by Andrew Eichenholz
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club played host to history in 2003 when Roger Federer won his first of what is currently 17 Grand Slam titles, a men’s tennis record. For Ivo Karlovic, it was the tournament that saw the birth of his career, as the Croat defeated world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in four sets, announcing what was and still is the most feared serve on planet Earth to the tour.
Fast forward nearly 12 years, and the tallest player on tour is still swatting serves here, there and everywhere, as one of the biggest dark horse threats at any tournament he plays in.
Over the years, his opponents from good to bad have all done the same thing: left the court shaking their heads. How could they struggle or lose to that guy?
Onlookers admire Rafael Nadal’s forehand, Novak Djokovic’s backhand and the hands that Bob and Mike Bryan have up at net. Yet, for whatever reason, nobody marvels at the biggest shot at tennis, literally, Karlovic’s serve.
All it takes is a quick peek at the record books. Officially, Karlovic hit the fastest serve in the history of the game at 156 miles per hour in a Davis Cup match. He has hit more than 50 aces in a single match three times. The 6-foot-11 inch giant’s 2007 and 2014 seasons also stack up in second and third on the all-time aces in a season list, respectively.
Yet, almost everybody at some point shows frustration, as if it is ridiculous or unfair that they have to contend with such a weapon. It is a part of the game, and everybody else on tour has the same ability to step up to the line and serve. If Karlovic takes more advantage of starting a point than his opponents, so be it.
What nobody keeps in mind is that Karlovic is not merely a one trick pony. In winning this past week’s Delray Beach Open, an ATP World Tour 250 level event, he did not drop serve once. That is to be expected. What may surprise fans is that en route to his sixth tour title, he broke serve ten times.
But how can he do that if all Karlovic has in his arsenal is a serve?
That is where the common misconception goes astray. “Dr. Ivo,” as many call him, can do more than hit the first ball in a point. The 35-year old, who turns 36 on Saturday, can slice, dice and straight out hit his way past opponents.
Nicolas Mahut is one of the players on tour who still employs the serve and volley, just like Karlovic much of the time. Known for his endless Wimbledon battle with American John Isner, players are able to find ways to get a rhythm on the Frenchman’s serve to hit angled or dipping passing shots. Those same returns against Karlovic would more than likely be intelligently cut off for a deep volley, forcing an even tougher pass.
Being tall is important, but it means nothing if a player does not know the geometry of the tennis court.
How about on return games? Karlovic’s backhand is one of the most criticized shots in the sport. That is because many of those who comment on it see him continuously go to the chip or daggering slice.
“Why doesn’t Dr. Ivo hit over his backhand?”
Well, he does not really have to. When a heavy-and-hard slice spikes down into a court from a 6-foot-11 frame, the height of the bounce will be minimal. Sometimes, forcing an opponent to dig down to his shoelaces just to scrape a ball into the court is more valuable than hitting a standard topspin backhand.
Very few hit that chip as well as the doctor, and he joins another highly-criticized player in Feliciano Lopez as players who use what is thought of as a defensive shot on the attack.
Furthermore, people simply ignore that despite its lack of spin, Karlovic can hit an incredibly penetrating forehand. When it goes in, the shot lands deep in the court with plenty of pace right near the baseline. It is impossible to be aggressive in returning a shot like that, which more often than not leaves him with a sitting duck to put away at net.
So, at an age when most players are retired, if not heading towards it, Karlovic just keeps getting better. He is at No. 23 in the ATP World Rankings, with plenty of room to climb. The best Grand Slam result he had last season in the majors other than the Australian Open was the third round, leaving plenty of ranking points up for grabs.
While everyone continues to count him out, Karlovic’s play on court counts him in, making him a player to watch throughout the season, as the bombs rain down from above.
This has been a very difficult season for 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray as his recovery from a back injury has been a lot more difficult than initially expected. Murray looked to possibly be heading for the world number one spot with continued improvement following his second Grand Slam triumph but instead, the Scot has plummeted down the rankings and now sits in a very disappointing position of 11th in the world, having been as high and number two. Many believe that Andy Murray can show improved form in 2015 and bookmaker Betfair obviously have similar beliefs. The leading online betting exchange have put Murray in as their 7/2 second favourite for next year’s Wimbledon title, despite the fact that he went out in straight sets in 2014 at the hands of up and comer Grigor Dimitrov. Andy Murray’s first Grand Slam victory came at the US Open in 2012, and it came as little surprise when he added his second Slam in SW19 the following year. It took Andy a few attempts to make the breakthrough following a number of final appearances, but once he managed to capture that first big prize, a number of pundits suggested that he may well have a sustained run as the top player in the game. That has not proved to be the case however, and it will be very interesting to see exactly what the new season is going to bring as far as Murray is concerned.
