Steffi’s last Grand Slam win: Graf defeats Hingis 4-6 7-5 6-2

A must see match, not really for the quality of the match, but for all the drama. I remember watching this match on TV way back in 99. Never seen such a crazy match before.
Hingis, was the clear favorite to win the title: at only 19, the then world number 1 was seeking the only Grand Slam still missing to her collection. Graf, 29, was playing her first Grand Slam final since her victory against rival Monica Seles at the 96 US Open.

Everything started well for the Swiss Miss, leading 6-4 2-0, but the drama started and a single point completely changed the course of the match. Hingis disputed a line call and went round the net to Steffi’s side to show the ball mark.

Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf - Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

From then on, the crowd was rooting for Graf, booing Hingis. Hingis served for the match at 5-4 but Steffi broke and won the set 7-5. Graf took the control of the match.

Steffi Graf - Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf

Martina Hingis

Trailing 5-2 in the third and serving to stay in the match, Hingis faced double match point. She hit an underarmed serve, argued again with the umpire. Graf finally converted her third match point.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf - Martina Hingis

But the drama wasn’t over: Hingis left the court at the end of the match, but came back, crying in the arms of her mother.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

No question, the chair umpire was bad, but Hingis behaviour was really disrespectful as she acted like a spoiled kid. I really wonder how Graf could remain so calm and focused after all that Hingis’ whining and arguing.

Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf

Graf reached the finals at Wimbledon a month later (lost to Lindsay Davenport), and retired a few weeks later:

I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis. I feel I have nothing left to accomplish. The weeks following Wimbledon weren’t easy for me. I was not having fun anymore. After Wimbledon, for the first time in my career, I didn’t feel like going to a tournament. My motivation wasn’t what it was in the past.

Graf turned professional in 1982, when she was 13 years and four months old. She won her first tournament in April 1986, beating Chris Evert in Hilton Head. She won 107 singles titles, 22 Grand Slams (7 Wimbledon, 6 French Open, 5 US Open, and four singles titles at the Australian Open).
She was ranked World No. 1 for 186 consecutive weeks (from August 1987 to March 1991, still the record in the women’s game) and a record total 377 weeks overall.

This French Open final was also the beginning of the end for Hingis: she was ousted by Jelena Dokic in the first round at Wimbledon in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. She bounced back to reach the finals at the 99 US Open and at the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Australian Open but didn’t win any other major. In 2003 she announced her retirement from tennis, she returned to the tour in 2006 and retired definitely after testing positive for cocaine during Wimbledon in 2007.

1982 French Open semi-final: Mats Wilander vs José-Luis Clerc

The semi-final against the Argentinian José-Luis Clerc was to go down in tennis history. Not because it was such a good match – but for its dramatic dénouement. At 6-5 and 40-30 in the fourth set Mats stood at match point. Clerc smacked a forehand that looked as if it hit the middle of the sideline. The line judge called the ball out. The umpire Jacques Dorfmann’s voice resounded over the capacity crowd in the centre court at Roland Garros:

“Game, set and match, Wilander.”

Clerc protested furiously. Mats stood there, bewildered, and Dorfmann climbed down from his chair, while the public performed a gigantic and unanimous whistling concert. When he reached the mark on the court, Dorfmann was confronted by an extremely unhappy Wilander:

“We must replay the point. I thought the ball was all right and I do not want to win the match in this way.”

The French umpire climbed up again. He took hold of the microphone and announced:

“At the request of Monsieur Wilander the point will be replayed.”

This phrase became itself a classic and has been associated with Mats Wilander throughout his career as a kind of symbol of the Swede’s sportsmanship. With the next match point Mats took his opportunity, and a place in the final was definitely his. The sequel to the match was hardly about the tournament at all.
The newsmen in the international media devoted about 90 percent of their space just to the theme of the remarkable Swede who asked if a point he had just won could be replayed. As everyone knew, this was not exactly a “friendly”, either, but a semi-final in the world’s greatest clay-court tournament where money in thousands lay on the line!

Extract from Mats Wilander and the Game Behind the Headlines

Marat Safin

Read Best of Marat Safin – part 1

Part 2:
7 – Toronto 2004: Marat the hippo
6 – Hopman Cup 2009: Marat kisses the net cord lady
5 – Australian Open 2002: Marat and the Safinettes
4 – Davis Cup 2002: Davis Cup hero
3 – French Open 2004: the pants
2 – Australian Open 2005: the relief
1 – US Open 2000: the future of tennis?
Note: it’s not a ranking of Marat’s achievements, these are just 15 moments of Marat’s career which reflect “Marat being Marat”.
Read More

Remember when Ivanisevic used to say every game he played, there were three players that could surface anytime: Good Goran, Bad Goran, Crazy Goran. The same could be said about Marat Safin.

A larger than life persona and one of the most charismatic tennis player ever, Marat is a man capable of blowing away any opponent or blowing up himself. A man capable of overwhelming the great Pete Sampras to win the US Open at only 20. A man capable of pulling down his shorts to celebrate a point. A man capable of showing up for a tournament with two black eyes.

Marat Safin

I’ve always been a big fan of Marat: sometimes I loved him, sometimes I hated him but now I really miss his game, his humor and his crazyness.

Part 1: 15 to 8
15 – Shanghai 2009: Just shut the fuck up and play
14 – US Open 2009: Everybody is an underachiever
13 – Hamburg 2000: a beer with Guga
12 – Hopman Cup 2009: black eyes
11 – US Open 2008: foot fault
10 – Wimbledon 2007: the spaghetti
9 – French Open 1998
8 – Wimbledon 2008: worst challenge ever?

Note: it’s not a ranking of Marat’s achievements, these are just 15 moments of Marat’s career which reflect “Marat being Marat”.
Read More

French DJ Martin Solveig took part in the traditional charity event Children’s Day at Roland Garros a month ago, as he filmed the video for his single Smah (see some photos here).

Solveig’s video is now online. Let me know your thoughts…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfxC3TCDgCE[/youtube]