*French Davis Cup captain Guy Forget was full of praise for his players following their shock win over Spain in the Davis Cup quaterfinals last weekend. Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau defeated Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez in the doubles rubber to give France an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie. The win is the country’s first victory over Spain since 1923. “It’s magical,” he told France 3 television. “They pulled for each other. I hope it’s just the start of a long story for that squad. They were just great and I hope they will play with the same faith in September.” You can see the full interview and Davis Cup roundup at the BBC Tennis website.
*The 2010 Induction Ceremony took place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum during the finals weekend of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and inductees Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, the notorious ‘Woodies,’ have been speaking of their delight at the honour of entering the prestigious Hall of Fame. “This is an amazing day for the Woodies,” said Woodforde, during the rain-swept ceremony. “I don’t know if any of us said we’re just going to be doubles players. We just excelled on the doubles court a little more than we did on the singles. As much as we would have loved to win more in the singles titles, we did in doubles.” The pair amassed an incredible 11 major doubles Championships and 61 doubles titles in all, a record only equaled by the Bryan brothers recently, with a lifetime record of 508-137. “I think we won our fourth tournament we played together,” added Woodbridge. “It was close on average to every fourth tournament we won the next 10 years. That’s pretty good business. I figured if I could team up with Mark we’d do well together. We did better than well, we did bloody great.”
*On the women’s side of the game, the legendary doubles team of Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva were also inducted this weekend. They won 14 doubles Grand Slams together and ended up the year’s best team on four occasions (1993-95, 1997). “I don’t think as an athlete you ever make that a goal, it just sort of happens,” beamed Fernandez. “It’s a proud moment for me and my family and it’s also a proud moment for 4 million Puerto Ricans that are proud to have Puerto Rico represented in the Tennis Hall of Fame.”
*There is little movement in the Top 50 this week in the South African Airways ATP World Rankings but Mardy Fish’s first grass tournament win in Newport has seen him leap 30 places to No. 49 in the world. Recent good performances for The Czech Jan Hajek (11 places, No. 83), Argentine Brian Dabul (14, No. 91) and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain (16, No. 94) have seen them all rise considerably. Britain’s Richard Bloomfield jumped 260 spots to No. 292 in the world following his Newport finals appearance.
*In the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings Venus Williams reclaims the No. 3 slot from Caroline Wozniacki while Arevane Rezai enters the Top 20 following her win in Bastad last week. Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja jumps from No. 52 to No. 46 and Simona Halep (Romania, No. 96) and Pauline Parmentier (France, No. 97) enter the Top 100.
*Serena Williams is set to miss the entire World Team Tennis season with a foot injury, reports the Washington Post. She was meant to team up with sister Venus for the Washington Kastles this year but the injury has put paid to those plans. “I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to play in the WTT matches this season,” Williams said in an official statement. “It is always such a fun experience and I love interacting with the fans in the cities that I don’t often have the opportunity to play in during the rest of the year.”
*Briton Richard Bloomfield is the latest pro to blast the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) following his incredible run to the semifinals of last week’s Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, RI. The 27-year-old has jumped 260 places to 292 in the world and was quick to criticise Britain’s governing body for their lack of support afterwards. “I think it needs a real shake-up,” he said before revealing the only contact he’d had from the LTA following his run was from current Davis Cup captain Leon Smith. “I got a text off Leon and that was about it. Leon is Davis Cup captain so he’s obliged to do stuff like that.” He also went on to slam the current funding policy from the LTA: “They keep on changing it,” he said. “Just have a good solid system where everybody knows if you win this tournament you get a certain amount, if you don’t then you don’t get anything. Then you know where you stand, whereas at the moment it’s a little bit up and down what you get.”
*British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith praised the spirit of his young team after their 5-0 whitewash of Turkey saved them from relegation to the bottom tier of Davis Cup play. He was also quick to reinforce the point that world No. 4 Andy Murray was welcome to return to Davis Cup play whenever he so wishes. “When he wants to come back of course we’ll love that because he’s one of the world’s best players and any team would love to have Andy Murray in it,” he said. “We’re all friends with [him], we’ve all got close relationships with him, and that positivity is something that we enjoy.”
