Tennis Birthdays: April 5, 2015

Players, and former players, celebrating on this day.

Jonathan Erlich (ISR), 38

Erlich won the Australian Open doubles title (with fellow Israeli Andy Ram, their first career Grand Slam), and Indian Wells in 2008.

They certainly had their moments  – upsetting the Russians in Tel Aviv in July, 2009 as they beat our man Marat and Igor Kunitsyn in five sets. There was serious celebration there.

0385.erlichran Tennis birthdays   April 5, 2011They split for awhile when Erlich was injured, but then reunited full-time. Ram, though, had hip surgery at the end of 2012. He came back in April, and played most of the season, but he said goodbye in 2014.

Erlich is still playing some; he’s playing this week in Houston with Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan. It’s only his fifth tournament of the season, with five different partners.

Erlich only reached No. 299 on the singles charts (back in 1999). He was actually born in Buenos Aires, Argentina but holds dual citizenship (definitely a smart career move; the pool of good tennis players is, to say the least, more shallow in Israel than it is in Argentina).

But it’s legit; Erlich moved to Israel when he was just a year old.

His career high in doubles was No. 5 after Wimbledon in 2008. He has 17 career doubles titles.

Dariya Jurak (CRO), 31

Jurak-Moulton-LevyShe’s been a pro for 15 years, now a doubles specialist without a singles ranking but with eight singles and an impressive 38 doubles titles at the ITF level. In addition to that, she won her first WTA Tour title last year in Monterrey with Megan Moulton-Levy.

She’s made just over $500,000 in her career, which if you divide it by 15 and then think about all the traveling expenses, makes her longevity that much more impressive.

Jurak got into the top 200 singles, checking in at No. 188 exactly on her 20th birthday (that’s something!). She got to No. 32 in doubles almost two years ago, and currently stands at No. 61.

Moulton-Levy is currently out with a back issue; Jurak has played with various partners, including Dellacqua, Koukalova, Kalashnikova and Siegemund, in the interim.

 

Sandy Mayer (USA), 63

The older of the two Mayer brothers from Flushing, NY, Sandy reached No. 7 in singles (April 1982) and No. 3 in doubles (Jan. 1985).

He won 10 singles titles and 24 doubles, including the 1975 Wimbledon, the 1979 French Open, and Montreal in 1983.

Johan Kriek (RSA-USA), 57

 Tennis birthdays   April 5, 2011Kriek was a player similar in accomplishment to Mayer,  reaching No. 7 in singles after the 1984 U.S. Open, and No. 12 in doubles four years later.

He won 14 singles and eight doubles titles, and remained active as a player for a longtime, as a regular competitor when Jimmy Connors started the first real seniors tour.

Kriek won the Australian Open in 1981 and 1982, back when that Grand Slam was a bit of a country cousin to the other 1715.krieks Tennis birthdays   April 5, 2011majors, and didn’t get a full field (he beat American Steve Denton both times, which takes nothing away from the accomplishment, but puts it into perspective).

He was also a semi-finalist at the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon.

Kriek became a U.S. citizen more than 25 years ago (marrying Tish), and settled in Naples, Fla.  He also is founder of the Global Water Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to delivering clean water to the world’s neediest communities.

He has since divested himself of Tish, and remarried a younger woman (and has a young son).  His wife is active on Twitter in support of her fellow Poles and, of course, of her husband. He has a tennis academy in Charlotte, N.C.

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