Marion Bartoli claims to have an IQ of 175, higher than the scores of Plato, Beethoven, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. “I did the test when I was younger, but I’m not really someone who is telling everyone, ‘Oh, I’m so smart’. I’ve kind of being hiding it,” the Frenchwoman has said. “But that’s how I am. It just comes naturally. That’s what I was born with.”
How many other secret geniuses are there on the men’s and women’s tours? Who are the most intelligent tennis players?
One retired male player who has had his intelligence tested is Andy Roddick, who has an IQ of 133. The only disappointment for him was that Mrs Roddick, the model Brooklyn Decker, was told she had a score of 136 (“I’m just behind my wife unfortunately”).
Colin Fleming, the British doubles player, has a first-class degree from Stirling University, where he studied economics and finance. The most famous university graduate on the scene is John Isner, who would probably not be the player he is now if he had not attended the University of Georgia. But his time at university was largely a tennis education, not an academic one. The Williams sisters are forever fitting in “college papers” around their tennis.
Perhaps we can judge a player’s intelligence by how many languages they speak. Daniela Hantuchova, the daughter of a computer scientist and toxicologist, is a classically-trained pianist, who also speaks four languages, and who deferred a place at university to play tennis. Roger Federer speaks five languages (German, English, French, Swedish and Italian). Or six if you want to count Swiss German as a separate language.
And which players show an intellectual curiosity beyond the in-flight movie guide? Andrea Petkovic knows her way around Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Franzen and other writers.
Janko Tipsarevic is that rare beast – a tennis player who can quote from Goethe, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky.