The oldest Tennis Tournament in the world began yesterday in the London suburb of Wimbledon. The Grand Slam see’s 100’s of Tennis stars compete to win the title of one of the most prestigious championships of the Tennis championship circuit. Past winners of the tournament have included Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Björn Borg, Steffi Graff as well as Serena and Venus Williams.
As a company whose primary focus is on multilingual recruitment we thought we’d focus on the players of this year’s tournament who speak several languages, holding up the multilingual beacon for linguists everywhere.
Arguably the seminal player of recent years has been Rodger Federer! He’s won Grand Slam after Grand Slam across the Tennis circuit (16 to date), winning the Wimbledon open six times between 2003 and 2009. He is also probably one of the best linguists on the tennis circuit; effortlessly switching between his four languages of native Swiss-German, German, French and English in interviews with the press; both before and after tennis matches (and usually after winning). He will be well remembered long after he is retired for being one of the most professional Tennis players in the history of the sport both on and off the court.
Novak Djokovic, who was winner of the 2011 Wimbledon championship, is well known for his lively rivalry with Spaniard Rafael Nadal, meeting each other 33 times in recent years (Nadal currently holds the lead with a 19-14 advantage). But Djokovic may be less well known for his rivalry with Rodger Federer, meeting each other 26 times in the past, with Federer holding the lead against him with a 14-12 game lead. However, Djokovic also appears to be a language enthusiast as well, speaking his native Serbian along with English, German and Italian; seems like they may start competing over that soon.
If Rodger Federer’s the men’s seminal player of the last 10 years then Maria Sharapova is arguably the women’s. Sharapova’s parents were originally from Belarus, but concerned at the effect of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 moved before she was born to Russia and then moved again to the USA to attend a tennis academy when she was seven, this enables Maria to switch between her Russian mother tongue and adopted English language almost effortlessly and with very little of an accent shown.
With the Two week tournament underway and being covered from all over the world, knowledge of a second, third or fourth language may come in extremely handy for a tennis player, let us know of any other Tennis players you know who are multilingual?