Krickstein, Aaron : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Krickstein, Aaron

A highly-ranked player in men's singles in the 1990's, Krickstein played a legendary quarterfinal match against Jimmy Connors at Forest Hills. Aaron turned pro at the age of 16 and became the youngest player to win a Tour singles title: he was 16 years and 2 months old. Krickstein was nicknamed "Marathon Man" because of his ability to come from behind; he had an amazing 10 career wins from 0-2 set defecits and a career 28-8 record in 5-set matches. Aaron's most notable comeback was against Stefan Edberg in the 1995 Australian Open when he was down two sets and won the match to eventually reach the semifinals. In May 2001, his niece, Morgan Pressel, became the youngest female to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at the age of 12.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Aug. 2, 1967

Career Highlights:
Aaron, the grandson of a rabbi, began playing tennis when he was six years old. Extremely talented, he won the Boys' 18 titles in U.S. Indoor, Clay, and USTA Nationals at Kalamazoo when he was only 16. After turning professional in 1983, at the age of 16, he won his first professional title at Tel Aviv, becoming the youngest player ever to win an ATP Tour singles title (16 years, 2 months). After finishing that year as the No. 93 (he reached the fourth round at the 1983 U.S. Open), Aaron zoomed up the world ranking and ended 1984 as the No. 12 player in the world! That year, he won three singles titles and rose as high as No. 7.

Although Krickstein was one of the world's best players while still only a teenager, he suffered stress fractures in both feet and had knee and wrist problems in 1985 and 1986; still, he remained among the world's top thirty players in both years. While trying to overcome his injuries, Krickstein was side-swiped by a New York City taxi in 1987. The following year, however, he returned to top form and finished the year ranked No. 15; he also defeated Stephan Edberg to reach the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

1989 proved to be Krickstein's best year as a professional, finally demonstrating the potential his teenage years had promised. Aaron began the year with a singles title in Sydney -- his first win in over four years -- and ended the year ranked No. 8. It was his highest year-end ranking (although he was ranked a career-high No. 6 in February, 1990). That year, Aaron also had his best Grand Slam finish, reaching the semifinals at the U.S. Open. Krickstein later reached the semis at the Australian Open in 1995.

Krickstein remained a top player in the early 1990s, winning four titles during the decade (he won 9 during his career), but injuries began to slow him down. After a No. 20 ranking in 1990, he dropped to No. 45 in 1993, and No. 72 in 1995. Aaron was eventually forced to retire early because of injuries, yet remains one of the greatest Jewish tennis players in history.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Great Jews in Sports, by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)