This week we’re talking about Rick’s Most Memorable Moment on the Court in part three of our podcast series with legendary coach Rick Macci.
- The most exciting tennis match Rick had ever watched
- What he thought about the King Richard movie
- His most memorable moment on the court as a player and coach
Rick Macci has trained and worked with Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati, and many more! Five of his players have reached number one in the world and he has coached eight Grand Slam Champions. His junior players have won 322 USTA National Championships and currently over 60 WTA and ATP players work with Rick regularly.
Rick is extremely charismatic and we enjoyed talking to him about his Most Memorable Moment on the Court (part three).
If you haven’t heard our first conversation with Rick, listen here.
You can contact Rick at email@example.com or learn more about programs on his website here.
Here’s a complete transcript with Rick:
Carolyn Roach: 0:06
Hi, this is Carolyn and I’m here with Erin, and this is part 3 of our conversation with Hall of Fame tennis coach Rick Macy. He has coached some of the best tennis players in the world, including Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriotti and so many more. If you’d like to hear his tennis tips and mental tips for adult recreational players, please check out parts 1 and 2, but here’s part 3.
Erin Conigliaro: 0:31
Let me ask another question. Since you’ve watched thousands of tennis matches, is there one that stands out as the most exciting?
Rick Macci: 0:38
Great question, easy answer October 31, 1994, just the other day, when I took that tall, skinny girl from Compton, california, to make her debut. You got to remember three and a half years training. She never want to match. She always put playboys or hitting partners. She never want to match. And now we’re making this debut. I didn’t know if she was going to freak out. I didn’t know if she was going to get beat 0-1-0. I just knew that people would see this girl, 5’10”, that ran like the wind. She was like a little gazelle, a lot of open stance, serving 110 miles an hour as a 14-year-old, and they would go, whoa, there’s something in the oven here that’s going to be good in the future. But I didn’t know what was going to happen that night. So when I watched that match against Sean Stafford, richard wouldn’t with me. I don’t know where he went and Venus won that match and it’s all over YouTube. And she came up to the net and had that smile from ear to ear and those beads flopping up and down. She’s like a human pogo stick. She’s jumping up and down and that’s just. That’s with me forever, that match. Because you got to understand. Three and a half years, six hours a day, five, six days a week, putting up with Richard. I should be in the Hall of Fame just for putting up with that guy. And then you go to this pinnacle and it happens, forget if she won, even if it was close or it didn’t even matter. But then she won and then, so that was, that will never change. Nothing could change that a grand slam or whatever, just because I was such a part of it and you’re just building for that moment. And then she almost beat Sanchez the next night and then, eight months later, she gets a $12 million contract from Reebok. So you got to understand that match is by far the leader in the clubhouse. And I told Venus at the after party at the red carpet about jumping up and down. She goes, rick, at 42, I’m still jumping up and down all the time, but just to see that because we were like she was like Moan Daughter, so was Serena, they were like Moan Daughters. You got to say like we’re like that. And when that happens and you just you see that happen after not playing at all and what was on the line, that matches the best of all time.
Carolyn Roach: 3:14
That’s great. That is great. That is great. Yeah, was it weird at all to see yourself in a movie? I would think that would be so strange. What was your reaction to that?
Rick Macci: 3:26
I’m kind of like naive and I didn’t know the magnitude. Well, first off, I didn’t know exactly how the movie was going to be told, so I didn’t know if they were going to tell how it really happened, or like Tompton to center court, and when they told, you know how much I cared and the bond we had and the risk I took, I mean that just was amazing, because that’s the true story. But to answer your question, I asked my daughter who’s right here next to me? I said listen, am I that like wired and fired up all the time she goes? Dad, yes, you are all the time Like. My name is Richard Allen Macy. She called me Richard Alien Macy. I just do things a little bit different, but all from the goodness of my heart. But the movie was spot on. You know, once I saw it like three or four times, I kept saying more. The only thing that was wrong John Berndtahl had this mustache and it was very bushy. I had this little piece of astroturbe that took me 30 years to grow, so the mustache was way off. But he kind of had the talk, the walk, the nuances, but it showed that I was just all in and I told John, we talked many times and he talked to me for and he read the book. I mean, he did an amazing job. And Will Smith with Richard I told Will at the after that was crazy. I’m just telling you he was better than Richard. You have no, because no one had a better front row seat than me other than we’re seeing the white. I was laughing the first time I saw the movie. I’m going this is freaking me out. But it wasn’t weird to see it because it’s exactly what happened. Now, if it wasn’t kind of what happened, then maybe I’d have felt different. But because there was just so much like family and love and the journey and how it really happened and how Venus and I were and stuff like that and how Richard was, it was that’s what I think. That’s what made it more enjoyable. But to see myself not that much because I see myself in other situations video and some TV, but it was a little bit different. But I didn’t ever look at like that. I just watched the movie and when I got back on the court said I gotta get better.
