Mel Purcell

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by ttwarrior1, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    I got to hit with Mel Purcell. He even gave me some help with some of my questions yesterday. I hit with him for about an hour. He is the head coach of murray state. He has some local players here that play college for him. He was here this weekend for an exhibition. I was very impressed. Just to screw around, when someone would hit him a high volley, he would jump up and hit it with his head to hit it over the net.

    I really didn't know much about the guy until I did a search.


    Mel Purcell (born July 18, 1959, in Joplin, Missouri, U.S.) is a former American tennis player. His career-high singles ranking was World No. 21, achieved in November 1980. Purcell's finest moment was when he reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 1983. He is the head coach of the Murray State University men's tennis team.

    Purcell grew up in Murray, Kentucky, and played in the Kentucky State Tennis Tournament as a fifth-grader, and won two state doubles crowns with older brother Del as a middle schooler. He made the state singles finals three straight years, winning as a senior.
    Purcell graduated Murray High School and went on to Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), where he played for one year. He transferred to the University of Tennessee, where in 1980 he won an NCAA doubles championship with teammate Rodney Harmon.


    Purcell made his first splash on the professional circuit in the summer of 1980. As a wild card entrant at the Washington (D.C.) Star Tournament, he upset top-ranked Eddie Dibbs. Two weeks later, he qualified for a spot in the U.S. Clay Courts. There, he beat Hank Pfister and top-10 ranked Harold Solomon before falling in the finals to José Luis Clerc. Purcell saw his Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking soar from the 300s to the top 40 and was crowned 1980 ATP Rookie of the Year.

    The next year he played at Wimbledon, the first of six appearances (1981–85, 1987) on the famed grass courts. He reached the quarterfinals in 1983, beating Tim Wilkison, Stuart Bale, Andreas Mauer and Brian Gottfried before falling to eventual runner-up New Zealand's Chris Lewis 6–7, 6–0, 6–4, 7–6 in the quarterfinals.
    Purcell also was a fixture in other Grand Slam events during the 1980s, playing in the US Open 10 times (1978–87) where he recorded victories over Stan Smith, Andrés Gómez and Ilie Năstase, among others. He competed in the French Open six times (1981–84, 1987–88) where he twice reached the round of 16 in singles and in 1981 reached the doubles quarterfinals with Vincent Van Patten.
    Another career highlight was beating Ivan Lendl and Fernando Luna at Boston in 1982 before falling in the final to Guillermo Vilas.
    Injuries to his elbow from a car accident and a pulled stomach muscle slowed his career in 1985 but a year later, he beat Boris Becker in the German Open for another milestone singles victory.
    Purcell won three ATP singles titles in 1981, at Atlanta, Tampa and Tel Aviv. He also teamed to claim four doubles titles, at Delray Beach (1982 with Chip Hooper), Munich (1982 with Eliot Teltscher) and Vienna (1983 with Stan Smith and 1987 with Tim Wilkison).
    Ace Authentic produced a line of trading cards called "Heroes & Legends" that included Purcell at his best.[2]


    Purcell is the head tennis coach at Murray State University, a post he took in 1996 succeeding his father, hall of fame coach Bennie Purcell. He led Murray State to back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference titles in 2001 and 2002 and was named OVC Coach of the Year both seasons.
    Mel Purcell was still enjoying matches on the Jimmy Connors Champions Tour in his 40s, where he played against and sometimes beat Jimmy Connors, Björn Borg, and John McEnroe

    Here is a good article on him.
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1124555/


    Anyone remember him or ever watch him play?
     
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  2. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Pictures or it didn't happen.
    I hit with Nadal yesterday. He told me I should play on the tour as his doubles partner.
     
    #2
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Solid and heavy top spin baseliner, but fast and agressive.In some ways,reminds me a bit of modern players, could be compared to guys like Gambill or Blake.Blonde, nice looking and, as far as I heard, succesful with ladies.Didn´t last too long but had some great results and was tough to beat for many other top pros.Clay was his best turf, undoubtably.

    I think he had a problem of hipernervous or something like that?
     
    #3
  4. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    I see we have a troll in arche3, should say hall of shame. Anyone can photoshop a pic. If you don't like the post, then don't read it mr troll.

    I do have pics of him during the exhibition. WC Handy tennis tourney in henderson ky


    Yes he was in a car wreck, but came back and did well.
     
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  5. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Are you sure, I remember him driving the ball quite well but I may be wrong. I only saw him play at Indy once in the mid 80's. A good friend of mine who was a top ranked junior in the mid 70's became quite close with Mel since they came up together and he once told me that Mel's greatest weakness was his desire to party. Unfortunately he suffered too many injuries but supposedly was a really nice guy.
     
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  6. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I saw him play many times. He was mostly a forehand (semi-western). Recall an eastern backhand (one handed, as was common at the time) which he chipped/sliced not infrequently. Try slicing a backhand with an eastern grip...

    Last time I saw him was many years ago against JMac in a senior event in Purchase, NY. JMac acted like a total DB. I bet Purcell would remember it too.
     
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  7. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    ha ha, i read your famous coaching thread yesterday.. hilarious.
    this story however, seems rather believable.
     
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  8. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    I remember he was mentioned in the Rios book, someone compared him as an antithesis to Rios, Purcell had no weapons but he was a fighter and you needed a two by far to break his will.
     
    #8
  9. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    He probably still loses sleep over losing to Chris Lewis that Wimbly but what an unusual run that was!
     
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  10. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I bumped into Mel several times at the USO this year. He's quite a friendly guy. Yes, to answer my speculation above. Mel remembered the match well.
     
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