Chris Evert

“On This Day In Tennis History” Book, Ebook, Mobile App Is Now An Audio Book

“On This Day In Tennis History,“ the popular tennis book, ebook and mobile app, is now also available as an audio book. The calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis is now available in audio form via Audible.com and can be purchased here on Amazon.com: http://www.mailermailer.com/rd?http://www.amazon.com/This-Tennis-History-Day-Day/dp/B0178PCQH4/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1449508067&sr=8-1 The narrator is Tiffany Bobertz, a theatre production veteran graduate of Augustana College and resident of Tempe, Arizona. The audio version is available for sale for $26.21 or $14.95 with an Audible.com membership.

The popular mobile app version of the book is available for $2.99 at www.TennisHistoryApp.com. The app can be found by searching “Tennis History” in the iTunes App Store and Play Store or directly at these two links:

Apple iTunes: http://www.mailermailer.com/rd?https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/this-day-in-tennis-history/id647610047

Google Play: http://www.mailermailer.com/rd?https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.firstserveapps.thisdayintennis

“On This Day In Tennis History,” compiled by Randy Walker, is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe, Don Budge, Maria Sharapova, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. “On This Day In Tennis History” is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

“On This Day In Tennis History” is published by New Chapter Press while the mobile app was designed and developed in conjunction with Miki Singh, founder of www.FirstServeApps.com. Fans can follow the app on social media at Twitter.com/ThisDayInTennis and facebook.com/thisdayintennis.

Said Hall of Famer Jim Courier of the book, “‘On This Day In Tennis History’ is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important—and unusual—moments in the annals of tennis. Randy Walker is an excellent narrator of tennis history and has done an incredible job of researching and compiling this entertaining volume.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way—dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “‘On This Day In Tennis History’ is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest—and most quirky—moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” by Steve Flink, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk So You Can Be Extraordinary” by Emily Filloramo, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “The 87 Rules For College” by Jacob Shore and Drew Moffitt, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.

OnThisDay-AudioCover

The Best Backhands of All-Time

 

Who has the greatest backhand in the history of tennis? Tennis historian and author Steve Flink throws out his thoughts on the debate ranking the top five men’s and women’s backhands of all time in his new book THE GREATEST TENNIS MATCHES OF ALL TIME, available on Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Greatest-Tennis-Matches-Time/dp/0942257936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354551927&sr=8-1&keywords=greatest+tennis+matches+of+all+time The except of the best backhands is excerpted below.

 

Men

1. DON BUDGE When he captured the Grand Slam in 1938—the first player ever to realize that feat—Budge had it all, but the single biggest strength in his game was his majestic backhand. Most of those players who preceded Budge at the top of tennis were better off the forehand, but his backhand was the first of its kind. His aggressiveness off that side was ground breaking in many ways. He drove the backhand essentially flat and all students of the game marveled at its magical simplicity.

2. KEN ROSEWALL The diminutive Australian’s backhand was legendary. He prepared early, turned his shoulders unfailingly, kept his eyes glued to the ball, but, most significantly, Rosewall’s backhand was a slice. Across the history of tennis, many slice backhands have been used primarily for defensive purposes, but not Rosewall’s. His slice backhand worked in every way: as a rally shot, as a passing shot, for the lob, and on the return of serve. It was multi-faceted. It was incredibly versatile. And above all else, it was unmistakably elegant.

3. JIMMY CONNORS Watching Connors launch into one of his two-handed backhand drives was one of the great joys for all erudite observers from the early seventies until the outset of the 1990’s. Connors retained the old fashioned flavor of a flat, one-handed backhand, producing flat and penetrating two-handers of unrelenting depth and immense power, yet gaining stability with his right hand. His backhand was the picture of purity. It was his signature shot.

4. NOVAK DJOKOVIC A mesmerizing athlete, Djokovic can be forced well off the court by wide balls to his two-handed backhand and still recover in time to play the shot with assertiveness and astounding control. He returns with unswerving authority off that side, and in long rallies from the baseline, his two-hander is rock solid. Djokovic finds just the right blend of flat and topspin shots with his two-handed backhand. This shot made him the great champion he became.