*Czech female star Iveta Benesova spoke of her relief following her first win in two months in her home tournament the ECM Prague Open this week. The No. 68 in the world was not long ago her country’s leading lady but since winning her second WTA title at Fes in May she has won only two matches. “I am happy to win like this,” said Benesova. “It wasn’t a simple match, I really had to fight. I know I have talent but I need to work harder. I want to be ranked in the 20s again.” You can see how the rest of the Czech hopefuls got on at the WTA site.
*French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that Richard Gasquet will return from his current back/rib injury at Gstaad in two weeks’ time.
*Sweden may continue their trend of bringing former stars out of retirement for Davis Cup play if current injuries and losses of form continue. This time Thomas Johansson is the former player talking of a cameo. “It’s tempting, but I don’t know if my body can go five sets,” he said. “[But I am] training hard.”
*Spaniard Rafa Nadal was left in floods of tears following his country’s victory over The Netherlands in Sunday’s FIFA World Cup Final and even led the celebrations alongside the Spanish team and the Spanish Royal Family on the team’s return to Madrid. Nadal had been at the match in South Africa and in the changing room after the game even took his trademark “bite” out of the golden trophy. “I cried like a baby,” he told Spanish newspaper Marca. “We have to celebrate for a whole year, because this is unbelievable. It is very difficult to repeat this.”
All we have been hearing over recent months is negativity surrounding British tennis.
Tales of rotten apples in the barrel, failed youngsters, squandered millions and a country lost in a downward spiral of tennis faux pas which shows no signs of halting but for the increasingly confident performances of lone star Andy Murray.
Yet this week at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, a name nobody but the staunchest statisticians of British tennis will have been following is making a name for himself in the heat and humidity of east-coast America.
Current world No. 557 Richard Bloomfield will today (Friday) face young American Ryan Harrison in the last quarterfinal with the opportunity to face either American number 5 seed Mardy Fish (remember him from Queens?) or the Canadian Frank Dancevic in the semifinals.
Hang on, a Brit in the semifinals of a tournament other than Andy Murray? Continual sob-story Alex Bogdanovic failed to reach even the main draw here, going down in the final round of qualifying. So just who is this guy?
Richard Bloomfield was born April 27, 1983 in the small village of Alpington, just outside the beautiful Norfolk city of Norwich. He won the British Junior Tennis Championships in 2001, defeating that man Bogdanovic in the final, and picked up the equivalent title in doubles with Ken Skupski, now one half of the promising Flemski partnership alongside Colin Fleming.
He began playing on the senior tour that year and his first full ATP Tournament was the 2003 Wimbledon Championships where he gained a wildcard before losing to Anthony Dupuis in the first round.
In 2006 he reached round two of Wimbledon with a win over Carlos Berlocq which was investigated by authorities over strange betting patterns but no wrong-doing was ever discovered. That year he also reached the semifinals of the ATP Challenger Event at Rennes where he lost to rising French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
2007 saw him reach his first ATP Challenger final in Wrexham, Wales, where he lost to Michal Prysiezny which saw him rise to a career-high 176 in the South African Airways ATP World Rankings. He then partnered Jonathan Marray to the third round of the 2007 Wimbledon doubles Championships.
His ranking fell considerably over the next couple of years until he qualified for the 2009 Open 13 where he agonisingly lost 6-7, 6-7 to the Italian Simon Bolelli in the first round. Back injuries hampered him and his ranking fell further but then he surprisingly qualified for this year’s Hall of Fame Championships where he is beginning to make a name for himself again.
In reaching the quaterfinals he has recorded his first wins on the ATP Tour since that 2006 Wimbledon Championships and at 27 this will be a welcome boost for a man whose confidence must have been looking at rock bottom.
And hasn’t he done well. He is yet to drop a set. A 7-6 (1), 6-1 first-round win over Belgian Christophe Rochus, brother of Olivier, set up a second-round clash with second seed and world No. 56 Santiago Giraldo which nobody would have expected him to come out of. But this might just be his week. He won 6-3, 7-6 (5) and now marches in to this quarterfinal with Harrison with a renewed vigour and swagger he won’t have been feeling for a long while.
