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Home » Culture and Criticism

Order Of The Shallows: US Open 2016

Submitted by on September 5, 2016 – 3:50 PM5 Comments


Hellew! Buntsy here. Welcome back to the tennis hotness rankings — now known to those with the secret handshake (oh yeah: that's you) as the Order Of The Shallows! And we've got a new pledge!

The Open's posting a huge gain in hotness over recent Slams (not that that's saying much, Andeh), but to make sure I've gauged it correctly, Poobahs John Ramos, Joe Reid, and I are joined by Zach Wilcha, who lives and works in Philadelphia but can be found lurking and judging full-time on Twitter at @itsonlyzach; regular Paul Quinn; and first-time Shallowser Mohn Jackenroe, because it's about damn time we got the straight man's perspective.

In case you missed our French Open Rankings: What does our minor rebranding mean? N…ot a whole lot, except that we're going to rank all kinds of foxy moving forward: tennis, baseball, Emmy supporting actors, presidents, you name it. Got a suggestion for a Shallows hotness ranking? Leave it in the comments!

(Wondering about previous rankings? Enjoy the 2016 Wimbledon, the 2016 French, and 2014 Wimbledon discussions.)

1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
ATP Rank: 11
Previous Hotness Ranks: 1, n/a, 6

Quinn: Of course, the one shallows slam I sit out is when Tsonga places first. Cute as a button (Word autocorrected this to "bottom," haaayy) and hot AF.

tsongahairJohn: After having found him lackluster in many previous editions, I'm glad to see he's still putting effort into his hair game. This year is a good look for you, dude.

Joe: Old reliable. I feel like we should give him a lifetime achievement award for his years of making sure these rankings never fall into total despair.

Sarah: Not sure what changed here — he lost some weight, it's the longer hair, or maybe he's just one of the few foxes truly suited to the uber-loud court attire everyone busts loose with at Forest Hills — but I am front-row here for it.

Zach: Barrel-chested with a perfect smile and rough around the edges. Just enough self-awareness to know to pose naked occasionally.

Mohn: The Peak Tsonga look is the close-cropped hair/shaped stubble/black shirt look. Hello. Sadly, this year, Adidas decided to dress Jo-Wilfried as a hot-pink traffic cone, and he's looking a bit unkempt, so, despite his winning smile and amazing body, I think we need to demote him.


2 Grigor Dimitrov
ATP Rank: 24
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, 3

Sarah: Totally your younger brother's friend who hit on you for years because you both knew it wouldn't go anywhere and he could just test out his shit, and then one day you're like, ha ha EXCEPT ALSO HMMMM.

Zach: Tennis's pretty boy who forgot to play tennis for a while. His movie-star good looks make me willing to forgive him for allegedly choosing Maria over Serena. Deducted points for making me think of Federer.

John: Awww yeah. He's always been scorching, but when Dimitrov was defaulted in the final of the Istanbul Open earlier this year for smashing three racquets total (with the added flair of telling the umpire in advance about the final one, hee), anyone with a basic knowledge of dramatic structure would have expected it to be a turning point. And sure enough, with new vigor, he's finally playing like he might live up to at least half his promise. (Bonus points for (a) paying attention to Hotness in his choice of coach


and (b) the double-cheek-kiss at the end of his match with Jeremy Chardy that set off a wave of confused gay panic in the ESPN booth.)

Mohn: I don't know why you need more explanation than the photo above. He's like the male Kournikova, not-great results paired with exceptional good looks.

Joe: Okay, this one would not be nice to your mom. He'll barely be nice to YOU. I'll freely admit that the prep-school brat who'll only make out with you when nobody else can see it is a shameful type to hold dear. And yet. What a fox.

Quinn: Gorgeous.

3 Novak Djokovic
ATP Rank: 1
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, T1, 2

Mohn: Djokovic is an amazing player whom I have loved hating for an entire decade now, and the lithe grace of both his style of play and body (seriously, does he have an eleventy-pack at this point?) are something to behold. But the man's face is goofy. I'm sorry, it is. It's goofy. He's got a kind of Beaker thing going on with his mouth and his ears are gradually fleeing from his head. He also has Lego-man hair.


Sarah: I love Djoko, but he's had an underwhelming tourney and he seems impatient and over it. Feels like I'd be giving him the "it happens to everyone, it's probably just stress!" talk.

Zach: His cry face at the Olympics made me realize he’s entering his Dustin Diamond phase.

