Tennis – ATP World Tour Headline News – powered by FeedBurner
Tennis United: Henman & Davenport’s Favourite Wimbledon Memories
el día 10 julio, 2020 a las 10:04 pm
Tim Henman still remembers his first visit to Wimbledon when he was six. That moment changed the course of the Brit’s life. “That was when I made my one and only career decision, that I wanted to play tennis,” Henman said on this week’s Tennis United. «Fifteen years later I was playing the first round [at the All England Club in ’96]. There was some sort of debate about changing [Henman Hill’s] name, but I’ve quashed that.” [COACHES] Henman’s favourite memory at Wimbledon is of the third round in 1997 when he played Paul Haarhuis. He won the match 14-12 in the fifth set. “When we came on court, Centre Court was absolutely packed and every shot I hit in the warm-up the crowd cheered and every shot he missed the crowd booed!” Henman recalled. “That was the best atmosphere I ever played in.” The Brit was joined on Tennis United by former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, who triumphed at The Championships in 1999. The American remembered the experience of playing at SW19 while Henman was in the draw. “Playing in that whole era when Tim played at Wimbledon was crazy. Everything for those couple weeks when Tim was in, it was all about Tim. I honestly don’t know how he survived it. You picked up a paper and everything was about Tim,” Davenport said. “I suffered through a few of Tim’s losses there, too. I wanted him to win.” Swedish legends Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander also joined the show to discuss Wimbledon, including Edberg’s first title in 1988. “Winning Wimbledon the first time is always going to stand out,” Edberg said. “It’s a fantastic feeling, being on Centre Court and lifting the trophy.”
Ready To Serve? Hope Nadal Isn’t Across The Net!
el día 10 julio, 2020 a las 8:17 pm
The two best returners on the planet in 2019 and the first two months of 2020 were Rafael Nadal and Diego Schwartzman. An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of their prowess winning points that begin by absorbing and redirecting the power of a serve identifies two key areas that help elevate them above all others: • Technique – developing their return of serve skill set to the highest possible level. • Location – growing up in a culture in Spain and Argentina that perennially produces the best returners in our sport. Nadal and Schwartzman were the only two players to win north of 42 per cent of their return points during the 14-month period, which was significantly higher than the ATP Tour average of 36 per cent. Return Points Won (Jan 2019 – Feb 2020)1. Nadal = 42.39% (2499/5895) 2. Schwartzman = 42.07% (2689/6391) Both Nadal and Schwartzman like to stand well behind the baseline to return, providing the opportunity for the serve to slow down marginally more, which helps them avoid being rushed by the raw power of the biggest shot in our sport. Did Nadal and Schwartzman have an advantage developing their return of serve by growing up in Spain and Argentina? They absolutely did, as both countries are a perennial hotbed producing the best returners in our game. Career Return Metrics (1991-2020)Spain and Argentina account for seven of the leading 10 players in the Career Return Points Won category and 44 per cent of the Top 50. The data set includes players that competed in at least 100 ATP Tour and Grand Slam matches from 1991-2020, excluding Davis Cup ties. The top four spots are a trade-off between the two countries with Argentina’s Guillermo Coria leading the way, followed by Spain’s Nadal, then Argentina’s Franco Davin, and Spain’s Alberto Berasategui. The three other players ranked in the leading 10 spots from the two countries are seventh-ranked David Ferrer (ESP), eighth-ranked Francisco Roig (ESP), and ninth-ranked Guillermo Perez-Roldan (ARG). Coria led all players with a career-leading 43.7 per cent (11,139/25,492) of return points won against first and second serves. His metrics at Roland Garros, where he went 17-7, were some of his career best, winning a dominant 48.06 per cent (1217/2530) of return points. Coria reached the final of Roland Garros in 2004, winning very close to half of all return points played for the tournament at 49.85 per cent (333/668). The 10 Argentine players ranked in the leading 50 