england club

Sam Querrey: Another Victim Of The Casino Curse – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Order Restored – Just a few final thoughts as the doors close on another memorable two weeks at SW19. After one of the more unpredictable Wimbledon Championships in recent memory, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal restored some order by not only living up to their status as the heavy favorites in the finals, but doing so in emphatic fashion. For Serena, it marked her 13th major title, moving her closer to rarefied air. It may still be a big ask for her to catch Margaret Court, but Chrissie’s number of 18 is certainly looking assailable. As for Nadal, it marked his 8th major and a successful return to the hallowed grounds of the All England Club where he missed the opportunity to defend his title through injury in 2009. But the bigger payoff for Nadal in winning the title may be that between his clay and grass court seasons, he’s reestablished some of his invincible aura. He’s also coming in with a better plan for the hard court season, and he’s never been in a better position to start his campaign to take the US Open title, the lone major he has yet to add to his résumé.

More to Come? Credit also needs to be given to the losing singles finalists at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. Both Vera Zvonareva and Tomas Berdych are talented players who have struggled to put it together between the ears, so to see them both realize their talents and make the final stage of a Grand Slam was satisfying. And while neither played at their best in their first major final, much of that must be attributed to the fact that they took on champion opponents who never allowed them to get any kind of foothold in the match. What will be interesting to see is how both follow it up during the summer hard court season, particularly the US Open. Zvonareva, though talented, is still prone to emotional meltdowns. Berdych on the other hand, who very nearly made the finals of the French a month ago, seems to have achieved a tighter grip on his emotions, much of that probably coming courtesy of his new coach. For me, Zvonareva is still a question mark, but expect to see Berdych contesting more Grand Slam finals down the road.

Back on Track? – The Wimbledon fortnight also saw Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put together a couple of nice runs to the semifinals. Murray’s run almost came out of nowhere and should provide some much needed confidence for the young Scot whose form since the Australian Open has been particularly dismal. Given the way both men meekly folded in their semifinal matches – each losing in straight sets – it’s difficult to determine just how much they may have righted the ship. But I prefer to put a positive spin on their lengthy Wimbledon campaigns in the hopes that they’ll be a factor in what could potentially be a highly competitive US Open Series.

Curse Continues – Despite his success in Queen’s earlier this year, American Sam Querrey was no match for the “Casino Curse,” as he fell in his second round match to Jamaican Dustin Brown in straight sets. Querrey’s loss continues the 35-year streak in which the top seed has failed to emerge as the victor on the fabled green lawns of the historic Newport Casino. Other notable early losses this week include American Taylor Dent and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, but at least Mahut was able to get one win under his belt after his devastating 68-70 loss to Isner in “The Match” at Wimbledon.

In the Hall – This coming Saturday, seven new inductees will take their place in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. But earlier in the week, Nicolas Mahut made his own way into the Hall of Fame, generously donating a shirt and racquet worn and used during his famous battle with John Isner in the first week of Wimbledon. Mahut stated he was honored to have something of his placed alongside memorabilia from some of the game’s greatest legends. While he’s no doubt mentally still smarting from the loss to Isner, the experience of seeing his shirt and racquet placed in the galleries of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum had to help slightly soften the blow.

Don’t Sell Your Federer Stock Just Yet – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

The Tumble Continues – One of the big headlines at the All England Club this past Wednesday was the dismissal of six-time champion Roger Federer at the hands of Tomas Berdych.  Despite Federer’s history at SW19 and the difference in seeding between the two, I have trouble calling this a big upset. Berdych possesses a big game, he clipped Federer earlier this year, and over the past few months, Berdych has been the better player. There’s no doubt this was probably the most painful loss Federer has suffered since his 2008 defeat to Nadal, and the early loss also means that Federer will slip to No. 3 in the rankings, the first time he’s been out of the top two since 2003. It will take time for him to bounce back from this one, but I’m not ready to sell my Federer stock just yet. The fact is, any year you win a major is a good year. Plenty of players would still gladly trade places with Federer. It’s the nature of the beast that he has set the bar so high that any loss such as this is that much more monumental because it happened to one of the greatest players to have ever picked up a racquet. Fans of the man from Switzerland are going to have to get used to these losses coming with more frequency, but don’t stick a fork in him. He’s not done yet.

