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:
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?
More pics and videos of the matches Cash-Lendl and Agassi-Sampras:
Tennis fans already know Stan Smith as two time Grand Slam singles champion, but what people don’t know is that Stan has been a lifelong skater since his childhood in the 50’s. For the release of the Stan Smith Skate adidas introduce the secret life of the man behind the legendary shoe that was initially designed for use on a tennis court.
Check out this great adidas commercial:
A few pics of the the adidas Stan Smith Skate and Stan Smith Skate Vulc that you can pick up now at adidas retailers and adidas.com:
To celebrate the relaunch of the iconic Stan Smith, adidas opened last month in London a pop-up store that was a scale replica of the iconic footwear’s shoebox.
Paying homage to the classic all white silhouette, the Stan Smith Shoebox hosted a custom installation featuring 120 Stan Smith shoes as well as experiences including an interactive floor, a digital ‘Stan Yourself’ station and a 3D printing post.
The Stan Smith pop-up was open to the public until January 19th. It offered a limited number of Stan Smith shoes to buy.
Without a doubt the best match I’ve watched in a long, long time. I must say I was really surprised by the level of play. 5-7 6-3 7-6 for Pavlyuchenkova.
Click to enlarge: