Friday 10 to 1: player imitations
Following the controversy surrounding Caroline Wozniacki's recent impression of Serena Williams, we take a look at 10 of the best imitations of players.
Imitations have been staple of the tennis world ever since a young Novak Djokovic burst onto the scene in 2007 and whipped crowds into a laughing frenzy with his uncanny on-court impressions of his fellow players.
The fans couldn’t get enough, and since then, many other players have added player imitations to their repertoires, lighting up exhibition matches, press conferences, locker rooms and major stadiums.
With this week’s controversy surrounding Caroline Wozniacki’s take-off of Serena Williams at an exhibition event in South America, we decided this Friday to take a look at 10 of the best player imitations.
10. Caroline Wozniacki imitates Serena Williams
Let’s start with the impression that inspired this week’s post. The imitation has been deemed a little tasteless by some and the media was inundated with coverage of the event – it featured in America on Huffington Post, Yahoo and The View, Australia’s Sunrise and countless twitter accounts and blogs. Judge it for yourself – tasteless humour or harmless fun?
9. Andy Roddick imitates Serena Williams
Interestingly, Roddick did exactly the same imitation of Serena a few years earlier, and it barely rated a mention.
8. Kim Clijsters imitates Serena Williams
Serena certainly generates plenty of attention. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Yet what Kim Clijsters references in an exhibition match in Belgium is hardly flattering to the American – Serena’s infamous threats to a lineswoman at the 2009 US Open that landed her with a record fine and two years probation.
7. College player imitates ATP players
One player has been making waves on YouTube for his excellent impersonations of men’s tennis players. Andres Carrasco – a Spanish player competing at the University of Arizona – got a teammate to film him in action, tackling the likes of Agassi, Robredo, Roddick and Moya. The video caught the eye of Andy Murray, who tweeted his love for the imitations to his 1.3 million followers.
6. James Blake imitates Lleyton Hewitt
Although most of the imitations in today’s 10 to 1 are of a humorous nature, every now and then they aren’t. So it was in the case of James Blake, who imitated Hewitt’s iconic “vicht” celebration during their tense second-round match at Australian Open 2005. There’s little doubt where Blake’s motivation came from – the pair had been embroiled in a controversial match back in 2001 at the US Open, in which Hewitt was accused of racism for his comments about a African-American linesman supposedly favouring Blake throughout the match. Needless to say, there was little love lost between the pair.
5. Pete Sampras imitates Andre Agassi
Things got ugly between all-time greats Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi during the “Hit for Haiti” exhibition at Indian Wells in 2010. Playing an all-star doubles match with Roger Federer (who partnered Sampras) and Rafael Nadal, the retired champions let old tensions boil to the surface in an embarrassing display of one-upmanship.
> watch the video here
4. Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki imitate women’s grunters
Time to move back into some more light-hearted territory. During the same exhibition in which Clijsters impersonated Serena, she and Wozniacki played out a rally in which they shrieked and screamed in an uncannily accurate take-off of many of the wailers that populate the women’s game.
3. Caroline Wozniacki imitates Rafael Nadal
Proving quite the prankster, Wozniacki again struck with her imitations, this time paying homage to Rafael Nadal’s bizarre reaction to cramping during a press conference at the 2011 US Open. The Dane was unable to completely recreate Nadal’s dramatic descent under the desk – probably due to the fact she broke into fits of laughter – but we give her points for livening up the press room.
2. Novak Djokovic imitates Maria Sharapova
At the pointy end of this Friday’s 10 to 1, we tip our hat to Mr Imitation himself, Novak Djokovic. In a marketing coup for Head – sponsor of both he and Maria Sharapova – the racquet company was able to get Djokovic to do his best impersonation of the Russian in showing how the racquet helps her game. Watch the original ad first and then the spoof – simply hilarious.
1. Novak Djokovic imitates ATP players
Filmed on a fellow player’s phone in the men’s locker room, this was where it all began. Novak’s impersonations of his peers on the men’s tour were a hit among the players and came to the attention of the broadcast media, who convinced the Serb to re-enact his impressions on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open in 2007 and again at the Australian Open in 2008. Here he can be seen doing his imitations in the men’s locker room at the 2007 US Open, which reportedly did not go down well with some of his fellow players …