french open doubles

THE ANA/JELENA FEUD, AMERICANS, MURRAY LOOKING AHEAD TO GRASS: TENNIS PEOPLE

* The Ana Ivanovic-Jelena Jankovic feud seems to have resurfaced following their encounter at Roland Garros. Following their second-round match at the Madrid Masters last month Jankovic appeared to mock Ivanovic’s famed fist-pump celebration which her Serbian Fed-Cup teammate took umbrage to. When questioned about it this week Ivanovic said: “You know what they say: ‘Sport doesn’t build character. It shows it’.” Jankovic, however, still stands by her action: “Every player has their way of motivating themselves and pumping themselves up,” Jankovic said at her press conference. “But I don’t think it’s nice to put the fist in their face. If I win a point or something, I don’t go like that in your face,” she added whilst holding up her fists to the media.  You can view the video of Jelena Jankovic mocking Ana Ivanovic’ fist pump here:

* Some updates from the large tennis presence on Twitter. Justin Gimelstob is predicting a big grass-court season for Americans following the performances of some of their lower ranked players in France. Kim Clijsters has announced she is back in training, albeit with her foot strapped up, while Brit pair Ken Skupski and Colin Fleming stated that: “our love for tennis could not be larger but we’re hurting bad” after their defeat in the French Open doubles.

*According to an ESPN.com poll, 77 per cent of viewers would not buy the controversial lace dress sported by Venus Williams at this year’s French Open.

* With the British media already (harshly) dissecting Andy Murray’s defeat to Tomas Berdych at Roland Garros, the big names in tennis have been offering their views on his fourth-round defeat. Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey still believes Murray will be a strong contender for this year’s Wimbledon despite recent performances. “Wimbledon presents a great opportunity, potentially his best, to win it,” he told BBC Sport. “I expect him to at least be in the semis. Once you get through to the semis, it’s game on for everyone. On reflection, the conditions didn’t help him too much against Berdych. You’ve got to give a lot of credit for the way Berdych went after the match and executed his shots. Andy puts a lot of pressure in his opponents’ minds because of his speed at the back of the court and he has a tendency to over-hit. But you could see Berdych had the power to get through the court and he served great. He had some big moments, and Andy just lacked a bit of fire.” Three-time French Open winner Mats Wilander, analyzing for Eurosport, also commented that “Murray’s attitude was his main problem,” before adding: “the most aggressive player wins the French Open.” Former Brit star Greg Rusedski looked to other reasons on his Twitter account: “I guess Murray ran out of gas,” he said. “Berdych was sensational and took it on.”

* Andy Murray and Andy Roddick have both spoken of their pleasure at the grass season almost being upon us. Speaking ahead of next week’s AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club, Murray said: “It’s obviously a great tournament, it’s got great history and to have won last year was awesome. I’ll just go back there and try and win again this year and give it my best shot.” Roddick gave us the low-down on why he loves playing on the grass: “I feel like my game automatically translates well to that surface,” he said in a press conference. “My chip stays down, my backhand goes through the court a little bit, obviously my serve gets a little bit better. My returns don’t get any worse on grass, and some people’s do. They take big swings and have to step back to hit it. That’s a real problem. But I don’t really do that too much, so, it’s just maybe a more comfortable feeling. With that comes a sense of confidence.”

* Further news for fans of grass tennis, this time looking ahead to Wimby. Fernando Gonzalez has unfortunately been forced to retire with tendinitis in his left knee while former finalist David Nalbandian has said he is “training double” in an attempt to make this year’s tournament. The mixed doubles is shaping up to be a goodun. Kim Clijsters has announced she will be doubling up with compatriot Xavier Malisse, while Britons Jamie Murray (former winner) and Laura Robson are also set to compete.

* Justine Henin’s defeat to Sam Stosur in the French Open fourth round was her first defeat at Roland Garros in six years (although she hasn’t played at the event since 2007). It ended a fantastic sequence of 24 matches unbeaten on the Paris clay.

* Rafa Nadal’s French Open fourth-round victory over Thomaz Bellucci was his 200th win on clay during his career. Roger Federer’s third-round win over German surprise package Julian Reister was his 700th tour-level win. He is only the tenth player in the Open Era to achieve this feat.

