Matt Klinger; a former Canadian Junior Champion, started his high performance training at the old All Canadian Academy at York University. He then had a stellar collegiate career playing in the number one position at Arizona State University, before graduating to the Canadian Davis Cup Team. The affable giant [6’5] with the booming serve moved last summer to Burlington with his beautiful wife Anne, their son Jackson and their lovable Bernese Mountiain Dog Stella. Last year was his first with Ace, when he started integrating with the coaching team and was the head junior coach at the Milton Tennis Club this summer.
Ace: Matt you are known as a fun loving guy and you seem to enjoy life, have you always been so positive?
I’d love to say yes to that, but there has definitely been some rough patches. I’m truly thankful for having the opportunity to travel as much as I did with tennis, as it gave me an opportunity to visit some many countries where people struggle with so many more serious issues than we have in Canada. After seeing all that (and putting myself in some questionable situations) I don’t think there is anything I can really complain about when I step back and look at the big picture, so why not have some fun on this crazy ride!
Ace: Now that you have decided to make a career out of coaching, you are still very young . What are your aspirations?
Is 40 “very” young? If you say so, then I’ll go with it!
I’m really enjoying working at ACE now and just want to contribute as much as I can. It’s been great heading up the Milton project this summer and it was a great feeling to work with Mike Donski to establish our programs up there. There’s quite a few kids that aspire to take the path that I did; university then possibly pros, so I can offer a lot of support as to what it’s really like. And most importantly, what not to do.
Ace: What do you think of the training now at Ace compared to when you were training 25 years ago at All Canadian [ace]?
It’s very interesting seeing what goes into the training from the coaches perspective as opposed to the player’s perspective. When you’re a young player at an academy you pretty much just show up and worry about yourself putting in your best effort and improving. As a coach, you have to worry about all players so it’s quite involved, as every player is an individual with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. There isn’t really a one size fits all for teaching tennis.
From my own personal perspective, everyone seemed a lot bigger when I was 13.
Ace: What are some of the best moments you have associated with the sport?
Tennis has opened so many doors for me and given me so many opportunities to do things that most people cannot. Two of the groomsmen at my wedding were friends I met through tennis, so you really do develop lifelong relationships. There’s a sort of brotherhood you develop with guys you played with and competed against, that only we can share.
I have to say though, by far the best moments for me was the enjoyment of competing. That’s the number one thing I miss from playing. The thing I do not miss at all is airports and hotels!
Ace: Since you made it, what would be your advice to players dreaming of playing on their country’s National Team?
Although goals are an essential part of the planning process, focus on the day-to-day grind and doing your best on court especially on the days you don’t feel like it! As far as making the Davis Cup team? Take care of your ranking, make sure it’s high enough, and you’ll get the call.
Ace: When you are off your tennis mode what do you get pleasure from doing?
Well it’s not much of a secret that I like to have some fun on my down time. Getting together with friends and spending time with my family pretty much sums it up. We cottage a lot in the summer and it’s probably one of my favourite places to be. I bought Jackson his first fishing rod this past weekend and he caught his first fish, which was a 7 pound Bass! It’s amazing to have those “first” experiences with him.
If you want to know what I’m doing ahead of a weekend, you’ll have to ask my wife Anne, she tells me what my plans are usually!