Earlier this year I wrote an article about the pace of indoor surfaces and the demise of indoor carpet on the ATP and WTA tours. (see article here) Quick indoor carpet has been completely phased out in favour of medium paced indoor hardcourts based on the plexicushion surface. The slowing down in surfaces has led to a convergence in style of play and allowed defensive minded players to get to the very top of the game and stay there.
Recently Roger Federer called for surfaces to speeded up once again “It’s an easy fix. Just make quicker courts, then it’s hard to defend,” Federer said. “Attacking style is more important. It’s only on this type of slow courts that you can defend the way we are all doing right now.”
When I spoke to the ATP spokesman back in February, he clearly gave the view the surfaces were slowed down and carpet phased out because there were too many complaints that the big serve was dominating tennis. That is a pity because my article clearly dispelled the myth that faster surfaces were only dominated by big servers, I pointed out that many baseliners loved the quicker surfaces.
Players like Ivan Lendl won over 30 tournaments on indoor carpet, much more tournaments on one surface than most players win in an entire career. Lendl won 5 year end Masters titles (ATP World Tour) and played in 8 straight finals between 1982 and 1989. Also Lendl won these titles against the likes of John McEnroe, Boris Becker, and Stefan Edberg.
Monica Seles was another player who excelled on indoor carpet, and yet both she and Lendl won multiple titles at the French Open, the slowest surface on tour. Martina Hingis also excelled on indoor carpet. In the mens game, Andre Agassi, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt and Alex Corretja won the year end championships indoors whilst Jim Courier played in finals in 1991 and 1992 and Michael Chang in 1995.
Enjoy this 4-part Rolex documentary retracing Wimbledon’s history from Suzanne Lenglen to Rod Laver to Roger Federer.
A must-see for every tennis fan.
Virginia Wade, Jack Kramer, Maureen Connolly, Althea Gibson, Ann Jones, Louise Brough, Harry Hopman, Ken McGregor, Rod Laver, Frank Sedgman, Cliff Drysdale, WCT, Handsome Eight, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King
Lukas Rosol caused the biggest upset in tennis history today. Ranked number 100, he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4.
Here is a quick look back at Wimbledon’s recent upsets:
2002: George Bastl defeats Pete Sampras
Swiss player Bastl was ranked 145 in the world when he tooked on the seven time champion of Wimbledon, Pete Sampras. Bastl, who only got into the tournament as a lucky loser after failing to qualify, beat the American in five sets.
2 months later, Pistol Pete played his last match at the US Open, defeating long time rival Andre Agassi in final, to win a 14th Grand Slam title.
2003: Ivo Karlovic defeats Lleyton Hewitt
Lleyton Hewitt joined 1966 champion Manuel Santana in becoming only the second defending men’s title holder in Wimbledon’s history to be knocked out in the first round. Unknown qualifier Ivo Karlovic went in to the 2003 tournament ranked 203 in the world, coming back from one set down, to beat Hewitt in 4 sets.
1987: Peter Doohan defeats Boris Becker
Becker, an unseeded champion at 17 in 1985, went on to successfully defend his title the following year. But in 1987, the Australian Doohan denied him a hat-trick of titles, beating Boom Boom in the second round.
As the country prepares to host the greatest show on earth this summer, VisitBritain has recruited three sporting legends in a new marketing push to inspire potential visitors to explore the whole of Britain.
Support from these sporting icons comes straight after VisitBritain unveiled global football superstar David Beckham’s top tourist tips for the new ‘Best of Britain’ app with Samsung.
The assembling of the three new VisitBritain sporting ambassadors marks the most recent phase of the national tourism agency’s global GREAT campaign which aims to attract an extra 4.6 million visitors by 2015 spending £2.3 billion.
Sport is already a huge draw for international tourists and is worth over £2.3bn to the UK economy each year. It is also one of seven tourism pillars the national tourism agency is using to promote Britain around the world. The others are countryside, culture, food, heritage, music and shopping.
