The fall-out from Lance Armstrong’s drugs confessions has reached the other side of the world. Leading players here at the Australian Open have been united in their condemnation of the American cyclist and several have backed the calls, first made by Andy Murray at the end of last year, for more blood tests. Most importantly, the International Tennis Federation is to increase its budget for drug testing and is set to introduce biological passports, along the lines of those used in cycling.
Novak Djokovic revealed here that he had not been blood-tested for “six or seven months”. In 2011 only 21 tennis players worldwide – 18 men and three women – were blood-tested out of competition by the ITF, which administers the sport’s anti-doping programme, and by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Murray, who had a maximum of three such tests in 2011 and none at all in 2010, says he would welcome more.
Read more – HERE
One of the best tennis blogs is Sports Illustrated’s “Beyond the Baseline ” blog by Courtney Nguyen. Here are some of this weeks highlights and links to the blog.
Thats my birthday cakes !!!🎂pic.twitter.com/MgOcbhbII
There’s more – HERE
• Rivalries revisited: In intriguing third-round matches, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams headline the night session on Rod Laver Arena, while Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic turn back the clock (hopefully) to resurrect the rivalry that once determined the No. 1 ranking. “You certainly know what she’s capable of,” Sharapova said of Williams. “But when you’re out on the court, you’re not thinking how many titles she’s won or how experienced she is. You’re thinking about what you need to do to step it up in a certain situation and win as many points as you can.”
Lots More – HERE
Then there is the “Daily Bagel” posts which feature links and briefs descriptions of tennis from all over the web.
• Video: The Australian Open asks the top players which qualities they would like to have from other players. Among the answers: Novak Djokovic wants
Rafa’s Rafter’s volleys, and Agnieszka Radwanska wants Sam Stosur’s serve.
• Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic have buried the hatchet. Time heals all wounds.
• From CNN: How women cracked the tennis glass ceiling.
CLICK HERE for lots more great tennis from this post
Good recap of the Wednesday action at the Australian Open on Tennis X blog (CLICK HERE)
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer has 17 wins over Nikolay Davydenko. Davydenko has just one win in his last 17 matches against Top 10 players…Hard luck case Brian Baker will need right knee surgery and will be out four months after tearing his lateral meniscus today against Sam Querrey…Want some streaks? We got them: Serena Williams has won 17 straight matches…Ryan Harrison has lost 16 straight matches to Top 10 players…Novak Djokovic has won 17 straight at the Australian Open…Andy Murray has won his last 8 Grand Slam matches…Venus Williams has won 7 straight matches…Aggie Radwasnka is on an 11-match win streak, winning all 22 sets…Lukas Lacko has lost 13 straight matches to Top 10ers…Bernard Tomic has won all 9 matches this year…And after leading 5-2 in the third set against Zheng Jie, Sam Stosur is on a 5-game losing streak…Who will have a better career,Madison Keys or Donna Vekic?…Serena Williams and Venus are still scheduled for doubles later Thursday, so maybe the right ankle is OK. Then again maybe not…Andy Murray’s worst Grand Slam loss by ranking was to No. 91 Arnuad Clement, today he’ll face No. 100 Joao Sousa…For the second straight year no Australian women reached the third round at the Australian Open… Ther is more to this section at the link above.
plus one more video
The ’76 tournament promised to be more unpredictable than usual, seeing as its top three seeds were all over 30 years old. Sure enough, the championship kicked up a young new star — namely, unheralded hometown kid Mark Edmondson. “Unheralded” is putting it mildly. The 21 year old was ranked 212 in the world and worked part-time jobs to pay his tennis expenses. No one got too excited when the “thick, strong, ever-charging” Edmondson reached the semifinals. The field was pretty thin. But then magic started to happen. “Edo,” sporting an Ion Tiriac mustache and a mound of frizzy black hair, upset Ken Rosewall in the semifinals, ending the 41-year-old legend’s last Grand Slam run. And then, on a windy Sunday at Melbourne’s Kooyong Stadium, he somehow topped defending champion Newcombe in the final, 6–7, 6–3, 7–6, 6–1. All these years later he is still the lowest-ranked player ever to win a major.
Read all about it at The Oregonian:
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This is from last years New York Times Tennis Column:
The Last Gasp of Australian Tennis’s Golden Era
By DAVE SEMINARA Published: January 13, 2011
His girlfriend, Vicki, now his wife, still recalls the blunt commentary from one of their fellow straphangers: “ ‘Nice job beating Ken,’ the one bloke said, ‘but you won’t have much of a chance to beat Newky in the final, will you?’ ”
Edmondson, who was ranked No. 212 at the time and had been mopping floors at a hospital just weeks before, seized his opportunity, beating John Newcombe in the final. Thirty-five years later, he remains the lowest-ranked men’s player to win a major and the last native son to win the Australian Open, which begins Monday in Melbourne.
