Tennis Prose



Three Tennis Stars Who Love The Casino

Professional athletes have been targets of gossip about gambling. Perhaps the biggest names that come to mind are former basketball player Michael Jordan and football stars Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, there are quite a few former and present tennis pros who love casino games. 

Tennis stars play casino games too and, in this article, we will talk about three players who love a good game of poker. We were lucky to be able to discuss this topic with Michelle Thomas, an online gaming expert from Canada whom you can read more about on this link.

What games do sports stars like?

There are no accurate statistics on the betting habits of sports stars and other celebrities. We will only know what celebrities play if they admit to it or if they were seen playing in a casino. Today, much of gambling is done in online casinos Canada and around the world. 

In online casinos, it is easy to hide behind a false identity so any celebrity could be playing casino games using a fake name. Probably many footballers, golfers, and tennis stars play slot machines but this is not what people are usually proud of so they wouldn’t be talking about it. 

Professional sportsmen and women are usually very competitive and are often used to success, so it is not surprising that they most often play strategy games such as poker or blackjack. Apart from this, they can be fans of sports betting, often betting on themselves, which was the case with, for example, Michael Jordan.   

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Tennis stars play poker

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal, the “King of the Clay” is one of the best tennis players ever. But apart from competing on the tennis court he also loves a good game of poker. In 2014 he played against Vanessa Selbst in a heads-up game at Casino de Monte Carlo. 

Selbst is often referred to as the world’s best female player and she has won over $11 million in tournament winnings. Even though Nadal has been playing poker in Spain from a young age, he was no match for Vanessa. He was later on ridiculed for his terrible poker face during the game against Selbst, but nevertheless, in an interview, he said that he had enjoyed playing against the poker star. 

Nadal became a PokerStars ambassador in 2012 and, as his biggest success, he won the $100,000 EPT Charity Event. It is worth pointing out that the event included Canadian professional poker player Daniel Negreanu in the line-up! 

Boris Becker

German tennis legend Boris Becker needs no introduction to anyone. The former number 1 ranked professional tennis player and 6 major title winner has also signed a Pokerstars ambassador, back in 2007. 

Becker often plays at European Poker Tour events. He describes himself as a patient poker player who has the ability to read his opponents. He has won $72,776 in live poker tournaments which cannot compare to his $25,080,956 tennis tournaments winnings but you never know what the future holds for Boris. 

Jimmy Connors

Jimmy’s gambling story is definitely less cheerful than Nadal’s or Becker’s as the American former world No. 1 tennis player had a serious gambling addiction. In his autobiography, The Outsider, he talks about the gambling addiction that he has suffered with for years. As he admits in the book, he would gamble as long as he would have money and only stop when he was broke. He also bet on himself on many occasions. 

The most serious of these was when he bet $1 million on himself to win his battle-of-the-sexes game in 1992 against Martina Navratilova. Connors after a tough match ended up winning 7-5, 6-2 and won the bet. Connors claims that he is free from his addiction and is now coaching other up-and-coming tennis players. 


There are plenty of professional athletes who like casino games. Often these sports stars who are used to competition choose poker as their favorite game and this is the case with the three tennis stars we mentioned above.

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 24, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    There are some gamblers in tennis. Tennis players are gamblers my nature, they gamble on tough shots and tactics. They gambled on their childhoods to make it as pros. And they still like to gamble once they become pros. It’s a thrill and a rush to gamble. One former world no. 1 loved and still loves to bet on tiebreakers. One American told me a former no. 1 American “(blank) loves to bet on everything.” Now gambling sites are major sponsors in tennis and for the Tennis Channel. It’s a huge revenue stream.



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