singles title

Navratilova Edges Evert to win Australian Title – On this day in Tennis History

With tennis being in its off-season – wait, tennis has an off-season? – we thought we would give you daily content courtesy of Randy Walker’s book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, so you can have your daily tennis fix. ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com), makes for an ideal companion for the tennis fan and player. It fits perfectly under your tree or in a stocking for the Holidays. The following are events that happened ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY….

December 7

1985

Martina Navratilova defeats Chris Evert Lloyd 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to win the Australian Open in Melbourne for her 17th victory over Evert Lloyd in the last 19 matches and her third career Australian singles title. “That was tough on the nerves,” says the 29-year-old Navratilova after the match. “It seems Chris and I always play great matches. Even though I lost the second set, I felt in control. I knew this was it. I knew it was for the No. 1 ranking. I was going to go after it, and I did.” Navratilova previously wins inAustralia in 1981 and 1983. Says Evert, the defending champion, “After the second set, there was a lot of pressure on both of us, and she handled it better.” In men’s singles, Mats Wilander advances into the final, finishing up a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 rain-delayed victory over unseeded Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia. The other men’s singles semifinal between Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg is suspended due to rain after only 10 minutes of play, Edberg leading 2-1.

1987

Ivan Lendl defeats Mats Wilander 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to win the year-end Nabisco Masters Championship for a fifth time. Says Lendl, ”Today may have been the best I hit the ball and moved. I think I still can get better, though. I can work on new shots and my physical strength and conditioning.” Wilander implements a more aggressive strategy against Lendl, coming to net more often and using his one-handed chip backhand in an attempt to close the gap between he and Lendl. Earlier in the week, Wilander says that his goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world. Says Wilander, “I tried to come in on his backhand, but that didn’t work. After a while, you don’t know what to do. A couple of times I was thinking, ‘he’s just too good for me.’” Says Lendl of his goals and how he can he can improve his game, “”There are millions of ways I could improve. There are new shots, new ways to hit the shots, ways to become more flexible, stronger…There are still so many things I want to do. Everyone in tennis would like to win a Grand Slam…I paid my dues on and off the court and now I’m enjoying the fruits of it.”

1980

December 7 becomes a day of infamy for Pam Shriver as the American blows seven match points in losing to Wendy Turnbull of Australia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the final of the New South Wales Open in Sydney. Turnbull trails 6-2 in the final-set tie-break against the 18-year-old Shriver.

Kournikova Out of Chilean Mine!!

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

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

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

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

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

A Joyful Tennis Summer With Hingis And Kournikova

If you were a tennis fan in the late 90s then you surely must have heard of Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis. Those two were my favorite players back then. Anna , who is underrated by most tennis fans, never won a singles title but did  win two Grandslam Doubles titles. Martina Hingis has won many titles including three Grandslam titles (the US Open 1x, Wimbledon 1x,  Australian Open 3x) and nine Grandslam Doubles titles. And she was the number one of the world for 209 consective weeks.

So when I read that the two of them were returning to play the WTT tournaments this summer I was more than happy. Why? Because it meant I’d get to see photos of them playing.  Things were even better when they entered the Wimbledon Legends doubles tournament.  It was the return of the Spice Girls all over.

Fans and pundits from all over the world were elated to see Hingis and Kournikova team up again for doubles and play singles.  Ofcourse this also ignited rumors that Hingis may make a return to the WTA Tour. She told the press that she may play a few doubles games with Lindsay Davenport.  But we haven’t heard much of that ever since.  As a fan I keep hoping that Hingis will return for at least more doubles tournaments.

I even dug up some videos of the two of them interviewed by Harry Cicma for World Tennis Magazine.

Enjoy the photos and videos.  The photos are Anna Kournikova at the St. Louis Aces Vs Newport Beach Breakers match and Martina Hingis at the World Team Tennis tournament at Villanova University. Check the guy Martina Hingis is talking to. Rumor has it that he is her new beau.

I have also added extra bonus pics of Anna Kournikova At The Laureus Charity Gala At The MBB In Stuttgart.

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Richard Bloomfield Is On The Verge Of Making Tennis History

Richard Bloomfield is on the verge of making tennis history.

