Tennis Prose



Kathy Horvath Made US Open History

Erica “Kathy” Horvath may not have won any Grand Slam titles but she did leave her mark on pro tennis with two history-making feats.

The most famous exploit by Horvath was her shocking win vs. then unbeaten (36-0) Martina Navratilova at the French Open in 1983, Martina’s only loss in that entire year. Horvath, who reached a career high no. 10 in the world, beat Martina in the fourth round in three sets 64 06 63. During that match, Navratilova’s two coaches – Renee Richards and Nancy Lieberman – openly argued in the player box over strategy, a disturbance Navratilova noticed during the contest. No video of this match exists today (I played Kathy’s husband Phil Fresen in a club league match earlier this year and he told me about this unfortunate void in tennis annals.)

Horvath’s other accomplishment which will never be duplicated – 41 years ago she became the youngest player ever to play in the US Open…a record still stands.

Horvath discussed the remarkable, twist-filled story about her dream summer of 1979. “In the summer of 1979 while I was still thirteen I won the 16 & under Nationals in singles and doubles. After that I went home to Hopewell Junction, NY to rest and visit my parents for two weeks. My father decided to enter me in the 21 & under Nationals ‘just for fun and practice against the top college players’ as it was being held only about 90 minutes away from our home. Traditionally the winner of the men’s and women’s divisions got a wildcard into the main draw of the US Open that was the following week. Well, that was not on my mind as I didn’t even know about that detail since I was not a contender. I was just enjoying playing against the older ‘girls,’ obviously happy about my summer results and had nothing to lose. After a few days, I found myself in the semis… At that point there was some nervous chatter amongst the officials about how a 13 year old – on principle of some kind – shouldn’t/can’t have a wildcard into the US Open. I think they just reassured themselves that it would not happen anyway. So, when I beat the person I was not supposed to beat in the semis, the nervous chatter turned into more than that and that’s when I heard about the ‘problem.'”

“The officials made a decision then that despite the tradition of the winners always getting a wildcard into the main draw, this year the winners would get a wildcard into the quailifying of the US Open. At this point, I’m sure the men in the finals of the event were not pleased as I was the cause of the sudden change. Well, in the finals I was to play Trey Lewis – again, someone I was not supposed to beat. Turns out, I won pretty convincingly and then there was great concern and talk that the winners probably wouldn’t get a wildcard into the qualifying either. At this point, my father could not take the hypocrisy of the situation any longer and spoke up…also, ProServ agents who were scouting me got involved. The compromise was that the winners – by the way Jay Lapidus won the men’s side – were granted wildcards into the qualifying of the 1979 US Open which started on my 14th birthday, August 25th.”

“At the time, Nick Bollettieri was my coach and he and assistant coach, Steve Owens, were by my side. Again, I was not supposed to win any of the three qualifying matches, but I did and then I played my first round of the main draw against the 5th seed, world no. 6, Dianne Fromholtz on August 30th when I was 14 and 5 days old. I lost 7-6, 6-2 on the iconic Grandstand court which was packed. So, when some people say someone else is the youngest to win a match at the US Open, I say, what about the fact that I won many matches and 3 qualifying matches to earn my way in?! Anyway it was a big deal as I grew up watching the US Open in person. When I was 11 years old and spent an amazing day as the guest of the great Harry Hopman watching the matches from his box seats, he introduced me to everyone who approached him that day saying ‘This is Kathy Horvath and she will be playing here in a few short years.'”

Horvath accomplished an outstanding pro career from 1981 to 1989, winning six WTA singles titles. Her best major results were the quarterfinal round at Roland Garros in 1983 and 1984. She posted career singles wins against Andrea Jaeger, Manuela Maleeva, Gabriela Sabatini, Mary Jo Fernandez, Betty Stove, Claudia Kohde-Kilsche, Bettina Bunge, Carling Bassett and Sylvia Hanika. In doubles she won three titles and made semis at Roland Garros in 1982 and 1984. Horvath competed at the 1984 Olympics as the top seed.

After her pro career she earned her BS and MBA degrees at Wharton School of Business and worked on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs as a VP specializing in wealth management, until 2003. She is married with three children and lives in Short Hills, NJ. Her one twin son RJ Fresen currently plays for the University of Virginia and holds a junior 12s Orange Bowl win vs. Denis Shapovalov.

