Serena Williams

Most Memorable Women’s Australian Open Finals

The first Grand Slam of the tennis calendar kicks off later this month with the Australian Open down at Melbourne Park.

Caroline Wozniacki is the reigning women’s champion but it is the seven-time winner of this event, Serena Williams, who is the bookmakers’ favourite to be the Australian Open 2019 women’s winner, with current odds of 4/1.
Whether this year’s competition will produce another classic final remains to be seen or not, but here are five from recent memory that we thoroughly enjoyed:

2018: Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 3-6 6-4 Simona Halep

Last year’s Australian Open was up for grabs as Serena Williams didn’t participate following the birth of her child in September the previous year. The final was contested between the world’s top two players at the time, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.

In a classic encounter it was Wozniacki who upset the world number one in three sets that lasted two hours and 49 minutes, with the match finishing shortly before 10:30pm local time.

Caroline Wozniacki became the first Dane in men’s or women’s singles to win a Grand Slam in doing so.

2016: Angelique Kerber 6-4 3-6 6-4 Serena Williams

Germany’s Angelique Kerber took her first of three Grand Slams to date at the 2016 Australian Open with an upset victory over Serena Williams in the final.

Kerber beat future Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka 6-1 6-1 in the third round before seeing off Victoria Azarenka and Johanna Konta in straight sets in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

Few gave Kerber a chance of beating Serena in the final, particularly after losing the second set, but she came through in the decider to become the first German of either sex to win a Grand Slam singles competition this millennium.

2004: Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-3 4-6 6-3 Kim Clijsters

Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne took her first and only Australian Open crown with a dramatic 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over fellow countrywoman Kim Clijsters in 2004.

Henin-Hardenne looked set to win the final in straight sets with a set and 4-2 lead in the second before the world number two broke back, pulling off four straight games to take the match to a decider.
However, Clijsters couldn’t keep the momentum going as she fell 0-4 down in the third and final set. Justine Henin-Hardenne produced the goods at the right time to make it 3-0 in Grand Slam finals versus Clijsters, having also beat her fellow Belgian in the 2003 French Open and the 2003 US Open finals.

2003: Serena Williams 7-6 3-6 6-4 Venus Williams

2002 saw the Williams sisters’ rivalry swing in the favour of Serena for the first time. The 2003 Australian Open was also the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final that saw the two Williams sisters face each other.

Serena had beaten her sister in straight sets at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open finals the previous year and completed the ‘Serena Slam’ with a three sets victory at Melbourne Park in 2003.

This would be Serena Williams’ fourth Grand Slam and her first in Australia. The future tennis Hall of Famer has won in Australia six times since and has 23 Grand Slams overall. To get to the final in 2003 she had to come from 1-5 down in the decider against Kim Clijsters in the semi-final before beating Venus in in the final.

1993: Monica Seles 4-6 6-3 6-2 Steffi Graf

Two-time defending Australian Open champion Monica Seles made it three in a row by coming from a set down to beat Steffi Graf in an historic final back in 1993.

Winning the first set 6-4 in the final, Graf hadn’t dropped a single set at the Australian Open that year, which included victories over Jennifer Capriati and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
However, the Yugoslavian fought back with an impressive display in the next two sets to take what would be her eighth of nine career Grand Slams.

“Dominant” Simona Halep and Serena Williams Favorites To Win Australian Women’s Title

ESPN recently named Simona Halep as one of the most dominant athletes of 2018.

Many have debated whether the diminutive Romanian was in fact, dominant. In a head-scratcher, she was ranked as more dominant than LeBron James of the NBA as well as golfer Brooks Koepka and fellow tennis player Novak Djokovic, both of whom won two of the four major titles for the year in a golf and tennis, respectively.

In fact, the great thing about women’s tennis over the last few years is the fact that there hasn’t been any dominant player and that each major tournament has been an exciting battle for the title, waged between eight to 12 players who have legitimate chances of raising the championship trophy.

As the world No. 1, Halep can be seen as the favorite to win the first major championship of 2019 at the Australian Open. However, she has only broken through in a major final once, last year at Roland Garros against Sloane Stephens. Last year in Australia, she lost a hard-fought, tight final to Caroline Wozniacki, but was resilient and tenacious in reaching the final.

