*World No. 1 Rafa Nadal has laughed off talk of him winning all four majors in 2011 as “impossible.” Nadal has the last three majors in his pocket and will complete an ‘out of calendar’ Slam if he lifts the Australian Open in January. Only Don Budge and Rod Laver (twice) have lifted all four Slams in the same year and Nadal said of his hopes: “I will try to keep playing well and try to win four titles next year. But the Grand Slam, for me, is impossible.”
*Andy Murray and Laura Robson have confirmed they will once again warm up for next year’s Aussie Open by partnering each other in the Hopman Cup. The pair lost 2-1 to Spain in this year’s final although the reigning Champions aren’t expected to defend their title in 2011. However, Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic are expected to represent Serbia, Serena Williams and John Isner (USA) and Justine Henin (Belgium), Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) and Francesca Schiavone (Italy) will also compete. Tournament Director Paul McNamee said of Murray’s pending return: “He is a rare talent so we are delighted he is coming back.”
*It was a busy time for Australia’s Anastasia Rodionova at the Commonwealth games. She partnered Sally Peer to women’s doubles Gold where they beat fellow Aussies Jessica Moore and Olivia Rogowska in the final. She also took Silver in the mixed doubles (with Paul Hanley) after they lost to Scotland’s doubles specialist Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae. The temperamental former Russian left court in tears after failing to land a triple gold. This came after Rodionova beat home favourite Sania Mirza 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(3) in a marathon women’s singles final. Australia and India largely dominated the medals tables which, in full, read:
|Men’s Singles||Gold||Somdev Devvarman (India)|
|Silver||Greg Jones (Australia)|
|Bronze||Matt Ebden (Australia)|
|Men’s Doubles||Gold||Paul Hanley|
Peter Lukzak (Australia)
Ken Skupski (England)
Leander Paes (India)
|Women’s Singles||Gold||Anastasia Rodionova (Australia)|
|Silver||Sania Mirza (India)|
|Bronze||Sally Peers (Australia)|
|Women’s Doubles||Gold||Anastasia Rodionova|
Sally Peers (Australia)
Olivia Rogowska (Australia)
Sania Mirza (India)
|Mixed Doubles||Gold||Jocelyn Rae|
Colin Fleming (Scotland)
Paul Hanley (Australia)
Ken Skupski (England)
*Novak Djokovic has a lot on his plate with the Shanghai Masters going on and the ATP Finals in London just around the corner in November. But he already has one eye on Serbia’s historic Davis Cup final matchup against France in December. Speaking at a press conference in Shanghai he said: “Davis Cup is a very unique competition where you get to feel the team spirit that you don’t get to feel that often. We are individuals, so we mostly perform for ourselves. In Davis Cup, it’s about the team; it’s about supporting each other, winning for your country.” He is also confident his beloved Serbia can upset the odds in Belgrade: “We are playing against France, who has much more success and tradition in this competition than us. Great players, but we’re confident we can pull out the win.” For the full interview visit the ITF website.
*Djokovic has also been issuing fighting talk on his chances of future Grand Slam glory to add to the Australian open he lifted in 2008. To date it is his sole Slam, but he is confident of more. “I’m ready. Definitely, I am,” he said at the Rolex Masters in Shanghai on Tuesday. “For the last two years I’ve been ready. If the good day comes, it comes.” Djokovic won his 18th tour-level title at the China Open last week and has now set his sights on higher honours once more. “Right now, emotionally, I’m confident. I’m happy, and looking forward to upcoming challenges. I feel good mentally and physically. I didn’t spend that much energy in Beijing. I’m sure I’ll be fit and ready. I will do my best to get as far as I can in this week.” The full interview is on the ATP site.
*Three-time Grand Slam winners Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic will not play doubles together again next season. The No. 2 seeds will part ways with Nestor teaming up with Frenchman Michael Llodra and Zimonjic aligning to fellow doubles specialist Max Mirnyi. “It think it’s a good move,” Nestor told The Globe and Mail. “It came from him but it’s something I’ve definitely thought about, too.”
