Karol Kucera

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Death And Federer’s Vienna

Roger Federer

This week, the ATP World Tour visits Vienna, Austria for the Vienna Trophy championships. While Roger Federer is not in the field this week, the event has been very important to him. Vienna was the site of Roger Federer’s first ever ATP World Tour semifinal back in 1999 when as an 18-year-old, he defeated Vince Spadea, Jiri Novak and Karol Kucera before losing to Greg Rusedski. In 2002, Federer won a very emotional final against Novak 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to win his first tournament since the death of his childhood coach Peter Carter. In 2003, his last visit to the event, Federer won the title over Carlos Moya for his 10th career ATP World Tour final. Fittingly, Federer dedicated the 2002 tournament victory to Carter. “I dedicate this title to him,” he said with glistening eyes at the award ceremony, wrote Rene Stauffer in the book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.RogerFedererBook.com). Stauffer re-counts the death of Carter and the emotional toll it took on Federer in this exclusive book excerpt below.

South Africa was always a special place for Roger Federer. He held a South African passport since birth and became endeared to his mother’s native country. He routinely traveled there with his family when he was little. “South Africa is a haven for him away from the world of tennis to find fresh inspira­tion,” his mother explained once. “It has a certain openness to it. You grow up with a lot of space in South Africa, which is something different compared to the narrowness of a mountain landscape. South Africans are more open, less complicated. Roger had taken on these characteristics.”

Meanwhile, Federer acquired a valuable piece of property along the pic­turesque Garden Route on the western coast of South Africa at the luxurious Pezula Resort. After the exhausting 2000 season, Federer vacationed in South Africa, where he went on safari with his godfather, Arthur Dubach, a work colleague of Federer’s father during his work days in South Africa. They even experienced a rare site for tourists—a group of leopards killing and eating a gazelle.

In the early afternoon on August 2, 2002, the announcement came over the Swiss news agency Sportinformation—“Davis Cup Captain Carter Killed In Car Crash.” According to the story, the accident occurred in South Africa where he was vacationing with his wife Silvia. There was no further informa­tion. The bad news was then updated with the report that a second man died in the accident.

What really transpired during this belated honeymoon between Peter and his wife was not immediately known. Carter was driving in a Land Rover in the vicinity of the Krueger National Park on August 1, Switzerland’s national holiday. The accident occurred in the Phalaborwa area, about 450 km north of Johannesburg. The vehicle where Carter was a passenger and which friends and his wife were apparently following, was reported to have gone out of control due to a defective tire. The car then crashed into a river bed and rolled over.

The news reports were contradictory. At first, it was announced that Carter died in the evening and later that both passengers were killed instantly. According to initial reports, it was Carter who was driving at the wheel. Later, it was reported that a friend of Carter’s was driving the car and later that a native South African was behind the wheel. The Limpopo police spokesperson in South Africa then issued the statement: “Carter and the driver, a South African, were killed instantly when the roof of their vehicle was crushed in.”

Silvia Carter explained what really happened. “My husband was in the car with a very good friend of ours. We were driving ahead of them and they were following behind us. The vehicle did not have a defective tire. Our friend had to swerve to avoid a minibus that was heading directly at them. Such risky passing maneuvers are unfortunately a daily occurrence in South Africa. In order to avoid a frontal collision, he pulled off onto the ‘accident lane.’ The fateful thing was that a bridge was coming and they had to pull back onto the tarred lane. The speed as well as the difference in surfaces—the natural surface and the tarred surface—that the wheels had to deal with spun the Land Rover. It broke through the bridge railing and landed about three meters below on its roof.”

Federer received the shocking news courtside at the Tennis Masters Series event in Toronto. He was never so upset in his life. Carter was a good friend and the most important coach in his career.

Although Federer lost already in the first round in Toronto, but was still playing in the doubles tournament partnering with Wayne Ferreira, ironical­ly, a South African. The mood was grim for the third-round doubles match, which Federer and Ferreira lost to Joshua Eagle and Sandon Stolle. Federer played the match wearing a black armband in honor of Carter. His eyes were red. He nonetheless announced after the doubles loss that he was prepared to give an interview. “We spent a lot of time together, since I was a boy,” Federer said of his relationship with Carter. “I saw him everyday when I was a boy. It’s terrible…He died so young and unexpectedly.” Federer said that the two always had a connection and they were born under the same Zodiac sign—he was born on August 8, the coach one day later. “Peter was very calm but he was also funny with a typical Australian sense of humor. I can never thank him enough for everything that he gave to me. Thanks to him I have my entire technique and coolness.”