It is high time we had something positive to shout about for Britain and it’s always great to see somebody who looked down and out have a moment in the sun (literally as the temperature gauges out there are showing). If he overcomes Harrison and then Fish/Dancevic then he will be in his first final since 2007, and his first ever on the full ATP Tour. There either Olivier Rochus will be looking to avenge the slaying of his brother Christophe or Argentine Brian Dabul will be looking to put his own name up in lights.
So march on Richard, your country is firmly behind you!
By Leigh Sanders
* Roger Federer has told BBC Sport he intends to play on after the 2012 Olympics despite recent rumors he was growing tired of the sport he has dominated for years. The 28-year-old world No. 1 also believes his best tennis is around the corner. “I don’t have a problem saying this is the second half of my career because I do have kids and a lot of things have changed around me,” he said. “People think I’m going to retire at the 2012 Olympics – which is not true. Even though you never know, it depends on your body. I would like to play beyond that so we’ll see how it goes.”
* A Romanian TV station is reporting that tennis Hall of Famer Ilie Nastase may quit the country in a bid to escape the press. The 63-year-old, two-time Slam winner is said to be fed up of the paparazzi invading his privacy, particularly during recent divorce proceedings with third wife Amalia Nastase. Realitatea TV believes he is ready to quit his homeland.
* Rafa Nadal’s straight-set victory over Roger Federer in Madrid makes him the all-time leader in Masters Tournament victories with 18, leaving Andre Agassi behind on 17. The Bryan brothers’ victory in the men’s doubles has them tied for the most ATP Tour doubles titles on 61 with Aussie 2010 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
* India’s Sania Mirza has said she will return to action at Birmingham, England, on June 9 following her three-month hiatus to marry Pakistani cricket star Shoaib Malik, according to her Twitter page.
* Jelena Jankovic’s third-round victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues in Madrid was her 400th career singles win.
* British No. 1 Andy Murray has declared himself confident ahead of the French Open and insists he has reversed the slump which has affected him since his Aussie Open final defeat to Roger Federer back in January. “I’ve got my intensity back, my mind’s where it needs to be,” Murray told BBC Sport. “Going into the French I’ll definitely feel way, way better than I did a few weeks ago.”
* Speaking via conference call for Tennis Channel Martina Navratilova has said she is “cancer free” following surgery six weeks ago. “I’m doing well,” she said. “I just started radiation last week.”
* This week’s ATP World Rankings (17/05) sees Rafa Nadal re-take the No. 2 slot from Novak Djokovic following his win in Madrid last week. Nicolas Almagro’s fine performance on the Spanish clay has seen him climb 13 spaces to the brink of the top 20, ranked No. 22. Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela has re-entered the top 50 at 48.
* In this week’s WTA World Rankings (17/05), the Williams sisters were dominating women’s tennis again as they occupied the top two slots for the first time in seven years. Serena still holds the no. 1 ranking while Venus has climbed to No. 2. Shahar Peer has re-entered the top 20 at No. 19 while Aravane Rezai’s stunning win over Venus in Madrid sees her jump eight places to 16. Anabel Medina Garrigues re-enters the top 50 at No. 49.
* Sporting brand Wilson have reported on their Facebook page that Juan Martin del Potro has been in Minnesota visiting Dr. Richard Berger with a view to swapping his plaster cast for a softer and lighter one which will enable him to step up his return to the game by starting rehab soon.
* American high school tennis hopeful Stefan Mangroo has been disqualified from a tournament for refusing to play on The Sabbath. The 17-year-old Franklin High School Junior and his partner Cody Buffenbarger were due to play the semifinals of the doubles at the Division II sectional tournament on Saturday May 15 but Mangroo refused to compete due to this being The Sabbath for Seventh-Day Adventists. “You have to stand up for what you believe,” said Mangroo.
By Maud Watson
The Back Saga Continues – Once again, Dinara Safina’s back has forced her to withdraw from a tournament. This time, it is the prestigious BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Safina has stated that her back is still causing her too much pain to even consider competing next week in California, and is now setting her sights on the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Safina is missing a golden opportunity to compete at Indian Wells, given that the field is already weakened by the absence of the Williams sisters, and it is dicey she’ll be able to compete in Miami. If Safina is forced to continually miss these large events, she may find herself hanging her racquet up much sooner than expected, which would be a loss for women’s tennis.
