Iván Balás

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Iván Balás
Country (sports)  Yugoslavia (1922-1928)
 Hungary (1930-1944)
Born 1894
Elemir, Austria-Hungary
Died 1971 (aged 76–77)
Paris, France
Turned pro 1922 (amateur tour)
Retired 1951
Plays right-handed
Team competitions
Davis Cup 2REU

Iván Balás (Serbian: Iván Balaž, Иван Балаж [iʋan balâːʒ]; Hungarian: Balázs Iván [ˈbɒlaːzs ˈivaːn]; 1894 in Elemir – 1971 in Paris) was a Yugoslav tennis player of Hungarian ethnicity. He was the one of the first to play for the Yugoslavian team at the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, and later the Davis Cup in 1927. Technically his match was the second rubber of the tie. Apart from team competitions, he clinched international championships for Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Romania and Slovakia in various events.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Iván Balás was born in Elemir in 1894 to a wealthy landowner family, which mostly contributed to his rapid growth in tennis. His father was born in Budapest in 1866 and died in 1909. He built two tennis courts in Elemir where his son Iván learned tennis. Iván attended the Nagybecskerek high school. He continued his studies in Budapest.[1]

Tennis career[edit]

In college Balás played tennis as well as basketball, hockey, football and athletics.[1] He began to win club and international tournaments in Nagybecskerek.[1] Balás' first public triumph was recorded in 1922 in the men's singles of the National Championship in Novi Sad, and in 1926 he was crowned the champion of Yugoslavia. He was drafted into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia Davis Cup team for the first-ever Davis Cup match against India in Zagreb in May in 1927, joined by György Dungyersky.[2] Although they didn't win a game or set, both of them provided strong resistance. Balás even had two balls to have a chance to serve out the first set in the match against Hassan-Ali Fyzee, but did not succeed, as the Indian player came back to claim the match. On the third ball, the game was suspended due to bad weather, and so the match was decided after the first two days' results. The organizers agreed not to wait on Monday but to pass the remaining two dead rubbers and the victory to India.[1]

Balás next represented Hungary, debuting in a match against Austria.[3] At the time he was fifth/sixth on the Hungarian rankings.[3] In 1930 he earned the second place in mixed doubles at the Bucharest International Championship (lost to Ghica Poulief and Nini Golescu)[3] In Cluj-Napoca he lifted the doubles trophy with partner Béla Kehrling, defeating Romanian champion Constantin Cantacuzino and Alexandru Botez; he also finished third in singles and mixed contest.[4] In 1931 he reached four doubles finals, including the Hungarian Covered Courts tournament mixed and men's doubles, and the Warsaw International Championships doubles and mixed doubles.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

In 1928 Balás was engaged in Hungary, and he was no longer in the Davis Cup team of Yugoslavia.[1] He mostly played and practised in Budapest and joined the Magyar Atlétikai Club.[3] In 1944 he moved to Austria, where he continued his tennis career. In 1951 he lived and worked in France, where he was a devoted tennis player and coach for the rest of his life.

Balás died in Paris in 1971. The tennis club Galeb in Zrenjanin organizes a traditional tournament each year that bears his name.[1]


Works cited[edit]



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