Today’s Birthday, August 31: Former Australian tennis player Peter Luczak (1979 – ).
Former Australian tennis player-turned-coach Peter Luczak grieved the death of the Davis Cup in the wake of a successful vote to radically alter the format of the 118-year-old tournament.
The seven-time Davis Cup representative made his feelings known after the ITF decided to change the sport’s most famous and oldest international men’s team tournament into a season-ending, 18-side, World Cup-style event.
“A sad day in tennis history. I’m shattered with the decision. Thanks for the incredible memories Davis Cup,” the 39-year-old posted online along with a RIP hashtag.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Luczak’s parents migrated to Australia when he was nine months old and he started playing tennis at age five after his father Kris introduced him to the sport.
He grew up in Melbourne as a student of Mulgrave’s Mazenod College, idolising Swedish grand slam champion Mats Wilander.
Luczak scored a tennis scholarship with Fresno State University in the United States before turning professional in 2000.
But it was far from instant glory for the Australian as he spent years slogging it out on the future and challenger tours to boost his ranking.
The backward cap-wearing battler’s persistence paid off as he made a dash to the third round of the 2003 Australian Open in his maiden grand slam.
He made his Davis Cup debut in 2005, a dead-rubber loss to Argentine Guillermo Coria, and later that year reached his first ATP Tour semi-final in Brazil.
After another run to the Australian Open third round in 2006, Luczak continued to build on his reputation as a clay court specialist – winning four challenger titles in 2007 to finish the year ranked inside the top 100 for the first time.
The self-admitted late bloomer hit a career-high ranking of world No.64 in October 2009 at age 30, and months later produced a career-highlight win over Czech star Tomas Berdych at the 2010 Sydney International.
The veteran retired in 2012 but stayed in tennis as a hitting partner to great mate Lleyton Hewitt for three years before transitioning to coaching.
“Looch” briefly came out of retirement twice in 2015 and 2016 to partner rising Australian pupils Blake Mott and Marc Polmans in doubles events.
Luczak has two children with Swedish wife Catarina Queckfeldt.