John: People were shocked at Novak's R32 loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, but I choose to believe he looked around at the unprecedentedly bleak landscape at Wimbledon and peaced out rather than sully his personal Hotness brand with that shit. Glad to have you back, old friend; now win again lest we get hit with the era of Murray. (Is that what they mean when they say "winter is coming"?)

Joe: Tough to say how Novak's looking this time around since his opponents won't let him play a for-gods-sake match. I'll say this, though: that post-match song-and-dance to Lesser Phil Collins (don't get much lesser than "I Can't Dance") after Round 1 killed a part of my boner that I might never get back.

Quinn: Okay, look. Everything is perfect: the body, the hair, the game, the attitude. But I'm with Zach; it wouldn't hurt to eat a bowl of refined pasta once in a while.


4 Illya Marchenko
ATP Rank: 63
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Sarah: I love that, when you image-search Marchenksie, the results screen is 70 percent Kyrgios. …jk, I don't love that. Eat all the bees, Nicky. Anyway: Marchenko. The on-court faces suggest a desperate need for a Costco pallet of Metamucil like yesterday, but when he's not overbiting at a cross-court forehand from under a stupid hat — or rolling his eyes at 1) a risible boo-boo-kitty acting job by his opponent that 2) the booth seems suspiciously unprepared to call bullshit on, and yes, I understand that Kyrgios is not in the rankings, but you can't have thought I'd let that shit go, McEnroes — he's pretty attractive in that carved-out-of-steppe-rock way.

Zach: No one ever suspects a surprise Ukrainian ginger to show up at the party, but this one is somehow adorable?

Quinn: This guy has everything: the Eastern European look with a touch of Norwegian and a shade of Irish ginger that is making me seriously lose my shit. He reminds me of all the guys I fell in unrequited love with in college.

Mohn: He's like a pool boy in a suburban housewife's fantasies in the 1950s. Hubba hubba.

John: Another frat-hat disciple and another one whose skin color suggests he grew up in a root cellar; another one that's working for me. Hey dude, are your biceps actually tearing tiny rips in your sleeves? Come closer so I can see for sure.

Joe: The Gallant to Jack Sock's Goofus. How cute is this kid??

5 Rafael Nadal
ATP Rank: 5
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, 4

Quinn: Nadal topping Lopez after winning in Rio gave me such priapism I thought I'd need medical attention. Who needs a blue pill when you have an image of that?


John: I'm very happy for Rafa and his fans that he and his arms and ass seem to be having at least a meaningful-ish comeback. I wish, however, I could say the same for his hair; it by turns looks like an animal pelt and like it's been drawn on. We know from Uncle Toni still coaching you that you hate change, Rafa, but it's beyond time to figure out a new concept.

Joe: Welcome back, sweet cheeks. That hair might be weak, but the arms are still more than willing. And while one last Slam championship is what I really want for him, a return to the Shallows rankings is a decent ancillary benefit.


Sarah: Never have I more admired his psychological makeup on the court, the ability to stay in it in his head, than I have in this Open — and never has he looked, IMO, more Hatosian, but the thing is the hair is becoming a maaaaaaje prob, you guys. Like, "maybe it's that time where you Agassi it" maje.

Mohn: It's a crisis time for Rafa Nadal right now. He's failed to make it past the quarters of the last ten majors, and he's failed to figure out what to do with his balding pattern. I'm worried if he shaves it he'll end up looking like Nosferatu, but right now he looks a bit like he wants to tell you about the veal parmigiana at his family's restaurant.

Zach: My ideal. Looking better all the time, even though he’s seemingly at the tail end of his career. But no one does "tail end" like Rafa. His wrist injury was from tennis. Mine is from Rafael Nadal.

6 Lucas Pouille
ATP Rank: 25
Previous Hotness Ranks: 2, n/a, n/a

Joe: Stiffer competish than when he was holding up the Wimbledon rankings with both hands, but he still does it for me, glamour shot and all.

Quinn: How much more French can this guy get? None, none more French. Arguably has the most beautiful eyes on the tour (but please don't pull that psycho "I just beat Nadal" look again).

Sarah: The wheaty-scruffy Borg-manqué thing is not necessarily for me all the time, but there's something about a man who can wear jewelry with authority, I don't know. I also spent a decent portion of the weekend imagining an animated series, Puig 'n' Pouille, in which the embattled Dodgers outfielder and ol' Luc play games and solve crimes.

