Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FYI - History - The Clown Prince Of Tennis

Mansour Bahrami, is seen here performing his hilarious tennis tricks/act for the crowd. His showmanship which he brings to the Senior Tennis Tour now, is much like what the Harlem Globetrotters bring to the basketball court. They both constantly travel around the world to promote their sport, and use tricks and humor to entertain. Mansour, a native of Iran, is one of the most unique professional tennis players of all time. He has carved out a much needed niche in tennis that is invaluable to promoting the sport and the Champions/Senior Tour.

The story of his journey to professional tennis is even more amazing. Mansour grew up dirt poor an
d was unable to afford a racket of his own. He had to fabricated tennis racquets with frying pans, dust pans and broom handles and played on make shift courts in the streets.

With these crazy racquets he invented, he discovered many tricks, that he'd then practice and
perfected, along with his tennis game. He also noticed his fellow tennis playing friends would be highly entertained by his tennis tricks. Mastering these tricks certainly improved his hand-eye coordination. You'll see one where he serves with 6 balls in his hand.
Mansour wanted to play tennis, with real racquets on real court, but there were few tennis courts in Iran. It seemed a helpless battle, moreover young Mansour didn't give up and kept his dream alive by any means possible. The truth was he wasn't rich enough to play the sport at the tennis country clubs, inhabited by French expats and rich Iranians. After years hanging around a local tennis club, the members relented and allowed him to play. It was there, with a real tennis racquet, that he showed his high level of skill. His tennis career took off.

For a short time Mansour became a solid player on the men's tour and represented Iran in the
Davis Cup (an all nations team tennis competition) Sadly this was the early 1980's in Iran, so after overcoming all those obstacles his progress was brought to an abrupt halt when the Islamic Revolution led to the banning of professional sport in Iran by their backwards thinking religious and political leaders. His dream of a professional tennis career seemed all but over. He still kept his dream alive, even being trapped with his family in Iran.

In 1988, things had settled down in Iran and many were seeking to leave, if they hadn't already. Mansour took his family and left for France. Working first as a tennis instructor in Paris. He tried to return to professional tennis, but it was at the ripe age of 33, a time when many pro tennis players are retiring. It didn't quite work out, he did play some doubles. But the direction of his life was about to change. At age 35 he was eligible for the Senior Tour/Outback Champions Tour. A new venue to play and promote the sport he
loves, to a new audience.
Now in his 50's, still active on the Senior Tour, he battles against McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi. At each tour spot he performs his tricks and showmanship in separate exhibitions which pack the house. Usually with a top junior from the surrounding area, with the help of one of his fellow Senior Tour pros. What a story arc Mansour's life has. His story is proof that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. If your willing to give something up of yourself in the process. He gave an insane amount up.

I'll see all of you tomorrow for our meeting and our workout session. Those who are staying after wards for some teaching and introduction learning on the Tree, we'll be done by 4:45.

A couple of hilarious points against hall of famer Boris Becker, and an interview in German if anyone can translate. Watch how they slide on the clay.