By TennisGrandstand.com Staff
President Obama gaffed at Wednesday’s Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony honoring 16 global citizens, including tennis legend Billie Jean King. In describing King’s illustrious playing career, Obama talked of King’s “12 Grand Slam titles, 101 doubles titles and 67 singles titles.” King’s total number of “major” titles actually stand at 39, including a record 20 at Wimbledon. In defense of Obama, King won 12 singles titles at Grand Slam tournaments, but King was well known if not best known for dominating all events at the majors, including winning “triple crowns” (singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles in the same year) at Wimbledon in 1967 and 1973 and the U.S. Championships in 1967. According to THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS, King also won an additional 37 singles titles in the “amateur” era of tennis (pre-1968).
In a video after the ceremony shown on the MSNBC television show “Morning Joe,” King joked that Obama got her stats wrong but said with class that it was “adorable.” Joked MSNBC commentator Mike Barnicle of Obama undercutting King’s credentials, “It’s the first time he has come under the numbers.” The video of Obama’s remarks and Billie Jean’s reaction can be seen here –
King’s bio from THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS is excerpted here….
Billie Jean King
United States (1943—)
Hall of Fame—1987
The fireman’s daughter, Billie Jean Moffitt King, began blazing through the tennis world in 1960 when she first appeared in the U.S. women’s rankings at No. 4. She was 17. For more than four decades she has continued as a glowing force in the game—the all-time Wimbledon champion, frequently the foremost player, a crusader in building the female professional game (enhancing the game as a whole), remaining relevant to sport today, an inspiration to millions. The Flushing Meadows home of the U.S. Open was named the USTA / Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006.
Born Nov. 22, 1943, in Long Beach, Calif:, Billie Jean, a 5-foot-4 1/2, 130-pound right-hander, was named for her father, Bill Moffitt, a Long Beach fireman and an enthusiastic athlete, though not a tennis player. Her brother, Randy Moffitt, became a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. She developed on the public courts of Long Beach and first gained international recognition in 1961 by joining 18-year-old Karen Hantze for a surprising triumph in the Wimbledon women’s doubles over Aussies Margaret Smith (Court) and Jan Lehane, 6-3, 6-4. Unseeded, they were the youngest team to win it. That was the first of 20 Wimbledon championships, making King the record winner at the most prestigious tourney, sharing it since 2003 when her friend Martina Navratilova caught up. Centre Court was her magic garden from the first time she saw it in 1961.
In 1979, she got the 20th at her 19th Wimbledon, the doubles, in the company of Navratilova (over Betty Stove and Wendy Turnbull, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2). She won her last major, the U.S. doubles, in 1980, beside Martina, over Pam Shriver and Stove. Elizabeth Ryan’s 19 Wimbledon titles (between 1914 and 1934) were all in doubles and mixed doubles. King won six singles, 10 doubles, and four mixed between 1961 and 1979, and in 1979 lengthened another Wimbledon record by appearing in her 27th final, the doubles. Ryan was in 24 finals. Of all the men and women to compete at Wimbledon only Navratilova played more matches (279) than King’s 265, of which B.J. was 95-15 in singles, 74-12 in doubles, 55-14 in mixed. She won 12 singles titles at major championships (one Australian, one French, six Wimbledon and four U.S.)
In her initial singles major final, Wimbledon in 1966, she beat three-time champ Maria Bueno of Brazil, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, She followed up by beating Ann Jones of Britain in 1967,6-3, 6-4 and Judy Tegart (Dalton) of Australia, 9-7, 7-5, in the first “Open” Wimbledon in 1968. In 1967, she took her first U.S. singles over Jones, but the most rousing of the four was 1974, a pyrotechnical performance from two assault-minded dolls, over Evonne Goolagong of Australia, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Probably her most memorable Wimbledon match was a loss, the record 46-game 1970 final to Court 14-12, 11-9. Neither let up in attacking, even though both were playing hurt.
Billie Jean’s has been a career of firsts. In 1968, she was the first woman of the Open era to sign a pro contract to tour in a female tournament group, with Rosie Casals, Francoise Durr and Jones, the women’s auxiliary of the NTL (National Tennis League), which also included six men. (A few women before King had turned pro to make head-to-head barnstorming tours, notably Suzanne Lenglen in 1926.)
