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.

As expected (read our Fed Cup final preview here), Italy successfully defended its Fed Cup title on Sunday by beating USA 3-1.
The only surprise of the week end was Mary Joe Fernandez decision to choose Coco Vandeweghe over Melanie Oudin to play singles on Saturday. A pretty bad coaching decision as Vandeweghe looked like a fish out of the water and lost her 2 matches against Schiavone and Pennetta in straight sets.
It is Italy’s third Fed Cup trophy in five years. Congrats to Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani.

The women’s season is definitely over: Ana Ivanovic captured the last tournament of the year in Bali. And she’s finally back in the top 20.
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Site: Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
Dates: Saturday, November 6 – Sunday, November 14
Surface: Hard
Prize Money: € 2,227,500
Visit official website

The BNP Paribas Masters is the ninth and final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. It’s one of the only Masters neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal ever won. Rafa’s best result is a defeat in final in 2007 (beaten by Nalbandian), and Federer surprisingly never did better than the quarterfinals (in 2002, 2003 and 2008).
Although all the big names of tennis won the Paris Bercy Masters (Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Agassi…), Bercy’s tournament has been pretty disappointing in recent years with late withdrawals and top players early exits, like last year’s Federer stunning first round defeat to Julien Benneteau.
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The day the great Pete Sampras was outplayed, outguned, outrun by a 20 years old from Russia.

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Sampras had just won his 13th Grand Slam title, his record 7th Wimbledon title 2 months earlier, and everybody expected an easy win over this young Russian who had became the first player ever fined for lack of effort at the Oz Open that year. But Marat being Marat, the match ended up completely different…

It’s the first time I watch this match in fact, and what a skills exhibition from Marat. Returns, passing shots, quick footwork, power, he had it all.
Sampras was only broken 4 times during the championships before the final, but was broken 4 times by Marat. Sampras had to wait the very last game of the match to have his first two break points on Marat’s serve (and all that despite a 49% first serve percentage). Safin kept passing and passing Sampras with his two-handed backhand. Marat defeats Sampras in straight sets 6-4 6-3 6-3.

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

I’ve never seen such a focused Marat. Yep, no racket smashing, can you imagine that?

Marat does the show during the trophy presentation:

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

The future was bright for Marat, but what a waste of talent!

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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