It isn’t professional acclaim and achievement that keeps Mats Wilander on the tennis court—it’s his lifelong passion for the sport and the fitness it offers, something he hopes to share with others at Gravity Fitness & Tennis in Woodside.
Wilander, a seven-time singles Grand Slam winner and the top-ranked player worldwide in 1988, opened the gym in November with business partner Oliver Whitcomb, a longtime martial arts instructor who taught Wilander’s kids.
“I was very impressed with how he taught. I really liked his focus. We became friends after that and we’ve been friends for the past 15 years,” Wilander, 54, said, praising Whitcomb’s ability to instill in students a serious respect for sport and for others. “They’re not laughing but they keep coming back.”
Wilander’s own love for teaching grew out of his Wilander on Wheels program nearly a decade ago, through which he offered tennis instruction nationwide.
“I realized, ‘Oh my god, I love teaching, too—especially to normal people,’” he said. “I’d rather coach regular people.”
Despite his stature as one of the greatest tennis players in history, Gravity is for everyone—especially “regular people” and first-timers.
“My main reason for doing it is to spread my enthusiasm for tennis and a healthy lifestyle, and, of course, having fun. It’s trying to encourage people to have a healthy lifestyle,” Wilander said, adding that “nothing warms my heart more” than to see multiple generations of a family in the gym together.
“That, to me, is what it’s all about. I feel like we’re making a difference.”
With the historic Woodside tennis courts now buttressed by a new building full of fresh equipment, and with a budding kids program taking shape, Gravity is ready for families and high-octane athletes alike.
“It’s affordable, and because it’s big, we have the opportunity to have a lot of members,” he said. “I think that being down in Woodside, it gives people here an opportunity to do something that wasn’t accessible before.”
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