Ladislav Hecht

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Ladislav Hecht
Ladislav Hecht.PNG
Born (1909-08-31)August 31, 1909
Zsolna, Austria-Hungary
Died May 27, 2004(2004-05-27) (aged 94)
Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City
Plays Right-handed
Singles
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open 4R (1934, 1935, 1938)
Wimbledon QF (1938)
US Open 3R (1939, 1941, 1942, 1951)
Doubles
Highest ranking No. 6 (1934)[1][2]
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open SF (1934)[3]
Wimbledon SF (1937)
US Open QF (1939)[4]
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon 3R (1938)
Team competitions
Davis Cup FEu (1931, 1934, 1937)
Ladislav Hecht

Ladislav Hecht (Czech pronunciation: [ˈladɪslaf ˈɦɛxt]; Hungarian: Hecht László [ˈhɛkt ˈlaːsloː];[5] August 31, 1909 – May 27, 2004;) was a Jewish professional tennis player, well known for representing Czechoslovakia in the Davis Cup during the 1930s where he compiled an 18 victories 19 losses record. Despite being of Jewish origin he was also invited to the Germany Davis Cup team but chose not to accept it. [2]

Biography[edit]

He was born in Zsolna, Upper Hungary (now Žilina, Slovakia) in 1909, and developed a successful tennis career, some considering him to be the best tennis player in Europe immediately before the Second World War.[2] He fled to the United States three days before Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, working in a munitions factory during World War II. [6] Before that he moved to Budapest, capital of Hungary in 1936 then sought livelihood in Australia three month prior the German occupation.[7][8]

In 1934 he won the Butler Trophy of Monte Carlo alongside Roderich Menzel defeating Jacques Brugnon and Jean Lesueur in the final.[9] In singles he was victorious at the Hungarian International Tennis Championships having upset Henner Henkel in the semifinal and Ignacy Tłoczyński in the final. [10][11] He reached the doubles finals as well partnering Josef Caska. [12]

In late 1935 and early 1936 Hecht and Roderich Menzel toured the Far East which included a visit to Japan to participate in the Japanese National Championships, where Menzel lost in the final and despite their united effort they lost in the doubles final as well, both times to title defender Jiro Yamagishi.[13] From there they sailed to India where they were the finalists at the East of India Championships.[14] Arriving home he was defeated in the Czechoslovakian International Championship match by eventual world number one Fred Perry. [15] He was a second straight time finalist in Budapest.[16]

After the war he continued his tennis career, becoming a No. 1 ranked player in the eastern United States. In May 1941 he was the runner-up at the Brooklyn tennis tournament when in the final his approach shots came short in the latter stages of the five-set match, enabling Pancho Segura's passing shots.[17] In 1947 he finally clinched the Brooklyn tennis tournament by beating Peruvian Enrique Buse in the final in straight sets.[18] He added the Eastern Clay Court Championships to his accolades the same year by eliminating Dick Savitt in the final.[19]

He continued on starting toy and paintbrush businesses, and later in life was honored by the city of Bratislava, having a new multisport stadium named after him in 1966.[6]

He had two children Timothy and Andrew both of whom settled in Aspen.[2]

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