In 1971, B.J. was the first woman athlete over the 100-grand hurdle, winning $117,000. During that memorable season, she played 31 tournaments in singles, winning 17, and 26 in doubles, winning a record 21. She had a match mark of 112-13 in singles, a record number of wins, and 80-5 in doubles. Overall, it added up to 38 titles on 192 match wins, both records. Imagine how many millions such a campaign would be worth today.
In 1973, Billie Jean engaged in the widely ballyhooed “Battle of the Sexes,” defeating 55-year-old ex-Wimbledon champ Bobby Riggs, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, a nationally-televised lallapalooza that captured the nation’s fancy and drew a record tennis crowd, 30,472, to Houston’s Astrodome.
In 1974, she became the first woman to coach a professional team containing men when she served as player-coach of the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis, a league she and her husband, Larry King, helped establish. As a tribute to her, Elton John composed and recorded Philadelphia Freedom. Traded to the New York Apples, she led that team to WTT titles in 1976-77 as a player.
Ten years after Riggs, BJK was to establish a geriatric mark herself, winning Birmingham (England) over Alycia Moulton, 6-0, 7-5. At 39 years, five months, she was the oldest woman to take a pro singles title.An aggressive, emotional player, Billie Jean specialized in serve-and-volley tactics, aided by quickness and a highly competitive nature. She overcame several knee operations to continue as a winner into her 40th year. As a big-match player, she was unsurpassed, excelling in team situations when she represented the U.S. In nine years on the Federation Cup team, she helped the U.S. gain the final each time, and take seven Cups by winning 51 of her 55 singles and doubles. In the Wightman Cup against Britain, she played on only one losing side in 10 years, winning 21 of her 26 singles and doubles.
Outspoken on behalf of women’s rights, in and out of sports—tennis in particular—she was possibly the most influential figure in popularizing professional tennis in the United States. She worked tirelessly to promote the Virginia Slims tour during the early 1970s when the women realized they must separate from the men to achieve recognition and significant prize money on their own. With the financial backing of Virginia Slims, the organizational acumen of Gladys Heldman and the salesmanship and winning verve of King, the women pros built an extremely profitable circuit.
Only two women, Margaret Smith Court (62) and Navratilova (59) won more majors than King’s 39 in singles, doubles and mixed. In regard to U.S. titles on all surfaces (grass, clay, hard court, indoor), King is second at 31 behind Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman’s 34. But Billie Jean is the only woman to win on all four, equaling Tony Trabert, and Art Larsen, the only men to do so. King and Casals were the only doubles team to win U.S. titles on all four surfaces. She won seven of her major doubles with Casals, her most frequent and successful partner.
Between 1963 and 1980, Billie Jean was in the world’s Top 10 18 times, including five times as No. 1(1966-67-68, 71, 74) and four times as No. 2 (1970, 73, 75, 77). She held her last world ranking, No. 13, at age 40 in 1983.
She greatly aided Owen Davidson of Australia in making his mixed doubles Grand Slam in 1967 with two partners. King and Davidson won the French, Wimbledon and U.S. after he took the Australian with Lesley Turner. She scored three major triples, winning the singles, doubles and mixed at Wimbledon in 1967 and 1973, and at the U.S. in 1967, and won the longest singles set played by a woman (36 games) in a 1963 Wightman Cup win over Christine Truman, 6-4, 19-17.
Billie Jean’s major swan song occurred at 39 in 1983 at Wimbledon, a semifinal finish (her fourteenth), losing to 18-year-old Andrea Jaeger, 6-1, 6-1. Seven years later she played a cameo role in the Boca Raton, Fla., tourney, winning a doubles match with 13-year-old pro rookie Jennifer Capriati.
In a career encompassing the amateur and Open eras, she won 67 pro and 37 amateur career singles titles, 101 pro doubles. She reached 38 other pro singles finals and had 677-149 singles W-L record as a pro. Her prize money: $1,966,487. Divorce ended her marriage. A founder and ex-president of the WTA, she remains active in World Team Tennis as an officer, formerly commissioner. She returned to her USTA roots in 1995 as captain of the Federation Cup team, having been player-captain in 1965 (a loss) and 1976 (a win). She guided the U.S. team to three Cups (1996, 1999, and 2000). As U.S. women’s Olympic coach, she mentored Lindsay Davenport, Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez to gold medals in 1996, as well as Venus and Serena Williams to golds, and Monica Seles to a bronze in 2000.