Ranked No. 552 in the world, Bloomfield is two matches away from becoming the lowest ranked player to ever win an ATP World Tour event. The 27-year-old from Norwich is ranked two spots worse than Lleyton Hewitt, who was ranked No. 550 when he won the singles title in Adelaide, Australia in 1998 as a 16-year-old, as documented in the book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com)

Bloomfield reached his first career ATP World Tour semifinal with a 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 win Friday over heralded 18-year-old American Ryan Harrison. He will play Mardy Fish of the United States, ranked No. 76, in the semifinals. The other semifinal features Olivier Rochus of Belgium, ranked No. 65, against Brian Dabul of Argentina, ranked No. 105.

Entering this week, Bloomfield had won only one career ATP World Tour level match – a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 first-round win at Wimbledon in 2006 over Carlos Berlocq of Argentina – a victory that attracted world-wide attention due to the suspicious betting patterns during the match. Due to irregular betting patterns, suspicious amounts of money was bet on Bloomfield, alleging that perhaps Berlocq could have been injured or was paid to “tank” the match to allow for profiteering among gamblers. Coincidentally, Bloomfield’s first-round win here in Newport over Christophe Rochus also attracted similar unwanted gambling attention.

Online gambling exchange Betfair told The Associated Press on Friday that Bloomfield’s 7-6 (1), 6-3 win over Rochus Tuesday attracted an unusual $1.5 million in wagers and was the subject of dramatic price movement.

Bloomfield was rated even money against his Rochus, ranked No. 160. In the hours before the match, the odds on Bloomfield winning were shortened to 1-4. After he won the first set, the odds shorted to 1-8.

“If people are willing to risk 4 pounds to win one, that is indicative of a substantial gamble,” Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said to the Associated Press.

Notification of the irregular betting pattern was reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), an independent body created by the sport’s governing bodies to lead the fight against corruption.

It is standard procedure for the betting industry to share irregular activity on its markets with the TIU.

“It is not operational policy of the TIU to make any comment about an investigation that it may or may not be involved in,” TIU spokesman Mark Harrison told the AP

Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY (www.TennisHistoryBook.com).

PHILIPPOUSSIS STICKS WITH FEDERER TO WIN AT WIMBLEDON

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

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

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

WILL GULBIS BE THE SHINING STAR FOR LATVIA?

While the cameras may have been focused on Dubai and Acapulco last week as the two largest tournaments taking place on the ATP Circuit, a (not-so) little Latvian was making history on the courts of Delray Beach in the United States.

The 6 foot, 3 inch, 21-year-old was in scintillating form and didn’t drop a set as he progressed to the final via wins over Ryan Harrison (USA), Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS), Leonardo Mayer (ARG) and Jarkko Nieminen (FIN).

The final saw him line up against the Croat second seed Ivo Karlovic who was hoping to lift the title and crown on his 31st birthday in style. But as is always the case in these stories, Ernests hadn’t read the script.

To the astonishment of many in the watching crowd, he dropped only five games in a mesmerizing 6-2, 6-3 victory which saw him become the first male Latvian player to lift a singles title on the ATP Circuit. Queue the celebrations on the streets of Latvian Capital Riga.

Gulbis and Latvian tennis fans in general have rightly been crooning on internet message boards and forums.

“He played so well and I was pretty much in tears when he won. His smile and his little fist pump…I am so proud of him. He has gone through a lot and Karlovic is definitely right, this will be his break through year! I am so pumped for Indian Wells and so happy for Ernests,” beamed Stelle on menstennisforums.com.

“I have problems to find the words to tell how happy I am for him. What a brave effort. The guy was written off by almost everyone. So unfair often. But he showed what he is capable of. We can call him a champion now,” added moni.

But what does this mean for Latvian tennis exactly? Well, they finally have a male champion to add to the likes of Larisa Neiland, who won the 1989 French Open and 1991 Wimbledon doubles titles with Natasha Zvereva. They were also the runners up in ten other Grand Slam finals.

But the authorities will also be hoping that such victories help the infrastructure. Lifting from the Latvian Institute website (www.li.lv):

“Our accomplishments in professional sports are brighter than they might seem considering the available national sports infrastructure and the small number of people officially engaged in regular professional exercise.

“Secondly, it is a tradition that, in major international competitions, Latvian sportsmen and women compete with rivals who have many more advantages in terms of financing and human resources.

“Thirdly, approximately 100 different types of sports are developing more or less successfully in small Latvia with its population of just 2.4 million.”

