By James A. Crabtree
So yes, it is still in the very early stages.
But am I just imagining this or has there been an absurd amount of five set matches, thirteen at last count. Absolute proof the game is decided not only by the power of a serve but as much by a will of nerve.
Milos Raonic was made to work and work against Santiago Giraldo, but his big serve came in handy. Janko Tipsarevic scraped through as did fellow seed Marin Cilic who next faces Daniel Brands another five set survivor.
Surely these guys, after such a gruelling day at work deserve an immunity pin or something.
But reality TV this is not. You lose and you go home. No chance of a recall here just because you are a fan favourite.
Speaking of recalls how long has Radek Stepanek been around? Surely he remembers the better movie Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger over the latest disappointment with Colin Farrel. Anyway poor old Radek lost a tough four setter, dressed in a shirt paying homage to the statue of liberty, finding no such liberty from 11th seed Nicolas Almagro. Gilles Simon was more successful in his tough four setter against another old guy, thirty four year old Michael Russell.
Remember back in the eighties when they said to be a great tennis player you had to be dominating the tour before you needed to shave or were legally allowed to drive. How and why has it changed so much? Are we going to see players play to a Ken Rosewall and Pancho Gonzalez vintage? Will we ever see the likes of a teenage Boris Becker or Michael Chang again? Or is it simply because the older guys employ an improved diet and fitness regime whilst the younger guys play on their iPads and update their FaceBook status. It’s complicated.
Interestingly the only teenie within the top 100 currently is Bernard Tomic. Now correct me if I am wrong but Bernard is most certainly an old school name and the young Australian does play quite a flat forehand and uses the almost antiquated slice backhand to a devastating effect. Maybe that is the secret, be young but play old. This is getting confusing. Anyway he is playing the old Andy Roddick next.
Now, speaking of confusing Andy Murray did escape losing a set in his match to Alex Bogomolov Jr and Ivan Dodig. However, as has become quite normal for the Scot we had to witness his usual facial pains of distress and sudden hamstring grasps. If it were not for the score line you could have sworn he was down and out, not safely into the next round. Typical whinging Brit 😉
And a bit more whining. I am so disappointed in Grigor Dimitrov. If your style emulates Roger Federer we want the same results as Roger Federer. Is that really too much to ask ? Oh yes, Marcos Baghadatis is playing Alexandr Dolgopolov in his next- that should be a good one. Remember when Baghadatis made the 2006 Australian Open final. Feels like more than half a decade ago. Actually it was.
Ok, enough of all that. Bring on the next round.
Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal 6-4 5-7 6-3 to win an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi. Murray beat Roger Federer in the semifinals of the eight-player event.
“That’s what I’m aiming for. I worked really hard in November, December to give myself the best chance.” – Andy Murray, talking about his chances to win the Australian Open.
“I’m just not ready to play against the top-class competition in Hong Kong, although I remain hopeful for Australia where I’m the defending champion.” – Maria Sharapova, after withdrawing from a Hong Kong exhibition tournament because she is still recovering from a shoulder injury.
“Ken Rosewall is one of Australia’s sporting legends and without question one of the greatest tennis players of all time.” — Tennis New South Wales president Stephen Healy, on naming the Sydney Olympics stadium the Ken Rosewall Arena.
“I accomplished a lot of my dreams as a player, winning at Roland Garros, and now I’ve managed another one, becoming captain of our Davis Cup team.” – Albert Costa, after being named to the helm of Spain’s Davis Cup squad.
“We have chosen two professionals with a lot of experience and long careers in tennis. The AAT based its decision on the technical and leadership qualities of the two coaches.” — Enrique Morea, president of the AAT, after Modesto Vazquez was picked as Argentina’s new Davis Cup captain and Ricardo Rivera was selected as his assistant.
It hasn’t taken long for Andy Murray to show he should be considered one of the favorites for this month’s Australian Open. Although it was just an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, the Brit walked away with the USD $250,000 first-place prize after defeating Rafael Nadal 6-4 5-7 6-3 in the final. Murray also beat Roger Federer in the semifinals and James Blake in his opening match. It was Murray’s second straight win over Nadal and the fifth time he has beaten Federer.
Former Wimbledon semifinalist Jelena Dokic will be playing in this year’s Australian Open after winning a wild card spot in the draw. The 25-year-old Dokic was ranked as high as number four in the world in 2002. But a series of injuries and personal problems, many of them involving her father Damir, saw her ranking drop to 617 in 2006. Last year she won three ITF tournaments and improved her ranking to 179, her highest in four years.
Expecting her second child, Lindsay Davenport has taken herself off the WTA Tour indefinitely. The three-time Grand Slam winner learned she was pregnant just a week after agreeing to play in this month’s Australian Open. After returning to the tour following the birth of her first child, Jagger, Davenport won four of her 55 career singles titles. She also has won 37 doubles titles, including Roland Garros in 1996 with Mary Joe Fernandez, the US Open in 1997 with Jana Novotna and Wimbledon in 1999 with Corina Morariu. Her Grand Slam singles titles came at the US Open in 1998, Wimbledon in 1999 and the Australian Open in 2000.
Sydney’s 2000 Olympics tennis stadium has been named in honor of eight-time Grand Slam champion Ken Rosewall. The 10,000-seat stadium at Sydney Olympic Park will now be known as the Ken Rosewall Arena. Rosewall played in four Wimbledon finals during his career, with a 20-year gap between the first in 1954 and the last in 1974. He won four Australian titles, two French titles and two US titles. He turned 74 last month.
Albert Costa is Spain’s new Davis Cup captain. The 33-year-old replaces Emilio Sanchez Vicario, who stepped down after leading the Spaniards to their third Davis Cup title with a 3-1 win over Argentina. Costa, the 2002 French Open winner, played on Spain’s first Davis Cup winning team in 2000. He will make his debut as captain in a first-round World Group match against Serbia on March 6-8.
Little-known Modesto Vazquez is the new captain for Argentina’s Davis Cup team. The 59-year-old Vazquez replaces Alberto Mancini, who led Argentina to the finals in both 2006 and 2008, only to lose both times. Currently the development director for the Argentina Tennis Association (AAT), Vazquez played two Davis Cup ties for Argentina in 1968 and 1970. The AAT also selected Ricardo Rivera to be Vazquez’s assistant.
SET FOR AUSTRALIA
Two Americans have won wild-card spots for the Australian Open. Christina McHale will be making her first main-draw appearance at a Grand Slam tournament, while John Isner played in all four Grand Slam tournaments in 2008, losing to Fabrice Santoro in the first round of the Australian Open. The US Tennis Association and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement to exchange wild-card berths for the US and Australian Opens.
A shoulder injury is still bothering Maria Sharapova, who will be defending her Australian Open singles crown later this month. The injury forced Sharapova to withdraw from an exhibition event in Hong Kong, where she will be replaced by fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze. Sharapova has not played competitively since pulling out of a tournament in Montreal, Canada, in July following a match in which she double-faulted 17 times. Medical tests found a torn rotator cuff tendon in her right shoulder.
Upset that a first-round Davis Cup tie was relocated because of security fears, Pakistani tennis officials are demanding USD $60,000 from the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Dilawar Abbas said the ITF last month gave his country the option of playing its Group II tie against Oman scheduled for March 6-8 in either Oman or Malaysia. Abbas, denying there are security issues in his country, said the switch will incur losses to Pakistan and the ITF should pay compensation. “If the ITF still wants to switch the tie, we demand it to be played on a neutral venue, either in Singapore or Malaysia and not in Oman,” Abbas said.
China’s Peng Shuai has a new coach. She began training with Tarik Benhabiles last month in Florida and will continue to work together fulltime throughout 2009. The 22-year-old Peng had split with former coach Zhang Depei. Benhabiles, who reached a career-high ranking of 22nd in the world and represented France in Davis Cup, ended his playing career in 1992 and coached a young Andy Roddick. He has worked with other players, including Benjamin Becker, Ivo Karlovic and Gael Monfils.
