By Richard Dedor, USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz., - His love-affair with tennis started in Crystal, Minnesota, a small suburb of Minneapolis, when young Tim Butorac went to a local park one summer and picked up a racquet for the first time.
That summer, he became involved in the local parks and recreation program and was on his way to quite the tennis career.
He attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., a powerhouse in Division III tennis where he earned All-American honors three years and claimed one NAIA doubles title.
Tim finished his college career, but he didn’t leave the game and the game didn’t leave him. He and his wife Jan currently own and operate a six-court indoor facility, Rochester Tennis Connection, in Rochester, Minn. It was there that Tim and Jan’s two sons, Eric and Jeff, also fell in love with the game.
“They really enjoy tennis too,” Tim said. “But they say to me sometimes, ‘Dad, you have a tennis ball for a brain.’” Maybe that’s why the whole family is involved in the love affair.
Jeff is currently the assistant coach of women’s tennis at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and an assistant on the men’s basketball team. He played for two years on the men’s tennis team at St. John’s before moving to an assistant’s role with their basketball team. His goal is to become a head coach of a basketball team, but tennis is still in his blood.
His brother Eric is still deeply entrenched in tennis, but on the big stage. After following in his father’s footsteps at Gustavus, he made his way through the Challenger Circuit and this past winter reached a career high ranking of 30 in the world.
Eric is the owner of four ATP doubles titles, three with Jamie Murray, the brother of Andy Murray.
Tim and Eric have teamed up for multiple USTA Father and Son tournaments and have won a few championship gold balls. While he considers that a thrill, his biggest thrill came at The Championships.
“When I saw him walk onto the grass at Wimbledon, I could feel how nervous I was and I wondered how he could possibly be out there playing.”
He credits his wife for the Butorac family success. Even his. “She [Jan] made it all happen,” he says. “She drove the boys to their tournaments and made the sack lunches. She is the key to the whole thing.”
The whole family has the love affair. And this tennis story is one where love is everything.