Tennis Birthdays – Feb. 23, 2016

A sister, a Czech, and a Madagascarian.

Helena Sukova (CZE), 51

It’s hard to believe Sukova retired more than a decade ago after a long, productive career. She played Wimbledon 18 times, the Australian Open 16 times.

She was one of the rare six-footers out there at the time (with Pam Shriver).

Sukova won 10 singles titles and 68 doubles titles in all playing with numerous partners, starting with another tall one, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of Germany. At the end, it was Martina Hingis. She won Wimbledon with Hingis in 1996.

She also won five mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, three with her brother Cyril, two with Aussie Todd Woodbridge.

Sukova won the Canadian Open in 1986, and reached a high of No. 4 in singles and No. 1 in doubles (in 1990).

She actually has a web site. There are some great classic photos on it, including shots of she and doubles-playing brother Cyril when they were just little ones.

Jaslyn Hewitt (AUS), 33

jaslynhewitt Tennis birthdays Feb. 23, 2010Best known to those outside the Hewitt family as the younger sister of Lleyton (who has a birthday tomorrow), Jaslyn was a pretty good junior who played on Tour for awhile, without any great success. She got to No. 304 in the world back in 2005.

After she hung up the racquet, she got into bodybuilding for awhile. But it seems it was just a phase.

The last we heard, she was a coach with Tennis Australia, trying to mold the next generation of Aussie stars. She also got some attention when she dated former Swedish tennis hottie Joachim Johansson – which was fun when he played against her brother.

The bodybuilding phase seems to be over, judging by this Aussie tabloid story, which chronicles her marriage to some Aussie actor/stand-up comedian dude her parents disapproved of so highly, they didn’t even show for the wedding.

Just another cautionary tale about what happens to the other siblings in a family when the parents are flat-out obsessed with the more successful one. Watch out, Sara Tomic.

Dally Randriantefy (MAD), 39

lina1 Tennis birthdays Feb. 23, 2010One of the very, very few players from Madagascar, Randriantefy got to No. 44 in singles in 2005, at a rather advanced age for a career best.

She never won a WTA Tour event, but won seven singles and three doubles titles on the minor-league ITF circuit.

Her last match was a three-set losss to Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekhistan at the 2006 Australian Open.

These days, there aren’t that many players from her country around. But we love Zarah Razafimahatratra – and those with even more consonants.

Eddie Dibbs (USA), 65

Dibbs reached No. 5 in the world in 1978, and won 22 singles titles, remarkable when you think of the players in that era (Borg, McEnroe, Connors, et al). Especially a guy from Brooklyn who officially stood 5-foot-7.

He looks to have picked up the leftovers, winning a lot of smaller events, although he did triumph in Toronto in 1978. He won at least one title a year from 1973 to 1981. Dibbs was a classic grinding dirtballer who reached the semi-finals of the French Open in 1975 and 1976.

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3 thoughts on “Tennis Birthdays – Feb. 23, 2016

  1. Love the tennis birthdays, except that they’re beginning to make me feel old! The young tennis stars of my youth are now senior citizens, or almost: Okker, Dibbs. Dibbs of course was one half of the “Bagel Twins” (with Harold Solomon), even though, unlike Solomon, he apparently isn’t Jewish.

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