The Tennis Space compiles a (non-definitive) top 10 list of tennis players who like football almost as much (if not more) as their chosen sport.
Caroline Wozniacki – Liverpool
The Dane is an avid Liverpool fan. Having received a signed shirt from club captain, Steven Gerrard, Wozniacki was prompted by fans to wear it on to court during the 2011 Doha Championships, a request to which she gladly obliged. Wozniacki later tweeted: “Now I am wearing the Liverpool shirt, it’d be interesting to see the team in my outfit, haha!” ‘Wozzilroy’ can often be seen tweeting each other about footballing competition; with Rory supporting rivals Manchester United.
Janko Tipsarevic – Barcelona (and Inter Milan)
The Serb and columnist for The Tennis Space is a fan of Inter Milan but is better known for his love of the Catalan giants. Feliciano Lopez once tweeted “I was looking for the biggest Barcelona fan around, and I found him (Janko Tipsarevic)”, accompanied with a photo of Janko wearing a Barcelona shirt. One of the Serb’s ‘Tipsy Time’ videos from Roland Garros showed him teasing Rafael Nadal about how Barcelona continued to beat the Mallorcan’s beloved Real Madrid. He later said in a press conference “Rafael Nadal, he’s a Real Madrid fan. I support Barca, so it (watching el clasico with him) would make for a bit of banter.”
Rafael Nadal – Real Madrid
The Mallorcan who was as talented a football player as he was a tennis player as a child, controversially sides with Real Madrid rather than Barcelona, the team his uncle, Miguel Angel became famous at. Nadal explains in his autobiography: “Why am I a Madrid fan? Simple. My father is. If I am in Australia and there is a game on at 5 in the morning, I will wake to watch it. I’ll plan my training programme around games. I’m a fanatic.”
Angelique Kerber – Bayern Munich
Although from Bremen, Kerber has overlooked her local side Werder Bremen, and instead favours Germany’s most successful club, Bayern Munich. Just last week in Japan, the German tweeted a photo of her wearing a ‘Bayern Munchen’ jacket that she found in a local store.
Marcos Baghadatis – Apollon Limassol
Unlike Kerber, Baghadatis does support his local side – Apollon Limassol. Baghdatis, the biggest sports star in Cyprus, has organised fundraising events with the football club, and has also played for them in charity matches. The passionate Cypriot has been known to show his support of the club on court by shouting “Ela Apollon” after winning a point; a phrase more familiar at the Tsirion Stadium, home of Apollon Limassol FC.
Goran Ivanisevic – West Bromwich Albion
Though the Croat also follows his local side Hadjuk Split, it is well documented that he is a passionate West Bromich Albion supporter. His following of ‘The Baggies’ may seem fairly random, but it stems from his friendship with British tennis reporter, David Law, a West Brom fan himself. Goran watched his first live West Brom match in December 2011 after appearing at a Masters event at the Royal Albert Hall. Goran got to meet all the players and (then) manager, Roy Hodgson, and was also presented with a shirt with his name on the back. “I’ve waited six and a half years for this… It’s been the perfect day” said Goran.
Roger Federer – FC Basel
Despite playing for local rivals Concordia Basel as a child, the Swiss Maestro now supports the more successful side from his hometown, FC Basel. Reports have suggested that Federer could have been a professional footballer but his decision to play tennis did not detract from his love of ‘the beautiful game’. “The worst moment for me last season was when we lost the league to our local rivals FC Zurich. I was in Rome at the time playing the Masters Series and I remember being pretty upset.”
Greg Rusedski – Arsenal
When Rusedski first came to Britain from Canada, he was obliged to support Arsenal as his wife and her family were fans of the North London side. Combine that with meeting many of the mid-90s tennis-loving Arsenal squad (Ian Wright, Ray Parlour, Tony Adams etc), and Rusedski had his allegiance. Greg describes his most memorable moment as an Arsenal fan: “I think it was the undefeated season when we were called ‘the invincibles’. That was obviously the best season of Arsenal football ever.”
Jamie Murray – Hibernian (and Manchester United)
Not often will Jamie Murray make a top ten list with his brother being forgotten. In fact, both Jamie and Andy are fans of Scottish team Hibernian but Jamie tends to follow the Edinburgh based side more passionately due to his less intense schedule. Their grandfather, Roy Erskine, played for the green and whites in the 1950’s. “Growing up, we all supported Hibs. I still do. We were even part of the Hibs Kids Club. It was always freezing cold and wet, but we got more into it over time,” Jamie said.
Venus and Serena Williams – Miami Dolphins
OK, so this isn’t football as we know it, but it is what Venus and Serena would call ‘football’. The American superstars are residents of southern Florida, with their local team being the Miami Dolphins. Serena described their support as “We’re just ‘Go-Fins!’ type people.” The sisters showed their support by buying small stakes in the franchise. “When you go to a Dolphins game, you get to soak in the atmosphere and we realise, ‘oh my God, we do this too!” said Venus, who ‘does’ watching the Dolphins as often as she can.