For every Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors there are a hundred Chris Kachels for whom professional tennis is a constant struggle to make ends meet.
Kachel, 25, from Australia, is one of 48 players competing this weekend in the qualifying round of the $175,000 Washington Star International tennis tournament.
More than 100 amateur and professional players showed up at the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium Saturday morning with hopes of being one of the eight qualifiers who makes it to the 64-player draw Monday.
The qualifiers were selected by their Association of Tennis Professionals computer rankings and at the discretion of tournament codirectors Donald Dell and John Harris.
In January, Kachel wouldn't have had to worry about qualifying for and advancing through the preliminary rounds. The 6-foot-2 right-hander was ranked No. 77 in the world and his name was on almost every tournament director's invitation list for the main draw.
Kachel even had a claim to fame. He had knocked off former champion Arthur Ashe in the first round at Wimbledon in 1979, the highlight of his best earning year of $35,000.
"It was the best win I ever had," Kachel says.
But lately it's been all downhill.
"I'm in a slump," he said. "I just have been playing bad since the start of the year on the indoor circuit. I've gone six or seven tournaments without winning a match."
Kachel's ATP ranking plummeted to 212th and tournament directors are no longer calling him.
He hasn't won a major tournament in seven years, his wife of 18 months is expecting their first child and travel is becoming a bore. It's time to think about ending the gypsy life and quitting.
"I don't really enjoy this any more," Kachel said Saturday while waiting to find out who his first round opponent would be on Sunday morning.
"It's just a livelihood now. I started the year at 77 and now I'm down to 212. It's no fun going through qualifiers when you're used to making main draws easily. So I have to think about giving this life up.
"Maybe I won't give it up totally, but kind of ease out -- play fewer and fewer tournaments and gradually stop. In the back of my mind there's the possibility I could just quit abruptly. I don't regret playing to pro circuit. I have a lot of good memories.
"If I quit, I'd like to stay in Australia. I wouldn't mind teaching tennis if I could break into it. I'll look into the possibilities when I get home. If I can't do that I'll probably play a little longer and try to get out of this slump. Maybe I'll start using a Prince (oversized racket)."
Kachel got into professional tennis because he was "pretty good." He thought it would be a good way to see the world.
"The travel is very tiring and boring now. Japan, Italy, England and now here. I left Sydney in January and won't be home for another month or so. There's only about seven or eight major tournaments at home now, but 30 or 35 in America."
If Kachel fights his way through the qualifiers to the main draw here, he'll be $500 richer. If not?
"I'll play the qualifiers in New Jersey next week and Columbus (Ohio) the week after that. My wife is traveling with me so I'll have a rooting section," he laughed.
"There are so many highs and lows in tennis, you'll go crazy if you let it worry you. You have to take it week by week, that's all.
"And there's always next week."