2002 IN REVIEW
The Israeli won a personal-best nine ATP matches in 2002, while sitting just outside Top 100 for most of year…He did reach a career-high No. 95 in April on ATP Entry System…Won first Grand Slam match at US Open, while also playing first TMS event in Cincinnati…Qualified for four ATP events (Australian, San Jose, Cincinnati, US Open) and also won first career match on grass…Won first match of year by defeating Pless in Chennai, but lost in 2nd RD to Vanek…Played in second Australian Open and lost to Chela in 1st RD in four sets…Reached first ATP QF in Scottsdale after wins against Meligeni and Portas, before loss to Balcells…Won only clay court match of year at Houston with 1st RD win against Ilie, but lost in 2nd RD to Pless in three sets…Made debut at Wimbledon and lost to Morrison in straight sets…Traveled to Newport where he picked up first career win on grass by defeating Kennedy before losing to Ginepri in 2nd RD…Began hard court season by defeating Schalken in Los Angeles, but lost to eventual finalist Gambill in 2nd RD…Played in first TMS event in Cincinnati and lost to Arthurs in first round…Defeated Goldstein in Washington to reach 2nd RD to set up match with former champion Agassi…Agassi defeated Okun 6-2, 6-2…Won first Grand Slam match at US Open with four set win against Igor Kunitcin…Had to face defending champion Hewitt in 2nd RD and took the Australian to a first set tiebreak before losing in straight sets…Finished season with 1st RD losses at both Tashkent and Tokyo…Underwent left thigh surgery on Oct. 18 to remove a benign tumor.
1994 - First emerged on professional tennis scene by competing and earning points in Israel Satellite. 1995 - Played three Satellite circuit tournaments, Egypt #2, Greece and Israel #2 and earned 28 ATP points. 1996 - Earned points in all five Satellites played in 1996, including 34 points at both China and Greece Satellites. 1997 - Played five Satellites in 1997 with his best result of year coming at Turkey #2 Satellite where he was awarded 32 ATP points. 1998 - Emerged into Challengers and Futures circuits, competing in five Challengers and 11 Futures…Reached QF at Tel Aviv Challenger after playing in two finals at Futures level - Ireland F1 and Greece F5. 1999 - Finished year with a personal-best No. 186 ranking…Won Poland F1 tournament for first professional win…Reached final of Tel Aviv Challenger and SF in Yokohama. 2000 - Competed in first ATP event - Australian Open - where he lost 1st RD to Philippoussis…Played one Challenger in February (l. to W. Black in 1st RD) before knee surgery forced him to miss next nine months of season…Returned to court in October at Las Vegas Challenger and reached QF in first tournament since operation (l. to Roddick)…Played two more Challengers - Knoxville and Urbana - but lost in 1st RD. 2001 - Moved up to a career-best No. 114, while earning $78,418…Won three Challenger titles during year (Jerusalem, Andorra, Tyler) and played four ATP events…Picked up first ATP circuit victory by defeating R. Stepanek in Indianapolis…Defeated W. Arthurs in Lyon before losing to Safin in 2nd RD…Lost to Kucera in 1st RD at Queen's and lost to Safin in 1st match at Tashkent.
Began playing tennis at age nine and was chosen by Israeli Tennis Federation program after a short school course...Father, Igor, works for Israeli Electric Company; mother, Galit, is an assistant to an orthopaedic physician...Hobbies include reading fiction, listening to R&B, electronic and Israeli rock and going to the beach with friends...Favorite surface is hard courts and considers backhand as best shot...Players he admired growing up were Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras...A member of Israeli Davis Cup team since 1999 and has a 5-6 career record (4-5 in singles)in six ties...Says his biggest tennis memory is beating Marcos Ondruska in fifth and deciding rubber of a Davis Cup tie against South Africa in 2001...Won first two sets and held two match points in third set, then trailed 1-4 in fifth set before coming back to win 7-5 in front of a hometown crowd...Coached by Simon Rapoport.