Bud Collins

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Roundtables at the Sony Ericsson Open

Sony Ericsson Open

By Thomas Swick
swickt@bellsouth.net

My last day at the Sony Ericsson I walked onto the grounds with a feeling of familiarity, not just because I’d been there the previous three days but because for years as a spectator I always came on the first Saturday. All the courts are busy, with matches and practices, the up-and-coming are hitting it out with the quickly fading, and the hard core fans and the fresh air fiends are joined by people who still have 9-5 jobs.

Wandering the outside courts I passed two young women in red-white-and-blue caps with the words “Dominican Republic” written on the front and small feathers and ribbons in orange and red attached to the side. “For Nadal,” Carlota said when I asked about the attachments. Evening things up a bit on Court 9, Zvonareva’s hitting partner wore a T-shirt with a big RF on the front.

“Good morning,” a large man pushing a garbage container greeted the contingent watching the practice. “Gonna be pretty hot. Make sure you have something to drink.”

I went for something to eat – a beef burrito – and sat at a round table in the food court with a lanky man in T-shirt and shorts. Looking closer, I saw that his shirt read: “Land of the Free: AMERICA,” and that he wore a lanyard and that his name was Pavel.

“I am in charge of all the tents,” he said. They had started putting them up on Feb. 2, he told me; it would take them three weeks to get them all down. He worked golf tournaments as well as tennis, but didn’t like the former, as the tents were too spread out. He told me he got to the center at 8 every morning and stayed till the last match was over. “One tent we had to change the carpet,” he said. “We were here all night. We didn’t sleep.”

I wished him the best, and told him I was off to see Federer.

“He’s playing one of my countrymen,” Pavel said. “Radek Stepanek.”

Sitting in the press area I was joined by Harvey Fialkov, a former colleague from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. I told him that the most noteworthy aspect of the match so far was the fact that Federer’s shirt – an almost military green – had no collar.

Soon, Bud Collins and his wife Anita sat down next to us.

“I don’t like Federer’s shirt,” Anita said. “It’s not elegant. It’s a really drab outfit.”

Her husband was dressed in a peach shirt and checkerboard pants, some of the squares in solid colors and some patterned with dots.

Federer’s game borrowed nothing from his clothing.

“He’s so beautiful to watch,” said Anita.

“You don’t hear him running,” said Harvey. “He’s like a stealth tennis player.”

I wanted him to lose a set, so I could watch him longer. But he finished with Stepanek in an hour and fifteen minutes.

At what I figured would be my last press conference, I asked my first question.

“Your outfit today was a bit different,” I said, watching with a feeling of unreality those famous eyes suddenly focus on me. “Your shirt didn’t have a collar. Is that a new look?”

Federer said he liked to mix things up, and hoped that the fans would like it. I didn’t tell him the consensus in the press box.

To another question, he expressed a little frustration with the system of press conferences, saying that a different format might be more satisfying for both players and journalists. One reporter asked him for an example, and he suggested “roundtables perhaps.”

It was one of the more intriguing ideas I heard at the tournament. Federer was different in the press conferences than in his on-court, post-match interviews. In those he has an endearing, boyish quality – smiling easily, making jokes, enjoying the attention. Even his voice takes on a softer, more playful tone. In press conferences he appears older, guarded, a bit weary of it all. But then most of the players do. Celebrities show their good sides to fans more readily than to critics.

After Andy Roddick’s loss to Pablo Cuevas – a small pocket of Uruguayans erupting in the upper deck – I headed over to Court 2 wondering why Roddick doesn’t wear a wrist band. Since all the men ask for the towel now after nearly every point, wearing a wrist band seems the least they can do.

On the Two Court Andrea Petkovic won in straight sets, did her little dance, and then charmed everyone by cheerfully signing and posing, posing and signing, until finally saying, with amused insistence: “Now I HAVE to go!” You got the feeling she’d be superb at roundtables.