Carolyn Roach: 5:37
So that’s me, can you tell us your most memorable moment on the court, both as a player and as a coach?
Rick Macci: 5:44
Yeah, the best moment on the court would probably be cause I used to play. I was actually. I picked up a racket. This is crazy story. I picked up a racket at 12 years old. I grew up in a small town, greenville, ohio, 10,000 people 20 miles Southwest of Dayton, ohio. My father passed away when I was 10. So it was just me, my mom and my sister. I used to play golf. I was a four handicap. How crazy is that? At age 11? I thought it’s gonna be a pro. No, I was like I was like the arrow, I could hit that ball like that. And now if I ever played, I’d be the sparrow, it’d be going everywhere. So I picked up a racket at 12, by 18. I was number one in Ohio Valley. No lessons.
Erin Conigliaro: 6:26
I’m crazy that, Wow, it’s crazy. I got to be pretty good.
Rick Macci: 6:29
I was like one of the best Ohio, one of the best. I was in New Jersey for a year. I was number one in the men’s division Probably the best moment I ever had, when I got to play the Dayton Pro Classic. I got to play the qualifying with all the big guns here I am no lessons and I got an opportunity to play in something like that and I just I kind of made myself that would probably be the best. I have so many tournaments I played that were well, I got to tell this story now that you asked me. It was Willingboro, new Jersey. I tell this to the kids all the time Okay, it was 4th of July and it was Willingsboro, new Jersey, I think the finals of a $1,000 prize money tournament. And right when the match was starting it was at a city facility and the road was right behind the tennis court. It was like Main Street and there was like cheerleaders and floats and motorcycles and fireworks. It was insanity. For like an hour and a half you can’t even hear. You couldn’t hear the ball. It was crazy. So we started the match and me and the guy we played were like even we’re like pretty close. I played him before it was like 6th, 4th and 1, 3rd. I won. I had to get that in there, so, but we were even. So now we’re playing okay, and it’s out of control the noise and everything. I win 6-0, 6-1, 40 minutes. Listen to this. The guy breaks a couple of rackets. He throws the water jug over the fence. He’s going crazy like Joe Psycho. I don’t remember the guy’s name. The newspaper Willingboro Gazette interviewed him. What do you think of the tournament? This tournament’s terrible. They should have canceled. They should have waited until 11 to start to match. This parade is a joke. It’s out of control, it was just insane. So then they come to me and they say what do you think about the match and what about the parade? So on and so forth. And I go what parade, see? I flipped it in my mind. I love cheerleaders, I love the float, I love the motorcycles, I love the noise. It became my best friend and before I knew it, the match was over and I gave Madonna a breadstick. So that’s a great story, so accurate, and I tell that to the kids all the time. How it is, what it is Now. What are you gonna do? See, you asked me that earlier about reacting to the problem and mind control flipped it and that day, for whatever reason, and the more he got upset, the more I love the cheerleaders and I love the motorcycles and it was amazing. So that’s a great story.
Carolyn Roach: 9:08
And the other question was oh, as a coach, what’s your most memorable moment?
