It's Saturday morning, and a former tennis pro who was known as
much for his stars-and-stripes bandanna as for his all-court game
gives listeners to KKMS in Minneapolis a familiar greeting:
"Welcome to the weekend. This is Beyond Sports with David
Wheaton." The one-hour weekly Christian program covers topics as
varied as Pat Tillman's death and same-sex marriage. This is one
way Wheaton's tennis winnings enable him to pursue his life's
"I couldn't just play golf," says Wheaton, who retired in 2001
after 13 years on tour. "The money has given me the opportunity
to say what is very meaningful to me." That money totaled $5.2
million, an impressive sum for a player whose singles record was
232-191. Wheaton owes his financial security less to how many
titles he won than to which title he won. In 1991 he beat Michael
Chang in the Grand Slam Cup final for $2 million.
Now Wheaton, 34, shares his Christian beliefs through his radio
show, speeches and a book he's writing to help college students
avoid what he calls "spiritual shipwreck." His four residential
properties in Minnesota are the principal testaments to his
wealth. He's sold the Mercedes 560 convertible he once owned.
"There's an impression of a rich pro athlete," he says, "and
that's not the impression I want to give." --M.S.
COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY (WHEATON)