General Wojtek
Fibak
Male
Poland
1952-08-03
Poznan, Poland


About

The most titled Polish tennis player (both among men and women) of the Open era (after 1968) in the international arena. In total, he won 67 professional ATP (Grand Prix) and WCT tournaments - 15 in singles and 52 in doubles, including the Australian Open 1977 (playing - for the first time ... - with Australian Kim Warwick). It was the first Grand Slam title won by a Polish man and the first in the Open era (among women earlier - in 1939 - Jadwiga Jędrzejowska in Paris triumphed, also in doubles). In the most important singles tournaments, he reached the quarter-finals (Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open) and the 1/8 finals (Australian Open). In the ATP ranking, he was ranked 10th in a single (July 25, 1977) - also the best ever achievement of a Polish male tennis player - and second in doubles (February 5, 1979). Incredible and unique are also the numbers of his matches, which he has played (in all three competitions) in his career, including 1,561 on professional courts. In the professional games of the Poles, only Agnieszka Radwańska won more duels than him (594–536).

In 1970, 18-year-old Wojtek Fibak was fighting in the junior quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. It does not go any further, but is noticed. - During these tournaments I was noticed by a coach from Stanford University. He came over, asked for the address and wrote home. It was a scholarship offer in the States. My father and I even filled out all these forms - recalls the tennis player. - Later in the PZT they hid a letter from Stanford, fearing that the young talent would run away to the States. There was no hall in Poznań, I went to trainings in Warsaw. If I had used this scholarship and had known America beforehand, I would have found what was needed for my career - that is, the right diet, weather, cement courts, a good service school ... I already knew what the hardest to learn - volleys, returnees, I had reflex - and what is the simplest: muscles, impact force - I didn't have. If at the age of eighteen I went to the best college in the States for two or three years, where John McEnroe later played ... And the first time I was in the States was only five years later.

For 12 years in a row in the period 1975–1986, with a one-year break (when he did not have a national license), he led the PZT singles classification lists, published at the end of the seasons. However, he won the titles of the Polish champion relatively few, because 4 (of which 2 were singles - on open courts and in the hall). Probably because from 1974 to the end of his career (1988) he played much more abroad than at home. He decided to start competing among professionals on his own and on his own - he quit law studies and in the fall of 1974, with a hundred dollars in his pocket, went to qualifying tournaments for ATP events in Spain. He put it all on one card and… won. The victory over the famous African-American Arthur Ashe (then the 8th racket in the world) gave him a promotion to the quarter-finals of the tournament in Barcelona and opened the door to the great tennis world. The times were then in the People's Republic of Poland as they were, and "as a reward" the PZT authorities suspended him as a competitor for not taking part in a team training camp. However, he continued to do his job and in the 1975 season he entered the top 100 of the ATP singles ranking (he did not drop out of it for 11.5 years!), And in doubles he won the first five titles.
He made his debut in the Davis Cup at the age of 19, in a victorious match against Denmark in Copenhagen in 1972, but he made his way to the legend of Polish tennis with the feat of a meeting with Hungary in Warsaw in April 1974. The ace of the rivals was then one of Fibak's later doubles partners, Balazs Taroczy. After four games there was a 2-2 draw and the result was to be determined by their duel. When the Hungarian was leading 6: 4, 4: 6, 7: 5, 5: 4 and was about to serve, the game was interrupted due to darkness and postponed until Monday. In "extra time" Taroczy quickly won three matches ... The first lost in controversial circumstances, when the ball after his volley landed close to the line, but the referee found it out. The guest did not protest, did not use the other two and finally .. .he lost this winning game.
Fibak's career reached its peak in 1980, when he reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, but the foundation on which he built his position was the final of the Masters tournament in Houston in 1976. This match was shown by our television (one of the first transatlantic broadcasts) in color), the Pole lost to the Spaniard Manuel Orantes in five sets, although in the fourth he was leading 4: 1 and then the actor Kirk Douglas present in the hall, when asked who would win, replied that Fibak, what everyone heard. This is probably the most myth-creating sentence in the history of Polish tennis, repeatedly cited as the reason for the defeat, because it was supposed to distract our player ...

