Friday, February 19, 2010

Lil Wayne: Self-Professed Tennis Freak

Tennis has been diving into the world of celebrity lately, and this time, the fanatic comes in the form of a Grammy-winning rapper who, like Serena Williams, is no stranger to cursing in front of thousands of people.

Tennis Channel's James LaRosa caught up with none other than Lil Wayne this week to discuss the rapper's favorite players, a few of whom have had the honor of being mentioned in one of his songs. Most recently, Rafael Nadal got a shout-out in "Banned From TV", a track off of Wayne's latest record, rebirth, which debuted at number 2 a few weeks ago. "He plays with passion," says Wayne on Rafa. "He reminds me of Andre out there, you remember Agassi used to be out there just playing with total emotion. That's why I really like [Nadal]. He got a lot of strategy and all that as well but his passion and his emotion overweighs it all."

But Rafa isn't the 1st to be name-dropped in a Lil Wayne song. Roger Federer and Steffi Graf were mentioned in "Sportscenter". And the question that must be on everyone's mind: Does Wayne prefer Rafa or Rog?

"I'm kind of a bigger Roger Federer fan than a Rafa fan. I've been a Roger fan because of course his dominance. He's been the man to me."

Surprisingly, Lil Wayne is a lot more knowledgeable about the sport than I thought he would be, and we can thank fellow rapper Snoop Dogg for that. "I always watched tennis but I'd never been into it until Venus and Serena," he says. "I heard Snoop talking about them, about how he used to see them. They were the only kids playing on the tennis part of the park. It was interesting, just their story when they first came up."

And it's no shock that Wayne would come to ReRe's defense regarding her US Open tirade of expletives. The rapper says: "That's an athlete in the moment, they're playing the game. In the heat of the game, people get into it. You can't expect those people to be like, 'I'm sorry' or 'excuse me' or 'let me think about who's watching.' No, forget that. I'm playing, and I'm emotional. I hope she do it again."

Despite his obvious interest in tennis, Lil Wayne will not be trying his hand at the sport anytime soon like skier Bode Miller is. "I have played before [and] I totally enjoyed it, but I got super tired very fast. It takes a lot of agility to do that, just runnin' back and forth like that. And also it's tricky hittin' that ball at the right spot. It's nothing like ping pong."

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