Novak Djokovic is the current favourite to win the men’s singles title at the 2015 Wimbledon championships and that comes as little surprise following his impressive run at the tournament this year. Djokovic was able to make amends for his straight sets final defeat at the hands of Andy Murray the previous year and claim his second Wimbledon crown. There were some matches where the world number one didn’t have things all his own way, but Djokovic proved that he has a serious amount of determination and fighting spirit en route to the final, where he would face grass court maestro Roger Federer. Having lost the first set on a tie break, it would have been easy for Novak to start thinking negatively as he also lost the first set to Murray one year previous. However, the Serbian was able to dig in and win the next two sets, before Federer stepped up a gear and took the fourth. Djokovic took the decider by six games to four and captured his seventh Grand Slam title in the process. If Andy Murray is going to recapture the Wimbledon title in front of his home fans, he will likely have to overcome the defending champion somewhere along the way. Betfair go 6/1 bar this pair with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both on offer at the same price, but there is reason to oppose those men this coming year. Roger Federer will be 34 years old come the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, and Rafael Nadal has not performed well at this tournament for a number of years now. With another decent run of games under his belt before next June, Andy Murray can make a bold bid to take the Wimbledon title once again in 2015.
By Thaddeus McCarthy
The tennis world at this time seems to be quite boring.
Some articles are still coming out concerning Novak Djokovic’s epic win over Federer in the Wimbledon final, which is quite surprising seeing that it was over two weeks ago, an article that recently came out discussed how Boris Becker called Federer the Greatest of All Time (yawn). Another article was out recently concerning how Boris does not call himself a friend of Novak’s. But rather than chattering about supposed coach/player relationships or the monotonous GOAT debate, what I will discuss today is the real business that should concern the tennis world right now, which is the upcoming American hard court swing.
Novak Djokovic has effectively lined himself up as the favourite to have the most successful US Open Series. Nadal is not going away any time soon, and will arguably be more of a threat on hard courts than he was through the short grass season. In terms of points to defend, Nadal has by far the most. There is a lot of doubt though, that he will be able to repeat his effort this year with what he did last year and win the US Open series (Cincinnati, Toronto and US Open). I would not put him as the second favourite this year, just because he has never traditionally performed well in the second half of the season. Last year was an odd occurrence in that respect.
The culprit for the second favouritism position this year could rest with Andy Murray, who has no points to defend and is coming under the radar. His performance at Wimbledon was encouraging after his long down period since his Wimbledon win last year. His strongest surface is perhaps hard courts, which is demonstrated by his 2012 US Open title and 3 Aussie Open final showings. Stan Wawrinka could perform well this summer, but since the Aussie Open has not looked like a Grand Slam winner. Jo Tsonga is another contender, but I think he will only do well enough through a week (or 2) to win one of the American summer tournaments, if any. I have always felt that Jo is the sort of player who is able to play lights out tennis for a period. And he could do this at any time.
The real second favourite though, should be Roger Federer, who has traditionally performed well on the American hard courts and is in resurgence this year. And the fact he lost the Wimbledon final could be good, because unlike in 2012, there will be a feeling this year that he still has something to prove. Last year he was having back problems, and so I think that it is not fair to compare his 2013 with 2014. The level he is playing at is similar to 2012, and the Wimbledon final in particular was reminiscent of Wimbledon 2009.
All things considered, Novak Djokovic should have the best period in the next couple of months. If all players are playing at their best on hard courts, I believe Novak is king. Unlike on clay, where I think Nadal still has the edge. Novak has only the one US Open title and will be hungry to grab another. However, the danger of the young up-and-comers will be more persistent this summer than any other time in recent memory. The showing of Nick Krygios (and Milos Raonic) at Wimbledon is a direct example of this.
But Novak and the rest of the tennis world should never count out Rafael Nadal, as he is the greatest competitor and most tenacious player in tennis history. And will be fighting hard to defend his titles. The field lining up against him is led by Novak, but is flanked by some notable old names and exciting new comers. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.
