Top 10 tennis trophies and prizes
Roger Federer’s cow
Federer won his first Wimbledon championship in 2003. On his return to Switzerland he was presented with a cow. “Now I need to find a garage for a cow, although I have no idea what a cow garage looks like,” he said. “As a Swiss, I know all about Switzerland’s image as a country of cows, so it’s really very special.” Federer named his cow Juliette. It was later reported that Juliette had given birth to a calf (Juliette jnr. or Julian we assume), but devastatingly, Juliette was slaughtered in 2007, prior to Federer’s record equalling 5th straight title at Wimbledon.
Bunny Austin’s voucher.
The last British man to reach the second Sunday at Wimbledon was Henry ‘Bunny’ Austin. Bunny was trounced in the 1938 final by American, Don Budge, 6-1, 6-0, 6-3. In 2011, Rafael Nadal received £550,000 for coming runner-up to Novak Djokovic. Austin, that day in 1938, was handed a £10 gift voucher for the jewellery shop, Mappin & Webb.
Bunny’s membership to the All England Club was later withdrawn when a member of the committee, an individual Bunny did not pick for the Cambridge University tennis team, revoked his membership and carried on turning down any further applications Bunny submitted for the next 22 years. Finally, in 1984, a 77-year-old Bunny Austin was allowed back in to the All England Club.
A taste of Mexico
True to the Four Tops song, it’s little bit loco down in Acapulco, at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel 500 tournament. If everything goes pear shaped for you in Acapulco, then things are looking up and you’ve gained 500 ranking points. The winner of the tournament receives an oversized silver pear perched on top of a black box. And to add to the giant pear, the winner also receives an authentic Mexican sombrero. Past winners include clay-greats such as Rafael Nadal, Guga Kuerten, Thomas Muster, with the current holder of the big pear being David Ferrer.
Over-sized prize at London’s Queen’s Club.
The pre-Wimbledon grass court tournament may only be ranked as a 250 tournament by the ATP, but both the tradition and trophy on offer are far bigger. The Queen’s Club presents the winner with possibly the biggest trophy on tour. Each time the four time champion Lleyton Hewitt has lifted the title, he has put it down soon afterwards – it is about half the size of the 5 foot 10 inch Aussie.
Children’s drawing in the Netherlands
Unicef now sponsor the tournament held in Hertgenbosch in The Netherlands. With a change of sponsor came a change of trophy. The Unicef plate is a colourful ceramic piece with children’s drawings upon it, where a new design is produced each year. Our agony uncle Dmitry Tursunov displays the 2011 title within his trophy cabinet.
No tennis player on tour could ask for more than what the Exxon Mobil Open in Qatar offers as a late Christmas or New Year present. If the initial golden falcon shaped trophy is not wild enough, the winner is then presented with a ceremonial sword, a replica of the ones kept in the museum at Al Khor, 30 kilometres north of the Khalifa Internation Tennis Complex. Roger Federer has won the tournament three times – he could always entertain guests at home with a spot of fencing.
Weirdness in Paris Bercy
The indoors Masters 1000 event held at the end of October has had its fair share of weird and wonderful trophies. The glass piece of the ‘90s was acceptable; the current prize which looks like a bunch of tangled wires behind a TV is bearable; but the trophy used from 2002-2006, a metallic tree, was somewhat bemusing. Tim Henman described it as “very different” after lifting it in 2003. We’re just happy that they discontinued the tinny woodland for Rafa’s sake. If he’d won this title whilst the trophy was still in use, it’d be a serious choking hazard with his prize-nibbling habits.
‘The Match of the Century’.
This much anticipated match took place in 1926 at The Carlton Club in Cannes, France. The final was contested between French great, Suzanne Lenglen (the number two court at Roland Garros is named after her) and US prodigy, Helen Wills. According to Larry Englemann’s book about the two superstars, ‘The Goddess and the American Girl’, Lenglen’s father prohibited her from playing Wills as she was a threat to her dominance.
When they two finally did meet, ticket prices skyrocketed, and people could be seen climbing on roofs and window ledges to get a glimpse of the action. This was Superstar vs. Superstar, the biggest head to head in women’s tennis. Lenglen won the match 6-3, 8-6. The prize, comparable to the millions on offer nowadays you’d think; not quite. Lenglen was sat down on a bench, given a standing ovation and covered in bouquets of flowers. Wills was not acknowledged as the runner-up.
Martina Hingis’s head-dress and horse
In 2001, Martina Hingis won the first ever ladies tennis tournament to be held in the Middle East, the Qatar Ladies Open. With the political background of Qatar, the tournament was a controversial event but was a major success. Hingis, having won the tournament was presented with a golden head-dress and a stallion to ride off court with. It was a picturesque scene of Middle Eastern culture until the horse dropped its bowels on to the court during the trophy ceremony. Talking of her headdress prize, Hingis said: “It’s like 24-carat gold. I’m like, ‘Okay thanks.’ I don’t think I’m ever going to wear it.”
The Tashkent Open
This tournament, now a Challenger Series event held in Uzbekistan, presents a slightly larger than average trophy to the winner, but by no means abnormally large. However, this regulation trophy ceremony is lit up by the two finalists having to wear traditional Uzbekistani dress. The robes, usually royal blue with golden floral trim, complete with head piece and silver waist tie look more like something you’d expect to see in Disney’s Aladdin rather than on a tennis court. Tim Henman donned the attire twice, winning the title in 1997 and 1998. Very fetching.