Tennys is not the only name of the game

American Tennys Sandgren does run into issues with his name off court.
American Tennys Sandgren does run into issues with his name off court.

LONDON • Tennys Sandgren has just about the perfect name for tennis, generating as much excitement among fans as it does confusion in bars and coffee shops.

The American, though, is not the only player with an eye-catching first name doing battle on the Wimbledon lawns. Storm Sanders, Eden Silva, Desirae Krawczyk, Raven Klaasen and Astra Sharma have all been swinging their rackets at the All England Club.

Meanwhile, there is competition coming up in the juniors with Blu Baker, Destinee Martins and Hurricane Black - whose sister is incidentally called Tornado.

Sandgren, who is named after his Swedish great-grandfather, said there was no way a man called Tennys could take up tennis and flop. "I at least had to be good at the sport if I was going to play," last year's Australian Open quarter-finalist said.

His early enthusiasm for tennis came from his family being keen players - but his name possibly helped. "Who knows, maybe there's some sort of cosmic pull in that direction," said the world No. 94, who made the fourth round of Wimbledon on Saturday - his best run at the Grand Slam.

Away from the courts, though, Sandgren, 27, admitted the name had its challenges as people often do a double take.

"Explaining it gets a little tiring, like when I'm trying to get a coffee,"he said. "Or when I'm trying to introduce myself to someone of the opposite sex that I don't know.

Australian Sanders, 24, said her name could sometimes catch people off-guard.

"I love my name because it's memorable," she said. "People sometimes don't know what to expect of me. It's a bit quirky but I love it."

When she was born, her parents were reading Wilbur Smith's epic Courtney series of novels, tracking the lives of one family through the centuries.

"One of the characters is Storm Courtney and they liked the name. No crazy story with the weather," she said.

However, the prize for literally the coolest surname at Wimbledon goes to Dutch doubles specialist Wesley Koolhof.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2019, with the headline 'Tennys is not the only name of the game'. Print Edition | Subscribe