May 17, 2018
As a young boy, Oakland-born Mike Bauer wanted to spend time with his dad. This gave him a very human reason to jump into tennis, which he did on Park and Rec courts. His dad is a passionate tennis player. Mike also played soccer and basketball, so you can say he was a sports enthusiast. He attended JFK High in Richmond, first, then when the family moved to Orinda, he attended Miramonte High. He met his longtime coach, Lynne Rolley, the Tennis Director at Sleepy Hollow Tennis Club. By 1977, he was North Coast Champion in singles and doubles, was ranked 45 nationally in 18s and was in the top 10 in Northern California.
As a freshman, Mike made the tennis team at the University of California, Berkeley, as a walk on. He credits his time at Berkeley as his game changer by learning how to be a pro player and noting that most of the players on his team eventually went on the pro tour. ADVERTISEMENT As a sophomore, he played #5 on the team that went to the NCAA finals. During the 1980-1981 season, he was ranked #3 in the nation in singles. By 1978, he was #1 in the NorCal Men’s Open. He was ranked #1 in the 21-under circuit. He joined the Davis Cup team in 1980 as a sparring partner, which included playing with John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Stan Smith, Bob Lutz and being around Arthur Ashe, who was the captain.
In the summer 1981, Mike was on the Junior Davis Cup team and participated in the satellite tour – five weeks, four tournaments. In the fall of that year, he won the Manila Grand Prix in doubles with partner John Benson and reached the quarterfinals in singles. He then went on to win at Taipei Grand Prix.
Mike turned pro in 1982 and won Bangkok Grand Prix in singles and doubles, again with partner John Benson. His accolades and wins continued, including a win at the South Australian Open, third round at Wimbledon, and beating Jimmy Connors (#1 in the world at the time) at the La Quinta tournament. His best ranking in doubles came in 1983, reaching #5 in the world and in 1984 in singles, reaching #29. By 1990, he retired in singles and focused on doubles play, reaching the top 40 again. Making good on his desire to spend more time with his dad, the duo won a Silver Ball in La Jolla at the USTA National Father-Son Hard Court Championships that year.
Fully retired from tennis in 1996, Mike stayed in Germany, coaching for the German Federation and working with the Fed Cup team. He won a German Singles Championship in 35-and-over and European Singles. He returned to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2002, where he coached and served as Tennis Director at the Harbor Bay Club. He organized a charity event benefitting the Susan G. Komen Organization for Breast Cancer Research, an event that continues annually today.
Mike is back living in Cologne, Germany. He counts nine ATP doubles titles and three singles titles. With over 40 years of playing or coaching tennis, Mike loves helping people enjoy the game, regardless of their level or background.