How to Pronounce the Tennis Pros' Names in Their Native Tongue

Skye WinterContributor IIIApril 20, 2012

How to Pronounce the Tennis Pros' Names in Their Native Tongue

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    The tennis players on the WTA and ATP tour are from all over the world, each having a unique name, and a unique way of saying it too.

    To me, pronouncing their names in their native language is the correct way of saying their name. It's hard for people to say the players' name, especially since the commentators themselves say them wrong 99.9 percent of the time. I had to do quite a lot of digging around and asking native speakers from the players' countries as to how to say them, but it was worth it in the end.

    I made these videos myself to help others learn the correct pronunciations. It was a lot of fun learning to say them, and I hope you enjoy it as well. Perhaps one day you can add these names into a tennis conversation. Trust me, people will be quite astonished by your speaking skills.

    Enjoy and thank you!

Hola! Argentina!

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    The first country we visit is Argentina!

    The players in this video are (in order of appearance):

    Juan Monaco

    David Nalbandian

    Jose Acasuso

    Juan Ignacio Chela

    Juan Martin Del Potro

    When it comes to saying the names of the pros, you have to first have a relaxed mouth and tongue. If you are tense in any way, it will come out incorrectly.

    If you are nervous at all, you have to tell yourself to relax—example, if you say these names in public when you are not yet comfortable. Confidence is the key!

Bonjour! France!

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    Next we move to France. Oh la la!

    The players in this video (in order of appearance):

    Gilles Simon

    Gael Monfils

    Arnaud Celment

    Jo Wilfried Tsonga

    Richard Gasquet

    Julien Benneteau

    Paul-Henri Mathieu

    Marion Bartoli

    When speaking French, you really have to put a lot of the words in your nose. It is a beautiful language, in my opinion, that takes a lot of practice, and not too many people can learn how to sound like a true Frenchman if not native to the country.

    You have to know when to put emphasis on certain letters and know which particular letters to leave out. For example, the "H" in French is always silent.

Zdravo! Serbia!

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    Ah, yes, Serbia. The birthplace of our current men's world No.1 Novak Djokovic. There was quite a lot of controversy when it came to saying Nole's last name. He did not like the nickname "Joker," so he turned it into "Jock."

    I am friends with quite a few Serbians and they taught me to say his name, as well as other players' names from their home country.

    The players in this video (in order of appearance):

    Ana Ivanovic

    Viktor Troicki

    Jelena Jankovic

    Novak Djokovic

    The thing that helps me a lot in copying the accent is to keep pressing the replay button. If I listen to it long enough and carefully, I can copy the accent as best I can.

    In the beginning, after every key word or particular letter, I will pause and say it out loud. Saying it to yourself in your mind is not going to help you. I will keep pausing it in that same spot over and over again until I am satisfied with my pronunciation.

Dobry Den! Czech Republic!

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    The Czech language can be a tough language to learn. Why? It is because Czech has seven cases that are used to indicate the subject—direct or indirect object of a sentence—as well as possession, motion towards, motion from, location and many other situations.

    These cases are nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative, prepositional or instrumental.

    As such, the Czech language can be extremely difficult, as the case that is used to decipher something is not always obvious. Here is an example regarding the genitive case (represents motion or possession), which is used to indicate motion to in some scenario.

    The players in this video (in order of appearance):

    Radek Stepanek

    Tomas Berdych

Hola, Amigo! Spain!

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    I love to sit and listen to those who speak Spanish fluently. The way the words roll off their tongue is quite mesmerizing, and yet, when I try to decipher what it is they are saying I only get a headache.

    To speak this language comes with a loose mouth and tongue; being able to manipulate the words and letters without the slightest hesitation. I have listened to nearly every language from a native speaker, but Spanish has to be the fastest spoken language I have ever heard.

    The players in this video (in order of appearance):

    David Ferrer

    Fernando Verdasco

    Juan Carlos Ferrero

    Rafael Nadal

The Names of Other Player's

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    I end this with some random players from random countries. I had a lot of fun with the Chinese names, I have to admit.

    The reason why the last name (surname) in Chinese is put first is because it puts respect and emphasis to their family surname. It is polite to address one by their surname if you do not know them personally. That is why it is "Li Na," instead of "Na Li."

    The players in this video(in order of appearance):

    Kei Nishikori (Japan)

    Peng Shuai (China)

    Zheng Jie (China)

    Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)

    Marin Cilic (Croatia)

    Justine Henin (Belgium)

    Roger Federer (Switzerland)

    Roger is always a great one to end this on! If there is a player's name you wish to learn to pronounce correctly, then my all means please contact me. If I get a big enough list, I will make another one!