It’s official. The US Open will finish on a Monday – at the earliest. For the second year in a row, rain has played havoc to the final weekend of the US Open and has pushed the tournament into a third week. Last year’s men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, which started at 5 pm on the third Monday of the event, was the first Monday final since 1987, when Ivan Lendl defeated Mats Wilander to win his third straight U.S. title. However, as excerpted from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com), the two most delayed U.S. finals were as follows…
From September 17, 1960 – In the most delayed conclusion to a major tournament in the sport’s history, Neale Fraser of Australia and Darlene Hard of the United States win the singles titles at the U.S. Championships – one week after winning semifinal matches to advance into the championship match. The U.S. Championships at Forest Hills are delayed a full seven days as Hurricane Donna slams New York and soggies up the grass courts at the West Side Tennis Club. Fraser finally defends his 1959 title, defeating fellow Aussie Rod Laver 6-4, 6-4, 10-8, becoming the first repeat men’s winner at Forest Hills since fellow Aussie Frank Sedgman in 1951 and 1952. Hard finally breaks through and wins her first U.S. singles title, upsetting defending champion Maria Bueno of Brazil 6-3, 10-8, 6-4. Fraser and Hard both win semifinal matches on September 10 – Fraser beating Dennis Ralston and Hard beating Donna Floyd – before the rains come. The Fraser-Laver final is a rubber match for the two Aussies, who split their two previous meetings in major finals on the year – Laver winning the Australian title in January for his first major singles title and Fraser turning the tide on “The Rocket” at Wimbledon. Fraser also ends Laver’s 29-match winning streak securing on the Eastern grass court circuit following his loss to Fraser at Wimbledon. Hard finally breaks through and wins her first U.S. title after five previous attempts to win the title. Says Hard, “I never thought I would do it, “ says Hard. “That girl (Bueno) never gives up. She hits winners when she least expects it. It’s been a long time coming. It’s great.”
From September 23, 1938 – After a delay of six days due to a hurricane hitting the New York area, play is resumed at the U.S. Championships at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills as Don Budge keeps his dream of being the first player to win a Grand Slam alive by beating 1931 Wimbledon champion Sidney Wood 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the men’s semifinals. Advancing to play Budge in the final is his unseeded doubles partner, Gene Mako, who defeats Australia’s John Bromwich 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the other men’s semifinal. In women’s singles semifinals, Alice Marble beats Sarah Palfrey Fabyan 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, saving two match points at 2-5, 15-40 in the second set, while Nancye Wynne defeats Dorothy Bundy 5-7, 6-4, 8-6.
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-1 7-5 to win the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Elena Dementieva beat Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3 to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada
Pat Cash successfully defended his International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup singles title, defeating Jim Courier 6-3 6-4 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA
“It’s been a wonderful summer.” – Roger Federer, winning his first tournament title after the birth of his twin daughters.
“The closest I was going to get to the first-place trophy is now.” – Novak Djokovic, while standing five feet (1.5m) from the crystal bowl that Roger Federer collected by winning the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
“I returned poorly and served poorly. Against Roger, if you do both of those things, it’s going to be very difficult.” – Andy Murray, after his semifinal loss to Roger Federer in Cincinnati.
“It’s only a number. I hope to be ready in the future to come back to number two or to be in the top position. Number three is a very good number, too.” – Rafael Nadal, who is now ranked number three in the world.
“When you have so many important points and every point is so tough, you have to give 100 percent. It really kills your brain more than physical.” – Alisa Kleybanova, after outlasting Jelena Jankovic 6-7 (6) 7-6 (7) 6-2 in Toronto.
“It’s tough to think about the winner’s circle because you have to take it one match at a time.” – Maria Sharapova, who has returned to the WTA Tour following a nine-month layoff.
“It’s big because it was against Venus.” – Kateryna Bondarenko, after upsetting Venus Williams in an opening round match at Toronto.
“It’s my brain. I know exactly what I have to do, but if I’m not using my brain, I’m not doing the things my coach is telling me.” – Dinara Safina, after losing her second-round match at Toronto.
“It’s difficult to push yourself to play relaxed, even though you know this is the end. But still, you are a player deep inside, so it comes out in important moments, and you want to win no matter what.” – Marat Safin, after winning his first-round match in Cincinnati.
“I’m actually having a competition with myself to see how many errors and double-faults I can make and still win the match in two sets.” – Maria Sharapova, after winning her second-round match in Toronto.
“I’ve already missed a Masters’ event this year when I got married, so I guess that wasn’t an option here unless I wanted to pay everyone off.” – Andy Roddick, on why he played in Cincinnati despite playing the two weeks prior.
“You just try to first get the ball back.” – Roger Federer, when asked the secret of playing winning tennis.
“Depending on the draw, my pick at this point is (Andy) Murray or (Andy) Roddick.” – John McEnroe, forecasting the winner of this year’s US Open men’s singles.
“I think there could be a battle for the number one in the world. That’s what everybody hopes for. This year the tour is very tough and it’s tight at the top. Hopefully that’s what we’ll get to see.” – Andy Murray, on the battle looming at the season-ending ATP World Tour Championships.
“My overhead cost has gone down considerably.” – Brian Wood, a promoter for a tennis exhibition in Asheville, North Carolina, after replacing Andre Agassi and Marat Safin with Rajeev Ram and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.
SETTING THE TABLE?
Elena Dementieva put herself in good company by beating Maria Sharapova and winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada. The fourth-seeded Dementieva captured her third title of the year and during the week won her 50th match of the season, something only Dinara Safina and Caroline Wozniacki had done in 2009. The Russian hopes to follow in the footsteps of the last three Toronto winners – Justine Henin in 2003, Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Henin again in 2007. They went on to win the US Open. The gold-medalist at the Beijing Olympics, Dementieva has never won a Grand Slam tournament.
SET FOR US OPEN
Despite not winning a tournament, Rafael Nadal says he’s ready for the US Open. Nadal had not played since suffering an injury at Roland Garros this spring until the past two weeks, in Montreal and Cincinnati. “These two weeks, winning three matches here and two matches (in Montreal), winning five matches and playing seven matches in total, it’s enough matches I think,” said the Spaniard, who has seen his ranking drop from number one in the world to number three during his absence from the court. “We will see how I am physically to play the five-set matches,” he said. “I know when I am playing well I can play at this level. But you only can win against these top players when you are playing your best tennis.”
Serena Williams is the second player to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be played October 27-November 1 in Doha, Qatar. The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion joins Dinara Safina to have clinched spots in the eight-player field. By winning both the singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open, Serena became the first professional female athlete to surpass USD $23 million in career earnings. She moved past Lindsay Davenport as the all-time prize money leader on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Davenport has earned USD $22,144,735. And because she and her sister Venus Williams have won three doubles titles this year – the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, USA – the sisters currently rank second in the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships Doubles Standings.
Andy Murray has qualified for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held November 22-29 in London. The Scot joins Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the first three singles players to qualify for the elite eight-man event. By winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, Murray moved up to a career-high number two in the world behind Federer. That snapped the four-year domination of Federer and Nadal at the top of the men’s game. The 22-year-old Murray is the first ATP player to record 50 match wins this year and has won five titles in 2009: Montreal, Doha, Rotterdam, Miami and Queen’s Club in London, where he became the first British champion since Henry “Bunny” Austin in 1938.
Pat Cash loves grass court tennis. The 1987 Wimbledon champion successfully defended his singles title on the grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, beating Jim Courier 6-3 6-4 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. It was Cash’s second career victory in the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for players age 30 and over. Courier, once ranked number one in the world, is still seeking his first professional title on grass.
SHARING A TEAM
If only the Miami Dolphins were as well-known on the football field as their owners. Sisters Serena and Venus Williams are believed to be acquiring a stake in the National Football League team. Musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Marc Anthony recently bought small shared of the team, while owner Stephen Ross forged a partnership with singer Jimmy Buffett.
Juan Martin del Potro is paying the price for his success. The sixth-ranked Argentine pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters because of fatigue. Del Potro reached the final of the Montreal Masters one week after winning the tournament in Washington, DC. He played 24 sets in two weeks. Winning seven matches at the US Open would take between 21 and 35 sets over a two-week period.
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic won’t be around when the year’s final Grand Slam tournament gets underway in New York’s Flushing Meadow at the end of this month. Muller withdrew from the US Open because of a knee injury. He is best known for upsetting Andy Roddick in the opening round of the US Open in 2005 when he went on to reach the quarterfinals. Muller’s spot in this year’s tournament will be taken by Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. An injury also has sidelined Minar. With his withdrawal, Rajeev Ram moves into the main draw.
SQUANDERING MATCH POINTS
Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan led 9-4 in the match tiebreak before Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic rallied to win the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters doubles in Cincinnati. In all, Nestor and Zimonjic saved eight match points before prevailing over the top-seeded and defending champions 3-6 7-6 (2) 15-13. Nestor and Zimonjic won six straight points but failed to convert their first match at 10-9. They were successful on their second match point, improving their record to 44-10 as a team this year and collecting their eighth title of 2009. Both teams have already clinched spots in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held in London in November.
Instead of Andre Agassi and Marat Safin, spectators at a tennis exhibition in Asheville, North Carolina, will instead be watching Rajeev Ram and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. When only 1,100 tickets had been sold for the 6,000-seat Asheville Civic Center, promoter Brian Wood decided to replace Agassi and Safin. He also dropped the ticket price from a high of USD $200 to a top price of USD $25. The promoter said tickets purchased for the Agassi-Safin match will be refunded. This wasn’t the first change in the program. Originally Safin was to play Novak Djokovic on August 6. When the date was changed to August 28, Djokovic was replaced by Agassi. “We could have canceled altogether or moved forward on a much lower scale, and that’s what we did,” Woods said. “The guys coming are still world class players who play at an extremely high level.”
John McEnroe is covering the airwaves as tightly as he did the court in his playing days. This year Johnny Mac will join the ESPN broadcasting team for its coverage of the US Open. The broadcast will have its own brand of family ties. John will work with his younger brother Patrick, who has been a mainstay at ESPN since 1995. He also will team with ESPN’s Mary Carillo. The two won the French Open mixed doubles in 1977.
Taylor Dent leads a group of five Americans who have been given wild cards into the main draw of the US Open men’s singles. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said they have also issued wild cards to Devon Britton, Chase Buchanan, Jesse Levine and Ryan Sweeting, along with Australian Chris Guccione and a player to be named by the French Tennis Association. Dent had climbed as high as 21 in the world before undergoing three back surgeries and missing two years on the tour.
Nine men have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open qualifying tournament, which will be held August 25-28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Receiving wild card berths into the qualifying are Americans Lester Cook, Alexander Domijan, Ryan Harrison, Scoville Jenkins, Ryan Lipman, Tim Smyczek, Blake Strode and Michael Venus, along with Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
Australian Alicia Molik is returning to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Once ranked as high as number eight in the world, Molik hasn’t played since losing in the opening round in both singles and doubles at the Beijing Olympics. Molik has asked for a wild card into the US Open where she plans on playing only doubles with American Meghann Shaughnessy. Her future plans call for her playing singles in a low-level International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in Darwin, Australia, in September. Molik won four of her five WTA titles in a six-month period in 2004-05 before a middle-ear condition affected her vision and balance, forcing her off the tour in April 2005. An elbow injury followed, leading to her announcing her retirement earlier this year.
Although he hasn’t played on the ATP Tour since March 2007, Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan says he has not retired from tennis. “I’m not going to quit,” he said. “I just want to be back when I’m really ready.” Srichaphan underwent operations on his wrist in Los Angeles in 2007 and in Bangkok, Thailand, this year. He originally had planned to return to play last year, and then postponed it until the Thailand Open this September. But now he says he may not play in a tournament until 2010.
SITE TO SEE
Tennis Canada is considering combining both ATP and WTA events into one tournament the same week and playing it in both Toronto and Montreal at the same time. Under that plan, each city would stage one-half of the men’s main draw and one half of the women’s main draw. Montreal and Toronto would each stage a final, meaning one of the men’s and one of the women’s finalists would switch cities, making the one-hour trip by private jet. Currently the tournaments are run on consecutive weeks with the men’s and women’s events alternating annually between Montreal and Toronto. This year the ATP tournament was held in Montreal a week ago and won by Andy Murray. Elena Dementieva captured the women’s title in Toronto on Sunday. But the ATP and WTA are pushing for more combined tournaments, a trend that resulted in the creative suggestion by Tennis Canada.
David Shoemaker is the new president of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The 36-year-old Shoemaker previously was the Tour’s chief operating officer, general counsel and head of the Asia-Pacific region. The native of Ottawa, Canada, succeeds Stacey Allaster, who was recently appointed the tour’s chairman and CEO. In his new job, Shoemaker will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and business affairs of the tour, tournament and player relations, strategic expansion of the sport in key growth markets; international television and digital media rights distribution, and the tour’s year-end Championships.
The ATP also has a new executive. Laurent Delanney has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer, Europe, and will be based in the tour’s European headquarters in Monte Carlo, Monaco. A former agent who managed a number of top players, including Yannick Noah, Delanney joined the ATP’s European office in 1994, serving most recently as senior vice president, ATP Properties, the business arm of the ATP. The 49-year-old Delanney began his career with ProServ, a sports management and marketing agency, and at one time was marketing and publication operations manager for Club Med in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
SHOW AND TELL
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s gallery exhibition at this year’s US Open will be titled “The Grand Slam: Tennis’ Ultimate Achievement.” The exhibit chronicles the accomplishment of the calendar-year Grand Slam as 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s 1969 singles Grand Slam and the 25th anniversary of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver’s 1984 doubles Grand Slam. Among the many stars featured in the exhibit are Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Smith Court, Steffi Graf, Maria Bueno, Martina Hingis and Stefan Edberg. The exhibition will be on view from August 29 through September 13 in the US Open Gallery.
The telling of the 2008 epic Wimbledon final between eventual winner Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer earned New York Daily News columnist Filip Bondy a first-place award from the United States Tennis Writers’ Association. The three-judge panel called Bondy’s story “a masterful, compelling account of the greatest match, told with vivid quotes and observations, a deft touch, and a grand sense of tennis history.” Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Joyce of RealClearSports.com and Paul Fein, whose work was published by TennisOne.com and Sportstar, each were double winners. The awards will be presented during the USTWA’s annual meeting at the US Open.
Cincinnati: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 3-6 7-6 (2) 15-13 (match tiebreak)
Toronto: Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 2-6 7-5 11-9 (match tiebreak)
SITES TO SURF
New Haven: www.pilotpentennis.com/
New York: www.usopen.org
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$750,000 Pilot Pen Tennis, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
$600,000 Pilot Pen Tennis Presented by Schick, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
$100,000 EmblemHealth Bronx Open, Bronx, New York, USA, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
ATP and WTA
US Open (first week), New York, New York, USA, hard
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 years – written 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
As Hurricanes Hanna – and its remnants – threaten play on Super Saturday at the US Open, it’s interesting to remember how hurricanes have impacted play at the U.S. Championships.
As documented in the new book On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, New Chapter Press) in 1960, in the most delayed conclusion to a major tournament in tennis history, Neale Fraser of Australia and Darlene Hard of the United States won the singles titles at the U.S. Championships – one week after winning semifinal matches. The U.S. Championships at Forest Hills are delayed a full seven days as Hurricane Donna slams New York and soggies up the grass courts at the West Side Tennis Club. Fraser finally defends his 1959 title, defeating fellow Aussie Rod Laver 6-4, 6-4, 10-8, becoming the first repeat men’s winner at Forest Hills since fellow Aussie Frank Sedgman in 1951 and 1952. Hard finally breaks through and wins her first U.S. singles title, upsetting defending champion Maria Bueno of Brazil 6-3, 10-8, 6-4. Fraser and Hard both win semifinal matches seven days earlier on September 10 – Fraser beating Dennis Ralston and Hard beating Donna Floyd – before the rains come.
On September 23, 1938, after a delay of six days due to a un-named hurricane hitting the New York area, play is resumed at the U.S. Championships at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills as Don Budge keeps his dream of being the first player to win a Grand Slam alive by beating 1931 Wimbledon champion Sidney Wood 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the men’s semifinals. Advancing to play Budge in the final is his unseeded doubles partner, Gene Mako, who defeats Australia’s John Bromwich 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the other men’s semifinal. In women’s singles semifinals, Alice Marble beats Sarah Palfrey Fabyan 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, saving two match points at 2-5, 15-40 in the second set, while Nancye Wynne defeats Dorothy Bundy 5-7, 6-4, 8-6. The following day, Budge achieves the first “Grand Slam” of tennis, when he defeats Mako 6-3, 6-8, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Writes Allison Danzig of The New York Times of the final “The book was closed yesterday on the greatest record of success ever compiled by a lawn tennis player in one season of national and international championships competition.” Mako, who also wins the U.S. doubles title with Budge, was the only player to win a set from Budge in the tournament. Their final is played in great spirits and with a high quality of play, despite the fact that many of the crowd of 12,000 is certain that Budge, the overwhelming favorite, would easily win the match. Writes Danzig, “The play was animated with friendly manifestations across the net whose contagion was communicated to the gallery, particularly in the third set when the crowd was roaring with mirth as the doubles champions trapped each other repeatedly with drop shots. But there was no holding back on either side and there was no trace of amiability in the scorching forehand drives with which Mako caught Budge in faulty position inside the baseline or the murderous backhand and volcanic service which Budge turned loose.” In the women’s final, Marble defeats Wynne 6-0, 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.
It was 40 years ago this week that tennis moved into what is known as the “Open Era” – where professionals, once shunned from major tournaments, would join the amateurs and compete side-by-side against each other in tournaments around the world. It was on April 22, 1968 in the British town of Bournemouth, where the first “Open” tournament was held. It was called The British Hard Court Championships (hard court, at the time, being the reference for clay court since it was “hard” in comparison to the surface of choice at the time – grass). The following is an excerpt from the new book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($34.95, New Chapter Press, available at www.newchapterpressmedia.com) where the author describes the introduction of the new era of tennis and the happenings during the historic first week of play in Bournemouth.
The dawning of “open” competition some 40 years after the issue was first raised, made 1968 truly a watershed year for tennis. The British “revolt” of December 1967 was reinforced by far-seeing U.S. Lawn Tennis Association President Bob Kelleher and his orchestration of the association’s vote in favor of open tennis at its annual meeting in February. That led to the emergency meeting of the International Lawn Tennis Federation in Paris and approval of 12 open tournaments for 1968.
Unfortunately, the hypocrisy and confusion of the “shamateur” period was not done away with quickly and cleanly. Rather than accept the British proposal that all competitors would be referred to simply as “players,” abolishing the distinction between amateur and professional, the ILTF bowed to heavy pressure from Eastern European countries and their voting allies and effected a compromise that called for four classifications:
- Amateurs, who would not accept prize money.
- Teaching professionals, who could compete with amateurs only in open events.
- “Contract professionals,” who made their living playing tennis but did not accept the authority of their national associations affiliated to the ILTF, signing guaranteed contracts instead with independent promoters.
- “Registered players,” who could accept prize money in open tournaments but still obeyed their national associations and retained eligibility for amateur events, including the Davis, Federation and Wightman Cups.
The prime example of this last strange and short-lived new breed was Dutchman Tom Okker, who won the Italian and South African Championships (not yet prize-money events) and was runner-up to Arthur Ashe in the first U.S. Open at Forest Hills. Okker pocketed $14,000 in first-prize money while Ashe, then a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, had to remain an amateur to maintain his Cup eligibility. The USLTA had not adopted the “registered player” concept so he received only $20 per day expenses.
Other ludicrous examples abounded. Margaret Smith Court, for instance, won and accepted nearly $10,000 in open tournaments in Britain, then came to America and played in the U.S. Amateur in Boston for expenses only, beating old rival Maria Bueno in the final, 6-2, 6-2.
But despite such anomalies of the transition period, great progress had undeniably been made toward a more honest and prosperous international game.
The first open tournament, a month after the concept was approved at the conference table, was the $14,000 British Hard Court Championships. (In Europe, “hard court” refers to a clay surface, not concrete or similar hard surfaces as the term is used in the U.S.) Staged at the coastal resort of Bournemouth, it was the historic first chapter, and it began damply, coolly on a drizzly, raw Monday, April 22. The “open era” lurched into being with a minor young Briton, John Clifton, winning the first point but losing his match, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 8-6 against Australian pro Owen Davidson-then the British national coach-on the red shale courts of the West Hants Lawn Tennis Club.
The field at Bournemouth was not as distinguished as the historic nature of the occasion warranted. The “Handsome Eight” of World Championship Tennis were off playing their own tour, leaving the professional portion of the field largely to George MacCall’s National Tennis League, plus Davidson and former Chilean Davis Cupper Luis Ayala, then a coach in Puerto Rico, who paid his own way to take part. The top-line amateurs, wary of immediate confrontation with the pros, stayed away. None of the world top 10 amateurs entered, and Englishman Bobby Wilson was the only amateur seeded. On the women’s side, the only four pros at the time- Billie Jean King, Rosemary Casals, Francoise Durr and Ann Haydon Jones, who had just signed contracts with MacCall-were otherwise engaged.
The male pros were expected to dominate the amateur field of Englishmen and a few second-line Australians. But many of the pros were jittery. They knew their reputations were on the line, and the most discerning realized they were ill prepared, given long absence from best-of-five-set matches and exposure to new faces and playing styles. Pancho Gonzalez particularly recognized the hazards posed by sudden emergence from a small circle of familiar opponents, with its well-established pecking order. It didn’t take long for his apprehension to prove justified. In the second round, Mark Cox, a Cambridge-educated, 24-year-old English left-hander ranked only No. 3 in Britain, outlasted Gonzalez, 0-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, becoming the first amateur to topple a pro.
Gonzalez, only a month from his 40th birthday, hadn’t played a five-set match in four years, but his defeat sent shock waves through the tennis world. Buoyed by his instant celebrity, Cox ousted a two-time Wimbledon champ, rookie pro Roy Emerson the next day, 6-0, 6-1, 7-5, to reach the semifinals. Obviously the pros were not invincible-a notion that would be reinforced convincingly throughout the year. But the best of their number, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, proved they still inhabited the top echelon. Laver canceled Cox’s extravagant run in the semis, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0, and Rosewall-a man for all seasons whose longevity at the top level of international competition is unsurpassed-beat Andres Gimeno, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, and then Laver, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3, in the title match that, because of rain, stretched over two days. Ken, ruling the 32-man draw, collected the initial “open” paycheck, $2,400, while the loser settled for half.
Attracting almost 30,000 customers during a moist, chilly week at the small club, pioneering Bournemouth was deemed a grand success. The British LTA may have opened the new production out-of-town, (a New Haven pre-Broadway try-out?) so that had it bombed, Wimbledon could discreetly resume the old ways.
But there was no going back. Virginia Wade, the British No. 1 (No. 8 in the world), would be going forward as a pro, but not until later in the year. However, as wary as Cox was about abdicating amateur status at this mysterious time, she declined the female first prize ($720) for winning the title at Bournemouth over Winnie Shaw, 6-4, 6-1. Virginia and kindred cautious amateurs-“Suppose it doesn’t work, and we’re banned as amateurs, out in the cold?” was the common plaint-got $120 for expenses. Luis Ayala, the pro half of the first integrated heterosexual open team, with Californian Valerie Ziegenfuss as the amateur half, won all of $24 for their semifinal finish in the mixed. Since he got $96 as a second-round singles loser, Luis and Valerie came out even. But could they afford room and board? Welcome to the new land of milk and honey.