Karim 'the dream' Alami was regarded as something of a gem and unique player on the tour. He was breathtaking to watch when he was on song. Even though clay was his favourite surface, he primarily liked to serve-volley and play agressively. He admitted that he became bored staying at the baseline for too long. He was reliant on his serve and would struggle when it wasn't firing on all cyclinders. Like his notable compatriots Arazi and El Ayanoui, he was regarded as a clever, wily player, and a showman who could frequently mix things up and entertain. His forehand was a pretty good shot. His chop shot was something of a speciality. His weakness was his backhand which many of his opponents could expose, and it was a shot that he had trouble sustaining during longer rallies. He worked hard to try to improve it during the latter years of his career, becoming better at counterattacking and sending his BH back higher from the baseline. He enjoyed varying his style of play and attempting different shots. He didn't really a have a strict, rigid approach so to speak. Apparently in 1991 he was training on Florida and decided to working on switching to a one handed backhand.
He speaks 6 languages fluently, French, Arabic, Spanish, English, Italian and Portuguese. He was a very athletic player with good fitness levels. Many people compared him to Yannick Noah, who along with Lendl, was one of his favourite players to watch as a kid.
He won 2 ATP titles, both in 1996, at Atlanta on green clay and Palermo on red clay, and was a runner-up 4 times (all of those finals were also on clay).
Some of his notable results:
- Beating the the world no. 1 and peak Sampras at Doha in 1994, statistically the best year of Pete's career.
- Beating Bruguera at Rome in 1997, a few weeks before Sergi reached the RG final.
- Beating Corretja at Rome in 1998, who also went on to reach the RG final a few weeks later.
- Two of his wins over Al Costa, at Barcelona in 1999 en-route to the final where he lost to Mantilla, and at Monte-Carlo in 2000 en-route to the last 4 where was downed by Pioline. He led his h2h against big Al 3-1.
His best ever grand slam results were reaching the 3rd of the Aussie Open in 1998 and 2000, and also R3 at RG in 2001. He only won a grand total of 4 matches combined at Wimbledon and the US Open. His career high ranking was world no. 25 which he reached in February 2000.
He said that he enjoyed the challenge of facing Spanish players on clay, many of who he could bamboozle with his variety and constant switching of tactics.
He retired in 2003 after losing in the Dubai qualies. Since then he has done some commentary work for Al-Jazeera sports, coached some kids, and become the tournament director at Doha.
I would rank him as one of my 5 favourite players of all-time. I had the pleasure of watching him live against Sampras at Toronto in 2000, and speaking to him afterwards. He is a very nice guy.