Best of January 2012:

Australian Open 2012

The Australian Open: 2 fantastic weeks of tennis.

Esther Vergeer‘s winning streak continues: she notched her 444th consecutive win, defeating Aniek Van Koot 6-0, 6-0 to capture the Women’s Wheelchair singles title.

Victoria Azarenka claims her first Grand Slam title and becomes the new WTA number 1.

Novak Djokovic has now won 4 or the last 5 Grand Slams.

Andy Murray hires tennis legend Ivan Lendl as his new coach, wins his first title of the year in Brisbane, and reaches the Australian Open semifinals. And there’s even more: he seemed to have fun on court!

Bernard Tomic: winner in Kooyong, semifinalist in Brisbane, he reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. He’s perhaps the real deal after all…

Lleyton Hewitt‘s incredible run, and Nadal’s nice words about the Australian veteran.

I always liked him, his spirit of competition. Today he is an example to follow for a lot people. He deserves all the respect of the people who love this sport and respect and admiration of everyone

January tournament winners: Kaia Kanepi (Brisbane), Andy Murray (Brisbane), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Doha), Milos Raonic (Chennai), Zheng Jie (Auckland), David Ferrer (Auckland), Victoria Azarenka (Sydney), Jarkko Nieminen (Sydney), Mona Barthel (Hobart)

2 blogs to follow: The Grand Slam Gal and I have a tennis addiction

Worst of January 2012:

Margaret Court‘s well-known homophobia has reached new heights. Read more about it here: A disappointing irony behind Court’s comments. I mean, they really should rename the Margaret Court Arena into Evonne Goolagong Arena, it would sound so much better, no?

Caroline Wozniacki. No need to add more. At least, she’s not the number one anymore, a really good news for the WTA.

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Lleyton Hewitt wins his first ATP singles title as a 16-year old wild card ranked 550 in the world, defeating fellow Australian Jason Stoltenberg 3-6 6-3 7-6 in his hometown of Adelaide.
At the age of 16 years and 11 months, Hewitt becomes the youngest player to win an ATP singles title since Michael Chang, at the age of 16 years and 8 months, wins the title in San Francisco in 1988.

Says Stoltenberg after the match:

He just played like a 16-year old. You do what comes naturally rather than thinking what you should do.

Source: On this day in tennis history by Randy Walker

Show Court 3 - Nalbandian v Smeets

– The tournament was held for the first time in 1905 and was contested on grass from 1905 through 1987.

– The tournament was first known as the Australasian Championships, became the Australian Championships in 1927 and the Australian Open in 1969.

– The tournament has been staged twice in New Zealand: in Christchurch in 1906 and Hastings in 1912.

– Five australian cities have hosted the tournament: Melbourne (54 times), Sydney(17), Adelaide(14), Brisbane(7), Perth(3). The 1971 Open was the last time the tournament would be played outside Melbourne.

– Last Aussie players to win the Australian Open are Mark Edmondson in 1976 and Chris O’Neil in 1978.

– In 1982, for the first time in tennis history, a player wins two Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year, at the same tournament and against the same opponent: on December 13, 1982 Johan Kriek repeats as Australian Open champion, defeating number 2 seed Steve Denton 6-3 6-3 6-2. The two players played in the 1981 Australian Open final that is played on January 3, 1982, Kriek winning 6-2 7-6 6-7 6-4.

– In 1988, the tournament moved from Kooyong to Flinders Park (now Melbourne Park) and became a hard court event. The move to Flinders Park was an immediate success, with a 90 percent increase in attendance in 1988 (266 436) on the previous year at Kooyong (140 000).
Mats Wilander is the only male player to have won the Australian Open on both grass (1983 and 1984) and hard courts (1988).

– On January 21, 1990, at the Australian Open, John McEnroe becomes the first player since 1963 to be disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament for misconduct. Leading Mikael Pernfors 6-1 4-6 7-5 2-4, McEnroe is disqualified by chair umpire Gerry Armstrong after breaking a racquet and insulting the supervisor.
The last player to be disqualified from a Grand Slam for misconduct had been Willie Alvarez of Spain, in the 1963 French Open, 17 years earlier.

– The Extreme Heat Policy was introduced in 1998 after consultation with players. It comes into play when daytime temperatures hit 35 degrees and the heat stress level reaches 28.
Officials considered closing the roof for the final in 1993 due to a temperature of 104 degrees (40 °C), but Jim Courier threatened to boycott the match unless the roof remained open.

– Prior to the 2000 tournament, the Centre Court was named Rod Laver Arena to honour tennis legend Rod Laver, the only player in tennis history to have captured two Grand Slams (in 1962 and 1969).
Besides tennis, Rod Laver Arena hosts motorbike super cross, conferences, concerts and ballets.

– In the first round of the Australian Open 2000, Marat Safin became the first player ever fined for lack of effort at a Grand Slam. Under the Grand Slam “best effort” rule, the 19-year-old Muscovite was fined $2,000 for failing to make an appropriate effort in his 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1 loss to South African qualifier Grant Stafford.

– In 2003, the Show Court One was renamed Margaret Court Arena to honour Australian great Margaret Court.
With a capacity of 6 000 seats, it is the largest capacity fully outdoor court used at the Australian Open. Future improvements to the Arena include a capacity expansion of 1500 seats, to total 7500, as well as the installation of an retractable roof for the 2015 Australian Open.

– The highest ever day/night attendance in Grand Slam history was recorded during the first week of Oz Open 2010, with 77 043 fans attending on Saturday 23th January.

– The women’s singles winner is presented with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. The men’s singles winner is presented with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.

Sidney Wood, the only player to win a Wimbledon final without striking a ball, is born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In 1931, Wood is scheduled to play Frank Shields in the Wimbledon men’s singles final, but Shields, who injured his ankle in his semifinal win over number 1 seed Jean Borotra, is pressured by the US Davis Cup committee to default the final in order to rest up and prevent further injury in preparation for the US Davis Cup team’s match with Britain the following week.

Frank wanted to play, and so did I. It was insulting to the fans and the tournament. I didn’t want to win that way. But the US Davis Cup committee ordered Frank to withdraw so he’d be ready for Davis Cup the next weekend againt Britain, which we lost. It shows you the control the USTA had over us amateurs.

Wood, at age 19, was the youngest man to win Wimbledon at the time, a record that 17-year-old Boris Becker eclipsed in 1985.

Source: On this day in tennis history by Randy Walker

Sidney Wood’s son, David, chronicled this controversial victory in his book The Wimbledon final that never was

Sidney Wood -who reached the final of the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills back in 1935, later founded the prestigious Town Tennis Club in Manhattan. His fascinating life also included dating the iconic Grace Kelly prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964. He died in 1999, age 97.

Frank Shields was ranked eight times in the U.S. Top Ten, reaching Number 1 in 1933. He died in 1975. He was the grandfather of actress (and Agassi’s ex-wife) Brooke Shields.

Fourteen year old Jennifer Capriati wins the first of her 14 career singles titles, defeating Zina Garrison in the finals of the Puerto Rico Open in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Capriati, however is not the youngest player to in a professional tournament, as Tracy Austin, at the age of 14 years and 28 days wins the title in Portland, Oregon in 1977.
Capriati’s age at the time of her first victory is 14 years 7 months.