2014/09/17

Another Super Saturday Shocker as Marin Cilic Beats Roger Federer to Reach US Open Final

 

(September 6, 2014) Super Saturday at the US Open had its second shocker of the day when No. 14th seed Marin Cilic used his big serve and big strokes to dominate No. 2 seed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first major final.

The match followed the first surprise of the day when No. 1 Novak Djokovic was upset 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 by Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Monday’s final will feature two players in their first major final – 24-year-old No. 10 Nishikori versus 25-year-old No. 14 Cilic.

“Just an amazing day for me. I feel amazing,” Cilic said. “To be able to play like this, I never dreamed of.”

“Just for the performance today from, I mean, first point to the last I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life,” Coloc said in press.. “Considering the huge occasion I was playing in, I mean, for the second time in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it just can’t be more special. Considering also that, you know, even I was a set up and break up, you know, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back. You know, it wasn’t easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today, you know, to get some free points to breathe a little bit easier. It was, I mean, working perfectly.”

“It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great,” Federer said. “I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell.”

“I think he served great when he had to,” Federer said. “I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.”

The Monday final will mark the first time since the Australian Open final in 2005 that neither Federer, Rafael Nadal or Djokovic is in a grand slam final.

“That’s going to be a sensational day for both of us,” said Cilic about his match against Nishikori.

This marked the first time Cilic has beaten Federer, the Swiss won on the five previous occasions.

Cilic is the first man from Croatia to reach a grand slam final since his coach Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon back in 2001.

“Well, it’s gonna be special day for both of us,” said the Croat. “I mean, opportunity for both of us to win a Grand Slam, to be a part of the history. It’s gonna be definitely huge emotions on the court. And we played couple times already here at the US Open. Both of those matches were extremely tough under very difficult conditions. I feel that, I mean, we have both different game styles. I mean, Kei is extremely well — I mean, he hits the ball extremely well from the back of the court. I think I’m going to have to just focus on my game to break that a little bit of rhythm and to try to serve well. I think it’s gonna be a good sort of tactical matchup for the final.”

 

 

Share

Kei Nishikori Stuns No. 1 Novak Djokovic to Reach US Open Final

(September 6, 2014) Under brutal heat and humidity, Japan’s Kei Nishikori became the first man from Asia to reach a major final, when on Saturday afternoon, the 24-year-old shocked top player Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the US Open.

“It’s just amazing, amazing feeling to beat the No. 1 player,” Nishikori said after the match in an on-court interview.

“I expected him to be able to play another five-setter because he had two days off,” Djokovic said of Nishikori’s stamina. “He hasn’t played before this tournament, so he had a big break. He could prepare himself for this tournament. He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today.”

Nishokori came into the semifinals having played two marathon five-set matches against top 5 players. In the fourth round the 10th seed stopped fifth seed Milos Raonic in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. on Thursday morning. In his quarterfinal, Nishikori defeated reigning Australian Open champions and third seed Stan Wawrinka. Nishikori played more 81/2 hours combining those two matches.

“That second set my game today was not even close to what I wanted it to be,” said the Serb. “A lot of unforced errors, a lot of short balls. Just wasn’t myself.”

“I don’t want to talk about conditions,” Djokovic continued. “It’s same for both of us. I think he just played better in these conditions than I did. I just wasn’t managing to go through the ball in the court. You know, I wasn’t in the balance. Unforced errors. Even when the ball gets back to his part of the court it’s pretty short; he takes advantage of it. On the other side I didn’t. That’s it.”

 

“Well, this is definitely huge for Japan,” Djokovic commented. “It’s a big country. Over a hundred million people. This can definitely be a great encouragement for tennis in that country. He’s been around for last couple of years. He’s been making a lot of success. But playing finals of a Grand Slam and now fighting for title is definitely something different. You know, he has gotten to another level, and I’m sure that people will praise him.”

Nishikori will face Roger Federer or Marin Cilic in Monday’s final.

More to follow.

Share

Peng Retires in Match; Wozinacki and Williams Move into US Open Women’s Final

 

(September 5, 2014) China’s Shuai Peng, appearing to have cramps clutched her right knee and limped her way over to the back wall of the court in tears while receiving serve from 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki who was up 7-6(1), 4-3, 30-40.

At the wall, a trainer, a tournament official, a security guard and a ballperson ran to Peng’s side to help her. After about a ten minute period, which included Peng being taken off court for evaluation and being treated for heat illness, she resumed play. Points later she collapsed to the ground and retired from the match, advancing Wozniacki to her second major final.

Peng was taken off the court in a wheelchair.

