What is the most important trait in selecting a favorite player?

November 29, 2020

As long as professional tennis has existed, fans have followed top players on and off the court. Some select a favorite player who looks like them. Others select a favorite player who plays like them. Roger Federer and Serena Williams are often top choices for both fans and fellow players.

For some, personality influences which athlete fans idolize. An SB Nation article took the liberty to characterize personas based on favorite players. Some descriptions were harsh. A fan was labeled as a “complete failure” for selecting Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and another was stamped as a “brat” for choosing Serena Williams. Yet the fan who followed Federer was “charming.”

For others, game style can be a factor in the selection of a favorite competitor. An all-court player may choose Roger Federer while a defensive specialist may side with Rafael Nadal. On the women’s circuit, offensive players often associate with Serena Williams while Simona Halep is popular among many counterpunchers.

Other attributes, such as fashion sense and country of origin, may also influence this choice. The process of selecting an on-court idol is more complex than we may realize.

I am left to consider…

What is the most important trait in selecting a favorite player?


  1. First of all, it has to be someone I enjoy watching. While I admire the talent, for example, of Djokovic and Nadal, I don’t enjoy watching them play, not to mention Djokovic’s antics on court and ball bouncing before each serve and Nadal’s taking forever between each point with all of his tics. Federer plays a beautiful game to watch, doesn’t make loud noises while hitting shots and plays quickly between points. That’s why he’s been my undisputed favorite player of this generation.
    In general, I like players (like Madison Keys and Iga Swiatek) who don’t make hideous sounds while playing, who have variety in their games, and comport themselves well on and off the court. I especially like any player willing to come to the net on a regular basis. Other players I currently like to watch include Nick Kyrgios (yes, he can be a jerk but he’s fun to watch), Tsitsipas and I’ve always been a huge fan of Ivo Karlovic (but not John Isner).

    - November 30, 2020 by dbilmes
  2. Fun question. As a kid, I picked my favorite players based on attributes that I admired. For instance, I loved Bjorn Borg for how intensely he competed but how cool he looked doing it. I loved Stan Smith too because he seemed so nice while he still won matches. But now perhaps I’ve broadened my scope. I like everybody and totally respect the work and talent it takes to succeed in tennis. Now it’s the people I don’t like that matters to me more. Djokovic isn’t one of my favorites because of his negative vibes. Also, Sophia Kenin is too workmanlike and she seems to exude no joy at all. It’s fun to listen to why people choose their favorite players. The reasons are always very different from mine. Ok so who’s my fave player of all time???
    Myself, of course. 😌

    - January 6, 2021 by Merpot
  3. I love so many players!
    I have my long time favs… Serena and Rafa. Lots if great memories watching their matches with my daughter and parents ❤️❤️I also pick some young new players every year to follow and learn about to make my viewing more fun. I also love the true fighters that NEVER seem to count themselves out like Maria ( congrats on retirement ) and Vicka
    The sport offers many great personalities which to me, is one of the reasons for watching. Love love love it.
    Love your forum too! Heard about it on the tennis channel report!

    - January 8, 2021 by Frankie
  4. I think this all has to do with the beauty of the serve and then secondary the strike off the forehand or backhand. Also how the tennis ball dances around the court.

    - July 4, 2022 by LDAY1

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