Latvian basketball and ice hockey continues to produce successful worldwide exports and football continues to grow off the back of the Latvian’s qualification for the 2004 European Championships.

The same website lists Gulbis in its list of top Latvian sports stars and is very proud of what he has achieved on the tennis court considering the lack of funding they could provide for him which resulted in him flying the roost to seek coaching in Germany.

They recognize that the lack of help they can offer him and his fellow players could be holding them back:

“Gulbis is still showing signs of impatience and immaturity due to his young age, however if he can learn to harness his considerable talent and keep the pressure on his opponent, he will be a strong player. He has gotten this far on talent, but if he could commit to working with a seasoned coach he could emerge in the next year as a contender.”

Unfortunately, money controls everything and of course the Government has a lot to consider on top of sport when it comes to distributing funding. But if Ernests can continue to add to his trophy haul alongside the successes of his fellow sportsmen (including some terrific performances at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver) then the future prodigies of Latvia can receive a greater start in their careers than Ernests had.

Sport can set a people free and unite a nation in support of their brightest talents. This will not be lost on the authorities who can look at a long list of great powers who used sport as a way of cultivating and developing their people (namely Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, China and, to a lesser extent, the USA and United Kingdom).

I have seen Ernests Gulbis play only once, in his straight-set defeat to Andy Murray at last year’s US Open, but what I saw impressed me. It reminded me of a young Murray; power and will let down by physical frame and, as mentioned above, concentration levels.

With every achievement directing a few more glances towards one of Europe’s smallest nations the Latvian Government will be pining for more moments like these, preferably at the three remaining Grand Slams of the year.

As well as the opportunity of being Latvia’s brightest star the knowledge and understanding of how his success can help the prospects of his descendents should be more than enough to spur on a player who continues to show that you don’t necessarily need the greatest financial backing to earn success.

FEDERER AND NADAL’S MAGIC CARPET RIDE

Watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play a tennis match can be described as being as exhilarating as riding on a magic carpet. The two modern day tennis genies kicked off the first day of the 2010 ATP World Tour with a unique photo opportunity on a magic carpet in the Souq Waqif in Doha, Qatar, where both are competing in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. Also in the Doha field are Nikolay Davydenko, Ivo Karlovic and 38-year-old Younes El Aynaoui, who will be playing in his final ATP event.

Federer said recently that he is looking forward to the 2010 season and that he feels he can continue to maintain a near “unbeatable” level of play that he has showcased for much of the last five years.

“Last year, I had a problem at the start of the season with my back,” Federer said. “I lost to (Andy) Murray, (Novak) Djokovic and Rafa, who got the better of me at the start of the season. But I feel fine now because I have been practising enough to feel confident of winning.”

Federer’s win at the 2009 French Open gave him a career Grand Slam, while his epic win last year in the Wimbledon final against Andy Roddick gave him his record-breaking 15th major singles title and helped him take the No. 1 ranking from Nadal. He then reached the US Open final for a sixth straight year, only to lose in five sets to Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina.

“I got better and better as the season went on,” Federer said. “I was able to bounce back and was on a roll. (Winning in) Paris and Wimbledon showed that I was unbeatable. I can do it again. That’s a good feeling to have, that I can do it again.”

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

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

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

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

Courier Tops Sampras To Win Breezeplay Title In Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 27, 2009 – Jim Courier defeated Pete Sampras 2-6, 6-4, 10-8 (Champions Tie-breaker) Sunday to win the singles title at the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. The victory was Courier’s first over Sampras since the first round of the 1997 Italian Open in Rome and his first on a hard court over the 14-time major singles champion since the quarterfinals of the 1991 US Open.

Courier earned $60,000 by winning the title in Charlotte, his ninth career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. Courier also earned 800 ranking points to extend his lead as the No. 1 player on the Outback Champions Series.

After splitting the first two sets, the two Hall of Famers played the customary first-to-10 point “Champions” tie-breaker, played in lieu of a third set. Courier clinched victory when Sampras double-faulted at 8-9 in the tie-breaker.

“That last double fault was hard on match point,” said Sampras. “I was serving right into the sun on that one and it hurt a little bit.”

Said Courier, “I wasn’t expecting that match point to end on a double fault. He was going for 110 mph second serves and sometimes he’s good enough to get away with that serve.”

