Professional tennis players have to be brave and fearless. But off the court? It's a different story altogether

Spiders, snakes and shark-infested swimming pools

With Halloween just around the corner, we asked some of the top women’s players what gave them the creeps in everyday life. 

Dominika Cibulkova: “I’m scared of so many things, I’d say I was scared of everything! But if I had to pick one I would say Spiders. Yeah, spiders is the best answer.”

Belinda Bencic: “Oh, I hate spiders. I can see a spider on TV and I just get goosebumps, it’s really bad. Yeah, and snakes I hate too.”

Johanna Larsson: “No, I’m not really scared of anything, except maybe small bugs. The little animals that crawl around everywhere.”

Barbara Haas: “I’m scared of dogs. It doesn’t matter if they are little or big. I went running when I was younger and got bitten by one and since then I have always feared how dogs are going to react to me. It’s strange though because my sister has a dog now, because she used to be scared of dogs and I didn’t so when we went out running I was braver but the dog ended up biting me. Now she isn’t afraid of dogs and I am.”

Kiki Bertens: “I am really scared of dogs, but you know that. There is no reason, but the other day I was in the city, and they were chasing the birds and I thought they were chasing me.”

Viktorija Golubic: “If I’m just sitting here and someone comes up behind me and shouts ‘boo!’ I hate that and get really scared. If I had to name something I used to be scared of spiders but now it’s okay, but sometimes I am scared of dogs too so it’s crazy.”

Carla Suarez Navarro: “The storms. Thunderstorms. I hate them. I go and hide under the blanket under the covers because I don’t like to see this.”

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: “First of all flying. I hate to fly. It’s the worst. I just don’t like it. It used to be OK but then something clicked in my head and since then I don’t like it.”

Garbine Muguruza: “I’m an adventurous person I like strong feelings and emotions. I don’t like being bored. I need to do things. I’m probably not going to go parachuting or something but I need those feelings and emotions. When you go on court and you play in front of big stadiums that is exciting, so when you go outside of that atmosphere you just get so bored so you have to try and fill that somehow.”

Eugenie Bouchard: I have a fear of crossing the street. I just look both ways and I run I can’t help myself. I just have a fear of a car coming out of nowhere and running me over. It helps to have someone with me. Usually if the traffic is coming in a certain direction I’ll have the person stood on that side so they get hit first. It’s usually my coach so he goes there.”

Madison Keys:  I have a very illogical fear of swimming pools. I’m always convinced there is a shark in them. I know it makes no sense. When I was younger I had a family friend who thought it was hilarious to pretend there were sharks in the pool. She would tell me they could come up through the filters, and so now 20 years later it is still a severe fear of mine.

“Whenever I am alone in a pool I am horribly anxious the entire time. I’m not a fan of pool parties. But I’m okay in oceans.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.