THERE WERE mixed fortunes for two Jewish sportsmen competing at iconic British sporting events. Unseeded American tennis player Noah Rubin beat his compatriot Stefan Kozlov to win the junior championship at Wimbledon, but Israeli rower Dani Fridman sunk without trace at Henley Royal Regatta.
Eighteen-year-old Rubin came come through the qualifiers to claim a famous victory in front of a big no. 1 Court crowd.
“I didn’t expect the court to be that packed,” Rubin said. “I actually thought nobody was going to watch the match, but that was not the case. They were very enthusiastic to be out there. The atmosphere was unbelievable.”
He added that the victory had come as a surprise even to him. “I didn’t expect much coming into these tournaments. I just wanted to get out there and enjoy myself. It’s one of my final junior tournaments, so it’s nice to have this under my belt. I’ll always remember this time.”
However, Israel champion rower Fridman said nerves were to blame for him losing the Henley Royal Regatta last week. Fridman, 26, was the first Israeli to compete in the Diamond Sculls competition but lost in the f i rst round to Australian rower Nick Purnell.
He said: “It was not a good competition for me. I’ve beaten Nick before in the European Championships but I think on the day he was better.
“You have so many people watching you the nerves and excitement just took over. It is the first time I’ve done the Regatta, it is a hard race and I did not have enough time to train.”
But he added that just to participate in the event had been special. “To take part even though I didn’t win was just amazing. I saw thousands and thousands of people cheering me on. The atmosphere is amazing and you don’t see that anywhere else in any other competition. I loved every second of it I was just looking around.”
He promised to return next year: “I will be sure to come back and do better maybe even try some of the strawberries and cream people keep telling me about too.”
Rubin may not have tried the culinary delights at Wimbledon, but he did receive a congratulatory message from John McEnroe after his sensational run. “It was almost surreal, but hopefully it will kick in over the next couple of days,” he said.
Asked whether his victory would change his stance on going to college, he said: “It is a great feeling to be out here winning the tournament, but this doesn’t change anything. That said, I learnt a lot of things this week — just believe in yourself and never give up.”
As for his new trophy, he said: “I think I’m going to leave it at home. I don’t trust those college kids up there.”
Noah Rubin knocked out three seeded players on his way to the junior prize at Wimbledon
Dani Fridman failed to impress