Mansdorf claims he played for the 120,000 Jews of South Africa, some of whom contributed to the $25 million that has been raised over the years for the Israel Tennis Centers. Although not religious, Mansdorf feels a certain responsibility to the Jewish community wherever he plays. "I try to show people an Israeli can be a normal guy," he says. "Tennis can improve our relations with the rest of the world."
Tennis tournaments frequently interrupted Mansdorf's compulsory three-year hitch in the Israeli Army, which ended in February. Although he learned how to shoot a machine gun and pulled occasional guard duty, he was never in combat and lived mainly at home, commuting to a desk job. "I was fortunate not to have to do anything of risk," he says. "The Israeli Army gives many promising athletes time off to train. I used to get one-month passes to play tournaments. It wasn't a bad deal."
As a member of the Israeli Army reserves, Mansdorf can be called up in case of war. "But if I'm in the semis at Wimbledon, I don't think they'd call me back," he says. "My being there would be good for national pride."