Mohn: This


is the face of a guy who owns a bearskin rug exclusively for fuckin'.

Zach: Blonds are almost never my thing, but he's taken the helm of Western European frat boy realness from Andreas Seppi and improved upon it. Best Lucas since the Winona Ryder movie.

John: The heir apparent to the Seppi fratty backward-baseball-cap look, Pouille's cute, he's fun, and he saved us from the two-dimensional nightmare that's Roberto Bautista Agut's face. More, please.

7 Stan Wawrinka
ATP Rank: 3
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, 4, 5

Mohn: French Bulldog from the neck up, hot side of beef from the neck down. Stanimal is jolie laide personified.

Zach: Why does he always look like he's about to sneeze? In the grand tradition of Zbornakian Stans past, he makes you want to root for him as an underdog even if you find him the opposite of attractive.

John: Stan, your inconsistency and indifferent approach to the game after a couple big successes have caused to you lose your Hotness luster and, frankly, make me wonder about your long-term viability as a sex partner. (But on the plus side, at least the clothes you've been sporting this tournament aren't a public menace.)

Joe: Forever my husband. Or he would be if he didn't think marriage held him back from on-court greatness.

Quinn: Contractually obliged to play a minimum of one crazy five-setter each slam and induce anxiety across all the time zones. I'm not sure about the color he's chosen for his outfit this year (girl, mauve?) even though he's paired it with his shoelaces. But who am I kidding? Perennially hot.

Sarah: I thought Daniel Evans might quick-pitch my man Stan Vav right out of this thing, and that would be a pity, because this happened:


[drops mic into basket of kittens]

8 Juan Martin Del Potro
ATP Rank: 142
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

John: If we were rating the Hotness of people's forehands, he'd be No. 1 for all time, I think. As it is, I still love my long-limbed potato nose, and he's killing it with this comeback; he's only a bit lower on my personal list because this field is waaaay hotter than usual.


Joe: "Frankenstein's monster if Dr. Frankenstein only had Dave Annable and a Stretch Armstrong doll to work with" still doesn't quite do it for me, but I'm happy for his comeback. In the abstract, at least.

Zach: By all accounts he's a gentle giant and a friendly guy. But the Order of the Shallows is not here to make friends. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's estate has a good case for trademark infringement. ["Just a reminder that participants do not see each other's submissions prior to publication." – SDB.]

Mohn: Del Potro is the most likable guy on tour, has the best forehand around, and is in the midst of an amazing comeback. Is that enough to make him hot even though he kind of looks like a hirsute Eagle? You bet your ass it is.

Sarah: The longer his comeback narrative goes on, the paler and more in need of a meatball sub my man DelPo looks. I admit he's partly coasting on vintage goodwill here, versus legit hotness, but since it's nothing a naked nap draped in a Buntsy blanket wouldn't fix…

Quinn: An infinite supply of goodwill for taking out Madame in '09. Still sexy. Will always be sexy, and belies the notion that Argentine men don't age well.

9 Dominic Thiem
ATP Rank: 10
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, 7, n/a

Sarah: A handful of freckles and a "Spy vs. Spy" cartoon away from Alfred E. Neuman. Pasadena.

Zach: If, like me, you've got very specific role-play fantasies about Rolf from The Sound of Music, Thiem would do in a pinch.

John: It's weird how short a memory the tennis calendar can give you; through the French Thiem was all anyone was talking about, and now he's running through the draw almost unnoticed. But not by the Hotness Council, I suspect. I have pretty simple tastes; the accompanying photo is working for me.


Quinn: He looks like he wandered from a Singer/Emmerich pool party and into a Nick Bollettieri training camp and then onto a court.

Joe: Swoon. SWOOOOOON. He's like the dream date in the board game where Bart Simpson ended up with the Milhouse-looking dud. Lithe and tanned and symmetrical; would probably be really polite to your mom. Or at least charmingly aloof. Gah…swoon.

Mohn: I genuinely believe that Thiem will one day win Slams and will also one day be hot. Not this day, mind you. But one day. One day.


10 Gael Monfils
ATP Rank: 12
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Zach: His movement, flexibility, and unpredictability would never outweigh how often you'd be disappointed when he consistently stopped short of the finish line.

Mohn: The man has a perfect body, has more natural talent than anyone, and likes to drink Coke on changeovers and tie his shoes during points. If he just sorted out the hair and the goatee, he'd probably move up a couple places.

