Tennis Prose



Remember Vladimir Voltchkov’s Wimbledon Semifinal Run

Vladimir Voltchkov was a highly-touted Russian junior who won the Wimbledon boys title in 1996. By 2000 he was age 22 and struggling in the professional ranks.

At Wimbledon 2000, Voltchkov had to qualify as he was ranked 237 after he won Fergana, Uzbekistan Challenger in May by beating 357th ranked Igor Kunitsyn in the final 46 60 64.

Voltchkov did not play a pro tournament for two months after Fergana heading into Wimbledon qualies at Roehampton, where he would play first round against Satoshi Iwabuchi. Voltchkov would beat the Japanese player 64 36 63 to set up the second round duel with qualies no. 1 seed Antony Dupuis which would be another three set battle, 61 67 86 for Double V.

One more man stood between Voltchkov and the Wimbledon main draw – Julian Knowle of Austria. Voltchkov would prevail 62 36 63 41.

In the first round of main draw, Voltchkov needed five sets to dispatch Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela, ranked 54 in the world, 67 63 36 63 60.

It didn’t get any easier in the second round as world no. 6 and 1997 Wimbedon finalist Cedric Pioline awaited Voltchkov. But Voltchkov would score the best win of his career against the athletic French veteran, 63 63 26 36 64.

Now Voltchkov knew he could perform world class results on the big stage and the new level of confidence fueled his tank for more adventures. He would defeat 16th ranked Younes El Aynaoui in the third round 76 75 76. And then in the fourth round another marquee name would bite the dust. Voltchkov upset Wayne Ferreira, 37 in the world, 63 64 76.

In the quarterfinals a good grass court player named Byron Black from Zimbabwe, ranked 57, could not stop the Voltchkov Express either, falling 76 76 64.

Suddenly, to the amazement of the tennis world, Voltchkov was in the semifinals against none other than the six time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras who was attempting to win his “Four Pete”, his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and seventh in eight years.

Voltchkov managed to trouble the then world no. 3 – and top seed Pistol Pete but ultimately was defeated 67 26 46. Sampras would go on to win the title vs. Patrick Rafter. It would be the final Wimbledon conquest for Sampras.

Voltchkov’s career would never reach the heights of his 2000 Wimbledon run. In his very next outing after the Sampras loss, Voltchkov would play world no. 39 Roger Federer in Davis Cup in Switzerland. The young Swiss maestro would beat Voltchkov in a five set thriller, 64 57 67 75 26.

Voltchkov lost first round in Cincy to Mariano Puerta, beat Vince Spadea in Indianapolis before falling to Karim Alami.

Ranked 68 in the world, Voltchkov skipped US Open and played the Olympics in Sydney, beating Gaston Gaudio in three sets before losing to Arnaud DiPasquale.

Voltchkov sustained the steady results into 2001 and reached a career high ranking of 25 in April. But after that he would never threaten in a Grand Slam beyond the second round.

In 2002 Voltchkov reached the final of Uzbekistan, losing to Yevgeny Kafelnikov 76 75.

Voltchkov’s lone ATP title came in doubles in 2003 with Korean Hyung Taik Lee, as the duo beat Americans Paul Goldstein and Robert Kendrick 75 46 63.

Voltchkov continued his career until age 30 in 2008 and now is a tennis coach in Russia.

But he is still remembered and respected by the tennis world as a unique player who produced tennis magic as he came within two matches and six sets of winning Wimbledon in the year 2000.

· ·

Comments are closed.



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top