Tennis Birthdays – Oct. 26, 2015

A Canadian and a Frenchman, a decade apart.

Erik Chvojka (CAN), 29

The Kirkland, Que. native never really made it in the grand scheme of things, but he had a few small shots at it.

His final matches were in the first round of Granby in 2014, when he lost in the singles to Lukas Lacko 7-5 in the third, then teamed up with Lacko to lose 13-11 in the match tiebreak to Bester and Polansky. Sort of a microcosm of his career – so close, but not quite. That’s 12 years of trying on the pro circuit, with his first Futures match coming in 2002.

ERik Chvojka-Oz_new

He reached a career high of No. 204 in 2012, earning $163,316 during his career, but played just two matches at the ATP Tour level. A wild card, Chvojka took Alexandr Dolgopolov to three sets at the Rogers Cup in 2011 before bowing out.

Chvojka’s best shot came at Wimbledon in 2012, when he got to the final round of the Roehampton qualifying, went up two sets to Iñigo Cervantes of Spain – then lost in five in an epic drama that we still remember to this day. Couldn’t have felt worse for the kid; Cervantes was playing every mind game in the book, sudden injury recoveries, multiple treatments, and the prevailing thought was, wow, the kid could finally break through and make the main draw of a Slam, and the only person he even knew who could say they saw him do it and congratulate him afterwards was your humble Open Court servant – a casual acquaintance at best.

Early in his career, Chvojka got some financial help from a tennis club in Brewster, NY. But he wasn’t making it happen so in 2009-2010, he finished CEGEP and got accepted into McGill University in mechanical engineering while teaching tennis at the Côte-de-Liesse club. But then he got the bug again and felt he owed to himself to give a last shot.

What’s he up to now? Since last year, he has been enrolled in a Bachelors’ of Business Administration program at Mälardalen University.

That’s in Västerås, Sweden. Random, huh? Efforting on finding out how he ended up there.

Quentin Halys (FRA), 19

(ITF)

(ITF)

Still a teen, Halys is currently at his career-high ranking, having just broken into the top 200 at No. 191. He began the season at No. 596, so that’s good work.

He had two good periods this year, the first from the end of February to the end of March when he won two titles, and made two other finals on the Futures circuit.

After moving up to the Challenger and ATP circuit, without much success, he went back down to the Futures and won back-to-back events in Italy and Great Britain around US Open time.  His best effort in a Challenger came last month in Tiburon, Calif, where he made the semis. He lost first round in the next two, though, to Americans Denis Kudla and Tommy Paul.

As a junior, Halys got to No. 3 in April, 2014. then got to the semis of the French Open junior singles, and won the junior doubles with countryman Benjamin Bondi. He wrapped up his junior career with a loss in the US Open junior final to Aussie Omar Jasika, after beating highly-touted American juniors Francis Tiafoe (a third-set tiebreak) and Stefan Kozlov (retirement) early in the tournament.

So, good junior resumé. We’ll see where he goes from here. On his birthday, he’s in the final round of qualifying at the ATP event in Valencia, having beaten an unknown Spaniard in three sets, and American Rajeev Ram in straight sets, to get there.

Fun part of being a French junior? You get a lot of support from the big shots in your country when you’re at the same tournament (that’s Halys with the accreditation on his back, with Johan Tatlot, Nicolas Mahut and the Magnificent Michael Llodra™.

French juniors - Llodra

 

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