18 Jan 2013

First ever Futures champion still going strong in Australia

News Article

Photo: Nir KeidarJonathan Erlich (ISR)

100 Years of the ITF

At the 2013 Australian Open, Israel’s Jonathan Erlich, with South African partner Kevin Anderson, knocked out the number two seeds, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek from India and Czech Republic respectively, in the opening round.

But did you know that at the first ever Futures tournament on the ITF Pro Circuit which concluded on 2 January 1998 in New Delhi, India, saw a 20-year old Jonathan Erlich triumph in the doubles event with partner Noam Okun?

Ten years on from that first Futures triumph, and already an established member of the Israeli Davis Cup team, Erlich became a Grand Slam champion with his regular Davis Cup partner Andy Ram with success at the 2008 Australian Open. Later that same year he reached a career high on the ATP doubles rankings list with a ranking of 5.

In July 2009 he had probably his Davis Cup career highlight when taking to the court with Ram in Israel’s quarterfinal tie against Russia and defeating Marat Safin and Igor Kunitsyn in a tense five sets to give his nation an unassailable 3-0 lead and a place in the semifinals. Although they were to go on to lose to eventual champions Spain, reaching the semifinals was, and still is, the best finish Israel has had!

Erlich is still competing regularly in doubles at ATP World Tour and Grand Slam events and still remains an active member of the Israeli Davis Cup team. At 35-years old he is still ranked within the ATP’s Top 100 doubles players with a ranking of 53 and has amassed 58 career doubles titles to date including eight Futures titles and fifteen Satellite titles on the ITF Pro Circuit.