Tennis Prose



Which players do the pros cheer for?

About ten years ago I got the idea to ask several WTA and ATP players at the US Open who would they cheer for if they were not in the tournament? Who would they like to see win? Here are the interesting results of the unofficial poll.

Should I do another one of these at Miami Open?

Danai Udomchoke: “I could imagine the picture of Roger Federer capturing the trophy, I want him to make the record. I want him to win the French Open also. He’s a good guy. He’s a very good guy. (You know him a long time?) Yes. Because we are same age and then we play junior together. Once I play him, but in doubles, when we were like 16 or 17. He won. He’s a very nice guy. He talk to everyone and he remember everyone.”

Feliciano Lopez: “Anyone of the Spaniards. I guess Rafa.”

Marcos Baghdatis: “Nobody. No. (What about rooting for one of your friends?) No friends [smiles].”

Martina Hingis: “You don’t want to see anybody but yourself holding the trophy. I’m sorry — I can’t give another answer.”

Ivan Ljubicic: “It’s hard question. But I think everybody is thinking about the record — if Roger can get Pete Sampras. If I’m out I guess I would cheer for him just because I would like to see records be broken. But really, I don’t have any favorite players. If I can’t make it, then other Croatians. If not them, whoever.”

Nicolas Kiefer: “If you would put money on somebody I think Roger is by far the favorite.
Maybe Djokovic. As a fan I would love to see me but it’s impossible now. I’m not a fan when I’m out, I’m not a fan.”

Jo Wilfried Tsonga: “[Long pause]… … I don’t know…Marat Safin. (Why?) Because since some years he’s not playing very well in Grand Slams so it will be fun to see him at the final or semifinal.”

Yan Zi: “It really doesn’t matter to me.”

Peng Shuai: “I never really think of that question. I just think of why I lose, my next training and what I have to train. And just wish good luck for everyone. It’s really tough to cheer for anyone — every tournament has different players.”

Arnaud Clement: “All the other French players. (Any in particular?) Sebastian (Grosjean), Michal (Llodra), and we are 15 in the draw and we are very good friends.”

Jurgen Melzer: “Oh, that’s a tough one. But I think I would root for Roger. Four in a row. And he’s a nice guy. We know each other since juniors. We’re the same age. It’s unreal for Roger.”

Juan Martin Del Potro: “Roger again. Or some Argentinean players. (Why Roger, he’s won so many already?) Because he’s the best [smiles].”

Fabrice Santoro: “I like Roger Federer to beat the record of 14 in Grand Slams. To beat this record, to win four more. So I’m always very happy when he goes through a Grand Slam. He’s a very good guy on the court, he’s fun to watch, and he’s a great guy off the court.”

Janko Tipsarevic: “Novak. Novak for sure. (Why?) First of all because he’s a dear friend. And second of all, because I really want to see someone getting involved into the Federer-Nadal rivalry and the race who is to be number two and number one.”

Francesca Schiavone: “Justine. Because she’s a complete player. She has every shot. She has mind. I respect her.”

Agnes Szavay: “Probably Henin gonna win the tournament. I don’t know, I’m not thinking of this [smiles].”

Rafael Nadal (asked during first week): “Well, favorite for me is Roger.”

Svetlana Kuznetsova: “All of my good friends or I guess Justine Henin. Because I think she’s one of the best at the moment. She’s most professional one.”

Patty Schnyder: “On the men’s Roger. Just for me the best player ever. On the women’s— I don’t know. I don’t know. I think Mauresmo — she has her title. So she’s not even here — I really wanted her to win one Slam. But otherwise, yeah, it’s not too deep friendship that I have with somebody [smiles].”

Stefan Koubek: “Roger. I’m a friend, a fan, everything of him. I just like to see him win but unfortunately I have to beat him in the semis [smiles].”

Akiko Morigami: “I would say either Anna (Chakvetadze), because I think she has so much potential. I think she can do it. She never won in a major. So I’m really cheering for Anna. I think she has a great game as well.”

Vince Spadea: “Any of the Americans. Or Federer. I would like to see Federer win the French Open.”

Andrei Pavel: “That’s a very difficult question. [Long pause]… …I can’t say anybody…who would you like to see win?”

