Monica Seles took time out from her busy schedule to talk to first graders at a local Indian Wells school. Seles, who has won nine Grand Slam titles, admitted having to speak to the 160 six and seven year olds was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of her life.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous,” she said, still wearing the red and white Dr Seuss hat that the school gave her.
Dr Seuss, whose whimsical books are favorites with kids of all ages, was the theme of Seles’ talk to the kids, who all attend the Gerald Ford Elementary School. “I wanted to stress how important reading is, but also to let them know how much fun it is to play tennis,” said Seles.
Seles talked to the kids and answered their questions, which ranged from “how long have you played tennis,” to “do you like tennis?” – to which Seles answered “of course I do! It’s fun to hit that little yellow ball around.”
Once the tough questions had stopped, Seles read Dr Seuss’ classic “A Great Day for Up”, and asked several of the excited youngsters to come and help her.
“I thought she was really nice,” said six year old Alicia afterwards. “I like tennis and when I grow up I want to play like Monica.”
Seles was relieved that she was such a big hit with her young audience. “I’ve never done anything like this so I was really nervous,” she admitted. “I love kids, they’re the toughest critics.”