Correct pronunciation of tennis players’ names

Tennis players come from all over the world, and hence the pronunciation of their names is often a difficult and confusing task. The following video is therefore a precious reference, as native speakers read aloud the names of players from their countries.

Here you can see a list of the names in order. (via Forty Deuce)

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13 thoughts on “Correct pronunciation of tennis players’ names

  1. Sunny

    I think we in the US should try to correctly pronounce the name of a player. The WTA and ATP media guide give out pronunciations but some seem to be a little different. Safina tried to get people to change the pronunciation of her name to sound like her brother’s, Safin-a. But no one would listen to her after awhile and she just gave up. I guess the media could up to the person and just ask them how they pronounce their name. That seems easy. Bud Collins always calls Maria with the accent on the second syllable as they said in the video but no one else does. I think it is true that since interviews etc are done in English as a crossroads for all languages, the players some time just go with what the English speaking people say. Although there is sometime a difference like the British and Americans each saying del Potro differently.

  2. Ugis

    This video must see British Eurosport tennis commentators and they have to stop mutilate surnames of Russian players.
    Accents have to be like this:
    Sa’fina (accent on first a ), Deme’ntjeva (accent on second e ), Kuzneco’va (accent on o ), Shara’pova (accent on second a ), Petro’va (acent on o ), Zvonarjo’va (accent on second o ), Kleba’nova (accent on first a )
    Surprise is that Maria Sharapova is pronouncing her own surname incorrectly, maybe she feels herself more American than Russian ?

  3. Katie

    This was so weird… but so informative lol. Maria’s probably pronouncing it the American way just because it’s easier for people to pronounce, that is non-Russians. I mean I have an Asian last name, but when I tell people what it is, I use the American way just because they’d never get the accent/tone right, unless they were Asian. But that’s just what I do, don’t know if everyone does that.

  4. nacho

    no surprise ugi!! like russian coach said sometime: “it’s a miracle that maria hasn’t change her nationality already”

  5. Juan

    hey Marija! This a really original and interesting post! And useful if you want to cheer the players in any tournament 🙂
    For me Russian, Polish and Czech are quite difficult. Here in Spain TV commentators also mispronounce most of them, our skills for foreign languages are really poor 🙁

  6. Teerin

    I don’t know or even care whether Maria considers herself a Russian or American and I don’t see why anyone should. It’s none of your business anyway, so what if she, for example, hates Russia (which I’m sure she doesn’t)? Does that make her a bad person? Does her having a Russian flag next to her name make her a bad person?

    And I’m pretty sure Maria doesn’t remember even living in Russia, I think she said she doesn’t.

    If you found out you were born in, let’s say, India (lol, it was random 😛 ) and your parents happen to be Indian all of a sudden, would you want to travel back to your homecountry and practice the Indian culture and all? I don’t think so. 😛

    Haha, I don’t think that was a good example.

  7. nacho

    LOL teerin thats was funny!! and yes maria can do whatever she wants!! she going to be a champion anyway!! american or rusian or whatever!! she’s been living in the US since she was 7 no surprise she feels american!!

  8. Marija Post author

    I think it’s normal to adapt a foreign name to your language, and just like in every translation something has to be lost. But we should give our best to pronounce the names as close to original as possible, and just like Sunny said, the best option is to consult the players themselves.

    The worst thing is when Serbian commentators use English pronunciations of players’ names (which are already crippled) and adapt them to Serbian. That’s like double disaster. Imagine!

    Ugis, I’ve always thought Maria feels more American than Russian. And it’s normal…

    Beck, that’s a great link. Thanks!

    Katie, just like I mentioned, something has to be lost. It’s inevitable. And your example shows it.

    Juan, thank you. Although, it wasn’t me who made it. 🙂

  9. Stephen Rau

    To English speakers names like Pavlova and Sharapova sound more posh when the accent is on the last vowel .

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