Fedfan? Gerber Baby? Dr. Ivo? Here's a ranking of ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert's best nicknames for players. 

By Stanley Kay
September 02, 2017

I'm a huge fan of puns, especially bad puns. So is ESPN tennis analyst Brad Gilbert. If you've ever listened to Gilbert's tennis commentary or if you follow him on Twitter (@bgtennisnation), you'll notice that he has a nickname for almost every player, most derived from some sort of play on words. 

Gilbert, a former pro who later coached the likes of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, doesn't have a single formula for creating nicknames, but there are a few general rules he tends to observe. The first is that if a player's name sounds anything remotely like a food or drink, their nickname will almost certainly pay tribute. A good example is Granola Bars, Gilbert's nickname for Marcel Grannollers. Then there are the references to pop culture, like Ferris Muller for Gilles Mueller and McHale's Navy for Christina McHale. He also workshops nicknames on Twitter, with his 135,000 followers often suggesting new nicknames, like Vodka Tomic for Bernard Tomic (rejected) and FAO Schwartzman for Diego Schwartzman (accepted). If you're curious about Gilbert's methodology, check out this New York Times piece from 2013. 

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I decided to try the impossible and rank Gilbert's original nicknames. I can report back to you that it is indeed impossible, because I kept discovering new nicknames I wasn't even aware of as I conducted my research. In the time it has taken you to read this paragraph, Gilbert has probably created three new nicknames. So this list isn't quite comprehensive. But it's still extremely scientifically accurate.  

86. Vamos-Rafa (Rafael Nadal)

85. Laura Croft (Laura Robson)

84. Dicky Gasquet (Richard Gasquet)

83. Fedfan (Roger Federer)

82. Name Brands (Daniel Brands)​​

81. Roberto Bats (Roberto Bautista Agut)

80. Bags (Marcos Baghdatis)

79. The Dog (Alexandr Dolgopolov)

78. DY (Donald Young)

77. Aza (Victoria Azarenka)

76. Isman (John Isner)

75. Gulbinator (Ernests Gulbis)

74. Woza (Caroline Wozniacki)

73. Shazza (Maria Sharapova)

72. Dzumhur Beach (Damir Dzumhur)

71. X-Man (Xavier Malisse)

70. Baker’s Dozen (Brian Baker)

69. Sister Sara Errani (Sara Errani)

68. Lorenzi aka Steve Buscemi (Paolo Lorenzi)

67. Boy Band Goffin (David Goffin)

66. Elementary Watson (Heather Watson)

65. Young Ryan Express (Ryan Harrison)

64. Coco Puffs (CoCo Vandeweghe)

63. Estrella Beer (Victor Estrella BUrgos)

62. Hampton Inn (Jamie Hampton)

61. Giorgi Girl (Camila Giorgi)

60. McHale’s Navy (Christina McHale)

59. Brengle Chips (Madison Brengle)

58. Birdman (Tomas Berdych)

57. Tommy Boy Haas (Tommy Haas)

56. Crash Davis (Lauren Davis)

55. Ninja Agi Rad (Agnieszka Radwanska)

54. Colonel Youz (Mikhail Youznhy)

53. VW (Venus Williams)

52. Kontador (Johanna Konta)

51. Allez Jo (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga)

50. Grigorian (Grigor Dimitrov)​

49. Rubles (Andrey Rublev)

48. Madison Avenue (Madison Keys)

47. Sir Muzzard (Andy Murray)

46. Boom Boom (Sabine Lisicki)​

45. Big Ando (Kevin Anderson)

44. Oscar Mayer (Florian Mayer)

43. Bend it like Bencic (Belinda Bencic)

42. Rotisserie Pouille (Lucas Pouille)

41. He Went To Jared (Jared Donaldson)

40. Shap Stick (Denis Shapovalov)

39. Riske and Reward (Alison Riske)

38. Shelby Cobra (Shelby Rogers)

37. Home Thiem (Dominic Thiem)

36. Di Vinci Code (Roberta Vinci)

35. Twins Bouchard (Eugenie Bouchard)​

34. The Little Beast (David Ferrer)

33. Yosemite Sam (Sam Querrey)

32. Taro Card (Taro Daniel)

31. Simon Sez (Gilles Simon)

30. Tabasco (Fernando Verdasco)

29. Rockum Sock (Jack Sock)

28. FAO Schwartzman (Diego Schwartzman)

27. Stanimal (Stan Wawrinka)

26. K-Viddy (Petra Kvitova)​​

25. Granola Bars (Marcel Grannollers)

24. Missile Raonic (Milos Raonic)​

23. Jerzy Boy (Jerzey Janowicz)

22. The Popsicle (Vasek Posipisil)

21. Cheerios Kyrgios (Nick Kyrgios)

20. Marin County Cilic (Marin Cilic)​

19. Weekend at Bernies (Bernard Tomic)

18. Judge Ito (Tatsuma Ito)

17. Tuna Melzer (Jurgen Melzer)

16. A2Z (Alexander Zverev)

15. Chardonnay (Jeremy Chardy)

14. Nice Guy Eddie (Kyle Edmund)

13. Snake Pliskova (Karolina Pliskova)

12. Special K (Kei Nishikori)

11. Fritz Carlton (Taylor Fritz)

10. SW23 (Serena Williams)

9. Hey Makarova (Ekaterina Makarova)

8. Ferris Muller (Gilles Mueller)

7. Gin & Tomic (Bernard Tomic)

6. Sloane Ranger (Sloane Stephens)

5. Halepeño (Simona Halep)

4. Mugaruthless (Garbine Muguruza)

3. Borna Identity Coric (Borna Coric)

2. Kerber Baby (Angelique Kerber)

1. Dr. Ivo (Ivo Karlovic)

Update: So there were a couple big snubs on this list. The biggest, as Gilbert's fellow ESPN analyst Darren Cahill pointed out to me on Twitter, is "Scrabble" for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. 

I agree that she's top 10 worthy. "Busta Move," his nickname for Pablo Carreño Busta, is another one of my favorites I inexplicably forgot. A few other omissions: Stevie Ray Johnson (Steve Johnson), Dan Mannarino (Adrian Mannarino), Pocket Rocket (Dominika Cibulkova) and Syd Bellucci (Thomaz Bellucci). BG has also started calling Federer "RF19" since this year's Wimbledon triumph. If I missed other noteworthy nicknames, hit me up on Twitter.

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