MAJOR TITLES (39)—Australian singles, 1968; French singles, 1972; Wimbledon singles, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1975; U.S. singles, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974; French doubles, 1972; Wimbledon doubles, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1979; U.S. Doubles, 1964, 1967, 1974, 1977, 1980; Australian mixed, 1968; French mixed, 1967, 1970; Wimbledon mixed, 1967, 1971, 1973, 1974; US. Mixed, 1967, 1971, 1973, 1976. OTHER U.S.TITLES (18)—Indoor singles, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1974; Clay Court singles, 1971; Hard Court singles, 1966; Indoor doubles, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1975, with Casals; 1979, with Navratilova; 1983. with Sharon Walsh; Clay Court doubles, 1960, with Darlene Hard; 1971, with Dalton; Hard Court doubles, 1966 with Casals; Indoor mixed, 1966, 1967, with Paul Sullivan (USA) FEDERATION CUP–1963-64-65-66-67,76-77-78-79,25-4 singles, 27-0 doubles: WIGHTMAN CUP—1961-62-63-64-65-66-67, 70, 77-78, 14-2 singles, 7-3 doubles SINGLES RECORD IN THE MAJORS—Australian (17-4), French (21-6), Wimbledon (95-15), U.S. (58-14).
Stephen Holland, the best-selling sports artist in the world today, has created a new Roger Federer painting. The Roger Federer piece (pictured here) retails for $4,750 and is signed by Roger himself (the signature is guaranteed). If you are interested in this painting, contact us by clicking here. The price is a national price, so if you were to call around to other galleries that offer Stephen Holland artwork, this would be the price you would hear them quote. The artist is sanctioned by all the major sports leagues. This is the only fine art edition signed by Roger himself.
In his book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($34.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennistomes.com), Hall of Fame tennis journalist and personality profiles the player that many call the greatest player of all time. Writes Collins, “As Lord of the Swings, Roger Federer took over No. 1 in 2004, from Andy Roddick, and, in 2008, is entering his fifth season on that pinnacle. Performing in a smooth, seemingly effortless, style, a right-hander using one-handed backhand, he occupies No. 1 with rare grace and competitive verve, always in the right place to deliver the right shot from his peerless all-court arsenal of angles, spins, volleys, pinpoint serves. Is there a weakness, a flaw? Doubtful. Perhaps only one man has found it: that would be No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain, whose high-rolling topspin and speed afoot has stymied Federer on Parisian clay three straight years – semifinals in 2005, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; finals in 2006, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), and finals in 2007, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Other than his obsession, the French Open, Roger has been mistreating his colleagues regularly at the major occasions. While he has starved his Grand Slam hunger in Paris, the rest of the route has been his more than anybody before him: three major triples (Australian, Wimbledon, U.S.), 2004, 06, 07. Merely eight men in history have tripled: Rod Laver (AUS) twice with Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969; Don Budge (USA) with the original Grand Slam, 1938; Jack Crawford (AUS), 1933; Fred Perry (GBR), 1934, Tony Trabert (USA), 1955; Lew Hoad (AUS), 1956; Ashley Cooper (AUS), 1958; Roy Emerson (AUS), 1964; Mats Wilander (SWE), 1988. But nobody but Roger thrice. After a 2005 French semifinal loss to Nadal, he made it to 10 successive major finals, winning eight. Colossal. Big Bill Tilden (USA) reached 11 straight major finals, winning eight between 1918 and 1927, but there were gaps in his appearances. Federer’s triple triples amount to nine of his 12 singles majors as of May of 2008, two behind record holder, Pete Sampras, who concedes that his mark is very much in danger.”
40th Anniversary of “The Rocket” Winning First Leg of 1969 Grand Slam
Significant anniversaries in the history of the Australian Open – including Tuesday’s 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s Australian Open victory that was the first leg of his historic 1969 “Grand Slam” – are documented in the new book “On This Day In Tennis History.”
“On This Day In Tennis History” ($19.95, New Chapter Press, 528-pages, www.tennishistorybook.com) is the new tennis book written by Randy Walker, that is a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the years.
The 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s win at the 1969 Australian Open comes on Tuesday, January 27. It was on that day that Laver defeated Spain’s Andres Gimeno, a newly announced inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, by a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 margin in the Australian Open final, played that year at the Milton Courts in Brisbane. Laver goes on to win an historic second Grand Slam by defeating winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to sweep all four major titles in the same year.
“On This Day In Tennis History” 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. “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.
Said Hall of Famer, two-time Australian Open champion and Outback Champions Series co-founder 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!”
