Tennis in 2019 has led to many an auxiliary storyline, as players fan out across the globe and slip into the pop culture at large.

This year alone, Roger Federer properly feted Lindsey Vonn upon the occasion of her final skiing race and Anna Wintour make her maiden voyage to the Australian Open to watch her pal Federer among others.

The top 20

The top 20 celebrity-player friendships


With that, the time has come to count down the top celebrity-player friendships in tennis.

​Most honorable mention: While she remains beholden to no one particular pro, most players might like to claim the perennially Oscar-baiting Meryl Streep as one of their cronies. That's not just because she brings her best performance art even to live matches.

Here, a litany of the premier, subjectively ranked, mutual fanships between tennis stars and celebrated others over time. (Included: fellow athletes, entertainers, politicos, and more.

Excluded: spouses and significant others.


Larry Ellison and Rafael Nadal

The former, owner of the BNP Paribas Open in California, even lets the latter stay at his local residence (surely one of a few) when participating in the annual Indian Wells event.


Bradley Cooper and Roger Federer

This might seem "shallow" to some, built on the immediate need for tickets at major events, but the Star Is Born director-actor has been a recurring character at Fed's matches, whether supporting from his US Open player's box or Wimbledon's Royal Box.


The top 20

The top 20 celebrity-player friendships


Gavin Rossdale and Roger Federer

The former's band, Bush, was a bastion in 1990s modern rock. While that glimmer has dimmed somewhat, and the friendship is now Gwen Stefani–less, the current GOAT and the "Machinehead" singer still pack a powerful pop-culture punch.


Dirk Nowitzki and Andrea Petkovic

A match made in Deutsch heaven, the quirky personalities and successful careers of these compatriots have intertwined time-wise quite neatly.


John Mayer and James Blake

No, actually not a merger of two musicians. Guitar hero Mayer and the forehand-firethrower Blake go back to high school in Connecticut.


Shakira and Rafael Nadal

This friendship began in filming the Colombian singer's "Gypsy" videotogether, and Shakira has been seen at Rafa's matches even fairly recently.



Gerard Butler and Novak Djokovic

Admiring the "This is Sparta!" actor's work in 300, Djokovic, lover of epic tales, and Butler hit it off swiftly.


Lindsey Vonn and Roger Federer

Both might maintain their staked claims to GOAT status in respective disciplines for years to come, and their genuine nature with each other sometimes also makes for good TV.



Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, and Rafael Nadal

Patiently waiting for Rafa's cameo appearance in Zoolander 3. You know audiences the world over would melt if he delivered a steady Blue Steel gaze.



David and Romeo Beckham and Grigor Dimitrov

Beckham the Younger, now 17, loves tennis—and he has sparred on court with Dimitrov a few times. This friendship between soccer and tennis stars arrives steeped in handsome.


Tiger Woods and Roger Federer/Serena Williams

The Tiger-Fed friendship seems to be on the backburner, at least since the former's marital and vehicular matters made headlines. But Tiger appears to have bounced back, winning another major to silence his detractors and appearing, sometimes with his kids, in support of Serena at 2018 Wimbledon and repeatedly at this year's US Open.


Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams

Timely, topical, and important—these two simply "get" each other.


Rebel Wilson and Karolina Muchova

Likely the most fun of all the friendships on this list, between an exceedingly funny Australian and a rising Czech. This is the random match-up to hope never goes away.



Savannah Guthrie and Roger Federer

The Today anchor's obsession with Fed was well documented (Exhibits A, B) before it budded into a for-real friendship. As with some others, she now simply knows him as Rog.



Chelsea Handler and Maria Sharapova

Love is blonde between these two, who bring out the best in each other in conversation, whether it's taped for TV or live behind the scenes. The friendship betwixt the big-hitting Russian and Russian-vodka–swilling American may be a mainstay for the rest of their lives. Advantage: all of us.


Sean Connery and Andy Murray

Sir Connery and Sir Murray both bring their best to the biggest stages and screens in the world. Small wonder then that the former James Bond, now 89, has appeared at many a Murray match in London and New York.


Serena Williams and Beyoncé(Also: Bella and Gigi Hadid, Eva Longoria, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Karlie Kloss, Ciara, La La Anthony, et al.)

Twas the music video that briefly broke the Internet, and it continued into live performance pairings and TV-show stand-ins. Beyoncé has supported Serena from the player's boxes at Wimbledon and the US Open, and via website posts. Their friendship remains a perfect example that few things are more inspiring these days than women supporting women.


Anna Wintour and Roger Federer

Forever in his corner, the Vogue editor-in-chief with legendary oversight of Conde Nast properties has a particular fascination with tennis. And forever indebted to her for raising his fashion profile, on Met Ball carpets and in other ways, Fed will probably always say yes to Anna throwing him a birthday party.


The top 20

The top 20 celebrity-player friendships


Barbra Streisand and Andre Agassi

Here's one that might have moved from mutual admiration to a relational flame, however fleeting. (Some sources say it lasted a year; others maintain it never was, but he did include her in the acknowledgements for his ballyhooed autiobiography, Open.) Streisand, now 77, was a fixture at New York matches where Agassi, now 49, shined.



Meghan Markle and Serena Williams

Speaking again of two people who just "get" each other, Markle, an actor turned royal who has since experienced baby joy in adding to the British family's progeny, and Williams, who dotes over her own child, know what it's like to be placed under a microscope. They could launch a thousand thinkpieces with one move. Their friendship looks built to last, and watching it endure will be another surefire sign that humanity is intact.

The top 20

The top 20 celebrity-player friendships

The roster of celeb-player fanships spans the globe, and it evolves year over year. We lie in wait to see what a new decade of pro tennis holds for these relationships.

Got a take on one of these items? Or better yet, got some additions for this list? Share away on Twitter by mentioning @Tennis and @jonscott9 in your post.