UEFA Euro is the biggest thing happening right now, keeping most of us glued to the television set. It comes as a relief for some of us who finally know what to do with their time apart from eating and sleeping. One of the lesser known facts is tennis players’ fetish for football. Almost all the top tennis players play football, for fitness and for the love they have for the sport. Football also finds its biggest fans in tennis players. Rafa Nadal is a hard core Real Madrid fan, Roger Federer is a regular at FC Basel, Milos Raonic is a Barcelona fan, Novak Djokovic is a huge fan of AC Milan and Coach No. 1 Boris Becker follows Bayern Munich.
The football fest has just begun and to be a part of the fun, I am all agog to put together a football team of my own consisting of tennis players.
When I put myself in the shoes of a manager, my envisioned team would sum up to something like this:
Going with a ‘3-4-3’ formation
17 FEDERER Roger (Forward) – I feel he is the Ibrahimovic of the team. 34 is just a number on his Wikipedia page, as I believe he is still going strong and chasing records. He just does not seem to run out of fuel.
10 NADAL Rafael (Forward) – this belligerent raging bull is one who will make sure he puts the ball behind the net, and won’t stop until he is complacent. He brings the energy and the vigour to the team.
7 DJOKOVIC Novak (Forward) – the ambition to emerge as a winner serves as the most powerful weapon as his Majesty presides over the squad. A fighting spirit is a prerequisite for a captain.
11 TSONGA Jo (Defender) – I think putting him on the field to guard the post is a wise decision because he just never lets it get past him. He is the Eiffel Tower here.
8 MONFILS Gael (Midfielder) – pace, jump and strength; such is our midfielder; take the ball from him if u can. His speed and reflexes give him a great advantage on the field. I had almost put him down as the goalkeeper but his speed with the ball is a greater strength to the team.
78 THIEM Dominic (Defensive Midfielder) – one of the youngest chaps on the team, he is on the path of gaining experience but he is confident and talented and has shown his ability to perform at the highest level.
9 MURRAY Andy (Midfielder) – An antagonistic approach to the game is what sets him apart and also what keeps him posted in the mid. For the ball he is even ready to hunt you down.
23 WAWRINKA Stan (Defender) – I consider him the dark horse of the team. He leads the defense and can attack as and when the team requires him to. This man can perform under pressure and remain as calm.
99 RAONIC Milos (Goalkeeper) – what will you do when a 1.96 m tall pillar stands in between you and the goalpost. This impulsive goalkeeper will force you to give away the ball, and that too with his tongue out!
42 VERDASCO Fernando (Defender) – A former Top 8 player in tennis, is known for training hard. He has helped Spain win three Davis Cup titles and also the Hopman Cup, so he is a surely a team player. Born and brought up in Madrid, he follows football very closely. And, this guy finds football to be posher than tennis.
27 FERRER David (Offensive Midfielder) – Known for his endurance and hard work, Ferrer is one of the senior players in the team. He creates opportunities for the strikers.
21 BERDYCH Tomas (Goalkeeper) – His best Grand Slam result has come on grass and thus he is expected to continue the trend here too. Hoping that he shows more enthusiasm and the will to win on the football field than he does on the tennis court.
13 KYRGIOS Nick (Midfield) – There is greater chance of him sitting out with a red card than playing on field. I just hope if I can channelize his aggression for a better cause and of course keep him away from Wawrinka.
12 BROWN Dustin (Forward) – I call him Monfils No. 2. He is as flexible and is a better player on grass. He shares his patriotism and love for football with teammate Zverev. Brown has a Jamaican descent and hence his agility and athletic persona. He can play for hours together without breaking a sweat.
33 ZVEREV Alexander (Midfield) – The youngest player in the squad. This guy has the passion and the determination to become something more. Hailing from Germany, he has seen more of football than a lot of players in the squad. He talks like the reigning World Champion, though he might not exactly play like one.
Watching this team play will be interesting because it will be like watching a group of kings battling on the same side against a common enemy. All the players in the team are champions in their own regard and each one of them possesses a sundry caratteristica. The striking thing here is to see how they set aside their egos and rivalries to play together as a team. A player may shine as an individual but the real challenge lies in putting up a show with a crew.
The players are all set in the locker room with the best virtual manager (that’s me!) and the team name written on the door, which reads, “15 – Love Lockerroom!”
Credits: Pictures taken from gettyimages