With plans being made for the 35th season of World TeamTennis, I recently thought of how important being part of a team is to my career and my life. Maybe part of the reason I am such a proponent for all things team, is that I have been fortunate to be on some great teams in my life and to have some really helpful teammates. People like Sandy Mayer.
Sandy Mayer helped me win Wimbledon in 1975.
In those days, the World TeamTennis season was a split season, with matches before and after Wimbledon. Sandy and I set a goal to get me ready to win the Championships that year and we used our time together on the New York Sets to make it happen. With us on the 1975 team were Virginia Wade (who went on to win Wimbledon in 1977), Anne Guerrant, Betsy Nagelson, Charlie Owens and Fred Stolle.
Sandy and I probably practiced more than we normally would. We worked on this every day. We hit early, we stayed late. At the time I was just a few months shy of 32 years old and I was getting in the best shape of my life. It was a great feeling.
Fortunately, this approach not only benefitted me, it helped Sandy as well. That year, he and the late Vitas Gerulaitis won the Wimbledon Men's Doubles. It was one of those moments where putting in the extra effort and trusting your teammate really paid off - for both of us.
Yes, Sandy Mayer helped me win Wimbledon in 1975.
We reached our goal because we were on a team and we worked together like teammates day in and day out. Those days were so different than professional tennis is today. It was definitely a different time.
Sandy and I both learned that great players make their teammates better and that is the true sign of a champion.
So while so many remember my 1975 Wimbledon championship as the year I had an afro hairstyle, I remember it as the year Sandy Mayer helped me win Wimbledon.
And that is a very good memory. Thank you, Sandy.
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