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Home » Culture and Criticism

Order Of The Shallows: US Open 2017

Submitted by on September 4, 2017 – 8:31 AM3 Comments

The tennis hotness rankings return…and the upsets at Arthur Ashe this time around definitely included our stomachs.

Welcome to another convocation of The Order Of The Shallows! Busy schedules meant we’d planned to skip this slam too, but then the nutty upsets coming out of Queens changed our minds — and perhaps should not have, given what washed up in the 2017 Round Of 16. Oh, Kevin.

Anyway: I’m joined by Poobahs John Ramos, Joe Reid, Zach Wilcha, and the inimitable Mohn Jackenroe.

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

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

Joe: Honestly, I’m just so happy to see him back in the mix in Grand Slams. And there was a peek at him on the practice courts the other day where his arms were fully on display, and I legitimately gasped. Glad to have you around for as long as you can last, Rafa.

Sarah: The “hair” is increasingly pathetic, and neon pink is not his color lately, but the cutting of side-eyes is making up for it. And the triceps that could cut glass.

Mohn: Thanks to that hair transplant, Rafael Nadal will never bald. But he will always look frozen in time, mid-balding. It’s not a good look, and it gets worse the sweatier he gets, robbing us of one of the great joys of watching Rafa. I’m not sure with his skull shape that going Full Agassi would’ve been the solution, but the hair really disrupts the delicate balance of his facial features, making him look more caveman than underwear model.

Zach: My forever number one in my heart and nether regions, the muscles, the tight shorts, the passion, and the smile will all eternally outweigh those hair plugs.

John: Maybe he’s managing the thinning hair better, or maybe I’ve just gotten used to it, but with him looking even more ripped that usual — starting to define the concept of infinity here — he’s looking good from where I’m standing. Or reclining.

2 (tie) Lucas Pouille
ATP Rank: 20
Previous Hotness Ranks: 6, 2, n/a

Zach: He has surpassed Andreas Seppi as Western Europe’s go-to weirdly blond frat bro. Haze me.

John: Look, to my way of thinking, the tennis world needs a foine Eurofrat. Andreas Seppi has one foot in the retirement grave, so grab the backwards baseball cap, Lucas: You’re up.

Joe: My classic tennis hot-guy type: long hair, scruffy, backwards hat, even his weird faces look cute. I can’t even hold him beating Rafa last year against him. He’s a dish.

Mohn: King Lucas helped Roger figure out how to beat Rafa, and looks like what would happen if Jordan Catalano dropped out to follow the Warped Tour. What’s not to love?

Sarah: I get it, but it does nothing for me, which probably cost Luke another #1 OOTS ranking. Sorry, ami.

2 (tie) Dominic Thiem
ATP Rank: 8
Previous Hotness Ranks: 9, n/a, 7

Sarah: Terminal two-face-itis, but even the bad version is more than enough in this Pennywise casserole of a hotness draw.

Mohn: The hottest seventh grader since Jonathan Taylor Thomas is not particularly photogenic. On camera, his ears look like satellite dishes, and his jaw looks like the prow of a ship. But in person, he’s hot. I saw him live on Thursday at Armstrong and his ass is almost as perfect as his backhand.

Zach: He is often very wet, which makes it easy to see how his chest and butt have recently filled out. His social media pics from vacation with his “buddies” all but lack a Sean Cody logo in the bottom right corner.

John: I preferred his foray into longer hair, but we all knew that once the pizza face cleared up, he was gonna be a Hotness heavyweight.

Joe: I am generally far more pro-mop-top than my contemporaries, but even I am looking forward to the day Thiem decides to cut his hair short, because at that moment, he will be unstoppable. He’s already got the legs and the butt and the face; the hair will be the final piece of Hotness Voltron.

4 Juan Martin Del Potro
ATP Rank: 28
Previous Hotness Ranks: 8, n/a, n/a

Joe: He’s still never going to be my favorite, on the tennis court or in the court of hotness opinion, but there’s no denying that he’s got all the ingredients.

Sarah: The resemblance to Barry Williams grows, and in the abstract is not great, but I had a crush on Greg Brady before I had language, so.

Mohn: I just want him to take me in his giant arms and cuddle me. Don’t you think he’d make a great outer spoon? I won’t tell your buddy Pope Francis about our love if you don’t, Juan.