5. LEW HOAD and GUSTAVO KUERTEN One match away from winning the Grand Slam in 1956, Hoad at the height of his powers was impenetrable. The gifted Australian had every shot in the book, could perform brilliantly on any surface and was universally admired for his immense talent. Off the ground, his one-handed backhand was widely appreciated. He drove through the ball with an essentially flat stroke and was lethal off that side. To be sure, he was a streaky player, but when he was on, there was nothing he could not do on a tennis court, including cracking the backhand mightily. Kuerten’s one-handed backhand was the cornerstone of his game—a majestic, sweepingly beautiful, fluid, one handed stroke that carried him to three French Open crowns. Kuerten sparkled off that side, hitting winners at will, driving the ball both crosscourt and down the line with extraordinary pace and minimal topspin. His backhand was singularly inspiring in its time.

 

Women

1. CHRIS EVERT While both Connors and Borg made substantial contributions toward the cause of the two-handed backhand, it is safe to say that Evert’s impact was larger. Her success charted a new course for women’s tennis and the two-hander became a staple. But that did not mean it was easy to replicate the geometric precision of her backhand. The daughter of an outstanding teaching professional named Jimmy Evert, she worked diligently on her two-hander. It was the shot that never deserted her across the years. In rallies, her depth was unmatchable and she seldom missed. Her returns were crisp and solid and her passing shots were unimaginably precise and unerring. Meanwhile, the topspin lob was always at her disposal. In my book,  the Evert backhand was the best in the history of women’s tennis and the precursor for so many great two-handers to replicate.

2. MONICA SELES Just as Djokovic broke new ground by taming the Rafael Nadal forehand with his backhand, Seles did essentially the same thing with her lefty two-handed backhand against Graf. The German always was more comfortable running around her backhand to play the inside-out forehand, but if you could keep her pinned deep in her forehand corner, she was not able to control rallies in the same manner. Seles forced Graf to do that by virtue of the depth and speed of her two-handed backhand crosscourt, forcing Graf back on her heels. That was no mean feat. The Seles backhand was immaculately executed.

3. JUSTINE HENIN The Belgian brought an awful lot to the table of competition. She was a complete player with all of the tools to succeed in her trade. Yet her one-handed topspin backhand was her trademark. Henin’s backhand was sweepingly beautiful, a spectator’s dream, an opponent’s nightmare. She was willing to miss off that side because her goal was to make things happen off the backhand, and, if that meant making some aggressive errors, so be it. But she more than balanced the scales by sprinkling the court with clusters of topspin backhand winners, going down the line or crosscourt, long or short.

4. LINDSAY DAVENPORT At nearly 6’3,” Davenport was an imposing physical presence on a tennis court. Over the years, she became decidedly better as a tennis player and athlete by losing weight, gaining momentum in the process. Across time, her two-handed backhand was strikingly effective, particularly crosscourt. She kept it uncomplicated, going for one deep, penetrating and flat shot after another until she could break down the defenses of her adversaries.

5. EVONNE GOOLAGONG The Australian often looked like a ballerina on tennis court, but never more so than on the backhand side. She was very flexible, using the slice backhand to keep herself in rallies, raising the tempo whenever she saw an opening to release her glorious topspin backhand. She did not have to think when she hit a backhand— it was all flowing and instinctive. The Goolagong backhand remains frozen in the minds of tennis fans everywhere.

“On This Day In Tennis History” Mobile App Now Available On Kindle

NEW YORK – “On This Day In Tennis History,” the book and mobile app that documents daily anniversaries of historic and unusual events in tennis history, is now available as an electronic Kindle download. The new electronic version – and the mobile app – have been updated with recent tennis happenings into 2014.

The Kindle edition of the compilation is available for $7.99 here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/This-Tennis-History-Day-Day-ebook/dp/B00JQDZ43U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1402513835 The mobile app is available for $1.99 in both Apple’s AppStore and the Google Play Store at www.TennisHistoryApp.com.

“On This Day In Tennis History” provides fans with a fun and fact-filled calendar-like compilation of historical and unique tennis anniversaries, events and tennis happenings for every day of the year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries in this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, birthdays and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings.

The mobile app is easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details featuring captivating and unique stories of players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras among many others.