Carter watched Federer play for the first time when Roger was a kid in the 1990’s and exuberantly told his parents in the Barossa Valley in Australia that he had discovered a gigantic talent who could go a long way. He worked with him for all but two years until 2000 and led him to his storied success in the world junior ranks as well as to a top 50 world ranking. After Federer chose Lundgren as his private coach, Carter remained a coach with the Swiss Tennis Federation and took up responsibilities in promoting new talent in men’s tennis. He married Silvia von Arx from Basel in May of 2001.

Carter was the players’ favored choice as Davis Cup team captain for a long time. However, when his wife suffered from lymph node cancer, Carter put his coaching duties on hold until Silvia’s recovery was certain. Since Carter was not a Swiss citizen with a Swiss passport, he was not permitted, as Davis Cup captain, to sit with the players on the court or assume the role as the “official” Davis Cup captain. However, the International Tennis Federation, agreed to recognize him as a Swiss citizen and as the official Davis Cup cap­tain as soon as he acquired a resident permit, which he was scheduled to receive in September of 2003. Carter led the team only once, in February of 2002 in Moscow.

Federer left Toronto for Cincinnati where, like in Paris, Wimbledon and Toronto, he lost in the first round. He couldn’t concentrate. He no longer had confidence in his game and tennis was no longer fun. His thoughts were with Peter Carter. “When something like this happens,” he said, “you see how really unimportant tennis is.” He pulled the emergency brake. He withdrew from the doubles event in Cincinnati and pulled out of the next week’s event in Washington, D.C., and flew home to Switzerland.

The funeral took place on August 14, 2002 on a warm summer’s day in the Leonhard Church in Basel. About 200 people were in attendance to bid farewell, among them many familiar faces in the tennis world. Carter’s friend from his youth, Darren Cahill, who was now coaching Andre Agassi, was also present. The simple ceremony, accompanied by music, was conducted by the same clergyman who married the Carters a year before. Silvia Carter gave a brief, touching speech, as did a friend who came from Australia, Davis Cup physiotherapist Caius Schmid and Christine Ungricht, the President of Swiss Tennis. “He was such a great person,” she said. “Why him? Why does it always happen to the best?”

Federer’s parents were also inconsolable. Carter formed a link to their son over the years. He informed them about everything concerning Roger when they were traveling together. “It was the first death Roger had to deal with and it was a deep shock for him,” his mother said. “But it has also made him stronger.”

Federer left the church with a sense of grief that he never before experienced in his life. “Any defeat in tennis is nothing compared to such a moment,” he explained weeks afterwards. “I usually try and avoid sad events like this. It was the first time that I’d been to a funeral. I can’t say that it did me good but I was close to him in thought once again and I could say goodbye in a dignified setting. I feel somewhat better now, especially in matters concerning tennis.”

On This Day In Tennis History Is Latest Book Release From New Chapter Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Chapter Press has announced the publication of its latest book – On This Day In Tennis History -a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the yearswritten by Randy Walker, the sports marketing and media specialist, tennis historian and former U.S. Tennis Association press officer.

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. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as John McEnroe, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. On This Day In Tennis History is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. More information on the book can be found at www.tennishistorybook.com

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

Walker is a writer, tennis historian and freelance publicist and sports marketer. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Marketing and Communications Division, he served as the press officer for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1997 to 2005 and for the U.S. Olympic tennis teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also served as the long-time editor of the U.S. Open Record Book during his tenure at the USTA from 1993 to 2005.

More information on the book can be found at www.tennistomes.com as well as on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=428100548