Zach: All signs point to JMDP being the most agreeable, gentle giant on the tour, which makes me feel awful that I’ll never be attracted to him. This Frankenstein’s monster was at least equipped with a heart of gold.

John: It’s hard not to think about what might have been with Del Potro, but his relentlessly positive attitude in the face of great adversity is attractively inspirational. Also, the beard is working for him.

5 Diego Schwartzman
ATP Rank: 33
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

John: Super-hot, and a scowl that suggests he’d be great in bed but would also keep his emotional distance? Where has he been all my life?

Joe: If nothing else, our pocket-sized Argentinian spared us all from coming up with new synonyms for “wooden” to describe Marin Cilic. My hat’s off to you, Short Stack.

Sarah: There’s a top note of Boreanaz here that I’m not mad at at all.

Mohn: I was shocked to find out that Schwartzman is 25 and not still studying his Torah portion. I guess that means he has “boyish good looks”? Or at least…boyish looks? In every photo I’ve looked at, he has a different level of hotness. It’s tough to figure his mercurial looks out. But he’s not bad-looking, so he goes at the bottom of the middle of the pack.

Zach: While it’s normally a good idea to stay away from South Americans with German last names, this short, muscly spark plug is a refreshing change from the gangly serve-monsters that usually end up in the fourth round of a slam.

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

6 Denis Shapovalov
ATP Rank: 69
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Sarah: I hate the hat, the hair gets stringy with a quickness, and he reminds me of that runty kid every small town has who tries to act all tough in front of the 7-Eleven with a wallet chain and a lot of made-up swears, except Shapo’s all grown up. (Almost.) At the same time, he’s giving me Max-from-Finding Carter realness even though he and Alex Saxon don’t really look alike. Think he’s probably a delightfully zen hang even in the friend zone.

Mohn: Looks exactly like my first-grade best friend, which makes this awkward. Also awkward: he kinda still looks like he’s in the first grade. I don’t think we’ll know whether he’s hot or not until after he’s finished puberty, so he goes in the middle for now.

Zach: You can’t spell “Canadian Lleyton Hewitt” without the “eh.” This is not a compliment.

John: None of it should work; the lady hair, the potato-adjacent nose, and what even is the age of consent in Canada? Still: Would.

Joe: Of all the new blood we could have had on this list (Coric, Dzumhur, Sasha Zverev), I’m at least glad we got Shapovalov, who won’t be to everybody’s taste, but…well, not to put too fine a point on it, but he looks a LOT like a guy I slept with once, so there’s that.

7 Mischa Zverev
ATP Rank: 27
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Zach: The less terrifying Zverev gives me early-2000s Marat Safin vibes, and politics aside, there’s nothing wrong with that.

John: I mean, he’s not his brother; we’re all sadly aware of that. I’d like to say he has his own brand of rugged charm, but I’m not even convinced that’s true. However, anyone who takes out John Isner at the US Open gets a massive bump in the rankings; it’s written in the Hotness Charter so there’s no use arguing the point.

Joe: While it would be more interesting to talk about the mop-topped, brattily youthful Zverev, I think we ended up with the hotter Zverev to rank. He’s a bit more boring and straitlaced, but Mischa is the classic older brother in every way, including looks. I ain’t complaining.

Sarah: Zverev The Elder is in fact Zverev The Lesser when it comes to hotness — but that still leaves plenty of room. Totally your cute waiter who professionally flirts with you and laughs at your jokes, and because you both understand what’s going on, you appreciate the effort.

Mohn: His first name autocorrects to “mishap.” Plays a beautiful game of tennis but looks like the third to last person Steven Seagal kills in a straight-to-video sequel to Under Siege.

8 Pablo Carreño Busta
ATP Rank: 19
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Mohn: A decent-looking guy but I forget what he looks like whenever I’m not looking at a photo of him. Sorry, Pablo!

Zach: Middling by Spanish standards, which still means he’s rather attractive. Were he hotter, I’d be more inclined to invoke Positive K and say, “When your man don’t treat you like she used to, I’ll kick in like Carreño Busta.”

John: Busta Rhymes (blame Brad Gilbert) mostly looks permanently too young for me, but he’s got some angles that work for him. In this field, that’s gonna get you reasonably far.

