Brad Gilbert

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Brad Gilbert
Brad Gilbert (3904645258) (cropped).jpg
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceMalibu, California
Born (1961-08-09) August 9, 1961 (age 60)
Oakland, California
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned pro1982 (amateur tour from 1981)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money$5,507,973
Career record519–288 (64.3%)
Career titles20
Highest rankingNo. 4 (January 1, 1990)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open4R (1984)
French Open3R (1993)
WimbledonQF (1990)
US OpenQF (1987)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsSF (1987)
Grand Slam CupF (1990)
WCT FinalsF (1989)
Olympic GamesSF (1988)
Career record101–127
Career titles3
Highest rankingNo. 18 (September 29, 1986)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open2R (1987)
French Open2R (1987)
Wimbledon2R (1986)
US Open2R (1988)
Coaching career
Medal record
Olympic Games – Tennis
Bronze medal – third place 1988 Seoul Singles
Maccabiah Games
Gold medal – first place 1981 Israel Men's Doubles
Silver medal – second place 1981 Israel Men's Singles

Brad Gilbert (born August 9, 1961) is a former professional tennis player and an American tennis coach. During his career, he won 20 singles titles and achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No. 4 in 1990, and a career-high doubles ranking of world No. 18 four years prior. He won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics, and both a gold medal and a silver medal at the 1981 Maccabiah Games.

Since retiring from the tour, he has coached several top players, most notably Andre Agassi who won six of his eight Grand Slam titles under Gilbert's tutelage. Other players he has coached include Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, and Kei Nishikori.

Early life[edit]

Gilbert was born in Oakland, California, and is Jewish.[1][2][3] He attended Piedmont High School, for which he starred in tennis, despite being 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighing about 110 pounds, and reaching only 5-foot-7 and 115 pounds by graduation.[4][5][6][7] His father Barry Gilbert was a high school history teacher, and then started a real estate firm.[5][8][9]

Playing career[edit]


Gilbert played tennis for Foothill College, a junior college in Los Altos Hills, California, from 1980–82, where he was coached by Tom Chivington. During this time, he won the California Junior College Singles Championship and the U.S. Amateur Hardcourt Championship. In 1981, Gilbert became a member of the American Junior Davis Cup team. He competed for the US in the 1981 Maccabiah Games in Israel, losing in the men's singles finals to Israeli Shlomo Glickstein, but winning a gold medal in doubles with Jon Levine over fellow Americans Rick Meyer and Paul Bernstein.[10][7]

In 1982, he transferred to Pepperdine University, playing for Allen Fox. He became an All-American and reached the finals of the 1982 NCAA Championship, losing to Mike Leach of Michigan 7–5, 6–3.[11]


Gilbert joined the professional tour in 1982 and won his first top-level singles title later that year in Taipei. His first doubles title came at the 1985 Tel Aviv Open, with Ilie Năstase, as he also won the singles championship.[12]

Gilbert won a total of 20 top-level singles titles during his career, the biggest being the Cincinnati Masters tournament in 1989. He was also runner-up in a further 20 singles events, including Cincinnati in 1990, where he lost to six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg, and the Paris Masters in 1987 and 1988.

Gilbert's most successful year on the tour was 1989, during which he won five singles titles, including Cincinnati, where he beat four future Hall of Famers to claim the title: Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg.

Gilbert's best performances at Grand Slam tournaments were in the Quarterfinals of the 1987 US Open, losing to Jimmy Connors and in the quarterfinals of the 1990 Wimbledon Championships, losing to Boris Becker. He was also runner-up at the inaugural Grand Slam Cup in 1990.[13]

Gilbert was ranked among the top-ten players in the U.S. for nine of his first ten years on the professional tour. His career win-loss record in singles play was 519–288.[14]

Among his upsets of players ranked in the world's top 3 were his defeat of No. 2 Boris Becker, 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, in Cincinnati in 1989, No. 2 Edberg, 7–6, 6–7, 6–4, in Los Angeles in 1991, No. 3 Sampras, 6–3, 6–4, in London in 1992, and No. 3 Jim Courier, 6–4, 6–4, at Memphis in 1994, Edberg, 6–4, 2–6, 7–6, in Cincinnati in 1989, and perhaps most significantly, No. 2 John McEnroe, 5–7, 6–4, 6–1, at the Masters Grand Prix in 1985, which sent McEnroe into his first six-month break from tennis.[15]

Style of play[edit]

Unlike many other professional players of his era, Gilbert did not have a major offensive weapon such as an overpowering serve or forehand. His best asset was his ability to keep the ball in play. He hit the ball most often at a slow but accurate pace and was sometimes called a pusher.[16] In his 2002 autobiography, John McEnroe called Gilbert a pusher and claimed that Gilbert had the ability to bring talented players down to his type of game. In addition, McEnroe stated that Gilbert was the most negative person he had ever played tennis against, and he was riled by Gilbert's alleged non-stop tirades against himself while playing.

