Roger Federer, a genius who made tennis look effortless. He’d be a real coach, not just a teacher.
A few years ago, I saw him and his wife, Serena Williams, in a restaurant while I was working on a tennis story. I talked briefly with him, and then I noticed they were heading my way. I stopped them and introduced both of them to my readers, at a time when they were both struggling to get on Top Ten lists. But then I noticed, a few tables away, a table occupied by a couple who appeared to have been there for hours.
I introduced them too and asked, “Do you want to get to know him?”
“Serve him,” one of them said, and the other replied that he didn’t want to serve, and would they get to know him.
I got introduced to both of them, and asked them what they had in common. The first man smiled and said, “The only thing that’s really different between us is that he’s in the restaurant. We both have a lot of respect for him, and he knows that.”
The other one agreed, and said, “It’s nice to see someone who has a good attitude.”
The first guy, then, as he stood to leave, said, “This is my first impression of him being that he’s a good guy.”
I thought about the two, then the same guy, as he introduced Serena, and I realized just how important that first impression really is, in a day so crowded with impressions. It wasn’t just about what he thought of him, but about how he was going to view his relationship with Serena, and how his first impressions of her would be.
When I interviewed him later about his impressions of his sister,