Once their career is over, not all professional tennis players dream of becoming a coach, a consultant or President of their Tennis Federation. Proof with ten professional reconversion from the Bar to the Rally, through Feng Shui.
Mario Bartoli, football commentator
Marion had enough. Enough of training like a horse, enough of the pressure, enough of the competition. So as soon as she reached the Holy Grail - a prestigious victory at Wimbledon on the 6th of July 2013 - she decided to hang her racquets and change life. "I feel like the time has come for me to leave. I just can't do it anymore, my body is no longer able to endure everything," she said. Retirement, a little death? To others! Marion is now having a blast as TV consultant. Not only for tennis, but for football too. Lifelong supporter of Olympique de Marseille, she commented early January a Cup match between her favourites and Reims. "I'm pretty football savvy, I watched a lot of games when I was a kid". For a girl who triumphed on the grass of Wimbledon, there is a certain logic to enjoy a good game on a beautiful lawn!
David Nalbandian, rally driver
He said it as early as 2006, when he was at the peak of his career and he was elected sportsman of the year, at home, in Argentina, the previous year: "I want to drive in the future. It will be in three or five years, I haven’t decided yet." David Nalbandian has only cheated of a few years. He finally waited until the end of his tennis career in 2013 to turn to a new sporting challenge, with in line of sight the Argentina WRC in May. Him who has been co-pilot in the past should be driving a Chevrolet Agile, with his experienced compatriot Daniel Stillo by his side.
Ievgueni Kafelnikov, king of poker
What a strange bird this Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Winner in Roland Garros in 1996 and at the Australian Open three years later, becoming briefly world number one then, the Russian was one of the most talented tennis players of the nineties. Marathoner of the tour, it was said that he was running for prices, which would have cost him some other prestigious successes. Once retired of the courts, he didn’t forget his passion for the game and participated in several international poker tournaments, including one that he won at home, in Moscow. In 2007 he was also appointed Vice-President of the Russian golf Federation, another of his passions. "I want to be an important piece of sport development in Russia," he said at the time. In short, Kafelnikov gets around here and there. Definitely a strange bird...
Mark Philippoussis, real TV hero
Despite an undeniable talent, the Australian angel face Mark Philippoussis was never able to have the career that many observers predicted to him when he arrived on the professional tour in 1994. He still won 11 ATP titles and reached the 8th place in the world in 1999, before finally hanging up his racquets in 2006. The following year, he participated in the American reality show the Age of Love, where he played the role of a bachelor looking for a lasting love. Experience dismissed. The last we heard, Philippoussis still has a heart for sale.
Yannick Noah, successful singer
« Saga Africa, ambiance de la brousse, saga Africa, attention les secousses!» In one hit single - that accompanied the French victory in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas in 1991 - the former tennis champion Yannick Noah became the rising star of the French pop charts. The winner of Roland Garros 1983 is now a popular singer, with 10 albums and many successful tours. In 2010, he filled up a concert at the Stade de France, with a crowd of 80,000 fans. His latest feat of arms? An album of Bob Marley's covers, entitled Homage and variously appreciated... Still, it is undoubtedly the most spectacular reconversion of a tennis champion!
Vijay Amritraj, actor
The best Asian player in history (16 titles between 1970 and 1993, 16th in the World in 1980) didn't wait for the end of his athletic career to prepare his reconversion. His chosen field: the cinema. In 1983, he appeared alongside Roger Moore in the film Octopussy, one of the most famous James Bond. If he also occasionally appeared in some B or Z movies, one of his younger brothers, Ashok Amritraj, himself a former professional tennis player, is currently one the most famous producer in Hollywood. The expression "The Cinema family" has never been more accurate.
Derrick Rostagno, lawyer
After 11 years of professional sports, a few strokes of brilliance, one title and a 13th place worldwide in 1991, Derrick Rostagno turned his back on tennis in 1997. Back on the benches of the university that he had left to concentrate on his sports career, he first went to Stanford then UCLA, before coming out with a law degree in his pocket. A magic key that allows him to practice law today at his home in Los Angeles. The specialty of his office? Civil disputes. "An activity with ups and downs, twists and turns, I see many parallels with the practice of tennis," he observed in an interview from 2009. If he says so...
Marat Safin, politician
"I thought long and hard to get into politics. It’s a new life, a new way of thinking and doing things that has nothing to do with tennis or sports in general." That's what Marat Safin said in 2011, while he’s already been sitting for two years in the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament. Him, the former hunk of the ATP, the dark and sometimes angry world number 1 in 2000, faithful lieutenant of Vladimir Putin, the reconversion is somewhat surprising. But when it comes to justify his choice, he doesn’t disassemble "Vladimir Putin is popular in Russia, he was elected with nearly 65% of the vote and I really don't understand why some countries want to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia or other countries." While interviewed on the American channel ABC, Pete Sampras congratulated his former opponent, saying that he has the skills to become president one day!
Tommy Ho, businessman
Nice suit, slicked back hair and bright smile, the recent pictures of Tommy Ho on Google Images instil doubts: is this the same man who terrorized the junior Tennis Tour in the 80s? The answer is yes. Prodigy of the yellow ball, the American never really confirmed as a pro, and retired in 1998, just 10 years after his debut. But sport has certainly helped him get where he is today, as he is now a businessman. After experiences at UBS and Goldman Sachs, he is currently working in a recruitment firm... in the finance department of course.
Kathleen Horvath, Feng Shui specialist
In 1983, the young Kathleen Horvath, only 17 at the time, was putting all her aggressiveness on the courts to strike down her invincible compatriot Martina Navratilova (the only defeat of the season for the legendary left-handed). But today, Kathleen Zen is much more zen to the point of teaching Feng Shui, the traditional Chinese art (or belief) which aims to harmonize the energy of our daily environment. And according to her clients, she's really good at it. "Her analysis is extremely thorough," is one of the things you can read on the Guestbook of her little company, 5 Elements Group, based near Los Angeles. If the clients say so...