Tennis enthusiasts at the Kingwood Country Club were served a treat on Saturday when former tennis star Monica Seles spent the day giving tennis tips and signing autographs.
Members and their children had an opportunity to show off their swings and hit practice balls with Seles assisting nearby. Seles told the assembled crowd that she started playing in exhibition games when she was 6 years old and practiced six hours per day.
She continued to answer questions as the club’s tennis pros hit balls over the net for her to return. She advised the players to keep the ball out of the middle and laughed when it was pointed out that she had hit back every ball that came over the net. “I’m like a ball machine,” she mused.
“Monica was number one in the world for many years, and she has nine Grand Slam titles, and here she is working with our kids,” said Jim Ward, director of tennis. “This is really great for our members, and it’s fun for our pros to work with someone like this. We couldn’t have found a neater person.”
Kevin and Corina Mauth brought their daughter, Matilda Mauth, 4, to learn a few tips from Seles. Matilda was very excited to present Seles with a portrait she drew. “This is a great inspiration for Matilda,” said Kevin Mauth. “It’s exciting.”
Bonnie Edwards, who brought her son and daughter to meet Seles, is a huge fan. “She was my favorite player by far,” said Edwards. “I love everything about her. On and off the court, she is the best player I have ever seen.”
Donna Griffith’s 12-year-old daughter, Rachel, was there to see Seles’ two-handed forehand and backhand. “Rachel does the same thing, without changing the grip, too,” said Griffith. “Rachel wanted to come see how she does it.”
James Williams, 15, was also there to watch Seles hit with her signature grip. “It’s interesting to see,” said Williams.
Kingwood is the only Texas tennis club that Seles stopped at during her promotional tour with Yonex, an athletic equipment company. “I am very happy Yonex brought me out here to Kingwood,” said Seles. “It is a beautiful community, it’s like a forest.” She said she enjoys coming to different communities and working with young players. “I try to inspire them to play,” said Seles. “Tennis is a sport for a lifetime.”