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  • catherine · March 9, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Kerber/Putintseva played at a furious pace by both players. Angie looked energised and focussed. Very different model from Dubai. Next she gets Vikhlantseva, who beat CSN in 3 sets.

  • catherine · March 9, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    And just to finish up – Aryna does it in 3, 6-0 3rd set. So I’ve had a good start to this session 🙂

  • jg · March 9, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    liked Navratilova comment that the Felix open stance stretch backhand was Djokovic x2, you rarely see players pulling that shot off, most have to resort to the slice. Its amazing Felix is living up to the hype from when he was 14 when folks were posting you tube videos of him saying he as a combination of Djokovic and Federer. (Im off to hit some and try to pull off that shot, I’ll just go for the slice)

  • Hartt · March 9, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Despite all the hype about Félix beginning when he was just 14, Tennis Canada has been careful to let him develop at his own pace, without placing unrealistic expectations on him.

    They were careful to stress how young he was.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Nobody saw that I predicted Felix to beat Tsitsipas? I want a pat on the back 🙂 This kid is for real, he can not only beat anybody in the world right now, he can win this title and he can win a major this year. He looked spectacular today, except for that one game of three double faults, yet he still won the game. He looked like a player who can be better than peak Djokovic. Okay, everybody, start shooting me for saying that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 9, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    So Marcos Giron beats DeMinaur today from a set down. Dan, time to change or faulty assessment of Giron. He’s a rising force of a player. DeMinaur is 24 in the world and never plays a bad match. Giron is a rising force.

  • Hartt · March 9, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Scoop, congrats for your Félix prediction. I have to confess that I thought that Tsitsipas had the edge. But FAA totally outplayed Stefanos.

    As far as Félix winning this title, or a Slam this year, I guess I am more cautious. But I think it is just a matter of time before Félix starts to win big tourneys.

  • Hartt · March 9, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    As a big Kohlschreiber fan, I was so happy to see Kohli win over Nick Kyrgios. Kohli was very solid, making many more winners than UFEs. He made some amazing shots in the match, a lot of fun to watch.

    To hear the commies talk, you’d think Nick was the only player on the court. Kohli deserved a lot more credit than they were giving him.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 9, 2019 at 7:43 pm


    When I heard Giron beat deMinaur I almost ate a tennis ball. I was at the 14’s Harlem Junior Open. Then I heard Felix beat Tstsi and I almost ate a net post. I will never doubt you and your prognostications again. You are the man!

  • Hartt · March 9, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Dan, earlier you were unimpressed with Félix, and said he needed to win a big match in a big tourney. Is FAA winning against Tsitsipas in IW a big enough win for you?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 9, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Dan thanks, and how did Cal do in Harlem?

  • Dan Markowitz · March 11, 2019 at 10:22 am

    I must point out though, Scoop, that not all your predictions come to fruition. You wre very high on Bouchard during the off-season and she has looked pedestrian again in 2019.

    I am impressed by Felix now, Hartt, but I do think he’s made his hay in ’19 on clay and against an opponent, who although formidable in Tstsi, Felix was comfortable playing him. So let’s see how he does going forward.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 11, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Dan as we know anything can go off with Bouchard at any moment. I think we know tennis is a high priority for her but social media and boyfriends may actually be her higher priority. If she can stay dedicated to tennis and focus all her energies on her tennis career she will have big success again. If not, most likely not. Have you seen Felix play in the last three weeks? If not then you have no idea what this kid is doing. Nishioka will be an interesting test. Kozlov plays today in Drummondville Challenger, big match for him, big tournament for him with his new team.

  • Hartt · March 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    To be fair to Bouchard, she has had a cough for the last 6 weeks. She even wondered if that was a factor in her ab problem. She said she was going to consult a specialist.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 11, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Bigger problem for Bouchard is her game lacks any sort of subtlety or variety. She hits every ball like Jimmy Connors, but she doesn’t move like Connor did and Connors actually knew how to play with some variety, not Bouchard.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 11, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Bouchard was getting to net and making volleys in January. I think she’s fragile player and one bad loss could crush her confidence.

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