Roddick Rocked – Wimbledon has continued to see a few more shockers this week, and one of the biggest was Roddick’s exit to Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei. Lu played an incredible match beginning to end and most amazing is the fact that he found a way to cross the finish line even as he admitted that he never believed he was going to win the match. But as happy as one might have felt for Lu, there had to be some sympathy spared for Roddick. Had he been told prior to the match that he was going to hit more aces, less unforced errors, more winners, have more break chances, and win more total points, I’m sure he would have liked his odds at advancing.   But just as with last year’s final, it came down to a handful of big points and one crucial break in the final set. The loss isn’t as gut-wrenching as his 2009 final loss to Federer, but he’ll want to look to get something going fast on the hard courts, or he’s apt to start slipping into a slump.

Venus Vanquished – The women’s quarters also provided a surprise when Tsvetana Pironkova routinely upended Venus Williams 2 and 3. It was a lackluster display from Williams, who despite hitting 10 more winners than her younger opponent also hit 23 more unforced errors. The fact that the elder Williams never found a way to win the match wasn’t an entire surprise, as neither Williams sister is known for having game plan B when the wheels come off. The good news for her is that an early loss, irrespective of the tournament, rarely tends to have any hangover effect. She’ll still be considered a strong contender during the US Open Series and the final major of the year.

Double Trouble – I’d be remiss not to mention a couple of upsets in the doubles competition. The Williams sisters, on what seemed an inevitable path to becoming just the third team in history to accomplish the Grand Slam, lost to the hard-hitting combo of Vera Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina. On the men’s side, Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman also denied seeing history made, at least for the time being, with their defeat over the American team of Bob and Mike Bryan. The Bryans were aiming to break their tie with the Woodies for most titles won as a team just a week prior to the induction of the Australian pair into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. As disappointing as the losses must have been for each of these losing teams, they will be back with a vengeance in New York, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Bryans standing atop the mountain alone for most titles won before the final major of the year.

Fine Time – Earlier this week, Rafael Nadal was slapped with a $2,000 fine for illegal coaching. Chair umpire Cedric Mourier could hardly be blamed for giving Nadal the warning, having given him an unofficial warning to stop the chatter with his box earlier in the match. The case was made even stronger given that in his defense of this particular incident, Nadal basically admitted to having received illegal coaching at other times.  But Nadal is not the only player guilty of this offense. Justine Henin is notorious for this, as is Maria Sharapova, and many more could be added to the list. I’m not naïve enough to think that illegal coaching will ever be completely eradicated, but it was refreshing to see someone have the backbone to try and enforce the rule and reduce it. Coaches are paid to scout the competition, and it’s up to the player and coach to devise a game plan prior to a match. Once a match starts, it should be one-on-one out there and up to the players to make the necessary adjustments to come out with a W. That’s one of the unique aspects of tennis. So I hope that the officials continue to do their best and enforce the rules at all levels of the competition and preserve the integrity of the game.

Venus Williams Suffers Ironic Loss At Wimbledon

American Venus Williams, who had made 8 of the previous 10 Wimbledon singles finals, learned a hard lesson about irony today at the All England Club.

The number two ranked player in the world suffered a crushing defeat on the same day her book, “Come To Win” was released.

A few hours after being knocked off 6-2, 6-3 by Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, Williams was already promoting her new release on Twitter where she offered followers a chance to read passages from her book.

It would seem however that it was the little-known Pironkova who came to win today and in the process advances to the semi-finals of Wimbledon where she will next face Vera Zvonareva – a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Kim Clijsters.

The 82nd ranked Pironkova – a sure-shot to break into the top-fifty regardless of her next result – defeated Williams much to her own surprise.

“If I have to be honest: no,” she said about the possibility of making the final-four. “Coming here, I really just wanted to play a good game, to maybe win one or two rounds. But (a) semifinal looked, to me, very far.”

Maybe the number 82 is somewhat of a kryptonite towards American tennis players, as Andy Roddick was defeated by the 82nd ranked male player in the world, Yen-Hsun Lu, the day before.

The early exit by Venus is especially surprising given the solid year she has put together so far in 2010. In her post-match press conference however, she failed to give much credit to her able opponent.

“Yeah, you know, it’s very disappointing. I felt like I played some players along the way who played really well. You know, I think she played really well, too, but maybe not as tough as like my fourth round or my third round or even my second round.”

Instead she took a page out of her sisters book and claimed that her own short-comings were largely responsible for her early departure.

