Where Are They Now?
Talking with Andrew Chmura
by Harry Cicma
, 27 February 2013
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After a successful junior and college tennis career helping Notre Dame win conference championships in the mid-1990s, Andrew Chmura has built an adult career around the game. Chmura competed on the satellite tour, has taught and encouraged tennis play throughout the world, and he is currently the president of Grand Slam Tennis Tours, a company that has helps tennis enthusiasts travel to premier tournaments around the world.
Andrew Chmura (left) with Harry Cicma after a workout
got the opportunity to catch up with Chmura about his tennis - past and future.
Questions and Answers
Harry Cicma (HC): You played top National Division 1 Tennis at Notre Dame, what are your thoughts about today's college tennis competition?
Andrew Chmura (AC): I think the overall depth of college tennis has gotten so much better now. I think when we were playing, the top four Nationally were great, but then it wasn't as strong as you went down the list.
Today, college tennis is getting top international guys and Americans who want to play and train in college, which wasn't as easy fifteen years ago. College tennis is definitely strong.
HC: John Isner is an obvious example of a college player who can thrive on Tour. You know John - what are your thoughts about his success? And also, do you feel Stanford alums Mike and Bob Bryan are the best doubles team of all time?
AC: Playing No. 1 for Georgia, he's going to get a top match every day, and I think that really helped his match play and toughness on the ATP Tour. John is a great player.
I would say the Bryan Brothers are the best. They are also great guys, and always so nice on and off the court. So yes, I feel they are the best doubles team of all time.
HC: Steve Johnson is making a nice run on the tour after winning his singles and team national titles at USC. How far do you think Steve can get on the ATP tour?
AC: I think he has the athleticism. We're taking about a different world of tennis on the tour, where the guys are stronger and better, but I think he can hang with them athletically. Only time will tell, but I think from an athletic stand point he can hang with them and find success.
HC: James Blake hails from Connecticut and had a great career at Harvard. You're familiar with his game as a colleague and player, what do you think about his game?
AC: James is an incredible athlete and a great tennis player - with one of the biggest forehands ever. It sounded like a cannon when he hit his forehand. He got a lot out of his game, bringing it to Top 4 in the world. James is an incredible athlete, an amazing person, and a great player.
HC: What was your best memory while playing for Notre Dame and Coach Bobby Bayliss?
Andrew Chmura in the front row at an ATP tournament
AC: One of my favorite memories is when we were playing Michigan State, and I was playing lower in the line-up at the time. We were all tied at three matches all, and my stomach could feel the nerves. I was down 5-6 match points or so, But I was able to win the match. I had other moments where I didn't win, but that one I did, so maybe that's why it's so memorable for me. College tennis - with the camaraderie and the special bond with your teammates - there's a lot to be said about all of that.
Having Bobby Bayliss as a couch was amazing. He was such an incredible person - a legendary coach and a mentor to me. I am so grateful for everything Coach Bayliss did for me as a person while playing at Notre Dame.
HC: Why did you choose to go into Grand Slam Tennis Tours?
AC: For me, it's about creating memorable experiences and growing the game of tennis. I started small, taking clients to the Australian Open, and it grew from there. At Grand Slam Tennis Tours, we offer the best tickets at all major tennis venues, and are able to gain incredible access to all the events we bring our clients. We stay at amazing resorts close to all the action, and we offer tennis academies at exclusive clubs and resorts while on tour.
We are fortunate to have had great people from all over the world travel with us - who truly love the sport and have a passion for the game. Any time you do a little more than expected, your organization will grow - which is how our business has flourished. We take more than 2,500 people each year around the world to see top-class tennis in beautiful cities. It doesn't get much better than that!
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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.