As I was putting together a database of Challenger and Futures players in the Top 500, I compiled just about every available piece of info I could find. And I found that one of the more interesting data fields came from the players’ “Personal Interests”, as listed on their ITF Biography Pages.
If you’ve ever tried researching players outside the Top 200, you’ll probably know how hard it is to dig up any info other than results for said players. While a large majority of the Top 200 enjoy a lavish paragraph or two on the ATP’s “Personal” profile tab*, often the only sense one can get of a tenniser’s multi-dimensionality comes from this part of their ITF page.
Now, a lot of these interests are fairly drab or predictable; almost 50% of players list either soccer or football, for example. Or 15% list “golf”, for another. But some are interesting and unique enough that they bear special mention, which is what I’ll do in this post, expertly dividing them into neat-o sub-categories such as:
A few players naturally list “girls” as one of their personal interests (although, predictably, none list them as “women”) — Marton Fucsovics and Brydan Klein among them (insert your own joke here).
But only two (2) (TWO!) players list them as “girls!” with an exclamation point: Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri and Israel’s Dudi Sela. If you’ve been following the news, you will find that to be either a remarkable coincidence or Proof Once And For All of God’s Unquestionable Existence.
Oh, and there’s one (very smart) player who knows on what side his croissant is buttered, and that’s Lucas Pouille. Because instead of “girls” or “girls!”, the 19-year-old Frenchman has: “Girlfriend.” Period.
As with Jaziri and Sela, I noticed that Moldovans like ATP #171 Radu Albot and #379 Maxim Dubarenco are the only people who list “walking with friends” as a favored activity. Not “hanging out with friends” or “visiting with friends” – walking with friends. Actually, Albot is even more exclusive than Dubarenco is, as he wrote “walking with best friends”.
Are you merely a good friend to Radu? Or are you a best friend? Find out by seeing if he walks with you!
This Moldovan pattern is either further proof of a Universal Order, or just an indication that the Moldovans copied off of each other’s ITF profile questionnaires when they filled them out.
In this increasingly digital age, where 1/4th of all players list one of “internet”, “computer” or “video games” as a main interest, it’s becoming rare to find readers on the tour.
Thus, I am singling out for special commendation Ricardas Berankis, Alejandro Falla, Andrey Golubev (who, in also listing “playing chess” as a favored pursuit, wins the title of Ultra-Nerd) and Uladzimir Ignatik.
Kimmer Coppejans lists “Manga” as an interest — that’s a kind of Japanese comic book, so I’ll give him half-credit.
One of the few luxuries of being outside the Top 100, I suppose, is that insurance clauses on multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements won’t limit you from your favorite, possibly career-ending adrenalized adventure pursuits. Yay?