Torben Ulrich

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Torben Ulrich
Torben Ulrich 1957.jpg
Ulrich in 1957
Full nameTorben Ulrich
Country (sports)Denmark
ResidenceTiburon, California, U.S.
Born (1928-10-04) 4 October 1928 (age 94)
Frederiksberg, Denmark
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Career record97–145
Career titles3
Highest rankingNo. 96 (15 October 1973)
Grand Slam singles results
Australian Open1R (1971)
French Open4R (1959)
Wimbledon4R (1959)
US Open4R (1953, 1956, 1964, 1968)
Career record38–87
Career titles0
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian Open2R (1971)
French OpenQF (1968)
WimbledonSF (1959)
US Open2R (1968, 1972, 1973, 1975)

Torben Ulrich (born 4 October 1928) is a Danish writer, musician, filmmaker and former professional tennis player.[1] He is the father of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.[1]


Ulrich in 2015

Ulrich was born on 4 October 1928 in Copenhagen, the son of Ulla (née Meyer) and tennis player Einer Ulrich. Torben played on the tennis tour from the late 1940s into the 1970s, and on the Tennis Grand Masters tour in the 1970s and 1980s. Torben won the Antwerp International singles title on red clay in 1951 and again in 1956 when he defeated Jacques Brichant in the final. He won the Stuttgart Open tournament in 1953 on red clay. He became a professional tennis player when he signed a contract with the World Championship Tennis promoters in early 1969 at 40 years old. In 1976 he was the top-ranked senior player in the world. Ulrich played more than 100 Davis Cup matches for Denmark.[2] In 1977, at a month shy of 49, he became the oldest Davis Cup player in history.[1][unreliable source?]

Ulrich apprenticed at Reuters news agency in Copenhagen in the late 1940s and began writing for Danish jazz magazines. In the 1950s he wrote primarily on music for the Danish newspapers Information and Politiken, wrote for contemporary jazz music trade journals and was co-editor (with Gustava Brandt and Bengt Janus) of the literary magazine Bazar. In the 1960s he had a weekly music column and wrote jazz reviews and roving reports on assorted cultural themes (with illustrator Klaus Albrectsen) for the Danish daily newspaper BT. In the 1970s he contributed to the music periodical M.M. and in the 1980s and 1990s returned to Information writing on music, film, athletics and culture. In 2003 an anthology of his writings from the 1940s to the 2000s, Jazz, bold & buddhisme, edited by Lars Movin, was published (in Danish) by Informations Forlag. Two books of his thin columns of poetry-like texts (in English) were published by Forlaget Bebop: "Terninger, tonefald: 12 Lines, 36 Off-lines" (2005) and "Stilhedens Cymbaler" (2007).[3]

In the 1950s, Ulrich had a New Orleans-type jazz band, playing clarinet. In the 2000s he was invited to collaborate using voice and texts with the Copenhagen free-jazz trio Clinch (Claus Bøje on drums, Peter Friis Nielsen on bass guitar, Christer Irgens-Møller/keyboards); they released the 2006 album "Dice, Done" (also with Lotte Anker (saxophone) and Steffen Poulsen (electronica)). In 2005 he founded the collaborative improvised music group "Instead Of", composed of Lori Goldston, cello; Angelina Baldoz, trumpet and flutes; Jaison Scott, drums; and Ulrich on voice/texts and "bag of tricks", releasing in 2007 the album "Live on Sonarchy".[4] In 2007 he began recording with Danish pianist Søren Kjærgaard, releasing three albums over the next six years: "Suddenly, Sound: 21 songlines for piano, drainpipe, etc." (2009), "Alphabet, Peaceful, Diminished: 29 Proposals from the Towers of Babble" (2010) and "Meridiana: Lines Toward a Non-local Alchemy" (2014).[5]

Ulrich began painting in 1971 when the Lions Club of Copenhagen asked a variety of politicians, actors, writers and others to make "a blue elephant" for a charity exhibit to benefit a senior center in Denmark. Instead, he explored what the imprint of the tennis ball might be, and in subsequent years created several series of works, "Imprints of Practice" and "Exsamplings of Play", using played tennis balls, skipped rope, and racquet frame and grip, primarily on rice paper.[6] The works have been exhibited in Copenhagen, Paris, Dublin, New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle, among others.[7]

He has appeared in two Jørgen Leth films, Motion Picture (1969) and Moments of Play (1986). He co-directed (with Gil de Kermadec) and appeared in "The Ball and The Wall" (1988), and co-directed (with Rick New and Molly Martin) and appeared in "Body & Being: Before the Wall" (2002).[8]

In 2011, Ulrich began development with choreographer-dancer Beth Graczyk and composer-musician Angelina Baldoz on the dance project "Cacophony for 8 Players",[9] which premiered in 2014 in Seattle. Ulrich is director and a performer in the work.[10]

In 1986, he received the Gerlev Prize from Gerlev Idrætshøjskole in Denmark for athletico-cultural contributions.[11] In 2006, he received an award from Klara Karolines Fond, "for his inspiration to artists of many kinds and for his views on athletics, art and existence".[12] In 2013, the Ulrich family received the Davis Cup Award.[13]

Singles performance timeline[edit]

(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (P#) preliminary round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (S) silver or (B) bronze Olympic/Paralympic medal; (NMS) not a Masters tournament; (NTI) not a Tier I tournament; (P) postponed; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.

The following lists main draw appearances for Grand Slam tournaments only.

Tournament 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 W–L
Grand slam tournaments
Australian Championships/Open A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 1R A A A 0–1
French Championships/Open 2R A A 1R 1R A A A 2R1 3R1 1R 4R 2R1 2R1 A A 2R 1R 2R 3R 2R 1R A A P1 2R A 11–16
Wimbledon Championships 1R A 2R 3R 3R 3R 2R A 3R 1R 3R 4R 1R A A A 3R 2R 2R 1R 3R 1R 3R 1R 2R A A 24–20
U.S. National Championships/Open A A A A A 4R A A 4R A A A A A A A 4R A A 1R 4R 3R A A 1R 1R 1R 14–9
Win–loss 1–2 0–0 1–1 2–2 2–2 5–2 1–1 0–0 5–3 1–2 2–2 6–2 0–2 0–1 0–0 0–0 6–3 1–2 2–2 2–3 6–3 2–3 2–1 0–2 1–2 1–2 0–1 49–46

Note: 1 First round bye

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c O'Keefe, Kevin (July–August 2002). "On Court With Lars Ulrich". Tennis. 38 (6): 18. ISSN 0040-3423.
  2. ^ Wertheim, Jon (1 October 2004). "Enter Sandman's father: Metallica's 'first dad,' Torben Ulrich..." Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 16 September 2011. And though it barely registers a line on his uber-resume, Torben was also a longtime fixture on the tennis tour, a smooth and, not surprisingly, cerebral, left-hander who reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open, the third round of Wimbledon and played more than 100 Davis Cup ties for Denmark.
  3. ^ "Torben Ulrich: writings: Chronologies". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  4. ^ Instead Of.
  5. ^ "Torben Ulrich: music: Chronologies". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Balligraphies". Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Torben Ulrich: paintings: Chronologies". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Torben Ulrich: film & video". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Cacophony for 8 Players". Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Torben Ulrich: dance: Cacophony for 8 Players". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  11. ^ da:Gerlev-prisen
  12. ^ "Poul Gernes – Legater". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  13. ^ "HRH The Crown Prince appoints Løchte Nielsen as ambassador for tennis". Retrieved 19 March 2016.

External links[edit]