Strange But True: Stories of Pro Tennis

This recently retired player was just beginning his ATP career on the pro tour and told a former dominant world no. 1 American superstar that he had a poster of him in his room as a kid and it was this certain tennis icon that gave him the reason to want to pursue a career in tennis. This multiple grand slam champion, not known for his gift of gab or extroverted nature responded with a silent look before walking away, without a word.

This same player was talking to was talking to Nick Kyrgios last year about hitting some time and the flamboyant Aussie replied, “Wait, you’re like 130 the world and I’m top 40. No thanks.”

But fear not, at least legendary figure of the sport of tennis made up for those two personal slights. Our man told Federer last year he was retiring soon and Roger showed great interest and asked him what he planned to do.

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  • George · September 24, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Thinking about signing up for both “Play with the Pros” sessions at this event coming up in Houston:

    Has anyone heard that participants actually get to hit tennis balls with these legends?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 24, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    I saw Steve Tignor hitting with Courier at Madison Square Garden before one exo a few years ago. I know another guy who hit with Mark Philippoussis who he said he could not believe how heavy his shots were. I believe there was a pro am at US Open this year and it cost $20k to hit with the assorted legends. Also know another guy who paid $1000 to play a tiebreaker with Wilander at a WOW event and it went to charity. This guy is a top ranked Eastern senior player and very very good player but he just was not as smooth and natural as Mats who won in the end.

  • George · September 24, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I did the WOW event. Mats basically fed us balls and gave some pointers. He is very friendly and told good stories from his days on the tour.

    The head pro said he could beat all the teaching pros at the club, even the young ones. Except maybe Micheal Russell.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 24, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    George can you share a Mats Tour story?

  • George · September 24, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    It’s been over a year and a half ago, so I don’t remember them well.

    Regarding Sampras:
    Sampras would never let you get into a rhythm. He wouldn’t even try on return games unless he got up 30-love or 30-15. Then suddenly Sampras would start to play to get a break. The problem would be that you would have to hit a backhand, but you can’t because you haven’t hit a backhand all match. Then when Sampras got a break, he would close his eyes and cruise to win the set because he knew you couldn’t break back.

    He also said it was much easier for Sampras to hold onto the number one ranking because he got so many free points. It was much harder for Mats to hold onto number one because he had to grind out every point.

    Those were not exact quotes, but that was the gist of how I interpreted what he said.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 25, 2018 at 8:16 am

    George, yes that’s what he said. he told me the same things when i asked him about Facing Sampras at US Open last year. When did you hit with Mats? He also said Pete played “ugly tennis.” Because of basically tanking on return games unless he got a sniff, like you said at 0-30 or 15-30.

  • George · September 25, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I did the WOW April 2017.

    He also said that McEnroe’s balls come at you surprisingly with a lot of pace. You wouldn’t think so with his continental grip.

    Speaking of odd strokes, Tomic is winning again with that wacky style of play.



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