Mansour Bahrami…The entertainer
From an early age he worked as a ball boy within a sports complex in Tehran, Iran. He observed many of the best Iranian tennis players in action but he was never allowed to play. Eventually he snuck onto one of the courts but his first racquet was destroyed by an outraged armed guard who also beat him badly for his misdemeanour. He resorted to learning the game through the use of his hands or frying pans or broom handles. Bahrami has often commented that his outrageous shot making ability resulted from mastering tennis using such unusual implements.
The time came when the Iranian team was short of players and Bahrami was finally permitted to play the game on a tennis court. His talent was obvious and he reached the Davis Cup team (and helped the team to victory at the age of just sixteen) but in the late 1970s the Islamic Revolution within Iran led to tennis being viewed as a capitalist and elitist sport. He spent the next three years playing backgammon as all tennis courts were closed down. In desperation he fled to France with his life savings, soon gambling these away in a casino. A number of friends supported him financially as he began to play a few tournaments within France.
While his best days were behind him and he never maximized his potential in singles, he became a successful doubles player who even reached the French Open doubles final in 1989 in partnership with Eric Winogradsky. His weakness and indeed his strength was an inescapable thirst for providing a crowd with a show. He often lost in the early rounds of singles tournaments due to his tendency to play trick shots from the off or when he was bored with winning too easily. He was able to play more seriously in doubles where he felt that he could not be seen to be letting his partner down.
Text : Wikipedia, Video : YouTube