Erlich, Jonathan : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Erlich, Jonathan

Born in Argentina, Erlich moved to Haifa, and currently competes as an Israeli. At the 2003 Wimbledon tournament, Erlich and partner Andy Ram advanced through the qualifying tournament to reach the semifinals in men's doubles before losing to No. 4 seeded (and defending Wimbledon champions) Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge.

Following their success at Wimbledon, Erlich and Ram's world ranking soared. Then, in late September, 2003, they won their first doubles title (as a team) on the ATP tour by capturing the Thailand Open. On October 13 of that year they won their second doubles title in three weeks by capturing the Grand Prix de Lyon. As of July 8, 2005, Erlich was ranked No. 24 in the world in doubles and abandoned singles play.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 5, 1977

Career Highlights:
Erlich, who was born in Argentina and now resides in Haifa, is one of Israel's brightest up-and-coming tennis players. Since turning pro in 1993, Erlich has five career doubles titles. In 2001, he competed in doubles at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon, losing in the first round in Australia and in the second round at Wimbledon.

Jonathan participated in the 2002 Australian Open in the doubles event with partner Andy Ram. They were eliminated from the competition after losing to Australians Andrew Florent and David MacPherson in the first round, 5-7, 3-6. Erlich also competed in the other two Grand Slam events during 2002. With Argentine partner Daniel Orsanic, Jonathan played in the doubles competition at both the French Open and Wimbledon, losing in the first round of each tournament.

In 2003, in the first round of the men's doubles at Wimbledon, Erlich and Ram defeated Nathan Healey and David Skoch in five sets (4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, and 6-4). In the second round, the Israeli duo upset No. 12 seed Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, and 6-3. They then defeated No.6 seeded Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro in the third round; and in the quarterfinals, in a match that saw no service break from either side, Erlich and Ram defeated No. 2 seeded Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in straight sets, 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (9-7). In the semi's, Ram and Erlich -- the first Israelis to ever advance to the semifinals in any Grand Slam event --lost to the defending Wimbledon champions, Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge.

Erlich and Ram paired up again for the 2003 U.S. Open, and were knocked out in the first round. They lost to Jim Thomas and Sebastian Prieto, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1. The Ram-Erlich duo solidified their status among the top doubbles teams on the circuit, winning the Lyon tournament on October 12, 2003. They defeated the French team of Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut, 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

Jonathan opened 2004 well as he advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. He and partner Andy Ram were ranked No. 14 and defeated Spanish duo Juan Carlos Ferrero and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the first round. In the next round, however, they fell to Gaston Gaudio and Ivo Karlovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. He has had much better luck in the mixed doubles tournament so far. Along with partner Liezel Huber of South Africa, he defeated Jordan Kerr and Nicole Pratt 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in the first round. Wayne Black and Cara Black gave them quite a scare in the second round, but the duo came through on a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5) score. Erlich and Huber have advanced to the semifinals by beating the top seeded team of Mark Knowles and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) in the quarter-finals. Jonathan and his partner finally fell to the fourth seeded pair Leander Paes and Martina Navratilova in the semifinals by a 6-4, 6-4 score on January 30th, 2004. With his strong showing, Erlich has proved he is a force to be reckoned with on the mixed doubles circuit.

Erlich and Andy Ram beat David Skoch and Jim Thomas 1-6, 6-3, 8-6 in the first round of the 2004 Roland Garros tournament. In the second round they met two excellent singles players, Arnaud Clement and Nicolas Escude and defeated them 6-3, 6-7, 8-6. However, the seventh seeded duo of Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett from Zimbabwe proved too high a hurdle as Ram and Erlich lost 6-2, 6-4.

Jonathan was knocked out in the first round of the mens doubles event at the Wimbledon 2004 tournament. He fared better alongside South African Liezel Huber in the mixed event. After a bye through the first round, the duo beat Marcin Matkowski of Poland and American Mashona Washington 6-3, 6-7, 9-7. They were eliminated in the third round by Paul Hanley and Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 6-4.

Ram and Erlich's stature in the doubles world is reflected by their 8th place ranking in the 2004 Games. The duo represented Israel in the first round against Thomas Enqvist and Robin Soderling of Sweden, as they won 7-5, 6-3 on August 16. They faced underdogs Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, in the second round. Though the Russians broke serve first, Ram and Erlich bounced back to victory 6-4, 6-1. The Israeli team met Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler of Germany in the quarterfinals of the competition. They sailed to a first set victory, but never regained their confidence after a shaky start in the second set. Ram and Erlich were eliminated from the running 6-2, 2-6, 2-6.

Ram and Erlich won the Lyon tournament for the second year running in October, 2004. They eliminated Gaston Etlis Martin Rodriguez 7-5, 7-5 in the first round and their next victims were Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut. The Israeli's faced their toughest match of the tournament as they struggled to beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. They met premier duo Jonas Bjorkman and Radek Stepanek in the final and beat them emphatically 7-6(2), 6-2.

After winning the Lyon tournament late in 2004, Ram and Erlich were hungry for success at the 2005 Australian Open. The Israeli team beat the German duo of Lars Burgsmuller and Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 in the first round. A scheduled second round clash with Hyung Taik Lee and Jarkko Nieminen was canceled after the later fell injured. Ram and Elich were eliminated after an epic third round battle with second seeds Bob and Mike Bryan went 1-6, 6-4, 6-7 (8-10).

Erlich and his eternal partner won their fourth major tournament in Rotterdam in February, 2005. They beat Ivan Ljubicic and Uros Vico 6-4, 6-2 in the round of sixteen. In the quarterfinals, the Israeli pair faced up with Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco of Spain, and came out on top 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. The semifinal against Zimbabwean duo Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett was settled with a ferociously competitive second set 6-3 7-6(11). Ram and Erlich had to beat Czech's Cyril Suk and Pavel Vizner 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, for the honors.

Ram and Erlich missed the 2005 Roland Garros grand slam tournament. Andy Ram's father had passed away as the player was preparing to fly to France.

After the disappointment in not attending the French Open, Ram and Erlich were seeded 15th in Wimbledon 2005. In the first round the duo defeated home-crowd favorites Jamie Delgado and Arvind Parmar 6-4, 6-7(7-5), 6-4, 6-2. They were awarded a walkover when Swedes Johan Landsberg and Robin Soderling abandoned play in the second round. The third round saw Ram and Erlich knocked out by Americans Bob and Mike Bryan (seeded 2nd) with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-0), 6-3 defeat. Erlich entered the mixed doubles event with Aussie Bryanne Stewart by his side. The two neatly defeated Brits Jamie Delgado and Amanda Janes 6-4, 6-4. However they could not outplay the highly rated duo of Julian Knowle and Anna-Lena Groenefeld (seeded 13) and fell by the wayside 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Jewish Sports Review, September/October 2000 issue (Volume 2, No. 8, Issue 21)