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Miloslav Mečíř (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmilɔslaʊ̯ ˈmɛtʃiːɾ]; born 19 May 1964) is a former professional tennis player from Slovakia. He won the men's singles gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games, where he represented Czechoslovakia, and played in two Grand Slam singles finals. In 1987 he won the WCT Finals, the major season-ending championship for the World Championship Tennis tour.

Miloslav Mečíř
Tennis, Melkhuisje open kampioenschappen winnaar Mecir met beker, Bestanddeelnr 934-0434.jpg
Miloslav Mecir at the victory ceremony after winning the 1987 Dutch Open
Country (sports) Czechoslovakia
ResidenceBratislava, Slovakia
Born (1964-05-19) 19 May 1964 (age 55)
Bojnice, Czechoslovakia
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Turned pro1982
Retired1990
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize moneyUS$ 2,632,538
Singles
Career record262–122
Career titles11
Highest rankingNo. 4 (22 February 1988)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenF (1989)
French OpenSF (1987)
WimbledonSF (1988)
US OpenF (1986)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsRR (1987)
WCT FinalsW (1987)
Olympic GamesW (1988)
Doubles
Career record100–54
Career titles9
Highest rankingNo. 4 (7 March 1988)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open4R (1987)
French Open4R (1989)
Wimbledon3R (1987, 1989)
US Open4R (1987, 1988)
Other doubles tournaments
Tour FinalsW (1987)
Olympic GamesSF (1988)
Team competitions
Davis CupSF (1985, 1986)
Hopman CupW (1989)

His son, Miloslav Jr. is a professional tennis player.[1]

CareerEdit

Mečíř was born in Bojnice, Czechoslovakia (now part of Slovakia).

He reached two ATP finals in 1984 and began 1985 by beating Jimmy Connors in the semi final at Philadelphia, before losing to World No. 1 John McEnroe in the final. He won his first ATP singles title in Rotterdam later that year, and ended 1985 ranked just outside the world's top 10.

He consolidated his position as a world class player in 1986, beating rising Stefan Edberg in straight sets at Wimbledon, before losing to defending champion Boris Becker in the quarter-finals. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open later that year, beating Mats Wilander and Boris Becker along the way to the final, where he faced fellow Czechoslovak, defending champion and World No. 1 Ivan Lendl. The 1986 US Open was notable for the fact that four players from Czechoslovakia competed in the two singles finals for men and women – Mečíř and Lendl, Helena Suková and Martina Navratilova. Lendl won the match in straight sets 6–4, 6–2, 6–0. Mečíř's 1986 US Open final appearance was the last major final to see a player still using a wooden racket.

Mečíř improved further in 1987, winning six singles and six doubles titles, notably winning the WCT Finals in Dallas where he defeated John McEnroe in four sets. He met Lendl again in three high-profile matches that year, winning the final of the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, while Lendl won the final of the German Open in Hamburg and the semi-finals of the French Open.

By this time, Mečíř's sedate playing style was known to frustrate a lot of the more-powerful top ranked players. The Swedish players, in particular, were said to dislike playing against him.

Mečíř was on top form at Wimbledon in 1988, where he defeated Mats Wilander in the quarter-final. It was Wilander's only Grand Slam singles defeat of the year (he won the 1988 Australian Open, French Open and US Open) yet Mečíř beat him 6–3, 6–1, 6–3. He took a two-set lead in the semi-final against Edberg with a similar display, and later led by a break of serve in the final set, but Edberg eventually wore him down on the way to his first Wimbledon crown.

The highlight of Mečíř's career came later in 1988 when he was selected to represent Czechoslovakia in the Seoul Olympics. He defeated Eric Jelen, Jeremy Bates, Guy Forget and Michiel Schapers and then in the men's singles semi-finals he exacted revenge over Wimbledon champion Edberg, in a five-set match 3–6, 6–0, 1–6, 6–4, 6–2. He then met Tim Mayotte of the U.S. in the men's singles final and won in four sets 3–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–2 to claim the Gold Medal. He also won a Bronze medal in the men's doubles, partnering Milan Šrejber.

In 1989, Mečíř reached his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Again he came up against Lendl and lost in straight sets 6–2, 6–2, 6–2. It was a tactical victory for Lendl, whose win saw him to reclaim the World No. 1 ranking from Wilander. After the match, Lendl apologized to the crowd, explaining that he and coach Tony Roche had decided the best tactic against Mečíř was to hit shots deep and down the centre of the court, denying his opponent the angles he thrived on.

Mečíř was a member of the Czechoslovak teams that won the World Team Cup in 1987 and the inaugural Hopman Cup in 1989. He is currently the Slovak Davis Cup captain.