Becker, Lewis and Montgomerie join VisitBritain’s existing ambassadors, Dame Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Jamie Oliver, Rupert Everett, Twiggy, Matt Smith and Luke Evens.
Each of the three new recruits has produced a personal film talking about what makes Britain special for them.
Check out Becker’s video below:
The talent assembled in London in 1992 is stunning. There’s Courier, ranked number one, fresh off two slam victories. There’s Pete, who keeps getting better. There’s Stefan Edberg, who’s playing out of his mind. I’m the twelfth seed, and the way I’ve been playing I should be seeded lower.
In my first-round match, against Andrei Chesnokov, from Russia, I play like a low seed. I lose the first set. Frustrated, I rip into myself, curse myself, and the umpire gives an official warning for saying fuck. I almost turn on him and fire a few fuck-fuck-fucks
. Instead I decide to shock him, shock everyone, by taking a breath and being composed. Then I do something more shocking. I win the next three sets.
I’m in the quarters. Against Becker, who’s reached six o the last seven Wimbledon finals. This is his de facto home court, his honey hole. But I’ve been seeing his serve well lately. I win in five sets, played over two days.
In the semis I face McEnroe, three time Wimbledon champion. He’s thirty-three, nearing the end of his career, and unseeded. Given his underdog status, and his legendary accomplishments, the fans want him to win, of course. Part of me wants him to win also. But I beat him in three sets. I’m in the final.
I’m expecting to face Pete, but he loses his semifinal match to Goran Ivanisevic, a big, strong serving machine from Croatia. I’ve played Ivanisevic twice before, and both times he’s shellacked me in straight sets. So I feel for Pete, and I know I’ll be joining him soon. I have no chance against Ivanisevic. It’s a middleweight versus a heavyweight. The only suspense is whether it will be a knowkout or a TKO.
As powerful as Ivanisevic’s serve is under normal circumstances, today it’s a work of art. He’s acing me left and right, monster serves that the speed gun clocks at 138 miles an hour. But it’s not just the speed, it’s the trajectory. They land at a 75-degree angle.
[...] He wins the first set, 7-6. I don’t break him once. I concentrate on not overeacting, on beathing in, beathing out, remaining patient. When the thought crosses my mind that I’m on losing my fourth slam final, I casually set that thought aside. In the second set Ivanisevic gives me a few freebies, makes a few mistakes and I break him. I take the second set, then the third. Which makes me feel almost worse, because once again I’m a set away from a slam.
Ivanisevic rises up in the fourth set and destroys me. I’ve made the Croat mad. He loses only a handful of points in the process. Here we go again. I can see tomorrow’s headlines as plain as the racket in my hand. As the fifth set begins I run in place to get the blood flowing and tell myself one thing: You want this. You do not want to lose, not this time. The problem in the last three slams was that you didn’t want them enough, and therefore you didn’t bring it, but this one you want, so this time you need to let Ivanisevic and everyone else in this joint know you want it.
Now Ivanisevic’s serving at 4-5. He double faults. Twice. He’s down 0-30. I haven’t broken this guy in the last hour and a half and now he’s breaking himself. He misses another first serve.He’s coming apart. I know it. I see it. No one knows better than I what coming apart looks like. A puff of chalk shoots up as if he hit the line with an assault rifle. Then he hits another uneturnable serve. Suddenly it’s 30-all.
He misses another first serve, makes the second. I crush a return, he hits a half volley, I run and pass him and start the long walk back to the baseline. I tell myself, You can win this thing with just one swing. One swing. You’ve never been this close. You may never be again. [...]
He tosses the ball, serves to my backhand; I jump in the air, swing with all my strength , but I’m so tight that the ball to his backhand side has mediocre pace. Somehow he misses the easy volley.
His ball smacks the net and just like that, after twenty-two years and twenty-two million swings of a tennis racket, I’m the 1992 Wimbledon champion.