5 Greatest Routines and Superstitions in Tennis
Athletes of all sports have specific methods of reaching their comfort zones before playing in their game or match. As a very superstitious sport, tennis is certainly no exception.
While everyone has their routines, certain players' are much more detailed and specific than others. Here's a look at some of the best routines and superstitions in the game's history.
Richard Gasquet's Lucky Ball
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Frenchman Richard Gasquet is among the most superstitious men in tennis, and it shows in every match that he plays. Every time he wins a point, he demands that he uses the same "lucky ball" again for the next. The routine even extends to when he loses a point; when he does, he searches for the ball that was used during the last point that he won.
Gasquet consistently pleases crowds of his home country and the rest of the world, but one thing is for sure: he's not a ball-boy favorite.
Serena Williams' Shoelaces
Although Serena Williams is one of the greatest female tennis players ever, she doesn't find it any easier to reach her comfort zone during a match. Her routine has always been consistent and specific.
Before each match, Serena feels the need to tie her shoes in exactly the same way. This seems like such a trivial detail for a dominant player to be concerned with, but she doesn't seem to think so. In fact, she commonly blames losses in big matches on not following this specific routine.
As strange as this idea sounds, we can't argue with her 13 Grand Slam titles.
Andre Agassi's Outfit Choices
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In his novel Open, the legendary Andre Agassi revealed a lot about his life, both on and off the court. Among the most interesting was the story of his 1999 French Open campaign.
At the beginning of the tournament, Agassi realized that he had forgotten to pack underwear for his first round match. After winning that match, he refused to wear underwear for the rest of the tournament. He went on to claim the title.
Athletes have followed specific clothing patterns after seeing success in certain outfits throughout history, but Agassi's case was undoubtedly the most extreme and comical.
Rafael Nadal's Water Bottles
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Rafa's overall pre-match schedule is an extremely specific routine that apparently works for him. The most interesting part has to do with his water bottles.
According to the Spanish legend, before each match, he places his two water bottles right next to each other on the ground, in front and to the left of his chair. Then, throughout the match, he consistently drinks from one bottle and then the other, never the same bottle twice in a row.
As with Serena, it's hard to make fun of his routines because they have proved to be so successful in the past, but this one is pretty interesting to watch.
Bjorn Borg's Lucky Beard
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And finally, the most famous tennis superstition of all: the facial hair of the great Bjorn Borg. This particular superstition only pertained to Wimbledon, so it was not seen as frequently as some of the others on this list. That made it no less entertaining, though.
Before each Wimbledon campaign, Borg would grow a beard in time for the start of the first round. His "lucky beard" seems to have helped; the seasons of 1976 to 1980 saw five straight titles for the Swede.
The success that his beard brought him was apparently very impressive to athletes of other sports. Since then, individual players and entire teams, including the 2009 Detroit Red Wings and Ben Roethlisberger of the 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers, have used the same strategy.