People mentioned in the book include, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Anna Kounikova, Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Martina Hingis, Gustavo Kuerten, Svetlana Kuznetsova, James Blake, Wilmer Allison, Mal Anderson, Arthur Ashe, Juliette Atkinson, Henry “Bunny” Austin, Tracy Austin, Boris Becker, Kark Behr, Pauline Betz, Bjorn Borg, Jean Borotra, John Bromwich, Norman Brookes, Louise Brough, Jacques Brugnon, Butch Buchholz, Don Budge, Maria Bueno, Rosie Casals, Michael Chang, Philippe Chatrier, Dodo Cheney, Henri Cochet, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Ashley Cooper, Margaret Court, Jack Crawford, Allison Danzig, Dwight Davis, Lottie Dod, John Doeg, Laurence Doherty, Reggie Doherty, Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers, Jaroslav Drobny, Margaret duPont, Francoise Durr, James Dwight, Stefan Edberg, Roy Emerson, Chis Evert, Bob Falkenburg, Neale Fraser, Shirley Fry, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzalez, Evonne Goolagong, Arthur Gore, Steffi Graf, Bitsy Grant, Darlene Hard, Doris Hart, Anne Jones, Gladys Heldman, Slew Hester, Bob Hewitt, Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Joe Hunt, Frank Hunter, Helen Jacobs, Bill Johnston, Perry Jones, Bob Kelleher, Billie Jean King, Jan Kodes, Karel Kozeluh, Jack Kramer, Rene Lacoste, Bill Larned, Art Larsen, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Suzanne Lenglen, George Lott, Gene Mako, Molla Mallory, Hana Mandlikova, Alice Marble, Dan Maskell, Simone Mathieu, Mark McCormack, John McEnroe, Ken McGregor, Kitty Godfree, Chuck McKinley, Maurice McLoughlin, Frew McMillian, Don McNeill, Elisabeth Moore, Angela Mortimer, Gardnar Mulloy, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, John Newcombe, Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna, Betty Nuthall, Alex Olmedo, Rafael Osuna, Frank Parker, Gerald Patterson, Budge Patty, Fred Perry, Nicola Pietrangeli, Adrian Quist, Patrick Rafter, Dennis Ralson, Vinnie Richards, Nancy Richey, Cliff Richey, Bobby Riggs, Tony Roche, Mervyn Rose, Ken Rosewall, Elizbeth Ryan, Gabriela Sabatini, Pete Sampras, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Manuel Santana, Dick Savitt, Ted Schroeder, Gene Scott, Richard Sears, Frank Sedgman, Pancho Segura, Vic Seixas, Frank Shields, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, Fred Stolle, Bill Talbert, Bill Tilden, Tony Trabert, Lesley Turner, Jimmy Van Alen, John Van Ryn, Guillermo Vilas, Ellsworth Vines, Brian Gottfried, Virginia Wade, Holcombe Ward, Watson Washburn, Mal Whitman, Mats Wilander, Tony Wilding, Helen Wills Moody, Sidney Wood, Robert Wrenn, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Todd Woodbridge, Marat Safin, Leslie Allen, Sue Barker, Jonas Bjorkman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Donald Dell, Albert Costa, Mark Cox, Owen Davidson, Pat Cash, Mary Carillo, John Isner, Roscoe Tanner, Vijay Amritraj, Mark Woodforde, Tim Henman, Richard Krajicek, Conchita Martinez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Cliff Drysdale, Mark Edmondson, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Zina Garrson, Roland Garros, Wojtek Fibak, Tom Gullikson, Andres Gimeno, Vitas Gerulaitis, Fernando Gonzalez, Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic, Andrea Jaeger, Ivo Karlovic, Richard Krajicek, Petr Korda, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Rick