bagels

Tennis History Tuesday: Bagels at Wimbledon

Bagels – in addition to strawberries and cream – were served on the opening day of Wimbledon Monday as Marion Bartoli registered a “double bagel” – a 6-0, 6-0 win over Yung-Jan Chan in the first round of women’s singles.  On Tuesday, June 23, marks the 22nd anniversary of the last TRIPLE bagel at Wimbledon when Stefan Edberg hammered his fellow Swede Stefan Eriksson. That match – and others – are documented in the June 23 chapter of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennishistorybook.com). The full excerpt is detailed below.

June 23

1987 – Stefan Edberg defeats fellow Swede Stefan Eriksson 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 in the first “triple bagel” at Wimbledon since 1947. ”It’s nice to be able to do whatever you want to do out there,” Edberg says, ”but I felt sorry for Stefan, too. It was his first match on grass. I thought about giving him a game but you never know when you are going to have another chance to win three love sets again.”

2003 – Robby Ginepri of the United States becomes the first player in Wimbledon history to wear a sleeveless shirt in competition in his 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (3), 10-8 first-round loss to Arnaud Clement of France.

1981 – Fourteen-year-old American Kathy Rinaldi becomes the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon at the at the time, saving a match point in defeating Sue Rollinson of South Africa 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 in 2 hours, 36 minutes on Court No. 2 at the All England Club. Rinaldi, a ninth-grader at Martin County High School in Stuart, Fla., enters Wimbledon fresh off reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open. Rollinson serves for the match twice – at 5-4 and 6-5 in the final set and holds at match point in the 12th game of the third set. Rinaldi loses her distinction nine years later when Jennifer Capriati, at the age of 14 years, 90 days – one day younger than Rinaldi – defeats Helen Kelesi 6-3, 6-1 in her first-round match on June 26, 1990.

1976 – John Feaver of Britain fires 42 aces, a Wimbledon record at the time, but is not able to put away three-time champion John Newcombe, losing to the Australian legend 6-3, 3-6, 8-9, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round on Court No. 2. Feaver’s 42 aces stands as the Wimbledon ace record for a match until 1997, when Goran Ivanisevic fires 46 aces in a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 4-16, 14-12 loss to Magnus Norman in the third round. Ivo Karlovic of Croatia breaks Ivanisevic’s record in a first round match in 2005, a 6-7(4), 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 12-10 loss to Daniele Bracciali of Italy.

1992 – Jeremy Bates of Britain, a man who Robin Finn of the New York Times describes as being “more prone to be written off locally than to pulling off major upsets on the home turf” defeats No. 7 seed Michael Chang 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round of Wimbledon. The win marks only the second match victory on the season for the 30-year-old Bates, ranked No. 113. John McEnroe, playing in what ultimately is his final singles sojurn at the All-England Club – and unseeded in the Championships for the first time since his 1977 debut – wins his opening round match with Luiz Mattar 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

1990 – Eighteen-year-old Californian Pete Sampras, the future seven-time Wimbledon champion, wins his first grass court tournament title of his career, defeating Gilad Bloom of Israel 7-6 (9), 7-6 (3) in the final of the Manchester Open in Manchester, England. Says Sampras following the victory, ”I was very composed, and he got a little tight on the crucial points.” Sampras, however, is not able to translate his grass-court success in Manchester onto the lawns of Wimbledon the following week as he loses in the first round of The Championships to Christo van Rensburg of South Africa 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (3).

1982 – Prior to teeing off for a round of pro-am golf at the Westchester Country Club in support of the PGA Tour’s Westchester Golf Classic, Ivan Lendl explains that his decision to skip Wimbledon is based on an allergy to grass. ”I sneeze a lot,” he says. ”I take shots every second day.” When pressed about his Wimbledon absence, Lendl says. ”I am on a vacation because I need the rest. When you are on vacation you don’t write stories. I am not at Wimbledon because I needed the rest. This is when I scheduled my holiday and I didn’t want to change it. The grass courts at Wimbledon are also a factor because of my allergy. I’ll probably play at Wimbledon next year. ”

1988 – John McEnroe suffers a second-round straight-set loss to Wally Masur, losing 7-5, 7-6, 6-3, marking the three-time Wimbledon champion’s earliest loss at the All England Club since a first-round loss in 1978. Says McEnroe after the match, “If that’s the best I’ve got to give, I’d quit tomorrow. It’s like my body went into some sort of letdown. I wasn’t even pushing myself to be my best. It’s almost enough to make me sick.”

Roger Federer is going for his fifth-straight US Open

Roger Federer is going for his fifth-straight US Open title in Flushing Meadows when the 2008 U.S. Championships kick off Monday in New York at the USTA/Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. His first title run was in 2004, when he beat Lleyton Hewitt 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 in the final. Rene Stauffer, the author of the book “The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection,” reflects on Federer’s first win in Flushing in this exclusive book excerpt.  For more information on the book, go to www.rogerfedererbook.com.