The first evening match – Nadal vs. Nishikori – was played to a packed house. Tennis must be the only sport in which the stadium goes from a boisterous roar to a reverent hush in a matter of seconds. And, when someone like Nadal is playing, it does this every few minutes. It is like a Russian folk song, rising and falling between elation and melancholy. Perhaps this is why so many of the people who play it have names ending in “ova.”

I left the Wozniacki-Hantuchova match early, but before departing the grounds I took a sentimental stroll around the outside courts. The lanes that, a few hours earlier, had been bright and crowded were now dark and empty. All the sneaker-scuffed surfaces were silent. The day’s vast number of smacked balls had dwindled down to a few, inside the stadium, where a handful of stalwarts waited till the last of them rolled unnoticed to a stop.

It’s getting hot at the Sony Ericsson Open

Sony Ericsson Open

By Thomas Swick
swickt@bellsouth.net

For my first match of the day Friday – Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Barbara Zahlavova Strycova – I found a shady spot in the top row of Court 1. Two young women in hats, Louise and Helen, told me that they’d come from Salisbury, England. Soon a middle-aged woman in a pink hat jointed us; Gillian was also English, from Milton Keynes. What were the odds? Then Gillian helped explain it: “It’s a lovely time of year to leave England.” O, to not be in England now that March is there.

I asked them what they thought of Andy Murray.

“I’m very disappointed in him,” said Gillian.

“He moans too much,” said Louise. “He’s a sulker.”

I told her of the British woman I’d seen the day before who had asked to see the trainer.

“Moaner,” said Louise.

“What is it with you Brits?” I asked.

Soon I said goodbye to the ladies (hope they didn’t sulk) and went over to the other side to see who had unfurled the Polish flag. It was a couple from Vancouver, formerly of Wroclaw.

On my way out – Radwanska looked to be in control – one of the volunteers asked me how I was handling the heat. He was from Colorado, and told of using a snow blower to clear the court so he could play tennis.

“Your club has a snow blower?” I asked.

“One of the guys does. They play when it’s 35 degrees out. I don’t. I wait till it gets up to 40, 45.”

I wandered over to the stadium and watched the Soderling-Dodig match from the press area. After losing the third game of the third set, Soderling slammed his racket to the ground, eliciting a roar from the crowd that carried a mix of censure and approval, outrage and delight. Finally the cool retriever of balls hit at stupendous velocity did something that everyone in the audience could relate to.

Bud Collins came out and sat two seats away from me. He was dressed in a purple shirt and pants with stripes in red, yellow, orange and purple. “Two holds from glory,” he said as Dodig readied to serve. At break point in his next service game, after he had lost the previous one, Collins said: “This is the point of his life.” It was like watching a baseball game next to Vin Scully.

“The male players have discovered towels,” Collins commented rather critically.

He asked me if I knew if they used different balls for the women than for the men. The man who wrote the book on tennis, literally, was asking me a tennis question. “Somebody asked me that yesterday and I said I’d find out for him.” I told him I didn’t have a clue.

Then he said that he had been talking to Billie Jean King not too long ago and she had told him that there are too many players, that the tournaments should be just the top 16, because they’re the only ones people want to see.

“I don’t necessarily agree with that,” I said.

“Well,” he said, “you’ve been out in the boonies. That’s good.”

For lunch I went out to the main food court and ate a pulled pork sandwich with a family from Chicago. The older son was an early teen and a big Nadal fan. I said I was going to a press conference with Nadal at 4:30 and asked the boy if he had a question for him.

“Yea. Ask him what shampoo he uses. His hair is always very silky.”

His little brother said: “Ask him if he prefers a hat or a bandana.”

Their mother said: “I’d ask him if he has trouble buying suits because of his asymmetrical arms.”

The father noted that Rod Laver’s left arm was always noticeably bigger than his right, but it had been the forearm that bulged; today with players it’s the biceps. “It shows how the game has changed,” he said.

I didn’t ask Nadal anything, but the reporter who’d asked Federer what he loved about tennis was back with the same question. (Perhaps he’s working on a book. Or a tweet.)

“I love the competition,” Nadal answered almost immediately. He later said that he’s happy with Facebook and doesn’t have any plans to join Twitter.

