June 14, 2024

Open Court


On National Puppy Day, a celebration of tennis dogs

KEY BISCAYNE – More than anywhere, you’ll see them at the just-completed BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Tennis dogs – all over the place. With all the green space, and the fact that players often rent condos rather than a hotel room when they’re in the desert, they let the dogs out (woof, woof).

Not since the 1980s, when Arantxa Sanchez Vicario had Roland Garros and Martina Navratilova had several, including K.D. (for Killer Dog) have there been this many dogs on Tour.

And so, in honour of National Puppy Day (yes, that’s actually a thing), we present: Harold Reginald Williams, Loewik Zverev and Spajky and Woody Cibulkova.

In the desert, Dominika Cibulkova and Alexander Zverev actually bonded over their doggies on the practice court.

With the family Zverev a cohesive unit, Mom seems to be charged with doggie care.

As for Harold, he knows what’s up. He sits in the shade during practice periods, then catches a few rays during water breaks – but never inside the lines.

And when Mama Venus takes out her handy backpack and opens it up, Harold leaps up and jumps right in. It’s the ultimate tennis pet trick.

“Day one. He’s a smart guy,” Williams told Tennis.Life about the leaping Harold trick. “When I first got him, he was in the bag. That’s, like, his safe spot. If he’s in the bag, he knows he’s getting to go. He’ll definitely get in.”

Tennis dogs are something else. Do any of you know a single dog face-to-face with a tennis ball who doesn’t go chasing it around? There are probably as many tennis balls used for that purpose as for their intended purposes. Not tennis dogs, though; they might have 100 balls on the practice court but they completely ignore them all.

We don’t want to neglect two of the more veteran Next-Gen tennis doggies:

Chip Williams…

… and Bruno Wozniacki.

Williams’ doggie backpack is low-key compared to what seems to be the tennis dog accessory of choice these days, the Louis Vuitton doggie carrier.

Only $2,940 US, (plus taxes, shipping, handling, whatever else is involved).



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