Marion Bartoli is set to play Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open today, but I bet you didn’t know she likes to oil paint and her best friend on tour is Dominika Cibulkova. I had a chance to chat with the bright, enthusiastic and funny Marion this week about Pierce Brosnan, her most memorable moment on court, snakes, chocolate cake, and being a humanitarian at heart.
What is your most memorable moment on court?
Semifinal Wimbledon 2007 against Justine Henin … before everything. The court … beating the #1 in the world … meeting Pierce Brosnan after the match. (Laughs) I felt like I was on top of the world for 10, 15 minutes after the match.
What is the best part of being a pro tennis player?
Traveling, meeting different people, having the crowd cheering for you, playing in front of a packed house. (Smiles)
If you weren’t a tennis palyer, what would you be and why?
I would probably be a scientist or someone who helps other people. That’s the education I received from my parents – my dad is a doctor, my mom is a nurse. They really have passed that on to me. Both of them were volunteers in some projects for people who didn’t have enough money that had cancer and HIV. They were going there and helping them for free.
Where you able to go with your parents to any of those projects?
Yes, I was going with my dad and my mom, and helping them out. I was a young child, my brother and I did go. It was very important to me.
If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?
Pete Sampras. (Laughs) Monica Seles. I met both of them and they were extremely nice people and that would be a dream.
If you’re hosting a party, what three tennis players do you invite and why?
Gael Monfils (Laughs) … because he’s so funny and his dancing level is extremely high. Dominika Cibulkova because she’s my best friend on the tour. And either Rafa or Roger because I just love them. (Smiles)
What are three things you couldn’t live without?
My paints … I love to oil paint outside of tennis. I love to do it every time I have some time off. My iPod… iPhone .. iPad … actually all three of them! (Laughs) And my Louis Vuitton bag.
Is it a purse?
Yes, it’s a purse. But they made is especially for me and I have my initial on the outside of the bag in gold.
What is your biggest indulgence?
When I’m at home, I love to cook. But actually I don’t really eat it. (Smiles) So I love to cook for others, my neighborhood. Anything with chocolate would work for me. (Smiles)
What is your favorite meal to make?
I love to make chocolate cake, of course. (Smiles) I love to make some crepes, spinach-and-ricotta-filling crepes as an appetizer. And then as a main course, l’agneau– it’s like a roasted lamb, but you roll it in paper and cook it in the oven with some potatoes and some French beans. (Smiles)
What is one thing that scares you?
Spiders, snakes – I hate them, oh my gosh! (Smiles) You can’t make me hold a snake in my hand, it’s just impossible.
If they had a player promotion where you had to hold a snake —
Yes, every time in the Sony Ericsson Open they have players hold this huge snake and I’m like, ‘No! I don’t want to do this!’ The dolphin, yes. But the snakes, no! (Laughs)
(Photo courtesy of Neal Trousdale. To check out more photos from the Sony Ericsson Open, check out Neal’s Flickr page.)
Maria Sharapova giggled and jumped in the snow with her Russian compatriots. Forty-one year old Kimoko Date Krumm upset Polona Hercog, ranked 42 spots above her and born 21 years after her. Serena Williams destroyed a racket. Christina McHale served a bagel. Julia Goerges nearly upset Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova, but fell just short and broke down in tears on court. The upstart and adorable British team, led by new coach Judy Murray, stormed (and tweeted) their way through their competition. Francesca Schiavone (over)-dramatically won a match.
It was a predictably unpredictable Fed Cup weekend, what many would describe as “typical” WTA, and I loved every single minute of it.
It’s been a tumultuous few years for the most popular female sports league in the world. In 2007 the tour seemed invincible when Wimbledon became the final Grand Slam to offer the women equal pay. However, an unfortunate series of events have left the tour in flux ever since. In 2008 World #1 Justine Henin abrubtly retired, leaving a vacuum at the top of the game. With various injuries crippling The Williams Sisters and Sharapova, a group of talented young girls were thrust into the spotlight at the top of the game a bit prematurely. The “Slamless Number One” saga overshadowed everything else, only rivaled in media coverage by the incessant shrieking debate (which often reaked of sexism). Some of the best female athletes on the planet were constantly declared out of shape and mentally weak by the experts of the game, many of whom were former WTA stars themselves. To make matters worst, all of this turmoil transpired simultaneously with the “Golden Era” of the ATP. The more Federer, Nadal, and recently Djokovic dominated the Slams the more it seemed to diminish whatever “product” the WTA tried to produce.
As a WTA fan it’s been a sad few years. Wait- no, I actually don’t mean that at all. It’s been a rollercoaster for sure, but it’s been a blast.
I love parity, I love unpredictability, I love my sports to come with a side of “WTF is going on here?”. I love the fact that every Grand Slam you could pick fifteen women who have a legitimate shot to hold the trophy at the end of two weeks. I love the fact that Schiavone, Li Na, and Samantha Stosur are now Grand Slam Champions. I love that Vera Zvonareva, despite a history of meltdowns that would have made her eligible for the Real Housewives of Russia, made two Grand Slam Finals and climbed to number 2 in the world. I love that Kim Clijsters retired, had a baby, then came back to the tour and won three more Grand Slams- 3 times more than she had pre-motherhood. I love that Sharapova has fought her back from what many feared would be a career-ending shoulder injury and now, at 24, seems poised to be a factor for years to come. I love that Serena went from hospital bed to U.S. Open Final in less than six months. I love that Andrea Petkovic dances in victory. I love that the outspoken Agnieszka Radwanska seems to only win when she’s taped up like a mummy. I love Petra Kvitova’s forehand, Victoria Azarenka’s backhand, Marion Bartoli’s insane serve, and yes- even Caroline Wozniacki’s moonball. (Sometimes).
I love that the best days are yet to come. Champions and superstars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are sill hungry and fighting for titles. Azarenka and Kvitova, twenty-two and twenty-one respectively, seem unfazed by the pressure of expectations. Clijsters is with us for the rest of the year (and I still not-so-secretly hope for more) and will be extra motivated to win her first French Open and/or Wimbledon trophy. Venus Williams might not ever win another Slam again, but it won’t be without trying like a true Champion to deal with her Sjogren’s Syndrome and find a way to compete on the top level again. Wozniacki will (surely) be determined to regain her spot at the top of the rankings and earn that elusive Slam. Li, Schiavone, and Stosur will all be eager to get rid of the “One Slam Wonder” label. And then of course there’s Svetlana Kuznetsova. Any given Slam.
I don’t think that dominance is the only way to measure success. I don’t think that unpredictability is always a sign of weakness. If you disagree with the prior statements then that’s fine, but I do think that these female athletes deserve heaps more respect than they get on a regular basis.
Yes, I unabashedly love the WTA, flaws and all.
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
Andy Roddick won the China Open by beating Dudi Sela 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 in Beijing, China
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Novak Djokovic 7-6 (4) 6-4 to win the Thailand Open in Bangkok, Thailand
Jelena Jankovic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2 to win the China open women’s singles in Beijing
Maria Kirilenko defeated Samantha Stosur to win the Hansol Korea Open in Seoul, South Korea, 2-6 6-1 6-4
Alberto Martin beat Julian Reister 6-2 6-0 to win the ATP Challenger Trophy 2008 in Trnava, Slovakia
John McEnroe won the Vivium Victory Challenge in Luxembourg, beating Henri Leconte 6-1 6-4
Jim Courier beat Todd Martin 6-2 3-6 10-5 (match tiebreak) to win the Citadel Group Championships at The Palisades in Charlotte, North Carolina
“I’ve been dreaming about this, so I’m very happy. I played unbelievable tennis against Novak. It’s one of the great moments of my life.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after beating Novak Djokovic to win the Thailand Open, his first ATP singles title.
