Tennis superstar Xavier Malissa was in Manchester this week.
The former Wimbledon semifinalist retired back in 2013 after fifteen years on the ATP circuit reaching 19th in the world rankings and won three ATP titles, including two at the Delray Beach Open.
About Manchester spoke to him
Xavier was in Boodles jewellers in King Street launching this year’s Boodles Tennis at the Mere where he also announced that former Wimbledon Champions Kim Clijsters and Marion Bartoli will be taking part in Boodles Tennis 2017, set in the beautiful grounds of The Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Knutsford.
This is the third year that he has been involved in the event, he had earlier that day played tennis with some of the children at the Seashell Trust, a national charity based in Cheadle, supporting children and young adults with learning difficulties across the UK.
“It’s a very social event says Xavier, “you get to mingle with the people and everybody stays up late” he adds.
Xavier has been off the professional tennis circuit for three years now, he keeps his fitness playing in events like that at the Mere, playing in some club events, doing a bit of TV commentary and is currently coaching his younger compatriot Kimmer Coppejans ranked currently the 179th-ranked player on the ATP Rankings list.
He is complimentary about the state of British tennis, enjoy it while you can he says with us having number One’s in both singles and doubles with the Murray brothers and new people will come along on the back of the success.
As for his own career, his first title at Del Ray Beach springs to mind, along with his Wimbledon semi final when he lost in five sets to the runner up David Nalbandian as well as winning the doubles at the French Open as well as his epic five set loss in the US Open to Andre Agassi in the fourth round of the French Open.
And what advice does he have for any youngsters who want to get on in the game? “Simple” he says, “they have just gotta have fun…”There is too much pressure even if it’s parents pushing them….If you don’t enjoy it, it becomes very tough”
Boodles Tennis Tournament runs from the 21st-23rd June
Speaking after the launch event, tournament Director Vicky Collins thanked main sponsor Boodles as well as new sponsor for 2017 private bank Brown Shipley, Oman Air and Manchester Airport.
She said: “We are more excited than ever for this year’s Boodles Tennis at the Mere – and I think the launch party demonstrated that.
“It was great to see everyone together just weeks ahead of the main event.”
She added: “There’s so much to look forward to this year. For the first time, we will hold a ‘true ladies day’ as Kim Clijsters and Marion Bartoli will feature at the Mere.