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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis stars serving up 'model' code

Tennis stars serving up 'model' code

Last updated on: September 21, 2010 15:02 IST

Mahesh Bhupathi and Lara Dutta

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Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi on Sunday announced his engagement with Bollywood actress Lara Dutta on social networking site Twitter.

"So Lara Dutta and me got engaged in NY (New York) last week. It's official now," Bhupathi, who was in Chennai for the Davis Cup play-off tie against Brazil, wrote on his Twitter page.

With this new chapter added to the pages of his life, Bhupathi joined an enviable club of tennis stars who have courted or married those from the entertainment industry.

Norma Godinho takes a peek into the lives of some of these tennis players.

If we have missed out any, you can say so on the message board below.


Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Lara Dutta

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Bhupathi and Shwetha Jaishankar

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We begin with Bhupathi himself.

The one-half of the 'Indian Express' team was previously married to model Shwetha Jaishankar.

The couple, who have a child, was married in 2002. However, there was a rift in their relationship for reasons best known to them and they consequently separated last October.

According to sources close to the family, one of the reasons for their separation stemmed from friction between Shwetha and Mahesh's sister Kavita regarding their role in Globosport, the celebrity management company that Mahesh runs.

Their six-and-a half-year relationship finally came to a close when they were granted a divorce in this July. Sources close to the pair say that the settlement was between Rs 5 and 10 crore.


Image: Bhupathi and Shwetha Jaishankar

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Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai

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India's No 1 doubles tennis player Leander Paes has had a fair share of flings before settling down with former model Rhea Pillai.

In the early part of this decade, there was talk that he was dating model and actress Mahima Choudhary. They were together for close to three years until the relationship hit a dead-end in 2004.

Then, Rhea and Leander met and fell in love at an Art of Living course, where she was his teacher. Leander soon started courting Rhea. The couple married in 2005. In April of the following year their daughter Aiyana was born.


Image: Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai

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Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker

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America's No 1 tennis star Andy Roddick started dating swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker in 2007. It was love at first sight for Roddick. The pair first met after he asked his agent to track down a number for Decker, who appeared in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition.

They dated each other for a year and in March 2008 they announced their engagement.

The engagement culminated into marriage in April 2009. It was a twilight wedding ceremony at Roddick's Austin, Texas, home, which had guests including tennis greats Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi and English singer Sir Elton John.


Image: Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker

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Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields

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In the early 90s, Andre Agassi was touted as a rising tennis star. However, did not do any justice to his potential and by the middle of that decade he was unable to hold his own and dropped in the rankings.

Around the same time, during Christmas of 1993, Agassi and Shields fell in love over faxes.

In his book Open, he revealed that they connected by sharing their experiences with pushy parents.

However, Agassi confessed they were a terrible match, but blames himself for the ill-fated union -- which ended in divorce in 1999 -- claiming he clung to Shields in a desperate bid to find happiness during an emotional meltdown.

He explains: "(I was) 27 years old, ranked 141 in the world and in a marriage that I shouldn't be (sic) in... I didn't want to be playing tennis either so my life was filled with things I didn't want, things I didn't choose. Part of it was an inability to find a place for anything really."


Image: Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields

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Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf

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Agassi later married fellow-tennis champion Steffi Graf in October 2001. They share an eight-year-old son, Jaden Gil, and a six-year-old daughter, Jaz Elle.

At the French Open winners' ball in 1999, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi danced the traditional champions dance. After that evening, they began dating. They married on October 22, 2001.


Image: Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf

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Pete Sampras and Bridgette Wilson

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It was the year 1999, Sampras was dominating the tennis world. He was unbeatable, the best. He had all the luck on the court, but love eluded him for long.

Then one September evening, when at a movie hall in Los Angeles, Sampras spotted American actress Bridgette Wilson.

As soon as he saw her he told his friend, 'I'd love to meet her'.

No sooner his pal got her number from a mutual friend than it was love-all from there on.

Nine months later, Sampras proposed and Wilson accepted.

One year down the line, they were pronounced man and wife at his Beverly Hills residence.

Their love has stood the test of time. They have two sons, Christian Charles (8) and Ryan Nikolaos (5).


Image: Pete Sampras and Bridgette Wilson

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Lleyton Hewitt and Bec Cartwright

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Love blossomed on the tennis court for Australian top-dog Lleyton Hewitt and Belgian Kim Clijsters in the early 2000s. They dated for more than three years and were scheduled to marry in February 2005.