“I lost to a great player. Bravo to Jo and his team for his first ATP title. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again often in the future.” – Novak Djokovic.
“This feels really good. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve won one of these events, so many that I can’t even remember the last one I won.” – John McEnroe, after beating Henri Leconte to win the Vivium Victory Challenge.
“At first I couldn’t believe it. I thought that maybe they were joking or something. Me, playing with all these great players like Borg, McEnroe, Guillermo Vilas and Henri Leconte, is incredible. When I started to play tennis, Borg was my idol, so this is the most fantastic thing for me.” – Johny Goudenbour, who was given a wild card to play in a BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Luxembourg.
“If I was more consistent I think I would be ranked higher, maybe Top 10 or Top 15. But I have time to improve. I’m only 21 and I’ll get more experience in the time to come.” – Maria Kirilenko, after winning her third singles title of the year.
“Svetlana beat me two times this year. I was really motivated to get a win against her, and winning in two sets is very satisfying.” – Jelena Jankovic, after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova to win the China Open.
“I’m disappointed. I wasn’t moving the ball or doing the right things on the court. I love playing here, so it was disappointing to not play well in the final.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“This was a good win for me. It was in China and in front of my home crowd. There were lots of fans supporting me, which gave me even more motivation.” – Zheng Jie, after upsetting Ana Ivanovic in the China Open.
“I was defending a lot. It was like running a marathon out there. She was really aggressive and was dominating a lot. I didn’t even realize how much I was running out there.” – Ana Ivanovic, after losing to Zheng Jie.
“I had a lot of pressure on me during those years and I was too young for it. … This time, win or lose, I’m just trying to enjoy it. I’m going to have more fun. And I think this will be good for Japanese tennis too.” – Kimiko Date-Krumm, on her returning to tennis after a 12-year hiatus following her retirement.
“I didn’t feel comfortable on court. Unfortunately, I didn’t win. The other guy was better than me.” – Marat Safin, after suffering a 6-4 7-6 first-round loss to Philipp Petzschner at the Thailand Open.
“Roger (Federer) has said he wants to put the Davis Cup into his calendar, but he wants to see all the details first. He will do anything possible to be there.” – Swiss Tennis spokeswoman Sandra Perez on whether Federer will play in a first-round Davis Cup tie against the United States.
“I will have to digest this one and make sure I go back on the right track for the next few tournaments.” – Amelie Mauresmo, a former world number one who has lost her last two first-round matches.
“People tend to think athletes have a glamorous life, traveling all the time to international destinations and staying at five-star hotels. But in reality it is not all that great. We do go through some difficult moments in our careers, with struggles, intrigues and fights, like in any other job.” – Fernando Meligeni, who has written a book about his 14-year career as a professional tennis player.
“As an American player it meant a lot to me to break the record. It’s nice to have the opportunity to play so many great pro circuit events in this country. I’ve played most of the pro circuit events held in the US and have met a lot of wonderful people, and have a lot of good memories from the different tournaments.” – Julie Ditty, after becoming the new record-holder of the most career USTA Pro Circuit titles.
SERVING WITH THE STARS
Johny Goudenbour’s day job is with the local tourist board in Luxembourg. But he lived a dream this past week at the Vivium Victory Challenge, a stop on the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Goudenbour was Luxembourg’s highest ranked tennis player for six consecutive years in the 1980s, and he reached a career high world ranking of 304. Now 45 years old, Goudenbour still plays inter-club level tennis in neighboring Germany, but his main job these days is putting together cultural films promoting his home town. He was surprised when he received a telephone call offering him a wild card into the seniors tournament being played in Luxembourg. Goudenbour upset both Carl-Uwe Steeb and Cedric Pioline before losing to Henri Leconte 6-2 7-5.
With tennis tournaments scheduled for the country in November, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has expressed its concern to Pakistan about security. A Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) offical said the ITF did not call for cancellation of the events, but asked for details on security arrangements in view of travel advisories issued by the United States, European and other countries. A record number of players from Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tanzania, Romania, Kazakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan and India have entered the first tournament, which will be held in Islamabad.
His lawyer says Nikolay Davydenko is considering suing the ATP to get the men’s tennis organization to pay the Russian’s legal costs following a 13-month gambling inquiry that found no evidence that he did anything wrong. Attorney Frank Immenga said Davydenko wants the ATP to issue a more positive press statement and “maybe apologize,” according to the Bloomberg news agency. Davydenko also is considering taking action against Betfair Ltd., the British gambling site, for making public details of its probe into a Davydenko match.
Andy Roddick says the game of tennis in the United States is in good health despite no American man winning a Grand Slam title in five years. Roddick was the last American man to win a major, the US Open in 2003. But the former world number one notes that the United States has three players in the top 25 and two in the top ten. Plus, he points out that the US won the Davis Cup in 2007 and the fact that the brothers Bob and Mike Bryan are the world’s top-ranked doubles team. “If you compare us with other countries, we’re very, very strong,” Roddick said.
Zheng Jie is proving her Wimbledon showing was no surprise. The right-hander upset second-seeded Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-4 at the China Open in a quarterfinal baseline slugfest that lasted six minutes short of three hours. It was Zheng’s second straight win over her Serbian opponent in as many 2008 meetings. She beat Ivanovic at Wimbledon to become the first Chinese player to topple a reigning world number one. It also was her first Top 10 win. In the Beijing tournament, she also beat Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, giving Zheng her second and third career wins over players ranked in the Top 10.
SPORTS HALL INDUCTEE
Billie Jean King is in yet another hall of fame. The tennis great is one of four athletes elected to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF). Others included in the 2009 class are baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry, football tight end Dave Casper and quarterback Craig Morton. The four will be inducted at a banquet March 9 in San Francisco.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Rod Laver has been elected a Life Trustee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island. Nine new members have been elected to the Hall’s board of directors: Douglas Fonte, Lucy Garvin, Elizabeth Jeffett, Ted Leonsis , Andrew McElwee Jr., David Westin, Allen Brill, David Tyree and Nancy von Auersperg. Returning to the board are Robert Downey, Steve Lessing and Sue Ann Weinberg.
Simone Bolelli has been banned by the Italian Tennis Federation from national team events for skipping the country’s Davis Cup matches with Latvia. Bolelli, ranked 45th in the world, chose instead to play tour events in Bangkok, Thailand, and in Tokyo, Japan. Bolelli said he told Italian Davis Cup captain Corrado Barrazzutti well in advance of the international team competition that he preferred to work on his fast-court game in Asia.
For the second time in nine years, the United States could face a Roger Federer-led Switzerland team when the two countries meet in a first-round Davis Cup match next year. The last time they faced each other, Federer won three points to lead Switzerland to victory in 2001. Spain and Argentina, this year’s finalists, will begin next year’s play at home, Argentina facing the Netherlands and Spain playing host to Serbia. In other World Group first-round matches, France will be at the Czech Republic, Chile at Croatia, Israel travels to Sweden and Austria goes to Germany.
SHRIVER CHARITY CLASSIC
US Open champion Serena Williams and Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva will face each other at the 23rd annual Pam Shriver Charity Tennis Classic in November. Williams is ranked number one in the world, while Dementieva is ranked number four. They will meet in a “Battle of Olympic Gold Medal Champions.” Williams teamed with her sister Venus to win the doubles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Net proceeds from the Tennis Classic are distributed to children’s charities under the guidance of the Baltimore Community Foundation.