*After reaching the semifinals of the China Open last week Shahar Peer rose from No. 18 to No. 13 in the Sony Ericsson WTA World Rankings. As well as being a career-high it is also the highest ranking for an Israeli in tennis history. Dane Caroline Wozniacki’s victory in China means she is now the twentieth No. 1 in WTA rankings history. Much has been made of the absence of Serena Williams attributing to Wozniacki’s ascent so the real test for her will be if she stays there once Serena is back on court.
*American Andy Roddick, who retired this week while leading Guillermo Garcia Lopez, hopes to be back competing in two weeks time in Basel, Switzerland. “I’m going to try to go home to Austin,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to get back for Basel. I think the fact that I still have a shot at London, even after the past year and everything, I think it would be an accomplishment for me.”
*Kim Clijsters is now more confident of featuring in the year-ending WTA Finals in Doha after the pain in her foot which has kept her out of the past few weeks has begun ceasing.
*Roger Federer has been answering questions from his Chinese fans this week. Visit the ATP website to find out what was being said.
*Alicia Molik is running for election to Tennis Australia, joining John Fitzgerald, Wally Masur and six other candidates. If successful, she will be a rarity as an active pro on the board of her country’s tennis association.
*The Bryan brothers brought smiles to the young children unfortunate enough to be spending time at the Shanghai United Family Hospital on Wednesday. They spoke to staff, patients and families while signing autographs and giving insight in to their time on the tour.
*Venus Williams has become the face of new home workout video game EA Sports Active 2 which will use her image for branding in North America. She joins David Beckham whose image is used in Europe and Australia. “Her commitment to healthy living and ability to inspire others makes her a natural fit for EA Sports Active 2,” said Jon Slavet, EA Sports Active’s Vice president.
*It seems Lindsay Davenport and her trainer Todd Norman have got their roles mixed up. Davenport Tweeted on Wednesday: “I’m here working my ass off but my trainer is nowhere to be found.” Norman’s response? “Was getting a foot massage!”
*We all know males can be somewhat competitive. But what happens when tennis stars take to their Playstation consoles for a spot of Pro Evolution Soccer gaming? Tuesday night saw Juan Monaco and Rafa Nadal take on Andy Murray and his friend Dani Vallverdu and there is still some confusion as to who won. Monaco spoke first via his Twitter account claiming a 2-1 win for the Latin duo but Murray thinks otherwise. It appears there is some confusion on the rules between the teams regarding penalty shootouts. Monaco/Nadal seem confident of the win so could it just be sour grapes from Murray. Murray? Couldn’t possibly be… Check the ATP website for a full summary.
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
Say it ain’t so – Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan NOT playing Davis Cup together?!? It indeed will be strange to see Mike Bryan playing Davis Cup for the United States this weekend in the semifinals against Spain in Madrid without twin brother Bob by his side. However, it certainly will be make entertaining TV viewing to watch Mardy Fish substitute for Bob, ailing with a left shoulder injury, pair with Mike and take on Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez in the crucial doubles rubber on Saturday. Incidentally, Mike has had success in men’s doubles without Bob in the past – winning two ATP titles without his left-handed double in 2002, winning Long Island with Mahesh Bhupathi and Nottingham with Mark Knowles.