Other Australian Open interesting anniversaries over the course of the rest of the tournament are as follows:
January 25, 2003 – Serena Williams clinches “The Serena Slam” beating older sister Venus Williams 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 to win the Australian Open and complete her sweep of four consecutive major championships. Venus, ironically, is the final-round victim of Serena’s in all four of the major tournaments. Serena joins Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only women to hold all four major tournament titles at the same time. “I never get choked up, but I’m really emotional right now,” says Serena in the post-match ceremony. “I’m really, really, really happy. I’d like to thank my mom and my dad for helping me.” The win for Serena places her ahead in her head-to-head series with Venus by a 5-4 margin. Says Venus of her younger sister, “I wish I could have been the winner, but of course you have a great champion in Serena and she has won all four Grand Slams, which is something I’d love to do one day.”
January 26, 1992 – Twenty-one-year-old Jim Courier defeats Stefan Edberg 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to win his first Australian Open singles title, putting him in position to become the first American man to rank No. 1 since John McEnroe in 1985. Courier becomes the first American man to win the Australian Open in 10 years and celebrates his win by running out of the stadium and jumping into the nearby Yarra River, one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Says Courier of the river’s condition, “It was really dirty.” Courier assumes the No. 1 ranking on Feb. 10.
January 27, 1970 – Playing in a drizzle and swirling wind on the grass courts of White City in Sydney, Arthur Ashe wins the Australian Open men’s singles title, defeating Australian Dick Crealy 6-4, 9-7, 6-2. The singles title is Ashe’s second at a major tournament – to go with his 1968 triumph at the U.S. Open. Margaret Court needs only 40 minutes to win the Australian Open women’s title for a ninth time, defeating Kerry Melville 6-3, 6-1 in the women’s singles final.
January, 27, 2008 – Novak Djokovic outlasts unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2) to win the men’s singles title at the Australian Open – his first major singles title. Seeded No. 3, the 20-year-old Djokovic becomes the first man from Serbia to a major singles title. Djokovic snaps a streak of 11 straight major championships won by either world No. 1 Roger Federer or No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Tsonga, ranked No. 38, was attempting to become the first Frenchman in 80 years (Jean Borotra in 1928) to win the Australian men’s singles championship.
January 28, 1946 – John Bromwich wins the men’s singles title at the Australian Championships – the first major championships held in the post World War II era, defeating 19-year-old fellow Australian Dinny Pails 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the final.
January 28, 1989 – Steffi Graf wins her second Australian Open singles title, defeating Helena Sukova 6-4, 6-4 in the women’s singles final. “It wasn’t easy today,” says Graf, who doesn’t lose a set in the tournament. “I found it really hard to get into my rhythm. Helena was hitting some good shots and when somebody serves like that, it’s hard to win.” The 19-year-old Graf shrugs off talk of a second-consecutive Grand Slam after claiming her fifth straight major singles title, saying “I had an incredible year last year and I’ve started awfully well this year, but I’m not going to get myself in trouble and say it’s going to happen again.”
January 28, 2007 – Roger Federer wins his 10th major singles title, defeating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Australian Open. Federer becomes only the fourth man in the Open era to win a major title without the loss of a set – the last being Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros in 1980. The championship match is umpired by Frenchwoman Sandra De Jenken – the first time in tennis history a woman umpired a men’s Grand Slam singles final.
January 29, 1938 – Don Budge defeats Australian John Bromwich 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 to win the Australian Championships at Memorial Drive in Adelaide, Australia. The title marks the first leg of Budge’s eventual “Grand Slam” sweep of all four major championships.
January 29, 1955 – Ken Rosewall hands Tony Trabert what turns out to be his only singles loss in a major championship for the 1955 calendar year, defeating the American 8-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Australian Championships in Adelaide, Australia. Trabert goes on to win the French Championships, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships to complete one of the most successful seasons in the history of tennis. Rosewall wins the title two days later on January 31, defeating fellow Australian Lew Hoad 9-7, 6-4, 6-4
January 29, 1968 – Billie Jean King of the United States and Bill Bowrey of Australian win the final “amateur” major championships at the Australian Championships – King beating Margaret Smith Court of Australia 6-1, 6-2 and Bowrey beating Juan Gisbert of Spain 5-7, 2-6, 9-7, 6-4 in the singles finals. The 1968 Australian Championships are the last major tournament to be played before the legislatures of tennis “open” the game to professionals in addition to the amateurs. King, who breaks Court’s service six times on the day in the windy conditions at the Kooyong Tennis Club in Melbourne, says after the match that she is planning to retire from the sport in the next 18 months to two years. “I do not want to go on playing much longer. I want to settle down,” says King, who never “settled down” playing up through 1983 and remaining active in tennis and women’s sports for decades.