* Following the ending of his rotten run against Federer at Roland Garros, Bjorn Borg is predicting that compatriot Robin Soderling will soon reach the No. 1 slot in the world. Borg told Swedish newspaper Expressen that his rise will happen “sooner than we expect” on Wednesday.

* Nikolay Davydenko hopes to end his injury hiatus by playing Halle’s grass-court event next week. The diminutive Russian has been missing since Miami with a fractured wrist but he said in a pre-tournament press conference: “I’ve never trained as much as now and before when I’ve taken long breaks, I’ve always come back playing better.”

* By beating Liezel Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the French Open women’s doubles semifinal the Williams sisters will realise their dream of reaching the top of the doubles rankings next week.

* British tennis prodigy Laura Robson upset a few of her peers by allegedly calling them “sluts” who “make a bad name for themselves by dating so many men.” The 16-year-old 2008 Wimbledon Junior Champion admits she prefers a quiet night in to a wild night on the town but allegedly claimed her rivals often don’t. “Some of the tennis girls, they’re sluts. They go with every guy and make such a bad name for themselves – and you don’t want to be known for stuff like that. You want to be more discreet.” She continued, in a report printed in a host of British newspapers, “My coach knows I’m sensible. I don’t like the taste of alcohol and I hate smoke. Some go to nightclubs, but I’m not interested. Yes there are moments when you speak to your old friends, and they’re all going out to parties every weekend, and I’m stuck in Paris boring my brains out.” But she did admit to loving life at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris where she lives and trains: “It’s so much fun (here). We all know each other so well. I’m known as the Gossip Queen, but I’m careful never to repeat a word.” However, on Sunday she responded on her Twitter account by saying: “shame some quotes were taken out of context today.”

* Former world No. 4 Sebastien Grosjean has announced his retirement this week at Roland Garros. The Frenchman has only played eight tour-level events after undergoing shoulder surgery in December 2008 and in a press conference he said: “My body is in such a condition that I don’t think I can continue.” He had hoped to make his farewell in the men’s doubles event in Paris but his partner Richard Gasquet, rather fittingly, was forced to withdraw with a back injury. In a double blow for the hosts, 28-year-old Camille Pin also announced her retirement from the sport after 12 years on the tour. “It’s a very special day for me, because it’s such a tough decision,” she said. “But I’m so happy, because when I think of the 12 years I was on the Tour, I had such a great time. It was my passion to travel and be an athlete, and my tennis career enabled me to have both. For sure I’m going to miss it, but I have no regrets.”

* The bad news is coming thick and fast for French tennis fans. The hip injury which forced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga out of his fourth-round French Open match with Mikhail Youzhny could rule him out of the 2010 grass-court season. Scans have confirmed a muscle lesion around his hip which could pose real problems for the former Aussie Open finalist.

* Matriarch of the Austin tennis family, Jeanne Austin, has died aged 84 of heart failure following a long battle with illness. Two-time US Open winner Tracy Austin was the most successful of her two daughters and two sons who all played professionally at some point.

* Liezel Huber has announced that Lindsay Davenport will return to the pro women’s tour as her doubles partner for this year’s events at Stanford and San Diego. Davenport is also considering Cincinnati but is not interested in contesting the US Open, Huber told Roland Garros radio. Huber also blamed the breakup with long-time partner Cara Black on the Zimbabwean. She claimed Black became too nervous during the big matches, among other problems, which began at last year’s US Open following their defeat to the Williams sisters. After further breakdowns in the relationship the pair parted ways at Miami and despite admitting they may return together one day Huber says Black now does not speak to her.

* Sabine Lisicki is delighted to announce her new website, sabinelisicki.com, has gone online following her new partnership with WebWeisend. The site will keep fans updated on her every move.

THE A-Z GUIDE TO JEWISH GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS

By David Goodman

It was 1998 and I was working for USTA/Eastern as their executive director. Former Eastern junior Justin Gimelstob, a Jewish fella like me, had just won his second straight Grand Slam mixed doubles title with Venus Williams. I said to myself, “Self, how many other Jews have won Grand Slam titles?”

I had to know.

