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

Novak Djokovic:

“Nadal … is just proving each day, each year, that he’s getting better. That’s what’s so frustrating, a little bit. He’s getting better each time you play him. He’s so mentally strong and dedicated to this sport. He has all the capabilities, everything he needs, in order to be the biggest ever.”

Ken Skupski:

“Rafael Nadal has the career Grand Slam and an Olympic Gold. Let’s hope he doesn’t try and get all the doubles Grand Slam titles now!”

Brad Gilbert:

“Got to love Djoker playing his heart out. Rafa has worn him down making him work on every pt. It’s like watching discovery channel safari.”

Mahesh Bhupathi:

They asked who was greater Pete or Andre.Today onwards the question will be The Fed or Rafa..possibly the most excting time in Mens tennis!!

Hmm, well, was about the 80’s… Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Becker????

Mats Wilander:

“I think this victory says that we should stop talking about Federer being the greatest player of all time, I truly believe that. We can say that Roger is, but there’s no point in doing that until Nadal is done. It’s already unfair to me to say Roger is because Rafa is beating him all the time on every surface and in the Slam finals.”

Honestly, I think it’s completely stupid and unfair to compare players playing in different eras with different racquets and on different surfaces.
I appreciate Nadal but seriously if he would have played at Wimbledon in the Sampras era on fast grass courts with fast balls, he would have had absolutely no chance to capture the title. But these days, grass courts are as slow as the clay courts of Roland Garros.

You can compare Sampras to Agassi, but really how can you compare let’s say Lendl who played in the Borg-McEnroe-Connors-Wilander-Edberg-Becker era to Federer who plays against well… Nadal.
How can you compare eras when the majors are the most important tournaments of the season to eras when the Australian Open was just a little tournament Down Under and when players would take part to dozens of match exhibitions a year.

Please share you thoughts, what do you think about this all GOAT debate?

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”.
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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”.
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Spanish heartthrob Verdasco was photographed at Madrid-Barajas Terminal 4 airport for GQ magazine.

In one word: HOT.
Much, much better than Murray in Vogue Magazine, for sure!

Fernando Verdasco GQ photoshoot
Fernando Verdasco GQ photoshoot
Fernando Verdasco GQ photoshoot

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