Bag? Check. Racket? Check. Dog? Of Course.

Dogs are more than accessories or travel companions on the pro tennis tour. Some players are registering them as emotional support animals, vital to surviving life on the road.

Comments: 33

  1. Am I the only one to think that this is a first-world problem? Give me a break.

  2. I'm sorry, this is just pathetic. People with severe emtional problems absolutely can benefit from support animals if they want them but you're sad because you lost a tennis tournament? Sure, your pet can cheer you up but to consider that an "emotional support animal" is hyperbolic and indicative of how pervasive the victim mentality has become. Everyone is in the "I'm More Damaged Than You" sweepstakes.

  3. Dogs aren't children. They are not people If you're depending on a dog for emotional support then get professional help. And ....Please quit bringing them into the grocery store. If you are so mentally fragile you need a chihuahua with you to buy a turnip you need to deal with some very big issues.

  4. Yes some people do have big issues to deal with that animals help with. Veterans with PTSD come to mind.

  5. While I was a tennis-obsessed youth, I'd have to say now that, considering the actual suffering in the world (and the certain future suffering of millions of Floridians), the emotional needs of traveling tennis pros seem rather trivial. At least for the Times.

    What about the loneliness of the traveling musician or business consultant, sentenced to an eternity of hotel rooms and airports? Can they get dogs too?

  6. I volunteer to be a " traveling comfort Grandpa-TCG for these poor pros. At 72 i am fairly worldly. compassionate (nursed 2 wives to premature cancer deaths), clean up nicely and dont feel any work is beneath me. On top of that i have an MBA, am drug free and would work for travel expenses only. Oops forgot to mention I love tennis--

  7. Forgot to add i am completely housebroken!

  8. I love everything about this article! And now my heart swells for not just the Venus but also for Svetlana and Sam. This is story is the perfect antidote to endless stories about our political system and the crazy weather.

  9. I'm Sorry - but "Emotional Support" service designations have been so abused as to render the concept of Service Animals a joke, and that is terrible.

    True service animals provide the disabled with physical independence through augmentation, such as visual assistance, locomotion assistance, or seizure warning in the case of epilepsy. Then there are the animals who train as working animals - Search & Rescue, cadaver, bomb & drug sniffer, and Police & Military animals. These are well trained, well behaved animals with owners sensitive to the burdens imposed by the animals presence in our public spaces.

    Anybody can now browbeat their doctor or get an "Emotional Support" designation (they get opiods that way) or go on-line to any number of diploma mills, and get a "Service Designation". The result is owners dragging their pets everywhere; in the restaurant, in the restrooms, in the cabins on aircraft! This amounts to public disrespect of the highest order and an affront to every animal providing real service as a working animal.

    On the one hand, if the job is so emotionally debilitating, one should seek different employment, find an employer that will accommodate this "disability", or get a therapist; (Reality Check) taking a pet is not "Therapeutic".

    On the other hand - propose and implement a mechanism that assures the public that "Emotional Support Service Animal" designation is not just a convenient backdoor for pet owners to inflict their prerogatives on everyone else.

  10. This "emotional support" animal stuff is asinine. Can I have an emotional support rhino? How about an emotional support crocodile? Just a way for people to bend/break the rules and impose their dogs on others, where they don't belong.

  11. As a dog owner, and animal lover in general, I fully understand and appreciate the value of a pet's companionship. However, it's more than a little insensitive to drag your dog all over the world with you to keep you company in those lonely moments. Animals don't exist to serve us, despite whatever two-way support is inherent in the relationship, and a stable home life is just as important to them as it is to us. Dolce's meltdown in the airport was telling - hopefully Kusnetsova got the message. As loyal as a dog might be, this is not something he enjoys, even if it means he gets to stay with his owner. If you choose a lifestyle that requires you to travel all over the world, the responsible thing to do is not to have pets.

  12. In response to jr:

    She loves her dog. She did the right thing. Give her a break.

  13. I had no idea the life of a professional tennis start could be so difficult, so isolated. I think a Support Dog is the perfect prescription! I would choose a Beagle myself...

