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Harold Solomon (nicknamed the "Human Backboard";[1] born September 17, 1952) is an American former professional tennis player during the 1970s and 1980s. He achieved career-high world rankings of No. 5 in singles in 1980, and No. 4 in doubles in 1976.[2] Over the course of his career he won 22 singles titles.

Harold Solomon
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceFort Lauderdale, Florida
Born (1952-09-17) September 17, 1952 (age 67)
Washington D.C.
Height1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Turned pro1972 (amateur tour from 1971)
Retired1986
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,802,769
Singles
Career record578–329 (63.7%)
Career titles22
Highest rankingNo. 5 (September 8, 1980)
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenF (1976)
Wimbledon1R (1972, 1974, 1977, 1986)
US OpenSF (1977)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsSF (1976)
WCT FinalsQF (1975, 1976)
Doubles
Career record73–129
Career titles1
Highest rankingNo. 4 (1976)

Solomon was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame, the USTA Mid Atlantic Section Hall of Fame, the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Early and personal lifeEdit

Solomon grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and attended Springbrook High School, has lived in Pompano Beach, Florida, and is Jewish.[3][4][5][6][7] He lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has a wife named Jan, a daughter named Rachel, and a son named Jesse.[3]

Tennis careerEdit

He began playing tennis when he was five.[1] He attended Springbrook High School.[8] He was ranked as high as second in the United States in his junior career, and won the Clay Court Championship when he was 18.[9] He was named an All-American at Rice University,[2][10] where he was a political science major[3] and a member of Wiess College.

He turned professional when he finished university in 1972,[2] and first won pro matches in 1974.[9] Among his shots was the moonball—a high and deep shot, normally hit with a lot of spin.[10][11]

At the French Open, Solomon's best showing was when he reached the finals in singles play in 1976. He reached the quarterfinals in 1972 and 1976, and made it to the semifinals in 1974 and 1980.[9] At the US Open, he was a semifinalist in 1977.[9][10] He also won the tournament now known as the Cincinnati Masters twice (in 1977 and 1980), and was a finalist at the 1976 and 1978 United States Pro Championships.

Solomon captured a total of 22 professional singles titles.[12] His lifetime professional win-loss record is 564–315, and he has earned over $1.8 million.[2] He was ranked in the top 10 singles players worldwide in 1976, 1978, 1979, and 1980, and was among the top 20 from 1974 to 1980.[2] His best year was in 1980, when his win-loss record was 64–23, and he was ranked No. 5 in the world.[10] He appeared in Playgirl Magazine' list of 10 sexiest men that same year.[9]

Solomon played doubles with Eddie Dibbs. In 1976 they were ranked No. 4 worldwide, and were among the top ten in 1974, 1975, and 1976. They were nicknamed "The Bagel Twins."[2]

Davis CupEdit

Solomon played in the Davis Cup on the American team in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1978.[2] He has a record of nine wins and four losses in this competition.[10] The US team won the Davis Cup final in 1972 (3–2 against Romania) and 1978 (4–1 against Great Britain) although Solomon did not play in either final.[10]

ATPEdit

Solomon served as president of the Association of Tennis Professionals from 1980 to 1983,[2] and later on its board of directors.[9][10]

Halls of FameEdit

Solomon was inducted into the USTA Mid Atlantic Section Hall of Fame in 1994[13] and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[2] He was named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame (player) in 2013. He was inducted into the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.[14]

Coaching careerEdit

Solomon began coaching in the 1990s, working with Jennifer Capriati, Mary Joe Fernandez, Shahar Pe'er, Justin Gimelstob, Eugenie Bouchard, Allie Kiick, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and others.[15][16][17][18][2][10] Some of his players participated in Grand Slam events and the Olympic Games.[12] He founded and runs the Harold Solomon Tennis Center, now known as the Florida Tennis SBT Academy, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[10][19]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 1 runner-upEdit

Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
1976 French Open Clay   Adriano Panatta 1–6, 4–6, 6–4, 6–7

