© Ella Ling

Net detail

Top 10 tennis sex scandals


Francesca Schiavone doesn’t realise she is being filmed on court. The former French Open champion once said: “For a woman, sex before a match is not only allowed, it is fantastic – it raises your hormones and brings advantages to all your points.” But it would appear that the Italian also thinks about sex during matches – there is footage on YouTube of Schiavone and a male spectator making gestures at each other while she sits on her chair during a changeover.

Ilie Nastase risks offence with the revelations in his book, Mr Nasty, that he had slept with 2,500 women, and that, “sex in those days was like taking a daily shower – you take one, it feels nice, then you forget it”. Still that is a long way off the figure claimed by film star Warren Beatty who said he had been to bed with 12,775 women (“though that does not include daytime quickies, drive-bys, casual gropings, stolen kisses and so on”).

Flavia Pennetta writes a book about how her former boyfriend, Carlos Moya, cheated on her with a television presenter. When Pennetta found out about the affair, she realised she had lost any sense of herself in their relationship. She recalled in Straight to the Heart (Dritto al Cuore) that she lost weight and became “numb to life”: “People felt sorry for me and I could not even defend myself. It was as if I had lost my taste for things. I was trying to be numb towards life, not to feel pain. I did not even feel physical pain. A silly example: even when I was waxing, I did not even feel anything.” 

John McEnroe is high the first time he sleeps with the actress Tatum O’Neal, his future wife. “Let me put it this way: being with Tatum took me to a whole new level. Until I met her, I’d never been in the National Enquirer,” McEnroe said. “The first time Tatum and I made love, we were high and it was terrible. Shouldn’t that have told me something. It wasn’t as though she was saying, ‘let’s do drugs’. I was the guilty party also. It wasn’t a particularly romantic occasion.” 

An American college student is banned for posing for Playboy – but not because she was naked. Roseleena Blair was suspended by the National Collegiate Athletic Association after she appeared in the magazine’s ‘Sexy Girls in Sports Special Edition’. Their regulations bar athletes from being paid ‘directly or indirectly, using their athletic skills’.

Boris Becker’s liason on some stairs (not in a broom cupboard). A myth had built up around Becker’s encounter with a model in London’s Nobu restaurant in 1999 – an encounter which produced a daughter, and ended Becker’s marriage. “I don’t know if a bathroom is a better place but it actually happened on the stairs between the bathrooms so there was no broom cupboard,” who had retired from professional tennis earlier that day. “I felt very guilty, ashamed. It was my last day of tennis, now I’ve cheated on my wife. The first time I went back to Nobu I said, ‘how the hell did I do that?’ It’s impossible. It was one of those moments that happened in a fluke.”

Ashley Harkleroad becomes the first professional player to pose for Playboy. The American made the decision to do the photo-shoot while lying on a hospital bed recovering from an operation to remove a cyst on her ovaries. “I was just lying there for three weeks and an offer came to me. I thought about it and thought, well, I’m not really doing anything right now and I’m proud of my body. I’m just trying to represent a female athlete and her body,” said Harkleroad, who appeared in the magazine in 2008. “That can be sexy, too. It’s no big deal.”

Bill Tilden is twice imprisoned. Tilden,a winner of 10 grand slam singles titles, was sent to jail the first time for having sex with a male teenage prostitute, the second time for groping a male teenage hitchhiker.

Bjorn Borg’s marriage to an Italian glamour model. Loredana Berte was Borg’s second wife. She was also an Italian glamour model and rock star who used to appear half-naked and covered in glitter on the cover of her albums. Her signature song was ‘Non sono une signora’ (I am not a lady).

One year at the Australian Open, Marat Safin’s player-gallery featured three blonde ‘friends’ at all his matches.


  • Asad Munir

    Which Schiavone video are you referring to?

  • Rebecca Valessi

    This site desperately needs better writers.

  • smutpeddler

    Gasquet getting coked up from a kiss was an interesting one.

  • Harry_Wild

    I was hoping on more female stories to balance out the male tennis players. I think there are many female relationships that are too recent or are too intimate to tell to the public such as coaches and female players, hitting partners and female players and female players together in a relationship on the tour!