However, their relationship went kaput and in October 2004 they 'decided to put an end to their relationship for private reasons'.

After the break-up, Kim Clijsters went on to marry US basketball player Brian Lynch in 2007. It took Hewitt barely six weeks to propose marriage to girlfriend and actress Bec Cartwright.

On 30 January 2005, shortly after losing the 2005 Australian Open final to Marat Safin, Hewitt proposed to Cartwright after they had been dating for just six weeks.

They married on July 21, 2005. Their first child, a daughter named Mia Rebecca Hewitt, was born on November 29 2005.

Their second child, a son named Cruz Lleyton Hewitt, was born in Sydney on December 11, 2008.

They are expecting their third child this December.


Image: Bec Cartwright

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Mardy Fish and Stacey Gardner

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Mardy Fish didn't have to sail many seas to find his match. This American tennis star sealed the deal with model Stacey Gardner in September 2008.

They were courting for about a year and made their relationship official in a traditional Jewish ceremony, where James Blake served as a groomsman.

The Davis Cup star and his California attorney-cum-model wife are going steady and we hope it's love that stands the test of time.


Image: Mardy Fish and Stacey Gardner

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James Blake and Jennifer Scholle

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American tennis star James Blake met model Jennifer Scholle in 2004, when he was recovering from a broken neck he suffered at the Italian Open the same year.

That fall nearly left Blake paralysed, but it was the love of Scholle that helped him get back to his feet.

However, like most celebrity relationships, this one too didnt last long. They continued dating till 2006.

Their break-up was predicted by Blake's mom, who didn't think that they were a good fit for each other.

Blake moved on and by 2007 he was dating model Selita Ebanks from Cayman Islands.


Image: James Blake and Jennifer Scholle

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Goran Ivanisevic and Tatjana Dragovic

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Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic tied the knot with his attractive long-term girlfriend and model Tatjana Dragovic in May 2008.

The wedding ceremony took place before 30 guests in San Pedro, California, where the Croatian couple has been living for the past few months.

The couple was married in a Catholic religious ceremony in St. Mary Star of the Sea church, the daily Jutarnji List reported. The paper added that Ivanisevic first proposed to Dragovic ten years ago. The couple have two kids. For the record, Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001.


Image: Goran Ivanisevic and Tatjana Dragovic

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Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias

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The Russian bombshell started dating Latin American singer Enrique Iglesias just after they met on the sets of the video of his song Escape. That was in 2002.

Eight years later, they are inseparable despite the many ups and downs.

The Russian has quit tennis but that has not come in between the celebrity pair. Their love has grown from strength to strength with many public appearances and PDAs to stamp their affection for each other.

There were romours of an engagement, but Kournikova quashed those reports stating they haven't given marriage a thought yet.

"Not really, no. We're fine. What's the point if you're happy anyway? Being eight years down the line it's more than some married couples now," she said recently.


Image: Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias

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Nenad Zimonjic and Mina Knezevic

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Critics consider him to be one of the finest doubles players on the circuit. But off the court Nenad Zimonjic was playing it single for a long time, until he met former model Mina Knezevic.

The Serbian player was a popular bachelor until that point. They went on to marry in early 2008 and settled down in the US soon after.

On December 4, 2008, his wife gave birth to twins, Leon and Luna.


Image: Nenad Zimonjic

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Fernando Verdasco and Camille Belle

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Spaniards have a reputation for being Casanovas. And it's no different with the man in question.

Fernando Verdasco has been in quite a few relationships with many a hot women.

He has been the envy of many of his peers for the many relationships he's had with some of the most desirable women in the world.

His first fling started in 2004 when he started dating Spanish actress and dancer Dafne Fernandez known for her work in the TV series UPA dance and Fama.

But the flame died down in less than two years.

Verdasco is known to be a fighter on court. But this quality is not just restricted to the playing arena. Right after the break-up, he went on the prowl and started dating Spanish model Priscilla de Gustin.

Unfortunately the thing didn't work out well and they broke up.

In 2007 he had a brief relationship with Argentinean tennis player Gisela Dulko. They broke up, of course, and Fernando started dating the gorgeous Serbian player Ana Ivanovic.

Call it Verdasco's fate or his choice of girls, again things didn't work and they broke up in early 2009.

But it didn't take him long to find a new love and he's currently dating American actress Camille Belle.

We wonder if this relationship will stand the test of time!


Image: Fernando Verdasco and Camille Belle

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