Rick Macci: 9:13
I don’t like to single anything out because obviously the Venus moment Trump sent everything I’ve had so many. But it’d probably be 1988 when I took Jennifer Capriotti to the hard court nationals Me and Stefano, who’s no longer alive took her there as a 12-year-old. She’s playing the 18 and under. I mean, that itself is crazy. People have drivers license, boyfriend and she’s that little pipsqueak. Okay, and I got her to play near the baseline, take the ball early. She used to hit side spin like Chris Everett changed that Water served. She was like the ball was on a string. Rack it back in the parking lot. She had the best technique or fundamentals I’ve had to this day. I mean, she was like amazing balance. She could hit ground strokes with a cup of water on her head and both shoulders and not spill it. She was a wizard. Anyways, jennifer won that tournament. Okay, and right then and there I knew, like you know, it’s coming next endorsements like through the roof she comes off that court right up into the crowd and gives me the biggest hug ever.
Carolyn Roach: 10:21
Oh, that’s great. That’s a great memory and a great story.
Rick Macci: 10:25
No, it’s like so. I’ve never even said that to anybody because it’s more of the Venus, because that was like unreal. But Jennifer that was in, she’s like one of my all time favorites and still talk to the mom now and then. But she’s like, she’s amazing, she’s a wizard. I’m never saying like it. Listen, I’ve had more than anybody in the world. Unbelievable. Think about it 12 years old doing that.
Erin Conigliaro: 10:47
Yeah, you’ve had a lot of families. Like you know, like I know, you have your own family, but you’ve had a lot of extended families. I mean, what a amazing legacy. And you know, I know it’s the coaching and it’s the being with them through the mental and everything else, but I just think you’ve made such an impression on so many people. It’s amazing.
Rick Macci: 11:05
Yeah, you know. I’m glad you asked that because one of the things that happens now I coach a lot of the kids of the parents who I coach them, you know, like Christian Rood. You know Casper, you know I coach Christian. He was Norway’s number one player when he was like 17 and he became the best player. Now his son took his place. You know I met up with him at the Miami Open and watched him play Alcares in the finals. But they all come back. Everybody that I talk to it’s not about you help my serve or forehand or backhand or strategy. You know I did that. It’s like the work ethic and the attitude and a winner finds a way and a loser makes excuses. It’s, but I didn’t try to do that with them, but they passed that down to their children and they put it in at a young age and if the kid buys in then it’s like a game changer and that’s what Casper Rood. He actually told that story after winning four clay tournaments in a row, out of nowhere. He started talking about Rick Macy and I never met Casper and he said my dad told me he went to academy and he said winners find a way, losers make excuses and I always remember that I don’t have time to get tired. I don’t make excuses. I don’t live my life Now to get the kid to buy into that, especially in today’s world. That’s amazing parenting, if you can get the kid to think like that. But no, that’s what makes me feel the best. Whether a doctor or lawyer or whatever they do, they all say the same thing. It’s all more about life lessons. I’m probably more a life coach. As a tennis coach, it’s just that I’m showing them how to hit a tennis ball.
Erin Conigliaro: 12:42
Yeah, well, that’s the mental side and I mean that’s what you’re teaching is a lot of. I mean, we even know this as rec players. A lot of us have that. We have the same skill level. We’re ranked. You know we’re very low ranked, but like we all play, within our correct level. But it’s you know, the ones that win are usually the almost always the ones that are more mentally strong, almost always.
Rick Macci: 13:05
And it’s what’s underneath. But for them to come back and that’s what they tell me they don’t talk about the tennis part as much other than it’s a great time, one of the best times of my life. That’s obvious. That’s going to happen Because I create an environment like I did for Venus and Serena. Even the Rick Macy Academy is so positive. If you go on the website, there’s motivational signs everywhere. You just see things that inspire you, things like Disneyland and Candyland. But I tell people it’s a land of opportunity for all ages and levels. What we do, you know, and so, but the people, they feel that and you know. When you can inspire people, maybe you can make a little difference and, as we all know, a little difference means a lot.
Carolyn Roach: 13:52
We can’t thank Rick enough for coming on the podcast. We have one more episode with Rick where he discusses some of the biomechanics of tennis, and we even told Rick some of our problems. If you’d like to contact Rick Macy for a lesson or maybe a lesson for your kids, we’ve included his contact information or show notes and we think that would be such an incredible experience. We hope you check out our website, which is SecondServePodcastcom. Thanks so much for listening and hope to see you on the courts soon.