Leach, Iva Majoil, Barry MacKay, Ivan Ljubicic, Cecil Mamiit, David Caldwell, Alex Metreveli, Nicolas Massu, Todd Martin, Gene Mayer, Thomas Muster, Tom Okker, Charlie Pasarell, Mary Pierce, Whitney Reed, Leander Paes, Renee Richards, Helen Sukova, Michael Stich, Betty Stove, Ion Tiriac, Brian Teacher, Wendy Turnbull,  Richards, Fabrice Santoro, Ai Sugiyama, Patrick McEnroe, Camille Pin, Phil Dent, Jelena Dokic, Mark Edmondson, Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Dinara Safina, Barry Lorge, Stefano Pescosolido, Fabrice Santoro, Roscoe Tanner, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roger Smith, Erik van Dillen, Gene Mayer, Tamara Pasek, Stefan Koubek, Jie Zheng, Gisela Dulko, Kristian Pless, Chuck McKinley, Marty Riessen, Brad Gilbert, Tim Mayotte, Andrea Petkovic, Klara Koukalova, Bobby Reynolds, Dominik Hrbaty, Andreas Seppi, Christopher Clarey, Casey Dellacqua, Anders Jarryd, Janko Tipsarevic, Nadia Petrova, Christian Bergstrom, Ramesh Krishnan, Emily Sanchez, Marcos Baghdatis, Mark Philippousssis, Wally Masur, Paul McNamee, Daniela Hantuchova, Gerry Armstrong, Younes El Aynaoui, Thomas Johansson, Pat Cash, Lisa Raymond, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Chanda Rubin, Tony Roche, Alex O’Brien, Petr Korda, Karol Kucera, Amelie Mauresmo, Juan Gisbert, Pablo Cuevas, Jim Pugh, Rick Leach, Julien Boutter, Larry Stefanki, Chris Woodruff, Jill Craybas, Sania Mirza, Mike Leach, Maggie Maleeva, Guillermo Canas, Guillermo Coria, Donald Young, Dick Stockton, Johan Kriek, Milan Srejber, Zina Garrison, Slyvia Hanika, Karin Knapp, Laura Granville, Kei Nishikori, Scott Davis, Paul Goldstein, Alberto Martin, Nicolas Kiefer, Joachim Johansson, Jonathan Stark, Jakob Hlasek, Jeff Tarango, Amanda Coetzer, Andres Gomez, Richey Reneberg, Francisco Clavet, Radek Stepanek, Miloslav Mecir, Jose-Luis Clerc, Colin Dibley, Mikael Pernfors, Martin Mulligan,  Robbie Weiss,  Hugo Chapacu, Victor Pecci, Charlie Bricker, Greg Rusedski, Robin Finn, Kimiko Date, David Nalbandian, Goran Ivanisevic, Mikhail Youzhny, Nicole Pratt, Bryanne Stewart, Novak Djokovic, Rennae Stubbs, Corina Morariu, Marc Rosset, Kenneth Carlsen, Kimiko Date, Ryan Harrison, Richard Gasquet, Jimmy Arias, Jim Leohr, Felix Mantilla, Cedric Pioline, Annabel Croft, Brooke Shields, Jaime Yzaga, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Alberto Mancini, Peter McNamara, Andrei Chesnokov, Fabrice Santoro, Bud Collins, Mardy Fish, Sebastien Grosjean, Donald Dell, Petr Kuczak, Magnus Norman, Hicham Arazi, Nduka Odizor, Lori McNeil, Horst Skoff, Karolina Sprem, Ros Fairbank, Linda Siegel, Chris Lewis, Kevin Curren, Thierry Tulasne, Guy Forget, Fred Tupper, Jaime Fillol, Belus Prajoux, Ricardo Cano, Georges Goven, Ray Moore, Charlie Pasarell, Paul Annacone, Tomas Smid, Dmitry Tursunov, Elena Dementieva, Arnaud DiPasquale, Carl Uwe Steeb, Bill Scanlon, Jose Higueras, Jay Berger, Jana Novotna, Bill Dwyre, Lisa Dillman, Sean Sorensen, Paul McNamee, Jiri Novak, Benjamin Becker, Ion Tiriac, Neil Amdur, Tim Gullikson, Jan-Michael Gambill, Taylor Dent, Bryan Shelton, Vijay Amritraj, Martin Verkerk, Brian Gottfried, Carlos Moya, Jacco Eltingh, Adriano Panatta, John Feinstein, Aaron Krickstein, Wilhelm Bungert, Derrick Rostagno, Torben Ulrich, Daniel Nestor, Ray Ruffels, Cliff Drysdale, James Reilly, Andy Murray, Leander Paes, Alicia Molik, Barry MacKay among others.

