Football And Tennis: Complementary Sports?


STARNBERG, March 28, 2022 (Guest Post)

Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray… Many tennis players claim to love football. Is this a coincidence or a scientific fact? Rafael Nadal has admitted to supporting Real Madrid since he was a child, Roger Federer admits to being a faithful fan of FC Basel’s Parc Saint-Jacques, and Novak Djokovic reminds us that he will be keeping a close eye on the World Cup in Brazil… Despite their differences, do tennis and football have something in common?

Footballers and tennis players

Diego Forlan, Yoann Gourcuff, Manuel Neuer, Hugo Lloris, Stefano Torrisi, Elvir Bolic, Sylvain Wiltord and many others. All of these footballers have in common that they played tennis at a very high level before giving up the racket to take up football. Diego Forlan took part in tournaments with the best young Uruguayans, Sylvain Wiltord won the tournament of the personalities at Roland-Garros this year, while Yoann Gourcuff, ranked 15/3, champion of Morbihan at 12 years old, played against Rafael Nadal at the Open Super 12 in Auray. But there are also tennis players. Nicolas Escudé, Michaël Llodra, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Yannick Noah were all seasoned footballers before leaving their boots behind and taking up a career with a racket. In addition to sharing their players, football and tennis have in common that they are followed by a huge fan and spectator base. These sports generate a worldwide craze and many fans often choose to bet to experience the matches even more intensely, enjoy these sky bet offers from and join a community of sports betting enthusiasts

Legendary stories

In the midst of this, there are some legendary stories, such as that of Hasse Jeppson. In 1953, as a player in Naples, the Swede asked permission from his president to enter a tennis tournament. The request was granted, on condition that the striker play under a different identity. Jeppson became Verde, played in the tournament and won a match against Hermann, a member of the German Davis Cup team. To finish off any doubts about the parallels between the two sports, there was a love story: Samir Nasri and Tatiana Golovin…

Childhood memories and solitude

All parents send their children to play football and tennis. An individual sport is sometimes complicated. A tennis player is very selfish. He is often alone. It’s good for a child to be able to share and communicate. It is true that the facts are stubborn: all the tennis players mentioned above played both sports during their childhood. Rafael Nadal even likes to say that as a child, he preferred football: “Miguel Angel, my uncle who played for Barça, was of course a model. I played in the streets with my friends and at the club in the youth categories in Manacor. In fact, my first great sporting memory is of winning the Balearic championship at the age of 11″. I loved being part of a team,” he says. Roger Federer has a similar story. Until he was a teenager, he played both sports. His idols were Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Marco Van Basten. He then chose the yellow ball with the success that we know. History will remember that he made the right choice. As a tennis player, you regret not being part of a team when you win. Like when you win Wimbledon and you’re alone on the court with no one to hug…”

Universal sport

Football and tennis are sports that are very close to each other. Forty years ago François Valleriaux created the Tennis Football Association to organise football tournaments between tennis players so that they could keep busy in winter, break the routine and enjoy themselves in a team environment, because tennis is a sport where you are alone enough. In the teams of this little league? Yannick Noah, Richard Gasquet, Julien Benneteau, Arnaud Clément… And even Hicham Arazi or Andrei Chesnokov alongside anonymous players from amateur tournaments, third or fourth series players. Further proof, if any were needed, that the border between tennis and football is of the thin variety, with no real equivalent. The advantage of football is that everyone knows or can play it in a tennis club. It is the universal sport par excellence and the advantage is that it is even possible to play it with a tennis ball.