A comparable situation in Davis Cup play for the United States came in the 1986 Davis Cup semifinals when the United States played Australia in Brisbane and the legendary American doubles team of Ken Flach and Robert Seguso were forced apart due to injury. A lingering knee injury from Seguso prevented him from posting with Flach – thrusting Paul Annacone on the line for the United States (incidentally, Annacone’s only on-court appearance for the United States Davis Cup team). As documented on my upcoming book On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, New Chapter Press, available for a special 32 percent off pre-order at the bottom of this article), Flach and Annacone played a two-day epic on Oct. 4-5, 1986 as excerpted below
October 4, 1986 – Pat Cash wins 16 of 20 games played and defeats Tim Mayotte 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the completion of a rain-postponed match to give Australia a 2-0 lead over the United States in the Davis Cup semifinals in Brisbane, Australia. Mayotte begins play leading Cash 6-4, 1-2. Cash the pairs with John Fitzgerald in the doubles match, and nearly puts away the Americans by an insurmountable 3-0 margin, but darkness postpones their match with the ad-hoc U.S. doubles team of Ken Flach and Paul Annacone, with the Aussies leading 10-8, 6-1, 5-7. Annacone, in his Davis Cup debut and what ultimately becomes his only Davis Cup playing experience, substitutes for an injured Robert Seguso.
October 5, 1986 – Ken Flach and Paul Annacone keep American hopes alive against Australia in the Davis Cup semifinal as they complete a come-from-behind, darkness delayed victory over Pat Cash and John Fitzgerald by a 8-10, 1-6, 7-5, 13-11, 7-5 margin. Entering the day’s play trailing two sets to one, Flach and Annacone prevent a 3-0 shutout by the Australians by rallying to win the final two sets in dramatic fashion.
A summary from my notes and writings on this 1986 tie as the former U.S. Davis Cup team media director is as follows;
The practice sessions leading into the semifinal would reveal that the doubles would be the major question mark for the United States as Robert Seguso’s knee problems from the US Open prevented him from being 100 percent fit. Annacone would fill in and pair with Flach, his steady doubles partner from the 14, 16 and 18-and-under junior competition. Tim Mayotte and Brad Gilbert would be the singles players.
“Robert is very disappointed, but we gave him as long as we could. In terms of form he wasn’t quite there,” Gorman said. “That gives us the option of three singles players and we can also change the doubles team. If the singles are long matches, we can change and the Australians will probably be thinking the same thing. Our players respect the Australians, but if we play our best tennis, we can win three points (matches).”
“Breaking up one of the best doubles teams in the world is not what you want to do. It’s not the best circumstances,” said Annacone. “There’s a lot of chemistry — who takes what ball, how you react under pressure. It may take a set, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, but there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy playing together, and if we play well, we have a very good chance.”
Gorman, a singles player when Rod Laver and John Newcombe won the 1973 Cup final in Cleveland, was eagerly awaiting his return to Australia-US ties. “”There is a long tradition of great rivalry between our two countries in Davis Cup, though we are great rivals in all sports, not just tennis,” he said. “”There aren’t too many rivalries which go back as far as this, when the winning team is the best in the world,”
The United States and Australia were the two most successful Davis Cup nations, with the U.S. winning 28 Davis Cup titles and Australia winning 25. The two nations met in the Davis Cup final 28 times. The United States led the series with Australia 23-17, but the United States had recently dominated the Aussies, winning their last four meetings. The Australians had not beaten the U.S. in Cup play in 13 years, since the 1973 Davis Cup Final in Cleveland when Gorman was a singles player on the U.S. team that lost 5-0.
Gilbert, ranked No. 12 in the world, opened the tie against 31-year-old Paul McNamee, a doubles specialist with major titles on his shelf with fellow Aussie Peter McNamara. The 25-year-old Gilbert played strong tennis in the 90-degree temperatures and took a two-sets-to-one-lead into the 10-minute locker room break. What transpired following the break was one of the more perplexing turnarounds ever seen in Cup play. With a firm two-sets-to-one lead and momentum on his side, Gilbert emerged from the break only to lose 11 games in a row before holding serve down 0-5 in the fifth set. McNamee then closed out the 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory, giving Australia the 1-0 lead.
“I don’t know what happened,” Gilbert said after the match. “He got positive, I got down. It was like a sinking ship. It was definitely the worst two sets of my career, and it comes at a bad time. The first match of a Davis Cup series is the most important one. But he raised his game and I was flat.”
