Sometimes, being a manic fan can the most rewarding affliction in the world. Waving the Swiss flag in 2006, cheering on Novak Djokovic in 2011 in mispronounced Serbian, raising a knee and fist in time with Nadal in 2010; all good. At some point, though, things take a turn for the worse. Supporting Federer now without losing your dignity? It’d be easier to show more grace running naked up the street. Vamosing on Nadal can’t be easy either, and yelling for Murray? Well, who said that’s ever been anything but bad news? But heartbreak won’t stop a true fan. These are the people that admit they’re a little obsessive, that take the good times with the bad, and don’t stop being crazy for their player just because times are tough. Chances are, we all have a little mad fan in us. Every week we take a look at one high-profile fan and analyze just how crazy they are...
Today we bring you the man I was assured is ‘Ana’s biggest fan’
Twitter handle: @curtos07
Country: United States
Unwavering fan of: Ana Ivanovic
Curtis knows what patience is. He’s spent countless hours watching and waiting for Ana Ivanovic to rediscover the form that won her the 2008 Roland Garros title. However, hope has given way to reality over a heartbreaking three years, and Curtis isn’t entirely optimistic she will repeat the feat anytime soon. Instead he waits diligently for the future, which he believes will hold more luck for Ivanovic. Curtis doesn’t blame casual tennis fans who have long moved on from the Serbian, but feels frustrated when long-term fans of the player chuck in the towel. “It has always been one of my pet peeves when her some of her own fans give up on her entirely. I still believe she could win a second Slam someday, although it isn’t something I would bet on happening,” he says, before displaying a healthy dose of perspective, “If she doesn’t win another I won’t be too upset about it since she has already won one, which is already a great accomplishment.”
Naturally, nothing annoys Curtis more than those who consider Ivanovic’s Roland Garros triumph a fluke, “That does get under my skin because I believe it is such a short sighted statement. I think many people forget how good Ana used to be,” he says before rattling off an exhaustive list of Ivanovic’s accomplishments. “Has she underachieved since 2008? Sure. But I don’t believe her slump takes away from what she did earlier in her career. She was a different player back then, with much more powerful strokes, a better serve, and lot more confidence.”
Curtis is the first to admit the way Ivanovic plays dictates how he feels, “Ana is the only player I am emotionally invested in. She greatly affects what mood I am in that particular day she plays.” This causes problems for him at university, which he often sacrifices to catch an Ivanovic match. He admits he’s skipped important classes and meetings to watch the Serbian despite knowing it isn’t ‘the smartest thing to do.’ Like an addict, Curtis almost always feels guilty in the aftermath, but any regret vanishes if she wins.
Where Curtis truly lets his passion shine is when he’s talking about Ivanovic’s personality, not her tennis. Whilst any conversation with him about Ivanovic’s game is sensible and dignified, his thoughts about the girl herself are anything but. Asked to explain when he first began to support Ivanovic, Curtis bandies the word ‘love’ about more than a Stephenie Meyer novel, “I fell in love with her because I thought she came across as a really nice and sweet girl in her interviews. It was her personality which initially and still draws me to her. I have always considered myself a bigger fan of Ana Ivanovic the person than Ana Ivanovic the tennis player. That being said, I love her both on and off the court. Obviously.”
Unpredictably, Curtis doesn’t once mention Ivanovic’s good looks when talking about her, and believes most fans of the player don’t follow her because she’s attractive. “Does Ana have fans because of her beauty only? Sure. But I do know for a fact that majority of her fans love her because of either her game or personality. I fall under the latter.” Curtis is annoyed when people suggest Ivanovic spends more time on her looks than her lobs, and offers insight into her personality even Adam Scott would be impressed with, “If anything, Ana thinks too much about tennis. That’s been her problem. She is always constantly thinking about what she is doing wrong and making things more complex than they really are in her mind. She is a really hard worker who’s always trying to find a solution to what she’s doing wrong. In her own words, she’s a “perfectionist.” Curtis admits he’s never actually met Ivanovic, but the experience is at the top of his ‘to-do’ list.
Curtis has done many crazy things to watch the love of his life play, the most extreme being suffering through 40 hours with no sleep, “After her 2010 Madrid match vs. Jelena Jankovic I could not sleep because I had to study for final exams the following day. I was zombie-like the next day, and didn’t have the easiest time focusing. By the time I had the opportunity to go to bed, I had a big headache and wasn’t feeling all that well.” Curtis has no regrets, “I would still do it all over again if that were my only option.”
Curtis's favorite Ana YouTube clip
How crazy is he?
Curtis’s self-rating: 3
Our rating: 4*
1= Misses the occasional match
2= Has to explain to romantic partners that ‘tennis comes first’
3= Has been known to sacrifice basic life materials (food/water) to watch said player
4= Has drafted a biography on said player
5= Verging on stalker