Ask the Experts
Talking with MaliVai Washington
by Harry Cicma
, 24 May 2012
Follow Harry on Twitter
|Share: || || |
MaliVai Washington is well-known in the tennis world. After a stellar junior career where he competed against the likes of Sampras, Agassi, Courier, and Martin, Washington attended the University of Michigan, where he was the top-ranked player in the NCAA before turning pro after his sophomore year. Best known for reaching the finals at Wimbledon in 1996, Washington now serves as a tennis analyst for ESPN.
Contributor Harry Cicma recently caught up with Washington at the National Tennis Center in New York, where they discussed a host of topics.
Questions and Answers
Harry Cicma (HC): We're here with tennis star - and former Michigan Wolverine - Mal Washington. MaliVai Washington (MW):
I'm thrilled to be here right now at the National Tennis Center
, helping my friend, Katrina Adams, with her Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program
. I'm a big believer of using the sport of tennis and education to reach out and help kids. It's the life skills that the kids learn. So the opportunity to come up here and influence the youth - there is no better cause.
HC: The Tennis Hall of Fame has 5 inductees: Jennifer Capriati, Gustavo Kuerten, Mike Davies, Randy Snow and Manuel Orantes. What are your thoughts about Guga getting inducted?
MW: I've known Gustavo since 1997, and he is a great guy. I first met him at a Davis Cup match in Brazil. I've always had so much respect for Guga since playing him in 1997. I was actually rooting for him when he won his three French Open titles at Roland Garros. He has so much charisma, and when you meet him - he's the nicest guy that you'll ever meet.
HC: And you mentioned that you were inspired on the courts by one of the inductees?
MW: Seeing Manuel Orantes win the US Open in 1975 was an inspiration. I remember his match against Jimmy Connors - it was one of the first premiere pro matches that I recall watching and following. That is something I always remember.
Orantes was a hard worker and always had a lot of class.
HC: What are your thoughts on Jennifer Capriati being inducted?
MW: Great player. She had great accomplishments earlier in her career, and she has a fantastic comeback story. To have had the success that she had - through all of her trials and tribulations - to win at Roland Garros and get a couple of major titles - that was just a great accomplishment for her. And it shows that if you can persevere through tough times, good things can happen.
HC: You've had such a great career, making the Finals of Wimbledon along with other strong results. What's new with you now?
MW: Everything is going great. I just coached my son's baseball game this past weekend - we lost in the championship game, and it's fun spending time on the baseball field with him. My daughter is training on the tennis courts, so it's very rewarding and fun to spend time with her as well.
I also am staying busy with my Foundation in Jacksonville, so things are busy and things are going great.
Leave a Comment
More Special Features
ITA Summer Circuit Schedule
The ITA Summer Circuit provides college, junior, and alumni tennis
players the opportunity to compete in organized events virtually year
round. Although the primary focus of the circuit is to provide
incoming freshmen and collegiate players the chance to play in the
summer months, these events are "open", so anyone is eligible to
ImRecruitable College Exposure Series
The ImRecruitable College Exposure Series is designed toÂ provide
players with a unique opportunity to train like a college tennis
player on court with top U.S. college coaches and play in competitive
matches. Check out the event schedule for the year - starting with the
College Tennis Exposure Camp on campus at Penn June 19-21.
Former College Stars, Juniors Take BNP Paribas Open Challenge
It's one of the longest of longshots in tennis. Winning six or seven
straight matches to reach just the qualifying stage of an ATP or WTA
tennis event is considered a longshot. Thousands now try it each
summer with the USTA's U.S. Open National Playoffs, and a couple
hundred more try it each year in Indian Wells, Calif., as the people
behind the BNP Paribas Open host the BNP Paribas Open Challenge.
Several junior and college stars are among them.
About Harry Cicma
When it comes to college tennis, Harry Cicma is your man. Cicma
covers tennis and other athletic stories for
writing articles and producing video segments.
He is co-founder and host of World Tennis
a weekly tennis show on NESN, and host of of Tennis Live Radio's
Cicma competed as a junior in USTA/New England and went on to play
college tennis at Rutgers University. As a professional, Cicma
competed at the ATP Newport tournament and the San Jose Siebel Open.
He reached a career-high #75 in the ATP doubles team rankings and
#1262 in the ATP Entry System.
In media, Cicma has run the gamut. He has worked for NBC, CBS, ABC,
ESPN, FOX Sports Net, the Tennis Channel, and World Team Tennis.
Cicma has announced NCAA sports as well as the US Open Tennis
Championships on both TV and radio.