Gilbert kept an open stance and did not make many turns when at the baseline. This enabled him to control the game through oversight and tempo, despite his defensive style. He built his game around destroying his opponent's rhythm. He forced his opponent into long rallies by hitting the ball high over the net and deep into his opponent's court. If an opponent employed a slow pace, Gilbert attacked decisively, often at the net. He was one of the sport's top strategists as a player. Although he was easy to get along with outside the court, Gilbert was a fierce competitor with a sometimes annoying style of play, focusing on his opponent's weaknesses. Both his style of play and his mental approach brought him wins over the world's top players and kept him near the top 10 for six years.

Davis Cup[edit]

Gilbert compiled a 10–5 record in Davis Cup play from 1986–93, with a 7–1 record on hard courts and carpet.[17]


Gilbert won a bronze medal in men's singles at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

ATP career finals[edit]

Singles: 40 (20 wins, 20 losses)[edit]

Result No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Win 1. 1982 Taipei, Taiwan Carpet (i) United States Craig Wittus 6–1, 6–4
Win 2. 1984 Columbus, U.S. Hard United States Hank Pfister 6–3, 3–6, 6–3
Loss 1. 1984 San Francisco, U.S. Hard (i) United States John McEnroe 4–6, 4–6
Win 3. 1984 Taipei, Taiwan Carpet (i) Australia Wally Masur 6–3, 6–3
Win 4. 1985 Livingston, U.S. Hard United States Brian Teacher 7–6, 6–4
Win 5. 1985 Cleveland, U.S. Hard Australia Brad Drewett 6–3, 6–2
Loss 2. 1985 Stuttgart Outdoor, Germany Clay Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl 4–6, 0–6
Loss 3. 1985 Johannesburg, South Africa Hard United States Matt Anger 4–6, 6–3, 3–6, 2–6
Win 6. 1985 Tel Aviv, Israel Hard Israel Amos Mansdorf 6–3, 6–2
Win 7. 1986 Memphis, U.S. Hard (i) Sweden Stefan Edberg 7–5, 7–6(7–3)
Win 8. 1986 Livingston, U.S. Hard United States Mike Leach 6–2, 6–2
Win 9. 1986 Tel Aviv, Israel Hard United States Aaron Krickstein 7–5, 6–2
Win 10. 1986 Vienna, Austria Hard (i) Czechoslovakia Karel Nováček 3–6, 6–3, 7–5, 6–0
Loss 4. 1987 Washington DC., U.S. Hard Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl 1–6, 0–6
Win 11. 1987 Scottsdale, U.S. Hard United States Eliot Teltscher 6–2, 6–2
Loss 5. 1987 Tel Aviv, Israel Hard Israel Amos Mansdorf 6–3, 3–6, 4–6
Loss 6. 1987 Paris Masters, France Carpet (i) United States Tim Mayotte 6–2, 3–6, 5–7, 7–6(7–5), 3–6
Loss 7. 1987 Johannesburg, South Africa Hard (i) Australia Pat Cash 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 6–2, 0–6, 1–6
Win 12. 1988 Tel Aviv, Israel Hard United States Aaron Krickstein 4–6, 7–6(7–5), 6–2
Loss 8. 1988 Paris Masters, France Carpet (i) Israel Amos Mansdorf 3–6, 2–6, 3–6
Win 13. 1989 Memphis, U.S. Hard (i) United States Johan Kriek 6–2, 6–2, ret.
Loss 9. 1989 Dallas WCT, U.S. Carpet (i) United States John McEnroe 3–6, 3–6, 6–7(3–7)
Loss 10. 1989 Washington DC., U.S. Hard United States Tim Mayotte 6–3, 4–6, 5–7
Win 14. 1989 Stratton Mountain, U.S. Hard United States Jim Pugh 7–5, 6–0
Win 15. 1989 Livingston, U.S. Hard Australia Jason Stoltenberg 6–4, 6–4
Win 16. 1989 Cincinnati Masters, U.S. Hard Sweden Stefan Edberg 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(7–5)
Win 17. 1989 San Francisco, U.S. Hard (i) Sweden Anders Järryd 7–5, 6–2
Loss 11. 1989 Orlando, U.S. Hard United States Andre Agassi 2–6, 1–6
Win 18. 1990 Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet (i) Sweden Jonas Svensson 6–1, 6–3
Win 19. 1990 Orlando, U.S. Hard South Africa Christo van Rensburg 6–2, 6–1
Loss 12. 1990 Cincinnati Masters, U.S. Hard Sweden Stefan Edberg 1–6, 1–6
Win 20. 1990 Brisbane, Australia Hard United States Aaron Krickstein 6–3, 6–1
Loss 13. 1990 Grand Slam Cup, Munich Carpet (i) United States Pete Sampras 3–6, 4–6, 2–6
Loss 14. 1991 San Francisco, U.S. Carpet Australia Darren Cahill 2–6, 6–3, 4–6
Loss 15. 1991 Los Angeles, U.S. Hard United States Pete Sampras 2–6, 7–6(7–5), 3–6
Loss 16. 1991 Sydney Indoor, Australia Hard (i) Sweden Stefan Edberg 2–6, 2–6, 2–6
Loss 17. 1992 Scottsdale, U.S. Hard Italy Stefano Pescosolido 0–6, 6–1, 4–6
Loss 18. 1993 San Francisco, U.S. Hard (i) United States Andre Agassi 2–6, 7–6(7–4), 2–6
Loss 19. 1993 Tokyo Outdoor, Japan Hard United States Pete Sampras 2–6, 2–6, 2–6
Loss 20. 1994 Memphis, U.S. Hard (i) United States Todd Martin 4–6, 5–7

