Firstly , an apology, to a player from Argentina named Christian Segni. Last October i wrote a post on this site and i referred to Christian as 'Guillermo' , however i can be excused for this. Guillermo is one of those Argentinian names that is not unlike John or Bill in Australia so i possibly may have just assumed this guy's first name was Guillermo , anyhow back to the story. I made reference to this guy Segni in a chapter from my memory of Saumur , a beautiful French City and where Peter , Brett and myself played our first European Tournament in 1991. The tennis centre at Saumur was magnificent , from memory 16 indoor clay courts , all under lights and all in brilliant condition, a real eye opener for us Aussies.
After a day of practice we sat back and watched the International players train , there were some brilliant tennis players entered in the Saumur Tournament , from all around Europe, us Aussies were a little out of place. We tried to fit in with some occasional 'pigeon English' but we were always caught short when it came to having a conversation with a French player. 'Ok mate we will have to leave it there'...... or words to that effect anyhow.
I still vividly remember watching this guy who is in fact named Christian ,( not Guillermo) Segni both in practice and in his first round match , he was entertainment plus. Christian had one of those forehands that you would give anything to have had footage of , so you could show your pupils back home , it was in a word , brilliant. It was lethal , it had spin , depth , power and consistency all rolled into one magnificent shot that had his opponents scrambling to not only run it down but to try and get back in court to his backhand , which wasn't that strong. He hit slice from that side, a good slice , not unlike the many European clay courters , steady, reliable but not brilliant by any means , not like the Fed's backhand slice that could set a point up .
The first round match that Segni played in Saumur was a challenge for him , there weren't any easy matches (even i took my German opponent to 3 sets first round) so we got to see plenty of Christian's forehands. The Argentine also had a funny habit , he would look to the stands after each point that he won , up at his mates who were cheering him on , he was after some acknowledgement , he certainly received it, and he deserved it. Of all the players i watched in Europe on that 1991 tour Christian Segni stood out from the rest as his play was exhilarating and he was fit, he had to be to keep running around his backhand to hit that magnificent forehand . I often wondered how Christian went with his tennis , i just looked him up on the net.
He in fact recently reached World Number 1 for his age group 40's , not surprisingly either if he's still hitting that forehand like he did in 91, a world class shot from a guy who i admired greatly.
Christian Segni is a typical example of a player who didn't quite make it as a Professional but still had the desire to get to the top in his sport , just like my buddy and Touring partner Brett Patten did , reaching the pinnacle in the world for his age recently.
I also wondered how he did in that first tournament we saw him play , if he didn't win it i would be surprised , it would've taken a great player to beat him.
Christian , if ever you read this firstly i apologize for calling you Guillermo and secondly thank you for leaving such an impression on both myself and my Aussie mates all those years ago in Saumur , France .Well done on reaching World Number 1 for your age and keep hitting those forehands like you did in 1991, absolutely inspirational.........