Jaroslav Drobný

Parameter Value
Used Name Jaroslav Drobný
Born 12 October 1921; Praha (Prague) (CZE)
Died 13 September 2001; Tooting-Greater London (GBR)
Affiliations ČLTK Praha (CZE)

Jaroslav Drobný won an Olympic silver medal with the Czechoslovakian ice hockey squad at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics, but was more famous as a tennis player. For years, he played ice hockey during the winter and tennis in the summer, but his hockey career was cut short in 1949. During a tennis tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland, he defected from communist Czechoslovakia with a fellow Davis Cup player, Vladimír Černík. Drobný, who had won the 1947 World Championships with Czechoslovakia, could no longer represent his country on the ice.

As an Egyptian citizen, Drobný won Grand Slam singles titles at Roland Garros (1951, 1952) and Wimbledon (1954). His 1954 Wimbledon championship made him the first left-hander to win that title. He was also a five-time runner-up in Grand Slam events; three times at Roland Garros (1946, 1948, 1950), and twice at Wimbledon (1949, 1952). His ice hockey legacy could still be found in his dark prescription glasses, which he needed following a hockey accident that severely affected his eyesight.

Drobný uniquely competed at Wimbledon for four different “nations.” He first played there in 1938, representing Czechoslovakia, and again under that designation in 1946-49. In 1939, following political upheaval in Europe, he was listed from the Nazi-occupied protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia. Following his 1949 defection, Drobný was given an Egyptian passport, and won his Grand Slam titles representing that nation from 1950-59. In 1959, he traded his Egyptian passport for a British one, and lived in London for the rest of his life. During a 15-year amateur career, he won over 130 singles titles, and was world ranked in the top 10 from 1946-55. Drobný was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1997 he was made a member of the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

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