In her news conference hours later, Peng said she felt fine.

“I think it was the physical because today is really humid and hot,” said the 28-year-old, ranked 39th. “And then like my body is not like from like — maybe I got from I parents when I’m born. It’s not like the strong, my physical like everything. So also from like what I does in the practice and just the lot of fitness and then try to improve with everything.”

“I said, `No, no, no. I don’t want to give up. I want to try one more time,'” said Peng, when she  had to retire. “I knew I’m not going to stay maybe too long, but I just want to try, you know. I just wanted to challenge her one more time.”

“It was really hard to watch for me whenever I saw her collapse on the court,” the 10th seed Wozniacki said. “You know, tennis is great, but the health is more important. You know, to see her struggling out there, I just wanted to make sure she was okay. I got the word that she’s okay now and just getting cooled down, so that’s great to hear. I’m in the finals, which is obviously great. It’s been five years for me since my last one here, so I’m extremely happy to be back there.”

The 24-year-old Dane lost to Kim Clijsters in the final of the US Open in 2009.

The other semifinal had very little drama as No. 1 Serena Williams ran away with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Makarova. For Williams this will be her third straight US Open final. She’s looking to three-peat and win her sixth US Open crown on Sunday.

 

“I’m just really excited to be in the final,” the 32-year-old said. In the beginning of the week I definitely wasn’t sure I would make it this long. Definitely wasn’t sure I’d be here. So I’m just elated, to be honest, to have made it this far.”

“I think I played pretty well today. You know, I was able to change up my game and just keep moving forward and just keep doing what I could do today.”

Williams evaluated her match-up with Wozniacki: I” definitely expect another close match. She really knows my game well and knows how to play. She’s so consistent. I think that’s one of the things that makes her really tough. So I just have to be ready for that and, again, just stay calm and just be able to relax and be happy. You know, the beginning — the past six months I would never thought I’d be here. I think it’s just staying calm and happy.”

Williams is seeking her 18th major on Sunday which would tie her on the all-time list with Martina Navratilova and Christ Evert.

 

Share

Roger Federer Saves Two Match Points to Reach US Open Semifinal

 

 

 

(September 4, 2014) No. 2 seed Roger Federer saved two match points while coming back from two-sets to love down to defeat 20th seed Gael Monfils 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday night and reach the US Open semifinals for the first time in three years.

For the first two sets, the 33-year-old veteran had no answer to a focused Monfils hard-hitting Frenchman, nor did he have an answer for dealing with the windy conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Federer began to dig out of a two sets down hols in the third set. The five-time US Open winner survived two match points when he was down 5-4 in the fourth set. He won five games in a row to take the fourth set and gain majors momentum in the fifth set where Monfils’ level of play took a precipitous drop.

“Well, then it was tough, because I think then my serve was not good, so it let me a bit down again at 5-All,” Monfils said. “I think maybe I hit a double fault. I think I had a point for 6-5 and could not really quite use my serve. I think the side I was was tougher because it was against the wind, so it was a bit tougher. Then rush me with his long return, so it was very tough. But then he play good. He played good. He had the set. Then physically I had a drop, five minutes. But maybe come from mentally also, because I thought that I could have play better this fourth set. For five minutes I think I had — I was a little bit, yeah, tired and mentally also tired. So then it came quick. I think then he start to be very offensive. So then it was very tough to handle it.”

Federer was asked about how he survived his match to come back and win.

“Well, it was one of those moments where you got the back against the wall and hope to get a bit lucky and you hope to play exactly the right shots that you need or that he completely just messes it up,” Federer said. Either way works as long as you get out of it. But clearly it’s not a great feeling, because you feel it’s not in your control anymore really. So I’m very, very happy to have found a way tonight.”

“I was like saying to myself, Keep it simple, you know, and try to make him play them,” Monfils discussing having two match points. “Because I knew that he will force it, like he will put the first ball in and then for sure come to the net very quick. So it was more like, you know, I be relax and just lean a bit more on my forehand return and try to make it. And then we just played those two points, and, you know, well done.”

“It’s just unbelievable to win matches like this at slams,” Federer continued. “You know, I have won other big ones in other places. But over best of five, saving match points against Gaël in an atmosphere that it was out here tonight, it’s definitely very special. I’m. Not sure I have ever saved match point before in a slam. If that hasn’t happened, I’m unbelievably happy that it was today, because I knew I could play better after the first couple of sets. I believed I could turn it around from the get-go when the third set started, and I’m so happy the crowd got into it. The rallies were incredible at times, and my game really picked up. I served great in the fifth when it mattered, and just overall an enjoyable match also to play, because it had all the ups and downs similar to the Wimbledon final.”

