Pro Puts Harvard on the Circuit
Tim Mayotte, the hometown favorite from Springfield, Mass has seen it all Wimbledon, the U.S. Italian and French Opens are all too familiar, just as the serves of Jimmy Connors. John McEnroe, and Vitas Gerulaitis are.
While Hawan may be the tennis star's favorite place to play and Paris his favorite city to sightsee, the relaxing setting of Harvard's own Palmer Dixon courts is the local hero's secret hideaway.
Although he calls Largo, Florida, home, Mayotte makes occasional trips to Boston to visit family members. He uses those breaks as a time to take it easy. In addition to training, he spends his time "regrouping his thoughts," reflecting on past tournaments and getting mentally and physically prepared for upcoming events. Time off also gives Mayotte a chance to work out with Harvard's nationally-ranked tennis squad.
Despite his common Adidas tennis sneakers and maroon warm-ups: Mayotte stands out from the Harvard team members. At a lanky 6-ft., 4-in, he is unmistakably tennis. A self-admitted serve and vollyer, his long arms and legs promise power and agility--two facets of his ever-improving game.
Presently ranked 25th on the professional circuit, after less than two full years. Mayotte has scored wins over such top-ranked players as Jimmy Conners, Gene Mayer, and Vitas Gerulaitis.
Last year, Mayotte made it as far as the semis at Wimbledon, his best performance to date. Despite torrential rains, a transit strike and a hectic schedule which forced him to play every day of the tourney's week. Mayotte made history in London last year, becoming one of the four players--a group that includes the likes of McEnroe. Borg, and Conners--to make it to the Wimbledon semis by age 21 McEnroe ended Mayotte's championship hopes last year, but not his spirits. The Springfield native returns to London next month to try again.
Now 22, Mayotte, the youngest of eight tennis-minded children, can still remimsce about high school trench classes and complain about his old parochial school uniforms: Despite his age. Mayotte is firmly committed to the game. His rigorous travel schedule and the necessary mental preparation have undoubtedly forced him to make certain sacrificed.
He admits that a high ranking can lead to an "isolated lifestyle" where players must be come more "individualized," travelling from city to city with only then coach.
Mayotte says he's sacrificed his stability but doesn't regret quitting college and turning pro. He immediately quips that he's not sure anyone "has a stable life."
The sandy-haired pro sports a Stanford ring on his left hand, a reminder of his three-year stint there where he majored in European History. Although he played both baseball and basketball in high school, Mayotte always though he'd have a professional tennis career. His decision to quit Stanford has turned out to be profitable. Last year Mayotte earned $130,000 in prize money on the tour and reaped an additional income from his contracts with Rossignol, Peugeot, and Adidas.
"I just feel as if I want to play for a while and just try to get as good as I can, and then take it one step at a time after that," Mayotte said. For Mayotte, whose present goal is to achieve top-10-glory, time and a determined commitment are on his side.
A close friend of the Crimson's top seeded Howard Sands. Mayotte has spent several days in recent weeks working out with the Crimson squad. He has used his tennis prowess to prepare Sands and the rest of the Harvard squad for their recent matches against powerhouses like Yale. Princeton, and Clemson.
Mayotte finds little difference between Stanford and Harvard, although he finds the New Englanders a bit more stereotypically Ivy League. While the Stanford tennis program is probably the finest in the country, producing such players as top-ranked Mclinroe. Mayotte feels that the Harvard program is up to par. Mayotte has even recently adopted Harvard's innovative exercise program, which he supplements with his own weight program.