L’Equipe Names Its Most Influential Tennis Figures

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

On Thursday, French sports daily L’Equipe published its list of the 20 most influential tennis figures. Toping the list was none other than Roger Federer followed at number two by Serena Williams. The rest of the men’s “Top Three” fell into place at numbers three and four with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The rest of the top 10 was dominated by the heads of the ATP and WTA, plus the chief executives of Tennis Australia and the USTA and, collectively, agents. The most influential legend among the Top 10 was Billie Jean King at number six.

Here’s the entire Top 20 list: 1. Roger Federer, 2. Serena Williams, 3. Novak Djokovic, 4. Rafael Nadal, 5. Craig Tilley, Tennis Australia CEO, 6. Billie Jean King, 7. Agents, 8. Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, 9. Steve Simon, WTA CEO, 10. Stacey Allister, USTA Chief Executive Pro Tennis.

11. Sally Bolton, incoming All England Club CEO, 12. Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex French Communications Director, 13. Bernard Giudicelli, French Federation Tennis President, 14. Andy Murray, 15. Patrick Mouratoglou, coach and tennis commentator, 16. Darren Cahill, coach and tennis commentator, 17. John McEnroe, tennis commentator, 18. Larry Ellison, BNP Paribas Open owner, 19. Ion Tiriac, Romanian Tennis Federation President, 20. Noah Rubin, ATP player and creator of Behind the Racquet.

Which house would you quarantine in?

This week, the US Open posted on Twitter: “Which house are you going to?” With much of the world on lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the late-summer Grand Slam decided to brighten the mood of tennis fans by putting together six groups of past and present US Open champions – 30 in all – including Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu. Then, under a big banner headline, “Choose who you’re quarantined with,” it offered fans a chance to respond which house they would be going to.

What they’re writing

Mike Dickson, London Daily Mail tennis writer: “Tennis integrity chiefs fear a spike in corrupted matches when tournaments resume, as lower-ranked players become more desperate to make ends meet.

“Already there is evidence of a growth in suspicious behaviour, with an upsurge of alerts seen in the period leading up to the current lockdown of the circuit.

“The Tennis Integrity Unit now plans to step up prevention efforts, in anticipation that there will be an increase in fixing attempts when the tours emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.”

What they’re saying

In an interview this week with The Washington Post, former pro-turned-coach and ESPN analyst Rennae Stubbs described how the novel coronavirus crisis has become an eye-opener for struggling tennis pros – those ranked outside the Top 100. “If you’re inside the top 100, you’re putting money away. But if you’re not, it’s difficult. You have travel, maybe a coach, and taxes that might take 20, 30, 40 percent of your prize money. For a lot of players, it’s a moment to think about, ‘What do I have to fall back on,’ whether it’s an education or another skill.”

Even Stubbs has seen her own earnings as a tennis analyst and coach take a hit, thanks to cancelled tournaments and missed coaching opportunities. “There is a trickle-down effect,” she said. “It’s a very scary time for a lot of people.”

What they’re tweeting

Naomi Osaka, Japan, two-time Grand Slam champion currently ranked No. 10

Boris Becker, Germany, six-time Grand Slam champion and winner of 49 ATP titles

Sofia Kenin, United States, 2020 Australian Open champion currently ranked No. 4