The first players to make my list were fairly easy. Dick Savitt won the 1951 Wimbledon singles title. Ilana Kloss, who I knew as CEO of World TeamTennis, won the 1976 doubles title with Linky Boshoff (the only Linky to ever win a Grand Slam title). Angela Buxton won the 1956 French and Wimbledon doubles titles with the great Althea Gibson. That’s right, an African American and a Jew, playing together because no one else wanted them as partners. “Leben ahf dein kop!” my grandmother would say (“well done!”).

After a little digging, I learned that 1980 Australian Open champion Brian Teacher enjoys lox on his bagels, 1983 French Open mixed doubles champ Eliot Teltscher (with Barbara Jordan) is no stranger to a yarmulke, and two-time doubles champ Jim Grabb (’89 French Open with Richey Reneberg and ’92 U.S. Open with Patrick McEnroe) doesn’t sweat, he shvitzes.

Dr. Paul Roetert, then the head of sport science at the USTA, heard about my budding kosher list and told me that his fellow Dutchman Tom Okker, winner of the 1973 French Open doubles title with John Newcombe and the 1976 U.S. Open doubles title with Marty Riessen, was Jewish. In fact, I later learned that Tom often had troubles against Romanian Ilie Nastase, who would whisper anti-Semitic remarks when passing by on changeovers. That shmeggegie sure had chutzpah.

Back in ’98 I looked up past winners of Grand Slam events and came by Brian Gottfried, who I had met once or twice in his role as ATP President. He’s gotta be Jewish, I thought. His name is Gottfried, for crying out loud. So I called him. I left what had to be one of the strangest messages he’s ever received. I actually asked him what he likes to do when the Jewish high holidays come around. To Brian’s credit, he called back and told me he enjoys spending the holidays with his family and typically goes to the synagogue. Bingo! Another one down.

I honestly don’t remember when Vic Seixas came to my attention, but no matter, I had missed the greatest Jewish tennis player of all time, not to mention one of the greatest mixed doubles players ever. The Philadelphia native won eight mixed doubles titles (seven with Doris Hart), five doubles titles (four with Tony Trabert), as well as singles championships at Wimbledon in 1953 and Forest Hills in 1954. Vic still shleps from his home in California to attend various tennis events around the country. If you see him, give my best to the lovely and talented alter kocker!

So, for the time being my list was done. Until recently. Something told me to dust off the list (or clean the spots off my monitor) and see if any of My People had triumphed in recent years. And lo and behold, the land of milk and honey, the Jewish state itself, the only country in the Middle East without oil, came through. Meet Israelis Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.

Erlich and Ram won the 2008 Australian Open doubles title, and Ram also has the ’06 Wimbledon mixed (with Vera Zvonareva) and ’07 French Open mixed (with Nathalie Dechy) doubles titles on his shelf. But don’t worry, Shlomo Glickstein, in my mind you’re still the pride of Israeli sports. (In fact, in 1985 Shlomo was one French Open doubles win from making the list himself.)

So that was all, I thought. There were names on the Grand Slam winners lists that sounded good to me. American Bob Falkenburg, Czech Jiri Javorsky and American Marion Zinderstein (Zinderstein? She’s gotta be Jewish!), but I just can’t prove their Hebrewness.

Miriam Hall sounded Jewish, I thought, so I googled her, just as I did the others. There was nothing on the Internet to lead me to believe she was a member of The Tribe, but I did find her 1914 book, Tennis For Girls. Perhaps I’ll get it for my daughters, who will learn that “the use of the round garter is worse than foolish – it is often dangerous, leading to the formation of varicose veins.” Better yet, Miss Hall advised that “… the skirt should be wide enough to permit a broad lunge…”

On second thought, perhaps my kids aren’t old enough for such a detailed how-to book.

Alas, my search brought me to Hungarian Zsuzsa (Suzy) Kormoczy, winner of the 1958 French singles championships. I had found the athlete the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame calls the first and only Jewish woman to win a Grand Slam singles event.

Enter controversy. According to Morris Weiner (pronounced Weener), who wrote an article called “Jews in Sports” in the August 23, 1937 edition of The Jewish Record, Helen Jacobs’ father was Jewish. You know Helen. She owns nine Grand Slam titles, five of which are singles championships (1932-1935 U.S. Championships and 1936 Wimbledon). And while any Rabbi worth his or her tallis would probably argue that the mom had to be Jewish for it to count, I’m with Morris Weiner. Call me a holiday Jew, but Helen is on my list. Besides, according to The Jewish Record’s Weiner (there, I said it), Helen was the first woman to popularize man-tailored shorts as on-court attire. And her 1997 obituary says she is one of only five women to achieve the rank of Commander in the Navy. Happy Hanukkah, Commander Helen.

