Tennis Prose



Biofile Wayne Arthurs Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: The 36-year-old Aussie qualified for main draw of 2007 Wimbledon with a thrilling, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4 triumph over over Christophe Rochus on the grass of Roehampton today. Arthurs fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the fifth set to qualify for Wimbledon, which will be his final event. He will officially retire after Wimbledon.

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 177 pounds.

DOB: March 18, 1971 in Adelaide, Australia.

Childhood Heroes: “John McEnroe was my childhood hero.”

Nicknames: “Wayne-O, Stretch when I was small.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Golf. Lot of golf. Windsurfing. Being a father these days.”

Favorite Movies: “Shawshank Redemption. And I love the cartoon-type movies like Ice Age and that sort of thing.”

Favorite TV Shows: “Friends probably is up there. Watch any sport.”

Early Tennis Memory: “Is with my mother Angie who played midweek tennis. She used to take me to the court and like put me on a long leash on the court, tie it up to the net post [laughs]. I’d sort of run around and she’d play (age 5).”

Favorite Meal: “Roast lamb.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Don’t eat ice cream.”

First Job: “Working as a coach when I was 18, when I first got out of school. With some junior kids.”

First Car: “Was Nissan Pulsar 1987.”

Pre-Match Feeling: “Positive. Only positive things. Try to recall one match where I played really well and get that feeling. (Like which matches do you draw back on?) I draw back on a few Davis Cup matches in my career.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Davis Cup, first match. And also winning in 2003. (What was your first Davis Cup match?) Against Russia in ’99 semifinal, I beat Kafelnikov in four sets in Brisbane.”

Most Painful Moment: “2001 Davis Cup final I lost the deciding rubber against Escude in four sets in Melbourne (6-7, 7-6, 3-6, 3-6).”

Funny Tennis Memory: “I’ve seen, a long time ago, it was so windy in a satellite that a guy hit a lob like around the light post and came back in. Like around a light post — which was outside the court [smiles]. In Newcastle.”

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: “Probably some loss somewhere [smiles]. But I can’t recall at this stage. I’ll have to pass on that one.”

Closest ATP Friends: “All the Aussies. Richard Fromberg — who’s not playing any more. He’s a really good friend of mine. And Pete Luczak. Steve Huss. All the young Aussie guys.”

Funniest Player Encountered: “Funniest guy to watch was Libor Pimek. I don’t know if you remember him. Doubles player. (Why him?) Just the way he played, he was a tall, gangly guy and he had a really bad serve. But knew that he had a bad serve. He’d sort of make jokes about his own serve and his serving style [smiles].”

Toughest Competitor: “Lleyton Hewitt. Just mentally tough. You can’t break him down. And just keep on coming back at you.”

Favorite Players To Watch: “Santoro. Federer. Tommy Haas. (How did you do with Santoro?) Terribly. Lost five times to him, the last one at Wimbledon.”

Favorite Tournament(s): “Australian Open, Wimbledon and Indian Wells.”

Best You Ever Felt On Court: “I would have to say one time at the U.S. Open when I played Guga on Center Court, first round (won 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6). Felt like I couldn’t miss any of my serves. Also I think one of the best times was in Davis Cup when I played Kafelnikov in ’99. Everything felt right. Everything felt good walking on the court and you know you’re going to play well. I don’t know what it is. Comes from somewhere. Wish I could bottle it up and bring it with me every week [smiles]. It doesn’t happen very often, but for someone like Federer it does. Not for the lame guy [smiles].”

Favorite Vacation Spot: “Haven’t been there yet. I want to go to the Maldives. But I went to Phuket last year, really nice.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “Honesty. And good manners.”

Career Accomplishments: Arthurs has won one ATP singles title — the 2005 Scottsdale; he has earned over $3.5 million in his career. His highest rank was No. 44 in world in July 2001. Arthurs holds career wins over Pete Sampras, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Marat Safin, Andy Roddick and Gustavo Kuerten. Arthurs reached his first Grand Slam main draw at the 1998 U.S. Open when he beat Gerard Solves 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 — it was his 17th Grand Slam qualifying attempt.

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