NEW YORK – “The Days of Roger Federer” – a book that documents matches, life events and facts on tennis legend Roger Federer with unique day-by-day summaries – is now available for sale in hard and electronic formats.
The book is available for $19.95 where books are sold, including here on
The book is also available in electronic formats, including on Kindle for $7.99 here:
The book is published by New Chapter Press and was compiled and written by Randy Walker.
“The Days of Roger Federer” chronicles the trophy-laden career of Federer, one of the world’s most well-known, popular and respected athletes, regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time. The book is unique for its day-by-day format: every day of the calendar year is presented with a corresponding anniversary or a bit of fact or trivia, including hallmark victories, statistics, quirky happenings and quotations.
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.
Wimbledon’s most controversial conclusion from 1931 years ago – as well as fascinating tales featuring some of the greatest Hollywood stars and legends – are featured in the book THE WIMBLEDON FINAL THAT NEVER WAS…AND OTHER TENNIS TALES FROM A BYGONE ERA. The book, published by New Chapter Press, is the posthumously-published memoir of Sidney Wood, the Wimbledon champion from 1931 and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
THE WIMBLEDON FINAL THAT NEVER WAS ($15.95, New Chapter Press, available here on amazon.com: http://amzn.to/m89Ivj details the life and times of Wood with a focus on one of the most unusual episodes ever in sport when he won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon by forfeit. Wood, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 97, tells the story of how he won the title over Frank Shields, his school buddy, doubles partner, roommate and Davis Cup teammate – and the grandfather of actress and model Brooke Shields – when Shields was ordered by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) to withdraw from the final to rest his injured knee in preparation for a U.S. Davis Cup match following Wimbledon. He then discusses his “private understanding playoff” that saw his match with Shields at the Queen’s Club tournament final in London three years later 1934 – be played for the Wimbledon trophy.
Wood, who could be called the greatest story teller tennis ever had, also relates fascinating anecdotes and stories that involve some of greatest titans of tennis and such legendary Hollywood personalities as Grace Kelly, Errol Flynn, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Gary Cooper among others. Wood also critiques all the best players and all the best strokes for every top player through the years – from Bill Tilden, Rene Lacoste and Don Budge all the way to the modern era of the game.
Wood was born on November 1, 1911 in Black Rock, Conn., and was a long-time resident of New York, N.Y., Southampton, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla. When he won the Wimbledon title in 1931 at age 19, he was the youngest man to win the singles title at the All England Club – 17-year-old Boris Becker breaking his record in 1985. He still holds the record of being the youngest player to compete at Wimbledon at age 15 in 1927. He was a singles finalist at the 1935 U.S. Championships and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964.
David Wood of Queens, N.Y., the youngest son of Wood, served as a contributor to the volume.
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is also the publisher of “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf (www.CliffRicheyBook.com), “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy: A New Examination of the Death Clues of The Beatles” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.
The 2014 Wimbledon Championship is underway and the betting market for the third Grand Slam of the season is proving extremely popular at bookmaker Betfair. Novak Djokovic is the current favourite for the men’s title and the Serb will be looking to go one place better than last year, after being beaten in straights sets by Andy Murray in the 2013 final. Andy Murray got his defence off to a successful start with a comfortable victory on Monday over David Goffin. Rafael Nadal will also be popular with tennis punters at Betfair but his recent record at Wimbledon is patchy to say the least. In one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history, Nadal was knocked out in the first round last year and in 2012, only made it to round two. The player who could well be overpriced this year is seven time winner Roger Federer.
Roger Federer first Wimbledon men’s title victory came back in 2003. The Swiss star went on to dominate the sport, especially when it came to the grass courts. Federer took five Wimbledon titles in succession, as well as taking the crown in 2009 and 2012. Following that last win, Federer’s form took a dramatic nose dive and it appeared that the former world number one was coming to the end of a glorious career. Talk of a demise was premature however, and the grass court king has once again shown his class over the last six to twelve months. Roger reached the semi finals at the Australian Open, scoring an impressive win over Andy Murray along the way. Other excellent results have followed and had it not been for taking some time out for the birth of his third and fourth children, Federer may well be ranked even higher coming into this summer’s Wimbledon Championships.
Betfair have put Roger Federer in at 11/2 to claim an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon crown this year and in his current mood, that price is going to make plenty of appeal to punters. The betting on this year’s Wimbledon men’s tournament is dominated by the big four and that has been the case in Grand Slams for a number of years now. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have shared the vast majority of Grand Slam events between them for the best part of a decade and while there are some other players beginning to come through, this trend looks set to continue. Age may well catch up with Roger Federer before too long, but he has proved that he is not a spent force just yet and he’s sure to be all guns blazing going into SW19 this year. There is a huge jump in the market to the next player which is Grigor Dimitrov who can be backed at 16/1. If Roger Federer is going to add to his impressive haul of Wimbledon titles, it will likely need to happen at this year’s tournament and a victory for Fed is sure to hurt the bookies such as Betfair.
With much of the Wimbledon hype surrounding Amelie Mauresmo’s coaching role with Andy Murray, we look back at the playing career of the Frenchwoman, courtesy of tennis historian Bud Collins. The following is the bio of Mauresmo from his famous book “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” set for an updated re-release later this year.
The only French woman to win Wimbledon other than Suzanne Lenglen (1919–23, 25) and the fifth woman of her nation to win a major, Amelie won two majors in 2006—the Australian over Justin Henin (BEL), 6-1, 2-0, ret. and Wimbledon over Henin, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Unseeded, she lost the 1999 Australian final to Martina Hingis (SUI), 6-2, 6-3, defeating No. 1 Lindsay Davenport (USA), 6-4, 6-0 in the semifinals. A superb athlete, well-rounded attacking game, she played Federation Cup 11 years, 1998-99, 2001–09 played 21 ties, posting a 30-9 singles, 2-2 doubles record. She led France to the Cup in 2003, winning two singles in 4-1 final-round win over U.S., including the decisive point, 6-2, 6-1, over Meghann Shaughnessy. In the 2005 Fed Cup final, lost to Russia 3-2, she lost the decisive doubles match with Mary Pierce to Elena Dementieva-Dinara Safina, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. A member of the French Olympic team in 2000, 2004, she won Olympic silver in women’s singles in 2004, losing to Justine Henin-Hardenne. She was a member of the world’s Top 10 for seven years—No. 10, 1999; No. 9, 2001; No, 6, 2002; No. 4, 2003; No. 2, 2004; No. 3, 2005-06 (briefly No. 1, 2004). She was a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open three times (2002, 04-05), the French Open twice (2003-04) and the US Open four times (2001, 03-04-05). She was a semifinalist at Wimbledon twice (2004-05) and the U.S. Open twice (2002, 06). She was born in St. Germains en Laye, France on July 5, 1979. A right-hander, 5 ft. 9, 152 lbs, she turned pro in 1993 and was the world junior champ in 1996. She won 25 singles titles and three doubles pro titles and $15,022,476 in prize money. She announced her retirement at the end of the 2009 season.
MAJOR TITLES (2)—Australian singles, 2006; Wimbledon singles, 2006.
NEW YORK – “On This Day In Tennis History,” the book and mobile app that documents daily anniversaries of historic and unusual events in tennis history, is now available as an electronic Kindle download. The new electronic version – and the mobile app – have been updated with recent tennis happenings into 2014.
The Kindle edition of the compilation is available for $7.99 here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/This-Tennis-History-Day-Day-ebook/dp/B00JQDZ43U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1402513835 The mobile app is available for $1.99 in both Apple’s AppStore and the Google Play Store at www.TennisHistoryApp.com.
“On This Day In Tennis History” provides fans with a fun and fact-filled calendar-like compilation of historical and unique tennis anniversaries, events and tennis happenings for every day of the year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries in this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, birthdays and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings.
The mobile app is easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details featuring captivating and unique stories of players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras among many others.
Features of the “This Day In Tennis History” app include:
• Easily browse daily anecdotes and facts
• View birthdays for top legends and current players
• Tweet and email options makes sharing a breeze
• Set up daily reminders
• Quickly search the archive by player
• Save your favorite entries
• No internet connection needed
• Entries will be updated periodically
“On This Day In Tennis History” was created by Randy Walker, the former USTA press officer now the managing partner of New Chapter Media (www.NewChapterMedia.com) and developed and designed by Miki Singh, the former ATP Tour press officer and the founder of www.FirstServeApps.com. Most of the content in the app was originally published in Walker’s hard copy book “On This Day In Tennis History” ($19.95, available here on Amazon.com http://m1e.net/c?96279190-.PAh92abybkPc%4018743019-Kel6bOgMLp6Qc published by New Chapter Press.
Said Tennis Hall of Famer and current U.S. Davis Cup captain 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.” Tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of the book “Jimmy Connors Saved My Life,” called the book compilation “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.”
The app can be found by searching “Tennis History” in the iTunes App Store and Play Store or directly at these two links:
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion, The Full Extraordinary Story“ by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.
“Andy Murray: Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” A Fascinating And Revealing Biography
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“Andy Murray: Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story,” the new book documenting the life of Andy Murray and his history-making championship at Wimbledon in 2013, is now available in paperback in the United States.
“Andy Murray: Wimbledon Champion,” written by veteran tennis journalist Mark Hodgkinson and available here on Amazon.com: http://m1e.net/c?96279190-0uRWdMinyv5kE%4090388149-CE1I3gVtSfFB2 and wherever books are sold in the United States for $19.95, is a fascinating and revealing biography of Murray, who last summer became the first British man in 77 years to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, exorcising the demons of decades of British tennis frustration
Few tennis players have ever had to carry the same weight of expectation from an entire nation in the way that Andy Murray has. Nor has their path to triumph been subjected to quite so much scrutiny. In the book, Hodgkinson documents Murray’s incredible journey and examines the individuals who have influenced his career, including his family, his coaches, and his girlfriend. Hodgkinson assesses how the Scot has won over a dubious, critical public and how he was shaped into what he always wanted to be – a Wimbledon champion.
Hodgkinson is the founder and editor of TheTennisSpace.com and a former tennis correspondent for The Daily Telegraph. He has written for the BBC, contributed to British GQ, and other tennis periodicals around the world.
Fans are also invited to follow the book on social media on Facebook here: http://m1e.net/c?96279190-k94t0iLUpUtAE%4090388150-QPv0vipVLjm8k and on Twitter at @AndyMurrayBook
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.
By Randy Walker
The life and times of former Wimbledon champion Sidney Wood is straight out of a Hollywood movie. Not only did the 1931 Wimbledon champion hob nob with such famous actors as Gary Cooper and Errol Flynn, but he seemed to be a character in one of their action movies – an Indiana Jones of the tennis world, so to speak. Many of his tennis tales and fascinating off-court exploits are documented in the book THE WIMBLEDON FINAL THAT NEVER WAS…AND OTHER TALES FROM BYGONE ERA ($15.95, available here on Amazon.com:
The book not only features stories of Wood winning the 1931 Wimbledon final without striking a ball, and setting the record straight on what indeed happened, him playing a French Open final drunk, why he once dumped actress and future princess Grace Kelly, how he qualified for the modern-day U.S. Open doubles championship with the aforementioned actor Errol Flynn, how he shot guns with Gary Cooper and handled guns in taking down real-life criminals, and his analysis of the greatest male tennis players of all time from the only person who saw them all from Bill Tilden to Roger Federer.
As a publisher of the book, one of my favorite tales is the following, excerpted below, where Wood pulls a stunt seemingly out of the Indiana Jones “Raiders of the Lost Ark” movie in order to get to the tournament in Los Angeles.
My maiden voyage, at age 19, was when my train trip to the Pacific Southwest Tournament in Los Angeles was derailed in Kansas City. The conductor told me we would be in the station for a half hour, so I made a quick call to a Kansas player friend, Junior Coen, and bought some magazines. After meandering back to the gate, I
was startled to see the lights of our observation platform heading west, not only with my six racquets and bags, but with a newly-met, dazzling starlet en route to Hollywood.
I raced back to the phone and somehow talked a barnstorming-type, probably broke, pilot into chasing after the Super Chief. Of a lot of bumpy rides I later had in those days, this was the worst. We flew perhaps 200 feet above the Santa Fe tracks in the hot sun, and when we passed over the numerous corrugated-roof
buildings at rail-side, the little plane would pitch up and down like a kite, and yaw wildly in the thermals.
A couple of hours later, we caught sight of the train and it looked like we could beat it to Herrington, Kansas in time. Herrington had no airport, but my dauntless pilot headed for any clear area he could find. In due course, we spied the station and a mile or two away we swooped down onto a fallow field and taxied up to an astonished farmer. Our host immediately entered into the spirit of the chase and led us to his barn where he had a nicely preserved Model T which he cranked up, and we tore at a mad 50 mph to the station with only minutes to spare before the train got there. My bags and racquets were still aboard, as was my disbelieving fair maiden friend.