

As the first set ended, the young girl went off kicking and screaming. But the damage was done, Rezai had taken it 7-3. She was far from defeated though, equalling Lleyton Hewitt's career total for "Come on's!" in a matter of an hour since starting the match.

The crowd finally started to get behind Rezai, as she got the first break up 2-1 in the second set. It only took yet another racquet slam and shriek by the teenager after her 9th double fault of the match. 

From there, Rezai would start cruising to the delight of the masses. 

As the match ends, more horrific sportsmanship. Larcher de Brito barely makes eye contact with Rezai during the "hand shake", and the crowd showers her with the boo birds. An embarrassing debut all the way around.

Poor Aravane. At least her very accurate Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-esque celebration after the victory brought a roar from the crowd, as was expected.

"I think it really was a tactic. She was trying to impress me, but I didn't let her get away with it." said Rezai after the match.

For Michelle, she truly is a terrific talent. She is currently a student at the world-class Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton. She also shoulders the future of tennis Portugal as a young star.

But please. Just shut up and play.

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