Quinn: I could work out every day for the rest of my life, and I'd never have arms as perfect as his. Devastating physique. I wish he'd play topless. Phwoar.

Joe: He will never not remind me of Theo from Real World: Chicago, but that's not a bad thing. This new "just woke up from 375 consecutive naps" on-court look might be.

John: Anyone who marches to a drummer this different has a pretty good chance to be considered hot in my book, but he doesn't need the help. Not sure I could keep up with his undoubtedly innovative ideas in the bedroom; willing to try.

Sarah: Uch, the beard. Ruinous.


11 (tie) Marcos Baghdatis
ATP Rank: 44
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Joe: I like to imagine that Marcos spends all his free time in a banana hammock and nothing else on some beach in Cyprus, and you can't tell me otherwise.

Sarah: I started to snark on MarBaghs for being the Ron Silver of the tennis tour, but then, I always thought Ron Silver was sort of sexy in a "hate-fuck a conservative today!" way? And also Silver played Bobby Riggs in that horrendo TV movie.

Zach: The once fiery Cypriot has a Droopy Dog thing going on that I should hate more than I do.

baghdatisQuinn: The fuck with the hair? I sincerely hope that the text he sent his wife was to ask if he should shave his head again and that her one-word reply was YES.

John: I have the utmost respect for Marcos's game and his hair is actually looking better than it has in years, but his face is still the equivalent of a scrunchie to me.

Mohn: The very last player Andre Agassi beat during his pro career has been looking like a MAD Magazine caricature of himself for at least a decade now. ["NB: No fewer than three Shallows commentators submitted this identical photo." – SDB.]

11 (tie) Kei Nishikori
ATP Rank: 7
Previous Hotness Ranks: 7, 6, T11

Joe: It says a lot about the relative (and welcome) strength of the field in Flushing that Little Lord Nishikori ranks at the bottom of my list. In fuggier installments, he's been a solid mid-packer. All these years we've been waiting for Kei to put some age on that boarding-school frame. Now that he has…is it weird to say the kid looks tired? The kid looks tired.


Quinn: I'd French the face off of him, even if it meant my tongue getting shredded to pieces. I don't know if he should do a Jiggly Caliente and have those molars fixed. Either way, hot.

Mohn: Almost as impossible to look at as he is to root for.

John: That grill. I can't.

Sarah: Digging the longer hair, but: what Juanito said.

Zach: He's right in my lane, though I know he's not for everyone. Perfect calves, if you're into that. Important: he's around my size, so if we married, we could share a wardrobe.

13 Jack Sock
ATP Rank: 27
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Quinn: None of it works. The teeth. The hair. The name. None of it.

Mohn: It's a good field this year. We've gotten all the way to the eleven spot before hitting a player I wouldn't have sex with. Sock might hit the hardest, spinningest forehand on tour, but he still looks like a block of mild cheddar. He has a chin-stripe stubble beard because it's the only way you'd know he has a chin.

Zach: Cornfed, hairy, and Midwestern, he's growing into his face. Has the BEST name, even if his looks don't exactly inspire the need to have an eponymous one nearby.

John: I feel like Sock, for some time now, has been auditioning to take over the snarky American role that Andy Roddick's retirement vacated. And that's not the best look, but it's also not the worst? Anyway, his default face still screams "mouth-breather," but he gets some credit for sparing us having to write about Cilic again.


Joe: He's not the cutest guy in Alpha Kappa Beer Pong, but he's not the ugliest either. Better still, he wears his frattiness like a second skin, which you wouldn't think would be a compliment, but it totally is. He's the good rush chair. The one you get the year after sanctions.

Sarah: Would have dee-stroyed in the Wimbledon Shallows. Here in September, the sense that he's got a pocket in his racket bag for a headgear with skate stickers on it ain't gonna cut it.

14 Kyle Edmund
ATP Rank: 84
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Zach: Taking time off from being the villain in the Da Vinci Code film series to play professional tennis must be tough.


John: I've said it before, but despite my archive of commentary on the clock-stopping faces of Andy Murray, I do love many a pasty Brit. Cute face, hot body, and his win over Jizzner makes me love his translucent skin even more. (For evidence, check out his farmer's tan in the accompanying photo.)

Joe: On the scale of "Looks REAL British," young master Edmund would have ranked below his countryman Daniel "Ewen Bremner, Amirite?" Evans, but Kyle still looks like Mumsy and Papa (accent on the second syllable, of course) sent him away to Manchestershire-Upon-Essex until he passed his A-levels. Honestly? He's kind of a button, but it's a stronger than usual field.