  14. Thank you for your wonderful
    article. Dog lovers will understand
    these emotions. A mutual love
    manifested in many ways. The
    tournaments are terrific to allow
    the dogs. It is surprising that the
    French Open is so strict given
    the French acceptance of dogs
    in public places. Your point
    about understanding the needs
    of the dog was well taken. Sometimes
    they are happier left at home especially
    with the craziness of travel.

  15. I too traveled eight months a year, on business for a large company. Made a lot less then $23M. Had to leave my dog at home. Lot of neighbors now getting their dog trained and certified (for some obscure condition) so they can take them on planes for free.

  16. My daughter was walking our English Bulldog on Monday, the day before the Men's quarter finals, when she met Sam Querrey, his girlfriend, and their dog Lou. Lou played with our dog, and my daughter looked quizzically at Sam, not sure if it was really him. In the end, she didn't ask. She wonders if her wishing him luck might have turned the tide for Sam.

  17. Yes I fully understand this. Dogs provide a sort of unconditional love humans can only aspire to. And in their own way some can be as intelligent and complex as a human companion but unlike humans they're always there for you. Cats, though more rarely, can play a similar role. I share my life with a feral cat I tamed when he was half grown. It took forever to win his trust and he is still terrified of other humans but the rewards for my patience have been incalculable. Tiger is still half wild. He takes joy in hunting rabbits and I have to accept that this is part of his nature. But he is also endlessly affectionate and is aware of me in a way a human could not be. If I move in my chair he murmurs to me questioningly. I only have to look at him for him to start purring. He has evolved a sophisticated method of communicating his needs. I could go on and on. But yes, companion animals bring a great richness into the lives of people who are willing to truly see and engage with them as full individuals in their own right.

  18. For those of us with equally compelling physical and emotion reasons for seeking separation from dogs in our home, transit, and work environments, the current trend toward "easy" certification of a 'need' to impose the company of dogs (legally enforceable apparently) on society at large is hard to accept. With every good wish to those who rely on them, I hope the owners will support respect for the fact not everyone can abide these close encounters with dogs, now common in the grocery, airplane cabin, apartment building, etc., etc.

  19. "Dolce is her certified emotional support dog, a role that probably doesn’t get the notice it deserves. Getting Dolce certified was easy, Kuznetsova said. She spoke to a therapist over the phone three or four times,


    There is NO SUCH THING as a 'certification' by any legal authority for bona fide Service Dogs - let alone the "my pet makes me feel better" crowd!

    Under the ADA, the Feds did not want to get into 'certifying' Service Dogs. The only test is whether the dog is trained to perform a task for a person with disability (a real disability as in affecting a major life function)

    In fact it is ILLEGAL under the ADA to ask for a certification since no legal authority issues such things.

    I know. I use a bona fide mobility Service Dog. My prior canine partner was National Service Dog of the year in 2012

    This woman didn't get anything 'certified' by any federal state or local government with any authority. She conned a therapist into giving her a note that is ZERO legal meaning.

    If she comes into my state and tries to pass the dog off as a Service Dog bringing it into stores, hotels & restaurants, she can be arrested. It is a misdemeanor

    Those of us with REAL Service Dogs despise these people with their "my pet makes me feel better" nonsense. Their animals are never trained to the level of behavior of a real Service Dog. They bark, they whine, they pull on the leash --- and they give REAL Service Dogs a bad reputation.

  20. My dog is my daughter. My girlfriend resembles my dog. Those are definitely the thoughts of an emotionally disturbed person.

  21. Unfortunately there is no federally recognized "emotional support" animal category. Service animals are very highly specialized in a narrow set of categories. That said, taking your dog with you is cute. However many of these owners take them to places where animals are prohibited for health and safety reasons claiming they are "service animals". These irresponsible jerks are trying to show off that they are special and actually endanger third parties. I took my 5 "emotional support" - they break down completely if they don't get their daily sponge cake treat - dogs and sailed for Latin America last week when the Irma tracked firmed up. Gook Luck Miami

  22. A lot of us who are uncomfortable or fearful around dogs are miserable when people bring their pets everywhere, at restaurants, at offices, on airplanes. I really do wish we could go back to the days when pets were always kept at home.