The major wildcard in this year’s Australian Open field will be Serena Williams, who will be playing in her first tournament since her much-discussed U.S. Open loss to Naomi Osaka. She hasn’t played in Australia since she won the title, while pregnant, in 2017, her last event before giving birth to daughter Olympia. Serena will be gunning for her 24th career major singles title, which would tie her for the all-time record set by Australian Margaret Court in the 1960s and 1970s. The Australian Open would be an appropriate venue for Serena to equal this mark. She will be extra motivated to right the wrong she felt she was given in her controversial U.S. Open final loss where point and game penalties, she felt, where wrongly administered.

Serena will probably be one of the more popular tennis betting favorites to win in Australia. Since the tournament comes so early in the year – and after the short off-season – unpredictable results are also common. Therefore, some longer-shot players, with potential to win majors, should also not be overlooked, such as American Madison Keys, a former Australian Open semifinalist, the highly-touted Aryna Sabalenka or even home-favorite Ashleigh Barty of Australia.

The Richest Tennis Players Of All Time

The game of tennis has been blessed with a lot of talented players. However, some of these players have become big names in terms of performances and how much they earn. Many people might already know that Tennis players make a lot of money from the number of games they play. Well, that might be true, but the real money comes from the sponsorship deals they sign with reputable brands in the world. Did you know that you can get free online slots related to tennis at any online casino?

Some players also get their money from endorsement deals. The media also plays a significant role in promoting good players. TV rights are also included in the net worth of a Tennis player. Moreover, you might be wondering who the most paid or richest tennis player is. Well, there are many rich tennis players. But for today we will highlight to you the most decorated players in the game.

Ion Tiriac: $2 Billion

Tiriac was not a brilliant single player compared to the now famous Roger Federer. He was more brilliant in double and he became very successful winning 22 titles in his career and that includes the prestigious French Open. He would have been a player to bet real money on back in the day.
He later retired from Tennis and he became a businessman. In 2007 he became the first Romanian to be included on the Forbes Billionaire list. He owns a lot of businesses such as insurance companies, banking and travel industries.

Roger Federer: $450 million

Roger has been involved in tennis’s most fierce battles with Nadal. Roger Federer has become one of the best tennis players and is among the richest tennis players of all time. He has gone on to win 20 Grand Slam titles in his career, hence sports betting players they like betting on him at online casinos in South Africa, he very good at what he do.

Serena Williams $180 million

The Williams sister has done astound well in her career. We are not surprised and neither should you that she has that kind of net worth. She has been ranked 183rd in WTA since she gave birth to her daughter. Nevertheless, she has done exceptionally well in her career and most of the credit will always be showered to her father. We reckon you know the upbringing of the Williams sisters. If you don’t know then that’s a story for another day.

Photo Essay: Journey to the Title

As for all Grand Slam champions, the road to the trophy is long, and begins at a time that seems forever before the final match. In the first days of the tournament, titles are but dreams — dreams that slowly come closer to reality as each match is won. In this photo essay, tennis writer and photographer Chris Nicholson illustrates parts of the journey of two women chasing history: Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

Photos by Chris Nicholson, author of Photographing Tennis. Follow Chris’ US Open photos on Instagram (@ShootingTennis).

“Being Serena” Documentary To Debut May 2

HBO Sports, acclaimed for its innovative programming, is teaming up again with IMG’s Original Content group for a five-part documentary series chronicling tennis icon Serena Williams at a pivotal moment in her personal and professional life. BEING SERENA debuts WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, followed by other new episodes subsequent Wednesdays at the same time.

The series will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO®, HBO On Demand® and partners’ streaming services.

BEING SERENA will provide viewers unprecedented access to Williams during her pregnancy, new motherhood and marriage, while documenting her journey back to supremacy on the court. Viewers will experience her life from every angle as the intimate first-person show delves into her landmark career, family life and expanding role as a businesswoman and investor in the worlds of tech, fashion, fitness and philanthropy.

