Biofile: Jeff Salzenstein Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former ATP pro from 1996-2007. Two time All American at Stanford University Currently operates Tennis Evolution., a leader in Online Tennis Education. USTA Performance Coach. Racquetfit Instructor. Extreme Focus Mindset Coach. Reached a career high ATP ranking of 100 in 2004.

DOB: October 14, 1973 In: Peoria, IL

Residence: Denver, Colorado

First memory of tennis: Running around the Checker Dome in St. Louis when John McEnroe played Mats Wilander in 1982 in a six-plus hour Davis Cup match.

First famous player you met or encountered: Butch Bucholz.

First job: Stringing racquets for the high school tennis team.

First car: 1983 Honda Accord.

Greatest career moment: Playing Michael Chang in the 2nd round of the 1997 US Open on Ashe in a Friday night match with 24,000 people watching.

Most painful career moment: Losing NCAA final deciding team match for Stanford against USC in 1994.

Favorite tournaments: Australian Open, French Open.

Which match(es) did you feel at your absolute best: Beat a 19 year old Fernando Verdasco in the final round qualifying in 2003, 6-1, 6-4.

Funny tennis memory: I flew to India for the Chennai Open, my bags were lost for three days an I played with “counterfeit” Nike clothes that I had a buy at an Indian market. Wearing old school John McEnroe fake Nike clothes.

Strangest match: Playing Brian McPhie in Tokyo and early in the 3rd set the chair umpire got out of the chair and left the court for 15 minutes because he had to take a crap. The match was delayed and I was iced, losing serve for the first time all match.

Closest tennis friends: Scott Humphries, Paul Goldstein.

Funniest players encountered: Andy Roddick.

Favorite movies: Forrest Gump.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla – used to be Cookies and Cream before I went gluten free.

Why do you love tennis: The advanced skill set that is required, the tactics, the one on one nature of the sport, having to find solutions, leaning about yourself.

Favorite sport outside tennis: Basketball.

Favorite athletes to watch: Any basketball player that gets hot and shoots lights out – Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kobe Bryant types. Or an explosive running back who makes people miss and dominates a defense – Barry Sanders type.

People qualities most admired: Character, integrity, honesty, being real.



  • Dan Markowitz · March 14, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Great interview with Jeff, Scoop. Jeff was (still is, but don’t talk to him much these days) one of my favorite interviewees on the tour. Such an honest, inquisitive, friendly dude. Love his answer to “favorite athletes to watch” as watching a great shooter go el fuego is awesome! Jeff was a true example of a warrior and that’s why Dick Norman and he were for a while the only two men’s players who broke into top 100 after the age of 30.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 14, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Dan, I enjoyed this biofile immensely also, Jeff is a fine guy with a lot of experiences and always a pleasure to chat with. He had a darn good career too for a Colorado kid who actually came out of Colorado, unlike Scotty Humphries who moved to FL as a teenager. I can see him being a major coach with the right player at some point. Also like those dominant running backs, like Chuck Foreman for the Minnesota Vikings. What a graceful unique runner he was, with ballet moves. Check out his you tube highlight video, ran the ball like Federer plays tennis. Earl Campbell was another and Walter Payton.



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