Ten­nis play­ers who excel in chess

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS - FRANK “BOY” PES­TAÑO boypes­[email protected], www.chess­moso.blogspot.com

IWAS an ath­lete dur­ing my younger years. Aside from be­ing com­pet­i­tive in bas­ket­ball, I was also into swim­ming and ten­nis. I had a best time of 1:05 in the 100 m freestyle, not good enough for com­pet­i­tive play but still bet­ter than most.

I also played a lot of ten­nis in Ca­gayan de Oro but I had a bad back­hand so I shifted to its dis­tant cousins, squash, bad­minton and the craze in the 70s, pelota, when I was trans­ferred to Manila.

The Aus­tralian Open is a ma­jor ten­nis tour­na­ment held an­nu­ally in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. First held in 1905, the tour­na­ment is the first of the four Grand Slam ten­nis events of the year--the other three be­ing the French Open, Wim­ble­don and the US Open

The Aus­tralian Open is cur­rently on­go­ing now and my ar­ti­cle to­day is about chess-play­ing ten­nis pro­fes­sion­als.

It seems that there is a con­nec­tion be­tween ten­nis and chess.

Boris Becker was one of the great­est ten­nis play­ers, win­ning Wim­ble­don at age 17. He played an ex­hi­bi­tion match against Kas­parov ”live” on CNN for one hour in 2000. Kas­parov was in New York and Becker was in Mu­nich. He once said that his ex­pe­ri­ences with chess in­flu­enced his play­ing style in ten­nis.

Becker also said that Roger Fed­erer is the best chess player in the ATP tour and re­gards his strate­gic think­ing as the key to the Swiss star’s success. Becker said that chess should be used by the cur­rent top play­ers to gain a com­pet­i­tive and men­tal edge over their op­po­nents.

The ten­nis dou­bles part­ners and twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan are chess play­ers. They have won 11 Grand Slam dou­bles ti­tles. Mike Bryan has been quoted as say­ing “I have to play ten­nis like a chess game.”

In his early days, when­ever Fed­erer lost a game to his fa­ther, he would knock all the pieces off the board.

Here is a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Roger Fed­erer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Mur­ray and No­vak Djokovic:

Roger: We saw you be­hind us in our white limo as we drove here. What was with all your make up?

No­vak: Oh, I was just clown­ing around. Do you want us to play a game of chess with you? Andy: You’re right No­vak, let us play. Roger: All right, all right. In fact, you know, I was about to play chess with Rafa.

Rafael: That is right. This is funny, no? You all want to play chess, no? But not me.

Roger: What­ever, don’t lis­ten to what the guy says. Ma­jor­ity rules.

Dur­ing the rain-de­layed US Open, Dmitry Sch­nei­der, an in­ter­na­tional master played a simul against eight ten­nis play­ers in the player lounge. Twins Mike and Bob Bryan and Max Mirnyi took their seats early. Jen­nifer Capriati ran to tell her fa­ther.

“Dur­ing the rain de­lays there’s not a lot that the play­ers can do and a lot of ath­letes play chess,” said Sch­nei­der.

Re­tired ten­nis player Elena De­men­tieva, once ranked No. 3 in the world, plays chess. She used to play chess in the play­ers’ lounge with her brother or any other chess player. Anna Kournikova is also a chess player. Her sex ap­peal and celebrity sta­tus made her one of the best known ten­nis stars world­wide de­spite her never win­ning a WTA sin­gles ti­tle.

Sir Ge­orge Alan Thomas was a Bri­tish bad­minton, ten­nis and chess player. He was twice Bri­tish chess cham­pion and a 21-time All-Eng­land Bad­minton cham­pion. He reach the quar­ter­fi­nals in Wim­ble­don in 1911. Bad­minton’s world men’s team cham­pi­onships cup, equiv­a­lent to ten­nis’s Davis Cup, is named Thomas Cup af­ter him. He played for Eng­land in seven chess Olympiads and ap­proached GM strength. He was a unique dou­ble­cap­tain in chess and bad­minton.

Ten­nis great Ivan Lendl plays chess. His fa­ther, Jiri Lendl, was a chess master, Czech ju­nior cham­pion and played in the Cze­choslo­vakian chess cham­pi­onship.

Former ten­nis pro­fes­sional Greg Rused­ski is an avid chess player. So is John McEn­roe, who is with­out doubt one of ten­nis’ all-time greats,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.