“HBO is honored to work with Serena Williams on such a personal project,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “Even though she has been in the spotlight since her teenage years, Serena continues to capture the imagination. With our partners at IMG, we look forward to giving viewers a revealing, behind-the-scenes portrait of her life on and off the court.”

“Serena Williams is a force unlike any other,” said Mark Shapiro, Co-President of WME and IMG. “Her entire life is one of the hero’s journey, and it has been a privilege to work with her as she enters this next phase. HBO was an incredible partner in developing a unique look into Serena’s world, and we look forward to sharing this all-access story with the world in May.”

Serena Williams, 36, is one of the most dominant forces tennis has ever seen, with 39 Grand Slam titles, four Olympic Gold Medals and the most women’s singles match victories in Grand Slam history. Her supremacy on the court earned her Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year honors in 2015 and made her a four-time winner of the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, first in 2002 and most recently in 2015.

In Jan. 2017, Williams bested her sister Venus in the final match of the Australian Open, marking her seventh time winning that singles event. Four months after her historic victory, Williams revealed that she and her fiancé, Alexis Ohanian, were expecting their first child, confirming she was eight weeks pregnant when she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title. On Sept. 1, Williams gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Williams and Ohanian wed soon after in a stunning ceremony before family and friends in New Orleans on Nov. 16.
Williams will return to the tennis circuit this spring to compete in her first Grand Slam event of the year at the French Open in late May.

For more than a decade, HBO Sports has been responsible for some of the most compelling unscripted sports programming, with a stylish and contemporary approach marked by unrestricted access. “Hard Knocks,” launched in 2001 in partnership with NFL Films, has won 15 Sports Emmy® Awards, and the groundbreaking all-access reality franchise “24/7” has earned 18 Sports Emmy® Awards.

BEING SERENA marks the third collaborative docu-series for HBO Sports and IMG. The first was 2016’s “Gonzaga: The March to Madness,” chronicling the Gonzaga men’s basketball team’s march to its 18th consecutive NCAA men’s basketball tournament berth, followed by 2017’s Primetime Emmy® nominee “UConn: The March to Madness,” spotlighting the powerhouse University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team as it sought a fifth consecutive national championship.

BEING SERENA is executive produced by Mark Shapiro, Will Staeger and Michael Antinoro. For HBO: executive producers Peter Nelson and Rick Bernstein; supervising producer, Bentley Weiner.

ABOUT IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.

Kevin Anderson Wins In Abu Dhabi; Serena Williams Loses First Match In Post-Pregnancy Comeback

 Abu Dhabi, UAE – 30 December 2017: The Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) has a new name on the winner’s trophy as world number 14 Kevin Anderson defeated Spain’s world number 20 Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) in 1 hour and 39 minutes at the International Tennis Center at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.

The Championship trophy was handed over to Anderson by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports. Also present were Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy CEO, Mubadala Investment Company and John Lickrish, Chief Executive Officer, Flash Entertainment organisers of the MWTC.

Before the final, however, fans were treated to a special exhibition match as 23-time Grand Slam Champion, Serena Williams made her first public on court appearance since becoming a mother just under four months ago.

Williams’ opponent in her first competitive match, and the first women’s match ever played at MWTC, was world number seven, Jelena Ostapenko. The 20-year-old Latvian has had a breakthrough season, winning the French Open after defeating current world number one Simona Halep in the final. But Ostapenko was too strong for Williams as she went down 6-2, 3-6, (10-5).

In the Championship match, the big-serving Anderson, who was in red hot form throughout the three days, continued his powering run as he broke Bautista Agut in the very first service game before going on to win the set in just 37 minutes.

The second set proved to be a far tighter affair as the Spaniard found his range. He broke Anderson in the second game, but the 6’8” South African used his serve to good effect as he broke right back. The contest then went on serve and in the tie-break, it was an absolute masterclass from Anderson as he took charge with aggressive play from the baseline to wrap up the set and match 7-6 (7-0).

After receiving his Championship trophy, which is officially sponsored by Lasvit, Anderson said, “It is obviously nice to get a win. It’s been three very good matches for me. In terms of my preparation I could not ask for more out of these matches. They were very close matches and I had to compete. I was able to implement a lot of the things we were working on during the off-season but overall I am very, very pleased with these last few days.”

