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Best Off-Court Moments: No. 1 Celebration; Nadal & Djokovic On Ice

Best Of 2013

Hutchins © Getty ImagesRoss Hutchins announced his remission from cancer after undergoing six months of treatment. reviews the best off-court moments of the second half of the season. 

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Rally Against Cancer
Ross Hutchins learnt last Christmas that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, revealing the news in the opening week of the 2013 season after Andy Murray dedicated his Brisbane triumph to him. The next six months, he underwent treatment at The Royal Marsden. He also used his diagnosis to raise £177,000 for the world-leading cancer centre, bringing together players and celebrities for the “Rally Against Cancer” at the Aegon Championships.

A month after the charity exhibition, Hutchins took to Twitter to share good news. “Was a big day today,met my Oncologist and I am now in remission :) So grateful to fantastic Professor Cunningham and his team @royalmarsden”

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Birthday Suit
John Isner worked up his courage to appear in the buff for ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue, which annually celebrates the physique of athletes. The American had turned down ESPN’s offer to appear in last year’s issue, before agreeing to be photographed sans clothing on the tennis court of Palm Springs. 

“This is something I never would've imagined myself doing,” said Isner. “Tennis players aren't jacked like football players, but we are certainly in good shape, and if my photo shows that in any way, that will be good.”

The photograph didn’t just appear in the magazine, but also on t-shirts made and worn by Isner’s grandfather and his friends.

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WawrinkaHome Swiss Home
Back at home for the Credit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad, Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer both enjoyed a bit of what the Swiss Alps have to offer. 

Wawrinka took in the sights from high above, taking a parachute jump in the Bernese mountains. “It was a great experience,” he said. “Of course, you get very nervous just before jumping off the plane but once you are in the air it’s a great feeling.”

Federer tried out the sport of flag throwing, a traditional activity in the Alps, and was also presented with a cow named Desiree from tournament organisers. “She won’t be in my trophy room, that’s for sure,” he quipped.

Read More: Wawrinka | Federer

No. 1 Celebration
“I’m like a little boy here,” said Roger Federer, as the ATP commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings with an unprecedented gathering of World No. 1s. From Ilie Nastase to Novak Djokovic, 19 legends shared the stage at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and spoke about reaching the pinnacle of the sport. 

“Growing up, in early childhood, you are inspired to show that love and appreciation and passion towards the sport, and of course there is this big drive - waking up every morning, working so hard, developing skills - to be No. 1 in the world,” said Djokovic. “Not many players have achieved that and to sit with fellow champions... I’m really honoured to be here.”

The evening also included a tribute to former ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, who established the ATP Heritage programme before passing away in May following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease. “It means a lot for me to be here and to be honouring Brad's legacy,” said Lleyton Hewitt.

Ristic, DjokovicThe Proposal
In his 100th week at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Novak Djokovic popped the question to long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic. The Serbian first announced their engagement on Facebook, posting, “Getting used to introducing Jelena as my fiancé and future wife :) So happy!” A few minutes later, he Tweeted, “Meet my fiancé and future wife :) So happy! Thank you for wonderful wishes #NoleFam and friends!

Djokovic, who hasn’t lost a match since getting engaged in late September, elaborated on his proposal ahead of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. “It’s an incredible experience. Throughout my life I’ve played many big matches in front of 20,000 people and fighting for many Grand Slam trophies and with high adrenaline and excitement, but this is still something I haven’t experienced in my life and I’m just glad.”

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MurrayRoyal Honour
Judy Murray had reason to shed tears this year - not only at The All England Club, where she watched her youngest son win the Wimbledon singles title, but also at Buckingham Palace, where he was presented an OBE (Officer of Order of British Empire). “Yes, I cried. #OBE,” she Tweeted, sharing a picture of Andy with his medal. 

Andy Murray received his OBE, for services to tennis, at His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge’s first investiture ceremony. The Scot was awarded the honour in the New Year Honours’ List last December in recognition of his triumphs at the US Open and London Olympics. “It was good fun,” he said of his day at the palace. “I went with my parents, my girlfriend, met a lot of very interesting people.”

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A Game Of Inches
Ivo Karlovic refused to give up his distinction as the tallest player in the history of the ATP World Tour, re-assessing his height after John Isner matched him at 6’10” this summer. “Due to the recent increase in John Isner’s height, I had to double check mine. And what do you know?!! Your boy is 6’11! #tennismakesyougrow”, Karlovic Tweeted.

The Croat confirmed the stat at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where a team of five people completed the measurement. “Don’t know when I grew. Maybe they stretched me in the hospital,” joked Karlovic, who was hospitalised due to a case of viral meningitis in March.

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Patagonia(N)Ice Court
After six meetings this season, including the championship match of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic  concluded 2013 on a court in icy Patagonia. The rivals took in the breathtaking landscape in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, a four-mile thick mass of ice, as they had a hit aboard a barge in an event dubbed “Tennis on Ancient Ice”. 

“My parents suggested I visit the glacier,” said Nadal, who Tweeted, “I've just been in one of the most spectacular places that I’ve ever seen before, the PeritoMoreno! Really amazing!” Djokovic concurred. “I never thought I would find a place this wonderful.” 

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