During his career, Mečíř won 11 singles titles and 9 doubles titles. His career-high world ranking in both singles and doubles was World No. 4. His total career prize money earnings was US$2,632,538. His final career singles title came in 1989 at Indian Wells. His last doubles title was also won in 1989 in Rotterdam.

Throughout most of 1989 and into 1990, Mečíř suffered from a worsening back injury and he retired in July 1990, aged just 26.

Playing styleEdit

Mečíř was a finesse player whose career straddled the transition from wooden and metal racquets towards modern graphite composites. He was noted for his touch shots as well as the ability to disguise his shots, particularly his two-handed backhand. His court coverage and graceful footwork earned him the nickname "The Big Cat". The French called him "Le Prestidigitateur" (The Conjuror).

Many top players used to cite Mečíř as the one player they most enjoyed watching because of his beautifully simple style and touch. He was known as the "Swede Killer" for the success that he had against Swedish players, especially Mats Wilander.[2]

Major finalsEdit

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 2 (0–2)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 1986 US Open Hard   Ivan Lendl 4–6, 2–6, 0–6
Runner-up 1989 Australian Open Hard   Ivan Lendl 2–6, 2–6, 2–6

WCT Year–End Championship finalsEdit

Singles: 1 (1–0)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 1987 Dallas Carpet (i)   John McEnroe

6–0, 3–6, 6–2, 6–2

Olympic finalsEdit

Singles: 1 (1 gold medal)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Gold 1988 Seoul Hard   Tim Mayotte 3–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–2

ATP Career finalsEdit

Singles: 24 (11 titles, 13 runners-up)Edit

Legend
Grand Slam: (0–2)
Year-End Championships – ATP: (0–0)
Year-End Championships – WCT: (1–0)
Grand Prix Super Series: (3–4)
ATP Grand Prix: (6–7)
Result W–L Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Loss 0–1 Dec 1983 Adelaide, Australia Grass   Mike Bauer 6–3, 4–6, 1–6
Loss 0–2 Sep 1984 Palermo, Italy Clay   Francesco Cancellotti 0–6, 3–6
Loss 0–3 Oct 1984 Cologne, Germany Hard (i)   Joakim Nyström 6–7, 2–6
Loss 0–4 Jan 1985 Philadelphia, U.S. Carpet (i)   John McEnroe 3–6, 6–7(5–7), 1–6
Win 1–4 Mar 1985 Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet (i)   Jakob Hlasek 6–1, 6–2
Win 2–4 Apr 1985 Hamburg, Germany Clay   Henrik Sundström 6–4, 6–1, 6–4
Loss 2–5 May 1985 Rome, Italy Clay   Yannick Noah 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 6–7(4–7)
Win 3–5 Apr 1986 Kitzbühel, Austria Clay   Andrés Gómez 6–4, 4–6, 6–1, 2–6, 6–3
Loss 3–6 Aug 1986 US Open, New York City Hard   Ivan Lendl 4–6, 2–6, 0–6
Loss 3–7 Sep 1986 Hamburg, Germany Clay   Henri Leconte 2–6, 7–5, 4–6, 2–6
Win 4–7 Jan 1987 Auckland, New Zealand Hard   Michiel Schapers 6–2, 6–3, 6–4
Win 5–7 Jan 1987 Sydney, Australia Grass   Peter Doohan 6–2, 6–4
Win 6–7 Feb 1987 Miami, USA Hard   Ivan Lendl 7–5, 6–2, 7–5
Loss 6–8 Mar 1987 Milan, Italy Carpet (i)   Boris Becker 4–6, 3–6
Win 7–8 Apr 1987 WCT Finals, Dallas, USA Carpet (i)   John McEnroe 6–0, 3–6, 6–2, 6–2
Loss 7–9 Apr 1987 Hamburg, Germany Clay   Ivan Lendl 1–6, 3–6, 3–6
Win 8–9 Jul 1987 Stuttgart, Germany Clay   Jan Gunnarsson 6–0, 6–2
Win 9–9 Jul 1987 Hilversum, Netherlands Clay   Guillermo Pérez Roldán 6–4, 1–6, 6–3, 6–2
Loss 9–10 Aug 1987 Kitzbühel, Austria Clay   Emilio Sánchez 4–6, 1–6, 6–4, 1–6
Loss 9–11 Feb 1988 Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet (i)   Stefan Edberg 6–7(5–7), 2–6
Loss 9–12 Mar 1988 Orlando, U.S. Hard   Andrei Chesnokov 6–7(6–8), 1–6
Win 10–12 Sep 1988 Olympic Games, Seoul, Korea Hard   Tim Mayotte 3–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–2
Loss 10–13 Jan 1989 Australian Open, Melbourne Hard   Ivan Lendl 2–6, 2–6, 2–6
Win 11–13 Mar 1989 Indian Wells, U.S. Hard   Yannick Noah 3–6, 2–6, 6–1, 6–2, 6–3

