Friday, September 30, 2011

Adam Malik - Muar-born to ATP

It feels so good that everytime I browsed through the ATP website, the name Adam Malik still rings a bell. So, before the name Adam Malik and the Malaysian flag get wiped out of the ATP system, I would quickly reccomend every Malaysian to have a look at it NOW. I dont want to be the over-patriotic guy here! But hey, seriously I doubt it that there will ever be another tennis player from Malaysia in the eyes of the ATP, in, say at least, another 50 years! So, get to your computers now...just check and search the name Adam Malik so that we will not feel too bad everytime the ATP tour stops in Kuala Lumpur.
This year's ATP-Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil again brought up the question on the level of tennis among the current national players. No Malaysian player are ranked even in the 1,000 bracket of the ATP rankings. Wild-card appearances in the singles qualifying, or the main draw in doubles, ended without any kind of challenge by Malaysian players. I say this without trying to discredit the efforts of our current players such as Si Yew Meng, Deen Hisham, Ahmad Deedat or others. So in terms of ATP history, which means the real thing in men's professional tennis, no Malaysian player comes close to the achievements of Adam Malik. Muar-born Adam who now resides in the United States, is indeed the forgotten hero of Malaysian sports, tennis in particular. And who would forget that Adam is Malaysia's youngest ever player when he played in the Davis Cup at the tender age of 14!.
I feel we are lucky that the ATP player search still holds the data of Adam Malik despite being categorised as an "inactive player". Thanks to the immaculate data gathering of the ATP, we are still able to remember Adam's professional career, though not as illustrious as we would have liked. The ATP web-site data still kept Adam's ranking during the eight year period after he turned pro in 1988. Adam, now 44 years old, has a career high ranking of 436 in April 1995. I remember those days some fans used to complain that his ranking is "nothing" but looking back now, at least Adam was genuinely ranked by the ATP based on his touring points, including his "lone ranger" exploits carrying the Malaysian flag in the Satellite and Challenger Series. He was the real thing representing Malaysia among thousands of tennis professionals in a sport dominated by Europe and the Americas. At least, Adam was a truly feared player in Asian tennis during that period. I remember he played some superb tennis to beat his rivals from Korea, Thailand and Indonesia at the National Tennis Center in Jalan Duta in the late 80's and early 90's.
But my biggest memory of Adam's playing career was when he beat two higher ranked players to reach the Kuala Lumpur ATP tournament in 1994 at KL Badminton Stadium in Cheras. He beat up and coming American, Robbie Weiss in two tie-break sets in the first round. In the round of last 16, Adam overcame experienced Swedish player, Thomas Nydahl, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP event. And that is history in Malaysian tennis and sports in general! There are lot more stories of Adam who also had the talented but locally groomed V Selvam and another pal, R Ramachandran as his rival and team-mate in the national tennis team during that exciting period. How can I forget them, especially Adam whom I regard as the best tennis player Malaysia has ever produced. Thank you for the memories Adam Malik!

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