Joe: I can’t decide on Pablo Carreño-Busta. His official ATP photo looks handsome as hell:

But any shot of him in motion reveals a toothy goober.

Take the average, I suppose.

Sarah: Another two-face, and it’s tough to find a shot of the good face, i.e. the one where he’s not mid-backhand. Still, Buntsy likes a formidable schnozz, and he’s got that.

9 Philipp Kohlschreiber
ATP Rank: 37
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

John: After all these years, I still can’t figure out this mystery. He’s got beautiful eyes and looks hot in a lot of poses, but then every once in a while he’ll give a facial expression that could be tried in The Hague.

Joe: Seriously, I don’t think this guy has made a Round of 16 since the last time we all Shallowed together. We summoned him, I fully believe it.

Sarah: A silver-foxy thing has begun to occur around the temples, and for reasons I can’t articulate, he seems like he’s hung like a bear? But, you know, a boring bear that sleeps a lot?

Mohn: Context is everything. As an athlete, you’d probably not rank Kohlschreiber as particularly hot, but if he was your Intro to Political Theory professor, you’d stay up all night reading John Stuart Mill just to have an excuse to come to office hours and stare into his crystal blue eyes.

Zach: Inoffensive, if a bit goofy-looking. If he advances, he runs the risk of having Brad Gilbert call him “Nat King Kohlschreiber.”

10 Andrey Rublev
ATP Rank: 53
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Mohn: He looks almost exactly like Amanda Seyfried’s drug addict husband in Twin Peaks. Is that guy hot? I’m not sure. But he gets points for being much, much hotter than his namesake in the Tarkovsky film.

Zach: The alternative for folks who are intimidated by how bronzed, beefy, and swarthy David Goffin is.

John: A #NextGen player who looks like his voice might not be all the way to changed. Still, his recent hair choices suggest that a phone call in a few years might be welcomed.

Joe: If you want me to describe what Andrey Rublev looks like, it’s important to know that Andrey Rublev is in a One Direction cover band called Summer Afternoon. He looks like that.

Sarah: He’s got that lanky build and hipster hair I tend to feature, but oo-fah with the ball-strike overbite.

11 Roger Federer
ATP Rank: 3
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, T10, n/a

Zach: His comeback is equal parts remarkable and insufferable, just like he is. I know many say he looks like Madame, but he could also pass as a cousin to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood’s Lady Elaine Fairchild.

John: I mean, what’s to say at this point? I respect his comeback, and I suppose he hasn’t Madamed out as much as he might have in the last couple years, but the C-plus range is the best he’s ever gonna get.

Joe: As ever, I’m probably underrating ol’ Rog because I hate him. But I do. I do hate him. I’m sure Anna Wintour finds something justifiably fashionable in him, but he looks like the Sardi’s cartoons of Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller had a baby. And he robbed me of my beautiful Feliciano Lopez, whom I’d have ranked #1, for the record.

Sarah: Nothing left to say about Madame’s physical appearance*, and I’ve already grumbled repeatedly on Twitter about both the ESPN booth’s and the US Open crowd’s baffling desire to coat his Swiss ass in saliva, but SINCE I’M UP: yeah, he’s the GOAT, but it’s like rooting wildly for paint to dry — eventually it’s going to, so why not expend your energy on something more interesting, like oatmeal or industrial carpeting?

* A reminder that the Poobahs do not confer before submitting their write-ups.

Mohn: I was kinda hoping that Roger would lose in the third round so that I, the lone Federer supporter on this roundtable, wouldn’t have to suffer through all of your reflexive Roger-bashing. Here’s my take: Federer’s back and knees have gotten no better with age, but his looks have. Seriously, check out his Eddie-Vedder-in-the-“Jeremy”-video gestalt from the early aughts. It’s…unfortunate. Roger’s brow/nose combo is always going to limit his possibilities on this list, but the sharper angles of his face and the shorter hair show that he’s maximizing his potential.

12 David Goffin
ATP Rank: 14
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, T10, n/a

Sarah: I’ve got nothing against the child, but: child.

Mohn: He’s the Jeremy Renner of tennis, but unlike Renner doesn’t get the benefit of camera tricks that make him look taller.

Zach: Boy Henin hasn’t hit the wall yet in New York, but the tournament is young.

John: Still looks like an elf, but at least an elf with whom doing sex wouldn’t result in time in the local woodland prison.

