Click to enlarge the pics:
The second-ever World Tennis Day took place on Monday 3 March 2014. World Tennis Day aims to promote tennis and increase participation among players around the globe, and this year’s celebrations were centred around exhibitions featuring Grand Slam or Davis Cup champions, on three different continents:
- Li Na vs Sam Stosur and Tomas Berdych vs Lleyton Hewitt in Hong Kong
- Pat Cash vs Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras in London
- Bob and Mike Bryan vs John and Patrick McEnroe, and Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic in New York
For the first time this year an event was organized in London, and obviously I couldn’t miss that! Read my recap below and stay tuned for more pics and videos.
Cardio tennis demo
To start the evening, a demo of cardio tennis, a group fitness activity featuring fast paced drills and games. It combines the best features of tennis with cardiovascular exercise.
It does not require tennis skills, but is all about keeping your heart rate up, burning calories and having fun. The main purpose is to get fit.
Ivan Lendl vs Pat Cash
The Ivan Lendl from today is really different from the somewhat cold and robotic player he was back in the days. Believe me or not, Lendl was the real entertainer of the event, he kept talking and joking with the crowd and his opponent.
Ivan Lendl to Pat Cash:
Are you ok? I am supposed to be the old guy!
Cash attacked the net and Lendl demonstrated his back-court skills: drop shots, passing shots and powerful backhands. The Australian took the set 8-6.
Pat Cash, Andrew Castle, Ivan Lendl and Jonathan Ross:
Below, Ivan Lendl being interviewed by fellow legend Mats Wilander:
ITHF rings ceremony
The International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was announced on Monday, newly elected Hall of Famers are: three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, wheelchair tennis pioneer Chantal Vandierendonck, former USTA President Jane Brown Grimes, legendary coach Nick Bollettieri and the “voice of Wimbledon”, John Barrett.
Chantal Vandierendonck and John Barrett were in attendance in London and were honored in a special ceremony.
One of the early stars of wheelchair tennis, Chantal Vandierendonck was the Esther Vergeer of the 90′s: she was the first Wheelchair Tennis World Champion in 1991, she won seven US Open and five Paralympic medals. She is the first Dutch tennis player to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.
A former British Davis Cup captain, John Barrett was the “Voice of Wimbledon” on the BBC from 1971-06. His wife, former top-ranked player Angela Mortimer Barrett, was inducted into the Hall in 1993. Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf are the only other married couple in the ITHF.
Said Christopher Clouser:
“These one-of-a-kind rings are a symbol of all that they have accomplished and their legacy in the sport.”
Gordon Reid vs Marc McCarroll
Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis. Except the ball is allowed to bounce twice. The second bounce can be either inside or outside the court boundaries.
Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras
And finally, the match everyone was waiting for: Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras.
With contrasting styles and temperaments, they played each other 34 times from 1989 through 2002, with Sampras winning 20 of their matches. They played some memorable matches like the 2001 US Open quaterfinal, 2002 US Open final. Their rivalry was the Nadal-Federer of the 90′s.
Of the four Grand Slam champions that played that evening, Pete Sampras was the only player I had never watch playing live before, and I enjoyed watching his smooth serves and volleys.
Sampras struggled a bit at the beginning but from what he said after the match, he doesn’t play much tennis these days. I guess it’s easier to find back your rythm when you play from the baseline than when you play serve and volley.
Agassi took the match 6-3 7-6 on a Sampras double fault.
There was not much interaction with the crowd and despite what they said it’s obvious these guys will never be friends, they just tollerate each other.
Pete Sampras, Elaine Paige and Andre Agassi:
Sampras and Agassi lap of honor of the court:
Despite the (really) high price of the ticket I really enjoyed this evening of tennis featuring four tennis legends. A suggestion for next year: what about Rafter-Ivanisevic and Becker-Edberg matches?
Stay tuned for more pics and videos of the matches Cash-Lendl and Agassi-Sampras!
