I’ve always felt a connection with Owen Wilson. We were both born in Dallas and went to school at The University of Texas at Austin. Midnight in Paris will forever be one of my favorite films. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Wilson’s name on the roster for the 2nd annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic at SMU this past Saturday. I grew up playing USTA junior tournaments in Texas, and then I played on the competitive club team in college, so I take my tennis pretty seriously. I was very curious to see if Wilson would be any good during the pro-am round robin.
For his first doubles match, he came out onto the court wearing a trucker hat and popped collar. I also noticed that he was a lefty, a dangerous asset if not identified quickly in a match. He initially seemed a little out of his element competing against Donald Young, a current professional American tennis player. But despite his initial awkwardness, he hit some good shots during the first match. His strengths included his lefty forehand and consistent serves. He hit an impressive down-the-line forehand winner on Young, which had the audience cheering. Wilson had a calm and collected attitude through his matches, unlike Nowitzki who would jokingly yell and drop his racquet when he missed a shot. The only time I saw Wilson drop his racquet was out of exhaustion after a really long point that he had won.
After the first round robin, Wilson and Nowitzki switched partners. This time, Wilson was playing with Kseniya Bardabush, a former UNT player. His confidence seemed to increase as he started poaching and going for more shots with the assistance of his partner, who also happens to be the face of the 2017 Fila collection. After some entertaining trash talk between Wilson and Nowitzki, Wilson and Bardabush emerged victorious.
There were a lot of other players that were fun to watch. As always, I loved watching Andy Roddick hit his giant serve. I was thoroughly impressed with Mike Modano’s skill level and smooth form. And Nowitzki’s energetic personality and love for tennis made the day, even if he couldn’t manage to beat Young and his amateur partner, Justin Whitman, who ended up winning the tournament. To make it an even more special event, all of the proceeds will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. I will definitely be back next year, and I hope to see Wilson play again. If I had a corporate sponsor, I’d sign up to play with him. Any takers?