January 29, 1989 – Ivan Lendl wins his first Australian Open singles title and his seventh career major singles title defeating fellow Czech Miloslav Mecir 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in the men’s singles final. The win guarantees that Lendl will take back the world No. 1 ranking from Mats Wilander, the man who took it from him by winning the U.S. Open the previous September. In women’s doubles, the top-seeded team of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver win their seventh Australian Open women’s doubles title with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Patty Fendick and Jill Hetherington. Shriver and Navratilova’s victory is their 20th major doubles title as a team.
January 29, 2006 – Roger Federer gets emotional, cries and hugs all-time great Rod Laver during the post-match ceremony following his 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 win over upstart Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the final of the Australian Open. Federer has difficulty putting to words the emotions he feels during the post-match ceremony and sobs after receiving the trophy from Laver. “I hope you know how much this means to me,” he says as he wipes away tears. Federer becomes the first player to win three consecutive major tournaments since Pete Sampras wins at the 1994 Australian Open. The title is his seventh career major title, tying him with John McEnroe, John Newcombe and Mats Wilander.
January 30, 1967 – Roy Emerson wins the Australian men’s singles title for a fifth straight year, beating Arthur Ashe 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the title match played in Adelaide, Australia. Emerson needs only 75 minutes to beat Ashe in front of a crowd of 6,000 for his 11th major singles title. The turning point of the match comes with the score knotted at 4-4 in the first set and Ashe serves three straight double faults to lose his serve, allowing Emerson to serve out the set and roll to the straight-sets win. Unknowingly at the time, as statisticians and media representatives were yet to keep track of stats and records, but Emerson’s title makes him the all-time men’s singles major championship winner, moving him past Bill Tilden, who won 10 major singles titles from 1920 to 1930. In the women’s singles final, Nancy Richey beats Lesley Turner 6-1, 6-4 to win her first major title,
January 30, 1994 – Pete Sampras wins his third consecutive major singles title, slamming 13 aces with speeds as fast as 126 mph in defeating first-time major finalist Todd Martin 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4 at the Australian Open. The top-seeded Sampras becomes the first man in nearly 30 years to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open consecutively, joining Roy Emerson in 1964-65 and Don Budge in 1937-38. “He’s just too good and he really deserves what he’s succeeding at, because he’s really working his butt off,” Martin says of Sampras.
January 31, 1927 – Gerald Patterson of Australia hits 29 aces – against 29 double faults – in beating Jack Hawkes 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 18-16, 6-3 to win the men’s singles title at the Australian Championships in Melbourne.
January 31, 1993 – For the second consecutive year, Jim Courier defeats Stefan Edberg in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open. Courier wins his fourth – and ultimately becomes his last – major singles title, with a 6-2, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 victory. Says Courier, “It’s always very special to win Grand Slams, and to come back and defend makes it twice as special.” The final is played in blistering heat, with on-court temperatures measuring 150 degrees. Says Edberg of the blistering conditions, “At one stage, you feel like death.”
February 1, 1960 – Rod Laver and Margaret Smith win their first career major singles titles at the Australian Championships in Brisbane. Laver stages an incredible two-sets-to-love comeback to defeat reigning U.S. champion Neale Fraser 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, 8-6 in 3 hours, 15 minutes. Laver, who goes on to win 11 major singles titles – including two Grand Slam sweeps in 1962 and 1969 – saves a match point at 4-5 in the fourth set. Following the match, Fraser collapses in the dressing room in cramps and fatigue. Margaret Smith – later Margaret Court – wins the first of her eventual 11 Australian singles titles at the age of 17, defeating fellow Australian teenager – 18-year-old Jan Lehane – by a 7-5, 6-2 margin. Court goes on to win a record 24 major singles titles.
February 1, 2004 – Roger Federer wins his first Australian Open crown, his second career major singles title and puts an exclamation point on taking over the world’s No. 1 ranking with a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-2 win over Marat Safin in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open. “What a great start to the year for me, to win the Australian Open and become No. 1 in the world,” Federer says. “To fulfill my dreams, it really means very much to me.”
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.com at www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace.com.
