Ram and Erlich's stature in the doubles world was reflected by their 8th place ranking in the 2004 Games. The duo represented Israel in the first round against Thomas Enqvist and Robin Soderling of Sweden, as they won 7-5, 6-3 on August 16. They faced underdogs Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, in the second round. Though the Russians broke serve first, Ram and Erlich bounced back to victory 6-4, 6-1. The Israeli team met Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler of Germany in the quarterfinals of the competition. They sailed to a first set victory, but never regained their confidence after a shaky start in the second set. Ram and Erlich were eliminated from the running 6-2, 2-6, 2-6.
Jonathen Erlich represented Israel in the tennis doubles event along with partner Andy Ram in the 2004 Olympics. The team was recognized as one of the world's best after winning five circuit tournaments and reaching the 2003 Wimbledon semi-finals. Erlich was excited about competing in the Athenian tennis courts: "Athens has the hard courts like the U.S Open. We grew up on those and have had some great results on them. I can't see any reason why we will not succeed."
Erlich, who was born in Argentina and now resides in Haifa, is one of Israel's brightest up-and-coming tennis players. In 2003, in the first round of the men's doubles at Wimbledon, Erlich and Ram defeated Nathan Healey and David Skoch in five sets (4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, and 6-4). In the second round, the Israeli duo upset No. 12 seed Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, and 6-3. They then defeated No.6 seeded Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro in the third round; and in the quarterfinals, in a match that saw no service break from either side, Erlich and Ram defeated No. 2 seeded Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in straight sets, 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (9-7). In the semi's, Ram and Erlich -- the first Israelis to ever advance to the semifinals in any Grand Slam event --lost to the defending Wimbledon champions, Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge. The Ram-Erlich duo solidified their status among the top doubles teams on the circuit, winning the Lyon, Indianapolis, Bangkok and Istanbul tournaments on the ATP circuit in late 2003. Erlich's highest world ranking was 20 (April, 2004) and he is ranked 25th in the world (as of August 8, 2004).
Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 5, 1977
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Review, September/October 2000 issue (Volume 2, No. 8, Issue 21)