Richard Harris

Nostalgic Streams of Consciousness

Mark Keil, tennis teaching pro out of Massachusetts enlightens tennis people about some tournaments around the globe.  The Canadian Open, which alternates each year between Toronto and Montreal , is a cool glass of ice tea on the road to the US Open.  The men’s event this year in Toronto is played outside of the city a bit, on a college campus.  I played one year with Gary Muller of South Africa and we played against Kelly Jones and Chris Woodruff of the United States. “The Mull” was a long-haired guy by way of Beverly Hills, where he used to live with the actress Ann Turkel and the late Richard Harris. He was the symbol of Hollywood on the tour, organizing great parties at most of the Slams. He would have a great one in Australia and the tour authorities finally had to put a crack down on them. He showed up with Juliette Binoche at Wimbledon. “Bones” Jones (due to his great tennis bedside manner) was a former All American out of Pepperdine and two-time NCAA doubles champion with two different partners. He eventually became No. 1 in the world, and married another former player Tami Whitlinger. Chris “Country” Woodruff is a good ol boy out of Knoxville and NCAA singles champion for the University of Tennessee. He was a firerce competitor, and would try and fool you with his naivete. We lost 6-7, 6-7. In ’93 in Montreal, I played with Stefan Kruger of South African. He played on a NCAA runner-up team under the tutelage of Dennis Ralston at SMU. He either played unbelievable or horrendous. We lost to England’s Jeremy Bates and Chris Wilkinson very handily. I do not remember that match ever happening. I do remember Martin Laurendeau always throwing a bi-annual function at one of the fine strip establishments in the city. All the players would go.

The tour stop in San Marino is a hot and humid adventure on the east coast of Italy. I lost first round with the South African by way of Dallas Bryon Talbot. The current player Dusan Vemic and Tomas Cibulec beat us in three sets.  In ’94, I played with Libor Pimek, the angular Czech who would do the splits in the eye formation parallel to the net and knock off the return. If things were getting tight, he would tell his partner before serving, “I just try to get it in the box.”  He was a former top 25 singles player, and played every week. We defeated the muscular Karim Alami of Morocco and Diego Nargiso (ITA) in the first round. Narg was a dead ringer for a Nicolas Cage look a like. We went down to the Olympic silver singles medalist for Spain Jordi Arrese and Renzo Furlan, who was born in Conegliano Venetia (Italia.)

The event in Posnan is a short train ride away from Warsaw .I was seeded No. 1 one year with Cibulec, a quiet lad. We lost to the wild card team of Dabrowski and Gawlowski, not related. I did a lot of two on one training to get ready for the US Open due to our early exit.

Have a great week and hit the courts!