© Ella Ling

Sara Errani

Paris diary - Sara Errani almost claimed by football


The performances of Sara Errani here have shown that you don’t have to be 6ft-plus with muscles like Atlas to do well in women’s tennis. At 5ft 4 ½ inches tall, the Italian has relied on guile, tactical nous, great footwork and clear thinking to make it all the way through to her first grand slam final, slaying the powerful Sam Stosur in the semi-finals.

She has, of course, won three clay-court titles this year and has talked a lot about her change of racket, from Wilson to Babolat. It is reported that she paid $30,000 to get out of her Wilson deal and the added length of her Babolat has enabled her to increase her own power, without losing the other things she is good at. However, the biggest revelation (or really a reminder, since it has been known within the sport for a while), was exactly how good she is at football.

As Errani told the French Open website: “I played one year of professional football, so if I hadn’t have played tennis I’d have played football (or basketball).” More impressively, though, she holds the WTA Tour record for keepy-uppy, at a whopping 208. We couldn’t find the video of her doing 208, but we did find a good example of how good she is in a video which also showcases the skills of Roberta Vinci, with whom Errani is in the doubles final here.

If Britain’s Sarah Borwell is reading this, perhaps we could lay down another challenge between them because as the video below shows, Borwell once beat Errani’s record (before the Italian managed 208, obviously)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vypRhKx8G-E

Another snippet from the Roland Garros website is that Goran Ivanisevic’s worst nickname came  courtesy of Petr Korda, the Czech who won the Australian Open title in 1998. “It’s crazy horse,” he said. “I have no idea (why). Petr Korda invented that stupid nickname. We have highlighted Brad Gilbert’s penchant for using nicknames for all the top players before, including “Weekend at Bernie’s” for Bernard Tomic and “Muzzard” for Andy Murray. His nickname for Maria Sharapova is “Shazza” but we are pretty sure that the British press were the first to coin that one, thanks to their own love for sticking an “a” on the end of everything, as in “Gazza” for Paul Gascoigne and so on.