inspirational people / tennisplayers edition

Look at this baby face!
As already mentioned, I adore tennis and among my favourite players are Roger Federer (obviously!), Lleyton Hewitt (on whom I had a lil' crush when I was younger, hehe) and Tommy Haas (even if he sometimes remained second or third best in my heart due to his rivalry with the aforementioned ;) ). The thing that is common between them is their rather similar age and their fighting spirit - they are all in their thirties and I do hate it when the media point out that fact too heavily especially regarding Federer who has already won 17 grand slam titles (and that from a very early age) and can still smash youthful guys!

It sounds even more ridiculous since the average age seems to be growing among tennis players and Tommy Haas, who himself gets annoyed at being constantly repeated that he is 35, OMG 35! and still playing, and probably the best tennis he's ever played after a long period of terrible misfortune and injuries. He rose from the 896 spot after injuries to reach back the top 20 within a year and is now world n°13. It just shows how determined, courageous and talented he is! They all are!
Among his fans, you'll often find people carrying signs reading "age is nothing but a number". Anyway, let's not forget that Hewitt remains the youngest player to reach the n°1 spot.

What is particularly striking about them is that they are as eager as before and when they play, they fight, they never give up. Take Hewitt, he's not as tall as an Isner or a Del Potro but he beat the latter recently at the London Queen's Club tournament on grass. His serve isn't that destructive but his return can cause serious damage and he never calls it quits. He has, like Haas, undergone many surgeries and he says, like Haas too, that this is precisely because of this hard journey that he finds the strength to fight and play on. They also feel they are more experienced, know themselves better and feel they can surpass themselves due to what they have been through. Federer's amazing constancy and consistency is baffling.

Is it me or do the texture of Tommy's hair and the koala's fur look
somewhat similar?
I enjoy watching Tommy Haas on court, just like Hewitt, he keeps moving a lot, his footwork is quick and I like his signature jumps, half squat on both feet when awaiting a volley for instance. It makes me smile, and even laugh unashamedly, when he swears at himself, (gently?) smashes a racquet, or ironically applauds an unforced error of his on the court. He's just human and too harsh on himself!
Similarly, Hewitt's nervous ticks are sweet and funny and his "come on" ritual cannot but put a smile on your face!
Federer's cool composure hasn't always been so and I sometimes feel a bit worried when I see him get angry at himself (or at the crowd for pretending they can call a ball out when it's not, fyi he won that match after being down 2 sets to love!) hoping that he will soon refocus. Even if those are obviously things aimed at shaking you up in order to be more concentrated, we see that many players who get too annoyed too easily have not always reaped the benefits of it. McEnroe admitted that his constant,well, fits of rage hampered his game.
But I'm digressing as usual.

I love the fact that Tommy Haas and Federer are good friends. They even played doubles together in Halle, Germany last week  and that Federer, according to many of his fellow players, stays a really simple, approachable guy who isn't haughty or holier-than-thou at all! I had only slight doubts about Tommy Haas who is engaged to a glamorous Hollywood actress and attracted to luxurious sportscars... But the fact that he is good friend with Federer just does him justice haha! No, I'm joking, he seems to be a nice, authentic person AND I love that he has helped me practise my German, I'm so proud when I hear him speak and can understand (almost) everything! Same thing with Federer although he almost always speaks in French or English, it is not that often that I can get a chance to hear him speak German... And of course, Lleyton Hewitt's adorable Aussie accent is a bonus!

Lleyton and Cruz Hewitt

Tommy and Valentina Haas
Last but not least, they also have kids and seem to be doting fathers! Tommy Haas recently said that his daughter was his main motivation and source of inspiration. Roger Federer (like Tommy) said that he wanted to play so that his twin daughters can see him and remember him playing. And we've seen Lleyton Hewitt's cutsey son come and greet him on court after, according to his dad, he helped him out a lot during practice sessions!

So, what's not to like in those guys?

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