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
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