ST readers get a taste of WTA with tennis great Iva Majoli

Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) with American 70th seed Shelby Rogers (left). -- ST PHOTO: Daryl Chin
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) with American 70th seed Shelby Rogers (left). -- ST PHOTO: Daryl Chin
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) with American 70th seed Shelby Rogers (left). -- ST PHOTO: Daryl Chin
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) with American 70th seed Shelby Rogers (left). -- ST PHOTO: Daryl Chin
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli poses with a fan after a friendly game of tennis. -- ST PHOTO: Daryl Chin
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli poses with a fan after a friendly game of tennis. -- ST PHOTO: Daryl Chin
American player Shelby Rogers with an ST reader. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
American player Shelby Rogers with an ST reader. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) poses with a lucky ST reader. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) poses with a lucky ST reader. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Iva Majoli (left) taking a break from the friendly game. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Iva Majoli (left) taking a break from the friendly game. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Iva Majoli (right) on court with a fan. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Iva Majoli (right) on court with a fan. -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Fans posing with Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) and up and coming American player Shelby Rogers (left). -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN
Fans posing with Grand Slam champion Iva Majoli (right) and up and coming American player Shelby Rogers (left). -- ST PHOTO: DARYL CHIN

SINGAPORE - Playing tennis with a Grand Slam champion is a distant dream for many, but six lucky readers of The Straits Times got to do just that on Monday morning.

Racquet in nervous hand, the readers went toe-to-toe with Croatian Iva Majoli, who took the 1997 French Open in straight sets from heavy favourite Swiss teen sensation Martina Hingis.

Displaying total control and great court coverage, Majoli, just 19 years old at the time, dominated Hingis to became Croatia's first Grand Slam champion. She went on to reach the top ranking of 4th in the world.

The tenacity and shot placement lost none of its bite on Monday morning, as she went round robin against the recreational players.

The right-handed Majoli was helped on court by two up and coming players - Kazakhstani 34th seed Zarina Diyas and American 70th seed Shelby Rogers.

Teacher Zaher Wahab, 32, was in awe of the Croatian legend. "Her tenacity around the court all those years back was amazing. I've always admired her spirit," the ST reader said.

Another fan, tech writer Emily Goh, 25, said she felt honoured to be on the same court as the professional players. "Obviously they were very lenient with us, but you can tell from the easy shots how good they really are up close."

Aside from getting some court time with the pro players, ST readers also had a taste of how the pros train courtesy drills conducted by tennis training group Savitar.

Majoli, Rogers and Diyas are here as part of the ongoing WTA finals held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

More on the tournament here: Your guide to the WTA Finals Singapore tennis stars