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Home » Culture and Criticism, Headline

Order Of The Shallows: Australian Open 2018

Submitted by on January 22, 2018 – 12:17 PM2 Comments

New year, new rankings…new blood on the panel!

Welcome to another convocation of The Order Of The Shallows! The U.S. government may be in shutdown mode, but THIS club never closes…and we suckered a new Poobah into joining our merry band! I’m joined once again by John Ramos and Zach Wilcha, and we’re delighted to add critic, scholar, and tennis enthusiast Myles McNutt to the team.

(Wondering about previous rankings? Enjoy the 2017 US Open, 2016 US Open, and 2016 Wimbledon discussions. Got a suggestion for a future Shallows hotness ranking? Leave it in the comments!)

1 (tie) Rafael Nadal
ATP Rank: 1
Previous Hotness Ranks: 1, 5, n/a

Sarah: He’s approaching this weird jolie-laide intersection, but this devil will be waiting for him there.

Myles: Once I became Team Federer at a young age, Rafael Nadal was always the villain, and to be honest this means that I have never necessarily understood this panel’s affection for him. That being said, he gets points for the calculated removal of the sleeves, a nostalgic play to his fans and the rare fashion choice that ripples through the social feeds. Whereas others are just trying to coast by on their looks, Nadal is playing the game. That’s worth something.

Zach: Forever my number one. Returning to sleeveless “shirts” and adding a sheer see-through element with flamboyant pink accents makes him look like an International Male catalog come to life. I’m not complaining.

John: With the return to the outfits of yore, it’s almost to the point where all I see when I look at Rafa is a pair of disembodied arms and legs. Which is good for his rankings, because that hair is really looking ready for the electric razor of Never To Be Seen Again.

1 (tie) Grigor Dimitrov
ATP Rank: 3
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, 2, n/a

Zach: It’s a testament to his classic handsomeness that he’s really pulling off one of the worst tennis outfits I’ve seen in a while.

John: I was pretty disappointed in the form Dimitrov had shown to date, struggling after coming in as the No. 3 seed, but beating Kyrgios in any way shape or form is high on my “turn-ons include” list. And that body, in addition to being smoking, suggests a work ethic I’d be interested in sampling.

Sarah: The fact that I thought he was Mikhail Youzhny in some of these match snaps does not bode well for Dimsie’s staying power in these rankings. Then again, I’m the one Shallowser always throwing the Youzh a single-digit ranking, so…idk.

Myles: Look, the man is objectively attractive, but in attempting to determine rankings his Twitter informed me that he is also now the first ever global tennis brand ambassador for Häagen-Dazs, and the image of him consuming ice cream as though this is a thing he regularly does really ties the whole package together.

3 (tie) Andreas Seppi
ATP Rank: 76
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Myles: Uneven, photo-wise, and the severity of his official ATP photo is kind of throwing the whole thing for a loop.

Zach: It’s like the lost Skarsgård brother surfaced in Italy and took up tennis instead of acting. This is a compliment.

John: Well, if Lucas Pouille isn’t going to keep his shit together, I’m more than happy for the veteran blond Eurofrat to rejoin our ranks; even if he’s wearing his cap with the brim forward these days, even with the two-toned beard, he’s still checking all my superficial boxes. (Plus his girlfriend went completely apeshit in the stands when he outlasted Karlovic, which was hilare.)

Sarah: Actually, you can’t leave your hat on (although current scruff/grin levels mean I would find a way to cope).

3 (tie) Novak Djokovic
ATP Rank: 14
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, 3, n/a

John: Meditation? Gurus? Mysterious ailments of the soul as well as the elbow? Djokovic almost can’t kill my boner for him, but I have to admit he seems to be trying. Still, I’d take a piece of the effortless ease he used to dispatch my namesake in the R32.

Zach: I still believe he should reintroduce gluten to his diet, and recently I realized he’s got a bit of a Squidward thing going on. Once you see it…

Sarah: Looking a little skinnier than I’d like, but every time he goes airborne for a two-hander, my heart flutters.

Myles: While still attractive, I feel like Djokovic is at a weird liminal stage age-wise: he’s no longer young, but he also doesn’t really seem old? I dunno. It’s hard to get a handle on everything about Djokovic this year.

5 Marton Fucsovics
ATP Rank: 80
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

John: Not sure about the wispy facial growth, and the hair sometimes looks weirdly catalog-model, but he’s still possibly the only tennis player on tour who turns up bare-chested photos without Google even having to hear the word “shirtless.” That, as you can see, is not a complaint.

Sarah: “If Ethan Hawke and Heath Ledger mated” doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but the implied facial-hair narrative that results is maaaaaybe not a bedtime story? Maybe. I’ll report back.

Myles: I rushed to tune into the second-round livestream when I saw that Sam Querrey was losing (huzzah!), and I didn’t recognize his opponent. But then the commentator suggested that he was commonly referred to as the “Hot Hungarian,” and after a quick Google Image Search revealed an abnormal percentage of shirtless photos, the story checked out. Who am I to argue with Google Image Search?

Zach: Fucsovics? I barely know Sovics. …But really, I would in a heartbeat. Color me Hungary and thirsty.


6 Dominic Thiem
ATP Rank: 5
Previous Hotness Ranks: 2T, 9, n/a

Myles: I don’t know if Thiem is any more attractive than some of the other players below him, but I do everything I can to try to usher in a new era of men’s tennis given how terribly they’re managing it, so here. You’re welcome, Dominic.

Zach: I DO NOT approve of his recent dating shenanigans, but no one wears a wet shirt and shorts quite like Dominic Thiem. (And how is he perpetually wet?)

John: I feel like Thiem’s tennis development may have stalled. Similarly, his teenage skin isn’t clearing up in the way I’d hoped. It’s not delivery; it’s Thiem’s face.

Sarah: I wish he didn’t cross his eyes so much; he’s like that kid in the teen rom-com who’s carried out of the party when the cops show up, slung over the shoulder of a big guy named Tiny.

7 Fabio Fognini
ATP Rank: 25
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Sarah: What even is the facial hair? I don’t exactly hate it, but I don’t exactly feature “Henchman No. 2 in Die Hard 6” in my bunk, either.

Myles: I’m frankly just having trouble with the skull aesthetic? I have questions.

Zach: Basically the opposite of the #MeToo movement in human form, he would still make it to the Shallows Tennis Hall of Fame for his locker room towel work alone.

John: If his sex game is anything like his tennis game, I’m in, even if it kills me. Which, again like his tennis game, it might.

8 Diego Schwartzman
ATP Rank: 26
Previous Hotness Ranks: 5, n/a, n/a

John: I think he’s really cute in this specific TV teen way; I could totally see him on the CW Argentina. He is too short for me, but I say so without shade, unlike the AO website headline from Sunday morning reading “Rafa Stands Tall Against Schwartzman.” Rude.

Sarah: That tennis-camp intermediate instructor who isn’t the hottest on paper, but becomes so because he’s gracious and un-gross about your crush on him and genuinely hates making you run lines.

Myles: It’s hard to overcome the dominant messaging of “short” surrounding Diego in any and all tennis broadcasts, but I think he’s in a good place right now, and he gets points for frustrating Nadal.

Zach: Honey, I shrunk the Thiem!

9 Pablo Carreño Busta
ATP Rank: 11
Previous Hotness Ranks: 8, n/a, n/a

Myles: Maybe he should be higher, but I still hold a grudge after he beat Milos in the fifth in the French last year? What can I say, I’m petty.

Zach: He’s the Hologram Girl of the Spanish tennis contingent, cute as a button from some angles, and highly rodentious from others.

John: He’s the tennis equivalent of the Dawson’s Creek-esque TV nerd who contrives a way to remove his shirt to reveal a shockingly rockin’ bod. He’d be fine once, but I’d probably ghost him after.

Sarah: Not everyone can get past the toothy derp frequently on display. More for me.

10 Nick Kyrgios
ATP Rank: 17
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, 5

Myles: I have fond memories of the year Kyrgios and Genie Bouchard were playing Mixed Doubles at the Open, right before her slip-and-fall, and despite maturing VERY slowly on the court I certainly find him less intolerable than I did a few years ago.