Features of the “This Day In Tennis History” app include:

 

•     Easily browse daily anecdotes and facts

•     View birthdays for top legends and current players

•     Tweet and email options makes sharing a breeze

•     Set up daily reminders

•     Quickly search the archive by player

•     Save your favorite entries

•     No internet connection needed

•     Entries will be updated periodically

 

“On This Day In Tennis History” was created by Randy Walker, the former USTA press officer now the managing partner of New Chapter Media (www.NewChapterMedia.com) and developed and designed by Miki Singh, the former ATP Tour press officer and the founder of www.FirstServeApps.com. Most of the content in the app was originally published in Walker’s hard copy book “On This Day In Tennis History” ($19.95, available here on Amazon.com http://m1e.net/c?96279190-.PAh92abybkPc%4018743019-Kel6bOgMLp6Qc published by New Chapter Press.

Said Tennis Hall of Famer and current U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important—and unusual—moments in the annals of tennis.” Tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of the book “Jimmy Connors Saved My Life,” called the book compilation “an addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way—dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients.”

The app can be found by searching “Tennis History” in the iTunes App Store and Play Store or directly at these two links:

 

Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/this-day-in-tennis-history/id647610047?ls=1&mt=8

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.firstserveapps.thisdayintennis

 

Fans can follow the app on social media at www.Twitter.com/ThisDayInTennis and at https://www.facebook.com/thisdayintennis

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion, The Full Extraordinary Story“ by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

 

Serena Williams: Nothing Left To Prove

As I watched Serena Williams take on Johanna Larsson during last weekend’s USA/Sweden Fed Cup tie, I will admit I was surprised by the level of her intensity. Given where she was, playing a relegation rubber in front of a rain-affected crowd,  it seemed – how does one put this? – out of character.

Surely, I jest. Anyone who has watched even a smattering of tennis in the last decade can attest to the intensity this living legend possesses. Such intensity almost single-handedly took her to the pinnacle of the sport and helped her through the darker days, both on and off the court. It never mattered her shape, scoreline, or  state of mind. It mattered even less who was across the net, be she rival or sister, Venus. In a game where many have been lambasted for their lack of mental toughness,  Serena was the WTA’s rock, who relied on her relentless intensity and competitive fire to finish off many a tough match.

How has she been able to do these incredible things for so long? It could be said that what has kept her at the top of the sport for nearly 15 years has been what could be deemed an “economy of intensity.” Williams has made a career out of bringing her best when it matters the most. Arguably our sport’s biggest star (at least in North America), she shapes her seasons around the Slams, peaking at the right time during those all-important two week stretches.

This extreme prioritizing has all but cemented her place in history, but often created a few problems for her in the present. Those who tuned in solely during the Grand Slams (or even those with a more comprehensive view of the sport) would see the most dominant player in the game ranked outside the top 3 and wonder “why?” A cursory glance at her results outside of the Slams would reveal a fair share of no-shows (she essentially took herself out of the race for year-end No. 1 when she withdrew from the Fall Asian swing) and shocking losses (Austrian journeywoman Sybille Bammer retired in 2011 undefeated against her).

A desire to explain this vast incongruity shifted the blame from her comparative lack of focus on a smaller stage to a lack of commitment to be a full-time tennis player. This truism dates back to 2006, when Chris Evert took to Tennis Magazine to write an open letter to Williams questioning her desire. At that point, she had won seven major singles titles, yet at the time, the tennis world felt gypped, and that Serena still had something to prove.

For all she has accomplished since then, it has been difficult for Serena to shake that stick.

Yet, for any of us to fall back on this notion is to ignore this latest incarnation of Serena Williams. The veteran of 30 who fought off a toe injury that led to a pulmonary embolism only to find herself back at No. 1 two years later. The woman who shed tears after her first Wimbledon match after that lay-off, and again when she was told of her return to the top of the rankings in Doha.

What more does she need to do to prove how much she wants to be here?

Against Larsson, she celebrated her good play, admonished herself for her errors, and was jubilant in a victory that tied the US with Sweden at one match apiece. We have been so conditioned to expect a flat, even blasé Serena show up on a smaller stage that this “new” Serena continues to shock us. But should we really be so surprised? When we remember who she is, what she’s been through, her love for the game is suddenly apparent. And after 15 years, the sport should be grateful that that love is stronger than ever.

Coaches’ Corner: Evolution of Tennis in the 1970’s

The Ivan Lendl IJTA, one of the world’s premiere tennis academies, has taken up residence in our “Coaches’ Corner” series to dish out instructional tips and on court analyses straight from the Academy’s top coaches and directors.

By David Lewis, Director of Instruction at Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy

The open era of tennis began in 1968 when amateurs were allowed to compete in world-class tournaments with professionals. Until then, amateurs were only allowed to play the Grand Slams.

In the 1970’s, the style of play for most was “serve-and-volley,” using a continental grip for all shots including ground strokes. Tennis was learned on a faster, lower bouncing surface, whether it be a grass or a hard court. The continental grip allowed for plenty of wrist action to control the ball and ability to move toward the net quickly because the ball didn’t bounce high. Some professionals, like Connors and Evert, used the double-handed backhand and hit flat ground strokes.

Surprisingly, wooden racquets were still commonly used, but the small, heavy frame and delicate sweet spot didn’t allow players to hit the ball hard. Metal equipment with lighter frames and bigger heads became more popular.

A player with great agility and speed could chase down most shots from the baseline because the ball didn’t travel as fast. For the same reason, players who came to the net were more difficult to pass. This provided wonderful match ups with tactics becoming crucial. The game required plenty of finesse, craft and athleticism to outmaneuver an opponent.

During this time period, the U.S. dominated the game with players such as Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. Later in the decade, a player named John McEnroe burst onto the scene.

Bjorn Borg popularized use of the western forehand grip and double-handed backhand, which produced incredible amounts of topspin. He won many Wimbledon and French Open titles and, in the process, became one of the first to modernize the game of tennis. Borg proved he could win on all surfaces with his different style of play.

Conversely, McEnroe used a continental grip, allowing him to take the ball on the rise which had seldom been seen before. An intriguing rivalry was starting to develop between these two stalwarts and helped increase the popularity of the game. By 1980, tennis was reaching a whole new level due to the double-handed backhand, hitting the ball on the rise and modern equipment.

Several full-time tennis academies in the United States opened in the 1970’s. Harry Hopman, a famous Australian Davis Cup coach, operated a facility in Florida where many top professionals and juniors trained for the international circuit. He was renowned for getting players into peak shape. During the same period, another coach named Nick Bollettieri started working with top juniors, developing them into some of the best professionals of the 1980’s.

Next month, we’ll continue with the evolution of tennis in the 1980s.


About David Lewis
David Lewis, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, is the Director of Instruction at Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy on Hilton Head Island, S.C., a full-time tennis program for grades 5-12. For the past 20 years, he has coached top juniors and professionals around the world including Marina Erakovic, ranked as high as No.49 on the WTA world rankings.

Ivan Lendl IJTA exemplifies Ivan Lendl and Lewis’ desire to give back to tennis and develop future champions through a new-era curriculum and holistic training approach. The Academy focuses on classic fundamentals, leading-edge biomechanics, strength training / fitness and mental preparation. The staff subscribes to a hands-on approach with students instilling dedication, focus, hard work, motivation and overall preparation.

For more information: www.LendlTennis.com/info, 888.936.5327.

Coco Vandeweghe on her pre-match rituals, her U.S. Open debut, and wanting to party with Novak Djokovic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — American Coco Vandeweghe, who shot up 50 spots in the the WTA Tour rankings after reaching the Stanford final three weeks ago, is in action this week at the Citi Open. After receiving the tournament’s last wildcard and her highest career seeding, Vandeweghe finds herself in the quarterfinals with fellow American Vania King as her next opponent.

I had a chance to chat with the rising star and she cheerfully reminisced about her greatest on-court moment, admitted she would want to party with Novak Djokovic, and disclosed some funny pre-match rituals she has.

What is your most memorable moment in your career?

Playing on opening night in Arthur Ashe stadium against Jelena Jankovic when she was no. 1 in the world, and I was 16 years old.

What would you do if you weren’t a tennis player?

I would be in college – playing basketball, probably.

If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?

I’d want to play against a couple: Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport, and Martina Navratilova because they’re all great players. I’ve looked up to Lindsay for a long time and she’s been a great friend, and so has Chris Evert.

If you were hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?

I would invite my coach who is an ex-tennis play, Jan-Michael Gambill, Irina Falconi who is a great friend of mine on the WTA Tour, and Novak Djokovic because he’s seems like a lot of fun. [Laughs]

What are two things you couldn’t live without?

Music and probably my family.

What do you to get ready in the day before a match?

I enjoy my sleep. [Smiles] And then I have my own little rituals and different tedious things that I do, like tying my left shoe before my right shoe.

If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

I would invite my grandmother who died two years ago – pretty much just family members, my grandfather, my mom, my family.

No famous people?

No, probably not. [Laughs]

If you were given a camera crew and unlimited access to the WTA Tour, what would you want to show the public about pro tennis?

Just how fun the women’s tour is. We have great personalities, but we do dumb stuff sometimes. Even myself – dumb little fights like with the airline attendant, and me trying to sneak my tennis bag onto the airplane without trying to check it because it’s a pain in the butt! There’s a lot of fun stuff on Tour, and I would want to capture that.

Elena Dementieva Still Wins Rewards: Fan Watch

By Luís Santos

As a die hard Elena Dementieva fan I was rooting for the fairytale thing to happen at this year’s Australian Open final but alas, I was brought back to reality – just like when she was around.

So Kim Clijsters finally won outside of NYC and she shattered the hopes of millions of people and also of Li’s. Now this might have been yet another Aussie Open that has gone by me without me watching much of it – it’s either that or me failing my college exams to watch countless hours of tennis – but a few things come to mind when reminiscing about Down Under.

First, of course, the notable absence of Elena Dementieva, who would have probably swept away the title just based on elegance, and because it wouldn’t seem right not mentioning, the absence of Serena William whose foot keeps on delaying her.

Henin retiring (for good) was also a headline that  made the news on the eve of the women’s semifinals to the dismay of her antagonists. A kind word for Justine is in order though. Personal preferences aside, she was a great champion, who made the most out of what she had. I just hope she stays retired – indecision is not something a champion should have.

Finally, Li’s superb level throughout the fortnight, and the overall level of tennis displayed by the ladies with names such as Makarova, Kvitova and Schiavone coming to mind.

On a final note and in case you haven’t heard, Elena Dementieva won was well this week. It might not have been on the court but she still pocketed the Jean Borotra World Fair Play Diploma for her sports career. Elena was the fifth female tennis player to win such award and first since Chris Evert won back in 1989. Instead of attending the award ceremony she played a charity match in Moscow to help orphan children in her city.

Navratilova Edges Evert to win Australian Title – On this day in Tennis History

With tennis being in its off-season – wait, tennis has an off-season? – we thought we would give you daily content courtesy of Randy Walker’s book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, so you can have your daily tennis fix. ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com), makes for an ideal companion for the tennis fan and player. It fits perfectly under your tree or in a stocking for the Holidays. The following are events that happened ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY….

December 7

1985

Martina Navratilova defeats Chris Evert Lloyd 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to win the Australian Open in Melbourne for her 17th victory over Evert Lloyd in the last 19 matches and her third career Australian singles title. “That was tough on the nerves,” says the 29-year-old Navratilova after the match. “It seems Chris and I always play great matches. Even though I lost the second set, I felt in control. I knew this was it. I knew it was for the No. 1 ranking. I was going to go after it, and I did.” Navratilova previously wins inAustralia in 1981 and 1983. Says Evert, the defending champion, “After the second set, there was a lot of pressure on both of us, and she handled it better.” In men’s singles, Mats Wilander advances into the final, finishing up a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 rain-delayed victory over unseeded Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia. The other men’s singles semifinal between Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg is suspended due to rain after only 10 minutes of play, Edberg leading 2-1.

1987

Ivan Lendl defeats Mats Wilander 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to win the year-end Nabisco Masters Championship for a fifth time. Says Lendl, ”Today may have been the best I hit the ball and moved. I think I still can get better, though. I can work on new shots and my physical strength and conditioning.” Wilander implements a more aggressive strategy against Lendl, coming to net more often and using his one-handed chip backhand in an attempt to close the gap between he and Lendl. Earlier in the week, Wilander says that his goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world. Says Wilander, “I tried to come in on his backhand, but that didn’t work. After a while, you don’t know what to do. A couple of times I was thinking, ‘he’s just too good for me.’” Says Lendl of his goals and how he can he can improve his game, “”There are millions of ways I could improve. There are new shots, new ways to hit the shots, ways to become more flexible, stronger…There are still so many things I want to do. Everyone in tennis would like to win a Grand Slam…I paid my dues on and off the court and now I’m enjoying the fruits of it.”

