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Jaroslav Drobny, 79; Top Tennis, Hockey Player

September 15, 2001|From Associated Press

LONDON — Jaroslav Drobny, who won three Grand Slam tennis tournaments in the 1950s and an Olympic medal in hockey, died Thursday at his London home. He was 79.

A left-hander who wore glasses on the court, Drobny won consecutive French Opens in 1951 and '52 after losing three previous finals.

In 1954, at age 33, Drobny won Wimbledon by beating 19-year-old Ken Rosewall 13-11, 4-6, 6-2, 9-7.

At Wimbledon, he lost a five-set final to Ted Schroeder in 1949 and a four-set final against Frank Sedgman three years later.

Drobny also won three Italian Open singles titles in the 1950s.

After retiring in 1960, he ran a sports shop in London. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1983.

Born in Prague on Oct. 12, 1921, Drobny began his tennis career as a Czech citizen. He played on Czechoslovakia's hockey team, which won a silver medal at the 1948 Olympics.

Drobny also represented Czechoslovakia in the Davis Cup, winning 37 of 43 matches.

He defected in 1949 and became an Egyptian citizen a year later. He was listed as Egyptian when he won his Wimbledon title.

Drobny became a British citizen in 1960.

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