In Tennis, Hugging at the Net Is the New Handshake

, their extended accept looked more like two camp buddies stating bye-bye at the end of the summer season than 2 top-flight athletes after a strong fight. Why's on-court hugging become a thing? “Men, in particular, were taught to be strong, not to share their individual battles and to be peaceful about their issues.

Eighteen years later on at the Australian Open, when Caroline Wozniacki beat Simona Halep to win her first significant, their extended embrace looked more like two camp pals stating farewell at the end of the summer season than two top-flight athletes after a fierce fight. Same when Sloane Stephens beat her close good friend Madison Keys to win the 2017 U.S. Open. As they waited for the trophy presentation, Stephens and Keys sat side by side, chuckling.

So why has on-court hugging end up being a thing? Has everyone on tour all of a sudden become BFFs?

“You’re not going to do it with everybody,” said Kevin Anderson, the 2017 runner-up at the U.S. Open. “But many people understand that we’re out there working as hard as we can. We’re all competitors, but we’re likewise friends.”

For Djokovic, hugging has ended up being part of his psychological routine, the result of time with Pepe Imaz, a Spanish spiritual master who concentrated on a technique with meditation and extended hugs called Amor y Paz (“Love and Peace”).

Allen Fox, a California-based sports psychologist who has counseled athletes for more than 40 years, stated hugs now are “part and parcel of every athletic competitors, no matter the sport.”

“Back in the day, athletes were attempting to be sophisticated, so they kept their feelings in check, shook hands at the end of a match and left the court,” he stated. “Men, in particular, were taught to be strong, not to share their individual battles and to be peaceful about their issues. They were trained not to be sappy out there, to take a loss with a stiff upper lip.

“Now individuals downplay crying and hugging after their matches.”

Even when post-match hugs aren’t warranted or wanted, a lot of players now go with a customized “bro-shake” — a bring-it-in handshake that develops into a one-armed hug. It is often accompanied by chest pats or back pats, particularly amongst the males.