Career finalsEdit

Singles: 38 (22 titles, 16 runner-ups)Edit

Category Titles
Grand Slam 0
Grand Prix Masters (1970–89) 0
WCT Finals (1971–89) 0
Grand Prix Super Series (1970–89) 3
Grand Prix Series (1970–89), WCT Series (1968–89) 19
Result No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Win 1. 1974 Washington DC., U.S. Clay   Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 6–3, 6–4
Loss 1. 1974 Bretton Woods, U.S. Clay   Rod Laver 4–6, 3–6
Loss 2. 1974 Los Angeles, U.S. Hard   Jimmy Connors 3–6, 1–6
Win 2. 1975 Toronto Indoor, Canada Carpet (i)   Stan Smith 6–4, 6–1
Win 3. 1975 Memphis, U.S. Hard (i)   Jiří Hřebec 2–6, 6–1, 6–4
Loss 3. 1975 Washington DC., U.S. Clay   Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 3–6
Loss 4. 1975 Melbourne, Australia Grass   Brian Gottfried 2–6, 6–7, 1–6
Win 4. 1975 Perth, Australia Hard   Alex Mayer 6–2, 7–6, 7–5
Win 5. 1975 Johannesburg, South Africa Hard   Brian Gottfried 6–3, 6–2, 5–7, 6–2
Loss 5. 1976 Monterrey WCT, Mexico Carpet   Eddie Dibbs 6–7, 2–6
Win 6. 1976 Washington WCT, U.S. Carpet (i)   Onny Parun 6–3, 6–1
Win 7. 1976 Houston WCT, U.S. Clay   Ken Rosewall 6–4, 1–6, 6–1
Loss 6. 1976 French Open, Paris Clay   Adriano Panatta 1–6, 4–6, 6–4, 6–7
Win 8. 1976 Louisville Open, U.S. Clay   Wojtek Fibak 6–2, 7–5
Loss 7. 1976 Boston, U.S. Clay   Björn Borg 7–6, 4–6, 1–6, 2–6
Win 9. 1976 Maui, U.S. Hard   Bob Lutz 6–3, 5–7, 7–5
Win 10. 1976 Johannesburg WCT, South Africa Hard   Brian Gottfried 6–2, 6–7, 6–3, 6–4
Win 11. 1977 Brussels, Belgium Clay   Karl Meiler 7–5, 3–6, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4
Win 12. 1977 Cincinnati Masters, U.S. Clay   Mark Cox 6–2, 6–3
Win 13. 1977 WCT Tournament of Champions, Lakeway Carpet (i)   Ken Rosewall 7–6, 6–2, 2–6, 0–6, 6–3
Loss 8. 1978 Springfield, U.S. Carpet (i)   Heinz Günthardt 3–6, 6–3, 2–6
Win 14. 1978 Las Vegas, U.S. Hard   Corrado Barazzutti 6–1, 3–0 ret.
Win 15. 1978 Louisville Open, U.S. Clay   John Alexander 6–2, 6–2
Loss 9. 1978 Boston, U.S. Clay   Manuel Orantes 4–6, 3–6
Loss 10. 1978 Johannesburg, South Africa Hard   Tim Gullikson 6–2, 6–7, 6–7, 7–6, 4–6
Win 16. 1979 Baltimore WCT, U.S. Carpet (i)   Marty Riessen 7–5, 6–4
Loss 11. 1979 Hamburg, Germany Clay   José Higueras 6–3, 1–6, 4–6, 1–6
Loss 12. 1979 Forest Hills WCT, U.S. Clay   Eddie Dibbs 6–7, 1–6
Win 17. 1979 North Conway, U.S. Clay   José Higueras 5–7, 6–4, 7–6
Loss 13. 1979 Bordeaux, France Clay   Yannick Noah 0–6, 7–6, 1–6, 6–1, 4–6
Win 18. 1979 Paris Masters, France Hard (i)   Corrado Barazzutti 6–3, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4
Loss 14. 1979 Wembley Championship, England Carpet (i)   John McEnroe 3–6, 4–6, 5–7
Win 19. 1980 Baltimore WCT, U.S. Carpet (i)   Tim Gullikson 7–6, 6–0
Loss 15. 1980 Las Vegas, U.S. Hard   Björn Borg 3–6, 1–6
Win 20. 1980 Hamburg Masters, Germany Clay   Guillermo Vilas 6–7, 6–2, 6–4, 2–6, 6–3
Win 21. 1980 Cincinnati Masters, U.S. Hard   Francisco González 7–6, 6–3
Win 22. 1980 Tel Aviv, Israel Hard   Shlomo Glickstein 6–2, 6–3
Loss 16. 1981 Las Vegas, U.S. Hard   Ivan Lendl 4–6, 2–6

Grand Slam singles performance timelineEdit

Tournament 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 Career W-L
Australian Open A A A A A A A A A A A A A A NH 0–0
French Open QF 3R SF QF F 4R 3R 4R SF 1R 2R A 3R A A 37–12
Wimbledon 1R A 1R A A 1R A A A A A A A A 1R 0–4
US Open 2R 1R A 4R 1R SF 4R 4R 4R 3R 3R 1R A A A 22–11
Win-Loss 5–3 2–2 5–2 7–2 6–2 8–3 5–2 6–2 8–2 2–2 3–2 0–1 2–1 0–0 0–1 59–27

NH = tournament not held.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Jewish Sports Stars (2nd revised edition): Athletic Heroes Past and Present - David J. Goldman
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Harold Solomon". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Harold Solomon | Bio | ATP World Tour | Tennis
  4. ^ Great Jews in Sports - Robert Slater
  5. ^ The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports ... - Peter S. Horvitz
  6. ^ Jewish Sports Stars (2nd revised edition): Athletic Heroes Past and Present - David J. Goldman
  7. ^ "Tennis, Life Are Growing On Solomon" - The Washington Post
  8. ^ The Great Book of Washington DC Sports Lists - Len Shapiro, Andy Pollin
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Solomon, Harold". Jews in Sports. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Historical Dictionary of Tennis - John Grasso
  11. ^ Quick Tips from the CBS Tennis Spot - Shep Campbell
  12. ^ a b "Meet The Staff". Harold Solomon Tennis Institute. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  13. ^ "USTA Mid Atlantic Section – Hall of Fame". USTA Mid Atlantic Section. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  14. ^ "Washington, D.C. Sports Hall Inducts Class of 2016" - Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame
  15. ^ International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Harold Solomon leaves Team Genie Bouchard" - Tennis.life
  18. ^ On the Court with ... Jennifer Capriati - Matt Christopher
  19. ^ "Florida Tennis SBT Academy Names Rob Castorri GM and Director of Tennis"

External linksEdit