Written by: Pierre Lamarche
***A great occurrence in tennis is the many unbelievable encounters you have. Sometimes decades later a new meeting brings back memories and thoughts about the wonderful [or not so wonderful] moments you lived previously through the sport. The Bear now begins a new series “No Coincidence” which recalls some of these special moments.***
Innsbrooke, Florida – Three days of practice with Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame Member, with Harry Fauquier in Orlando, Viktoriya Kisialeva, the recent winner of both Tennis Canada $9000 holiday events, and I are discussing the possible benefit of the leftie learning to serve with her right hand. The 65 years old coach, back on the road, with his just turned 18 year old player, the maturing Bear suggests that the budding star learns to serve with her right hand (of course, in jest). Being Belarusian, her sense of humor is still developing and she answered “Nobody can play like that”. So I proceeded to tell her the story of Luke Jensen, the American who won the French Open Doubles serving with both hands.
Fast forward to next morning, on court #11 in Innsbrooke, Viktoriya is warming up and I am doing the coach imitation of a ball boy. Two other players from Syracuse University join us to share the court. One of them, starts warming up her serve left handed. The technique will not be used in any “how to” videos. Suddenly, she switches hands and her right handed serve is a beauty. She turns to me for one of her balls and I say: “Does Luke serve better with his right hand or his left?”. Bewildered, she answers correctly “With his left”.
I knew Luke was the Head Coach at Syracuse University, although I had not seen him since the mid 90’s on the tour. We had a laugh and she proceeded to tell me that he was actually coming to the tournament. In the space of 24 hours a story about an ambidextrous grand slam winner became more than a coincidence. Viktoriya ended playing doubles with a player from Syracuse and they reached the semi finals of the $25000 main event. No coincidence.