The young American Taylor Fritz enters the top 100 for the first time on Monday. At 18 years and 3 months old, Harry Fritz’s son has already done better than daddy (who was briefly ranked among the top 200 in 1980), following the footsteps of Bruguera, Dolgopolov or Zverev, other famous sons who’s popularity have exceeded their dad’s. A good opportunity to recall the most famous sons in world tennis.
Emilio Gomez, son of Andres
Emilio Gomez was born in November 1991, when his father Andres was still over the moon after his « cult » victory at Roland-Garros when, on June 10th 1990, with his subtle left arm, he defeated the young and hairy Andre Agassi (who will pretend 20 years later in his biography, Open, that he mainly lost his final because of his wig which he couldn’t fix properly). Of the French Open, Andres’ son has for now only seen the qualifying draw and the secondary courts…Now 24 years old, the Ecuadorean is still ranked beyond the 300th spot at the ATP race. Enough to pick up a few grey hairs along the way !
Sandon Stolle, son of Fred
The Australian’s Wikipédia page says he has featured in the Top 100 at the same time as his father. Which is obviously wrong, as Sandon was only 12 years old in 1982, the year in which Fred, winner of Roland-Garros in 1965, retired. Winner of the doubles at the US Open in 1998 and ranked 50th at the ATP race in the singles a year earlier, Sandon has always remained the less famous one of the two Stolle. To be fair, after he ended his playing career, Fred has become one of the most famous commentators on the American channel CBS, for which he has notably followed…his son’s matches.
Miloslav Mecir Jr, son of Miloslav
Unlike Gomez, Mecir has never won a Gran Slam tournament, but this ex-US Open (1986) and Australian Open (1989) finalist’s legacy can take some living up to. A puzzling character capable of only speaking about fishing during a press conference, or driving the boss of the circuit at the time, Ivan Lendl, nuts by only hitting ten meters-high lobs, Mecir, accomplished artist, remains by miles the best player of the family. He says it himself : « Everyone says he has a similar style of play. He dedicated himself to tennis for a few years (World number 169 in 2014, ndlr), but he wasn’t good enough. So now, he’s studying at the same time. »
Alexandr Dolgopolov Jr, son of Olekandr
The father (World number 504 in 1986) and son’s first names look as similar as two tennis balls, and it’s notably because of this confusion at the time when his passport was made that Alex was called « Jr » for ever. Two letters which suit him well as « Dolgo » is a real tennis child : his father coached Andreï Medvedev early in the 90’s, when he was featured among the Top 10. Which enabled him, when others start learning tennis with their parents or an amateur coach, to start with Andreï. Or Muster, or Rosset…
Taylor Dent, son of Phil and Betty Ann Stuart
Capable of serving at 240 km/h, known for his huge serve and aggressive game and winner of four ATP tournaments, Dent retired in 2005, only two spots away from his father’s best ranking, who was world number 19 in 1978. Being the hot-headed type, Taylor however remained far from his father’s sadistic attitudes on the court. The most famous example being in Melbourne in 1982, when Phil Dent hazed Guy Forget by screaming every time the young Frenchman would hit a smash…Phil is also famous for having said, among the cult reactions of the sport, this quote : « I may have a beard, but I’m not father Christmas. »
Edouard Roger-Vasselin, son of Christophe
At Roland-Garrod, Edouard hasn’t done as well as his father (semi-finalist in 1983) in the singles draw, but he has won the trophy in the doubles (alongside Julien Benneteau in 2014) which is easily enough to make a first name for himself. Born a few months after the paternal feat, Edouard knows very well that Christophe had defeated the world number 1, Jimmy Connors, in the quarter-final thanks to his backhand chip, which was incredibly vicious. It’s with the same technique that he accomplished his best performance, in 2009 in Tokyo, against Juan Martin Del Potro. « Over the phone, my father told me one thing : ‘Try a short sliced shot on his forehand, he can miss’ » Always listen to your father.
Alexander Jr et Mischa Zverev, sons of Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev would most likely have had a better career in the early 80’s if he hadn’t been so restricted by the USSR. At his time, the Russian federation would take all of their players’ prize money and it was almost impossible for a Soviet to lead the normal life of a player on the circuit. He’s making up for it today by coaching his two sons, Mischa (ex-top 50) and Alexander (one of world tennis’ biggest talents). Small precision, the « poor » Natasha Zvereva, famous for having been humiliated 6/0 6/0 by Steffi Graf in the final of Roland Garros 1988, is not part of the family…
Bob and Mike Bryan, sons of Kathy Blake
The most titled doubles pair in the history of tennis owes a lot to Mummy Bryan, born Kathy Blake, who became a tennis teacher after having pursued a career as a player (she featured in the qualifying draw at Roland-Garros in 1972). She had the good idea of teaching them very early on to play in doubles, as she didn’t want them facing each other. And the rest is history…
Sergi Bruguera, son of Luis
During the 70’s and the 80’s, two ex-players who became coaches largely contributed to boost a bleak Spanish tennis. They are Pato Alvarez, the man who discovered the Sanchez family, and Luis Bruguera, who notably coached Fernando Luna and Juan Aguilera before forming an impressive partnership with his son, Sergi. In 1993 and 1994, the latter accomplished the dream that his father secretly had at the start of his own career : winning Roland-Garros. It is certain that without this second life, Luis Bruguera, whose personal record as a player was a second round in the qualifying draw in 1972, wouldn’t have the same level of fame today.