The saying goes that the only thing we can be sure of in life is death and taxes. For tennis stars, you can add another certainty to that list – press conferences. Top players complete mandatory press conferences after their matches, and with that much time spent in the interview room, they’re bound to throw up some memorable moments. Here’s a look back at 10 of the best.
10. Novak Djokovic impersonates Maria Sharapova
He burst onto the scene with his run to the US Open final in 2007, winning the crowds over along the way with uncanny impersonations of his opponents’ serving rituals. These impressions became scarce as some players objected, but it seems the joker can’t be suppressed in Novak Djokovic. At a Head promotional event, the Serb took on the persona of fellow brand ambassador Maria Sharapova, with hair to boot.
9. Caroline Wozniacki imitates Rafael Nadal
It seems Djokovic isn’t alone when it comes to a decent impersonation. Dane Caroline Wozniacki created a bit of hilarity – and controversy along the way – when she imitated Rafael Nadal’s bizarre collapse at a 2011 US Open media conference after his right leg cramped. How did Wozniacki do? Let’s go to videotape.
8. Caroline Wozniacki questions Novak Djokovic
These two goofballs simply can’t stop attracting attention. Djokovic may have been delivering a serious media conference in the lead up to Wimbledon in 2011, yet that didn’t stop Wozniacki dropping in for a little chat.
7. Andy Roddick storms out
While it seems press conferences are all laughter, fun and games, quite often it’s exactly the opposite. Reporters can often hit a nerve with a confrontational question, and that’s exactly what happened at the China Open when a journalist touched on the subject of retirement with an even touchier Andy Roddick.
6. Li Na breaks down in tears
Press conferences also serve to bring forth a range of emotions in players, yet not always for the good. Li Na isn’t the first player to break down in tears before the media, but it was nevertheless heartbreaking to watch the bubbly Chinese player dissolve as she tried to explain to Chinese journalists her failure to convert four match points in a fourth round loss to Kim Clijsters at Australian Open 2012.
5. Rafael Nadal in good spirits
Let’s get back to some more pleasant pressers. Rafael Nadal was in a particularly good – if not slightly distracted – mood after a win at Wimbledon in 2010, the year he went on to win the title. His boyish charms, quaint struggles with the English language and humorously direct answers are all on display in the neatly-packaged video.
4. Martina Hingis v Serena Williams
Who doesn’t love a good WTA catfight? And who, outside of Martina Hingis and Serena Williams, engaged in more of them? Hingis has a history of sharp-tonguedness, with acerbic comments about Amelie Mauresmo’s sexuality, Jana Navotna and Steffi Graf’s age and Anna Kournikova’s talent. Williams is no angel either, having sounded off at umpires aplenty, as well as fellow players (which you will see later). So when Hingis at the 1999 US Open described the Williams sisters and their father Richard as having “big mouths”, it set the scene for a catty combat.
3. Serena v Dinara – who deserves No.1?
Serena’s at it again, this time 10 years on from her little media stoush with Hingis. The subject is the world No.1 ranking, ever a contentious issue on the WTA Tour and one which reared its head when Williams won Wimbledon in 2009 – her third Grand Slam title from the past four majors – only to find herself ranked second behind Russian Dinara Safina. Fast forward to the 57-second mark of the video to hear Williams’ thoughts on the matter.
2. Goran Ivanisevic v Mark Woodforde
Continuing the theme of cat fights, this time it’s the men doing the honours. Aussie Mark Woodforde had just been beaten in straight sets by Goran Ivanisevic at the US Open in 1998, only to roundly criticise the Croat’s supposedly one-dimensional game. Goran didn’t take too kindly to that – and the video below shows how it all played out.
1. Roddick delivers a sublime performance
You have to tip your hat to Andy Roddick for this particular press conference. The context? It immediately followed his 6-4 6-0 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Roger Federer in the 2007 Australian Open semifinals. Roddick’s brutally honest answers – delivered in trademark deadpan style – had the journalists in the room in stiches. As Roddick says so himself: “If there were rankings for press conferences, I wouldn’t have to worry about dropping out of the top five.” We definitely agree with him there.