Thanks for the memories. No.3 seed Aryna Sabalenka had a rockin' doubles partner this week at the San Diego Open: global rock superstar Pete Wentz, best known as the bassist and lyricist for the Grammy-nominated American band Fall Out Boy.
On Day 1 of the tournament's main draw, Sabalenka participated in a charity mixed doubles match with Wentz and his tennis coach Christopher Crabb to benefit the Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. Crabb, who's also an actor and has a private court in Los Angeles, bills himself on social media as tennis trainer to other stars including Dakota Fanning, Zach Braff and Steve Carrell.
Even if she was star-struck, Sabalenka played it cool on Instagram in the aftermath: “Just me and superstar @petwentz,” she wrote in the caption of the photo of the two. Cheekily, Wentz replied: “Is it too early to make shirts for our doubles team?”
Wentz is no stranger to tour events: Earlier this year, he hit on the practice courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and told Tennis.com's Joel Drucker that he loves Sabalenka's intensity, Nick Kyrgios' athleticism, and was inspired to take up the sport by Andre Agassi. In a wide-ranging interview with GQ magazine last year, the musician revealed that he first took up tennis growing up in the Chicago suburbs, and recommitted himself at age 35 when the oldest of his three children started taking lessons.
"Some days I'm a complete park rat and I'll play, like, six hours a day," he said. "When I play tennis, when it's going well, that's all I think about. I don't think about anything else. That's a nice feeling.
"I’m not in movies, but I wanted to get to the level where, if I was in a movie and they were like, "We need you to play tennis," they wouldn't have to get a body double. When I'm just rallying and hitting neutral balls out of a bucket, I feel super close to it. And then when I watch a video of myself playing, I feel astronomically far. But what I like about my level is, now I know what I did wrong when I do it wrong."
For her part, Sabalenka will open her campaign at the WTA 500 event against 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Thursday.