By Carlena Knight
Former national tennis player, John Maginley, believes his longtime friend and former teammate, Jerry Williams, could have dominated this new era of the sport.
Maginley, while speaking on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show added that Williams’ approach to the game would have benefitted him in this time.
“If Jerry played today with his serve and his forehand, you see the way the game has changed is that it has become more powerful. The game is for big strong guys now. In our day, you could get away with finesse and all this kind of stuff, but with the rackets they are using now, the graphite rackets. With the training that’s available now [and] with the game that Jerry had; listen one night, Jerry put a [beating] on me that up to now, I still remember it. If he played in today’s game, with all the support and the rackets and all that stuff, Jerry would certainly make it.”
Williams was a prolific player turned coach. He was a part of the first-ever Antiguan contingent to compete at the Davis Cup.
Maginley – the player turned politician – went further to speak on the disadvantages they had back in the day.
“If you look at Jerry and Jody, they are about the same size and their game is pretty similar. The only difference is that Jody had a chance to hit a million more tennis balls than Jerry ever did. When we go back and think about shoes, we used to use shoes till the bottom bun-off. We used to put rubber under them. We used to take our tennis shoes to the courts, we didn’t wear them to the courts because there wasn’t another one coming.”
He also spoke of his son, Jody Maginley, the country’s lone professional tennis player. According to John, despite his skill, Jody would still have the edge over him. “When Jody was 16, I would talk him out of losing, but Jody is big and strong. Me, in prime versus Jody in his prime, I would still give him the edge. He’s just too strong, man. My game was more mental. For instance, I don’t have a big serve like Jerry, I don’t have a big forehand like Jerry, but I have a very good backhand and people used to decide they would attack my backhand which was stupid, but my game was built around that ability to make you work for every point. You’re not going to take no vacation, you’re not going to get no break with me. If you mess around and you lose two points, you’re in trouble. That was my approach because I didn’t have that big weapon, but Jody would get behind and just lick two balls behind you. He’s tough, I’ve seen Jody play some matches and he doesn’t wilt under the pressure,” he said.