The Show Will Go On – Despite the devastating earthquake that hit Chile this past weekend, the Davis Cup tie between host nation Chile and Israel will still be contested this coming weekend, just a day later than planned as players and officials were understandably delayed in making the trip to the South American country. Israel is a nation that has obviously seen more than its share of turmoil over the past decades, but I must admit that I have my fingers crossed that the Chilean team is able to bring a bit a joy to their home country as sport can so often do for troubled nations.
Headed to the Hall – This past Monday, it was announced that the Woodies (Todd Woodbridge, Mark Woodforde), Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva, Owen Davidson, Brad Parks, and Derek Hardwick will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame later this summer. It’s nice to see some of the greatest doubles teams in history get some recognition, as well as Brad Parks, who will be the first wheelchair tennis player enshrined at Newport. Fernandez, Davidson, and Parks were on hand at Madison Square Garden Monday evening for the Billie Jean King Cup, where they were officially recognized and congratulated for their impending enshrinement. And in case you missed it, Venus Williams also defeated Kim Clijsters in three tight sets to take the exhibition title.
More Hip Woes – The latest player to fall victim to hip surgery is Germany’s Tommy Haas. Germany’s Bild reported that Haas could be out for as many as six months as he recovers from recent surgery to his right hip. At least Haas should be able to retain a protected ranking for when he does return, but one has to feel for him given that he enjoyed a resurgence in his career the latter half of 2009. Perhaps that resurgence will be what ultimately pushes him to bounce back from this latest setback.
Victory at Last – After being touted as one of the game’s next great talents before falling into an early slump, Ernests Gulbis finally won his maiden title this past week at Delray Beach. Gulbis took out big man Dr. Ivo Karlovic 6-2, 6-3 to become the first Latvian to notch up a tournament win on the ATP World Tour. The question will be if this victory is merely a flash in the pan or the sign of bigger and better things to come for the player with so much talent but who has thus far proved to be nothing more than a massive underachiever.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Roger Federer, Rod Laver and Tennis History are on sale as New Chapter Press recommends all four of its tennis titles as Holiday gifts for tennis fans.
The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection ($24.95, www.rogerfedererbook.com) was written by Rene Stauffer, the esteemed Swiss tennis journalist who has covered Federer since the budding tennis champion was a 15-year-old. The book chronicles Federer’s life as tempermental junior player, through his early struggles on the ATP Tour and his break-through win at Wimbledon in 2003 and his pursuit of Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major singles titles. The book also focuses on Federer’s values, how he has been marketed, his relationship with the media as well as his numerous charitable pursuits.
The Education of a Tennis Player ($19.95) is the newly-updated and re-released memoir of Rod Laver, co-written by Tennis Hall of Famer Bud Collins. The book is Laver’s first-hand account of his 1969 Grand Slam season, capped off by his 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over fellow Australian Tony Roche in the final of the U.S. Open on September 8. Laver also writes about his childhood and early days in tennis, his 1962 Grand Slam and offers tips on how players of all levels can improve their game. He also shares some of the strategies that helped him to unparalleled success on the tennis court. This book will be available in traditional book stores and internet retailers in the Spring, 2010, but is available immediately via www.TennisWarehouse.com, the International Tennis Hall of Fame (www.TennisFame.com) or directly via New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com or [email protected])
The Bud Collins History of Tennis ($35.95, 784 pages) is the ultimate compilation of historical tennis information written by Colllins, the world’s most famous tennis journalist and tennis historian. The book includes year-by-year recaps of every tennis season, biographical sketches of every major tennis personality, as well as stats, records, and championship rolls for all the major events. The author’s personal relationships with major tennis stars offer insights into the world of professional tennis found nowhere else.
On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, 528 pages), 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 written by Randy Walker. 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. For more information on this title, go to www.tennishistorybook.com.
