Beyond The Court: 12 Wacky Off Court Tennis Moments of 2014
Courtney Massey, Tennis Atlantic
Well, folks, another year has passed. We’ve completed the 2014 tennis season relatively unscathed, but not without plenty of victories, short comings, racket breaks, and every antic of the incredible Fabio Fognini. Before we ring in the New Year and start making those resolutions we’ll surely forget about next week, I wanted to stop and reflect on some moments that make this sport so special. Instead of compiling a list of breath taking match play, I decided to focus on the more colorful events of the season. After all, what’s life without a little whimsy?
January- You Wish Your Woman was as Cool as Li Na.
I know this list was technically for quirky “off court” moments of the season, but I’m breaking my own category right out of the gate. Li Na announced her retirement towards the end of this season and left a multitude of heartbroken fans a crying mess. I don’t follow the women’s tour often, but I adored Li Na. How could you not? She has talent, beauty and a killer sense of humor. I couldn’t resist starting this list off with Li Na’s epic Australian Open victory speech. The Chinese native won the first Grand Slam of the year by beating Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (3) 6-0. Li Na’s lively acceptance speech showed off her personality and fun demeanor. The highlight was when she turned the focus onto her husband.
“And of course my husband. You’re real famous in China. Thanks to him to give up everything just to travel with me to be my hitting partner, to fix the drinks, to fix the rackets. So he do a lot of jobs. So thanks a lot, you’re a real nice guy!
The crowd, including Li Na’s husband, erupted in cheers, laughter, and applause. The spirited tennis star wasn’t finished yet. She still had one more important thing to tell her husband.
“And! And you are so lucky, to find me!”
Now here is a woman who knows her worth! Every woman should have a little Li Na spirit within themselves. This was a great example of her personality and confidence, as well as giving an insight into the playful relationships within her life! It’s been an absolute pleasure watching Li Na and I think everyone will join me in saying, she will be very missed!
February- Big Bird & Friends
The most difficult task with creating this article was resisting the urge to pick Tomas Berdych for every month of the year. I could have easily centered this around one man, the bird man! If you want an interesting personality in the sport, you don’t have to look much further. How do I decide? Do I choose one of his jokey tweets? Do I choose one of his many off-the-wall photo shoots, like this one where he’s holding a baby with breakfast in bed and being dangerously adorable? Calm down, Courtney. He’s taken! In the end, my child-like heart won out. Out of many respectable and wacky choices, I decided to go with this moment from Rotterdam. After his victory against Ernests Gulbis to reach the finals, Tomas met a few new friends. That’s right, guys. Big Bird, Tomas Berdych,brushed feathers with Sesame Street characters Elmo, Bert and Ernie. I can only assume he’s knocking back cookies with Cookie Monster in the off season! That’s totally happening, and you can not convince me otherwise!
March- Judy Murray trolls Yoko Ono on Twitter
Judy Murray is the mother of Andy and Jamie Murray, and the number one member of the Feliciano Lopez fan-club. I’m not gonna to lie, I want to hang out with Judy. She’s not just a mom, she’s a cool mom! She also gave me by far one of the most oddball moments of the year! Judy Murray trolls Yoko Ono on twitter. This is a thing that actually happens on a regular basis, and it’s glorious! Yoko Ono is highly active on twitter and her tweets are a little.. unconventional. Most people use twitter to tell everyone what they’ve had for lunch or live tweet the Walking Dead. Yoko Ono takes a more philosophical approach. Her tweets are spiritual and mystical. Judy, however, isn’t buying it.
Here are some prime examples of this epic feud that never quite was.
Yoko Ono: I think it’s impossible to see a chair as it is
Judy’s reply: Four legs, a seat, and a back rest. What’s not to see?
Yoko Ono: Attach a card saying SPACE TRANSFORMER to a room and/or object you wish to transform.
Judy’s reply: Did it…. nothing happened. What now?
Yoko Ono: Think PEACE, Act PEACE, Spread PEACE and tell your friends to IMAGINE PEACE’.
Judy’s reply: Mmm. Give us PEACE springs to mind.
In case you’re wondering, Yoko has yet to respond to Judy. Keep on being you, Judy! Keep on being you!
