As the quote says: Behind every great man, there is a great woman. The same can be said about the eight ATP World Tour finalists. Behind each one of them, there is a girlfriend, fiance or wife (or mother?). Here are the women that stand by their men through thick, thin and, for these men, a lot of wins.
1. Maria Francisca ‘Xisca’ Perello (Rafael Nadal): Rafa’s numero uno girl is in her early twenties and met Rafa while in school in Majorca. Uncle Toni once called her his nephew’s “well-kept secret” and it seems, even though she occasionally turns up at big matches (i.e. Wimbledon Finals), she is just that. Nadal is a pretty private person to begin with so it’s no surprise his love life is as well. And while Rafa is reigning the tennis world and winning Grand Slams from left and right, Xisca does well in her own life, too – she graduated with a degree in Business Administration at the University of the Balearic Islands. The two have been seen together in between tournaments off the coast of Spain frolicking in the ocean as well as shopping happily.
2. Jenni Mostrom (Robin Soderling): In his adorable Swedish accent, Robin lovingly thanked his girlfriend “Yenni” after he won his first-ever masters title last week in Paris. So who is that model-esque girl in Robin’s corner? Jenni was born in Ljungskile on the west coast of Sweden. She’s 27 years old and studied at Nova Southeastern University in Florida on a golf scholarship. She majored in business and is now reportedly studying public relations online, as she takes care of Robin’s web site. The two got engaged in June 2008, but no wedding date has been set.
3. Lucie Safarova (Tomas Berdych): Really the only person who can understand the daily grind of being a touring pro tennis player is a touring pro tennis player. Tomas Berdych’s girlfriend is WTA player Lucie Safarova, a fellow Czech. The 23-year-old is currently ranked 33, but she’s been ranked as high as 22 in the world. Her best showing at a Grand Slam was the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2007. One can imagine, besides her own busy career, she spends a lot of time supporting her man – especially this year when she was seen in his box at the Wimbledon final.
4. Brooklyn Decker (Andy Roddick): Brooklyn was a model before she met Andy but now it seems, ever since they got married, she’s reached supermodel status. Since the two wed in April 2009, Brooklyn has appeared on television shows such as Ugly Betty and Chuck. What was originally her biggest claim to fame, covergirl of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, is no more – Brooklyn is a bona fide actress, having starred as Adam Sandler’s love interested in the recent film Just Go With It. Brooklyn is now filming the action film Battleship, due out in theaters May 2012. She’s just not an athlete’s wife – she’s a hardworking hollywood star.
5. Jelena Ristic (Novak Djokovic): In a world where the WAGs are most often quiet and shyly supportive, Novak Djokovic’s girlfriend is pretty much the opposite (so she fits in perfectly with his family!). Jelena and Nole have been together, on again off again, for over four years. Jelena once studied in Milan and, it seemed at one point, the distance was not doing them good. However, since then they’ve reconciled and seem to be a great pairing. Nole even feeds off her positive energy. He once said of her: “Jelena is a solid tennis player and a great athlete. She is very smart, smarter than me. She makes suggestions and helps me become a better person. I like that.”
6. Kim Sears (Andy Murray): She’s most likely most famous for being the girl who dumped Andy Murray for playing video games too much. Recently, it seems Kim has since been able to look past his (game) playing ways and realize the two are meant to be. The two have been together for around four years. As for Kim’s career, according to The Daily Mail, a career in publishing was one option, as was acting. But for now, she supports her man and has a full time career as Murray’s dog handler and @maggiemay_hem tweeter (Kim, we know it’s you).
7. Mirka Federer (Roger Federer): Once upon a time, Mirka Vavrinec was a WTA tennis player. She retired from the game in 2002 only to go on tour with the ATP – as Roger Federer’s full-time girlfriend, manager, publicist, agent, assistant, etc. Now, Mrs. Roger Federer is Roger’s full-time wife, manager, publicist, agent, assistant and the “etc” consists of being mother to their twin girls – Myla and Charlene. It’s only fitting that Roger is tennis’ Superman, because Mirka is one super woman.
8. ? (David Ferrer): I searched far and wide and could find no proof (or even a rumor or two) of a girl linked to David Ferrer. According to this video, David’s mom does his laundry. So I guess we’ll just have to put her down as the woman in his life. What a madre’s muchacho.
So ladies, if you’re looking to become the great woman behind one of the top ATP players, you’ll have no such luck. Except for maybe David Ferrer, if he decides to eventually do his own laundry.