The typical discourse of forehands, backhands, wins and losses was swapped for foreplay innuendo when Paula Badosa took to the press conference room recently.
‘Yes, I was injured in Australia. I saw his fight, the final. Of course I had jet lag because I was in Spain. I decided to watch that match,’ she said, explaining a dream she had about tennis star boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas.
‘Surprising, because I never dream about tennis players, but I dreamed about him the night we both won the Australian Open. Then it was like we had a very romantic moment, but I won’t explain it. I’ll just leave it at that. (Laughter).’
Badosa’s sex dream was the talk of the tournament for a day or two, with her and Tsitsipas dubbed the power couple on the ATP and WTA Tours.
Tennis stars hooking up is nothing new.
The relentless nature of the tour means dating a fellow player – or in some cases a coach – is extremely convenient.
Tsitsipas and Badosa are in the honeymoon phase, rarely apart at Wimbledon as they shared loved-up posts from the court and from around London before both were eliminated from this year’s tournament.
British No. 1 Katie Boulter is another dating a tennis star in Australian Alex de Minaur. Love, as they say, seems to be in the air among the players.
“It’s convenient for a lot of players,” a source said Mail Sport. ‘At some tournaments they have player parties where they can mingle with each other.’
Other pairs prominent on the tour are the British pair of Eden Silva and Liam Broady, Denis Shapovalov and Mirjam Bjorklund and Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils.
Petra Kvitova, who is engaged to her coach Jiri Vanek, is another, while former Wimbledon champion – and now retired – Ash Barty married her long-time hitting partner.
As for those on dating apps, the sun revealed itself last week how Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, is on Raya.
On her profile, she had several glamorous pictures of herself, including a photo dressed in her tennis whites.
What Badosa’s revelation did, however, was shine a brighter spotlight on the sex lives of tennis’ top stars.
“A lot of these players are too disciplined to be bed-jumps,” a source added. “It’s not really a thing.”
That’s not to say it doesn’t happen – and one of the big scandals of the past few years was when Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios had to be separated in a locker room clash after the outspoken Aussie taunted his rival over his then-girlfriend Donna Vekic.
Wawrinka and Kyrgios had to be forcibly separated after their infamous clash at the 2015 Canadian Open, a tennis official has sensationally revealed.
Kyrgios made a nasty on-court comment to Wawrinka about Vekic, telling Wawrinka: ‘Kokkinakis hit your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you, mate.’
Kyrgios’ comments were picked up on TV because of the on-court microphones, and afterwards Wawrinka tweeted: ‘What was said I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. To stop so low is not only unacceptable, but unfathomable.’
His remark referred to his close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis and an alleged night of passion with Vekic, although his friend was left with ‘sleepless nights’ after the row.
But undeterred, some are still seeking more and more, so much so that one adult creator offered £77,000 for Badosa and Tsitsipas to share explicit content.
My.Club vice-president Mike Ford, in a letter to the pair following their Wimbledon exit, made the bold pitch.
TOP PAIRS OF TENNIS
Paula Badosa/Stefanos Tsitsipas
Katie Boulter/Alex de Minaur
Eden Silver/Liam Broady
Elina Svitolina/Gael Monfils
Madison Keys/Bjorn Fratangelo
Denis Shapovalov/Mirjam Bjorklund
He wrote: ‘Dear Stefanos Tsitsipas and Paula Badosa, I saw the unfortunate news that you had to withdraw from competing in this year’s mixed doubles competition at Wimbledon.
‘Tennis fans everywhere are disappointed that they won’t be able to see tennis’ latest ‘it’ pair compete together on the same court, pounding balls and drilling serves.
‘To make up for the purse you missed out on – and more importantly, give fans some exclusive behind-the-scenes action.
‘I would like to offer you up to $100,000 (£77,000) to create accounts and share community content on My.Club, the adult subscription platform for content creators and post regularly (at least three times a week for a full year).’
So far there has been no response.
But dating in the tennis world isn’t for everyone, and that applies to Heather Watson.
The Briton once dated doubles ace Lloyd Glasspool – and many fans will remember a topless Glasspool wrestling with his then-boyfriend in a video shared from home – but it didn’t last and put Watson off tennis stardom for life.
Speaking back in 2019 to You magazine, Watson called the couple’s relationship a ‘passionate and intense’ two-year affair.
Asked if she would date another player, she emphatically said: ‘Hell no! It’s just too hard. I would never mix business with pleasure again.’
Watson’s first serious relationship was with junior tennis player turned banker Phil Stephens in 2015.
If anything, Wimbledon has reportedly proved more of an aphrodisiac for spectators rather than players who, a source says, are ‘locked’ into contention for one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
Last year, the Mail reported how Wimbledon officials cracked down on couples planning to use the London venue’s quiet room as a not-so-secret meeting place.
Tournament chiefs warned spectators that the secluded ‘sanctuary’ site near Court 12 would need to be kept under close watch for the 2023 tournament – 12 months after several couples were said to be in use as a venue.
‘It’s a really important space. So we want to keep it and we want to make sure people use it in the right way, Sally Bolton, chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, told The Telegraph.
‘If people need a place to go to pray, this is the quiet room for that. It is possible to breastfeed in there. But we are looking for it to be used in the right way.’
The Wimbledon website describes the facility as ‘a space where guests can retreat for a moment of private meditation, prayer or reflection or simply to escape the crowds around the grounds.’
Each prayer room is equipped with two armchairs, a folding table and phone charging facilities.
Furthermore, flyers in Wimbledon Park from residents read: ‘Gamesex and match NO THANKS!’, a not-so-subtle nod to those queuing to enter the grounds when queues can involve overnight camping.