SAYING IT ALL
Former ATP star Fernando Meligeni has turned author. His book – “Aqui Tem! Vitórias e Memórias de Fernando Meligeni com Andre Kfouri” – was released last week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The book was written by Meligeni and Andre Kfouri, a well-known sports journalist in Brazil who currently is working for ESPN. Ranked as high as 25th in the world, Meligeni was a French Open semifinalist in 1999. He said he wrote the book to unveil some funny and stressful behind-the-scenes moments of his 14-year career on the tour.
Julie Ditty is the new record-holder for most career USTA Pro Circuit championships. The 29-year-old swept the singles and doubles titles at a recent ITF Women’s Circuit event in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earning her 31st and 32nd career USTA Pro Circuit titles, the most of any player, man or woman. On the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the 29-year-old Ditty’s best result came last November when she reached the semifinals of an event and broke into the Top 100 for the first time. The previous record of 30 titles was held jointly by Paul Goldstein and Nana Smith.
SIXTH SENSE ACADEMY
Justine Henin and Carlos Rodrigez have opened a tennis academy in Florida. The superstar player, who was ranked number one in the world when she retired from the sport earlier this year, and her coach opened their second 6th Sense Tennis Academy, this one in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, located 30 miles northwest of Orlando. Their first academy was opened in Belgium almost a year ago.
When Stephen Huss and Ross Hutchins won the doubles at China Open, it was their first title as a team. The 32-year-old Huss had won two other doubles crowns, including Wimbledon in 2005 with Wesley Moodie. Hutchins, nine years younger than his partner, won his first title in just his second ATP final. But Hutchins has done well in Beijing, having reached the semifinals last year when he was teamed with Eric Butorac. Huss and Hutchins became partners in Valencia, Spain, in April where they lost in the first round. Prior to winning in Beijing, their best result had been reaching the third round at Roland Garros.
SHARAPOVA OUT FOR YEAR
Because of her lingering shoulder injury, Maria Sharapova has decided to stop playing tournaments until next year. She is currently in Arizona where she is rehabilitating her shoulder. The injury has kept her from practicing the past several weeks, but she hopes to return to practice soon. She has decided to skip tournaments in Asia, Europe and the season-ending Championships. Sharapova won the Australian Open in January along with two other singles titles and has been ranked number one in the world this year.
Beijing: Anabel Medina Garrigues and Caroline Wozniacki beat Han Xinyun and Xu Yi-Fan 6-1 6-3
Bangkok: Chuang Chia-Jung and Hsieh Su-Wei beat Vera Dushevina and Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-0
Beijing: Stephen Huss and Ross Hutchins beat Ashley Fisher and Bobby Reynolds 7-5 6-4
Bangkok: Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes beat Scott Lipsky and David Martin 6-4 7-6 (4)
Trnava: David Zkoch and Igor Zelenay beat Daniel Koellerer and Michael Mertinak 6-3 6-1
SITES TO SURF
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$832,000 AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo, Japan, hard
$416,000 Open de Moselle, Metz, France, hard
$125,000 Ethias Trophy, Mons, Belgium, hard
$650,000 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany, hard
$175,000 AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo, Japan, hard
$145,000 Tashkent Open, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hard
AFAS Tennis Classics, BlackRock Tournament of Champions, Eindhoven, Netherlands, carpet
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$1,000,000 ATP Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, carpet
$800,000 IF Stockholm Open, Stockholm, Sweden, hard
$755,000 Bank Austria TennisTrophy, Vienna, Austria, hard
$1,340,000 Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, carpet
BlackRock Tour of Champions, Budapest, Hungary, carpet
Maria Sharapova sponsors 12 prospective students from Belarus, specifically the areas that were affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Sponsorship by Maria Sharapova..hm makes me want to relive my prodigal days in University…http://www.womenstennisblog.com/2008/09/18/sharapova-sponsors-twelve-students-with-210000/
The WTA Tour has launched a new site that lets you can challenge your favorite player. I saw some videos and they are pretty friggan’ hilarious. http://www.challengeyourhero.com/
Meanwhile the Hopman Cup in Perth, a preparatory tournament for the Australian Open, has been given a major blow with Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga going for the newly setup Brisbane International tournament. http://www.watoday.com.au/sport/big-guns-give-hopman-cup-a-miss-20080918-4iwq.html
The Bali tournament, won by Swiss Miss Patty Schnyder last Sunday, has been canceled and replaced by a year-end-tournament that’s going to try and rival with the Year End Championships in Doha, Qatar. http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12110_4148970,00.html
Touching 1000 lives. That’s what the theme of the visit to Nigeria is going to be for the Williams’ Sisters. Serena and Venus are going to visit Nigeria in November of 2008. They intend to promote the game in Nigeria by holding a tennis clinic which has youths assembled from all over the country. Serena is also set to play a little exhibition match. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-09/19/content_10077378.htm
Out of sight doesn’t automatically mean out of mind. Justine Henin, who retired as the number one on the WTA Tour, will open a new tennis academy in Florida on September 27. http://www.onthebaseline.com/2008/09/17/justine-henin-to-open-sixth-sense-tennis-academy-in-florida/
Sad news: David Wallace has passed away. Jon Wertheim writes a beautiful testimonial about the “guy who had an obscene amounts of writing talent. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_wertheim/09/16/tennis.mailbag/index.html?eref=T1
It’s Davis Cup weekend and the heat is on Andy Murray according to Jurgen Melzer, the Austrian number 1. England plays Austria this weekend and Jurgen Melzer isn’t so sure if Andy can cope with the pressure his country puts on his shoulders. Andy however dismisses the Austrian taunting by saying nothing has changed for him. http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=tennis/08/09/17/TENNIS_Davis_Cup_Nightlead.html
The LTA are continueing their gracious efforts to improve British tennis. They have closed a £ 25 million deal with AEGON. Let’s hope England will have more top talents in the coming decade.
Writing a biography at the age of 26…isn’t that a little young? Well not for Serena Williams who is set write up her memoirs about her life on and off the courts. The book is expected to be released in 2009 and is published by Grand Central Publishing. Still…a biography at the age of 26? “Only in America..” as we Europeans say. http://livesteez.com/news/news_detail/1151
The Jimmy Connors Tennis Academy is currently being build in India. It’s about time somebody did something about did that. India holds many talented players that are being laid to waste (in my humble opinion anyway) because there are little to no decent facilities to facilitate the youngsters. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Backpage/The_Jimmy_Connors_Tennis_Academy_is_being_set_up_near_Pune/articleshow/3481000.cms
I had some extra bonus photos laying around of Anna Kournikova at the Stuttgart Mercedes Cup Charity Gala a few months ago. Enjoy!! Photocredit: ATPtennis.com
NEW YORK – It was another sister act for Serena Williams, just not with her older sibling Venus this time.
Serena needed only 57 minutes to brush aside Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1 6-4 in an opening-round US Open match Tuesday and begin her bid to return to the top of number one ranking in women’s tennis.
With help from the scheduler, both Williams sisters and both Bondarenko sisters were in action on the second day of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Venus Williams eliminated Australian Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-3 in a night match, while Alona Bondarenko, the older of the sisters from the Ukraine, advanced with a hard-fought 2-6 6-3 6-2 victory over American Jamea Jackson.
Currently ranked third in the world, Serena Williams could take over the top spot if she wins this two-week extravaganza on the hard courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The winner of eight Grand Slam tournaments, Williams has not been ranked number one since August 10, 2003. Two years ago her ranking dropped to 140th in the world.
But against Bondarenko, Williams showed the form that made her a champion here at Arthur Ashe Stadium in both 1999 and 2002.
“I am just taking it one match at a time,” said Williams, who admitted she played very well, especially in the opening set. “I’m just happy to have this one over with.”
Williams whipped through the first set in 20 minutes, allowing Bondarenko to hold at 15 only in the fifth game. She didn’t drop a point on her serve until the second set.
Bondarenko, currently ranked 46th in the world, had a lot more success in the second set, but Williams always appeared to be in complete control, ready to close it out on her terms. Serena even put an exclamation on the final point of the penultimate game when she held serve with a perfectly executed forehand lob.
“I was surprised I made it,” she admitted. “I typically don’t make forehand lobs and I never practiced them in five years. I don’t even know why I hit that shot. … That was just the wind, I guess.”
She then broke Bondarenko to close out the victory.
Serena has been displaying the game that once had her dominating women’s tennis. At one stretch, in 2002-03, she won four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments – she called it the “Serena Slam.” Then injuries hampered her play and outside interests occupied her time as she struggled on the court.
Yet she and her sister Venus have always been a threat in any tournament in which they have played. Serena showed that in 2007 when, as an unseeded entry ranked 81st in the world, she powered her way to the title, crushing Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-2 in the final. This year her resurgence has continued as she won three consecutive titles, including the Sony Ericsson Championships in Miami, where she dominated top-ranked Justine Henin in the quarterfinals and beat Jelena Jankovic, currently ranked number two in the world, in the title match.
Another injury, this time to her back, forced her to withdraw from her quarterfinal match at Rome. Yet when Wimbledon rolled around, she stormed into the final without dropping a set before falling to her sister in what arguably was their best head-to-head battle.
Serena reached the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics before being ousted by eventual singles champion Elena Dementieva. But she then teamed with sister Venus to win the gold medal in doubles.
“It’s confidence I can take, and I think I did from that because I was really returning and volleying well and I was doing a lot of the things well at the Olympics,” Serena said Tuesday. “I was really confident coming in here.”
Just ask Kateryna Bondarenko.
Alona Bondarenko, at 24 two years older than Kateryna, almost joined her sister on the sideline. But she rallied to win the second set from a hard-hitting Jackson who all of a sudden began spraying her shots everywhere but inside the lines.
In the final set, Jackson and Bondarenko traded service breaks in four straight games before Jackson called for a trainer, who worked on her right leg, an injury that appeared to hamper her movement as she several times just stood on the baseline and watched Bondarenko’s ground strokes sail past her for winners.
Venus Williams had only a few problems in advancing to the second round against Stosur, who is best known for her doubles play. Williams’ powerful strokes for the most part overwhelmed her Australian opponent, and her long legs and arms enabled her to stay in rallies until she either could construct a winner or Stosur made an error.
The Williams sisters met for the US Open title in 2002, a match Serena won. That won’t happen this year. Because of the draw – Serena is seeded fourth, Venus is seventh – if the two do meet it will be in the quarterfinals.
Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim previewed the Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer Wimbledon final by suggesting that it was the most anticipated championship final in the history of our sport. High praise indeed, but when does the competition outdistance the hype in this day and age? Practically never is when.
Sunday’s match was simply astonishing. Two absolute giants of our great game did battle for nearly five hours on the world’s most important court. As John McEnroe of NBC Sports likened it to his 1980 final against Bjorn Borg, he acknowledged that there were, truly, no losers in this match. No less an authority than Bud Collins called it the “best Wimbledon final ever.”
When McEnroe interviewed Roger Federer as he walked off the court, it was incredibly poignant. They now share a bond, as both lost epic “Greatest Match of All Time” encounters on Wimbledon’s centre court. Federer started to lose his composure and McEnroe offered a hug. It would have been appropriate for Mac to have consoled Federer by telling him that more people have patted him on the back for his efforts in losing the 1980 final then for his three wins at the Big W.
A few weeks ago, Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN Magazine, took some snarky shots at the sport of tennis. In fact, his article- which was, by the way, abruptly removed from ESPN.com- was based on the premise that if he was offered the promise of the greatest match ever in the Wimbledon final, then he would still not choose to watch it. I admire Simmons, and as a die-hard Boston sports fan, I always appreciate his (warped) perspective. After reading his article, I actually felt defensive for a little while. I thought: What the hell is he talking about!?!? Thankfully, I am confident that if Simmons tuned into “Breakfast at Wimbledon” for Rafa and Roger, then his perspective would be considerably different.
Simmons offered some idiotic “solutions” to what ails our sport. I presume that these were written in jest, because they were pretty lazy ideas. In giving “The Sports Guy” more benefit of doubt, he has purposely written reverse jinx pieces before (such as, the Celtics cannot win this year) that have proved to be good luck for his hometown teams. Maybe that was his true intention. If so, then we all owe him a big Thank You.
Venus Williams did not lose a set in singles or doubles during the 2008 Championships.
Serena did not look happy (big surprise!) after losing in the final. Expect her to dominate at Flushing Meadows in a few weeks.
Congratulations to Canada’s Daniel Nestor for re-gaining the world’s #1 ranking in doubles and completing the career grand slam in doubles. Not bad for a 35 year old!
Farewell to Jonas Bjorkman. Saturday marked his final Wimbledon appearance in The Championships. Of course, guys are already “queuing up” to play in the senior invitational doubles with him next year.
The Bryan Brothers faced off against one another in the mixed doubles final. Reportedly, they evenly split all of their prize money and endorsements. I am guessing that would have been a pretty relaxed final round encounter. Bob and Sammy Stosur straight-setted Mike and Katarina Srebotnik over on Court One while Federer and Nadal were playing their fifth set on Centre Court.
A few final thoughts on The Championships…
Thank heavens that there will be a retractable roof on the Centre Court beginning next year. The delayed start to the gentlemen’s singles final, and the two subsequent rain delays, would have been avoidable. This adversely affects several million world-wide fans. In the end, the sport loses when viewers tune out. I wish that Wimbledon had made- and then acted on- this decision thirty years ago, but it is a sign of progress.
One example of where there has been NO PROGRESS is the middle Sunday of The Championships, the tournament’s traditional “day of rest.” Like millions of tennis fanatics all over the world, an ideal Sunday for me is a good breakfast, hit some balls and maybe even play a few sets, and then watch tennis for the rest of the day. The AELTC sacrifices tens of millions of pounds (double that figure in US dollars!) in sponsorship revenue and international TV licensing fees by refusing play on that prime weekend slot. By 2008 standards, it is outrageous, arrogant, and archaic. It is also hypocritical, because the men’s final has been played on a Sunday for a quarter century. They were lucky that the weather was uncharacteristically pleasant during the first week of the tournament. Relying on luck each year is foolish though.
The Russian women made another huge splash, with 6 of the final 16 players hailing from Russia. There were 17 Russian ladies in main draw of the singles. That is impressive. It is not unprecedented, however, and- in fact- pales in comparison to some years where the Americans reigned supreme. In 1984, 64(!!!!) of the 128 singles players were American men. The Yanks had the champion, the runner-up, two semi-finalists, four quarterfinalists, and 11 who reached the round of 16. As American Frank Sinatra used to sing… it was a very good year.
Does everybody still think that Roger Federer will annihilate Pete Sampras’ all-time records? It says here that he might get to 14 majors, but this is not a mortal lock. The sport has changed before his very eyes. He will need some luck (a Nadal injury, or a Novak Djokovic disappearance in the autumn) to finish as the year-end #1. The expectation that this would be Federer’s fifth straight year at the top is fading, and he would still be one year shy of what Pete Sampras accomplished.
In Pete Sampras’ new book A Champion’s Mind, he lists (in no particular order) himself, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, and Ivan Lendl as the top-five players of the Open era. After his Wimbledon victory, I would place Rafael Nadal among John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and (probably) Mats Wilander in the next tier (with apologies to Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, John Newcombe, Gustavo Kuerten, and Jim Courier).
Speaking of Pistol Pete, it took him a little while to “solve” grass court tennis. In fact, a surprising number (17) of different players registered wins over the once-and-still GOAT. Our Editor in Chief, Manfred Wenas, has a little swag for the first reader to submit the complete list of players that owned a piece of Sampras’ scalp on grass.
World Team Tennis began its 33rd professional season in the US over the weekend. Go to www.wtt.com for information about players, upcoming matches, standings, etc. It is a great opportunity to watch past, present, and future Wimbledon champions. It is also the only competition in tennis that prioritizes doubles and team-play over singles.
Venus and Serena Williams are shattering the myth that good doubles teams would beat great singles players who pair up together. They won their 7th major doubles title together, and it would be safe to assume that they do not practice the nuances of doubles too frequently.
At the beginning of Rafael Nadal’s ascent up the rankings, I asked Wayne Bryan (whose sons Bob and Mike were ranked #1 in the world at the time) who would win a match between his boys and Federer-Nadal. He hedged his bets, but thought that his boys would pull through. He did suggest, however, that if Federer were to play with Lleyton Hewitt, who had more doubles success at that stage, then he thinks the result would be reversed. So, I will pose these questions to our readers, who would win the follow mythical doubles matches?
1) Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer vs. Bob and Mike Bryan
2) Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi vs. Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde
3) Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg vs. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso
4) John McEnroe and Peter Fleming vs. John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl (yes, you read that correctly)
5) Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors vs. Bob Lutz and Stan Smith
Tennis Week in Newport is always one of my favorite times of the year. This year’s class of inductees is highlighted by Michael Chang, and supported by contributors Mark McCormack and Eugene Scott. Visit www.TennisFame.com for a wealth of information about these new- and, in fact, all- hall of famers.
When Gene Scott died suddenly in 2006, it was an awful loss for our sport. It also, naturally, affected hundreds (more like thousands, actually) of people personally. I had developed a great fondness for Gene Scott and treasured the time I got to spend with him. I believed that- for some unknown reason- he had taken a liking to me, and wished to help me along in my career. During the outpouring of grief, his dear friends at Tennis Week created a Web site (www.EugeneLScott.com) where people were urged to offer their tributes to the great man. Reading some of these tributes, a few years after his passing, left me feeling as sad as the day he died. Back then I wrote:
Gene Scott was like the North Star. Speaking with him or reading his column… he’d always bring you to your senses. Nobody else had his vantage point, and he knew it. That never kept him from sharing though, and his generosity was unparalleled. His departure has already left a terrible void. Goddamn that he is gone. Lucky that he touched so many while he was around.
I wish that Gene Scott had been enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame a decade ago. His induction speech would have been brilliant. Hall of Famer John McEnroe will offer his testimonial and introduce Gene’s wife, Polly, who will accept on his behalf this weekend.
Who else should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? I offer a dozen candidates who I believe ought to be bronzed:
1) Donald Dell.
2) Monica Seles.
3) Andre Agassi.
4) Gustavo Kuerten.
5) Jennifer Capriati.
6) Martina Hingis.
7) Nick Bollettieri.
8) Dennis Van Der Meer.
9) Michael Stich.
10) Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
11) Justine Henin.
12) Todd Woodbridge & Mark Woodforde.
Of course I will be in America’s Resort City (Newport, Rhode Island) this week to watch the best little tournament in the world and then enjoying the induction ceremony of the latest inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. If you are a fan of this great sport, you MUST make a pilgrimage to Newport.
While at the Newport Casino, I will spend a lot of time rehashing points and moments and drama from the “greatest tennis match ever played” with old and new tennis friends. Congratulations Rafa! Congratulations Roger!
Note by the Editor-in-Chief: The little swag for the first reader to submit the complete list of players that owned a piece of Sampras’ scalp on grass only goes for those who use the comment system down below on TennisGrandstand.com. Other submissions will not count.
Men’s Singles: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (8) 9-7
Women’s Singles: Venus Williams beat Serena Williams 7-5 6-4
Men’s Doubles: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Jonas Bjorkman and Kevin Ullyett 7-6 (12) 6-7 (3) 6-3 6-3
Women’s Doubles: Venus and Serena Williams beat Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-2
Mixed Doubles: Bob Bryan and Samantha Stosur beat Mike Bryan and Katarina Srebotnik 7-5 6-4
Boys Singles: Grigor Dimitrov beat Henri Kontinen 7-5 6-3
Girls Singles: Laura Robson beat Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-3 3-6 6-1
Boys Doubles: Hsieh Cheng-Peng and Yang Tsung-Hua beat Matt Reid and Bernard Tomic 6-4 2-6 12-10
Girls Doubles: Polona Hercoq and Jessica Moore beat Isabella Holland and Sally Peers 6-3 1-6 6-2
Ladies Invitational Doubles: Jana Novotna and Kathy Rinaldi beat Martina Navratilova and Helena Sukova 7-5 3-6 10-5 (match tiebreak)
Gentlemen’s Invitational Doubles: Donald Johnson and Jared Palmer beat Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, walkover
Senior Gentlemen’s Doubles: Ken Flach and Robert Seguso beat Jeremy Bates and Anders Jarryd 7-6 (1) 6-7 (5) 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Wheelchair Masters: Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink beat Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 6-7 (6) 6-1 6-3
Ivan Navarro defeated Dick Norman 6-7 (4) 6-3 7-6 (10) to capture the 2008 Open Diputacion in Pozoblanco, Spain
Luis Horna won the BSI Challenger Lugano, defeating Nicolas Devilder 7-6 (1) 6-1 in Lugano, Switzerland
Fabio Fognini beat Diego Junqueira 6-3 6-1 to win the Sporting Challenger 08 in Turin, Italy
Tathiana Garbin won the Cuneo 2008 ITF event in Cuneo, Italy, beating Sorana-Mihaela Cristea 6-3 6-1
“I am very, very happy. For me it is a dream to play on this court. I had a lot of chances to win, but he always fight unbelievable.” – Rafael Nadal, after beating five-time champion Roger Federer to win the men’s singles.
“It’s tough, it’s tough, it hurts. Rafa really served well at the end. I missed so many opportunities. I paid the price in the end.” – Roger Federer.
“My first job is big sister. I take that job very seriously.” – Venus Williams, talking about family ties after beating sister Serena in the Wimbledon final.
“I’m so happy that at least one of us was able to win.” – Serena Williams, noting she and her sister Venus have won seven of the last nine Wimbledon women’s singles titles.
“I’m definitely more in tune with my sister’s feelings because one of us has to win and one has to lose. Of course the celebration isn’t as exciting because my sister has just lost.” – Venus Williams.
“They’re serving bombs.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, referring to the big-serving games of both Williams sisters.
“His forehand was ridiculous. He hits the ball so close to the line, so hard, that it was difficult to get any rhythm. I felt rushed on every point.” – Andy Murray, after losing to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
“To beat Federer you need to be Nadal and run around like a rabbit and hit winners from all over the place.” – Marat Safin.
“His forehand is incredible. The speed and spin is incredible, and the pop in his serve, there’s a life to it.” – John McEnroe, admitting he was stunned by the power of Rafael Nadal after he practiced with the Spaniard.
“It’s not over ’til the blonde lady screams.” – Mary Carillo on Elena Dementieva’s shrieking during her semifinal loss to Venus Williams.
“I was almost playing in the parking lot. I almost need a helicopter to go to my court.” – Jelena Jankovic, complaining about having to play on Court 18, where she lost.
“My husband warms up with me every time. He’s a good hitting partner, but maybe he needs to practice the serve more and serve like Serena. Then next time I will return much better.” – Zheng Jie, after Serena Williams fired 14 aces in her semifinal victory over the Chinese player.
“We have always aimed for singles gold, but Zheng Jie’s results have further bolstered our confidence in the Chinese tennis team.” – Xie Miqing, spokeswoman for the Chinese Tennis Federation, after Zheng reached the Wimbledon semifinals.
“I thought I was going to be sick when I walked onto court because there were so many people watching. In the second set I went a bit mad but got it back together and managed to win.” – Laura Robson, who became the first British player since 1984 to win the Wimbledon junior girls’ singles.
“It was my goal to make the Olympics this year, which is my last as a professional player. It will be my third participation after Atlanta and Athens and it’s my dream to end my career with an Olympic medal for Sweden.” – Jonas Bjorkman, after receiving an ITF Place in the Beijing Olympics tennis event.
“He is a wonderful role model for our young Canadiens, and I am so proud of his remarkable accomplishment today. His victory is an exclamation point on a Hall of a Fame career.” – Michael S. Downey, president and chief executive of Tennis Canada, talking about Daniel Nestor.
When Rafael Nadal unleashed a final ferocious forehand to end an epic battle, he became the first person since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to sweep both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year. His 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (8) 9-7 victory also stopped Roger Federer’s bid for a record sixth straight Wimbledon men’s singles title. The defeat snapped Federer’s 40 straight match streak at the All England Club and a record 65-match streak on grass. Nadal became the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon since Manolo Santana in 1966, two years before the Open Era began. And at 4 hours, 48 minutes, it was the longest men’s final in Wimbledon’s history.
SONG FOR ZHENG
The biggest surprise at this year’s Wimbledon was China’s Zheng Jie. She became the first female wild-card entrant to reach the semifinals at the All England Club and joined Monica Seles as the second at any Grand Slam tournament. Zheng beat three ranked players, including top-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the reigning French Open champion. Nicole Vaidisova in the quarterfinals was the only player to take a set off Zheng, and the Chinese righthander retaliated by winning the third set 6-1. Zheng wasn’t a complete surprise as she was ranked number 27 in the world in singles before she injured her ankle in 2007 and underwent surgery, ending her season. She won the gold at the Asian Games in 2006, beating Sania Mirza, and teamed with Yan Zi to win the doubles at the Austalian Open and Wimbledon the same year, her doubles ranking being as high as number three in the world.
SUN RISING IN EAST
Could the tennis power axis be shifting to the East – the Far East, that is? China’s Zheng Jie shocked the tennis world by knocking off top-seeded Ana Ivanovic, No. 15 Agnes Szavay and No. 18 Nicole Vaidisova on her way to the semifinals. Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand eliminated the number two seed, Jelena Jankovic. Another Thai, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, reached the Girls’ singles final, while Taiwan’s Hsieh Cheng-Peng and Yang Tsung-Hua captured the boys’ doubles title, winning the decisive third set 12-10. Japan’s Ai Sugiyama was a quarterfinalist in the mixed doubles. Earlier this year 18-year-old Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to win an ATP event in almost 16 years when he upset James Black in the final of Delray Beach, Florida. And the center of the tennis world next month will be the Beijing Olympics.
SET FOR BEIJING
Nicolas Massu of Chile will be able to defend his gold medals in singles and doubles now that he has been added to the field of the Beijing Olympics tennis event. The ITF awarded places in the field to 12 players – six men and six women – who did not meet the direct acceptance requirements. Massu won both the singles and doubles at the Athens Games four years ago. Other ITF Places in the men’s singles went to Kevin Anderson, South Africa; Jonas Bjorkman, Sweden; Kei Nishikori, Japan; Max Mirnyi, Belarus; and Sun Peng, China. Given ITF Places in the women’s singles were Maria Koryttseva, Ukraine; Chan Yung-Jan, Taiwan; Ayumi Morita, Japan; Nuria Llagostera-Vives, Spain; Alicia Molik, Australia; and Selima Sfar, Tunisia.
SEE YOU IN BEIJING
Eighteen of the top 20 men and seven of the top ten women are scheduled to play in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. For both men and women, this is the strongest field to compete in the Olympics since tennis returned as a full medal sport in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. Out of the top players, the only ones deciding to stay home are Andy Roddick, Richard Gasquet and Anna Chakvetadze. Fernando Verdasco and Marion Bartoli are both ineligible to compete. The Olympic tennis event will be played from Sunday, August 10, through Sunday, August 17, at the new Olympic Tennis Center in Beijing.
More than 40 of the top tennis players took part in the ITF’s official tennis Olympic book, “Journey to Beijing – Tennis.” The 140-page publication features a series of photographs of the game’s top names dressed as athletes from other summer or winter Olympic sports. The pictures are accompanied by interviews with the players. The pictures were taken in Barcelona, Beijing, Dubai, Indian Wells, Los Angeles, Miami, Melbourne, Moscow, the Netherlands, Palm Beach, Santiago, Shanghai and Tel Aviv. Check out Serena Williams as an ice skater.
SURE ABOUT RETIRING?
Justine Henin hasn’t completely ruled out returning to tennis. The 26-year-old Belgian announced her retirement 10 days before the start of the French Open in May. At the time, she was ranked number one in the world. Henin, who is establishing a tennis academy in Belgium, said, “I can never say for sure that I’ll never be back because I hate to say never. But for me, and the people who know me, they know that when I do something, I do it 200 percent, and when I decide it’s over, it’s over and I go to the next step.”
Austrian doubles player Sandra Klemenschits will return to the WTA Tour this month following her battle with abdominal cancer, the same illness that caused the death in April of her twin sister Daniela. Organizers of the Gastein Ladies awarded Klemenschits a wild card for their July 14-20 tournament in Bad Gastein, Austria. She will team up with Germany’s Marlene Weingaertner, who is making her comeback after a two-year retirement from competitive tennis. Sandra and Daniela Klemenschits played doubles on Austria’s Fed Cup team and won 23 titles on the ITF women’s circuit before both were diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer.
Jonas Bjorkman was on the losing side in his final Wimbledon’s men’s doubles championship match. He and Kevin Ullyett lost to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in the Swede’s last appearance at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club before he retires at the end f the season. Bjorkman’s partners in his winning 51 doubles titles – including eight at Grand Slam events – include Todd Woodbridge, John McEnroe, Pat Rafter and Roger Federer.
When Daniel Nestor teamed up with Nenad Zimonjic to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles championship, he became the first Canadian to win a title at the All England Club. Nestor also completed a career doubles Grand Slam, adding to championships he won with Mark Knowles at the Australian Open in 2002, the U.S. Open in 2004 and the French Open in 2007. And he became just the fourth men’s player in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal, joining Andre Agassi, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
After facing each other in the women’s singles final, sisters Venus and Serena Williams teamed up to win their third Wimbledon women’s doubles championship and seventh Grand Slam doubles title, beating Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-2. The sisters last won the doubles at Wimbledon in 2002, the first of two straight years in which Serena beat Venus in the singles final. This year, Venus beat Serena for her fifth Wimbledon singles crown.
When Laura Robson beat third-seeded Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-3 3-6 6-1, she became the first British player to win the Wimbledon girls singles since Annabel Croft in 1984. Because of the interest in the 14-year-old’s match, the girls’ singles final was played in the 11,000-seat No. 1 court. She is the youngest girls’ champion at Wimbledon since Martina Hingis won in 1994 at the age of 13. When she was handed the trophy by Ann Jones, one of the British women to have won the Wimbledon ladies’ singles, Robson said she hopes she will be granted a wild card into the main draw of next year’s Championships.
Marcos Baghdatis has decided not play Davis Cup for Cyprus against Portugal later this month. Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, said he is pulling out of the upcoming Davis Cup tie because of other commitments, but said he was not be quitting the team indefinitely.
The top-seeded brother team of Bob and Mike Bryan never lost serve during this year’s Wimbledon, yet they didn’t win the title. The American twins lost in the men’s doubles semifinals to the team of Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe 7-6 (3) 5-7 7-6 (5) 7-6 (9). Bob Bryan did win a Wimbledon title, teaming with Samantha Stosur to capture the mixed doubles. Mike Bryan was on the losing side of the net with Katarina Srebotnik.
SEEING IT ON TV
The battle between sisters Venus and Serena Williams drew the highest preliminary United States television ratings in three years for a Wimbledon women’s final. NBC said viewership was up 21 percent from last years’ meeting between Venus and Marion Bartoli and the best rating since 2005 when Venus beat Lindsay Davenport.
Ricoh, a global leader in digital office solutions, has extended its role as the Official Office Solutions Provider of the ATP for three additional years. The company will also sponsor the official ATP MatchFacts, distributed after every ATP Tour match and sponsorship of Hawkeye graphics at a number of ATP Masters Series events in Europe.
Cordoba: Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer beat James Cerretani and Dick Norman 6-4 6-3
Lugano: Ramirez Junaid and Philipp Marx beat Mariano Hood and Eduardo Schwank 7-6 (7) 4-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Turin: Carlos Berlocq and Frederico Gil beat Tomas Cibulec and Jaroslav Levinsky 6-4 6-3
Cuneo: Maret Ani and Renata Voracova beat Olga Savchuk and Marina Shamayko 6-1 6-2
SITES TO SURF
Bad Gastein: www.generali-ladies.at
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$860,000 Mercedes Cup, Stuttgart, Germany, clay
$580,000 Allianz Suisse Open, Gstaad, Switzerland, clay
$566,000 Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Newport, Rhode Island, grass
$480,000 Catella Swedish Open, Bastad, Sweden, clay
$125,000 Bogota Challenger, Bogota, Colombia, clay
$100,000 Siemens Open, Scheveningen, Netherlands, clay
$175,000 Gaz de France Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, clay
$145,000 Internazionali Femminili di Tennis di Palermo, Palermo, Italy, clay
Hall of Fame Champions Cup, Newport, Rhode Island, grass
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$890,000 Austrian Open, Kitzbuhel, Austria, clay
$525,000 Indianapolis Tennis Championships, Indianapolis, Indiana, hard
$525,000 Dutch Open Tennis, Amersfoort, The Netherlands, clay
$525,000 ATP Studena Croatia Open, Umag, Croatia, clay
$600,000 Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, California, hard
$175,000 Gastein Ladies, Bad Gastein, Austria, clay
Turkcell Legends Cup, Istanbul, Turkey, hard
Group III: Aruba, Barbados, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico at Tegucigalpa, Honduras, hard
Group IV: Bermuda, Costa Rica, Haiti, US Virgin Island at Honduras
Group II Playoffs: Luxembourg vs. Finland at Hanko, Finland, clay; Hungary vs. Greece at Thessaloniki, Greece, clay
Group II Second Round: Denmark vs. South Africa at Johannesburg, South Africa, hard; Algeria vs. Monaco at Monte Carlo, Monaco, clay
Perhaps inspired by the success of comeback by tennis mom Lindsay Davenport, 2005 U.S. Open champion and former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters is reportedly training in Belgium and considering a comeback on the WTA Tour. According to media sources in Belgium, Clijsters is considering a comeback – training in secret and may announce that she will again play on the WTA Tour. Clijsters retired from professional tennis last spring and shortly thereafter married American Brian Lynch. On February 27 of this year, she gave birth to daughter Jada Ellie Lynch. Davenport, another former world No. 1, returned to the WTA Tour last fall after giving birth to a son, Jagger, on June 10, 2007.
Clijsters won 34 WTA Tour singles titles, including the 2005 US Open (her only major singles title), where she beat Mary Pierce in the final. Her win at the US Open earned her a record payday of $2.2 million by the USTA (double the prize money of $1.1 million) by virtue of her also winning the US Open Series – the series of U.S. hard court tournaments leading into the US Open.
Belgian tennis took a major hit with the recent retirement this spring of Justine Henin.
Men’s Singles: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0
Women’s Singles: Ana Ivanovic beat Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3
Men’s Doubles: Pablo Cuevas and Luis Horna beat Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2 6-3
Women’s Doubles: Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual beat Casey Dellacqua and Francesca Schiavone 2-6 7-5 6-4
Mixed Doubles: Victoria Azarenko and Bob Bryan beat Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2 7-6 (4)
Boys Singles: Tsung-Hua Yang beat Jerzy Janowicz 6-3 7-6 (5)
Girls Singles: Simona Halep beat Elena Bogdan 6-4 6-7 (3) 6-2
Boys Doubles: Henri Kontinen and Christopher Rungkat beat Jaan-Frederik Brunken and Matt Reid 6-0 6-3
Girls Doubles: Polona Hercoq and Jessica Moore beat Lesley Kerhove and Arantxa Rus 5-7 6-1 1-0 (7)
Under 45 Doubles: Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Stich beat Richard Krajicek and Emilio Sanchez 6-1 7-6 (5)
Over 45 Doubles: Anders Jarryd and John McEnroe beat Mansour Bahrami and Henri Leconte 6-4 7-6 (2)
Men’s Wheelchair Singles: Shingo Kunieda beat Robin Ammerlaan 6-0 7-6 (5)
Men’s Wheelchair Doubles: Shingo Kunieda and Mailkel Scheffers beat Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink 6-2 7-5
Women’s Wheelchair Singles: Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan 6-2 6-2
Women’s Wheelchair Doubles: Jiske Griffioen and Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan and Sharon Walraven 6-4 6-4
Agustin Calleri beat Martin Vassallo Arguello 6-0 6-3 to win the UniCredit Czech Open 2008 in Prostejov, Czech Republic
Tathiana Garbin won the Tiro A Volo in Rome, Italy, by defeating Yvonne Meusburger 6-4 4-6 7-6 (6)
“Roger, I’m sorry for the final.” – Rafael Nadal, after destroying Roger Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0 to win his fourth straight French Open.
“After a loss like this, you don’t want to play Rafa again tomorrow, that’s for sure.” – Federer.
“Roger’s going to be back, and so will Rafa.” – Bjorn Borg, the only other player to win four consecutive French Open singles titles.
“This was amazing. I think we both played a very nervous match. I’m just so happy to keep my composure at the end.” – Ana Ivanovic, after beating Dinara Safina and winning the French Open women’s title.
“Tennis is an easy sport. You don’t need to change anything when you do things well.” – Rafael Nadal, who has never lost at Roland Garros, winning 28 consecutive matches.
“Not one job is easy out there. I mean, the great thing about being a tennis player is that there are some opportunities that you’re going to get during the year, and it’s really up to you to take those opportunities.” – Maria Sharapova, after a fourth-round loss in Paris.
“If Rafa continues to play the way he plays, it’s just impossible.” – Nicolas Almagro, after winning three games against Nadal, the most lopsided French Open men’s quarterfinal in the Open era.
“I was just, I think, tired, mental and physically. Even though I wanted to, my heart couldn’t and my body couldn’t do it anymore.” – Dinara Safina after the women’s final.
“Those are not drop shots. I don’t know what they are, but those are not drop shots. His balls were not bouncing up at all. They had a spin effect. I’ll ask him to explain to me because I don’t know what those were.” – Gael Monfils, on drop shots hit by Roger Federer in their semifinal.
“Kill myself? No, I will have some dinner and maybe get drunk or do something. I don’t know. Whatever makes me feel better.” – Jelena Jankovic, after losing to Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals.
“It was pretty horrible. I felt pretty bad out there.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, after her semifinal loss to Dinara Safina.
“I feel like I’m playing a Russian championship, not Roland Garros.” – Elena Dementieva after beating compatriot Vera Zvonareva to set up a quarterfinal meeting against another Russian, Dinara Safina, who then went on to beat yet another Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“I am just mother. Win or lose, it’s my children.” – Raouza Islanova, a famed Russian tennis coach who is the mother of Dinara Safina and Marat Safin.
“I’m not the girl to keep all the emotions I have inside. I guess I have to pay lots of fines because that’s the way I am.” – Dinara Safina.
“If somebody would tell us when we were 12 or 13 when we were practicing that we would play on Suzanne Lenglen in a quarterfinal, I wouldn’t have believed it.” – Ernests Gulbis, after losing to Novak Djokovic, friends since the two trained together at the Niki Pilic academy in Munich, Germany..
“It’s hard to comprehend that a person so young had to die. He accompanied me, challenged me and motivated me over the years.” – Thomas Muster, about fellow Austrian player Horst Skoff.
“He’s the defending champion. … What he achieved back in Athens, winning singles and doubles, maybe it’s never going to happen again.” – Roger Federer, backing defending Olympic champion Nicolas Massu’s bid to gain a wildcard entry to the Beijing Olympics.
“Leander and Mahesh, being true patriots and professionals, have agreed to put in their best effort by pairing up for Beijing Olympics to win a medal for the country.” – India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary Anil Khanna, announcing Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will team up again for the Summer Games.
“He wanted to work with me, a lowly tennis player. He saw something in me that no one else has ever seen, the side that’s classic tennis player with elegance and grace.” – Venus Williams, about photographer Koto Bolofo’s new book, “Venus.”
“I am fulfilling my role as president according to the constitution. I am not interfering in the government at all. These days I play a lot of tennis, go swimming. Sometimes I play a hand of bridge.” – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
SURGE TO THE TOP
Ana Ivanovic left Roland Garros with her first Grand Slam tournament title and the world number one ranking. The first player from Serbia to reach the top in the rankings, Ivanovic replaced Maria Sharapova as number one when she defeated fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals.
Defending champion Jelena Jankovic and French Open runner-up Dinara Safina will skip this week’s DFS Classic, a grass-court tournament in Birmingham, England. Jankovic has been bothered by an arm injury, while Safina withdrew because of a bad back.
SOUTH AMERICAN SHUFFLE
Luis Horna of Peru and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay became the first South American team to win a Grand Slam doubles title when they knocked off second-seeded Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros. Horna and Cuevas beat three other seeded teams in the fortnight, including top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan in the quarterfinals and number seven Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the opening round. The only other South American man to win a Grand Slam doubles title was Ecuador’s Andres Gomez, who captured the U.S. Open in 1986 with Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia and Roland Garros in 1988 with Emilio Sanchez of Spain.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are setting aside their differences and teaming for the Beijing Olympics. Winners of three Grand Slam titles together, the pair are India’s best shot at a medal in Beijing. The two will play together in two events before and after Wimbledon.
Maria Sharapova will play just one grass court tournament this year: Wimbledon. The 21-year-old Russian said on her web site that she will bypass grass-court warmup events in Birmingham and Eastbourne in order to focus on Wimbledon, a tournament she won in 2004.
Justine Henin, who retired just before defending her French Open title, was among those honored at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris for finishing the year ranked number one. Henin and Roger Federer were honored as singles champions. Other recipients were doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan, junior champions Ricardas Berankis and Urzula Radwanska, and wheelchair champions Shingo Kunieda and Esther Vergeer. The Philippe Chatrier Award, the ITF’s highest accolade, was presented to Neal Fraser, an integral part of Australia’s Davis Cup history. Fraser played on 11 Davis Cup-winning squads, including four as captain, a position he held for 24 years to become the competition’s longest-serving captain.
SPOT IN OLYMPICS GONE
Any chance Tzipi Obziler had to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympics ended when fellow Israeli Shahar Peer lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open doubles. Obizer needed Peer to reach the tourney’s final, which would put Peer in the top ten in the rankings. And that would have allowed the two Israelis to have direct entry into the tennis event at Beijing.
SAYS NO WAY
Japan’s Akiko Morigami denied she was told by a coach to throw a doubles match at the French Open. It had been widely reported that she had been asked to deliberately lose the match in order to boost partner Aiko Nakamura’s chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics. “I am aware of the media reports, and unfortunately my comments were misunderstood,” Morigami said in a statement. On her blog, Morigami said: “I’m sorry for the trouble my remarks have caused.”
Horst Skoff, who won four ATP Tour titles during his career, died in Hamburg, Germany, while on a business trip. He was 39. The Austrian tennis federation said Skoff died of a heart attack, but Skoff’s friend, Arno Puckhofer, said German police have ordered an autopsy to verify the cause of death. Once ranked as high as 18th in the world, Skoff helped lead Austria to the 1990 Davis Cup semifinals along with Thomas Muster. Skoff won the first two sets before losing a five-setter to Michael Chang in the decisive fifth match as the United States won 3-2.
Two former U.S. presidents are expected to be on hand when Chris Evert and golfer Greg Norman are married later this month in the Bahamas. According to news reports, the guest list includes Lleyton Hewitt, Anna Kournikova, Lindsay Davenport, Jim Courier, Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors from the tennis world. Entertainers Chevy Chase, Jon Lovitz, Kenny Loggins, Gwen Stefani, Matt Lauer also will watch the nuptials, alongside ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. Evert and Norman, both 53, will reportedly tie the knot in a dusk ceremony on a private beach at The One And Only Ocean Club Hotel on Paradise Island. An Australian newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, reported that Norman’s son Gregory will be best man at the wedding.
SO LONG BARRY
Barry Lorge, who had been tennis writer for the Washington Post and sports editor of The San Diego Union, died after a long battle against cancer. He was 60. Lorge’s first Wimbledon was in 1970, right after he had graduated from Harvard with a degree in political science. Since leaving the Union, Lorge operated a public relations firm in San Diego.
SMALL WORLD INDEED
Another way of proving tennis is the number one sport in the world. The semifinalists in all the competitions played at the French Open – including men, women, boys, girls, singles, doubles and wheelchair – represented 32 nations: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe. The senior exhibitions added two more countries: Paraguay and Croatia.
France’s top player, Richard Gasquet, will not compete in the Beijing Olympics this summer. Ranked number nine in the world, Gasquet withdrew from the French Open with a knee injury but is scheduled to play at Wimbledon later this month. Also skipping the Summer Games will be Americans Ashley Harkleroad, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish.
The 1950 Davis Cup-winning team has been honored by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Frank Sedgman and John Bromwich headed the squad that beat the United States 4-1 at Forest Hills in New York City, starting a golden era for Australia, which held the Cup for 15 of the next 18 years.
Scott MacLeod has joined the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as senior vice president of business development, a new position. MacLeod, who will be based in London, will be responsible for sponsorship sales development, on-line advertising sales and licensing.
Prostejov: Rik De Voest and Lukasz Kubot beat Chris Haggard and Nicolas Tourte 6-2 6-2
Rome: Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska beat Alina Jidkova and Marie-Eve Pelletier 6-3, 6-1
SITES TO SURF
Akiko Morigami: www.40love.jp/morigami/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,125,000 The Artois Championships, London, England, grass
$1,125,000 Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany, grass
$670,000 Orange Prokom Open, Warsaw, Poland, clay
$200,000 DFS Classic, Birmingham, Great Britain, grass
$145,000 Torneo Barcelona KIA, Barcelona, Spain, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$584,000 Ordina Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass
$584,000 The Nottingham Open, Nottingham, Great Britain, grass
$125,000 Braunschweig Challenger, Braunschweig, Germany, clay
$600,000 International Women’s Open, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass
$175,000 Ordina Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass