MELBOURNE: Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov. Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou. Victoria Azarenka and Stefan Gordy.
The three best female tennis players in the world have something in common at the Australian Open — romance.
Not since Jimmy Connors was engaged to Chris Evert in 1973 has tennis been so immersed in high-profile courtships. Although none of the relationships has been formally confirmed, the lack of denials speaks volumes.
“I don’t like to kiss and tell,” Gordy, the musician better known as Redfoo from LMFAO, said.
“But we are really close, and she’s a very special person and I’m very happy in my life right now.”
Azarenka and Gordy crossed paths at the US Open last year. He watched all of her matches at Flushing Meadows, and she danced to his music on court.
Meanwhile, photographs of a Williams with Mouratoglou, her coach, in Mauritius appeared on the Internet in December. She was asked at the Brisbane International this month if she would like to confirm a relationship.
“No, not really,” Williams replied.
“Thanks for asking, though.”
Sharapova has played her cards close to her chest regarding Dimitrov, a fellow player dubbed “Baby Federer” for his playing style.
But the Bulgaria’s Dimitrov hit out at repeated questions about his private life after he went out in the first round.
“People love gossip. Who doesn’t? But I believe it’s a privacy invasion. I don’t think that’s right,” he said.
With the difficulty of maintaining such relationships, in the public eye and with constant travel and distractions, it’s not surprising that players should want to keep them quiet.
“I think it’s very manageable. We have a very hectic lifestyle and travelling schedule, but in a way, this is what we do and we have to accept it,” she said.
Love is also in the air for former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who speaks openly about her highly public relationship with golf star Rory McIlroy.