Mike Bryan

ATP Tidbits: Nadal’s Anti-Doping, Djokovic Waxing and Winning, and Davis Cup Outtakes

Rafael Nadal’s drug tests, Novak Djokovic “waxing” and winning, and Davis Cup outtakes are some of the happenings this week on the ATP Tour. We’ll take a look at the history of Nadal’s doping tests, introduce you to Djokovic 2.0 and his beautiful girlfriend Jelena Ristic, as well as inspect some memorable Davis Cup moments featuring Roger Federer, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, and Bernard Tomic among others.

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Just days after a French TV show aired a Rafael Nadal skit that was meant to be a joke, insinuating that Nadal takes performance-enhancing drugs, Nadal tweeted about a surprise anti-doping test he had on Saturday morning stating that “it’s expected after everything … but I’m happy it’s like this!”

To those not familiar with the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, any professional tennis player can get tested and “must submit upon request to testing … at any time or place.” This means testing can be done during or outside of a tournament, while on vacation, or in the early-morning hours, and a player must report their whereabouts, or risk being banned from playing professional tennis. All cases are “surprise” cases to ensure honest results and players may be tested anywhere from several times per tournament to a couple of times per year. Typically, higher-ranked players are targeted but any player could be tested.

In 2009, 1972 in-competition tests (urine, blood, and EPO) and 154 out-of-competition tests were performed by the anti-doping agency — only a slight increase from the 2069 total tests done the year before. Nadal, in particular, was tested 10 times in 2009 and twice at Roland Garros, while only playing 18 total events. In 2008, he was tested 8 times during tournament play and twice more out-of-competition. In 2007, he was tested only 5 times while in 2006 he was tested 10 times. We can argue that doping is quickly becoming more prevalent among athletes as the technology needed to accurately identify a positive result is falling behind. But to insinuate that an athlete that has passed the roughly 75 or so drug tests given to him in the past decade, is just plain ludicrous and irresponsible.

 

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Just five days after winning his third Australian Open, Novak Djokovic was awarded the “Laureus World Sportsman of the Year” beating out the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Usain Bolt, and Lionel Messi among others. He attended the Laureus Welcome Party and the awards ceremony in London with long-time Serbian girlfriend, Jelena Ristic, in hand. If you know nothing about his beautifully genuine girlfriend, then just enjoy her British accent in the video below. I dare you not to fall in love with tennis’ cutest couple.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TfGsvcbSJPg

And speaking of the devilishy-charming Djokovic, after attending a boxing match in Jagodina, Serbia, he unveiled a “larger than life” wax sculpture of himself in the town’s museum. He was greeted by some 6,000 fans and was happy to oblige for photos. Even though the wax statue is wearing Djokovic’s Sergio Tacchini ensemble and holding a tennis racquet used by the man himself, I wonder how much he paid the sculptor to give him an extra few inches … and a bigger head.

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In lighter news, the Davis Cup is in full swing this weekend and it has already brought in some memorable photos.

  “Alexia, this is my friend Roger. He has two girls your age, Myla and Charlene. Make sure to befriend both of them and become a better champion in tennis than your daddy. Now, can you say ‘Myla’ and ‘Charlene?'”

Not sure if this sign is a compliment for Bernard Tomic, but you can’t say the Australians don’t go all-out in support of their players — even if they do liken them to drooling dogs.

Tommy Haas and his German compatriots just lost the Davis Cup to Argentina, 0-3, but all Haas cares about is if his hair looks good. Yes. Yes, it does, Tommy. I whole-heartedly approve.

I’m not sure what is so funny to Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan, but I would be laughing too if I had just beaten the reigning Olympic champion Roger Federer on clay. The American men surprised the entire tennis world as they dominated the Swiss in Davis Cup action handily winning 3-0, with John Isner defeating Federer on Saturday in singles.

When are height differences not funny? The answer: never. Ivo Karlovic at 6’10” towers over Kei Nishikori who is just 5’10”. Croatia currently leads Japan 2-1 and the winner will be decided on Sunday in singles’ play.

10 Reasons to be Excited for Davis Cup Weekend

The time has come!  While Andrea has done a great job breaking down the World Group match-ups, I thought I’d spell out for you the specific reasons why you should set your alarm for 5AM, skip work, cancel all of your social plans, and dedicate your entire Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to the wonder that is Davis Cup.

 

10. The Newcomers

It’s been 8 years since Canada has been in the World Group.  For Japan it’s been 27.  In both cases the newcomers, led by youngsters Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori respectively, will be looking to prove that they belong with the big guns.  Both teams have uphill battles- Japan hosts Croatia and Canada hosts France, but there’s nothing quite as exciting as fresh blood.

 

9.  Fedmania!

In a giant reversal of storylines, Federer is the only one of the “Big 4” playing in Davis Cup this weekend.  To top it off, he’s playing in Switzerland, against a depleted but still fun-to-beat American squad, and with good buddy Stanislas Wawrinka by his side. Love him or not, it will be fun to see the Legend soak in the well-deserved adoration and play in a team atmosphere on his home turf.

8. Russian Roulette

The Russian Davis Cup Team has undergone a bit of a makeover.  Alex Bogomolov, Jr. is not only making his Russian debut, but he’s the team’s #1 player.  Dmitry Tursnov and Igor Andreev, team mainstays, are absent while the struggling Nikolay Davydenko and the wildcard Igor Kunitsyn take their place.  Mikhail Youzhny is coming off singles and doubles victories in Zagreb, but has been complaining to the press about an injured shoulder.  All in all, there’s absolutely no telling what to expect from Team Russia as they travel to Jurgen Melzer’s Austria this weekend, and as always- that’s part of the fun.

 

7. Veterans Day

Some players have proven time and time again that they adapt to the Davis Cup atmosphere better than others.  Whether it’s Melzer leading his Austrian team, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek becoming mental giants for the Czech Republic, or David Nalbandian discovering the game (and legs) of his youth, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as seeing the veteran guys play their hearts out for their country.

 

6. The Battle of the Misfits

One of the ties I’m most looking forward to is Spain/Kazakhstan.  The Spanish Davis Cup stalwarts (Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, and Fernando Verdasco) who have dominated the team competition for the past few years are sitting out this year, paving the way for their less heralded countrymen (Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers, Legend and Former #1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Marc Lopez). Meanwhile Kazakhstan’s team is full of former Russians (Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev, Yuri Schukin, and Evgeny Korolev) who migrated over to the neighboring country for a chance to shine.  It will be fun to see all of these former “back-ups” take the stage and fight for Davis Cup glory.

 

5. Tommy Haas

Do I really need to explain this one? The often injured but forever adored German (when he’s not American) is back in Davis Cup action for the first time in five years! How lucky are we?  Let’s just sit back and enjoy.

 

4. The Other Groups

Believe it or not, the World Group Playoffs aren’t the only Davis Cup action happening this weekend. There are some pretty crucial ties happening in “Group I” and “Group II” (don’t you dare ask me to explain what that means).  Teams in action that you might be interested in are: Ukraine (Sergiy Stakhovsky! Sergei Bubka- yes, Vika’s boyfriend!) vs. Monaco, Uzbekistan (Denis Istomin- am I the only one interested in him?) vs. New Zealand, Australia (Hewitt! Tomic! You know them!) vs. China, P.R., Great Britain (Murray-less) vs. Slovak Republic (starring recent ATP Zagreb finalist Lukas Lacko).  You’d be amiss if you didn’t scavenge for some (surely static) streams for the lesser-known teams this weekend too.

 

3. The New Heroes

Every year Davis Cup weekend, especially the first round, breeds unheralded heroes.  Something about the five-set format, the team unity, and the pressure/invigoration of playing for one’s country brings out the best in some unsuspecting players.  Who will it be this weekend? Could Milos lead the Canadians past the accomplished French team? Could the upstart Japanese make Davis Cup history against Croatia? Could the Swedish team find a miracle and cause the Serbian team to sweat? As cliche as it sounds, expect a new Davis Cup legend to be born.

2. Double Trouble

Davis Cup is the time for Doubles to shine, and this weekend is no different.  This weekend we have spectacular Doubles storylines: the reunions of fan favorites Fedrinka (Federer and Wawrinka) and Bendra (Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra), the eternal mystery of who the other Bryan Brother will be (Bob Bryan is home playing father duty, so either Mardy Fish, John Isner, or Ryan Harrison will take his place alongside Mike Bryan in Switzerland), and the always delightful Davis Cup return of BerdWorm (Berdych and Stepanek). Whether you’re a fan of doubles, awkwardness, hysteria, or just misplaced volleys, Saturday will be a special day for you.

1. The Cheerleaders

Let’s be honest- Davis Cup really isn’t about the tennis.  It’s about seeing the bromance on the benches as the fellow team members watch and frazzle along with us.  Nothing is as great as seeing a good cheerleader- whether it be Roger Federer on his feet urging on Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Carlos Ferrero fist-pumping a Nicolas Almagro winner, or John Isner and Ryan Harrison embracing when Mardy Fish gets to set point, there is no better reason to watch Davis Cup than to inspect the camaraderie on the benches.

Djokovic a Hero in Belgrade, Bryans Equal Woodies’ Record and Federer to play Davis Cup Again

heDjokovic Receives Hero’s Welcome in Belgrade:

New Wimbledon Champion and world No.1 Novak Djokovic was treated like a rock star on his victorious return to Belgrade this week as his adoring fans took to the streets to welcome him home. Nearly 100,000 gathered in Parliament Square to see him with his trophy and Nole’s journey there from the airport took several hours as his open-top bus became swamped in traffic on the motorway as fans got out of their cars to salute their hero. When he finally reached the stage with his family, he said: “This is absolutely unbelievable and I will owe you forever for tonight because you succeeded in making this day the biggest day of my life. The time has come to bare all my emotions to you and all I can say is that you are the best in the world because only Serbian fans can throw a party like this. This trophy is dedicated to you; this trophy is dedicated to Serbia. We have a soul that is second to none and with the team event [Davis Cup] coming up, I can promise you we will do everything in our power to win it all again,” added the Serb. His attentions now turn to his country’s Davis Cup quarterfinal with Sweden in Halmstad this weekend as they look to defend the title they won for the first time last year. Meanwhile, former No.1 Roger Federer has described Djokovic’s rise to the pinnacle of the sport, and his consequent breaking of the Federer-Rafael Nadal dominance of tennis, as good for the sport. “When you lose so rarely, your confidence carries you a long way,” Federer said at a Davis Cup press conference. “He’s proved before at Wimbledon that he can play on grass. It’s good for tennis that it happened.”

Bryans Equal Woodies’ Haul:

The world No.1 doubles pair, the Bryan brothers, equaled Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge’s Open Era-record 11 Grand Slam titles by lifting their second Wimbledon trophy on Saturday. A straight-set 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(2) win over the 2010 runners-up Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau makes it look very likely they will surpass the legendary Aussie duo and make that record their own before they retire. “This is as special as it gets,” said Mike Bryan afterwards. “I always thought we’d play our best at Wimbledon, and we’ve lost three heartbreaking finals. To get on that board again, to have two Wimbledon titles, is really special. And then to equal the Woodies, a team that we idolised, the greatest team in our mind, is unbelievable. We’d love to try to get to 12 and do that at the US Open.”

Federer set for Davis Cup Return:

Roger Federer is looking to put his Wimbledon quarterfinal capitulation against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga swiftly behind him this weekend as he turns out for Switzerland in the Davis Cup for the first time since September 2009. He posted a picture of himself on his official Facebook page posing in Bern with the comment: “In Bern having a nice time with the Swiss Davis Cup team, walked through the city earlier today.” Switzerland are looking to return to the World Group, having been relegated last year, and R-Fed will be joined by close friend Stanislas Wawrinka this weekend as they look to overcome a Portugal side spearheaded by Federico Gil and Rui Machado.

Lloyd Criticism Baffles Murray:

Former Davis Cup captain David Lloyd believes that as well as his service game, world No.4 Andy Murray should work on his on-court appearance if he is to reach the level of the three players ahead of him: new world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. “If you look at Nadal, Djokovic and Federer when they come on the court, they have a demeanour,” said the 1973 Wimbledon doubles semi-finalist. “They are exceptionally well-dressed and clean-shaven. Andy doesn’t come on like that.” Speaking of his need to improve his serve, Lloyd added: “If Andy is going to become that slightly better player – number two or number one in the world – he has to get more percentage of first serves. Then he can win a major. Otherwise, he’s not quite good enough.” But Murray dismissed the criticism, pointing to the appearance of the likes of 11-time Grand Slam winner Bjorn Borg as contradicting Lloyd’s claims. “I don’t think [appearance] makes any difference, guys like Borg didn’t shave for weeks and months until they lost,” the 24-year-old said. “I heard what he said yesterday and I used to actually practice at one of his clubs, in Renfrew I think. He’s entitled to whatever his opinion is, but I think he should stick to what he does best and that’s building leisure clubs.”

Querrey Unsure when he’ll be back:

Sam Querrey admits that he is unsure when he will return to the tour despite the recent elbow surgery he underwent and the consequent rehabilitation going well. His doubles partner, John Isner, told the press at Wimbledon he could be out for up to two months, which would give him very little time to prepare for the US Open. Elsewhere, women’s world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki has pulled out of her second-round match against Sofia Arvidsson in Bastad on Wednesday afternoon with a shoulder injury. She was a set up and 1-0 down in the second when the decision was made. Injury-plagued Argentine David Nalbandian has also pulled out of his country’s upcoming Davis Cup quarterfinal with Kazakhstan with a hematoma. The Argentine lineup will now consist of Juan Martin del Potro, Juan Ignacio Chela, Juan Monaco and Eduardo Schwank.

Fish and Verdasco handed Washington Wildcards:

World No.7 Gael Monfils and No.23 Fernando Verdasco have been handed wildcards for the 2011 Legg Mason Classic in Washington. Monfils reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last month, falling to Roger Federer, while Verdasco will be looking for a third final this year after reaching the Championship matches at Estoril and San Jose. They join a field already including eight of the world’s Top 25 players, including American stars Andy Roddick and John Isner. World No.21 David Nalbandian, Wimbledon mixed doubles Champion Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki, Marcos Baghdatis, Milos Raonic, Lleyton Hewitt, James Blake and Fernando Gonzalez will all also feature.

Americans give Fans a Tennis Treat:

Around 1,000 youngsters turned up to the University of Texas Penick-Allison Tennis Center on Tuesday to hit with top American stars Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan as part of the USTA’s program for this weekend’s upcoming Davis Cup match with Spain. The event was aimed at keeping America’s next generation of athletes interested in the sport when they decide which route to take to aim for sporting greatness. “If four kids who don’t play tennis come out here and have a good experience with it, that’s a great start,” said Roddick. “If they enjoy their time here, then they’ll look at tennis, and that’s their positive memory of it. It makes them more likely to do it again.”

Davenport Pregnant Again:

Former world No.1 Lindsay Davenport has pulled out of this year’s World TeamTennis tournament due to becoming pregnant again.

Djokovic 25th Man to be No.1 in Rankings Watch:

Novak Djokovic became the first Serbian No.1, and the 25th man to take the accolade, when this week’s South African Airways ATP World Rankings were announced on Monday morning. Gael Monfils moves up to No.7, while Mardy Fish also climbs to No.8. 2009 US open winner Juan Martin del Potro re-enters the Top 20 at No.19. Feliciano Lopez climbs 13 to No.31 while Dmitry Tursunov, Adrian Mannarino and Kei Nishikori are all in to the Top 50. Aussie teen Bernard Tomic leaps 87 places to No.71 in the world after his exceptional Wimbledon performance and James Blake climbs 14 to re-enter the Top 100 at No.88. Italian Roberta Vinci is now a career-high No.25 in the world in the Sony Ericsson WTA World Rankings this week. Sabine Lisicki’s semi-final run at Wimbledon sees her back to No.27 in the world, just below her career-best No.22, while Tamira Paszek is now No.41. Petra Kvitova’s Wimbledon final win over Maria Sharapova, now world No.5, sees her move up one to a career-high No.7 and Anna Tatishvili climbs from No.118 to No.84, making her Top 100 debut.

Rafa Pulling Further Ahead in GOAT Race:

World No.2 Rafael Nadal is pulling further ahead in the 2011 Greatest Of All Time Race after another Grand Slam final appearance bested the second successive SW19 quarterfinal showing from Roger Federer. With points again doubled for a Grand Slam event, both players receive 20 points for entering, while Federer picks up 50 for his exit, and Rafa picks up 200 for his.

Roger: 955 Rafa: 1665

Mondays With Bob Greene: You just try to first get the ball back

STARS

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

SAYING

“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’S IN

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.

SCOT SCORES

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.

SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE

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.

SKIPPING CINCINNATI

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.

SKIPPING FLUSHING

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.

SUBBING

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.”

SPEAKING UP

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.

STRAIGHT IN

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.

SHE’S BACK

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.

SRICHAPHAN UNDECIDED

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.

SHOEMAKER SELECTED

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.

STEPPING UP

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.

SUPERB WRITING

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.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

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/

Bronx: www.nyjtl.org/tournaments/ghiBronx/index.htm

New York: www.usopen.org

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$750,000 Pilot Pen Tennis, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard

WTA

$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

Mondays With Bob Greene: Venus is one of the greatest champions ever

STARS

Marion Bartoli beat Venus Williams 6-2 5-7 6-4 to win the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, USA

Sam Querrey beat Carsten Ball 6-4 3-6 6-1 to win the Countrywide Classic LA Tennis Open in Los Angeles, California, USA

Nikolay Davydenko beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 6-0 to win the Studena Croatia Open in Umag, Croatia

Thomaz Bellucci won his first ATP title, the Allianz Suisse Open, beating Andreas Beck 6-4 7-6 (2) in Gstaad, Switzerland

Vera Dushevina beat Lucie Hradecka 6-0 6-1 to win her first WTA Tour title, the Istanbul Cup in Istanbul, Turkey.

Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. beat Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-2 to win the Trofeo Stefano Bellaveglia in Orbetello, Italy

SAYING

“Venus is one of the greatest champions ever. That’s what I practice for, to play her. To beat her is even better.” – Marion Bartoli, after beating Venus Williams to win the Bank of the West Classic.

“She didn’t give me much of a chance. I might have been able to win a few more points, but not the match.” – Elena Dementieva, after losing to Venus Williams in the semifinals.

“It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest win of my career. We don’t always play our best tennis every single day. Maybe she didn’t play her best and I played very well.” – Samantha Stosur, after beating Serena Williams in the Bank of the West Classic.

“I’m going to go home, relax, and do some fitness. Ultimately it would good for me and I need to work with my mom on some things. I want to figure out what to do with my singles career.” – A joking Serena Williams, following her loss to Samantha Stosur.

“When I was done (with my career), I felt I’d put up some numbers no one would touch. Little did I know Roger would surpass me in seven years.” – Pete Sampras, who saw his men’s record 14 Grand Slam tournament titles eclipsed by Roger Federer.

“To be number one, you should be complete, and if you are number one you have to be beating the Williams sisters. I’m one of the rare players who has a positive record against the Williams sisters.” – Jelena Jankovic, who is 5-4 against Venus and 3-4 against Serena.

“It’s another one I can’t believe. Sandra Day O’Connor, hello. Tutu. Ted. I was overwhelmed when I heard it. What about Milk man? I was so excited for the community. I think it’s the first time the LGBT community has been acknowledged. It’s another breakthrough.” – Billie Jean King, who will be one of 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“When I was 7, I said, ‘Mom, I know I’m going to do something great with my life.’ She said, ‘That’s all right, just get the dishes done.’” – Billie Jean King, whose 87-year-old mother, Betty Jean Moffitt, will accompany her to the White House when she receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I really don’t know why I play so well here. Three wins and one final, and each time with a different Czech partner, which is also strange. I don’t know why but I hope it continues.” – Michal Mertinak, after teaming with Frantisek Cermak to win the doubles at Umag, Croatia.

“Before the tournament if someone came and told me I’d play the final of singles and win the doubles, I’d have said they were joking. I’m very happy with my week.” – Lucie Hradecka, who reached the Istanbul Cup final in both singles and doubles.

SO DESERVING

Billie Jean King is the recipient of yet another honor. She is one of 16 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama later this month. The medals are the first to be awarded by Obama and represent the country’s highest honor for a civilian. Besides King, other honorees include Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, gay rights activist Harvey Milk, Race for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker, physicist Stephen Hawking and civil rights activist Reverend Joseph Lowery. . Former US Representative and football quarterback Jack Kemp, who died in May, will receive a posthumous award. Among her many other accomplishments, King is a global mentor of a joint WTA and UNESCO program to promote women’s equality in sport.

SOUTH AMERICAN SUCCESS

When Thomaz Bellucci captured the Swiss Open in Gstaad, he became the first Brazilian to win an ATP tournament in nearly five years. The last Brazilian champion was Ricardo Mello at Delray Beach, Florida, USA, in September 2004. Bellucci, a qualifier, beat Andreas Beck in the final. But he proved he belonged there by eliminating top-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka and third-seeded Igor Andreev on his way to the title match. Bellucci is the fifth player to claim his first ATP World Tour title this season. The Bellucci-Beck matchup was the first ATP final between two left-handers since January 2008 when Michael Llodra and Jarkko Nieminen contested the title in Adelaide, Australia.

SEASON-ENDING INJURY

Britain’s Anne Keothavong is out for the rest of the season after injuring her left knee. She damaged her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus during a doubles match in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, USA. The injury occurred when Keothavong ran into a fence chasing a shot during her match. “Of course I’m disappointed to be out for the rest of the season but I’ll continue to work with my team and look forward to coming back next season,” Keothavong said.

STANFORD DOINGS

For Marion Bartoli, the Bank of the West Classic victory was redemption for Wimbledon. Bartoli won her first WTA Premier Tour title by upsetting Venus Williams 6-2 5-7 6-4 in the championship match at Stanford, California, USA. In their only previous meeting, Bartoli lost to Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final. It was the second straight year Bartoli has been in the Stanford final, and her first title on American soil. Williams, making her first appearance at the event since 2005, reached her seventh final in eight appearances at Stanford, where’s she won twice, her last coming in 2002. Venus lost for just the third time in her last 15 matches, but she has not won an outdoor hard court tournament in the United States in seven years.

SUCCESSIVE WINS

For the first time in his career, Nikolay Davydenko has won consecutive tournaments. This time the ninth-ranked Russian crushed Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 6-0 in the final of the Studena Croatia Open in Umag, Croatia. The week before, Davydenko won in Hamburg, Germany. It was his 16th ATP World Tour title in his 21st final, the sixth best record among active players. And the win increases Davydenko’s chances of qualifying for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held in London, England. Last year, when the season finale was held in Shanghai, China, Davydenko reached the title match where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

SIDELINED

A foot injury will keep Svetlana Kuznetsova on the sidelines this week. The French Open champion pulled out of the LA Women’s Tennis Championships because of the injury. That still leaves the Los Angeles event with 10 of the world’s top 15 women in the field, including the defending champion, top-ranked Dinara Safina.

SWEET SWISS

Swiss pair Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer needed a wild card to enter the Allianz Suisse Open in Gstaad, Switzerland. They came away with the doubles title, defeating defending champions Jaroslav Levinsky and Filip Polasek 7-5 6-3 in the final. The two had a rough road to the title match, also knocking out second-seeded Michael Kohlmann and Sebastien Prieto in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Yves Allegro and Horia Tecau in the semifinals. The 27-year-old Chiudinelli won his first ATP World Tour doubles title on his second final in Gstaad. He and Jean-Claude Scherrer were runners-up in 2006.

SPONSORED

It didn’t take long for Kim Clijsters to have to go to the bank. The former top-ranked player has signed a sponsorship agreement with Adecco SA, the world’s largest supplier of temporary workers. The Zurich, Switzerland-based company is becoming the “official sponsor” of the 26-year-old Belgian. Clijsters, who had a baby last year, will play her first WTA Tour match in two years when she takes to the court in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, on August 10. She will play the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada, the week after that before heading to New York and the US Open, which starts August 31. It will be Clijsters’ first US Open since she won the Grand Slam tournament in 2005.

SUCCESS, FINALLY

Sam Querrey finally has a title to call his own. The hard-serving American ended a string of final-round frustrations by winning the LA Tennis Open title with a 6-4 3-6 6-1 victory over qualifier Carsten Bell. It was Querrey’s third straight final and fourth of the season – but his first title. “I didn’t want to lose three finals in a row,” said the 21-year-old, who lives in Santa Monica, California, not far from where the LA Tennis Open was contested. Seeded sixth in Los Angeles, Querrey had lost in the final in New Zealand in January and the last two weeks at Newport, Rhode Island, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Querrey became the fifth player to reach the finals in four events this season, joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. It was his second career ATP title. Ball had never won a match on tour before the LA Tennis Open.

STARTING COMEBACK

Australian Alicia Molik is planning on ending her retirement and returning to the WTA Tour. “I’m loving being back … and enjoying training,” Molik said. “I’m injury-free and back doing what I love.” Ranked as high as number eight in the world, Molik retired last year after being felled by illness and injuries. She had an inner ear virus that affected her balance. Then she was plagued by leg and arm injuries. “I think I’m still young enough to focus my energies on something that I feel is again challenging,” said the 28-year-old Molik.

STAYING PUT

The Bank of the West Classic is staying right where it is. The tournament and Stanford University have agreed to a three-year contract that will keep the longest-running women-only pro tournament in the world at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, California, through the year 2012. IMG Senior Vice President Adam Barrett said the WTA adjusted its rules to allow the tournament to continue because of having a long-term sponsor as well as rich tradition. The Taube Family Tennis Center seats just fewer than 4,000, while the new WTA Roadmap rules state Premier tournaments such as the Bank of the West must seat at least 6,000 fans.

STARRING ROGER

Roger Federer reportedly wants to play for Switzerland in its Davis Cup playoff against Italy in September. “Nothing is definite yet, but there’s a good chance that our best players will be there,” said Severin Luethi, part of Federer’s coaching team. Federer missed Switzerland’s 4-1 loss to the United States in the World Group first round because of a back injury. The winner of the Switzerland-Italy playoff tie in Genoa, Italy, on September 18-20 will remain in the World Group next year, while the loser will drop to zonal play. The tie, which will be played on outdoor clay courts, will begin five days after the men’s singles final of the US Open, where Federer is the five-time defending champion. Against Italy, Federer would likely team up with the Stanislas Wawrinka to play singles and doubles. Federer and Wawrinka won the doubles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

SUSPENSION POSSIBLE

Austrian Tamira Paszek faces a provisional suspension while officials investigate whether a medial treatment she received for a back injury violated doping regulations. The Austrian anti-doping agency has asked its disciplinary committee to temporarily ban the WTA player. Last month, blood was taken from the 18-year-old for enrichment, then later re-injected in the lower part of her back. Re-injecting one’s own blood is banned under international anti-doping rules. Paszek, who is ranked 59th in the world, alerted the doping agency herself when she learned her treatment might possibly be illegal.

SON OR DAUGHTER?

Boris Becker and his wife, model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg, are expecting a child. The two were married June 12 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. “Yes, we’re going to be parents,” Becker told the German newspaper Bild. “We are really looking forward to our baby.” It will be the fourth child for Becker, who has two sons, 15-year-old Noah and 9-year-old Elias, with his ex-wife Barbara Feltus, and a 9-year-old daughter, Anna, from an extramarital affair.

SPRINGFIELD RIFLE

Tim Mayotte has been hired as a United States Tennis Association (USTA) national coach. He will facilitate coaching and training programs while working with players in the USTA Player Development program. A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, who was ranked as high as number seven in the world, Mayotte will be based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, USA. He was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1982 and at the Australian Open in 1981.

SENIOR STAR

Graydon Nichols is being inducted into the United States Tennis Association Northern California Hall of Fame. The induction of the 84-year-old farmer highlights a career that has catapulted him to the top of the world in senior tennis. “I never imagined that something like this would be possible for me,” Nichols said. “I was shocked to get a phone call saying that I had been selected.” Nichols has won two world singles titles, the latest at the 2007 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. That’s when he ended the year ranked number one in the world in his category. Not only did he go undefeated in 2007, Nichols captained the United States team to the Gardnar Mulloy Cup title, senior tennis’ version of the Davis Cup. He is currently ranked number one in the United States and number four in the world after posting a 13-1 record in 2008.

SAD NEWS

Nancy Reed, a three-time International Tennis Federation Seniors Singles World Champion and pioneer of Seniors Tennis, is dead. Reed won the women’s 40 doubles with fellow American Mary Ann Plante at the very first ITF Seniors World Championships in Brazil in 1981. She went on to win 12 World Championship doubles crowns. She captured her first singles title in Sicily in 1992 in the 55 age category. The next year, she won the 60 age category. Her third and final singles world title came in 1999, but she won the doubles world title in the 75 age category in Turkey last year. She also was a member of the United States team that won the Queens’ Cup in Turkey last October.

SPANKED

HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports has been fined USD $24,780 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly failing to report the amount of toxic chemicals released by its plant in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. According to the EPA, the sports company failed to report emissions of N-hexane and zinc compounds from its facility to EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory for 2007. HEAD/Penn, which is based in Connecticut, manufactures tennis, badminton, and ski equipment, and owns and operates the Phoenix facility. US federal law requires that facilities using toxic chemicals over specified amounts must file annual reports of their chemical releases with EPA and the state. Information from these reports is then compiled into a national database and made available to the public.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Los Angeles: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Benjamin Becker and Frank Moser 6-4 7-6 (2)

Stanford: Venus Williams and Serena Williams beat Yung-Jan Chan and Monica Niculescu 6-4 6-1

Istanbul: Lucie Hradecka and Renata Voracova beat Julia Goerges and Patty Schnyder 2-6 6-3 12-10 (match tiebreak)

Gstaad: Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer beat Jaroslav Levinsky and Filip Polasek 7-5 6-3

Umag: Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak beat Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-4 6-4

Orbetello: Paolo Lorenzi and Giancarlo Petrazzuolo beat Alessio Di Mauro and Manuel Jorquera 7-6 (5) 3-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)

SITES TO SURF

Washington: www.leggmasontennisclassic.com/

Segovia: www.teniselespinar.com/

San Marino: www.atpsanmarino.com/

Vancouver: www.vanopen.com/

Los Angeles: www.latennischamps.com/

Montreal: http://www3.rogerscup.com/men/english/home.php

Cincinnati: www.cincytennis.com/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$1,402,000 Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Washington, DC, USA, hard

$150,000 ATP Open Castilla y Leon, Segovia, Spain, hard

$120,000 San Marino CEPU Open, San Marino, clay

$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, Canada, hard

WTA

$700,000 LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife, Los Angeles, California, USA, hard

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$3,000,000 Rogers Cup, Montreal, Canada, hard

$120,000 Internazionali del Friuli Venezia Guilia Tennis Cup Cordenons, Italy, clay

WTA

$2,000,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, hard

SENIORS

Vale Do Lobo Grand Champions CGD, Algarve, Portugal, hard

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.”

Mondays With Bob Greene: Roger Federer sets historic record

STARS

Wimbledon

Men’s singles: Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 (6) 7-6 (5) 3-6 16-14

Women’s singles: Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 7-6 (3) 6-2

Men’s doubles: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-6 (7) 6-7 (3) 7-6 (3) 6-3

Women’s doubles: Venus and Serena Williams beat Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 7-6 (4) 6-4

Mixed doubles: Mark Knowles and Anna-Lena Groenefeld beat Leander Paes and Cara Black 7-5 6-3

Boys’ singles: Andrev Kuznetsov beat Jordan Cox 4-6 6-2 6-2

Girls’ singles: Noppawan Lertcheenakarn beat Kristina Mladenovic 3-6 6-3 6-1

Boys’ doubles: Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Kevin Krawietz beat Julien Obry and Adrian Puget 6-7(3), 6-2, 12-10.

Girls’ doubles: Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Sally Peers beat Kristina Mladenovic and Silvia Njiric 6-1 6-1

Wheelchair women’s doubles: Korie Homan and Esther Vergeer beat Daniela Di Toro and Lucy Shuker 6-1 6-3

Wheelchair men’s doubles: Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz beat Robin Ammerlaan and Shingo Kunieda 1-6 6-4 7-3 (match tiebreak)

OTHER TOURNAMENTS

Oscar Hernandez beat Tiemurax Gabashvili to win the Nord/LP Open in Braunschweig, Germany

Potito Starace beat Maximo Gonzalez 7-6 (4) 6-3 to win the Trofeo Regione Piemonte in Turin, Italy

Polona Hercog beat Varvara Lepchonko 6-1 6-2 to win the Cuneo ITF Tournament in Cuneo, Italy

SAYING

“It’s not really one of those goals you set as a little boy, but, man, it’s been quite a career. And quite a month.” – Roger Federer, who won his sixth Wimbledon title, and 15th Grand Slam tournament crown, just four weeks after capturing his first French Open title.

“He’s a legend. Now he’s an icon.” – Pete Sampras, talking about Roger Federer after the Swiss star broke Sampras’ Grand Slam tournament victory record of 14 titles.

“Sorry, Pete, I tried to hold him off.” – Losing finalist Andy Roddick, apologizing to compatriot Pete Sampras.

“I’d rather definitely be number two and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be number one and not have any. I don’t know what to do to be number one. I don’t even care anymore.” – Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon to go along with her 2009 Australian Open and 2008 US Open titles, yet is ranked number two in the world.

“Do I feel invincible? I’d like to say yes, but I really do work at it.” – Venus Williams, after winning her semifinal but before losing the title match to her sister Serena.

“I think I will beat him in a marathon easy.” – Robin Soderling, on meeting Roger Federer in another sport after losing to the Swiss star for the 11th straight time.

“Oh, it is only because he is better than everybody else. That’s it.” – Ivo Karlovic, when asked about Roger Federer’s secret for success.

“I don’t play to break records but it’s great to have them.” – Roger Federer.

“It’s a wonderful achievement. She’s played so well so many times. You know, a lot of the times actually at my expense.” – Venus Williams, on her sister Serena winning an 11th Grand Slam tournament title by beating Venus in the final.

“There’s no easy [way] to losing, especially when it’s so close to the crown. Either way, it’s not easy. ” – Venus Williams.

“One of the first things I noticed was our name on the board, on the big plaque. Now we get it twice. It’s obviously going to be special to come back next year and see that.” – Daniel Nestor, after teaming with Nenad Zimonjic to win their second straight Wimbledon men’s doubles title.

“It’s a game of inches and when you’re playing two guys who are serving close to 130 (mph), and you’re not getting a lot of sniffs on your return, it’s a dice roll. They were the better team today and I have to give them a lot of credit.” – Bob Bryan, on losing the men’s doubles final.

“I was Santa Claus on the court, serving so many double-faults.” – Dinara Safina, after overcoming 15 double-faults to beat Sabine Lisicki in the quarterfinals.

“I wasn’t sure if it’s Serena or Andy Roddick on the other side of the net, 125 mph all the time.” Elena Dementieva, on Serena Williams’ big serves in their semifinal match.

“Venus played as if she had some place to go and she was in a major league hurry to get a great dinner.” – Father Richard Williams, on Venus’ 51-minutes semifinal victory over Dinara Safina.

“I think she gave me a pretty good lesson today.” – Dinara Safina, after losing to Venus Williams in 51 minutes.

“I’m still scared of Serena Williams. I find her very intimidating.” – Laura Robson, a 15-year-old from Britain, talking about the ladies’ locker room at Wimbledon.

“Roof! Roof! Roof!” –Centre Court crowd chanting as the new retractable roof was closed for the first time when a light sprinkle interrupted play.

SETS RECORD

He had to work overtime to do it, but Roger Federer became the first man in history to win 15 Grand Slam tournament singles titles. His record-breaking 15th was the longest men’s Grand Slam final in history at 77 games as Federer outlasted Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 (6) 7-6 (5) 3-6 16-14. The previous record was 71 games in the 1927 Australian Championships, while the previous Wimbledon mark was 62 games last year when Rafael Nadal beat Federer. The Federer-Roddick battle also was the longest fifth set in a men’s Grand Slam tournament final, breaking the old mark of 11-9 set in 1927 at Roland Garros. Federer served 50 aces, the most he has served in a match and only one behind Ivo Karlovic’s Wimbledon record of 51 aces. Federer’s previous best was 39 aces when he beat Janko Tipsarevic at the Australian Open in 2008.

SISTERS DOING IT

Sisters Serena and Venus Williams tried to take home all of the hardware from Wimbledon. Serena beat Venus in the women’s final, snapping the older sister’s two-year reign at Wimbledon. The two then teamed up to win the women’s doubles for the second time.

SUSTAINING TEAR

Ana Ivanovic will rest for at least a week after she suffered a slight tear in her left thigh during her fourth-round match at Wimbledon. The 2008 French Open champion left the court in tears after the first game of the second set against Venus Williams, who won the first set 6-1. Ivanovic is not scheduled to play again until August 3.

SHUT MY TOP

It took a brief shower, but Wimbledon showed off its new roof. With the crowd shouting “Roof! Roof! Roof!,” the retractable roof over Centre Court was closed for the first time on the second Monday of the tournament. The light sprinkle had halted play during he second set of a match between top-ranked Dinara Safina and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo. By the time the roof was closed and the match resumed, the rain had stopped. But officials decided to keep the roof shut for the final match of the evening, Andy Murray beating Stanislas Wawrinka in a five-set match that ended at 10:39 p.m., more than an hour later than the previous record. Wimbledon joins the Australian Open as the only two Grand Slam tournaments with roofs. The Australian Open has roofs over its two main courts and plans to cover a third. The French Open plans on having a roof over its center court by 2011, while the US Open is looking into the possibility of covering a court.

SWINE FLU?

Twenty-eight staff members at Wimbledon were asked to stay at home because they were suspected of having swine flu. Two players – Michal Mertinak and Filip Polasek – also showed symptoms of the world-wide ailment. Mertinak withdrew from the second round of the mixed doubles because he was not feeling well. The two players were sharing a hotel room in London. All England Club spokesman Henry O’Grady said that despite the precautions, no one at Wimbledon is known to have swine flu.

SWINGING TOGETHER

India’s Prakash Amritraj and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi hope their recent play will allow them to form a full-time doubles partnership. In only their third tournament together, Amritraj and Qureshi reached the third round before falling to the fourth-seeded team of Mark Knowles and Mahesh Bhupathi 6-4 5-7 7-6 (3) 6-0. “I’m glad we had these two weeks as a team,” Amritraj said. “I think we should take this partnership forward and we’re definitely a team to be reckoned with.”

STARRING

Women’s tennis is returning to New York’s Madison Square Garden, if only for one night. Four top players will compete March 1 in the second Billie Jean King Cup featuring no-ad scoring, a one-set semifinal and best-of-three final. Serena Williams won the inaugural event earlier this year, besting her sister Venus in the final. The 2008 field also included Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. This year’s four Grand Slam tournament winners will be invited to participate in next year’s tournament. Serena has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, while Svetlana Kuznetsova captured the French Open.

SPANISH LOSS

Rafael Nadal won’t be there when Spain’s Davis Cup takes on Germany in a World Group quarterfinal. Nadal, who has been struggling with tendinitis in his knees, was left off the Spanish team, just as he was for last year’s final, which Spain won by defeating Argentina. Spanish captain Albert Costa has named Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez for the tie that will be played on clay in Marbella, Spain, later this week.

Wimbledon quarterfinalist Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic will lead Croatia’s Davis C up team against the United States. Croatia, which won the Davis Cup in 2005, will stage the tie on an indoor clay court in Porec, Croatia. Led by Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick, the American team includes James Black and brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, marking the 12th time in the last 13 Davis Cup contests that the same quartet of players will be together. Croatia has beaten the United States twice in Davis Cup competition.

SUMMER FLING?

Andre Agassi will play World Team Tennis this summer for the Philadelphia Freedoms. He will play at home on July 10 against the Boston Lobsters and at Newport Beach, California, on July 17. While Agassi played World Team Tennis before – for the Sacramento Capitals from 2002-04 – there will be two veterans stars making their WTT debuts. Michael Chang will play for the Capitals, while Kim Clijsters will suit up for two matches with the St. Louis Aces. Clijsters plans to return to the WTA Tour after a two-year retirement. Other stars playing this season include Serena Williams (Washington, DC), Venus Williams (Philadelphia), Maria Sharapova (Newport Beach), Martina Navratilova (Boston) and John McEnroe (New York). WTT is getting a boost this summer from its new partnership with the United States Tennis Association and a new team in New York City. The USTA has become a 25 percent owner of the league in an effort to expand the USTA Junior Team Tennis program.

SPECIAL NIGHT

The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award will be awarded by the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum (ITHFM) to Tennis Channel for its ongoing contributions to tennis. The award will be given at the 28th annual “Legends Ball” on Friday, September 11, in New York City. The special night will also honor a host of tennis luminaries, including Rod Laver, who will receive a special Life Trustee Award, and the Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2009: Donald Dell, Andres Gimeno, the late Dr. Robert Johnson and Monica Seles. The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award was created in honor of an individual whose passion and generosity for the game of tennis inspired others to contribute to the advancement of the sport. Cullman served as president and chairman of the ITHFM from 1982-88. Previous winners of the award include BNP Paribas, Rolex and Sony Ericsson. Tennis Channel will be covering its first US Open this year. The network also covers Wimbledon, the French Open and Australia Open in high definition, as well as the US Open Series, Davis Cup, ATP Masters series, fEd Cup and top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions.

SITTING IT OUT

Anna Kournikova won’t be playing World Team Tennis this season. The Russian star has been sidelined with a wrist injury. A WTT spokesperson said Kournikova made her decision after experiencing pain from tenosvnovitis while practicing for what would have been her seventh season with the league. The St. Louis Aces player has not responded to therapy or a series of cortisone shots. But while she’s unable to play, Kournikova plans to travel with her team to matches in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Springfield and St. Louis.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Braunschweig: Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Brian Dabul and Nicolas Massau 7-6 (2) 6-4

Turin: Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace beat Santiago Giraldo and Pere Riba 6-3 6-4

Cuneo: Akgul Amanmuradova and Darya Kustova beat Petra Cetkovska and Mathilde Johansson 5-7 6-1 10-7 (match tiebreak)

SITES TO SURF

Newport: www.tennisfame.com/

Bastad: www.swedishopen.org/

Budapest: www.gazdefrancegrandprix.com/

Pozoblanco: www.tennispozoblanco.com

Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$500,000 Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, grass

$100,000 Open Diputacion Ciudad de Pozoblanco, Pozoblanco, Cordoba, Spain, clay

WTA

$220,000 GDF Suez Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, clay

$220,000 Collector Swedish Open Women, Bastad, Sweden, clay

$100,000 Open GDF Suez de Biarritz, Biarritz, France, clay

DAVIS CUP

World Group Quarterfinals

Czech Republic vs. Argentina at Ostrava, Czech Republic

Croatia vs. United States at Porec, Croatia

Israel vs. Russia at Tel Aviv, Israel

Spain vs. Germany at Puerto Banus, Marbella, Spain

Americas Zone Group 1 Playoff

Peru vs. Canada at Lima, Peru

Americas Zone Group 2 Second Round

Venezuela vs. Mexico at Maracaibo, Venezuela

Dominican Republic vs. Paraguay at San Francisco de Marcons, Provincia Duarte, Dominican Republic

Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 Playoff

Thailand vs. Kazakhstan at Nonthaburi, Thailand

Korea vs. China at Chun-cheon City, Korea

Asia/Oceania Zone Group 2 Second Round

Philippines vs. Pakistan at Manila, Philippines

New Zealand vs. Indonesia at Hamilton, New Zealand

Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 Playoffs

Belarus vs. FYR Macedonia at Minsk, Belarus

Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 Second Round

Slovenia vs. Lithuania at Otocec, Slovenia

Latvia vs. Bulgaria at Plovdiv, Latvia

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$600,000 Catella Swedish Open, Bastad, Sweden, clay

$600,000 Mercedes Cup, Stuttgart, Germany, clay

$125,000 Bogota, Columbia, clay

WTA

$220,000 Internazionali Femminili di Tennis di Palermo, Palermo, Italy, clay

$220,000 ECM Prague Open, Prague, Czech Republic, clay

World’s Biggest Loser

One of the many charms of Wimbledon is the numerous tabloid headlines and storylines during The Championships. Back on this day, June 26, in 2000, the U.K.’s Daily Mail labeled Vince Spadea as the “World’s Biggest Loser” after he finally broke his ATP record 20-match losing streak in the first round of Wimbledon, beating Britain’s Greg Rusedski in the first round. Screamed the Daily Mail headline after Rusedski’s 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 9-7 loss to Spadea, “Rusedski Falls To World’s Biggest Loser.” Spadea, however, has proved to be far from a loser as the 34-year-old veteran qualified this year at Wimbledon (his 14th appearance) and reached the second round, losing to Igor Andreev. The book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennishistorybook.com) chronicles the Spadea-Rusedski match – and others – in the June 25 excerpt below.

2000 – Vince Spadea breaks his ATP record 21-match losing streak by upsetting No. 14 seed Greg Rusedski of Britain 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 9-7 in the first round of Wimbledon. Entering the match, Spadea is winless on the ATP Tour since the previous October in Lyon, France. Says Spadea, “If I had lost this match I was thinking: ‘Holy goodness! I am going to have to stay in Europe until I win a match. But here I am, six months on. It was worth the wait.” The following day, Rusedski is greeted with the headline in the Daily Mail reading, “Rusedski Falls To World’s Biggest Loser.”

2002 – Seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras plays what ultimately becomes his final Wimbledon match, losing in the second round – unceremoniously on the Graveyard Court – Court No. 2 – to lucky-loser and No. 145-ranked George Bastl of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4. Bastl, who enters the match having won only one main draw grass court match in his career, only gains entry into the tournament when Felix Mantilla of Spain withdraws the day before the tournament begins. Despite the loss, Sampras tells reporters after the match that he would return to the All England Club to play again, but after his U.S. Open triumph later in the summer, he never plays another professional match. “You know, I’m not going to end my time here with that loss,” Sampras says after the match. “I want to end it on a high note, and so I plan on being back… As long as I feel like I can continue to win majors and contend, I’ll just continue to play.” Says Bastl, “It’s a nice story isn’t it? I gave myself chances because I was practicing on grass for the last three weeks. I had won my last three matches and I knew my game was improving match by match. I felt I would have some sort of a chance.”

1951 – On a cold and rainy afternoon, Althea Gibson walks on to Centre Court at Wimbledon as the first black player to compete in The Championships. Ten months after becoming the first black player to compete in a major when she played the U.S. Championships the previous summer, Gibson wins her first match in her debut Wimbledon, defeating Pat Ward of Great Britain 6-0, 2-6, 6-4. Reports the Associated Press of Gibson, “Although the tall Negro girl is unseeded, she convinced the British experts that she has the equipment to rank high in the world within another year or two.”

1962 – Eighteen-year-old Billie Jean Moffitt beats No. 1 seed Margaret Smith 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the opening round of Wimbledon, creating history as the first player to knock of the women’s No. 1 seed in the opening round at the All England Club. Smith is the heavy favorite to win the title after winning the Australian, Italian and French Championships entering the tournament. Billie Jean, who goes on to win six singles titles at the All England Club– and a record 20 titles overall at Wimbledon. Writes Bud Collins in The Bud Collins History of Tennis, “Her victory established ‘Little Miss Moffitt’ as a force to be reckoned with on the Centre Court that already was her favorite stage.”

1965 – Manuel Santana becomes the first defending champion to lose in the first round of Wimbleodn when he is defeated by Charlie Pasarell 10-8, 6-3, 2-6, 8-6. Writes Fred Tupper of the New York Times of the Pasarell’s upset of the No. 1 seed, “Over 150 spine-tingling minutes this afternoon, the Puerto Rican was the better tennis player, stronger on serve, more secure on volley, and rock steady in the crises.” Says Santana, “Charlito was good.He was fast and hit the ball hard.”

1978 – Bjorn Borg performs a first-round escape on the opening day of Wimbledon as the two-time defending champion staves off elimination by six-foot-seven inch, 220-pound Victor Amaya of Holland, Mich., prevailing in five sets by a 8-9, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 margin. Amaya, who wears size 15 sneakers, leads Borg two sets to one and 3-1 in the fourth set and holds break point in the fifth game to go up two breaks in the fourth set. “He played better than I did on the important points, and that’s always the difference in a five-set match,” says Amaya. “He came up with great shots like that on crucial points, and that’s why he is great.”

1998 – After no victories in 17 previous matches, including a 6-0, 6-0 loss 10 years earlier in the final of the French Open, Natasha Zvereva wins her first match against Steffi Graf, defeating the German 6-4, 7-5 in the third round of Wimbledon. Graf is hampered by a hamstring injury and is playing in only her fifth event of the year after recovering from knee surgery.

2007 – In his last Wimbledon singles match, Justin Gimelstob makes Wimbledon history as the first player to use the “Hawk-Eye” instant replay system at the All England Club. In his 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3) first-round loss to Andy Roddick on Court No. 1 on the opening day of play, Gimelstob uses the Hawk-Eye system to challenge one of his serves in the first set. Says Gimelstob of his new status in Wimbledon history, “I’d like to have a few more important records, but I’ll take what I can get.”

1990 – John McEnroe is defeated in the first round of Wimbledon for only the second time in his career, as the 31-year-old three-time champion is sent packing by the hands of fellow American Derrick Rostagno by a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 margin. McEnroe is joined on the sideline by newly-crowned French Open champion and No. 5 seed Andres Gomez, who falls to American Jim Grabb 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. “I’m going home to Ecuador and watch the matches on TV and pretend I never was here,” says Gomez. Future seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras is also sent packing in the first round by South African Christo van Rensburg, who defeats the No. 12 seeded Sampras 7-6, 7-5, 7-6.

1985 – French Open champion Mats Wilander of Sweden is dismissed in the first round of Wimbledon as six-foot-six, No. 77-ranked Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia defeats the No. 4 seeded Wilander 6-2, 5-7, 7-5, 6-0.

2004 – The USTA names the 2004 U.S. Olympic tennis team during the same day that the Olympic flame is run through the All-England Club at Wimbledon. Named to the U.S. Olympic tennis team were Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Vince Spadea, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Chanda Rubin, Lisa Raymond and Martina Navratilova.

Mondays With Bob Greene: Roger, sorry for today

STARS

(Australian Open)

Men’s singles: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5 3-6 7-6 (3) 3-6 6-2

Women’s singles: Serena Williams beat Dinara Safina 6-0 6-3

Men’s doubles: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 2-6 7-5 6-0

Women’s doubles: Venus Williams and Serena Williams beat Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-3

Mixed doubles: Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi beat Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram 6-3 6-1

Junior Boys singles: Yuki Bhambri beat Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas 6-3 6-1

Junior Girls singles: Ksenia Pervak beat Laura Robson 6-3 6-1

Junior Boys doubles: Francis Casey Alcantara and Hsieh Cheng-Peng beat Mikhal Biryukov and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-4 6-2

Junior Girls doubles: Christina McHale and Ajla Tomljanovic beat Alexandra Krunic and Sandra Zaniewska 6-1 2-6 10-4 (match tiebreak)

Women’s Wheelchair Singles: Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan 6-4 6-2

Men’s Wheelchair Singles: Shingo Kunieda beat Stephane Houdet 6-2 6-4

Quad Wheelchair Singles: Peter Norfolk beat David Wagner 7-6 (5) 6-1

(Other Tournaments)

Benjamin Becker beat Karol Beck 6-4 6-4 to win the Heilbronn Open in Heilbronn, Germany

SAYING

“Roger, sorry for today. I really know how you feel right now. Remember, you’re a great champion, you’re one of the best in history.” – Rafael Nadal, consoling a crying Roger Federer after winning his first hard court Grand Slam title.

“I love this game. It means the world to me, so it hurts when you lose.” – Roger Federer, after losing to Rafael Nadal.

“I always believe I’m the best, whether I’m number 1 or 100. Just having that extra bonus is pretty cool.” – Serena Williams, who moved into the WTA Tour’s number one ranking by winning the Australian Open.

“She played exactly the way she had to play and she was much more aggressive and she was just taking time out of me, so I didn’t have that much time to put myself back onto the court. She didn’t even let me come into the match.” – Dinara Safina, after losing to Serena Williams in the women’s final.

“All I know is Serena usually picks up the bill.” – Mike Bryan, discussing the co-celebration of the two doubles champions, brothers Mike and Bob Bryan and sisters Serena and Venus Williams.

“It’s always a dream to win a Grand Slam. That’s what we all play for. … It makes it more special because it’s with someone that I know for so long and so well.” – Sania Mirza, after teaming with Mahesh Bhupathi to win the mixed doubles.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. You’re down two sets to him and scraping, trying to survive.” – Andy Roddick, after losing to Roger Federer.

“I think I was maybe not aggressive enough and maybe I was playing not deep enough, which allowed her to be very aggressive and dictate the game.” – Elena Dementieva, after losing to Serena Williams 6-3 6-4, snapping a 15-match win streak.

“I just have a bad day. He’s Roger Federer (and) if you don’t be good, you lose.” – Juan Martin del Potro, who lost his quarterfinal match to Federer 6-3 6-0 6-0.

“I don’t think I put in a bad performance. She was just coming every time with a better shot to my shot. Sometimes you have to accept someone is just better than you.” – Marion Bartoli, after losing to Vera Zvonareva 6-3 6-0.

SPANISH KING

Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam title on a hard court and became the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open as he out-fought Roger Federer in a five-set, 4-hour, 23-minute struggle. It was Nadal’s fifth victory over his Swiss rival in seven Grand Slam finals, three of them on the clay at Roland Garros. The other came on grass at Wimbledon. The loss also denied Federer the chance to equal the men’s record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles set by Pete Sampras. It was the first five-set final in Melbourne in 21 years and was so close that Federer actually won more points in the match – 174 to Nadal’s 173. It was the Spaniard, though, who won the key points. “It is very special for me. It’s a dream win, one Grand Slam on a hard court,” said the 22-year-old Nadal. “I’ve worked very hard all my life to improve my tennis outside of clay. I’m very happy, very happy to win the title.” Nadal won a thrilling five-set match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals and became the first man since Goran Ivanisevic at Wimbledon in 2001 to win a Grand Slam title with five-set victories in the final two rounds.

SUPER SERENA

Serena Williams crushed Dinara Safina 6-0 6-3 to win her fourth Australian Open women’s singles title and regain the number one ranking. She also teamed with her sister Venus to capture the women’s doubles crown and became the all-time leading money winner in women’s sports, her career earnings now above USD $23.5 million. Golfer Annika Sorenstam, who retired at the end of last season, was the previous all-time leader at USD $22,573,192. Safina won just eight points in the opening set as Serena won back-to-back majors for the first time since winning the Australian Open in 2003, when she completed her “Serena Slam” of four consecutive majors. The only other woman to win consecutive majors since then was Justine Henin.

SIBLING SUCCESS

The doubles was a sibling thing at the Australian Open as sisters Venus and Serena Williams won the women’s title, while brothers Bob and Mike Bryan captured the men’s crown. It was the eighth Grand Slam doubles title for Venus and Serena, who also won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing last summer. And it was their third title in Melbourne, having also won in 2001 and 2003. In winning their seventh Grand Slam title, the Bryans regained their number one ranking. Like the sisters, the Bryans also had won twice before in Melbourne, in 2006 and 2007.

SWEATING BULLETS

Elena Dementieva was surprised the roof on Rod Laver Arena was not closed prior to the start of her quarterfinal match against Carla Suarez Navarro. Svetlana Kuznetsova was angry that officials closed the roof during her match against Serena Williams. Dementieva won her match 6-2 6-2 in the almost 100-degree-plus heat. But the extreme heat policy was not brought into play until later in the day. Kuznetsova was up a set against Williams when play was suspended and the roof was closed. Williams, who looked to be struggling in the intense heat, was rejuvenated in the cooler conditions. Kuznetsova, who served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, was visibly annoyed when the roof was closed after the first set. “Yeah I was definitely angry,” she said. “Why should I not be? The game was going my way. I’m fine playing with the roof open. … It’s two different games. One you play inside, one you play outside.”

SCHEDULE CHANGE?

Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic believe the women should not always go first when it comes to playing night matches at the Australian Open. After beating the 2008 champion Djokovic, Roddick said he believes men should play the first night match occasionally during the first week of a Grand Slam tournament. Djokovic and Marcos Baghdatis complained of a late start when their fourth-round match finished at 2:26 a.m. because the previous women’s match had last three hours. The men didn’t get on court until 11:10 p.m. “If all things are equal, then I feel like the scheduling should be the same,” Roddick said. All four Grand Slam tournaments pay equal prize money to men and women.

SPEAKING UP

Jimmy Connors will be the lead analyst for Tennis Channel when it telecasts the US Open later this year. It’s the first time Connors has been an announcer on a US TV network since 1991, when he was working for NBC while still competing as a player. After he retired, the winner of eight Grand Slam tournaments worked for the British Broadcasting Corp. at Wimbledon from 2005-2007.

SHE’S BACK

Jelena Dokic is back. After spending three years away from the top level of the sport, the 25-year-old Dokic reached the Australian Open quarterfinals where she took world number three Dinara Safina to three sets before falling. Once ranked number four in the world, Dokic had a very public split from her domineering father Damir, moved back to Australia and won a wildcard qualifying tournament to make the main draw in the year’s first Grand Slam tournament since 2006. Then she recaptured the hearts and minds of her adopted homeland with a series of contrite apologies for her previous behavior. It didn’t hurt that she beat 17th-seeded Anna Chakvetadze in the second round, 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the third round and 29th-seeded Alisa Kleybanova in the fourth round. “Everything is positive,” Dokic said. “I think I’ve shown that I can play with some of the best girls in the world, top 20 and top 10.”

SUITING UP AGAIN

Patrick Rafter, who won the US Open in 1997 and 1998, will make his debut on the Outback Champions Series tennis circuit next month in Los Cabos, Mexico. Rafter will compete in the Del Mar Development Champions Cup to be held March 18-22, a first-year event on the tennis circuit for champion players age 30 and over. Now 36, Rafter is best known for becoming the first Australian man to win the US Open since John Newcombe in 1973.

SURVIVAL KEY

Former Yugoslavia Davis Cup coach Radmilo Armenulic says Serbia’s three leading players need to work harder if they are to survive at the top. Armenulic said Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic traveled to Australia too late to become acclimatized to the summer heat. He feels they should have gone to Australia at least one month in advance of the Australian Open. Armenulic called for Jankovic to improve her second serve, which he said is easy prey for her rivals, and said Ivanovic is falling prey to distractions, including questions about her private life.

STILL WINNING

Esther Vergeer ran her winning streak to 357 matches as she once again won the women’s wheelchair singles at the Australian Open, beating Dutch compatriot Korie Homan 6-4 6-2. Vergeer says she has no problems staying motivated, noting: “It’s not that I’m aiming for this one title or tournament, even though I’d like to go to Wimbledon. It’s more about getting the best out of myself.”

STARS OF INDIA

Sania Mirza became the first Indian woman to win a senior Grand Slam tournament title when she teamed up with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi to capture the Australian Open mixed doubles, beating Nathalie Dechy of France and Andy Ram of Israel 6-3 6-1. The year’s first Grand Slam tournament also saw Yuki Bhambri become the first player from India to win a Grand Slam junior singles title. Bhupathi, who has now won 11 majors in doubles play, including seven in mixed competition, was runner-up in the men’s doubles with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas.

SHIFTING GLOBE

Besides India, other Asian countries are providing winners in tennis. Francis Casey Alcantara of the Philippines teamed with Hsieh Cheng-Peng of Taiwan to win the junior boys’ doubles at the Australia Open, besting Mikhal Biryukov of Russia and Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan in the title match, 6-4 6-2. It is Hsieh’s third junior Grand Slam doubles title, winning at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year.

STUDENT

Gustavo Kuerten has returned to school. The three-time Roland Garros champion, now 32 years old, will study theater at UDESC, the state university of Santa Catarina in Brazil. Kuerten was admitted to the university after he finished his exam in fifth place among the Arts Major contenders. He is interested in writing screenplays and directing movies. He retired from tennis last year after struggling with a right hip injury.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Heilbronn: Karol Beck and Jaroslav Levinsky beat Benedikt Dorsch and Philipp Petzschner 7-6 (3) 7-5

SITES TO SURF

Zagreb: www.zagrebindoors.com/indoors.htm

Vina del Mar: www.movistaropen.cl/

Johannesburg: www.zagrebindoors.com/indoors.htm

Wroclaw: www.kghm-atp.pl

Fed Cup: www.fedcup.com

Costa Do Sauipe: www2.uol.com.br/tenisbrasil/brasilopen/

Rotterdam: www.abnamrowtt.nl/

San Jose:

Paris: www.opengdfsuez.com

Pattaya City: www.pentangelepromotions.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$581,850 PBZ Zagreb Indoors, Zagreb, Croatia, hard

$500,000 SA Tennis Open, Johannesburg, South Africa, hard

$496,750 Movistar Open, Vina del Mar, Chile, clay

$137,704 KGHM Dialog Polish Indoor, Wroclaw, Poland, hard

FED CUP

(First Round)

World Group

Russia vs. China at Moscow, Russia

France vs. Italy at Orleans, France

United States vs. Argentina at Surprise, Arizona, USA

Czech Republic vs. Spain at Brno, Czech Republic

World Group 2

Slovak Republic vs. Belgium at Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Switzerland vs. Germany at Zurich, Switzerland

Serbia vs. Japan at Belgrade, Serbia

Ukraine vs. Israel at Kharkiv, Ukraine

Europe Zone Group 1

At Tallinn, Estonia

Austria, Belarus, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Great Britain, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden

American Zone Group 1

At Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Venezuela

Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1

At Perth, Australia

Australia, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, India, New Zealand and Korea

Asia/Oceana Zone Group 2

At Perth, Australia

Kazakhstan, Hong Kong China, Iran and Singapore

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$1,877,000 ABN AMRO World Tennis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, hard

$600,000 SAP Open, San Jose, California, USA, hard

$562,500 Brasil Open, Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil, clay

WTA TOUR

$700,000 Open GDF Suez, Paris, France, carpet

$220,000 PTT Pattaya Women’s Open, Pattaya City, Thailand, hard

Mondays with Bob Greene: Philippoussis close to retirement

A Triumphant Return

The Atlanta tennis event, the Infinite Energy Atlanta Slam pro tennis exhibition is back again at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on  Saturday night.  This year’s action will take place on Saturday evening.

Bob and Mike Bryan headline the event as they will take on Atlanta residents Luke and Murphy Jensen.  The event not only has doubles scheduled but also singles matches. James Blake and Sam Querrey are scheduled to play as well.

With the 2009 season still a month away the exhibition comes in the middle of the off season the Bryan brothers.

“We like to play these kind of matches in the offseason,” said Mike Bryan. “A lot of guys put the racket down and head for the gym, and they may get a little rusty. This helps keep us sharp, but it’s less pressure and a lot more fun (than a normal tour event). Of course, you never want to lose in front of 7 or 8,000 people. We want bragging rights (with the Jensen brothers).”

Breaking away

Andy Murray and Fred Perry. You thought of Andy Murray, you thought of Fred Perry.  Andy Murray has decided however to move on to K-Swiss which offers him a much more lucrative deal.

The deal with K-Swiss is believed to be worth 3 million US Dollars and will be announced early next month at the Abu Dhabi exhibition event.

British Tennis to be coached by Brits

The British Tennis Association, the LTA, has given off signals that they no longer wish to rely on foreign coaches. In recent years, the LTA has hired a lot of foreign coaches Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone among others. With Stuart Smith stepping down as the president of the LTA after serving 3 years term it was also announced that the British Tennis Coaches Association (BTCA) has disaffiliated from the LTA.

The roof is on fire

The Arthur Ashe Stadium might get a retractable roof. Managing director of the USTA Danny Zausner has thrown out scenarios as his group prepares to issue a proposal in January to give the 22,547-seat venue a retractable roof.

The roof could cost $100 million would protect the stadium against rain delays and washouts that have plagued the US Open tournament in recent years. The USTA hasn’t quite figured out yet how to finance the new roof but maybe there is a NBA opportunity, Zausner said.

Zausner also said that it makes sense to consider turning the stadium into a multipurpose facility.

Philippoussis retirement draws near

Even though his mind is still willing, his beaten up body tells him to stop. Philippoussis has told Australian media that he is close to giving up trying to ressurect his career.

Philippoussis has lingered from one injury to the other in recent years.

‘It’s in my heart to give it one more go, and at the end of the day it comes down to my body,’ Philippoussis told the Age newspaper. ‘If my body doesn’t allow it, it doesn’t matter how much my heart wants it or my mind wants it.

‘I honestly believe, 100 per cent, but I know what it’s going to take for me to get to that level. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of hard work and discipline.’

Charity

Mardy Fish’s foundation gave a very generous donation to 110 students of the Pelican Island Elementary school. With the money the kids can now take guitar, dance and drama lessons for free.

The Mardy Fish Foundation’s program provides a place for children to participate in sports, art and music as after school activities.  It is free of charge but parents will have to pay a small fee for transportation and a small insurance fee for each child. All the equipment such as musical instruments, excercise equipment, staff salaries and snacks are provided by the foundation.

The club are currently talking about expanding to tennis lessons which should start in January.

ATP Tour has trouble attracting sponsors

Six tennis tournaments on the ATP Tour have trouble finding sponsors for their events. The six events make up for 10% of the total of tournaments on the tour.

The current global financial crisis has effected sports leagues and tournaments including the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and soccer and golf are all affected. Earlier this year the Dutch Open sold its’ license to the family of Australian Open 2008 winner Novak Djokovic after failing to attract a sponsor. The Paris Masters event also indicated that they lost one of their sponsors.

The ATP are however cautiously optimistic about their situation.

“We continue to have very encouraging discussions with a number of partners from different sectors,” Kris Dent, an ATP Tour spokesman,  said when asked how close the tour was to finding a new title sponsor. “We are in a fortunate position that as a business we can afford to take the time required to get the right kind of deal for the ATP.

“While clearly the current financial climate is an added challenge, we are very confident of finding the right kind of partner for the ATP at the right price for the ATP,” Dent said.

Having events spread out all over the world “means regional economic difficulties do not affect us in the way they might national associations or leagues.”

The ATP Tour will continue to keep a careful eye on the global financial situation.

The prize money for the 2009 season will not be affected. The total prize money for next year is set to a record of  $80 million.