Jaw Dropping Facts About Professional Tennis

As Wimbledon 2019 draws near, it is a suitable time to celebrate the game of tennis.  Although it may seem elegant and rather innocuous to the uninformed, the battles fought on the tennis courts are some of the fiercest and most physically demanding in the world of professional sports.

Protracted Matches and Keenly Fought Rivalries

John Isner v Nicolas Mahut

Over the years, tennis fans have witnessed epic contests that have gone on for days.  Who can forget the match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut?  It went on for 11 hours and five minutes until the American prevailing with the score at 70-68 in the fifth set!

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We’ve also experienced awesome rivalries between well-matched foes, rivalries that have thrilled and enchanted us.  Think Billie Jean King versus Margaret Court, Steffi Graf versus Monica Seles, John McEnroe versus Bjorn Borg and more Recently, Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal and you’ll know what I mean.
We’ve also watched sadly as super stars like Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf and Chrissie Evert finally bowed out and left us bereft at the thought of tennis without them!

Personal Challenges and Millions of Fans

Evonne Goolagong

Tennis is a sport that’s keenly followed by millions of viewers in far-flung places like Kenya, the Canaries, Belize and Ecuador.  In 2018, more than 16,5 million viewers tuned in to the Federer-Cilic match on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Being in the public eye isn’t always pleasurable or even nice.  In some cases, competing on the world stage has been more than a challenge - its been an abusive experience as players like the great Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King and Martina Navratilova would attest.
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These are just four renowned tennis stars who had to overcome overt incidents of racism and homophobia but still forged ahead to reach the pinnacle of their careers.
Today, men and women like Roger Federer and Serena Williams have become role models for future generations.  Even now, reams and reams are being written about the injuries, personal travails and brilliant comebacks of the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters.

A Billion-Dollar Sport

Tennis, A Billion-Dollar Sport

What started out as a relaxed outdoor activity has become a billion-dollar industry for the players, coaches, administrators and broadcasters.
Some of the richest people in the world make a living whacking a ball with a racquet.  The world number two, Rafael Nadal has an estimated net worth of $180 million.  Even the young 22-year old German, Sasha Zverev has earned more than $17,5 million in prize money alone.
However, it’s the greatest player of all time, Roger Federer who rather appropriately tips the scales with a mind bending $430 million plus to his name… and he’s still winning events and signing off on huge sponsorship deals!

It’s a Game of Villains and Heroes

Nick Kyrgios
As with all sports tennis has its heroes like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Angelique Kerber and Ash Barty but it has its fair share of villains too.
Who can forget the uproar the likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ille Nastase caused when they swore at the umpires, roared at the line judges and wacked balls at the ball boys?
Now, we’ve got a small coterie of players who have recently let themselves down.  Serena Williams’ meltdown at the US Open may be due to post partum hormones but it was shocking in the extreme.
As for the bad boy of Australia, Nick Kyrgios - he’s an embarrassment to his coach, his family, his country and more importantly to himself.  Will someone please take him in hand?

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Published: 07/01/2019