Would tennis actually be the most erotic sport of all? If in the 1900s, tennis was associated with a flirtatious and alluring staging of the moving body, today, as in all other sports, tennis is full of little saucy bedroom stories. Because everybody wants to have fun (sometimes). Proof by ten.
1/ « Having sex before a match is fantastic »
In top level sport, there are two schools: those who indulge in a bedroom session before a crucial deadline, needing some comfort before exercise, and those that ban the practice for fear of toil. If the subject is sometimes hot in the tennis world, it’s a very easy one for Francesca Schiavone. Who has a clear position: "For a woman, sex before a game isn’t only allowed, it's also fantastic,” she said in 2011 to the Italian magazine Diva e donna. “It raises the hormone levels and brings all kind of benefits." In 1995, to explain his obvious return to form, Jim Courier said “My secrets are simple: half a litre of orange juice a day and lots of sex. One for the calcium, the other for relaxation." Same thing for Fabrice Santoro: "I would rather hit the courts happy and relaxed than frustrated because I slept next to my partner without daring to touch her. It already happened to me to have sex a few hours before a match." Thug life.
2/ Ilie Nastase and his 2 500 conquests
"Sex is like taking a shower every day: you take one, you feel good, then you forget." Such is the conception of the act of love according to Ilie Nastase. A man who claimed in his autobiography to have slept with over 2500 partners. Not so far, finally, of the alleged 3000 conquests of the singer Julio Iglesias; but still lagging behind the 5000 Women of the actor Charlie Sheen or the 12,775 conquests of Warren Beatty. A precise calculation. "And again, I didn’t include the stolen kisses," he said. Such a modest man.
3/ Maria Sharapova’s anti-sex clause
May 2013. The Swiss newspaper Le Matin revealed a strange clause included by the entourage of Maria Sharapova in the contract of her sparring partner, Dieter Kindlmann. An anti-sex clause with the beautiful Russian, no less. At the time, Sharapova’s heart wasn’t free since she was in a relationship with Grigor Dimitrov. Which is now ancient history. The player confirmed this to the Bulgarian press in July. "We had some great times. I wish him all the best and success in life as in tennis." During that time, Maria Sharapova took advantage, with pictures on Twitter showing it, of her bachelor life on holiday on a yacht in Montenegro. With Dieter Kindlmann at the helm?
4/ Cyst, skirt up and Playboy
Average racquet of the 2000s, Ashley Harkleroad will remain better known for her art of stripping than for her scrawny prize list - no WTA title in singles and doubles. Indeed, the American was the first professional tennis player who posed for Playboy, skirt up while picking up a ball. It was in August 2008. A decision taken after a surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. "I had been in a hospital bed for three weeks when I received the proposal for the photo shoot," she then explained in Playboy. "I thought about it for hours. Then, as I didn't have much to do and I'm quite proud of my body, I thought why not." And to temporize, "This might look sexy, too sexy. But that's no big deal." Not a big deal, indeed.
5/ « I didn’t want to end up like Mick Jagger »
July 1999. Boris Becker had just been eliminated from Wimbledon. His last. He who had announced his official retirement a few weeks before the tournament, consumed, alone, his first hours off the courts at the bar of his hotel. His eyes met those of Angela Ermakova, a Russian model. « She looked straight into my the eyes, with a killer look, which said, I want you,» he wrote in his autobiography. A few drinks later, Becker and Ermakova ran into a broom closet. "I didn't know what I was doing," said Becker in Sports Illustrated. "It wasn’t an affair. It was... well boom boom." What Becker couldn't imagine yet, is that it will be a very strange affair: Ermakova got pregnant, kept the child; called eight months later at the home of the German champion to ask for money in exchange for her silence. That's how she met Barbara Becker. "I wasn’t ready to deal with that," Becker told the Daily Mail. "I didn't want to end up like Mick Jagger." Too late: Becker decided to deny the evidence and paid 2 million to Ermakova, a pension of 10,000 euros monthly for their offspring and an apartment in London for both. Barbara filed for divorce and obtained, meanwhile, 10 million euros and a villa in Miami. Game, sex and match.
6/ « He brought novelty in my sex life… »
Today, Boris Becker seems to have withdrawn from the scandalous love game to resume service, true service, as Novak Djokovic’s coach. Last March when a Serbian journalist asked the "Djoker" on the contribution of his instructor, he replied: "He brought novelty in my sex life..." He paused. Before smiling: "I think that the hands of my PR became very sweaty at once. As I said, he brought me a lot, yes!"
7/ Maternity, Swedish cell and prostitute
Sex, cigarettes and private jet: in the fuzzy world of the little yellow balls, Ernests Gulbis has always been a special case. "Until two years ago, I used to smoke, drink and stay up late," summed up the Latvian last year. "Before a tournament, I could go out with friends until 6:00 am, and the next day I had a match." A fantastic player who encouraged his sisters to give up tennis because the place of women is, in his view, in the maternity; or to spend a night in a Swedish cell in 2009. The reason? He had been arrested by the local police in the company of a prostitute. "When I meet a girl, I don't ask her about her profession," he said at the time. "It was a very fun time. I think everyone should go to prison at least once."
8/ The first gay tournament!
Palm Springs, California. Last March, the US Tennis Federation (UTSA) launched a new kind of tournament: a doubles competition with same-sex couples. To participate, those duos had to be married or have entered into a domestic partnership. Translate: "Our participants must have done it," said Katrina Adams, president of the USTA. She continued: "Tennis is once again at the forefront in breaking down barriers and enabling individuals to take part in competitions in a sport they love with these new events now acknowledged and accepted." Even Billie Jean King, sports icon and famous gay winner of the "Battle of the Sexes" against Bobby Riggs in 1973, welcomed such an initiative. "Families are changing and I am delighted to see that tennis also takes into account these changes and simplifies the lives of same-sex couples who want to compete - and have fun - together on a tennis court."
9/ Carlos Moya and his sense of faithfulness
Rather comfortable with promiscuity in general, Flavia Pennetta talked with no taboo in an interview for Italian television in 2009. On the set, she revealed that she had a relationship with Carlos Moya, and two or three other players on the tour. A romance that eventually fizzled out: Pennetta, who wanted to surprise her boyfriend at the Sweden Open in 2007, would have surprised him committing adultery with a Spanish journalist. Tough.
10/ « David loves women who are tonic physically»
But what makes a tennis coach so sexy? David Duchovny, American actor known for playing in The X-Files or in the very libertine Californication series, may have the answer. In 2008, while he had just finished his detox for sexual addiction and separated from his wife, local tabloids ascribed him a relationship with Edit Pakay, 28, a former professional tennis player in the nineties. The latter gave for several months - very special? - Tennis lessons at 150 euros per session. Asked by a journalist from the Mail On Sunday, the latter merely replied: "We are very, very close. David is also an excellent player. He loves women who are tonic physically." A man of taste.
By Victor Le Grand