Looking ahead to the new season, he said, “I’ve set big goals for next year. The year is just getting started, so there is a lot of tennis to be played. I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks and the new season.”

In the first-ever Women’s match at the Championship, Jelena Ostapenko, playing against her ‘idol’, as she acknowledged her in the post-match press conference, showed signs of nervousness as she lost the first service game before recovering to take a 3-1 lead. Playing in front of a very excited crowd, Williams initially showed signs of rustiness and her opponent took full advantage to win the first set 6-2.

In the second set, Williams finally came into her own finding her rhythm and racing away to a 3-0 lead. Two further breaks in serves saw the 36-year-old American claim the second set 6-3. In the super set, a series of unforced errors from Williams saw the Latvian take a 6-1 lead before the American staged a brief fight back to bring the score to 4-8. However, Ostapenko had just enough in the tank to claim the match 6-2, 3-6, (10-5).

Williams said, “It felt good to be back out there. I miss playing, I missed the competition, the crowd and the atmosphere. I’m taking it one day at a time. In the beginning, it was a little tough. But as the match moved on I was less afraid. The more I played, the more confident I felt. I think this was a wonderful opportunity for me to kind of test and see where I am not only physically but also mentally. I think it was perfect.”

She added, “For me it was all about how I feel physically, how I am physically recovering. I’m just really proud to be playing again and competing. I’ve just had a few tough months and I’m really excited to be out here.”

After her win Ostapenko said, “It was great as she was my idol growing up. It’s hard for her to come back after the baby but I am honoured to be playing in her first match back. Both of us had some good rallies and were also serving and returning well. This experience has been great for me.”

Earlier in the day, Austrian world number 5 Dominic Thiem and Spain’s world number 10 Pablo Carreño Busta played out an exhibition match as both players prepare for the Australian Open.

Thiem, who was beaten by Anderson in yesterday’s semi-final, went on to win 6-3, 6-4 with the help of 11 aces in just over an hour. The world number five broke Carreño Busta’s serve in each of the two sets to register a comfortable victory. Carreño Busta has now lost 11 of his last 12 matches after losing to Kevin Anderson in the opening round of the MWTC and Russian Andrey Rublev for the fifth and sixth place play off.

After his match, Thiem said, “I’m very pleased with the way I served and it was the perfect preparation for me (ahead of the Australian Open). I’m quite satisfied with the way I played over these two days.”

Thousands of fans witnessed three-action packed days of tennis from some of the best players in the world. Due to its success, the organisers revealed during the trophy ceremony that the tournament will return in 2018, for the 11th consecutive year, and will be played between December 27-29.

The three-day MWTC, which is now well established as an annual season-opener, attracted thousands of fans who witnessed high-quality tennis action as the players battled it out for the winner takes all prize of US $250,000.

For more information on the 2018 tournament, stay tuned to www.mubadalawtc.com or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/mubadalaworldtennischampionship.

About Mubadala World Tennis Championship

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship was launched in 2008 by FLASH Entertainment, the region’s leading events consultancy, in partnership with IMG.  Now celebrating its tenth edition, the 2017 Mubadala World Tennis Championship will take place 28 to 30 December 2017 at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City. Beyond the three-day tournament itself, the Championship is committed to creating a lasting legacy for tennis in the UAE through various community programmes that raise awareness of the benefits of tennis and the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.

About FLASH Entertainment

Based in Abu Dhabi, FLASH Entertainment (#ThinkFLASH) is the region’s premier live events company, with a proven track record in delivering world-class events from movie premieres and classical shows to international sports events and megastar music concerts. FLASH offers comprehensive event management solutions from concepts and designs through to coordinating every stage of production. The company is committed to providing the region with diverse entertainment programmes, grassroots creativity and stimulating the local economy and events’ industry. For more information visit www.thinkflash.ae or email [email protected]

About Mubadala Investment Company

Mubadala is a pioneering global investor, deploying capital with integrity and ingenuity to accelerate economic growth for the long-term benefit of Abu Dhabi. As Abu Dhabi’s leading strategic investment company, Mubadala is active in 13 sectors and more than 30 countries around the world, creating lasting value for our shareholder, the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Our work includes the development of global industrial champions in sectors such as aerospace, ICT, semiconductors, metals & mining and renewable energy, utilities, and the management of diverse financial holdings. We build on legacy expertise in oil and gas to invest across the hydrocarbon spectrum and enhance the UAE’s growth potential through investments in healthcare, real estate and defense services. Our investment approach prioritizes partnership with best-in-class organizations and a commitment to the highest standards of governance.

