Every Grand Slam tennis tournament has some media benefits and Thursday at the 369th Street Armory in Harlem was no different.
Longines,the official timekeeper of the French Open, in conjunction with Harlem Junior Tennis and USTA Eastern put on a clinic for young players in the Harlem area featuring Steffi Graf.Andre Agassi and his wife are both spokespeople for Longines.
The event was held indoors because of concerns about the weather.
Many consider Graf,with 22 Grand Slams and 377 weeks as no. 1,the most ever for a male or female player as the greatest female player of all-time.I wouldn’t disagree.
She wowed the youth with some teaching and some hitting opportunites on smaller sized courts for the kids.
Graf emphasized that,”it is important to get kids involved at an early age,it is great exercise.”And she didn’t hesitate to tell that to the kids also.
Then the impossible happened. Graf agreed to hit with me. Yes a 3.5 player from Westport who has as a pedigree hits with Borg,McEnroe,Vilas,Hingis and Krickstein among others.
Steffi was charitable with her hitting, but did run me around the court. I was able to sneak into net for what I would call an almost winner.
After the hit we chatted and I asked her to compare my game with Agassi’s.She smiled. I was lucky that she didn’t laugh.
It was a great day for all involved.