LONDON -- Three years since setting out
as a professional tennis player, Robert Dee of Great Britain has finally
recorded a victory after 54 consecutive defeats.
His trail of sorrow gave him the dubious honor of holding
the worst record in professional tennis, losing each of the 108
sets he had contested since his first tournament in Mexico.
The 21-year-old's patience was rewarded on Saturday,
however, when he defeated Arzhang Derakhshani of the United
States 6-4, 6-3, in qualifying for a Futures tournament in Reus, Spain.
"I phoned my parents straight away. I told my mum I had lost
again," Dee was quoted as saying in the London Evening Standard
"Then I said 'put dad on' and I told him I had won. For me
it was a little bit of a relief. I knew I could do it but there
were times when I wondered."
His tennis odyssey has taken Dee around the globe to
outposts in Colombia, Sudan, Senegal and Norway, always with the
same outcome until this week.
His win streak was stopped at one as he was
beaten 6-3, 6-1, by Artur Romanowski of Poland in the following
round. Now, with a win under his belt, he's looking for another.
"Now I have my first win I just need to push on and get a
second one," he said.
"This is only a small step on a very long journey. I am very
determined. I never thought about giving up. I always knew I had
more in me and I would always improve."
Dee's 54-match losing streak was the worst since Guatemalan
player Diego Beltranena also lost that number between 1997 and
2005, although Beltranena at least managed to win a set.