From seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Justine Henin announcing her return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to Zina Garrison settling her racial discrimination lawsuit with the USTA to the Indianapolis Tennis Center being named a USTA Certified Regional Training Center to nearly 47 million viewers tuning into to the television coverage of the six week long Olympus US Open Series to a record 721,059 fans attending the US Open this year, these stories caught the attention of tennis fans and insiders this week.
Former world No. 1 Justine Henin ended months of rumors when she announced her return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour on Belgian television station RTL. “I’m truly happy and profoundly moved to be able to announce this evening that I am going to return to competition,” said Henin, who is now 27 years old. Henin wants to participate in exhibition events in Charleroi, Belgium and Dubai to prepare her game in time to play in the Australian Open in January. “Justine is one of the great champions in the history of women’s tennis, and we, along with millions of her fans around the globe, are thrilled with her announcement today,” said Stacey Allaster, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
Le Soir announced that Belgacom, a Belgian telecommunications company, will be Justine Henin’s sponsor during her comeback.
Former United States Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison settled her racial discrimination lawsuit with the USTA, but terms of the lawsuit were not disclosed.
The USTA announced that the Indianapolis Tennis Center on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), has been named a USTA Certified Regional Training Center.
In its sixth year of existence, the Olympus US Open Series had its most successful season. A record of nearly 47 million viewers tuned into the television coverage over the six week season. Attendance was high at all events including 226,000 fans turning out during the two week Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati and more than 200,000 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, which is an ATP World Tour record for a one week tournament. “The success of the Olympus US Open Series in its sixth year proves that the Series is as popular as ever among players, fans and television viewers,” said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer of the USTA. “The Series provides a national platform to promote the sport and showcase the USTA’s efforts to grow the game at every level, as we did with the Quick Start play format in a number of series markets.”
This year’s US Open attendance reached an all-time high with 721,059 fans attending the two week Grand Slam tournament in New York, surpassing last year’s mark of 720,227. The US Open also set a first week record with 423,427 fans attending, including a single day record of 61,554 fans attending during the first Friday of the tournament.
In the US Open championship match on CBS that saw Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer to capture his first Grand Slam singles title, television ratings increased by 41 percent from last year. The overall viewership throughout the tournament was 55.8 million, a 24 percent increase from the 2008 tournament.
USOpen.org, the official website of the US Open, had unique hits on the website from more than 200 countries and a total of 392 million page views, which was an increase from the 222 million page views in 2008.
Roger Federer was fined $1,500 by the US Open for an audible obscenity during the US Open final. USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said a total of $31,500 in fines was collected by the tournament.
Serena Williams will be featured in a Proctor & Gamble ad campaign for its Tampax brand in October magazines.
Patron, the national vehicle of Malaysia, has signed on to be the tournament title sponsor for the inaugural Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. The tournament will be held from September 26 to October 4.
The 2009 Grand Slam for Children hosted by Andre Agassi and presented by Genworth Financial will take place on Saturday, September 26 at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Now in its 14th year, the Grand Slam for Children has already raised nearly $75 million to support a movement to improve education for children.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Novak Djokovic is in negotiations with K-Swiss for a clothing sponsorship deal. Djokovic’s clothing contract with adidas finishes at the end of this year.
According to the Melbourne Sun, Paul McNamee, the Chief Executive of the Australian Open from 2000 to 2006, has put his name in as a possible candidate to be the next President of Tennis Australia.
2009 US Open junior singles champion Bernard Tomic of Australia has left the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida and will now train in Australia.
On September 17, the Tennis Channel launched, Court Report, which is a one-minute nightly news update that will be produced four times a night on Thursday through Monday and will appear at the top of the hour from 7pm to 10pm EST. Court Report will be anchored in turns by experienced broadcast journalists, Cari Champion, Arlene Santana and Angela Sun.
Five-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Hingis was the first celebrity voted off of the BBC’s reality show, Strictly Come Dancing. “It was a great experience, I learned so much,” said Hingis. “I wish it would continue but here we are.”
According to Latvian media, Ernests Gublis has hired former pro Hernan Gumy as his new coach.
Former world No. 2 Tommy Haas has signed a sponsorship deal with Lagardere, which is a French conglomerate with holdings in publishing, retail, media and aerospace.
American teenager Melanie Oudin has signed an endorsement deal with AirTran Airways. “I am thrilled to have AirTran as a partner as I strive to reach my goals as a professional tennis player,” said Oudin.
Gilbert Ysern, Director of the French Open, has downplayed but did not deny rumors that the French Open might move to Disneyland Paris. “It’s really premature to discuss such a project,” Ysern told L’Equipe. “We can’t deny the possibility exists, but no negotiations have been initiated. We are still working actively on the Georges Hébert stadium project. But given the technical and political problems we face, we have to envisage the worst-case scenario — that is to say, not being able to properly complete the project and being forced to leave Roland Garros.”
The day after her loss to Kim Clijsters in the US Open final, Caroline Wozniacki went apartment shopping in Manhattan. “On Monday, I went with my parents and a real estate agent to look at some properties in New York where I would really like to have a home in the U.S. to come stay and train at during the year,” Wozniacki said on her blog on her official website.
Shahar Peer won the GDD-Guangzhou International Women’s Open, beating Alberta Brianti 6-3 6-4 in Guangzhou, China
Melinda Czink beat Lucie Safarova 4-6 6-3 7-5 to win the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, Canada
Evgeny Korolev beat Florent Serra 6-4 6-3 to win the Pekao Szczecin Open in Szczecin, Poland
World Group Semifinals
Czech Republic beat Croatia 4-1 in Porec, Croatia
Spain beat Israel 4-1 in Murcia, Spain
World Group Playoffs
Switzerland beat Italy 3-2, France beat Netherlands 4-1, Sweden beat Romania 3-21, Serbia beat Uzbekistan 5-0, India beat South Africa 4-1, Belgium beat Ukraine 3-2, Ecuador beat Brazil 3-2, and Chile played Austria
Group I Playoff: Peru vs. Uruguay beat Peru 4-1; Group II Final: Dominican Republic beat Venezuela 3-2
Group I Playoff: China beat Thailand 4-1. Group II 3rd Round: Philippines beat New Zealand 4-1
Group I Playoffs: Slovak Republic beat FYR Macedonia 5-1; Poland beat Great Britain 3-2; Group II 3rd Round: Latvia beat Slovenia 3-2; Finland beat Cyprus 3-2
“I feel like I was in a 10-round boxing match. Everything hurts.” – Ivo Karlovic, who served a record 78 aces, yet lost his Davis Cup match against Radek Stepanek.
