1975 Local competition

Men's Singles won by Khodr Issa over Zaki Hassanat (1/4 f), Alan Wilkinson (1/2 f) and Najdo Abouhassoun in the final. Ladies event : won by Mrs Lita Yaverian-Akrawi over Mary Ann Wilkinson. Men's doubles won by Issa Nassar and Rabih Baz over K Issa and N Abouhassoun.

1975 International 4 to 12th August

Early rounds: S Mouraccadé d JF Houette 63 61; Nikki Kelaidis (Greece) d Najdo Abouhassoun (Leb) 61 62; Milan Holecek (Czech) d Guy Fouchet (Fr) 63 60; E Ewert d Sabah Baz (Leb) 62 79 119; Khodr Issa d Jimmy Moore 75 63; Ismail El Shafei (Eg) d Aref Kouayess (Leb) 60 61; : Holecek d K Issa 62 61; David Lloyd (GB) d Issa Nassar (Leb) 60 62; Nikki Pilic (Yug) sd S Mouraccadé w-o; R Taylor (GB) d Aziz Chammas (Leb) 60 60; Ewert d Kelaidis 62 86; D Lloyd d E Wilkinson 62 62; N Pilic d G Chammas 60 61; Jan Kodes d Alexane 60 62; Kukal d Wassim Halaby (Leb); Kukal d Tony Harb (Leb) 62 60;

¼ f : I el Shafei d Ewert 62 64; Holecek d R Taylor 97 61; Pilic d Kukal 86 61; D Lloyd d J Kodes 75 75;

½ f : Pilic d D Lloyd 62 86 36 75; Shafei d Holecek 98 63 26 46 97

Final : Nicolas Pilic d Ismaïl el Shafei 76 36 76 67 64;             3d place : D Lloyd d Holecek 36 64, tb;

Ladies singles: Chris Mattison (GB) d Lita Akrawi 62 62; Bianchi (Arg) d Faye Moore 16 61 63; Heidi Eisterlehner (Germany) d Susanna Villaverde (Arg) 64 63; ½ f : Eisterlehner d Sonja Pachta 64 64; Mattison (GB) d Bianchi 79 63 63;

Final : H Eisterlehner d C Mattison 63 62;

Men's doubles : Pilic-El Shafei d Taylor-Holecek 63 64; Kodes-Kukal d Lloyd-Ewert 64 36 61

Final : Pilic-El Shafei d Kodes-Kukal 36 63 64;

Mixed doubles : Moore-Moore d Mattison-Ewert 36 63 86

  • The international tournament was held AFTER the civil strife had started in the spring of 1975, mainly in and close around Beirut. Three "rounds"of fierce battles had already opposed the Palestinian PLO forces and their extreme leftist allies to the Christian militias. It was a pure miracle that such an event could take place at all, and in fact, the clashes resumed mid September, extending to the Bekaa valley and North Lebanon.
  • A reflection of the deep rift between the Lebanese population was the audience loud split in its support to the two talented finalists, Pilic and El Shafei, both left handers, both close to First Ten world rankings. The rightists and Christian spectators took sides with the Yugoslav Pilic, whilst the leftists and Moslems in the audience hooted for the Egyptian El Shafei; this despite the fact that Egyptians retained their immense popularity in Lebanon in general.
  • In 1974, Ismail El Shafei became an Egyptian, and indeed an Arab Sports hero when he beat the young Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon by 62 63 61, then after beating also Manuel Orantes of Spain 64 36 63 75, reached the ¼ final, where he put a great fight against the 1972 titleholder and world no1, Stan Smith, only losing 98 75 68 75.

The Tournament was discontinued after that, from 1976 till the end of the Lebanon wars in 1990, and would never regain its glamour and tennis stars attraction. The Lebanese pound had depreciated enormously, making it impossible for Lebanon to host a major Open event with serious Prize money.

In 1993, the Sports Club of Brummana tried a revival of the tradition, extending mainly invitations to a very short list of good players, but nothing to compare with the 1955-1975 golden era !

Roger Taylor
Esmail El Shafei