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Colins 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 and the soon to be released title The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.newchapterpressmedia.com

On This Day In Tennis History

This week is a big week in tennis with week No. 2 of the U.S. Open Series and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s return to the court in Canada following their epic Wimbledon final. This week has also been a one of epic matches and unusual circumstances in the history of the sport, as documented in the soon-to-be released book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press). The following is an excerpt from the ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY compilation that features entertaining anecdotes and match summaries featuring John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova among others.

July 22

1989 – In what Boris Becker calls “an exhausting day at the office,” the three-time Wimbledon champion from Germany wins the fifth-set of a lateness-suspended match with Andre Agassi, then pairs with Eric Jelen to win four-set doubles match against Ken Flach and Robert Seguso to give West Germany a 2-1 lead over the United States in the Davis Cup semifinals in Munich. Becker and Agassi’s singles match is suspended the previous night after midnight with the score knotted at two sets, Becker trailing two-sets-to-love and Agassi failing to serve out the match at  6-5 in the third set. Becker is the sharper player on the resumption of play and wins the fifth set to close out his 4 hour, 26 minute 6-7 (4), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4, win that evens the best-of-five-match series at 1-1. After only 45 minutes of rest, Becker returns to the court in doubles with Jelen and hands Flach and Seguso their first loss as a Davis Cup doubles team in their 12 pairings for the United States in a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3) decision. Says Jelen of the Agassi-Becker epic, “That was one of the greatest matches I ever saw.” Says Agassi of his loss, ”I think, considering the circumstances and the court, I did the best I could do. I don’t feel I lost. He beat me. There are times when you pour all your heart and guts into the match. Then you’ve just got to shake hands with the winner.” The following day, Agassi loses to Carl-Uwe Steeb in four sets to give West Germany the semifinal victory. West Germany goes on to beat Sweden 3-2 in the Davis Cup Final.

1979 – Guillermo Vilas wins the singles title at the Washington Star International singles when Victor Pecci collapses, overcome by leg cramps, as the two play a second set tie-breaker, with Vilas leading 7-6, 6-6 and 4-3 in the tie-break. Said Vilas, “This is a sad way to win.”

1992 -  World No. 1 Jim Courier loses to No. 157-ranked Diego Perez of Uruguay 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the second round of the Philips Head Cup clay court championships in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

2007 – Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis, ranked No. 297 on the ATP computer, defeats Austria’s Werner Eschauer 6-1, 7-6 (1) in the final of the Dutch Open in Amersfoort, Netherlands. Darcis, playing in the main draw of only his second ATP event, is the lowest ranked player to win a title since Tommy Haas, who due to injury, was ranked No. 349 when he won the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston in 2004. In 1998, Lleyton Hewitt was ranked No. 550 when he won the title in Adelaide, Australia.

July 23

1992 – In their 36th and final meeting as professionals, Ivan Lendl routs rival John McEnroe 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open in Toronto. Says Lendl of McEnroe, “If you have him on the ground on his back, you have to step on his throat.”You can’t put out your hand and say come on over here and hit me. You have to concentrate all the time and not give him any chances.” When he was asked what kind of technique he used on McEnroe’s throat, Lendl smiles and replies, “I have spikes in my shoes and I try to twist them as much as I can. That’s the killer instinct.” Lendl wins the all-time series with McEnroe 21-15, including winning the last six meetings and 10 of the last 11.

1984 – Sixteen-year-old Aaron Krickstein becomes the youngest player to win the U.S. Pro Championships, defeating Jose-Luis Clerc 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 in the men’s singles final at the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Mass. Clerc leads 3-0 in the final set, before Krickstein rallies for victory.

2000 – The United States is shut out for the first time ever in a Davis Cup series other than a Challenge Round or Final as Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juan Balcells complete a 5-0 shutout of the United States in the Davis Cup semifinal in Santander, Spain. In the final days’ dead-rubber matches, Ferrero defeats Vince Spadea 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, while Balcells defeats Jan-Michael Gambill 1-6, 7-6, 6-4. The shutout loss marks the end of John McEnroe’s short tenure as U.S. Davis Cup captain. In November, McEnroe announces his resignation as U.S. captain after only one year in the position. Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, the top two U.S. players, beg off the match with Spain with injuries. McEnroe, distraught with the loss, skips out on the post-match press conference, but says to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times in a pool phone interview from his car hours later driving to Bilboa airport,  ”I’m totally spent. I’m deflated. It was tough and it was tough for everybody. I feel like I’m going to throw up. I’m not sure if it’s emotional or what, but I’m about to heave.”

2006 – Third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia captures his first ATP title in his first final at the Dutch Open Tennis in Amersfoort. The 19-year-old does not lose a set at the championship and beats No. 4 seed Nicolas Massu of Chile 7-6(5), 6-4 in 2 hours, 41 minutes in the final.

2006 – A rookie into the top 10 rankings, James Blake defeats fellow American top tenner Andy Roddick 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the final at the RCA Championships at Indianapolis. Says Blake, “This was extremely exciting for me, to play really my best tennis. It’s a little more gratifying to do it when your opponent is playing well. I feel like I’ve earned the No. 5 ranking. It’s crazy what confidence will do. Every break goes against you when you don’t have confidence. And every break goes your way when you do have confidence. I have confidence now and they all seem to be going my way.”

1996 – The Olympic tennis competition opens in Atlanta with defending men’s singles gold medalist Marc Rosset of Switzerland winning the opening match on Stadium court, defeating Hicham Arazi of Morocco 6-2, 6-3.

1991 – Michael Chang and Pete Sampras are unceremoniously dumped in the second round of the Canadian Open in Montreal – Chang falling 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-3 to Italy’s Stefano Pescosoliso, while Sampras losing to Japan’s Shuzo Matsuoka 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)

2006 – David Ferrer of Spain saves a match point and stages an incredible comeback to defeat Jose Acasuso of Argentina 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4 to win his second career ATP title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. Ferrer trails 1-5 in the fourth set and saves a match point with Acasuso leading 5-4 in the fourth set.

July 24

1987 – John McEnroe and Boris Becker play one of the greatest Davis Cup matches of all time as Becker outlasts McEnroe 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2 in 6 hours, 21 minutes in the Davis Cup Qualifying Round in Hartford, Conn. The match is one minute shy of the 6-hour, 22-minute Davis Cup epic between McEnroe and Mats Wilander in the 1982 Davis Cup quarterfinal, the longest men’s singles match in tennis history at the time. The 28-year-old McEnroe, playing in his first competitive match since losing in the first round of the French Open in May, fights to keep the United States out of an 0-2 hole against West Germany on the first day of play as Becker’s teammate Eric Jelen opens the series with a 6-8, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Tim Mayotte. Says McEnroe, ”I just didn’t have much left. I gave it what I had. It was nice to be a part of a great match. I just wish the result had been different.” Says the 19-year-old Becker, “It was a war.”  West Germany goes on to win the series 3-2 – relegating the United States to zonal competition for the first time ever for the 1988 Davis Cup campaign – making 28-time Davis Cup champions ineligible to win the 1988 Davis Cup title.

1996 – No. 2 seed Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia is upset in the first round of the Olympic tennis competition in Atlanta, as the defending bronze medalist hits 42 unforced errors in a 6-4, 6-2 loss to No. 104 ranked Marcos Ondruska of South Africa. Richey Reneberg, who replaces the injured No. 1-ranked Pete Sampras in the U.S. singles line-up, is defeated by India’s Leander Paes in the first round as Reneberg is forced to retire due to a groin pull and a heat illness after 2 hours, 16 minutes in the oppressive Georgia heat, Paes leading 6-7 (2), 7-6 (7), 1-0. Mal Washington of the United States becomes the first African-American man to compete in the Olympics, defeating Slovakia’s Jan Kroslak 6-3, 7-6 (3),

2004 – Nicolas Massu of Chile plays two matches on the final day of the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, Austria – defeating the No. 1 seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals and the No. 2 seed and French Open champion Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 7-6, 6-4 in the final. Says Massu, “I played very well, as I always do in Kitzbuhel. I feel good at this altitude. I beat the Paris champion, and that is a big victory for me.”

1932 – Despite suffering from an upset stomach from a pre-match meal of roast pork and cucumbers, Ellsworth Vines defeats Gottfried von Cramm 3-6, 6-3, 9-7, 6-3 to clinch a 3-2 U.S. victory over Germany in the Davis Cup Inter-Zone Final at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France.

1905 – The United States is shutout in a Davis Cup match for the first time ever as Britain completes a 5-0 victory over the United States. Britain’s Sidney Smith defeats William Clothier 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and Britain’s Laurie Doherty defeats William Larned 6-4, 2-6, 6-8, 6-4, 6-2.

1960 – Roy Emerson wins the singles title at the Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland for the first time in his career, defeating Mike Davies of Britain 6-4, 9-7, 6-2. Maria Bueno needs only 38 minutes to win the women’s title, defeating Sandra Reynolds 6-2, 6-3 in a rematch of the Wimbledon final, also won by Bueno.

July 25

1970 – In a decision called by Neil Amdur of The New York Times as ” the most revolutionary step in tournament tennis scoring since ‘love’ became synonymous with losers,” the United States Tennis Associated announces that a sudden-death nine-point tiebreak will be instituted for all matches at the 1970 U.S. Open tennis championships. Says Bill Talbert, the tournament director for the U.S. Open, “We consider this to be a major step forward for the game of tennis. It provides tennis with a finish line, such as we have in racing, basketball, football and other major sports. No longer will a tennis match drag on for hours. It will be played within a sensible, predictable amount of time, enabling spectators to estimate the length of a match and make their plans accordingly.”

