SOLOMON, HAROLD


SOLOMON, HAROLD ("Solly"; 1952– ) U.S. tennis player. Growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, Solomon proved his tennis abilities early, being ranked the No. 2 youth player in America at 14 before winning the US National Clay Court Championship for 18-year-olds. Solomon attended Rice University and was twice an All-American, establishing himself as a patient and accurate volleyer. Solomon's patented shot, the "moonball" – a deep, high, top-spin lob – kept his opponents from attacking the net, and forced them to maintain their concentration during long rallies, Solomon's forte. As a member of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Solomon enjoyed a successful 16-year career, won 64 percent of his 879 singles matches, and was selected to four American Davis Cup teams, including two championship teams in 1972 and 1978. From 1975 to 1980, Solomon was one of the top professional tennis players in the world, winning 20 of his 22 singles titles, and being ranked as high as fifth in the 1980 ATP standings before finishing in seventh place. Solomon also finished in the top ten of the ATP in 1976 (8th), 1978 (9th), and 1979 (8th), and maintained a top-20 ranking from 1974 to 1980. Solomon paired with another Jewish player, Eddie Dibbs, to form a doubles team which was referred to affectionately in the press as "The Bagel Twins"; the duo was ranked in the top ten from 1974 to 1976. After retiring in 1986, Solomon went on to become an equally effective coach, helping Mary Joe Fernandez maintain a top-ten ranking from 1994 to 1998, and then managing Jennifer Capriati's celebrated 1999 comeback, when she climbed from 101st to 23rd in the world, while winning her first titles in over six years. Seeking to devote more time to his family, Solomon ended his stretch as a traveling full-time coach in November 2000, serving instead as an adviser to players on the women's circuit. In January 2006 Solomon opened the Harold Solomon International Tennis Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to develop young, promising tennis players, with special emphasis on sportsmanship and character building. Apart from his tennis work, Solomon and his wife, Jan, have been active in organizations addressing the problem of world hunger.

[Robert B. Klein (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.