“I fought for my country. It was an amazing game.” – Radek Stepanek, who survived Ivo Karlovic’s record 78 aces to win 6-7 (5) 7-6 (5) 7-6 (6) 6-7 (2) 16-14.
“I have to go on holiday badly. I have a problem with my leg. I have a problem with my arm – everything is hurting. And I’ve got to do some babysitting.” – Roger Federer, after helping Switzerland beat Italy and remain in the World Group in 2010.
“I tried everything, but he was particularly good today.” – Potito Starace, who lost to Roger Federer to give Switzerland an insurmountable lead in its Davis Cup playoff against Italy.
“It’s not the way to act – win or lose, good call or bad call, in any sport, in any manner.” – Serena Williams, apologizing for her verbal assault towards a line judge during the US Open women’s final.
“I was very tired after the first two sets, lost the third and the fourth. But then, when I went to the locker room when the fourth set finished, I told my brother I wasn’t going to lose the match. This is the beauty of Davis Cup, the energy of a team and the energy of a country.” – Nicolas Lapentti, whose 6-4 6-4 1-6 2-6 8-6 victory over Marcos Daniel clinched Ecuador’s World Group Playoff tie over Brazil.
“It’s like David against Goliath – and we know who won that one!” – Andy Ram, before Israel played Spain in a Davis Cup semifinal. This time Goliath won.
“I hope it’s the start of something.” – Eyal Ran, Israel’s Davis Cup captain, on his team’s surprising run to the World Group semifinals.
“I hope to come back next year and do better. Unless you win, you can always do better.” – Lucie Safarova, who lost to Melinda Czink in the final of the Bell Challenge.
“I thought they (India) were trying different tactics. I couldn’t understand why he (Mahesh Bhupathi) was serving and staying back.” – Jeff Coetzee, who with his partner Wesley Moodie earned South Africa’s lone point in their Davis Cup tie against India when the Indian doubles team was forced to retire after Bhupathi suffered a groin injury.
“At last we are where we deserve to be.” – Andy Murray, on Great Britain being relegated to Group II in the Euro/Africa Zone after losing its Davis Cup tie to Poland.
Ivo Karlovic slammed a record 78 aces yet lost his Davis Cup match against Radek Stepanek in a marathon that lasted one minute short of six hours. Stepanek’s 6-7 (5) 7-6 (5) 7-6 (6) 6-7 (2) 16-14 victory gave the Czech Republic a 2-0 first-day lead over Croatia. The Czechs captured the tie 4-1 and advanced to the final against Spain. The 82 games equaled the Davis Cup record since tiebreakers were introduced in 1989, but the elapsed time was well short of two matches played by John McEnroe, against Mats Wilander in 1982 and against Boris Becker in 1987, both of which lasted around 6½ hours. Karlovic wasted four match points in the final set, and there were only five break-point chances in the match. Karlovic obliterated both the men’s record and Davis Cup record for aces, marks he held. He had 55 aces in a loss to Lleyton Hewitt at the French Open in May, and his previous Davis Cup mark was 47, which he shared with Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten and Switzerland’s Marc Rosset.
Apparently apparel company Fila has deep pockets. According to reports, Kim Clijsters was given a significant bonus by her shoe and clothing sponsor for her surprising US Open singles championship. And where companies usually insure these bonuses, CNBC says Fila did not. The bonus is reported to be in the range of USD $300,000, which could buy a lot of shoes for Clijsters’ young daughter. Darren Rovell of SportsBiz says that while it’s standard practice for companies to insure their big incentive bonuses to minimize the risk, Fila didn’t do it with Clijsters since she had played just two tournaments following a two-year retirement. The odds on Clijsters winning were as high as 40-to-1.
You can excuse Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych if they want to take an extra nap or two. Between them, the Czech duo played for nearly 10 hours on the first day of the Czech Republic’s Davis Cup semifinal against Croatia. But the two then joined forces on the second day to play – and win – their doubles, clinching a spot for the Czech Republic in the final against Spain. On the first day, Stepanek needed one minute less than 6 hours to outlast Ivo Karlovic, and then Berdych was on court for 3 hours 48 minutes to down Marin Cilic in five sets. Together, Stepanek and Berdych needed only 2 hours, 16 minutes to defeat Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Hajek. Stepanek and Berdych are unbeaten together in Davis Cup doubles, improving their record to 5-0, including 3-0 this season.
Even with Andy Murray playing all three days, Great Britain was relegated to Group Two of the Euro/African zonal play when Poland won their Davis Cup tie 3-2. Murray won both of his singles matches, but Michal Przysiezny beat Dan Evans in the decisive singles to give Poland the victory. It is the first time in 13 years that Great Britain has been dropped to the third tier of the world-wide competition. Evans also lost his first-day singles match to Jerzy Janowicz, But Poland’s Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski beat Murray and Ross Hutchins in the doubles.
When talking about Belgium tennis, most are thinking about the women. The country has produced former number ones Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, the latter winning the US Open earlier this month on her return to the sport following a two-year retirement. But Belgium’s men have also proved their mettle, keeping the country in the World Group for 2010 by besting Ukraine 3-2. And that came despite Belgium losing it’s number one player with an injury just hours before the Davis Cup Playoff began. Olivier Rochus withdrew with a leg injury, but his brother Christophe Rochus joined with Steve Darcis to help Belgium beat Ukraine.
Zina Garrison has settled the racial discrimination suit she brought against the United States Tennis Association (USTA). A deal was signed on August 27, although its terms were not disclosed. A former Fed Cup captain, Garrison filed her lawsuit in February, saying she was unfairly treated, paid a lower salary than Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe while being held to higher standards. As a player, Garrison was the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up, at the time becoming the first black woman since Althea Gibson to play in a Grand Slam tournament singles final. She became the first black captain of the US Fed Cup team when she replaced Billie Jean King in 2004. Spokesman Chris Widmaier said the USTA is happy the case was resolved and looks forward to working with Garrison in the future.
STOP RIGHT NOW
Martina Hingis should stick to tennis and stay away from dancing, at least according to the British public. Hingis became the first celebrity to be ousted from the new BBBC reality talent show, “Strictly Come Dancing.” It’s England’s answer to the American TV show “Dancing With The Stars.” Hingis and her partner Matthew Cutler were in the bottom two when phone votes were added to the judges’ score. They then lost a dance-off against policeman-turned-crime-presenter Rav Wilding and his partner Aliona Vilani. Two years ago, Cutler teamed with Alesha Dixon to win the competition. This year, Dixon, a singer, is a judge on the show.
