© Ella Ling

indianwells2009-(48)-(1)

Top 10 of tennis players' second acts

   
1. Marat Safin, “the best-looking guy in the Duma”
Anyone who saw Safin the Clown drop his shorts at the French Open in protest at an umpire’s decision will find such a memory difficult to reconcile with the Muscovite’s new political life after he was elected to the Duma. As will those who saw Safin the Playboy at the Australian Open the year that he played every match with three blonde Safinettesin the front row, and all those who witnessed Safin the Nihilist smashing rackets (someone has counted, and the former world number one apparently annihilated more than 1000 during his career). But, then again, just look at the stunts that Vladimir Putin and his PR team pull off; the Russian electorate do not seem to mind a politician with a colourful life.
 
Safin, who is a member of Putin’s United Russia party, was last month elected to a seat in the lower house of the Russian Federal parliament. ”My life has been changing for the last two years,” Safin, a former US and Australian Open champion, has said. “All of a sudden I found myself in a situation where I had to make really serious decisions. It started with one small thing and it grew up to something big. I could go and make commercials left and right and pretend like I am a celebrity, but that is not me. I never did this, I never liked it. I had a few months of thinking ‘should I do this or should I not’ but now I am pretty sure of what I’m doing.”
 
He had joked before the election that he “could be the best-looking guy in the Duma – but that’s only because all the other guys are more than 60.” “I’m in completely new shoes. This is a completely new life, a new way of thinking, new way of doing things that’s nothing to do with tennis or sports at all. But the two things definitely have one thing in common and that is that you need to have a character. You have to be strong and you have to know where you’re going, what you want to do, and you have to be able to make sacrifices. I will be working for the next five years day after day, sitting in an office, wearing a suit. I will have good days, bad days and I will have to fight once again like I’ve been fighting on the court. It will be complicated.”
 
2. Andrea Jaeger becomes Sister Andrea
The first person to hear of Jaeger’s plans to become Sister Andrea was Cindy Crawford, a former supermodel – as Crawford put it, the life change was “pretty radical”. “It’s a strict discipline. I wake at 4am, do my prayers and my spiritual study, then I start work around 5am or 6am,” Jaeger, a former world number two, has disclosed. “How often I wear nun’s habits depends on what I’m doing – they get dirty pretty fast. I keep getting the robes stuck in buses and escalators. Once I jumped in a cab and left half of it outside the door. The first time I wore one, at a conference in New York, a bird went to the bathroom on me. I thought that was god’s way of saying, ‘maybe it’s okay to be a little muddy on the edges – you’re the one who used to dive for balls on the tennis court’.”
 
3. Bill Tilden scandalises America
Tilden, who won 10 grand slam titles, served seven months in prison after he was caught engaging in a sexual act with a male prostitute on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and three years later he violated his parole by picking up and groping a hitchhiker. He served seven more months. When Tilden died of a heart attack, in 1953, it was in a small, rented room in Los Angeles. He was 60 years old and, and had just 88 dollars and 11 cents to his name.
 
4. Yannick Noah reaches for the microphone
In tennis, Noah is still best known as the last Frenchman to have won Coupe des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros, in 1983. Away from the courts, he has had some success as a singer, through there was some controversy when he released his version of ‘La Marseillaise’, the French national anthem. His pacifist reworking annoyed some war veterans.
 
5. Vere Goold’s Monte Carlo Trunk Murder
Vere Thomas St Leger Goold was an Irish aristocrat, an alcoholic, an opium addict, a slow payer of his gambling debts, an all-round “degenerate”, and the 1879 Wimbledon finalist, and in the summer of 1907 he was arrested at Marseilles railway station after the discovery of the woman’s body in his luggage. The legs were inside a valise, the head was in his wife’s hat-box, and the intestines would later be discovered somewhere along the Cote d’Azur near Monte Carlo, hanging from an iron stake. This did not sit easily with Goold’s wish to be seen as a gentleman. He and his wife were convicted of murder in a Monte Carlo courtroom, and he later killed himself on the Devil’s Island.  
 
6. Buster Mottram’s failed political career
A former member of the National Front, the Briton once remarked, “I hope Enoch Powell will never die, just as his namesake in the Bible never died”. Though he attempted to rehabilitate his image by working with a black singer, he failed in his attempts to become a Conservative MP and there was further political ignominy in 2008 when he was expelled from the United Kingdom Independence Party for trying to strike an electoral alliance with the British National Party.
 
7. Ivan Lendl’s obsession with golf
His is now a golfing family. All three of his daughters play, and Lendl has given every impression of wanting to become a professional golfer. “My attitude was to see how could I get. It’s an exaggeration to say I was playing 300 rounds a year – it was more like 250 rounds. Golf gave me something that tennis couldn’t give me any more. I need to compete. I have been trained to compete all my life and I couldn’t just walk away from that. I would have bitten my dog.”
 
8. Roscoe Tanner’s women, cocaine, gambling, alcohol, bad checks and jail time
Few would dispute Sports Illustrated’s assessment of Tanner’s post-tennis career as “a spectacular flame-out”. It was partly down to his fondness for women, cocaine, gambling and alcohol, but there was more to it than that; the former Australian Open champion and beaten Wimbledon finalist bought a 32-foot yacht with a dud cheque and then used the boat to obtain a loan, and he ended up spending time in German and American prisons. The most humbling part of his time behind bars was apparently having to defecate in front of a cell-mate in Germany. “Man,” Tanner has recalled, “that was humiliating.”
 
9. Vijay Amritraj appears in a Bond movie and Star Trek
Though the Indian has other film credits, such as an appearance in ‘Star Trek IV’, he is best known for his role in ‘Octopussy’ as a MI6 agent, Vijay.
 
10. Alice Marble is shot in the back while spying on her lover
After the death of her husband, an American airman who was shot down and killed during the Second World War, and then a car crash which caused her to miscarry, Marble took an overdose of sleeping pills. Though she survived, she did not care whether she lived or died, and so accepted the request from American intelligence to spy on a former lover, a Swiss banker, who was helping the Nazis to hide the gold, art and other materials that had been looted from across occupied Europe. Marble made contact with the man, whom she called ‘Hans’, and started sleeping with him again, and spying on him. Marble was shot in the back by a double agent as the mission had been infiltrated by the Russians. However, she survived and she was later given reason to believe that the information she had provided was used at Nuremberg.