Ranking the Best Names in Tennis History

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett@@merlisaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

Ranking the Best Names in Tennis History

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    Headline writers everywhere must be rooting for Tornado Black.

    Black reached the final of the 2013 U.S. Open girls' juniors championship.   

    Her future looks promising. Can you imagine the headlines? "Torando Blows Through Competition" or "Tornado Storms Into the Final."  

    Her younger sister, who also plays tennis, is named Hurricane.

    Already, they have two of the coolest names in tennis history. 

    There are many great names in tennis. Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal are among the biggest names in tennis today. But those names became great based on the players' careers.

    When we say best tennis names, we are talking about names that stand out. 

    Some require a double take when you see them in print. Others, like Gabriela Sabatini, flow lyrically from the lips. And then there are those names that draw giggles.

    Whether they made the list through alliteration, pronunciation or poor annunciation, here are the best names in tennis history. 

13. Lottie Dod

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    Charlotte (Lottie) Dod remains the youngest woman to ever win the Wimbledon Championships.

    She was 15 when she won the title in 1887. According to a Sports Illustrated story printed in 1993, the crowd reportedly chanted "Lottie! Lottie!" during the final.  

    Little did Lottie Dod know that nearly 100 years later, rappers Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh would sample the crowd for their hit La Di Da Di


12. Ilie Nastase

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    Ilie Nastase sounds like it belongs on the label of some high-priced shoes.

    Had the Romanian not become a famous tennis player, he could have sold his name to makers of fine leather goods.

    Ilie Nastase Couture.

    Yes, I'm wearing my Ilie Nastases today. 

11. Klara Koukalova

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    Known as Klara Zakopalova since her marriage in 2006, the former Klara Koukalova is ranked No. 33. 

    She was born, and still resides, in the Czech Republic. 

    Her new name just doesn't have the same jingle quality as Klara Koukalova.


10. Arantxa Sanchez

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    Her full name is Aranzazu Isabel Maria Sanchez-Vicario.   

    She arrived on the tennis scene as Arantxa Sanchez, the Spanish teen sensation.  

    After winning the French Open in 1989, she added her mother's maiden name, Vicario.

    Then, in 1998, she added the hyphen to Sanchez-Vicario.

    That's where the name remains, in Spain, mainly on the plain. 


9. Gabriela Sabatini

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    Gabriela Sabatini rhymes with martini and bellini. At 5'10", Sabatini was, indeed, a tall order. 

    She played in the era just before 6' women became the norm in tennis.

    Sabatini was the first tennis star who made a fortune based on her looks.

    But she was far more than a pretty face. Sabatini was a rival to great Steffi Graf. They were also doubles partners. She upset Graf at the 1990 U.S. Open. 

    Her name is lovely and lyrical: Gabriela Sabatini. 



8. Bjorn Borg

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    OK, his tennis greatness probably helped this name make No. 8.

    But the boom boom, bam bam feel you get from the name Bjorn Borg is fitting for a guy who dominated his era. 

    The name looks as good as it sounds: Bjorn Borg.

    Too bad he played before the tech boom. We could have called him "Cy-Borg." 

7. Vitas Gerulaitis

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    Look who we found, playing against Bjorg. It's Vitas Gerulaitis.

    The former tennis star died at age 40.

    His style of play was fresh and flamboyant. Sort of like his name. 



6. Evonne Goolagong

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    Evonne Goolagong takes No. 6 because she has such a happy-go-lucky sounding name. 

    The name has a certain bounce to it, like Goolagong's signature curls. 

    Would be nice to sing-a-long with Goolagong. 

5. Jana Novotna

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    Jana Novotna probably has the most phonetically pleasing name in tennis.

    It's short, sweet and to the point. 

    The former world No. 2 and winner of the 1998 Wimbledon, Novotna also won 12 women's doubles Grand Slam titles and four mixed doubles titles. 

    Her name is so easy to say you could sing it or chant it.

    Ja Na Na Na Na, Ja Na No Vot Na, hey, hey, hey, good bye. 

4. Danai Udomchoke

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    Glance quickly and it's hard not to think, "You done choked."

    Danai Udomchoke is a pretty decent player. He reached a career-high No. 77 in singles. In 2007, he reached the third round of the Australian Open.  

    No, he didn't choke. He lost to Novak Djokovic. 

3. Tornado Black

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    Here she is, tearing her way through the field.

    It's Tornado Black.  

    Black's parents recently told ESPNW that they named their daughters Tornado and Hurricane for marketing purposes. 

    They reportedly didn't want the girls called the "next Williams sisters." 

    Mission accomplished. With names like Tornado and Hurricane, they have certainly distinguished themselves.

2. Kittipong Wachiramanowong

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    Kittipong Wachiramanowong is a player from Thailand who probably is tired of folks butchering his name or poking fun.

    Sorry dude. It's just too easy.

    And here we go: "Kitti Wachmacallit?" How about Kitti Pong Pong or Kitti Ping Pong? 

    This name offers endless possibilities. 


1. Max Cocks

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    We have no photo of the Australian tennis player Max Cocks.

    According to the ATP, Cocks turned pro in 1973.

    The Australian Open has him playing in 1972 and 1973. After that, Cocks mysteriously disappears. 

    Of course, the 1970s is considered the "Golden Age" of a certain film industry. Perhaps, Cocks found a more marketable way to maximize his potential.