Tennis Birthdays: Jan. 5, 2016

An early Russian, a dirtballer and a top doubles player.

Leila Meskhi (GEO), 48

Meskhi was one of the “early” wave of Russians (in actual fact, she’s Georgian) that included former Svetlana Kuznetsova coach Larissa Savchenko – long before that country took over women’s tennis, at least for a time.

She won five singles and five doubles titles on Tour, peaking at No. 12 in singles and No. 21 in doubles.

Her best major singles result was a quarterfinal at the 1990 U.S. Open.

Mehski has been the president of the Georgian Tennis Federation for more than a decade, has a tennis academy and was the tournament director for the Baku Cup in Azerbaijan, right after Wimbledon, until it was sold to Nanchang, China for this year.

Santiago Ventura (ESP), 36

Ventura was one of the cavalcade of Spaniards making a living in pro tennis, a notch or three below the top guns everyone is familiar with.

Santiago VenturaHe reached a career best singles ranking No. 65 in March, 2008 and did even better in doubles. He was a master of the  increasingly lost art of the dropshot.

He won his only ATP Tour singles title in Casablanca in 2004.

Ventura was better in doubles; his high was No. 37 in doubles in July, 2008. He won one ATP Tour singles title, in Casablanca in 2004.

His last singles match was in the qualifying of a Challenger in Morocco in March, 2011. He retired at 5-5 in the third set.

Ventura played much of his doubles with Ramirez Hidalgo (who is two years older but still playing), but also teamed up with the higher-ranked Nicolas Almagro and Marcel Granollers – Spaniards all.

David Adams (RSA), 46

A South African, Adams didn’t make a mark in singles, peaking at No. 131.

DavidAdamsBut he reached the top 10 in doubles on the ATP Tour, at No. 9, and earned more than $2.5 million during his career.

He and Andrei Olhovskiy of Russia got to the French Open final in 1992. In 1993, the pair got to the semis of the now-defunct world doubles championship and finished up as the No. 4 team on the planet.

In 2002 alone, Adams had 20 different partners. He won the Australian Open mixed in 1999 with countrywoman Mariaan deSwardt (beating Serena Williams and Max Mirnyi in the final) and is a former vice-president of the player council.

In all, he won 19 doubles titles and made 33 other finals.

Shares 0