Photo : Getty Images
Stars have fans. And in tennis, the most die-had devotees follow their faves all over the world.
But superfans who travel as a group to root for their idol are few and far between.
And when they look like the Carota Boys, it’s just bananas.
The six young men between the ages of 26 and 28 who dress up like carrots to support Jannik Sinner first popped up in Rome last May and then made their way to Roland-Garros and Wimbledon.
Last weekend in NYC, they finally got to meet their hero at the last Slam of the season.
You don’t have to look very far to figure out where the Carota Boys found their inspiration: Sinner’s red locks and that time he famously chomped away on a carrot mid-match in Vienna back in 2019.
They could just don a fiery wig, but they went with the vegetable costumes to have a bigger impact.
And boy did they ever!
Who are they? Enrico Ponsi, Francesco Gaboardi, Alessandro Dedominici, Alberto Mondino, Lorenzo Ferrato and Gianluca Bertorello from the small town of Revello in Piedmont, in northwestern Italy.
Take a quick tour of their Insta feed, and you’ll see that they don’t always travel in a bunch.
While most people find the Carota Boys amusing, Johnny Mac complained to Eurosport that they take things too far and look ridiculous.
One thing’s for sure: they don’t go unnoticed, and they know it.
They’re actually very reminiscent of the Genie Army.
When Genie Bouchard took the WTA by storm in 2014, she enthralled fans around the world and especially a group of young Australians.
It all started in Melbourne, where she played her way into the semis of the AO.
Her army even followed her all the way home when she competed in the National Bank Open later that summer.
Eugenie thanked them by posing for pics, just like Jannik Sinner did with the Carota Boys.
The Genie Army stayed on for several years before it disbanded.
How long will the Carota Boys be like peas and carrots? If Jannik Sinner substantiates the massive potential everyone sees in him, his Italian fans will have to up their travel budget for the next few years.
What’s next for Félix
A week after his early exit from the US Open, Félix Auger-Aliassime shared a few photos of himself with the caption “Disconnect to reconnect”.
After winning his first four titles and bringing home three team tennis trophies for Canada last year, he probably wasn’t expecting the same amazing results in 2023. But he also probably wasn’t expecting it to be such a tough season either.
Loss of bearings, knee injury, lack of confidence: they all collided to produce a 14–15 record. Félix has lost 10 of his last 12 matches.
He was definitely in need of calm and quiet because, despite what people think, his biggest challenges lie ahead.
Theoretically, in the four weeks from October 10 to November 10, he’ll have to defend the points he collected with his two ATP 250 and one ATP 500 titles and his Masters 1000 semifinal berth. Even if manages to do that, he won’t be a single point richer. And if he doesn’t manage to do that, he’ll take a tumble in the rankings.
So goes professional tennis.
Félix is still young and has time to rebuild his confidence. This fall, he’ll have to limit the damage, not get too hung up on his ranking points and regain the mental toughness that’s at the core of so many tennis triumphs.
Mix and match
Will the WTA–ATP merger happen sooner than expected? That’s the latest from the tennis world.
On September 3, Simon Briggs, tennis correspondent for the Telegraph, even hinted at a two-day meeting in London between tour representatives later this month.
While a lot of big names are hoping for a merger, if only for reasons of logic, logistics, revenue, equal prize money and other considerations, there’s also another aim: to avoid too much involvement—and perhaps even a takeover—by Saudi Arabian interests.
Wealthy entities based in the Middle Eastern country have already attracted some of the world’s biggest international sports stars, including Ronaldo and Neymar, and extended their stranglehold on men’s professional golf.
They’ve now got their sights on the ATP, which is already considering the addition of a 10th Masters 1000 in the capital city of Riyadh after choosing Jeddah to host the Next Gen ATP Finals at the King Abdullah Sports City starting this year, from November 28 to December 2, and for the next five years.
More simply, a merger would strengthen the tennis brand across the globe. Discussions got underway in the wake of the pandemic and heated up last January at the United Cup in Australia.
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