Outside again and seeking shade, I chatted to a tour supervisor who had started as a chair umpire. After about five minutes I realized that I had found the right man.

“Do the women play with different balls than the men?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he said. “The men use extra duty, the women regular duty.”

At Court 10 a small group stood watching Nadia Petrova and her doubles partner Liezel Huber hit with their coaches. A man leaning against the fence wore a T-shirt with a hand-written message on the back: “HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR ELIZABETH WARREN I LIKE AND RESPECT YOU SO MUCH. I HOPE 1 DAY YOU BECOME PRESIDENT. YOU’RE HONEST, PASSIONATE, COMPASSIONATE AND PRACTICAL.”

When the man turned around, I saw that the front of the shirt had writing as well: “MY 2011 WISH: ME AND ALISON RISKE PLAYING TENNIS. ALISON RISKE ♥.

It’s not often that you see the names Elizabeth Warren and Alison Riske together, let alone on a T-shirt.

A woman stood nearby with her young daughter, who held a midsize tennis ball.

“What autographs did you get?” I asked her.

“Old school today,” the mother said. “Jim Courier. Ivan Lendl.”

“Lendl’s here?”

“In the players’ lounge,” she said, then pointed to the red-headed man playing with Petrova. “He’s my nephew.”

Walking past the main stage I found a little carnival: a small band of Brazilian musicians and four samba dancers creating their own heat.

Before the evening match, about 40 players appeared on court, all dressed identically in red T-shirts emblazed with the Japanese flag. Then they spread out through the stands, collecting money for relief in sliced open melon-sized tennis balls. Unfortunately, because of Miamians disdain for punctuality, over half the seats were empty. The tournament organizers should have taken a cue from the Catholic Church, and had the offertory in the middle of the second set.

Have Rod Laver be Part of Your Holiday Season

rod-laver

As the holiday season fast approaches, New Chapter Press recommends the newly-updated memoir of Australian tennis legend Rod Laver — “The Education of a Tennis Player” – as an ideal gift for tennis fans around the world.

Written with Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” is Laver’s first-hand account of his famous 1969 Grand Slam season, capped off by his win over fellow Australian Tony Roche in the final of the U.S. Open. Laver also writes about his childhood and early days in tennis, his 1962 Grand Slam and offers tips on how players of all levels can improve their game. He also shares some of the strategies that helped him to unparalleled success on the tennis court.

Originally published in 1971, “The Education of a Tennis Player” ($19.95, www.NewChapterMedia.com) was updated by Laver and Collins with new content including his recovery from a near-fatal stroke in 1998 and helping Australia once again win the Davis Cup in 1973. The memoir features descriptions of Laver’s most suspenseful matches and memorable portraits of his biggest rivals Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Tony Roche and Pancho Gonzalez.

“I am delighted that “The Education of a Tennis Player” is back in circulation and available for a new generation of tennis fans,” said Laver of his newly updated memoir. “Winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 1969 seems just like yesterday and this book brings back a lot of memories of the great matches and exciting times. I hope people enjoy reading my story.”

Laver captured 11 major singles titles during his career, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969. After joining Don Budge as the only man to win a Grand Slam by sweeping all four majors in 1962, Laver turned professional where he, along with fellow pros Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzalez, were banned from playing the “amateur-only” major tournaments. When the “Open Era” of tennis began in 1968, Laver netted another five major singles titles, including his Grand Slam sweep of all four in 1969. Laver won nearly 200 singles titles during his career and was inducted into the International Tennis of Fame in 1981.

Collins, himself a 1994 inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, first met Laver in 1956 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston during the U.S. National Doubles Championships. Thirteen years later, the two collaborated on the book that was only to be published if Laver won the Grand Slam. Collins is best known for his colorful television commentary – and his colorful wardrobe – as well as his columns in the Boston Globe.

“Rod Laver is one of the greatest treasures we have in tennis and “The Education of a Tennis Player” is one of our sports most important literary works,” said Collins. “Rod was always so humble and gracious, but he could play tennis like a hurricane. He was as a great a champion as we have ever had in tennis and one of the all-time nicest guys.”

