Stableford: Sharapova Fingered In Bananagate

Dylan Stableford is the editor of media blog FishbowlNY and will write occasionally on the U.S. Open.

Last night Maria Sharapova won the women's U.S. Open tennis final 6-4, 6-4 over Justine Henin-Hardenne, a short, scrappy, Pong-like player from Belgium. It was Sharapova's second Grand Slam title and first since winning Wimbledon in 2004 as a 17-year-old. Her forehand was dominant. Her serve was dominant. Even her netplay was well done. Her skin was glistening. Her dress was Breakfast At Tiffany's-inspired. And her father Yuri was, as usual, scary.

But leave it to the media to fixate on a piece of fruit and four fingers in the post-match press conference:

"I just won a Grand Slam. The last thing I'm gonna talk about is some fingers or a banana, all right?"

Those fingers belonged to her hitting partner, Michael Joyce, who was sitting in her box gesturing, signaling - gasp - coaching Sharapova during a changeover. In the quarters, her father used a banana to signal her to eat one, sparking debate over whether the gesture was a violation of the USTA's no-courtside coaching policy. A USTA spokesperson said it did not appear to be a violation.

After all the fingers and bananas, Sharapova hoisted the U.S. Open trophy, only to have the top pop off onto her head.

Not even going there.

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