Czech Republic defeats Netherlands: 3-1
Robin Haase def Radek Stepanek 3-6 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-1
Tomas Berdych def Igor Sijsling 6-3 6-3 6-0
Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek def Robin Haase/Jean-Julien Rojer 7-5 1-6 7-6 7-6
Tomas Berdych def Thiemo De Bakker 6-1 6-4 6-3
The Czechs have not lost since suffering a huge upset against Kazakhstan in the first round in 2011. The last time the Dutch won a World Group tie was in 2005 against Switzerland. That’s quite a long time ago…
— judy murray (@judmoo) January 30, 2014
Japan defeats Canada: 3-1
Kei Nishikori def Peter Polansky 6-4 6-4 6-4
Franck Dancevic def Go Soeda 6-4 7-6 6-1
Kei Nishikori/Yasutaka Uchiyama def Franck Dancevic/Daniel Nestor 6-3 7-6 4-6 6-4
Kei Nishikori def Franck Dancevic 6-2 1-0 ret
Lead by 18th ranked Kei Nishikori, Japan sailed into the Davis Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 3-1 victory against an injury-plagued Canada: Milos Raonic pulled out with a left-foot injury on Thursday while Frank Dancevic retired with a stomch injury in the fourth rubber.
Germany defeats Spain: 3-0
Philipp Kohlschreiber def Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 6-4 6-2
Florian Mayer def Feliciano Lopez 7-6 7-6 1-6 5-7 6-3
Tommy Haas/Philipp Kohlschreiber def Fernando Verdasco/David Marrero 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-3
Five-time champion Spain will face a World Group playoff in September for the second year in a row. Playing without Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo, Spain was ousted by Germany 3-0.
— Tommy Haas (@TommyHaas13) January 31, 2014
France defeats Australia: 3-0
Arnaud Clément relied on his two top players Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to get past Australia, lead by Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt and Guccione were previously undefeated in the Davis Cup as a doubles team, but they were overpowered by the French pair.
— Richard Gasquet (@richardgasquet1) February 1, 2014
Great Britain defeat USA: 3-1
Andy Murray def Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-3
James Ward def Sam Querrey 1-6 7-6 3-6 6-4 6-1
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def Colin Fleming/Dominic Inglot 6-2 6-3 3-6 6-1
Andy Murray def Sam Querrey 7-6 6-7 6-1 6-3
Great Britain are into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1986. It is also the first time Britain have beaten the USA since 1935! The hero of the tie is James Ward, ranked 175, who beat former top 20 Sam Querrey on Friday.
Italy defeats Argentina:
Carlos Berlocq def Andreas Seppi 4-6 6-0 6-2 6-1
Fabio Fognini def Juan Monaco 7-5 6-2 6-2
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini def Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-4
Fabio Fognini def Carlos Berlocq 7-6 4-6 6-1 6-4
With his third victory of the weekend, Fabio Fognini sent Italy through to its second quarterfinal since 1998. It is Argentina’s first opening round defeat in 13 years.
Kazakhstan defeats Belgium: 3-2
Mikhail Kukushkin def Ruben Bemelmans 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-3
Andrey Golubev def David Goffin 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-2 12-10
Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus def Evgeny Korolev/Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2 6-7 6-3 7-6
David Goffin def Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-0
Andrey Golubev def Ruben Bemelmans 6-2 6-3 6-1
Switzerland defeats Serbia: 3-0
Roger Federer made last-minute decision to play the Davis Cup tie in Serbia and he joined forces with recent Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and doubles pair Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer to oust Djokovic-less Serbia 3-0.
The Davis Cup has never been a top priority for him and it remains a true hole in Federer’s impressive curriculum vitae.
— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) January 29, 2014
Japan – Czech Republic
France – Germany
Italy – Great Britain
Switzerland – Kazakhstan
Dominika Cibulkova defeats Simona Halep 6-3 6-0
The Slovakian continues her impressive run and qualifies for the second Grand Slam semifinal of her career, after Roland Garros in 2009.
