Tennis Prose



Biofile Harold Solomon Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former ATP no. 5 ranked player, winner of 22 ATP singles titles and one doubles title. 1976 French Open finalist and Member of two Davis Cup winning teams. Founded and runs the Harold Solomon Tennis Center, now known as the Florida Tennis SBT Academy, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

DOB: September 7, 1952 In: Washington DC

First Tennis Memory: When I was five years old I was on vacation with my parents in Miami Beach and I was watching my dad play tennis against someone. After he finished I asked him if I could try and from that moment on I feel in love with the game. We actually have a video of that day and amazingly enough by the end of the first hour I was able to hit forehands in the court.

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: When I was about ten years old I went to watch an exhibition at the University of Maryland and they asked me to ballboy. It was Pancho Gonzales, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, maybe Rod Laver and a few others. After the matches I was taken into the locker room and introduced to all of them. How funny that later in my career I played Rosewall and Laver a bunch of times, became friends with Hoad and Pancho coached me!

Tennis Inspirations: When I was a young boy there was not a lot of professional tennis. My goal was always to play and win the Davis Cup which was the biggest thing outside of the Slams.

Greatest Career Moment: When I was nineteen I was part of the team that played all of its matches away and won the 1972 Davis Cup, a dream fulfilled.

Most Painful Moment: I think losing the French Open final (16 46 64 67) in 1976 was the most disappointing moment in my career. I had played (Raul) Ramirez in the semifinals and had won in five sets and the temperature was 115 on court and I lost 13 pounds in the match. In the finals it took me a few sets to loosen up but I lost a tiebreak in the fourth, if I had won the tiebreak I would have won – Adriano (Panatta) was exhausted. I thought I would win many French Opens but I lost to (Bjorn) Borg twice after that in the semis.

Favorite Tournaments: Loved the French and Paris probably because I played well there. Also our big tournament the Alan King Classic at Ceasar’s Palace was amazing.

Best You Ever Felt On Court: I had a few matches where I was just totally in the zone. When I beat (Guillermo) Vilas in five sets (67 62 64 26 63) to win the German Open in 1980. I felt like I couldn’t miss a ball. Also in 1980 I played John Austin in the second round of the ATP Championships (Cincinnati) and I beat him love and love and could not miss one ball, it was over in like 40 minutes. (ATP site records, which are not known to be perfect, say the score was 62 61 in 1979.)

Funny Career Memory: After I beat Vilas in Hamburg I had arranged to practice with Bjorn the week before the French at the Pigeon Club in Paris. Every day we would go out and play three out of five sets. I was playing the best tennis of my life and every day he would beat me so bad. It was always like 2-2-1, maybe I would get eight or nine games on the best day but the match was taking three and a half hours but always the same result. On Friday after he kicked my ass again he said, Solly, what time tomorrow? And I just laughed at him and said, Are you kidding? My confidence is already terrible after this week and I said find someone else to beat up. It so happened that we played in the semifinals two weeks later and the result was exactly the same. (Borg vs Solomon French Open 1980 highlights)

Funniest Players Encountered: Eddie Dibbs and Nasty (Ilie Nastase) were the funniest guys on Tour. Dibbs would keep the locker room laughing all of the time. Nasty was just the biggest joker and imitator, you never knew what was going to happen with him on and off the court.

Strangest Match: The strangest match I ever played was the semifinals of the 18 and under Orange Bowl against Dick Stockton in my first year of the 18’s. It was a really hot day for December and Just after I won a long first set Dickie collapsed on the court with terrible cramps after twenty minutes lying on the ground snd getting massaged – which was against the rules – the umpire defaulted Dickie. Suddenly he jumps up and says, I don’t quit. And after ten more minutes the referee, who was the coach of the Miami team Dale Lewis, reverses the decision and rules that he isn’t defaulted and tells me to play. So we start the second set and at 2-2 I get cramps and fall to the ground. So they decide to give me twenty minutes to try and get better but I talked it over with my father snd I decide I’m not going to play. So they went back to the original decision and defaulted Dick. So I won the match and won the finals in five sets the next day.

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: No question Jimmy Connors was the fiercest competitor I have ever played. We are the same age so we had played against each other since we were ten. So any match against Jimbo, practice or in a tournament, was for blood.

Why Do You Love Tennis: I have loved tennis since I can remember. I am very competitive and hate to lose but I just love being out there to this day just to hit balls. I love the one-on-one aspect of the sport and how if makes you think your way through matches if your going to be successful. It’s like chess, always thinking one move ahead of your opponent.

Favorite Players To Watch: I love to watch Roger (Federer) play, just his elegance on the court. His demeanor snd his shot making. On the other side I like Rafa (Nadal) for his competitiveness and his never say die attitude. Plus both of them are humble and great role models.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: I have had a few embarrassing matches but unfortunately they are not something to be brought up again because I’m still trying to forget I could act that way on the court!

Career Accomplishmets: Played on two Davis Cup winning teams; Turned pro in 1972 and retired in 1986; All-American at Rice University.

You can read more Biofiles like this at

· · · · ·


  • Andy · February 7, 2022 at 3:33 am

    Saw you coach mary jo fernandez in Sydney 30yrs ago.u looked so stocky, like a mini arnie Schwarzenegger..

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 7, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Andy, Harold Solomon has coached a lot of renowned players – Jennifer Capriati, Shahar Peer, Justin Gimelstob, Eugenie Bouchard, Allie Kiick, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and others. Some of his players won Grand Slam events and the Olympic Games. He also had a young Naomi Osaka at his academy for a while too.



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top