Pete Sampras, 1994 Australian Open champion

Excerpt of Pete Sampras autobiography A champion’s mind:

“Down in Australia for the start of 1994, I played my first two matches and then came up against a newcomer from Russia, Yevgeny Kafelnikov. People had warned me about this tall, rangy kid with straw-blond hair, a jack-o’-lantern grin, and a high-quality two-handed backhand. His forehand was one of te all-time ugly shots in tennis; he hit it with a bent arm and it looked really ungainly, especially in comparison to his smooth, sweet backhand.
But that forehand was a better shot that it looked, and the guy had plenty of talent – enough to push me, hard. What’s worse, I never really did well with guys I hadn’t played before. What advantage I had in terms of my reputation was offset by the fact that it usually took me a match or two to figure a guy out, and get into a comfort zone against his unique game.

But I survived Kafelnikov, then beat Ivan Lendl and got my old friends Jim Courier and Todd Martin, back to back, in the semis and finals. I rolled through Todd in straight sets to win my third major in a row. I was on fire. Next I won the two big US winter had-court events, Indian Wells and Key Biscayne. I began to sense that people were a little in awe of me, a little fearful, and I liked that feeling.”

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club:

Wimbledon guided tour – part 1
Wimbledon guided tour – part 2
Wimbledon Centre Court roof
Court 3 : a new Show Court at Wimbledon
Waiting in the Queue to Wimbledon
Wimbledon Museum: The Queue exhibition
The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum: Player Memorabilia

Fashion and gear:

Rafael Nadal Nike outfit
Roger Federer Nike outfit
Maria Sharapova Nike dress
Serena Williams Nike dress
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga adidas outfit
Andy Murray adidas outfit
Ana Ivanovic adidas dress
Novak Djokovic Uniqlo outfit

Marketing

Wimbledon 2012 Sponsorship Activation

A trip down memory lane:

Wimbledon Trivia
Wimbledon past champions: stats and records
Wimbledon ‘s biggest upsets
Wimbledon memories: Mrs Blanche Bingley Hillyard
Wimbledon memories: Charlotte Cooper Sterry
Wimbledon memories: Dora Boothby
Wimbledon 1969: Laver’s getting beat by an Indian
Rod Laver – John Newcombe Wimbledon 1969
Bjorn Borg – Ilie Nastase Wimbledon 1976
Virginia Wade, Britain’s last Wimbledon champion
1981: First Wimbledon title for McEnroe
1982: Jimmy Connors defeats John McEnroe
1984: John McEnroe defeats Jimmy Connors
Wimbledon 1991: the first Middle Sunday
1992: first Grand Slam for Andre Agassi
1993: Pete Sampras defeats Jim Courier
2000 Wimbledon SF: Pat Rafter defeats Andre Agassi
2000 Wimbledon Final: Pete Sampras defeats Pat Rafter
2001 Wimbledon 4th round: Federer defeats Sampras
Wimbledon 2010: Rafael Nadal defeats Tomas Berdych
The Spirit of Wimbledon: a 4-part documentary by Rolex retracing Wimbledon history

Recap and analysis:

Polls:

Wimbledon 2013 champion?

  • Rafael Nadal (31%, 48 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (29%, 45 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (18%, 28 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (18%, 28 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (1%, 2 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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Wimbledon 2013 champion?

  • Serena Williams (56%, 78 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (19%, 26 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (16%, 23 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Li Na (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 140

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Remember all those great Nike ads featuring John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras?

So now watch this new Nike commercial featuring Federer and … a fly:

If it’s supposed to be funny it’s not, must be the worst Nike commercial ever.

Even worst, Nike Federer vs Fly commercial looks a lot like this Babolat/Roddick video that dates back to 2010:

During the recent ATP world tour semifinal, I listened with interest to the radio commentary between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Andy Murray came out of the blocks all guns blazing playing aggressively and going after Federer, taking an early break and controlling the match. Federer sounded a bit rattled, not too dissimilar to the start of the Wimbledon final in July. The commentators then got into an interesting discussion where they claimed that Murray was targeting the Federer backhand and Murray thought he could get to it and be almost “dismissive” of it. Federer’s one hander somehow wouldn’t cut it at the very top level they mused.