His unexpected successes caused an incredible "fibacomania" in Poland, comparable only to the "malysmomania" three decades later. Everyone wanted to play tennis! However, we had fewer courts all over the country than, for example, Czechs in Prague itself, and even fewer coaches. So the kids most often tried to hit the balls (usually bald as a knee ...) through the benches placed instead of the net, in asphalt yards somewhere between the blocks. The popularity of Fibak at the time is evidenced by the fact that the white tennis socks produced in the 1970s were referred to by the manufacturer as "fibakówki". And when, on the basis of the metal Head rocket, which he was using, mass production of Polish Polonaises began, home-made constructors were able to reassemble their frame and "heart" in such a way that equipment with ... enlarged head surface was created.
The tennis player himself tried his best to show his countrymen gratitude for the worship shown to him. There were no professional tournaments in Poland at that time (even in the "growing in strength of the country", the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party, Edward Gierek, always lacked hard, Western currencies), so Fibak invited his colleagues from the court to show in Poland. In the events he organized in the second half of the 1970s The "Aces Tournaments" was attended by Björn Borg, Colin Dibley, Jürgen Fassbender, Jan Kodeš, Sandy Mayer, Buster Mottram, Hank Pfister, Tom Okker, Marty Riesen, Stan Smith ... Needless to say, Spodek in Katowice, Olivia in Gdańsk and Warsaw Hala Gwardii experienced a real siege on this occasion!

The AZS Poznań tennis player had a very varied, pleasant to watch style of play. The right-handed, effective volleyball player, with a wide range of strokes, also distinguished himself with good footwork. Due to this attractive and elegant game, he was welcomed in the show tournaments. On the other hand - his Achilles' heel was the service. Throughout his career, he was also unable (he had no conviction or heart?) To intensify training to get better.
Or maybe he was just a waste of ... time, because for an athlete he was / is a real "Renaissance man". During foreign tournaments he always found time to visit a museum or theater, read a local newspaper or drink a cup of coffee with an interesting interlocutor. Because Wojciech Fibak has a very wide non-sport interest. As a businessman, nearly three million dollars earned on a court in the period 1974–1988 (with at least three times more purchasing power than the current millions of "green"), he invested mainly in real estate. He was also, for example, the producer of the film "Psy 2", the general representative for Poland of the Volvo concern or the co-owner of the Marquardt Media publishing house (including "Przegląd Sportowy", "Sport", "Express Wieczorny", "Gazeta Poznańska", "Playboy", " Cosmopolitan "). However, he is probably best known as a connoisseur of art (he was infected with this passion, among others, by Steffi Graf, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe) - a collector of the so-called Polish school and the owner of a gallery in a prestigious part of Warsaw, where he can often be found "behind the counter". Also bon vivant (fortunately not a celebrity in the wrong sense of the word), known or at least recognized in various elite circles around the world. In the period 1991–1998, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Monaco; also a long-term member of the Batory Foundation Council.

He is also constantly up-to-date on tennis matters, in which he has repeatedly demonstrated an excellent expert sense. For example, after the first successes, Venus Williams said: "Let's wait for Serena ...", and when 16-year-old Agnieszka Radwańska defeated Roland Garros champion Anastasia Myskina, he publicly stated that the Cracovian will overshadow all his achievements.
It seems, however, that as a trainer or tennis activist - not entirely fulfilled in Poland. He was the president of the PZT (1991–1995), and before that, the captain of the Daviscup team (1990–1992). And as the same president and captain (playing) a bit spoiled his very positive image at the time, putting the 40-year-old himself in an important (losing) doubles game during the meeting with Hungary (Budapest 1992). He was much better at working as a coach abroad - he helped develop the careers of Boris Becker or Novak Dżokovic, and most of all, Ivan Lendl. On the other hand, Łukasz Kubot describes him as his tennis guru to this day. In 1977, at the initiative of his parents, the Junior Grand Prix tournament of Wojtek Fibak was created - in the 2020 season, the 44th edition took place. Fibak himself, as soon as the political changes in Poland allowed it, organized the first ATP challenger in our country in 1991, which - under various sponsored names - is played in Poznań to this day. He also helped young Polish tennis players (Anioła, Dąbrowski, Iwański, Kowalski) who tried to follow in his footsteps.

To sum up: an outstanding figure not only in tennis, but also in Polish sport and social life in general. This is also evidenced by the fact that six times he was selected to the "10" Best Polish Athletes of the Year in the prestigious plebiscite of "Przegląd Sportowy" (in 1976 he was third, losing only to the Olympic champions Irena Szewińska and Jacek Wszoła). This is another record of his among male tennis players (8 times PS readers honored Jadwiga Jędrzejowska this way).

Clubs: AZS Poznań, Olimpia Poznań.
Coaches: Henryk Golimowski (club), Zbigniew Bełdowski (staff).

Professional tennis player in the period: 1975–1988. The highest position in the ATP ranking in the career - single: 10th (July 25, 1977; the highest ranked Pole in history); doubles: 2nd (February 5, 1979; runner-up of the Polish all-time list, after Łukasz Kubot). Balance sheet in WS / ATP / WCT / DC - single: 536/314; Doubles: 536/255. Earnings: 2 million. 725 thousand $ 403

Highscores: Australian Open - single: 1/8 finals (1978); doubles: title (with Kim Warwick AUS 1978).
Roland Garros - single: quarterfinal 2 times (1977 and 1980), 4 times 1/8 finals (1978, 1979, 1981 and 1982); Doubles: Final (with Jan Kodeš CSRS 1977).
Wimbledon - single: quarterfinals (1980), 3 times 1/8 finals (1977, 1978 and 1981); doubles: semi-final (with Tom Okker HOL 1978).
US Open - single: quarterfinals (1980), 1/8 finals (1977); Doubles: semi-final (with Okker 1978).
Masters ATP - single: final (1976); Doubles: Final 2 times (with Okker 1978 and 1979).
WCT Finals (unofficial world championship) - doubles: 2 titles (with Karl Meiler GER 1976 and Okker 1978).

ATP (Grand Prix) and WCT tournaments - single: 15 titles (1976: Vienna, Bournemouth and Stockholm; 1977: Düsseldorf and Monterrey; 1978: Cologne; 1979: Stuttgart and Denver; 1980: Sao Paulo, New Orleans and Dayton; 1981 Gstaad; 1982: Chicago, Paris-hall and Amsterdam) and 18 finals; doubles: 52 titles - including 1 WS and 2 WCT Championships (1975–1987; most wins against: Tom Okker HOL - 17, Karl Mailer GER - 5 and Jan Kodeš CSRS - 3) and 35 finals.

Davis Cup: 1972–1992; 17 matches, 28 wins / 12 defeats - 19/5 single (79% wins - the most of all Poles), 9/7 doubles. Captain (1990–1992); balance sheet: 4/2.

Wins over the world's top players: John Alexander, Victor Amaya, Vijay Amritraj, Jimmy Arias, Arthur Ashe, Corrado Barazzutti, Paolo Bertolucci, Björn Borg, Pat Cash, José Luis Clerc, Jimmy Connors, Phil Dent, Eddie Dibbs, Colin Dowdeswell, Stefan Edberg, Jaime Fillol, Peter Fleming, Željko Franulović, Vitas Gerulaitis, Andres Gomez, Brian Gottfried, Tim and Tom Gullikson, Heinz Günthardt, Bob Hewitt, José Higueras, François Jauffret, Jan Kodeš, Aaron Krickstein, Johan Kriek, Chris Henri Lewis, John Lloyd, Bob Lutz, Karl Mailer, Gene and Sandy Mayer, Tim Mayotte, John McEnroe, Paul McNamee, Miloslav Mečíř, Buster Mottram, Ilie Năstase, John Newcombe, Yannick Noah, Joakim Nyström, Tom Okker, Manuel Orantes, Adriano Panatta, Onny Parun, Victor Pecci, Hank Pfister, Mel Purcell, Raul Ramirez, Ken Rosewall, Bill Scanlon, Pavel Složil, Stan Smith, Harold Solomon, Dick Stockton, Henrik Sundström, Tomáš Šmíd, Roscoe Tanner, Balazs Taroczy, Eliot Teltscher, Ion Țiriac, Thierry Tulasne, Guillermo Vilas, Mats Wilander, Slobodan Živojinović.

