2014/11/28

Tennis Hall of Famer Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney Passes Away at 98

Dodo Cheney photo courtesy of the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Dodo Cheney photo courtesy of the International Tennis Hall of Fame

(November 25, 2014)  –  The International Tennis Hall of Fame  announced on Tuesday the death of 2004 inductee Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney. She was 98 years old. She passed away surrounded by her family in Escondido, Calif. on November 23, following a brief illness.

Cheney first started playing as a young child and was an active competitor well into her 90s. Cheney won an extraordinary 391 gold balls – this is awarded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to winners of its national titles, amateur or professional, junior or senior. Among her 391 national titles, Cheney was a champion numerous times in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, across various age levels, and on all surfaces.

 

In 1938, Cheney became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (now known as the Australian Open). She was a runner up three times in women’s doubles at Grand Slam tournaments and four times in mixed doubles. In addition to her Australian Championships title, Cheney reached four semifinals at the U.S. Championships and one semifinal each at Wimbledon and the French Championships.

 

Cheney was ranked in the world top-10 in the late 1930s through mid 1940s. She reached a career high of World No. 6 in 1946. She was the No. 3 ranked player in the United States in 1937, 1938, and 1941. She competed against peers including Hall of Famers Helen Wills Moody, Alice Marble, Sarah Palfrey Cooke, and Pauline Betz Addie, among others.

 

Cheney was the daughter of Wimbledon and U.S. Nationals Champion, Hall of Famer May Sutton Bundy and U.S. Nationals Doubles Champion Tom Bundy. In 2002, at age 85, Cheney and her daughter Christie Putnam won the USTA National Grass Court Super-Senior Mother Daughter Championships.

 

Cheney was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur. She is survived by two daughters, Christie Putnam and May Cheney; a son, Brian Cheney; eight grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.

 

Cheney was passionate about the development of junior tennis players. In lieu of flowers, her family has suggested gifts to the junior tennis program of one’s choice in her memory.

 

A private memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.

 

Statement from USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty on the passing of Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney: 

 

“Dodo Cheney was one of the most prolific champions in the history of tennis and the personification of tennis truly being a lifetime sport. She played competitively into her 90s, and her remarkable grace, singular class and competitive spirit made her one of our sport’s greatest ambassadors. She will be sorely missed by the sport that she loved.”

 

A 2004 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, Cheney was the personification of tennis as a lifetime sport. She became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (1938) and reached the semifinals at every other major, including four such appearances at the U.S. National Championships.  Cheney went on to win more than 390 USTA National titles in a career that saw her play well into her 90s. She was 98.

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Roger Federer Win Clinches Switzerland’s First Davis Cup Title

 

(November 23, 2014) Switzerland became the 14th country to claim the country’s first Davis Cup title on Sunday when they defeated France 3- 1 in Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France.

In front of a record setting crowd of 27,448, world No. 2 Roger Federer clinched the tie for Switzerland defeating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, falling to the ground in celebration after hitting a drop shot winner. Gasquet filled in for an ailing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Swiss No. 1 was in command of the match from beginning to end, which lasted an hour and 42 minutes.

“He was playing fast. He was very focused and making very few mistakes. I was not even able to have a break point,” said Gasquet. “It was difficult for me to give him problems. We are all disappointed. I would have liked to do more for the team because the crowd was ready, ready to support me to the end. In that situation, the only thing you want to do is play a fourth or fifth set just to please the crowd.”

“He was not unbeatable today, but he only made a few mistakes,” Gasquet explained. “It’s a shame I could not get any break points.”

Federer was dominated in a straight set loss to Gael Monfils in the second singles rubber on Friday. Stan Wawrinka opened the tie with a four-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and teamed with Federer to claim the doubles rubber on Saturday to give the Swiss a 2-1 lead coming into Sunday.

Being a part of a winning David Cup, adds another victory to his career resume, in which he already holds 17 major titles.

“I’m unbelievably happy. Amazing feeling to be celebrating with my friends,” said Federer post match in an on-court interview. “Just a great match, great atmosphere. It was a beautiful weekend for tennis.”

“We fought hard for it, I’ve been playing this game for almost 15 years now and clearly I’ve never come as close as this last weekend. I’m happy I was able to stay calm and play a good match when I had to and I’m happy for all the guys on the team.”