April- Jerzy Janowicz Joins a Barnyard Boy Band
In April Jerzy Janowicz posted a photo onto his Facebook wall that I could only describe as a barnyard boy band. Little did I know at the time, I was pretty spot on! Brought to us by ATLAS, sponsored Polish athletes help create energetic and humorous ads to promote the company’s products. According to the Youtube description and help from Google Translator the ad was used to show off white interior paint. Jerzy was joined by windsurfer Pawel Tarnowski and race car driver Maciej Steinhof. When the guys were not practicing their respective sports, they hit the recording studio creating sick beats and spitting rhymes about their training and careers. It’s always nice to see a company finding a comical way to present their brand! I give this video two thumbs up! Of course Jerzy isn’t the first tennis player to make interesting music, and I certainly hope he will not be the last!
May- Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray Become Birthday Party Acts
Head presented us with this promo of what looks like Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic being kidnapped and taken
to an undisclosed location. Quentin Tarantino isn’t directing this, right?! The location turned out to be an established estate that held a birthday party for a spoiled brat. In true Veruca Salt fashion, the little girl stomped her feet and told her father she wanted Maria Sharapova.The father clearly on his last rope insisted that the two confused tennis stars play an ultimate match for her regardless. Also, when I say insisted I actually mean threatened with bodily harm. Don’t worry, guys. With the help of man’s best friend the two were able to escape and all that was left was the unique memory!
June- Cougars, Vampires and Dolla Dolla Bills, Yall.
I, Courtney Massey, have declared June 2014 the month of Ernests Gulbis! Oh, Ernests! Some people love him, some people hate him, but I think we can all agree he is one of the greatest entertainers we have in this great sport of ours. Similar to Tomas Berdych,I found it difficult to choose the finest of all the comical moments this man has provided. Luckily for me, my favorite moments happened within weeks of each other. And luckily for you, I have decided to include all of them. You can’t separate the perfect trio, and this is the king of trios!
The alluring month for Gulbis started when he told a UK reporter he had already gambled away his earnings from Roland Garros. The rumors swirled to news outlets and everyone was talking about the wild Latvian losing it all to gambling. Reporters have a tough time deciphering between fact and a lighthearted joke. Ernests did in fact loose some of his money at the Blackjack table, but he argues it was not the whole shebang! Also while responding to the media’s handling of his joke, he admitted his mother, Milena Gulbe-Kavace, texted him saying, “Are you nuts?”
The second entertaining Gulbis event happened during the Boodles exhibition tournament. The lush older broads of England were out to enjoy the elegant sport of tennis, and as it turns out, get a slice of that Latvian love cake!
It all started when the woman doing the on court interview announced that the Latvian was engaged to a woman in the crowd. Ernests was quick to jump in and dash the rumor before it would ignite a media firestorm. However, after the interview Ernests went over to the rambunctious females to hand over a sweat band. What would have normally been a quick interaction turned into a more intimate moment. The women grabbed Gulbis and showered him with kisses and affection. Soon the alleged fiance skipped onto the court to claim her man as through she had just won big on the Price Is Right. The situation was both hilarious and cringe worthy! Ernests, being the gentleman that he is, played along with the charade until he was able to run away. Far far away.
And finally, we go into the dark side of tennis. Only a few know about what evil lurks in the night, and for every generation a slayer is born. Ok, so maybe not. During a Wimbledon press conference the Latvian thought the interviewer was creating a metaphor, but in actuality he had misunderstood all together and it became a comedic blunder that everyone loved! The question was on how the player felt about taking the umpires out of the equation and using an electronic official system. Ernests thought he said vampire. Gulbis started to describe the player team structure and how some players have too many people around them that could, like a vampire, suck the life out of them on tour. It was a decent analogy, just not the expected one. After a few moments Ernests realized something was amiss and the blunder was out in the open for the world. The mistake was a fun one and media outlets and fans a like were quick to spread it around social media. Ernests is known for his interviews and press conferences. We never know what will come out of his mouth next, which is one of the reasons he is so exciting to watch!
To say Croatian Ivo Karlovic is a big man would be an understatement. Karlovic towers over the masses at 6’11. Naturally, most of us do not rise to that sort of a height. I’m 5’4 so I know what I’m talking about here! Karlovic beat Dudi Sela in their Colombian Open match and were headed to the net. Sela who stands up at 5’9 felt he would need a little extra boost. Before they participated in the traditional hand shake at the net, Sela quickly grabbed a chair to equip himself with the tools to move closer to eye level with his opponent. The two shared a hug in this odd but adorable encounter!
