Unstrung: Courier Documentary Attempts to Transcend Tennis
by Colette Lewis
, 23 August 2007
Jim Courier didn't want his documentary Unstrung to be a tennis movie. What he hoped for, after following a group of male junior players for ten months, was a film that would appeal to a wider audience, one that would focus less on the sport and more on the dynamics and drama when family and competition intertwine.
Unstrung had a screening at the Nationals
"One thing that came from the movie that we had hoped for, but you just didn't know if you'd get it, because it's not a scripted drama, was the parenting aspect," Courier said. "How there are a lot of layers in a parent's relationship with a young athlete. We hope to spark a dialogue, that when people see this movie they'll walk away talking about it, finding something in these characters, whether it's a parent or one of the children, in their childhood or their parenting experience."
The film's seven subjects - Marcus Fugate, Greg Hirschman, Tim Neilly, Sam Querrey, Holden Seguso, Clancy Shields and Donald Young - aren't archetypes, yet each provides a glimpse of the many paths parents and children can take.
Even Fugate and Seguso, both students at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy, are distinctly individual. Fugate, long expected by the USTA, IMG and his parents to have parlayed his superior athleticism to dominance on the court, takes refuge from those unfulfilled expectations in the company of the opposite sex. Seguso, son of U.S. Davis Cup hero Robert Seguso and former WTA player Carling Bassett, was groomed for the life of a professional tennis player as matter-of-factly as any son going into the family business, but his passion for music begins to push tennis to the periphery.