fifth time

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.

Anna Kournikova in 3D, That’s Almost Real, Right? Right??

Earlier this year I wrote a post that confirmed the myth of Eastern European women. In that post I wrote that every Eastern European woman is actually goodlooking is not a myth; It’s a reality.I really actually tried to crack the myth Mythbusters style.

And I showed photos of Victoria Azarenka and Anna Chakvetadze and Dominika Cibulkova. Photos of FHM. I was brutally corrected by Tom that it was the photoshoot for FHM and not Smash Magazine.

To further confirm this myth, Maxim magazine comes with a photoshoot of the poster girl of the myth; Anna Kournikova.  Anna Kournikova was once the most downloaded woman in the world.  Whenever you watched Wimbledon coverage on TV and they showed an Anna Kournikova match; The stadium was sold out whether she played on Centre Court or Court 20! And it wasn’t just the boys she attracted, having been a longstanding member of the official Kournikova website forum I can confirm that lots of girls were into her as well.

Anna features on the cover of Maxim magazine for the fifth time already.  And what’s great about this part is that it has got 3D photos of Anna Kournikova. That’s almost  as if she’s standing live in my room eh?

In the interview with Maxim, Anna talks about her dual citizenship having become an American recently:

“You know, I’ve always considered myself half Russian and half American. It never seemed to really matter if I had a passport or not. But when I started working with the USO and the troops overseas, it just seemed the logical next step…”

On her lovelife she said the following:

“Single as in on paper? ‘Yes, but I’m in a relationship.”

If you want to read more then I suggest you visit the Maxim site to ‘read up’ on Anna Kournikova’s latest.

Thanks to the boys of Egotastic,  I have managed to find the video to go with the photoshoot. So that’s a nice extra add on. Enjoy the photos and take a vote in our poll after the photos and video.

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“NO MORE DJOKING ABOUT MY STRENGTH” BLASTS NOVAK

Serbian Novak Djokovic and the big Croat Ivan Ljubicic take to the court Wednesday once more to do battle in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open ATP Masters 1000 tournament at Indian Wells.

It is the fifth time the two will duel over the net and the second this year, Djokovic coming from a set down to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in Dubai.

In fact, Djokovic has won all four encounters between the two and that first set in Dubai is the only one the bald eagle of Croatia has managed to nip off his younger and more flexible opponent.

I watched match-up number three between these two, the first round of the 2009 US Open in New York. Sitting courtside in the blazing mid-afternoon heat I watched a man many were tipping as favorite dismantle his older foe without too much trouble in straight sets.

I had been talking the match up beforehand citing it as one of the potential big upsets of the early tournament matches. How disappointed I was when play came to fruition. Not so much with Djokovic. His tantalizing service game was too much for a man who often uses that weapon himself. But on this occasion Ljubicic’s serve was abandoning him and nearly every drive and volley was dropping an inch too long.

But it was the controversy with which the match finished that struck me most. With Ljubicic serving at 3-4 a ball dropped questionably close to the outside tramline to hand Djokovic a break and the chance to serve for the match at 5-3. Ljubicic challenged and we all sat with baited breath awaiting the all-seeing Hawkeye’s decision.

And waited.

And waited.

Hawkeye was asleep. So the players took up their positions once more to replay the point. “Game Djokovic,” came the booming voice of the umpire over the tannoy. Djokovic wasn’t going to argue and trotted to his seat. But Ljubicic was seething and launched in to an angry protest which lasted a good few minutes.

After the Croat was finally pacified play resumed and Djokovic served out the match.

Interestingly, I noticed that for the rest of the tournament the message “In the event of Hawkeye failing the official’s call will stand” was emblazoned on the big screens during breaks in play. I’m not surprised after that drama.

At 30, time is getting on for Ljubicic and his quest for a Grand Slam is coming to an end. His semi final placing at the 2006 French Open remains his best result and based on his much younger opponents these days I will put my money on it staying that way too.

Djokovic, however, is still desperately trying to add to his 2008 Aussie Open crown. At 22 he is still very young and with time and improvements on minor aspects of his game he will surely do so.

That victory over Ljubicic last autumn was a welcome one for the 6 ft. 2 in. Serb. Having received criticism for his perceived feigning of injury, too many early retirements from matches and a lack of respect shown for opponents through his jibes and impressions on court, he won over a lot of fans with his new more serious on-court demeanour.

“I’m in the transition,” Djokovic had said earlier that year. “It’s not easy because I’m very emotional. Some things really hurt me, and maybe I express myself a little bit too much – people didn’t get used to that. But at the end of the day, you sit and think to yourself, ‘I’ve reacted the way I felt that’s right.’ Maybe it’s wrong, but you learn from your mistakes. That’s why life is testing us all the time.”

It seems the media and crowds may be warming to him again somewhat. And for a player who obviously takes so much to heart that can only help him take his game back to the level which led him to that first Slam two years ago.

If he keeps this run over Ljubicic going then it will be the winner of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/Juan Monaco in the quarters before a possible semi final against Rafa Nadal.

It’s tough going in modern tennis and only the headstrong survive. Only Novak knows if he has the mental stability to march onwards and upwards and that semi final could see a battle of two men that some corners of the media are already beginning to slate as finished despite their tender ages.