Nicolas Mahut looks like he’s been out there for a while — in life as well as on the tennis circuit. Six years ago, he lost the longest match ever played at Wimbledon, but at age 34 he’s still winning matches, usually on grass courts.
Three years after his epic match in 2010 against John Isner at Wimbledon, Nicolas won the first of four professional singles tournaments, and he also currently holds the number 2 ranking in the world for doubles. Today, he won easily against the number 13 seed, David Ferrer of Spain. Not bad for a guy who could have been heartbroken after making history in 2010 but still losing.
I like watching Mahut play. He actually serves and volleys — unheard of today when most players plant themselves in the backcourt and hit hard groundstrokes but seem allergic to coming to net. He also wears his emotions on his face. He seems like the kind of guy who can relate to having to wait his turn. He’s hung in there for a long time, and many good things have happened to him after a lot of patience, hard work, and a little luck.
My blog is first and foremost about our daughter and tennis, but I’ll from time to time I’ll share things about me (and my husband).
I was a late bloomer to tennis having begun to play just a few years before high school. To this day, my serve only starts the point as I’m not a natural thrower. On my high school team, my serve, backcourt game, and my being gay, long before I knew for sure I was, were mocked by some of my own teammates. Neither they, nor I for that matter, acknowledged my ability to think through points. To me back then it just seemed like they could serve and volley beautifully. They were natural athletes who weren’t petrified of being told they “threw like a girl” or acted like one.
But I hung around. I played for my scrappy college team — we were known as the Ragtag Bunch and years later we found out that many of us were gay — and tennis helped me meet people in all the different places I’ve lived in Europe and the United States.
About 15 years ago, when the men’s league I played in turned into a festival of male weekend warriors taking the game way too seriously, I opted out and turned to something I thought would be more zen-like: distance running. I no longer wanted to compete in sports, just enjoy them. A late bloomer to running, I’m now training for my 18th marathon!
Tennis will always be my first but no longer my main love. My daughter and husband win the latter prize. I’m glad I’ve hung in there — for tennis, sports, and my family. It’s been worth every setback to keep going on this long journey.