1988 – Thirty-five-year-old Jimmy Connors wins his first singles title in four years – and the 106th of his career – defeating Andres Gomez 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the D.C. Tennis Classic in Washington. The win is the first for Connors since October of 1984 when he wins the ATP singles title in Tokyo, losing in 11 singles finals before breaking through and winning in Washington, D.C. Says the No. 8-ranked Connors, “I go through a career and win 105 tournaments and it’s never enough. Now I guess I’m stuck on 106 until I win 107, right? It doesn’t feel as bad not having won a tournament in about 25 minutes than it has in 3 1/2 years. I wanted to win a tournament, no doubt; I just haven’t done it. But mostly, I’m just out there to have some fun.”

1987 – Bjorn Borg is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. in absentia, but is defended for his no-show status by fellow inductee Alex Olmedo. “We all have different problems,” says Olmedo. “We’re all egomaniacs in a way. Whatever his hang-up was, I don’t blame him for not coming. Maybe he was too busy making money or maybe he was afraid to make the flight. Whatever, it doesn’t take anything from the presentation…I also think it’s a bit of publicity shock for him after all these years. Most of the movie stars I work with sometimes don’t like to be in the public eye. I think Borg is in the same category. He’s probably publicity shy now.” Olmedo is inducted with fellow pros Stan Smith, Dennis Ralston and Billie Jean King.

1996 – Andre Agassi defeats Slovakia’s Karol Kucera 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the Olympic tennis competition and, in his post-match press conference, announces that he will compete in the Olympic doubles competition with Mal Washington, replacing the injured Richey Reneberg. Says Agassi, “The team took a hit. You’ve got to adjust to it. As far as I’m concerned, if it calls for you to give more, you’ve got to give more. It’s as simple as that. Even if it costs me a medal, it is still something that you’ve got to do.”

1982 – Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd pair to lead the United States to the title at the Federation Cup in Santa Clara, Calif., with a 3-0 win over West Germany. Navratilova defeated Bettina Bunge 6-4, 6-4, while Evert Lloyd defeats Claudia Kohde Kilsch 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Navratilova, who also won the Federation Cup for Czechoslovakia in 1975, becomes the first women to win the Cup for two nations.

July 26

1999 – Patrick Rafter of Australia begins his one – and only – week as the world’s No. 1 ranked player, replacing Andre Agassi in the top spot on the ATP computer. Rafter’s curious one-week reign as the No. 1 ranked player is the briefest stint in the top spot of any man or woman. Carlos Moya of Spain ranks No. 1 for only two weeks in March of 1999, while Evonne Goolagong ranks as  the No. 1 woman on the WTA Tour for a two-week period in April of 1976 (although not uncovered and announced by the WTA Tour until December of 2007).

1987 – The United States is relegated to zonal competition for the first time in Davis Cup history as Boris Becker defeats Tim Mayotte 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-2 in the fifth and decisive match as West Germany defeats the United States 3-2 in the Davis Cup qualifying round in Hartford, Conn. The Becker-Mayotte match is called by John Feinstein of the Washington Post as, “the match of their lives,” as Mayotte, who grew up in Springfield, Mass., a 25 miles from the Hartford Civic Center, plays inspired tennis in front of furiously vocal crowd. Says Becker after the epic match, “It was the most difficult match of my life. The circumstances made it hard, the crowd cheering every time I missed a serve made it hard and him playing for two sets like I have never seen him play in his life, it was all very tough. I just had to stay calm — stay calm, be patient and not go mad. If I go mad, I lose the match.” Writes Feinstein, “For Mayotte, this was sweet agony. He miraculously came from two sets down to force a fifth set. He was playing in an emotional daze, carried by the fans, by his teammates, by the circumstances.”

1969 – Nancy Richey is upset in the semifinals of the U.S. Clay Court Championships by Gail Sherriff Chanfreau, 6-3, 6-4 – ending her tournament record winning streak at 33 straight matches over seven years. Chanfreau goes on to win the title, beating Linda Tuero, 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

1953 – Gardnar Mulloy, at the age of 39 years, 8 months and four days, becomes the oldest man to win a singles match for the U.S. in Davis Cup play as he defeats Ian McDonald of the British West Indies 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in Kingston, Jamaica.

