Pro Tennis Player Tattoos

Pro Tennis Player Tattoos

It is rather common to see sports stars with lots of tattoos these days. However, one of the last athletic pursuits to resist the inked up trend has been tennis. The sociocultural context along with the dress code has long made for an underrepresentation of tattoos on athletes in tennis. But that is also changing, and the court is quickly becoming another showcase for the wonderful art of tattooing. With Wimbledon just ended, we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the body art of tennis’ pro players. 

In honour of Kobe Bryant

Nick Kyrgios tattoo tribute to Kobe Bryant
Photo from Instagram @k1ngkyrg1os

One of the sport’s most covered players now is Nick Kyrgios. The Australian athlete, who recently pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics citing empty stands as well as an injury, has a full sleeve – dedicated to an entirely different sport. On his right arm, Kyrgios has an outstanding piece with portraits of Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant, who so tragically passed away along with his 13-year-old daughter  in a helicopter accident in January 2020. Following the death of Kobe, Kyrgios even stepped out onto the court in Melbourne wearing his Lakers jersey.

“That was a special moment for me, basketball’s my life. I play tennis but I follow basketball every day. But for me personally I struggled a lot, I was crying when I was walking out on court that day,” Kyrgios said at the time. 

Kobe Bryant also was a friend and served as a mentor to second-ranked in the world Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open last year. She also wore Kobe’s jersey during the post-win photo session. However, there is yet to be any tributary tattoos. As Osaka’s home culture of Japan has a complicated relationship to the art form, it is doubtful if we will see tennis’ new young star with any ink in the future. 

Svetlana Kuznetsova back tattoo
Photo from Instagram @svetlanak27

The women warriors on the court

Meanwhile, other female players have some smashing tats. Russian player Svetlana Kuznetsova has a full back piece with angel wings spread across her shoulder blades and lower back. On her inner bicep, she sports the quote ‘Pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain’, which feels, we have to say, very Russian. 

Slovenian Polona Hercog also has a full sleeve. Her right arm is covered in classic motifs such as roses, wings, a woman’s face, and a skull. Meanwhile, she has also begun working on her left arm, which thus far features a clock and a rose, some more roses, and a depiction of the Virgin Mary just above her wrist. 

One of this year’s Wimbledon finalists, Czech player Karolina Pliskova, has Maori-inspired pieces – one of which has apparently been adopted by her entire family. Meanwhile, the woman she beat in the semifinals, Aryna Sabalenko from Belarus, has two tigress tattoos – one on her left thigh and one on her left inner arm. Let’s see what future Grand Slam title pretendents will bring to the court in the future.


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