Not sure how this happened but Hey Harvard ! ». This was the message posted by Maria Sharapova on her Facebook page last June, as the caption of a picture showing her in front of the Harvard Business School, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, located in Boston. Suspended from all tennis activities for doping, the Russian joins the very limited clan of tennis players who have been through higher education courses.
1/ « ATP Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow »
April 2008. A few days before the start of the Monte-Carlo Masters Series, Mario Ancic received a good news : he graduated in law from Split University, thanks notably to his master thesis entitled ATP Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow where he focused on the legal basis of the institution and its organisation. At the time, the ex-world number 7 said he still had the possibility of becoming a lawyer in case something went wrong for him. Which eventually happened as he suffered from a terrible mononucleosis which forced him to retire in 2011. « It’s a very important step for me, and for my family too, who didn’t want me to regret becoming a tennis player », he said, a few weeks after receiving his diploma. At the end of his career, Ancic joined a big law firm in Zagreb. Since then, he even spoke numerous times at the Harvard Law School as a tennis expert. Class.
2/ « Promoter for gender equity »
Finalist in Wimbledon in 2010, ex-world number 7, ten titles won in the singles, five in the doubles and a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008…while she was a student ! Vera Zvonareva’s liaison book is nicely filled. Having graduated in P.E, the Russian also joined the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007, where she graduated in international relations and economics. Since 2009, she’s also been working for UNESCO to promote gender equity, alongside Venus Williams, Tatiana Golovin under the supervision of Billie Jean King, sponsor of this initiative - of course !
3/ « We’ve traumatized a few girls »
« We’ve traumatized a few girls », the American James Blake, an ex-economics student at Harvard says, amused, in his autobiography, Breaking Back: How I lost everything and won back my life. The few girls in question are the girls’ sororities in the prestigious american university. Blake was studying economics and didn’t really bother going to the barber. « In high school, I had braids and my hairstyle was wild and incoherent. When I arrived at Harvard, I started wearing a hat. I was then immediately known as « the guy with the hat », he says. Then I cut everything off, and took off the hat…And everyone forgot about me. Some teachers were even asking me what I was doing there. » Not resentful at all, he said in 2006 that he would have enjoyed going back to Harvard. To study sociology, this time.
4/ « You forgot to put on your trousers »
He was called « Bunny rabbit », as he only ate greens. The British Henry « Bunny » Austin was, in the 30’s, what his fellow countrymen would call an outcast, a sort of non-conformist. An agile, small, quick player ; But also a History graduate at Cambridge University. A man who, one morning of 1932, a couple hours from a US Open match at Forest Hills, decided to cut his long ivory white flannel trousers above knee-hight, judging the rest of the fabric too heavy and uncomfortable. The concierge of the hotel he was staying called him out : « Excuse me, Mister Austin, but you forgot to put on your trousers this morning. » Too late : tennis shorts were born.
5/ Press correspondent in Saint-Petersburg
Having graduated with a bachelor in the arts, and from the Ecole du Louvres, polyglot (including Persian), writer, poet, adventurer, and correspondent for the daily Le Journal in Saint-Petersburg during the Russian revolution : Claude Anet, born Jean Schopfer, is a french intellectual figure of the twenties. But he’s also - and mainly ? - the first player to have won the French tennis championship in 1892, which will later become Roland-Garros. In 1927, he even wrote a book on Suzanne Lenglen. The title ? Suzanne Lenglen. Who would have thought ?