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of the newly updated second edition of “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Roger Federer Story: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, “Acing Depression” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda, “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook” by Eric Rabinowitz and “Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse” by Jack McDermott, among others. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

Wimbledon Survivors Recognized in New “Bud Collins History of Tennis” Book

NEW YORK – Bud Collins, the man who many call the walking encyclopedia of tennis, has released a second edition of his famous tennis encyclopedia and record book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS.

The 816-page second-edition volume – the most authoritative compilation of records, biographies and information on the sport of tennis – is dedicated to John Isner, Nicolas Mahut and chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani, the three “survivors” from the record-breaking longest match of all-time at 2010 Wimbledon, won by Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 in 11 hours, five minutes, featuring a record 113 aces from Isner.

“Has the Isner – Mahut match ended yet? You can find out in this book!” quipped Collins.

Collins, the Hall of Fame tennis journalist, broadcaster and personality, is the longtime columnist for the Boston Globe and a 1994 inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He is covering the U.S. Championships for a 56th time in 2010. He will be signing books at the US Open Bookstore during the duration of the 2010 US Open. Readers can also order the book HERE:

THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press) is the ultimate compilation of historical tennis information, including year-by-year recaps of every tennis season, biographical sketches of every major tennis personality, as well as stats, records, and championship rolls for all the major events. The author’s personal relationships with major tennis stars offer insights into the world of professional tennis found nowhere else.

Among those endorsing THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS include the two women who hold the Wimbledon record for most total titles – Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King – who both won 20 Wimbledon titles in their careers. Said Navratilova, “If you know nothing about tennis, this book is for you. And if you know everything about tennis—Hah!—Bud knows more, so this book is for you too!” Said King, “We can’t move forward if we don’t understand and appreciate our past. This book not only provides us with accurate reporting of the rich tennis history, it keeps us current on the progress of the sport today.” Also endorsing the book is author, commentator and Sports Illustrated contributor Frank Deford, who stated,“No tennis encyclopedia could be written by anyone but Bud Collins because Bud Collins is the walking tennis encyclopedia—the game’s barefoot professor. The only thing missing about the sport from his new edition is a section about Bud himself. But everything else is there—and it’s easy to open and use for the whole family.” Said Dick Enberg of CBS Sports and ESPN, “Did you ever see an encyclopedia walking? That’s Bud Collins (who sometimes runs, too). Plunge into his book and swim joyfully through the history of tennis. It’s all here.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is also the publisher of “The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection” (www.RogerFedererBook.com) by Rene Stauffer, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey with Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes and Petr Kolar, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda, “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook” by Eric Rabinowitz and “Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse” by Jack McDermott, among others. More information can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

Richard Bloomfield Is On The Verge Of Making Tennis History

Richard Bloomfield

Richard Bloomfield is on the verge of making tennis history.

Ranked No. 552 in the world, Bloomfield is two matches away from becoming the lowest ranked player to ever win an ATP World Tour event. The 27-year-old from Norwich is ranked two spots worse than Lleyton Hewitt, who was ranked No. 550 when he won the singles title in Adelaide, Australia in 1998 as a 16-year-old, as documented in the book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com)

Bloomfield reached his first career ATP World Tour semifinal with a 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 win Friday over heralded 18-year-old American Ryan Harrison. He will play Mardy Fish of the United States, ranked No. 76, in the semifinals. The other semifinal features Olivier Rochus of Belgium, ranked No. 65, against Brian Dabul of Argentina, ranked No. 105.

Entering this week, Bloomfield had won only one career ATP World Tour level match – a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 first-round win at Wimbledon in 2006 over Carlos Berlocq of Argentina – a victory that attracted world-wide attention due to the suspicious betting patterns during the match. Due to irregular betting patterns, suspicious amounts of money was bet on Bloomfield, alleging that perhaps Berlocq could have been injured or was paid to “tank” the match to allow for profiteering among gamblers. Coincidentally, Bloomfield’s first-round win here in Newport over Christophe Rochus also attracted similar unwanted gambling attention.