Behind his booming serve, Edmondson pulled off an unlikely four-set victory in stifling heat. Newspaper headlines around the world carried some variation on the theme of “Janitor Beats Rosewall.”
Read that story here:
Matt Cronin’s tennisreporters.net came up with it’s year end Top 50 Men. The top 5 were Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and David Ferrer. The article has two paragraphs on each player.
Here are few excerpts:
Novak Djokovic: Yes, in 2012, he only won one major, the Aussie Open, but he also reached the Roland Garros final, the Wimbledon semis, the US Open final and when a lot of chips were on the line heading into the fall over who the Player of the Year was, he grabbed Shanghai and the ATP World Finals to seal POY honors.
David Ferrer: Has there ever been a more beloved world No. 5 than the gritty and gusty Ferrer? Perhaps not. Everyone loves his hustle, the way he always fight to the last ball, how much he has improved his serve and has been willing to go on the attack more. But while he clearly had a better year than anyone ranked below him, he didn’t even end the year ranked higher than Nadal, who stopped playing in late June.
As Ferrer has said, it’s more than possible that every member of the Big 4 is simply better than he is. In 2012, he went 0-3 against Djokovic and Nadal, ran his record to 0-14 vs. Federer with two losses, and split matches with Murray. He needs to go after the ball more against those players, but it is altogether possible that outside of Murray, that even if he does, he will be pushed back. But here’s hoping he reaches his first Slam final in 2013 in great shape because it would be a lot of fun to see the 30 year old sprinting wall to wall to in an attempt to win his first major. That would cap off one of the most dedicated careers of any 21st century competitor.
Read the whole article – HERE
“Oncourt Advantage” is offering it’s readers the opportunity to get “The Australian OpenBook” at a special price (just $19.95 – it retails for $59.95).
The Official Australian Open book has 208 pages with over 200 colour photos which help you relive the great rivalries, blockbuster matches, the games’ greatest players, the intriguing controversies and the dramas both on and off the court that shape the Australian Open to be what it is: Australia’s greatest global sporting event.
To make it easier for to find a copy of this book we have included the above picture of the front cover and the book’s ISBN number is 978-0-9804667-7-5. The full title of the book is, “The Official Australian Open book” with a subtitle of “Australia’s Greatest Global Sporting Event”. This book was published in November 2010 by Arbon Publishing.
This book provides the history of the Australian Open from its the outset as an Australasian tournament when it was first held in 1905, throughout the years, different venues, progressions, changes and continuing growth into its current status as a world-class major sporting event.
For all of the details CLICK HERE
Bleacher Report just did an interesting slide show listing what they felt is the biggest one hit wonders – people with one Grand Slam Title to their name. Here are two of the one hit wonders. Click on the link at the end of the article to see the slide show or CLICK HERE
Andres Gomez – 1990 French Open
The 1990 French Open was the only time in his career that Gomez made it past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam.
The No. 4 seeded Gomez did not have to face a seeded player until the semifinals. He defeated future No. 1 and future French Open champion Thomas Muster in straight sets in the semifinals and then defeated Andre Agassi in four sets in the final to capture his only Grand Slam title.
Chris O’Neil – 1978 Australian Open
O’Neil’s run to the Australian Open title in 1978 is the most unlikely Grand Slam title in the Open Era. There were only 32 players in the women’s field that year. This required the players to win only five matches in a row compared to the seven wins that it takes now with 128 players. She had a career singles record of 19-52, and the Australian Open was her only career singles title. Her career-high ranking was 80.
The Onion Radio News did a “Tennis” Story – The Onion is an American news satire organization. It is an entertainment newspaper and a website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news. Much of its humor depends on presenting everyday events as newsworthy and by playing on commonly used phrases, as in the headline “Drugs Win Drug War.”
Australian Open Canceled As Tennis Balls Fall Off Bottom Of Earth Into The Sky
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—Organizers of the Australian Open canceled the highly anticipated Grand Slam event Wednesday night after admitting they were unable to prevent tennis balls from falling off the underside of the planet and into the sky. “We regret to announce we had not adequately researched the problems of playing tennis upside down here on the bottom of the world,” a statement by tournament organizers read in part. “Our deepest, most sincere apologies go out to spectators, to participants, and especially to the family and friends of Kim Clijsters, who was last spotted by Royal Australian Air Force radar falling down through the atmosphere following an ill-advised jump serve.” Sporting cognoscenti said the problems facing the Open were not insurmountable, pointing to the innovations that allowed Australian soccer to develop into Australian rules football in the 19th century.
