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Jon Levine forms a part of the story of tennis in Arizona

Matt Zemek

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Aaron Doster - USA TODAY Sports

If you were to ask about notable tennis players from the state of Arizona, Jon Levine wouldn’t be number one on the list, but he is one of hundreds of players who — over time — was good enough to create a moment of significance every now and then in professional competition.

Jon Levine, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is the tournament director of the brand-new Arizona Tennis Classic ATP Challenger Tour ($125K) event. It runs from March 11-17 at the Phoenix Country Club.

You can find out more about the event here.

If you want to find out more about Levine, start here: He reached the third round of the 1983 U.S. Open. He lost to Ivan Lendl — you might have heard that name before. Lendl was just beginning his run of eight straight appearances in the U.S. Open final from 1982 through 1989. Levine can say he was part of that piece of tennis history.

Levine enjoyed a superb 1988 doubles season with partner Eric Korita. The team reached the quarterfinals at two separate major tournaments, the French Open and the U.S. Open. At Roland Garros, Levine-Korita lost to future Roland Garros singles champion Andres Gomez and Emilio Sanchez. In New York later that year, Levine-Korita lost to Jorge Lozano and Todd Witsken.

Levine was part of a talented crop of players who grew up in the Southwestern United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Here he is in a photo with an Arizona-born player of greater prominence, Tucson-born Jim Grabb.

You might remember that Grabb won two major doubles championships in a highly productive career which included two singles titles and 20 total doubles titles.

The third member of this photo below, along with Levine and Grabb, is Phoenix native Gary Donnelly, who won eight singles titles, reached the fourth round of the 1986 U.S. Open, and also made the 1986 Wimbledon men’s doubles final with Peter Fleming.

Arizona tennis now arrives at a new story with the creation of the Arizona Tennis Classic in Phoenix. As the tournament director, you know that being able to bring tennis back to the Phoenix area is something which matters a great deal to Jon Levine.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

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