Roger Federer’s French Open victory was the big news in the tennis world this weekend, but local fans who couldn’t be at Roland Garros got their own brush with tennis greatness Saturday when Monica Seles made an appearance at Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook. Seles made a promotional appearance for the Handzel Open, an amateur tournament with a $1,200 top prize.
She wowed fans by hitting with some of the area’s top junior players, but most people missed the real highlight: Monica Seles blowing raspberries at a sobbing toddler during an awkward photo shoot. Shortly after her on-court demonstration, Seles was ushered off for a Gift From the Heart Foundation publicity photo with a severely disabled boy. The foundation, which provides medical treatment for seriously ill and disabled children from Poland and Eastern Europe, is the beneficiary of this year’s Handzel Open. Surrounded by an entourage and covered in charity paraphernalia, the boy opened his mouth, scrunched up his eyes and let out a silent wail…followed by loud, hysterical crying. Seles was the first to respond, saying the crowds were scaring him and that they should give him some space. She then, adorably, scrunched down in front of him and started making goofy raspberry noises. It was a far cry from the grunting noises she’s famous for, but the touching moment proved that even after retirement, she’s still got game.