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Yevgeny Kafelnikov

tennis player
Full name: Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Kafelnikov
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Bio A smooth, confident right-hander (2-handed backhand), Yevgeny Alexandrevic Kafelnikov of Sochi, was the first Russian to win a major singles title: the French Open in 1996, defeating Michael Stich, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
He also won the Australian in 1999, defeating Thomas Enqvist, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1). He was the best of that territory since Soviet (Georgian) Alex Metreveli (Wimbledon finalist in 1973, world’s No. 9 in 1974). He was in the world’s Top 10 for six years: No. 6 in 1995; No. 3 in 1996; No. 5 in 1997, 2000; No. 2 in 1999; No. 4 in 2001—and was ranked No. 1 briefly during the 1999 season.

Kafelnikov was born February 18, 1974, in Sochi. A 6-foot-3 blond, he preferred the baseline, though he was a sharp volleyer. He was a rare singles-doubles combiner, also winning four doubles majors—the French in 1996-97 with Daniel Vacek and 2002 with Paul Haarhuis; the U.S. Open in 1997 with Vacek. At the 1996 French, he was the first to score a major singles-doubles double since Ken Rosewall at the 1972 Australian, and the first at the French since Rosewall in 1968.

He lost the Australian final in 2000 to Andre Agassi, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, but won Olympic singles gold “Down Under” in Sydney later in the year, defeating Tommy Haas of Germany, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. He led Russia to its first Davis Cup final appearance in 1994 (loss to Sweden) and again in 1995 (loss to the United States), but was on the 2002 squad that won the Cup in 2002 (defeating France).

He turned pro in 1992 and won 26 singles titles (609-306 matches), 25 doubles titles (358-213 matches) and $23,883,797 prize money.
(Bio Courtesy Bud Collins )

Since retiring, Kafelnikov cashed three times at the 2005 World Series of Poker. He also played golf on the European PGA tour at the 2005 and 2008 Russian Open. He stated that he was there not to make up the numbers, before finishing last by 20 odd shots in 2005 (and second to last in 2008).

He now works as a commentator for Russian TV covering tennis. During the 2008 Miami Masters, Kafelnikov coached Marat Safin in the absence of Hernán Gumy.

He was participating in the ATP Champions Tour in 2009 and had some impressive results at the Chengdu Open in early November, where he beat Sergi Bruguera, Michael Chang and Pat Cash. As of May 29, 2011, he is ranked 7th on the Champions Tour.
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