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda, Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog by Susan Anson, The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle by Stewart Wolpin, People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook by Eric Rabinowitz and Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse by Jack McDermott, among others. More information on New Chapter Press can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Tuesday, September 8, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Rod Laver winning his historic second Grand Slam by defeating Tony Roche 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the 1969 U.S. Open. The final was played on a rain-soaked grass tennis court at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills in Queens, New York.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of this significant moment in tennis history, New Chapter Press has re-published Laver’s memoir THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER that details the 1969 tennis season as well as the life and times of the Australian tennis legend. Written with Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins, THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is now available in a limited capacity via tennis retailer TennisWarehouse (www.TennisWarehouse.com or [email protected]), directly from New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com or [email protected]) or at the U.S. Tennis Association Bookstore during the 2009 U.S. Open through September 13. The book will be available via traditional book retailers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia by early 2010. Special limited edition hard-cover editions of the book are available for $29.95, while paperback copies are for sale for $19.95.
Originally published in 1971, THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER was updated by Laver and Collins in 2009 with new content including his recovery from a near-fatal stroke in 1998. The memoir features descriptions of Laver’s most suspenseful matches and memorable portraits of his biggest rivals Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Tony Roche and Pancho Gonzalez. Writes Laver in the updated version of the book of the prospects of the next member of the Grand Slam club, “I wonder when another Grand Slammer will appear and join me. I look forward to it, and will welcome whoever it is just as Don Budge welcomed me in 1962. I was glad to see Steffi Graf as the latest in 1988. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal seem to have the best chance, along with Serena Williams. I wish them success.”
Of the 1969 U.S. Open final against Roche, Laver writes the following;
“The court was greasy, but somehow slow, which favored me because Tony’s slice didn’t take. Movement was tough, and this was a break for me because Tony decided not to put on spikes. He figured his strained thigh muscles would be jarred by the quick stops you make in spikes, possibly bringing on a cramp.
“That first set was one of the strangest I’ve ever played. I should have won it and deserved to lose it. I got what I deserved and Tony took it 9-7, just took it right away from me after I’d been serving for the set at 5-3. He did it with beautiful backhands. I was sloshing and slipping around, and a couple of times I had asked referee Mike Gibson for permission to put on my spiked shoes. I’d wanted to begin the match in them, but he’d refused. After that game, Mike said all right. It meant all the difference to me.
“Tony immediately won his serve in four points, but I felt surer on my feet and I knew I’d get going. Especially when I stopped him two points short of the set to keep even at 6-6. But I wasn’t so sure when I lost that first set anyway. I’d had a lot of luck during the year, and I wondered if it had run out at last. Although I’d worn spikes here and there throughout my career, the occasions were so rare during my professional days that they took some getting used to. You consciously changed your movements at first. Picked up your feet. No sliding. It was a new sensation until you were re-accustomed to them.
“The slight uncertainty of moving in spikes was gone for good in the first game of the second set when I came through with a big serve at the crucial point of the match. With the first set his, and the pressure on me, Tony got me down 30-40 on my serve. One more point and he’d be up a set and a break, a pretty good edge in that mush.
“We both knew this was a huge point. He took his time getting ready to return, and I did the same lining up—not overly so, maybe not even noticeable to the crowd, but we had to be right for this one. I was righter. I threw myself into the serve, and sliced it wide to his forehand. It didn’t come back. He barely touched it, and I could tell it pained him to miss the opportunity. You don’t get too many break-point chances on grass—and he didn’t have another.
“It wouldn’t be apparent for a while, but the match turned upside down right there. I won the game and began hitting harder and harder as I got surer of my footing. Then I won the next and the next—five straight. From that break-point chance in the first game, Tony managed to win only five of the last 23 games. He came all apart as I wrapped him up, 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Not even a rain delay of a half-hour at the beginning of the third set could rust my concentration or help him pull his together.
“Unlike 1962, I had control of myself all through the final match of the Grand Slam. I was never dazed as I had been against Emmo seven years before during a brief case of nerves down the stretch.
“Serving match game, I opened with an ace. I knew what I was about, and wasn’t going to let Tony breathe. It was 40-0 when I did try to end with a grand-slamming flourish on a forehand volley. I blew it. A minor disappointment not to be able to score with a put-away as I had on the championship point at Wimbledon.
