Teltscher, Eliot : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Teltscher, Eliot

A worldwide top ten player from 1980-82, Eliot was a U.S. National Tennis coach in the 1990s, and has coached players including Justin Gimelstob, Richey Reneberg, Jeff Tarango, Pete Sampras, and Jim Grabb.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 15, 1959

Career Highlights:
Eliot's mother was born in Israel; his father emigrated there during the Holocaust, and joined the British army. They moved to the United States, where Eliot was born, and encouraged him to take up tennis, which he began playing at the age of nine. By the time he was 17, Teltscher was ranked in the top ten nationally (in junior rankings) and competed at the Junior U.S. Open and Junior Wimbledon tournaments. In 1978, he accepted a tennis scholarship from the University of California-Los Angeles; he was an All-America during his only year there. The following year, Eliot decided to turn professional, fulfilling a life-long dream.

By the early 1980s, Teltscher was one of the top players in the world; he was ranked between No. 6 and No. 15 from 1980-1984. He had relative success in Grand Slam events, reaching the French Open doubles final with partner Terry Moor in 1981, and winning the French Open mixed doubles title with Barbara Jordan two years later. He also reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open three times (1980, 1981, and 1983 -- losing to Jimmy Connors all three years), and the quarterfinals at the 1983 Australian Open. Teltscher continued to play on the ATP Tour until 1988 and finished with 10 career ATP tour titles.

A determined competitor, Eliot was also on the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1982, 1983, and 1985. He had a combined record of 5-4 in singles match play during those three years and helped the U.S. win the Davis Cup in 1982 over France. Looking back at his career, Teltscher always expressed pride at the time his honesty took over from his competitive nature. During a match at the Masters tournament against Vitas Gerulitis, his racket grazed the net while it was match point. No one, including Gerulitis, was aware of the rule violation except for Eliot. Rather than just let it pass, however, he informed the judges of the infraction and lost the point, and maybe the match, because of his honesty. His parents are most proud of him for that action.

Upon his retirement, Teltscher became a member of the ATP Players board in 1989. He then turned to coaching, first as head coach at Pepperdine University, then as a traveling personal coach in the mid-1990s (for Pete Sampras and other players). In the late 1990s, he became a U.S. Tennis National Coach; but in 2001, he resigned from his coaching position to become 19-year-old Taylor Dent's personal coach.

Palos Verdes Estates, California

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