Eliot Teltscher was eliminated by Ilie Nastase at the $100,000 Baltimore International tennis tournament in January, but after it was over “Nasty” proclaimed: “Forget about Jimmy Connors. Teltscher is the best player I’ve played in the United States in years. Put him in the Davis Cup, put him in the World Cup, put him in everything.” The 19-year-old from Torrance, Calif. is in fact put away for now as a freshman at UCLA. On a full athletic scholarship, Teltscher must play for the college team as well as squeeze in a course load of sorts. He works out on the court at least four hours a day, which leaves almost no time for movies or dating. Eliot took up the game at 9, when he and his older sister, Judy, would accompany their parents to the nearby Jack Kramer Tennis Club. “We got kind of good,” he recalls. “Judy stopped, but I kept on.” He played in his first tournament at 10 and lost. “I was very humble after that.” But he got to the finals in his second. On the pro circuit, he’s won some $10,000 to $15,000, which he hasn’t been able to collect to protect his amateur status. Says his UCLA coach Glenn Bassett: “Eliot believes in himself. He’s very tough out there on the court. I look for very big things from him.” So does Nastase.
Lenka Janiurek zips around London on a moped, subsists on unemployment checks of $26 a week and sees her shrink every other day. She is also Britain’s most promising 19-year-old playwright. Her first work, Walking, an hour-long sketch about a 17-year-old girl whose problems with her feet reflect psychological difficulties, was one of four chosen last year to be staged at London’s Royal Court. That’s the prestigious theater that nurtured Beckett and Osborne and commissioned her second effort, In the Blood—an examination of a private mental home, much like the one Lenka spent a month in last summer after breaking up with her boyfriend. Born in York, the fifth of six children, Lenka began trying to read on the potty at 2 and was scribbling stories at 4. But, though both parents were Oxford graduates, she was expelled from school at 17 for absenteeism and low grades. Lenka isn’t sorry. “The reason most students go to college is to put off doing things,” she maintains, “and I wanted to do things.” Her next project is to dramatize the plight of battered wives, with whom she does volunteer work. “It will be about people’s need to destroy each other.” But Lenka herself believes in marriage, wants children (“maybe four—I wouldn’t want to miss that”) and has found a new boyfriend.