During their ATP careers, Sampras and Courier played a total of 20 times, Sampras winning on 16 occasions, including the Wimbledon final in 1993. Sampras won their only previous meeting on the Outback Champions Series, a 6-2, 6-4 win in round-robin play during the 2007 event in Athens, Greece.

“I think he was having a hard time picking up my serve at the beginning,” said Sampras, who earned $30,000 for the runner-up showing. “Eventually he got there and started predicting it. Jim’s a guy who’s always going to compete and I knew that once we started the second set. I knew he was going to compete for that second set. I had a few chances in that tiebreaker and just couldn’t get it. It was disappointing.”

Due to weekend rains in Charlotte, Courier was forced to play his semifinal match against Todd Martin at 10 am on Sunday, postponed from Saturday evening. Following his 7-5, 6-2 semifinal win over Martin, Courier was able rest until the final with Sampras started at 4 pm, following Martin’s 7-5, 6-2 win over Pat Cash in the event’s third-place match.

“I was pretty relieved when his match point serve went out,” said Courier of the final point of the singles final. “I felt flat in the first set. I thought I’d be loose, but my legs felt tight and lethargic. I definitely got more boost in my legs and my serve really started to click. If my serve clicks I can hang in the match.”

The loss marked only the second time that Sampras has been defeated on the Outback Champions Series since joining the circuit in 2007. In 2008, he lost to John McEnroe 2-6, 7-5 10-4 (Champions Tie-breaker) in round-robin play in Boston.

Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February.
McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Cash successfully defended his title on the grass courts at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I. in August, defeating Courier in the final. Following Charlotte, the next event on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Surprise, Ariz., where Andre Agassi will make his debut Oct. 8-11.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features seven events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Sampras Advances To Charlotte Final

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 26, 2009 – Pete Sampras overcame two rain delays and soggy and moist conditions Saturday to defeat Pat Cash 6-4, 6-3 to advance into the singles final of the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. Sampras will play the winner of the other semifinal between Jim Courier and Todd Martin, which was postponed until Sunday morning due to rain. Sampras will be seeking his third singles title this year on the Outback Champions Series after winning titles in Boston and Los Cabos, Mexico.

Sampras and Cash were scheduled to play their semifinal match at noon on Saturday, but did not begin the match until four-and-a-half hours later due to rain in the Charlotte area. Sampras won the first set 6-4 and led 1-0 in the second set before rain again delayed play for another three hours. Sampras came out swinging after returning to the court, eager to finish off the victory. He broke Cash’s serve in the eighth game of the second set before serving out the match in the next game.

“We were eager to finish this match,” said Sampras, the owner of 14 major singles titles who also won the Outback Champions Series title in Charlotte in 2007. “We especially wanted to finish it for the fans who have been here all day. These were tricky conditions from the beginning. Even when we started playing again, it kept getting really wet out there and it could have been dangerous.”

Said Cash, “It was a good bit wet out there. The rain has been driving us all insane. The fans have been great and everyone’s been great to get the courts dry and get us out there to play.”

Sunday’s schedule of play is now as follows;

Sunday, Sept. 27
Starting at 10 am
Jim Courier vs. Todd Martin – Second Semifinal
Starting at 2 pm
Pat Cash vs. Jim Courier/Todd Martin loser – Third Place Match
Followed by
Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier/Todd Martin winner – Championship Match

The Courier-Martin semifinal will mark the fourth straight year the two
former U.S. Davis Cup teammates have squared off at The Palisades. In 2006, in the first-year of the event in Charlotte, Courier defeated Martin 5-7, 7-6 (6), 10-4 (Champions Tie-Breaker) in the singles final, while in 2008 Courier again got the better of Martin in the championship match, winning 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie-Breaker). In 2007, Martin defeated Courier 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-5 in round-robin play prior to the tournament switching to a single knock-out format.

Martin will be looking to reach the Charlotte final for a fourth straight year. In addition to his losses to Courier in the 2006 and 2008 finals, he lost to Sampras in the Palisades final in 2007.

Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series,
defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Cash successfully defended his title on the grass courts at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I. in August, defeating Courier in the final. Following Charlotte, the next event on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Surprise, Ariz., where Andre Agassi will make his debut Oct. 8-11.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features seven events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.