Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A Face From The Past
Retired tennis players age fast.
This fellow, a Grand Slam champ and former number one in the world, was one of the idols of my youth. I modeled my baseline game after his, religiously, for three or four years. I met him on a couple of occasions and actually hit a few balls with him one afternoon.
I took a few lessons from his main coach, who made a few appearances at a tennis camp I attended in the Austrian Alps. When I was in high school, I attended the camp every summer in order to learn how to play on clay.
This fellow is retired now, and I suspect that even the most dedicated tennis fan will be hard-pressed to identify him.
He has been away from the game only for ten years. He is only 41 years old. And yet he is barely recognizable.
From the photograph, I could pass him on the street today and not even know him.
He has aged that much.