Jacky Brichant, a Belgian tennis icon and past President of the IC of Belgium, died on Wednesday 9 March 2011 at the age of 80.
He won the boys’ singles at the French Championships in 1947 and developed into a top class player with a powerful service, a fine single-handed backhand and an acute sense of match play. His excellent physique made him a formidable opponent, particularly in five set matches on clay courts. He reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 1958, where he lost to the eventual winner Mervyn Rose, and was twice a quarter-finalist in Paris. He was ten times a Belgian champion.
His name in indelibly linked to that of Philippe Washer during a decade of Davis Cup service for Belgium. In 1953 and 1957 they won the European zone for their country and faced the USA for a place in the Challenge Round against Australia. While losing both times Jacky's win over Vic Seixas on grass in 1953, the year the latter won Wimbledon, and his commanding lead against Herbie Flam in the deciding match 4 years later (two sets to one and 4-1 up in the fourth) are both memorable events in the career of this much appreciated sportsman. In 1953 they also reached the semi-finals of the doubles at Wimbledon losing in 5 sets to Hoad and Rosewall.
He is remembered as a great sports personality (having also been five times Belgian champion in basket ball) who maintained a keen interest in tennis and in particular in the IC family. He will be sorely missed by his many friends around the world.
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