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Biofile: Carling Bassett-Seguso Inteview

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Status:  Former WTA tennis player. Won two WTA singles titles and three doubles titles. Reached a career high ranking of No. 8 in singles in 1985.

DOB: October 9, 1967  In: Toronto, Ontario

First Tennis Memory:  “Probably in the backyard of my home on the bridal path with a gentleman – I don’t remember his name – who was hired to give us a lesson. And the only reason I went to the lesson  was because he had an apple pie [smiles]. (How old were you?) Seven.”

Tennis Inspirations:  “I had no heroes. I was sent away from home at just turning eleven. I didn’t even know who Chris Evert was, or Martina Navratilova or anybody. Never studied tennis. Never followed it.”

Greatest Career Moment:  “The semifinals of the US Open. I think it might have been 1986 (actually 1984). Beating Hana Mandlikova. And my dad (John F. Bassett) was sitting in the box. And he was sitting with, of all people, (Donald) Trump, who I can’t stand [smiles]. I loved the US Open. I love New York. I was just so happy.”

Most Painful Moment:  “Interesting… I don’t even know. I’ve had moments of a lot of painful things. I don’t think that I have one that stands out more than any of the others.”

Favorite Tournament(s):  “Loved the US Open. I loved the French Open. I had a lot of fun at the Australian Open. I love to travel. Oh, I loved the Canadian Open too. I was so fortunate to always have the press behind me. And that’s a big thing when you’re not a part of their country. But I have to say Wimbledon is my favorite.”

Funny Tennis Memory:  “Well, I used to travel with Jimmy Connors a little bit and his group of boys. Jimmy…and Yannick Noah is great. Because I was kind of like the girl that was in the boy’s group or something. Without being a threat because I was never one to sleep with anybody or do anything bad.”

Closest Tennis Friends:  “Gosh, I have a lot of them now. Because I’ve been re-grouping through Facebook. And you really do find who your real friends are.”

Strangest Match:  “I never had anything really strange. When I hear about Monica Seles or Steffi Graf or stuff like that. Nothing strange happened to me. Nothing unusual happened. Even if it did I probably wouldn’t have even noticed because I’m oblivious to things like that. Something could happen right over there and I’d be like, Oh, okay, did that happen? (Like Robert Duvall on the beach in the movie Apocalypse Now?) Exactly. That’s one of my favorite movies. Is that the best movie [smiles]? I love film. I write film.”

Favorite Movies:  “So many of them. Scarface is one them. Apocalypse Now. I like horror. Wolf Of Wall Street. Gone With The Wind. I could just go on and one with the movies.”

Embarrassing Tennis Memory:  “I’m never embarrassed [smiles]. (Double-bageled ever?) I don’t care. I tried my hardest (did lost to Monica Seles 60 60 once).”

Fiercest Competitors Encountered:  “You mean on a manipulation too? On the outside? Chris Evert by far. Not a good person.”

Favorite Sport(s) Outside Tennis:  “Horseback riding. Like, jumping, high endurance riding. And I just got into it because I wasn’t asked to do it. But I love everything. Hockey. I like team sports. And I like anything that’s animal-oriented with a sport.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow:  “Stefan Kozlov (who we both just watched win a doubles match at Sarasota Open with Canadian Peter Polansky against Leander Paes and Andre Sa). I think he has huge potential. Michael Jordan was  great. Tiger Woods  was too till he fell apart. And I can understand his whole deal with his dad. I like to see people achieve – especially in individual sports. It’s so difficult. And I have such respect for all of them. I do my research and I love the stories.”

Best You Ever Felt On The Court:  “I would say honestly I would have been top three in the world if I didn’t come down with the addiction of bulimia. A hundred percent. And I would quote that a thousand times over. The first pro tournament that I played after I won the Orange Bowl at fifteen, I went through four top ten players after going through qualifying. And then I got stuck into that disease. And I still maintained number eight in the world. How I did that I don’t know. (Do you remember which four top ten players you beat?) Bettina Bunge, Kathy Rinaldi,  and I played Chris Evert in the finals. I was ahead 4-2 and 30-love and I lost. …And the third player was…Virginia Ruzici was the third. (Oh, I just interviewed her in Miami.) Oh, how is she doing? Loved her. She’s a good spirit. I haven’t seen her in years but I felt that.”