players with return points won are listed below. Argentines – Leading 50 Players Return Points Won Return Rating Player Return Win Percentage 1 Guillermo Coria 43.70% 3 Franco Davin 42.37% 9 Guillermo Perez-Roldan 41.89% 16 Diego Schwartzman 41.71% 23 David Nalbandian 41.32% 26 Gaston Gaudio 41.27% 27 Horacio De La Pena 41.22% 33 Juan Monaco 40.77% 39 Juan Ignacio Chela 40.55% 44 Guillermo Canas 40.36% Nadal was the elite Spaniard, and it is in Monte Carlo where he has posted the best return metrics of his illustrious career. He has won a staggering 49.93 per cent (2369/4745) of return points in the principality. At Roland Garros, Nadal has also been well above his career average, winning an impressive 47.82 per cent (4245/8877) of return points. The 12 Spaniards in the leading 50 players with return points won are in the table below. Spaniards – Leading 50 Players Return Points Won Return Rating Player Return Win Percentage 2 Rafael Nadal 42.42% 4 Alberto Berasategui 42.25% 7 David Ferrer 41.98% 8 Francisco Roig 41.92% 12 Jordi Arrese 41.82% 17 Carlos Costa 41.63% 18 Sergi Bruguera 41.61% 22 Tomas Carbonell 41.33% 32 Francisco Clavet 40.86% 35 Alex Corretja 40.67% The fifth-placed player, Michael Chang, was one of just three Americans in the leading 50 players, along with Andre Agassi (15th) and Aaron Krickstein (50th). Chang’s best tournaments with return points won (min. 1000 return points) were on hard courts at Atlanta (46.13%), Washington, D.C. (44.69%), and Los Angeles (44.49%). The third-placed country overall was Sweden, with four players placed in the leading 50 returners. They were: •No. 21 Magnus Gustafsson = 41.44% •No. 25 Stefan Edberg = 41.28% •No. 40 Christian Bergstrom = 40.48% •No. 45 Jonas Svensson = 40.32% When Spaniards compete against Argentines, you know a crucial sub-plot is to be the best returner on the court.
Wimbledon Pledges £10 Million To Players
el día 10 julio, 2020 a las 8:06 pm
Wimbledon pledged on Friday £10 million to the men and women who would have competed at The Championships in 2020 had the COVID-19 pandemic not forced the cancellation of the event. The grass-court Grand Slam is allocating funds to 620 players from all disciplines whose world ranking would have enabled them to gain entry into the tournament. The 256 players who would have competed in gentlemen’s and ladies’ singles draws will each receive £25,000; 224 players who would have competed in the genlemen’s and ladies’ qualifying events will each receive £12,500; 120 players who would have competed in Main Draw Doubles will each receive £6,250. In addition, Wimbledon announced that the grass-court seeding formula it has used for the gentlemen’s singles draw since 2002 will be discontinued beginning in 2021. The seeding will be based solely on the FedEx ATP Rankings. The All England Club has focussed Wimbledon’s efforts on supporting those most affected by the pandemic at a local, national and international level. These efforts have included the Wimbledon Foundation’s £1.2 million COVID-19 fund to support charities tackling the crisis response and recovery, the donations of strawberries, towels and balls intended for The Championships 2020, the distribution of daily hot meals to those in need in the local community. [COACHES] Wimbledon has also contributed to the Player Relief Programme and wheelchair tennis fund established by the governing bodies of world tennis, as well as an auction in support of members of the ATP Coach programme most in need due to the pandemic. Andy Murray will hit with the winning bidder and a guest at The Championships in 2021, and they will follow that session with a private lunch in the All England Club’s members’ enclosure. The winning bidder will also receive two tickets to the gentlemen’s singles final. The chief executive of the All England Club, Richard Lewis , said: “Immediately following the cancellation of The Championships, we turned our attention to how we could assist those who help make Wimbledon happen. We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking. We are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognise the impact of the cancellation on the players and that we are now in a position to offer this payment as a reward for the hard work they have invested in building their ranking to a point where they would have gained direct entry into The Championships 2020.”
Agassi & Rafter’s Hat-Trick Of Wimbledon Magic
el día 10 julio, 2020 a las 6:29 pm
The Wimbledon battles between Andre Agassi and Patrick Rafter were a contrast in playing styles that perfectly suited grass-court tennis. Rafter’s relentless serve-and-volleying and Agassi’s blistering returns produced high-octane rallies that frequently left the Centre Court crowd gasping in their seats. Rafter and Agassi faced off in three consecutive Wimbledon semi-finals from 1999-2001, with the Aussie prevailing in two of them. ATPTour.com looks at their epic clashes at the All England Club. 2000 Rafter’s had slipped to No. 21 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after undergoing shoulder surgery the previous October, but he once again found his top form in time for Wimbledon. Leaping around the net to block Agassi’s powerful returns with acrobatic volley winners, the 27-year-old withstood Agassi’s baseline power to prevail 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. “Today was a match that I couldn’t have played any better under the circumstances, on a big court against one of the best players ever,» Rafter said. »I think it was probably very satisfying to have actually done it on these grounds.” Although Agassi couldn’t have performed any better off the ground, his serve let him down in crucial moments. He was broken to love at 3-4 in the third set and managed to get the break back in the next game, but hit a pair of costly double faults at 5-6 to aid Rafter in taking a commanding lead. Another double fault at 2-3 in the final set gifted Rafter a break point that he converted with a timely trip to the net. The slight advantage was all he needed. Landing 80 per cent of his first serves in the decider, Rafter held the momentum to become the first Australian to reach a Wimbledon singles final since Pat Cash (1987). ”I wasn’t satisfied with the semi-finals. I got to the semis last year and wanted to go one step further now,” Rafter said. “You never count your chances as great when you’re playing against Andre, but I played very well today.” Rafter fell to Pete Sampras in the championship match, enabling the American to surpass Roy Emerson as the overall leader for most Grand Slam singles titles with his 13th crown. It was a loss which ate at Rafter until the following year at Wimbledon. 2001 Agassi and Rafter’s 2001 semi-final drew plenty of buzz after their thrilling clash the previous year and the high-quality match lived up to expectations. The American served for the match and came within two points of victory, but Rafter, who trailed throughout most of the final set, clawed back to score a 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 8-6 win. “When it’s best-of-five, I know there’s time to work things out and to try different things,” Rafter said. “I was still aggressive, like last year. I had to be. I had to take my chances and give myself opportunities, hopefully get the right bounce of the ball. And it worked the same way.” Rafter saved four break points at 0-2 in the deciding set, then erased another in his next service game. Agassi continued to hold serve comfortably until he had a chance to wrap up the match. Serving at 5-4, 30/30, a wild baseline error set up break point for Rafter and the Aussie made good on it with a volley winner. Drama outside of the rallies also played a critical role. Agassi shouted at himself after losing a deuce point at 6-6 and a lineswoman raced to the umpire to report his language, causing the American to receive a code violation. He later admitted that the incident rattled him as a string of wild unforced errors caused him to fall behind 0/40 in the next game. Rafter cracked a backhand passing shot winner on his third match point and raised his arms in delight at reaching another Wimbledon final. “The closer you get to winning, the harder it is to accept. He won the fifth set decisively last year. This year, I had a lot of chances. It’s more disappointing,” Agassi said. “You’ve got to just shake it off, try to move forward. What else can you do?” Rafter would come within two points of the title, but fell to Goran Ivanisevic in a match that is still considered to be one of the best finals in tournament history. 1999 The first Wimbledon semi-final between Agassi and Rafter provided little of the theatrics that their future encounters would have. Agassi never gave the match a chance to heat up as he produced a flawless performance on Centre Court, cracking 48 winners to only 10 errors in his 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-2 win. Rafter had a slight opening at 4/2 in the second-set tie-break, but Agassi responded by hitting four winners, including a backhand return on set point, to grab a two-sets lead. The 29-year-old poured it on in the final set and didn’t hit a single unforced error, breaking Rafter twice to reach his first Wimbledon final in seven years. Although he suffered a convincing loss to Pete Sampras in the championship match, Agassi’s run to the final enabled him to unseat Sampras as World No. 1 on the following Monday.
