Here are some “bests” I’ve encountered in my time on earth.
Best tennis player I ever played with: Rod Laver. If you’re a tennis player, you know it’s virtually impossible to have a better answer than that one. Laver, an Australian who won tennis’ calendar year Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969, was widely regarded as the Greatest Of All Time before Pete Sampras & Roger Federer came along. In the winter of 1985, Laver was 47 and he and Ken Rosewall (another 60s-70s era Australian legend) played an exhibition match in Princeton, New Jersey, and as the tennis correspondent for The Trentonian, I covered the contest. I was there early in the day and as the court was set up, Laver asked, “would you like to hit a few?” I stifled a gleeful squeal and went out on the court, acting like I’d been there before, and helped the greatest player ever warm up. Afterwards he said, “you play nicely.” Well, so do you, Rod.