Tennis in Israel

Tennis in Israel

Tennis has been played in Israel since the early twentieth century. In 1939, the Maccabi Tel Aviv Tennis Club was formed by immigrants from Europe, mainly Austria and Germany. The Maccabi Tel Aviv Tennis Club just had two gravel courts and was used by tennis players in Israel and it was where most of Israel’s international championships and Davis Cup matches were held. Since the 1920s, approximately120 registered tennis associations have been formed under the Tennis Federation, the largest being the Israel Tennis Center, which has about 14 centers nationwide. In Israel there are tennis courts in most towns, villages and kibbutzim. The largest and most famous tennis courts in Israel are: the Maccabi North Tel Aviv on Rokach Blvd, and the Hadar Yosef tennis complex.

 

 

The Israel Tennis Center is the largest tennis association in Israel. The center was founded in 1976 by a group of sports enthusiasts from the USA and England as a non-profit organization. Theiraim was “to teach life games through tennis” and promote the game for the masses, based on equality and equal opportunities for all. The tennis events that the organization, promotes include, programs for kindergartens, competitive programs and tennis academies where more than 20,000 children take part. The organization operates 14 centers with roughly 172 all weather courts, 5 clay courts and offers additional services such as fitness gyms and classrooms. The center, which has more than 350,000 graduates, has evolved to be the world’s largest tennis school and a number of key Israeli tennis players have developed their talents there.

 

Israel’s significant international achievements in tennis started in 1981, when Shlomo Glickstein played professional tennis. Besides being ranked number 22 in the world, Glickstein gained prominence when he beat the world’s top tennis player, Ivan Lendl, at the Monte Carlo Tournament, and in the ensuing years he reached the double finals at Roland Garros. One of the athletes more identified with Israeli tennis is Amos Manddorf, who played in the professional leagues immediately after Glickstein in the 1980s. In 1987, Mansdorf was ranked 18th, a record ranking for an Israeli tennis player. He achieved this ranking after winning a tournament in Bercy, France and included victories against Boris Becker and Michael Stich – at the time Wimbledon champions.

 

The return to the global tennis rankings occurred with the duo Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, and with female player Shahar Pe’er. Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, also known as Andyoni, are the most successful player duo in Israel’s tennis history. The two have won many tournaments including: winning the Grand Slam (Australia Open championship), reaching the quarter final in the Olympics and playing in the semifinal of the Davis Cup. In 2008, the two were ranked first place in the annual doubles ranking of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals). Shahar Pe’er is another great player of Israeli pride. She is the most successful female tennis player of all times, who, at her peak was ranked 11th in the world. She reached the finals of many tournaments and has won various prizes. Her personal record includes a quarter final for female singles in the Grand Slam and a doubles final in the Grand Slam. In 2014, she was bestowed a great honor by being chosen to light a torch at the central ceremony of Israel’s Independence Day.