“It fell to Tony to lose it with a forehand that he hit long. Both of us were glad it was over. Afraid to use spikes, he’d been victimized in sneakers, unable to counteract my better shots, including a number of very good lobs. It was one of my best days with the lob, always a useful shot, but even more damaging that day when running was tough.
“Not enough ordinary players realize the value of the lob, and I guess I didn’t until I became a seasoned pro. It’s much more than a desperation measure. As an amateur, even if the odds were against my making a shot, I’d usually let fly anyway. When I became a pro, I couldn’t risk throwing away points like that because the opposition was equal or better.
”This meant I had to be realistic. If my chances of making a shot from a difficult position were doubtful, I found you seldom get hurt with a lob.
“But there were no more lobs to be hit. Not one more stroke on a chase that began God knows how many strokes ago in Brisbane when I hit the first serve to a fellow I wouldn’t know if he walked into the room, Massimo di Domenico. The others I knew pretty well . . . Andres . . . Arthur . . Emmo . . . Tony . . . Newc . . . Dennis . . . Kenny . . . Okker . . . Smith.
“There were 1,005 games in 26 Grand Slam matches, and now it was all over.”
Laver captured 11 major singles titles during his career, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969. After joining Don Budge as the only man to win a Grand Slam by sweeping all four majors in 1962, Laver turned professional where he, along with fellow pros Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzalez, were banned from playing the “amateur-only” major tournaments. When the “Open Era” of tennis began in 1968, Laver netted another five major singles titles, including his Grand Slam sweep of all four in 1969. Laver won nearly 200 singles titles during his career and was inducted into the International Tennis of Fame in 1981.
“I am delighted that THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is back in circulation and available for a new generation of tennis fans,” said Laver. “Winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 1969 seems just like yesterday and this book brings back a lot of memories of the great matches and exciting times. I hope people enjoy reading my story.”
Collins, himself a 1994 inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, first met Laver in 1956 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston during the U.S. National Doubles Championships. Thirteen years later, the two collaborated on the book that was only to be published if Laver won the Grand Slam. Collins is best known for his colorful television commentary – and his colorful wardrobe – as well as his columns in the Boston Globe. Collins currently works as a commentator with ESPN2 and Tennis Channel.
“Rod Laver is one of the greatest treasures we have in tennis and THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is one of our sports most important literary works,” said Collins. “Rod was always so humble and gracious, but he could play tennis like a hurricane. He was as a great a champion as we have ever had in tennis and one of the all-time nicest guys.”
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS by Bud Collins, THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION by Rene Stauffer and BOYCOTT: STOLEN DREAMS OF THE 1980 MOSCOW OLYMPIC GAMES by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli among others. More information on New Chapter Press can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.
FLUSHING, N.Y., September 2, 2009 – The USTA announced today that actor Benjamin Bratt will host a tribute to former U.S. Championships winner Pancho Gonzalez on-court in Arthur Ashe Stadium during the Night Session on Saturday, September 5. The tribute will celebrate Gonzalez on the 60th anniversary of his second consecutive victory at the U.S. Championships, and members of the Gonzalez family as well as a number of former players and Hispanic community leaders will be in attendance.
Gonzalez, who taught himself how to play tennis at the age of 12, was considered one of the most talented tennis players of his generation and was a fan favorite on the professional tour throughout the 1950s and 60s. Early in his career, which spanned four decades, he won back-to-back titles at the U.S. Championships in Forest Hills, N.Y. at the ages of 20 and 21. He also won two matches to help the U.S. defeat Australia to capture the 1949 Davis Cup title. His passion and intensity led to an illustrious career as the world No. 1 for an unequaled eight years. As a 40-year-old in 1968, he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the quarterfinals of the inaugural US Open. The following year, Gonzalez played Charlie Pasarell at Wimbledon in a five-hour match that spanned two days and led to the advent of the tie-break. Gonzalez also became the oldest player to ever win a professional tournament when he won the Des Moines Open just shy of his 44th birthday. Gonzalez was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame while still an active player in 1968.
“The USTA is proud to celebrate the life and legacy of such a great champion as Pancho Gonzalez,” said Lucy Garvin, President and Chairman of the Board, USTA. “Pancho was a true pioneer in the sport of tennis and this tribute will shed light on the importance of Pancho Gonzalez to the game and its history.”
