My Place in Women’s Tennis History

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06/29/2006

330 E. 61st St. NY, NY 10021

Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Sometimes I acquire personal training and kickboxing clients simply by correcting a stranger’s form. To put it bluntly, 90% of people in gyms are without a fuckin’ clue when it comes to proper training techniques. These folks can negotiate deals for zillions during the day at the office, yet they’re incapable of a quality bicep curl at night. Therefore, a minor suggestion made at the most opportune time can result in a (somewhat) steady paycheck.

It could also alter the history of women’s tennis.

Back when Martina Navratilova was making the leap from very good tennis player to sports legend, fate placed her in a weight room with yours truly. There she was—looking buff—getting ready to do some triceps extensions. (A rather archaic exercise, it involves holding a small dumbbell in one hand and moving the forearm at the elbow joint.) The margin for error is huge, and Martina’s form wasn’t even close to correct.

Being a trainer—and wearing the uniform to prove it—allows someone like me to speak to someone like her without immediately being taken for a stalker. Hence, I walked over to the tennis star and used Generic Correction Line #1: “Can I show you another way to do that?” (This clever approach reduces the chances of a defensive reaction. You haven’t told anyone they’re wrong; you’re just offering an alternative. Yeah, right.)

Martina was gracious and picked up the proper form within seconds. She saved herself from a career-ending injury and women’s tennis has never been the same. For me, it was just another day hanging with the dumbbells.

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§ One Response to “My Place in Women’s Tennis History”

  • Sean says:

    Great story! I was very young during the Martina/Chris Evert days but do remember their rivalry. ESPN just did a good “30 for 30” documentary on them (they are good friends now) that was interesting for anyone who followed them back in the day.

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