Michael Chang

Bites from the Big Apple.The U.S. Open…so far.

By James A. Crabtree

So yes, it is still in the very early stages.

But am I just imagining this or has there been an absurd amount of five set matches, thirteen at last count. Absolute proof the game is decided not only by the power of a serve but as much by a will of nerve.

Milos Raonic was made to work and work against Santiago Giraldo, but his big serve came in handy. Janko Tipsarevic scraped through as did fellow seed Marin Cilic who next faces Daniel Brands another five set survivor.

Surely these guys, after such a gruelling day at work deserve an immunity pin or something.

But reality TV this is not. You lose and you go home. No chance of a recall here just because you are a fan favourite.

Speaking of recalls how long has Radek Stepanek been around? Surely he remembers the better movie Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger over the latest disappointment with Colin Farrel. Anyway poor old Radek lost a tough four setter, dressed in a shirt paying homage to the statue of liberty, finding no such liberty from 11th seed Nicolas Almagro. Gilles Simon was more successful in his tough four setter against another old guy, thirty four year old Michael Russell.

Remember back in the eighties when they said to be a great tennis player you had to be dominating the tour before you needed to shave or were legally allowed to drive. How and why has it changed so much? Are we going to see players play to a Ken Rosewall and Pancho Gonzalez vintage? Will we ever see the likes of a teenage Boris Becker or Michael Chang again? Or is it simply because the older guys employ an improved diet and fitness regime whilst the younger guys play on their iPads and update their FaceBook status. It’s complicated.

Interestingly the only teenie within the top 100 currently is Bernard Tomic. Now correct me if I am wrong but Bernard is most certainly an old school name and the young Australian does play quite a flat forehand and uses the almost antiquated slice backhand to a devastating effect. Maybe that is the secret, be young but play old. This is getting confusing. Anyway he is playing the old Andy Roddick next.

Now, speaking of confusing Andy Murray did escape losing a set in his match to Alex Bogomolov Jr and Ivan Dodig. However, as has become quite normal for the Scot we had to witness his usual facial pains of distress and sudden hamstring grasps. If it were not for the score line you could have sworn he was down and out, not safely into the next round. Typical whinging Brit ;)

And a bit more whining.  I am so disappointed in Grigor Dimitrov. If your style emulates Roger Federer we want the same results as Roger Federer. Is that really too much to ask ? Oh yes, Marcos Baghadatis is playing Alexandr Dolgopolov in his next- that should be a good one. Remember when Baghadatis made the 2006 Australian Open final.  Feels like more than half a decade ago. Actually it was.

Ok, enough of  all that. Bring on the next round.

A Quartet of Tennis Greats Return to Montreal for Legends Event

Andre Agassi, Pat Cash, Michael Chang and Ivan Lendl made a much-anticipated return to Montreal on Friday for a Legends Event. Playing in front of just over 8,000 fans at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens, these tennis legends made the crowd forget about their beloved hockey team for at least one night.

Prior to the event, the four players spent the better part of two days in the cities fulfilling media commitments and giving a tennis clinic for a group of kids at a local club. Agassi appeared on a popular evening sports show called l’Antichambre and discussed a variety of topics including his book, “Open”, his foundation and the hip surgery he recently underwent. In fact, the Montreal Legends Event was his first match since the operation.

With the promotional activities completed, it was show time. The evening began with the four players being introduced on court and presented with Canadiens jerseys. Not surprisingly, Agassi was greeted with a standing ovation, he who won three Rogers Cup titles in his career and was adored by the Canadian tennis faithful.

The first match of the night pitted Cash, a late replacement for the injured Jimmy Connors, against Lendl in a rematch of the classic 1987 Wimbledon final which Cash won to claim his only Grand Slam title. Cash’s serve and volley tactics were countered by Lendl’s big serve and forehand. While they may have lost a step or two, their hands and court sense are still one of a kind. Cash was particularly entertaining, high fiving people in the audience, cracking jokes and playing the role of ball boy. Not only did the Aussie  win their pro set 8-6, he also left Montreal with a few new fans.

