The Biofile: Eric Butorac
The 18-time doubles champion shares some of his favorite tennis memories in this Biofile with Scoop Malinowski
First Tennis Memory: My father owned a small tennis club in Minnesota. All my early tennis memories are playing at the club, hanging around and causing trouble [smiles].
Tennis Inspirations: Learning from my dad. Learning to fall in love with it. How much passion he had for it. He never pushed me, never said I had to play. But just seeing his love for it and all the smiles he put on people’s faces. That’s what I think made me like [tennis] so much.
Greatest Sports Moment: Finals of Australian Open. Grand Slam finals don’t come around often. When you get to play one of those, it’s pretty special.
Most Painful Moment: Losing in NCAA semi-finals. And I was the last match on the court and I let my team down and we lost 4-3. So that was pretty bad.
Strangest Match: Once in Indian Wells, Rafa hit Feliciano Lopez in the back of the head with a serve, 130 miles an hour, off his head and it went out of the stadium.
Embarrassing Tennis Memory: One was when I was watching at one of my first-ever ATP events. I was looking for a seat. Some people invited me to sit in their luxury box, and I didn’t know who it was. I sat the whole match sitting with Federer’s parents... Basel – his hometown. That was horrible. I didn’t know till the very end [smiles].
Favorite Tournaments: Stockholm and Queens. I like some of the old tennis clubs. You see some of the history, the traditions of the sport. A lot of times we play in real modern venues. It’s nice to see some of the old courts and look up at the posters of Borg and McEnroe and Lendl. Some of these tournaments have been held for 100 years. It’s neat to see.
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: No memory from when I was young. Probably first year on the ATP World Tour, Agassi was finishing up his career. So getting to meet him just before he finished his career was really cool... at Indianapolis.
Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: Basketball.
Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: Hockey – Henrik Lundqvist, goalie for the New York Rangers. Growing up I liked Chris Mullin [NBA shooting guard]… I like how he handles himself off the field, leadership-wise. Russell Wilson [NFL].
Best You Ever Felt On Court: Australian Open is one of my best tournaments. Down there I always feel great. The one year we beat the Bryans. Then the following round we beat Nestor/Zimonjic 2 and 4 on Laver Arena. To beat the top two teams in the world back-to-back, pretty handily, was probably the best I ever felt.
Funniest Players Encountered: It’s pretty serious these days. Everybody is pretty focused. Surprisingly, a lot of people never see the side of him but behind closed doors in the locker room Federer is more of a jokester than anyone would imagine.
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: Bryan Brothers. Every time – nice guys off the court – and on the court they want to rip your head off every time [smiles].