Kevin Curren is one of South Africa’s greatest tennis players who inspired many young players to excel in the sport. He played in two Grand Slam men’s singles finals. He won four Grand Slam doubles titles. His highest singles career ranking is World Number 5! His highest doubles career ranking is World Number 3. Today, as he celebrates his 59th birthday, we throwback to his tennis career.
Kevin Curren turned pro in 1979. He won his first top-level singles title in 1981 in Johannesburg. Kevin reached his first singles Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon in 1983, beating defending champion, Jimmy Connors, 6–3, 6–7, 6–3, 7–6, in the fourth round, breaking Connors’ streak of 27 consecutive major quarter-final appearances. Curren unfortunately then lost to the unseeded Chris Lewis in a closely fought five-set semi-final match, 7–6, 4–6, 6–7, 7–6, 6–8, which allowed Lewis to become only the seventh unseeded player to reach the Wimbledon final.
At the 1984 Australian Open, Kevin powered his way through the draw and played against Mats Wilander in the final. Wilander defeated Curren and won the match in four sets, 6–7, 6–4, 7–6, 6–2.
Kevin Curren reached the final at the 1985 Wimbledon Championships. On his way to the final, he defeated Larry Stefanki, Mike De Palmer, David Mustard and then the great Stefan Edberg. He comprehensively beat the then World No. 1 John McEnroe in the quarter-finals, 6–2, 6–2, 6–4, and World No. 3 Jimmy Connors in the semi-finals, 6–2, 6–2, 6–1. Unfortunately he lost the final in four sets to Boris Becker, 3–6, 7–6, 6–7, 4–6. Boris Becker then became the youngest male Grand Slam champion at 17 years of age.
Although Kevin Curren never won a Grand Slam singles title, he did win four Grand Slam doubles titles. In 1981, he won the US Open mixed doubles with his partner, Anne Smith. In 1982 Kevin and Anne won the Wimbledon mixed doubles. At the 1982 US Open he won the men’s doubles with his partner Steve Denton, and he won the mixed doubles with Anne.
During his career, Kevin won a total of five top-level singles titles and 26 doubles titles. He earned $3,055,510 in prize-money throughout his career. Curren retired from the professional tennis tour in 1993. After retiring from the professional tour, Kevin served as the captain of South Africa’s Davis Cup team.
Happy Birthday, Kevin! We hope you have a great day. And may it be a successful year ahead!