Mohn: Extensive research reveals that I still have no idea who this guy is. He looks like an extra in the background of an episode of Coupling where the boys and girls go to different bars.

Sarah: I guess he doesn't REALLY look that much like Jesse Plemons, but Dirk and I could not stop calling him shit like "Todd" and "Crucifictennis."

Quinn: Wait! Wasn't he on Survivor twice? Oh, that was Spencer Bledsoe. My bad. Still, I wouldn't.

15 Andy Murray
ATP Rank: 2
Previous Hotness Ranks: 6, 13, T13

John: Aaaaaahhhhhhh, a 16 next to Murray means my world makes sense again.


Joe: I feel like I've been a broken record lately but: I've been coming around on Andy as of late. And yet still he can throw in a match like Saturday's against Lorenzi which put me right back in my old mode of aggravation. "WHY DON'T YOU JUST LOSE???" I screamed as Andy doofed his way into trouble and then doofed his way right out of it. So since I'm in a throwback mood, to the bottom of the ranks he goes.

Sarah: I can't explain it, because it's not like any of the facts on the ground have changed — the neckbeard, the horrifying 32-car pileup that is his celebrictus, the…"hair" — but I've grown rather fond of the lost Gentleman from Buffy.

Zach: When the devil came to make the deal with his mom, she traded acceptable face and hair for future Wimbledon titles.

Quinn: I'll never be able to deal fully. He seems like a decent guy off the court but is the only player on the tour who can celebrate winning Wimbledon by getting pissed at Lendl for sneaking out to go numero dos.

Mohn: Sigh. This is the opposite of the Djokovic situation. I like Andy Murray and his love of Playstation games and forthright advocacy for women's equality on tour, but facts are facts, and the fact is, he is never going to be higher than 14 on these rankings.


16 Ivo Karlovic
ATP Rank: 23
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Mohn: Of the over-140MPH servers, Karlovic is probably my favorite, just because watching an Ent play tennis is really something else. Still, he looks like he should be hanging out at The Black Lodge warning you that the owls are not what they seem.

Joe: I suppose when you name your kid "Ivo Karlovic," you can't entirely be surprised when he grows up to look like the least interesting member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Sarah: It's too soon to reuse the Lurch joke, right?

Zach: No. And "serve and Groot" is my least favorite style of tennis.

Quinn: Any casting director who is searching for a villain for Forbrydelsen 4, here you go. Makes Berdych look like the guy you'd take home to your ma.

John: It's so nice that Ivo's having such a great year right before he reprises his Twin Peaks role as the giant.

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  • Ms. K says:

    I think you all are a bit unfair to Monfils. Yes, his beard ain't that good and he continually disappoints in the second week of tournaments. But charisma and personality count and Monfils has tons more than snoozes like Marchenko. But I don't always agree with your rankings – why you cant see the enduring appeal of Federer is beyond me.

  • Yoshi says:

    Welcome, Mr. Jackenroe. Love your work.

    I'm a big Tsonga fan, but after watching Pouille's amazing match against Rafa my wife and I were wondering exactly how much perving on menfolk can go on before they revoke one's lesbian card. Even in that ridiculous 1991 LA Gear hat, he looked FOINE. And his eyes are nothing short of astonishing.

    Given that it's AFL Finals season, I'm going to throw in another request for Hotness Rankings of the boys of Aussie Rules. Even if you just ranked the eight teams that made it to the Finals you'd have some excellent talent. The Western Bulkdogs would be a shoo-in for first, obviously, but even knowing the result it would make for great reading.

  • bristlesage says:

    Man, do I love the Shallows. Agreed that it's foxier than it has been in awhile on the court; good work, gentlemen.

  • cayenne says:

    You know it's been a disappointing tennis season when my perving object for the year has been Pospisil, who is almost disturbingly young. I'd feel bad about that, except really… I don't.

    So can we please get to baseball? With my Jays kinda sliding out of this like they're Utleying themselves, I'm going to be angsting about it right to the end and need a distraction. And can we apply negative scores for the appalling facial hair this year? Because some of those dudes are in desperate need of a cosmetic weed whacker. I'm lookin' at you, Joey Bats – do us all a favour and get a razor sponsor, stat.

  • Kristin says:

    I'd love to hear your take on the lads of the EPL or MLS. Soccer has brought us some beautiful, beautiful humans… and also some considerably not.

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