Tennis Birthdays – Oct. 10, 2015

A Chilean who has his moment in the sun.

Nicolas Massu (CHI), 36

Massu got into the top 10, peaking at No. 9, and won more than $4 million in prize money before he retired.

But his moment came at the Athens Olympics in 2004 where he had moments he probably couldn’t have imagined.  Massu defeated American Marty Fish in five sets to win the singles gold medal, then teamed up with countryman Fernando Gonzalez to defeat Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler of Germany, also in four sets, saving four match points in the process, to win doubles gold.

Twelve Olympic matches over eight days – maximum haul.

The two, not surprisingly, were greeted as heros upon their return to Chile.

Gonzalez, 14 months younger, retired first, in March 2012. Massu called it a day at home in Chile during the U.S. Open two years ago.

Tereza Smitkova (CZE), 21

Smitkova was at No. 84 a year ago – a career high at the time – before reached her best so far of No. 57 in early April of this year. She’s at No. 91 now. So there’s sort of a plateau situation happening.

That’s not why she was emo in the photo below, taken during Wimbledon qualies in 2014. We don’t actually know why; things were going okay.

Smitkova was a little upset – and she was winning – during Wimbledon qualies. Things worked out well.

Smitkova was a little upset – and she was winning – during Wimbledon qualies. Things worked out well.

Even when things are generally going well on the tennis court, the minute a bit of adversity hits, it’s emo city.

Smitkova is listed at 5-foot-9. But that how tall your Open Court servant is, and she looks taller than that.

Smitkova fell in the qualifying at both the Australian and French Opens last year and played most of the rest of the year in the minor leagues but then, at Wimbledon, she got it going. From the qualies, she defeated Su-Wei Hsieh, Coco Vandeweghe and Bojana Jovanovski – quality players, all – before falling to Lucie Safarova in the round of 16. It nearly cut her ranking in half, from No. 175 to No. 99.

She’s only passed the second round of a tournament at the WTA level once this season – in her very first event of the year, in Shenzen. At the higher level on the ITF circuit, she has made two quarter-finals. But she’s still searching for that one big result.


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