Venus Williams beat Vera Zvonareva 6-7 (5) 6-0 6-2 to win the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha Qatar
Anne Keothavong won the Salwator Cup in Krakow, Poland, beating Monica Niculescu 7-6 (4) 4-6 6-3
Jan Hernych beat Stephane Bohli 6-2 6-4 to win the Tatra Banka Open in Bratislava, Slovakia
John McEnroe won the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise, Arizona, by beating Todd Martin 3-6 7-6 (3) 11-9 (Champions tiebreaker)
“Thanks to your Royal Highness for coming. Wow!” – Venus Williams, after being presented the Sony Ericsson Championships trophy by the first lady of Qatar, Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned.
“Venus is very powerful. She came up with some great serves when she needed. It was tough on me.” – Vera Zvonareva, after losing the final at Doha, Qatar.
“I just don’t like the ring of it. It sounds a bit awkward to me. It is a challenge to get back to number one.” – Roger Federer, on being ranked number two in the world.
“I didn’t even look like a top-eight player today. Maybe top 600 in the juniors.” – Serena Williams, after losing 5-7 6-1 6-0 to sister Venus in a round-robin match at the Sony Ericsson Championships.
“Competing at so many events might have harmed, especially at the end of the season, my physical condition, taking away the freshness needed to play at the top level of the game on these last events.” – Rafael Nadal, writing on his web site about his right knee injury.
“Being a professional tennis player is about a lot more than just hitting tennis balls and winning matches. The off-court side of things is also very important, and it’s essential that we as athletes do what we can to promote the sport.” – Ana Ivanovic, after winning the ACES award.
“It’s the first time I’ve got the chance to play against top 10 players five matches in a row. And I was able to come up with four wins, so, of course it’s a good week.” – Vera Zvonareva.
“It’s really a tough format here, just because there are four teams and the way the draw is. It’s really hard to just come out and be ready to play like in the semifinals. So we were just really happy with our performance.” – Cara Black, who teamed with Liezel Huber to win the doubles at the Sony Ericsson Championships.
“I haven’t thought too much about next year yet, but I have high and wonderful hopes for it, and at the appropriate time I’ll start working hard again.” – Venus Williams, after winning the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships.
“I thought this may have been the best I played all year and I think a lot of that had to do with the crowds. I was able to feed off of their energy all week.” – John McEnroe, who won a seniors tournament in Surprise, Arizona.
“Sometimes I really enjoy playing not at home. I don’t think about any pressure.” – Nikolay Davydenko, on why he won his opening match at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.
“When you play against (Rafael) Nadal, (Roger) Federer or (Novak) Djokovic, you have just one chance or two. I had a break point. I didn’t get it.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after losing to Djokovic in his opening Tennis Masters Cup match.
“I can’t play singles competitively any more, but like to play doubles up to three times a week, although sometimes injuries do not permit that frequency.” – Michael Henderson, who at age 76 is still playing and winning matches.
Tendinitis in his right knee caused world number one Rafael Nadal to pull out of the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, China. It is hoped that a week of rest and treatment will mean Nadal will be able to lead Spain in the Davis Cup final against Argentina later this month. The injury forced Nadal to retire from his Paris Masters quarterfinal against Nikolay Davydenko. Nadal blamed the injury on the busy tennis calendar, saying it took its toll on his body. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, a Spanish Tennis Federation doctor, said Nadal was being treated with anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and ice packs.
US Open champion Serena Williams and French Open winner Ana Ivanovic both withdrew from the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha with injuries. Williams suffered from a pulled stomach muscle while Ivanovic had a virus. Serena beat Dinara Safina in her first round-robin match, then suffered a strange 5-7 6-1 6-0 loss to her sister Venus. Serena said she only felt the problem develop after she returned to her hotel. Ivanovic played two round-robin matches, losing both. Nadia Petrova replaced Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska replaced Ivanovic in the eight-player competition.
The WTA Tour is changing next year’s rules to reinstate byes in two big tournaments. Several players complained that they were being asked to play two high-intensity events in a row with no opportunity to rest between tournaments. WTA CEO Larry Scott said the problem came because twice in the year there are two big tournaments played in consecutive weeks: Rome being followed by Madrid and, in the fall, Tokyo followed by Beijing. The four players reaching the semifinals at Rome and Tokyo will get first-round byes in the following events. Scott said adjustments also were made to allow players to participate in at least two of the following tournaments: Paris Indoors, Charleston, Stuttgart, Stanford and Los Angeles.
Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker and his fiancée of three months have separated. The 40-year-old Becker and Sandy Meyer-Woelden, who is 16 years younger, became engaged in August. She is the daughter of Becker’s former manager, Axel Meyer-Woelden. Becker has been divorced from Barbara Becker for seven years. They have two children. He also has a daughter with London-based model Angela Ermakova.
SAYS NO WAY
Andy Roddick said he was only joking when he said he would give a tennis lesson in the nude. That offer brought a USD $11,200 bid from a woman at a charity auction earlier this year. “First and foremost, I am not going to be playing naked tennis,” Roddick said. “It was said in jest and the lady who bid was really cool afterwards.” The offer from Roddick was auctioned off to help Elton John’s AIDS Foundation fundraiser.
Ana Ivanovic is the 2008 winner of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ACES Award. The award is given to the player who consistently goes above and beyond to promote women’s tennis to fans, media, in the community and beyond. The French Open champion said her most enjoyable off-the-court activities this year were playing doubles with amateur players in Tokyo and participating in a photo shoot by the WTA Tour players in Dubai. Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, said: “Ana is not only an incredible athlete and champion, but also a player who has earned the respect and admiration of fans, media and sponsors by continuously giving back. Throughout the 2008 season, Ana has given of herself selflessly and been a true ambassador in promoting our sport.”
Formula One auto racing is moving its 2009 date in Shanghai to make room for a Tennis Masters tournament. The 2009 Chinese Grand Prix will be run in April, following the Australian Grand Prix on March 29 and the Malaysian Grand Prix on April 5. The Chinese Grand Prix had previously been run in Shanghai in October. But with the new tennis calendar set for next year, the ATP tournament will be held in Shanghai October 12 to 18.
John McEnroe saved three match points and finally beat Todd Martin in a wild final to win the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise, Arizona, in suburban Phoenix. After losing to Martin in three previous finals on the Outback Champions Series tour, the 49-year-old McEnroe outlasted Martin 3-6 7-6 (3) 11-9 (Champions tiebreaker) to win his second career title on the tennis circuit for champion players over the age of 30. Martin served for the match and led 6-3 6-5 40-0 before McEnroe rallied for the victory.
Israel’s top women’s player, Shahar Peer, has got a new coach. Peer is now working with Pablo Giacopelli, a Peruvian-born British citizen. She will begin her training with Giacopelli in South Africa, accompanied by her physical trainer, Muli Epstein. According to published reports in Israel, Peer will train for two weeks at high altitude in the Johannesburg area, followed by two weeks in the Durban area. She will compete in the Israeli Championships in December.
Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association has honored Dennis and Doris Lloyd with the LTA’s meritorious service award. The two met during World War II and have been members of Westcliff Hardcourts tennis club for 62 years. As a player, Dennis Lloyd won numerous titles and was district doubles champion six times with partner Howard Stone. Dennis became a coach and helped develop many players, including his own children. Attending the ceremony was two of their sons, David and Tony, and their daughter Ann, who was a strong club player. Their third son is John Lloyd. David Lloyd is a former Davis Cup captain.