Agnieszka Radwanska defeats Victoria Azarenka 6-1 5-7 6-0
What a demonstration of skills by Radwanska who ousted defending champion Azarenka to reach her first semifinal in Melbourne.
Azarenka struggled to cope with Radwanska’s anticipation and sublime touch. If she produces that same high quality tennis against Cibulkova, the Wimbledon 2012 finalist will start favourite in the final, whoever she faces.
Rafael Nadal defeats Grigor Dimitrov 3-6 7-6(3) 7-6(7) 6-2
The world number 1 struggled to defeat Kei Nishikori in the previous round and he struggled again to get past Baby Fed, Grigor Dimitrov.
After half an hour Nadal was already one set down but he raised his level and won the second set on tiebreak. Two big forehand errors when Dimitrov had Nadal at his mercy cost him the third set tiebreak and then the match. Nadal will play on Friday his fourth Melbourne semifinal, which his 22nd Grand Slam semifinal overall.
Roger Federer defeats Andy Murray 6-3 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3
For the first time in a Slam we could have an all-Swiss final. But first, Wawrinka would have to beat 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, and Federer would have to find a way past Nadal, who he hasn’t beaten in a Slam since Wimbledon 2007.
Andy Murray showed an encouraging performance in the Australian Open, a few months after his back surgery. It bodes well for him for the rest of the season.
Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Jelena Jankovic, Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens and Dominika Cibulkova advance to the fourth round.
The only surprise came from Garbine Muguruza, who won her first WTA tour event in Hobart earlier in the month as a qualifier and has knocked out 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. She’ll play Agnieszka Radwanska next.
Grigor Dimitrov beats Milos Raonic in 3 sets to reach his first ever 4th round at a Slam. He next faces Roberto Bautista Agut who followed his upset win over Juan Martin del Potro with a straight sets victoy over Benoit Paire.
Andy Murray defeats Feliciano Lopez for the eight time in eight match and will meet lucky loser Stéphane Robert in the last 16.
Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round for the 13th consecutive year following his win over Teymuraz Gabashvili. He’ll face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who beat countryman Gilles Simon for a place in the quaterfinals.
Kei Nishikori beat Donald Young, the last American man in the singles draw in straight sets. His next opponent: Rafael Nadal who dismantled Gael Monfils 6-1 6-2 6-3.
Garbine Muguruza def Caroline Wozniacki (10), Roberto Bautista Agut def Benoit Paire (27)
Video of the day: Famous. Favored. Fallen.
Matches to follow on Day 7:
Serena Williams (1) – Ana Ivanovic (14)
Fabio Fognini (15) – Novak Djokovic (2)
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) – Tommy Robredo (17)
It could have been one of the biggest upsets in the Australian Open history: Maria Sharapova needed 3 hours 30 minutes to defeat 44th ranked Karin Knapp 10-8 in the final set!
Azarenka, Nadal, Federer, Murray and Tsonga cruise into the third round.
Upset of the day: Roberto Bautista Agut def Juan Martin Del Potro
Seriously, who saw that one coming? Del Potro captures the Sydney title, claims his goal is to join the top 3 and a few days later he falls in the second round for the second Slam in a row.
Yvonne Meusburger def Bojana Jovanovski (33), Kurumi Nara def Magdalena Rybarikova (32), Roberto Bautista Agut def Juan Martin Del Potro (5), Donald Young def Andreas Seppi (24), Teymuraz Gabashvili def Fernando Verdasco (31)
Pic of the day:
Play was halted for heat and then it was halted for storms.
Video of the day: Nick Kyrgios
Matches to follow on Day 5:
Serena Williams (1) – Daniela Hantuchova (31)
Sam Stosur (17) – Ana Ivanovic (14)
Tommy Robredo (17) – Richard Gasquet (9)
Serena/Venus Williams – Kristina Mladenovic/Flavia Pennetta