The 2012 U.S. Open marks 60 years since Vic Seixas began the greatest run ever by a Jewish tennis player, winning the men’s doubles tournament with Mervyn Rose at the 1952 U.S. National (the tournament that eventually became the U.S. Open). The Philadelphia-born World War II veteran would go on to win the men’s singles titles at Wimbledon in 1953 and the U.S. National in 1954 while racking up major victories in doubles and mixed doubles.
UPDATE: Israeli doubles sensation Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram survived an early scare at the U.S. Open. Jesse Levine and Shahar Pe’er lost.
The first day of this year’s tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center didn’t go particularly well for the modern day Jewish contingent: Seixas’ fellow Philadelphia native Julia Cohen lost in the first round to Anastasia Rodianova of Australia (6-3, 6-0), while Israeli youngster Julia Glushko bowed out to No. 25 seed Yanina Wickmeyer of Belgium (7-5, 6-2) after earning a place in the main draw with three wins in the qualifying tournament.
Here’s a round-up of the other Jewish contenders:
AndiYoni: Israel’s popular duo of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram achieved their greatest heights as a team in 2008, when they won the Australian Open, but they also turned in a memorable performance earlier this month at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, reaching the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles tournament with a win over Switzerland’s team of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. “AndiYoni” bowed out in the next round, losing to eventual gold medalists Mark and Bob Bryan of the United States, but will look to build on their Olympic run at the U.S. Open, where they open on Tuesday against Mikhail Elgin of Russia and Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.
Jesse Levine: The Ottawa-born 25-year-old, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., and competes as an American, is entering his fifth U.S. Open, having advanced to the third round in doubles in 2007 and the second round in singles in 2009. He’ll compete in both singles and men’s doubles (with his partner Marinko Matosevic of Australia), and opens singles play on Tuesday against the No. 14 seed, Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
Scott Lipsky: The 31-year-old Lipsky was born on Long Island but makes his home these days in Huntington Beach, Calif. Playing with Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico, Lipsky has reached the quarterfinals in two Grand Slam events this year (Australian Open and Wimbledon), and reached the third round at the French Open. Lipsky will look to bring that success to the U.S. Open, where he has never made it out of the first round. Lipsky and Gonzalez open on Tuesday against Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Shahar Pe’er: The Jerusalem-born Pe’er posted her best performance at the U.S. Open in 2007, when she reached the quarterfinals at the age of 20. She’s had a rough year in Grand Slam events, failing to advance past the second round in three singles tournaments (including a first-round loss at Wimbledon) and getting knocked out in the first round of two of three doubles tournaments with her British partner, Laura Robson. She’ll look to finish the year on a high note in Queens, where she faces Lara Arruabarena-Vecino of Spain in the first round of women’s singles. She and Robson will also play in the women’s doubles draw.