40 LOVE Tribute: Rene Simpson
Published December 03, 2013 12:02
The WTA lost a dear friend and legend in October, as Rene Simpson passed away after a year-long battle with brain cancer. The Canadian left behind memories for everyone on and around the tour.
In April of this year, Simpson let her warm personality shine during an interview with The Legend, the newsletter of the WTA Alumnae & Friends Program. In that interview she talked about everything from her favorite things about the tour to her toughest competitors and her thoughts on today's game.
Here is some of that interview.
My tennis hero is... "Billie Jean King. She was the first name I associated with being a professional tennis player. Also Jimmy Connors, for being a left-handed grinder."
My strengths and weaknesses were... "I was a fighter, mentally tough, a grinder who never gave up. My weakness was that I didn't have a weapon - I couldn't put the ball away, but I could run one down."
My finest moment on the court was... "Two part answer. Barcelona Olympics was very special on court, while my biggest win was against Karina Habsudova when she was ranked No.11 in the world."
My toughest opponent was... "Steffi Graf. I played her four times in singles, three times in doubles. Considering my ranking, it was bad luck I had to play her that many times. That forehand was unreal."
My favorite tournament was... "French Open. Favorite surface, loved Paris - I felt comfortable there."
For me, the best player ever is... "Steffi. She had an amazing combination of power, speed and mental toughness, and she was one of the classiest players ever to play the game."
My fantasy match would be against... "Martina Navratilova. I was very fortunate to play a lot of the greats, but I never got to play her. It would've been nice to see my name next to hers for a match."
When I look at the sport now, I feel... "More players can make a living now with sponsorship and prize money increases. The game is financially in better shape for all involved. The game is at a different level of power and speed and the support for and of the players by the WTA is great to see."
The current player I most like to watch is... "Aga Radwanska. She doesn't have the weapons that some of the top players have, so I appreciate how she has to play the game."
Since stepping away from the tour, I've been keeping busy with... "I was Fed Cup captain for Canada for 10 years until 2010. I moved to Chicago eight years ago with my husband and while still playing tennis, I have been very active in golf over the last three years."
My proudest achievement away from tennis is... "My whole life from 1971 to 2010 was about tennis, be it as a player, a coach or a captain. Only recently have I really started thinking outside of tennis.
"My life at home gives me my biggest smile."
Tennis gave me... "Everything. An education, a career, a husband and great friends. Combine that with a sense of confidence and a healthy lifestyle, and not a lot of other things can do that."
Words to live by... you will be missed Rene.
"Rene was a truly special person who touched the lives of so many in such a positive way," Stacey Allaster, the Chairman & CEO of the WTA, said on October 17, 2013. "A great champion on and off the court, she was an inspiration to generations of young Canadian girls who loved the sport of tennis and the competition like she did. Rene loved to win and she was incredibly proud of representing Canada on the WTA's world stage, and although she enjoyed a lot of success on the court her greatest accomplishment was living a full life and living the life she wanted to live. Today we are deeply saddened to lose our friend. And although our WTA star has lost her fierce battle with cancer, her competitive, independent spirit will inspire us and our memories of Rene will continue to shine brightly."