The second rubber featured Mayotte against Pat Cash, the former No. 8 ranked Australian who had reached the semifinals of both the US Open and Wimbledon in 1984. After two years of enduring back problems and an appendectomy that saw his ranking drop as low as No. 413, Cash was again finding his top form and had reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon just three months earlier and negotiated his ranking up to a somewhat respectable No. 80 world ranking.
Mayotte’s grass court game was on full display in taking a 6-4, 1-2 lead over Cash before rains riddled the Milton Courts, postponing play until Saturday morning. The new day resulted in new life for the 21-year-old Cash, who reeled off the first four games of the day to take the second set 6-1. Cash then broke Mayotte twice each in the third and four sets to register the 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 decision to put the Australians in the comfortable 2-0 driver’s seat.
Cash was given a two-hour break before he teamed with John Fitzgerald in the doubles against the makeshift team of Annacone and Flach. Annacone’s Davis Cup jitters were in full blossom in the first two sets, losing his serve three times as he Flach dropped the first two sets, putting the United States on the verge of elimination and an embarrassing 3-0 sweep. But Annacone began to find his footing in the third set as darkness began to envelope the Milton Courts. The bleeding was stopped when the Americans won the third set 7-5, breaking Fitzgerald in the 12th game, forcing the match to be continued on Sunday morning due to night fall.
Sunday morning’s fourth set would prove to be an epic as neither team flinched on their serve. The Americans were closest to elimination at 11-11 in the fourth set, when Annacone wiffed an overhead that he lost in the brilliant Brisbane sun, putting the U.S. down 15-40 on Flach’s serve. But an error from Cash followed by a Flach volley winner erased the Australian opportunity. After Flach held serve, the match was then leveled at two sets apiece when the Americans again broke Fitzgerald to the dismay of the 6,500 assembled Australian fans.
The tight and intense tennis continued well into the fifth set with the Americans giving every ounce of effort to stave off elimination for their country. Wrote Angus Phillips of The Washington Post, of Flach and Annacone “They stalked the court like hungry cats, moving unexpectedly to the net on Australian first serves, making challenging gestures and dangerously aggressive returns of serve, and hurling themselves after difficult shots. Flach dove after a shot in the last set and conked himself on the head with his racket, but refused to stop play to regroup. Then Annacone, a Davis Cup rookie, went flying into a TV camera on the next point.”
Flach and Annacone took an early 3-1 lead in the fifth set and Fitzgerald again showed his vulnerability, losing his serve for the second consecutive time. Annacone, however, returned the favor in the next game, faltering on serve to put the decisive set back on serve. In the 10th game of the fifth set, the U.S. reached its first match point at 4-5 with Cash serving at 30-40, only to have the Aussie heroically escape. Four games later at 6-7, the Americans had double match point on Cash’s serve at 15-40, only to see two service winners bail the Aussies out of trouble. While Cash’s serve proved too tough to crack, Fitzgerald’s serve, as witnessed at the end of the third and fourth sets, would prove to be the Australian Achilles heel, as the 1986 US Open doubles champ’s serve was broken for a fourth time in three sets two games later to put the Americans over the hump. After four hours and 56 minutes – two hours and 45 minutes on Sunday alone – Annacone and Flach emerged triumphant in an 8-10, 1-6, 7-5, 13-11, 9-7 victory that ranks as one of the great doubles victories in U.S. Davis Cup history. The Australian fans, always ones that respected good tennis and tremendous efforts on a tennis court, gave the Americans a standing ovation at the conclusion of the doubles epic, called by Brian Dewhurst of UPI “one of the most memorable Davis Cup doubles matches of recent times.”
“I enjoy good tennis,” said Australian Captain Neal Fraser, “and if there’s any satisfaction from watching, I’d say this was probably one of the best doubles matches I’ve seen in a long time.”