Grand Slam singles performance timeline[edit]

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open A A 1R 4R 3R NH 3R A A A 3R 1R A A 1R 0 / 7 6–7 46.2%
French Open A A 1R 2R 1R A 2R A A A 1R 1R 3R 2R A 0 / 8 5–8 38.5%
Wimbledon A A 3R 3R 1R 4R 3R A 1R QF 3R 3R 2R 2R A 0 / 11 19–11 63.3%
US Open A 2R 1R 2R 3R 4R QF 2R 1R 3R 1R 4R 4R A A 0 / 12 20–12 62.5%
Win–Loss 0–0 1–1 2–4 6–4 3–4 6–2 8–4 1–1 0–2 6–2 4–4 5–4 6–3 2–2 0–1 0 / 38 50–38 56.8%
Year-end rankings 282 54 50 23 18 11 13 21 6 10 19 26 35 76 680

Halls of Fame[edit]

Gilbert is a member of the USTA Northern California Hall of Fame, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[18][19]

Gilbert is also a 1999 inductee into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame.[20]

Gilbert was inducted in 2001 into the ITA Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, and in 1996 into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[21][22]

Gilbert was a 2001 inductee into the Marblehead Boosters Hall of Fame.[23]

Coaching career[edit]

Gilbert retired as a player in 1995. Since 1994, he has been successful as a tennis coach. This success has often been associated with the extraordinary tactical abilities exhibited during his own matches.

Andre Agassi[edit]

Gilbert coaching

Gilbert was the coach of Andre Agassi for eight years, from March 1994 until January 2002. Agassi won six of his eight majors when Gilbert was his coach. Agassi described Gilbert as "the greatest coach of all time".[24]

Andy Roddick[edit]

On June 3, 2003, Gilbert became the coach of Andy Roddick, who won the 2003 US Open under Gilbert's guidance, as well as clinching the year-end world no. 1 for 2003 and reaching the 2004 Wimbledon final. They parted ways on December 12, 2004.

Andy Murray[edit]

Gilbert coaching Andy Murray

On July 26, 2006, Gilbert was announced as taking over the coaching duties of Scottish player Andy Murray. As well as coaching Murray, Gilbert took part, pursuant to a 3-year deal, in other British Lawn Tennis Association programmes, including tennis camps at under-12 and under-14 levels.[25] He also worked with the LTA's network of coaches and its high-performance clubs and academies. On November 14, 2007, after 16 months working together, Gilbert and Murray parted company. By then, Murray had reached a then career-high ranking of no. 8.[26]

Alex Bogdanović[edit]

