Walt Frazier

The Journeyman: Bud Schultz, A Retrospective

Bud Schultz can arguably be considered the second best male player ever to come out of Connecticut, after James Blake. He was a mainstay on the tour in the 80’s, and achieved a high singles ranking of #39 in the world. His path to professional tennis began when he picked up a racket at the age of 13, considered quite late by today’s standards, but just goes to show his athletic prowness. He chose Bates College in Maine for its academics, and also it enabled him to play two sports: basketball and tennis.There is no question that he is considered the best Division III male tennis player ever.

He idolized tennis’s Vitas Gerulaitis and basketball’s Walt Frazier and John Havilicek, growing up in Meriden, Conn.While growing up, he really didn’t have any formal coaching until college, and while on the tour he chose Bill Drake as his mentor because of Drake’s resume with working with players like Tim Mayotte and Barbra Potter.He would get coaching for free in exchange for working at Drake’s summer junior program.

He decided to give the tour a shot when after playing John James, a top 100 singles player from Australia, in a money tournament right after college. After their tough three-set match, James told Bud, “You need to get out there.” Bud responded with a quizzical look, and replied, “Out where?” James then explained to him that it would be wise to give the tour a shot. A friend of Bud’s named Carl Greenman put together a syndicate of money together to give him an opportunity to go out the circuit.Within three years, Bud had paid them back and doubled their money, and then was able to sustain himself on the tour, on his own.

If he could bring back one point from his career, he says he would like to have it when he played Yannick Noah at the Aussie Open when he was up two sets to love, and ended up going down in five tough sets. Another interesting moment happened at his third round match on Labor Day weekend against John McEnroe at the US Open. Bud lost in straight sets, and after the match his college buddy who he was staying with in NYC Rob Kramer came up to him and said to him, “We got to go now.” Bud was a little perplexed, and asked, “Where are we going?” Rob said, “I got your bags, we are going to the airport, we got to get back to Boston, and go to this party!” So within a half an hour of the match, they were on the shuttle back to Boston, and on the lake waterskiing within two hours. All of his friends were oblivious to him having just played a legend on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“My friends really kept me grounded when I was playing,” said Bud, thinking back on his career.

At the age of 29, Bud decided to hang it up on the tour, due to stress factures that developed in his legs and back. He immediately applied to the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston to be their head pro, and got the job. He also began to coach Ivan Lendl, who he had befriended on the tour. Tony Roche was Lendl’s official coach, but Bud would stay at Ivan’s house in Connecticut on weekend’s and help him out. At that time, Lendl was really making a go of trying to win Wimbledon, and Bud’s serve and volley game attracted Ivan to him to get some pointers.He also worked with Pam Shriver and Greg Rusedski. He also started along with Ned Eames a organization called “Tenacity,” that creates thousands of junior tennis players, along with teaching them life skills in the Boston area.

Bud now has three kid’s with his wife Elaine; Christo, Luke and Haley. He says they all couldnt be more different, with one son Christo being the top-ranked eighteen-year-old junior tennis player in New England. He now spends most of his time running a tennis facility he owns in Cohasset, Mass.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the tennis in Monte Carlo!

The Journeyman