So, by my count there are 14 Jewish Grand Slam champions who have won a combined 44 Grand Slam titles. And perhaps there are more. Alfred Codman (1900 U.S. Singles Championships)? Helen Chapman (1903 U.S. Singles Championships)? Marion Zinderstein has to be Jewish, don’t you think? The work of a Jewish Grand Slam tennis historian never ends.

Oy vey.

David Goodman has worked in the tennis industry for 20 years. He was executive director of USTA/Eastern, Inc., co-founder and CEO of The Tennis Network, executive director of Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education, and Vice President of Communications at Advanta Corp. He has been a World TeamTennis announcer since 2002, and is on the USTA Middle States Board of Directors. If he enters the US Open qualifying tournament in New Jersey later this month, he figures he’ll have to win about 20 matches in order to become the 15th Jewish Grand Slam champion.

Jewish Grand Slam Tournament Winners

Buxton, Angela                         1956 French Championships Women’s Doubles (Althea Gibson)

1956 Wimbledon Women’s Doubles (Althea Gibson)

Erlich, Jonathan                                    2008 Australian Open Men’s Doubles (Andy Ram)

Gimelstob, Justin                      1998 Australian Open Mixed Doubles (Venus Williams)

1998 French Open Mixed Doubles (Venus Williams)

Gottfried, Brian                         1975 French Open Men’s Doubles (Raul Ramirez)

1976 Wimbledon Men’s Doubles (Raul Ramirez)

1977 French Open Men’s Doubles (Raul Ramirez)

Grabb, Jim                                1989 French Open Men’s Doubles (Richey Reneberg)

1992 U.S. Open Men’s Doubles (Patrick McEnroe)

Jacobs, Helen                           1932 U.S. Women’s Singles Championships

1932 U.S. Women’s Doubles Championships (Sarah Palfrey Cooke)

1933 U.S. Women’s Singles Championships

1934 U.S. Women’s Singles Championships

1934 U.S. Women’s Doubles Championships (Sarah Palfrey Cooke)

1934 U.S. Mixed Championships (George M. Lott, Jr.)

1935 U.S. Women’s Singles Championships

1935 U.S. Women’s Doubles Championships (Sarah Palfrey Cooke)

1936 Wimbledon Women’s Singles

Kloss, Ilana                               1976 U.S. Open Women’s Doubles (Linky Boshoff)

Kormoczy, Suzy                        1958 French Singles Championships

Okker, Tom                               1973 French Open Men’s Doubles (John Newcombe)

1976 U.S. Open Men’s Doubles (Marty Riessen)

Ram, Andy                                2006 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (Vera Zvonareva)

2007 French Open Mixed Doubles (Nathalie Dechy)

2008 Australian Open Men’s Doubles (Jonathan Erlich)

Savitt, Dick                               1951 Wimbledon Men’s Singles

Seixas, Vic                               1952 U.S. Championships Men’s Doubles (Mervyn Rose)

1953 Wimbledon Men’s Singles

1953 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (Doris Hart)

1953 French Championships Mixed Doubles (Doris Hart)

1953 U.S. Championships Mixed Doubes (Doris Hart)

1954 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (Doris Hart)

1954 U.S. Men’s Championships

1954 U.S. Championships Men’s Doubles (Tony Trabert)

1954 U.S. Championships Mixed Doubles (Doris Hart)

1954 French Championships Men’s Doubles (Tony Trabert)

1955 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (Doris Hart)

1955 Australian Championships Men’s Doubles (Tony Trabert)

1955 French Championships Men’s Doubles (Tony Trabert)

1955 U.S. Championships Mixed Doubles (Doris Hart)

1956 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (Shirley Fry)

Teacher, Brian                           1980 Australian Open Singles

Teltscher, Eliot                          1983 French Open Mixed Doubles (Barbara Jordan)

Mary Joe Fernandez leads Team King to 21-17 win over Team Cash at US Open Champions Invitational

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 10, 2009 — Mary Joe Fernandez is used to juggling a number of tasks at once. Mom. TV announcer. U.S. Fed Cup captain. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in between her television commitments on Thursday, she was able to squeeze in leading Team King to a 21-17 victory over Team Cash at the US Open Champions Invitational at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Fernandez won her singles and doubles matches to help Team King outduel Team Cash and even their team record to 1-1 after losing their opening match to Team Lendl on Wednesday. Fernandez is one of the former Grand Slam champions and finalists who are competing in the event which uses the co-ed team World TeamTennis format.