It will be “old home week,” with the emphasis on old, when the Grand Slam Winners Classic is held in the Sarasota, Florida, area next month. The competition will help raise money and awareness for The Wellness Community, a national not-for-profit organization that offers free education, support and hope for patients diagnosed with cancer. Among those scheduled to participate in the tennis are Eddie Dibbs, Fred Stolle, Virginia Wade, Hana Mandlikova, Johan Kriek, Owen Davidson, Robbie Seguso, Ken Flach and Kathy Rinaldi.
Billie Jean King has been appointed a Global Mentor for Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She was named to the post at a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, during the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season-ending championships. As part of the appointment, the Billie Jean King Leadership Internship program will be set up to give young women experience in the sports industry through internships at the Women’s Sports Foundation and then job placement opportunities in the sports business. Besides winning 12 Grand Slam singles titles between 1966 an 1975, King has been a vocal advocate against sexism in sports. She also founded the WTA Tour and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
The man who coached Bjorn Borg for 12 years and captained Sweden to its first Davis Cup title has died. Lennart Bergelin was 83 when he died from heart failure at a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. As a player, Bergelin won nine Swedish singles titles between 1945 and 1955, and captured the French Open doubles in 1948. But he was more famous for coaching Borg from 1971 to 1983, helping him win eleven Grand Slam tournament titles. Bergelin coached the Swedish Davis Cup team from 1971 through 1976, giving a 15-year-old Borg his Davis Cup debut in 1972 against New Zealand’s Onny Parun. Borg won the match.
STARTING THE HALL
The three new inductees into the Nevada Tennis Hall of Fame includes Andre Agassi’s father, Mike. Also being inducted later this month are community leader Ann Rockwell and twins Catrina and Christian Thompson. Mike Agassi gave free lessons to the children in his neighborhood, including his son Andre. “What Mike Agassi has doe for the world of tennis is immeasurable, his kindness is limitless and this is our community’s chance to thank and recognize him,” said Ryan Wolfington, executive director of USTA-Nevada. Rockwell played on the United States Wightman Cup team and won the USPTA National Championships in singles and doubles. The Thompson twins were junior standouts and, while at Notre Dame, were ranked number one in doubles by the NCAA.
With a combined age of 156, Michael Henderson and Tony Bennett are doubles partners who are still playing winning tennis. Bennett won the British Veterans’ grass court over-80 doubles title at Wimbledon with another partner in the summer. Henderson, the younger of the two at 76, played in the Wimbledon Junior doubles in 1949. He was set to return 50 years later after qualifying for the 70-year-old singles, but pulled so many muscles in the qualifier he couldn’t play in the event.
Doha: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs 6-1 7-5
Krakow: Angelique Kerber and Urzula Radwanska beat Olga Brozda and Sandra Zaniewska 6-3 6-2
Bratislava: Frantisek Cermak and Lukasz Kubot beat Phillipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya 6-4 6-4
SITES TO SURF
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$3,700,000 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, China, carpet
$125,000 PEOPLEnet Cup, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
Argentina vs. Spain at Mar Del Plata, Argentina, hard
$125,000 IPP Open, Helsinki, Finland, hard
$100,000 Nordea Danish Open, Odense, Denmark, carpet
Blackrock Tour of Champions, Macao, China
NEW YORK, N.Y., October 15, 2008 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that Thomas Enqvist of Sweden and Karel Novacek of the Czech Republic will be added to the field at The Stanford Championships, to be played October 22-26 on the campus of SMU in Dallas. Enqvist and Novacek will replace Australia’s Mark Philippoussis and Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors, who are both injured and unable to compete in the eight-player Outback Champions Series event. Philippoussis is still not recovered sufficiently from knee surgery, while Pernfors is still recovering from an Achilles injury.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker leads the field in Dallas, competing in his first tournament in the United States since he played in the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla., in 1999. Becker will play fellow former No. 1 player in the world Jim Courier, defending Stanford Championships winner Wayne Ferreira and Novacek in Group A of the round robin portion of the event. Todd Martin, the 1999 US Open finalist, will be joined by Enqvist and Americans Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias in Group B. Anna Kournikova, the former top 10 star of the WTA Tour and former No. 1 doubles player in the world, will also compete in mixed doubles exhibition matches scheduled for Saturday. The full schedule of play for the event can be found below.
Tickets for the event are available now and can be purchased by calling 877-332-TIXX (8499). Ticket prices start at $12. Full ticket and event information can be found at www.ChampionSeriesTennis.com.
Enqvist, 34, achieved a career-high ranking of No. 4 in 1999, the same year he reached the final at the Australian Open, where he lost to Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia. Enqvist won 19 career ATP singles titles and contributed to Sweden winning Davis Cup titles in 1997 and 1998.
Novacek, 43, achieved a career high ranking of No. 8 in the world and posted the most significant results of his career at the US Open, where he reached the singles semifinals in 1994, losing to Michael Stich, and reaching the doubles final in 1993 with Martin Damm, losing to Ken Flach and Robert Seguso. He won 13 career ATP singles titles.
Philippoussis, a former Wimbledon and U.S. Open finalist, was hoping to launch his comeback to professional tennis in Dallas, but due to a delay in his recovery from knee surgery, he will not be able to compete. He is, however, hopeful to still compete later this fall at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships at Surprise, November 5-9, 2008 in Surprise, Arizona.
Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Courier and many 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 2008 schedule, with each event featuring an eight-man round-robin match format. The winner of each four-player division meets in the title match while second place finishers in each division play in the third-place match. Each event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000 as well as Champions Series ranking points that will determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1. Beginning in 2008, the year-end champion will receive a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Stanford Financial Group, the official rankings sponsor of the Outback Champions Series. Through the first five events in 2008, Courier holds the No. 1 ranking with 3000 points. McEnroe holds the No. 2 ranking with 1800 points while Ferreira is in third position with 1450 points.
The 2008 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 12-16 in Naples, Fla., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Martin defeated McEnroe in the final. Courier won the second event of the season at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Legends Championships April 16-20, defeating Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series even in Boston April 30- May 4, defeating Krickstein in the final. Pat Cash won his first Outback Champions Series title in Newport, R.I., in August, defeating Courier in the final, while Courier won his second event of the season in September in Charlotte, defeating Martin in the final. The next three events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series calendar are Dallas, Surprise, Ariz., and Dubai, U.A.E. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.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 one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com
Schedule of play:
The Stanford Championships
October 22 – 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 22
Martin v. Krickstein
Courier v. Novacek
Thursday, October 23
Enqvist v. Arias
Becker v. Ferreira
Friday, October 24
Ferreira v. Novacek
Martin v. Arias
Enqvist v. Krickstein
Courier v. Becker
Saturday, October 25
Krickstein v. Arias
Mixed doubles featuring Anna Kournikova
Courier v. Ferreira
Enqvist v. Martin
Mixed doubles featuring Anna Kournikova
Becker v. Novacek
Sunday, October 26
3rd place match
Say it ain’t so – Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan NOT playing Davis Cup together?!? It indeed will be strange to see Mike Bryan playing Davis Cup for the United States this weekend in the semifinals against Spain in Madrid without twin brother Bob by his side. However, it certainly will be make entertaining TV viewing to watch Mardy Fish substitute for Bob, ailing with a left shoulder injury, pair with Mike and take on Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez in the crucial doubles rubber on Saturday. Incidentally, Mike has had success in men’s doubles without Bob in the past – winning two ATP titles without his left-handed double in 2002, winning Long Island with Mahesh Bhupathi and Nottingham with Mark Knowles.
