News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local Interest

July 11, 2009

Alex Kor heads to Maccabiah Games

Tennis player will compete

TERRE HAUTE — He had just completed a successful tennis season at Butler, and later that summer he would win the Earl Wood tournament to reign as Terre Haute’s men’s singles champion.

So when his aunt Miriam suggested that her bored summer visitor, Alex Kor, go visit the young man who lived next door to her home in the tiny village of Afridar, Israel, to play some tennis, he wasn’t anticipating much of a match.

And it wasn’t — just not in the way Alex expected.

Kor’s first clue that his aunt’s neighbor might be better than he thought was the immaculate court in the back yard. He also started to wonder what was going on when the children in the neighborhood flocked to the court to watch after the neighbor appeared with a racquet in hand. And that was how he became friends with former professional star Schlomo Glickstein, a possible opponent later this week at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv.

“I’d played some really good players like Curtis Williams, but [Glickstein] was a lot better than that,” Kor recalled this week. “He gave me a game or two [in an otherwise one-sided match] … when I got back to the States I looked him up and he was the No. 1-ranked player in Israel, and nine months after that he lost 7-5 in the fifth set to Bjorn Borg in the first round at Wimbledon.”

Glickstein might be in the way this week as Kor pursues his goal of a gold medal in men’s masters tennis at the Games, an Olympic-style competition that’s expected to attract 8,300 Jewish athletes from 60 nations, but winning the gold is pretty much all the Terre Haute North graduate has yet to accomplish.

A nationally ranked player in the 45-49 age group, Kor is making his fourth Maccabiah appearance (the others coming in 1993, 1997 and 2005). He won a bronze medal in 1997, dedicating it to his parents — Holocaust survivors Mickey and Eva Kor — and placing it in his mother’s CANDLES Museum; that medal was lost when the museum burned in 2003, but he was able to replace it with a silver medal from the 2005 Games.

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