Tennis champions are the picture of health and wellness. They lead a healthy life and training is the biggest part of their life. You would never imagine that such great professionals, with their perfect bodies, could have anything to do with alcohol. However, every now and again, they are also involved with booze, but not necessarily directly. In the history of tennis there are a lot of anecdotes involving alcohol and we’re about to tell you the funniest ones.
Judy, Sir Alex and the teetotaler Andy.
Let’s start by talking about the US Open 2012 champion. During a press conference, after his semi-final win against Berdych, Murray, moving closer to his mother, informed her that she strongly smelled of wine. Judy, rather embarrassed, justified herself by telling him that she’d been invited to have a glass of wine by none other than Sir Alex Ferguson, the great Manchester United manager, who was on the stands watching the game. Evidently, the Scottish manager wanted to introduce his own traditions to tennis. In fact, after every match played at home, Sir Ferguson is known to share a bottle of wine with the manager of the opposite team. Unfortunately, the great manager of the Red Devils couldn’t do the same with Andy Murray, as he’s a teetotaler, since having gotten colossally drunk during his time at the tennis academy in Barcelona.
Sidney Wood and the Napoleon Brandy.
Sidney Wood was Wimbledon champion in 1931, however this time we’ll talk about him because of something that happened at Roland Garros, in 1932. The former American tennis player played a mixed double with Helen Willis Moody, which they lost, after showing for the match drunk. Wood had just finished playing an extremely hard match against Rene Lacoste, which lasted a total of five hours (one of the longest to date) and was scheduled to play the mixed double the next day.
Once Wood and Lacoste started relaxing, they both had very strong cramps. Therefore, Helen Willis Moody’s father, offered them some brandy (Napoleon brand) to help them recover. Lacoste, a teetotaler, refused the drink and gave his share to Wood, who then had a double brandy. Suddenly, they were given the news that the mixed double was going to start in a few minutes and that Wood was expected to play. The rest of this story should be in Sidney Wood’s words: ‘After five sets played in that level of humidity, you have no idea what effect a shot can have on you. After having that little drink I was perfectly fine and I was ready to take on Bill Tilden, Fred Perry and Henri Cochet all together. Once I got close to the net, thought, I started seeing double. There was more than one ball coming at me and I decided I was just going to hit one of them, leaving the other one to fall. All I’m going to say is that we lost very quickly.’
Suzanne Lenglen and the magic flask.
Suzanne Lenglen, one of the greatest female players in history, was known to have a shot of brandy between sets. At the end of a game, her father would hand her a flask and she would drink it as if it’d been water. The strangest thing, however, was that the ‘Divine’ would often play much better after having had a drink.
A peculiar family.
Andrea Hlavackova has emerged as a professional tennis player in the last US Open, reaching fourth round in singles, while being already popular in doubles, having won at Roland Garros. The beautiful Czech player, also known in her country for being the daughter of one of the most famous brewers in the whole of Czech Republic. Her family has owned the brand ‘Pilsen’ for over 100 years. She’s also passionate about the family products and has recently invited all the other tennis players to enjoy their beer.
Bjorkman drunk during a game.
Jonas Bjorkman is still the only player who admitted to have played an official game while under the influence of alcohol. The former Swedish player admitted to having played at the Davis Cup in Argentina in 2006 against Jose Acasuso, after having had a wild night out in Buenos Aires. The result of that match? 6-0 6-1 for the Argentinean. Obviously, drinking is not recommended before a game of tennis. Fortunately for Bjorkman, the result of that infamous game had already been decided, considering that Argentina was ahead 3-0.
Safin, the number one.
We all know Marat Safin and his unrestrained life. Therefore, it’s not surprising that after his success at the US Open in 2000, he decided to celebrate by having champagne and cold vodka. Rumour has it, that he didn’t only drink after his successes, but unfounded sources have said that, after losing against Johansson at the Australian Open in 2002, the Russian player partied excessively hard at his 22nd birthday party. Effectively, the outcome of that game had been one the most surprising and unexplained ones in the history of tennis.