Tennis Prose



Who’s Cool?

While reading Scoop’s comparison of Djoker to Ali a friend sent me this GQ link to its “Coolest Athletes of All Time“  with classic Borg photo by Walter Iooss, Jr.

Tennis has that tradition of cool, self-contained champions: Borg, Ashe, Evert, Laver, Graf, Sampras, Edberg among them. Who are your favorite emotionally expressive players?

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  • dan markowitz · February 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Henri Leconte, Andrew Ilie, Andy Roddick, Yannick Noah. It’s funny, while making this list, I’m aware of how few players today are emotionally-expressive. I guess Djokovic, Roddick in what most people find a rather annoying way. Taylor Dent at the end was expressive. Agassi, with those eyes, was certainly expressive. Navratilova always showed emotion, as does Serena Williams.

    Certainly, the king of expressive players was Nastase. He didn’t care what he said or did out there, and Connors always entertained.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Vilas is the coolest player I ever met. Wilander is up there too. Also Fed, Sampras, Djokovic, Moya, Fred Stolle, Drysdale, so many. I guess like Dan says you gotta put Johnny Mac in there, he’s like Mr. Tennis, transcends the sport in America, just saw him in the Oreo commercial.

  • Mitch · February 3, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Roddick’s not cool, he’s just an asshole. Looking at the top 100, Tsonga, Monaco, Tipsarevic and Dustin Brown stand out. Verdasco would be cooler if he didn’t try so hard.

  • Dan markowitz · February 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm


    I’m curious why you think roddick is an asshole. He certainly speaks well and isiked and respected by other American players. Is the hate from his interludes with officials or something else. Can anyone else speak to this?

  • Mitch · February 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I definitely don’t hate Roddick nor do I believe he’s a bad person, but based on his court antics and how he sometimes treats the press, how can you argue that he isn’t an asshole. I guess the same goes for McEnroe and Connors.

  • Richard Pagliaro · February 4, 2011 at 4:03 am

    McEnroe remains one of the best interviews – if not the best interview – in tennis, IMO. I mean you consider the guy’s been doing press conferences and interviews for 30 years now and he’s still interesting, still sharp, still has a point of view and he does follow the game so he has such a wealth of experience and knowledge. He’s very thoughtful when it comes to comparing players, tactics, situations, patterns, etc.
    Once, was with Dan Weil and (if I remember right) he asked McEnroe to compare the one-handers of Guga, Fed and Haas (or maybe it wasn’t Haas) – McEnroe gave a good analytical answer. So while I understand he treated linespeople (And others) like trash at times, crossed the line and was boorish many times, he’s also got a very genuinely good and generous side and that may be part of the fascination. I’ve watched matches where the guy looked absolutely tormented to the point where he looked tortured by the entire experience then other times have seen him where the shots just flowed, the anticipation and movement was smoother than a dancer and he just seem to almost be gliding 2 shots ahead of the opponent as if he was operating on a different plane. So I think that’s part of the intrigue with him where you could get those physical and emotional extremes in one very volatile and intelligent person.
    Also, some of the better press conferences he did, IMO, were after blow-ups or losses when the press conference became cathartic like being part of a psychoanalysis session.
    Connors can also be very good though I don’t think he has the same level of interest in other players in terms of being fascinated by the technical aspects of their games, i think he relates to players more on a visceral level – he loves players who pour it all out on court like he did. So you can hear in his voice how much respect he has for Nadal and how much he loves his competitiveness.
    When he first launched the senior tour in the early 90s asked him what player reminded him of him the most and he said Seles. That was a fantastic answer – obviously their swing shapes and stroke styles are so dissimilar – but he was saying it based on her fight, her spirit, how hard she competed and the fact they both love that pure feeling of hitting the ball cleanly. Always liked that answer from Connors.
    Connors also had the sense of humor, the charm, the ability to understand and appreciate the crowd could be a part of the show – he was more of a showman in that sense than McEnroe, who would be seething and couldn’t always snape out of it whereas Connors has the ability to get pissed off, to crack a joke, to bring levels of intensity, loathing or levity or whatever was required. He had a sense of how to read the crowd like he could read an opponent whereas McEnroe, who has a good sense of humor, IMO, was never able to use the humor to win the crowd the way Connors could.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm


    I think Roddick is considered a hard ass by many people. They won’t come out and say it the way Ljubicic early in Roddick’s career did. But he has a way of carrying himself that appears cocky. He also has talked to players, didn’t he engage Tsonga in a tongue-lashing at the net at the Australian Open? He is personable and has his ardent followers, but the impression he gives off, and the antagonism he builds by his frequent run-ins with officials, creates an image that is not favorable.

  • jeanius · December 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Expressive- Safin, Zvonereva, Querrey, Jeff Tarango,Petkovic, Schiavone, Monfils,Luke Jenson, Bryan Brothers,Jankovic
    Cool- Henin, Sharapova,Venus,Henman, Soderling,Peer,



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