“You know, to not be able to bring my best tennis today and to just make that many errors is disappointing in a match where I feel like, you know, I wasn’t overpowered, you know, hit off the court or anything; where I just kind of let myself exit.”

In other women’s action, sister Serena moved past Li Na 7-5, 6-3, while Petra Kvitova defeated Kaia Kanepi by a much more grueling score of 4-6, 7-6(8), 8-6 while saving five match-points against her in the process.
The odds now clearly favor Serena when examining the Grand Slam experience of the remaining four players.

While the unknown factor of playing someone like Kvitova or Pironkova may offer some subtle challenges, the world’s number-one player should advance towards the title with little intrigue standing in her way.

Perhaps Venus can take some solace if her younger sister comes to win in her place.

CHINA: THE GLOBAL TENNIS FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

By Melina Harris

With the world’s largest population of 1.3 billion, China’s pedigree and potential as a tennis nation should have matched its economic prowess in the last decade. However, the Communist regime’s strict control over the way players previously managed their careers, with the state run federation denying any international competition and recently taking an awesome 60% of their earnings which was reinvested to fund and manage their coaching, medical treatment and even tournament schedules, has severely restricted their success on a global scale.

The diminutive dynamos Zheng Jie and Li Na’s astronomic ascent onto the tennis world stage during the Australian Open, with both women reaching the semifinals on either half of the draw, has catapulted the country into the limelight, with the possibility of an all Chinese final and has left many wondering what exactly has changed and many nations no doubt secretly pondering, what could we have done better?

Chinese tennis has hugely benefitted from substantial backing from the Beijing government and independent business ventures during the five-year stay of the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai and the run up to the Olympic Games in 2008, with tennis academies sprouting across the country and parents encouraging their children at a much earlier age into the sport, instead of hugely popular table tennis or badminton. Indeed, the passion for tennis has spread like swine flu through the nation and out into the global stratosphere. Sport’s labels across the globe have rushed to cash in on China’s new obsession with the game, with even the All England Club introducing stores across the country. Nevertheless, this massive growth had yet to properly transpire onto the world stage due to the Chinese communist regime’s strict hold they had over tennis player’s careers.

In a recent interview, one of China’s ‘Golden Flowers’, Zheng Jie, who first raised a few eyebrows with her surprise jaunt to the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2008 and recently signed a lucrative deal with Mercedes Benz and ANTA (a Chinese sportswear label) said ‘there is a big change in tennis in our country…we can now play and prepare like the others. It makes a big difference.’ Indeed, since the Beijing Olympics along with Li Na, Jie only has to reimburse 12% of her earnings in return for absolute independence in the way her career is run, a rarity amongst Chinese athletes and the results have been dramatic ever since, especially in the women’s game, most clearly illustrated by the huge influx of Chinese paparazzi in Melbourne.

The next top 22 players are strictly supervised by 17 coaches, eight doctors and copious sports scientists, nutritionists, psychologists and trainers in a new national program. Semifinalist, Li Na looked to the future in a recent interview saying ‘I still believe more and more Chinese players will come through. There are many juniors playing here and others in the qualifying competition. Right now it’s step by step’ and also commented on her individual ambitions after beating Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinal, revealing ‘getting into the top ten was the goal my coach set me for the whole year. Now I have already done it in January. Now I will dream about the top five, why not?’

While the Chinese population have gone wild watching the live matches of their blossoming protégés, the women’s success in Melbourne has not come as a surprise to Gao Shenyang, a director at China’s sports commission, who told Chinese media: ‘Given the competitive form of Zheng Jie and Li Na, what they have achieved in Melbourne is not surprising to us. Their success shows that Chinese tennis players can find their rightful place in the tennis world.’

After beating a flurry of lower ranked seeds such as Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Alona Bondarenko and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in her run to the semi final, Zheng Jie now faces the steep task of halting Justine Henin’s formidable comeback, while Li Na has to overcome yet another Williams’ sister to reach the final. I’m not a much of a gambler, but I think I might put a sneaky bet on one of the pocket dynamos to cause an outrageous upset. Watch this space!

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach from London. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter. She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN IN THE PROPOSED TENNIS WORLD CUP?

