Ah, Wimbledon. The refreshing English drizzle. The grunting. And, those names! Just like any global sporting event, Wimbledon is a phonetician's dream and tennis announcer's nightmare. As a recent New York Times article points out, poor chair umpire Pascal Maria had to oversee a match between Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Alexandr Doglopolov. No amount of vocal warm-ups could prepare anyone for such a feat.
BBC commentator David Mercer, attending his 39th Wimbledon, told the Times he writes details about each player on an index card, with personal details in ink and phonetic pronunciation in pencil -- sometimes the players take issue with an announcer's pronunciation. When a game gets heated between players with tough names, some announcers will use the nationality (the Slovak, the French) to avoid mistakes.
In the multicultural spirit of Wimbledon, we've put together a list of just some of the most tongue-twisting and mellifluous names umpires and announcers will be faced with at this year's tournament. (Bogomolov and Doglopolov excluded -- those were just an amuse-bouche.)
There are many more Wimbledon names worthy of a plaque in a linguistics lab, and we encourage you to use the tournament as a phonetic warm-up for the London Games, where you'll encounter Irish swimmer Sycerika McMahon, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and Indian archer Chekrovolu Swuro.
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