The only two Jewish players who competed at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament that concluded on Aug. 16 at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, both lost in the first qualifying round.
Veteran Dudi Sela, 30, of Israel lost 6-2, 6-4 to Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, and 17-year-old David Volfson of Thornhill, Ont., lost 6-1, 6-1 to Yen-Hgn Lu of Taipei.
For Volfson, who was wild-carded into qualifying as a top Canadian junior by Tennis Canada, the loss was disappointing, but his future in tennis is bright.
Volfson seemed helpless to counter the serves and precise volleys from his opponent. But he took his loss in stride.
“It takes patience, and I’m getting accustomed to playing at a higher level with more experience each tournament,” Volfson said following his defeat.
“In professional tennis, most of the men start to peak in their 20s, so I am still very young on the pro circuit and will get better with more opportunities.”
Volfson has shown much promise through his achievements in junior tennis, winning the Canadian national championships in both the 14- and 12-and-under competitions.
For Sela, who was ranked as high as 29th on the men’s pro tennis circuit in 2009, his days of competing in pro tennis may be on the wane. Sela is currently ranked 127th, and he now has to qualify to enter the main draw at most tournaments.
“It is never easy, but I love to compete and play tennis,” he said, following his match. “It is very hard to earn a living in tennis when you are not in the top 100, but I still have the desire and will to at least play until next year.”
Sela is at his best in tennis competing for Israel in Davis Cup play. He earned his nickname as “the Hebrew Hammer,” as many Israelis refer to him, when he took Israel to the semi-final round of the Davis Cup back in 2009.
In five sets, Sela upset the top-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny to send Israeli to a historic first semi-final finish in Davis Cup before 10,000 jubilant fans in Tel Aviv.
“It was the most important match of my career, and one that I will never forget. I always love playing for Israel and have my best moments competing for my country,” Sela said.
Outside of Davis Cup, Sela has had many memorable moments in tennis.
He finished in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2011, and was a finalist at both the Atlanta (2014) and China (2010) tournaments.
Sela is the latest of many Israeli tennis players who have performed well for their nation, including Shahar Peer, who was ranked 11th, the highest rank of any Israeli man or woman in tennis in pro tennis.
“There are many young players who are now in juniors that I hope we will see move up in the tennis rankings and continue the good name of Israelis who have done well in tennis, such as Shlomo Glickstein and Amos Mansdorf among the men and Peer and Anna Smashnova for the women,” said Sela