The top tennis players in the world have a natural aptitude for fitness and athleticism, so it’s not a surprise that many have a passion and interest in other sports.
Rafa Nadal recently became the most successful tennis player of all time after securing a historic 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January. But it could have all been very different for the Spaniard if he’d have followed his love for football instead. Nadal is a huge Real Madrid fan while his uncle, Miguel, played for Barcelona.
“I know that sport is my passion, and if not for tennis, I would have certainly wanted to become a footballer, but no one can ever learn this,” Rafa said in a past interview.
Nadal opted to pursue tennis as a possible career during his childhood and it was obviously the right decision as he won all four Grand Slams and put himself in the conversation as the greatest player of all time alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Such is the popularity of football that many tennis players and fans would probably be very interested in the latest football betting stories. With news about every team in the Premier League, information about the upcoming 2022 World Cup and 2024 Euros, and a handy “Tip Centre”, these stories can help punters to make more informed betting decisions.
It is not uncommon for top tennis stars to enjoy a wide range of sports. Teenage sensation Emma Raducanu, who shocked the world with her US Open win last summer, says her childhood was full of different sporting experiences, and it was only in her early teens that she decided to concentrate on tennis.
She says: “I was doing horse riding, swimming, tap dancing, basketball, skiing, golf and, from the age of five to eight, I was go-karting.” After that, Raducanu also played a number of different ball sports – including basketball and football before putting all of her energy into tennis.
An interest in not just one, but multiple other sports appears to be a common theme for tennis players. Frenchman Gael Monfils is reported to be talented at basketball, football and table tennis, the latter of which he has played with American Sam Querrey when on tour.
Golf is another popular pastime for sports stars in general and Nadal has enjoyed traversing the picturesque courses in his homeland of Mallorca. Djokovic has also featured in a video playing golf with Nadal, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if more stars are enjoying relaxing rounds away from tennis.
There are also certain attributes that tennis players possess that make them a natural fit for other sports. John Isner, standing at six feet ten inches tall, was reportedly an excellent basketball player during his time at high school. While he still loves the game, he instead opted for a career in tennis, where he has regularly been a thorn in the side of top players at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Engagement with other sports is seen as a good thing by experts, especially during childhood as it can help players to become better at the sport they specialise in at a later date. A Danish study found that focusing on one sport at a very early age can be detrimental to a person’s hopes of taking up that sport professionally. Those looking to be future tennis stars then should consider playing other sports if they want to reach the top of the game.