5 tennis champions who are musically inclined

Many tennis players have special pastimes off court. Novak Djokovic occupies himself with extensive charity work, while the fiery Serena Williams has a surprisingly sedate pastime - sewing.She's so adept at it that she once sewed up her own dress at a Grand Slam winners' banquet when she found a rip in a seam.But a number of tennis players are music fans, with some choosing to pursue it in earnest. Some of tennis' best even went on to forge successful music careers and release albums!Here, we bring you 5 top-5 players, all of whom did just that:

#5 The Bryan Brothers


The most successful men’s doubles pair of all time, identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan’s joint success extends off-court as well. The two together have won more Grand Slams, majors and tournaments than any other men’s doubles pairing in the history of the game, and have finished as the year-end World No. 1 pair ten times since their debut.

They come from a tennis-loving – and playing – family. The twins’ mother, Kathy, was a professional on the WTA circuit, and made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in the mixed doubles.

She continues to teach tennis, while their father, also now a tennis instructor, is a lawyer and professional musician. It is perhaps from him that the brothers get their musical talent.

The two formed a musical group quite appropriately called the Bryan Brothers Band, with Mike playing the drums and guitar, and Bob on the keyboard. Their guitarist father also features in the band and on their albums.

They’ve managed to get some famous names to feature on their albums, too – both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have made guest appearances.

#4 Yannick Noah


France’s Yannick Noah is one of the few to have had success on court and in his musical career. The former top-10 player, the son of Cameroonian footballer Zacharie Noah, was discovered as an 11-year-old by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who encouraged him to join the French Tennis Federation’s training camps.

Noah had a strong singles and doubles career, winning the French Open in each. He reached a career-best 3rd in the singles and was the world’s top-ranked doubles player for a time as well.

The highest-ranked French tennis player of all time, Noah is also an extremely gifted musician. The 52-year-old has released a number of albums, singles and written original music in addition to releasing covers, most famously of Bob Marley’s work.

Fittingly, his most popular single is called “On Court.”

#3 Pat Cash - Guitar


A number of top 10 players, past and present, seem to have picked up the guitar – and Australian ace Pat Cash is among them. He was World No. 1 in the juniors and won two Davis Cups for his country during a long career that saw him gain singles success as well.

The former Wimbledon winner has one thing in common with his namesake. Cash, like the late American musician Johnny, is adept at the guitar, and occasionally plays with bands in the USA and his native Australia.

#2 Daniela Hantuchova - Piano


She’s been a top-5 player and began playing tennis as a young child. But the Slovak ace, whose grandmother was a former national tennis champion who propelled a young Daniela into the sport, had another big love – music.

Hantuchova began learning how to play the piano at 8 years old, and studied it for 8 years before moving to concentrate on her tennis. She was very adept at the instrument, and spoke of how her piano teacher did not like the fact that she played the piano.

“My piano lessons were always after tennis sessions,” Hantuchova said in an interview. “My hands were always dirty and my teacher thought it would be very bad for my piano, she didn’t like it.”

The now 32-year-old has said that after a gap away from the instrument, she has in recent years taken up studying it in earnest.

#1 John McEnroe - electric guitar


Racquets aren’t the only stringed instruments McEnroe shreds. The notoriously angry young (and now, not-so-young) man of tennis, the original raging bull, former World No. 1, learned how to play guitar while on tour.

His teachers were not too shabby, either – he mentions a certain ‘Eddie’ teaching him how to play, that being Eddie Van Halen, who is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

McEnroe wanted to be a professional musician after his retirement from tennis, and pursued this seriously after leaving the circuit. It was also how he met his wife, rock musician Patty Smyth.

He was frontman, lead guitarist and singer for his own Johnny Smyth band, but did not have much success – or release an album.

Mac still performs, and tours occasionally with some big musical names, featuring with the Pretenders and Rob Thomas among others.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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