If there's one thing that no one can ever take away from the U.S., it's the American dream. A reality for many that can only be a mirage when the step is too high. That's what happened to Stefan Kendal Gordy, occasional tennis player who undertook the crazy yet worthy challenge to qualify for the U.S. Open. This is the story of a not so random guy.
On June 20th, Stefan Kendal Gordy headed to the Chamisal Tennis & Fitness Club in Salinas, California. And it's a tournament like no other that awaited him: the tournament of the State, which, in case of victory, gives access to the qualifications of the U.S. Open. Not less. However, the pedigree of Stefan leaves us puzzled at best, but mostly confused: no victory recorded on the 2013 season and a place in the Top 40 of Southern California... at the age of 16. He’s now 37. Welcome to the American dream, a dream in which you can realistically hope to hit a few balls at Flushing Meadows.
Stefan's look was original to say the least on the courts of Salinas: Huge white glasses... without optical lenses, a blue sweatband holding an insane mop of hair and fluorescent green basketball sneakers. A beautiful promise, especially when he had to face the champion of California, Scott Gray, 19 years old. But Stefan is a lucky man. A large crowd came to support him in the stands. Stefan is a very, very lucky guy. While Scott Gray defeated him on a logic 5-0 score, the audience, in love with him, gave him real tennis shoes. No more slipping, he was now playing to win his first game "I didn't know that shoes were so important in the game" regretted the Ill-shod man after the game. Which was brief. 6-1, 6-2. Stefan still left with a standing ovation, while Scott seemed relieved: "I had never played in front of such a big crowd, the noise, all that..." he whispered after the match.
Becker and Sampras, friends of the parents
Even if he was counting on a happy misunderstanding, Stefan was mostly there for the show. Better known under the nickname of Redfoo, the son of Motown founder, Berry Gordy Jr., has known global success with his band LMFAO. Recently, he also entered the world of professional tennis. How? Thanks to his romance with Victoria Azarenka, champion of the WTA tour. Member of her support team in Melbourne, Redfoo told ESPN what was his way to help her: "I need to entertain her off the court. The other day, I bought her a piano. She didn't even know. I told her: 'Hey, I have a surprise for you!’ Since then, she's been trying to play piano every day." Redfoo even sampled the screams of his Victoria in a strange song called Heart of a champion. In fact, Redfoo would probably have preferred to live his life as Stefan, tennis player. Life had given him some early warning signs: "My mother played tennis when she was pregnant with me. I don't know if that's true, but her waters apparently broke on the family court. But you know how mothers tend to exaggerate." Boris Becker used to play chess with his father. As for Stella Sampras, she came to his parents' house one day and beat him 6-4 while he was still a little tender. A bad snowboarding fall and lost or stolen racquets in Sweden made him change direction, "maybe it was a sign. I had nothing to do and I needed to do something. I started to pay more attention to music." On tour, Redfoo never hesitates to go to the local tennis club to hit a few balls, or even participate in a tournament. His price list so far remains modest: "I've played against a player from the Malaysia Davis Cup by BNP Paribas team. He was 19."
After his heavy defeat against Scott Gray, Stefan decided to indulge in a last treat. If he was far from his goal in simples, there could be an opening to qualify in mixed doubles at the U.S. Open. The dream machine went on again. Briefly. Accompanied by a 17 years old Japanese Ayaka Okuno, he resisted better than in simple but lost from his opening match (6-3, 7-6). Since then, he started to coach the young Japanese, promised to be "a top 10 pro" as he says. His dream of the moment.