With Federer coming into the Davis Cup final in questionable health due to a back injury which forced him to withdraw last week’s ATP World Tour Final against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the Basel native gave full credit to Wawrinka as the “MVP” of the Davis Cup Final.

“Everybody worked incredibly hard to get me match ready, Stan has put in so much effort over the years and played an unbelievable weekend that gave me the opportunity today,” said Federer.

“I’m very much aware of that, this one is for the boys. It’s not for me. I’ve won enough in my career and did not need to tick any empty boxes. I’m just happy for everybody else. I’m happy we could live a great tennis historic moment in our country.”

Just over a week ago, there appeared to be friction between Federer and Wawrinka when some media reports claimed that Federer’s wife Mirka allegedly heckled Wawrinka by calling him a “crybaby” during the ATP World Tour Finals semifinals between Federer and Wawrinka. It was later reported that Federer and Wawrinka had an argument in the locker room after the match.

“At the end, it’s a tennis match, you feel great emotions,” Federer continued. “You’re unbelievably happy and relieved “We wanted this clearly very badly, especially being up 2-1. You inch yourself closer and closer. Clearly seeing Stan out there, the rest of the team supporting you, gives you an extra push. It was definitely one of the better feelings in my career, no doubt about it. So much nicer to celebrate it all together.”

“It’s an amazing feeling. The best,” said Wawrinka. “We all know how it’s great to watch such an amazing player when he’s playing good tennis.”

With the Davis Cup win on Sunday, Wawrinka, became the first person since Andre Agassi in 1992 to win his first Grand Slam title and his first Davis Cup trophy in the same year. Wawrinka also won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, taking out Davis Cup teammate Federer back in April.

Federer set a new record as the most successful Swiss player in the history of the Davis Cup. It was his 50th win, now ahead of Jakob Hlasek for total wins.

Asked about comparing this victory to winning his first major, Wimbledon in 2003, Federer said, “You can’t compare. When I won Wimbledon, it was a total shock honestly. Davis Cup is something that I knew was possible at some stage in my career.

“Of course, there was the pressure of being able to manage all this and make everyone happy with all the support we had for the team and everything. So it is a totally different feeling. Also I was not alone on the court. This changes everything.”

 

Final scores:

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

SWITZERLAND defeated FRANCE 3-1

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, FRA (clay – indoors)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 61 36 63 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Roger Federer (SUI) 61 64 63

Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) 63 75 64

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Richard Gasquet (FRA) 64 62 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI) not played

 

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Switzerland Takes 2-1 lead over France in Davis Cup Final

(November 22, 2014) Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka gave Switzerland an important 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final on Saturday, when they defeated France’s doubles team of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in Lille, France.

Switzerland’s captain Severin Luthi made the move to place the 2008 Olympic champion doubles team instead of Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer, who were slated to play.

In the 2 hour and 12 minute match, the Swiss pair defended all five break points against them.

After Federer lost to Gael Monfils on Friday in the second singles rubber, the 17-time major champ said after the match that he would be ready to play doubles if he was needed despite the back injury.

Federer was clearly moving better on Saturday than on Friday.

Federer is scheduled to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the opening rubber on Sunday, with Stan Wawrinka playing Gael Monfils in the fifth rubber if necessary.

France is looking for it’s 10 Davis Cup while Switzerland is seeking it’s first.

 

 

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

 

SWITZERLAND leads FRANCE 2-1

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille (clay – indoors)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 61 36 63 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Roger Federer (SUI) 61 64 63

Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) 63 75 64

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

 

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France Evens Tie Against Switzerland in Davis Cup Final

(November 21, 2014) France leveled the Davis Cup final against Switzerland at 1-1 at the end of day one in Lille, France when Gael Monfils dispatched Roger Federer 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 on Friday. I was Monfils’ first win over the world No. 2 on clay. Monfils hit 44 winners in the less than two hour match.

Federer pulled out of the final of the ATP year-end event in London on Sunday due to a back injury, decided to play despite a back injury that forced him to pull out of the title match at the ATP Finals last Sunday.

Stan Wawrinka gave Switzerland a 1-0 advantage after the opening rubber defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Wawrinka was dominant at the net winning 25 points there. He hit 61 winners during the match.