Zach: I should be way more into him on paper, but tennis’s enfant terrible is still just a big baby to me.

John: Unlike with certain other Australians who may or may not have come out of retirement to play doubles, I couldn’t even stomach hate-fucking this jerk, because I just know he’s one of those immature swagger-fuckheads who wouldn’t even shower before. Or after, probably. Gross.

Sarah: Much depends here, as in life, on which half of the phrase “hate-fuck” is more important to you. I choose to accentuate the positive this time around.

11 Kyle Edmund
ATP Rank: 49
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, 14, n/a

John: I like many a pasty Brit, and many a redhead. But both of those together is a lot; I’m afraid if you held him up to the light you could see his internal organs? Plus I don’t love ending my sexual encounters covered in SPF 2600 lotion. Pass.

Sarah: I like Jim Gaffigan — but I don’t like like Jim Gaffigan.

Myles: We pale ginger lads gotta stick together.

Zach: He’s like a fully formed Goffin, but somehow even paler.

12 Hyeon Chung
ATP Rank: 58
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

John: How seriously can I take him when I literally have never seen him without those goofy glasses? Also, I do like his game, but he deprived us of discussing Sascha Zverev here, and while that may have been a favor done to our esteemed panel from a legal standpoint, I’m still kind of bitter about it.

Sarah: Love the glasses, love the aughts-fratty hair, love that he appears to have massive hands. Welcome to the Shallows, young man. Splash around awhile.

Zach: He’s young, so there’s some potential here, but for now he looks a bit like the “before” picture in a K-POP Princess Diaries.

Myles: My favorite image broadcast during the Australian Open this year was an amazing shot of Chung winning the ATP Next Gen tournament, holding a trophy as confetti flies into the air while Andrey Rublev stands to the side holding his loser’s trophy looking like he’d rather be dead. Unfortunately, that’s the best Chung has looked: I encourage you to Google Image Search and decide which of his many haircuts is most troublesome for him. That’s really the root of the problem.

13 (tie) Roger Federer
ATP Rank: 2
Previous Hotness Ranks: 11, n/a, T10

John: Even I, a consummate Fed-hater, have to admire what he’s done in the past year on the tennis court.

Sarah: I know who’s winning the battle with my backhand, and it’s not Fed’s face.

Myles: I honestly primarily agreed to participate in this to try to undo the disrespect done to Roger over the course of the pool, but then I had to face facts: this is probably where he’s meant to be.

Zach: How many mirrors do you think he has in his bedroom?

13 (tie) Tomas Berdych
ATP Rank: 20
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, 4

Zach: Someone who looks like a Bel Ami model stretched out to double the size shouldn’t be so boring.

Sarah: Has…anyone seen him and Jim Courier together? I like the longer hair, but it’s still attached to…him, and I can’t get past the feeling that he has a Ken-doll nothing as a groin. And that it’s…him.

John: Oh, we’re still doing this? Cool.

Myles: Robbing us of Del Potro should be a felony.

15 Marin Cilic
ATP Rank: 6
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, 14

Zach: What can you say about Marin Cilic? No, really. I’m asking.

John: When Sarah and I play cards, to complain about a deal, we always sigh, “This hand is a foot.” Cilic’s face is also a foot. Specifically, it’s his foot from last year’s Wimbledon final.

Sarah: Past observing that “there’s always at least one guy more disgusting than Cilic” does not a Shallows champion make, I got nothin’.

Myles: Nah.

16 Tennys (hee) Sandgren
ATP Rank: 97
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Zach: He’s like a Brad Gilbert nickname became sentient and then mated with a six-pack of PBR.

Myles: Watching his third-round match, I was hoping for his sake that he wouldn’t be subjected to this. But then I did some reading on his worldviews, so I feel comfortable puzzling over how this man is 26 and not 46 years old. (To be fair, he only looked 36 in his post-match interview. The headband is doing a lot of the damage. And do NOT Google the mullet).

John: I actually really like his game and would root for him to go farther – but in the looks department, he’s Justin Gimelstob Jr., so hard pass from me.

Sarah: Aaaaand here we are at the one guy re: Cilic. Y’all, he looks like Larry Bird, and with all respect for the games of both men: newp.




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