Online gambling exchange Betfair told The Associated Press on Friday that Bloomfield’s 7-6 (1), 6-3 win over Rochus Tuesday attracted an unusual $1.5 million in wagers and was the subject of dramatic price movement.

Bloomfield was rated even money against his Rochus, ranked No. 160. In the hours before the match, the odds on Bloomfield winning were shortened to 1-4. After he won the first set, the odds shorted to 1-8.

“If people are willing to risk 4 pounds to win one, that is indicative of a substantial gamble,” Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said to the Associated Press.

Notification of the irregular betting pattern was reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), an independent body created by the sport’s governing bodies to lead the fight against corruption.

It is standard procedure for the betting industry to share irregular activity on its markets with the TIU.

“It is not operational policy of the TIU to make any comment about an investigation that it may or may not be involved in,” TIU spokesman Mark Harrison told the AP

Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY (www.TennisHistoryBook.com).

Wimbledon’s Sartorialist

Much props to GQ for sending Gordon Von Steiner to wander the hallowed grounds of the AELTC during the Wimbledon fortnight. While the resulting slideshow didn’t showcase the fashion as much as TSF’d like, we see this as a step in the right direction. Next year, try to snap a pic of Bud Collins‘ fancy pants, mmk?

(image by Gordon Von Steiner for GQ)

This was re-posted with permission from TSFTennis.com.

HALL OF FAMER BOOK SIGNINGS IN INDIAN WELLS

Rod Laver and Bud Collins were doing a lot of book signing this week at the BNP Paribas Open. The two Hall of Famers collaborated on Laver’s memoir THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER back in 1969 and reunited to work on an updated, newly released version that will officially re-launch on April 1.

THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com) is Laver’s first-hand account of his 1969 Grand Slam season, capped off by his 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over fellow Australian Tony Roche in the final of the U.S. Open on September 8. Laver also writes about his childhood and early days in tennis, his 1962 Grand Slam and offers tips on how players of all levels can improve their game. He also shares some of the strategies that helped him to unparalleled success on the tennis court.

“I am delighted that THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is back in circulation and available for a new generation of tennis fans,” said Laver. “Winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 1969 seems just like yesterday and this book brings back a lot of memories of the great matches and exciting times. I hope people enjoy reading my story.”

Collins also signed his signature book, his tennis encyclopedia, THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com). The 784-page tome is the ultimate compilation of historical tennis information, including year-by-year recaps of every tennis season, biographical sketches of every major tennis personality, as well as stats, records, and championship rolls for all the major events. The author’s personal relationships with major tennis stars offer insights into the world of professional tennis found nowhere else.

Here are some photos, courtesy of Anita Klaussen, of Rod and Bud this week in Indian Wells.

DAVYDENKO’S LONGEST WIN STREAK; TSONGA’S FIRST FIVE-SETTER; FEDERER’S HEWITT RIVALRY IS EPIC

* Nikolay Davydenko has been on a tear of late and now it is officially the best run of his career. The Russian’s almost four-hour 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-3 win over Fernando Verdasco Monday in the Australian Open fourth round was 13th win in a row, besting his previous best ATP winning streak of 12 set last year. “In the fifth set I was fighting my serve, just winning my serve,” Davydenko said. “It was also not so easy beginning [of the] fifth set, but it’s good fighting for me. It was four hours, and some good points in the fifth set.” Davydenko now sets up a highly-anticipated quarterfinal match with world No. 1 Roger Federer, whom he has beaten the last two times after losing the first 12 meetings with the Swiss maestro.

* Against Davydenko, Verdasco served 20 double faults. According to THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com) the most double faults ever hit in a me’s match at the Australian Open came when Gerald Patterson hit 29 in 1927. In the Open era Guillermo Coria holds the mark with 23 back in 2006.

* Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has finally played the first five-set match of his career and won it against Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(6), 9-7, saving two break points at 6:6 in the fifth set. The 24-year-old Tsonga had played 19 four-set-matches prior to this match, posting a 13-6 record, but he surprisingly never extended to five sets. “The last set, I think he was serving unbelievable,” admitted Almagro. “I couldn’t do anything. He’s playing well. I think he has [a] chance to be on the semifinal or in the final.” Before his match against Tsonga, Almagro won six consecutive five-setters and now has a career five-set record of 6-6.

* No. 14 seed Marin Cilic beating No. 4 seed Juan Martin del Potro 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 after 4 hours 38 minutes gave him the distinction of being the only player outside Top 10 who advanced to the men’s quarterfinals. A similar situation occurred last year, then the only seeded player outside Top 10 in the last 8 was Fernando Verdasco, who was seeded with No. 14 as well. Verdasco’s higher-seeded victim was also the No. 4 seed, Andy Murray, whom he also defeated in five sets.

* Roger Federer has improved his record against former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to 17-7 with his 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win Monday night, his 15th consecutive wins against the Aussie future Hall of Famer. The Federer-Hewitt rivalry is the seventh longest head-to-head in the Open era in terms of number of matches. The top 10 are as follows

36 – Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe (21-15)
35 – Lendl vs. Jimmy Connors (22-13)
35 – Boris Becker vs. Stefan Edberg (25-10)
34 – McEnroe vs. Connors (20-14)
34 – Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi (20-14)
27 – Edberg vs. Lendl (14-13)
24 – Federer vs. Hewitt (17-7)
22 – Sampras vs. Todd Martin (18-4)
22 – Agassi vs. Michael Chang (15-7)
21 – Becker vs. Lendl (11-10)
21 – Federer vs. Andy Roddick (19-2)
21 – Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic (14-7)

YOUZHNY BEATS GASQUET IN NO. 5 LONGEST AUSSIE OPEN MEN’S SINGLES MATCH

In the longest match of the 2010 Australian Open far (4 hours, 53 minutes), Mikhail Youzhny ousted Richard Gasquet 6-7(9), 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 6-4, trailing 0:3 in the fourth and 2:4 in the fifth set. The Russian also saved double match point on serve at 5:6 in the fourth set. What’s more interesting, Gasquet, playing on the same Margaret Court Arena, lost last year despite 2-0 lead in sets and match point up (to Fernando Gonzalez). Youzhny beat Gasquet in five sets also four years in Davis Cup in a match that lasted 4 hours, 48 minutes. According to THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com), the match was the fifth longest men’s match ever at the Australian Open. The list of top six are as follows;

* 5 hours, 14 minutes Rafael Nadal d. Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4, SF, 2009

* 5 hours, 11 minutes Boris Becker d. Omar Camporese, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 4-6, 14-12, 3rd rd., 1991

* 4 hours, 59 minutes Andy Roddick d. Younes El Aynaoui, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4, 21-19, QF, 2003. The fifth set took 2:23, Roddick saved MP in 10th game of the fifth with inside-out forehand

* 4 hours, 59 minutes Pete Sampras def. Tim Mayotte, 7-6, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5, 12-10, 1st rd, 1990

* 4 hours, 53 minutes Mikail Youzhny def. Richard Gasquet 6-7(9), 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 6-4, 1st rd, 2010

* 4 hours, 51 minutes Yannick Noah def. Roger Smith 6-7, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 16-14, 1st rd, 1988

Federico Gil retired against David Ferrer of Spain, trailing 0-6, 0-6, 0-2 (allegedly suffering a left knee injury). In the Open Era, there have been three triple bagels at Roland Garros, one at both Wimbledon and Us Open but it has never happened at the Australian Open.

Fabrice Santoro came back out of retirement only to become the first player in the Open Era to participate in the major tournaments in four different decades (Santoro debuted at Roland Garros in 1989). It was 70th Grand Slam in Santoro’s career, which is also a record. (Andre Agassi is No. 2 with 61).

