Jiri Vanek

Sport: Tennis
Nationality: Czech Republic Czech Republic
Birth date: 1978-04-24 (36 years)

Born on April 24, 1978, Vaněk is a professional tennis player from the Czech Republic. He started playing tennis at the age of nine and reached the semifinals at Roland Garros as well as the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in 1996. Aside from tennis, he was also an avid hockey player. He turned pro in 2005.

Vaněk captured his first Challenger title in August 1998 in Warsaw. Not long after that he added another Challenger title by winning in Belgrade. In 2000, he played in all four Grand Slams, a first for the Czech player, and added another Challenger title by winning the tournament in Ho Chi Minh. A year later, he again won the Challengers at Weiden after defeating American player Hugo Armando and in Lugano after beating Marin.

2002 was an uneventful year for the Czech player, especially after he had to retire from a match against Canas due to a back injury. This was offset by his victory of yet another Challenger title in Ljubljana a year later in 2003. He went on to win back-to-back Challengers in 2004 by defeating German pro Bjorn Phau in Ljubljana and French player Gilles Simon in Furth.

2005 was a year for another Challenger, this time captured in Heilbronn. He also played at Rolland Garros for the first time since 2001 but lost to Ferrer. The right-handed Czech also competed in Wimbledon but unfortunately was beaten by American pro Andy Roddick in the first round. He reached his first career semifinal at Bastad and his first career quarterfinals in doubles in Acapulco. He again competed in the semifinals in Chennai and in Ho Chi Minh before wining another Challenger title in doubles with Serbian partner Janko Tipsarevic.

In 2006, he reached the second round at Roland Garros after defeating Nicolas Mahut, a first since 2000. He ended the year with a career high earning of $232,170. Vaněk maintained his spot inside the top 100 for the second straight year in 2007 and finished as his country’s no. 3 player behind Berdych and Stepanek.

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