Arthur Fils has been in scintillating form this week at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. Yet the top seed’s post-victory celebrations have been almost as eye-catching as his on-court prowess in Jeddah.
The 19-year-old has celebrated each of his three wins in Green Group at the 21-and-under season finale by performing Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘Siu’ celebration inside King Abdullah’s Sports City. Fils is a long-time admirer of the Portuguese football star, who has played for Saudi Pro League team Al Nassr since January.
“I was a huge fan when I was young of Ronaldo,” Fils told ATPTour.com on Thursday after maintaining his perfect record at the 21-and-under event by beating Dominic Stricker. “Now it’s a little bit tough to follow the football [and Ronaldo], especially when he’s here. I’m really a fan of him and I know he is playing here in this country, so I’m really happy [to do it] when I win.”
The reference to Ronaldo’s connection with Saudi Arabia may have been obvious to many in the crowd when Fils celebrated. Yet the Frenchman later revealed an ulterior motive for emulating the Portuguese football legend, who formerly played for Spanish giants Real Madrid.
“My coach Sergi [Bruguera] is a huge fan of Barcelona and Lionel Messi, so I just wanted to make him crazy,” joked Fils. “That’s why I’m doing it, and I think I’m doing it well.”
So will Fils continue to bring out his version of the ‘Siu’ for the 2024 season, even when he is playing outside of Saudi Arabia?
“Probably not, but [maybe] sometimes," he said. "Why not? I don’t know when [exactly] Sergi will be with me, but if I want to make him crazy, I will do it for sure.”