David Prinosil

Mark Keil – My Times in New Haven

Tennis coach Mark Keil takes at look the ATP event held in New Haven, Conn., each year.  After losing early in Washington DC, I would head back to Tampa to train for a few days before heading up to the event held at Yale University.

I sometimes would hit with Jennifer Capriati in Florida, and she would hit the ball so deep.  Since I was accustomed to mostly playing doubles, I would play her baseline games to eleven and she would give me a run for my money.  She was a goofy girl, in a good way, and really didn’t like to practice, but we all didn’t really.  She was always talking about her boyfriend at the time, Xavier Malisse, and how crazy he was.

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The campus at Yale where the tourney is played (then known as the Volvo International, now the Pilot Penn) is like an oasis in the middle of east Los Angeles.  This is where Sidney Wood, the 1931 Wimbledon champion would hone his game.  You might still be able to catch him cruising the grounds.

One year I played with Adam Malik, the All-American out of Kentucky who was from Malaysia. We played Marius Barnard and Brent Haygarth from South Africa. Marius liked to bounce the ball a lot before he served. Adam would blink constantly when talking to you. Brent was a stellar player out of Texas A&M, who dates former tour player Tara Snyder.  We played a tight match and came up short 7-6, 4-6, 4-6.

In 1998, I played with T.J. Middleton, a team member of the NCAA champion Georgia Bulldog’s in 1987. We would always have a good time, and hung out together that week at Toad’s Place. Unfortunately, we went down to the tough German doubles team of Marc-Kevin Goellner and David Prinosil.  They would get to the finals of the French Open together, losing to the wild Jensen brothers. Marc patented wearing a baseball cap turned backwards, inspiring the craze you see now in tennis.  The summer tennis season was coming to a close, and the last big dance was upon us.

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The Journeyman: In The Thick of the Summer

Mark Keil, director/producer of “The Journeymen” along with Geoff Grant and tennis coach at Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club writes about his experiences in the heat of the summer worldwide tour.

The tour event in Kitzbuhel, Austria is in a beautiful setting in a ski resort town.  It’s a great place to practice your serve due to the altitude.  If you can get it in consistently there, you will have an easy time at sea level to increase your serving percentage.

I played with the Netherland’s Sander Groen one year, and we beat Bjorn Borg’s conquerer in his comeback attempt in Monte Carlo, the Spaniard Jordi Arrese.  He played with his fellow countryman Alex Lopez-Moron. We went down to the tough Espana combo of Jordi Burillo and Tomas Carbonell 6-1, 7-5. The event held in Stuttgart at TC Weisenhoff, close to Zuffenhausen where the Porsche factory is located, is a calm tournament. The player’s restaurant overlooks the city, and is a nice view to take in before your match.

I played with the All-American out of Tennessee and US Open mixed doubles champion Shelby Cannon there once. Shelby has very unorthodox lefty strokes, but his return was awesome.  He turned me onto the band Pearl Jam, and they became my favorite of all time. He was known that if his partner is not playing well to yell out, “Just win it yourself!” after he would hit a nice shot. We went down to the tall skinny Joern Renzenbrink, who reminded me of Colonel Klink, and his German partner David Prinosil.

In 1997, I teamed up with Jaime Oncins of Brazil and we lost first round to Alberto Berasategui and Alberto Martin. On yet my last visit, Fernando Meligeni and I had a win over Sebastien Fitz and Martin Sinner in a close battle, before succumbing to David Adams and Pavel Vizner. I blame my losses there to the winding road leading up to the venue, that could make you a bit car sick.

Back on the hardcourts, the tourney that is held this week is the RCA event in Indianapolis.  Back in the day, it was voted the tournament of the year by the players. The tournament director was Mark Miles, who went on to become the innovative CEO of the ATP Tour. The player gifts were great, the player’s lounge was full of games, and it provided much welcome relief to the intense heat of the midwest of the US. I played with my favorite partner of all time, Peter Nyborg, currently a national coach of Kuwait, was an affable Swede who hailed from Trollhatten, home of the Saab.  He liked the player’s lounge so much he slept there one night. We played well and locked up wins over Nicklas Kulti and Brett Steven, Dan Kronauge and Chris Woodruff, Brian MacPhie and Sandon Stolle, before losing in the semis to Todd Martin and Scott Davis. Davis is the funniest tennis player I ever met, and he use to have a tattoo of his girlfriend’s name on his bicep.  Martin was no nonsense. Davis would make fun of your strokes. Back on the clay in Umag, Croatia, the scene was serene.

The slow clay courts really helped your overall game, and playing with Marcos-Aurelio Gorriz was solid. A private in the Spanish tennis armada, the lefty never missed.  We took out Daniel Orsanic and Aki Rahunen 6-2, 6-3. Rahnasto, a Fin, once learned German in a few weeks during a junior tour. We lost to Belgium’s finest Filip DeWulf and his weird but nice partner Tom Van Houdt.

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