A comparable situation in Davis Cup play for the United States came in the 1986 Davis Cup semifinals when the United States played Australia in Brisbane and the legendary American doubles team of Ken Flach and Robert Seguso were forced apart due to injury. A lingering knee injury from Seguso prevented him from posting with Flach – thrusting Paul Annacone on the line for the United States (incidentally, Annacone’s only on-court appearance for the United States Davis Cup team). As documented on my upcoming book On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, New Chapter Press, available for a special 32 percent off pre-order at the bottom of this article), Flach and Annacone played a two-day epic on Oct. 4-5, 1986 as excerpted below
October 4, 1986 – Pat Cash wins 16 of 20 games played and defeats Tim Mayotte 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the completion of a rain-postponed match to give Australia a 2-0 lead over the United States in the Davis Cup semifinals in Brisbane, Australia. Mayotte begins play leading Cash 6-4, 1-2. Cash the pairs with John Fitzgerald in the doubles match, and nearly puts away the Americans by an insurmountable 3-0 margin, but darkness postpones their match with the ad-hoc U.S. doubles team of Ken Flach and Paul Annacone, with the Aussies leading 10-8, 6-1, 5-7. Annacone, in his Davis Cup debut and what ultimately becomes his only Davis Cup playing experience, substitutes for an injured Robert Seguso.
October 5, 1986 – Ken Flach and Paul Annacone keep American hopes alive against Australia in the Davis Cup semifinal as they complete a come-from-behind, darkness delayed victory over Pat Cash and John Fitzgerald by a 8-10, 1-6, 7-5, 13-11, 7-5 margin. Entering the day’s play trailing two sets to one, Flach and Annacone prevent a 3-0 shutout by the Australians by rallying to win the final two sets in dramatic fashion.
A summary from my notes and writings on this 1986 tie as the former U.S. Davis Cup team media director is as follows;
The practice sessions leading into the semifinal would reveal that the doubles would be the major question mark for the United States as Robert Seguso’s knee problems from the US Open prevented him from being 100 percent fit. Annacone would fill in and pair with Flach, his steady doubles partner from the 14, 16 and 18-and-under junior competition. Tim Mayotte and Brad Gilbert would be the singles players.
“Robert is very disappointed, but we gave him as long as we could. In terms of form he wasn’t quite there,” Gorman said. “That gives us the option of three singles players and we can also change the doubles team. If the singles are long matches, we can change and the Australians will probably be thinking the same thing. Our players respect the Australians, but if we play our best tennis, we can win three points (matches).”
“Breaking up one of the best doubles teams in the world is not what you want to do. It’s not the best circumstances,” said Annacone. “There’s a lot of chemistry — who takes what ball, how you react under pressure. It may take a set, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, but there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy playing together, and if we play well, we have a very good chance.”
Gorman, a singles player when Rod Laver and John Newcombe won the 1973 Cup final in Cleveland, was eagerly awaiting his return to Australia-US ties. “”There is a long tradition of great rivalry between our two countries in Davis Cup, though we are great rivals in all sports, not just tennis,” he said. “”There aren’t too many rivalries which go back as far as this, when the winning team is the best in the world,”
The United States and Australia were the two most successful Davis Cup nations, with the U.S. winning 28 Davis Cup titles and Australia winning 25. The two nations met in the Davis Cup final 28 times. The United States led the series with Australia 23-17, but the United States had recently dominated the Aussies, winning their last four meetings. The Australians had not beaten the U.S. in Cup play in 13 years, since the 1973 Davis Cup Final in Cleveland when Gorman was a singles player on the U.S. team that lost 5-0.
Gilbert, ranked No. 12 in the world, opened the tie against 31-year-old Paul McNamee, a doubles specialist with major titles on his shelf with fellow Aussie Peter McNamara. The 25-year-old Gilbert played strong tennis in the 90-degree temperatures and took a two-sets-to-one-lead into the 10-minute locker room break. What transpired following the break was one of the more perplexing turnarounds ever seen in Cup play. With a firm two-sets-to-one lead and momentum on his side, Gilbert emerged from the break only to lose 11 games in a row before holding serve down 0-5 in the fifth set. McNamee then closed out the 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory, giving Australia the 1-0 lead.
“I don’t know what happened,” Gilbert said after the match. “He got positive, I got down. It was like a sinking ship. It was definitely the worst two sets of my career, and it comes at a bad time. The first match of a Davis Cup series is the most important one. But he raised his game and I was flat.”
The second rubber featured Mayotte against Pat Cash, the former No. 8 ranked Australian who had reached the semifinals of both the US Open and Wimbledon in 1984. After two years of enduring back problems and an appendectomy that saw his ranking drop as low as No. 413, Cash was again finding his top form and had reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon just three months earlier and negotiated his ranking up to a somewhat respectable No. 80 world ranking.
Mayotte’s grass court game was on full display in taking a 6-4, 1-2 lead over Cash before rains riddled the Milton Courts, postponing play until Saturday morning. The new day resulted in new life for the 21-year-old Cash, who reeled off the first four games of the day to take the second set 6-1. Cash then broke Mayotte twice each in the third and four sets to register the 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 decision to put the Australians in the comfortable 2-0 driver’s seat.
Cash was given a two-hour break before he teamed with John Fitzgerald in the doubles against the makeshift team of Annacone and Flach. Annacone’s Davis Cup jitters were in full blossom in the first two sets, losing his serve three times as he Flach dropped the first two sets, putting the United States on the verge of elimination and an embarrassing 3-0 sweep. But Annacone began to find his footing in the third set as darkness began to envelope the Milton Courts. The bleeding was stopped when the Americans won the third set 7-5, breaking Fitzgerald in the 12th game, forcing the match to be continued on Sunday morning due to night fall.
Sunday morning’s fourth set would prove to be an epic as neither team flinched on their serve. The Americans were closest to elimination at 11-11 in the fourth set, when Annacone wiffed an overhead that he lost in the brilliant Brisbane sun, putting the U.S. down 15-40 on Flach’s serve. But an error from Cash followed by a Flach volley winner erased the Australian opportunity. After Flach held serve, the match was then leveled at two sets apiece when the Americans again broke Fitzgerald to the dismay of the 6,500 assembled Australian fans.
The tight and intense tennis continued well into the fifth set with the Americans giving every ounce of effort to stave off elimination for their country. Wrote Angus Phillips of The Washington Post, of Flach and Annacone “They stalked the court like hungry cats, moving unexpectedly to the net on Australian first serves, making challenging gestures and dangerously aggressive returns of serve, and hurling themselves after difficult shots. Flach dove after a shot in the last set and conked himself on the head with his racket, but refused to stop play to regroup. Then Annacone, a Davis Cup rookie, went flying into a TV camera on the next point.”
