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Helen Kelesi (born 15 November 1969) is a former professional tennis player from Canada. She was coached by her father Milan Kelesi.

Helen Kelesi
Country (sports) Canada
ResidenceRichmond, British Columbia, Canada
Born (1969-11-15) 15 November 1969 (age 49)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Turned pro1985
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize moneyUS$ 900,990
Singles
Career record263–182
Career titles2 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 13 (20 November 1989)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open3R (1990)
French OpenQF (1988, 1989)
Wimbledon3R (1993)
US Open3R (1986, 1987)
Other tournaments
Olympic Games1R (1988)
Doubles
Career record81–109
Career titles2 WTA, 0 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 26 (22 April 1991)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open2R (1992)
French OpenQF (1989)
Wimbledon2R (1987, 1988)
US Open2R (1990, 1991)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open2R (1988)
Wimbledon2R (1986, 1987)

CareerEdit

"Hurricane Helen", as the Canadian press dubbed her for her fiery demeanour, achieved a career high WTA ranking of world no. 13 (November 1989), and was a regular fixture in the top 25 from 1986 to 1991. She won singles titles in two tour events, the 1986 Japan Open and the 1988 Citta de Taranto, and at the French Open, she was a quarter-finalist in 1988 (losing to Gabriela Sabatini) and 1989 (losing to Mary-Joe Fernandez). During her time on the WTA Tour, Kelesi recorded wins over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Conchita Martinez, Jana Novotna, Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, Helena Sukova and Pam Shriver.

Kelesi's game was characterized by aggressive baseline play, with a powerful top-spin forehand and two-handed backhand. She also retrieved well and could play defensively when needed. These skills meant that Kelesi was particularly good on clay and hard-court surfaces.

Kelesi was a Canadian Federation Cup team member from 1986 to 1993. She was Tennis Canada singles player of the year four times (1986, 1987, 1989, and 1990).

Kelesi's professional career came to an end in 1995 when a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball was discovered following months of headaches, dizziness and vision problems. Numerous operations followed over the years, Kelesi successfully recovered and began coaching young children in Canada in the late 1990s. She also became a part-time tennis journalist and commentator.

WTA Tour finalsEdit

Singles: 9 (2 titles, 7 runners-up)Edit

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–0)
Tier II (0–0)
Tier III (0–1)
Tier IV (0–3)
Tier V (1–2)
Virginia Slims (1–1)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–3)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (1–4)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 26 August 1985 Monticello Hard   Barbara Potter 6–4, 3–6, 2–6
Winner 1. 19 October 1986 Tokyo Hard   Bettina Fulco 6–2, 6–2
Winner 2. 1 May 1988 Taranto Clay   Laura Garrone 6–1, 6–0
Runner-up 2. 8 May 1988 Rome Clay   Gabriela Sabatini 1–6, 7–6(4), 1–6
Runner-up 3. 7 August 1988 Cincinnati Hard   Barbara Potter 2–6, 2–6
Runner-up 4. 30 April 1989 Barcelona Clay   Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 2–6, 7–5, 1–6
Runner-up 5. 12 November 1989 Nashville Hard (I)   Leila Meskhi 2–6, 3–6
Runner-up 6. 27 May 1990 Geneva Clay   Barbara Paulus 6–2, 5–7, 6–7(3)
Runner-up 7. 26 May 1991 Geneva Clay   Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere 3–6, 6–3, 3–6

Doubles: 5 (2 titles, 3 runners-up)Edit

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (1–1)
Tier II (0–0)
Tier III (0–1)
Tier IV (1–0)
Tier V (0–1)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–2)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (1–1)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. 1 May 1988 Taranto Clay   Laura Garrone   Andrea Betzner
  Claudia Porwik
1–6, 2–6
Runner-up 2. 7 August 1988 Cincinnati Hard   Lindsay Bartlett   Beth Herr
  Candy Reynolds
6–4, 6–7(9), 1–6
Winner 1. 13 May 1990 Rome Clay   Monica Seles   Laura Garrone
  Laura Golarsa
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 3. 5 August 1990 Montreal Hard   Raffaella Reggi   Betsy Nagelsen
  Gabriela Sabatini
6–3, 2–6, 2–6
Winner 2. 21 October 1990 Scottsdale Hard   Elise Burgin   Sandy Collins
  Ronni Reis
6–4, 6–2

ITF FinalsEdit

Singles Finals: 3 (3-0)Edit

$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 1. 3 February 1991 Midland, Michigan, United States Hard (i)   Meredith McGrath 6–2, 6–2
Winner 2. 27 January 1992 Midland, Michigan, United States Hard (i)   Claire Wegink 7–6(7–2), 7–6(10–8)
Winner 3. 25 January 1993 Austin, Texas, United States Hard   Elly Hakami 6–4, 3–6, 6–2

Doubles Finals: (0-2)Edit

Outcome No Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score
Runner–up 1. 3 February 1991 Midland, Michigan, United States Hard (i)   Katrina Adams   Anne Smith
  Meredith McGrath
5–7, 5–7
Runner–up 1. 27 January 1992 Midland, Michigan, United States Hard (i)   Caroline Vis   Manon Bollegraf
  Meredith McGrath
3–6, 1–6

Grand Slam singles performance timelineEdit

Tournament 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 Career SR
Australian Open A NH 2R A A 3R A 1R A 2R A A A 0 / 4
French Open 1R 1R 4R QF QF 2R 3R A 1R 1R A A A 0 / 9
Wimbledon 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R A 3R 1R A A A 0 / 9
U.S. Open 1R 3R 3R 2R 1R 2R 2R 1R 1R 1R A A A 0 / 10
SR 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 32
Year End Ranking 48 39 32 19 13 25 29 128 49 124 NR NR 763

External linksEdit