Former Buffalo anchor schools Djokovic with tennis trick shot - VIDEO
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • March 26, 2013 @ 9:36am
When Buffalo native and former local CBS news anchor Ray Collins took to the courts in Florida, he wasn’t planning on anything special.
There as part of the media for the Sony Open, a major tennis tournament hosting the world’s top players, five media members would get a chance to hit around with current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, world No. 3 Andy Murray and women’s former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic—Collins was chosen fifth.
An avid player himself, Collins was nervous but calmed down a bit before taking to the court. The first four media members were less than familiar with the sport so he realized a lot wouldn’t be expected from him.
“I was more relaxed then and felt little pressure. Once we got into a rhythm, it felt just like a routine doubles match,” Collins said in a phone interview Monday.
Then came the infamous shot. Hitting a short to volley to Collins’ backhand at the service line, Djokovic had to make a beeline to the baseline when Collins returned it with a behind the back shot that went overhead of the current world No. 1 for a winner, right at the tape.
Take a look at the “shot heard ‘round the world” below:
“I didn’t intend to make that shot. I didn’t go out onto the court with that in mind and it wasn’t premeditated,” Collins said. “It’s not a clever shot, something you do with lazy feet. I played it successfully in a match yesterday, but now it’s taken on a whole new life. I surprised myself that I even made contact and then was shocked when it caught him off guard too.”
Ending the point, Murray (his partner for the quick match) started laughing and congratulated Collins on a well-played point. Djokovic returned to the court smiling and said “great shot” as Collins was still in a bit of disbelief that he pulled that one off.
It comes as no surprise really with Collins recently being honored by the Gulf Coast Tennis Hall of Fame. Living in Florida on-and-off for the last 25 years, Collins grew up in Buffalo, playing 1st singles for St. Joe’s and even college tennis for St. Bonaventure. He visits often with the majority of his family still living in the Buffalo area and can’t pass up a trip to Mighty Taco before heading back south.
Between 1994 to 1999, Collins co-anchored a 3-hour morning show on the local CBS affiliate, Channel 4 in Buffalo and then also anchoring a top rated noon broadcast for the station. Since then he has gone on to anchor the news in Virginia and Tampa Bay in addition to being a producer, news director, radio DJ and writer for a tennis travel magazine.
Now, Collins operates a Sarasota-based communications consulting firm, “Ray Collins Media” and you can learn more about that here. An avid tennis player myself, I’ll have to get him to show me how to pull off that shot when I’m visiting Sarasota next.
Photo courtesy of Youtube.