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Revealed: The Charisma Top Ten of Tennis

Locker Room

April 5, 2017

Who are the players with that certain “je ne sais quoi”? You know, the personalities who have that extra something special. A mystique or indefinable magic to their demeanour that makes them more charismatic than the rest.

Some of the very best tennis players have charisma. And some of the very best tennis players don’t. So you might be surprised to see who we’ve left out of our “Charisma Top Ten.”

Does Andy Murray make the cut? Sorry Andy, you’re a terrific guy and a great tennis player, but charismatic? Not so much.

How about Novak Djokovic? Sorry Novak, you’ve been one of the most powerful forces in tennis over the last few years, and we salute you, but that charismatic X-factor is missing somehow.

Is Serena Williams among the top ten? Nope. Serena is a fearsome warrior on court and she can be a classic romantic off court. But does that necessarily translate into charisma? It’s not quite the same thing, is it?

So here goes. These are just the players we’ve chosen, in reverse order. You’ll have your own favourites to put on your own list.

10/ Juan Martin del Potro

Delpo would be way higher than tenth if you were talking about a simple popularity contest. And he does have charisma. The quietly spoken gentle giant who carries hmself in such a cool way. He has been through so much and it just adds to the aura around him

9/ Stan Wawrinka

What makes Stan the Man so charismatic is that you never know quite what is going on in his head. You never know what you’re going to get from him. He can play tennis so hot that not even Djokovic can handle him in a Grand Slam final…or he can throw a tantrum or even look disinterested.

8/ Rafael Nadal

The smouldering Spaniard with the raw sex appeal has always had more than his fair share of charisma too. Do we really feel we know him that well, even after all those interviews? Not really. We know he is special though, a warrior who comes out with all guns blazing when he is at his best, and tries to hide his hurt and frustration when he isn’t.

7/ Maria Sharapova

Whatever we think about Maria and her drugs ban, or the way she is being allowed back slightly before her time, there is no mistaking this woman’s charisma. An unmistakeable sex appeal has helped her to conquer areas way outside the realm of tennis. Yet she also exhibits a professional intensity and self-assurance that makes her a true star on and off the court.

6/ Alexander Zverev

“Sascha” (left) is a truly fascinating character who isn’t even out of his teens, yet has something we can’t quite define, that je ne sais quoi we like to call charisma. The German is a huge talent and will help to take tennis into the future. But that youthful approach means that he is still able to enjoy tennis for what it is – a fun game – as evidenced in his recent match with Nick Kyrgios.

5/ Grigor Dimitrov

The ex-boyfriend of Maria Sharapova is even more charismatic than she is. Do we feel we know him? Not really. It’s that sense of mystique that adds to his natural charisma, aided perhaps by his reputation as a ladies’ man and the fact that we are never quite sure how good he is – or will be – at the game we love. Dimitrov is enigmatic and that’s unlikely to change.

4/ Venus Williams

How can Venus Williams be on the list and not Serena? Maybe we just feel we know that little bit less about the inner Venus. Maybe she just carries herself in a way that draws us to her that little bit more. She is the elder sister, the first to establish herself as a legend, a woman who has been through many things off the court, and lost none of her charisma and humour along the way, despite being outshone by Serena on court so many times.

3/ Nick Kyrgios

How can a player who arouses such hostility in so many people be on the list at all, never mind so high? Because the bad-boy reputation only adds to his charisma. He has always done things his way – no matter how inexcusable some of his outbursts. He has that true star quality as he prowls the courts of the world and becomes stronger and stronger as a player and a personality.

2/ Roger Federer

Anyone who has met Roger Federer knows he is blessed with a natural charisma to go with his incredible tennis. The man is a real gentleman, of course, but that’s not quite it. He is so relaxed and so cool that you are drawn to that aura of serenity and you can feel that his huge stature as a human being and as a tennis legend is emanating from him – something unique.

1/ Gael Monfils

Even Rafael Nadal recently claimed that Monfils is one of the most charismatic players on the tour. Correction. He is the most charismatic player on tour without exception. Gael is both eccentric and unpredictable in equal measure. He can produce a performance of supreme athleticism to humble even the greats. Or he can simply decline to engage in meaningful battle. It all depends on his mood. But Monfils is a brilliant entertainer and no one ever seems to know quite what he is thinking. Perhaps that’s why he is the personification of charisma.

If you want to see these characters in person and make your own selection we can help!

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