What do I know about Warren Bosworth? Before 2006, nothing.
Since I started my employment at Tennis Warehouse, I had heard a little bit about him and subsequently read some things. I’d read that he began customizing racquets for tennis pros in 1972. That he worked with racquet manufacturers to help design better racquets for better players. In the process, he realized that racquets rarely came close to the specs they usually had printed on the frame. By no means could he make a player more talented, but what he could do was make sure their talent had the best utilization of consistency with their racquets.
Before his pioneering of racquet customization, when players needed a new racquet or string job, most times the new offering’s specs would be slightly different than the previous, and thus, have to adjust their game to fit the racquet. With Mr. Bosworth, there no longer was a need for the player to adjust their game to the next racquet because the racquet would play identically to the previous.
Each player has different strengths and weaknesses. Mr. Bosworth tinkered with the racquets until they best fit the needs of the player, maximizing their performance and improving consistency, not to mention boosting confidence.
I was fortunate enough to meet Warren Bosworth back in December of 2006. As an employee of Tennis Warehouse, I attended an ITA convention in Miami. Our President and Director of Marketing attended as well and also had a meeting to see Mr. Bosworth at Bosworth International in Boca Raton. He asked me if I’d like to join him. Knowing just a little bit about Bosworth International, as well as having that day free, I accepted his invitation without hesitation. Who am I to pass up an opportunity to not only meet a legend, but get to see the inner workings of a racquet customization shop for the best of the best in tennis? The man who worked with names such as Lendl, Connors, Edberg, Navratilova, Courier, Krickstein, etc.? No way I’d pass that up.
No, this is not the part of the story where I’m going to lie or embellish and tell you that Mr. Bosworth took me under his wing and he and I became good friends, because we didn’t. Heck, I couldn’t say for sure that he’d have even remembered who I was, had I seen him again. What I will tell you is that he was extremely nice and hospitable to someone (me), that was only along for the ride. The couple of hours I spent at his facility and the limited conversation I did get to have with him, I’ll always remember. Not because of his reputation or his renown, but because of the link he had with the greatest players in the world and how they relied on him. I not only got to see the racquets in the shop, but was allowed to visit back rooms that warehoused frames upon frames of great players from the past. What a treat. It was compelling to see many of them in various stages of customization. The intricacies involved blew my mind. The most minor of adjustments that a player like me would never notice were significant difference makers to elite tennis players. I mean, come on, how many people get to see such things! I couldn’t help but revisit my childhood years as I wandered by so many players’ racquets.
Nostalgia can be a powerful thing. The players that counted on him for the precision of their racquets were players that I tried to emulate when I was young. Not in a serious manner, mind you, but in a flattering, “I want to play like you, because you’re the best” kind of way. “You came to net and I hit at you, because that’s what Lendl did to McEnroe.” Or, “Did you see the ‘Edberg volley’ I just hit?”. Or, “Was that an open stance inside out forehand for a winner?”, “Yeah, that’s my Jim Courier”. Did these shots look a lot like the pros they were supposed to look like? In reality, not even close. But they were perfect imitations in my mind. And that’s what it was all about. Being in the shoes of the best in the world, one shot at a time. Just like them.
Thank you Mr. Bosworth. Thank you for allowing me to take that wonderful trip, back to some great childhood memories.
Rest in Peace.