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Collins 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
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
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, USA -Tony Trabert, President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, today announced the names of the five ballot nominees for possible Hall of Fame induction in July 2009. Nine-time Grand Slam Singles Champion and former World No. 1 Monica Seles heads the 2009 ballot nominations. Joining her on the ballot in the Master Player category is Andres Gimeno. He was one of Spain’s most prominent tennis players of the 1960s, and who remains Roland Garros’ oldest singles champion, winning the coveted clay court title in 1972.
Named on the ballot in the Contributor category are: Donald L. Dell, an industry pioneer and leader in sports marketing, professional sports management and sports television and founder of ProServ; Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson (posthumously), founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA) Junior Development Program, who worked tirelessly for decades assisting young African-American players (most notably Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe) in gaining admittance into previously segregated tournaments; and Japan’s Eiichi Kawatei, for his exceptional leadership and dedication in the development and promotion of tennis in Asia.
“On behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I am honored to announce this year’s ballot,” said Tony Trabert, ITHF President and 1970 Hall of Famer. “Monica and Andres both had brilliant careers in tennis, while Donald, Dr. Johnson and Eiichi made important and historic contributions that have significantly impacted and shaped our sport.”
Voting for the 2009 ballot will take place over the next several months leading to the announcement of the official 2009 induction class in January. The Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.
Recent Player Nominees (1) Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player category: Active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP or WTA tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.
Monica Seles, now 34, held the World No. 1 ranking for 178 weeks (non-consecutive) and captured nine Grand Slam singles titles – four Australian (1991-1993, 1996), three at Roland Garros (1990-1992) and two US Opens (1991-1992). Her win-loss record at the Grand Slams was a staggering 43-4 at the Australian, 54-8 at Roland Garros, 30-9 at Wimbledon and 53-10 at the US Open. In a career spanning 15 years, she captured 53 singles titles and six doubles titles and collected well over $14 million in prize money. She won three consecutive year-end WTA Championships (1990-1992) and finished as the world’s No. 1 ranked player in both 1991 and 1992.
A natural lefty, wielding double-handed forehands and backhands, she was a determined competitor. Her footwork was impeccable, her groundstrokes powerful and aggressive, and she constantly attacked her opponents with an arsenal of remarkable weapons. Seles was also known for her “ball-impacting shriek”, the grunt heard across the globe.
At age 19, Seles had already won eight of her nine singles slams and was at the top of her game. Then in April 1993, during a changeover of her quarterfinal match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, a man came out of nowhere, and stabbed her in the back, just below her left shoulder blade. The horror of this event sent shockwaves through the tennis community, and 27 months would pass before Seles played competitively again. When she returned to the courts, she was granted a co-No. 1 ranking (shared with Steffi Graf) and won her comeback event at the Canadian Open, reached the US Open final, and followed up with her ninth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open (1996).
Born December 2, 1973 in Novi Sad, in what was then known as Yugoslavia, she moved with her family to the United States in 1986 at the age of 12 to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. On March 16, 1994, she became a U.S. citizen. Seles would play on the United States Fed Cup team for five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) posting a career 15-2 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record while helping the Americans capture the Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2000.
Seles remains the youngest champion in history to win at Roland Garros (16 years, 6 months) and was the youngest winner of the Tour Championships (16 years, 11 months) beating Gabriela Sabatini in the first women’s match to extend to five sets since the 1901 U.S. National final. In addition, Seles won the Olympic bronze medal in 2000. Throughout her career, Seles won numerous awards, multiple Player and Athlete of the Year awards, and humanitarian awards. She is an Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and also has a monthly spot on CBS This Morning, where she talks about healthy living and lifestyle.
Master Player Nominees (1) Eligibility criteria for the Master Player category: Competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.
Spain’s Master Player Andres Gimeno won the French Open in 1972 at the age of 34 years, 10 months, the oldest champion to grace the red clay at Roland Garros. In addition, he reached the final at the 1969 Australian Open; the semifinals at the 1968 French Open and at Wimbledon in 1970; and the quarterfinals at the 1958 Australian Championships, and the 1960 and 1969 French Championships. Gimeno captured seven singles titles and four doubles titles (in the Open era) and reached a career high ranking of No. 9 in the world. As a member of Spain’s Davis Cup team 1958-60, 1972 and 1973, he posted a playing record of 23-10. As an amateur in a country starved for top-ranking sportsmen, he became incredibly popular, as did the sport of tennis, and he became a national hero. In 1960, Gimeno signed on to the professional tennis tour staged by Jack Kramer and was an immediate sensation in the pro ranks – finishing his first series second only to Pancho Gonzalez. Wielding a great overhead smash, strong volleys, a formidable forehand and exceptional grace and balance, Gimeno’s career is highlighted in the sport’s amateur and professional periods, and then crossed into the Open era of tennis.
