The Tennis Canada Mascot walks out onto Centre Court.

2023 National Bank Open presented by Rogers

After months of tournaments, results and stories, how about some lighter tennis content?  

By the time you read this, I’ll be on holidays on the East Coast, in a place where there’s gorgeous beaches and some of the most beautiful tennis courts I’ve ever seen, just off a little backcountry road backing onto a forest. And it’s free to play. 

Photo : Paul Rivard 

So I thought I’d keep you entertained with a collection of the most curious tennis-related people, places and events I had a lot of fun compiling over these past few months. Like a tennis smorgasbord.  

Lace up your sneakers, here we go! 

Tennis on ice 

Source : X/@ThebestFigen 

In our beautiful wintry country—a hockey nation if there ever was one—Rob Worling and Pavel Barber merged their passions for tennis and our national sport. The all-around athletes even called their rink the fourth surface

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Clever and impressive!  

When soccer and tennis collide  

Image : Youtube 

Hockey isn’t the only sport that’s been combined with tennis. Just think of the countless European and South American players who also love soccer. 

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When an entertainer like Benoît Paire hits the court, things can really get out of hand. Like this UTS match last July in Los Angeles with Diego Schwartzman of Argentina on the other side of the net.  

Or like this one between Paire and his countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Halle back in June 2019.   

Not one, not two, but three bounces! 

Photo : Getty 

Balls hit the net cord all the time, but on July 9 at Wimbledon, Elina Svitolina’s ball hit it three times before dropping limply. An easy point for Victoria Azarenka who was standing right there. 

Stuck on you 

Photo : Instagram

Just as improbable is the ball that literally got stuck in Ulrikke Eikeri’s racquet during her doubles match in Nottingham on June 16.  

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She couldn’t believe her eyes when she tried to hit a return, lost sight of the ball and felt her racquet a little heavier than usual. 

Tennis wipeout 

You may remember watching the American game show Wipeout, which ran from 2008 to 2014. Contestants had to complete an obstacle course littered with pitfalls and surprise attacks. 

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Here’s the tennis equivalent.  

Something tells me you won’t want to try it. Expect a lot of calls for the trainer.  

No backhand, no problem  

Montage : 

Meet 13-year-old Teodor Davidov, a sensational young player who only hits forehands. Because he’s got two: one right-handed, one left-handed.   

He never, ever, hits a backhand. 

Here he is in a 2022 match against Evan Giurescu of France. Even on serve, he changes hands depending on where he’s standing.   

Teodor was born in Bulgaria and grew up in Colorado. His family emigrated to the United States when he was 18 months old.   

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His father, Kalin Davidov, taught him this unusual style: “When Teo was about to turn eight, I decided to have him start playing left-handed to affect the right hemisphere of his brain. He is too extroverted, fiery and a bit unbalanced, so I only wanted to affect the right hemisphere of his brain, using the left side of his body. The balance between the left and right hemisphere is crucial.” 

If Michael Jackson had played tennis 

No, the pop superstar never demonstrated this type of mastery with a tennis racquet. This is French TikToker JoJo Akams, aka akamztweenty. 

Akams definitely knows how to use a racquet. He’s got all the moves, even the tweener. 

Blocked shot on the (tennis) court 

In basketball, a block happens when a defender deflects a field goal attempt with their hand.   

You see it a lot on the basketball court, but it’s extremely rare on the tennis court. Aside from that, the shot’s chances of success are slim.  

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But at a tournament in Kazakhstan, Tair Sarmanov achieved the feat, much to his rival’s dismay.  

Child’s play  

Some children start playing tennis at a young age. And some start at a very, very young age.   

But three years old? With such consistency and style?  

Dream courts 

Images : IG/victorbortiz_architecture 

There are spectacular amphitheatres in locations as stunning as they are original.  

Top of mind for me is my favourite court on the planet, Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli at Foro Italico, which shines bright every May during the Internazionali NBL d’Italia. 

Digital photo artists who also happen to be tennis fans have used their imagination to create their own dream courts. Here are four of the best. 

The first is a computer-generated redesign of the famous Amphitheatre of El-Jem in Tunisia. 

Image : Amin Minotti Khelil 

The next one, like the one in the photo above, is based on two Brazilian buildings. 

Images : IG/victorbortiz_architecture 

And the last one, which is surrounded by water, will probably require a titanic supply of balls. 

Image : IG/apekshagarwal 



Twitter : @paul6rivard 

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