Perhaps because it's the first time since 1990 that the official Wimbledon champions' photo hasn't included Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer or the Williams sisters, Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova felt the need to wear name tags when the official portrait was taken at the winners' ball on Sunday.
The 2011 champs attended the annual gala in their honor on Sunday and mingled, sans name tags, with past champions, friends and families. Sometime before the photo, Djokovic had one attached to his lapel and Kvitova to her dress.
For Kvitova, I can see the need to be identified. She entered the tournament on the fringes of the top 10 and only had two Grand Slam quarterfinals to her name prior to Wimbledon. There are many blonde-haired women on tour whose names end with the suffix -ova and it gets a little overwhelming at times. Djokovic, though? The guy is 48-1 on the year and took out the defending champion in the final. If he needs a name tag then somebody like Mardy Fish probably needs to walk around Wimbledon with a Vegas marquee.
This being Wimbledon, the name tags held special meaning. (Though it would have been far more amusing had they been wearing "Hello! My Name Is ____" stickers.) Winners of the tournament receive honorary membership to the All England Club, complete with member's badge. Winning players are awarded the badge (like Maria Sharapova in 2004) following their victories. Busted Racquet went back through the archives and the only other occasion we could find of a player actually wearing the name tag during the party was Roger Federer in 2006 after his fourth title. His fellow winner that year, Amelie Mauresmo, didn't join him with the self-identifying badge, nor have any of the other recent winners.
After days hours a few minutes of digging, we were still no closer to determining the origin of the tags nor why Djokovic and Kvitova wore them for the photo. I feel like Robert Stack in "Unsolved Mysteries," minus the ominous voiceovers and cheesy reenactments. Rest assured, if, and when, we find out, you'll be the second to know. (A buddy of mine has asked to be first to know and I'll oblige.)
Djokovic liked the member's badge so much that he took it off his tuxedo jacket, brought it home with him and attached it to the white sport coat he wore to the raucous celebration attended by tens of thousands in downtown Belgrade.
The tuxedo may have been a rental, so I can see why Djokovic didn't mind poking a hole in that with the name tag pin. But a Dolce and Gabbana jacket? That's like slapping a Monet. Don't let Anna Wintour see you do that, Nole, or no more Speedo shots in Vogue for you!