By Justin Cohen
While tennis pros are enduring a brutal summer schedule between Wimbledon, the Olympics, major events in Canada and Cincinnati and the US Open, the hardest working man in tennis this summer may be former world No. 1 Mats Wilander.
Wilander has conducted a cavalcade of his popular “Wilander on Wheels” tennis clinics across the country this summer, recently finishing up stops in the Midwest en route to the East Coast.
Wilander, the former world No. 1 from Sweden and a three-time French and Australian Open champion, travels year-round in a Winnebago with business partner Cameron Lickle and conducts fast-paced one-and-a-half hour clinics to tennis enthusiasts eager to play with a Tennis Hall of Famer, who also won the 1988 US Open. Lickle was the captain of the United States Naval Academy tennis team in 2002 and 2003.
“We are just giving back to the game that has given us a lot of enjoyment. A game that has taught me and Cameron a lot about life in general,” said Wilander, in an interview with WorldTennisMagazine.com on July 29 at a Cincinnati-area clinic. “We are fortunate that we love the game that much, that we are supposed to do this. We want to give back to the game that has given us our life.”
Wilander on Wheels, or “WOW” as it is known, has previously conducted tennis clinics in areas including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Texas and Vermont. According to Lickle, “Wilander on Wheels” turns into “Wilander on Wings” when the clinics make stops in Melbourne, Paris and London coinciding with the first three Grand Slam tournaments of the year.
Allowing Wilander and Lickle to provide one-on-one instruction, each clinic can have a maximum of eight players, four per court. Each tennis experience costs $250 per person and includes personalized on court critiquing and coaching from Wilander and Lickle, fast-paced drills, an autograph session and a lunch or dinner following the tennis clinic. WOW is a revolutionary tennis experience that brings the fantasy of hitting with Wilander to your local club.
“What motivated us to put on these clinics is to see the country from the road instead of the air. Get a little camping done. It motivates us because we enjoy teaching. The reward is people having a great time,” Wilander said. “Nothing like having people around you laughing and smiling and you can really tell they are genuinely enjoying themselves. Every time we leave a club, we think, ‘wow,’ that was really good!”
When not traveling the globe with Lickle and photographer Tim Brown, Wilander is a commentator for EuroSport for three of the four Grand Slams and competes on the ATP Champions Tour and Power Shares Series Tennis Tour. Wilander currently lives in Hailey, Idaho with his wife and four children.