August- Ice Ice Baby
Summer 2014 was dedicated to the Ice Bucket Challenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral campaign to promote awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis by challenging friends and celebrities to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads and make a small donation. The tennis community took this challenge head on, and despite the frozen nature they were able to let it go in the name of charity. Did you see what I did there, guys? Guys? It seemed that no one was safe. The challenges were made and accepted at a swift pace. Some players accepted with grace, and some were a little more comedic like Andy Roddick who told his challenger to quote, “Suck it!” Some of the other men to accept were Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and a slew of Americans. Some of the women participants included Ana Ivanovic, Andrea Petkovic, Victoria Azarenka, and Laura Robson. I want to thank the ALS bucket challenge for it’s existence. Not only is it raising awareness and funds for a good cause, it’s also giving us some serious eye candy. Yes, I’m referring to players taking the challenge in their underwear and tiny shorts. Nice body highlights included Bernard Tomic, Feli Lopez and Grigor Dimitrov. Is it hot in here? I could probably go for an ice bucket right about now.
September- Drew Galloway Wants to Take on Chuck Norris with Andy Murray
Professional wrestler Drew Galloway was included in the list of Scotland’s Manliest Men. He happened to notice that Andy Murray was also included in the list. This prompted Drew to tweet out an unconventional challenge. What are two hunky Scottish men to do? Obviously they are going to tag up and take on Chuck Norris. That’s right. Drew wants Andy Murray to be his tag partner and battle the famous tough guy!
I’m not sure how Andy Murray would do in a fight, but Drew himself is no stranger to a battle. Drew is best known for his time as a WWE Superstar under the name Drew McIntyre. Recently he was released from the company and has been heating things up on the Indy Circuit, holding titles in such promotions like EVOLVE and Insane Championship Wrestling.
Luckily for Chuck Norris, Andy Murray never accepted the challenge.
October- Casting for the Andy Murray Bio Pic.
The following clips I’m about to present are my personal favorites of the year! For Stand Up to Cancer Andy Murray was involved in a comedic two part video to cast his life story. Nothing about this was a disappointment, and there were a lot of surprises! The videos star Andy Murray and comedic actor and director, Richard Ayoade. Casting for a film can be daunting, as we see here. Some of the stars reading for the role of Andy were stars Michael Sheen, Dara O’Briain, & Ed Sheeran. One of which, Cesc Fabregas, appeared to have shown up for the wrong audition.
Things heated up even more in part two. Andy and Richard were still struggling to find the perfect cast and the sass was running high. Jimmy Carr showed up, and for any of you who watch British Panel shows as much as I do, know full well he is a dead ringer for Roger Federer. Gordon Ramsay read for role of an umpire, which may change the rating of the film. Personally I think Noel Fielding completely nailed it and should be hired immediately! In one of the smartest career moves of all time, Britany Spears reads for the part of Andy’s girlfriend Kim Sears. Clearly she is the obvious choice! Did everyone see Crossroads? It was genius! We also see a very familiar face who just might have what it takes to pull it off. I’m still pulling for Noel Fielding though.
November- Outside the Ball Shows Us an Usual Coach
This year Outside the Ball brought us some fun music video parodies and humorous interviews with the players. Hosted by Mayleen Ramey, the Outside the Ball team brings us exciting and fresh content that I as a fan have been dying to see! One of these videos is a comedy skit staring Vince Spadea, I mean Randy, as an unusual coach. He strolls onto court to try and aide the Bryan Brothers with helpful tips. I know his advice sure helped me. I’ll be serving pizzas all day! He later helps out a confused Andrea Petkovic.
December- Players Show Off Their Christmas Spirit
I slowly realized while writing this piece that I’ve included Andy Murray more than I intended. What can I say? For someone who has a boring reputation, he is considerably not boring! Andy Murray showed off his sense of humor by donning a fantastic Christmas sweater that also shows off just how much fire is in his belly. On the women’s side, my imaginary best friend, Laura Robson decorated more than just a Christmas tree. In terms of holiday spirit I think Laura wins all of the awards!
Elsewhere Grigor Dimitrov and Maria Sharapova went Christmas tree shopping together. However, it seems Grigor didn’t get exactly what he wanted. Sorry, Grigor. She’s queen of the court! You can view their adventure here.
Well that’s it for me and the year of 2014. I know there were plenty of wacky and fun moments of this past tennis season so feel free to share some of your favorite moments with me in the comments bellow! May 2015 bring even more wackier moments! Happy New Year!
– Courtney Massey