Tennis Prose



Bud Collins Biofile Interview

Status: Renowned author, journalist/columnist, TV commentator and Hall of Famer.

Ht: 5-9 Wt: 170

DOB: June 17, 1929 In: Lima, Ohio

Childhood Heroes: “The college athletes in the town I grew up in – George Morris and Tommy Phillips. I lived on the campus of Baldwin Wallace in Berea, Ohio.”

Early Tennis Memory: “1942. I remember being at the dirt courts in town, sitting there and listening to the U.S. Championships from Forest Hills, New York. We all listened to it. He had a very soft voice because he was right on the court. Different from today.”

Favorite Movie: “Bringing Up Baby.”

Nicknames: “Bud – my name is Arthur Worth Collins Jr. Ripper. Collini.”

Favorite TV Show: “Mr. Peepers.”

Musical Tastes: “Classical, jazz, Porkofiev, Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninoff. I like the Russians.”

First Job: “Paper route for the Cleveland News (age 11).”

First Car: “1929 gun metal blue Chevy. My mom’s, a wonderful car.”

Favorite Meal: “Pasta penne arrabiata.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Coffee.”

Pre-work Feeling/Mindset: “I usually feel prepared. Sometimes not prepared. Sometimes it’s my fault, sometimes it’s not my fault. Sometimes I go to cover a match at the last minute on players I don’t know much about. An unprepared moment was about 20 years ago in Mahwah, New Jersey. They were sending up players to be interviewed on TV during the match. They sent up Jill Hetherington. The producer said it was Anne White and I knew it wasn’t Anne White. So I started asking her questions and after three questions, she turned to me and said, ‘You don’t know who I am.’ On the air!”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Won U.S. indoor mixed doubles with Janet Hopps. She was one of the best in the world. I was just another guy. She carried me. It was wonderful (in Boston in 1961).”

Most Painful Moment: “Losing stories on the computers. Happens quite often. As recently as the last U.S. Open. It’s happened a lot of times. Very painful moments.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Reading, travel.”

Favorite Books: “Henderson The Rain King, Tender Is The Night.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Michael Chang, Rafael Nadal, Martina Navratilova, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Joe Montana, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Allie Sherman, Frank Ramsey, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson.”

Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: “Boxing.”

Biggest Sports Thrill: “Muhammad Ali’s win over George Foreman. I covered it. It was the whole atmosphere in Zaire, Africa. I knew Ali. I was rooting for him.”

Little Known Fact: “I won the Northeast Ohio third grade spelling bee. The Cleveland Press ran it. The prize was a trip to Niagara Falls with my mother (Josephine).”

Most Treasured Possession: “My salad bowl. A big, wooden bowl. Belonged to an Afghan tribesman. Might be 500 years old. I bought it from a friend of a friend. I use it to serve salads.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “People who have risen from difficulties. I admire people I see who go on to do things after overcoming a handicap, depression. They’ve got real guts, grit. They’re going to make something of their lives. Lots of people fit that category, thank goodness.”

Why Do You Love Tennis: “As a kid, I loved hearing the balls hit the racquet. The tennis courts by my home – that would be my wake-up call. And then, finally, I got to play. It was just a nice feeling to be out there running, to be hitting the ball. To be getting better. And being able to play almost anywhere I went.”

Education: Baldwin-Wallace College, Boston University.

Career Accomplishments: Elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994; Worked as a TV tennis commentator for CBS, NBC, PBS, ESPN and The Tennis Channel; Won The Red Smith Award in 1999 from Associated Press Sports Editors; Former journalist and columnist for The Boston Globe and Boston Herald; Tennis coach at Brandeis University from 1959-1963; Author of “Education Of A Tennis Player (with Rod Laver)”, “Evonne On The Move (with Goolagong)”, “My Life With The Pros (Memoir)”; Produced three tennis encyclopedias; Finalist at Roland Garros senior doubles with Jack Crawford in 1975; Currently operates the web site:

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  • Sakhi · April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Love the story about the mix-up on air. Collins is a rarity and to be cherished while he is still around! I love his historical perspective

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 28, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Yes Sakhi, that was a LOL story from Bud who is an institution. What a man, what a career, what a legend of tennis. He is still very active in the game, he was even in Chile covering the recent Davis Cup tie. He also covered the Sony Ericsson. His web site is How’s your game Sakhi?

  • Sakhi · April 28, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Indeed, I have his book and enjoyed reading it. And my game is progressing well—unlike Federer (ahem), I have switched to a lighter racket with a bigger head size and have found my one-handed backhand again. Perhaps, I should let Federer know change is possible?!
    thanks for asking.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Lighter racquets are the way to go for amateur recreation players, I really believe this. It helped my game, and so many others that I know, including this one guy Frank at our courts, everyone is raving how much better he is playing this year compared to last year, hitting the ball so much harder and consistent. It’s from his new racquet which is “lighter” as he says.



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