Tennis Birthdays – Aug. 13, 2014

Whither Alona Bondarenko as she hits the big 3-0?

Alona Bondarenko (UKR), 30

No. 19 in the world in singles and No. 11 in doubles back in 2008, Bondarenko has basically fallen off the face of the tennis earth.

Her last match was in Moscow in October, 2011. She had her third knee surgery two years ago, but if you know of her whereabouts, please Tweet!

Bondarenko won two WTA singles and four doubles, and another 14 titles on the ITF circuit. She teamed up with sister Kateryna to win the 2008 Australian Open doubles.

She married coach Nikolay Dyachok in 2010 (that’s original!).

Jean Robert Borotra
(born 1898, died July 17, 1994)

The Frenchman, nicknamed the “Bouncing Basque (le Basque Bondissant)” lived a long, long life; he passed away shortly before his 96th birthday.

He was best known as one of the “Quatre Mousquetaires”, the band of French players in the 1920s that included René Lacoste. Also – for wearing a beret on court.

(Photo: le Figaro)

(Photo: le Figaro)

Borotra won each of the four majors in mixed doubles, falling short of doing the same in singles and doubles at the U.S. Open. He won Olympic bronze in 1924.

According to Wikipedia, he was arrested by the Gestapo during World World II, and spend time in a concentration camp before he was freed 2 1/2 years later.

He and the other Mousquetaires were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (together) in 1996.

Nicolas Lapentti (ECU), 38

Lapentti had a fine junior career, wrapping it up with a win in the prestigious Orange Bowl in Miami (over Gustavo Kuerten in the final). He almost pulled off the double win with Kuerten in the doubles, but they were beaten by a couple of Canadians, Bobby Kokavec and Jocelyn Robichaud (both of whom are now coaches at the national centre in Montreal).

He did better in doubles than singles (a lot of it with Kuerten) as a junior. But as a pro, it was the reverse. Lapentti reached No. 6 in the rankings and won five titles. In doubles, he got to No. 32 with three titles. His last match was a straight-sets loss to American Taylor Dent at the 2010 French Open.

Lapentti-Safin

Lapentti kept very good company on Tour. (Open Court pic, U.S. Open 2008)

Lapentti was one of a few players rumoured to have a dalliance with Anna Kournikova back in the day. (The longtime Palm Beach society columnist who wrote that is a CLASSIC – calls Lapentti a “doe-eyed tennis upstart). He married wife Maria in 2011.

He, and his brother Giovanni (obviously) are the nephews of 1990 French Open champion Andrés Gomez. Giovanni is very good pals with Canuck Frank Dancevic, whose current coach also works with the younger Lapentti.

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