Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Benoit Benaibbouche: Jouer au Tennis, Anyone?

       Although he hails from the land of Lacoste, Gael Monfils, Marion Bartoli, Nicolas Mahut, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Benoit Benaibbouche didn’t take up tennis until he moved to the United States--land of Fish, Roddick, Isner and Williams. He says he loves Tennis-Miami for a number of reasons: 
       “I like the competition, and meeting players. Even in a match you never know what to expect. The excitement is playing people you never met before. That makes it interesting. And why else?

       “I love the league. It’s very well organized, and I have never had a bad experience . Everyone is fair, honest and respectful. ”

      Benoit learned about the league when he went online to the West Side Tennis Miami partner program. He contacted Steve, who suggested playing in the league. It’s clear that Tennis Miami has netted a pretty good player. He’s an Advanced 4.0 player who’s on a tennis court an average of 3-4 times a week. 
      Moreover, many matches, only one isn’t really a positive memory—a match that was almost a win-- but wasn’t.
       “I was playing against a player with 25 wins, and wasn’t even expecting to win. But I did get close. I won the first set; he won the second set. In the third set, we called it quits because it was too hot. (Remember--this was summer in Florida.) We played the third set another day. I was happy; I had a great match. On that night, we played another match right away; but I lost again. He was very honest to tell me that I was one of his toughest wins.” Seems like that last part makes for a good memory, non?
       Benoit has one solid league rivalry. “I have one guy, Robert Duran, I play with a lot, since we both have time during the day. We have similar games, so it’s always a lot of fun. He has a 4-3 record against me. And we have never finished a match in 2 sets. We always go to a third.”

Tell us something about yourself:

• When did you start playing tennis? “Three years ago I started playing intently. I always liked tennis.”

• What brought you to the United States?
       I came to Miami from Paris when I was transferred by Omega Watches. I am a sales manager. • Do you have a family? “I have a wife and a child.” In fact, Benoit has had a hidden motive for encouraging his family to play tennis. “I got them to play tennis to justify all my time.” (Hah hah!) His wife has been playing regularly for six months and takes lessons. “I taught my son to play tennis, age 6. We play together and hit balls.”
       The photos of Benoit shown here were taken last spring at a benefit tournament organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce. “It was for a good cause…all the profits went to a charity association to help an Italian family with money for school.” Although it was filled up, “they said to come over on Saturday, when, sure enough, there were two no-shows. Doubles teams were grouped and there were a lot of day matches. We got to the final and the ‘prize’ was to play on central court at the Key Biscayne Crandon Park Tennis Center—just a month after the Sony Ericsson tournament....what a joy!”
       OK, for those tennis players who miss a lot of shots and have to run around corralling tennis balls, here’s the best part: “We even had ball boys to pick up our balls--the guys we beat in the semifinals. We felt like pros! (And he looks like one in these photos, doesn’t he?)

Benoit is apparently an inspired competitor. “I’m going to apply to the November Tennis League Network national tournament. I believe I was in the playoffs last spring, so hope I can play in it.” Why not? He’s an avid Tennis-Miami promoter.
       “It’s a great league. I try to get as many guys as I can. I especially like the player of the year incentive. The more people you refer, the more points you get. I suggest that we also get more points by playing, and that playoff players should get additional points. Getting points to be in a playoff is great incentive, along with a Tennis Warehouse gift certificate.

“It’s very well organized. I have referred 3 guys and wish I could refer more.”

      That says it all, doesn’t it?

http://Tennis-Miami.com    Miami / Dade County Tennis League