Admitting she lost her cool, Serena Williams has issued an apology for her outburst towards a line judge in her women’s singles final at the US Open. “I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately,” Williams said. “I want to sincerely apologize first to the lineswoman, Kim Clijsters, the US Tennis Association and tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst.” The line judge had called a foot fault on Williams on her second serve, giving Clijsters match point. William, who already had been handed a code violation for racquet abuse, unleashed a tirade towards the line judge, briefly walked away, and then returned for another blast at the official. When chair umpire Louise Engzell asked the line judge what had been said, she called for the tournament referee Brian Earley and eventually ordered a point penalty, the next level of punishment under the code. That gave the match to Clijsters. Williams was fined USD $10,000 for the infraction, and was further penalized USD $500 for the racquet abuse.
SPEAK YE NOT
Saying the “magic” word cost Roger Federer a USD $1,500 fine at the US Open. The Swiss superstar was fined for using a profanity while arguing with the chair umpire during the US Open final. Television microphones picked up the naughty word during the live broadcast of the match. Tournament spokesman said Federer was fined the same amount as two other players – Vera Zvonareva and Daniel Koellerer – for audible obscenities. Daniel Nestor was fined USD $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct toward a fan, but the big loser at this year’s final Grand Slam tournament was Serena Williams, who was docked USD $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. She also was fined USD $500 for racket abuse.
Melinda Czink is finally a winner on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The left-hander from Hungary beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic to capture the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, Canada. Playing in her second career final, it was Czink’s first title. “It feels great. I haven’t really processed it year, but I will,” she said. Czink’s first final was somewhat historic. She lost to Ana Ivanovic in the final round of qualifying in Canberra, Australia, in 2005, gained entry into the main draw as a “lucky loser,” then met and lost to Ivanovic in the final, the only known time that has happened.
SAYS YOU, SAYS ME
India has two of the world’s best doubles players. Both are now sidelined with injuries. Leander Paes pulled out of India’s Davis Cup World Group Playoff tie against South Africa because of an injury he sustained during the US Open, where he won the doubles title with Lucas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic and reached the mixed doubles final with Cara Black of Zimbabwe. Mahesh Bhupathi, who lost the men’s doubles with his partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, suffered a groin injury during the Davis Cup doubles. The injury forced the Indian doubles team to retire, giving South Africa its lone point in the tie.
SOME KIND OF PROBLEM
Albert Costa has a problem every Davis Cup captain would love to have. Costa has been Spain’s Davis Cup captain for just nine months, but already he faces several decisions that could make him unpopular with several players and their supporters. Costa’s team just swept past Israel 4-1 to return to the final to defend their Davis Cup title. This time they will take on the Czech Republic, which beat Croatia. Costa’s problem. His top two players missed the Israeli tie because of injuries. Does he now name the players who took Spain to the final or go with the two missing players – second ranked Rafael Nadal and ninth-ranked Fernando Verdasco. Of course, there may be no problem. Although injured, both Nadal and Verdasco sat through all three live rubbers on Friday and Saturday, cheering on their compatriots.
SEATS ARE FREE
Admittance to next week’s Vogue Athens Open will be free. The organizers Liberis Publications and Hellenic Tennis Federation decided to open the doors to the public for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event that will be played on the same courts where five years ago the Athens Olympic Games were held. The decision was also made because of the large capacity at the Olympic Tennis Center. All seats are available to anyone, beginning with the qualifying all the way through the final, which will be played on October 4.
Juan Martin del Potro’s five-set upset of five-time defending champion Roger Federer had the fans at home turning on their television sets. The men’s final, which was postponed because of rain to Monday, drew a 2.3 rating and 5 share on CBS. That’s up 35 percent from the 2008 final, which was also played on Monday because of rain delays. That was when Federer beat Andy Murray in straight sets. Ratings represent the percentage of all households with televisions, and shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Things at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are normal. The US Open set an attendance record this year, just as it has done every year. This year’s attendance was 721,059, slightly more than the previous record of 720,227 set last year. The tournament also set a Week One attendance record of 423,427, including a single-day high of 61,554 for the combined day and night sessions on the first Friday.
Remember Melanie Oudin, the 17-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, who reached the quarterfinals of the US Open. Well, she has signed on to be a pitch woman for AirTran Airways Inc., an Orlando, Florida-based company. Oudin became the youngest woman to reach the US Open quarterfinals since Serena Williams did it in 1999. Oudin had victories over fourth-ranked Elena Dementieva, 13th-seeded Nadia Petrova and former US Open champion Maria Sharapova. The youngster is currently ranked 44th in the world and is the third-highest ranked American woman, behind sisters Serena and Venus Williams. AirTran, a low-cost airline, recently took over as the official airline of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League.
Guangzhou: Olga Govortsova and Tatiana Poutchek beat Kimiko Date Krumm and Sun Tiantian 3-6 6-2 10-8 (match tiebreak)
Quebec City: Vania King and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat Sofia Arvidsson and Severine Bremond Beltrame 6-1 6-3
Szczecin: Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk beat Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. and Artem Smirnov 6-3 6-4
SITES TO SURF
Saint Malo: www.opengdfsuez-bretagne.com
Kuala Lumpur: www.malasianopentennis.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$650,000 BCR Open Romania, Bucharest, Romana, clay
$650,000 Open de Moselle, Metz, France, hard
$220,000 Hansol Korea Open, Seoul, Korea, hard
$220,000 Tashkent Open, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hard
$100,000 Open GDF Suez de Bretagne, Saint Malo, France, clay
Trophee Jean-Luc Lagardere, Paris, France, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$947,750 Proton Malaysia Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hard
$608,500 Thailand Open, Bangkok, Thailand, hard
$2,000,000 Toray Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo, Japan, hard
$100,000 Vogue Athens Open, Athens, Greece, hard
Venus Williams beat Virginie Razzano 6-4 6-2 to win the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emigrates
Andy Roddick captured the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, Tennessee, USA with a 7-5 7-5 victory over Radek Stepanek.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the Open 13 by beating Michael Llodra 7-5 7-6 (3) in Marseille, France
Victoria Azarenka beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-1 6-3 to win the Regions Morgan Championships women’s title in Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Tommy Robredo stopped Juan Monaco 7-5 2-6 7-6 (5) to capture the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Gisela Dulko 6-3 6-2 to win the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia
“I felt like I had to talk about her (Shahar Peer). I thought it was brave of her to come here and try and play despite knowing that it is not going to be easy for her. My dad grew up in an area where if you spoke too much, it was your life. So I felt I had a small opportunity to say something where everyone will listen.” – Venus Williams, who after winning the title in Dubai spoke of Peer during the trophy presentation.
“I am not here to rock any boat or upset people. I am just here to do things that are right. And I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year.” – Venus Williams.
“We do not wish to politicize sports, but we have to be sensitive to recent events in the region and not alienate or put at risk the players and the many tennis fans of different nationalities that we have here in the UAE.” – Salah Tahlak, Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships tournament director, in a statement.
“I made it clear to them (the Dubai organizers) that if Shahar were not allowed to play, they would run the risk of losing their tournament. It would be a big blow to lose one of this prestige and money, but if it comes to principles of fairness and openness, there can be no compromise.” – Larry Scott, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO.
“The ITF believes that sport should not be used as a political tool but rather as a unifying element between athletes and nations. Our flagship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, were founded on the idea of fostering greater understanding among nations through tennis, a principle that is as valid today as it was over 100 years ago.” – Francesco Ricci Bitti, ITF president.
“I personally look forward to competing in Dubai next year. It is still very unfortunate that due to the decision of the Dubai tournament and the UAE, I could not participate this year. This has hurt me significantly both personally and professionally.” – Shahar Peer.
“This has been a very difficult period for me, and I want to thank the many thousands of fans and organizations all over the world that made this breakthrough possible, including the WTA Tour and my fellow players.” Shahar Peer.
“In the 21st century there is no reason a person should be restricted from doing his or her job because of their nationality, creed, race, gender or sexual orientation.” – Billie Jean King.
“I think due to the press and the WTA talking about it and talking with the tournament, and the pressure they felt after Shahar Peer not getting a visa – it opened up an opportunity for this other player to get a visa. I think because we didn’t just sit down and say: ‘Oh, it’s OK’, we kinda stuck to it, and it opened the doors for someone else, which is great. I don’t think that would have happened if we had just let it be.” – Serena Williams, after Israeli Andy Ram received a visa to play in the men’s tournament in Dubai.
“No player who qualifies to play an ATP World Tour event should be denied their right to compete on the basis of ethnicity, nationality or religion and we are happy that the Dubai Tennis Championships and the UAE have shown that they share that view.” – Adam Helfant, ATP president, in a statement after Ram received a visa.
“It’s amazing, I played unbelievably. Novak did a very good job today, so it was tough to beat him. For me, it was my best match since the start of the year and I’m really happy about that.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after beating Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at Marseille, France.
“I had my opportunities to close out the match in the second set. But the truth is Monaco played a good match and deserved to win.” – David Nalbandian, after losing his Buenos Aires Open semifinal to Juan Monaco 2-6 7-5 7-6 (2).
“She played I think one of her best matches and I was not there. I didn’t give myself the chance to play. It was one of those days today and I’ll just have to forget it and get ready for Indian Wells.” – Dinara Safina, after losing a first-round match to Virginie Razzano 6-4 6-2
“It’s been a difficult tournament with changing conditions all the time. It’s the first time I’ve finished with my shoes full of water.” – Tommy Robredo, after winning in Buenos Aires on a court soaked by a heavy overnight downpour.
“I have no regrets. None. I was proud to retire as the world’s No 1 player. I came to the realization that there was a great life out there outside of playing top-flight tennis. It became clear in my head that I would be happier in another way.” – Justine Henin, in an interview with The Sunday Times of London.
“I could have played a match here, but not two.” – Richard Gasquet, after withdrawing from the Open 13 tournament in Marseille, France, because of a right shoulder injury.
Tournament organizers, citing fan anger at Israel’s recent incursion into the Gaza Strip, said security fears were behind the decision to not give Shahar Peer a visa. The United Arab Emirates, which is trying to become a showcase for world-class sports, found itself immediately at the center of a firestorm of criticism from around the world. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and ATP, which have rules stating any player should be able to compete where they wish provided they have the required ranking, led the protests. An American cable company, Tennis Channel, canceled its coverage of the tournament. And The Wall Street Journal’s European edition withdrew its sponsorship of the event. Peer thanked her fellow players for their support, but insisted it was only fair on the other competitors that the tournament continued. “They were in or on their way to Dubai, and denying them the right to play in this year’s tournament at the last moment would not make the wrong right. Venus Williams won the singles, then singled out Peer in her post-tournament remarks.
The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour fined the organizers of the Dubai Tennis Championships a record USD $300,000 after Shahar Peer of Israel was denied a visa to play a tournament in the United Arab Emirates. Under a barrage of negative comments, Israeli Andy Ram was granted a visa to play in this week’s men’s tournament in Dubai. “Thanks to the courage of Shahar, and all those individuals and organizations – including her fellow players – that supported her, the UAE has changed their policy and another barrier of discrimination has fallen,” WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott said. Besides the fine, the WTA Tour announced will receive USD $44,250 and 130 ranking points, the amount equal to the points that she earned during the same week in 2008 but was unable to defend. Peer also will be guaranteed a wild card entry into the Dubai tournament next year if she does not otherwise qualify. Anna Lena Groenefeld, who was to be Peer’s doubles partner in Dubai, will receive USD $7,950, an amount equal to the average prize money that she earned per tournament in doubles in 2008. “These actions are also intended to send a clear message that our Tour will not tolerate discrimination of any kind and that we will never allow this situation to happen again, in UAE or elsewhere,” Scott said.
Andy Ram has an added reason to win the doubles title at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships this week. United Arab Emirates authorities granted Ram a visa following sharp world-wide protests when his fellow Israeli, Shahar Peer, was denied entry into the country and prevented from playing in the women’s tournament. Organizers of the men’s event said Ram will have all the security he needs while in Dubai. Ram and partner Julian Knowle are coming off a second-place finish at the Open 13 tournament in Marseille, France, when they lost the title match to Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra 6-3 3-6 10-8 (match tiebreak). The head of the Emirates consular affairs department said a “special permit” had been granted for Ram, but did not give a specific reason why Ram was allowed to participate and not Peer.
Five of the top ten players in the world will be skipping the Dubai men’s championships this week. Rafael Nadal is suffering from a knee injury and hopes to be ready for Spain’s Davis Cup tie against Serbia. “The doctor has advised me to stay home and rest after the pain on my knee in Rotterdam last week,” Nadal said. Roger Federer has a bad back and will also miss Switzerland’s Davis Cup tie against the United States. Also skipping this week’s tournament, one of the richest on the ATP tour calendar with prize money of more than USD $2 million, are Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco and Andy Roddick. “They have all seemed to have legitimate injuries,” said Colm McLoughlin, managing director of Dubai Duty Free. He apparently hadn’t talked with Roddick, who said the Peer affair was the reason he won’t defend his title in Dubai. “I really didn’t’ agree with what went on over there,” Roddick said. “I don’t know if it’s the best thing to mix politics and sports, and that was probably a big part of it.”
There won’t be much noise when Sweden and Israel play their first-round Davis Cup match in Malmo, Sweden. Because of anti-Israeli demonstrations planned during the three-day competition, Malmo officials said the matches will be played in an empty arena. Only officials, some sponsors and journalists will be allowed to view the competition because the city’s recreational committee said it could not guarantee security for the fans. There is a history in Sweden for quiet Davis Cup ties. In 1975, following a military coup in Chile, no spectators were allowed in Bastad’s arena to watch Sweden play Chile.
Roger Federer will miss Switzerland’s Davis Cup tie against the United States because of a back injury. He also is skipping this week’s tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emigrates. Federer said he has not had enough time to completely strengthen his back after hurting it last fall and is taking the break as a precautionary measure. Switzerland takes on the United States in the first-round tie on March 6-8 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Nikolay Davydenko will not participate in Russia’s first-round Davis Cup tie against Romania. Russian team captain Shamil Tarpishchev said Davydenko is not yet fully recovered from a foot injury that sidelined the world’s number five player for two months. Tarpishchev has named Marat Safin, Dmitry Tursunov, Teimuraz Gabashvili and Mikhail Youzhny for the March 6-8 tie that will be played in Sibiu, Romania.
In a lawsuit, Zina Garrison has accused the United States Tennis Association of discrimination. The former US Fed Cup captain said she was treated unfairly because she was paid a lower salary than Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe, wasn’t given a multiyear deal equivalent to McEnroe’s and was subjected to higher performance standards than he was. In the suit, Garrison claims her replacement as Fed Cup captain, Mary Joe Fernandez, was given a given a higher salary despite little coaching experience at the national level. The first black captain of the US Fed Cup team, Garrison replaced Billie Jean King in 2004 and her teams had a 5-5 record in five season, losing in the semifinals four times and the quarterfinals once. “During Ms. Garrison’s five-year tenure as captain, the United States Fed Cup team did not advance to the Fed Cup final, its longest drought in the competition’s 45-year history,” said USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier, who denied discrimination was involved in the change.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez finally has a singles title to go along with her doubles success. The Spaniard captured her first career WTA Tour singles crown when she defeated Gisela Dulko 6-2 6-3 at the Copa Sony Ericsson Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia. “The final was more difficult than the score suggests, but on the important points I think I played better,” Martinez Sanchez said. “I really believe that doubles helps my singles.” The 26-year-old has won six doubles titles.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame paid a special tribute to former US Open winner Gabriela Sabatini during the Copa Telmex Tournament in her hometown, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sabatini, who became the first woman from Argentina to win a Grand Slam tournament title in 1990 at the US Open, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006. The ceremony was conducted by Mark Stenning, CEO of the Hall of Fame, and 2005 Hall of Famer Butch Buchholz.
Now that’s he’s recovered from hip surgery, Lleyton Hewitt will lead Australia’s Davis Cup team in their Asia/Oceania first-round tie in Thailand next month. Because of the surgery, Hewitt missed Australia’s last Davis Cup competition against Chile. Joining Hewitt on the squad will be Chris Guccione, Carsten Ball and teenager Brydan Klein. Tennis Australia also announced that Wally Masur will replace Darren Cahill as coach of the squad, joining Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald.
SAYS NO THANKS
Plans for a Davis Cup comeback by Greg Rusedski have been dashed by British captain John Lloyd and the team’s top player, Andy Murray. The 35-year-old Rusedski said his performance in senior event had convinced him that he still could be competitive. And with Murray on Britain’s team, Rusedski felt he could help the squad, and even was willing to participate in a playoff to decide who will play number two to Murray when Great Britain takes on Ukraine. Instead, Lloyd has decided to go with youngsters.
The United States Davis Cup tie against Switzerland will be televised live on Tennis Channel. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced Tennis Channel will broadcast live the US Davis Cup competition for the next two years. Tennis Channel has the US television rights for Davis Cup ties involving countries other than the United States, as well as all Fed Cup matches. For the past two years, Tennis Channel has shown US Davis Cup matches only on tape delay.
Marseille: Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra beat Andy Ram and Julian Knowle 6-3 3-6 10-8 (match tiebreak)
Dubai: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Maria Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 6-3
Memphis (men): Mardy Fish and Mark Knowles beat Travis Parrott and Filip Polasek 7-6 (7) 6-1
Memphis (women): Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki beat Yuliana Fedak and Michaella Krajicek 6-1 7-6 (2)
Bogota: Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta 7-5 3-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Buenos Aires: Marcel Granollers and Alberto Martin beat Nicolas Almagro and Santiago Ventura 6-3 5-7 10-8 (match tiebreak)
SITES TO SURF
Delray Beach: www.yellowtennisball.com
Davis Cup: www.DavisCup.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$2,233,000 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai, UAE, hard
$1,226,500 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico, clay
$500,000 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach, Florida, USA, hard
$220,000 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$135,000 Internazionali di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy, hard
$220,000 Monterrey Open, Monterrey, Mexico, hard
Argentina vs. Netherlands at Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay
Czech Republic vs. France at Ostrava, Czech Republic, carpet
United States vs. Switzerland at Birmingham, Alabama, USA, hard
Croatia vs. Chile at Porec, Croatia, hard
Sweden vs. Israel at Malmo, Sweden, carpet
Romania vs. Russia at Sibiu, Romania, carpet
Germany vs. Austria at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, hard
Spain vs. Serbia at Benidorm, Spain, clay
Americas Zone Group I (First Round)
Uruguay at Colombia, Ecuador at Canada
Americas Zone Group II (First Round)
Jamaica at Mexico, Netherlands Antilles at Venezuela, Guatemala at Dominican Republic, Bahamas at Paraguay
Asia/Oceania Zone Group I (Second Round)
Australia at Thailand, India at Chinese Taipei, China at Japan, Korea at Uzbekistan
Asia/Oceania Zone Group II (First Round)
Philippines at Hong Kong, Pakistan at Oman, Kuwait at Indonesia, Malaysia at New Zealand
Europe/Africa Zone Group I (First Round)
Macedonia at South Africa
Europe/Africa Zone Group I (Second Round)
Slovak Republic at Italy, Ukraine at Great Britain, Poland at Belgium
Europe/Africa Zone Group II (First Round)
Georgia at Lithuania, Egypt at Slovenia, Latvia at Moldova, Bulgaria at Hungary, Finland at Denmark, Montenegro at Monaco, Ireland at Algeria, Portugal at Cyprus
David Nalbandian beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 6-7 (9) 6-2 to win the Medibank International men’s singles in Sydney, Australia
Juan Martin del Potro beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4, winning the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand
Elena Dementieva won the Medibank International women’s singles, beating Dinara Safina 6-3 2-6 6-1 in Sydney, Australia
Petra Kvitova beat Iveta Benesova 7-5 6-1 to win the Moorilla Hobart International in Hobart, Australia
Roger Federer won the AAMI exhibition event in Melbourne, Australia, beating Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1 6-3
“New season, big opportunities for me. I’m chasing a lot of records.” – Roger Federer, who needs only one more Grand Slam tournament singles title to tie Pete Sampras with a men’s record 14.
“I was hoping for a good start but I couldn’t imagine I was going to win two titles.” – Elena Dementieva, who won the Medibank International in Sydney, Australia, to go with the title she won the week before in Auckland, New Zealand.
“I don’t know if I can call her a friend anymore. We are sharing a room, but I think I will kick her out tonight.” – Iveta Benesova, joking after losing to her roommate Petra Kvitova in the final of the Hobart International.
“It’s very good. I mean, winning a tournament before (the Australian Open) is almost perfect to arrive.” – David Nalbandian, who beat Jarkko Nieminen to win the Medibank International men’s title.
“The livestock industry in Melbourne is well developed and it impresses me that there are so many flies here. But since it is so hot, the flies get tired here and do not feel like flying much!” – Sun Tiantian, writing in her blog on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour website.
“In Serbia we don’t have the best facilities in the world, especially in wintertime it’s very hard for to us train. But we are really hungry and motivated to do well. The three of us that have achieved and came to the top of the tennis game, we all did it in different ways, going to different places and really wanted to become the best that we can be.” – Jelena Jankovic, on the fact that she, Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic give Serbia three of the world’s top players.
“The ATP Board believes it has secured a new leader with the necessary strategic vision, operational strength and international perspective.” – ATP tournament board representative Graham Pearce in announcing Adam Helfant as the new head of the men’s professional tennis tour.
SELES TO HALL
Monica Seles is the newest member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The nine-time Grand Slam singles champion will be inducted into the shrine at ceremonies on July 11 in Newport, Rhode Island. Also being inducted will be Andres Gimeno of Spain, a star in the 1960s; pioneer marketer Donald Dell and the late Robert Johnson, who was instrumental in the development of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe. Seles won the 1991 and 1992 US Opens, the 1990-1992 French Opens and 1991-1993 and 1996 Australian Opens. In 1990 she became the youngest French Open champion in history at 16½ years.
Elena Dementieva is off to a tremendous start in 2009. She beat fellow Russian Dinara Safina 6-3 2-6 6-1 to win the Medibank International in Sydney, Australia, her second title in two weeks. She had won in Auckland, New Zealand, the week before. With the 13th title of her career, Dementieva increased her match record to 10-0 this year. She is currently ranked a career-high number four in the world and at Sydney beat two top three players at the same tournament for the second time in her career. Besides Safina, who is ranked number three in the world, Dementieva also bested second-ranked Serena Williams. Safina has now lost her last three matches to Dementieva, including last year’s Olympic singles final in Beijing.
Nicolas Kiefer is out of the Australian Open before it begins. The German withdrew from the year’s first Grand Slam tournament after suffering an injury to his left ankle while playing in the Hopman Cup. A semifinalist at the Australian Open in 2006, Kiefer had been scheduled to play Argentina’s Guillermo Canas in the opening round. He was replaced in the draw by another German, qualifier Dieter Kindlmann.
Italy’s Filippo Volandri has been banned for three months by the International Tennis Federation for abusing an asthma drug. In making the announcement, the Italian Tennis Federation said Volandri’s use of salbutamol was deemed beyond therapeutic needs. The ban began last week and will end April 14. Ranked 109th in the world, Valandri was to face Mario Ancic of Croatia in the opening round of the Australian Open. His spot has been taken by American qualifier Wayne Odesnik. Volandri failed a drug test last March at a tournament in Indian Wells, California. The ITF also announced that all of Volandri’s results from March 13 on will be voided and he also will forfeit USD $166,000 in prize money he won and ATP points earned.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, has upheld the two-year doping ban given to Spanish tennis player Laura Pous Tio. She tested positive for banned drugs during the 2007 Wimbledon qualifying tournament. Her ban started in October 2007, but she appealed to the CAS. The CAS also upheld the disqualification of Pous Tio’s results from the Wimbledon qualifying tournament and subsequent events. The 24-year-old, who had a career-high ranking of 75th in the world in 2005, will be eligible to play again in October 2009.
The top men believe that moving the Australian Open to February would make more sense. Lleyton Hewitt doesn’t agree. Roger Federer said moving the year’s first Grand Slam tournament to a few weeks later would let the players work into the new year more gradually. He was joined by Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. However, Australian Open organizers don’t want to move the tournament back because the existing slot coincides with Australia’s national summer holidays. “I think as an Australian it’s probably the ideal time,” Hewitt said. “This is the time that I’ve always known it as the Australian Open, the dates that I’ve always come to since I was coming here as a young kid to watch.”
Tennis fans can watch matches live on the Internet this year – for a price. The ATP and WTA Tours announced the creation of TennisTV.com, which will offer streaming video from 41 events, including the season-ending championships. However, no Grand Slam tournament matches will be included, and not everyone in the world will be able to see the matches, even if they are willing to pay for it. Among others, the WTA Tour is blacking out Europe, while the ATP is not offering live service in Brazil. And the two singles finals of this year’s Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, will not be available in the United States.
Israeli Dudi Sela saved six match points before winning his qualifying match and gaining a spot in the Australian Open main draw. The 23-year-old Sela trailed 5-3, 40-0 in the third set before fighting back for a 6-0 2-6 8-6 victory over Grega Zemlja of Slovenia. Sela saved three match points in the ninth game of the third set, then staved off the others in the 10th and 11th games. He was to play Rainer Schuettler of Germany in the opening round of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
Adam Helfant is the new head of the men’s professional tennis tour. The former National Hockey League lawyer replaces Etienne de Villiers, who stepped down last year after heading the ATP since 2005. Most recently Helfant was Nike’s corporate vice president for global sports marketing.
Zina Garrison’s departure as captain of the United States Fed Cup team apparently wasn’t as smooth as the United States Tennis Association (USTA) led everyone to believe. In December 2007, the USTA announced that 2008 would be Garrison’s final season and that she would be replaced by Mary Joe Fernandez. No reason was given for Garrison being dumped, although her record as captain was only 5-5 over five seasons, losing in the semifinals four times and the quarterfinals once. In 1990, Garrison was the Wimbledon runner-up, becoming the first black woman since Althea Gibson in 1958 to reach a Grand Slam tournament singles final. When she replaced Billie Jean King for the 2004 season, she became the first black captain of the US Fed Cup squad.
The Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, has a new name. It now will be called the BNP Paribas Open as the France-based bank took over sponsorship of the event. Organizers of the tournament also announced equal prize money of USD $4.5 million each for the men and women. The tournament began in 1976 and is said to rank only behind the four Grand Slam tournaments in attendance.
Sydney (men): Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 6-1 7-6 (3)
Sydney (women): Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai beat Natalie Dechy and Casey Dellacqua 6-0 6-1
Auckland: Martin Damm and Robert Lindstedt beat Scott Lipsky and Leander Paes 7-5 6-4
Hobart: Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta beat Alona Bondarenko and Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2 7-6 (4)
SITES TO SURF
Australian Open: www.australianopen.com/
WTA Tour: www.sonyericssonwtatour.com
ATP Tour: www.atpworldtour.com
International Tennis Federation: www.itftennis.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
ATP and WTA TOUR
Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia (first week)
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia (second week)
$112,000 Heilbronn Open, Heilbronn, Germany
Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia (second week)
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
So what salient events in the history of tennis happened 10, 20 and 25 years ago today? A gold medal, a first career ATP singles victory and hallmark achievement for John McEnroe. Read below from my soon-to-be-released book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, November 1, 2008 release, pre-order for 30 percent off at www.tennistomes.com) and enjoy.
1988 – Miloslav Mecir defeats Tim Mayotte 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in the gold medal match at the Seoul Olympics in Seoul, Korea becoming the first man to win Olympic gold medal since tennis returned as a full-medal Olympic sport after a 64-year hiatus. No. 10 ranked Mecir, from the Slovak portion of Czechoslovakia, throws his racquet into the air and runs to the net with a wide grin after Mayotte nets a backhand volley on match point. “‘It’s a very good feeling,” Mecir says of winning gold. ”It’s difficult to say how this rates, however. I’ve played in so many tournaments. It is nice, though, to hear people cheering not only because I’m a good player, but because I am playing for them also.” Says Mayotte, “It’s strange because here, the emphasis is on medals instead of 100 percent on winning. So there is consolation in getting to the medal group. The ceremony was fantastic, it’s such a different way of doing things.” In women’s doubles, Pam Shriver and Zina Garrison win the gold medal, edging Helena Sukova and Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia 4-6, 6-2, 10-8 in the gold medal match. “If I never do anything else in my life, this will be the highlight,” says Shriver. “It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten a charge like this from anything. This is just so different. Zina and I didn’t even know each other that well before we came here. And then we got here, were roommates, did everything together — including having her beat my brains out in singles the other day — and then we win this. It’s going to be hard to top for a while.” Says Garrison, “It was really strange to be on the victory stand and hear your national anthem. It’s just got to be the special moment in your life.”
1998 – Seventeen-year-old Roger Federer defeats Guillaume Raoux of France 6-2, 6-2 in the first round in Toulouse for his first ATP singles match victory. Rene Stauffer, in his book The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection, summarizes Federer’s achievement, “Yet, before the chase for the year-end No. 1 junior ranking reached its decisive phase, the unexpected happened. Federer achieved his first great breakthrough on the ATP Tour. With a ranking of No. 878, he traveled to Toulouse, France at the end of September and, to his own surprise, advanced through the qualifying rounds to progress into the main draw of the tournament. In only his second ATP tournament, the 17-year-old registered an upset victory over No. 45-ranked Guillaume Raoux of France-his first ATP match victory-allowing the Frenchman just four games. In the next round, Federer proved this win was not a fluke by defeating former Australian Davis Cup star Richard Fromberg 6-1, 7-6 (5). In the quarterfinals-his sixth match of the tournament including matches in the qualifying rounds-Federer lost to Jan Siemerink 7-6 (5), 6-2, with a throbbing thigh injury hampering him during the match. The Dutchman was ranked No. 20 and went on to win the tournament two days later, but Federer was also handsomely rewarded. He received a prize money check for $10,800 and passed 482 players in the world rankings in one tournament-moving to No. 396.”
1983 – John McEnroe defeats Ireland’s Sean Sorensen 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to tie two U.S. Davis Cup records in the Davis Cup qualifying round against Ireland in Dublin, Ireland. McEnroe’s win over Sorenson ties him with his Davis Cup Captain Arthur Ashe for the most singles victories by an American Davis Cupper with 27. The win also ties McEnroe with Vic Seixas for the most total wins (singles and doubles) with 38.
Jie Zheng of China is making waves at Wimbledon and is now beginning to rival her nation’s former leader Mao Tse-Tung as the most famous tennis player from her country.
Zheng is the first Chinese player to reach a singles semifinal at a major championship, thanks for a wild-card entry in the tournament and string of unlikely wins, highlighted by her third-round upset of world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.
As documented by Bud Collins in his newly released book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS, Chairman Mao was the first Chinese of note to play the game. Wrote Collins, “Chairman Mao’s biographer, Edgar Snow, reported that the chairman enjoyed playing tennis with comrades in Shensi Province after his army had survived the famed, brutal Long March of 6,000 miles in 1935. Unfortunately his tennis career ended when a goat ate the net. That must have gotten his goat. But he would have been proud of Zi Yan and Jie Zheng, first Chinese ladies to win majors, Australian and Wimbledon doubles, 2006. Mao was born December 26, 1893 in Shaoshan Xiang Tan, Hunan Province, China and died at the age of 82, September 9, 1976 in Beijing.”
Zheng is the best performing women’s wild card at Wimbledon in the history of the tournament. (Previous best were fourth round performances by Zina Garrison in 1982, Anne Smith in 1985, Sam Smith in 1998 and Maria Sharapova in 2003.) Goran Ivanisevic won the men’s title as a wild card in 2001.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 26, 2008 – The USTA, the governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S., today announced the nine players nominated for the U.S. Olympic team for tennis at the 2008 Olympic Games, August 10-17 in Beijing, China.
U.S. women’s tennis coach Zina Garrison announced a four-woman team with three singles entries and two doubles teams. All three singles players — Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport — are former Olympic gold medal winners. The two nominated U.S. women’s doubles teams consist of world No. 1 Liezel Huber with Davenport and the Williams sisters.
U.S. men’s tennis coach Rodney Harmon announced a five-player men’s team, also with three singles entries and two doubles teams. James Blake, Sam Querrey and Robby Ginepri were named to the team in singles. Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 doubles team in the world, and Blake and Querrey have been nominated as the two U.S. men’s doubles teams.
The 2008 Olympic tennis competition will be staged August 10-17 on the hard courts of the Olympic Green Tennis Center in Beijing. The United States has won 15 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis since it returned as a full medal sport in 1988 — more than any other nation.
“Selection to the U.S. Olympic team is a tremendous honor for these athletes, and one they truly deserve,” said Jane Brown Grimes, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “The Olympics provides one of the greatest global platforms to showcase our sport, and we expect this to be a very memorable summer for tennis.”
“Each player selected to our U.S. Olympic team knows what playing for their country is all about,” said Arlen Kantarian, CEO, Pro Tennis, USTA. “All of these players have worn the Stars and Stripes as part of the U.S. Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams, and will be outstanding competitors — and first-class ambassadors — for our country in Beijing.”
“With three former gold medalists on our team and the No. 1 doubles player in the world, we are certainly capable of earning medals at this Olympics,” said Garrison. “I have great memories of the Olympics as a player and coach, and I am thrilled to be a part of the excitement once again.”
“The guys are all honored to receive the nomination to represent their country,” said Harmon. “With all of our singles players making their Olympic debuts and the Bryans searching for one of the few prizes they have still to earn in their accomplished careers, our goal is to be on the podium when all is said and done.”
Serena Williams, 26, will be making her second Olympic appearance having won a gold medal in women’s doubles at the 2000 Olympic Games with sister, Venus, becoming the first set of siblings to win Olympic gold in tennis. A resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Serena has won eight Grand Slam singles titles, and in 2003, became one of only five women to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles within a 12-month period.
Venus Williams, 28, will be making her third Olympic appearance having won a gold medal in both women’s singles and women’s doubles at the 2000 Olympic Games, joining Helen Wills in 1924 as the only player to sweep both titles at the same Olympiad. A resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Venus holds four Wimbledon and two US Open singles titles.
Lindsay Davenport, 32, will be making her third Olympic appearance having won a gold medal in singles at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Davenport took 11 months off from professional tennis to have her first child in June 2007, returning to the tour in September 2007. A resident of Laguna Beach, Calif., she has won 55 singles titles and 37 doubles titles in her career, including the 1998 US Open, 1999 Australian Open and 2000 Wimbledon titles.
Liezel Huber, 30, will be making her first Olympic appearance as an American (she competed at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney representing her native South Africa). A resident of Cypress, Texas, she became an American citizen in July 2007 with the hopes of competing for the U.S. in the Olympics. Ranked No. 1 in doubles since November 2007, Huber has won three Grand Slam doubles titles. She made her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team in April.
James Blake, 28, will be making his Olympic debut in Beijing. A resident of Tampa, Fla., Blake has the chance to make history by becoming the first African-American male to win an Olympic tennis medal. Blake missed the 2004 Olympic Games while recovering from a broken vertebra. The winner of 10 singles and five doubles titles during his career, he is currently the No. 2 ranked American and in 2007, helped the U.S. win the Davis Cup title.
Sam Querrey, 20, will be making his Olympic debut in Beijing. Querrey is having a breakthrough year in just his second full season as a pro. He broke into the Top 50 in 2007 and his ranking continues to rise after winning his first singles title in March in Las Vegas. He currently resides in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Robby Ginepri, 25, will be making his Olympic debut in Beijing. He missed being named to the 2004 U.S. Olympic team despite being ranked No. 35 in the world (he was the fifth-ranked American entered and the maximum number of singles players per country is four). A resident of Kennesaw, Ga., Ginepri has the distinction of being the only active American man other than Andy Roddick to reach the semifinals at a Grand Slam event (2005 US Open).
Bob and Mike Bryan, 30, will be making their second appearance in the Olympics having reached the quarterfinals in 2004 in Athens, losing to eventual gold medalists Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu of Chile. The Bryans, currently residing in Wesley Chapel, Fla., joined the great, great uncles of President George W. Bush as the only two sets of brothers to play tennis for the United States in the Olympics (Arthur and George Wear competed in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis and each won a bronze medal with different doubles partners). Together, the Bryans have won the career Grand Slam in doubles and in 2007, helped the U.S. capture its first Davis Cup title since 1995.
Venus and Serena Williams are the last American women to win Olympic gold in tennis. The women were shut out of the medal stand at the 2004 Olympic Games for the first time since tennis returned to Olympic competition in 1988.
Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Olympic gold in men’s singles when he defeated Spain’s Sergi Bruguera in the gold medal match at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso are the last American team to win Olympic gold in men’s doubles when they defeated Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez of Spain in the gold medal match at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Mardy Fish was the last American to earn an Olympic medal in tennis, winning silver at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Tennis was part of the Olympic program from the first modern Olympiad in 1896 until 1924. After a 64-year hiatus, tennis returned to the official Olympic program in 1988, becoming the first sport to feature professional athletes.
Team nominations are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with 725,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.
Faced with injuries and illness to several veteran players, captain Zina Garrison named a team that will rely on youth for the United States’ Federation Cup semifinal in Moscow, Russia. With Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Ashley Harkleroad all out of the tie, 18-year-old Madison Brengle may be asked to carry a heavy workload in her Fed Cup debut.
Brengle may see action as a singles player and that means facing top ten players. Russian, even without Maria Sharapova, has a formidable singles lineup with world number three Svetlana Kuznetsova and world number six Anna Chakvetadze on the team. Brengle will be a heavy underdog against either Kuznetsova or Chakvetadze.
The Dover, Delaware native is coming off a solid junior career in which she reached two junior grand slam finals in 2007, losing in the Australian Open in two tiebreaks to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and to Ursala Radwanska in 3 sets at Wimbledon. She captured the 43rd Astrid Bowl Charleroi, Belgian International Junior Champion-ships in 2007. Brengle has one career singles title on the ITF tour. She has not faced anyone the caliber of Kuznetsova or Chakvetadze this year.
Brengle will have to raise her game to a new level to pull off an upset if she is called upon. She will need to use her speed and good court movement to get a lot of balls back. She has a lot of fire and is a battler and that will serve her well. Chakvetadze lost to Dominika Cibulkova at the Bausch & Lomb Championships. Brengle‘s game is similar to Cibulkova’s, not quite as developed, but similar. She will have to give it her all and see what happens.
The one advantage that Brengle and the rest of her teammates will have is no expectations. Few expect an American team of Brengle, Vania King, Ahsha Rolle and Liezel Huber to be able to beat the Russians on their soil. Brengle and her teammates may have been thrown into the cauldron, but all the pressure is on Russia.