PZT classification: 9th (1970), 5th (1971), 4th (1972), 2nd (1973 and 1974), 1st (1975–1982 and 1984–1986).
Polish champion titles (excluding MMP): 4.
National MP - single: winner (1975) and finalist twice (1973 and 1974); doubles: winner twice (with Henryk Drzymalski 1974 and 1975) and finalist twice (with Mieczysław Rybarczyk 1972 and Drzymalski 1973).
Halowe MP - single: winner (1971); doubles: final



Media


Archive statistics 1970 - 1986
21
798
514


Tournament wins 1982 - WCT - Amsterdam (WCT Circuit)
1981 - Gstaad (ATP)
1980 - Dubai Golden (Open)
1980 - Sao Paulo International (Amateur)
1980 - New Orleans International (ATP)
1980 - Dayton Classic (Open)
1979 - Warsaw Indoor (Open)
1979 - Bogota Invitational (Open)
1979 - Porsche Grand Prix (Grand Prix Circuit)
1979 - Denver (WCT Circuit)
1978 - Cologne Indoor Open (Grand Prix Circuit)
1977 - Württemberg International Indoor (Open)
1977 - Hittfeld International (Open)
1977 - Düsseldorf International Tournament ()
1977 - Monterrey Open (Grand Prix Circuit)
1976 - WCT - Stockholm (WCT Circuit)
1976 - British Hard Court Championships (Open)
1976 - Vienna International Indoor (Grand Prix Circuit)
1975 - Polish National Championships (Amateur)
1973 - Trofeo Bonfiglio (Open)
1971 - Polish Indoor (Amateur)