After an entertaining opening act, it was time for the feature match between Agassi and Chang. The compatriots met 22 times during their illustrious careers, a rivalry that was heated at times. With their relationship patched up, the two were friendly and most importantly, put on a great show. It was vintage Agassi on display. He took the ball early, hitting winners from all over the court. His cross court backhand as pure as ever and his return of serve was just as lethal as the good old days. Chang also brought out his full arsenal of tricks, a big serve, as well as lots of crafty spins and slices. Agassi posted a 7-6(3), 6-3 win, but in the end, the evening was not about the results of course, it was a chance for Montreal fans to renew acquaintances with their favourite players and for their heroes to do the same.

“Hopefully we have added to your lives over the last couple of decades, but you need to know how much you’ve been adding to ours, it is such a pleasure to play for you and to come back here,” Agassi told the crowd after his match.

Organizers announced that a tennis legends event will be held in Montreal each of the next four years including next March at the Bell Centre.

Serena Williams takes hard fought victory, Radwanska wins versus Petkovic while Stosur edges Vinci – A Rogers Cup quarterfinals wrap up

With both the men’s and women’s tournaments running simultaneously in Canada this year, members of the media had to make some big decisions about how to cover this virtually combined event for the first time.

I had planned ahead of time to do the first half in Montreal watching the men and then to transition to Toronto to catch the women finish things off and also take-in the Legends tournament with Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Jim Courier and John McEnroe. I just arrived in Toronto today in time to see the four quarter-final matches and it took a few matches before the level of play picked-up.

Sam Stosur took out surprise quarter-finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-4, 6-1 in the opening match of the day. It was the end of a good run by Vinci who knocked off some serious competition in Yanina Wickmayer, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic one after another. Vinci’s loss brings an end to the blog she was keeping while here in Toronto.

In the second match of the day, fourth seeded Victoria Azarenka had no trouble in dispatching qualifier Galina Voskoboeva with ease by a score of 6-1, 6-2. Azarenka was doing her best impression as the tournament favorite. She raced out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Whatever Voskoboeva had going for her they day before against Maria Sharapova was no longer in effect. She looked like a shell of what she brought on court Thursday.

In a mid-afternoon match, 11th seed Andrea Petkovic took on 13th seed Agnieska Radwanska. The pair played a semi-final match last week in Carlsbad where Radwanska prevailed in three sets. Despite bringing more fire-power onto the court, Petkovic made a few too many unforced errors while Radwanska played a very consistent and balanced game. The lack of power in her game did nothing to prevent her from prolonging the rallies and waiting forPetkovic to make a mistake. Radwanksa would win by a routine 6-3, 6-4 final score. She has now won 9 consecutive matches and joked on court after the match that she was trying to emulate Novak Djokovic’s streak from earlier in the year.

Petkovic seemed pretty relaxed after the match and was upbeat with the media in her press conference. Despite the fact that she is now 0-4 against Radwanska in her career she had the following to say:

“Well, actually, I really enjoy playing her, because I always think it’s a good match to watch for the audience.”

In assessing her strategy Petkovic said that, “…today I just felt like, I don’t know, I needed to overpower her, which was the wrong approach.”

Radwanska meanwhile just seems content to approach the top ten but doesn’t strike me as having the killer-instinct necessary to actually contend for a Grand Slam championship.

In the evening match Serena Williams was up against Lucie Safarova. Tennis fans were finally treated to some drama in this one as the match would go the distance. From the get-go it was apparent that Safarova was not simply going to roll-over or submit to nerves as some other Serena opponents have done this week. See Bondarenko, Alona for evidence of the above. Safarova played with tons of confidence and would break to go up 4-3. Later, she easily held her final service game of the first set at love to take it 6-4.

Serena refused to quit, which should come as no surprise. Her game began to find the mark and she started to find some incredible angles on the court. Safarova was still giving it her all and both players applauded each other on more than one occasion. The display of sportsmanship was appreciated by the Toronto crowd.

Serena would break to go up 3-1 and never looked back. She would take the second set as well as the third to win the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

You gotta hand it to the American, she has the drive of a true champion. When asked if she was exceeding her expectations so far during her come-back she did not hesitate to respond, “I was hoping to win Wimbledon, so no, I’m not exceeding my expectations.”

She was in a pretty positive mood overall and joked with the media on several topics including her fitness level: “I’m still not super fit, because I always have cream sodas at night.” And also her thoughts on turning 30 in September: “No, Baby, I’m 26. I’m turning 27 this year.”

The semi-finals are now set for Saturday. Sam Stosur will first take-on Agnieska Radwanska in the daytime match. At night, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka will meet. The winner of the late match won’t have as much time to recover for Sunday, but which ever player wins between those two will certainly be considered the favorite.

Legends Michael Chang and John McEnroe will meet before the first semi and Andre Agassi will face Jim Courier after the second one. A great day of tennis is on deck. Stay tuned for more coverage here at Tennis Grandstand.

Photos credit by © Bob McIntyre

[nggallery id=149]

Pending Fatherhood Forces Chang to Withdraw From Champions Series Event in Grand Cayman

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that Michael Chang has withdrawn from the 2010 The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships this week due to the pending birth of his first child. Chang will be replaced in the field by 1986 French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors. Rounding out the field at the clay-court Champions Series event are Hall of Famers Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier, former US and Australian Open champion Marat Safin and former top 10 U.S. standouts Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.

Said Chang, “I was very much looking forward to competing in the event at the Cayman Islands however at this time I need to be with my wife as we eagerly await the birth of our first child.”

Chang recently played his first event on the Champions Series since 2006, finishing in third place at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz. Chang married former two-time NCAA singles champion from Stanford Amber Liu on October 18, 2008.

This year’s Grand Cayman tournament will feature for the first time a multi-day pro-am experience that will be combined with the world class tennis competition to create an exclusive tennis destination happening. All six competing pros will participate in the pro-am that will see the legends playing matches and enjoying meals and social time with participating amateurs over multiple days. Tennis fans interested in participating in the pro-am with the legends can find ticket, travel and tournament information by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Edberg, Courier and Safin have combined to win 12 major singles titles and each achieved the world’s No. 1 ranking. The event will be played on red clay courts in a single-knockout format event with each player vying for a first-prize paycheck of $45,000 and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1 ranked player on the Champions Series circuit.

In the opening quarterfinal match at 7 pm on November 5, Pernfors will play Krickstein, followed by Courier taking on Arias. On Saturday, November 6, starting at 2 pm, the winner of the Pernfors-Krickstein match will play Safin while the winner of the Courier-Arias match will play Edberg. The schedule of play on Sunday, November 7 will feature the third-place match between the two losing semifinalists starting at 1 pm followed by the championship match.

To be eligible to compete on the 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. Courier finished the 2009 season as the top-ranked player on the Champions Series, followed by Pete Sampras and Todd Martin. Courier won the 2009 edition of The Residences At the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships beating Arias 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

Earlier this year on the Champions Series circuit, former U.S. and Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis defeated John McEnroe in May to win the Staples Champions Cup in Boston and take over the No. 1 Champions Series ranking. Philippoussis maintained his ranking by winning the title at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., in October, defeating Courier in the final. Former French Open semifinalist Fernando Meligeni of Brazil was the surprise winner of the opening event on the 2010 Champions Series, winning the title in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by defeating Philippoussis in the final in March.

Kournikova Out of Chilean Mine!!

Anna Kournikova made her first public appearance since she was rescued after over two months underground along with 33 Chilean miners at last week’s Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz.

Well, she wasn’t really trapped in the Chilean mine. But, while in Arizona, she did sport some great looking sun-glasses like those miners did as their eyes slowly got used to sunlight.

On Saturday, she participated in mixed doubles matches in conjunction with the event during the day and night sessions.

Mark Philippoussis won the singles title at the event, defeating Jim Courier in the final. Michael Chang beat John McEnroe in the third-place match. Other participating players were Wayne Ferreira, Jimmy Arias, Aaron Krickstein and Jeff Tarango. Ashley Harkleroad, the Playboy pin-up of tennis, also participated in the mixed doubles events with Kournikova.

Here are some more photos of the event, courtesy of the InsideOut Sports & Entertainment. For more info on the Champions Series, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

PHILIPPOUSSIS STICKS WITH FEDERER TO WIN AT WIMBLEDON

When Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, Mark Philippoussis was the man he beat in the final to break through and win his first of a now record 16 major singles title. Despite a shaky performance in the first round against Alejandro Falla on Monday, Federer is still the pick of Philippoussis to win a seventh Wimbledon title on Sunday, July 4. Philippoussis, who currently is the top-ranked player on the Champions Series tennis circuit, blogs his thoughts about Federer and his match with Falla as well as thoughts about the women’s draw and his pick of Venus Williams to win the women’s singles title at SW19. The blog can be read here: http://www.championsseriestennis.com/player_blog.php?id=47

Philippoussis defeated John McEnroe 6-3, 4-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie-Breaker) last month to win his first career Champions Series singles title at the $150,000 Staples Champions Cup in Boston. The win for Philippoussis also vaulted him into the No. 1 Champions Series ranking after reaching the singles final in the circuit’s opening event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he lost to Fernando Meligeni.

Philippoussis will join McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Mikael Pernfors, Wayne Ferreira, Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., to be played October 20-24 at the Surprise Recreation Campus Tennis and Racquet Complex. For more information on the Champions Series, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

A $2 MILLION DAY: ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY

From the December 13 chapter of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, TennisHistoryBook.com

1992 – Michael Stich of Germany concludes an otherwise disappointing season winning the $2 million first prize at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, Germany, defeating Michael Chang 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the final. One year after winning the singles title at Wimbledon, Stich struggles throughout the 1992 season, winning only one title in Rosmalen, the Netherlands, before winning the final tournament of the year with the biggest first prize in the sport. Says Stich after winning in Munich, “I would be much happier winning Wimbledon and getting $10,000 than winning here and getting two million. It counts more for me now that I won the tournament and beat four top ten players. The money comes afterwards, when I’m going to realize just how much I made.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MNU8RcHdcQ&feature=PlayList&p=38181D5DD17DFCAC&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=57

“Shorts Around His Ankles, Underpants In Full View” – On This Day In Tennis History

Fifteen years ago on Oct. 12, 1994, one of the most unusual on-court incidents in the history of tennis happened in Tokyo when American Jeff Tarango “dropped his drawers” on court during his second-round match against Michael Chang. That event, plus others, are outlined below in this excerpt from the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com).

1994 – American Jeff Tarango performs one of the most unusual on-court activities in professional tennis, dropping his shorts after having his serve broken in the first game of the third set in his loss to Michael Chang in the second round of the Seiko Championships in Tokyo. Following his serve being broken, Tarango, in the words of Britain’s Daily Record, “pulled his shorts down, raised his arms and waddled to his seat courtside with his shorts around his ankles and his underpants in full view.” Says Tarango, “I felt that I let the match slip away a little bit, and I wanted to make light of it. I had exposed my weakness to Michael.” Tarango, who would famously walk off the court in a third round match at Wimbledon in 1995, retires from his match with Chang with a left forearm injury, trailing 4-1 in the third set. Tarango is given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct and is fined $3,000. Says Chang, who goes on to lose to Goran Ivanisevic in the final of the event, “I know the ATP has been trying to create a little bit more interest in the game but I don’t know if that is what they had in mind.”

2001 – One hundred and one years after three Harvard students make up the first U.S. Davis Cup team, former Harvard student James Blake makes his Davis Cup debut against India in the Davis Cup Qualifying Round at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. Blake, playing in his first Davis Cup match, defeats India’s Leander Paes, playing in his 79th Davis Cup match, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. Blake also becomes the first Harvard student to play Davis Cup for the U.S. since Titanic survivor Richard Norris Williams in 1926 and becomes only the third African-American man to play Davis Cup for the U.S. – joining Mal Washington and Arthur Ashe. Earlier in the day, Andy Roddick defeats India’s Harsh Mankad 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

1998 – Lindsay Davenport ascends to the No. 1 ranking in women’s professional tennis for the first time in her career, taking the No. 1 WTA ranking from Martina Hingis, whom she beat in the U.S Open final the previous month. Davenport holds the No. 1 ranking for 98 weeks in her career.

2003 – Roger Federer wins his 10th career ATP singles title and successfully defends a title for the first time in his career when he defeats Carlos Moya of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to win the CA Trophy in Vienna, Austria. Says Federer of successfully defending a title for the first time, “I’m over the moon about that.”

1980 – Ivan Lendl needs nearly five hours to defeat Guillermo Vilas 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the final of the Spanish Open championships in Barcelona.

Chang And Enqvist To Clash In Final

Michael Chang and Thomas Enqvist booked their places in the final of the Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy in Paris on Saturday after both men won their final group matches to finish unbeaten at the top of their respective groups.

In the first match of the day, Enqvist had to come through a lengthy struggle against an in-form Thomas Muster 6-3, 3-6, 10-5 (Champions’ Tie Break). Elsewhere, Chang walked on court knowing he had already booked his place in Sunday’s final but he still completed a clean sweep of round robin victories with a 4-6, 6-2, 10-2 (Champions’ Tie Break) victory over Frenchman Arnaud Boetsch.

Chang is thrilled to have reached his first ever final on the ATP Champions Tour.

“It feels really good to be in my first ATP Champions Tour final,” he said. “Today was definitely a tough one against Arnaud so I’m pleased I was able to hang in there. I’m really enjoying being here in Paris this week with my wife Amber and it’s been great to play some good tennis as well.”

Enqvist is equally pleased to be playing in his second ATP Champions Tour final in two events.

“It’s great that I’m in the final,” he said. “I think today against Thomas it was a tough match and I was lucky to get through in the Champions’ Tie Break in the end. I’ve played well this week so hopefully I will go all the way tomorrow.”

Since making his debut in Sao Paulo earlier this year, Enqvist has remained unbeaten on the ATP Champions Tour, winning the title in Brazil and now reaching the final in Paris. Despite being on a seven-match winning streak, the Swede is modest about his achievements.

“It’s been pretty close this week. Yesterday against Cedric (Pioline) and today against Thomas were both tough matches that I could have lost. Hopefully the run will continue for another day because I’d like to win another title but I’m certainly not feeling invincible. I saw Michael play against Stefan (Edberg) and he looked really good. He still moves well and he still plays really good so it’s definitely going to be an interesting match.”

Chang starts  the match with a 1-5 win/loss record against Enqvist, having never beaten him on clay.

“Thomas has always been a difficult opponent for me over the years,” he said. “I’ve definitely lost more than I’ve won against him so tomorrow’s not going to be an easy match and I’ll have to play my best that’s for sure.”

The match to decide the third and fourth place positions will be contested by Cedric Pioline and Stefan Edberg after both men won their final round robin matches to finish second in their respective groups. Pioline sped through his match against a tired-looking Yevgeny Kafelnikov, winning 6-1, 6-2, while Edberg had a slightly sterner test against Guy Forget, coming through 6-3, 6-4.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.

After Paris, the ATP Champions Tour will move on to Chengdu for the inaugural Chengdu Open (November 5-9), and after that will arrive in Turin, Italy for the city’s first ever ATP Champions Tour event (November 11-14). The Tour culminates in London at the AEGON Masters Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall, 1-6 December.

To view the order of play and the round-robin groups, click here: http://www.atpchampionstour.com/results.html

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV BLOG – Part One

Yevgeny Kafelnikov is back in Paris, the scene of his Grand Slam breakthrough in 1996, and as well as playing in the Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy this week, he is also writing an exclusive blog for ATPChampionsTour.com.

In part one, the Russian, who also won the Australian Open title in 1999, talks about how he has felt to be strolling the streets of Paris again, and the memories that the trip has brought back to him.

In part two, which will be published soon, Kafelnikov gives his reaction to Kim Clijsters’ recent US Open triumph, his thoughts on Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro, and how the current era compares to his own.

To read part one of Kafelnikov’s blog, click here: http://www.atpchampionstour.com/blog5.html

One Week On Top – 10 Years Ago This Week

Ten years ago this week, Patrick Rafter was on top of the world. On July 26, 1999 the Aussie hunk and two-time U.S. Open champion reached the career pinnacle by earning the No. 1 ranking on the ATP computer. Rafter’s reign, however, last only one week and he never again attained the top spot in the computer rankings, marking the shortest ever reign as a world’s top ranked player. The following text describes Rafter’s No. 1 ascent and other events that happened in tennis history this week as excerpted from the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTOR Y ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com).

July 26

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

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

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

July 27

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

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

July 28

1991 – Andrei Chesnokov wins the Canadian Open in Montreal, defeating Petr Korda 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final and promises a high-spirited celebration. Says Chesnokov, “I’m going to New York, I’m going to go to Tower Records, have dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant and, of course, I’m going to get drunk.”

July 29

1990 – Michael Chang defeats Jay Berger 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the final of the Canadian Open men’s singles final in Toronto. The 24th-ranked Chang’s $155,000 winner’s check puts him in the million-dollar club for career prize money. “It feels good,” says the 18-year-old Chang of his financial achievement. “I think my first priority as far as tennis is concerned is not making money. My priority is to be the best in the world – the best I can be.”

1974 – Jimmy Connors becomes the No. 1 ranked player in the world for the first time in his career at the age of 21, replacing John Newcombe.

2001 – Andre Agassi defeats Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles, Agassi’s 17th consecutive match victory on hard courts. Identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan of Camarillo, Calif., win their third ATP doubles title in six weeks, defeating Jan-Michael Gambill and Andy Roddick 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).

July 30

1928 – France successfully defends its Davis Cup title against the United States as Henri Cochet defeats Bill Tilden 9-7, 8-6, 6-4 clinching the 4-1 victory for France at newly-dedicated Stade Roland Garros in Paris, which is constructed to host the Davis Cup matches. Writes P.J. Philip of the New York Times, “On the central court of the Roland Garros Stadium at Auteuil, that Napoleon of tennis, Big Bill Tilden, met his Waterloo today. In three straight sets, Henri Cochet swept him off the field, holding the Davis Cup for France and writing finis to the world championship career of the most brilliant tennis player of the past decade. It was Waterloo alright.” Tilden’s career was not entirely finished following the loss. He was kicked off the Davis Cup team prior to this famous series for his “professional” writing from tennis events, which U.S. Lawn Tennis Association officials said violated his amateur status. However, due to the huge demand to see Tilden play against the four French “Musketeers” at the newly-constructed Roland Garros Stadium, the French government and French Tennis Federation pressured the USLTA to re-instate Tilden to the team to appease the ticket-buying public. Tilden is, instead, suspended from the U.S. Championships later in the summer, but continues to play high-level amateur tennis through 1930.

1996 – Andre Agassi stages a stunning comeback to advance into the medal round at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, coming back from a 3-5 third-set deficit to defeat Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinal of men’s singles. Ferreira is upset with Agassi’s behavior and profane language that results in Agassi receiving a point penalty in the first game of the second set. Says Ferreira, “I honestly believe he should be kicked off the court for the things he was saying. They were pretty rude and actually the worst I’ve ever heard anybody say. I’m surprised the umpires took it so lightly. If I was sitting in the chair, I probably would have done something different.” Retorts Agassi, “It was about the only way he was going to beat me.” Also advancing into the medal round in men’s singles are Leander Paes of India, who defeats Renzo Furlan of Italy 6-1, 7-5, Sergi Bruguera of Spain, who defeats Mal Washington of the United States 7-6 (8), 4-6, 7-5 and Fernando Meligeni of Brazil, who defeats Russia’s Andrei Olhovskiy 7-5, 6-3

July 31

1932 – In what Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins calls “The Great Cup Robbery,” France defeats the United States in the Davis Cup Challenge Round for the fifth time in six years as Jean Borotra clinches the Davis Cup for France, erasing a two-sets-to-love deficit, a 3-5 fifth-set deficit and four match points to defeat Wilmer Allison 1-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.  Allison holds three match points while leading 5-3 in the fifth set – 40-15 and then with an advantage – but has his serve broken. In the next game, Allison holds another match point on Borotra’s serve. After missing his first serve, Borotra hits a second serve that by all accounts is out – but not called by the linesman. Allison, who did not make a play on the serve, runs to the net to shake hands with Borotra, but stands in disbelief at the non-call. Allison wins only one point in the remainder of the match to lose 7-5 in the fifth set, giving France it’s third point of the series, clinching the Cup.

2005 – Andre Agassi wins his 60th and what ultimately becomes his final ATP singles title, defeating 22-year-old Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 7-5 in 1 hour, 28 minutes to win the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles. The title is also the fourth tournament victory at the Los Angeles event for Agassi, who also wins on the campus at UCLA in 1998, 2001 and 2002. “It’s been a dream week for me for sure,” says the 35-year-old Agassi. “I couldn’t have expected to come in here and find my comfort level so early on in the tournament and get better with each match. It’s a great sign.”