Tennis Birthdays: April 22, 2015

Two excellent players from the 1990s celebrate today.

Sabine Appelmans (BEL), 43

Before there was a Justine or a Kim in Belgium, there was a Sabine.

She was a very good player, and had a long career (from 1988 to 2001).

She was Nadal before he was Nadal, too. Appelmans is naturally righthanded, but she plays tennis lefthanded. And according to Wikipedia, the reason was that she wanted to stay with her little friend, who was lefthanded, in the “lefthanded” group. Cute. From such random events are careers made.

Appelmans reached her career high of No. 16 in 1997, and reached at least the fourth round of every Grand Slam tournament. She won seven singles titles.

She’s pictured above right (in an Open Court photo) at Wimbledon 2008, playing in the senior ladies’ event. She looks like she could still go, doesn’t she? As the captain of the Fed Cup team for several years, she could have put herself  in if she wanted to.

Carlos Costa (ESP), 47

Costa (full name: Carles Costa Masferrer) checked into the top 10, at No. 10, in 1992. He also reached No. 40 in doubles in 1989.

The Spaniard won six singles titles and reached seven other finals – all of them on clay. He also won five doubles titles and more than $3 million in prize money. So that was a pretty solid career.

These days, he’s better known as the guy in the box (and on the practice court) for many of Rafael Nadal’s matches, as his IMG agent. He also repped David Nalbandian, but you didn’t hear about that as much. With a name like that, he probably should have taken on David Ferrer – it would be a natural.

Costa seems to be doing a pretty good job at that, too. It’s also a pretty sweet gig, with an in-demand and thoroughly decent client in Nadal.

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