This was the ninth time Federer has won a match after dropping the opening two sets down, eight of them at majors.

The victory will move Federer ahead of Rafael Nadal for the No. 2 spot in te ATP race.

Federer will take on Marin Cilic in his semifinal on Saturday afternoon.

 

Share

Opening Day At US Open In First American Collegiate Invitational

Danielle Rose Collins from the University of Virginia in action in the quarterfinals of the Women's Collegiate Invitational. Photo courtesy pf the USTA

Danielle Rose Collins from the University of Virginia in action in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Collegiate Invitational. Photo courtesy of the USTA

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. (Sept. 4, 2014) – The inaugural American Collegiate Invitational began play at the US Open on Thursday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

 

University of North Carolina women’s tennis player Hayley Carter described the thrill of practicing next to Serena Williams earlier in the morning while UCLA’s Clay Thompson said he fulfilled a lifelong dream before ever striking a ball.

 

Winners on the men’s side for the day included three from Southern California schools and a Big 10 player while on the women’s side two New Yorkers, one from New Jersey and the nation’s reigning NCAA women’s singles champion all moved on to Friday’s semifinals.

 

Top-seeded and reigning NCAA men’s singles champion Marcos Giron, his UCLA teammate Clay Thompson, Pepperdine’s Alex Sarkissian and Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt recorded wins while NCAA women’s singles champion Danielle Collins, her Virginia teammate Julie Elbaba, top-seeded Jamie Loeb of North Carolina, and Stanford’s Krisite Ahn each posted straight-set wins.

 

“I was so excited,” said Thompson. “I walked in yesterday and picked up my credential and walked on site and said, ‘My dream is complete; I’m at the US Open as a player.’ No matter what happens from here doesn’t matter. If I were to lose in the first round, I’m still on the world’s greatest stage for tennis. It’s just amazing.

 

“There’s no better place in the world to play a tournament.”

 

Loeb (Ossining, N.Y.), Elbaba (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) and Ahn (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) each call the New York-area home, and have played in the US Open before with Ahn even qualifying for the women’s pro main draw back in 2008.

 

“It’s awesome being here,” Ahn said. “It’s great exposure for college tennis and to be a part of the first one is such an honor. From here this event is only going to get better. It’s not quite main draw, but it’s pretty amazing.”

 

“It’s always exciting to play here in Flushing,” said Elbaba, who played two US Open junior events and qualified both times, but never won in the main draw. “It brought back a lot of memories being on these courts.”

 

 

University of Florida’s Olivia Janowicz felt the same way as Ahn. “I’ve literally been dreaming about this day since I was a kid,” Janowicz said. “I grew up in Jersey and I remember coming here and watching (Kim) Clijsters when she was an unknown.”

 

Janowicz’s college teammate Alex Cercone added: “It’s a dream come true and I’m honored to be a part of this group. The environment is different than anything I’ve ever experienced.”

 

Kobelt said, “Just walking around the locker rooms and seeing anyone you can name: (Milos) Raonic, (Richard) Gasquet; you name it, they’re here. Just being in the gym with them and practicing next to them is amazing.”

 

The winner of the American Collegiate Invitational will receive either a main draw or qualifying draw wild card entry into the 2015 US Open, based on their individual ranking. The champion will also get wild cards into two USTA Pro Circuit events, while each runner-up will get one.

 

Tomorrow’s meeting between Sarkissian and Giron will be a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Singles Championship finals, which Giron won, 6-4, 6-1.

 

Notre Dame’s Greg Andrews couldn’t believe the way the players were treated. “I felt like this was one of the best events I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “It was so much fun. I felt like a king as a player the way they treated us. I think the fans got a chance to see that there is a lot of talent in college tennis. I really hope they keep it going.”

 

Despite losing, Carter still enjoyed her time in New York playing alongside the best tennis players in the world. “This has been an amazing experience,” she said. “This morning I got to practice next to (Caroline) Wozniacki, Serena (Williams) and (Tomas) Berdych. It was a tough day but I can’t hang my head too much!”