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Makes For Great Holiday Gift

Having trouble thinking of the proper holiday gift for the tennis player in your life? Consider the book “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” by 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steve Flink

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all-time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others.

The book is published by New Chapter Press, the premier global publisher of tennis books.

The hard-cover book, that makes for a centerpiece of a coffee table or at your local tennis club, retails for $28.95, and can be purchased here on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257936/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_Qj-rybVBRK7ZW or at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.

Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week.

The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles in her career, who wrote the foreword to the book.

Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”

Said former U.S. Davis Cup captain and player Patrick McEnroe, “As a writer and a fan, Steve Flink’s knowledge of tennis history and his love of the sport are second to none, which is why you should read his book.”

Said ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale, “To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject. In this absorbing book, I can relive matches that I have called on television.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Sport of a Lifetime” by Judy Aydelott, “Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins (a new third edition published in late 2016), “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook for Beating Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Guide Cancun” by Eric Rabinowitz, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.

Jelena Ostapenko Creates Fascinating Tennis Trivia, Talking Points In Roland Garros Victory

by Randy Walker

@TennisPublisher

 

There are too many fascinating facts about Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia winning the women’s singles title at Roland Garros not to share.

The 20-year-old No. 47-ranked defeated Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final to become not only the first player from Latvia to win a major championship, but became the first unseeded player to win the women’s title since Margaret Scriven in 1933. Since there are now 32 seeded players in major championships (since 2001), this is an even more outstanding statistic when only 16 players were seeded in most championships – or even only eight in 1933 when Scriven won.

Incredibly, Ostapenko had never won a professional tournament before her dramatic win in Paris. She became the first player to make Roland Garros their maiden pro tournament victory since Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil did the same as the No. 66-ranked player – on the exact day that Ostapenko was born, June 8, 1997.

On Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Ostapenko’s 20th birthday – she advanced into the women’s final with 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 win over Timea Bacsinsky, who was also celebrating her birthday, turning 28.

Halep, who would have won her first major championship and secure the world No. 1 ranking with the win, led the match 6-4, 3-0 but was not able to close out the match against the loose and free-hitting Ostapenko. Halep also led 3-1 in the final set but, again, could not close out the championship. In one of the most famous – or infamous – let-cord shots in the history of tennis, Ostapenko secured her crucial service break when she hit a down-the-line backhand that was heading wide, but clipped the top of the net, bouncing high in the air while also ricocheting back into the court for a winner.

Ostapenko hit an equalizing 54 winners and 54 unforced errors in the final.

Ostapenko becomes the lowest-RANKED player to win a major singles title since Serena Williams won the 2007 Australian Open when she was ranked No. 81. Kim Clijsters won the 2009 US Open when she did not have a ranking, returning to pro tennis after retirement to have a child.

Without Serena, American Hopes Of Title At French Open Are Slim

We are in the midst of the worst decade of men’s American tennis in the Open era. Things would be just as dire on the women’s side if not for the Williams sisters. As we head into the second Grand Slam event of the 2017 season, the French Open on the red clay of Roland Garros, is there any reason to think an American can win a title in Paris?

With Serena Williams sidelined the rest of 2017 due to her pregnancy, the chances are very slim. The shortest BookMaker odds to win of any U.S. player belong to Venus Williams at +3000. That tells you all you need to know about the state of American tennis as Venus is an all-time great but also 36 and well past her prime. Planning to bet on the French Open? Check out SBR’s Bookmaker review and visit its website for more tennis odds.

