Matt Klinger: A Story of Perseverance

Mon, Apr 6, 2020

Featured, General Opinions

Matt Klinger: A Story of Perseverance

Matt Klinger was a former Canadian Junior Champion who started his high performance training at the old All Canadian Academy at York University. He then had a stellar collegiate career playing in the number one position at Arizona State University, before graduating to the Canadian Davis Cup Team.

Written By: Matt Klinger

Hi everyone,

During this time of uncertainty, I think it is best to start by saying that I love you all. 

I am going to tell you a story to put things in perspective, I’m going to share my life.

My father was born in communist Poland during the 50s, came to Canada in ’72 and met my mother in a retail store wearing clogs. He was number 3 in the world in high jump and was the oldest of 8 kids living in a two bedroom apartment, sleeping 3 kids to a bed. His father (my grandfather) died unexpectedly when he was only 9 years old and my grandmother was forced to be a nurse for the Nazis. The way he got out of the country was incredible. The only way people had access to the outside world was through the army or national teams. Because he was on a national team (for high jump) he was allowed to leave to go to Denmark for an event. He was already planning on defecting but wasn’t sure how it would work.  He asked the US embassy if he could come to the states and they said yes……BUT he would have to spend 1 year in isolation in Germany just in case he was a spy.

While he was with his national team in Denmark, while at the airport, he saw his chance. He hid in the bathroom while secret police were looking for him. The Dansih police finally found him scared out of his mind hiding in the airport bathroom. They gave him a bit of money and wished him good luck.

He finally ended up in Canada without knowing how to speak english. Within months he had learned english and was teaching the language to other Polish people in Roncesvalles. He then continued to later get his engineering degree and MBA.

Once I could hold a racquet, it was in my hand all the time. I spent so much time on court with my father, for which I’m so thankful. Although during this uncertain time ACE coaches are not readily available, I encourage all parents to keep the racquet in their children’s hands. I ran into Taylor’s Mom and sister at the grocery store and guess what? They are on the street practicing.

I didn’t want to give a lecture, just a story of perseverance and what we all are capable of.

Stay healthy healthy safe with your loved ones and we look forward to getting back on court soon!

Lots of love,

Matt

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