People Qualities Most Admired:  “Good heart. I’m very good at reading people. If you have a good heart. And being nice. I like optimism. I stay away from negativity. I’m all for competing but once it’s done, congratulations everyone, then go from there. Good heart… I think it’s a lost quality in this day and age.”

Career Accomplishments:  Winner of two WTA singles titles (Hershey in 1983, Strasbourg in 1987); Winner of three WTA doubles titles; Achieved a career high singles ranking of no. 8 in the world in 1985; Reached the semifinals of US Open, quarterfinals of the French Open twice and once at Australian Open, fourth round at Wimbledon twice; Worked as a model for Ford Modeling Agency; Inducted into Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007; Married to former ATP No. 1 doubles player Roberto Seguso and they have five children.

 

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20 comments

  • catherine bell · May 11, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Not sure I like the swipe at Chris. Bit much to call someone ‘not a good person’.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 11, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Im sure every great player or athlete has a few people they have rubbed the wrong way. Even Federer but I won’t go into detail. I have heard stories about Evert which are not flattering. Tennis players can be nasty to their peers. Some are just really nasty and mean – if you don’t believe it read my book about Rios. Navratilova was very disliked by a lot of players I have heard stories and read accounts by ex WTA players on Facebook. They said she would strut around the locker room with her man body. A lot of players did not like her. So we really don’t know what Evert said or did to antagonize Carling but obviously she must’ve done something to provoke such a comment.Hope you liked the rest of the interview which I think is excellent and interesting :)

  • catherine bell · May 11, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Yes – I liked the piece – Carling certainly has a lot to say.

    You know – when you consider the different ages, backgrounds, cultures etc of players who are all mixed together on the circuit it’s not surprising there are various clashes and differences. Just like school.
    However I do believe those feelings should be left in the past and not circulated on social media until the end of time.
    Any great player is not going to be liked by everyone. Chris dominated the game for years with what was only a moderate natural talent. She made up for it with a will of iron. And in her case she has offered full apologies for the mistakes she made in her life – publicly.So to call her ‘not a good person’ is going too far. After all she has children who might not appreciate that description of their mother.
    I wouldn’t believe everything you read on Facebook either. Sometimes I wish social media had never been invented :)
    And BTW I know of a few people from the past who have never said a single word about their experiences in tennis – good, bad, indifferent. I respect that.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 11, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot to say she would’ve been a Top 3 player when she won a total of two events. I know she was no 8, but I can’t imagine for very long.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 11, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    One good run in a big event could have upped CBS into the top three – She said she battled Graf to 64 64 in her first tourney back after two having two babies – that’s a darn good result – Said she had a certain strategy vs Graf that worked – Venus used those tactics too – It will all be revealed in Facing Steffi Graf :)

  • Andrew Miller · May 12, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Saw Bassett Seguso on Tv after return believe at Amelia Island. She was awesome! I think she lost to Sabatini barely, or maybe barely to one other big player. But she was really good, aggressive game, complete.

    Sounds like the tour really grinds people. Bassett Seguso to me one of several players without a complete career who would have liked to see more of.

  • catherine bell · May 12, 2017 at 2:04 am

    Andrew –

    Carling just wasn’t wedded enough to the game to stay in it.When another life beckoned she seemed to depart happily enough. As I recall she was a good baseline type player of the day but I don’t remember she did much volleying or had a wide range of shots.
    Although I must confess she was never a favourite of mine.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 12, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Andrew; Yes that was at Amelia Island and she lost 64 64 to Graf which is a fine result – Lots of great players don’t get the credit or respect as certain greats win too much and can’t control their addiction to winning :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 12, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Catherine: As we know tennis is a very very demanding life and it restricts especially women – I can understand how a lot of them just get tired and bored with the pro tennis life which is pretty lonely and tough especially if you’re losing a lot – So few of the big stars of tennis in the WTA keep playing tennis after their careers – Graf Seles Gabby Novotna Huber Bunge etc etc I don’t think they even play at all -

  • catherine bell · May 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Scoop –

    You’re right in that for many women the life is tough and they can see a better life beckoning as they reach the end of their careers – not so for the majority of men I’d say. Gabriela especially was never happy with the life I felt. Few women go into coaching, something we’ve discussed before I think.

    By the way, do you remember Stephanie Rehe ? Do you know what happened to her ?

  • scoopmalinowski · May 12, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Maybe women are not built to be competitive machines all life? Have other pursuits to experience? I do remember the name Stephanie Rehe but nothing else.

