Tennis has been called many things over the years. Nicknamed “the sport of kings,” the evolution of tennis has changed with the eras and with the athletes who chose to play the sport. Today, with players like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray, new techniques are being developed and utilized which are changing the sport of tennis as we know it.
But as we all know, behind these strong, agile men and their hi tech sports equipment is an even stronger woman, helping the players through their toughest times and celebrating with them during their largest victories.
Without their support it is clear that these athletes would not be able to advance in the rankings. We wanted to find out more about these wonder-women of tennis, and as it turns out, most of them have incredible lives all their own.
Played with a racquet and felt covered rubber ball, tennis was not always played outside. In fact, it used to be played in large halls called “tennis halls,” and the rules were quite different.
There was no “out of bounds,” and the walls could be utilized to make it difficult for the opponent to get to the ball. In addition, the racquets were all made out of wood, something much different than the advance carbon fiber alloys of today.
From this “real tennis” (a sport which is still played by a select few people in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia) was derived “lawn tennis.” Originally played on the lawns of grand estates, this is the tennis which has evolved into the sport we know today. Except for a few locations – most notably Wimbledon – tennis is no longer really played on grass courts. It is now possible to find courts made of concrete, clay, asphalt, and even carpet.
In addition to changes in the court styles and the equipment used to play the sport, there have also been changes to the players as well. Typically, fit people play the sport, as it involves a lot of sprinting, quick stops, and strategy. As the players have gotten better, they have had to become smarter as well. With only one and a half seconds separating from when a player hits a shot to when the shot is returned, the player must anticipate where their opponent is going to move, where to aim the ball to make sure the opponent can’t get to it, what type of shot to use, and where the player themselves must move to best defend the court.
Marta Tornel/David Ferrer
While David Ferrer is slipped quite a bit in his World Tennis Association place rankings, he is still having a really good time with his incredible wife, Marta. The couple married back in 2015, and they went on to have a child together a few years later. When she isn’t cheering him on, Marta works as an optometrist at her family’s optometry office outside of Valencia. We can certainly see why this stunning and hard-working woman caught Ferrer’s eye!
Lara Dutta/Mahesh Bhupathi
Mahesh Bhupathi is a retired Indian professional tennis player who made his mark by being the first person from the subcontinent to win a Grand Slam mixed doubles title. He is also known as having married former Miss Universe Lara Dutta. While the athlete may have retired from the professional circuit, he is still in India teaching tennis, and can regularly be seen helping his daughter Saira practice her backhand.
Miroslava Federer/Roger Federer
The world first learned that Roger Federer had a girlfriend when he went up and kissed her on the very last day of the Sydney Olympics back in 2000. The couple are clearly deeply in love, and are married with twin girls. Miroslava was herself a professional tennis player, participating in Grand Slam matches, Wimbledon, and the US Open, amongst other venues. Miroslava eventually reached the 76th spot in the Women’s Tennis Association’s ranking.
Milagros Mayer/Leonardo Mayer
Leonardo Mayer has been slowly but steadily rising up the rankings throughout his tennis career, and finally broke into the top 50 men’s singles players in the world. His wife, Milagros Mayer, must be extraordinarily proud of him. In what was perhaps the most heartwarming moment of the 2017 Davis Cup, upon winning his match against Dan Evans, Mayer immediately ran to his wife and then six-month-old son Valentino and gave them both a big kiss.
Bridgette Wilson/Pete Sampras
This tennis great’s wife may be a little bit more famous than her husband, depending on the circles you run in. While Sampras is definitely one of the greats of tennis, his wife is a rather well-known film actress. Bridgette Wilson has performed in a number of movies, including The Wedding Planner, House on Haunted Hill, and also I Know What You Did Last Summer, to name but a few.
Madison McKinley/John Isner
John Isner is one of the top tennis players in the world today, and is known for winning the longest professional tennis match ever played – an 11-hour match spread out over three days, resulting in a score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68. But he did not have to wait that long between proposing to his long-time girlfriend, jewelry designer Madison McKinley, and getting married. The two had a cowboy themed wedding six months after the proposal in December 2017. Why so quickly? Because the 2018 tennis season was starting!
Sara Forster/Tommy Haas
Tommy Haas is certainly one lucky man. He is an incredible tennis player, and is married to a woman who has connections in both the world of modelling as well as music and television. Haas’s wife, actress Sara Foster, is the daughter of world famous record producer David Foster, and played the role of Jen Clark in the hit show 90210. Foster and Haas have been together for quite some time, and recently had a daughter together.
Brooklyn Decker/Andy Roddick
When Andy Roddick began dating actress Brooklyn Decker he knew that she was the one for him. In indeed, the couple got engaged a little over a year after they began to date, getting married soon afterwards. At the time, Decker was still primarily known as a model, while Roddick was one of the top tennis players in the game. The two still seem very much in love, and recently welcomed their second child into the world.
