No tennis fan in the world had a better Wednesday than 25-year-old Eric Hechtman of Miami. The former Sunset High and University of Miami tennis player spent 90 minutes hitting with top-ranked Rafael Nadal and a few hours later was back on the court with No. 2 Roger Federer.
Hechtman got a text message at 7:15 a.m. from UM coach Mario Rincon that read: “Rafa wants to hit with you today.”
Hechtman laughed. ”I figured it was an April Fool’s joke,” he said.
It was no joke. Rafa was looking for a hitting partner for a 2 p.m. practice session and was directed to Hechtman, who was more than happy to oblige. They met on the Sony Ericsson Open grounds and hit for an hour and a half. ”Rafa drills the ball as hard as he can,” Hechtman said. “I’ve never faced anything like it.”
A few hours later, he was told Federer wanted to warm up with him. They hit for 40 minutes at 6:30 p.m. He is hitting with them again Thursday. “Roger has a lot of touch. It was so awesome hitting with those guys. They were both down-to-earth, and their styles are so different. I got the best of both worlds.”