June 7, 2008

Ana Ivanovic: The Match is Burning

Posted in Ana Ivanovic, christian tennis, ICTA, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, scott paschal, Sexual Abuse Tennis, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:27 pm by Scott Paschal

Congrats go out to Ana Ivanovic for winning the 2008 French Open!

In straight sets Ana Ivanovic crushed Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 to not only claim her first Grand Slam title, but also establish herself as the #1 WTA player.

A couple years ago my friend, Gene Scott, the now deceased founder of Tennis Week Magazine, once mentioned he believes he found the next big thing in women’s tennis.

He described the potential of Ana Ivanovic to dominate the sport.

As Gene was among the most influential men in the global tennis industry, people took note of what he said.

For me, since Gene was a member of the International Christian Tennis Association, and we were hanging out together in the Bahamas talking about how to make my seemingly impossible dreams for ICTA come true, I also listened to what Gene had to say.

Gene was right. Ana Ivanovic is unbelievable…

Yet, can I say something here? Though I think Ana Ivanovic is amazing, I’m really concerned for her.

Justine Henin just quit. She walked away from the sport as WTA #1. Her mind, body, and spirit were broken down. Now, a new player takes her spot.

The pressure now goes on a young, unsuspecting Ana Ivanovic.

And I can’t help but think about how poorly Serena Williams has handled the pressure as she has aged, even recently posing nude for a Jane Magazine photo shoot… which ended up in your child’s Tennis Week Magazine.

Hopefully, a nude Ana Ivanovic isn’t part of the mix, though many provocative pictures of Ana Ivanovic half-naked have surfaced recently as the global tennis industry, WTA, and Ana Ivanovic’s sponsors seek $ from using her body to promote agendas, such as making tennis sexy.

Let’s make it a point to keep Ana Ivanovic in our prayers. As her fame grows beyond her wildest dreams, she’s going to need people in her corner in prayer. I’d like to ask for our ICTA membership, which encompasses over 1800 cities in 65 countries worldwide, to come together in prayer…

And let’s pray not just for Ana Ivanovic, but the entire WTA Tour.

Pray for the people who work in the WTA Tour offices, pray for the coaches, pray for the nearly 1900 WTA players…

My dream is for WTA to become a beacon for all that is positive in women’s sports.

Currently, unfortunately, WTA is known as a beacon for “sexual preference.” As WTA follows in the footsteps of its founder, Billy Jean King, I can see how and why this has happened.

I’d like to see a day when “sexual preference” in WTA is replaced with Godly principles and Kingdom minded actions. Plenty of people within WTA are Christian and are International Christian Tennis Association members. Each can have a direct impact for Christian equality in WTA, even if some of their influential co-workers seem to be God-a-phobic.

Listen, if a person is allowed to stand up and openly discuss how she prefers to have sex with other women, then you darn sure had better be allowed to stand up and openly discuss your love of Jesus!

If not, call me! We have plenty of friends who are Christian attorneys who will use their expertise to protect your rights, often at no financial cost to you.

And FYI, one of my friends and mentors in tennis back in the mid ’90s was a lesbian… and I have a ministry to homosexuals… so you God-a-phobes and heter-a-phobes out there don’t even think about bashing me and playing the “are intolerant” card!

YOU are intolerant… and I have EVERY right to my opinions and preferences.

And, I don’t want to here from the self-righteous “Christians” out there, either, who can’t the the logs in their own eyes…

I’m simply stating that I’d like to see Jesus be the famous one in the sport.

Two wrap this up, International Christian Tennis Association has reached well over 20% of the top 200 WTA players. A strong Christian base is being created and gathered and motivated for positive change in women’s tennis.

Players are unhappy with the WTA status quo. ICTA seeks to bring the religious faith of WTA players, even if different from Christianity, to the forefront.

Players want Chaplains at WTA events. Players want to be protected from bully tactics by “sexual preference” people in positions of power within WTA and the ITF Pro Circuit. Players want change.

WTA players, their coaches, their families, their sponsors, and their friends are beginning to rise up and pray.

In my eyes, Justine Henin has been a beacon for all that is right and all that is wrong with the Women’s Tennis Association.

To Ana Ivanovic I’d like to ask her to focus on learning all she can about Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.

Now that she is at the top, the match is burning.

My prayer is she doesn’t get burned.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

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