On the men’s side, an American hasn’t won the French Open since Andre Agassi in 1999. Incidentally, Agassi could have an impact on this year’s tournament as he is the new coach of world No. 2 and second-betting favorite Novak Djokovic, the defending champion. In the Open era, Americans have won the French just four times overall; in addition to Agassi, Jim Courier won it back-to-back in 1991-92 and Michael Chang did in 1989. A U.S. player hasn’t reached the finals since Agassi’s win. All-time great Pete Sampras never reached a final.

Many believe that clay is a gimmick surface, and that Americans don’t fare well on it because they don’t grow up learning the game on that surface. It’s a prevalent surface in Spain, for example, and Spaniards have combined for 15 French Open titles in the Open era, led by Rafael Nadal’s record nine. He’s the -125 favorite at BookMaker, an A+-rated site at Sportsbook Review, to make it No. 10 in a couple of weeks.

The highest-ranked American man in the world is Jack Sock at No. 15, and he’s a +15000 long shot to win his first Grand Slam event. He’s unfortunately in the same part of the draw as Nadal so they could meet in the fourth round. The furthest Sock has gone at Roland Garros is the fourth round in 2015. He has yet to make a quarterfinal in any Grand Slam tournament.

John Isner is the second-best American player and ranked 22nd. The big hitter is +20000 to win the tournament. He’s looking at likely third-round matchup against No. 13 Tomas Berdych. Isner’s best result at the French Open is the fourth round, and he has reached the quarterfinals of just one Slam: the 2011 U.S. Open.

On the women’s side, Serena would have been the BookMaker betting favorite to win. She is a three-time champion in Paris, still her fewest of any Grand Slam tournament. Sister Venus is the highest-ranked U.S. player on the women’s side, but clay is easily her worst surface. Venus was a runner-up at the French in 2002 but hasn’t advanced past the fourth round since 2006.

Madison Keys is ranked 13th in the world and is +5000 to win. It’s her fifth French Open, and Keys’ best result was the fourth round last year. Only one American woman has won the French other than Serena since 1986: Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

France is simply not kind to Americans – the cliché is very true in terms of tennis.

The Greatest Forehands In Tennis History – Ranked!

The forehand is perhaps the most the most destructive weapon in the sport of tennis. Who in the history of the game had – or has – the best forehand of all time? Steve Flink, newly-nominated International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, tennis historian, journalist and author of the book THE GREATEST TENNIS MATCHES OF ALL TIME (available here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Greatest-Tennis-Matches-Time/dp/0942257936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346763283&sr=8-1&keywords=Greatest+tennis+matches+of+all+time) ranks the top five forehands of all time as part of his book. The list is found below.

Top Five Forehands of All Time – Men

1.ROGER FEDERER Some hit the ball more mightily off the forehand side, and others were flashier, but Federer’s forehand is the best I have ever seen. His capacity to station himself inside the baseline and shorten the court for his opponent has surpassed all others. Once he is inside the court, he can go either way—inside-in or inside-out—and hit winners at will. In top form, he clips more lines with his majestic forehand than anyone and yet he makes very few mistakes for someone so adventuresome.

2. RAFAEL NADAL The Spaniard’s forehand has always been his trademark shot. Nadal tortures his rivals with his rhythmic precision off the forehand. The hop he gets on the forehand with the heaviest and most penetrating topspin of all time is almost mind boggling. He can go full tilt for hours on end and hardly miss a forehand, but it is not as if he is pushing his shots back into play; he is pulverizing the ball and weakening his opponent’s will simultaneously. He sends his adversaries into submission with a barrage of heavy forehands, weakening their resolve in the process. His ball control off the forehand is amazing. I give Federer the edge over Nadal for the best forehand ever, but it is a very close call.

3. IVAN LENDL The former Czech who became an American citizen transformed the world of tennis with his playing style, most importantly with his signature inside-out forehand. There were an abundance of serve-and-volley competitors along with more conventional baseline practitioners during his era, but Lendl changed it all, serving with impressive power to set up his magnificent semi-western, inside-out forehand—the shot that carried him to eight major titles. Lendl’s power and accuracy with that forehand had never been witnessed before.