Tournaments Wimbledon - 1986 US Open - 1986 Wimbledon - 1985 Roland Garros - 1985 US Open - 1985 Queens Club Tournament - 1985 Wimbledon - 1984 Monte Carlo - 1984 Roland Garros - 1984 US Open - 1984 Wimbledon - 1983 Monte Carlo - 1983 Roland Garros - 1983 Newport Beach Classic - 1983 Luxembourg Indoor - 1983 Roland Garros - 1982 US Open - 1982 Canadian International Championships - 1982 Austrian International Championships - 1982 Italian International Championships - 1982 River Oaks Tournament - 1982 German International Championships - 1982 Richmond Indoor Championships - 1982 Gstaad - 1982 Zell Am See - 1982 Philadelphia Indoors - 1982 WCT Finals - 1982 Denver - 1982 Los Angeles Tennis Classic - 1982 WCT - Munich - 1982 Cap D'Agde - 1982 WCT - Mexico City - 1982 WCT - Forest Hills - 1982 AMF Head Cup - 1982 Rosemont Invitation - 1982 WCT - Genoa - 1982 WCT - Strasbourg - 1982 WCT - Zurich - 1982 WCT - Fall Finals - 1982 WCT - Amsterdam - 1982 Wimbledon - 1981 Roland Garros - 1981 US Open - 1981 Austrian International Championships - 1981 Pacific Coast Championship - 1981 Italian International Championships - 1981 German International Covered Court Championships - 1981 Netherlands International Championships - 1981 Japan Open - 1981 Sicilian International Championships - 1981 ABN AMRO Rotterdam - 1981 Gstaad - 1981 Philadelphia Indoors - 1981 WCT Finals - 1981 Djakarta Invitation - 1981 Toronto Indoor - 1981 Las Vegas - 1981 Monterrey Open - 1981 WCT - Forest Hills - 1981 Cleveland Grand Prix - 1981 Tokyo Indoor - 1981 Brussels Indoor - 1981 Frankfurt Open - 1981 Genoa Invitational Indoor - 1981 Turin Invitational Indoor - 1981 AMF Head Cup - 1981 Edmonton Tennis Challenge - 1981 Calcutta Exhibition - 1981 Wimbledon - 1980 Roland Garros - 1980 US Open - 1980 Cincinnati - 1980 US Clay Courts - 1980 German International Covered Court Championships - 1980 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1980 US International Indoor Championships - 1980 Bavarian International Championships - 1980 Richmond Indoor Championships - 1980 Indian Wells - 1980 Stuttgart - 1980 Sao Paulo International - 1980 Philadelphia Indoors - 1980 New Orleans International - 1980 Denver - 1980 Las Vegas - 1980 Birmingham International Indoor - 1980 Australian Indoors - 1980 Dayton Classic - 1980 Maui Classic - 1980 North Conway - 1980 Stockholm Open - 1980 WCT Challenge Cup - 1980 Wembley Indoor - 1980 WCT - Forest Hills - 1980 Australia Super Challenge - 1980 Frankfurt Open - 1980 Dubai Golden - 1980 Wimbledon - 1979 Roland Garros - 1979 US Open - 1979 Canadian International Championships - 1979 Austrian International Championships - 1979 Pacific Coast Championship - 1979 US Clay Courts - 1979 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1979 US International Indoor Championships - 1979 River Oaks Tournament - 1979 German International Championships - 1979 Bavarian International Championships - 1979 ABN AMRO Rotterdam - 1979 Indian Wells - 1979 Stuttgart - 1979 Philadelphia Indoors - 1979 Denver - 1979 Las Vegas - 1979 Vienna International Indoor - 1979 Stockholm Open - 1979 Cologne Indoor Open - 1979 Wembley Indoor - 1979 WCT - Forest Hills - 1979 Porsche Grand Prix - 1979 Bogota Invitational - 1979 Warsaw Indoor - 1979 Australian Open - 1978 Wimbledon - 1978 Monte Carlo - 1978 Roland Garros - 1978 US Open - 1978 New South Wales Championships - 1978 Canadian International Championships - 1978 US International Indoor Championships - 1978 British Hard Court Championships - 1978 River Oaks Tournament - 1978 US Pro Championships - 1978 German International Championships - 1978 Conde de Godo - 1978 Swiss International Covered Courts - 1978 ABN AMRO Rotterdam - 1978 Richmond Indoor Championships - 1978 Madrid Open - 1978 Washington Open - 1978 Philadelphia Indoors - 1978 WCT - St. Louis - 1978 Milano Indoors - 1978 Louisville Open - 1978 Baltimore International Indoors - 1978 Denver - 1978 Las Vegas - 1978 Birmingham International Indoor - 1978 North Conway - 1978 Stockholm Open - 1978 Cologne Indoor Open - 1978 Wembley Indoor - 1978 Marlboro Cup - 1978 World Team Cup - 1978 WCT - Forest Hills - 1978 Hamburg Indoor - 1978 Lucerne Invitaional - 1978 Frankfurt Indoor - 1978 Wimbledon - 1977 Monte Carlo - 1977 Roland Garros - 1977 US Open - 1977 Canadian International Championships - 1977 US Clay Courts - 1977 River Plate Championships - 1977 US Pro Championships - 1977 Belgian International Championships - 1977 Conde de Godo - 1977 Düsseldorf International Tournament - 1977 ABN AMRO Rotterdam - 1977 Abierto Mexicano - 1977 Richmond Indoor Championships - 1977 Indian Wells - 1977 Madrid Open - 1977 Bastad - 1977 Philadelphia Indoors - 1977 WCT - London - 1977 WCT Finals - 1977 South Orange Open - 1977 Toronto Indoor - 1977 Louisville Open - 1977 Aryamehr Cup - 1977 Baltimore International Indoors - 1977 Birmingham International Indoor - 1977 Vienna International Indoor - 1977 Stockholm Open - 1977 Monterrey Open - 1977 Cologne Indoor Open - 1977 Wembley Indoor - 1977 WCT Tournament of Champions - 1977 Hittfeld International - 1977 Württemberg International Indoor - 1977 Wimbledon - 1976 Monte Carlo - 1976 Roland Garros - 1976 US Open - 1976 Canadian International Championships - 1976 Nice - 1976 US Clay Courts - 1976 Netherlands International Championships - 1976 British Hard Court Championships - 1976 US Pro Championships - 1976 German International Championships - 1976 Championships of Berlin - 1976 Conde de Godo - 1976 ATP World Tour Finals - 1976 Düsseldorf International Tournament - 1976 Bastad - 1976 Washington Open - 1976 Philadelphia Indoors - 1976 Atlanta Open - 1976 Louisville Open - 1976 Aryamehr Cup - 1976 Rotterdam - 1976 Birmingham International Indoor - 1976 Vienna International Indoor - 1976 WCT - Barcelona - 1976 Barcelona ATP Open - 1976 North Conway - 1976 Stockholm Open - 1976 Dewar Cup - 1976 Lagos - 1976 WCT - Rome - 1976 King's Cup - Second Division - 1976 WCT - Stockholm - 1976 Madrid - Il Trofeo Gilette - 1976 Wembley Indoor - 1976 Pondus Cup - 1976 Wimbledon - 1975 Roland Garros - 1975 US Open - 1975 Canadian International Championships - 1975 Austrian International Championships - 1975 US Clay Courts - 1975 Italian International Championships - 1975 Netherlands International Championships - 1975 US International Indoor Championships - 1975 US Pro Championships - 1975 German International Championships - 1975 Nottingham - 1975 Conde de Godo - 1975 Madrid - 1975 Valencia Open - 1975 Bavarian International Championships - 1975 New York Indoor - 1975 Madrid Open - 1975 Washington Open - 1975 Paris Indoor - 1975 Polish National Championships - 1975 Helsinki International - 1975 Hampton - 1975 Roanoke Indoors - 1975 Louisville Open - 1975 Aryamehr Cup - 1975 Birmingham International Indoor - 1975 Bahamas International - 1975 Arkansas International - 1975 Boca West International - 1975 Ridgefield Open - 1975 Shreveport International - 1975 Barcelona ATP Open - 1975 Stockholm Open - 1975 Dewar Cup - 1975 Uppsala - 1975 Austrian International Championships - 1974 German International Covered Court Championships - 1974 International Championships of Egypt - Cairo - 1974 Conde de Godo - 1974 Madrid Open - 1974 Oslo International - 1974 Bastad - 1974 Polish National Championships - 1974 Aryamehr Cup - 1974 Vienna International Indoor - 1974 Augsburg WCT Qualification Torunament - 1974 Stockholm Open - 1974 Dübendorf International - 1974 Beaulieu - 1973 German International Covered Court Championships - 1973 International Championships of Egypt - Cairo - 1973 International Championships of Egypt-Alexandria - 1973 Trofeo Bonfiglio - 1973 Moskwa International - 1973 Polish National Championships - 1973 Nice - Qualifying - 1973 European Amateur Championship - 1973 Prague Open - Qualifying - 1973 Dübendorf International - 1973 International Championships of Egypt-Alexandria - 1972 Scandinavian Championships - 1972 Wimbledon Qualifying - 1972 King's Cup - First Round a - 1972 European Amateur Championship - 1972 USSR International Championships - 1971 King's Cup - First Round a - 1971 Polish Indoor - 1971 Catania - 1970

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