Tennis is often associated with the prim and the proper, the classy and the courteous, the respectful and the reverent.
But the sport has always managed to welcome in players who aren't so, well...boring.
Some of tennis's most successful names have been showmen. Jimmy Connors practiced some wild antics, including giving the finger to line judges and strutting around the court with playful arrogance. Ilie Nastase, winner of two Grand Slam singles tournaments, was known for his ability to entertain the crowds and sometimes resorted to hilarious mimicry. And John McEnroe—well, he needs no explanation.
The tennis stars of today are not disappointing in this regard. Several players are remembered now not only for their skills with the racket, but for how their presence is felt by the crowds and opponents alike.
Here are five current players who are always fun to watch..
If you start watching a tennis match featuring Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the middle of the second set, you can figure out how it's going by watching the Frenchman's body language. He may be pumping his fist passionately or scowling and angrily talking to himself, but, either way, he holds nothing back.
While Tsonga's excitement on the court can be contagious to fans, his constant self-deprecation when he is playing poorly can be entertaining, too—in a cinematic, ride-the-emotional-roller-coaster sort of way.
His on-court play can be just as captivating, as Tsonga's strong serving and aggressive shot selection both work well in fueling his volatile disposition.
Plus, anytime you resemble one of sports' most transcendent, iconic figures, you're going to grab attention anyway.
Gael Monfils shares a homeland with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as well as his energetic personality. In play, Monfils moves around swiftly and acrobatically; his sliding technique has become well known and recognized.
In between serves, he often gets familiar with the fans, interacting with the crowd and demonstrating his jubilant nature. The next thing you know, he'll be right back on the court, sliding and diving and making every movement count—or at least making every movement as entertaining as possible.
Monfils also screams from time to time, though we all know how critics feel about forms of oral expression on the tennis court.
But perhaps he's just recalling previous moments of pain, like memories of when he got his tattoos—two on his wrists (ouch!) and giant wings on his back.
In order to be a showman or woman, you have to show something. And, over the years, Venus Williams has shown us quite a lot.
(That's not what I mean! Well, not really, anyway.)
As remarkable as she has played over her incredible career, Williams often seems to get just as much attention for her, er, interesting outfits.
There was her lacy black dress at the 2010 French Open.
There was this creative/revealing/downright weird ensemble she displayed at this year's Australian Open.
With an obvious passion for fashion, Williams' unique choice of clothing can definitely be chalked up to personal expression. And we ask nothing more of a showman or woman than sincere personal expression.
As far as outrageous outfits, Serena has been known to emulate her sister's exotic taste. No more explanation is needed than this.
Still, Serena Williams is one of the most beloved tennis stars, male of female, of this generation. Her temper does not make her a mean person, at least not in the eyes of her fans. Though it does make her much more entertaining to watch.
From his incessant pre-serve ball-bouncing to the ever-present bounce in his step, Novak Djokovic is a constant display of energy.
What's more, he's been known to show his sense of humor on many occasions, most often in the form of impressions.
Djokovic has taken on some of his sport's biggest names, including Rafael Nadal.
And even tennis's most legendary showman, Mr. John McEnroe.
Lucky for Djokovic, he doesn't have to imitate being the world's No. 1 overall player.