Tennis (Life) Birthdays – April 18, 2019

Jonathan Leach (USA), 46

Leach comes from some serious tennis bloodlines, but he’s better known these days in the tennis world as the the husband of Hall-of-Famer Lindsay Davenport, and the father of their four kids.

He also, for a time, worked alongside his wife as they coached fellow American Madison Keys.

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Mostly, he has worked for Merrill Lynch for more than a decade, and currently is a private wealth advisor in the Private Banking and Investment Group. Before that, at Morgan Stanley.

Leach did play a couple of years on tour, mostly doubles – and even a few times with his more celebrated doubles-playing older brother, Rick.

Their father is longtime USC tennis coach Dick Leach.

Ilie

Here’s an article from the L.A. Times about him when he was 15. Leach followed the family tradition and was an all-American at USC. He later earned an MBA from the business school at (bitter rival) UCLA.

He reached a career high of no. 229 in doubles in 1996 (No. 834 in singles the following year).

Andrew Ilie (AUS), 43

Ilie wasn’t a household name, but he was a whole lot of fun to watch – and especially popular at his home Grand Slam in Melbourne.

AWhen the defining thing in your pro career is the fact that you took great pleasure in ripping your shirt off after victories, that’s pretty good stuff.

The guy was smaller than his listed 5-foot-11, but he ripped it – “go hard or go home” was his game style.

Ilie and his family fled Romania when he was 10, and spent a year in a refugee camp in Australia before finding a home Down Under.

Here’s a piece from the Australian blog “The Roar” about him that has some fun stuff. Although any comparison to Bernard Tomic, which the author makes, is a head-scratcher.

6445.djoker Tennis birthdays April 18, 2011Among Ilie’s impressive wins was a five-setter over top-20 player Richard Krajicek at the French Open in 1995.

He got to No. 38 in the world in 2000, and won two ATP Tour titles, both in the U.S. (Atlanta and Coral Springs) and both on Har-Tru, back when the ATP Tour actually had Har-Tru tournaments in the U.S. for the boys.

He was a top-10 junior player in 1994, reached the Australian Open junior final and also won the big junior event in Canada that year.

According to his old Tennis Australia bio, he retired in 2004, married (former former top-15 WTA Tour player Ruxandra Dragomir) and relocated to Hong Kong.

In the latter part of his career, he had a persistent groin injury, the name of which is Osteitis Pubis, which ironically affects a lot of Aussie Rules football players.

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