Tennis Birthdays – Nov. 13, 2015

From Poland to the U.S. to Haiti to Austria today.

Jerzy Janowicz (POL), 25

Jerzy-Janowicz MugMuch has been expected of this 6-foot-8 behemoth, because of his intriguing unusual combination of a massive serve and the potential tennis mind and hands of an artist.

He might be his own worst enemy. It’s to remember any match where he was actually calm, in control and enjoying himself.

In Aug. 2013, Janowicz got to No. 14 in the world. He made more than $1.3 million that year. Since then, it’s been a struggle. He ended 2014 at No. 43, but got down as far as No. 65. A foot injury didn’t help.

As this year ends, he’s at No. 57; his last match was a lost to Aljaz Bedene in the qualifying in Paris. And yet, he started off well. He defeated Aussie Nick Kyrgios in the first round of Sydney. He defeated Gaël Monfils in a dramatic five-setter at the Australian Open. He beat Brown, Paire, Simon and Sousa before retiring in the final of Montpellier against Gasquet (after three games).  It’s like his career is in a holding pattern, just waiting for something to trigger a big move.

At least, during this Indian Wells doubles match against the button-pushing duo of Paes and Stepanek last year, he got some expressions of the usually deadpan Philipp Kohlschreiber.

(DISCLAIMER: The official Jerzy Janowicz ATP Tour mugshot, above right, in no way represents a typical moment in the life of Jerzy Janowicz).

 

Ronald Agénor (HAI), 51

Ronald-Agenoragenor-rockstarBorn in Morocco, he moved to Zaire when he was 10 and then to Bordeaux, France at 14. He represented Haiti often (he was the only one of the six kids in his family not to have been born there) and now is an American, living the dream in Beverly Hills.

We tend to kind of think of him as French; he was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 1989, losing to eventual champ Michael Chang.

His father was a diplomat (hence the moving), he has one brother who’s an economist and another who’s a cardiologist. In his family, they probably thought he was the underachiever.

Good career, though. And look at his beautiful family.

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Agénor won three titles and got to No. 22 in the world, the second-best ranking so far as we know it for a male who plays with dreadlocks (Dustin Brown has this to aspire to, but both had Yannick Noah to aspire to).

He’s also had his rock-star moments (beware, the music below is pretty horrendous although the guitar work’s not too bad).

 

Bill Scanlon (USA), 59

Bill ScanlonThe American was a Connors-McEnroe contemporary, a bit older than McEnroe and a bit younger than Connors.

He got to the top 10 in 1984, peaking at No. 9, and won six titles.

Scanlon bookHe was a U.S. Open semifinalist in 1983 and also got to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon during his career. Before that, he was an NCAA champion out of Trinity, beating well-known McEnroe doubles partner Peter Fleming in the final. He also beat McEnroe in 1983, on the way to that semifinal in New York.

Scanlan also is in the Hall of Fame for a rare feat – a golden set he inflicted on poor Marcos Hocevar of Brazil in the first round of a tournament in Delray Beach, Fla. in 1983. (Scanlan didn’t drop a single point in winning the second set in a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

Since his retirement, he’s been in the financial world as an investment and wealth management guy. He also wrote a book this year with the best title: Bad News for McEnroe.

Here’s a blurb on that. Read it; it’s pretty funny, and a great look into that era from the mere-mortal side.

 

Daniela Klemenschits (b. 1982, d. April 9, 2008)
Sandra Klemenschits (AUT), 33

It’s an awful, tragic story, the story of these Austrian twins.

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Both were diagnosed with a supposedly incurable form of abdominal cancer in 2007. Sandra made it, and returned to the Tour a year later. Daniela did not.

There’s a nice story about that here, on the WTA Tour site. Unfortunately, there is no photo or basically much information at all about Daniela on her page.

Daniela actually had an 8-2 head-to-head record against her sister in singles.

Sandra, a lefty, has one doubles title on the WTA Tour (won in 2013 at home in Austria with Andreja Klepac), and 40 at the ITF level. She reached a career high of No. 55 in doubles in March of last year but is currently at No. 169, despite having played a full schedule mostly on the minor-league circuit. She and her sister reached the final of Istanbul in 2005. Daniela got to the top 100 in 2005.

 

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