Out of all the tennis players that have graced the courts, it is hard for me to pick just 5 who I would love to play against but I’ll give it a go. I have not confined my choice to only current players though four out of five of them are still playing today on the professional tour and I think the other is still playing on the senior tour. All these players have reached the pinnacle of the sport and one is widely considered to be the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time). Two out of five are left handers which throws a little variety into the mix. Between them they hold a vast array of records too many to mention here and now. I would like to think I could achieve a number of games won over the course of five matches but perhaps it might be nice if some of them were having an off day. Without further ado, here are my top 5.
The first of the left handers and considered by many to be the game’s toughest opponent and certainly the player with the most wicked topspin. Rafa comes from Majorca, part of the Ballearic Islands off the coast of Spain and is a former world number one and regarded as the king of clay. Just facing the kick he gets from his topspin forehand would be an experience alone. Not the greatest server in the world but has improved this shot throughout his career. Of course Uncle Tony would be in the stands cheering him on though I doubt he’d need much encouragement. His rather odd obsessive courtside gestures wouldn’t distract me from realising that I’m playing against one of the greatest the sport has ever thrown up.
Next would be Mr. GOAT. Holder of seventeen grand slam singles titles and all around nice guy. I don’t know if I could play that well against him as I would be so totally star-struck. His mere presence in my company might turn my legs to jelly but there’s no shame in losing to the greatest of all time. He’s a true all court player with his volleys being massively improved since working with Stefan Edberg. Mirka and the kids would probably be in the crowd and nobody likes to lose in front of their children so I might take it easy on him (who am I kidding). Federer doesn’t really have a weakness so there isn’t any shot that I could play to exploit his shortcomings. Hopefully his first serve just isn’t firing and I might get lucky with a few second serve returns. We can all live and hope.
Probably my favourite player of all time and the second lefty to be faced. I think I’d like to play him now rather than when he was number one in the world as he would have lost a few yards around the court. He’s another character of which I’d be in awe of considering his contribution to the sport. I’m not so sure of how I’d deal with his on court tantrums were he to have one but I’d probably smile and think back to the early 1980’s when he was reigning supreme. Of all the players, he’s the one who I’d most like to go for a meal or a drink afterwards and dissect the previous match. A great player in his time and now a fantastic commentator. He’s probably the player I would do the best against considering his age and style of play. Very few players nowadays are serve and volleyers as most choose to stay back as aggressive baseliners due to the advancements in racquet composition and design.
Well, it’s about time I encountered the current world number one and my favourite player on the tour right now. Recently reached the top of tennis, he is operating on all cylinders at the moment and definitely the man with momentum. Another all court player though his volley may still be slightly questionable. A Scotsman with the wind in his sails being rather eloquently blown by the great Mr. Lendl. No doubt his mother, Judy, would be plonked firmly on his side of the players box watching intently on the unfolding of the match. She needn’t worry much with the form he’s been in for the last six months. His return of serve is the best since Agassi and his double handed backhand is a pleasure to behold. It’s great to see someone from so close to home being on top of the world.
I had to go for an up and coming star of the future as my last choice in my top 5. He is a young Russian player,19, who reached world number 1 in the ITF junior world rankings and has won 1 ATP singles title since turning professional in 2013. I watched a match of his just yesterday in which he beat Federer in 3 tie-break sets in the Hopman cup in Perth, Western Australia. As far as I know, it was his second time beating him. He hits the ball so hard it’s a wonder the felt doesn’t fly off from the rubber. I fantastic athlete with an all court game, he is definitely one to look out for in the near future and I’m sure he’s going to go on and win multiple grand slam singles titles. His father was a pro before him and so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.