“No one else seems to think we can win this tie, but the team doesn’t think that way,” Annacone said after the doubles epic. “We’ve got a lot of guts and winning the doubles will give the team a big emotional uplift.”
Said Gorman, “We are looking at this like a football game. Australia won in the first half, but now we have to win the second half.”
The Cash-Gilbert match would be delayed until Monday, as an ITF rule allows for a player to have a night’s rest should he play in more than 30 games in a day. Cash certainly needed the rest having played a total of 120 games in three days of play – including 40 games of doubles on Sunday – entering his match with Gilbert.
Cash certainly had the upper hand on Gilbert in the big match experience department, having played in two Grand Slam tournament semifinal matches – one being a tie-break in the fifth-set loss to Ivan Lendl at the 1984 US Open. Cash had also clinched Australia’s last Davis Cup victory in 1983, with a convincing win over Joakim Nystrom of Sweden. To date, Gilbert had not reached a major quarterfinal and still had his Friday melt down to McNamee fresh on his mind in only his second appearance in a U.S. Davis Cup tie. After the two split the first six games of the match, Gilbert reeled off 11 straight points en route to claiming the first set 6-3. Cash rebounded by breaking Gilbert twice before serving out the second set 6-2.
As Cash seized the momentum, Gilbert began self-deprecating comments, while chirping at Cash who walked away or put up his hand telling Gilbert that he was not ready to receive serve. Gilbert complained of “stall tactics.” Cash would later counter that Gilbert was “quick-serving” him.
“The umpire should have done something about it because he did it 30 times,” Gilbert later said. “If I’m ready to serve, he shouldn’t be able to walk away. It’s unfair. Play should be continuous. ”
Two double faults in the opening game of the third set resulted in Gilbert’s serve being broken again and Cash holding on to take the third set 6-3. At 3-3 in the fourth set, the stalling/quick serving banter erupted again. Gorman protested to chair umpire Guy Nash that Cash’s repeated attempts to stall Gilbert was again going too far. Cash would break Gilbert in that game to take the 4-3 lead and three games later, would serve out the 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and 23 minutes.
“At 3-3, the guy (Nash) goes: “Next time he does that you play two (serves),'” said Gilbert. “It was a fairly crucial point for “next time’. I play a little quickly but I feel like the receiver should play to the server’s pace.”
Said Gorman, “It is the first time I have heard a receiving guy saying: “Wait, I’m not ready’ between first and second serves. I always thought that when a guy is at the line looking at the server, he is ready. They have 30 seconds to start the point, but if he wanted to take extra time he should take a step back, like our players do.”
Cash countered by saying he felt Gilbert quick-served him in his loss to the American two weeks before the Davis Cup at the ATP event in Los Angeles and that he had warned his teammate McNamee of Gilbert’s quick-serve tactics prior to the opening rubber of the series.
Said Cash, “Three weeks ago, he quick-served me in Los Angeles and he did it to me 20 times again today. I have a right to slow him down. If I didn’t, he’d have 100 more points. The guy just rolls up and serves. He doesn’t even look across the court to see if you’re there.”
The win placed Australia into the Davis Cup final against Sweden, which it would win in Melbourne two months later by a 4-1 margin, with Cash clinching victory with a stirring two-sets-to-love comeback over Mikael Pernfors. The loss ended Gorman’s first campaign as the U.S. skipper – a year which saw some highs – namely efforts from Mayotte and Gilbert in Mexico and by Flach, Seguso and Annacone in doubles – and some low-lights, namely the absence of John McEnroe from the team, which in all likelihood would have resulted in the United States hosting a Davis Cup final against Sweden – a favorable scenario for a 29th Davis Cup championships for the United States. Asked in Brisbane whether having McEnroe on the team would have made a difference in outcome, Gorman did not want to think about what might have been, stating, “That is not a relevant question.”