1980

December 7 becomes a day of infamy for Pam Shriver as the American blows seven match points in losing to Wendy Turnbull of Australia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the final of the New South Wales Open in Sydney. Turnbull trails 6-2 in the final-set tie-break against the 18-year-old Shriver.

ESPN’s “Unmatched” – Chris Evert & Martina Navratilova

ESPN’s “30 for 30” film series presents Unmatched, the story of women’s pro tennis champions Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Arguably the greatest sports rivals of all time, Chris and Martina were as much close friends as they were fierce competitors. Unmatched documents the first time the two women have sat together to discuss their long history of both jealousy and admiration, which began in 1973.

Unmatched premieres next Tuesday, September 14th at 8:00PM

Unmatched Synopsis:

Only a few hundred spectators saw the pert 18-year-old Evert beat the scrappy 16-year-old Czech in 1973. “I remember that she was fat,” Evert recalled. “She was very emotional on the court, whining if she didn’t feel she was playing well. But I remember thinking, if she loses weight, we’re all in trouble.” Said Navratilova, “My goal was for her to remember my name.” 80 matches later – amid the extraordinary growth of women’s tennis – Evert not only remembered, but became a tried and true friend and confidante, remarkable considering the two appeared to be polar opposites in upbringing, life styles and personal relationships.

Through a series of personal conversations, filmmakers Nancy Stern and Lisa Lax, along with producer Hannah Storm, tell the story of one of the greatest one-on-one sports rivalries and capture these two extraordinary athletes’ views on tennis and an ever-changing world. Unmatched was created by an all-female production crew (Directors, Producers, Director of Photography, Editor, Associate Producers).

http://30for30.espn.com/film/unmatched.html

Behind the Scenes at the Rogers Cup: Stenographer Linda Christensen Plays Vital Role

Who’s got the fastest hands on tour? Rafael Nadal or Justine Henin perhaps, or were you thinking of Andy Murray or Elena Dementieva? Try thinking outside of the box, or, more specifically, outside of the court. I’m not talking about the video review operator on center court or Roger Federer’s racquet stringer. Take your search into the players and media area and you will find a woman whose fingers are infinitely faster than any of the above.

Meet Linda Christensen, one of the ATP and WTA Tour stenographers. Able to type between 260-300 words per minute is a regular occurrence for this behind-the-scenes specialist who captures every sound uttered by the players in their post-match press conferences. Employed by ASAP Sports, Christensen gets the transcripts completed within moments of the players leaving the press room and into the hands of reporters and tournament organizers who can then share these valuable moments with tennis fans all over the world. In her spare time she also works as a CART provider (Communication Access Realtime Translation) which specializes in translating classes for deaf children who are in junior high and college.

A tennis enthusiast since the 1970s when her grandmother got her to watch Chris Evert, Christensen was initially trained as a court reporter, a role she fulfilled for 23 years. After years of working in the high-stress environment of the legal world, Christensen, a self-described sports enthusiast, decided to make the transition into the world of professional sports transcribing. Since the fall of 2007 she has covered college football, golf and most recently tennis where she began at the 2008 Australian Open.

I had the chance to talk with Linda last summer while covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto. There were many late nights where the two of us left the press room well past midnight. Getting back to the hotel past 2am is one of the tough realities of her job that she balances with the many positives she described to me one afternoon. Here is a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the vital role that Christensen plays in professional tennis.

Q: How does this fantastic process work with the machine and the audio and how do you put it all together?

A: It’s a training where you learn to write phonetically and it’s a different language. So instead of typing one individual letter on a keyboard like your laptop, phonetically we make words and phrases and even whole sentences at a time so that we’re able to take down up to 260-300 words a minute. And then that data is sent wirelessly into our laptop, fed into our database, and it is translated into English.

Q: And phonetically, it’s a hard concept to grasp for someone who is used to just your typical keyboard. But when I look at that machine there, you’ve got far less keys, they’re not labelled at all. So does each key correspond to a sound?

A: A sound. Or combinations of keys. Lets just take the word “much.” If you were on your laptop you would type m-u-c-h. When we write “much” it could be the initial “m” the “uh” and the final “ch” sound so we can write “much” all in one stroke. Or in court if you want to just say commonly used phrases, when an attorney addresses the jury he or she might say, “ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” and we have that in one phrase, one stroke of our shorthand keyboard.

