Love, 15, 30, 40, game- my passion for tennis

The picture above is me with Pete Sampras, a famous American tennis player from the 1990’s. He is one of my favorites. We ran into him at the movies one night. Max had seen him around town a few times, but it was my first time. My heart started beating super fast as I spoke to him. “Mr. Sampras I am a big fan, can I have my picture taken with you?” I had a Blackberry phone back then so the photo is not so clear, but I have one!!! Afterwards I went into the restroom and couldn’t stand still in line I was soo excited. The girls next to me asked what was going on and I explained. I don’t faint or care much about all the Hollywood stars walking the streets of Los Angeles; I’m all about tennis players.

I started playing tennis when the rackets were still wood. Aluminum rackets were out by then but my dad gave me a wood one. I took lessons at the local club when I was 13 years old. I started going to watch live tennis a year later. At the time they held the ‘US Clay Court Championships’ in downtown Indianapolis. I would go watch that each year with a girlfriend who also enjoyed tennis. The surface later was changed to hard courts, and subsequently renamed to the ‘US Men’s Hardcourt Championships’, which made more sense because the tournament was held in the summer after the clay court season.

I continued to play during college with a friend on campus. I also continued watching tournaments on television or live. Living in Los Angeles there are many tournaments that pass through town- the men’s professional tour, the women’s professional tour and a large tournament with both the men and women out in Indian Wells, California which is a little over 2 hours outside of the city.

The first male player I followed religiously was Mats Wilander, then Pete Sampras, and now Roger Federer. Women players that I’ve enjoyed are Chris Everett, Monica Seles and Justine Henman. I actually met Monica Seles with the kids when Matteo was a baby at a book signing here in Los Angeles; it was a great moment!

Max and I’s first date was a tennis date too! At the time I played every week with a friend and he lived in the same apartment complex. He asked me if I’d like to play doubles with him and an Italian friend of his and the rest is history! We played tennis on our honeymoon in Maui early mornings before exploring the island. We have not played together on the red clay courts out there in Italy at the tennis club he used to belong to, but next time for sure. It is another item to take off my bucket list.

My bucket list also includes going to watch all four Grand Slam tournaments in New York City, Paris, Melbourne and London. The Grand Slams are the largest annually held tournaments for the tennis professionals where they can gain the most ranking points to be higher in the computer standings at the end the calendar year. I missed the French Open one year as I just happened to be in Paris for vacation and didn’t think about the tournament until after the fact!! We will one day plan a holiday weekend in New York City first and attempt to see the other majors from there.

I hurt my knee earlier this year and have only played a few times on the courts at the nearby university, but now that I’m thinking about it I should start playing a few times a month starting in 2013. I mentioned it to my husband the other day and will set up some court time with my girlfriend too.

Topic tomorrow: Braving the Rose Parade in Pasadena at 8:00am in 40° weather

(day 21)

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