Who says there is no future for U.S. Women’s Tennis when the Williams sisters retire. Taylor Townsend of the U.S. won both the Girls Singles and Girls Doubles at the Australian Open and she is only 15. This article is reprinted from SI.COM – Sports Illustrated’s online site.
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In fact, she took a souvenir so she could remember the experience.
“I was actually surprised that I saw four towels, like two towels on one seat, two towels on the other,” she said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m gonna snag these.’ That’s exactly what I did.”
Townsend, a native of Stockbridge, Ga., took home a couple of trophies, as well.
She defeated Yulia Putintseva of Russia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 on Saturday to win the girls’ singles event at the Australian Open, a day after she and partner Gabrielle Andrews of Pomona, Calif., won the girls’ doubles title.
When she closed out her singles’ victory, Townsend burst into tears on court.
“Tears of joy,” she said afterward. “It’s a dream come true for me, you know. A lot of people were supporting me, and my family and everything are just so proud. It was just a proud moment for me and … the feelings kind of rushed in.”
Townsend, who was discovered and initially coached by the parents of American player Donald Young, said she wouldn’t have made the trip Down Under if she hadn’t been confident she could win the title, even though she’s a couple of years younger than many of the other competitors.
“That’s a belief that I had in myself, but, I mean, definitely when I got through the quarterfinals, I was like, ‘You have three more matches and you can win this.”’
Townsend’s current coach, former top 10 player Kathy Rinaldi, said that she’s been training with her full-time in Florida and it’s sometimes been difficult for her to be away from home.
“I said, ‘It takes some sacrifices and it will pay off for you,”’ Rinaldi said. “And she goes ‘I’m trusting you.’ And it paid off for her this week.”
In her down time in Melbourne this week, Townsend has been checking out some of the top pros on court. But she’s not that interested in watching the women play.
“I definitely watch the men more. I stayed up watching Federer-Nadal,” she said. “I honestly couldn’t believe the shots that Federer was hitting, and I couldn’t believe that Nadal was getting them back.”
444 AND COUNTING: Esther Vergeer knows she’ll probably lose a tennis match again someday. She just didn’t want it to happen this week at Melbourne Park.
The 30-year-old Dutchwoman defeated countrywoman Aniek Van Koot 6-0, 6-0 in just 47 minutes to win the women’s singles wheelchair event at the Australian Open on Saturday, keeping alive her astounding 444-match win streak.
It was Vergeer’s 20th Grand Slam singles title and ninth at the Australian Open, according to the International Tennis Federation. She also won the wheelchair doubles on Friday with her partner, 41-year-old Dutchwoman Sharon Walraven.
“I’ve already been telling myself I can lose any minute now because I know that some girls are a better player than me, maybe have better tennis skills than me, maybe have a better disability than me, maybe can put more pressure on the ball, but maybe don’t have the mental toughness or the experience,” Vergeer said after the match.
The last time Vergeer lost a singles match was in January 2003. Her opponents didn’t even get close to challenging her in Melbourne, either – Vergeer only lost four games in three matches.
Because she’s dominated wheelchair tennis for so long and won every accolade she possibly could – including five Paralympic gold medals – Vergeer is frequently asked how she stays motivated to continue competing.
Remarkably, she says she still sees room to improve her game. Plus, she takes seriously her position as a role model.
“This is just a great, awesome life that I’m living. It’s unbelievable that I’m able to play Grand Slams,” she said. “Even if you have a disability, there’s so much that you can still do and a lot of people. By tennis, or by playing sport, it’s possible for me to spread that word.”
The following article is reprinted from the “Beyond the Baseline” Blog at Sports Illustarted. The blog is written by Courtney Nguyen who left her own blog (“Forty Deuce”) when she was offered a full time position with SI. I have referred to her blog – the past and present. o follow her blog – CLICK HERE and Click on the “Beyond the Baseline” tab or click on one of the articles listed below it.
Isner outlasted Nalbandian 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 10-8 to advance to the third round of the Australian Open. The American overcame cramps to win at the very same venue, Margaret Court Arena, where he lost to Marin Cilic 9-7 in the fifth set of last year’s third round.
But the post-match discussion centered on a ruling that prompted Nalbandian to blast the chair umpire as “stupid” and had him lamenting a “ridiculous” call made at a crucial moment in the fifth set. (See match highlights here.)
