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Krickstein squirms once more as rain falls

Nobody enjoys rain disrupting play at the US Open. But one man who has more reason than most to dread the drizzle is Aaron Krickstein.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2003 10:09 IST

Nobody enjoys rain disrupting play at the US Open tennis tournament. But one man who has more reason than most to dread the drizzle is Aaron Krickstein.

Now aged 36, the former American Davis Cup player squirms whenever the heavens open over Flushing Meadows.

For every time the hardcourt grand slam is hit by the rain, US broadcaster CBS switches on the sunshine of September 2 1991 and Krickstein's fourth-round match against a 39-year-old Jimmy Connors.

It was one of the most dramatic encounters in the tournament's history and one of the gutsiest comebacks in a Connors career pockmarked by such heroics.

Having led 5-2 in the fifth set and being two points from victory, it was also one of the most painful defeats in Krickstein's career -- one he is forced to relive time and again.

"Does anybody else have to suffer like this year after year," Krickstein laughed when telephoned at home by seasoned tennis writer and broadcaster Bud Collins.

"It took me a few days to get over it. It was the most gut-wrenching loss I ever had," he said of the 3-6 7-6 1-6 6-3 7-6 defeat.

"But I keep telling my mother if I'd won that match, they'd never show it again and I wouldn't be famous for it," Collins wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

"Jimmy being 15 years older than me and going (on) to the semi-finals made it a classic.

"My dad calls me every time. He's watching, and he says `Aaron, this time I'm sure you're gonna win it'."

It is a match which Krickstein senior also endured and he is seen squirming in the stands as Connors mounts an improbable charge.

Krickstein quit the Tour in 1996 having won nine titles, amassed almost $4 million in prize money and reaching, briefly, a world number six ranking.

Still, however, he will almost certainly be remembered more for that one defeat against an almost-retired gladiator squeezing out one last drop of adrenaline from a battle-weary body.

Certainly a new generation of tennis-playing youngsters, who have never heard of Krickstein, are once again being fed a diet of that 12-year-old classic.

First Published: Sep 03, 2003 10:09 IST