Roger Federer

My ears pricked up instantly for two reasons, the first was I thought the commentators were taking liberties; and the second was that I have heard it all before. There is no doubt the two hander has major advantages in the modern game, and has done since the 1970s when Jimmy Connnors, Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert changed the game with that stroke. However, the way Federer turned the match around confirmed to me what I thought from the moment the discussion was made by the commentators.

For sure, the pundits will look to Federer’s forehand as to why he came out on top in that particular encounter. After all, the Federer forehand is deadly especially when his feet are moving well. However, what changed the match was Federer’s versatility, and his one hander was a big part of that. Federer changed the tempo of the rallies often, using the one hander when stretched to slice the ball and float it, allowing him to get back into position.
Federer also chipped the backhand return on Murray’s 2nd serve, and on breakpoint in the 1st set, used the old chip and charge tactic to great effect, breaking Murray’s serve in the process. Federer also used the backhand down the line whenever possible to stretch Murray.

These were exactly the same tactics Federer used to turn around the Wimbledon final, on that occasion Federer also drove the backhand return often and took to the net more than he usually does. When those tactics work, the forehand is the icing on the cake. The fact that Murray thought he could win the match by attacking the backhand was a mistake, a mistake many players have made over the last five or six years. Nadal’s lefty topspin has always been a big problem but other opponents hit flatter and into his hitting zone.

Roger Federer
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From Sampras‘ autobiography ” A champion’s mind”:

At 4PM on a calm and bright Sunday afternoon in early September, I looked across the net and saw the same person who had been there twelve years earlier, almost to the day, when I played my first Grand Slam final: Andre Agassi.

The Andre I saw in 2002 was someone different from the kid I had seen in 1990, and it went well beyond the fact that the multicolored mullet had become a shiny bald head, and that lime green costume was now a fairly plain, conservative shorts-and-shirt tennis kit.
I saw a seasoned, confident, multiple Grand Slam champion who was in full command of his game – a game that could hurt me. This was no stranger: this was my career rival. This was the yin to my yang.

I had no sentimental thoughts or reveries going into the final with Andre; I didn’t think at the time that it might be my last official match. There were no revenge or vindication motifs in my mind, no desire to gloat, no emotional moments spent contemplating my career or how I had arrived at another Grand Slam final.
It was all about the moment for me, it was all about the tennis we would play over the next two or three hours, and that was always how I liked it best.

The atmosphere was electric; the entire crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium seemed to expect something special. I always had a taste for big occasions, and I couldn’t ask for much more than this.
I rolled through the first two sets with some of the best tennis I had played in years, trying to cope with my pace and the pressure I put on his service games.

In the third set, Andre finally got his bearings and we settled into a slugging match.
At 5-6, Andre got my serve again. I fended off one set point, but he earned another one. I drove a forehand volley into the net and suddenly Andre was back in the hunt, down two sets to one and encouraged by my apparent fatigue.

We held serve to 3-4 in the fourth set, but then the script went awry and instead of holding and putting pressure on Andre’s next service game, I found myself down two break points. If Andre converted either break point to go up 5-3, we definitely would go up for a fifth set. And Andre was looking stronger as the match went on. I managed to fight off the break points to even it, 4-all.

Andre probably felt deflated momentarily; the situation was like our last Wimbledon final all over again. And I knew, at an instinctive level that this was my moment. I had spent an entire career honing the ability to recognize and exploit moments like these, when for an instant my opponent’s attention or resolve flickered. I was ready. Suddenly, I was in touch with my long-lost friend, the Gift. And it felt great. I broke Andre.

I dropped the racket and slowly raised my arms. It was over, over and done, over and done for good.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my last US Open title as well as my last Grand Slam appearance. It was my last moment in a special sun that was fading as fast as the one that descended into the haze of a late-summer afternoon in New York.
I had been given a rare opportunity to go out on my own terms. I took it.