Local resident, who will perform at The Belly Up on July 26, is the author of the new book ‘The Magic Key to Tennis’
By Rob LeDonne
It’s not often you hear of many respected athletes who turn into rock and roll stars or vice versa; each discipline employs wildly different skills and mindsets. Improbably, Eric Sage not only dabbles in both, but excels at them.
“It’s certainly been interesting,” Sage acknowledges from his San Diego-area home.
“I have a love for each.”
Sage bounces from one profession to another and is performing on July 26 as part of a Bon Jovi tribute band at the Belly Up.
“My dad first got me into tennis; I started playing when I was around 4,” he recalls. In his youth, Sage moved with his family to Florida to train at a world-class tennis facility, then following high school landed a juicy scholarship that led him to San Diego State. “I played there, went on a professional tennis tour for three years, and got a world ranking.”
However, after the tour, Sage was a passenger in a car accident, momentarily derailing his tennis career and forcing him to pursue a new passion in life.
In short order, he packed up and moved to Los Angeles, and while living in and around Hollywood started pursuing acting and music, honing his skills as a professional musician and landing acting roles in a variety of projects — most notably a memorable scene in the 1992 smash hit comedy “Wayne’s World.”
“I didn’t know that movie would be successful,” he says. “People still remember me from it.”
At the same time, Sage became known in trendy LA circles as a stellar tennis coach, and before long he started training the likes of George Clooney and Alec Baldwin.
“It’s my day job; I love working with people who are really passionate about the game. People will usually recommend me to their friends, and that’s how my reputation has grown.”
Sage’s tennis wisdom is so vast that he recently released a book, “The Magic Key to Tennis,” which has all of the tips of the trade that he’s picked up throughout the years.
“People I was training were improving really quickly, and I’ve had many say I should write everything down,” Sage explains about the book’s origins. “I thought it was a neat idea, so I got it published and am just now starting to promote it. What’s interesting is that I’m being invited to speak at tennis seminars, and then at night I’ll play with my band.”
As if that’s not enough, Sage’s music career has taken off as well. He’s currently the front man for the Bay City Rollers featuring Ian Mitchell, a revival of the successful band from the late 1970s, and still performs shows in tribute bands in and around Southern California — including the upcoming date at the Belly Up, a venue he has an affinity for.
“The crowds at the Belly Up are special. It’s one of my favorite places… and I’ve played all over.”