rioshsI ran into Richard Williams in the VIP parking lot at the Sony Open in Miami, about 20 minutes after his daughter Serena won the title defeating Maria Sharapova. I gave him a copy of my Rios book, which he thanked me for, and then he voluntarily shared his compliments for Rios, a player he obviously respects highly."Marcelo Rios, in my opinion, is one of the greatest guys to play tennis. And I don't think a lot of people liked him because he could beat up on them so easy. The game came so easy to him, it was unbelievable. I remember IMG came to me when he was a junior player - at the Eddie Herr tournament - and they asked me 'What do you think of this guy?' I said, 'I think he's gonna be great. Because the reason I said he was gonna be great was because he always wore his hat backwards, never had a bag to put his racquets in, he said the hell with it, wouldn't put 'em in there. He carried them like I would, a street guy. And that made me think that he was rough and tough and strong. I think he was a great, great player. And as great as he was, I don't know no one who really wanted to play him. Marcelo, in my opinion, was a great guy."Thinking of how Agassi looked so uncomfortable with a hint of confusion in his eyes all three times he played Rios in Miami (twice in 1998 and 2002) and in the final of the Grand Slam Cup in Munich (1998), I remarked to Williams, "Rios could toy with even someone like Agassi..."He could toy with anyone," replied Mr. Williams. "He was greater than everyone. What made him so good was him seeing the ball so well. And his preparation. Plus he would move up anywhere, not wait for the ball to come to him. He'd move up to the ball. And that's what made him so great in my opinion."To continue the discussion I offer: "Nobody played like Rios. He played a different style."Williams concurred: "He played a totally different style. But the ATP was not aware of or how to adapt to it or what to do. If you see him tell him, Man I always wanted to see him again. And I would see him at Nick Bollettieri's sometimes and watch him practice. He was great, man, unbelievable."I add: "Federer always gives Rios credit too. Federer has often mentioned Rios as one of his favorite players."Williams: "He is. He's a lot of people's favorites. I think a lot of people had too much pride to say so. And because of that I think that's the reason why they couldn't admit what Federer said. The guy was unreal. He had what you call God-given talent. The talent that he had you couldn't teach that at all. If it was I should have taught my daughters [laughs]. He just had what it takes, man. You know something else I like about him - he's a rough guy. A tough guy. And he was strong. And he didn't mind beating the hell out of you. That's what made him so good."Sounds like a player worthy of being elected to the Hall of Fame doesn't it? A rare, special player who changed and inspired the sport like no other player. A player who achieved the #1 ranking as a junior, ATP pro, and Champions Tour senior player. A player who won five Masters Series titles and reached on major singles final in a Grand Slam tournament. A player who invented the jumping two-handed backhand. A player who has been publicly cited as an inspiration to their own careers by Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Marat Safin, Alexander Dolgopolov, Nicolas Massu, Alex Corretja, among others. The one and only Marcelo Rios is worthy of being recognized and inducted into the Newport Hall of Fame, in my opinion.