Ivo Karlovic established last year an amazing record of 78 aces in a five-set loss to Radek Stepanek. Giant Ivo, avenged that defeat, beating Stepanek 2-6 ,7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on Monday, serving this time “only” 34 aces, and converting his only break point of the final set in the 10th game.

Seven players won their first matches in a major so far at the 2010 Australian Open: Stephane Robert, Ivan Sergeyev, Illya Marchenko, Ivan Dodig, Santiago Giraldo, Louk Sorensen and Lukas Lacko. Four of them (the Ukrainians: Sergeyev and Marchenko and Sorensen and Dodig) are playing first match in a Grand Slam event.

This Week in Tennis Business: Andy Roddick and Serena Williams, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalists?

Andy Roddick

·         Via Twitter, Andy Roddick says he will team up with Serena Williams in the mixed doubles event at the 2012 London Olympics. Last week the International Olympic Committee approved mixed doubles for the London Olympics.

  • Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who is the third richest American according to Forbes, has purchased the entire Indian Wells tennis tournament with his own money, according to tennisreporters.net. Ellison is an avid recreational tennis player and the owner of the Malibu Racquet Club.
  • The International Tennis Federation has cleared Yanina Wickmayer to return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, her agent Olivier Van Lindonk tells Belga, a Belgian wire service. On Monday, Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse had their one year doping bans provisionally lifted by a Brussels court, but were not allowed to return to the pro circuit until the ITF cleared them. Van Lindonk can’t confirm if Malisse has also been cleared by the ITF.
  • According to reports by Jornal do Tenis, Victoria Azarenka has split from Coach Antonio van Grichen. The pair had worked together for four years.
  • According to the Melbourne Age, Lleyton Hewitt and manager David Drysdale have launched their own sports management firm called Signature Sports Management. The firm plans to operate as a boutique agency focusing on Australian players. Rising Australian player Olivia Rogowska is the first player to sign with the agency.
  • The Spanish Supreme Court has ordered three-time French Open singles champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario to pay back roughly $5.1 million in unpaid income tax because the court rejected she was a resident of Andorra and not Spain from 1989 to 1993.
  • According to Matt Cronin of tennisreporters.net, tennis historian Bud Collins will no longer be covering tennis telecasts on ESPN.
  • According to the Sportsbusiness Journal, the ATP Board of Directors will allow the ATP Indianapolis tournament to be sold to Atlanta. Previously, the ATP was going to buy back the event and retire it from the ATP World Tour calendar.
  • Via Twitter, Bob and Mike Bryan have signed a 4-year clothing sponsorship deal with K-Swiss.
  • Stan Smith will be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame on May 24, 2010.
  • The World No. 1 doubles duo of Bob and Mike Bryan have agreed to play in the 2010 LA Tennis Open Presented by Farmers Insurance Group from July 26 to August 1. The Bryans will be trying to win a record sixth doubles title at the tournament, which is held on the UCLA campus. US Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic have committed to play in the singles tournament.
  • 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was named “Athlete of the Year” and “Best Tennis Player” at the recent Fox Pan American Sports LLC’s Premios Fox Sports, which was held at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
  • Plexipave announced that the Plexipave Prestige tennis surface will be used at the Capitala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Plexipave is the world’s largest selling brand of acrylic tennis court coatings.
  • Swiss No. 2 Stanislas Wawrinka and longtime girlfriend Ilham Vuilloud were married in a civil ceremony on Monday in Switzerland. The couple is expecting their first child in February.
  • Jelena Dokic, Sorana Cirstea and Aravane Rezai will all train at the prestigious Mouratoglou Academy in Paris.
  • Last Thursday, Spain’s Davis Cup Captain and former French Open singles champion Albert Costa was taken to a Barcelona hospital because he was suffering from chest pains. He was released later in the day. In his first competitive match since having hip surgery in the spring, David
  • Former World No. 1 Dinara Safina’s status for the Australian Open in January is in doubt after withdrawing from the Brisbane International, which is a tune-up tournament for the first Grand Slam event of the year.

·         Nalbandian easily defeated Nicolas Massu, 6-2, 6-1, in an exhibition match in Buenos Aires.

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