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  • Gary Armenti · August 31, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Very interesting story. Must be fun and exciting for you to be involved with some of these peoples lives. Keep the stories coming.


  • JohnnyTD · August 31, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Just a little thing, you probably knew it already – her dad is Hungarian, Horvát and Horváth are very common Hungarian names, they mean “Croatian”.

    From what i read she can only speak her mother’s German though.

    Luckily Joe Konta grew up speaking Hungarian with her parents at home so her Hungarian is perfect:

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 31, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Gary thanks for your comments. Yes it’s a pleasure and thrill to be involved in the pro tennis world even in my limited capacity. Whether it’s on the pro circuit or a local club like Packanack Lake Tennis Club, there are so many interesting people, characters and stories involving the yellow tennis ball. )

  • Sam · August 31, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    “Luckily Joe Konta grew up speaking Hungarian”

    Joe Konta? Whoa—what’s he doing on the women’s tour?? 😉

  • JohnnyTD · September 1, 2020 at 12:50 am

    “Joe Konta? Whoa—what’s he doing on the women’s tour?? 😉”

    😂 lul, obviously I meant Jo Konta, often i write here before bed and i’m 😴 already 😛

    BTW! Szeles speaks good Hungarian too, not only that, as opposed to Konta, her Hungarian identity is very important to her, actually that’s the title of this clip:

    To be fair to Konta, in the previous recording she says “my blood is Hungarian”, i guess the British “gammon” reporters in Britain were trolling her too much that’s why she’s trying to prove she’s a real Brit every interview she gives 😛

    Sorry but I get OCD when i see something related to Hungary 😂

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 1, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Jo konta is as under the radar as raonic was last week.

  • Sam · September 1, 2020 at 11:14 am

    “i guess the British ‘gammon’ reporters”

    Hadn’t heard of “gammon” before. It seems that’s a British term.

    “😂 lul, obviously I meant Jo Konta, often i write here before bed and i’m 😴 already 😛

    Sorry but I get OCD when i see something related to Hungary 😂”

    Well, it’s never a good idea to go to bed Hungary. 😉

  • George · September 1, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Big Black Lives Matter banner on stadium court during Djokovic match. The USTA is a leftist, communist organization. I will not be renewing my membership. I’ll play at my club or UTR events from now on.

    I hope Trump wins in November or this country will go the way of Cuba and Venezuela.

    I foresee a second American civil war igniting when Beta O’Dork starts confiscating guns from law abiding citizens while releasing all the criminals.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 1, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Well said George. It’s repulsive and saddening what the usta is doing promoting and inciting more black rage against whites. I’m sure many players resent the usta’s playing dirty politics and politicizing out sport but if they speak out they will be crucified by the media. usta may actually ruin tennis in America like the nba, nfl, mlb and nooscar already have. I’m also not renewing my usta membership and Trump will surely beat slow joe the communist puppet.

  • JohnnyTD · September 1, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    “Hadn’t heard of “gammon” before. It seems that’s a British term.”

    They used it in Brexit times for middle aged nationalists who look pink like a bacon when angry 😂
    Lots of British reporters were bullying Konta about her Britishness, even about bs like the British anthem that’s why i used that word :P, lol she’s white, partly jewish, fits the British “setup” perfectly, winning trophies for Britain, but but but does she know the anthem? 😂😂 Well, stats show already that since Brexit migration from the EU countries decreased significantly, while from Asia, India, it increased by a lot. The gammons did a good job making Britain even more colourful 😉 Well, let’s face it, Europe is the home of white people… Those who work against Europe, especially the mainland, will keep getting darker and darker in every sense… You don’t need white mainland people? No worries, the Asians, Indians, Muslims, Africans will take their place gladly. I’m still trying to understand British self-destructiveness tbh…. Want to be more British? Make new laws, whatever, to make migration from ex British colonies harder. But no, they’re hating on the whiteys from the mainland instead 🤣

    “Big Black Lives Matter banner on stadium court during Djokovic match.”

    I saw it in Lexington too 🤦‍♂️

  • Sam · September 1, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    “I’m sure many players resent the usta’s playing dirty politics and politicizing out sport but if they speak out they will be crucified by the media”

    Refusing to speak out because you may be harshly criticized is, ultimately, not a good excuse. Can you imagine if Trump followed that motto?? 😉

    Of course, these days, you definitely have to be careful with how you do things. For instance, players could certainly express displeasure to the USTA and exert pressure on them behind the scenes.

