Salzenstein has been ranked in the ATP top 200 for several years now and has picked up 5 challenger titles so far in a successful career. The left handers development may have been hindered by his commitment to academic studies and series of injuries at Standford. As of July 8, 2005 Jeff is ranked 197 in singles (his highest ranking was 100 in June, 2004) and is ranked 503 in doubles (his career high was No. 68 ATP ranking in November, 1997).
Birth and Death Dates:
b. October 14, 1973
In the early 90s, Jeff was widely touted as one of the most promising young American players. In 1990 he was a quarter-finalist in the USTA's under-16 championships, and placed third in the clay court event. At his peak the American was ranked second in the junior rankings. Throughout his youthful tennis exploits, the tennis ace never neglected his studies at Cherry Creek High School in Englewood Colorado.
While earning his economics degree at Stanford, Salzenstein enjoyed a stellar collegiate tennis career. In 1995, as a junior, he reached the NCAA singles championships semifinals and his school won the NCAA team title. The following year Stanford won the title again and Jeff was named All-American for the second straight year.
In 1996 Salzenstein won his first USTA event upon capturing the Dayton Beach doubles event and his second doubles title at Binghamton with partner Justin Gimelstob. By the following year Jeff had decided to concentrate on ATP competitions rather then college play and made his grand slam debut. At the 1997 Wimbledon competition, the Stanford man survived three tough qualification rounds to make the first round proper before losing to Patrick Baur, 7-6, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 9-7. He fared better in the US Open, beating Mikael Tillstrom 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the first round and exiting in the second with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 loss to superstar Michael Chang. His best grand slam performance of the year was in the Roland Garros doubles event where Salzenstein and partner Petr Korda made the round of 16.
In 1998 and 1999 Jeff's impressive rise in the tennis world was cut short by a horrific spat of injuries. He was forced to sit out most of 1998 and all of 1999 with back and shoulder injuries. The player was able to concentrate on finishing his studies and earning a degree in economics from Stanford. In 2000 Salzenstein began to compete in challenger events again. Jeff won his first two challenger singles titles as he made a brave comeback. During the month of May Salzenstein won the Tallahassee challenger by beating Kevin Kim 6-3, 6-2 in the final. In November, he beat Frenchman Antony Dupuis (138 in the ATP) 7-6(4), 6-4 to capture the Urbana, Illinois challenger.
In 2001 the left-hander won another challenger title, his third in a singles event at Aptos, California. Jeff dropped only one set in the entire tournament, in the first round against Michael Tebutt of Australia in the first round, before defeating Jeff Morrison, 7-6 (3), 6-4, in the final. His form in 2002 was significantly poorer as Salzenstein failed to make an impact on the circuit.
Jeff returned to Aptos as a conqueror in 2003, winning the title for the second time by beating Dimitri Tursunov (ranked 191 in the world) 7-6(3), 7-6(2). Arvind Parmar (158 in the world) bested him 4-6, 4-6 in the final of the Denver challenger. He was also a finalist in Atlantic City but lost the honors to Bjorn Rehnquist 4-6, 4-6. Salzenstein even made inroads at the ATP event in Newport. After impressive form in qualification, Jeff beat George Bastel of Switzerland (ranked 210) easily 6-1, 6-3 in the first round. His next victim came in the form of compatriot Alex Kim (142 in the world) whom he beat 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. The left-handers streak was undone in the quarterfinals by Austrian Jurgen Melzer 5-7, 6-7(7).
During April, 2004 the American gathered his fifth challenger title in Leon, Mexico. he beat three top 200 players, among them Israeli Noam Okun on his way to a final match-up with South African Wesley Moodie (117 in the world). Salzenstein won a roller coaster of a match 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 for the title. Jeff also enjoyed a relatively strong season in ATP competition. He qualified for the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon but was eliminated in the first round of each. in March he qualified for the round of 16 at the International Series event in Acapulco and qualified for the prestigious Tennis Masters series at Indian Wells. His best ATP circuit showing was in the International Series tournament at Delray Beach in September. Salzenstein squeezed by Marco Chiudinelli (183 in the world) 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2 in the first round. He sparred with countryman Paul Goldstein in the subsequent round winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. Jeff upset Canadian born Briton Greg Rusedski (67 in the world) 6-4, 7-6(7) in the quarterfinals before a semifinal loss to US ace Vincent Spadea (21 in the world) 1-6, 3-6.