Bobby Kokavec is likely the greatest tennis player the Windsor-Essex County sports community has ever produced. An Olympian, Kokavec is the only local athlete to have played at Wimbledon, the French Open, and the US Open. He holds over 50 provincial, national, and international titles.
Born and raised in Tecumseh, Kokavec graduated from St. Anne’s Catholic High School. By that time, he was already a seasoned competitor on the tennis courts. Introduced to the game at a young age, Kokavec’s ever-growing talents quickly transcended local courts. By the age of nine, he was already competing at a high level. He won his first Canadian National Junior titles in both singles and doubles as a 15-year-old, and those victories earned him a spot on the 1992 U16 Canadian National World Cup Youth Team.
Kokavec continued to compete in world-class tournaments as a teenager and, in 1994, won the doubles competition at the World Junior Championships and Junior Orange Bowl tournament. The latter was the largest junior tournament in the world. That same year, he made his first Davis Cup appearance for Canada and was a finalist at the US Junior Open.
As he graduated to the professional ranks, Kokavec continued to be a stalwart for Canada’s national men’s team, competing in ten straight Davis Cups. He received the Canadian Excellence Award in 1997 and was Runner-Up as Canadian Athlete of the Year in ’98.
Kokavec was a member of the Canadian team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, during which his compatriots Daniel Nestor and Sebastian Lareau won a gold medal in men’s doubles.
Unfortunately, injuries limited Kokavec throughout his career. He was forced to retire from the sport at age 24.
At the time of his induction into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, Kokavec was working as a tennis coach in Florida.