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#1251 2023-01-24 00:02:56

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1215) Ivan Lendl

Summary

Ivan Lendl (born March 7, 1960) is a Czech–American former professional tennis player. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Lendl was ranked world No. 1 in singles for 270 weeks and won 94 singles titles. He won eight major singles titles and was runner-up a joint record 11 times (tied with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic), making him the first man to contest 19 major finals. Lendl also contested a record eight consecutive US Open finals, and won seven year-end championships.

Lendl is the only man in professional tennis history to have a match winning percentage of over 90% in five different years (1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1989). He also had a comfortable head-to-head winning record against his biggest rivals, which translates to a 22–13 record (4–3 in major matches) against Jimmy Connors and a 21–15 record (7–3 in major matches) against John McEnroe.

Lendl's dominance of his era was the most evident at the year-end championships, which feature the eight best-ranked singles players. He holds a win–loss record at the event of 39–10, having contested the final nine consecutive times, a record.

Commonly referred to as the 'Father Of Modern Tennis' and 'The Father Of The Inside-Out Forehand', Lendl pioneered a new style of tennis; his game was built around his forehand, hit hard and with a heavy topspin, and his success is cited as a primary influence in popularizing the now-common playing style of aggressive baseline power tennis. After retirement, he became a tennis coach for several players; in particular, he helped Andy Murray win three major titles and reached the world No. 1 ranking.

Details

No matter what you believed about Ivan Lendl – half of tennis fans saw him as a steely, unemotional, and mechanical player, the other half saw him as a dedicated, focused, and supremely talented athlete – there’s no disputing that the eight-time major singles champion was a major presence on worldwide tennis courts in the 1980s.

Lendl told Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated that, “my mission is not for personal satisfaction, it’s not to try to make anyone happy. My mission is to win.”

And win he did.

From 1985, when he swept John McEnroe, 7–6, 6–3, 6–4, to win the US Open to the 1988 US Open, which he lost to Mats Wilander, 6–4, 4–6, 6–3, 5–7, 6–4, Lendl was the No. 1 world ranked player for 157 straight weeks, three weeks shy of Jimmy Connors’s record. Cumulatively, Lendl spent 270 weeks atop the mountain as the best player in the world during a championship-laden 13-year span (1980-92). For eight straight years (1982-89), tennis fans couldn’t tune into a US Open men’s singles championship match without seeing the adidas-clad Lendl as one of the two finalists. He reached 19 major singles finals (third best all-time), won eight of them, captured 94 ATP singles titles in 144 opportunities, and tacked on another 49 victories in non-ATP events for 144 career singles titles. He compiled a phenomenal 1,071-243 (81.65%) record. His total number of matches played (1,314) and matches won (1,071) is second best all-time, after Connors.   

In its September 15, 1986 edition, shortly after Lendl defeated Czech Miloslav Mecir, 6–4, 6–2, 6–0, to win his second straight US Open, Sports Illustrated ran the headline on its cover, “The Champ That Nobody Cares About,” but the fact was, if you were starting a tennis team, Lendl might have been your top choice. In the majors he was a finalist and semifinalist 47 times. The numbers are eyebrow-raising when you count all ATP tournaments he entered, where Lendl was a finalist or semifinalist 334 times in his career.

When asked who the next up-and-comer was at the time, the equally stoic and unattached Björn Borg offered Lendl’s name. Lendl was going to be an extreme challenger, but in the 1981 French Open final, Borg defeated the Czech for his fourth straight title in five highly entertaining sets, 6–1, 4–6, 6–2, 3–6, 6–1.