  • catherine bell · May 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Well yes – for a lot of women playing tennis is only a part of life, the first part maybe. Some retain an interest in it and some don’t. Pretty much keeps things in proportion I’d think.

    Stephanie Rehe was a promising player in the mid late 80s, tall with a strong baseline game. Touted as the Next Big Thing but obviously that didn’t work out. I wasn’t around to hear any details after ’89 or so.

  • scoopmalinowski · May 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I remember Richard Williams claiming, a long long time ago, his daughters would ne out of tennis before age 30. As if tennis was beneath them. Guess Richard got that one wrong :)

  • Andrew Miller · May 12, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Scoop, yes, I think I saw her the match before that at Amelia Island and she was coming back. I liked her game. I guess what I’m saying is she knew HOW to volley, as rare in 19__ as it is today (!).

    Yes Catherine, Bassett Seguso wasn’t into it. I think the rigors of the tour swallowed her whole. But I liked her abilities and I’m sorry we didn’t see more of her. I think she knew her window was closing or felt it was, with players like Seles, Capriati, even Mary Joe Fernandez coming up.

    More than now pro tennis ate up its players. The bulimia must have been awful, as it affected Seles dearly.

    There are a number of players I’m sorry we haven’t seen enough of. They include Brian Baker, Carling Bassett Seguso, the girl who played like Rios from the States Jamie what’s her name. A number of then who had serious abilities.

  • Andrew Miller · May 12, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    As for disliking Evert I’m sure she has her reasons. Remember she said she palled around with Connors and so she would have seen Evert in ways we don’t as outsiders. And she would probably have been seen by Evert as someone to snuff out on the court, because that was Evert – fierce competitor who wanted to stay on top of all opponents past and present.

    And I’m sure Evert said something Bassett Seguso remembers. People have long memories.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Women tend to stay in the game longer than the men. Look at Kimiko Date. You’d never have a male player trying to play at 45. Serena’s saying she’ll come back and play next year. Maybe Serena wants to rival Fed. Evert and Navratilova played well into their 30’s and 40’s and then of course you had Renee Richards who as she put it, “a nice Jewish boy” but as a transgender woman, she played until she was 47! And had this to say about women’s tennis or the quality of it:

    “Having lived for the past 30 years, I know if I’d had surgery at the age of 22, and then at 24 went on the tour, no genetic woman in the world would have been able to come close to me. And so I’ve reconsidered my opinion.”

    I don’t know what that opinion was, but it must’ve been that it was fair for her to play on the women’s tour as a transgender woman.

  • catherine bell · May 13, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Andrew –

    Don’t think eating disorders were more any more common then than they are now – it’s true people didn’t talk about these things so much, but I wouldn’t say they were rampant.

    Evert – my point is that to allege publicly that someone, still living, is ‘not a good person’, without any specific detail, is quite serious. Even if this is Carling’s private opinion she should not have said it.
    Chris never pretended she was the Pollyanna the media portrayed – she was extremely famous very young and grew up in the public eye. That was difficult for her and we know, from Connors’ rather unchivalrous revelations, what some of those difficulties were.
    I have to say I liked Chris, I thought she was bright, shrewd and with a somewhat bawdy sense of humour. No saint, but why should she have been? And as BJK said in the early 70s – ‘Chris saved women’s tennis’. Hadn’t been for her there would have been little interest back them and maybe no women’s tour.
    As for her later life – who are we to judge ? She’s said her mea culpas.
    And BTW – women did volley in the 1980s – quite a lot of them.

    Dan – I don’t want to get into the whole transgender thing but my opinion was then, and is now, that Renee Richards was born and lived as a man for many years and should not have been allowed to play on the women’s circuit as a woman. I don’t believe that it would be allowed these days.
    I still maintain that, on average, women don’t stay in the game as long as men. Chris retired in the her 30s because she wanted a family and she didn’t want to go on playing as a shadow of her self. That would be true of many women today I would think, although the money is better now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 13, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Jamie Hampton retired this year unfortunately because of that recurring hip issue – Kuerten is another who was forced out way too early with a big hip -

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 13, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I hard Richards was not an especially talented player and even as a disguised male playing with the best women in the world I think she regardless of the timing of the operation would have been a meaningless player famous for one reason only -

  • catherine bell · May 13, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Scoop –

    You’re right about Richard’s ability. And a lot of the notoriety came from attaching herself to Martina’s entourage as a ‘coach’.
    She did play women’s tournaments and did nothing much.

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