Tags: Anastasia Rodionova, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Conchita Martinez, Gael Monfils, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin del Potro, justine henin, Kim Clijsters, Nicolas Almagro, Novak Djokovic, Patty Schnyder, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tomas Berdych, Vera Dushevina
Tennis is a funny sport. You battle – and most likely hate – an opponent for several hours on court, and once the battle is won or lost, you cast all ill-feeling aside and make nice at the net in the form of a respectful, congenial handshake. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to go.
Professional matches over the years have concluded with some intriguing, amusing or even controversial handshakes. They go a long way to revealing the relationship between players, and perhaps give fans a bit of insight into the nature of that relationship off the court and out of the public eye.
Here’s 10 of the more noteworthy post-match handshakes.
10. Juan Martin Del Potro v Andy Roddick – 2012 US Open fourth round
Just because professional players fight tooth-and-nail for supremacy doesn’t mean they can’t be amicable. And after this match, which Del Potro won at the recent US Open to end Andy Roddick’s career, the handshake proved a heart-warming finish that went beyond the contest and celebrated Roddick’s legacy, the admiration for him among the playing group, and Del Potro’s class in recognising his role in this significant moment in time.
9. Pete Sampras v Andre Agassi – 2001 US Open quarterfinals
8. Kim Clijsters v Justine Henin – 2010 Brisbane International final
Both of these matches pitted age-old rivals against one another, whose careers had intertwined and between who there had been periods of both easygoing and frosty relations. But whatever their relationships were like off the court – in retirement they are reportedly rosier – these players brought out the best in each other, which translated to some stunning matches. Their handshakes are evidence of their mutual respect for one another.
> Watch Clijsters & Henin at net following their epic final in Brisbane
7. Justine Henin v Serena Williams – 2003 French Open semifinals
There may have been respect and admiration between Clijsters and Henin, but there was little love lost between Henin and fellow rival Serena Williams. In this match, Williams was incensed that Henin failed to admit she’d raised her hand when the boisterous crowd disrupted play in the third set as Williams was preparing to serve, which meant her serve counted as a fault as opposed to a let. When the Belgian went on to win, Williams was far from impressed, marching around the net and delivering a quick, cold handshake that rankled the already pro-Henin crowd.
6. Gael Monfils v Grigor Dimitrov – 2011 US Open first round
5. Serena Williams v Vera Dushevina – 2010 Madrid second round
Sometimes, the seemingly-simple act of a post-match handshake doesn’t always go to plan, as Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils discovered when they almost locked lips following their match at the US Open in 2011. Or, it can be spiced up with some player antics, as Serena Williams demonstrates in the second video.
4. Tomas Berdych v Nicolas Almagro – 2012 Australian Open fourth round
3. Anastasia Rodionova v Svetlana Kuznetsova – 2010 Wimbledon second round
2. Conchita Martinez v Patty Schnyder – 2004 Charleston semifinals
Definitely the most rare and controversial of all handshake types, as Tomas Berdych found out when he refused to shake opponent Nicolas Almagro’s hand after their fourth round match at Australian Open 2012. Berdych, indignant that Almagro had fired a ball at him while at net and so did not see fit to acknowledge him properly at the end of the match, was roundly booed by the Hisense Arena crowd, which lasted all the way through his on-court interview and even a little bit into his quarterfinal against Rafael Nadal. For Kuznetsova, her crime was less magnified simply because she was on a smaller, outer court at Wimbledon, but that didn’t stop the Brits letting her know what they thought when she completely ignored Anastasia Rodionova after falling to the Aussie in the second round in 2011. Patty Schnyder’s was the most petulant of the three, seeing her go in for the handshake before pulling out following a spiteful match against Conchita Martinez in Charleston in 2004.
1. Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
Arguably the most interesting and pertinent handshakes have been the ones between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which have oscillated between friendly hugs (usually when Djokovic loses) to cold, quick handshakes (usually when Nadal loses). An interesting video recently emerged of this “evolution” beginning from when Nadal won the 2010 US Open over the Serb to when Djokovic reversed the result in New York 12 months later, part of a seven match winning-streak that Djokovic built over his Spanish rival. Also making interesting viewing is the handshake after Nadal snapped that losing streak in the Monte Carlo final of 2012.