Katie Schlukebir

Mark Keil – Tales from Cincinnati and Boise

Mark Keil, tennis teaching instructor at the Westboro Tennis and Swim Club, MA writes on two exciting events going on in the states this summer.  The tour stop in Cincinnati, is now a big Master Series event.  The winner in singles and doubles gets a free membership for life in the ATP Tour.  I think it is is the hottest tour event all year, and can sap all of your energy.  I teamed up with Peter Nyborg of Sweden in 1995.  We beat Arnaud Boetsch of France, a former Davis Cup player. He partnered the current player Vince Spadea of Boca Raton, Fla.  We played great and won 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. In the next round we drew Jared Palmer, the NCAA singles and doubles champion out of Stanford.  His dad was the curator of the Palmer Academy, a tennis school in Tampa that produced many junior champion’s. Jared had the best technique, he played like Richard Avedon was taking his picture on every stroke.  He was a Davis Cup doubles team member, and also reached top 40 in the world in the ATP singles rankings.  His wingman that week was Richey Reneberg, the most unheralded American player ever. This guy played solid every time he stepped on the court. He was the king of eating room service, and hardly ventured out of his room. He played Davis Cup doubles for the United States, and played in a few dead rubbers in singles also.

He did play a few practical jokes on player’s with his mate Scott Davis. They use to travel with the “winger,” a sling shot for firing water balloons from hotel balconys. One year at Queen’s, John McEnroe was practicing on an outside court, and these two dudes fired balloons from the clubhouse and kept hitting a metal shack next to his court, making him even more paranoid than he already is. We lost 7-5, 6-3.

At this time of year I played World Team Tennis for the Idaho Sneakers. Boise is a nice town, and Patrick McEnroe picked me to play doubles with him. The South African Michael Robertson was our coach, and I could have given a better effort.  He ended up being my coach for awhile, and I learned how to think more on the court.  Katie Schlukebir, Debbie Graham, Gigi Fernandez, and Wesley Whitehouse rounded out our team.  We would always have early morning flights to the next city to play, and it was an exhausting but fun experience. Patrick would travel with a medicine ball, and it was tough putting it up in the carry on bins on the plane. Gigi was a multiple major doubles champion along with two Olympic gold medals, and had scary volleys. Debbie had a bigger serve than me, and had an unbelievable playing record at Stanford.  Katie was a very sweet girl, who relished on the gossip of our season.  Whitehouse won the Wimbledon junior singles title, and had a lot of angst that it didn’t carry over to the pros. We finished 3-11, mainly due to my unprofessionalism.  All in all, being a part of the team was enjoyable and I picked up a lot information on how to be a better tennis player.  The road to the US Open continues, and what a ride it is.

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