“Pancho Gonzalez was a trailblazer, not only in tennis, but across the greater American cultural landscape,” said Bratt. “He was a role model for a generation of Hispanic-Americans, and this tribute will rightly call attention to his important and lasting legacy. I’m proud to be a part of this celebration to honor a true legend.”
Members of the Gonzalez family will be in attendance, along with students from the Pancho Gonzalez TennisAcademy in Washington, D.C., one of whom will conduct the pre-match coin toss.
Hispanic dignitaries attending include:
- Benjamin Bratt, actor
- Lynda Baquero, NBC4 New York
- Dr. Jane Delgado, CEO, National Alliance for Hispanic Health
- Tim Garcia, judge, New Mexico
- Danny Haro, producer/director, 2006 Pancho Gonzalez Documentary
- Augustin Martinez, President, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Martha Montoya, President, Los Kitos Entertainment
- Charlie Pasarell, former tennis champion
- Bobby Perez, former tennis champion
- Tony Plana, actor
- John Quiñones, ABC Primetime
- Alfred Rascon, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
- Pancho Segura (“Little Pancho”), former tennis champion
- Jimmy Smits, actor
- Andrew Valdez, judge, Utah
- Eduardo Xol, TV personality
- Al Zapanta, CEO, U.S. – Mexico Chamber of Commerce
The 2009 US Open will mark the culmination of the Olympus US Open Series, the six-week summer tennis season linking all major ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments in North America to the US Open. The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. In 2008, Roger Federer won his fifth consecutive US Open title, defeating Andy Murray in the final. In the women’s singles final, Serena Williams defeated Jelena Jankovic to capture her third career US Open title.
The 2009 US Open will be held Monday, August 31, through Sunday, September 13. Tickets for the 2009 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at USOpen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.
NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2009 – The best brother and sister combinations in the history of tennis – Dinara Safina and Marat Safin of Russia and Nancy and Cliff Richey of San Angelo, Texas – are all in attendance at the 2009 U.S. Open. Safina begins play as the No. 1 seed in women’s singles Tuesday, the same day as Nancy Richey, a Hall of Famer and a U.S. Open singles finalist 40 years ago in 1969, returns to the U.S. Open for the first time in 15 years. Richey, who lost to Margaret Court in the 1969 U.S. Open women’s singles final, is attending the U.S. Open with her younger brother Cliff, a two-time Open semifinalist. Marat Safin will begin his final career major tournament Wednesday when he plays his first-round match against Jurgen Melzer of Austria.
Safin and Safina are the only brother sister combo to rank No. 1 in the world rankings. The Richeys are the only brother-sister pair to rank No. 1 in the United States and were called by tennis historian Bud Collins in his book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS, prior to ascent of Safina, as “the game’s most extra-ordinary sister-brother combo.”
Nancy Richey was the first woman to win the first “open” major championship at the 1968 French Open (as an amateur, making her the only amateur woman to win a major singles title). She also won the Australian Open in 1967 and ranked as the No. 1 American in 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969. Richey achieved a rare “six-peat” at a U.S. Tennis Association national championship – an effort that world No. 1 Roger Federer is attempting to do by winning his sixth straight U.S. Open men’s singles title this year – when she won the women’s singles title at the U.S. Clay Court Championships from 1963 to 1968. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003.
Cliff Richey won the year-end international professional points title in 1970 (a precursor to the ATP rankings), highlighted by semifinal showings at the French and U.S. Opens. He clinched the year-end No. 1 U.S. singles ranking that year defeating Stan Smith in a match that rode on the final point of the match – a winner-take-all on the final point of sudden-death nine-point tie-breaker – Richey winning the semifinal match at the Pacific Coast Championships in Berkeley, Calif. 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5-4). His book detailing his trials and triumphs with clinical depression will be released in the spring of 2010 by New Chapter Press.