Why A Millennial Says Borg-McEnroe Final Remains The Greatest
el día 10 julio, 2020 a las 6:20 pm
In July 1980, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe met at Wimbledon for the first time. Any and all who were lucky enough to watch the encounter live will swear the match was and continues to be the greatest that tennis has ever seen. Being 27, I was one with the misfortune of never having seen it. I thought it time that changed. My own fandom has involved as much a fascination with tennis history as it has with what is happening in the present. But it was not until I sat down on a drizzly June afternoon at my flat in London to watch in its entirety the 1980 Wimbledon final – which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month – that I realised in reality I knew little, if anything, of substance about it. Of course I was aware of the match and of Borg’s eventual victory, but in reality for people of my age it has been reduced to something of a reference point in debates about whether Nadal and Federer’s titanic Wimbledon final in 2008 topped it. For me, McEnroe was more familiar as one of tennis’s finest talking heads, a voice of authority to guide me through the game’s nuances and subtleties, while Borg was someone I associated with looking effortlessly cool in Centre Court’s Royal Box. I was aware of their exploits, of their famous matches and even of their diametrically opposed styles on court, but awareness was all it amounted to. I figured that I knew what I needed to know about them and the 1980 final but 18 points into their legendary 22 minute fourth-set tiebreak, won 18-16 by McEnroe to draw himself level with Borg at two sets apiece, I realised my previous appreciation for the match had come up woefully short. What became apparent at that most dramatic of moments was a sudden realisation that at no point in the previous two hours and 52 minutes had I even considered the action anything other than utterly compelling, fiercely competitive and, while undeniably less brutish than the modern power game, exquisitely skillful. A reductive notion often levelled at sports from a bygone era is that they are boring, slow and simply not as exciting as the offerings of the present day. As a millennial myself, I humbly present this Borg-McEnroe final as an example proving this to be a falsehood. If you gave this one a five-star review, you’d be doing it a serious disservice. I was having reactions akin to those that come with the most dramatic live sport. I experienced sweating palms, an elevated heart rate and audible cries of amazement as I sat alone in my house on what was ironically one of this summer’s wettest days so far. Throughout, I found myself drawn to both. McEnroe, his heart as clearly visible on his sleeve as the headband penning in his mane of curly locks, married looks of anguish after a backhand slice into the net with shrieks of joy after a cross-court winner. In contrast Borg, who at the time already boasted four Wimbledon titles to supplement his astonishing five Roland Garros crowns, seemed utterly unfazed, outwardly at least, by any occurrence. Not a bead of sweat apparent on his unquestionably stylish Fila get-up as he metronomically met every McEnroe challenge with one of his own. What they both possessed was an easy grace of play almost absent from the modern men’s game, where a premium on heavy hitting often trumps all else. Lithe and fleet of foot, McEnroe and Borg hailed from another era of tennis which, at Wimbledon at least, involved endless attacking forays to net and shots demanding delicacy over destruction. Perhaps the most prominent parallel to be drawn from that famous afternoon to the modern day is the undeniably unique atmosphere produced by Centre Court. Very few sports venues can lay claim to matching it during moments of pure sporting theatre, silence followed by eruptions of noise. There really is nowhere quite like it. One sad reality of passing time is its tendency to sentence great moments of sporting history to nostalgia. In the moments before, during and after seismic clashes, it is easy to think that the significance of what has occurred will continue to be felt for lifetimes, weaving itself into the fabric of the sporting consciousness. The 1980 Wimbledon final will forever be the standard of excellence in tennis and remain entrenched as one of the finest athletic achievements of all time. And so, on its 40th birthday, put down your strawberries and cream, raise your Pimms and pay homage to greatness.