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Beyond the Baseline

How tennis players would accept Oscars

Roger Federer

Are the Academy Awards, which will take place on Sunday, really all that different from a Grand Slam tournament? You tune in to see what everyone is wearing, stick around to find out who wins and then settle in for the victory speech. Compared to most other athletes, tennis players are incredibly comfortable behind a microphone giving speeches. So how would they fare if they were to receive acting's biggest prize? Here's how we imagine some of tennis' biggest names would accept an Oscar.

Roger Federer: "This is amazing, you know. It's not so easy, you know. The fans see us flying around all over the world and everything looks so special and glamorous, but sometimes I don't think they see it's a lot of hard work. You know, the fans tell me I make it all look easy but it's not so easy, you know. But winning today makes it all worth it because at this stage of my career it's not about the money or the fame. I act because I love it and sometimes I think that's difficult for the media to understand sometimes, you know. But I still feel my best acting is still to come and that keeps things for me, you know, exciting. I look forward to seeing you again here next year."

Sloane Stephens: "Like, wow. I mean … COME ON! I'm sorry, was that disrespectful? When I didn't win at the Globes, I was like, 'That's OK, I think I'll do better at the really big event.' Which is cool. Except that now the attention is going to be out of control. I mean, it was, like, already overwhelming -- the paparazzi, the autograph hounds, the press with their questions. Now it's like, 'Can I even go outside?' I mean, that's why I packed an overnight bag. I'll probably stay here as long as I can. Is my girl Miley here? Call me, girl!"

Rafael Nadal: [Takes his time getting to the stage] "Hello, everybody guys. I just like to say thank you very much, no? This year has been very difficult one for me and to win this award after seven months I couldn't work or do nothing is unbelievable feeling for me. First, well, I want to congratulate the other nominees. They all performed with fantastic effort and they are all, for me, the greatest actor of all the time, no? So thank you very much for them. Second, I want to thank my team and my family for their support. To my tío Toni, thanks a lot for the instruction in the second half of the movie. That changed for me the performance so thank you very much. To be here, after seven months I couldn't practice or read scripts, I never think I gonna be here. Of course I had my doubts, but is normal. Everybody gonna have doubts. But with positive illusions and I worked very hard, I try my best to be here. Is unbelievable feeling so thankyouverymuch."

Maria Sharapova: "This is a wonderful moment for me. It's been an incredible journey for me to stand up in front of you here tonight and win this amazing award. You know, when you're putting in all those long hours on the practice courts where, you know, nobody is watching, obviously you're putting that work in hopefully for days like today. I would be remiss if I didn't thank my father, Yuri, for having the belief and courage to give up everything and move to America so I could pursue my dreams. I know he's here somewhere, the suspicious man in the camouflage hoodie and sunglasses. And, of course, a heartfelt thanks to Serena for taking the year off. I couldn't have won this without you."

Novak Djokovic: '"You like me! You really really like me!' Hahahaha. 'I'm the king of the world!' Heh. 'I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.' OK, I'll save the rest of my impersonations for the after-party. Look, I wasn't sure if I would win -- the movie went on for several hours and I didn't know how people would react to that -- but I prepared a speech just in case, if you would be so kind to be patient with me. It's not very long. There are just a few points I would like to make -- OK, obviously 14 headings and 34 subheadings isn't 'a few' -- and I wanted to be sure I didn't miss anything because this is very important to me, to my team. Look, you know, this is incredible. I gave it all. First, I would like to thank the Academy ..." [Unfolds paper] [Microphone disappears and music begins to play him off stage]

Serena Williams

Serena Williams: "Wow, oh my gosh. I can't believe this. To my God, Jehovah, who gives me strength. To my mom and dad, the best coaches ever. And my best friend and sister Venus, who inspires me every day to work harder. This one is for my son, Chip. Momma's comin' home with a new chew toy, baby!" [Crip-walks off the stage]

Andy Murray: "Uh ... I'm still in shock. There hasn't been a day that's gone by that I haven't heard about no British man winning an Oscar since Daniel Day-Lewis last year. I've tried to shut it out by playing with my dogs and denying engagement rumours, but it's been tough. So I'm obviously extremely happy. I'm sorry if it doesn't seem like it. That's just my voice."

Ana Ivanovic: "Ajde! [fist-pumps, twirls] Ican'tbelieveityouknowbecausewhenIwasakidinSerbiaIalwaysdreamedofthisandIneverknewifitwouldhappen. EvenwhenIwasreadingmylinesandpracticingfortheschoolplayinanemptyswimmingpoolIalwaysdreamedofthis. Thank you so much. This is daaaaaafinately the best night of my life."

Ernests Gulbis: "Finally. I always knew I would be standing in front of you one day holding this little gold trophy. It's a cute trophy. I'm not going to bore you with some stupid speech. Besides, my private jet is waiting for me and I don't want to waste any more fuel. To the other nominees, what can I say? I was better. That's why I have the trophy. All I had to do was clean up my act and really commit. Simple thing. [Music begins to play] No, no, no. Are you trying to play me off the stage? I'm not finished! This is b******!" [Slams Oscar trophy to the ground, shattering it to pieces]

Li Na: First, I would like to say, Thanks very much. It's not easy to be the first Chinese to win this award, but I would like to say that I'm not representing all of China. I'm just one person. I dedicate this award to my husband, most famous husband in Hollywood [audience laughs]. He's not handsome like Brad Pitt or charming like George Clooney [audience laughs], and I know he snores worse than Meryl Streep [audience laughs], but he is my leading man in the life and I will love him until he leaves me. Now to my agent, Max, go make me even richer, like Oprah, so he doesn't leave me. Thanks a lot."

Jelena Jankovic: "Oh my goooooooodness. I can't believe this is happening to me but, you know, I'm just so happy that I wore the glitter tonight. But anyway. I have to thank my brother, Marko. I know I yell at you like I'm crazy all the time, but I love you and you always believed in me. And how could you not? I bring the light! And the joy!"

David Ferrer: "I try my best, no? Thank you very much."

Photo composites by SI.com's David Kaye.
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