Gayal and Sly Black nicknamed their daughters “Tornado” and “Hurricane” at a young age in an explicit attempt to make them more marketable once they became professional tennis players.
“I have a marketing degree . . . and I knew I needed to do something for them to stand out, and we thought it was cute. [Tornado didn’t like her name] a few years ago. Kids tease you. But now they understand it’s marketing and it’s very big to say a storm blew through the US Open.”
Apparently, neither child had a say in the matter.
Tornado got her nickname at age 3, and Hurricane has had her nickname her entire life because her parents made her legal name “Tyra Hurricane.”
Sly told ESPNW that the names were “all part of the plan,” adding, “Yes, Tornado and Hurricane are names for marketable athletes, but that’s a big part of it nowadays, and if you can get a good, strong name, all the better.”
The plan seems to be working.
By all accounts, Tornado and Hurricane love tennis. Tornado, 15, made the finals of the U.S. Open juniors, and Hurricane is the top-ranked under-12 player in the country.
But there’s still an unsavory, stage-parent element to all of this.
Isaacson points out that tennis is expensive and the family has limited means to travel around to tournaments. But does that justify commodifying your child by calling her something like “Tornado” against her will as other kids tease her about it?
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