Monday, February 28, 2011

Jimmy Connors The Greatest?

http://cheerbear.webs.com/Jimmy_Connors.jpg

By 'Prestige Score,' Connors Is Tops
FEBRUARY 28, 2011

Monday night's tennis exhibition at Madison Square Garden includes four all-time great players: Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. But the best player ever won't be there.

No, we're not talking about Roger Federer. Or Rod Laver. Or Rafael Nadal. Jimmy Connors, the cantankerous American who played top-level tennis until he was 39 years old, is, according to a new study, the greatest of all time. Lendl finished second. In a major upset, Ilie Nastase finished ninth, in front of Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker.

The study, published this month in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, discards traditional methods, such as weeks at No. 1 and Grand Slam titles. Instead, it analyzes all matches played in men's tennis since the beginning of the open era, in 1968, and awards each player a "prestige score" based on matches, especially victories, against quality opponents.

"What's really important is not to win many matches, but to win matches against other good players," says Filippo Radicchi, a statistical physicist at Northwestern University who authored the study.

Connors won 178 quality matches, more than any other player. By Radicchi's measure, Federer has 39 quality victories. Nadal has just 21. However, Radicchi notes that his method favors retired players, because the historical stature of current pros has yet to be determined. "I'll run this algorithm again in 10 years and see if the ranking is still the same," he says.

See the ranking...

While I don't get into arguments of "best ever", I find this statistical analysis intriguing on many levels.

(Thanks, Moose)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Drive By

by Craig Hickman

David Ferrer defended a title. Novak Djokovic, too. Juan Martin del Potro returned to the winner's circle for the first time in his comeback.

Vera Zvonareva
toppled the computer's top-ranked player to win her 11th title and Gisela Dulko took a singles title for the first time since 2008.

I don't typically watch any of the events on the calendar this week, finals included. Not even the one in the United States. The timing is all wrong. Not to mention sanctions.

Next up: Davis Cup.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Confessions

Savannah has the story on the recently-retired former world No. 1 who admitted she, well, cheated on the grandest stages of tennis.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Historic Face Of The Day

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Wcl_lWbgvDQ/TOvGyQF7GXI/AAAAAAAAGSc/IiJuzyNZhHQ/s1600/FrenchOpen.jpg

Serena Williams holds the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after defeating her sister Venus Williams at the French Open Tennis Championships on June 8, 2002 at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France.

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The only Black woman in the Open Era and the last American to win Roland Garros.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mario Ancic Retires

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 11:  Mario Ancic of Croatia celebrates  winning the second set against Bobby Reynolds Jeremy Chardy of Italy  during the BNP Paribas Open on March 11, 2010 in Indian Wells,  California.
Getty

Mario Ancic of Croatia celebrates winning the second set against Bobby Reynolds of the United States during the BNP Paribas Open on March 11, 2010 in Indian Wells, California.

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Former world number seven Mario Ancic has retired at the age of 26 to become a lawyer after years battling illness and injury.

The big-serving Croatian, who earned the nickname "Super Mario" after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2004, achieved his career-high ranking in 2006 but has struggled since with the illness mononucleosis as well as back and knee problems.

"I can't stand it any more, I have finished my career," Ancic was quoted as saying by Croatian daily Jutarnji List on Monday.

"I'm forced to quit because nature has decided it's time. My back can't withstand the effort of professional tennis."

Ancic, whose greatest moment came in 2005 when he won the deciding rubber in the Davis Cup final against Slovakia, is due to hold a news conference on Wednesday.

During his lengthy spells out of tennis Ancic, whose father owns a supermarket chain in Croatia, studied for a degree in law at the University of Split which he completed in 2008.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More Than Just A Big Serve

Andy Roddick's scraped elbow is visible as he holds his winner's  trophy for the championship match of the Regions Morgan Keegan  Championships tennis tournament Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn.  Roddick won the match 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11), 7-5, and made a diving return  on the final shot.
AP

Andy Roddick's scraped elbow is visible as he holds his winner's trophy for the championship match of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Roddick outgutted Milos Raonic 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11), 7-5, and made a diving return on the final shot.

::

Will Andy Roddick end 2011 without a title for the first time in 11 years?

That was the question I almost posted as a random thought earlier this week when I finally glanced at the draw of Memphis. Following his unceremonious loss in the fourth round of Melbourne, a loss which the American commentators at ESPN almost seemed happy about, it surely seemed possible. I know there's much tennis to play in 2011, but still.

Something told me to hold my tongue.

For all of my fan-anxious criticism, Andy Roddick is the kind of player that enriches the tapestry of the sport I love. Since Melbourne, the only storyline worth (over)hyping has been the out-of-nowhere fairy tale of the 20-year-old Canadian via Montenegro Milos Raonic who's now the highest ranked Canadian male in tennis history. But the promising young upstart with the huge serve and big forehand lost to the tenacious old veteran with the huge serve and big forehand.

And tenacious he was. Roddick had to rally to defeat a virtual no-name in the first round, overcome the man who defeated him at the US Open last year in the second. In the quarterfinals he needed 7 match points and a dive or two, which drew blood on his right arm, the bruises you see above, to get past his old, tenacious rival Lleyton Hewitt. In the semifinals he broke the serve for the first time in the event of Juan Martin Del Potro, a man he's lost to on US hardcourts all three times they'd played, broke his serve three times. And in his 50th career final, he outgutted the man from Canada via Montenegro he'd never played before, the man the commentators have been hyping as the Next Great Thing (there were times during the encounter where if you didn't see it with your own eyes, you'd have thought Raonic was the only player on the court given all the lip service they gave the big kid) and won a match point for the ages to earn his 30th career title. All the while coughing up his lungs from one of those bad colds going round.

He did it with patience, defense, offense, netplay, backhands down the line, guile, guts, and, yes, big serving.

The match started slowly, mostly all about the serving, but then marched towards its dramatic finish. As both players began to read the other's game, the rallies got longer, the stakes, higher. But no one saw the ending coming. Surely, at 5-6, 30-40 and serving, Raonic, who'd saved all 4 match points he faced on serve in the second set tiebreak, would serve his way out of match point number 5, right?

Raonic struck a great serve out wide, but Roddick got it back with a backhand return. Raonic struck a hard forehand approach down the line that Roddick struck back with a hard backhand down the line. Raonic struck what appeared to be a clean volley winner deep and wide in the open court, but Roddick scrambled to chase it down, didn't look like he'd get there, but dove at the last second with his forehand outstretched and slapped a screaming passing shot winner that Raonic could only watch whiz by. Roddick didn't even seen where the ball landed as he rolled out of the dive. Just like that, the match was over. The commentators had to stop their Raonic hype mid-thought to acknowledge that the match was, indeed, over. About as abrupt an ending as a double fault, but far more fulfilling. Andy looked shocked for minutes after.

Andy Roddick watches his shot as he makes a diving return for match  point against Milos Raonic, of Canada, to win the championship match of  the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament Sunday, Feb.  20, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Roddick won the match 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11),  7-5.
AP

Andy Roddick rolls over after making a diving return for match  point against Milos Raonic, of Canada, to win the championship match of  the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament, Sunday, Feb.  20, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Roddick won the match 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11),  7-5.
AP

Roddick takes a lot of crap from the pundits and fans alike (I'm talking about you, Carter), especially in the United States. But there he is, 28-years-old, going about his business with the weight of a country on his shoulders, because, well, let's face it: whenever he arrives at a Slam anywhere in the world but Paris, he's the only American male who anyone expects to contend for the title. And it's been that way for the greater part of 11 years now.

Andy Roddick looks up to see that his diving return for match point  was good against Milos Raonic, of Canada, to win the championship match  of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament, Sunday,  Feb. 20, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Roddick won the match 7-6 (7), 6-7  (11), 7-5.
AP

Hats off to a warrior who has now earned a small place in tennis history alongside his great nemesis for winning at least one singles title in each of those years. No way you achieve that unless your game is more than just a big serve. And his heart is even bigger. As an American, as a fan, I'm proud of Andy Roddick. Very proud. There. I said it.

Andy Roddick, of the United States, acknowledges the crowd after he  made a diving return on match point against Milos Raonic, of Canada, to  win the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament, Sunday,  Feb. 20, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Roddick won 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11), 7-5. (AP  Photo/Mark Humphrey.
AP

Under The Radar

Swedish Robin Soderling holds his trophy after winning the ATP Open  13 tennis tournament final against Croatian Marin Cilic , on February  20, 2011 in Marseille, southern France. Soderling won  6-7 (10/8), 6-3,  6-3.
Getty

Robin Söderling won his third title of 2011 with a 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic at Open 13 in Marseille.

The Big Swede has lost exactly one match this year.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Memphis Tennis

Andy Roddick, of the United States, returns a shot to Janko  Tipsarevic, of Serbia, in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis  tournament Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn.
AP

Andy Roddick of the United States returns a shot to Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament February 17, 2011.

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Can't get a feed to work to watch any of the matches at this event. Maybe next year, I'll go down to my father's old stomping ground and check out the tournament live.

Men's Singles - Second Round
[1] A Roddick (USA) d J Tipsarevic (SRB) 61 76(8)
[5] S Querrey (USA) d B Dabul (ARG) 63 76(3)
L Hewitt (AUS) d A Mannarino (FRA) 67(9) 75 60
[Q] M Russell (USA) d F Serra (FRA) 64 64
[WC] J Del Potro (ARG) d I Dodig (CRO) 64 64
[WC] M Raonic (CAN) d R Stepanek (CZE) 64 67(10) 76(1)

Wonder how many match points Raonic had in the second set tiebreak?

Good day at the office for American men.

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Women's Singles - Quarterfinals
(6) Rebecca Marino (CAN) d. Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 61 76(6)
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) d. (Q) Heather Watson (GBR) 63 64
Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. Ksenia Pervak (RUS) 64 63
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 63 62

American women can't even win events at this level.

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Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) d [WC] R Harrison (USA) / A Roddick (USA) 75 76(5)
[3] M Knowles (BAH) / M Mertinak (SVK) d M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) 36 63 14-12
[4] E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) d J Del Potro (ARG) / R Stepanek (CZE) 64 62
K Anderson (RSA) / A Fisher (AUS) d J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) 62 75

Not a good day for American men's doubles teams.

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Women's Doubles - Quarterfinals
Pervak/Senoglu (RUS/TUR) d. (1) Voracova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 60 63
(4) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. (WC) Hampton/Oudin (USA/USA) 61 61

Historic Face Of The Day

Yannick Noah of France raises his arms in celebration after  defeating Mats Wilander in the Men's Singles final match during the  French Open Tennis Championship on 5th June 1983 at the Stade Roland  Garros Stadium in Paris, France.
Getty

Yannick Noah of France raises his arms in celebration after defeating Mats Wilander in the Men's Singles final match during the French Open Tennis Championship on June 5, 1983 at the Stade Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France.

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The only Black man and the last Frenchman to win the French Open.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Face Of The Day

Jean Gachassin, president of the French tennis federation (FFT)  gives a press conference to announce that French Open will remain at  Roland Garros on the outskirts of Paris on February 13, 2011 in Paris.  Roland Garros, built in 1928, is bursting at the seams and three  alternative sites were proposed so that the country's claycourt Grand  Slam tournament can grow and expand.
Getty

Jean Gachassin, president of the French tennis federation (FFT) gives a press conference to announce that French Open will remain at Roland Garros on the outskirts of Paris on February 13, 2011 in Paris. Roland Garros, built in 1928, is bursting at the seams and three alternative sites were proposed so that the country's claycourt Grand Slam tournament can grow and expand.

::

And so it is. Roland Garros will remain Roland Garros.

Former world No. 1 and Wimbledon champion Amélie Mauresmo isn't so sure that's a good thing:

"I hope they (the French Federation of Tennis) won't get in trouble by taking this decision," Mauresmo said. "I don't know if the tennis aspect prevailed in that decision. I have some doubts. I clearly said that I was more in favor of a development, of an ambition, that is, to move."

"If you can keep the history of the tournament in a place that is big enough to have the crowd happy, the players happy, night matches perhaps, matches when it's raining, then that's the perfect situation," she said. "If you can keep tradition in these conditions, then it's great. I'm not sure that's the case with Roland Garros."

Me either.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Milos Raonic Wins First Title In San Jose

by Craig Hickman

Milos Raonic, of Canada, holds up his trophy trophy after he  defeated Fernando Verdasco, of Spain, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the final of  the SAP Open tennis tournament in San Jose, Calif. , Sunday, Feb. 13,  2011.
AP

An historic moment. Milos Raonic becomes the first Canadian man to win an ATP title with his 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) upset defeat of defending champion Fernando Verdasco at the SAP Open since Greg Rusedski won Seoul in 1995. And he did it in his first final

“It’s been amazing," the 20-year-old, who rises to No. 59 in the rankings today, said after the match. “I came here and had probably my best week. I can’t stop smiling. I’m happy about it and I hope I can keep it going more than six weeks into the full year schedule and see where I am at the end of the year.”

The match was mostly a serve-fest. The rallies that ensued were split pretty evenly by both players. But the turning point of the all-tiebreak affair came when Verdasco led 6-2 in the first set breaker and found a way to lose the next 6 points and the set. I don't recall what happened on the first 3 set points, but at 6-5 and serving in the ad court, Verdasco chose not to hit his swinging serve that had been winning easy points for him all match, choosing to serve up the T instead. Raonic blocked back a timid return short and Verdasco's forehand landed 10 feet wide. When they switched ends at 6-6, you could sense defeat for Verdasco and victory for Raonic.

Still, I always expected the veteran to pull out the match in three sets. Surely, a first-time finalist playing on his 8th tour level event is going to find a way to lose his way and the defending champion would pounce. But that wasn't to be. Raonic kept his composure throughout, didn't let a thing distract him, and on his first match point, struck a service winner out wide to claim victory.

These two are drawn to meet in the first-round of Memphis this week. Imagine that.

Milos Raonic, of Canada, receives a bottle of Canadien maple syrup  and a San Jose Sharks jersey after he upset Fernando Verdasco, of Spain,  7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the finals of the SAP Open tennis tournament in San  Jose, Calif. , Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011.
AP

Raonic receives a bottle of Canadien maple syrup and a San Jose Sharks jersey after the match.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Robin Söderling Defends Rotterdam

by Craig Hickman

Robin Soderling of Sweden holds up the trophy after winning the  final tennis match of the World Indoor Tournament against Jo-Wilfried  Tsonga of France in Rotterdam February 13, 2011.
Reuters

For the first time in his career, Robin Robin Söderling defended an ATP title with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his second ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

I watched most of the match and the one thing the big Swede continues to do well is return huge serves. Maybe because he's so big himself, he has good reach and can get his racquet on more serves than it seems he should. Maybe his anticipation on the return of serve is hard to see from the angles we see it. Whatever the case, his return of serve may be the most underrated part of his big game.

As for Tsonga, he played with little discipline, as has become his way. Yes, it made sense to go for big first shots to try to take control of the point before his opponent, but trying to strike outrageous winners when completely out of position remains the talented Frenchman's biggest weakness.

Still, it was a good match between two power players in the finals of a relatively big event indicating once more than the power game has not completely lost its, well, power in men's tennis.

On another continent, Nicolas Almagro beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6(3) to claim the Brasil Open crown, his eighth career title.

Petra Kvitova Pummels Kim Clijsters To Win Paris Indoors

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova holds her trophy after winning  the Paris Open WTA tennis final match against her Belgian opponent Kim  Clijsters on February 13, 2011 at the Coubertin stadium in Paris. She  won 6-4, 6-3.
Getty

Shortly after the Australian Open, I read a journalist say something to the effect that all he could see in Petra Kvitova was a good swinging serve and not much else. In that writer's defense, Petra exited Melbourne with an erratic lackluster performance against Vera Zvonareva. Consistency is not Petra's forte. Not yet, anyway.

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic (L) speaks with France's former  player Amelie Mauresmo after defeating Kim Clijsters of Belgium in  their Paris Open tennis tournament final match, February 13, 2011.
Reuters

But after saving a match point in the second round, the young Czech with the Bette Davis eyes blasted her way into the finals of the Open GDF Suez where she waxed Monday's new world No. 1 in straight sets. Beat her like she stole something. Now I see why Petra considers Paris Indoors her favorite tournament. The No. 4 seed struck 10 aces and at least 17 winners off the ground in a 6-4, 6-3 drubbing. An all-court display of power tennis that left the defending one subdued.

Wonder what that writer sees in her now.

Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after winning  against Sara Errani of Italy in final round of tennis PTT Pattaya Open  in Pattaya resort on February 13, 2011. Hantuchova beats Errani 6-0,  6-2.
Getty

Elsewhere, No. 4 seed Daniela Hantuchova beat No. 8 seed Sara Errani to win the Pattaya Open. Guess it was a good day to be the No. 4 seed on the WTA.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Historic Face Of The Day

Stacey Martin of the United States makes a double handed return  against Monica Seles during their Women's Singles match at the French  Open Tennis Championship on 28th May 1989 at the Stade Roland Garros  Stadium in Paris, France.
Getty

Stacey Martin of the United States makes a double handed return against Monica Seles during their Women's Singles match at the French Open Tennis Championship on 28th May 1989 at the Stade Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Will Roland Garros Have New Digs?

by Craig Hickman

French Open
AP

Paris in Springtime May Not Include the French Open
by Christopher Clarey

IT sounded outlandish at first, like nothing more than a thinly disguised bargaining chip. But the prospect of moving the French Open to the suburbs has gradually developed into a legitimate option, or if you are Mayor Bertrand Delanoe of Paris, a legitimate threat.

The vote to determine the future of the grand slam tennis tournament is scheduled for Sunday, when 180 delegates from the French tennis federation will attempt to decide whether the Open will remain at its current location on the western edge of Paris or move farther afield in 2015 to one of three other sites: Gonesse, Marne-la-Vallee or Versailles.

A two-thirds majority will be required for selection. If that proves impossible Sunday, the plan is to reconvene within three months and vote again with only a simple majority necessary.

For now, Paris and the existing Roland Garros Stadium still look to be the slight favourites, considering the French emphasis on tradition and centralisation, and the prohibitive cost of building elsewhere from scratch. But Versailles has the requisite snob appeal, with its palace within walking distance of the proposed location on a former military base, and either Gonesse or Marne-la-Vallee would allow the federation to own its site outright instead of settling for a long-term lease.

All three alternatives offer huge increases in acreage and elbow room for a tournament that is the smallest of the four grand slams and whose walkways can often seem as crowded as a subway car at rush hour.

Rafael Nadal, a five-time French Open champion who could surpass Bjorn Borg's record for singles titles, has repeatedly made it clear he is against the tournament moving, emphasising that it would lose some of its soul. But Justine Henin, the retired Belgian who won the women's title four times, takes a more nuanced approach. ''I have a hard time imagining Roland Garros anywhere else, but I think it's definitely true that the site needs to grow,'' she says. ''The players and the spectators suffer because it's too small. They have to find a solution.''

Nostalgia has hardly been much of a trump card in grand slam tennis. The US Open left the West Side Tennis Club for a bigger, more soulless site in Flushing Meadows in 1978. The Australian Open was held in other cities before it settled in Melbourne at Kooyong, only to pull up stakes and move to a new facility in Melbourne's city centre in 1988. Even Wimbledon moved from Worple Road to its current grounds in 1922, and has been on a modernisation kick of late that has led to the destruction of multiple show courts, including the atmospheric No.1 Court.

Read the rest...

If they move, they better build a stadium with lights and have night sessions. (Are you listening, Wimbledon?) It's time to bring all the Slams into the 21st century.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Historic Face Of The Day


Source

The only black man to win singles titles at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Post Melbourne Champions

Ivan Dodig of Croatia poses for photograph with his trophy after  beating Michael Berrer of Germany during their PBZ Zagreb Indoors tennis  tournament final in Zagreb, on February 6, 2011. Dodig won 6-3, 6-4.

Ivan Dodig of Croatia poses for photograph with his trophy after beating Michael Berrer of Germany during their PBZ Zagreb Indoors tennis tournament final in Zagreb, on February 6, 2011. Dodig won 6-3, 6-4 to capture his first ATP title.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa kisses the trophy on February 6,  2011 after winning the final of the South African Open tennis tournament  in Johannesburg, beating Somdev Devvarman of India 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Getty

Kevin Anderson of South Africa kisses the trophy on February 6, 2011 after winning the final of the South African Open tennis tournament in Johannesburg, beating Somdev Devvarman of India 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Tommy Robredo of Spain lifted the cup after defeating Santiago  Girald of Colombia in the men's final match against  in the ATP World  Tour Movistar Open tennis tournament in Santiago February 6, 2011.
Reuters

Tommy Robredo of Spain lifted the cup after defeating Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in the men's final match against in the ATP World Tour Movistar Open tennis tournament in Santiago February 6, 2011.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Fed Cup Photos

Petra Kvitova, left, from Czech Republic is embraced by the team's  captain Petr Pala, right, as she celebrates after defeating Daniela  Hantuchova from Slovakia in their world group first round tennis match  in Bratislava, Slovakia, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. Kvitova won the match  6-4, 6-2 and gave Czech Republic a decisive 3-0 lead.
AP

Petra Kvitova, left, from Czech Republic is embraced by the team's captain Petr Pala, right, as she celebrates after defeating Daniela Hantuchova from Slovakia in their world group first round tennis match in Bratislava, Slovakia, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. Kvitova won the match 6-4, 6-2 and gave Czech Republic a decisive 3-0 lead.

Aleksandra Krunic (L) and Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia celebrate  after beating Sharon Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada during  their Fed Cup doubles tennis match on February 6, 2011, in Novi Sad,  Serbia.
Getty

Aleksandra Krunic (L) and Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia celebrate after beating Sharon Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada during their Fed Cup doubles tennis match on February 6, 2011, in Novi Sad, Serbia. Serbia won the tie.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. plays a return to Kim Clijsters  of Belgium during their Fed Cup World Group first round tennis match in  Antwerp February 6, 2011.
Reuters

US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands returns the ball against Belgian Kim Clijsters during the Fed Cup first round match on February 6, 2011 in Antwerp. Belgium won the tie.


Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova (L) is congatuladed by her former  teammate Elena Myskina (R) as they celebrate a victory over French Alize  Cornet and Julia Coin during their doubles match of the Fed Cup tennis  match in Moscow on February 6, 2011. Russian team won the match 3-2  after Russian double defeated the French one 7-6, 6-0 for Russia.
Getty

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova (L) is congatulated by her former teammate Anastasia Myskina (R) as they celebrate a victory over the French duo of Alize Cornet and Julie Coin during their doubles match of the Fed Cup tennis match in Moscow on February 6, 2011. Russia won the tie.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Historic Face Of The Day

http://gototennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Althea_Gibson_Wimbledon.jpg
NBCSports

Darlene Hard kisses Althea Gibson after the championship match in 1957 that made Gibson the first African American to win a Wimbledon singles title.

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Althea Gibson is noted not only for her exceptional abilities as a tennis player, but for breaking the color barrier in the 1950s as the first African American to compete in national and international tennis.
Childhood in Harlem

Althea Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina, on August 25, 1927. She was the first of Daniel and Anna Washington Gibson's five children. Her parents worked on a cotton farm, but when she was three years old the family moved north to the Harlem area of New York City. Gibson caused a lot of problems as a child and often missed school. Her father was very strict with her on these occasions, but he also taught her to box, a skill that he figured would come in handy in the rough neighborhood the Gibson family lived in.
Tennis success

When Gibson was ten years old, she became involved with the Police Athletic League (PAL) movement known as "play streets." PAL was an attempt to help troubled children establish work habits they would need later in life. In 1940 PAL promoted paddle ball (a game similar to handball except that it is played using a wooden racket) competitions in Harlem. After three summers of playing the game Gibson was so good that the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club sponsored her to learn the game of tennis and proper social behavior.

In 1942 Gibson began winning tournaments sponsored by the American Tennis Association (ATA), the African American version of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA). In 1944 and 1945 Gibson won the ATA National Junior Championships. In 1946 several politically minded African Americans identified Gibson as having the talent to help break down organized racism (unequal treatment based on race) in the United States. Sponsored by Hubert Eaton and Walter Johnson (1887–1946) and inspired by boxer Sugar Ray Robinson (1921–1989), Gibson was soon winning every event on the ATA schedule. In 1949 she entered A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, on a tennis scholarship and prepared for the difficult task of breaking the color barrier in tournament tennis.
Breaking the color barrier

The USLTA finally allowed Gibson to play in the 1950 Nationals when four-time U.S. singles and doubles (a two-person team) champion Alice Marble (1913–1990) spoke out on her behalf. Gibson lost her first match of the tournament, but the breakthrough had been made. Over the next several years Gibson worked as a physical education teacher at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. She also continued playing tennis and rose up the USLTA rankings (ninth in 1952, seventh in 1953). After a year of touring the world and playing special events for the U.S. State Department, Gibson staged a full-scale assault on the tennis world in 1956. That year she won the French Open in both singles and doubles.

Over the next two years Gibson was the leading women's tennis player in the world. In 1957 and 1958 she won both the Wimbledon and U.S. National singles titles, becoming the first African American to win a Wimbledon singles title. In 1958 she wrote a book about her life called I Always Wanted to Be Somebody. After her 1958 victory at the U.S. Nationals, Gibson retired from tennis and played professional golf. She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971.

More...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Historic Face Of The Day

Jim Courier of the United States argues a point with the umpire  during his defeat of Andre Agassi 3-6 6-4 2-6 6-1 6-4 in the final to  win the Men's Singles title at the French Open Tennis Championship on  9th  June 1991 at the Stade Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France.
Getty

Jim Courier of the United States argues a point with the umpire during his defeat of Andre Agassi 3-6 6-4 2-6 6-1 6-4 in the final to win the Men's Singles title at the French Open Tennis Championship on 9th June 1991 at the Stade Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France.