Helen Kelesi

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Helen Kelesi
Country  Canada
Residence Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Born (1969-11-15) 15 November 1969 (age 45)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Turned pro 1985
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money US$900,990
Singles
Career record 263–182
Career titles 2 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest ranking No. 13 (20 November 1989)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 3R (1990)
French Open QF (1988, 1989)
Wimbledon 3R (1993)
US Open 3R (1986, 1987)
Other tournaments
Olympic Games 1R (1988)
Doubles
Career record 81–109
Career titles 2 WTA, 0 ITF
Highest ranking No. 26 (22 April 1991)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 2R (1992)
French Open QF (1989)
Wimbledon 2R (1987, 1988)
US Open 2R (1990, 1991)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open 2R (1988)
Wimbledon 2R (1986, 1987)
Last updated on: 9 December 2011.

Helen Kelesi (born November 15, 1969 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a former tour professional tennis player. She has been coached by her father, Milan Kelesi, throughout her tennis career.

Career[edit]

"Hurricane Helen", as the Canadian press dubbed her for her fiery demeanour, achieved a career high WTA ranking of World No. 13 (November 1989), and was a regular fixture in the top-25 between 1986 and 1991. She won singles titles in two tour events, the 1986 Japan Open and the 1988 Citta de Taranto, and was a singles French Open quarter-finalist in 1988 (lost to Gabriela Sabatini) and 1989 (lost to Mary-Joe Fernandez). During her time on the WTA Tour, Kelesi recorded wins over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Conchita Martinez, Jana Novotna, Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, Helena Sukova and Pam Shriver, and pushed Chris Evert and Monica Seles hard in high-profile matches. She also held a set-point in a 4th Round match at the French Open against Steffi Graf in 1987.

Kelesi's game was characterized by aggressive baseline play, with a powerful top-spin forehand and two-handed backhand. She also retrieved well and could play defensively when needed. These skills meant that Kelesi was particularly good on clay and hard-court surfaces. Her volley and forecourt play was not so instinctive, however, and a missed volley at a crucial stage in a match against Monica Seles illustrated this (Seles won 4–6 6–4 6–4 in a second round match at the 1990 French Open).

Kelesi was a Canadian Federation Cup team member from 1986 to 1993. She was Tennis Canada singles player of the year four times (1986, 1987, 1989, and 1990).

Kelesi's professional career came to an end in 1995 when a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball was discovered following months of headaches, dizziness and vision problems. Numerous operations followed over the years, Kelesi successfully recovered and began coaching young children in Canada in the late 1990s. She also became a part-time tennis journalist and commentator.

WTA Tour finals[edit]

Singles: 9 (2 titles, 7 runners-up)[edit]

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–0)
Tier II (0–0)
Tier III (0–1)
Tier IV (0–3)
Tier V (1–2)
Virginia Slims (1–1)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–3)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (1–4)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 26 August 1985 Monticello Hard United States Barbara Potter 6–4, 3–6, 2–6
Winner 1. 19 October 1986 Tokyo Hard Argentina Bettina Fulco 6–2, 6–2
Winner 2. 1 May 1988 Taranto Clay Italy Laura Garrone 6–1, 6–0
Runner-up 2. 8 May 1988 Rome Clay Argentina Gabriela Sabatini 1–6, 7–6(4), 1–6
Runner-up 3. 7 August 1988 Cincinnati Hard United States Barbara Potter 2–6, 2–6
Runner-up 4. 30 April 1989 Barcelona Clay Spain Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 2–6, 7–5, 1–6
Runner-up 5. 12 November 1989 Nashville Hard (I) Soviet Union Leila Meskhi 2–6, 3–6
Runner-up 6. 27 May 1990 Geneva Clay Austria Barbara Paulus 6–2, 5–7, 6–7(3)
Runner-up 7. 26 May 1991 Geneva Clay Switzerland Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere 3–6, 6–3, 3–6

Doubles: 5 (2 titles, 3 runners-up)[edit]

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (1–1)
Tier II (0–0)
Tier III (0–1)
Tier IV (1–0)
Tier V (0–1)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–2)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (1–1)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. 1 May 1988 Taranto Clay Italy Laura Garrone West Germany Andrea Betzner
West Germany Claudia Porwik
1–6, 2–6
Runner-up 2. 7 August 1988 Cincinnati Hard United States Lindsay Bartlett United States Beth Herr
United States Candy Reynolds
6–4, 6–7(9), 1–6
Winner 1. 13 May 1990 Rome Clay Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Monica Seles Italy Laura Garrone
Italy Laura Golarsa
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 3. 5 August 1990 Montreal Hard Italy Raffaella Reggi United States Betsy Nagelsen
Argentina Gabriela Sabatini
6–3, 2–6, 2–6
Winner 2. 21 October 1990 Scottsdale Hard United States Elise Burgin United States Sandy Collins
United States Ronni Reis
6–4, 6–2

Grand Slam singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 Career SR
Australian Open A NH 2R A A 3R A 1R A 2R A A A 0 / 4
French Open 1R 1R 4R QF QF 2R 3R A 1R 1R A A A 0 / 9
Wimbledon 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R A 3R 1R A A A 0 / 9
U.S. Open 1R 3R 3R 2R 1R 2R 2R 1R 1R 1R A A A 0 / 10
SR 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 32
Career Statistics
Year End Ranking 48 39 32 19 13 25 29 128 49 124 NR NR 763

References[edit]

External links[edit]