 

Kobelt felt much like Carter. “I came from a small town in Ohio and never thought tennis would take me this far,” he said. “If I don’t go farther in tennis I can say I played the US Open, and it’s an achievement I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

 

MEN’S FIRST-ROUND RESULTS

Peter Kobelt  (Ohio State, New Albany, Ohio) def. Gregory Andrews  (Notre Dame, Richland, Mich.), 7-6 (3), 6-4

Marcos Giron  (UCLA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) [1] def. Raymond Sarmiento  (USC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), 7-6 (8), 6-3

Clay Thompson (UCLA, Venice Beach, Calif.) [2] def. Jared Hiltzik  (Illinois, Wilmette, Ill.), 6-3, 6-4

Alexander Sarkissian  (Pepperdine, Glendale, Calif.) def. Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA, Piedmont, Calif.), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3

 

WOMEN’S FIRST-ROUND RESULTS

Danielle Collins (Virginia, St. Petersburg, Fla.)  def. Olivia Janowicz (Florida, Palm Bay, Fla.), 6-2, 6-4

Jamie Loeb (North Carolina, Ossining, N.Y.) [1] def. Jennifer Brady (UCLA, Boca Raton, Fla.), 6-3, 6-4

Kristie Ahn  (Stanford, Upper Saddle River, N.J.) def. Hayley Carter (North Carolina, Hilton Head, S.C.)  [2], 6-4, 6-1

Julia Elbaba (Virginia, Oyster Bay, N.Y.) def. Alexandra Cercone (Florida, Seminole, Fla.), 6-3, 6-4

 

FRIDAY’S SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE OF MATCHES

Starting at 11 a.m. ET; Court 6

Women

Julia Elbaba vs. Kristie Ahn

Followed by

Jamie Loeb  (USA) [1] vs. Danielle Collins

Followed by

Men

Peter Kobelt vs. Clay Thompson [2]

Followed by

Marcos Giron  [1] vs. Alex Sarkissian

 

Share

Marin Cilic Reaches First US Open Semi with Victory over Tomas Berdych

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(September 4, 2014) Last year Marin Cilic missed the US Open because he was suspended from the tour after testing positive for a banned stimulant. He said that took the unintentionally from a glucose tablet he purchased from a pharmacy. He tested positive for nikethamide after a match in Munich in May of 2013.

This year the Croatian Cilic who is the 14th seed, is back on tour and has reached his first US Open semifinal by defeated sixth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“It was a great performance today,” Cilic said. “Was very tricky with the conditions. Very gusty. I mean, for both of us. We are big guys. Not easy to deal with the wind and with, I mean, the ball moving in the air. I felt that I was using the wind a bit better today. Just considering the conditions and the opening of the match went in my side, that sort of relaxed me a bit more. I felt that I’m in a good driving seat and that Tomas was all the time catching me and I was serving good in the right moments. So, yeah, it feels great to be in the semis first time after three tries in quarterfinals. Lost both times to eventual winners. Just feels great to be here.”

Cilic’s serve was the key to victory, hitting 19 aces. The Croatian hit 46 winners to Berdych’s 21.

“I start pretty terribly,” Berdych said. “It was not the way to start the match like that. Then obviously was really tough to catch up. And really my serve was off. Basically, you know, when you have a game built on a serve, then it’s really tough and difficult to reschedule it and do it a bit differently. Yeah, today was not, definitely not the day I want to have. Yeah, that’s it. That’s tennis. Just need to carry over and go forward.”

Cilic is now the first Croatian to make the semifinals of the US Open since his coach, former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic did it in 1996.

“The only matches I watched on TV was Goran’s Wimbledon matches,” Cilic said of his tennis memories as a child. “That’s the only memory, you know, from tennis at very young age. And then later I started to play with him when I was 14 few times. He was out due to his shoulder injury. He played with me and one other kid from Croatia my age, and that was, for me, huge at age of 14 to play with my idol. Was amazing. Then I think he helped me a lot with pointing me in a good direction with my coach, long-time coach, Bob Brett. I think that was a very crucial part of my career.”

“You know Goran, so Goran is everything but not boring. Yeah, I feel that it’s very entertaining. We work a lot, but we still — I mean, even some days we are preparing, you know, we would have sessions of three, three-and-a-half hours or whatever, and we always have good time. I think that’s most important. It’s, I would say, can’t be better.”

Cilic will face the winner of the Roger Federer–Gael Monfils quarterfinal in his semifinal on Saturday.

Share

Hall of Famer Martina Hingis into US Open Women’s Doubles Final

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

(September 4, 2014) Martina Hingis is in the US Open women’s doubles final for the first time since winning the title in 1998.

The 2013 Tennis Hall of fame inductee and partner Flavia Pennetta reached the final upsetting third seed Cara Black and Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-4.