In the opening set of mixed doubles, it was Gigi Fernandez and Stan Smith who raced to a 5-3 mixed doubles victory over a pair of former US Open champions, Hana Mandlikova and Ilie Nastase.

Fernandez put Team King solidly in the lead after the second event, topping 1997 French Open singles champion Iva Majoli, 5-2. Fernandez said the win wasn’t as easy as the score might indicate. “This is harder than being in the booth with John and Patrick”, she quipped, referring to her full-time television work on ESPN with the brothers McEnroe at the US Open.

Todd Martin, the 1999 US Open runner-up, wasted no time putting Team Cash back into contention with a dominating 5-1 win over Luke Jensen in men’s singles. Jensen opened the set confidently, serving both left-handed and right-handed to win the first game. Martin then took control, running the former French Open doubles champ all over the court with precise shot-making – highlighted by a drop shot winner from the baseline — before closing out the 5-1 win to bring Team Cash within one game, 11-10.

Fernandez and Fernandez (no relation) added to their team’s tally with a 5-3 win over Majoli and Mandlikova in women’s doubles. The duo, who paired up to win gold medals in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, gave Team King a three-game lead heading into men’s doubles.

Coach Pat Cash tried to mix it up a bit in the final event, substituting himself for Nastase at 1-1 in men’s doubles. WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss, filling in for team coach Billie Jean King, matched Cash’s move by sending in doubles great Rick Leach to replace Smith. Martin entertained the crowd by serving at his opponent Luke Jensen who was at the net and not in the receivers’ position. Jensen played along and dramatically dropped to the court, a nod to the well-documented World TeamTennis dustup this summer involving Robert Kendrick and John McEnroe of the New York Sportimes and Leander Paes of the Washington Kastles. Unlike the WTT Pro League incident, no fines were handed out and play resumed. Team King looked to be rolling to an easy win until Team Cash held off a match point at 4-2 and then tied the set at 4-4. Jensen and Leach held on for the 5-4 win, giving Team King an overall 21-17 victory.

Team King finishes the tournament with a 1-1 record. The 2009 US Open Champions Invitational concludes on Saturday, Sept. 12, with the final round of competition. Team Cash (0-1) takes on Team Lendl (1-0) at 11 a.m. on Court No. 4.

US OPEN CHAMPIONS INVITATIONAL RESULTS –

Team King def. Team Cash 21-17

TEAM KING: Mary Joe Fernandez, Gigi Fernandez, Stan Smith, Rick Leach and Luke Jensen.

Coach: Ilana Kloss (filling in for Billie Jean King)

TEAM CASH: Iva Majoli, Hana Mandlikova, Ilie Nastase and Todd Martin.

Coach: Pat Cash

RESULTS:

Mixed Doubles: Gigi Fernandez/Stan Smith (Team King) def. Hana Mandlikova/Ilie Nastase (Team Cash) 5-3

Women’s Singles: Mary Joe Fernandez (Team King) def. Iva Majoli (Team Cash) 5-2

Men’s Singles: Todd Martin (Team Cash) def. Luke Jensen (Team King) 5-1

Women’s Doubles: Gigi Fernandez/Mary Joe Fernandez (Team King) def. Iva Majoli/Hana Mandlikova (Team Cash) 5-3

Men’s Doubles: Luke Jensen/Rick Leach (Team King) def. Todd Martin/Pat Cash (Team Cash) 5-4

SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY, SEPT. 12

11 am – Court 4 (subject to change)

Team Cash (0-1) vs. Team Lendl (1-0)

TEAM LENDL: Tracy Austin, Conchita Martinez, Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Arias.

Coach: Ivan Lendl

TEAM CASH: Iva Majoli, Hana Mandlikova, Ilie Nastase and Todd Martin.

Coach: Pat Cash

Check www.USOpen.org for more details on the US Open Champions Invitational.