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Beyond the Baseline

Five for Friday: Music, tennis don't always mix, but they keep trying

Redfoo of the band LMFAO has connections to tennis and Victoria Azarenka. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL -- From the ubiquitous Redfoo to Calvin Harris trying to get Andy Murray to sing on a track, it seems tennis' love affair with music continues to blossom. I spoke with Redfoo -- one half of the party-rocking band LMFAO (currently on hiatus) -- this week in Turkey, where he flew in all the way from Mexico to catch a single day's play. That's quite a commitment to women's tennis, but Redfoo has a personal interest in being here as well. He's become good friends with Victoria Azarenka, even packing gifts for her from Mexico before the airline lost his luggage, and wanted to lend his support as she tries to end the season with her third straight title.

"It's serendipity, if you will," he said. "I was at the U.S. Open and I had known about her -- just her name, I had never seen her play -- and we met and she was so excited to meet me. She's a big music fan. I noticed she was really funny.

"She's really dynamic. We very rarely talk about tennis. Just about life."

One thing they do talk about is music. In fact, Redfoo said he invited her to his music studio and she actually laid down some vocals. Specifically, he's recorded her grunt on a track.

"I taped it on my iPhone and I put it in there and I have it when she won," he said. "So she grunts, grunts, and she wins, and I go, 'Let's goooooo!'"

If people don't like hearing her whooping on the tennis court, I'm not entirely convinced they want to hear it on their Beats by Dre. But what do I know. I'm not the one who produced multiple No. 1 singles.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hands on any advance release of the track(s?). But the conversation made me think of some other crossover attempts between tennis and music. The cross-pollination hasn't always been pretty, but it never ceases to entertain.

1. Lil Wayne samples Elena Dementieva's grunt: Everybody knows how much Lil' Wayne loves tennis. But he's no bandwagon guy. He went for a deep cut on his song Sportscenter where he used Dementieva's grunt as a track. So random. So Weezy.

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2. John McEnroe plays Smells Like Teen Spirit on The Dan Patrick Show: At least I think that's what he's going for here. The second effort is a little better -- check him out covering Purple Haze with Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas. Wow, weird sentence to actually type out.

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3. The Bryan brothers' off-court harmony: Of course, as far as the current crop of tennis players is concerned, Mike and Bob Bryan take the cake. I mean, they have an actual CD out. That's pretty legit. But their most important contribution to the tennis music world? Murray and Novak Djokovic and rapping.

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4. Caroline Wozniacki gets some air: "O-X-Y G-E-N, Oxygen!" Come on, you know you sing it, too. Thank you, Caro, for giving us one of my favorite pick-up lines in "Boy, you're my match point," which in my mind translates into "Don't worry, I won't take advantage of you."

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5. Yannick Noah goes acoustic for Redemption Song: He's just. So. Earnest.

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BONUS TRACK: David Nalbandian hits the Backstreet: Nalby has the reputation of being a prickly character, which makes this video of him singing a Backstreet Boys song back in Argentina even more special.

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