Ester Satorova/Tomas Berdych
Ester Satorova began dating model Tomas Berdych when she was just 19 years old in 2011, and the two have been inseparable ever since. The couple dated for three years before she decided to pop the question to Satorova, and they got married in 2015. Satorova has continued to work as a model for Marie Claire, Cosmo, and other brands – that is, when she is not out supporting her husband on the courts.
Nicole Scherzinger/Grigor Dimitrov
Hailing from Bulgaria, Grigor Dimitrov is relatively young compared to many of the other tennis stars on this list. But that did not stop him from going for what he wants, whether it be tennis championships or his current girlfriend, former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger. Despite being nearly ten years her junior, and circling rumors of alleged infidelity, it seems as if Scherzinger’s and Dimitrov’s relationship is still going strong. Good luck, you two crazy kids!
Xisca Perelló/Rafael Nadal
Xisca Perelló does not like to be in the spotlight that much despite being the long time girlfriend of one of the best tennis players to ever play the sport. The couple have been dating for over a decade, and have remained very steadfast. However, Xisca does not like going to watch Nadal play very often, saying that she believes that her going to watch him would put undue stress on both of them. Or maybe she just wants to build up the insurance practice that she started!
Kristina Milković/Marin Cilic
Kristina Milković likes to keep her relationship with Marin Cilic out of the public eye. As a psychologist, it is perhaps better that she stay away, thus enabling her to keep her interactions with her husband out of the scope of her patients’ knowledge. Graduating from the University of Zagreb, Milkovic came out of the institution with a dual masters in psychology as well as political science. Marin is certainly lucky to have her by his side. And Cilic knows this – he even calls Milkovic his good luck charm.
Kelsey O’Neal/Kevin Anderson
Kelsey O’Neal Anderson is the wife of Kevin Anderson, and is also his manager, assistant, and logistics coordinator. Before joining the South African tennis star on his trips around the world, Kelsey was actually an accountant. However, in an effort to be closer to her then-boyfriend (and current husband), Kelsey decided to drop everything and help ensure Kevin’s success. She even keeps a blog about what it’s like being a tennis player’s wife on the road.
Stephanie Tuccitto/David Goffin
Stephanie Tuccitto and David Goffin have been dating for the better part of a decade, and it is not uncommon to see Tuccitto sitting in the stands as Goffin plays in Grand Slams or at the French Open. Tuccitto follows Goffin and helps him with whatever he needs in order to succeed and to win. However, Tuccitto has said in an interview that she would like to get married to him sooner rather than later.
Kiki Mladenovic/Dominic Thiem
Kiki Mladenovic has reportedly been dating Dominic Thiem since 2017, breaking the news when they were both in Dubai for a romantic getaway (and a tennis tournament) at Atlantis The Palm. Mladenovic confirmed the rumors that the two were together in an interview in Sydney while her boyfriend was participating in the Australian Open. As she said in the interview, “We understand each other perfectly, we know what the other is going through, we know the way the other one can feel.” It helps that she is a professional tennis player herself also!
Donna Vekic/Stan Wawrinka
Stan Wawrinka is one of the top athletes in the world of tennis today. However, with a hectic schedule and being on the road for so much of the year, it is hard to find someone who is truly compatible with you. That is perhaps the reason that Stan and Donna Vekic get along so well together – they are both professional tennis players and they both understand each others’ busy tennis schedules.
Ajla Tomljanovic/Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios is known as being the bad boy of the tennis world, as well as one of its fastest rising stars. He has been recently seen practicing and playing hard for the Australian Open, and having fun on the court with his girlfriend, women’s tennis player Ajla Tomljanovic. The couple, who are both in their early 20s, have been dating for approximately two years. Ajla is unfortunately unable to participate in the Open due to an injury, but can certainly cheer on her boyfriend from the stands.
Patty Smyth/John McEnroe
Patty Smyth is perhaps best known as a singer songwriter, and had an album with the hit song Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough with Don Henley of The Eagles. She met tennis legend John McEnroe in 1993, and had a child with him in 1995. The couple then got married in 1997 and had a second child whom they named Ava. She must have really loved him, as the Brooklyn girl who vowed never to leave the city was convinced to move to the Hamptons with him.
Jelena Ristic/Novak Djokovic
Novak and his wife are high school sweethearts and met way back in 2005. The couple have a funny dating story as Novak once took Jelena to a steakhouse and ordered her steak tartare not realizing that it is a raw dish. Thankfully, it wasn’t a deal breaker and the couple wed in Montenegro in 2014. There was speculation about the state of their marriage after Jelena was caught telling him off in a video to his fans but they put the rumors to rest by posting a lovely couples pic on social media to mark their anniversary.
