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Jan Kodes: A Journey to Glory from Behind the Iron Curtain Hardcover – June 1, 2010
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About the Author
Jan Kodes is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and one of the greatest players from the Czech Republic. He won the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 1973 and at the French Open in 1970 and 1971. He played in the Davis Cup for Czechoslovakia for 15 years beginning in 1966 and is among the top 20 players in matches played and won in the history of the competition. He has served as his country's Davis Cup captain, president of the Czech Tennis Association, and tournament director of ATP Czech Open tournament. Peter Kolar is a Czech writer, who has written for Basket, Sports Plus, and Xantypa. He is the author of several Czech books profiling the NBA, the Winter Olympics, and three-time world decathlon champion, Tomas Dvorak.
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One of the hallmarks of the early "open" tennis era (1968-1973) was that two accomplished players born in 1946 in formerly communistic states, Jan Kodes (Czechoslovakia) and Ilie Nastase (Romania), entered the world tennis stage at around the same time as amateurs and soon become embedded into the emerging group of tennis professionals. During this time, they captured a total of five Grand Slam titles (Kodes, a two-times champion at French Open and once at Wimbledon; Nastase with wins at US Open and French Open), a respectable number considering that 12 of the titles were won by the "classic" Australians (Laver, Rosewall and Newcombe), four championships won by Americans (Smith and Ashe) and a single French crown won by the Spaniard Andres Gimeno. However, at home, both these athletes were instrumental in transforming the rigid system of centrally controlled sport administration where selective focus was placed on "Olympic" sports to accommodate a new professional and highly individualistic sport, tennis, within the "state-amateur" sport system and social network. In turn, tennis established itself as an anomaly within the rigid, all-state-controlled system. Success in tennis encouraged many citizens of Czechoslovakia to believe that an individual could succeed in on his/her own accord gave rise to the hopes that the communistic system would ultimately fail.
In this book, Jan Kodes with the assistance of journalist Petr Kolar takes us through his journey from promising amateur tennis and soccer player, college student, to his ascendence in the tennis world, and, to his tenure as a tennis official following his active career.Read more ›