“Well, it means a lot to me,” Hingis said. “I only won one title here in doubles. That was a while back in ’98. I made some good matches, like some great memories, but it’s been a while. So it’s like I really cherish this moment because I have had some great matches, but also in doubles I didn’t feel like I had too many opportunities. I lost to players that actually I beat in this tournament now again, like whether it was Peschke, you know. So it felt like really far away. Also in the beginning of this tournament I think we had a really tough draw. So I think we really deserved our spot. I think this tournament it all came together for me. I played a lot better than in the previous tournaments. With Flavia I feel really comfortable being out there. I think that’s the key to success.”

Hingis and Pennetta will play fourth seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final on Saturday.

Share

Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce, Sergi Bruguera, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, David Hall, and Nancy Jeffett nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015

hof

NEWPORT, R.I., September 4, 2014 – French tennis greats Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, both two-time singles champions at Grand Slam tournaments, have been nominated to receive the highest honor in tennis- enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Two-time Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain, and Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov, winner of two singles titles and four doubles titles at Grand Slams, join Mauresmo and Pierce in the Recent Player Category of nominees. David Hall of Australia, a six-time ITF World Champion has been nominated in the Recent Player Category for Wheelchair Tennis. Longtime tennis industry leader Nancy Jeffett has been nominated in the Contributor Category in recognition of her lifetime commitment to the growth of the sport, particularly in the areas of women’s professional tennis and junior tennis development.

The Class of 2015 nominees were officially announced today, live on Tennis Channel from the US Open. Hall of Fame President Stan Smith joined Tennis Channel’s Brett Haber and Tracy Austin (Hall of Fame Class of 1992), on the air to make the official announcement.

“Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce, Sergi Bruguera, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and David Hall are among the most inspiring and successful athletes in the history of our sport, and it is a pleasure to recognize their accomplishments with the nomination to receive tennis’ highest honor, enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Of course, the success of tennis as a whole is dependent upon committed leaders like Nancy Jeffett who are willing to jump in and inspire growth, and so I’m glad to share the news that she is among the 2015 nominees for the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 and now serves as the International Tennis Hall of Fame President and Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “I extend my congratulations to the nominees and our gratitude for their many contributions to the sport.”

Voting for the 2015 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement early next year to reveal the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The Recent Player Voting Group, which consists of tennis journalists and authors, will vote on the Recent Player Category, while a Voting Group with expertise in Wheelchair Tennis will vote on the ballot for that area. The Master Player and Contributor Voting Group, which consists of Hall of Famers and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, will vote on the Contributor Category. There are no nominees in the Master Player Category this year, which recognizes individuals who have had distinguished level of achievement, but have not been a significant factor in the past 20 years. To be inducted in either category, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.

The Class of 2015 Enshrinement Ceremony will be hosted on Saturday, July 18, 2015 during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event.

Since 1955, the honor of enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been given to 240 people representing 21 countries. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis. The Hall of Fame offers an extensive museum that chronicles the history of the sport and honors the game’s greatest legends.

From winning the sport’s most coveted titles to inspiring the future stars of the game, the nominees for enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015 have all made significant and lasting impacts on tennis. Following are detailed biographies of the nominees, grouped by category.

Recent Player Category: Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce, Sergi Bruguera, Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player Category is as follows: active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP World Tour, WTA Tour, or Wheelchair Tennis Tour within 5 years prior to enshrinement; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character.

Amelie Mauresmo
Amelie Mauresmo
Photo by Carl De Souza


Amelie Mauresmo
, 35, of France, held the world No. 1 ranking in singles for a total of 39 weeks and was within the world top-5 for 191 weeks.

In 2006, she was the singles champion at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, defeating Justine Henin in both finals. At Wimbledon, Mauresmo rallied back from losing the first set 2-6 to overcome Henin and win the title, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Mauresmo was also a finalist at the 1999 Australian Open, where she was an unseeded player and scored upsets over three seeded players, including then world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, to earn the spot in the final.

Mauresmo was the Olympic silver medalist at the 2004 Games in Athens. In 2005, she won the WTA Tour Championships.

Bolstered by a powerful yet elegant one-handed backhand and remarkably strong net play, Mauresmo won 25 singles titles and compiled a career singles record of 545-227. In doubles, Maursemo won three titles and was ranked within the world top-30.

Mauresmo was the first French woman to achieve the world No. 1 ranking since the computer rankings began in the 1970s. She was a dedicated member of the French Fed Cup team, and holds the record for most singles wins with an impressive 30-9 record. In 2012, she took on the role of Fed Cup captain for the French team.

Since retirement, Mauresmo has stayed active in the sport as a coach and she is currently coaching Andy Murray. In recent years, she has been on the coaching staff for Michael Llodra, then world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, and Marion Bartoli, during her 2013 Wimbledon victory.