STEFFI THE TARGET
Andre Agassi’s former agent and longtime friend has filed a lawsuit against the tennis star’s wife, Steffi Graf. In the lawsuit, sports agent Perry Rogers charges Graf, herself an inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, owes USD $50,000 to Rogers and his Alliance Sports Management Co. for services outlined in a 2002 agreement. Graf declined to comment. Her husband released a statement saying he was “saddened and disappointed” by the lawsuit. When Agassi and Rogers split last October, both described the parting as friendly.
The International Tennis Federation has decided to allow Nigeria to remain in the Euro/Africa Group 3 Davis Cup competition. The ITF initially dropped the African nation to Group 4 when the Nigerian team failed to show up in Bulgaria last March for their tie. But the ITF reversed its decision when it learned that the Bulgarian Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, refused to give visas to the Nigerian team.
Oded Yaakov has stepped down as captain of Israel’s Fed Cup team, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. However, Yaakov has not ruled out the possibility of coaching the national team again in the future. “When you have the soul of a coach, you’re wired with an element of competitiveness and adrenaline,” Yaakov said. “These are traits that stay with you, and you can’t get rid of them. I’m sure I’ll feel them again, and that’s why I’m not ruling out returning to the [Fed Cup] team sometime in the future.”
Former USA Davis Cup captain George MacCall is dead at the age of 90. MacCall directed the American Davis Cup teams in 1965-67 that featured Arthur Ashe, Dennis Ralston and Marty Riessen. He is credited with pushing through a rule that allowed the players to be paid USD $28 a day for expenses. MacCall, who won USA senior titles as a player, organized the National Tennis League in 1967 and signed Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez, Fred Stolle among others. He also signed women players, including Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Ann Jones and Francoise Durr, helping force tennis into the Open Era.
SITES TO SURF
Sao Paulo: www.abertosp.com.br/
Australian Open: www.australianopen.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
$1,110,250 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, Doha, Qatar, hard
$484,750 Brisbane International, Brisbane, Australia, hard
$450,000 Chennai Open, Chennai, India, hard
$100,000 Prime Aberto de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, hard
$220,000 Brisbane International, Brisbane, Australia, hard
$220,000 ASB Classic, Auckland, New Zealand, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$484,750 Medibank International, Sydney, Australia, hard
$480,750 Heineken Open, Auckland, New Zealand, hard
$600,000 Medibank International, Sydney, Australia, hard
$220,000 Moorilla Hobart International, Hobart, Australia, hard
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
DALLAS, July 16, 2008 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that the Turpin Tennis Stadium on the campus of Southern Methodist University will be the new home of the Stanford Championships, one of eight events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series, the international champions’ tennis circuit featuring the greatest names in tennis age 30 and over.
The Stanford Championships will be played October 22-26 and will feature a field of eight players that will include Jim Courier, Todd Martin, Mark Philippoussis and defending champion Wayne Ferreira. Tickets can be purchased by calling 877-332-TIXX (8499). The remaining four players in the field will be announced at a later date.
“We are thrilled to bring the Stanford Championships to Southern Methodist University and the new Turpin Tennis Stadium,” said Jim Courier, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series. “SMU is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country and will be an exceptionally attractive fan and player-friendly venue for the biggest professional tennis event in Dallas.”
The staging of the Stanford Championships at SMU adds to the university’s storied history of tennis. In addition to having one of the most noted college programs in the country, the university’s Moody Coliseum hosted one of the premier events in tennis at the time, the WCT Finals, from 1972 to 1979. The 1972 WCT Final between Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, played at the Moody Coliseum, is regarded by many as one of the greatest tennis matches of all-time – Rosewall beating Laver 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in a nationally-televised epic.
“We are pleased to be able to provide our new Turpin Tennis Stadium as a venue for this exciting tournament,” said Steve Orsini, SMU Director of Athletics. “SMU has a long-standing association with world-class tennis, having hosted the finals of the World Championship of Tennis, the Virginia Slims of Dallas Tennis Championship and other top-level matches and exhibitions. Events like this only strengthen that tie and increase our visibility as a destination for Dallas sports fans.”
Ferreira will return to Dallas to defend his title that he won over Courier in the 2007 final, played at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter. Courier, Martin and Philippoussis will also return to Dallas having competed in 2007.
Courier, 37, is one of 15 men in the history of tennis to play in all four major singles finals, winning the French Open in 1991 and 1992, the Australian Open in 1992 and 1993 and losing the finals of the Wimbledon in 1993 and the U.S. Open in 1991. An owner of 23 career singles titles, Courier helped the United States to Davis Cup titles in 1992 – clinching victory over Switzerland in Ft. Worth, Texas – and in 1995. The 2005 inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is currently ranked No. 1 in the Stanford Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series and won the title in March in the Cayman Islands.
Martin, 38, reached two major finals in his career, losing in the 1994 Australian Open final to Sampras and the 1999 U.S. Open final to Andre Agassi. A two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, he won eight ATP singles titles in his career, and helped the United States to the Davis Cup title in 1995. Martin was the 2007 year-end No. 1 in the Stanford Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series and is currently ranked No. 4 for 2008.
Philippoussis, 31, is in the process of another return to competitive tennis, with the hopes of again playing on the ATP Tour. Last fall, Philippoussis returned from his fourth knee surgery, and played in the Stanford Championships in Dallas, losing to John McEnroe in the fourth-place match. Philippoussis then re-injured his leg competing in the Australian Open wild card tournament in December, forcing him to undergo another surgery. The native of Melbourne, Australia, Philippoussis achieved a career-high ranking of No. 8 in 1999 and won 11 career ATP singles titles. He reached the final of the U.S. Open in 1998, losing to countryman Patrick Rafter. He also reached the final at Wimbledon in 2003, where he lost to Federer in straight sets – Federer’s first Wimbledon and first major singles title.
Ferreira, 36, defeated Courier 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 (Champions Tie-Break) to win last year’s Stanford Championships – his third career title in the Outback Champions Series. Ferreira is best known for winning the silver medal in doubles at the 1992 Olympic Games and as a two-time Australian Open semifinalist. His record for most consecutive major tournaments played during a career was broken this year at Wimbledon when Ai Sugiyama of Japan played in her 57th consecutive major tournament. Ferreira is currently ranked No. 3 in the Stanford Champions Rankings.
Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Pete Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team.
The Outback Championship Series features eight events on its 2008 schedule, with its next event being the International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I., August 13-17. Each event features an eight-man round-robin match format with the winner of each four-player division meeting in the title match while second place finishers in each division meet in the third-place match. Each event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000 as well as Outback Champions Series ranking points that will determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1. Beginning in 2008, the year-end champion will receive a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Stanford Financial Group, the official rankings sponsor of the Outback Champions Series. Through the first three events in 2008, McEnroe and Courier are tied for the No. 1 position with 1600 points each. Wayne Ferreira is in third position with 950 points, followed by Aaron Krickstein and Todd Martin in
fourth place with 900 points each.
The 2008 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 12-16 in Naples, Fla.., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Todd Martin defeated McEnroe in the final. Courier won the second event of the season at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Legends Championships April 16-20, defeating Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series even in Boston April 30- May 4, defeating Aaron Krickstein in the final. The next five events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series calendar are stops in Newport, R.I., Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Texas, Surprise, Arizona and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.
InsideOut Sports & Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com
Imagine that the tennis world was focused not on Indian Wells and Key Biscayne but on the Australian Open at this time of year. Is this a novel concept? Not really. This was the case during this time frame in 1971 when the Australian Open was played at White City in Sydney, Australia. As documented in the upcoming book On This Day In Tennis History, it was on March 15, 1971 when Ken Rosewall and Margaret Court both won Australian Open singles titles during this uniquely scheduled major. Many people would love to have the tennis schedule altered so the players have more of an off season – and a February/March staging of the Australian Open would be a great way for that to happen – but Tennis Australia officials are too wed to the Australia Day holiday season and the end of the Australian summer season to move the tournament dates to later in the year. It could be worse, however, as the Australian Open used to be held during the Christmas holidays.
During a recent visit to London, I stopped by the All England Club and saw the place in full preparation for the 2008 Championships. Cranes stand next to Centre Court as the retractable roof continues to be installed and ready for the 2009 tournament. It appears a small stadium/bleacher section will be constructed on court No. 13 – in place of the rows of bleachers under the awning. At the Wimbledon Museum, I watched the highlights of the 1973 “strike year” men’s final when Czech Jan Kodes beat the Soviet Union’s Alex Metreveli. In lieu of allegations and controversy of betting in tennis and the allegations of involvement of the Russian mob, it was amusing to hear the commentator’s voice on the highlight tape, in previewing the final, say that “the betting is on Kodes.”
It’s a tough situation for The Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas to go head-to-head with Dubai Tennis Championships on the ATP calendar. No doubt that the appearance fees were aplenty in the Middle Eastern oil and finance capital as most of the top 10 played in the event, while The Tennis Channel Open got the leftovers. Why not make Dubai a larger co-ed event (as it is now, the women play the week before in Dubai) and then move The Tennis Channel Open to a different date? The tennis calendar could have three back-to-back-to-back “mega co-ed” events in Dubai, Indian Wells and Key Biscayne. The Tennis Channel Open could then move to later in the year (and warmer weather in Vegas or another location). The United States sure could use another clay court event (how about another event before or after the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships?).
Speaking of The Tennis Channel Open, how can you not love Sam Querrey? The 20-year-old American won his first ATP singles title in Vegas and seemed as laid back and relaxed as any player I have ever seen. He told The Tennis Channel’s Corina Morariu that he planned to prepare for his semifinal against Guillermo Canas by going “indoor skydiving” but he lost in place in line and the wait would have been too long….Fernando Gonzalez, Julien Benneteau and Lleyton Hewitt all had some great racquet smashing episodes at The Tennis Channel Open. TC commentator Jimmy Arias had a funny line during Hewitt’s smash of his Yonex frame; “You have to give Yonex a little credit there…it took two tries to break the racquet.”
Best investment for tennis fans – the $69.95 for a year subscription to the ATP Masters Series TV broadband coverage on ATPTennis.com. Why channel surf for Fox Sports Net during Indian Wells/Key Biscayne or stress whether you are going to get The Tennis Channel Open for most of the other offered events like Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, etc.? The service offers near wall-to-wall coverage of all the top matches and if your computer has a high quality screen, it’s just like TV. Speaking of the Masters Series TV coverage, Jason Goodall, one of their fine commentary team members, spoke of talking to Igor Andreev in Dubai and asking him whether he would rather be No. 1 in the world or win a Grand Slam. Goodall reported that the Russian responded, “Neither…an Olympic Gold Medal.”
Roger Federer and Pete Sampras will meet in their much hyped and sensationally marketed exhibition showdown at Madison Square Garden – the NetJets Showdown – on Monday, March 10. The match will mark Pete’s first competitive appearance in New York City since his career-climaxing US Open victory at the 2002 US Open. That victory is featured in an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS (now available for pre-sale on amazon.com for 39 percent off. Go to www.newchapterpressmedia for more information). Another excerpt below from Rene Stauffer’s book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION(www.rogerfedererbook.com ) discusses the interaction between Pete and Roger following Roger’s win at the 2006 US Open. Readers and fans will find this a nice “warm-up” for Monday’s match, which is also broadcast live on The Tennis Channel at 7:30 pm eastern.
PETE’S LAST APPEARANCE IN NEW YORK – EXCERPTED FROM THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS
But perhaps the biggest story of the year was the re-emergence of Pete Sampras, who broke an agonizing 33-tournament losing streak by winning the U.S. Open for the fifth time, recording a 14th major triumph in the process. Pete, at 31, became the oldest men’s U.S. Open champion since 35-year-old Ken Rosewall took the top honor at Forest Hills in 1970. Moreover, Sampras was the oldest man to rule at any major since Arthur Ashe (five days shy of his 32nd birthday) won Wimbledon in 1975.
To be sure, the soft-spoken yet deeply-driven American was the “Comeback Player of the Year.” In winning at Flushing Meadows for the first time in six years, Sampras emphatically answered the many media critics who insisted he no longer could play at that level. As usual, he spoke eloquently with his racket.
Despite a difficult hard-court season leading up to Flushing Meadows—he won only three of six matches in the three events he played—Sampras, seeded No. 17, was determined to peak at his country’s championships where he had been a finalist the previous two years. He made good on that goal, and then some. In the third round, he beat 1997 finalist Greg Rusedski, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-4, a match contested over two nights as rain badly disrupted the Open program. Rusedski was not a gracious loser. He said bitterly, “I lost the match. He didn’t win it…I’d be surprised if he wins his next match against [Tommy] Haas. To be honest with you, I’d be very surprised. He’s a step-and-a-half slow coming to the net. You can get the ball down. He’s a great player from the past. You’re used to seeing Pete Sampras, 13-time Grand Slam champion. He’s not the same player.” Sampras was jovial in his response to Rusedski, but witty as well. “Against him,” he retorted, “I don’t really need to be a step-and-a-half quicker.”
But Sampras responded with alacrity on the court. He took a hard fought contest from the third-seeded Haas, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 and then gave a scintillating account of his all-court talent in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 quarterfinal rout of Andy Roddick. It was a signature performance. Sampras had lost to the 20-year-old in their only two previous meetings, but this time around he was not to be denied, winning in 90 nearly immaculate minutes. He then easily dismissed the unflappable Schalken 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in the semifinals.
Agassi, meanwhile, was also at the top of his game. He delighted the capacity semifinal crowd on Saturday by beating top-seed Hewitt, ending a three-match losing string to the pugnacious Aussie. But Hewitt was Sampras’s ally, keeping Andre hustling long and hard for three hours in the late afternoon decision, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (1-7), 6-2. It was hot and taxing. The dream final between the two icons, Pete and Andre, materialized.
Sampras was primed for the occasion. He was devastatingly potent over the first two sets, dishing out 12 aces alone in the opening set. From 3-3 in the opening set, he won eight of the next ten games. Agassi fought back valiantly to capture the third set. Sampras served at 5-6 to reach a tie-breaker and had five game points, but a surging Agassi came up with some trademark scorching returns to get the break as Sampras struggled in vain, serving into the wind.
In the fourth set, Sampras served into the wind again in a crucial game at 1-2. It went to seven deuces with Sampras surviving two break points, one of them with a miraculous backhand drop half-volley that caught a dumbfounded Agassi in his tracks. At 3-4, Sampras was break point down again, but he kicked his serve high to the Agassi two-hander to elicit a netted return. He held on with an ace, broke Agassi in the following game, and then served out the match with characteristic brio. At 5-4, 30-0, with the wind at his back, Sampras came up with a clutch, second serve ace down the T. It was his 33rd of the match, a personal record for a major final. Two points later, he dispatched a backhand volley into the clear to complete a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 triumph.
He had beaten Agassi for the fourth time at the U.S Open without a loss (the third time in a final), and extended his career edge over his chief rival to 20-14. Sampras now stood at 14-4 in major finals, while Agassi was 7-6.
With his fifth Open prize in hand—placing him in a tie for the Open era record with Jimmy Connors— Sampras climbed into the stands to embrace his wife Bridgette. He was so gratified to be back on top at an elite event that he was unable to decide whether to continue, or quit on the pinnacle. Retirement won out in his thoughts. Although he would return in five years for brief appearances in exhibitions, World Team Tennis and senior events, and looked very good. But his big league days were over.
It’s almost unheard of to walk away after winning a major. Shirley Fry did after the Australian, 1957, Helen Wills Moody after Wimbledon in 1938. Now, Pete.
ROGER AND PETE AFTER 2006 US OPEN – EXCERPTED FROM THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION
After his US Open victory, Federer returned home to Switzerland when he received a surprise phone call. Pete Sampras, whose legacy and records were now one of Federer’s biggest rivals, called to offer congratulations. “He had already text messaged me three days ago and now he was calling me to congratulate me personally,” said Federer shortly after the US Open. “He asked if I had gotten the message. I said I was just about to reply. It was almost embarrassing. Perhaps I should have replied quicker.” Sampras told Federer how much he liked to watch him play and emphasized that he now was more clearly dominant than he was during his prime. “To hear something like this from him was incredible,” Federer said. “It’s never happened to me before that my earlier idol called me to compliment me.”
Sampras and Federer continued their text message relationship, with Sampras offering more good wishes over the following few months. Before the tournament in Indian Wells in March of 2007, Federer then took the initiative and called Sampras, who meanwhile announced he was returning to competitive tennis on the Champions circuit run by his contemporary Jim Courier. Federer asked Sampras if he would like to hit some balls and train together. “I wanted to see how well he could still play because, after all, he was one of my favorite players growing up,” Federer explained. With a wink in his eye and devilish grin, he then said, “beating him in his backyard in Wimbledon was so special to me, so I wanted to try and beat him in his house.”
Federer and Sampras only played once during their careers—the memorable round of 16 match at Wimbledon in 2001. Late in Pete’s career, the two had one brief practice session together in Hamburg. “It started to rain,” Federer recollected. “I was so disappointed, but he was happy to get off.”
After their training session together in Los Angeles in the spring of 2007, Federer expressed his surprise at how well Sampras could still keep up during their practice session. “We played some great sets and tie-breaks. I’m glad to see that he’s actually still enjoying tennis.” The scores of these practice matches? “They’re secret,” Federer said. “Surprisingly, he was very good, but not good enough to beat me!”Federer found that he and Sampras shared many commonalities and could talk in great detail of their respective lives and pressures on the tour, as well as common experiences, experiences at particular tournaments and even about players who they both played against. With Woods, this was not the case. “Pete and I played the same tournaments and even played against the same opponents,” Federer said. “I have much more in common with Pete than I have with Tiger off court.”
“When I was new on the tour, I hardly ever spoke to Pete,” he continued. “First of all, he was never around at the courts, and when he would come into the locker room, everything was quiet because he was respected so much by all the other players.” Several years later, Federer finally got a chance to find out what made Sampras so unique and what brought him so close to perfection.
I think it is interesting that Senator Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Presidential campaign is accusing rival Senator Barack Obama with plagiarism for using lines in his speeches from his friend Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
In a tennis equivalent to this issue, should Arthur Ashe get the credit for the quote that is etched in stone and attributed to him at the Arthur Ashe Commemorative Garden at the USTA / Billie Jean King National Tennis Center? Ashe’s quote says “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” This sounds like the same quote from Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” The very similar quote, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give” is also attributed to Ronald Reagan. Someone once emailed me and had this quote on the signature of their email, but it was attributed to Reagan. I thought, “That is strange. I thought Arthur Ashe said that.” I googled it and found that is was also attributed to Winston Churchill. Whoever gets the “credit” for the quote, I think, is mostly irrelevant, but what is important is that the point of the quote is conveyed, regardless of the messenger.
During the Australian Open last month, I heard the Tennis Channel’s Bill Macatee and Martina Navratilova discussing Roger Federer and his quest to win the most career major singles championships. Bill and Martina also talked about Rod Laver and how many more majors he would have won had there been Open tennis and he would be allowed to play from 1963 to 1967.
A fair point, however, let’s look at another side of the story.
Laver’s 1969 Grand Slam was certainly the most impressive of accomplishments considering tennis was “Open” and all the major championship draws were filled with the best amateurs and pros (i.e. Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Roy Emerson, etc.)
If tennis was “Open” in 1962, would Laver have achieved his sweep of all four majors for his Grand Slam? He would have had to tangle with the likes of Pancho Gonzalez, Rosewall, and Lew Hoad (although Hoad may not have played at a high level due to his back troubles) among others. Would Laver have won his two other pre-1962 majors – the 1960 Australian and the 1961 Wimbledon – had tennis been Open? My view is that it probably would have evened out and Laver would have lost a major or two between 1960 and 1962 and would have picked up a major or two between 1963 and 1969.