Since the ATP Tour was incepted back in 1972, it turns out we have been treated to 51 full years of hilarious and engaging "reality shows."
Now in its 52nd season, the man we have become accustomed to calling Novak Djokovic is only a character rather than a sporting immortal. His "real" name is Bert Critchley. Scotland's finest, Andy Murray, is played by none other than Fraser McKnight.
Well, the ATP's five-minute teaser of what they called a hit series, "The Tour: A Reality Show," left tennis fans laughing uncontrollably on Wednesday.
ATP stars, including current and former World No. 1s Djokovic, Murray, and Carlos Alcaraz, appeared in a comedy sketch depicting the rigors of professional tennis as fake. Snippets of Grigor Dimitrov, Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils, and Holger Rune also emerge.
The video begins with Djokovic, a 24-time Grand Slam champion, recreating his famous celebration after winning the longest best-of-three-set final in ATP history at the Cincinnati Masters. Djokovic opens the show by tearing his top inside of a toilet.
From there, two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray appears on the cameras with a forthright "reveal" that for the past 51 years, the ATP players were actually not legitimate sportspeople and that all the matches were "scripted" bearing a resemblance to wrestling.
"I think that’s what people don’t realize. It’s all just scripted: the players, the matches. It’s all just kind of made up. It’s a bit like wrestling or the reality TV shows. None of it’s real We get our storylines at the start of the year and we try to make everything look natural. Let’s face it, people are stupid so they’ll buy anything.
Djokovic also stars in the behind-the-scenes reveal stating that he had been part of the "ATP Seasons" for the past 17 years. The "directors" of the show also appear throughout the video, highlighting their concise plans and storylines for the year.
"I’ve been part of this show for 16, 17 years, or ATP seasons as we call them. Something I’m trying to evoke with this Novak character is not just the performance and the achievements but more of an essence and personality, I try to have people relate to him."
"I want to bring truth to Novak, what is he thinking, what is he feeling, what would motivate him… if he was a real person."
More secrets also came to light: the grunts that most players generate and the loud squeaking of tennis shoes on the court were all pre-recorded, with Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev performing the stunts.
The reveal also sees scriptwriters workshopping comical ideas for the next episodes, which have been jotted down and displayed on a projected screen in bullet points, including "Umpires falling off chairs," "Roger comes out of retirement (CGI)," and "Ball kid wins Masters 1000."
The ATP took the banter a notch higher by creating the actors' Instagram accounts. The video has received over one million impressions on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.