Tennis Prose



Biofile Ann Grossman-Wunderlich Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former WTA player from 1987 to 1998. Best ranking was no. 29 in 1993. Reached 4R at French Open twice and US Open once. Won one career WTA title in doubles in Puerto Rico 1993. Today Ann is a certified ZoneCoach Trainer for mental side of life, business and sports

DOB: October 13, 1970 In: Columbus, Ohio

First Memory Of Tennis: I was on the court with my first coach Bill Warrens, with two other kids, and if we had a great lesson and we worked hard, he’d give us ice cream sandwiches (age 4). The next big memory, I did a half time show tennis exhibition for the Chicago Bulls when I was six years old. Jim Fannin organized it, he would do tennis exhibitions at malls and different places to try to grow the sport. I remember when I walked on the court (at Chicago Stadium) the crowd kind of moaned, they didn’t want to see tennis, but as soon as I started to hit some balls the crowd erupted. They couldn’t believe how good I was. So that was a new feeling to play in front of that many people. I got a picture with Artis Gilmore.

Tennis Inspirations: Growing up on a farm in Ohio, nobody ever gave me the belief I could play on Center Court Wimbledon. Like for example how Djokovic had the first coach Jelena Gencic, who saw his potential and prepared him for that. Nobody did that for me. So when I got to play in that big stadium the first time I wasn’t prepared like Novak was. I feel that’s why I wasn’t prepared and didn’t go farther, if that makes sense. I loved watching Bjorn Borg. It was so cool to see him play at Wimbledon. I wanted to be sponsored by Fila so bad, like Borg, and I was when I was twelve.

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: Martina Navratilova. She did a mixed doubles exhibition with Jim Fannin and Raini Fox. She picked me up for a picture that was in the newspaper. Then when I first played the US Open as a wildcard, I showed her the picture. She’s always been super cool to me. I ended up beating her, so that was nice.

Greatest Sports Moment: Probably beating Martina Navratilova. At Virginia Slims in Los Angeles. I think I was shocked, it was insane. I was down a set and 4-5 15-40, saved two match points. I came back and won 6-4 in the third. It was amazing. I guess I was in the zone. I had player her three previous times and lost. The third time I took her to three sets. The first time I played Martina, she beat me 60 60 in 50 minutes in Washington DC when I was eighteen. I remember my dad was with me and he was so mad. So when I beat Martina, it was the last time we played.

Most Painful Moment: I don’t know. I am so grateful I was able to play professional tennis and travel the world. I don’t feel I have a most painful moment…my hardest moment was probably my dad (Bill) dying. He was my bread and butter. I probably would have grown up and let him push me to greatness. If I have a most disappointing moment, it would be the amount of people that Nick Bollettieri helped that didn’t show up to his memorial to show respect (at his memorial ceremony held at IMG Academy in March 2023). He helped so many people.

Favorite Tournaments: The Grand Slams.

Funniest Players Encountered: I don’t know if there was many funny players in my era… Funniest… obviously Mansour (Bahrami). Jimmy Arias. But I can’t tell you any stories [smiles].

Strangest Match: How windy it was in Wellington, New Zealand. I think the nets were horizontal. It was insane. I made it to the semifinals. One time I heard Larry King (former CNN news show host) sitting behind me when I was playing Lindsay Davenport and I heard him say, ‘This is Little America vs Big America. It was a night match in San Diego.

Best You Ever Felt On Court: I would say defeating Martina. I was definitely in the zone. I was enjoying it so much. It wasn’t even like I was thinking. It was like so easy.

Favorite Players To Watch: Sabalenka. Novak. Tommy Paul. I think he can be no. 1 in the world.

Why Do You Love Tennis: Tennis is freedom.

Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: Golf. Golf comes easy to me. The first tournament I ever played I got a hole-in-one.

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  • Mark Sanders · January 22, 2024 at 8:40 am

    A very good read
    Enjoyed it

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 22, 2024 at 9:29 am

    Thanks old buddy, yes it’s proven again that the second tier pro stars are just as interesting and colorful characters as the top stars. Their stories just aren’t told enough.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 22, 2024 at 9:29 am

    Thanks old buddy, yes it’s proven again that the second tier pro stars are just as interesting and colorful characters as the top stars. Their stories just aren’t told enough.

  • Rich Neher · January 22, 2024 at 3:36 pm

    Ann is a fabulous woman. She needs our support managing WTCA. The easiest way to support her: Become a member.



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