#FridayFlashback

#FridayFlashback with Johan Kriek

The best backhand in his time:

Former SA-born ATP tennis star, Johan Kriek won two Grand Slam titles on his career (Australian Open winner in 1981 and 1982) and peaked at number 7. He is a 4-time Wimbledon Senior Doubles Champion and reached the semi-finals of the French Open in 1986. He is the only South African to hold a Grand Slam singles title.

Marc received a call from Johan's former tennis partner, Kevin Curren - with whom he won 45 Wimbledon doubles 4 years in a row. Johan and Kevin started their conversation on air in Afrikaans - just to show that Johan still has his Afrikaans heritage in tact (despite his American accent).

Kevin recalls some wonderful things about Johan:

Johan was a fiery player. He was extremely fast but also very tough on himself. His dad, uncle George would sit on the side of the court and try to tamper Johan's fieriness - he had a habit of hitting his calf with a racket. His dad once had to take him off court because of that - he even forfeited a tournament. If he was 2 or 3 inches taller, he would've ranked 2nd or 3rd in the world, if not better - it's the only handicap he ever had.

What he's up to these days:

Johan left South Africa in the 70s for the US. He is currently based in the Charlotte City in North Carolina in the US. He now trains tennis stars of the future - he runs tennis camps for children between the ages of 6 - 20 years in North Carolina.

Apart from running his own academy, is helping supply water to far-flung communities in Third World countries (Global Water Foundation).

Listen to the rest of this interview below:


This article first appeared on 702 : #FridayFlashback with Johan Kriek


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