  • JohnnyTD · September 1, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    “Big Black Lives Matter banner on stadium court during Djokovic match. The USTA is a leftist, communist organization.”

    Good morning ☕ Just woke up so i can’t use sleepiness as an excuse this time for my messups 😂

    Just some thought about this “communism” thing. What’s going on in the USA has nothing to do with communism, at least with the real life communist systems. Look at Russia, they don’t have problems with all kinds of exotic migrants. They don’t invite them in, don’t run propaganda to pamper them and if they somehow still get in they treat them roughly if they don’t adapt to the Russian, Christian way of life. Look at China, they are a much purer country than the western ones, look at what they’re doing to muslims atm.

    I was a little kid when there was communism here. Today we’re considered a right wing state, by the west even called a far-right dictatorship but oh boy, communism was so much more “far right”. We didn’t have the programs for Iranian and Nigerian students, all kinds of programs for all kinds of migrants. At the moment we have 1, that is ONE black artist in the whole country, a Nigerian one, he came in the 90s after the change of system, in communism we had zero.

    In addition to that, there weren’t drugs, drug dealers got almost China level punishment, murderers life sentence or minimum a few decades (in the early days of communism many murderers were hanged), today they get out after 6-7 years. There wasn’t gay propaganda like today, there weren’t crazy ripoff sects, it was much more of a right wing system.

    The only beef people have with communism that i hear today from time to time is that the state took away the lands of landowners, to this day, people talk about the state taking granpa’s land but that’s it. Otherwise it was a law and order, and mostly fair system.

    I’m not saying that communism is great or anything like that, i’m just saying that what’s going on in the USA has nothing to do with communism as it exists/existed. If it’s communism then it’s some new American version. IMHO it’s partly a problem with some corrupt elite groups, partly some perversion of the old, outdated, English “let’s conquer these savages then pamper the 💩 out of them until they eat us alive” system.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Johnny TD, I think US Open promoting ALL LIVES MATTER would be more appropriate and inspiring and a better message. Equality?

  • JohnnyTD · September 2, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    “Johnny TD, I think US Open promoting ALL LIVES MATTER would be more appropriate and inspiring and a better message. Equality?”

    Oh, but that would upset the poor oppressed BLM people, they ambushed and killed a young mother just for saying “All lives matter”:

    Anyway, i saw something promising on my hun site, a poster who doesn’t really trust Trump and is a bit ignorant about the subtleties of American politics (just like me 😂) made a post about Trump, a Hungarian Trump supporter who lives in the USA however gave him a good response that made me optimistic about the second cycle, here is the exchange with google translator:

    “ignorant” poster: “Trump, too, is just a clown tearing his muzzle. If they wanted to, they could do it in five minutes. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the black horde broke free there, for days there were only looting, murders, rape, and local police were powerless. Then Bush commanded a fighting division that had returned from Iraq and was in order within 24 hours. True, they didn’t even ask the looters nicely, but…”

    Hungarian American living in the USA: “Recognizing your high level of material awareness of the vast majority of topics raised here, rather than try to be an expert on American domestic politics, leave it to us who live here and discover things to the fullest.
    Trump’s not just talking, but there’s a legal order here, it seems like the black horde crap on the legal order, and the president can’t crap on it. When there is a hurricane, the local government is looking for help and getting it. When they don’t ask for it, the President has NO RIGHT to intervene in government. Here this is the legal order, it should be understood. Trump 80% will win the elections and then starts to sort things out. Of course, not by entering here or there by military force, but by financially making it impossible for democratic states, meanwhile issuing one or two decrees, as was the case with the criminalization of the burning of the flag.
    So in the second cycle, Trump does what he has done so far, just steps on the pedal.
    It must be obvious to all sensible people that in a rule of law, the president cannot make unlawful steps, even if the criminals do so every day.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    White parents of five kids, murdered by black racist. Mainstream media continues to cover up this stories of black on white crimes. Nakashima is 4-3 on serve with Zverev, very good match so far. Pat Cash with Nakashima, but Ferrer is not in attendance with Zverev. Nakashima is holding his own with the 5 seed and looks capable of the upset today. Nakashima is in awe of no one and his poise and cool and no fear of the moment has to be disconcerting to a veteran like Zverev.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    No Black lives matter signs in Armstrong.



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