There are still a few more Top 12 lists left up my sleeve, and this one is the very fun Top 12 Most Memorable Off-Court Moments of 2012. It’s a mix of players acting silly and some touching moments we’ll never forget.
Honorable Mention – Just Because: In June, Feliciano Lopez was spotted on the beach in Ibiza. It was memorable. You’re welcome.
Honorable Mention – Fed Cup Photo Fun: In February, before facing Spain in the Fed Cup quarterfinals, Russia’s Fed Cup team (plus captain) did a little photo shoot in the Red square in Moscow. Looks like they all… get along!
12. Novak McIlroy: During the super-secretive Monte Carlo Masters player party, Novak Djokovic teamed up with former player David Ekerot to impersonate power couple Wozzilroy (aka Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy). Djokovic came complete with a golfer’s get-up while Ekerot went in drag as Caro.
11. Rafa Gets PUNK’d: During the French Open, Rafael Nadal was sleeping soundly when he got prank called at his hotel by a French radio station. The host pretended to be Rafa’s hair stylist, but Rafa was his polite self and explained to the caller that he was playing that day and would need a little bit more sleep, saying “Not now, another time.” How dare they wake Rafa from his sueños!
10. Normal Yet Never Boring: Tennis players really are just like us! Rafael Nadal (at a Real Madrid match) and Roger Federer (at the Swiss Championship Hockey final) got really excited for their favorite sports teams, while Juan Martin del Potro is a pro when it comes to supermarket shopping. Only Delpo can make pushing a shopping cart sexy.
9. WOOHOO!: Thank goodness Roger Federer traveled to South American and visited the Iguazu Falls in Brazil when he did or this video might not have made the list! Roger posted this National Geographic-like expedition to his YouTube page during his visit. The 0:24 and 0:32 second marks are the best moments of the video as The Fed is rafting with his dad. Watch!
8. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood: In Halle for the Gerry Weber Open, Roger Federer helped unveil Roger Federer Allee near Gerry Weber Stadium. First thing, streets. Next thing, countries?
7. Hawkeye: It was the news that shook the tennis world: Rufus the Wimbledon hawk was stolen. Luckily he was found safe a few days later, just in time for some QT with Andy Murray (with handler Imogen Davies).
6. Houses of Switzerland: London went all-out for the Olympics, including shining images of past Olympic Gold winners on The Houses of Parliament, which included Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka winning gold in Beijing.
5. Princely Honor: Britain’s Prince William presented Novak Djokovic with the “Centrepoint Premier Award for Contribution to the Lives of Youth Accross the World” in recognition of his charity work with the Novak Djokavic Foundation at the Winter Whites Gala in London. He did not bestow upon Nole any sort of royal title, but I’m sure that’s not far behind.
4. Balloon Blunder: Someone had a case of the sillies in Indian Wells this year. Caroline Wozniacki joked around at WTA all-access hour with Aga Radwanska and then tried to pull a prank on Maria Sharapova with a balloon. You know if the WTA titles the video “prank fail,” you didn’t quite pull it off.
3. Flying The Flag: Tennis had eight flag bearers during the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, including Novak Djokovic (Serbia), Maria Sharapova (Russia), Max Mirnyi (Belarus), Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland), Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus), Horia Tecau (Romania) and Stephanie Vogt (Liechtenstein). A moment they’ll never forget and truly a great moment for tennis on a global stage.
2. Light My Fire: The Olympic torch went on a journey throughout the UK before arriving in London ahead of the Olympic Games. Li Na carried it for a bit as did Boris Becker, but no moment was as memorable as the handoff from Andy Murray to Venus Williams First, Andy carried the flame into Wimbledon before turning it over to Venus, a truly magical moment. Murray told Telegraph TV, “apparently I caught the flame a little bit on the ceiling.” Luckily he didn’t burn the place down or where else would he (and Venus in doubles) have won Olympic Gold?
1. Future Of Tennis Style: It’s safe to say one of the leaders of the future of women’s tennis is Laura Robson. She really showed what she has to offer on court at the Olympics and US Open this year (clearly only just the beginning!). Then she teamed with another one to watch, Canada’s Genie Bouchard, to show what she has to offer off court. With cameos by Heather Watson, Fernando Verdasco and, most notably, Maria Sharapova, ”Laura and Genie’s Gangnam Style” debuted on October 8, and our lives haven’t been the same since. The future is now.
(Photos: AP, Reuters, Europa Press, Juan Martin del Potro, Daily Mail, ATP, Blick, Bauer Griffin, Getty Images; Videos: Laura Robson, Rafael Nadal Fans, Roger Federer)