Steffi Graf/Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi has had a number of high profile relationships which he revealed a lot of detail about in his 2009 autobiography. He once dated legendary singer Barbra Streisand and was briefly married to actress and model Brooke Shields. After the 1999 French Open he began dating former German tennis player Steffi Graf and in 2001 they married in a ceremony at their home with just their mothers as witnesses. The couple has since had two children one of whom recently committed to USC to play baseball.
Flavia Pennetta/Fabio Fognini
In 2014, Fabio began dating fellow tennis player Flavia Pennetta and one year later they were engaged. The couple wed in 2016 and shortly after announced that they were expecting their first child. Pennetta explained how excited Fabio was for the birth when she said, “Fabio sends me a thousand messages… [he] is afraid not to arrive in time for the birth.” We hope he didn’t miss the birth when the couple welcomed their son in May of 2017.
Lilly Kerssenberg/Boris Becker
Boris Becker has had quite a number of high-profile relationships including with German designer and actress Barbara Becker and with Russian model Angela Ermakova with whom he had a daughter. In 2009, he tied the knot with Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Shortly after there was speculation that they were expecting a child and sure enough, nine months after the wedding Lilly gave birth to a son.
Lara Feltham/Pat Rafter
Australian tennis player Pat Rafter is rumored to have met his wife Lara Feltham at a charity event in 1997. They had a son named Joshua and in 2004 the couple married in a secret ceremony in Fiji. Rafter who is now 45, retired from tennis at the young age of 29 and focused on raising his children. He stated, “Family’s my life now and I love it. Tennis also is still part of my life in a way, but it’s not how it used to be.”
Noura El Shwekh/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Since the Swiss beauty, Noura El Shwekh began dating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2014, all eyes and cameras have been on her and not her tennis playing boyfriend. The couple tried to keep their relationship out of the public eye, however, the couldn’t avoid the attention when they were spotted getting close and the Davis Cup semi-finals in 2015. In 2016, Tsonga posted a picture of a very pregnant Noura to his Instagram and in 2017 they couple welcomed a son.
Brittany Boys/Sam Groth
Sam Groth is an Australian tennis player who has been dating Brittany Boys for six years. Brittany frequently posts pictures of herself and Sam at various events on her Instagram page. On one image she captioned, “So proud of Sammy for winning his first round at the US Open in straight sets! Federer next round! Love you xx.” When she isn’t hanging out with her tennis playing beau, she works as an account manager at the Medium Rare Content Agency, a firm that connects brands to customers.
Carolina Cerezuela/Carlos Moya
Carolina Cerezuela is a Spanish actress best known for her role in the Spanish version of a French comedy TV show Caméra Café. Carolina started acting in theater when she was 15 and in 2001 she the beauty prize called Linda of Spain. She and tennis player Carlos Moya (who is ranked the number one tennis player from Spain) tied the knot in 2011 and the couple have three children together.
Stacey Gardner/Mardy Fish
Stacey Gardner is an model who is best-known for holding case #2 on the hit game show Deal or No Deal. While Gardner is passionate about modeling and fashion, her first love was law as she graduated from Southwestern Law School and passed the bar in 2005. In 2008, she became engaged to professional tennis player Mardy Fish and they tied the knot at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons hotel. Gardner is a perfect example of beauty and brains and she is estimated to have a net worth of $1 million.
Bec Hewitt/Lleyton Hewitt
Bec Hewitt is an Australian singer and actress who is best-known for her role as Hayley Smith Lawson on the hit Australian soap opera Home & Away. She released a self-titled album in 2003 and the debut single off the album “All Seats Taken” made the top ten on the ARIA Music Charts. After she ended her engagement to one of her Home & Away co-stars, she started dating Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt. The two have been married since 2005 and they have three children together.
Kim Sears/Andy Murray
Kim Sears has been around tennis her entire life, and it is therefore unsurprising that she would go on to marry a tennis star. Meeting for the first time at the US Open in 2005, Kim was introduced to Andy Murray by her father, the then head of the Women’s Tennis Association. The couple continued to date and were eventually married in the medieval Dunblane Cathedral in Scotland in 2015. The couple has two children.
Danielle Knudson/Milos Raonic
Milo Raonic is certainly a very lucky man to have Danielle Knudson by his side. In fact, he had a lot of fierce competition for the blonde, Canadian model, with the likes of Justin Bieber trying to steal her away from him. However, Milos stayed at the top of Danielle’s list, and she has been with him for the past four years. The model, who has appeared in Glamour Bulgaria, Sport Illustrated, and H&M, can be seen cheering on her boyfriend from the sidelines of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.