In November 2007 it was announced that Gilbert would work for 20 weeks in 2008 for Britain's Lawn Tennis Association, concentrating mostly on coaching Britain's no. 2, Alex Bogdanović, and others in his age group. Bogdanović said he was "unbelievably excited" at the chance of spending time with Gilbert.[27] Roger Draper, the LTA's chief executive, said: "We have set Brad a new challenge of getting Alex into the top 100 and also 'upskilling' our coaches and inspiring the next generation to follow in Andy's footsteps."[28]

Kei Nishikori[edit]

While still being committed to his TV items,[29] in December 2010 it was announced that Gilbert would return to coaching, and partner with Kei Nishikori of Japan for 15 tournaments in the 2011 season. Gilbert's partnership with Nishikori concluded at the end of the 2011 season.[30]

Sam Querrey[edit]

In February 2012, it was announced that Gilbert would work with American Sam Querrey on a trial basis in 2012.[31]

Commentator and author[edit]

Gilbert now serves as a tennis analyst for ESPN. He is also the author of the book Winning Ugly,[32] which gives tips on how an average player can defeat a more skilled opponent and better the average player's mental game. His second book, co-authored by James Kaplan and entitled I've Got Your Back,[33] was published in 2005.

Personal life[edit]

Gilbert is Jewish[34] and resides with his wife Kim in Malibu, California. He has three children Zach, Julian and Zoe.

He owns a tennis shop in downtown San Rafael, California called Brad Gilbert Tennis Nation. He was a close friend of tennis player and commentator Barry MacKay.

While covering Andy Murray's third-round match in the 2011 Australian Open for ESPN, Gilbert mentioned that he lives near the Olympian runner Michael Johnson and that when he was Murray's coach he introduced Johnson and Murray, who did a series of sprints together on a nearby track.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "Argentina's Diego Schwartzman reaches top 20 in world tennis rankings". February 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Big sister, look what you've done". January 9, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Tennis star Gilbert being inducted into Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame". April 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "Photos: Former tennis star Brad Gilbert selling Bay Area mansion". November 30, 2017.
  7. ^ a b ""Brad Gilbert" – Maccabi USA". Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Doyle, Jim (January 9, 2004). "Tennis sensei-tion / Brad Gilbert, coach to the top players, is a master at serving advice". SFGate.
  9. ^ Slater, Robert (September 21, 2000). Great Jews in Sports. J. David Publishers. ISBN 9780824604332 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "U.S. Five Captures Maccabiah Crown". July 16, 1981 – via
  11. ^[]
  12. ^ "TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - Top-seeded Brad Gilbert won the $94,000 Isra". AP NEWS.
  13. ^ "On this day: Pete Sampras topples Brad Gilbert to win first Grand Slam Cup". Tennis World USA.
  14. ^ "Brad Gilbert".
  15. ^ Denizet-Lewis, Benoit (June 27, 2004). "Brad Gilbert Talks a Great Game" – via
  16. ^ Benoit Denizet-Lewis (June 27, 2004). "Brad Gilbert Talks a Great Game". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  17. ^ Brad Gilbert at the Davis Cup
  18. ^ USTA Northern California Hall of Fame Archived July 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Correspondent, J. (September 18, 2003). "celebrity Jews in the news".
  20. ^ " #1 in College Sports". Archived from the original on April 25, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  21. ^ ITA Men's Hall of Fame Archived July 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
  22. ^ "Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Home".
  23. ^ Marblehead Marblehead Boosters Club Hall of Fame Archived October 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ "Tennis players – Brad Gilbert". Tennis – ATP World Tour official site.
  25. ^ Halley, Jim (August 3, 2006). "Gilbert coaching teen Murray, over firing by Roddick". USA Today. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  26. ^ "Murray splits with coach Gilbert". BBC News. November 14, 2007.
  27. ^ Harman, Neil (November 20, 2007). "Brad Gilbert gives Alex Bogdanovic rallying call to reach potential". The Times. London. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  28. ^ Newman, Paul (November 19, 2007). "After Murray, Gilbert moves on to coach Bogdanovic, the world No 161". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  29. ^ "News - ATP World Tour - Tennis".
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Brad Gilbert to work with Sam Querrey on trial basis". TennisNow. February 20, 2012.
  32. ^ Jamison, Steve; Brad Gilbert (1994). Winning Ugly : Mental Warfare in Tennis—Lessons from a Master. New York: Fireside. ISBN 0-671-88400-X.
  33. ^ Andre Agassi; Brad Gilbert; Kaplan, James (2005). I've Got Your Back : Coaching Top Performers from Center Court to the Corner Office. Portfolio Trade. ISBN 1-59184-095-3.
  34. ^ [3], The JC


External links[edit]