Why would the tennis players who's arguably the world's greatest ever watch college players? Based on this article in the Sacramento Bee, Roger Federer was keeping tabs on Jesse Levine, the Boca Raton resident who two years ago was playing for the University of Florida. The article describes how an agent for Federer rang the Levine family phone in Boca:
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The caller said he was an agent and asked if Levine wanted to train with Roger Federer for 10 days at the Swiss star's base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
"I thought it was one of my buddies trying to pull a prank on me, but it was an actual agent," the fourth-seeded Levine said after beating Simon Stadler 6-2, 6-4 Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Natomas/USTA $50,000 Men's Professional Tennis Tournament at the Natomas Racquet Club.
There couldn't have been anything about Levine's physical stature that screamed "future star" to Federer. The article points out that at 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, Levine is one of the smallest players on the tour.
He's 21 now and ranked 113 in the world, but thanks to that phone call, he has a friend in the highest of places.
Levine remembers most of all "how down to earth (Federer) is and what an amazing champion of the game of tennis he is. He's such a normal guy that you can go up to him, give him a high-five and say, 'What's up?'
"I learned a lot, and I still keep in touch with him once in a while via e-mail. When I see him at tournaments, we sit down and talk. We've created a little friendship, which is nice."