With Isner facing a break point at 8-8, he fired a first serve down the middle that the linesperson called wide. The crowd erupted, obscuring the fact that chair umpire Kader Nouni (he of the deep Barry White voice) had overruled and called the ball good. Nalbandian sought clarification from Nouni before walking to check the mark. The Argentine looked over to Isner, who told him to challenge the call. Nalbandian tried to challenge, but Nouni deemed the request untimely and refused to allow it.
Nalbandian was beside himself that Nouni was denying the challenge and summoned tournament supervisor Andreas Egli to give him an earful. Egli could do nothing but throw up his hands. It was the umpire’s call whether the challenge was timely and he was in no position to overrule. Replays showed that the original call was correct. The ball was out.
The overrule cost Nalbandian an opportunity to see a second serve on break point, which, had he converted, would have given him a chance to serve out the match. Instead, Isner was credited with an ace (he hit 43 total) and it was back to deuce. Isner would hold for 9-8 thanks to a forehand passing shot and an ace. The No. 16 seed followed it up by breaking Nalbandian to win the match.
“It’s ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpires,” Nalbandian said. “What is this? What did the ATP do for this? I didn’t understand in that situation, 8-all, break point. I mean, can you be that stupid to do that in that moment?
“What the umpires need, press? Name? Be on the picture tomorrow? Incredible.”
Nalbandian added: “Anyway, I didn’t lose for that, but that was a very bad situation. Was amazing.”
Nalbandian is right on both counts. First, the sun is going down, it’s 8-8 in the fifth set of a Grand Slam tournament, and two officials disagree on a call on a 120-mph serve on the center line. How do you not let technology decide the call? You often see players check the mark, walk back slowly to the baseline, think about it and then challenge. But Nalbandian wasn’t doing that. From my perspective it was loud on the court, the overrule confused everyone involved, and once that was sorted and Nalbandian checked the mark, he requested the challenge. There was no gamesmanship and he wasn’t trying to delay the match. He was trying to understand what had happened and what his options were and he was doing it in good faith. Heck, Isner told him to challenge the call.
But second, and just as important, this call didn’t decide the match. If the linesperson’s ruling stands, or if Nouni allows the challenge, Isner still has a second serve. He threw down a 120-mph second-serve ace just three points before. Nalbandian was robbed of an opportunity, not the match.
That’s a critical distinction as the firestorm surrounding the botched call overshadows what was otherwise a fantastic match. It was a gutsy win for Isner, who never called for the trainer despite the cramping and, as he told ESPN after the match, played the last game with a cracked racket.
“I felt like he played well, but I just hung in there,” Isner said. “I was hanging by a thread, but I kept pulling even with my serve and I was going for my shots. Eventually it paid off.”
The first Australasian Championships – before the Open Era – was held in 1905 and was won by Rodney Heath. He also won it again in 1910. He won the Australian Open doubles in 1906 with Tony Wilding and in 1911 with Randolph Lycett.Heath finished runner-up at the Australian Open doubles in 1910 with JL Odea and 1914 with Pat O’Hara Wood. He played two Davis Cup ties for Australia in 1912, compiling a 1-2 record in singles. He was born June 15, 1884 and he died at age 52 on October 6, 1936. Back then the event was not held every year.
The first Women’s winner was Margaret Molesworth. She was also the second Australasian Chamoionships winner. She defeated Esna Boyd Robertson both times. As a matter of fact, for the first five years, everyone who won defeated Robertson until she broke through in 1927(the first year it was called the Australian Championship) and won it herself. In 1928 she went back to being the runner up.
She won her first major tennis title in 1914 – the Queensland ladies doubles. For much of the next five years, sporting contests in Australia were cancelled due to World War I. Molesworth won tennis championships in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania beginning in 1919. At the first Australian Championships in 1922, Molesworth defeated fellow Australian Esna Boyd Robertson 6–3, 10–8 in the final. A year later, she successfully defended her title, again defeating Robertson in the final.
Molesworth was unable to compete overseas until 1934 when, at age 40, she reach the last sixteen of the French Championships.
In doubles, Molesworth won three women’s titles at the Australian Championships with Emily Hood Westacott, in 1930, 1933, and 1934. She was also runner-up in women’s and mixed doubles at the Australian Championships in 1923.
In 1924, mainly for health reasons, Molesworth retired from the sport. She came back a few years later, always considered a threat in Australian tournaments. In 1934, she reached the Australian singles final once more. Later that year, she competed overseas for the first time, playing at Wimbledon and the French Championships.
After her retirement from competitive play, Molesworth became one of the first female professional coaches in Australia. Until her death at age 91 in 1985, she maintained a lifelong interest in the sport of tennis.