  23. In all sincerity I must caution that airlines do loose our beloved pets. Keep in mind that our best friends are, in all respects, freight. Unless one can afford to purchase a separate ticket and if our pet is small enough, our fur babies are relegated to the cargo hold in the body of the plane.
    I come from the air freight industry and worked very close to DFW airport. There had been an old German Shepherd wandering around our terminals. He wouldn't let anyone help him. I made it my mission to rescue him and was able to take him to my vet for a health assessment.
    While he was at the doctors' I went to each airline freight terminal and requested that manifests be checked for a missing dog. No one was very helpful but I at least got the terminal managers to post that a pet has been lost.
    Because I already had two GSD's, I couldn't keep the old boy. There was no way that I would take hm to a shelter. We have a GSD rescue foundation that placed him in a home in the country.
    I followed up with the airlines but to no avail. I honestly believe that no one researched this loss. It would have been a P/R nightmare.
    Imagine the sorrow and helplessness that his family must have suffered.
    Be advised that some airline reps will use any and all means to help find the pet. And, by all means, we must be sure to microchip our pets.

  24. Why don't people who think of their dogs as emotional support animals get a teddy bear or blankie instead?

  25. Having had to sit next to a woman on a Delta flight with her sizeable support dog that barely fit on her lap, and having had to listen to her brag about how easy it was to get that certification, I came away believing that the designation should be more closely monitored. Suppose the people forced to sit next to them are fearful of dogs (and this one didn't look too friendly) or have severe allergies to dogs? If these people insist on foisting their support animals on us, the airlines should make them sit in the last row of the plane where the bother to others will be minimal.

  26. Americans don't mind eating animals, they just don't want to be near them anywhere else. In Europe, one can take companion animals anywhere; here, we an't even taken them on trains for an overnight trip, largely, I m now seeing, because of the complainers. I know many people who fly with their dogs as emotional support, including one woman who lost her partner, and couldn't think of making the flight without her best friend.

  27. There is NO SUCH THING as a certification.

    They buy bogus documents on the internet

    Real Service Dogs back into the seat area, drop into a down and stay still and silent

    And I use a mobility Service Dog of a breed that goes 28-30 inches at the shoulder and weigh 95-110 lbs --- and I am 97 lbs

    My partner is hard to miss - huge, white wearing big red backpacks with a harness or strap for balance assistance

    Anyone is afraid of my partner can go sit in the back so they don't bother us.

    Anyone who is allergic can take antihistamines My legal right to have the assistance of a trained dog so I can get around trumps their allergies which are easily treated where my permanent injury can not be fixed. They can sit in the back

    We get the front seats area for disabled passengers that have more space.

  28. I read an exerpt from Rafael Nadal's book. Apparently he is not too fond of dogs. He finds them "unpredictable." I wonder if Rafa's a cat person. He sure moves like one on the tennis and agile.

  29. We ban peanuts in schools because people are allergic to them but for some reason it is okay to bring into a tight confined space an animal that can cause severe allergies to many people. Go figure. Another example of society losing its mind.

  30. I've had to reset my personal standards to the minimum of just, please, not in the shopping carts at the food store.

  31. Flying Boston to LA I sat next to a young lady who was a scientist. She had a small carrier under the seat in front of her. I asked if she had a cat. Much to my surprise it was her pet rabbit! Sweet! And rabbits don't make a peep.

  32. Am I the only one that finds the timing of this "Lonely Millionaire Athletes & Their Canine Support Dogs" to be a bit iffy with all of this hurricane destruction going on and so many people losing everything? FWIW, I have 3 dogs myself and am a huge tennis fan, but still. Sheesh...

  33. "Woof! Woof! I mean, these comments seem pretty hostile. It's a known fact that rubbing my tummy calms you down. Read the Science Times this week. It'll tell you that dogs love their masters more than they want food. We help people to feel better."