FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What was your most memorable match?

It is difficult to pick one, but I would say playing Andre Agassi in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon on the Centre Court on July 4, 1991 would be near the top of the list. At that time, Agassi was an unknown quantity on grass; he had skipped Wimbledon for a couple years and had surprised everyone by making it to the quarterfinals that year. Grass was my best surface, so going into the match, I thought I had the advantage. I won the first set handily. But in the second set, Andre complained of a leg problem and asked for a trainer. Somehow, his game improved after the injury break and he dominated the match for the next two sets. I was stunned to be down two sets to one and serving at 1-4, 0-40 in the fourth set. I somehow won that game, broke back, and went on to win the fourth set 7-6 and fifth 6-1. I’ll never forget raising my arms on Center Court and feeling the sense of accomplishment and release of pent up emotion. It was truly thrilling!

Who was your favorite opponent?

Even though I had more losses than wins against them, Agassi, Courier, and Chang were my favorite opponents. All three played an opposite style to my game, which made for an exciting match. Because Agassi has such a good return of serve, it was difficult to serve and volley against him.  Courier played a hard-hitting game with a lethal forehand forcing me to play around his strength. And Chang’s never-say-die attitude and scrambling ability demanded a fully concentrated effort. These three players brought out the best in my game.

Who was your least favorite opponent?

Brad Gilbert gave me a lot of trouble in my career. He beat me in several important matches like the semi-finals of the Grand Slam Cup and the fourth round of Wimbledon. Although our opposing styles matched up well, he seemed to be able to serve, return and pass just well enough to sneak by me in our usually down-to-the-wire matches. Pete Sampras and Boris Becker were difficult for me as well, but I enjoyed playing them. They were downright good players that were difficult to beat…for most other players too!

What is your favorite tournament?

The Championships Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. There is an aura about playing there: the tradition, the grass courts, the ambiance of the club and grounds. I used to wake up early when I was a boy to watch Wimbledon, which only added to my dream of playing there.

What coach, outside your family, has had the biggest impact on your game?

Actually, I have worked with quite a few coaches, but I would say three made a significant impact during my developmental years.  Jerry Noyce, the former head tennis coach at the University of Minnesota, spent many hours with me before school, and continued to help me throughout my career. Nick Bollettieri greatly expanded my horizons as a player when he gave me the opportunity to come to his academy. And Dick Gould, the legendary Stanford coach, focused my game into a serve and volley style. There were others who helped me too.

Why do you write a Bible verse next to your autograph?

God gave me life.  He gives me my next breath.  He forgave and reconciled me to Himself through his Son, Jesus Christ.  Any abilities I have, He gave them to me. Writing a verse from God’s Word next to my name acknowledges the Source of anything I am or have accomplished.  You can read more about my faith here.

What is the most interesting place you have visited?

I have played in many unique places such as Russia, China, and Europe. But the most interesting country I have visited is Israel. I enjoyed seeing the Old City of Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, Jericho, the Dead Sea…places I have read about in the Bible.

What equipment do you use and how tall are you?

Racquet: Wilson Surge (standard length, 4 5/8+ grip)
String: Babolat natural gut 1.27 gauge
String tension: 55 pounds
Clothes and shoes: K-Swiss
Height: 6’4″ (193cm)
Weight: 185 pounds (84 kilos)

Name your favorites:

Movie: Chariots of Fire. Inspiring story, music, and cinematography.
Music: Christian music.
Book: Besides the Bible, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan; I also like biographies.