Contributor Nominees (3) Eligibility criteria for the Contributor category: Exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation and character of the sport, in categories such as administration, media, coaching and officiating. Contributor candidates do not need to be retired from their activities related to the sport to be considered.
Donald L. Dell has spent his life in the forefront of the sport of tennis. As a player, he was a U.S. Davis Cup team member from 1961-64. As a non-playing captain of the 1968 and 1969 U.S. Davis Cup teams, he became the youngest U.S. captain and the first in 20 years to regain and successfully defend the Cup in consecutive years. He reached his highest U.S. singles ranking of No. 4 in 1961, and made it to No. 1 in doubles in 1962-63. Dell also represented the U.S. State Department on two world tennis tours (1961 and 1965) and was the first American in history to play competitive tennis in the Soviet Union (1961).
During the Open era, Dell’s business career took off as he dove into the sports marketing and management arena and became the first person to represent and manage the careers of tennis players, beginning with Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith. Players faced an uncertain future as tennis became a professional sport, and Dell persevered to develop future player opportunities, recognizing an athlete’s need for sound career management and the development of effective sports marketing programs. He is credited with having developed some of the most significant and long-lasting partnerships between sponsors and sports properties and he has negotiated over a billion dollars in sponsorships and endorsements.
In 1970, Dell’s own private law practice evolved into Professional Services Inc., (ProServ) which quickly assumed a leadership role in a new sports marketing industry and was the first-ever management company to represent tennis players. As Founder and Chairman, in 1999 ProServ was acquired by SFX as an integral part of its organization. Today, residing under the corporate umbrella of BEST – Blue Entertainment Sports Television – Dell currently oversees and advises many of the group’s global television properties, including the French Open, the US Open, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, of which he is also a tournament founder, in addition to 20 ATP tennis telecasts. After the creation and success of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Dell gave the event to the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation and has assisted in raising over $15 million for children’s tennis programs in the DC area.
In 1972, along with tennis icon Jack Kramer, Dell founded the Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) as a players’ union and served as its first General Counsel for eight years. An active philanthropist, Dell is the Vice Chairman and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and a member of both the USTA Public Relations Committee and the U.S. Davis Cup Selection Committee.
Dr. Robert Johnson (1899-1971) is considered by many as the man most responsible for launching the careers of world tennis greats Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the nation’s first African-American tennis champions. During a time of racial separation, Johnson, through quiet diplomacy, was able to open the doors of competition to young African-Americans barred from mainstream competition. He persevered despite the racial barriers of that time and helped pave the way for minorities to gain acceptance and entrance into tournaments. For more than 20 years, he opened his home to tennis development and training for African-American juniors, providing them with food, equipment, financial support and guidance throughout their development. In addition, many of Johnson’s juniors earned college scholarships.
Through the American Tennis Association (ATA), which was formed in 1916, Johnson created the ATA Junior Development Program. In the 1950s and 1960s, he sponsored, trained and nurtured hundreds of African-American Juniors – and several white juniors – at his Lynchburg, Va. home, where he had a tennis court in his backyard. He initiated the integration of black tennis at the junior level, and worked as coach, trainer, sponsor and fundraiser. He was also publisher of the ATA’s annual program, distributed at the national championships, and his vehicle in keeping the membership aware of the progress of his junior players.
The names of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe and their life achievements will long be remembered in the world of tennis; they are the individuals who broke the racial barriers, and they became champions of the sport through their own athletic abilities. However, it was the artful and insightful groundwork pioneered by Johnson, which gave Gibson and Ashe — and all future black champions — the stage to stand upon and be noticed.
Eiichi Kawatei was born December 10, 1933 in Ashiya City, Japan and has been nominated for his contributions to tennis as a leader in the development and promotion of the sport in Asia. For more than 25 years, he has supported national associations (44 in 2003), players, officials, coaches and many official international events (juniors through the pros). He is the former Tournament Director for the Japan Open and Asian Open (both 1977-1986) and founder of the International Club of Japan (1978). In working with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), he has served as a member of the Committee of Management (1981-1997), a member of the ITF Board of Directors (1997-2003) and Vice President (1991-1999). He also served as ITF Representative on Satellite and Challenger Joint Committee (1993-2001), member of the Olympic Committee (1981-2001), and Chairman of the Junior Competitions Committee (1995-2003). He served as ITF Technical Delegate for the Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008) and has been officially designated an ITF Honorary Life Vice President. He remains the Japanese Olympic Committee’s Asian Council Representative, a member of their Executive Committee (1991-2003) and Vice President (2003-05).