Doubles: 12 (9 – 3)Edit

Legend
Grand Slam: (0–0)
Year-End Championships – ATP: (1–0)
Year-End Championships – WCT: (0–0)
Grand Prix Super Series: (1–1)
ATP Grand Prix: (7–2)
Result No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1. 28 July 1986 Hilversum, Netherlands Clay   Tomáš Šmíd   Tom Nijssen
  Johan Vekemans
6–4, 6–2
Win 2. 6 October 1986 Toulouse, France Hard (i)   Tomáš Šmíd   Jakob Hlasek
  Pavel Složil
6–2, 3–6, 6–4
Winner 3. 27 April 1987 Hamburg, Germany Clay   Tomáš Šmíd   Claudio Mezzadri
  Jim Pugh
4–6, 7–6, 6–2
Loss 1. 11 May 1987 Rome, Italy Clay   Tomáš Šmíd   Guy Forget
  Yannick Noah
2–6, 7–6, 3–6
Win 4. 27 July 1987 Hilversum, Netherlands Clay   Wojciech Fibak   Tom Nijssen
  Johan Vekemans
7–6, 5–7, 6–2
Loss 2. 3 August 1987 Kitzbühel, Austria Clay   Tomáš Šmíd   Sergio Casal
  Emilio Sánchez
6–7, 6–7
Win 5. 10 August 1987 Prague, Czechoslovakia Clay   Tomáš Šmíd   Stanislav Birner
  Jaroslav Navrátil
6–3, 6–7, 6–3
Win 6. 21 September 1987 Barcelona, Spain Clay   Tomáš Šmíd   Javier Frana
  Christian Miniussi
6–1, 6–2
Win 7. 9 November 1987 Wembley, UK Carpet (i)   Tomáš Šmíd   Ken Flach
  Robert Seguso
7–5, 6–4
Win 8. 7 December 1987 Masters Doubles, London, UK Carpet (i)   Tomáš Šmíd   Ken Flach
  Robert Seguso
6–4, 7–5, 6–7(5–7), 6–3
Loss 3. 15 February 1988 Milan, Italy Carpet (i)   Tomáš Šmíd   Boris Becker
  Eric Jelen
3–6, 3–6
Win 9. 6 February 1989 Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet (i)   Milan Šrejber   Jan Gunnarsson
  Magnus Gustafsson
7–6, 6–0

Grand Slam singles tournament timelineEdit

Tournament 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 Career SR Career Win-Loss
Australian Open 1R 2R A NH QF A F 4R 0 / 5 12–5
French Open A 1R 3R 2R SF A 1R 1R 0 / 6 8–6
Wimbledon A 2R 1R QF 3R SF 3R 2R 0 / 7 15–7
US Open A A 2R F QF 3R 3R A 0 / 5 15–5
Grand Slam Win-Loss 0–1 2–3 3–3 11–3 14–4 7–2 10–4 4–3 N/A 50–23
Grand Slam SR 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 2 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 23 N/A
Year End Ranking 101 50 9 9 6 13 18 116 N/A

NH = tournament not held

A = did not participate in the tournament

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

Grand Prix singles tournament timelineEdit

Tournament 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 Career SR
Indian Wells A A A A QF QF W 1R 1 / 4
Miami NH NH 2R A W SF 2R A 1 / 4
Monte Carlo A A A 3R A A A A 0 / 1
Rome A 1R F 3R 1R A 1R A 0 / 5
Hamburg A A W F F A A A 1 / 3
Canada A A A A A A 1R A 0 / 1
Cincinnati A A A A A 1R A A 0 / 1
Paris A A A 1R 2R 2R 2R A 0 / 4
The Masters A A A A RR A A A 0 / 1
Grand Prix SR 0 / 0 0 / 1 1 / 3 0 / 4 1 / 5 0 / 4 1 / 5 0 / 1 3 / 23
  • Note these events were known as The Championship Super Series (single Week) from 1970 to 1989 as part of the Grand Prix Tennis Tour they became known as the Championship Series (single week) by the ATP from 1990 to 1993 eventually becoming the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 as they are known today

NH = tournament not held

A = did not participate in the tournament

SR = the ratio of the number of Masters Series singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit