Roger Federer is known for showing his emotions – almost as much as he is for winning major tennis titles. At the 2009 Australian Open, Federer could not hide his disappointment in losing an epic five-set final to Rafael Nadal. Federer began weeping uncontrollably in the post-match ceremony when asked to make his obligatory runner-up speech. The emotional breakdown overshadowed other occasions when Federer shed tears in high visibility moments. One such moment was four years ago today, January 29, 2006, when Federer became emotional after Rod Laver presented him with the Norman Brookes Trophy after beating Marcos Baghdatis in the championship match.
Rene Stauffer, the author of the book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.RogerFedererBook.com), documents Federer’s 2006 Australian title – that concluded in tears – in this exclusive book excerpt.
In his six matches en route to the final, Federer lost four sets—more than previously surrendered while reaching a Grand Slam final. The man from Basel, however, was still the overwhelming favorite to win the title when he faced unseeded upstart Marcos Baghdatis—a 200-1 outsider to win the title. The 20-year-old bearded maverick from the island of Cyprus was the major story of the tournament—defeating Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic and David Nalbandian in succession to become an unlikely Grand Slam finalist. Cyprus, a small island nation off the Greek and Turkish coast in the Mediterranean with no tennis history whatsoever, was suddenly stricken with tennis fever as businesses closed and children skipped school to watch his matches. Baghdatis was unseeded, ranked No. 54 in the world and had never won an ATP tournament in his career at the time. To boot, he held an 0-3 record against Federer and Federer had never lost a Grand Slam final—let alone to an unseeded player.
The Melbourne Age newspaper carried the headline “The Wizard And The Apprentice” before the final, but as the match began, the question was which was which. Baghdatis, supported throughout the fortnight by the many Greeks in Melbourne who created a soccer-stadium atmosphere with chants, cheers and flag-waving, continued to play boldly, aggressively and on the offensive—as he had the entire tournament—while Federer struggled, particularly off the forehand side. Federer lost the first set 7-5 and saved two break points to prevent a double-service-break 0-3 deficit in the second set. After he held serve, Federer then broke the Cypriot’s serve in the next game to square the set at 2-2. After the two players exchanged service holds, a stroke of good luck benefited Federer late in the set as an overruled call on set point gave Federer the second set 7-5. The momentum immediately turned in Federer’s favor and the challenge to his supremacy ended. Federer’s 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 victory secured him his seventh Grand Slam title—tying him with such legends as Richard Sears and William Renshaw—heroes of the 1880s—as well as John McEnroe, John Newcombe, Mats Wilander and two of four French Musketeers, Rene Lacoste and Henri Cochet.
Federer showed no exuberance as the award ceremony began, but when Rod Laver bestowed the Norman Brookes Trophy upon him, he was overcome with emotions. “I don’t know what to say,” he said at the start of his victory speech, before he fell silent. He barely managed to congratulate Baghdatis and thank his entourage and sponsors. When he mentioned Laver and that the title meant a great deal to him, his voice cracked, just like at his first Wimbledon victory, and he could no longer hold back his tears.
“I was terribly nervous,” Federer told Swiss television commentator Heinz Günthardt after he left the court. “It was an immense burden to be so clearly favored against a newcomer.” With seven Grand Slam titles, Federer began to compete not only against his contemporaries on the other side of the net, but against the ghosts of tennis history, including Pete Sampras and Rod Laver, who was standing next to him on this day.
By Bob Stockton
It was a year ago that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played one of the greatest Australian Open finals ever – and provided for one of the most touching moments in tennis in many years.
At the time, Federer was two major singles titles shy of breaking Pete Sampras all-time record of 14. However, the Swiss maestro was showing vulnerability in that he was going to achieve the goal everyone predicted he would reach. In January of 2009, Federer, as some severe critics characterized, was “reeling” by his very high standards. He was fresh off being jolted by Nadal from the No. 1 ranking – a ranking he held without threat for a record 237 straight weeks. The top ranking and the three titles he treasured the most – Wimbledon, the French Open and Olympic men’s singles gold – were all in the possession of Nadal. He lost the Wimbledon final 9-7 in the fifth set to Nadal, lost the French Open final in the second-most lopsided men’s final ever, and the year before he was also humbled by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals, with the Djokovic camp claiming “the King is dead.”
The 2009 Australian Open final was a bitter pill for Federer. He lost an epic five-setter to the man who was taking away everything he wanted. After his 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(3), 3–6, 6–2 loss to Nadal, Federer could not contain his disappointment and could not compose himself in his post-match runner-up speech. Uncontrollably, he began to cry.
Nadal, showing incredible class and respect for the occasion and for Federer, hugged his biggest rival after receiving the Norman Brookes Trophy as the champion. He acknowledged his rival’s pain.
You know that an event crosses into the main stream of the public consciousness when Don Imus, the controversial American radio talk show, talks about it on his “Imus in the Morning” program on 77 WABC in New York and now on the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox Business television network. Imus, however, surprisingly did not have kind, mushy words for Federer and his emotions, calling him a “blubbering, cry baby sissy boy” following his loss.” Said Imus of his Federer’s fifth-set effort, “He folded like a cheap lawn chair” and of his runner-up check, “He won $700,000 and he is sobbing like a sissy-boy.” Anyone who listens to Imus knows that his “schtick” is to make fun of just about everyone to get a laugh. The hard-nosed New York audience responds well to his critiques, jabs and barbs. No one is safe, including the great Federer.
Nadal’s effort was one of the best of his career, if not in the entire history of the sport. He won his semifinal match against Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4 in 5:14, the longest match in the history of the Australian Open. Said Imus of Nadal after winning the men’s final and semifinal in a combined time of 9 hours, 37 minutes, “If anyone should be crying, it should be him!”
To view the emotional and touching post-match ceremony from 2009:
Bud Collins is perhaps the world’s best authority on the history of tennis. In his new book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS, Bud summarizes the Australian Open, which on January 19 in Melbourne. THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS book ($35.95, New Chapter Press) features a comprehensive look at the Australian Open including championship scrolls and scores of all events, results from the singles quarterfinals onward and tournament records (that are even more comprehensive than the tournament’s record book and media guide!) For more information on the book, go to www.tennistomes.com.
Tennis had been played Down Under for 25 years before a national championship was organized in 1905 in Melbourne at the Warehousemen’s Ground-this four years after six British Colonies had come together as the Commonwealth of Australia. It was men only at first, as was the case with the U.S. and Wimbledon championships. The tournament was called the Australasian Championships, a cooperative venture with neighboring New Zealand, a country that also shared a Davis Cup team with the Aussies,
notably in the person of Kiwi Tony Wilding. Wilding and Aussie Norman Brookes won four Cups for Australasia: 1907-08-09, 14. New Zealand dropped from the alliance in 1922, and in 1927 this event became the Australian Championships.
Strikingly, the first champ in 1905, and 64 years later the first champ of the “Open” era were Rodneys: Rodney Heath, the initial victor over Arthur Curtis, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a field of 17; Rodney Laver, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, over Spaniard Andres Gimeno in a field of
48 at Brisbane in 1969. In 1906, Wilding was the first foreigner to win, 6-0, 6-4, 6-4, over Francis Fisher in the champ’s hometown, Christchurch.
Not until 1922 did women enter the picture when 27-yearold Mall Molesworth beat 20-year-old Esna Boyd, 6-3, 10-8, in the final in Sydney. They played alongside the men, except for three separate tournaments, 1980-82. Dorothy Round, in 1935 at Melbourne, was the first female outsider as champion, beating Nancy Lyle in an all-English final, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. Dorothy Bundy (now a Hall of Famer as Mrs. Cheney), was the first American woman to win, defeating Dorothy Stevenson, 6-3, 6-2, in 1938 at Adelaide. That year, another Yank, Don Budge, launched the original Grand Slam with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, victory over John Bromwich. The courts for the tournament were grass until 1988. Then a rubberized hard court surface called Rebound Ace complemented the new national tennis complex called Flinders Park (the name changed to Melbourne Park in 1998). Because that pavement became sticky on very hot summer days, it was replaced in 2008 by hard courts called plexicushion, colored blue rather than the customary green.
Though Melbourne has been the site of the tournament since 1972, it moved about often in earlier days among five Australian cities: Brisbane (1907, 15, 23, 56, 60, 64, 69); Sydney (1908, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 47, 51, 54, 58, 62, 66, 70-71); Perth (1909, 13, 21); Adelaide (1910, 20, 26, 29, 32, 36, 38, 46, 49, 52, 55, 59, 63, 67); Melbourne (1911, 14, 24, 27, 30, 33, 35, 39, 48, 50, 53, 57, 61, 65, 68); and two in New Zealand: Christchurch (1906); Hastings (1912). Melbourne was the most successful host after the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club erected a 12,000 seat concrete horseshoe in 1927. Stadia at White City, Sydney (1922), Memorial Drive, Adelaide (1920), and Milton Courts, Brisbane, were other prominent locations.
Australia, lagging behind the other three majors in prestige, interest, prize money and player fields, needed a lift and got a tremendous one in 1988 with christening of the attractive new playpen, Flinders/Melbourne Park. Modernity took over. Suddenly the Australian was the style-setter with a retractable roof for the principal stadium (named Rod Laver Arena in 1992), seating 14,820. In 2000, another such arena was added, the Vodafone Arena seating 11,000 and also with a retractable roof. The Aussies were ahead of the game with no bothersome rain-outs, nor TV networks stalled with nothing live to show. Strangely (obtusely?), Wimbledon and the U.S. weren’t respective copycats when the new Court 1 and Ashe Stadium were opened, respectively, in 1997.
Abandoned, as a big-time stop on the tour as Forest Hills had been in 1978, famed Kooyong (using temporary stands to pack in 17,500 for the 1953 Davis Cup final) settled into a comfortable private club existence. An attendance (140,000) was set for Kooyong’s farewell to the Open, 1987. That was quickly surpassed at Melbourne Park. In 2008, the event drew a record 605,735 fans.
Two championships were held in 1977 when the tournament moved from January to December dates, and no event was held in 1986 to readjust to the traditional January date. The tie-breaker was adopted in 1971, not in force for ultimate sets, the fifth for men, third for women.
Showing some reluctance in joining the “Open” era, the Australian was the last of the three majors to take the plunge, remaining amateur in 1968, then integrating with $25,000 in prize money the following year. That figure accelerated to $18,813,400 in 2008, prize money equally paid the women since 2001. Laver got $5,000 as the 1969 champ, Margaret Smith Court $1,500, a pittance compared with $1,217,930 in 2008 with singles winners Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova winning just shy of $1.2 million. The event’s championship cups honor the memory of two bygone champs, both Australian, Daphne Akhurst for the women and Norman Brookes for the men. Alas for the citizenry, no homebody has clung to that silver since Chris O’Neil in 1978 and Mark Edmondson in 1976.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Chapter Press has announced the publication of its latest book – On This Day In Tennis History -a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the years – written by Randy Walker, the sports marketing and media specialist, tennis historian and former U.S. Tennis Association press officer.
On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, 528 pages), is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as John McEnroe, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. On This Day In Tennis History is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. More information on the book can be found at www.tennishistorybook.com
Said Hall of Famer Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important-and unusual-moments in the annals of tennis. Randy Walker is an excellent narrator of tennis history and has done an incredible job of researching and compiling this entertaining volume.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way-dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “On This Day In Tennis History is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest-and most quirky-moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”
Walker is a writer, tennis historian and freelance publicist and sports marketer. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Marketing and Communications Division, he served as the press officer for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1997 to 2005 and for the U.S. Olympic tennis teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also served as the long-time editor of the U.S. Open Record Book during his tenure at the USTA from 1993 to 2005.
More information on the book can be found at www.tennistomes.com as well as on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=428100548
People mentioned in the book include, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Anna Kounikova, Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Martina Hingis, Gustavo Kuerten, Svetlana Kuznetsova, James Blake, Wilmer Allison, Mal Anderson, Arthur Ashe, Juliette Atkinson, Henry “Bunny” Austin, Tracy Austin, Boris Becker, Kark Behr, Pauline Betz, Bjorn Borg, Jean Borotra, John Bromwich, Norman Brookes, Louise Brough, Jacques Brugnon, Butch Buchholz, Don Budge, Maria Bueno, Rosie Casals, Michael Chang, Philippe Chatrier, Dodo Cheney, Henri Cochet, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Ashley Cooper, Margaret Court, Jack Crawford, Allison Danzig, Dwight Davis, Lottie Dod, John Doeg, Laurence Doherty, Reggie Doherty, Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers, Jaroslav Drobny, Margaret duPont, Francoise Durr, James Dwight, Stefan Edberg, Roy Emerson, Chis Evert, Bob Falkenburg, Neale Fraser, Shirley Fry, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzalez, Evonne Goolagong, Arthur Gore, Steffi Graf, Bitsy Grant, Darlene Hard, Doris Hart, Anne Jones, Gladys Heldman, Slew Hester, Bob Hewitt, Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Joe Hunt, Frank Hunter, Helen Jacobs, Bill Johnston, Perry Jones, Bob Kelleher, Billie Jean King, Jan Kodes, Karel Kozeluh, Jack Kramer, Rene Lacoste, Bill Larned, Art Larsen, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Suzanne Lenglen, George Lott, Gene Mako, Molla Mallory, Hana Mandlikova, Alice Marble, Dan Maskell, Simone Mathieu, Mark McCormack, John McEnroe, Ken McGregor, Kitty Godfree, Chuck McKinley, Maurice McLoughlin, Frew McMillian, Don McNeill, Elisabeth Moore, Angela Mortimer, Gardnar Mulloy, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, John Newcombe, Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna, Betty Nuthall, Alex Olmedo, Rafael Osuna, Frank Parker, Gerald Patterson, Budge Patty, Fred Perry, Nicola Pietrangeli, Adrian Quist, Patrick Rafter, Dennis Ralson, Vinnie Richards, Nancy Richey, Cliff Richey, Bobby Riggs, Tony Roche, Mervyn Rose, Ken Rosewall, Elizbeth Ryan, Gabriela Sabatini, Pete Sampras, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Manuel Santana, Dick Savitt, Ted Schroeder, Gene Scott, Richard Sears, Frank Sedgman, Pancho Segura, Vic Seixas, Frank Shields, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, Fred Stolle, Bill Talbert, Bill Tilden, Tony Trabert, Lesley Turner, Jimmy Van Alen, John Van Ryn, Guillermo Vilas, Ellsworth Vines, Brian Gottfried, Virginia Wade, Holcombe Ward, Watson Washburn, Mal Whitman, Mats Wilander, Tony Wilding, Helen Wills Moody, Sidney Wood, Robert Wrenn, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Todd Woodbridge, Marat Safin, Leslie Allen, Sue Barker, Jonas Bjorkman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Donald Dell, Albert Costa, Mark Cox, Owen Davidson, Pat Cash, Mary Carillo, John Isner, Roscoe Tanner, Vijay Amritraj, Mark Woodforde, Tim Henman, Richard Krajicek, Conchita Martinez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Cliff Drysdale, Mark Edmondson, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Zina Garrson, Roland Garros, Wojtek Fibak, Tom Gullikson, Andres Gimeno, Vitas Gerulaitis, Fernando Gonzalez, Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic, Andrea Jaeger, Ivo Karlovic, Richard Krajicek, Petr Korda, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Rick Leach, Iva Majoil, Barry MacKay, Ivan Ljubicic, Cecil Mamiit, David Caldwell, Alex Metreveli, Nicolas Massu, Todd Martin, Gene Mayer, Thomas Muster, Tom Okker, Charlie Pasarell, Mary Pierce, Whitney Reed, Leander Paes, Renee Richards, Helen Sukova, Michael Stich, Betty Stove, Ion Tiriac, Brian Teacher, Wendy Turnbull, Richards, Fabrice Santoro, Ai Sugiyama, Patrick McEnroe, Camille Pin, Phil Dent, Jelena Dokic, Mark Edmondson, Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Dinara Safina, Barry Lorge, Stefano Pescosolido, Fabrice Santoro, Roscoe Tanner, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roger Smith, Erik van Dillen, Gene Mayer, Tamara Pasek, Stefan Koubek, Jie Zheng, Gisela Dulko, Kristian Pless, Chuck McKinley, Marty Riessen, Brad Gilbert, Tim Mayotte, Andrea Petkovic, Klara Koukalova, Bobby Reynolds, Dominik Hrbaty, Andreas Seppi, Christopher Clarey, Casey Dellacqua, Anders Jarryd, Janko Tipsarevic, Nadia Petrova, Christian Bergstrom, Ramesh Krishnan, Emily Sanchez, Marcos Baghdatis, Mark Philippousssis, Wally Masur, Paul McNamee, Daniela Hantuchova, Gerry Armstrong, Younes El Aynaoui, Thomas Johansson, Pat Cash, Lisa Raymond, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Chanda Rubin, Tony Roche, Alex O’Brien, Petr Korda, Karol Kucera, Amelie Mauresmo, Juan Gisbert, Pablo Cuevas, Jim Pugh, Rick Leach, Julien Boutter, Larry Stefanki, Chris Woodruff, Jill Craybas, Sania Mirza, Mike Leach, Maggie Maleeva, Guillermo Canas, Guillermo Coria, Donald Young, Dick Stockton, Johan Kriek, Milan Srejber, Zina Garrison, Slyvia Hanika, Karin Knapp, Laura Granville, Kei Nishikori, Scott Davis, Paul Goldstein, Alberto Martin, Nicolas Kiefer, Joachim Johansson, Jonathan Stark, Jakob Hlasek, Jeff Tarango, Amanda Coetzer, Andres Gomez, Richey Reneberg, Francisco Clavet, Radek Stepanek, Miloslav Mecir, Jose-Luis Clerc, Colin Dibley, Mikael Pernfors, Martin Mulligan, Robbie Weiss, Hugo Chapacu, Victor Pecci, Charlie Bricker, Greg Rusedski, Robin Finn, Kimiko Date, David Nalbandian, Goran Ivanisevic, Mikhail Youzhny, Nicole Pratt, Bryanne Stewart, Novak Djokovic, Rennae Stubbs, Corina Morariu, Marc Rosset, Kenneth Carlsen, Kimiko Date, Ryan Harrison, Richard Gasquet, Jimmy Arias, Jim Leohr, Felix Mantilla, Cedric Pioline, Annabel Croft, Brooke Shields, Jaime Yzaga, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Alberto Mancini, Peter McNamara, Andrei Chesnokov, Fabrice Santoro, Bud Collins, Mardy Fish, Sebastien Grosjean, Donald Dell, Petr Kuczak, Magnus Norman, Hicham Arazi, Nduka Odizor, Lori McNeil, Horst Skoff, Karolina Sprem, Ros Fairbank, Linda Siegel, Chris Lewis, Kevin Curren, Thierry Tulasne, Guy Forget, Fred Tupper, Jaime Fillol, Belus Prajoux, Ricardo Cano, Georges Goven, Ray Moore, Charlie Pasarell, Paul Annacone, Tomas Smid, Dmitry Tursunov, Elena Dementieva, Arnaud DiPasquale, Carl Uwe Steeb, Bill Scanlon, Jose Higueras, Jay Berger, Jana Novotna, Bill Dwyre, Lisa Dillman, Sean Sorensen, Paul McNamee, Jiri Novak, Benjamin Becker, Ion Tiriac, Neil Amdur, Tim Gullikson, Jan-Michael Gambill, Taylor Dent, Bryan Shelton, Vijay Amritraj, Martin Verkerk, Brian Gottfried, Carlos Moya, Jacco Eltingh, Adriano Panatta, John Feinstein, Aaron Krickstein, Wilhelm Bungert, Derrick Rostagno, Torben Ulrich, Daniel Nestor, Ray Ruffels, Cliff Drysdale, James Reilly, Andy Murray, Leander Paes, Alicia Molik, Barry MacKay among others.
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Colins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli and the soon to be released title The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.newchapterpressmedia.com