A comparison of the top-line achievements of the best brother and sister combinations are as follows;
• Two major singles titles (2000 US Open, 2005 Australian Open)
• Two runner-up showings at majors (2002, 2004 Australian Opens)
• World No. 1 for 9 weeks in 2000
• Led Russia to Davis Cup titles in 2002 and 2006
• Won 15 career singles titles
• Three runner-up showing at majors (2008, 2009 French Open, 2009 Australian Open)
• World No. 1 for 20 weeks
• Won 11 career singles titles
• 2008 Olympic silver medalist in women’s singles
• Led Russia to the Fed Cup titles in 2005
• Two major singles titles (1967 Australian Open, 1968 French Open)
• Four runner-up showings at majors (two-time U.S. singles finalist, 1966, 1969), French Championships (1966), Australian Championships (1966)
• Four major doubles titles (1966 Australian and Wimbledon doubles champion, 1965 and 1966 U.S. doubles champion)
• World No. 2 in 1969
• Led U.S. to Fed Cup title in 1969
• 69 career singles titles (in pro and amateur eras)
• Won a record six straight U.S. clay court titles
• Three-time major semifinalist (1970 French Open, 1970, 1972 US Opens)
• Pepsi-Cola Grand Prix point winner – unofficial No. 1 in the world – in 1970 (pre-ATP rankings)
• Lead U.S. to the Davis Cup title in 1970
• Won 45 career singles titles (in pro and amateur eras)
Said Cliff Richey of the dynamics of sibling rivalries, “When there are two that good in the same family, there is always good-natured needling and sometimes not so good-natured needling as to results and current form etc. But, of course, the best thing is that you always have a practice partner. My sister Nancy and I always felt we took advantage of that very much. We always felt that it was a big time advantage to have a built in practice partner.”
Said Nancy Richey of her relationship with her brother in the competitive world of international tennis, “Cliff and I are four years apart in age and we were both glad that we were relatively close age-wise so that we had pretty much coinciding careers. I never really felt that it was a rivalry but more a joint effort. Being of the different gender, it really eliminated the rivalry aspect as far as I was concerned – sister/sister or brother/brother seems to me would be more difficult.”
NEWPORT, R.I., August 23, 2009 – Pat Cash successfully defended his singles title at the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup defeating Jim Courier 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the championship match at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The tournament victory was Cash’s second career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champions tennis players age 30 and over, and earned the 1987 Wimbledon champion $60,000. Cash’s tournament win at Newport last year was also over Courier in the final by the exact 6-3, 6-4 score line.
“I’ve been lucky this week,” said Cash. “I got a few lucky breaks today and you need that to beat these guys, who are all champions. The great thing about this tour, the Outback Champions Series, is that it is serious tennis. We get out there and you can see how hard we’re trying, but it’s also fun,”
Cash is regarded as one of the best serve-and-volley and grass-court players in tennis over the last 30 years. In addition to his 1987 Wimbledon title, Cash was a singles finalist on grass at the 1987 Australian Open. The 44-year-old Australian was the lone Wimbledon singles champion in the eight-player Newport field and was most comfortable on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame all week.
“I wouldn’t say I grew up on the grass-court but I have played a lot of grass-court tennis,” said Cash. “It’s natural for me to play this style of game. It’s easy. I don’t have to think about it. I just serve and volley. I’m not smart enough to work out a game tactic against Jim so I just kind of keep serving and running to the net.”
Courier, playing in his 13th career Outback Champions Series final, was seeking the first career professional title on grass courts. However, the 1993 Wimbledon finalist and four-time major tournament champion earned $30,000 with the runner-up showing as well as 800 ranking points that further solidified his No. 1 ranking on the Outback Champions Series.
“If you watched this match at all you could see how difficult it is to return Pat’s serve,” said Courier. “He really spotted his serve beautifully once he got in to the rhythm today and from there I’m struggling because he’s such a beautiful volleyer. If he gets his hands on anything at the net then it seems the point’s over. I felt under pressure because I wasn’t getting to break point on his serve then that’s a lot of pressure on mine. He’s a great champion. He’s obviously a great grass-court champion. You don’t win Wimbledon if you’re not. It’s disappointing because I was hoping to win my first grass-court title.”
In Sunday’s third-place match, Todd Martin defeated Mark Philippoussis 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-6 (Champions Tie-Breaker).
Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Jimmy Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).
Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, private corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.