Israeli 12-year-old Yshai Oliel won an international tennis tournament that has launched the careers of some of the world's tennis stars. Yshai Oliel won the boys under-12 Orange Bowl international tennis tournament on Dec. 22 in Coral Gables, Fla.
More out of ethnic loyalty than any expectation of a great match, The Journal stayed late at the 78th annual Mercedes Benz Cup men's tennis tournament on July 17 at UCLA to watch a doubles semifinal between two Israelis and two Americans. The Americans, Bob and Mike Bryan, were the tournament's top-seeded doubles team, handsome identical twins from Camarillo who have been unstoppable lately. The Israelis' record was spottier. Yonatan Ehrlich, 28, is a native of Buenos Aries, Argentina, and a resident of Haifa. His partner, Andy Ram, 24, is from Jerusalem by way of Montevideo, Uruguay. They also are strikingly handsome -- they prepped for the match by running shirtless around a practice court, kicking a tennis ball as if it were a soccer ball.
Both are sports heroes in Israel, according to Hagai Ben Zvi, who covers tennis for the Israeli press. Their international careers were set back by three years (each) of army service, but both made the semifinals at Wimbledon last year and both have been invited to the Olympics in Athens.
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