Sampras - Moya, 1997 Australian Open

Excerpt of Pete Sampras autobiography A champion’s mind:

“I won the Australian Open to launch my 1997 campaign, a pleasant surprise given the way I felt about the tournament. I took extra pride in the win for a couple of reasons.
In the round of 16, I played Dominik Hrbaty in a five-set war that I eventually won 6-4. The on-court temperature during that match hit 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Today, with the extreme heat policy in effect, they would have stopped the match, or closed the roof on Rod Laver Arena. Given what had happened at the US Open just months earlier in my match with Alex Corretja, I was glad to survive that test of stamina in the infernal Aussie heat.

It was also encouraging for me that while the Australian major is a hard-court tournament, in 97, it was dominated by slow-court players. After Hrbaty, I beat, in order, Al Costa, Thomas Muster, and Carlos Moya, to take the title. Each of those guys had won – or would win – Roland Garros. That gave me hope – maybe my fate at Roland Garros, the one slam that continued to elude me, wasn’t sealed quite yet.”

In 1987, the legendary first Prestige Pro racquet marked HEAD’s entry into a new generation of tennis racquets, based on a carbon fibre construction. This enabled players like Henri Leconte, Emilio Sanchez and Thomas Muster to play with an unprecedented level of power, control, and precision.
Now, the legend continues as HEAD launches the 2012 HEAD YouTek™ IG Prestige, which is coming to stores worldwide right in time for the Australian Open.

To honour the anniversary of this legendary racquet series, HEAD kicks off the year 2012 with a special celebration. Looking back at 25 years of history, outstanding players, epic tennis matches and trophies, and very special and personal Prestige moments, HEAD has launched a bespoke Facebook application and a series of YouTube videos, which allow tennis fans to dive into the Prestige history.

Each month, one of the past and current HEAD Prestige players reflects on a special ‘Prestige’ moment in his career. The Prestige legend featured in January is Thomas Muster.
Watch him talk about the career-threatening leg injury he suffered a few hours after his semifinal win over Yannick Noah at Key Biscayne, in 1989:


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In 1988, the Australian Open moved from Kooyong to Flinders Park (now Melbourne Park) and became a hard court event. January 11, 1988 was the first day of play at the new stadium.

Play begins at the Australian Open at the new $60 million Australian National Tennis Center at Flinders Park in Melbourne with American qualifier Wendy Wood winning the first match played in the new stadium court, later to be known as Rod Laver Arena, beating number 14 seed Dianne Balestrat of Australia.
Wood, 23, defeats the top-ranked Australian woman 6-2 4-6 8-6, registering her first professional match victory. Balestrat, 31, and an Australian Open finalist in 1977, says she has some difficulty adapting to the court – the synthetic Rebound Ace – used for the first time at the Australian Open after a switch from grass courts.

Pat Cash, the number 4 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion, plays the second stadium court match and is greeted with boos and shouts from a group of anti-apartheid protestors who, in protest of Cash playing in South Africa the previous year, also throw tennis balls on the court before being escorted from the stadium. Cash is fined $5000 for swearing at a linesman in the final game of his 7-5 6-1 6-4 win over 20-year-old Thomas Muster.

Also on the day, Yannick Noah, the number 5 seed staves off two match points before overcoming Roger Smith of the Bahamas 6-7 5-7 6-4 6-2 16-14 in 4 hours 51 minutes, the longest recorded match at the time at the Australian Open.

Source: On this day in tennis history by Randy Walker

Lotto take it back to their foundation year of 1973 with this heritage treated Leggenda collection, featuring the Corrado tennis shoe and the Dino hi-top. Constructed from premium nappa leather and suede, this scuffy set salutes Lotto’s authentic sports heritage with a Sharpie-style ‘1973’ scrawled on the tongue.

Some pics of the Corrado model:

Lotto Leggenda collection

Lotto Leggenda collection

Lotto Leggenda collection

Lotto was established in 1973 by the Caberlotto family (who were the properties of the football team Treviso) in Montebelluna, northern Italy. In June 1973, Lotto made its debut as a sports footwear manufacturer. Tennis shoes signaled the beginning of production, followed by models for basketball, volleyball, athletics and football.
Over the years, Lotto sponsored top players like Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker and Thomas Muster.
Current players endorsing Lotto include Francesca Schiavone, David Ferrer, Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

More details on the Lotto Leggenda website.

From now on, a new series of posts: Tennis Buzz, the week in review, with all the latest tennis news and a preview of next week action.

This week’s biggest news was of course Elena Dementieva‘s retirement.
She announced her retirement following a 6-4, 6-2 loss to French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Championships in Doha.
The 29-year-old Russian reached two Grand Slam finals, won the singles gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 16 WTA singles titles.

An offensive baseline player with powerful groundstrokes, she was able to play well on any surface. Her biggest weaknesses were her serve and her inability to win big matches. She will now and forever be a candidate for the title of Best Player Never to Win a Major.
She will be truly missed for her class, her work ethic and also her smile. Thanks Elena and all the best for the future.
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