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Beyond the Baseline

Koala bears, kangaroos and penguins: Tennis players pose Down Under

Clijsters Koala Kim Clijsters says hello to her little friend in Melbourne last year. (AFP/Getty Images)

Nothing signals the beginning of a season like pictures of players trying their best to act natural around exotic Australian animals. It's tradition that when a tourist visits that mystical land down under it's mandatory that you walk away with a picture with a cute fuzzy animal, a small jar of Vegemite and a hangover. And a Kylie Minogue B-side on vinyl.

Tennis players are no different. Over the years they've all spent some time with some of Australia's finer creatures. We have the pictures to prove it. So with the "Happy Slam" soon upon us, here's a collection of some of BTB's favorite pictures of tennis players and the Aussie animals who look at them skeptically.

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Kournikova Australian Open

Anna Kournikova (2002): Kournikova offers a kiss to a tree kangaroo. Come on, 'Roo, what are you waiting for? (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Roddick Koala 2010

Andy Roddick (2010): Roddick's visit led to this hilarious video of a couple of koalas celebrating with a little love. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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Haas-Koala-2013

Tommy Haas (2013): Even the koala's like "Yeah, that's a good lookin' dude." (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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Serena Williams Australia 2008

Serena Williams (2008): Serena's posing. There's an animal passed out in the back. So this counts as Serena posing with an animal. I think. (Getty Images)

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Kvitova-Koala-2013

Petra Kvitova (2013): The affable Kvitova and a sleepy koala? A match made in heaven. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Tomic-Koala-2012

Bernard Tomic (2012): It wasn't easy, but Tomic got there in the end. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Safarova-Berdych

Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova (2011): Ah, the things these koalas have seen. Berydych and Safarova went on a visit to the zoo back when they were dating. Seemed like bliss at the time. (AFP/Getty Images)

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Dementieva Kangaroo 2009

Elena Dementieva (2009): Hey, remember Elena Dementieva? I'm sure this kangaroo does. (Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

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Ivanovic Koala 2008

Ana Ivanovic (2008): Ivanovic found the one living thing on this earth shier than she is. It ended up being good luck, though. She made the Australian Open final that year and then won Roland Garros four months later. (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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Davydenko-turtle-2010

Nikolay Davydenko (2010): Signs? Kolya cares not for your signs (look over his left shoulder). (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

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Murray-Koala

Andy Murray (2007): A bed-headed Murray makes a new friend. Or at least tries to. (Aaron Francis/Getty Images)

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Verdasco-Penguin-2009

Fernando Verdasco (2009): Remember when Verdasco was clean-shaven and seemed like a guy who enjoyed life? Yeah, me neither. (Getty Images)

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Ferrero Australian Open

Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003): What is that thing? I'm referring to Ferrero's bleach-blonde 'do, by the way. (Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images)

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Cilic Australian Open 2008

Marin Cilic (2008): Cilic's 2008 shoot with the tree kangaroos was actually really adorable. I have no snark. (Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

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Ferrer-puppy-2012

David Ferrer (2012): OK, fine, yellow labrador puppies are not "native" to Australia. But like I'm going to pass this picture up. Give me some credit. (Getty Images)

Wozniacki-Kangaroo-AustralianOpen

Caroline Wozniacki (2011): And then that happened. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

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