The lookalike of the year: Rafael Nadal (the fake one)
The arms, the face, and even Rafa’s old sleeveless look. But thankfully, Rafael Nadal doesn’t share the same hobby than his English lookalike, who, while jogging in the streets of Fulham (London), had fun defecating on doorsteps before running away. But just like the Spaniard, this rude clone doesn’t seem fussed by the presence of cameras.
The escape of the year: Sam Querrey
Reckless, deserter, or danger to the public? Sam Querrey, who had just started playing in the Saint-Petersburg Open in October, tested positive for coronavirus, and therefore had to self-isolate. But the American channeled his inner-Jason Bourne instead, ignored the sanitary guidelines, dodged the medical staff, and illegally fled Russia to join Europe with his family. Tennys Sandgren, on his side, chose to compare him to Tom Cruise.
The philanthropist of the year: Félix Auger-Aliassime
He’s the man with the heart of gold. On the courts « F double A » was pretty generous, as he let his opponents win the three finals he took part in, just like in 2019. He was also generous outside of the courts, as the Canadian has started the #FAAPOINTSFORCHANGE, which is a project aimed at raising funds to promote educational projects in Togo. For each point won by FAA, the Canadian gives five dollars to the project, and BNP Paribas give another fifteen. He scored 4904 points in 2020. You can now bring out your calculators.
The up-and-coming player of the year: Elsa Jacquemot
Demanding. Ambitious. Gifted. Promising. It’s hard to pick out the adjective which suits Elsa Jacquemot, the world number 1 in the juniors ranking and the winner of Roland-Garros in her age category, best. At only 17 years old, the rising champion is part of the BNP Paribas Young Talents Team and already has all the ingredients she’ll need to achieve her objectives in the career that she dreams of. And she also takes time to comfort her rivals…
The wine merchants of the year: Benoît Paire et Stan Wawrinka
During the depressing spring lockdown, Stan Wawrinka and Benoît Paire organized entertaining live drinking sessions on social networks. On the menu: some simple but efficient cocktails and sime improvised interviews. Not so surprising coming from the Swiss, who appeared in a stand-up comedy show with the French comedian Kev Adams, which he will soon release a film with, and from a Frenchman who couldn’t wait to get back to the locker-room to open up a beer after playing a match in Auckland at the beginning of the year. Cheers!
The unlucky player of the year: Novak Djokovic
It is possible to win a Grand Slam tournament -the Australian Open in this case- and still have a worst year than other players. The proof with Novak Djokovic. While European countries were starting to lift their lockdowns, he decided to organize the Adria Tour, a charity tournament, in June. But the Serb contracted Covid-19, along with other players. And to make things worst, the Djoker was disqualified from the US Open after unwillingly hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball.
The brainy player of the year: Ivan Ljubičić
We already knew that Ivan is the type of person to play his cards right, since he quit his career as a tennis player to become a coach. But another career path might open up for him now, as the Croatian, last April, challenged the French chess Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and managed to get a draw.
The warriors of the year: Kiki Bertens and Sara Errani
What an epic fight we saw during the second round of the French Open, in the women’s draw! Insults, Sara Errani being forced to use her underarm serve to stop a succession of doubles faults, ten consecutive breaks, accusations of simulation, a third set won 9-7 by Kiki Bertens, a Dutch winner who left the court on a wheelchair, criticism in the post-match press conference… A psychological and physical battle, for sure.
The touch of kindness of the year: Rafael Nadal (the real one this time)
Just like Djoko, Nadal has also hit a person’s face with the ball. But not because he was angry. During the Australian Open, the Spaniard unintentionally hit a ball girl while returning his opponent’s serve. As social distancing wasn’t in practice at the start of the year, Rafa came to apologize and gave his victim a kiss on the cheek. During the same period, during a charity tournament which was held to help the victims of the giant fires in Australia, the Manacor-born champion also had a touch of kindness for his Serbian doubles partner: a tactical advice which looks like a middle-finger.
The filmed player of the year: David Goffin
Forever the first. During a Davis Cup match between Belgium and Moldavia last January, David Goffin made tennis history as he asked for video assistance to overturn the umpire’s judgement, who had sanctioned a foot fault on his serve. The first time that VAR has ever been used in this sport, and it was visibly as ineffective as it is in football, as nobody was able to tell if the foot had touched the baseline.
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Felix Auger Aliassime