tournament victory

Have Tennis in Your Life 365 Days a Year

Compiling information for more than 15 years, former U.S. Tennis Association press officer Randy Walker has published a compilation of significant anniversaries, summaries and anecdotes from the world of tennis in his book On This Day In Tennis History. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches, trivia, statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings for every day of the calendar year.

On This Day In Tennis History is an informative guide that brings significant – and quirky – tennis matches and happenings from the past into the context of the present,” saidWalker. “It is uncanny the number of significant events in tennis history that occurred on other significant and appropriate anniversaries, such as Boris Becker and Michael Stich both winning their first Wimbledon titles on the birthday of the first great German tennis champion Gottfried von Cramm. It’s fun to pick up the book every day and read what happened on each day of the year.”

Some of the quirky and significant events documented by Walker include from February 5, 1985, when Ivan Lendl defeats Larry Stefanki 6-2, 6-0 in the first round of the Lipton Championships in Delray Beach, Fla., in a match that ends without an umpire or linesmen, from July 18, 1930 when Wilmer Allison saves a record 18 match points in his Davis Cup victory against Giorgio de Stefani of Italy and from April 28, 1968 when Ken Rosewall wins the first ever “Open” tournament, defeating fellow Aussie and fellow professional Rod Laver 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3 in the final of the British Hard-Court Championships in Bournemouth, England.

Said former world No. 1 Jim Courier of “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.”

Walker is a New York-based sports marketer, publicist, writer and tennis historian. A 12-year veteran of the USTA’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.

On This Day In Tennis History is published by New Chapter Press, also the publisher of The Bud Collins History of Tennis. More information on the book can be found atwww.tennishistorybook.com.

THE LEGACY OF RAFAEL NADAL: THE FRIDAY FIVE

Making History – We’ll agree to disagree on the bigger picture of tennis player Rafael Nadal and his career, but I’m more than happy to join the masses who consider him not only one of the greatest talents to have played the game, but the undisputable king of clay.  This was certainly apparent in Nadal’s road to victory this past weekend. Absorbing bludgeoning blow after bludgeoning blow from Ernests Gulbis in the semis, Nadal hung in there with the big hitting Latvian and eventually found a way to grind out a tough three set win.  He then held his composure during a rain-delayed first set against countryman David Ferrer in the final before going on to win the second set and claim his fifth title in Rome.  The title also marked Nadal’s 17th Masters 1000 win, which ties him with Andre Agassi for most Masters 1000 wins, and all before the age of 24.  Undoubtedly the Spaniard will add to this already impressive total, further adding to his legacy in the annals of the game.

Chalk One Up – It took approximately four months, but after coming tantalizingly close earlier in the season, Justine Henin has chalked up her first tournament victory since making her return to competitive tennis.  The win came on her beloved clay, the surface on which she has traditionally enjoyed the most success.  Despite her stumble in the second set, Henin’s three set win over the in-form Sam Stosur was impressive.  Now that she has gotten over that mini-hurdle, it will be interesting to see if she starts swinging a little more freely going into the second major of the year.

Last Resort – After missing several weeks and undergoing multiple treatments, Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro has announced that he ran out of options and underwent surgery this past Tuesday to fix his wrist.  It is impossible for Del Potro to name a return date at this stage in the game and has just stated that he will be out for “a long period” (reports indicate anywhere from three to six months). I’m sure I’m not alone and really feeling for Del Potro. He was knocking on the door throughout the majority of 2009 before finally breaking through in a big way at the US Open. It’s a tragedy that this injury comes so close on the heels of his success, but based on his comments, it sounds like he will only come back stronger.

Poor Timing – Earlier this week, Lleyton Hewitt wasn’t shy about his expressing his opinion regarding the timing of Australia’s upcoming inter-zonal tie against Japan this weekend. Coming just a week after the Rome Masters and days before the Madrid Masters, the timing could not have been worse.  Undoubtedly Hewitt would have preferred to spend more time prepping for Madrid, particularly given his lack of match play in 2010, but without the former world No. 1, Australia, historically one of the most dominant nations in Davis Cup play, may not even reach the World Group Playoffs in September. I’ll grant you that the inter-zonal matches are not the same draw as those in the World Group, but this was just one more glaring example of why the ITF needs to do something to restructure the Davis Cup format as it relates to the ATP World Tour calendar.

Latest in Technology – To-date, the hawk-eye technology has been the latest development used to enhance the game of tennis for the players and the fans. Later this month, the Madrid Masters will take things one step farther by airing the men’s and women’s singles finals in 3D. The matches will air in theatres in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga.  It will be interesting to hear fans’ responses to viewing matches in this format, and who knows?  It may just become the next latest craze to hit the tennis world.

Cash Repeats As Newport Champion; Denies Courier First Grass Title

NEWPORT, R.I., August 23, 2009 – Pat Cash successfully defended his singles title at the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup defeating Jim Courier 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the championship match at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The tournament victory was Cash’s second career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champions tennis players age 30 and over, and earned the 1987 Wimbledon champion $60,000. Cash’s tournament win at Newport last year was also over Courier in the final by the exact 6-3, 6-4 score line.

“I’ve been lucky this week,” said Cash. “I got a few lucky breaks today and you need that to beat these guys, who are all champions. The great thing about this tour, the Outback Champions Series, is that it is serious tennis. We get out there and you can see how hard we’re trying, but it’s also fun,”

Cash is regarded as one of the best serve-and-volley and grass-court players in tennis over the last 30 years. In addition to his 1987 Wimbledon title, Cash was a singles finalist on grass at the 1987 Australian Open. The 44-year-old Australian was the lone Wimbledon singles champion in the eight-player Newport field and was most comfortable on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame all week.

“I wouldn’t say I grew up on the grass-court but I have played a lot of grass-court tennis,” said Cash. “It’s natural for me to play this style of game. It’s easy. I don’t have to think about it. I just serve and volley. I’m not smart enough to work out a game tactic against Jim so I just kind of keep serving and running to the net.”

Courier, playing in his 13th career Outback Champions Series final, was seeking the first career professional title on grass courts. However, the 1993 Wimbledon finalist and four-time major tournament champion earned $30,000 with the runner-up showing as well as 800 ranking points that further solidified his No. 1 ranking on the Outback Champions Series.

“If you watched this match at all you could see how difficult it is to return Pat’s serve,” said Courier. “He really spotted his serve beautifully once he got in to the rhythm today and from there I’m struggling because he’s such a beautiful volleyer. If he gets his hands on anything at the net then it seems the point’s over. I felt under pressure because I wasn’t getting to break point on his serve then that’s a lot of pressure on mine. He’s a great champion. He’s obviously a great grass-court champion. You don’t win Wimbledon if you’re not. It’s disappointing because I was hoping to win my first grass-court title.”

In Sunday’s third-place match, Todd Martin defeated Mark Philippoussis 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-6 (Champions Tie-Breaker).

Pete 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 Jimmy Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

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 eight 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.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com

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, private 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.