Kawatei was President of the Asian Tennis Federation 1989-2003, and Secretary General from 1978-1989. With the Japanese Tennis Association, he served as Executive Board Member (1977-1993) and since 1993 has been Vice President. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Golden Olympic Ring Award (presented by the IOC), the Chinese National Sports Federation Honorable Award, and the 2005 Golden Achievement Award presented by the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Kawatei has been an active member of the international tennis media, as an international tennis photographer (1968-1981), as a tennis commentator on Japanese TV (1972-1990), and has contributed to numerous books and magazines as a journalist. As a player, Kawatei was a nationally ranked junior and played for Doshisha University (1954-55), where he returned as coach (1960-68, 1990-94).
A panel of International Tennis Media will vote on the Recent Player nominees. A 75% favorable vote is required for induction. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor nominees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
The date for the Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday, July 11th, in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 6-12) in Newport, Rhode Island. The International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 207 people representing 18 countries since its establishment in 1954. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.
On Saturday, July 12, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will induct its Class of 2008 – Michael Chang, Mark McCormack and Gene Scott – in ceremonies at the home of the Hall of Fame, The Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. Hall of Fame journalist Bud Collins profiles all three inductees in his just-off-the-press book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, click here for 39 percent discount). Today, we present to you the profile of Michael Chang.
Michael Chang was cramping so badly that he couldn’t risk sitting down on the changeovers. What did it matter that hot 1989 afternoon in Stade Roland Garros? Michael, a California teen-ager, was far behind No. 1 Ivan Lendl in the fourth round of the French Open, and his chances looked empty. Nevertheless, 17-years, 95 days-old, Michael was filled with hope and grit, and kept running and retrieving to pull himself back into the match from two sets back-and actually take it away from Lendl, the three-time champ, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, in 4:39.
That was the start of an electrifying, unlikely dash to the title that had last been held by an American man, Tony Trabert, 34 years before, and made little Michael the youngest of all male possessors of a major singles. Despite his lack of clay court experience, Chang followed up on Lendl by out-dueling guys brought up on it: Ronald Agenor of Haiti, Andrei Chesnokov of the USSR and finally, dodging a gang of break points, defeating No. 3 Stefan Edberg, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
Those were the early steps to the 2008 posting in the Hall of Fame for 5-foot-9, 160 pound Michael. Perpetual motion personified, making few mistakes, he would be a finalist in three more majors (1995 French to Thomas Muster; 1996 Australian to Boris Becker, and 1996 U.S., to Pete Sampras), play a vital role in the American Davis Cup triumph of 1990 and bank 33 more titles, runnerup in 21 others.
During two chilly, damp afternoons in Vienna, with horn-blowing crowds of 18,000 cheering against him, Michael scored one of the greatest U.S. Davis Cup victories. Deadlocked 2-2 with Austria in the Cup semifinal, Chang found himself trapped, two sets behind Horst Skoff. He hung on to win a set before darkness intervened. Returning the following day, his serve, like his legs, revived, Michael won, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. He and Don Budge (who turned the trick in 1937 against Gottfried von Cramm of Germany) are the only U. S. Cuppers to win a decisive fifth match from two sets down.
In the final, ending a U.S. Cup slump of eight years, Chang beat Darren Cahill, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, the first day, for a 2-0 lead over Australia, soon defeated. He was the youngest on an American Cup winner. His record in Davis Cup; played six ties; four years, 8-4 singles.
This diminutive dynamo, a speedy right-hander with both-handed backhand, was born Feb. 22, 1972, in Hoboken, N.J. of Chinese-American parentage, raised in Southern California. He was coached by older brother, Carl Chang, a University of California-Berkeley varsity player.
Edberg caught up with him in 1992, Chang losing a record-length U.S. Open match in 5:26 (a semifinal), the second longest major singles, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-4. In a 17-year professional career, he made the world’s Top 10 seven years-No. 5 in 1989, 95; No. 6 in 1992, 94; No. 8 in 1993; No. 2 in 1996; No. 3 in 1997.
Prior to his 2003 retirement, he made the semis of the Australian two other times-1995 and 97; two other U.S. semifinals-1992 and 97 and the quarters of Wimbledon in 1994. He won 34 singles titles (662-312 matches) and $19,145, 632 in prize money.