You may be surprised at the number of celebrities who enjoy a game of tennis when they’re away from the spotlight. Some play just for fun but others could well have had a different career on the tennis court if they hadn’t got into acting. Read on to find out more about 10 celebs you didn’t know played tennis…
1. Matthew Perry
The former Friends star played competitive tennis in his youth and seriously considered making a career out of it. While growing up in Ottawa, Ontario, he became a top-ranked junior player and used to practice for up to 10 hours a day. He said he was always driven by an urge to succeed at whatever he did and had an incredible drive on the tennis court. However, after moving to Los Angeles when he was 15, he started to channel his energy into acting instead.
2. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt was a good tennis player in his youth, even playing on his high school team at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri. A good all-round sportsman, he was a member of the swimming and golf teams. He can still occasionally be found on a tennis court today.
3. Christine Taylor
Star of the Brady Bunch, Christine Taylor loves tennis. When she married fellow actor Ben Stiller in 2000, she asked him to take her to Wimbledon for her birthday. Stiller enjoyed it as much as she did and they went on to watch the US Open. Taylor also wants their kids (daughter Ella and son Quinlin) to play tennis.
4. Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson starred in Woody Allen’s tennis film, Match Point, although she played the role of an actress in the movie. However, in real life she enjoys playing tennis herself and says it keeps her in shape. She has credited her toned physique to the game.
5. Dakota Fanning
The actress’s mother, Heather Joy, was a professional tennis player who trained for six hours a day and won a tennis scholarship. Dakota learned to play herself as a child but never played professionally. However, she later said her mother’s dedication to playing the sport taught her to work hard for the things she wanted in life.
6. Shannon Elizabeth
The actress who starred in American Pie played tennis as a child and took the game very seriously. However, once she became an established actress, her tennis had to take a back seat. She still manages to play sometimes but wishes she could play more.
7. Justin Bieber
Singer Justin Bieber is a keen tennis player who showed off his skills in a celebrity match in aid of charity, hosted by actor Will Ferrell. The 11th Annual Desert Smash tennis tournament benefited Cancer For College and took place at La Quinta Resort and Club in Palm Springs in 2015. Bieber proved to be a surprisingly good player.
American rapper, DJ and record producer Redfoo, alias Stefan Kendal Gordy of the band LMFAO, is a keen tennis player who thought of turning pro at one time. He hoped to qualify as a wild card for the 2013 US Open. In June that year, he entered the USTA Northern California Sectional qualifying tournament. However, he was beaten in straight sets.
9. Katharine Hepburn
The Hollywood screen legend who died in 2003 was an accomplished tennis player in her leisure time. The movies echoed reality when she starred in the romantic comedy, Pat and Mike, opposite Spencer Tracy – she played a ladies’ tennis and golf champion. Thomas Hepburn encouraged his daughter to play tennis and golf, and to swim, wrestle, run and dive as a kid. Her tennis skills landed her the role in Pat and Mike when co-writer Garson Kanin saw her playing for fun one day.
10. Kaley Cuoco
Before Kaley found fame in the television comedy The Big Bang Theory, she was a regionally-ranked tennis player. She went into acting instead but still plays for fun and at charity events. She also married professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting.