The intelligence of Professional Tennis Players has always been thrown up as far as questions go in relation to how they go about their day to day business on court. A player of Roger Federer's intelligence has never been questioned because quite frankly he is a genius.
This isn't just confined to a tennis court, he speaks no fewer than five languages.
His post match interviews are also legendary, some are hilarious. I recall a Journalist once asking him was he excited about a certain situation that unfortunately eludes me at the moment, but I remember the answer. "I am so excited I have trouble living with myself". The thing with Roger is that he says things with a straight face a lot of the time, he is sharp witted and never stuck for an answer.
My earliest memories of watching tennis were guys like Borg, McEnroe, Connors and Geruilatis but post match interviews were not often seen, no You Tube back then. So you had to just work out what sort of human beings they were through their play and mannerisms.
Trying to work out Borg wasn't easy as he had the same look on his face at one all in the first as he did at four all in the fifth. And what about when the Swedish Champion missed a shot ? Where was the frustration? Was this guy actually human after all ? In reference to that a fellow Pro did actually once say "They should send Borg to another planet. We play tennis, he plays something else".
Unfortunately we never really saw Borg much when he retired as unlike many he did not feel the urge to become a tennis commentator or analyst. A shame, he would perhaps have been brilliant as his play was so clever.
Mac was pretty easy to work out on court, a man striving for perfection on every shot, every point and when he didn't receive the desired result well Jonny misbehaved badly. His abuse of officials also was legendary, so much so that I once saw on You Tube 'Mac's Top Ten Arguments', worth a look and a few laughs.
The difference back then however to now with Mac is that there is an intelligence from him when commentating matches that is nothing short of brilliant. His brother is the same, well spoken and quick to offer analysis on what is happening in a match. I remember John once saying that a certain type of passing shot was 'the shot of the 90's'. From memory it was a Michael Chang high looping ball that made the opposition not only stretch wide but at an uncomfortable height also.
Many commentators would simply accept it as a 'great shot' but Mac saw the difference in styles over the years transforming in front of him and pointed it out. I love listening to Mac, tennis genius.
I have never heard Connors commentate but I have seen some funny things from him, an entertainer and one of the most fierce competitors ever to play tennis. His book is a great read, he is intelligent enough to be a great commentator I have no doubt.
I was fortunate enough to see Gerulaitis do some interviewing and commentary after he retired, an intelligent man with a good working relationship with the new generation. In fact I once saw him interview an 18 year old Andre Agassi, entertaining, one of his last before his passing.
My favourite player Mats Wilander is not only a brilliant tennis commentator and analyst of the game but a very clever tennis coach. He has not only spent time with players such as Marat Safin but now takes his coaching to tennis resorts around the US. I have seen many of the sessions he does as they are uploaded on You Tube regularly and his take on the game is brilliant.
If you look however at all of the above mentioned players they are all so different in their personalities, on and off court as were their styles. Mac had possibly the greatest net game of all time, Borg just came in to shake hands whereas Wilander had a mix of base line play as well as a regular net advance behind good approaches. And Federer, well the Fed's game as we all know is so complete it is almost ridiculously perfect.
Off court though they all are so outrageously clever in their assessment of tennis that it is a joy to hear them talk about it. Sometimes, whether it be a past or present champion you just wonder where on earth their intelligence for the game comes from. Were they born with it or did they study it ?
I don't believe there are many 'dumb' tennis players, not back then, not now, it is too complex a sport to harbor 'imbeciles'. That now is confined to the teaching of the sport. It doesn't matter what level of play it is, 'coaches' of tennis are simply 'cannon fodder' for intelligent tennis players. To simplify that statement, a good player will see through a not so intelligent 'coach'.
"Hey Coach I am moving on, things aren't really working out ". A polite way of saying "You are an imbecile who knows very little".
The IQ of a Professional Tennis Player should never be questioned but some simply have a higher one than others. That's why some, such as the Swiss genius can afford to build mansions overlooking the lake that take a 'poultry' $6.5 Mil out of the never ending bank account. If you are clever enough to be his coach like Mr Edberg well you may receive a tidy cut from the earnings.
And speaking of Stefan Edberg, now there's a man who knows how to make $$$. A brilliant tennis player turned Businessman who owns a Stockbroking Firm in Sweden who now helps out the greatest player there perhaps has ever been. Some are blessed with intelligence in Tennis and life........