Joe: To paraphrase Wooderson from Dazed & Confused, I love David Goffin. He gets older but he stays the same age. Maybe a new haircut would help him look more his age and not like a junior high student with a fake beard pasted on him. But in this particular collection of fugs, at least he’s cute.

13 Paolo Lorenzi
ATP Rank: 40
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

John: Tennis meets Life Is Beautiful.

Joe: Ball-strike photos are so often unfair. Nobody is at their best at that moment. But Paolo has some doozies. His resting face is better/cuter, despite the fact that his eye bags have eye bags. Gives him some weary character.

Sarah: Speechless. Because barfing.

Mohn: Am I the only person who thinks he looks like Renfield in a stage production of Dracula? No? Just me? C’mon, you could imagine him eating a bug, right?

Zach: Perpetually tired-looking, he led me to look up pictures of Simone Bolelli instead. And speaking of Italian tennis players, let’s all send thoughts and prayers to Flavia.

14 Sam Querrey
ATP Rank: 21
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, T12, n/a

Mohn: If only he looked as good as that amazing Vine he made.

He seems like such a font of decency and Simple American Midwestern Niceness that I feel very guilty for ranking him this low. Still, this is not a ranking of likability, and we must maintain our fidelity to the truth, even when it hurts.

Sarah: It is difficult to find a photo in which he does not appear to be in the late stages of hydrophobia. We may not have succeeded.

Zach: He’s got a face that’s made to mansplain trickle-down economics, and every time I try to root for him, I remember that he once consorted with Patti Stanger.

John: It seems beyond question how boring he is, but I actively hate the perma-slumped shoulders and general slackjawedness. Try walking around with a book on your head, tennis’s Cletus.

Joe: ZZZZzzzzzzzzz…I can’t believe I have to keep finding the words to describe what Sam Querrey looks like. A Swiss Miss vanilla pudding cup that asked a faerie queen to make him human? Two yard sticks taped together with a balloon at the top for a head? I’ll keep workshopping.

15 Alexander Dolgopolov
ATP Rank: 64
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Mohn: Dolgo should never been allowed to play this US Open while under investigation for match-fixing. He’d be on the bottom of this ranking no matter what, but that just seals the deal.

Zach: While he’s busy fixing things, he should consider his hair.

John: With so many issues on that face, I’m-a focus on this: How can someone with that much hair have a beard so wispy? If you’re gonna cover that mug — and I approve of the idea — do it right.

Joe: I don’t believe in superstition. Not really. But from the moment that we all decided to revive the Order Of The Shallows on the rationale that there promised to be a wave of new blood in the Round Of 16, suddenly, the ghostly (fugly) apparitions of players like Dolgopolov (and Kevin Anderson, and Philipp Kohlschreiber) started winning matches. When was the last time ANY of these guys made a dent at a Slam? We’re a curse, maybe. …Anyway. Dolgo waxed the dreamily intense Viktor Troicki in Round 3, dragging down the hotness levels a good deal. I feel bad piling on Dolgopolov for the things he can’t control. Oily skin is a curse on the world. But that hair has been a problem forever, and that’s well under his control. Change the things you can, Alex!

Sarah: The facial-hair narrative is a tragedy, in the classical sense.

16 Kevin Anderson
ATP Rank: 32
Previous Hotness Ranks: n/a, n/a, n/a

Joe: For this we lost out on Borna Coric? FOR THIS???

Sarah: Henchman #4 in one of the Die Hards nobody saw. I keep thinking he’s going to grow into his face a little better…and then I remember he’s 31.

Mohn: I think this candid photo of Anderson off the court really says it all:

Zach: Were he to win this tournament, it would be the first slam win for a White Walker from North of the Wall.

John: [lurches around apartment trying to think of something new to say]




  • Kat says:

    After seeing Dominic Thiem’s interview after his loss to Del Potro, I’ve decided that I think he has a very sexy voice. So yeah, I’m on board with this little Austrian hottie.

  • Elena says:

    As with last year, I am *strongly* recommending an Order of the Shallows visit to the Australian Rules Football finals series, which is about to kick off. There is some serious handsomeness to be found there, including an abundance of Tokyo Stompers.

  • caffeine72 says:

    Kohlschreiber has a young Sean Pertwee thing going that moves him to the top of my list.

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