The crowd of 27,432 has set a new record for an officially-sanctioned tennis match, more than the previous record, Spain versus United States Davis Cup Final at the Estadio Olympico de Sevilla in 2004 at 27,200.
 

More to follow.

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Draw Set for Davis Cup Final – France Versus Switzerland

davis cup 2014

(November 20, 2014) The draw has been set for the Davis Cup final between France and Switzerland this weekend in Lille, France on a clay court.

After speculation about Roger Federer, who pulled out of the final ATP World Tour Finals with a back injury, the 17-time major champion will participate in Davis Cup this weekend.

Roger Federer will face off against Gael Monfils in the second match on Friday. Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka will open the series against Jo-Wilfired Tsonga.

France has a rich Davis Cup and is looking for a 10th title, while Switzerland seeking its first crown in the team competition. France leads Switzerland 10-2 in head-to-head competition in the ITF event.

 

 

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

FRANCE v SWITZERLAND

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille (clay – indoors)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Marco Chiudinelli/Michael Lammer (SUI)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

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Federer Withdraws from Year-End Final with Back Injury

Federer on changeover

Chalkdust Chronicles – Sad end to a low-key tournament

 

(November 16, 2014) LONDON – After semi-finals that finally set the tournament alight, there was an audible gasp from the crowds who had gathered for the Finals as Roger Federer wandered out in a cardigan and trousers to announce that he was pulling out of the ATP World Tour Finals with World No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.

 

The rumors had already been circulating when he had not shown up for practice, having opted for one of the courts in the public area and not on the main court.

 

As the announcement was made to media to take to the court for the announcement, it seemed a fitting end to one of the strangest tournaments, with the only shining lights being the semi-finals.

 

“Unfortunately I’m not match fit,” Federer said to the crowd at the O2 Arena. “I tried everything I could last night, also today: painkillers, treatment, rest, so forth, warm-up, until the very end. But I just can’t compete at this level with Novak. It would be too risky at my age to do this right now and I hope you understand.”

In a muted on-court presentation, for his third consecutive title, Djokovic said:

“I feel really sorry for Roger. If he could have come out and played, he would have done.”

 

People who had paid good money for the tickets over the entire week have been disappointed over the week with heavy one-sided matches in the singles until the semi-finals.

 

However the gasping audience were partially mollified with the news that Djokovic would be playing Andy Murray in a pro-set followed by another exhibition match pitting Murray with John McEnroe against Tim Henman and Pat Cash.

 

Meanwhile Swiss thoughts must turn to how they mentally and physically prepare for the Davis Cup on French clay, as that had to have been part of Federer’s decision to pull out.

 

A further complication arises as John McEnroe hinted at a fall out with the Swiss team that went on well into the night. During the match Wawrinka had seemed to have an angry altercation with someone in Federer’s box, and with them being the mainstays of the Swiss team, could spell a mental triumph for the French team before they all even step on court.

 

The World Tour Finals of 2014 will not be known as one of the classics, and if next year should be its last year in London, hopefully it will go out with a bang, and not the whimper of this year.

 

 

Federer’s message on his Facebook page:

fedpullout

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Tournament thriller to set up World 1 Djokovic versus No. 2 Federer in the ATP World Tour Finals

Chalkdust Chronicles – Tournament thriller to set up World 1 Djokovic versus No. 2 Federer in the ATP World Tour Finals

 

(November 15, 2014) LONDON – After a week of sometimes lackluster performances at the ATP World Tour Finals, finally the crowds had something to shout about as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka battled through an intense three-setter, with Wawrinka just being edged out by the most heartbreaking of margins 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(6), unable to take advantage of any of the four match points he held.

 

That Federer won is no surprise, but to come from a set down after being left standing as Wawrinka built up a double break was not in the script. Maybe nerves caught up with him the first time he tried to serve out the first set as the always dangerous Federer clawed back one of the breaks, and Wawrinka did the deed on the second time of asking.

 

The quality certainly did not diminish in the second set as Federer still failed to capitalize on his opportunities to push into a decider sooner rather than later.

 

Soon it would be Wawrinka’s turn to send a match-point begging, and beating each other up into the deciding set tie-break, Federer got the predictably more confident start. By the time Wawrinka got himself in the lead again, he was starting to feel the effects of the match, cramping up. With Davis Cup around the corner, Federer opted to go for the attack, finally saving four match-points and taking one of his own with a cutting drop volley to set up the final the organizers were longing for.

 

“For sure that game at the end I was nervous,” Wawrinka said in regard to failing to serve out the match. “You make some choice, especially when you’re tired, when you’re nervous. Just wanted to go for it and not wait for mistake.”

 

“I got lucky tonight,” admitted Federer. “Stan played better from the baseline and that usually does the job on this court. But I kept fighting. It’s tough but I’m thrilled to be in another final in London. Novak is playing great tennis. It usually brings the best out of me.”

 

Federer will face off against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Federer is seeking his seventh year-end title, while Djokovic is looking for his third in sucession.

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Djokovic endures stormy weather to down Nishikori in three sets

Chalkdust Chronicles – Djokovic ensures stormy weather to down Nishikori in three sets

(November 15, 2014) LONDON – Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic showed the first cracks to his super-human armor when he took three sets to halt Kei Nishikori’s bid to reach the title match of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.

 

At first it could not have looked more routine. The tournament has been almost plagued by one-sided matches, and after breaking the Japanese player in his second service game, Djokovic piled on the pressure as Nishikori seemed to struggle to get any purpose on his shots.

 

Nishikori has been struggling with a wrist injury all week, and with constant returns by the trainer to treat and tape the wrist, it looked as though this would all be over very quickly when Djokovic started the second set with an immediate break.

 

The semi-final crowds wanted to see a good contest and threw their support firmly behind Nishikori, gamely cheering on a Djokovic double-fault which earned Nishikori a break, and in return they were rewarded with a less than appreciated hand clap from Djokovic.

 

The immediate break back seemed to give Nishikori a new lease of life as Djokovic’s lapses in concentration and shot selection opened the door, and Nishikori wasted no time in leveling the match.

 

With two break points up on Djokovic at the start of the deciding set, the Serb dug deep and clawed back to register a vital hold and from there, Nishikori’s resolve left him as Djokovic raced through the set, leaving the final blow for Nishikori to deliver himself, with a double-fault on match point.

 

After the match, he believed he had the chances in the final set, despite the apparent one-sidedness of it all

 

Nishikori said: “The first set he played really good, too good for me. But second set I start playing well. He got little bit tight. I took some risk. Everything worked well in the second. I was playing well. Even first couple points in third set, I thought I had it. I think I start thinking too much about he’s No. 1 player, Novak. I think I risked too much. I think I did too many unforced errors first couple games. Then he start playing better.”

 

He continued: “You know, it’s very disappointing because I think if I little bit change I could be I think little more closer in the third set. But it was good one week.”

 

It has been an outstanding run for the Japanese player who has made history this year, reaching a Grand Slam final, reaching the highest rank for an Asian player and now reaching the World Tour finals for the first time, and making the semi-finals on his debut.

 

But it has been a long season and has been beset with injuries – so his plans for the new season have to take into account the pressure it will take to stay at the top of the game.

 

He explained: “Maybe mentally little bit tired because I had to fight couple tight moment, especially in Paris. I had to win couple matches to get in here. US Open was first experience to go final and play seven matches, five sets. But I think physically I show that I could, you know, play seven matches, play two times five sets. I think physically I’m getting strong.

 

“I think it’s going to be very important I do well this December, a lot of train, good practice, try to prepare for next year.”

 

It was a strangely subdued Djokovic who faced the press, cryptically refusing to answer why he opted to sign the camera with just a full-stop instead of his usual message, and why he reacted to the crowd cheering the double-fault break-point.

 

“Honestly, today I found it a little bit difficult mentally to stay concentrated throughout the whole match. After emotional three matches I had, especially yesterday when I achieved the goal to finish as No. 1 of the world, knowing that, I felt a little bit, I would say, flat emotionally today. I needed a little bit more time to kind of give myself a boost.

 

“I was fortunate because in the beginning of the third set, he had breakpoints. If he broke me, the match could have gone either way. I managed to find that little bit of strength and get a win today. “

 

There is a real sense that the end of the season cannot com quick enough, especially for the World No. 1 who was also low key in his press conference yesterday after reclaiming the World No. 1 spot.

 

“Tomorrow is the last match of the season. Of course, it’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world, aside of the Grand Slams. This is already the biggest possible motivation. I will try to give everything I have.”

 

Djokovic will face either Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s final.

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Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Chalkdust Chronicles: Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

 

(November 14, 2014) LONDON – Stan Wawrinka qualified for the finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but then had to battle past Marin Cilic in three sets.

 

For many it was maybe a foregone conclusion that there would be an all-Swiss semi-final as Roger Federer qualified at the top of his group on Thursday. But the US Open champion also had an agenda to try and finish his season strongly, as he leveled the match and even kept the momentum at the start of the second going up a break.

 

Maybe Wawrinka’s experience shone through, as he fought back to reclaim the deficit before going on to seal the victory 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Cilic, who had not really shown the style and consistency he proved he was capable of can feel happier with a win on his debut in London.

 

“I was eager to play better. That’s what I was focused on, to finish the season with a good matches, a good match. So it happened like that. So happy with my performance today.”

 

More importantly, it sets up Cilic for the forthcoming season, now just a few weeks away.

 

“To finish the year over here, it’s I think extremely important for me for next year, too. I am extremely satisfied, of course, where my game has developed. I feel that for next year it’s going to be also a bit easier considering the draws I’m going to be getting with the status of being seeded.”

 

Wawrinka faces an uphill task when he faces Federer on Saturday. He has beaten his Davis Cup team-mate just twice, both times on clay in Monte Carlo. Although he has more recently taken Federer to three sets on hard courts, playing him indoors is another matter entirely.

 

“It’s going to be a tough match for me, for sure. But I will have to play my best game if I have a chance to beat him. I know I can do it. I know it’s going to be very difficult.

 

“I have seen him play the first three match. It’s always the same. Indoor, if you don’t stay with him at the beginning, then it start to be really tough. He goes quick, putting so much pressure, serving well. The beginning of the match will be really important for me.”

 

Federer and Wawrinka will play in the night session on Saturday, as the crowds hope that the tournament is about to really catch light.

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Djokovic delivers killer blow to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking

DjokovicYENo120142

Chalkdust Chronicles: Djokovic delivers killer blow to clinch the year-end No. 1

 

(November 14, 2014) LONDON – Novak Djokovic dispatched Tomas Berdych in short order 6-2, 6-2 to regain with year-end No. 1 spot on Friday, as he went 3-0 in the round-robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Final.

 

Although Berdych has the slimmest of chances (Wawrinka has to only win three games to advance) but in a week where the scores have been bizarrely low to say the lest, Berdych seems intent on packing, answering a definitive “no” when asked if there was still a possibility he could win.

 

Djokovic was in devastating form right from the start of the match, breaking immediately to race out to a 3-0 lead in both sets. It was all that Berdych could do to get more than one game on the board, as Djokovic sealed his place in the semi-finals with the first set, before clinching the year-end No. 1 spot with his win, as well as finishing on top of the group.

 

Berdych, who was straight into press, praised Djokovic’s achievement.

 

“Well, definitely he deserves to win. There was no question about it. He just secure his spot for the No. 1 player in the world. I think it just show how great he is, how well he played during the whole season.”

 

He continued: “I find the court very tricky, very challenging. It doesn’t allow you for any mistakes. In my word, I think it’s very slow. You know, for us who wants to hit the serve and try to play aggressive, it’s very difficult. So that’s why we kind of struggle with that.”

 

For someone who had just regained the No. 1 spot, Djokovic was in contemplative move, with a job still to do as he bids for his fourth season-ending title.

 

He said; “It’s difficult to say what is more important. But both these goals are always my goals in the beginning of the season. So I’m glad I managed to achieve both. To win a Grand Slam in one season and be No. 1.”

 

Djokovic will face Kei Nishikori who qualified out of Group B in second place, and although they split their head to head, Djokovic lost to him in the US Open semi-final, before beating him handily in Paris.

 

He surmised: “It’s obvious that he’s experiencing the best season of his life. He’s top 5 of the world. He’s playing some great tennis. He’s one of the quickest players around. Deservedly he’s in semifinals only on his debut.”

 

Djokovic added: “I expect a tougher match than it was in Paris, that’s for sure. But, again, the conditions indoor and outdoor, where I lost to him in US Open, are quite different. I’m feeling pretty confident playing now, as well as he. So it’s going to be a good, high‑class tennis.”

Djokovic and Nishikori will play in the day session on Saturday.

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