Tennis Birthdays – Oct. 22, 2015

A lefty and a mighty-mite righty celebrate today.

Amanda Coetzer (RSA), 44

Coetzer was an overachiever for her size, even back in her era where not EVERY player was a giant.

Think maybe of a Lauren Davis who looked a little like Melanie Oudin, but much better, with much more spin on her shots and absolutely ripped leg muscles.

A little May-December, but it seems to be working.

     A little May-December, but it seems to be working.

Coetzer won nine singles and nine doubles titles during her WTA career, peaking at No. 15 in doubles in 1993 and … No. 3 in singles in 1997. She represented South Africa in three Olympics and reached the final of the US Open women’s doubles in 1993 with Ines Gorrochategui.

Coetzer finished in the top 10 for 10 consecutive seasons, which is an impressive feat.

In Toronto in 1995 (which was Monica Seles’ first tournament back after her stabbing; we covered that one), Coetzer defeated three top-five players en route to the final, including Steffi Graf, before losing to Seles. That was Graf’s first loss of the entire season, a 32-match win streak.

In 1997, she defeated Graf three times – including at the Australian and French Opens. You could say she was her bête noire; the head-to-head was 11-4 in Graf’s favour, but the German also squeaked out a couple of third-set tiebreak victories, so it easily could have been 9-6.

Coetzer was a little over 30 when she called it a day. In 2007, she married an obscenely wealthy Israeli film producer named Arnan Milchan, who is nearly 30 years older than she is and had been a swinging single guy for more than 20 years after his first divorce. He was busy during that time, though, as “key Israeli intelligence operative“. Milchan’s company has produced movies like Pretty Woman, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman and L.A. Confidential, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith – so she probably hung with Brangelina.

In some biographies, Milchan is referred to as an “arms dealer and Hollywood movie producer.” Excellent combo. He also claims to have used connections in South Africa to “promote the apartheid regime” so he could get uranium for Israel. Given his wife’s nationality, that’s a pretty interesting parallel. Milchan also used to own Puma, the sportswear company, and according to Wikipedia owns some WTA broadcasting rights (so if you have complaints about the WTA not being on television enough, you know who to get in touch with).

So, to sum up, Coetzer’s post-tennis life is going well.


Melinda Czink (HUN), 33

Czink was around for a long time, in latter years accompanied by a pony-tailed guy who always looked like he had just gotten up and was still in his pyjamas.

Czink and hubby_new

Looks can be deceiving, though; Ian Barstow (whom she eventually married), has a Masters in Health Science, and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a licensed physiotherapist.

Czink got to No. 37 in singles in 2009, and No. 78 in doubles a year later, with one career title (in Quebec City in 2009) as well as 30 titles in singles and doubles on the ITF circuit.

Melinda Czink_newAfter a bout of appendicitis midway through 2013 at a grass-court tuneup in Birmingham, she didn’t play the rest of the year.

It was a bad situation; Czink claimed the condition was misdiagnosed, and turned into a horror show. It was originally thought she had food poisoning when the pain began and she was given medication for that. But the pain returned, after waiting to see how it progressed, she finally was taken an ambulance to the hospital at the crack of dawn; more pain until Czink had the appendix surgery nearly 12 hours later. Czink said the WTA health insurance  indicated she should be treated at a private hospital; that apparently didn’t happen; she ended up at the closest hospital, which from her account was a horror show. Czink said the doctors told her the appendix was perforated, almost burst, and there was a lot of infection. And a few other issues. Czink claimed that no one from the WTA even visited or called.

She filed suit against the WTA, although it’s unclear what their responsibility would be in this, other than to cover 70 per cent of the health insurance premiums it has through AETNA insurance. It was a multi-million-dollar lawsuit, but Czink said she would donate any proceeds to charity. She also said it took a long time to get over, mentally. No word on how it all played out.

Czink played a full schedule in 2014 but without a lot of success; her last match was a first-round loss to Vitalia Diatchenko at a WTA 125K event in Taipei in early November.

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