Roger Federer’s victory at the 2004 US Open provided new content for the record books of tennis. Statisticians and historians of the game quickly discovered that he was only the second man in the “Open Era” of profes­sional tennis (since 1968) to win a Grand Slam final with two 6-0 sets. The other was the Argentinean Guillermo Vilas, who dominated American Brian Gottfried 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 at Roland Garros in 1977. The last time a player won a final at the U.S. Championships with two 6-0 sets came back in 1884 in only the fourth edition of the U.S. national championship and in the days of tennis infancy.

In the United States, 6-0 sets are referred to as “bagels” with a “double bagel” being considered the bitterest variety when a match is lost 6-0, 6-0. In German-speaking countries, these whitewashes are called a “bicycle.” Although, Lleyton Hewitt was able to force a second-set tie-break against Federer in the US Open final, he was not spared the shame of the “double bagel” or “the bicycle.” The Australian Associated Press (AAP) exaggerated that Hewitt’s loss was “the greatest humiliation in the history of Grand Slam finals.” One reporter in the post-match press conference even had the audac­ity to ask Hewitt if it was difficult to swallow a “double bagel.”

More importantly in historical significance was that Federer, with his vic­tories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, became only the fourth man in the Open Era of tennis to win at least three of the four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year. Mats Wilander from Sweden was the last man to manage such a feat in 1988, as did Rod Laver, who won all four Grand Slams in 1969, and Jimmy Connors, who won the Australian, Wimbledon and the US Open in 1974. Don Budge was the first player to win all four major titles in the same year-the Grand Slam-in 1938. The term “Grand Slam” was first coined when American tennis writer Allison Danzig suggested in 1938 that Budge scored a Grand Slam of victories-like a winning bridge player-at the four most prestigious championships of the year.

Laver, a left-hander given the nickname the “Rockhampton Rocket,” even managed to win the Grand Slam twice-once in 1962 as an amateur and again in 1969 as a professional. In Laver’s time, however, this accomplish­ment had a different value and was less significant than today as three of the four Grand Slam events were played on grass courts, unlike the four different surfaces of today’s game.

In women’s tennis, three players have won the Grand Slam-the American Maureen Connolly (1953), the Australian Margaret Smith Court (1970), as well as Steffi Graf (1988). The German, who married Andre Agassi after her tennis career, also won at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988 giving her the distinction of winning what is called the “Golden Slam.” Martina Hingis, like Federer, won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 1997, narrowly missing the Grand Slam, with her surprising loss to Iva Majoli in the French final preventing her from joining this elite club.

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In New York, Federer once again proved his ability to amplify his perfor­mance in the final stages of the tournament. He became the first professional player to win all of his first four Grand Slam tournament finals. It was almost equally amazing that in this feat, he lost only one set in his eight matches in the semifinals and finals. In the meantime, Federer’s US Open final marked the 11th straight victory in a tournament final. For Federer, a tournament final proved to be his greatest motivation. His attitude was simple-what’s the use of all the effort and match victories if you ultimately lose in the final? Winners stay, losers go.

The coup at Flushing Meadows transformed him into a sports star on Broadway. The American media celebrated him lavishly and some journalists even asked the question at such a pre-mature stage if he would be the man who would break Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles.

Federer remained grounded and modest in the hour of his greatest achievement in the United States. “I honestly never expected to win the US Open,” he said. “Until a year ago, I always had problems in the United States. The Americans always play with more confidence in their home tour­naments than anywhere else. Conditions are difficult with the high heat and humidity.”

But he admitted something else; “I had a strange feeling before the final because everybody was talking about how long it had been since anybody had won his first four Grand Slam finals. I knew that I only had this one chance to do this.” Some were already talking that Federer was in a position to achieve the Grand Slam, but he didn’t allow these musings of grandeur to mislead him. “I would be really happy if I were to win one of the four Grand Slams next year,” he said the day after his US Open triumph during an extended interview session with a select group of journalists. “I know that I have to work hard for each match and for each title. It’s crazy what’s happening to me now. It’s out of this world.”

Federer’s US Open title generously extended his points lead on the No. 1 ranking. His margin between him at No. 1 and Roddick, his next challenger at No. 2, was extended from 1390 points to 2990 points-the equivalent of three Grand Slam titles. It would be impossible for any player to overtake him before the end of the year, even if Federer lost every match for the rest of the year. In the last four years, the year-end Tennis Masters Cup was the final determining tournament to decide the year-end No. 1 player. However, 2004 was not a normal year and thanks to the US Open, the year-end No. 1 was already in the books.

The Monday after the US Open brought Federer to the realization that the clocks tick differently in the American media world. He was chauffeured in a stretch limousine from one television station to another-7:45 am at ESPN’s show “Cold Pizza,” then at 8:30 am to the “CBS Early Show” and then at 9:30 am at “Live with Regis and Kelly,” followed by a photo shoot in Times Square, and a meeting with a select group of print journalists at the Hard Rock Café. At 2:30 pm, he was a guest on John McEnroe’s television talk show, and finally he appeared on the “Charlie Rose Show.” He had to prove his dexterity at ping-pong at two of his television appearances. Many things are possible in the United States, but setting up a tennis court in a television studio is not one of them.