Sixteen and Training Again . . . with Christer Johansson
The year was 1976, I was 16, and I'd just finished a week of hard training at the Monty Merchant Christmas Training Camp. On the last day I got a surprise – Monty had been so impressed with my skills that he'd arranged for Christer Johansson, the great Swedish coach, to fly to the U.S. to take personal charge of my training.
The preceding never happened – or did it? Let me tell the story in order.
I'm in my room, shadow-practicing my forehand, when Monty and Christer walk in. Monty introduces us, then Christer takes charge. Tells me I need to focus on looping from both sides. On the forehand, I was both hitting and looping; he assures me that the future is looping, and to focus on that.
But then we get to my backhand. "You must loop your backhand," he says. He guides me through the stroke as he wants me to do it, and I begin to shadow practice it.
"It's easy to do in practice," I vividly remember telling him, "but hard to do it in games."
"But you must do it in games," he says. We're still in...