Mary Pierce, 39, of France, won four Grand Slam tournament titles over the span of her career- two in singles, one in doubles and one in mixed doubles. She achieved a career high ranking of world No. 3 in both singles and doubles.

Mary Pierce
Mary Pierce

Photo by Boris Horvat

Pierce captured her first major title at the 1995 Australian Open, where she defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. In 2000, Pierce won both the singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros. She defeated Conchita Martinez in the final, becoming the first French woman to claim the title since Frankie Durr in 1967. She partnered with Martina Hingis to win the doubles title as well. Pierce’s fourth major title came at Wimbledon in 2005 where she partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi to win the mixed doubles title. She was the finalist at the 1994 French Open, where she defeated then world No. 1 Steffi Graf in the semifinals. She was also in the final at the 1997 Australian Open, 2005 French Open, and 2005 US Open.

Known for her hard-hitting, powerful game, Pierce won 18 singles titles and compiled a record of 511-237 over her career. In addition, she captured 10 doubles titles and had a career record of 197-116.

Pierce was a member of the French Fed Cup team for 10 years and she played an important role in helping the nation win their two titles in 1997 and 2003. She was also a member of the French Olympic Team in 1992, 1996, and 2004.

Pierce has been recognized for her success and contributions to the sport on numerous occasions, with awards including the Bourgeon Award (1992), WTA Most Improved Player (1994), the WTA Comeback Player of the Year (1997), Sanex Fans Award (2002), the Meredith Inspiration Award (2006), and the Racchetta d’Oro Award (2012).

Sergi Bruguera, 43, of Barcelona, Spain, won back-to-back French Open titles in 1993 and 1994, and advanced to a third French Open final in 1997. He achieved a career high of world No. 3 and was ranked in the world top-5 for a total of 91 weeks.

Sergi Bruguera
Sergi Bruguera

Photo by Bob Thomas

Bruguera won 14 singles titles and 3 doubles titles, with particular success on clay courts. He compiled a record of 447-271 over the course of his career. Between 1991 and 1994 he won at least three titles each year, with five victories in 1993.

En route to his first major title at the 1993 French Open, Bruguera notched several big wins with victories over then No. 1 Pete Sampras, Andrei Medvedev, and two-time defending champion Jim Courier in the final. The following year, he defeated countryman Alberto Berasategui in four sets in the first ever all Spanish men’s final.

At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta Bruguera won the Silver Medal. Bruguera was an integral part of Spain’s Davis Cup competition from 1990-1995, compiling a record of 12-11.

In 1997, Bruguera earned the ATP’s Comeback Player of Year award, after returning from an ankle injury and improving his ranking from World No. 81 to World No. 8.

Bursting onto the scene in the late 1980s – early 1990’s, Bruguera is credited with leading a resurgence in men’s tennis in Spain. In 1989, his first full season on tour, he closed out the year world No. 26 and was named ATP Newcomer of the Year.

Still highly active in tennis, today Bruguera serves as coach for Richard Gasquet, current world No. 14.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 40, of Sochi, Russia, was the first Russian player to hold the No. 1 singles ran  king, which he did for six weeks. Known as a hard-working player with a versatile talent in both singles and doubles, Kafelnikov is one of just eight players in the Open Era to win at least 25 singles titles and 25 doubles titles. In all, he won 26 singles titles and 27 doubles titles. In 1996, his fourth full year on tour, he became the first person since John McEnroe in 1989 to finish in the world top-5 in both singles and doubles.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Photo by Mike Baz

Kafelnikov captured Grand Slam tournament titles in singles at the 1996 French Open and the 1999 Australian Open. Additionally, he won three French Open doubles titles (1996, 1997, 2002) and one doubles title at the US Open (1997). He partnered with Daniel Vacek for three of the four wins, pairing with Paul Harrhuis for the 2002 French Open doubles title.

Kafelnikov is the last man in history to have won both the singles and the doubles titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, which he did at the 1996 French Open.

In addition to drawing national pride as a world No. 1 player, Kafelnikov represented Russia well throughout his career. In 2000, he won the Olympic Gold Medal in singles and in 2002, he helped lead the Russian team to Davis Cup victory.

After he stopped competing in tennis, Kafelnikov has played golf on the European PGA Tour on several occasions. He has also been a successful poker player, competing at the World Series of Poker.

Recent Player Category, Wheelchair Tennis: David Hall

David Hall, 44, of Australia, is one of the most decorated wheelchair tennis players to date. He was ranked world No. 1 in singles and doubles and he won every major title in the sport- winning most on multiple occasions.

David Hall
David Hall

In 1986, when he was 16 years old, Hall was struck by a car and had to have both of his legs amputated. After about seven months of rehabilitation, he saw a photograph of a wheelchair tennis player in the newspaper and was intrigued. Within a year, he entered his first tournament, igniting his passion for the sport.

In 1993, Hall turned pro, and through tremendous dedication to developing his game, he went on to become 6-time Paralympic medalist, winning medals in singles and doubles at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Games. At the 2000 Games in Sydney, before his hometown crowd, he won the Gold Medal in singles and the Silver Medal in doubles. Hall was honored with the Medal of Order of Australia in recognition of this accomplishment. Hall also represented Australia proudly and skillfully in the World Team Cup, helping lead the team to victory four times.

Hall won the Australian Open for Wheelchair Tennis an incredible nine times and the US Open eight times. He was also champion at the British Open seven times and the Japan Open eight times. He won 18 Super Series titles over the course of his career.

Hall holds a remarkable career singles record of 632-111 and a career doubles record of 397-89.

He retired from the sport in 2006, but remains highly engaged in promoting wheelchair tennis around the world. He serves as one of the six Wheelchair Tennis Ambassadors chosen by the International Tennis Federation. He is the current tournament ambassador to the Australian Open. In addition, he has written extensively about the sport and has produced training DVDs to educate others about getting involved.

In 2010, Hall was inducted in to Sport Australia’s Hall of Fame, where he is one of just three Paralympians to have been inducted.

Contributor Category: Nancy Jeffett
Eligibility criteria for the Contributor Category is as follows: Exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation and character of the sport, in categories such as administration, media, coaching and officiating. Contributor candidates do not need to be retired from their activities related to the sport to be considered.

Nancy Jeffett’s work for tennis over the past 50 years has been instrumental in advancing professional women’s tennis and in developing opportunities for junior tennis development.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jeffett moved to Dallas, Texas with her husband in 1956. In Dallas she befriended Mo Connolly, a then recently retired nine-time Grand Slam singles champion. Bonded over their mutual passion for tennis, the two set out to build tennis programming to engage more people with the sport, especially children and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. In 1968, the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCBTF) was established with the goal of providing funds for tennis clinics and to aid juniors who could not afford to compete nationally.

Nancy Jeffett
Nancy Jeffett and friends from the WTA.

Unfortunately, Connolly did not live to see the foundation thrive, as she passed away just a one year later. However, Jeffett remained highly committed to the cause, as she does to this day in her role as Chairman Emeritus, and as a result, one of the most prestigious junior tennis programs in the world was established. Jeffett developed an organization that inspires youth tennis, hosts a dozen major tournaments, and has contributed more than $4 million to player development- from tennis programs in public parks to professional tournaments.

In Connolly’s honor, in 1969, Jeffett staged the first Maureen Connolly Brinker Memorial tournament. In the years that followed, Jeffett was determined to grow the tournament, as well as the opportunity for women’s pro tennis to flourish. A trailblazer among tennis industry leaders, Jeffett went against any pre-conceived societal notions about the viability of women’s pro tennis as a sport that fans would embrace. She made a financial commitment to establish the tournament, and became one of the first promoters of women’s pro tennis. In 1972, the tournament made tennis history as the first women’s professional event that was televised and gave prize money to its winners. That tournament later became the Virginia Slims of Dallas, one of the most popular and important tournaments in the early years of the WTA Tour.

Now in its 17th year, MCBTF’s “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” is a unique year-long circuit of sectional, regional, and national competitive tournaments for boys and girls ages 8 – 11.  MCBTF also offers three “Little Mo” International Open tournaments for boys and girls ages 8 – 12.  Tens of thousands of talented young players have competed in these international tournaments over the years from more than 50 countries. Additionally, MCBTF continues to stage an international competition between the USA and Great Britain (for girls 16 and under). In 2010, MCBTF began its “Mini Mo” program for children ages 5 – 10 to help interest them in the sport.

Many players who have gone on to great success on the sport’s biggest stages competed in the MCBTF events, including Tracy Austin, Zina Garrison, Andy Roddick, Ryan Harrison. The next generation of greats continues to participate today, such as Stefan Kozlov and Mitchell Krueger.

In addition to her work with MCBTF and the Virginia Slims, Jeffett has served the sport in numerous capacities, including as a highly active member of the USTA Executive Committee from 1973 – 1994 and on the ITF Fed Cup Committee, 1988 – 1996. Additionally, she served as Chairwoman of the Wightman Cup, 1978 – 1990, and Chairwoman of the Federation Cup, 1981 – 1990.

Jeffett has been recognized worldwide for her commitment to the sport of tennis. In 1970, she was the recipient of the prestigious USTA Service Bowl (1970). She has been honored with numerous “Service to Tennis” awards including the World Championship Tennis award (1983); the Chuck McKinley award (1993); the International Tennis Federation award (1994); the Virginia Slims award (1996); and the Caswell Award for Service to Tennis in Texas. In 2007, Jeffett was honored with the Golden Achievement Award, given jointly by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation in recognition of a commitment to growing tennis worldwide. She was presented with the Carl Aarvold Award from the Lawn Tennis Association of Great Britain for service to international tennis. She is an Honorary Member of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, having been elected for her services to international tennis. She is the only American woman who is not a Wimbledon champion to have received this honor.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will be announced early next year. The Class of 2015 Enshrinement Ceremony will be hosted on Saturday, July 18, 2015 during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. For additional information, please visit www.tennisfame.com

Share

Bryan Brothers Back in US Open Final

 

Bryan Brothers

(September 4, 2014) Bob and Mike Bryan survived a three-set match to move into the final of the men’s doubles at the US Open. They are now within one win away from their 16th Grand Slam title, sixth US Open crown and 100th tournament victory. Their last major came last year at Wimbledon.

The top seeds defeated Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Thursday.

Last year the Bryans were going for a calendar Grand Slam but did not reach the US Open final. The brothers reflected on this:

“Last year was obviously crazier and we had this long streak going,” Bob Bryan said. “So it was just a lot of built up pressure and kind of angst. We were very disappointed when we lost last year, but a little bit relieved that the whole run was finished and we could just play again without having that on our shoulders. This year feels like an added bonus. You know, if we can do it, it would, you know, add something really extra special to do Grand Slam title. We’re not feeling the pressure to do it in any way. Because it’s going to happen eventually. It’s not like, Oh, my God. We’re going to be stuck on 99 forever. We’re both confident we’ll knock down the title at some point. It would be cool to do it here.”

They’ll meet the 11th seeds from Spain -Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the final on Sunday.

Share

Novak Djokovic Reaches Eighth Straight US Open Semifinal

Djokovic applauds

(September 4, 2014) Novak Djokovic stood toe-to-toe for two sets with Andy Murray until the world No. 1 took charge over the eighth seed in the third set and came through 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 to reach his eighth straight US Open semifinal. The match which had many long and intense rallies, lasted three hours and 32 minutes, and finished at 1:17 a.m. on Thursday morning.

When I get to play Andy, at the Grand Slams especially, where we both try to peak with our performances obviously, I know that the matches are going to go the distance,” said the Serb.. “We’re going to have a lot of long rallies and a lot of exchanges. It’s going to be physical but also mental. I get the feeling that if I get to stay with him and kind of, you know, work, work, and, you know, not get too loose and too frustrated with points and not allow him to get into a big lead, I feel like there is a point where I feel I have that edge, you know, maybe physically. That’s where I try to always focus on and, you know, it paid off tonight.”

“I’d say definitely physically he was fresher, but towards the end I tried to hang in as best I could in the fourth set,” Murray said. “But, yeah, he was definitely — well, he appeared fresher than me. Whether he was or not I don’t know, but maybe he does a better job of hiding it than me. The pace of my serve slowed significantly towards the end of the third set.”

Murray, who underwent back surgery late last year, has not reached a Grand Slam semifinal all year, nor any other tournament.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” Murray said of the loss. ”It’s extremely late. You know, I’m tired. I don’t feel particularly proud right now. I feel disappointed. But, yeah, I think there was some good tennis. I obviously haven’t, you know, analyzed the match or had time to think about it yet, but I think there was some good tennis there. You know, hopefully I can build on that.”

 

Djokovic will play Kei Nishikori in the final four. Nishikori beat Stan Wawrinka in five sets.

 

“Well, I haven’t played Kei in a while,” Djokovic said. “He’s very, very good player, obviously. I think he’s playing best tennis of his life in the last 12 months. He started working with Michael Chang and he changed a few things in his game. He serves very efficiently. Obviously he’s very, very fast, maybe one of the fastest on the tour player. Great backhand, great forehand, all-around player. He won today against Stan, who is playing some great tennis. To be able to come back after winning against Raonic 2:30 a.m., again five sets, five sets, it’s pretty impressive. I give him credit for that. We both had some long matches in quarters, but I’m sure Uniqlo family will be happy to see us play against each other. (Both men wear UNIQLO clothing) You know, the better will win.”

Share