Past Australian Open Champions Part 1 – Johan Kriek
Note: Leading up to the 2012 Australian Open, I am going to take a look back and some of the Australian Open champions from previous eras and report anything interesting that I find.
South Africa’s Johan Kriek may be one of the most anonymous tennis players in the Open Era to claim two grand slam titles. Kriek won the Australian Open in 1981 and 1982 before the Swedes started picking off the Happy Slam. Kriek reached #7 in the world and won matches against some of the top players from his era. During the 2011 French Open, John McEnroe mentioned Kriek as one of the fastest players to ever play tennis along side Bjorn Borg, Michael Chang, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils.
Kriek’s career was obviously quite sound. Still, it has to be said that his Grand Slam titles came at a time when the Australian Open was considered to be a Grand Slam in name only. Moving the Australian Open to the opening slam of the year in 1987 and to hard courts in 1988 helped revive its Grand Slam credentials.
Kriek Making a Difference
Johan Kriek is one of the founding members of the Global Water Foundation. GWF’s goals are as follows:
The Global Water Foundation is in the service of humanity: to help make the world a better place, a healthier place, a safer place and ultimately a place of peace and prosperity. All projects and programs funded by the Global Water Foundation have the same goal: to make the world a better place for all.
GWF also has a produced a short but effective video promoting their overall mission. Tennis as a community has had many strong responses to disease and disaster. Arthur Ashe’s various endeavors and the 2010 Hit for Haiti are just a few examples of this large scale phenomenon. Johan Kriek’s work is a more than worthy contribution to this trend. Kriek is part of the humane side of professional tennis. For that reason, we should all know a bit more about this two-time Australian Open champion and also figure out ways to impact the world off the court.