By Melina Harris

An exciting new proposal to introduce the first ever World Cup to the already packed tennis calendar (replacing the outdated Davis Cup format) has one glaring fault as far as I’m concerned; it’s men only and there has been no mention of a female equivalent. According to the Times of London Tennis Correspondent Neil Harman on Wednesday, “although the idea for a World Cup is in its formative stages, it has already been presented to leading tennis administrators and television executives, who believe that a men-only competition would attract a larger audience.”  Who are these ‘leading tennis administrators and television executives’ I wonder? Much like Will Carling noted about the Rugby Football Union, probably ‘fifty seven old farts’ of the middle aged male variety.

This represents yet another snub to both professional and amateur female players alike. Wimbledon only relented on equal pay in 2007 as Sir Richard Branson a member of the WTA Tour global advisory council quite rightly noted ‘Women players have every right to feel strongly about the issue of equal prize money at Wimbledon. The outdated position adopted by the All England Club tarnishes the good name of the world’s greatest tennis tournament and sends a completely negative signal to women everywhere.’

Equal pay and coverage for women has always been an issue with nearly every sport across the globe; why can’t tennis be progressive and put forth an innovative mixed World Cup event including players from both gender? Admittedly, this would be impossible for team games such as football and rugby, however with the nature of tennis, the International Tennis Federation could easily pioneer this event, with individual singles matches for men and women, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events all scoring points for their respective nation giving equal coverage to both men’s and women’s tennis globally. This would create a real buzz for the game, rather than simply providing male role models for the younger generation.

It’s hardly surprising that we’ve heard Andy Murray’s view; ‘I am a great fan of the Davis Cup, but if a decision was taken to drop it, or something else could change in the calendar, then a World Cup is a fascinating idea’ and the thoughts of Novak Djokovic (One of the Vice Presidents of the ATP Tour’s player council) who said ‘nothing has been decided, we didn’t decide to put anything on official terms because we have to consider other sides as well.’ I wonder if one of those ‘sides’ is the possibility of a mixed World Cup? I doubt it very much, so hurry up Venus and Serena, step up and start campaigning before the fifty old farts decide for us!

TENNIS IDOL BORG OR EMPEROR BORG?

Bjorn Borg, it was announced Tuesday, will be playing in his first tournament in the United States since 2000 at the Staples Champions Cup in Boston, April 29-May 2. The event is part of the Jim Courier-run Champions Cup tennis circuit. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Borg’s epic fifth straight Wimbledon title, which will no doubt be celebrated and remembered for much of the year.

Which brings up the question; do we like the Bjorn Borg look from the late 1970s, early 1980s or the contemporary “stately” looking Borg who looks more like a Roman Emperor than the teen idol of yesterday? Tell us which look you like better?

Borg will play his opening match in Boston against fellow Swede Pernfors on Thursday, April 29 at 7 pm and, if victorious, will face the winner of the Friday evening quarterfinal match between McEnroe and Wilander on Saturday evening, May 1. Courier will face Arias in his opening match on Friday at 7 pm and, if victorious, will face the winner of the Philippoussis-Ferreira match on Saturday afternoon. For more on the Staples Champions Cup, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

“Bjorn playing in the United States is a very rare occurrence so it makes the Staples Champions Cup that much more special this year,” said Courier. “He’s one of our sport’s greatest champions and to have him play on the Champions Series is a highlight for the circuit.”
In 1980, Borg was able to win his fifth-straight title at the All England Club and stave off McEnroe, playing in his first Wimbledon final, by a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 margin, highlighted by the famous 18-16 fourth-set tie-breaker. He stopped playing full-time on the ATP circuit after the 1981 season.

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The Graveyard Is No More

graveyard-2

The famed “Graveyard” court at Wimbledon – Court No. 2 – is no longer. The Graveyard met the gallows this week as officials at the All England Club demolished the court in its on-going efforts to refurbish the grounds and create more space for fans. The court has been the site of many upsets through the years, perhaps most notably as the court where Pete Sampras played his last Wimbledon match, a second-round upset loss to qualifier George Bastl of Switzerland in 2002. These photos are courtesy of the Wimbledon Facebook page. You can go there to see many others.

graveyard-2

I Don’t Take Wimbledon…Like A Really Important Thing

Who is the biggest villain in Wimbledon history? Chilean Marcelo Rios may get the nod. It was on this day back in 1998 when the former world No. 1 took a swipe at the All England Club and The Championships after being dismissed from the tournament as the No. 2 seed. The match, and Rios’ comments, are documented below in the June 24 chapter of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, which is excerpted below.

