Wimbledon 1983 was my best chance to advance to a Grand Slam Final. In 1982, 1984 and 1985, I was ousted in the first round with losses to Hank Pfister, Mark Edmondson and Ivan Lendl.
In the Lendl match, I had a set point in the first set and thought I had hit a winner past him and I pumped my fist real quick and he proceeded to hit a net court winner and I never recovered after that.
Then in 1984, I played doubles – and this isn’t a name drop – with Vince Van Patten. We won two rounds and lost to John McEnroe and Peter Fleming. Vince and I had advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1983 French Open men’s doubles, and we always had a great time playing and he tried to add Hollywood to the tennis.
We would try to do funny antics on the court and most of the time nobody laughed and I just went along for the ride, and we always played well together because we were relaxed all of the time.
And yes, I met Don Adams, Carl Reiner, and Billie Jack (Tom Laughlin) over at Vinnie’s father’s (Dick Van Patten) house. It’s OK, go ahead and catch the names.
In 1983, the draw opened up with a couple of upsets and I took advantage of a good draw. I won four rounds and beat Brian Gottfried in the round of 16. Then I played Chris Lewis from New Zealand, who had a game a lot like mine. We had a great first set with me winning 7-6, but then he won the next three sets and that was it, my best chance to reach a Grand Slam Final was gone.
Now we’ve got a new set of players making their own memories. I think the talk of Wimbledon 2019 is the 15-year-old Cori Gauff. She fought off two match points and won her third match of the tournament with her biggest chance on the horizon against Simona Halep of Romania.
Serena Williams is serving well and she looks like the favorite to win. The third American still alive is Alison Riske, but she plays the top-seeded Ashleigh Barty, who is playing tremendous tennis right now.
Andy Murray and Serena looked good in the mixed doubles, too. They played Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi. Alexa’s father is the tennis director for Seascape Resort in Destin, Florida. I saw her grow up and have played tennis with her a lot over the years. She played for Alabama, and it’s just great to see people you know do well.
Anyways, the big three on the men’s side are playing well heading into the second week.
I believe Roger Federer is playing and moving the best right now.
Two players outside of the big three are playing excellent tennis as well: Kei Nishikori from Japan and Milos Raonic from Canada.
My pick for match of the day is fellow Tennessee Volunteer Tennys Sandgren facing the lone American left on the men’s side, Sam Querry. It should be high-quality tennis.
Enjoy the second week of Wimbledon. Cheerio.