4. BILL TILDEN Over the course of the 1920’s, when Tilden ruled tennis and studied the technique of the sport with all-consuming interest, the American influenced the sport immensely. He had an estimable first serve and he improved his backhand markedly, but the forehand was Tilden’s finest shot. He drove through the ball classically and confidently and it was a stroke that would not break down under pressure. The Tilden forehand was a shot made for the ages.

5. BJORN BORG, PETE SAMPRAS and JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO Although many observers took more notice of the Swede’s two-handed backhand because he joined Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert to popularize that shot in the 1970’s, his forehand was in many ways superior. Borg ushered in a brand of heavy topspin that was unprecedented and the forehand took him to the top of the sport. He passed particularly well off the backhand and disguised his two-hander adeptly, but the Borg forehand defined his greatness more than anything else. Sampras had the most explosive running forehand of all time and he could do quite a bit of damage from the middle of the court off that side as well. His magnificent forehand was relatively flat and it was awesome when he was on. Del Potro is changing the face of the modern game with his explosive flat forehand, the biggest in the sport today. It is a prodigious weapon, released with blinding speed. More than anything else, his sizzling forehand was the reason he halted Federer in a five-set final at the 2009 U.S. Open.

 

Top Five Forehands of All Time – Women

1 . STEFFI GRAF This was among the easiest selections to make among the best strokes ever produced. Considering how much pace she got on this explosive shot, it was made all the more remarkable by her grip—essentially a continental, on the border of an eastern. She would get into position early and with supreme racket head acceleration she would sweep through the ball and strike countless outright winners with her flat stroke. She had little margin for error, yet the forehand seldom let her down. In my view, it stands in a class by itself as the best ever.

2. MAUREEN CONNOLLY A natural left-hander who played tennis right-handed, Connolly had a beautifully produced one-handed backhand that was a shot which came more easily to her. The fact remains that Connolly’s forehand paved the way for her to win the Grand Slam in 1953. She placed the same value on fast footwork as Graf. Her inexhaustible attention to detail and sound mechanics gave Connolly a magnificent forehand.

3. HELEN WILLS MOODY Brought up on the hard courts of California, taught to play the game from the baseline with steadfast conviction, realizing the importance of controlling the climate of her matches, Wills Moody was not called “Little Miss Poker Face” without good reason. She was relentlessly disciplined in her court craft, making the backcourt her home, refusing to make mistakes yet hitting her ground strokes hard. Her flat forehand—hit unfailingly deep and close to the lines—was far and away the best of her era and one of the finest ever.

4. MONICA SELES Authorities often debated whether Seles was better off the forehand or the backhand. Both were left-handed, two-fisted strokes. Each was taken early. She could explore the most acute crosscourt angles or direct her shots within inches of the baseline off either side. Unlike most of her peers, Seles’s forehand was not one dimensional.

5. SERENA WILLIAMS On her finest afternoons, when her timing is on and her concentration is sharp, Williams can be uncontainable off the forehand. She covers the ball with just enough topspin and takes it early, often from an open stance. It is the shot she uses to open up the court, to either release winners or advance to the net. She can be breathtaking off that side at her best, but her ranking is not higher because her brilliance off that side can be sporadic.

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” book features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the 1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others.

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time,” a hard-cover book that retails for $28.95, can be purchased via this link http://m1e.net/c?110071729-mFSTVX3uyJ5zw%407612075-hqIGItXY8SJAw at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.

Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week.

The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles, who wrote the foreword to the book.

Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”

Said former U.S. Davis Cup captain and player Patrick McEnroe, “As a writer and a fan, Steve Flink’s knowledge of tennis history and his love of the sport are second to none, which is why you should read his new book.”

Said ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale, “To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject. In this absorbing book, I can relive matches that I have called on television.”

Said CBS, NBC and Tennis Channel commentator Mary Carillo, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time is a masterful tennis epic. Its pages are brimming with insight, hindsight. And as always with Steve Flink, the 20/20 vision of the subtleties and complexities of a match. From Budge to Nadal and “Little Mo” to Serena Williams, Steve will guide you through the greatest matches you ever saw, or never saw. The game’s finest players and brightest moments will come alive and play again, right before your eyes. This book is a tennis treasure.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sand Harwitt, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com) “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk” by Emily Filloramo, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.