Friday 10 to 1: singing tennis players
Inspired by the recent musical feats of Novak Djokovic and Alexandr Dolgopolov, here is our selection of the most notable examples of tennis players singing.
Recent video footage of Alexandr Dolgopolov rapping and Novak Djokovic beat-boxing has got us thinking – which other tennis players have shown off their talents behind the mic?
Well, the answer is plenty. Whether it be karaoke, rapping, music videos or live performances, some of the world’s best have shown they’re rather talented musically. Others still have a way to go.
However you choose to judge their vocal prowess, here is our selection of the most notable examples of tennis players singing in this edition of Friday 10 to 1.
Let’s start with music videos. Dane Caroline Wozniacki has always led an active life off the tennis court, with her modelling, interest in fashion design and attendance at boyfriend Rory McIlroy’s golf tournaments. And she continued in this vein when she made her recording debut in 2012, an auto-tuned track entitled “Oxygen” with accompanying music video. So far, there’s been no word of a follow-up single.
One person generating plenty of singles is former French tennis star Yannick Noah. The 1983 French Open champion turned to music following his retirement and released his first album, Saga Africa, in 1990. He’s released a total of 11 albums, including five that have peaked at No.1 on the French charts from 2000 onward. Noah is popular throughout Europe, and his music videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube. The video below is of his 2006 single “Donne-moi une vie”, a top 10 hit on both the French and Belgian charts.
Speaking of Belgium, retired Belgian great Justine Henin showed off her musical prowess during her 19-month hiatus from the game from 2008 and 2010. In a bid to get outside her comfort zone, Henin starred in the 2009 reality show The 12 Labours of Justine Henin, during which she had to complete 12 personal challenges. One of those “labours” was this singing-and-dancing routine on national television – we wonder how the nerves prior to this stunt compare with an appearance in a Grand Slam final?
While Henin tried her hand at some daunting live performance, at least she had a dance-troupe and a backing track. No so Vania King, who marched out onto Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open a few years ago and belted out an a-capella rendition of “America the Beautiful”. It’s just a shame more people weren’t there to see it.
Moving from classically-trained singers into the world of rappers, we come to another American, Vince Spadea, who fancies himself as somewhat of a lyricist. With many videos on YouTube featuring his rapping, we’ve picked this one (below); it may not make a lot of sense, but hey, it rhymes. If you’re a fan, you can even snap yourself up one of Vince’s “Spadea ain’t afraid of ya” T-shirts.
The uber-talented doubles dynamos are also handy with instruments in their hands. Bob and Mike Bryan may not be the vocalists in their band – aptly named “The Bryan Bros Band”, featuring Mike on drums and guitar and Bob on keys – but they did appear behind the mic with some rapping for their single “Autograph”, also featuring Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Below is a video of these decorated tennis champs (sans Murray) performing the single at a K-Swiss promotional event. You can also listen to the album version (with Murray) in the second video.
The rappers keep coming. Murray, who following his appearance on the “Autograph” track may now consider himself something of a talent-scout, put the word out on Twitter last week: “check out dolgopolov rapping! good effort.” He kindly provided a link – see for yourself. Presenting Alexandr Dolgopolov at the ATP Croatia Open …
Clearly Djokovic can’t stay away from the mic. The Serb, a born performer, was inspired by this incredible beat-boxer in Sydney and paid tribute in this little video. He may have some work to do …
We all know Serena loves a bit of karaoke. You can see it on the Venus & Serena documentary, as well as at the end of a Mouratoglou Academy documentary, where she sings a Macy Gray hit with former arch-rival Martina Hingis. But she really hits her straps on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon following her victory at the 2012 US Open. Serena seemed more intent on discussing her 1990s song selection for karaoke rather than her historic victory, and finished the guest spot with a rousing rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”
Perhaps the only players who live for karaoke more than Serena is this ATP trio, who performed in a jukebox segment at the 2010 French Open hosted by Roger Federer. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling all show off their singing prowess, with varying levels of success. It gets our pick as this Friday’s No.1 choice for its eclectic mix of songs, abundance of wigs and the fact that the players truly threw themselves into the music.