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Friday, May 20, 2022
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Rivard: The art of celebration


Some remain stoic, while others collapse. And others still become totally euphoric.

From blockbuster slams to the humblest of Challenger events, there’s no telling how a player will celebrate a great shot or a shiny new title.

Last week, Tennis TV took to Twitter to find out whose tennis celebrations are the most iconic.

It comes as no surprise that a lot of followers mentioned Rafael Nadal’s 21st, but it seems our collective memory is pretty selective or tends to prefer the short term.

I loved scrolling through the suggestions and even discovered a few wins I’d never seen, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites for your enjoyment.

And mine.

Daniil does the dead fish

First up is one of the strangest Grand Slam wins that just happens to mark Daniil Medvedev’s very first major. There’s really no telling what went through his mind when he crushed Novak Djokovic in the Big Apple on September 12, but one thing’s for sure: we’d never seen anyone win like that before and we’ll never forget it.

Novak and the taste of victory

Somewhat less outlandish than the dead fish but still just as original and unexpected is this memorable celebration. At Wimbledon 2019, after outmaneuvering Federer at the outcome of an epic five-setter, Djokovic had a literal taste of victory right there on Center Court.

Courier dives into the AO

Jim Courier gets a nod for the most complex celebration. In 1992, following the first of his two straight wins over Stefan Edberg in the final in Melbourne, Courier raised the winner’s trophy and then undertook a long jog outside the stadium, through the indoor parking garage, beyond Melbourne Park, across Batman Avenue and right into the Yarra River. It was a spectacular statement that camera operators and security workers may not have appreciated.

For the record, Courier actually jumped into one of the world’s most polluted rivers and was sick for a week after the stunt. Still, I assume a title is worth a little suffering.

Pat Cash starts a trend

Here’s a blast from the past. When he won Wimbledon in 1987, Australian Pat Cash wanted to personally thank his family. Little did he know that his trek to his box would start a trend. He is actually the first champion ever to climb into the stands — something that’s become standard practice virtually everywhere.

Marat and the moon

Marat Safin is wildly talented. And pretty flashy. In his second-round match against Félix Mantilla of Spain at Roland-Garros in 2004, he celebrated a great drop shot by dropping his pants.

Bianca’s big moment

Only one Grand Slam singles title has been brought home to Canada. In 2019, on hostile terrain at the US Open, facing an American icon who just happens to be one of the greatest players of all time with more Slams than Rafa, Novak or Roger, Bianca Andreescu made history.

She may not have been the most boisterous champion, but she took us through a range of emotions, from amazement to satisfaction to relief. Unforgettable.

Best of Serena

It goes without saying that the intense, spirited and exuberant all-time great Serena Williams would make the list. Here’s a quick compilation of some of her 855 triumphs.

Venus at her zenith

Venus Williams has claimed 49 singles titles and competed in 83 finals. She’s won seven Slams and played in ten finals. But as far as her on-court celebrations, her success at the 2017 AO takes the cake.

Federer, interrupted

In January 2017, a year before he won his most recent Slam, Roger Federer earned his 18th in Melbourne. Before he could jump for joy, his friend and rival Rafa Nadal — for whom little hope remained — sought confirmation from Hawk-Eye.

Electric Jimmy Connors

In 1991, Connors was 38 years old. He may not have won the title in New York that year, but he still gave us some of the most memorable celebrations in US Open history. Against Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands in the quarters, the Brash Basher of Belleville set Stadium Court on fire. After surviving a long, long rally, Connors sent a shock wave that was felt as far as Canada.

Moving moment for Andy Murray

How can you not be moved by Andy Murray’s reaction to winning Wimbledon in 2013 and becoming the first Brit in 55 years to collect the crown? The images are worth a thousand words and a thousand emotions.

Great wins happen everywhere, not just at the majors.

See for yourself.

Less is more

On November 6, 2018, Jurij Radionov of Austria squeaked by his longstanding rival Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus at the outcome of a tight third set tie-breaker (8-6) at the Bratislava Challenger.

When he did, Jury Incredible Hulk Radionov did his best Cristiano Ronaldo impression for a handful of spectators, who were likely laughing at him.

As for Ignatik, he did not even bother to walk up to shake the winner’s hand.

Dudi Sela gets a boost

Sometimes the loser celebrates, too. Here, the award for originality goes to Dudi Sela (5’9 ”), who lost to Ivo Karlovic (6’11”) in the second round of the Claro Open Colombia in July 2014. Before heading to the net, he stopped to grab a chair to give the winner a hug.

Blogger’s choice

Denis Shapovalov takes the world by surprise

If you’re wondering which celebration I’d list among the most iconic, it would be the time a Canadian hero won at home and took the whole world by surprise.

On that fateful August night, in the third round of the 2017 National Bank Open, it was not Rafa Nadal who fell to the ground but a 19-year-old rising star named Denis Shapovalov.

I was there, in the broadcast booth, and I’ll never forget it.


Email: privard@tenniscanada.com

Twitter: @ paul6rivard

Follow all our Canadians in action here.





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