1998 – Marcelo Rios of Chile takes a swipe at Wimbledon after being unceremoniously dumped in the first round of the world’s most prestigious tournament as the No. 2 seed. ”I don’t take Wimbledon, like playing on grass, like a really important thing,” says the dour Chilean, seeded No. 2, after losing to No. 36-ranked Francisco Clavet of Spain 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. ”Tennis, when you see it on grass, it’s not tennis. It’s not a surface to watch or play tennis on; it’s really boring. You just serve, return, go in, that’s it.”  Rios does not return to the All-England Club, never playing the event again after competing for three years – 1995, 1997 and 1998 – with a round of 16 showing in 1997 being his best result.

2003 – Lleyton Hewitt becomes only the second defending men’s singles champion at Wimbledon to lose in the first round as six-foot-10 Croatian qualifier Ivo Karlovic dismisses Hewitt 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4 at The Championships. Hewitt joins 1966 Wimbledon champion Manuel Santana, defeated in the first round of Wimbledon in 1967 by Charlie Pasarell, as the only defending champions to be dismissed in the first round.

2004 – Forty-seven-year-old nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova, in a cameo singles appearance at Wimbledon for the first time since 1994, loses her final singles match at the All England Club on Court No. 3, losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round to 19-year-old Gisela Dulko of Argentina, the same player who ends Navratilova’s French Open singles cameo four weeks earlier. Says Dulko, “This is the most special win of my career.”

1983 – Kathy Jordan upsets Chris Evert Lloyd 6-1, 7-6 (2) in the third round of Wimbledon, marking Evert Lloyd’s first-ever loss before the semifinals at a major event. Evert Lloyd’s semifinal streak, which dates back to her 1971 U.S. Open debut as a 16-year-old, is stopped at 34 consecutive major semifinals. “I’m disappointed,” says Evert Lloyd. “In the past when opponents have been in a winning position against me, they’re usually intimidated. Kathy wasn’t. When I lose a set, it warms me up and gets me started. But at 3-0 in the tie-breaker, I knew, the way she was playing, I was not going to win.”

2004 – Chair umpire Ted Watts performs one of the biggest mistakes in Wimbledon history, famously awarding Croatia’s Karolina Sprem an extra point in a second-set tie-break in her second-round Centre Court upset win over Venus Williams. Sprem leads Williams 2-1 in a second-set tie-break and wins the next point to lead 3-1, but Watts announces the score as 4-1. The mistake escapes both players and neither player protests the incorrect score. Sprem holds to win the tie-break 8-6 and wins the match 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6). Says a diplomatic Williams, “I don’t think one call makes a match.”

2002 – Pete Sampras wins what ultimately becomes his final match at Wimbledon, beating Britain’s Martin Lee 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the first round. Says Sampras of the match, also his final appearance on Centre Court at the All England Club, “It’s nice to play on Centre Court. Stepping out there felt like coming home again….It’s like Mecca out there.”

2006 – In a pre-Wimbledon press conference at the All-England Club, thirty-six-year–old Andre Agassi announces that the 2006 tournament will be his last Wimbledon and he will retire from competitive tennis at the 2006 U.S. Open. Says Agassi, “It’s been a long road this year for me, and for a lot of reasons. It’s great to be here. This Wimbledon will be my last, and the U.S. Open will be my last tournament.”

1996 – Andre Agassi, the No. 3 seed and a Wimbledon champion in 1992, is dismissed from the first round of The Championships by No. 281-ranked qualifier Doug Flach 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (6) on the famed “Graveyard” Court, Court No. 2. Says Agassi after the match, “This has nothing to do with Wimbledon. This is just, you know, I came out here and I was one of many guys trying to do well, and I didn’t.” Michael Chang, the No. 6 seed, joins Agassi on the sideline, also losing on the Graveyard Court, falling to Spain’s Albert Costa, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 6-4. No. 8 seed Jim Courier is also dismissed in the first round, struggling with a sore leg in his 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 loss to former junior doubles partner Jonathan Stark.

1977 – Twenty-two-year-old world No. 1 Chris Evert defeats 14-year-old Wimbledon rookie Tracy Austin 6-1, 6-1 in 49 minutes in the third round of Wimbledon.

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.”