Flach and Annacone took an early 3-1 lead in the fifth set and Fitzgerald again showed his vulnerability, losing his serve for the second consecutive time. Annacone, however, returned the favor in the next game, faltering on serve to put the decisive set back on serve. In the 10th game of the fifth set, the U.S. reached its first match point at 4-5 with Cash serving at 30-40, only to have the Aussie heroically escape. Four games later at 6-7, the Americans had double match point on Cash’s serve at 15-40, only to see two service winners bail the Aussies out of trouble. While Cash’s serve proved too tough to crack, Fitzgerald’s serve, as witnessed at the end of the third and fourth sets, would prove to be the Australian Achilles heel, as the 1986 US Open doubles champ’s serve was broken for a fourth time in three sets two games later to put the Americans over the hump. After four hours and 56 minutes – two hours and 45 minutes on Sunday alone – Annacone and Flach emerged triumphant in an 8-10, 1-6, 7-5, 13-11, 9-7 victory that ranks as one of the great doubles victories in U.S. Davis Cup history. The Australian fans, always ones that respected good tennis and tremendous efforts on a tennis court, gave the Americans a standing ovation at the conclusion of the doubles epic, called by Brian Dewhurst of UPI “one of the most memorable Davis Cup doubles matches of recent times.”
“I enjoy good tennis,” said Australian Captain Neal Fraser, “and if there’s any satisfaction from watching, I’d say this was probably one of the best doubles matches I’ve seen in a long time.”
“No one else seems to think we can win this tie, but the team doesn’t think that way,” Annacone said after the doubles epic. “We’ve got a lot of guts and winning the doubles will give the team a big emotional uplift.”
Said Gorman, “We are looking at this like a football game. Australia won in the first half, but now we have to win the second half.”
The Cash-Gilbert match would be delayed until Monday, as an ITF rule allows for a player to have a night’s rest should he play in more than 30 games in a day. Cash certainly needed the rest having played a total of 120 games in three days of play – including 40 games of doubles on Sunday – entering his match with Gilbert.
Cash certainly had the upper hand on Gilbert in the big match experience department, having played in two Grand Slam tournament semifinal matches – one being a tie-break in the fifth-set loss to Ivan Lendl at the 1984 US Open. Cash had also clinched Australia’s last Davis Cup victory in 1983, with a convincing win over Joakim Nystrom of Sweden. To date, Gilbert had not reached a major quarterfinal and still had his Friday melt down to McNamee fresh on his mind in only his second appearance in a U.S. Davis Cup tie. After the two split the first six games of the match, Gilbert reeled off 11 straight points en route to claiming the first set 6-3. Cash rebounded by breaking Gilbert twice before serving out the second set 6-2.
As Cash seized the momentum, Gilbert began self-deprecating comments, while chirping at Cash who walked away or put up his hand telling Gilbert that he was not ready to receive serve. Gilbert complained of “stall tactics.” Cash would later counter that Gilbert was “quick-serving” him.
“The umpire should have done something about it because he did it 30 times,” Gilbert later said. “If I’m ready to serve, he shouldn’t be able to walk away. It’s unfair. Play should be continuous. ”
Two double faults in the opening game of the third set resulted in Gilbert’s serve being broken again and Cash holding on to take the third set 6-3. At 3-3 in the fourth set, the stalling/quick serving banter erupted again. Gorman protested to chair umpire Guy Nash that Cash’s repeated attempts to stall Gilbert was again going too far. Cash would break Gilbert in that game to take the 4-3 lead and three games later, would serve out the 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and 23 minutes.
“At 3-3, the guy (Nash) goes: “Next time he does that you play two (serves),’” said Gilbert. “It was a fairly crucial point for “next time’. I play a little quickly but I feel like the receiver should play to the server’s pace.”
Said Gorman, “It is the first time I have heard a receiving guy saying: “Wait, I’m not ready’ between first and second serves. I always thought that when a guy is at the line looking at the server, he is ready. They have 30 seconds to start the point, but if he wanted to take extra time he should take a step back, like our players do.”
Cash countered by saying he felt Gilbert quick-served him in his loss to the American two weeks before the Davis Cup at the ATP event in Los Angeles and that he had warned his teammate McNamee of Gilbert’s quick-serve tactics prior to the opening rubber of the series.
Said Cash, “Three weeks ago, he quick-served me in Los Angeles and he did it to me 20 times again today. I have a right to slow him down. If I didn’t, he’d have 100 more points. The guy just rolls up and serves. He doesn’t even look across the court to see if you’re there.”
The win placed Australia into the Davis Cup final against Sweden, which it would win in Melbourne two months later by a 4-1 margin, with Cash clinching victory with a stirring two-sets-to-love comeback over Mikael Pernfors. The loss ended Gorman’s first campaign as the U.S. skipper – a year which saw some highs – namely efforts from Mayotte and Gilbert in Mexico and by Flach, Seguso and Annacone in doubles – and some low-lights, namely the absence of John McEnroe from the team, which in all likelihood would have resulted in the United States hosting a Davis Cup final against Sweden – a favorable scenario for a 29th Davis Cup championships for the United States. Asked in Brisbane whether having McEnroe on the team would have made a difference in outcome, Gorman did not want to think about what might have been, stating, “That is not a relevant question.”
Some say that tennis is relatively new sport in the Olympic Games. However, tennis was one of the nine sports on the original Olympic program at the first Modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens, Greece. The first Olympic tennis champion was John Boland, an Irishmen vacationing in Greece at the time of the first Modern Games. He entered into the tennis competition upon the urging of a Greek classmate from Oxford. Boland, who would later found the University of Ireland and serve Britain as a member of Parliament, won the singles competition in an eight-man field and paired with a German, Fritz Traun, to sweep the doubles title.
Tennis was a fixture on the Olympic program through the 1924 Games in Paris. The International Tennis Federation – the international governing body for tennis – and the International Olympic Committee saw differences on the definition of amateurism, and on whether Wimbledon should be played in Olympic years. What resulted was the exclusion of tennis from the Olympic Games as an official medal sport until 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
Tennis triumphantly returned to the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul, becoming the first Olympic sport to allow professionals to compete (Basketball followed suit in 1992). Steffi Graf of West Germany completed the rarest feat in the sport by capping a “Golden Slam” at the Seoul Games, having won all four major titles in professional tennis heading into the 1988 Games.
A compilation of Olympic tennis results and medalists are compiled below…
1896 – ATHENS, GREECE
GOLD — John Boland (Great Britain)
SILVER — Demis Kastaglis (Greece)
BRONZE — Momcsillo Topavicza (Hungary)
GOLD — John Boland (Great Britain) and Fritz Traun (Germany)
SILVER — Demis Kasdaglis and Demetrious Petrokokkinos (Greece)
BRONZE — Edwin Hack (Australia) and George Robertson (Great Britain)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match– John Boland (Great Britain) def. Demis Kastaglis (Greece), 7-5, 6-4, 6-1.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match– John Boland (Great Britain) and Fritz Traun (Germany) d. Demis Kasdaglis and Demetrios Petrokokkinos (Greece), 6-2, 6-4.
1900 – PARIS, FRANCE
GOLD — Laurie Doherty (Great Britain)
SILVER — Harold Mahony (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Reggie Doherty (Great Britain)
A.B.J. Norris (Great Britain)
GOLD — Reggie Doherty and Laurie Doherty (Great Britain)
SILVER — Spalding de Garmendia (United States) and Max Decugis (France)
BRONZE — G. de la Chapelle and Andre Prevost (France)
Harold Mahony and A.B.J. Norris (Great Britain)
GOLD — Charlotte Cooper (Great Britain)
SILVER — Helene Prevost (France)
BRONZE — Marion Jones (United States)
Hedwig Rosenbaum (Bohemia)
GOLD — Charlotte Cooper and Reggie Doherty (Great Britain)
SILVER — Helene Prevost (France) and Harold Mahony (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Hedwig Rosenbaum (Bohemia) and Archibald Walden (Great Britain)
Laurie Doherty (Great Britain) and Marion Jones (United States)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Laurie Doherty (Great Britain) def. Harold Mahony (Great Britain), 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match– Reggie Doherty-Laurie Doherty (Great Britain) def. Spalding de Garmendia (United States) and Max Decugis (France), 6-3, 6-3, 7-5
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Charlotte Cooper (Great Britain) def. Helene Prevost (France), 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.
Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match — Charlotte Cooper and Reggie Doherty (Great Britain) def. Helene Prevost (France) and Harold Mahony (Great Britain), 6-2, 6-4.
1904 – ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES
GOLD — Beals Wright (United States)
SILVER — Robert LeRoy (United States)
BRONZE — Alphonso Bell (United States) and Edgar Leonard (United States)
GOLD — Edgar Leonard and Beals Wright (United States)
SILVER — Alphonso Bell and Robert LeRoy (United States)
BRONZE — Joseph Wear and Allen West (United States)
Clarence Gamble and Arthur Wear (United States)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Beals Wright (United States) def. Robert LeRoy (United States) 6-4, 6-4.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Edgar Leonard and Beals Wright (United States) def. Alphonso Bell and Robert LeRoy (United States), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
1908 – LONDON, ENGLAND (Outdoor)
GOLD – Josiah Ritchie(Great Britain)
SILVER – Otto Froitzheim (Germany)
BRONZE – Wilberforce Eaves (Great Britain)
GOLD – George Hillyard and Reggie Doherty (Great Britain)
SILVER — Josiah Richie and James Parke (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Charles Cazalet and Charles Dixon (Great Britain)
GOLD — Dorothea Chambers (Great Britain)
SILVER — Penelope Boothby (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Joan Winch (Great Britain)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Josiah Ritchie (Great Britain) def. Otto Froitzheim (Germany), 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match - Wilberforce Eaves (Great Britain) def. Ivie John Richardson (South Africa), 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — George Hillyard and Reggie Doherty (Great Britain) def. Josiah Richie and James Parke (Great Britain) 9-7, 7-5, 9-7.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Dorothea Chambers (Great Britain) def. Penelope Boothby (Great Britain), 6-1, 7-5.
1908 – LONDON, ENGLAND — (Indoor)
GOLD — Arthur Gore (Great Britain)
SILVER — George Caridia (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Josiah Ritchie (Great Britain)
GOLD — Arthur Gore and Herbert Barrett (Great Britain)
SILVER — George Simond and George Caridia (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Wollmar Bostrom and Gunnar Setterwall (Sweden)
GOLD — Gwendoline Smith (Great Britain)
SILVER — Angela Greene (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Martha Adlerstraille (Sweden)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Arthur Gore (Great Britain) def. George Caridia (Great Britain), 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Arthur Gore and Herbert Barrett (Great Britain) def. George Simond and George Caridia (Great Britain), 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Gwendoline Smith (Great Britain) def. Angela Greene (Great Britain), 6-2, 4-6, 6-0.
1912 – STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (Outdoor)
GOLD — Charles Winslow (South Africa)
SILVER — Harold Kitson (South Africa)
BRONZE — Oskar Kreuzer (Germany)
GOLD — Charles Winslow and Harold Kitson (South Africa)
SILVER — Felix Pipes and Arthur Zborzil (Austria)
BRONZE — A. Canet and M. Meny (France)
GOLD — Marguerite Broquedis (France)
SILVER — Dora Koring (Germany)
BRONZE — Molla Bjurstedt (Norway)
GOLD — Heinrich Schomburgk and Dora Koring (Germany)
SILVER — Gunnar Setterwall and Sigrid Fick (Sweden)
BRONZE — A. Canet and Marguerite Broquedis (France)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Charles Winslow (South Africa) def. Harold Kitson (South Africa), 7-5, 4-6, 10-8, 8-6.
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match - Oskar Kreuzer (Germany) def. Ladislav Zemla (BOH), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Charles Winslow and Harold Kitson (South Africa) def. Felix Pipes and Arthur Zborzil (Austria), 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Marguerite Broquedis (France) def. Dora Koring (Germany), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match — Dora Koring and Heinrich Schomburgk (Germany) def. Sigrid Fick and Gunnar Setterwall (Sweden), 6-4, 6-0.
1912 – STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (Indoor)
GOLD — Andre Gobert (France)
SILVER — Charles Dixon (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Anthony Wilding (Australia)
GOLD — Andre Gobert and Maurice Germot (France)
SILVER — Gunnar Setterwall and Carl Kempe (Sweden)
BRONZE — Arthur Beamish and Charles Dixon (Great Britain)
GOLD — Edith Hannam (Great Britain)
SILVER — Thora Gerda Sophy Castenschiold (Denmark)
BRONZE — Mabel Parton (Great Britain)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Andre Gobert (France) def. Charles Dixon (Great Britain), 8-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match - Anthony Wilding (Australia) def. Gordon Lowe (Great Britain), 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-0
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match– Andre Gobert and Maurice Germot (France) def. Gunnar Setterwall and Carl Kempe (Sweden), 6-4, 12-14, 6-2, 6-4.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Edith Hannam (Great Britain) def. Thora Gerda Sophy Castenschiold (Denmark), 6-4, 6-3.
Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match — Edith Hannam and Charles Dixon (Great Britain) def. Helen Aitchison and Roper Barrett (Great Britain), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
1920 – ANTWERP, BELGIUM
GOLD — Louis Raymond (South Africa)
SILVER — Ichiya Kumagae (Japan)
BRONZE — Charles Winslow (South Africa)
GOLD — Noel Turnbull (South Africa) and Max Woosnam (Great Britain)
SILVER — Seiichiro Kashio and Ichiya Kumagae (Japan)
BRONZE — Pierre Albarran and Max Decugis (France)
GOLD — Suzanne Lenglen (France)
SILVER — Dorothy Holman (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Kitty McKane (Great Britain)
GOLD — Kitty McKane and Winifred McNair (Great Britain)
SILVER — Geraldine Beamish and Dorothy Holman (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Elizabeth D’Ayen and Suzanne Lenglen (France)
GOLD — Suzanne Lenglen and Max Decugis (France)
SILVER — Kitty McKane and Max Woosnam (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Milade Skrbkova and Razny Zemie (Czechoslovakia)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match– Louis Raymond (South Africa) def. Ichiya Kumagae (Japan), 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Noel Turnbull (South Africa) and Max Woosnam (Great Britain), def. Seiichiro Kashio and Ichiya Kumagae (Japan), 6-2, 7-5, 7-5.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Suzanne Lenglen (France) def. Dorothy Holman (Great Britain), 6-3, 6-0.
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Kitty McKane and Winifred McNair (Great Britain) def. Geraldine Beamish and Dorothy Holman (Great Britain), 8-6, 6-4.
Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match — Suzanne Lenglen and Max Decugis (France) def. Kitty McKane and Max Woosnam (Great Britain), 6-4, 6-2.
1924 – PARIS, FRANCE
GOLD –Vincent Richards (United States)
SILVER — Henri Cochet (France)
BRONZE — Umberto Luigi de Morpurgo (Italy)
GOLD — Vincent Richards and Frank Hunter (United States)
SILVER — Jacques Brugnon and Henri Cochet (France)
BRONZE — Jean Borotra and Rene Lacoste (France)
GOLD — Helen Wills (United States)
SILVER — Didi Vlastro (France)
BRONZE — Kitty McKane (Great Britain)
GOLD — Helen Wills and Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman (United States)
SILVER — Kitty McKane and Dorothy Covell (Great Britain)
BRONZE — Evelyn Colyer and Dorothy Shepherd Barron (Great Britain)
GOLD — Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman and R. Norris Williams (United States)
SILVER — Marion Jessup and Vincent Richards (United States)
BRONZE — Hendrik Timmer and Cornelia Bouman (Netherlands)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Vincent Richards (United States) def. Henri Cochet (France), 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2.
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match – Umberto Luigi de Morpurgo (Italy) def. Jean Borotra (France), 1-6, 6-1, 8-6, 4-6, 7-5
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Vincent Richards and Frank Hunter (United States) def. Jacques Brugnon and Henri Cochet (France), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match– Helen Wills (United States) def. Didi Vlastro (France), 6-2, 6-2.
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Helen Wills and Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman (United States) def. Kitty McKane and Dorothy Covell (Great Britain), 7-5, 8-6.
Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match — Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman and R. Norris Williams (United States) def. Marion Jessup and Vincent Richards (United States), 6-2, 6-3.
1988 – SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
GOLD — Miloslav Mecir (Czechoslovakia)
SILVER — Tim Mayotte (United States)
BRONZE — Stefan Edberg (Sweden)
Brad Gilbert (United States)
GOLD — Ken Flach and Robert Seguso (United States)
SILVER –Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez (Spain)
BRONZE — Stefan Edberg and Anders Jarryd (Sweden)
Miloslav Mecir and Milan Srejber (Czechoslovakia)
GOLD — Steffi Graf (West Germany)
SILVER — Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina)
BRONZE — Zina Garrison (United States)
Manuela Maleeva (Bulgaria)
GOLD — Zina Garrison and Pam Shriver (United States)
SILVER — Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova (Czechoslovakia)
BRONZE — Liz Smylie and Wendy Turnbull (Australia)
Steffi Graf and Claudia Kohde Kilsch (Germany)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Miloslav Mecir (Czechoslovakia) def. Tim Mayotte (United States), 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Ken Flach and Robert Seguso (United States) def. Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez (Spain), 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (1-7), 9-7.
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Steffi Graf (West Germany) def. Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina), 6-3, 6-3.
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Zina Garrison and Pam Shriver (United States) def. Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova (Czechoslovakia), 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.
1992 – BARCELONA, SPAIN
GOLD — Marc Rosset (Switzerland)
SILVER — Jordi Arrese (Spain)
BRONZE — Goran Ivanisevic (Croatia)
Andrei Cherkasov (CIS)
GOLD — Boris Becker and Michael Stich (Germany)
SILVER — Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval (South Africa)
BRONZE — Goran Ivanisevic and Goran Prpic (Croatia)
Javier Frana and Christian Miniussi (Argentina)
GOLD — Jennifer Capriati (United States)
SILVER — Steffi Graf (Germany)
BRONZE — Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (Spain)
Mary Joe Fernandez (United States)
GOLD — Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez (United States)
SILVER — Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (Spain)
BRONZE — Natasha Zvereva and Leila Meshki (CIS)
Rachael McQuillan and Nicole Provis (Australia)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Marc Rosset (Switzerland) def. Jordi Arrese (Spain), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 8-6.
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Boris Becker and Michael Stich (Germany) def. Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval (South Africa), 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match — Jennifer Capriati (United States) def. Steffi Graf (Germany), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez (United States) def. Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (Spain), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2.
1996 – ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES
GOLD — Andre Agassi (United States)
SILVER – Sergi Bruguera (Spain)
BRONZE – Leander Paes (India)
GOLD – Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge (Australia)
SILVER – Tim Henman and Neil Broad (Great Britain)
BRONZE – Marc-Kevin Goellner and David Prinosil (Germany)
GOLD — Lindsay Davenport (United States)
SILVER – Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (Spain)
BRONZE – Jana Novotna (Czech Republic)
GOLD — Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez (United States)
SILVER – Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova (Czech Republic)
BRONZE – Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez (Spain)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Andre Agassi (United States) def. Sergi Bruguera (Spain), 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match – Leander Paes (India) def. Fernando Meligeni (Brazil), 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match – Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge (Australia) def. Tim Henman and Neil Broad (Great Britain) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Men’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match – Marc-Kevin Goellner and David Prinosil (Germany) def. Paul Haarhuis and Jacco Eltingh (Netherlands), 6-2, 7-5
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Lindsay Davenport (United States) def. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (Spain), 7-6 (6), 6-2.
Women’s Singles Bronze Medal Match - Jana Novotna (Czech Republic) def. Mary Joe Fernandez (United States), 7-6 (8), 6-4
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match — Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez (United States) def. Jana Novona and Helena Sukova (Czech Republic), 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Women’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match – Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (Spain) def. Manon Bollegraf and Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (Netherlands), 6-1, 6-3
2000 – SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
GOLD – Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Russia)
SILVER – Tommy Haas (Germany)
BRONZE – Arnaud DiPasquale (France)
GOLD – Sebastien Lareau and Daniel Nestor (Canada)
SILVER – Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge (Australia)
BRONZE – Alex Corretja and Albert Costa (Spain)
GOLD — Venus Williams (United States)
SILVER – Elena Dementieva (Russia)
BRONZE – Monica Seles (United States)
GOLD – Venus Williams and Serena Williams (United States)
SILVER – Miriam Oremans and Kristie Boogert (Netherlands)
BRONZE – Els Callens and Dominique Van Roost (Belgium)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Russia) def. Tommy Haas (Germany), 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match - Arnaud DiPasquale (France) def. Roger Federer (Switzerland), 7-6 (5), 6-7 (7), 6-3
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match – Daniel Nestor and Sebastien Lareau (Canada) def. Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge (Australia) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (2)
Men’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match – Alex Corretja and Albert Costa (Spain), def. David Adams and John-Laffnie de Jager (South Africa), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Venus Williams (United States) def. Elena Dementieva (Russia), 6-2, 6-4
Women’s Singles Bronze Medal Match – Monica Seles (United States) def. Jelena Dokic (Australia), 6-1, 6-4
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match – Venus Williams and Serena Williams (United States) def. Miriam Oremans and Kristie Boogert (Netherlands) 6-1, 6-1.
Women’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match – Els Callens and Dominique van Roost (Belgium)def. Natalia Zvereva and Olga Barabanschikova (Belarus), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
2004 – ATHENS, GREECE
GOLD – Nicolas Massu (Chile)
SILVER – Mardy Fish (United States)
BRONZE – Fernando Gonzalez (Chile)
GOLD – Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez (Chile)
SILVER – Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler (Germany)
BRONZE – Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic (Croatia)
GOLD – Justine Henin-Hardenne (Belgium)
SILVER – Amelie Mauresmo (France)
BRONZE – Alicia Molik (Australia)
GOLD – Li Ting and Sun Tiantian (China)
SILVER – Virginia Ruano Pascual and Conchita Martinez (Spain)
BRONZE – Paola Suarez and Patricia Tarabini (Argentina)
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Nicolas Massu (Chile) def. Mardy Fish (United States) 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match - Fernando Gonzalez (Chile) def. Taylor Dent (United States), 6-4, 2-6, 16-14
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match – Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez (Chile) def. Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler (Germany), 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4
Men’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match – Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic (Croatia) def. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi (India), 7-6 (5), 4-6, 16-14
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match – Justine Henin-Hardenne (Belgium) def. Amelie Mauresmo (France), 6-3, 6-3
Women’s Singles Bronze Medal Match – Alicia Molik (Australia) def. Anastasia Myskina (Russia), 6-3, 6-4
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match – Li Ting and Sun Tiantian (China) def. Virginia Ruano Pascual and Conchita Martinez (Spain), 6-3, 6-3
Women’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match – Paola Suarez and Patricia Tarabini (Argentina) def. Ai Sugiyama and Shinobu Asagoe (Japan), 6-3, 6-3
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim previewed the Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer Wimbledon final by suggesting that it was the most anticipated championship final in the history of our sport. High praise indeed, but when does the competition outdistance the hype in this day and age? Practically never is when.
Sunday’s match was simply astonishing. Two absolute giants of our great game did battle for nearly five hours on the world’s most important court. As John McEnroe of NBC Sports likened it to his 1980 final against Bjorn Borg, he acknowledged that there were, truly, no losers in this match. No less an authority than Bud Collins called it the “best Wimbledon final ever.”
When McEnroe interviewed Roger Federer as he walked off the court, it was incredibly poignant. They now share a bond, as both lost epic “Greatest Match of All Time” encounters on Wimbledon’s centre court. Federer started to lose his composure and McEnroe offered a hug. It would have been appropriate for Mac to have consoled Federer by telling him that more people have patted him on the back for his efforts in losing the 1980 final then for his three wins at the Big W.
A few weeks ago, Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN Magazine, took some snarky shots at the sport of tennis. In fact, his article- which was, by the way, abruptly removed from ESPN.com- was based on the premise that if he was offered the promise of the greatest match ever in the Wimbledon final, then he would still not choose to watch it. I admire Simmons, and as a die-hard Boston sports fan, I always appreciate his (warped) perspective. After reading his article, I actually felt defensive for a little while. I thought: What the hell is he talking about!?!? Thankfully, I am confident that if Simmons tuned into “Breakfast at Wimbledon” for Rafa and Roger, then his perspective would be considerably different.
Simmons offered some idiotic “solutions” to what ails our sport. I presume that these were written in jest, because they were pretty lazy ideas. In giving “The Sports Guy” more benefit of doubt, he has purposely written reverse jinx pieces before (such as, the Celtics cannot win this year) that have proved to be good luck for his hometown teams. Maybe that was his true intention. If so, then we all owe him a big Thank You.
Venus Williams did not lose a set in singles or doubles during the 2008 Championships.
Serena did not look happy (big surprise!) after losing in the final. Expect her to dominate at Flushing Meadows in a few weeks.
Congratulations to Canada’s Daniel Nestor for re-gaining the world’s #1 ranking in doubles and completing the career grand slam in doubles. Not bad for a 35 year old!
Farewell to Jonas Bjorkman. Saturday marked his final Wimbledon appearance in The Championships. Of course, guys are already “queuing up” to play in the senior invitational doubles with him next year.
The Bryan Brothers faced off against one another in the mixed doubles final. Reportedly, they evenly split all of their prize money and endorsements. I am guessing that would have been a pretty relaxed final round encounter. Bob and Sammy Stosur straight-setted Mike and Katarina Srebotnik over on Court One while Federer and Nadal were playing their fifth set on Centre Court.
A few final thoughts on The Championships…
Thank heavens that there will be a retractable roof on the Centre Court beginning next year. The delayed start to the gentlemen’s singles final, and the two subsequent rain delays, would have been avoidable. This adversely affects several million world-wide fans. In the end, the sport loses when viewers tune out. I wish that Wimbledon had made- and then acted on- this decision thirty years ago, but it is a sign of progress.
One example of where there has been NO PROGRESS is the middle Sunday of The Championships, the tournament’s traditional “day of rest.” Like millions of tennis fanatics all over the world, an ideal Sunday for me is a good breakfast, hit some balls and maybe even play a few sets, and then watch tennis for the rest of the day. The AELTC sacrifices tens of millions of pounds (double that figure in US dollars!) in sponsorship revenue and international TV licensing fees by refusing play on that prime weekend slot. By 2008 standards, it is outrageous, arrogant, and archaic. It is also hypocritical, because the men’s final has been played on a Sunday for a quarter century. They were lucky that the weather was uncharacteristically pleasant during the first week of the tournament. Relying on luck each year is foolish though.
The Russian women made another huge splash, with 6 of the final 16 players hailing from Russia. There were 17 Russian ladies in main draw of the singles. That is impressive. It is not unprecedented, however, and- in fact- pales in comparison to some years where the Americans reigned supreme. In 1984, 64(!!!!) of the 128 singles players were American men. The Yanks had the champion, the runner-up, two semi-finalists, four quarterfinalists, and 11 who reached the round of 16. As American Frank Sinatra used to sing… it was a very good year.
Does everybody still think that Roger Federer will annihilate Pete Sampras’ all-time records? It says here that he might get to 14 majors, but this is not a mortal lock. The sport has changed before his very eyes. He will need some luck (a Nadal injury, or a Novak Djokovic disappearance in the autumn) to finish as the year-end #1. The expectation that this would be Federer’s fifth straight year at the top is fading, and he would still be one year shy of what Pete Sampras accomplished.
In Pete Sampras’ new book A Champion’s Mind, he lists (in no particular order) himself, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, and Ivan Lendl as the top-five players of the Open era. After his Wimbledon victory, I would place Rafael Nadal among John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and (probably) Mats Wilander in the next tier (with apologies to Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, John Newcombe, Gustavo Kuerten, and Jim Courier).
Speaking of Pistol Pete, it took him a little while to “solve” grass court tennis. In fact, a surprising number (17) of different players registered wins over the once-and-still GOAT. Our Editor in Chief, Manfred Wenas, has a little swag for the first reader to submit the complete list of players that owned a piece of Sampras’ scalp on grass.
World Team Tennis began its 33rd professional season in the US over the weekend. Go to www.wtt.com for information about players, upcoming matches, standings, etc. It is a great opportunity to watch past, present, and future Wimbledon champions. It is also the only competition in tennis that prioritizes doubles and team-play over singles.
Venus and Serena Williams are shattering the myth that good doubles teams would beat great singles players who pair up together. They won their 7th major doubles title together, and it would be safe to assume that they do not practice the nuances of doubles too frequently.
At the beginning of Rafael Nadal’s ascent up the rankings, I asked Wayne Bryan (whose sons Bob and Mike were ranked #1 in the world at the time) who would win a match between his boys and Federer-Nadal. He hedged his bets, but thought that his boys would pull through. He did suggest, however, that if Federer were to play with Lleyton Hewitt, who had more doubles success at that stage, then he thinks the result would be reversed. So, I will pose these questions to our readers, who would win the follow mythical doubles matches?
1) Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer vs. Bob and Mike Bryan
2) Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi vs. Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde
3) Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg vs. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso
4) John McEnroe and Peter Fleming vs. John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl (yes, you read that correctly)
5) Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors vs. Bob Lutz and Stan Smith
Tennis Week in Newport is always one of my favorite times of the year. This year’s class of inductees is highlighted by Michael Chang, and supported by contributors Mark McCormack and Eugene Scott. Visit www.TennisFame.com for a wealth of information about these new- and, in fact, all- hall of famers.
When Gene Scott died suddenly in 2006, it was an awful loss for our sport. It also, naturally, affected hundreds (more like thousands, actually) of people personally. I had developed a great fondness for Gene Scott and treasured the time I got to spend with him. I believed that- for some unknown reason- he had taken a liking to me, and wished to help me along in my career. During the outpouring of grief, his dear friends at Tennis Week created a Web site (www.EugeneLScott.com) where people were urged to offer their tributes to the great man. Reading some of these tributes, a few years after his passing, left me feeling as sad as the day he died. Back then I wrote:
Gene Scott was like the North Star. Speaking with him or reading his column… he’d always bring you to your senses. Nobody else had his vantage point, and he knew it. That never kept him from sharing though, and his generosity was unparalleled. His departure has already left a terrible void. Goddamn that he is gone. Lucky that he touched so many while he was around.
I wish that Gene Scott had been enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame a decade ago. His induction speech would have been brilliant. Hall of Famer John McEnroe will offer his testimonial and introduce Gene’s wife, Polly, who will accept on his behalf this weekend.
Who else should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? I offer a dozen candidates who I believe ought to be bronzed:
1) Donald Dell.
2) Monica Seles.
3) Andre Agassi.
4) Gustavo Kuerten.
5) Jennifer Capriati.
6) Martina Hingis.
7) Nick Bollettieri.
8) Dennis Van Der Meer.
9) Michael Stich.
10) Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
11) Justine Henin.
12) Todd Woodbridge & Mark Woodforde.
Of course I will be in America’s Resort City (Newport, Rhode Island) this week to watch the best little tournament in the world and then enjoying the induction ceremony of the latest inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. If you are a fan of this great sport, you MUST make a pilgrimage to Newport.
While at the Newport Casino, I will spend a lot of time rehashing points and moments and drama from the “greatest tennis match ever played” with old and new tennis friends. Congratulations Rafa! Congratulations Roger!
Note by the Editor-in-Chief: The little swag for the first reader to submit the complete list of players that owned a piece of Sampras’ scalp on grass only goes for those who use the comment system down below on TennisGrandstand.com. Other submissions will not count.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 26, 2008 – The USTA, the governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S., today announced the nine players nominated for the U.S. Olympic team for tennis at the 2008 Olympic Games, August 10-17 in Beijing, China.
U.S. women’s tennis coach Zina Garrison announced a four-woman team with three singles entries and two doubles teams. All three singles players — Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport — are former Olympic gold medal winners. The two nominated U.S. women’s doubles teams consist of world No. 1 Liezel Huber with Davenport and the Williams sisters.
U.S. men’s tennis coach Rodney Harmon announced a five-player men’s team, also with three singles entries and two doubles teams. James Blake, Sam Querrey and Robby Ginepri were named to the team in singles. Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 doubles team in the world, and Blake and Querrey have been nominated as the two U.S. men’s doubles teams.
The 2008 Olympic tennis competition will be staged August 10-17 on the hard courts of the Olympic Green Tennis Center in Beijing. The United States has won 15 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis since it returned as a full medal sport in 1988 — more than any other nation.
“Selection to the U.S. Olympic team is a tremendous honor for these athletes, and one they truly deserve,” said Jane Brown Grimes, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “The Olympics provides one of the greatest global platforms to showcase our sport, and we expect this to be a very memorable summer for tennis.”
“Each player selected to our U.S. Olympic team knows what playing for their country is all about,” said Arlen Kantarian, CEO, Pro Tennis, USTA. “All of these players have worn the Stars and Stripes as part of the U.S. Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams, and will be outstanding competitors — and first-class ambassadors — for our country in Beijing.”
“With three former gold medalists on our team and the No. 1 doubles player in the world, we are certainly capable of earning medals at this Olympics,” said Garrison. “I have great memories of the Olympics as a player and coach, and I am thrilled to be a part of the excitement once again.”
“The guys are all honored to receive the nomination to represent their country,” said Harmon. “With all of our singles players making their Olympic debuts and the Bryans searching for one of the few prizes they have still to earn in their accomplished careers, our goal is to be on the podium when all is said and done.”
Serena Williams, 26, will be making her second Olympic appearance having won a gold medal in women’s doubles at the 2000 Olympic Games with sister, Venus, becoming the first set of siblings to win Olympic gold in tennis. A resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Serena has won eight Grand Slam singles titles, and in 2003, became one of only five women to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles within a 12-month period.
Venus Williams, 28, will be making her third Olympic appearance having won a gold medal in both women’s singles and women’s doubles at the 2000 Olympic Games, joining Helen Wills in 1924 as the only player to sweep both titles at the same Olympiad. A resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Venus holds four Wimbledon and two US Open singles titles.
Lindsay Davenport, 32, will be making her third Olympic appearance having won a gold medal in singles at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Davenport took 11 months off from professional tennis to have her first child in June 2007, returning to the tour in September 2007. A resident of Laguna Beach, Calif., she has won 55 singles titles and 37 doubles titles in her career, including the 1998 US Open, 1999 Australian Open and 2000 Wimbledon titles.
Liezel Huber, 30, will be making her first Olympic appearance as an American (she competed at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney representing her native South Africa). A resident of Cypress, Texas, she became an American citizen in July 2007 with the hopes of competing for the U.S. in the Olympics. Ranked No. 1 in doubles since November 2007, Huber has won three Grand Slam doubles titles. She made her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team in April.
James Blake, 28, will be making his Olympic debut in Beijing. A resident of Tampa, Fla., Blake has the chance to make history by becoming the first African-American male to win an Olympic tennis medal. Blake missed the 2004 Olympic Games while recovering from a broken vertebra. The winner of 10 singles and five doubles titles during his career, he is currently the No. 2 ranked American and in 2007, helped the U.S. win the Davis Cup title.
Sam Querrey, 20, will be making his Olympic debut in Beijing. Querrey is having a breakthrough year in just his second full season as a pro. He broke into the Top 50 in 2007 and his ranking continues to rise after winning his first singles title in March in Las Vegas. He currently resides in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Robby Ginepri, 25, will be making his Olympic debut in Beijing. He missed being named to the 2004 U.S. Olympic team despite being ranked No. 35 in the world (he was the fifth-ranked American entered and the maximum number of singles players per country is four). A resident of Kennesaw, Ga., Ginepri has the distinction of being the only active American man other than Andy Roddick to reach the semifinals at a Grand Slam event (2005 US Open).
Bob and Mike Bryan, 30, will be making their second appearance in the Olympics having reached the quarterfinals in 2004 in Athens, losing to eventual gold medalists Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu of Chile. The Bryans, currently residing in Wesley Chapel, Fla., joined the great, great uncles of President George W. Bush as the only two sets of brothers to play tennis for the United States in the Olympics (Arthur and George Wear competed in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis and each won a bronze medal with different doubles partners). Together, the Bryans have won the career Grand Slam in doubles and in 2007, helped the U.S. capture its first Davis Cup title since 1995.
Venus and Serena Williams are the last American women to win Olympic gold in tennis. The women were shut out of the medal stand at the 2004 Olympic Games for the first time since tennis returned to Olympic competition in 1988.
Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Olympic gold in men’s singles when he defeated Spain’s Sergi Bruguera in the gold medal match at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso are the last American team to win Olympic gold in men’s doubles when they defeated Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez of Spain in the gold medal match at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Mardy Fish was the last American to earn an Olympic medal in tennis, winning silver at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Tennis was part of the Olympic program from the first modern Olympiad in 1896 until 1924. After a 64-year hiatus, tennis returned to the official Olympic program in 1988, becoming the first sport to feature professional athletes.
Team nominations are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with 725,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.