By Ricky Dimon
Admittedly, I did not know much about tennis freestyling until this summer. I had come across maybe one or two of Stefan Bojic’s videos in the past, but did not realize the extent of his work.
Now I know, as he was my roommate last week at Queen’s Club.
First of all, what is tennis freestyling? Well…doing trick shots, basically. And perhaps even watching others fail miserably when they attempt to do those trick shots. It’s also putting on a show for tennis fans with something other than just actual tennis playing–either in person or through social media.
Which brings me to Stefan’s social media presence. The Serbian native has 58.7K followers on Instagram; among them are Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Borna Coric, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, and Kiki Mladenovic , Tommy Haas …
Stefan really started to gain a following when he shot a HEAD advertisement with Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, and Sloane Stephens back in 2015. In the one with Djokovic, the former college player at Radford and St. John’s performs a series of tricks in front of Djokovic–after which the current world No. 1 drops his racket and a ball in disbelief.
“One particular moment I remember right away was shooting a commercial with HEAD,” Stefan said in a 2018 interview. “On day one I worked a little bit with Maria Sharapova and Sloane Stephens. On day two I was feeling more relaxed and all the HEAD players showed up. The last one I interacted with that day was Richard Gasquet. When I showed him my tricks and saw his reactions, it just made me feel really great.
“Afterwards, I went home, sat down at the pool, and just tried to recap what happened. I realized that I’m actually creating something really cool that even players like Gasquet seem to enjoy. So, the next day, I went back super relaxed and we all did a really great job. And I mean, seeing someone like Djokovic drop the racket and be impressed was just incredibly fulfilling.”
At Queen’s Club last week, Stefan did various tricks in the players area (Greg Rusedski attempted them…and failed) and on the practice courts.
They range from bouncing the ball continuously on the frame of the racket, crazy between-the-legs serve, plenty of acrobatic maneuvers, and plenty of other ridiculous moves that I can’t even describe.
Stefan is at Wimbledon now and made an Instagram live video upon arrival. Schwartzman happened to arrive in the middle of the story and said that he saw the new trick from Queen’s Club on Instagram and that he wants to be in a video sometime this week. Felix was on a practice court and can be seen (and heard) having a conversation with Stefan in the live story.
Stefan calls Felix “the future of tennis” in the story and lists the 18-year-old Canadian as the pro he would most like to do a video with.
Schwartzman–or Felix–would join a list of players to participate in tricks (either successfully or unsuccessfully) with Stefan that already includes Djokovic, Thiem, Gasquet, Mladenovic, Rusedski, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych Goran Ivanisevic, Fabrice Santoro, and many others.
Yes, tennis freestyling is big. And with Stefan leading the charge, it is only getting bigger.
Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.
Editor’s Note • oops this was lost in our system. Stefan is the best ever! There’s a movement starting, there’s a great Belgian boy named Diego who is very talented. And is a fan of Stefan’s as well as the team here at TennisBalls. We were afraid of Stefan showing Ricky some tricks. In hotel hallway, lobby or room. We kept envisioning busted lamps, etc. We totally believe in him and hope he gets some great bookings and sponsorships for 2020. (LJ)
You can check out Stefan’s videos on the links below:
Instagram | @stef_bojic (Queen’s Club video)
Youtube | Stefan Bojic
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