1996 – The unlikely pairing of Andre Agassi and Mal Washington share the doubles court at the Olympics, defeating Mexico’s Alejandro Hernandez and Oscar Ortiz  6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round.  Said Agassi, “Hey, a couple of good singles players can click well and compete hard; don’t be surprised if we end up in a medal round.”

July 27

1986 – Martina Navratilova returns to her native Czechoslovakia and her hometown of Prague in triumph as a member of the U.S. Federation Cup team, clinching the U.S. 3-0 final-round victory over the Czechs with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Hana Mandlikova. “We all did it for Martina,” says Chris Evert Lloyd, whose 7-5, 7-6 victory over Helena Sukova began the U.S. sweep of Czechoslovakia in the final series. “We dedicate this Federation Cup to her.” Says Navratilova of the crowd support she received all week that results in a tearful closing ceremony for the Wimbledon champion and her U.S. teammates. “I wanted to tell them how special it was for me to be here. It exceeded my wildest expectations.”

1946 – In the final of the first French Championship since the conclusion of World War II, Frenchmen Marcel Bernard dramatically defeats fellow left-hander Jaroslav Drobny of Czechoslovakia 3-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in the men’s singles final. The French have to wait another 37 years before they celebrate another native men’s singles champion when Yannick Noah wins the men’s singles title in 1983. It will be another 59 years before another all left-handed men’s singles final is played at Roland Garros when Rafael Nadal defeats Mariano Puerta in the 2005 final. In the women’s singles final, Margaret Osbourne defeats fellow American Pauline Betz 1-6, 8-6, 7-5.

2007 – Sam Querrey slams an incredible 10 aces in a row – believed to be a record – in his 7-6(6), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4) upset win over fellow American James Blake in the quarterfinals of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships. Querrey, a six-foot-six, 19-year-old from Southern California, begins his incredible serving streak with a 113 mph serve out wide at 6-6 in the first-set tie-break. Querrey hits four straight aces in his first two service games of the second set and after a 109 mph ace out wide in the first point of the sixth game of the second set, Querrey’s streak ends with a double fault. Querrey, ranked No. 90 in the world, serves a total of 34 aces in the match. Says Blake, “That’s the most consistent I’ve seen him serve. I practice with him quite a bit. I’ve seen him improve over the last year-and-a-half at an incredible rate. I think it’s still going….I don’t think I’ve ever been aced 10 times in a row, until today…The way Sam was locked in, it was tough to deal with. It made me focus on my serve and I needed to hold every time.” Says Querrey in his post-match TV interview, “It was just one of those days when I was in the zone serving and it definitely paid off in the end.”

1928 – Play opens in the 1928 Davis Cup Challenge Round in Paris as Bill Tilden and Rene Lacoste christen Stade Roland Garros, built to honor the French Four Musketeers’ victory in the previous year’s Davis Cup. Tilden gives the United States an early 1-0 lead by defeating Lacoste 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Henri Cochet ties the score at 1-1 as he defeats John Hennessey 5-7, 9-7, 6-3, 6-0.

1988 – Roger Smith of the Bahamas, ranked No. 150 in the world, registers a stunning upset of world No. 1 Ivan Lendl, defeating the reigning three-time U.S. Open champion 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Volvo International at Stratton Mountain, Vermont.  Says Lendl, “He was serving very well and the ball was going very quick, and I couldn’t get into the match. It was not a letdown. It was practice for the U.S. Open. This was not the highlight of my year.”

1930 – Bill Tilden plays his final Davis Cup match, losing to Henri Cochet 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5 as France completes a 4-1 victory over the United States in the Davis Cup Challenge Round at Stade Roland Garros in Paris. Tilden concludes his Davis Cup career with a 34-7 record and the distinction of leading the U.S. to five Davis Cup titles.

1996 – The morning after a bomb kills one person in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, Monica Seles advances into the quarterfinals of the Olympic tennis competition with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini. Says Seles, the subject of security at sporting events since her on-court stabbing in 1993, “I’m still going to the track and field (Saturday night) and to other events and go on with my life. That is pretty much all I can do. That is what I did after the stabbing. You just have to go on.” Says Sabatini of Seles, “I would think it would be even harder for her because of what happened to her. It’s upsetting and it affects you quite a lot because nobody feels secure anywhere.” Andre Agassi rallies from a 6-2, 3-0 deficit to defeat Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to advance into the quarterfinals of the men’s singles competition.

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