What A Racket! Eight Times The Worlds Of Music And Tennis Have Collided

Perhaps thankfully, the worlds of music and tennis don’t overlap quite as often as pop and football, but a few “ace” collaborations have been attempted over the years. As the Australian Open gets underway in Melbourne, find out below whether they were winners or double faults.

1. John McEnroe plays guitar on Chrissie Hynde’s 2014 solo album ‘Stockholm’.

You cannot be serious?! We can, actually, because the three-times Wimbledon champion is an experienced musician who learned to play guitar from his rock star mates Eddie Van Halen and Eric Clapton.

2. He even formed a band with another Wimbledon champion, Pat Cash.

They called themselves McEnroe And Cash With The Full Metal Rackets and released a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock And Roll’ which made Number 66 in 1991. McEnroe and Cash both play guitar on the all-star single which features Roger Daltrey on lead vocals, FM’s Andy Barnett on slide guitar and Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain on bass and drums.

3. Rafael Nadal stars in Shakira’s ‘Gypsy’ video.

Rafa cemented his status as a tour heartthrob by canoodling with Shakira in this relatively racy 2010 pop promo. “Canoodling” is tabloid for “kissing and touching a bit”, btw.

4. Jimmy Connors sings backing vocals on Lionel Richie’s debut solo album.

Yes, really. See if you can make him out on the album’s second single, ‘You Are’, which features country legend Kenny Rogers as Connors’ unlikely doubles partner/co-backing singer.

5. Novak Djokovic cameos in Martin Solveig & Dragonette’s ‘Hello’ video.

This EDM banger and its video depicting a tennis match between Solveig and rival DJ Bob Sinclar were pretty inescapable back in 2011. Reigning Aussie Open champion Novak Djokovic appears briefly around the two-minute mark, helping Solveig to get a line call overturned in his favour.

6. Former French Open champion Yannick Noah is now a successful reggae singer.

In fact, six of his albums have reached Number One in his native France. Check out his cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ below.

7. Elton John’s ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ is a tribute to tennis legend Billie Jean King.

The track’s title refers to the Philadelphia Freedoms, the professional tennis team that King captained in the mid-’70s. The reason the lyrics don’t seem especially tennis-themed is simple: Elton’s lyricist Bernie Taupin said, “I can’t write a song about tennis,” and made the song more of a general patriotic anthem instead.


8. Brooklyn rap duo Rich White Ladies scored a blog hit with a track called ‘Wimbledon’ last year.

Its lyrics rhyme “champagne supernova” with “Martina Navratilova” and “demeanour” with “Venus and Serena”. There’s also a hook that goes “M-M-Monica Seles!”. See Bernie, it can be done.