- Profession: Pro tennis player
- Age: 40
- Hometown: Born in Belgrade, Serbia; grew up in Toronto
- The Car: 2011 BMW X5 SUV
- 2012 Olympian and 2000 Olympic gold medalist
- Won the ATP World Tour Finals 4 times; won 8 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles
- Became the No.1 ranked doubles player in the world in August, 2002
- 2003, created the Daniel Nestor Charity Event, an annual charity event in Toronto that has raised more than $800,000 for various causes
- Has his own line of premium Niagara wines called Daniel Nestor’s Match Point wines
- Davis Cup Semi-finals, Sept. 10; then Moselle Open, Sept. 17 in Metz, France; Malaysian Open, Sept. 24, in Kuala Lumpur
Daniel Nestor is a Canadian tennis legend; he’s won 79 men’s doubles titles and counting.
The Canadian-raised player has been awarded the Order of Canada, got a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame,and recently received an honorary Doctor of Laws from York University.
But, despite career winnings of more than $10-million, Nestor is still practical off the tennis court. He drives a 2011 BMW X5 SUV, which he bought after driving his first car, a 1999 Jeep Cherokee, to the ground.
Why did you buy a BMW X5?
I got used to SUVs over the years and my wife mentioned she liked it.
We test drove that and the Audi Q7 and we liked it a little bit more.
It has a sporty feel to it, yet drives like an SUV.
What’s your favourite feature on it?
The best feature is the rear DVD so it can entertain our daughter. Barney, Dora, or Little Einstein plays over and over again.
Anything you’d want to change on it?
Yeah. I didn’t get navigation on it.
One of my friends told me not to get navigation because I wouldn’t need it. I regret it now. They all call me cheap for not getting it.
I bought a fairly expensive car and then tried saving on the navigation. It was a bad call not getting it.
Do you know what’s under the hood?
No. Not at all.
Last summer, we were up north and my car was overheating. I had to put some coolant in and I remember going to Canadian Tire. The guy helped me and he was explaining where to pour it in. Before that happened, my Dad was explaining to me where I had to pour the stuff and I had no idea what I was looking at.
What does a BMW X5 say about you?
I’ve never really had a sports car so that’s the closest thing for me.
I’ve got a laid-back personality and I’m not very flashy. It’s me trying to be cool, but I’m not very cool.
This is a nice car obviously, but it’s not a true sports car. I’ve never had one. Everyone always seems to be giving me a hard time for never really having a nice sports car.
Why didn’t you buy one with the winnings from one of your Grand Slam titles?
I remember I was losing a really tough match once in the semi-finals of the French Open and it was a bitter loss. It was in Paris and, outside our hotel on the street, there was a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It looked unbelievable.
I always liked the Porsche Cayenne. It looked totally souped up from a regular Cayenne. I told my wife, ‘If I win Wimbledon I’m getting that car.’ She agreed. So three weeks later, I win Wimbledon. Alright, a deal is a deal. But then she convinced me not to buy it.
Obviously when you buy a car like that, or any car, as soon as you drive it off the lot it loses its value dramatically. I guess my wife in the end was probably right. First of all, it’s not my personality. It’s a flashy car. And secondly, it is a waste of money.
And what’s the point of having a nice car when you’re never really going to use it? I’m on the road 35 weeks a year. The rest of the time, in November and December, I’m in the Bahamas. In the summer, I’m in Toronto. I drive it around for a few weeks.
So what did you spend your Wimbledon winnings on?
Nothing really. I’m not a big spender. We have a condo in the Bahamas and we spend time in Toronto. Home repairs and fixing up the kitchen – things that make her happy. Happy wife, happy life.
Why did you buy the Jeep Cherokee?
I was 26 and my doubles partner had one. We spent some time with him in the Bahamas and he was driving me around the island. I liked the car. Again, an SUV.
It was the in thing at the time to get an SUV and gas prices were quite a bit cheaper at the time. It made sense and again, that was me probably trying to get my fancy car but I didn’t. There’s one point in life everyone tries to have a sports car, but that wasn’t me. And I can’t drive a stick.
Why didn’t you learn to drive a stick?
I don’t know. Driving in North America is always a little bit easier. Every car you can pretty much buy in an automatic or stick.
What’s your best and worst driving story ever?
The best is bringing home my daughter from the hospital for the first time.
Worst experience: one time driving to Montreal when I was really young with my buddies to play the lowest level of professional tournaments. I was switching lanes in a double lane right in front of a cop in Quebec. I was going 40-50 km/h over. I tried to explain after, but it made things worse. It was $300 at the time and some points.
Another time my ex-girlfriend was driving. We just picked up a car in California. The weather was great and we wanted to put the sunroof down. I didn’t realize you had to be stopped when you put the roof down.
We were driving on the highway and trying to get the roof down at the same time. And with the pressure, the window just popped and shattered! Then, we lied and said it happened while we were standing still.
If I can bring you the keys to any vehicle would it be a Cayenne?
No. I’d really like an Aston Martin. It suits my personality. It’s not very flashy.
This interview has been edited and condensed.