Q: Would you do the same thing in the tennis world then?

A: Yeah. “Backhand,” “cross court,” “hard court,” “grass court,” “clay court” are all pre-programmed in there as one stroke on the keyboard.

Q: Is it conceivable that someone could, with a regular keyboard, keep up with it all?

A: I don’t believe so. I don’t think anybody’s ever been able to type that fast.

Q: What’s your evaluation process like? How are you evaluated or how are you reviewed each year or what kind of process do they have in place for that? Or are you just on your own when you go to tournaments?

A: A little of both I guess. People read our transcripts in the company and we usually work with colleagues. This kind of tournament (Masters 1000 level) we work solo because they’re smaller, but at the Slams we work in tandem with a computer person and a writer. And so we evaluate each other and challenge each other to be faster and more accurate.

Q: How hard is it to pick up? When you started in 1983, how long did it take you to become comfortable with this process?

A: Well, I can say that the attrition rate in court reporting is very high. If I were to say a beginning class, let’s say, is 25, I would be hard-pressed to say that maybe one or two other people that started when I did are still doing it. It’s a very high-stress job. I’m talking legally. And then there’s a whole other part of the business end and dealing with personalities like lawyers and paralegals, and deadlines. If they’re in trial and they need something right away, you have to pull an all-nighter to get that transcript to them. And, you know, with ASAP, we say “When all is said we’re done” – journalists have a deadline to meet and we know we’re under the wire to get them their quotes from these interviews.

Q: In terms of tennis, who are some of the more difficult players to keep up with or understand and transcribe?

A: At the French Open in 2009 – the Serbians all speak very good English but they’re very fast and fortunately they have a good cadence with how they speak. And Ana Ivanovic can be very quick, very rapid-fire. I was working as the writer for her interview at the French and I had a scopist – meaning the computer person – a young man working with me, and we are able with our software to gauge how many words a minute people talk. Anyway, Ana Ivanovic came in from a win and she just “took off,” and my colleague, after the interview, said that she had at times during the interview gotten to 330 words a minute. She was pretty quick. Others have very heavy accents. Dinara Safina can be very difficult to understand, as is her brother Marat. They have a very heavy accent. James Blake,(laughs) all the journalists know that he speaks very fast. And it’s kind of a joke and he realizes that he’s our nemesis, because he’s even looked at us and said, “I know you hate me.” ‘Cause he just really likes to talk.

Q: Do you ever get to a point where you’re struggling to keep up or has it ever happened to you that you’re falling behind – how do you compensate for that? How do you deal with those situations?

A: Yes, that is difficult. You learn a skill called trailing or carrying where you learn to be behind a sentence or two and you keep it in your mind and you catch up. If we have any questions, everything is also recorded to our hard drive simultaneously, so if we think we might have missed something or misheard, we can listen to that at the time we edit it before we send the final transcript.

Q: Any memorable moments in particular? Particular tournaments or interviews that stand out for one reason or another?

A: Well, yeah, the Australian Open of ’08 my colleague and I – there were just really long matches, and everything for the women went three sets and everything for the men went five. And it being Australia, we took Lleyton Hewitt, he won over Baghdatis, and we took Lletyon’s interview at 5:30am. We stayed up all night waiting for that. And the tennis fans of Australia are true fans. There were kids in the audience and nobody left (early). Last year at Montreal Marat Safin threw in some choice words. He’s funny. He’s very funny. He was retiring and was asked a question about his sister and just held nothing back and let the expletives fly. So that was fun.

Q: Do you have to transcribe those expletives word for word, verbatim?

A: Yes, pretty much.

Q: Any awkward moments between reporters and players

A: I can’t think of a specific. Only when players lose and they don’t like to be asked what they think are seemingly stupid questions. So they get kind of testy.

Q: Favorite tournaments for you in the year and a half that you’ve been doing this?

A: Indian Wells is wonderful, as is the Sony Ericsson in Key Biscayne. The Slams – the French is great, everything is translated and the translators are great. The US Open is gruelling because they have lights that they can start matches very late at night. So last year every other night is 3 to 4 AM into bed, and that gets a little tough after two-plus weeks