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5 great tennis stories that should be made into movies

  • There are not a lot of movies based on Tennis. Wimbledon, a 2004 movie closely based on Goran Ivaniševi? triumph at the 2001 Wimbledon is possibly the only decent Tennis movie I have seen. So, what if the movie fraternity wanted to make a Tennis movie based on a real event? They don't have to look beyond this list.
Sriram Ilango
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 03 Jun 2013, 17:03 IST

There are not a lot of movies based on tennis. Wimbledon, a 2004 movie closely based on Goran Ivaniševi? triumph at the 2001 Wimbledon is possibly the only decent tennis movie I have seen.

So, what if the movie fraternity wanted to make a tennis movie based on a real event? They don’t have to look beyond this list.

#5 – Federer – Nadal – Djokovic – Murray, The Golden Generation

The Big Four!

The domination of the big four is not something you see everyday. After 2005, when Djokovic and Murray began competing, only one player other than these four has managed to win a Grand Slam title (del Porto, 2009 US Open).

The Big Four dominance started as a duopoly between Nadal and Federer during 2005-06. Djokovic joined the ranks in 2009 and Murray became prominent during 2011.

Some people still claim that Borg-McEnroe-Lendl-Connors generation is greater than this. But if Hollywood is going to make a movie, then the new Golden Generation is more apt.

Just think about the matches we’ve had between these four players – The 2008 Wimbledon Finals, the 2009 Australian Open finals, the 2010 US Open finals, the 2012 Australian Open finals and the 2012 US Open finals.

What a movie we would get if a director can combine all these phenomenal story lines into a single script!

#4 – Brian Baker, the king of all comebacks


Down but never out

Brian Baker was going to be big. In the 2003 Junior French Open, he defeated Marcos Baghdatis and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to set up a final with Stanislas Wawrinka. He lost the final but he was rated to be the next big thing in tennis.

All the three players that he played against in that 2003 Junior French Open made it big. Brian Baker however didn’t play at the major level for more than 6 years. Between 2005 and 2011, Baker has had five major surgeries in his body – in his left hip, right hip, hernia, right elbow and one more surgery in his left hip.

He could have taken a break. He had put his body through enough but he didn’t. In 2011, Baker entered a few Futures and Challenger tournaments. He qualified his way through 2012 French Open and Wimbledon. He reached a ranking of No.52 from No.458. He gained his first direct entry to a Grand Slam event at the 2012 US Open.

Brian Baker may never win a title. He may never make it big but he personifies what the game is all about. When asked about all these, he replied “I’ve learned that you can’t fight what you can’t control. There were definitely times when you’d ask ‘Why me?’ But you just try to roll with it and hope there are better times ahead.”

#3 – Eric Butorac – No dream is too big

Eric Butorac began playing professional tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College which is in the Division 3. Eric was good, for a player who was playing at Division 3. Then during the National Championships, Eric lost to a player who wasn’t better than him. He had let his team down. That defeat changed his life. He began working hard, putting in crazy hours on the court.

Eric went to Australia for some academic work. He and his friends went to the Australian Open and Eric vowed that he would one day play there. He knew that he had to work hard if he wanted to make it big at the International stage coming from Division 3.

Eric joined a minor European tennis league. He didn’t have money. He slept in cars. At times, he would ask the tournament organizers to let him sleep inside the dressing room and reception couches. Once, Eric defeated another amateur from France. That guy came to Eric and said “You’re lucky, I didn’t get any sleep last night due to a fire alarm at my hotel“. Eric replied that he had slept in a bench at the park last night.

He had the fire in him but he was humble. He was thankful that the European league organizers let him sleep on their stadium couches. He didn’t complain. No one, not even a single person from a small college had earned official ATP rating for more than 20 years.

Today Eric Butorac is the third best ranked American doubles player only behind the Bryans. He has won 13 ATP titles till date. Just five years after he sat at that Australian Open, he competed in it. Today, Eric is the Vice-President of ATP player’s Council which has Roger Federer as its President.

How do you explain a player from a Division 3 college with absolutely no chance of making it big playing ball on regular basis with Roger Federer? Just plain crazy.

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Published 03 Jun 2013, 17:03 IST
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