Thibaut Courtois has revealed how tennis made him a better goalkeeper and how he struck a friendship with Andy Murray.
Courtois is known around the world as one of Europe’s finest young goalkeepers with plenty of potential left to fill. He told the Telegraph about his love for tennis.
I’m an Andy Murray fan, we talk sometimes and, if I can, I try to go to watch him.
Courtois revealed he first met Murray during his time at Atletico Madrid. The shot-stopper spent three seasons on loan in the Spanish capital.
When we were both in Spain, there was a charity exhibition before the Madrid Open and we started talking and he said he likes football and we talked some more. We have kept in touch and we send some messages.
The Belgian revealed that he enjoyed playing tennis when he was younger, he even played competitively but admitted he was always concentrating on his football.
I played some regional tennis competitions when I was a kid and my serve is OK, but since I concentrated on football then tennis is just for holidays or if we have a week off.
He went on to add that he still likes to watch and play the sport when he has the free time, Courtois hopes to continue to learn from tennis players in the future. He is hoping the sport can help him improve his game.
Sometimes I watch tennis and try to take something from it, in tennis your footwork is important and how you position yourself, so obviously that is something you can take to the football field. Not actually knowing you are taking it, but, because you have played tennis, it is there.
Chelsea fans may be familiar with their goalkeepers using tennis to help them improve, Petr Cech regularly used to train with different size footballs and balls from other sports, including tennis during his training sessions.