As the US Open draws to a close, Deadspin.com has put together an etymology of the rise of “COME ONNNNN!” as the widespread phrase of choice for tennis players celebrating a lucky volley, an overhead smash, or marrying Bec Cartwright.
The article credits, understandably, our solid retirement-refuser Lleyton Hewitt as starting the “Come On” craze that has been adopted by so many players (His famous “Face Off With A Duck” Accompanying Hand Gesture didn’t take off quite as well).
“It’s just something that came out” says Hewitt of the words that made so many headlines since the early 2000’s. “I play with a lot of emotion on the court. So, yeah, it just started as a kid in junior tournaments and then I kept doing it on the tour.”
John Isner, Victoria Azarenka, Andy Murray, Melanie Oudin, Maria Sharapova, Milos Raonic, even Roger – (the politest player there is, and member of the group of players elite enough to no longer require a surname) have all been known to give “Come On” a go – be it in English, or international alternatives like the Spanish “vamos”, or French “allez”. Petra Kvitova even yells out “pojd” – that’s “come on” in her native Czech.
The rise of “Come On!” (and similarly, the rise of grunt, shriek, or squeal powered shots) has long drawn the ire of tennis traditionalists, like veteran commentator Mary Carillo. “There was no talking!” she says of tennis in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. “The racquets did the talking”.
With the women’s US Open title decided yesterday by a woman not shy of expressing herself, Serena Williams, and the men’s title up for grabs between two notorious yellers, Novak Djokovic, who favours screaming incoherently and ripping his shirt off, and “vamos”-enthusiast Rafael Nadal, the ‘Gentlemen’s game’ looks like it’s not going to quieten down any time soon.
Via deadspin.com. Image by Matthew Stockman for Getty Images