Okay so not technically a tennis player but unquestionably the most famous tennis coach in the world. He was worked with many number one tennis players such as Agassi, Becker, Hingis and Venus and Serena Williams. Not to mention Rios, Sharapova and Nishikori. Some say he invented the female grunt on the tennis court as a legitimate distracting tool. Some say he changed the way we look at junior elite training and the practices he introduced became the standard. Some say he was the inspiration for Brad Gilbert’s book winning ugly. Whatever the truth, he’s still the go to guy if you want to achieve success on the tour. He set up his first tennis academy in Bradenton Florida back in 1978 on 40 acres of land and had early success with players like Courier and Seles. He was inducted to the International tennis hall of fame in 2014. Nick has been busy having married 8 times and has had 7 children. He has an estimated net worth of around 5 million dollars and is still working today at the age of 84 by giving seminars, coaching and public speaking along with quite a bit of journalism. I have read his handbook and enjoyed it very much.
This Croatian is 6 feet 11 inches tall and so is a giant even amongst the tall tennis players on the tour today. He is a one trick pony with him relying pretty much on his serve for success. If his serve is firing then it’s almost impossible to break him and so all he needs to do is break you once in each set in order to win. I think he’s made a fairly good career out of it. Okay, so his groundstrokes aren’t the best but they are functional and his backhand slice is difficult for opponents to handle. He has made 7 million dollars in prize money and has won 6 ATP singles titles and 2 in doubles. Never made it further than the quarterfinals in a grand slam which he did at Wimbledon. His highest ever ranking was in August 2008 when he reached a career high of 14. He now sits at position number 28 and the age of 37 having turned pro in 2000. Good going. His ultimate claim to fame though must be the fact that he has served the most Aces in tennis history. He is still improving that record every day.
Her name sounds quite Irish but she is Canadian born and represented France during her playing career. Her total prize money from competing falls just short of 10 million dollars and that includes 18 WTA singles titles and 10 doubles titles, four of which were grand slam titles. She was an aggressive baseliner but could play all court as her volley was solid. She retired from tennis in 2006 and now lives in Florida, United States. Her highest ever ranking was world number 3 in 1995 and she did manage to reach 6 grand slam singles finals winning two of them, one in Australia in 1995 and one in France in 2000. I was never a big fan of hers but I did admire the way she played and her commitment to her game.
Jim Courier can be seen nowadays commentating on television or courtside holding interviews with players who have just completed a match. He was quite a handy player in his day which would have been around the early nineties. In fact, he won 4 grand slam singles titles all between 1991 and 1993; 2 Australian and 2 French. Funny how he never won his home slam of America but I guess that’s because Sampras was just coming into his ascendency in 1993 and he pretty much dominated till the end of the decade. He amassed 23 career singles titles, world number 1 position in 1992 and over 14 million dollars in prize money. He was an aggressive baseliner and he really slapped that tennis ball around but from what I can remember he was pretty terrible on the volley. His serve was quite good and reliable. He always wore a cap and would sweat so much that it would drip from the cap. He had very light strawberry blond hair with a hint of red and quite pale skin for a kid who started getting coaching from Nick Bolletieri from a young age in Bradenton, Florida. His main rivalries were with Chang, Sampras, Agassi, Edberg and Thomas Muster.
Jim Courier (USA)
What can be said about Aussie Margaret Court except that she has the most Grand Slam titles of all with 64. 24 of these came from singles, 19 for Ladies Doubles and 21 titles for Mixed Doubles having won them all multiple times spanning from 1960 to 1973. Only upon receiving news of her fourth pregnancy did she decide to retire in 1977 having won 192 singles titles. She was ranked world number 1 in singles and doubles and inducted into the hall of fame in 1979. She lives in Perth, Western Australia. She was an all court player who was strong on the overheads and consistent on the volley. Her major strength was her fitness which kept her injury free throughout her career. She also won the Fed Cup on 4 occasions. She only lost 5 grand slam singles finals and won over 91 per cent of her matches during her career.
I and probably most of the tennis watching public mostly remember Michael Chang as the 1989 French Open champion when he beat Stefan Edberg in the final. But more memorable than this match was his defeat of Lendl in the fourth round when he cheekily served underarm and went on to win the match. He was in 2 other grand slam singles finals namely the Aussie and US Opens, both in 1996. During his career he won 34 singles titles and almost 20 million dollars and is now coaching Japanese number 1 Kei Nishikori. Michael, who is American, lives in California and was inducted into the tennis hall of fame in 2008. He was a defensive baseliner whose fitness improved throughout his career could still pack a punch on the counter attack. His major weapon was his speed around the court and his determination to go for everything.
Borg officially retired in 1983, the very year that I started to play tennis so I never got to see him play any live tennis but I have watched his tie break with McEnroe on youtube a few times. He really retired at the end of 1981 and the loss of the US Open final at the age of 26; some say because of burn out and others say that he didn’t want to be defined as just a tennis player, albeit a very good one. He stunned the world because he was still so young and there was many more titles he could have won even though the game was beginning to change with new racquets and the introduction of more power. He won 11 grand slam singles titles, 6 at the French Open and 5 consecutive Wimbledon’s from 1976 to 1980 when he lost in the final to John. His prize money from playing amounted to just over three and a half million dollars and his singles titles tally was 64 in total. Born in Sweden in 1956 he helped them win the Davis Cup in 1975. Inducted into the tennis hall of fame in 1987 he now lives in Monte Carlo with his third wife. Many agree that he changed the sport from an elitist snobby pastime into a sexy competitive sport being the first player to win more than 1 million dollars in a single season. He was a baseliner with pacey groundstrokes and an adequate volley who could and would run all day, chase down everything and basically beat his opponent into submission with his superior fitness. Although once near bankruptcy his clothing company is now doing quite well and especially so in his native Sweden. He did try to make a comeback in the early 1990’s but it was short lived and unsuccessful. He has done many modelling jobs on account of his striking Nordic looks.