The 6-foot-2, 175 pound Lendl had a strong tennis heritage, his father Jiri was a top-ranked player in his native Czechoslovakia. Lendl was a terrific junior player, winning the boys' singles titles at both the French Open and Wimbledon in 1978, a feat that earned him the world No. 1 junior ranking. As a professional Lendl’s strength and power was the difference maker. It was earned by a fanatical work ethic, countless hours bashing balls on the tennis court, and even more hours pumping iron in the weight room. Despite his size, Lendl never fancied the serve-and-volley game, though he used it effectively when necessary. He was a punishing baseliner, hitting a heavy topspin forehand – though tight and flat compared to high and looping – and he had one of the most aggressive, relentless backcourt games that tennis has ever seen. His fitness was beyond reproach. Lendl needed 4 hours and 47 minutes to defeat Mats Wilander, 6–7, 6–0, 7–6, 6–4, in the 1987 US Open final – and when the match was completed Lendl looked like he could have played another four hours. His running one-handed forehand, his bread and butter shot, was particularly potent against Wilander that afternoon. He used it frequently, and under pressure situations, to win the championship. Many of those running drives blazed down the line or at acute crosscourt angles for winners. New York fans recognize good tennis and Lendl’s athletic shot making drew raucous applause from the capacity crowd inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“Nobody likes to see the ball coming back at you faster than you deliver it,” quipped Jimmy Connors after defeating Lendl in the 1982 US Open final for the second consecutive year.

Lendl won the first of his eight major singles titles in 1984 when he defeated John McEnroe at tightly contested French Open, 3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5. Lendl not only rallied from 2-0 sets down, but he trailed 4-2 in the third set before roaring back. He won at Roland Garros twice more, in 1986 over Mikael Pernfors, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4, and in 1987 over Wilander, 7–5, 6–2, 3–6, 7–6. He compiled a 53-12 record in Paris.

Lendl’s eight consecutive appearances in the US Open final equaled Bill Tilden’s record (1918-25), though he won three fewer than the elder statesman. Lendl overpowered McEnroe in 1985 and pounded Mecir, 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in 1986. His 1987 victory over Wilander, 6-7, 6-0, 7-6, 6-4, showcased his durability and stamina. He played 86 matches at Flushing Meadows, registering a 73-13 record.  Lendl won back-to-back Australian Opens in 1989 and 1990. Mecir was dispatched in straight sets in 1989 (6–2, 6–2, 6–2) and Lendl captured the 1990 title after Edberg retired in the third set. He was 48-10 all-time in Melbourne. Lendl was a Wimbledon finalist twice with a straight sets loss to Boris Becker in 1986 (the German winning his second consecutive) and following year was felled by Pat Cash in three sets. Though he never won a title in 14-attempts at the All England Club – the grass were courts not suited for his groundstroke game – his overall record was a solid 48-14. His eight major singles titles are tied for fifth best in history.

Lendl felt he had an edge in racquet technology, being one of the first tour players to regularly customize his racquet’s string tension, balance, weight, and handle working with the innovative racquet doctor, Warren Bosworth.

Lendl was a force in the Tour Finals, the culmination of a long year battling the world’s finest players. He won the season-ending championship in 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, and added the World Championship Tennis Finals titles in 1982 and 1985.

In 1980, Lendl was perfect in seven singles and three doubles matches in leading Czechoslovakia to its only Davis Cup Championship, 4-1 over Italy, before a partisan home crowd in Prague.

Chronic back problems plagued Lendl in the latter years of his career. They flared up to such an extent, that following his second round loss at the 1994 US Open, he retired shortly thereafter at age 34.

On December 31, 2011, Lendl became Andy Murray’s coach, helping the Scot to his first two major victories at the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon Championship in 2013, which ended a 77-year-old drought for a male British tennis player to win a major. In March 2014, Lendl and Murray ended their two year coach-player relationship. The pair worked together again from 2016-2017.

In its 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era, TENNIS Magazine ranked Lendl in the top ten.

Additional Information

(born 1960). Czech-born American tennis player Ivan Lendl was one of the sport’s most successful professional players during the 1980s and early ’90s. A right-hander who was known for his powerful forehand shots, Lendl won eight Grand Slam tournament titles, including three consecutive U.S. Open championships (1985–87).

Born on March 7, 1960, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic), Lendl became a top-ranked junior player while in his teens. He turned professional in 1978. He was a member of the Czech Davis Cup squad from 1978 to 1985 and led Czechoslovakia to the Davis Cup title in 1980. Lendl moved to the United States in 1984 and became a U.S. citizen in 1992.

Lendl reached the peak of his playing career in the mid-1980s. For 157 consecutive weeks between 1985 and 1988 he was ranked as the number one singles player in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the sport’s governing body. He captured his first Grand Slam title with a five-set victory over John McEnroe in the 1984 French Open. He won that tournament again in 1986 and 1987. Although Lendl lost to Jimmy Connors in the U.S. Open finals in 1982 and 1983, he finally claimed the U.S. Open crown by defeating McEnroe in 1985. Lendl successfully defended that title the following two years. He also reached the Wimbledon finals in 1986 and 1987 but lost both times.

Lendl added two more Grand Slam titles to his collection with victories at the Australian Open in 1989 and 1990. He earned his final ATP tournament title—the 94th singles title of his career—in Tokyo in 1993. Suffering from back problems, he retired as a player the next year.

Lendl was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001. He later became a highly regarded tennis coach. He was particularly known for mentoring Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, who went on to win several Grand Slam championships after hiring Lendl as his coach in late 2011.

Ivan-Lendl-Net-Worth.jpeg


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#1252 2023-01-26 00:07:05

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1216) Jimmy Connors

Summary

Jimmy Connors, by name of James Scott Connors, (born September 2, 1952, East St. Louis, Illinois, U.S.), is an American professional tennis player who was one of the leading competitors in the 1970s and early ’80s and was known for his intensity and aggressive play. During his career he won 109 singles championships and was ranked number one in the world for 160 consecutive weeks.

The left-handed Connors learned to play tennis from his mother at an early age, and when he was eight years old he competed in the U.S. boys’ championship. A former student at the University of California at Los Angeles, he joined team tennis in 1972.

In 1974 he won three of the Grand Slam tournaments (U.S. Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon) but was barred from the fourth, the French Open. He sued the Association of Tennis Professionals, alleging that they illegally excluded him from the French event, but he dropped his lawsuit after his loss to Arthur Ashe for the 1975 Wimbledon championship. He won the U.S. singles titles in 1976 and 1978 against Björn Borg and in 1982 and 1983 against Ivan Lendl. Connors also won the indoor championship five times (1973–75, 1978, and 1979), the Wimbledon and U.S. doubles (with Ilie Nastase in 1975), and the 1982 Wimbledon singles. He was also a member of the U.S. Davis Cup squad in 1976, 1981, and 1984.

Although he failed to win a major singles championship after his success at the U.S. Open in 1983, he continued to play in the 1990s. Hampered by an ailing left wrist and having lost the few matches he played in 1990, Connors dropped below 900 in the world rankings. After undergoing surgery, he came back to make the semifinals at the U.S. Open in 1991 after winning a dramatic five-set match against Aaron Krickstein in the fourth round on his 39th birthday.

Connors was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998. He kept active in the sport, serving as a television commentator. From 2006 to 2008 he coached American player Andy Roddick. Connors wrote several books, including Jimmy Connors: How to Play Tougher Tennis (1986; written with Robert J. LaMarche), Don’t Count Yourself Out!: Staying Fit After 35 with Jimmy Connors (1992; written with Neil Gordon and Catherine McEvily Harris), and the memoir The Outsider (2013).

Details

James Scott Connors (born September 2, 1952) is an American former world No. 1 tennis player. He held the top Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking for a then-record 160 consecutive weeks from 1974 to 1977 and a career total of 268 weeks. By virtue of his long and prolific career, Connors still holds three prominent Open Era men's singles records: 109 titles, 1,557 matches played, and 1,274 match wins. His titles include eight major singles titles (a joint Open Era record five US Opens, two Wimbledons, one Australian Open), three year-end championships, and 17 Grand Prix Super Series titles. In 1974, he became the second man in the Open Era to win three major titles in a calendar year, and was not permitted to participate in the fourth, the French Open. Connors finished year end number one in the ATP rankings from 1974 to 1978. In 1982, he won both Wimbledon and the US Open and was ATP Player of the Year and ITF World Champion. He retired in 1996 at the age of 43.

Career:

Early years

Connors grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, and was raised Catholic. During his childhood he was coached and trained by his mother and grandmother. He played in his first U.S. Championship, the U.S. boys' 11-and-under of 1961, when he was nine years old. Connors's mother, Gloria, took him to Southern California to be coached by Pancho Segura, starting at age 16, in 1968. He and his brother, John "Johnny" Connors, attended St. Phillip's grade school.

Connors won the Junior Orange Bowl in both the 12- and the 14-year categories, and is one of only nine tennis players to win the Junior Orange Bowl championship twice in its 70-year history. In 1970, Connors recorded his first victory in the first round of the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles, defeating Roy Emerson. In 1971, Connors won the NCAA singles title as a Freshman while attending UCLA and attained All-American status.

He turned professional in 1972 and won his first tournament, the Jacksonville Open. Connors was acquiring a reputation as a maverick in 1972 when he refused to join the newly formed Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the union that was embraced by most male professional players, in order to play in and dominate a series of smaller tournaments organized by Bill Riordan, his manager. However, Connors played in other tournaments and won the 1973 U.S. Pro Singles, his first significant title, toppling Arthur Ashe in a five-set final, 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 3–6, 6–2.

Peak years

Connors won eight Grand Slam singles championships: five US Opens, two Wimbledons, and one Australian Open. He did not participate in the French Open during his peak years (1974–78), as he was banned from playing by the event in 1974 due to his association with World Team Tennis (WTT) and in the other four years was either banned or chose not to participate. He played in only two Australian Opens in his entire career, winning it in 1974 and reaching the final in 1975. Few highly ranked players, aside from Australians, travelled to Australia for that event up until the mid-1980s. Connors is one of thirteen men to win three or more major singles titles in a calendar year. Connors reached the final of the US Open in five straight years from 1974 through 1978, winning three times with each win being on a different surface (1974 on grass, 1976 on clay and 1978 on hard). He reached the final of Wimbledon four out of five years during his peak (1974, 1975, 1977 and 1978). Despite not being allowed to play or choosing not to participate in the French Open from 1974 to 1978, he was still able to reach the semifinals four times in the later years of his career.

In 1974, Connors was the dominant player. He had a 99–4 record that year and won 15 tournaments of the 21 he entered, including three of the four Grand Slam singles titles. As noted, the French Open did not allow Connors to participate due to his association with World Team Tennis (WTT), but he won the Australian Open, which began in late December 1973 and concluded on January 1, 1974, defeating Phil Dent in four sets, and beat Ken Rosewall in straight sets in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open losing only 6 and 2 games, respectively, in those finals. His exclusion from the French Open denied him the opportunity to become the second male player of the Open Era, after Rod Laver, to win all four Major singles titles in a calendar year. He chose not to participate in the season-ending Masters Cup between the top eight players of the world and was not eligible for the World Championship Tennis (WCT) finals because he did not compete in the WCT's regular tournaments. Connors finished 1974 at the top of ATP Point Rankings. He also was the recipient of the Martini and Rossi Award, voted for by a panel of journalists and was ranked World No. 1 by Rex Bellamy, Tennis Magazine (U.S.), Rino Tommasi, World Tennis, Bud Collins, Judith Elian and Lance Tingay.

In 1975, Connors reached the finals of Wimbledon, the US Open and Australia, but he did not win any of them, although his loss to John Newcombe was close as Connors lost 9–7 in a fourth set tiebreak. He won nine of the tournaments he entered achieving an 82–8 record. While he earned enough points to retain the ATP No. 1 ranking the entire year and was ranked number one by Rino Tommasi, all other tennis authorities, including the ATP, named Arthur Ashe, who solidly defeated Connors at Wimbledon, as the Player of the Year. He once again did not participate in the Masters Cup or the WCT Finals.

In 1976, Connors captured the US Open once again (defeating Björn Borg) while losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. While winning 12 events, including the U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia, Palm Springs and Las Vegas, he achieved a record of 90–8 and defeated Borg all four times they played. He was ranked No. 1 by the ATP for the entire year and was ranked number one by World Tennis, Tennis Magazine (U.S.), Bud Collins, Lance Tingay, John Barrett, and Tommasi. The ATP named Björn Borg as its player of the year.

In 1977, Connors lost in the Wimbledon finals to Borg 6–4 in the fifth set and in the US Open finals to Guillermo Vilas, but Connors captured both the Masters, beating Borg, and the WCT Finals. While holding onto the ATP No. 1 ranking, World Tennis Magazine and most tennis authorities ranked Borg or Vilas No. 1 with Connors rated as No. 3 behind Borg.

In 1978, Borg defeated Connors in the Wimbledon final, but Connors defeated an injured Borg at the US Open (played on hard court for the inaugural time) with both of their victories being dominating. Connors also won the U.S. Pro Indoor. While he retained the ATP No. 1 ranking at the end of the year, the ATP and most tennis authorities rated Borg, who also won the French Open, as the player of the year.

Connors reached the ATP world No. 1 ranking on July 29, 1974, and held it for 160 consecutive weeks, a record until it was surpassed by Roger Federer on February 26, 2007. He was the ATP year-end no. 1 player from 1974 through 1978 and held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 268 weeks during his career. Connors relinquished his initial grip (160 weeks) on the No. 1 ranking for only one week, from August 23, 1977 to August 30, 1977, before resuming as No 1 for another 84 weeks.

In 1979 through 1981, Connors generally reached the semi-finals of the three top Grand Slam events and the Masters each year, but he did win the WCT Finals in 1980. He was generally ranked third in the world those years.

In 1982, Connors experienced a resurgence as he defeated John McEnroe in five close sets to win Wimbledon and Ivan Lendl to win the US Open after which he reclaimed the ATP No. 1 ranking. He also reached the semi-final of the Masters Cup and won five other tournaments. After trading the No. 1 ranking back and forth with McEnroe, he finished the year ranked No. 2 in points earned, but he was named Player of the Year by the ATP and was ITF World Champion due to his victories at Wimbledon and the US Open.

In 1983, Connors, McEnroe and Lendl traded the No. 1 ranking several times with Connors winning the US Open for a record fifth time (beating Lendl in the final) and finishing the year as the No. 3 ranked player.

Distinctions and honors

Connors is often considered among the greatest tennis players in the history of the sport. Connors won a male record 109 singles titles. He also won 16 doubles titles (including the men's doubles titles at Wimbledon in 1973 and the US Open in 1975). Connors has won more matches (1,274) than any other male professional tennis player in the open era. His career win–loss record was 1,274–282 for a winning percentage of 82.4. He played 401 tournaments, a record until Fabrice Santoro overtook it in 2008.

In Grand Slam Singles events, Connors reached the semifinals or better a total of 31 times and the quarterfinals or better a total of 41 times, despite entering the Australian Open Men's Singles only twice and not entering the French Open Men's Singles for five of his peak career years. The 31 semifinals stood as a record until surpassed by Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2012. The 41 quarterfinals remained a record until Roger Federer surpassed it at Wimbledon 2014. Connors was the only player to win the US Open on three different surfaces: grass, clay, and hard. He was also the first male tennis player to win Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces: grass (1974), clay (1976), and hard (1978).

Connors was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998 and Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame in 1986. He also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. In his 1979 autobiography, tennis promoter and Grand Slam winning player Jack Kramer ranked Connors as one of the 21 best players of all time. Because of his fiery competitiveness and acrimonious relationships with a number of peers, he has been likened to baseball player Pete Rose. In 1983, Fred Perry ranked the greatest male players of all time and put them in to two categories, before World War 2 and after. Perry's modern best behind Laver: "Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Hoad, Jack Kramer, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Manuel Santana".

Playing style

In the modern era of power tennis, Connors's style of play has often been cited as highly influential, especially in the development of the flat backhand. Larry Schwartz on ESPN.com said about Connors, "His biggest weapons were an indomitable spirit, a two-handed backhand and the best service return in the game. It is difficult to say which was more instrumental in Connors becoming a champion. ... Though smaller than most of his competitors, Connors didn't let it bother him, making up for a lack of size with determination." Of his own competitive nature Connors has said, "[T]here's always somebody out there who's willing to push it that extra inch, or mile, and that was me. (Laughter) I didn't care if it took me 30 minutes or five hours. If you beat me, you had to be the best, or the best you had that day. But that was my passion for the game. If I won, I won, and if I lost, well, I didn't take it so well."

His on-court antics, designed to get the crowd involved, both helped and hurt his play. Schwartz said, "While tennis fans enjoyed Connors's gritty style and his never-say-die attitude, they often were shocked by his antics. His sometimes vulgar on-court behavior—like giving the finger to a linesman after disagreeing with a call or strutting about the court with the tennis racket handle between his legs; sometimes he would yank on the handle in a grotesque manner and his fans would go wild or groan in disapproval—did not help his approval rating. During the early part of his career, Connors frequently argued with umpires, linesmen, the players union, Davis Cup officials and other players. He was even booed at Wimbledon—a rare show of disapproval there—for snubbing the Parade of Champions on the first day of the Centenary in 1977." His brash behavior both on and off the court earned him a reputation as the brat of the tennis world. Tennis commentator Bud Collins nicknamed Connors the "Brash Basher of Belleville" after the St Louis suburb where he grew up. Connors himself thrived on the energy of the crowd, positive or negative, and manipulated and exploited it to his advantage in many of the greatest matches of his career.

Connors was taught to hit the ball on the rise by his teaching-pro mother, Gloria Connors, a technique he used to defeat the opposition in the early years of his career. Gloria sent her son to Southern California to work with Pancho Segura at the age of 16. Segura advanced Connors' game of hitting the ball on the rise which enabled Connors to reflect the power and velocity of his opponents back at them. Segura was the master strategist in developing Jimmy's complete game. In the 1975 Wimbledon final, Arthur Ashe countered this strategy by taking the pace off the ball, giving Connors only soft junk shots (dinks, drop shots, and lobs) to hit.

In an era when the serve and volley was the norm, Björn Borg excepted, Connors was one of the few players to hit the ball flat, low, and predominantly from the baseline. Connors hit his forehand with a semi-Western grip and with little net clearance. Contemporaries such as Arthur Ashe and commentators such as Joel Drucker characterized his forehand as his greatest weakness, especially on extreme pressure points, as it lacked the safety margin of hard forehands hit with topspin. His serve, while accurate and capable, was never a great weapon for him as it did not reach the velocity and power of his opponents.

His lack of a dominating serve and net game, combined with his individualist style and maverick tendencies, meant that he was not as successful in doubles as he was in singles, although he did win Grand Slam titles with Ilie Năstase, reached a final with Chris Evert, and accumulated 16 doubles titles during his career.

Racket evolution

At a time when most other tennis pros played with wooden rackets, Connors used the "Wilson T2000" steel racket, which utilized a method for stringing that had been devised and patented by Lacoste in 1953. He played with this chrome tubular steel racket until 1984, when most other pros had shifted to new racket technologies, materials, and designs.

At the Tokyo Indoor in October 1983, Connors switched to a new mid-size graphite racket, the Wilson ProStaff, that had been designed especially for him and he used it on the 1984 tour. But 1985 again found Connors playing with the T2000. In 1987, he finally switched to a graphite racket when he signed a contract with Slazenger to play their Panther Pro Ceramic. In 1990, Connors signed with Estusa.

Connors used lead tape which he would wind around the racket head to provide the proper "feel" for his style of game.

Additional Information

Appearing on the YES Network show Center Stage in 2014 to promote his book The Outsider, Jimmy Connors was asked by host Michael Kay if it was “nice being called a tennis legend?”

“I like hearing that,” Connors said with a broad smile and a nod of his head.

Connors’s place in history is well established: He was perhaps the most rebellious player to ever play, a combative, relentless, and driven athlete whom tennis analyst Mary Carillo said was “one of the most important tennis players of the modern era.” Connors never, ever made apologies for his on-court behavior, his maniacal competitive drive or his nomadic approach that kept him isolated and distanced from his tour counterparts. There was no middle ground with Jimmy Connors – he was adored or disliked, but nothing in-between. “I was not about establishment,” Connors told ESPN’s 30 for 30. “Being an outsider drove me to being able to play better. It became me against everyone else. I wasn’t going out there to win friends. I was going out there to win tennis matches.”

The incorrigible Connors won eight major singles championship, including five US Opens (1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983), two Wimbledon Gentlemen Singles Championships (1974, 1982), and one Australian Open (1974), tied for fifth best in history. Connors said that Paris was his favorite destination on tour, but he failed to reach the finals in 13 trips to Roland Garros. He was a semifinalist four times.  He holds the Open Era record for most championships won (109) and was the year-end No. 1 world ranked player from 1974 through 1978. He placed a stranglehold on the top ranking on July 29, 1974 and didn’t relinquish it for 160 consecutive weeks, a record that held firm until it was broken by Roger Federer on February 26, 2007. In his career, he was ranked 268 weeks, slightly more than five total years.

On his resume of victories, Connors won the Masters Cup (ATP Finals) in 1977 over Björn Borg and two World Championship Tennis Finals in 1977 and 1980, defeating Dickinson Stockton and John McEnroe, respectively. He appeared in 26 Grand Prix Super Series finals in 17 years, winning 19 times.

Tennis has had its share of electric performers, but none quite like Connors. He was fiery, controversial, outspoken, and utterly competitive. His play was every bit a tribute to the jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, because that’s exactly what type of effort Connors put forth in each of the 1,532 matches he played. He won 1,254 of those, the best in history. “Tennis was never work for me, tennis was fun,” Connors often said.  “And the tougher the battle and the longer the match, the more fun I had.”

If you weren’t lucky enough to watch Connors pump his left fist and roar in exuberance after hitting a big shot in person (likely produced from his prolific backhand), he was a riveting performer on television,  particularly at the US Open. The love affair Connors had with the US Open, the New York fans, and vice-versa was frenetic. As the only player in history to win the US Open on all three surfaces, Connors won a record-tying five championships, appeared in seven finals (third best all-time), and played in an all-time best 12 semifinals. His record 97 wins at Flushing Meadows is 18 wins better than his nearest competitor Andre Agassi (79) and his 85 percent winning mark achieved with a 97-17 record, ranks third best in history. He reached the 1976 and 1977 US Open final without losing a set, defeating Borg in the 1976 final, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, and dropping his first sets in a losing effort against Guillermo Vilas, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-0.

While a calendar year and career Grand Slam evaded Connors, largely because he only played in two Australian Opens (winning in 1974 over Phil Dent, 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, and losing to John Newcombe in the 1975 final, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6), Connors is one of only six Open Era male players to win three or more majors in the same year, which he accomplished in 1974 by winning the Australian, Wimbledon (6-1, 6-1, 6-4 over Ken Rosewall), and the US Open (6-1, 6-0, 6-1 over Rosewall in what was one of the most lopsided victories in major history). Connors joined Rod Laver (1969), Mats Wilander (1988), Roger Federer (2004, 2006, 2007), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Novak Djokovic (2011, 2015) as the only players to earn that feat.

Connors was born in Belleville, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, and was dubbed the “Belleville Basher” by tennis scribe Bud Collins. He began stroking balls at age 4 that were fed to him by his mother Gloria, who was also his coach. The prodigious Connors played in the U.S. boys’ 11-and-under national championships in 1961 at just eight years old. In 1968, when Connors was 16, he and Gloria moved to Southern California where he was coached by the esteemed Pancho Segura.  His collegiate career was brief but fortuitous. As a freshman at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), he won the NCAA Division I Singles Championship and earned All-America honors. He turned professional in 1971 and won the first of his 109 tournaments in Roanoke, Virginia, defeating Czech Vladimir Zechnik, 6-4, 7-6. His last championship match was in 1989 at Tel Aviv, Israel, defeating Gilad Bloom, and by the end of his career he had 109 titles and 55 runner-up appearances.

Connors hit the ball with full extension and exertion. He took the ball early, on the rise, but like most of the pros of his generation who hit the ball with topspin – some heavily like Borg and Vilas – Connors hit the ball extremely flat, with little or no topspin. The balls snapped off his racquet like a torpedo in a perpendicular line that were precariously close to skimming the net, but rarely did. He pounded his groundstrokes from the baseline, but his game did not resemble a pure backcourt game. It was always on over-drive, attacking, relentless, tenacious; the brand of tennis equating to the personality of the player.

His game was buoyed by the game-changing steel Wilson T2000 racquet. The racquet provided a vast performance enhancement to the traditional wooden racquets favored by the majority of pros, and it aided every part of his game – from his blistering two-handed backhand to his serve that benefited from the increased power the frame afforded. “I think his skills were underestimated,” said rival John McEnroe. “He was a much better volleyer than people realized.”

Connors has said his 1982 five set (3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4) victory over McEnroe at Wimbledon was his most memorable match, the championship coming eight years after his first in 1974, and earning him an improbable world No. 1 ranking given he was in his 12th year on tour.

The tennis community viewed Connors as a “maverick,” likely the stimulus for calling his memoir The Outsider. In 1972, he refused to join the newly formed Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the union that was embraced by most male professional players. Connors chose to play in a series of less prestigious and smaller tournaments that were organized by his manager and promoter Bill Riordan. When Connors finally dipped into the larger arena, his first significant singles championship came at the 1973 U.S. Pro, where he defeated Arthur Ashe in a five-set tussle, 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6-3, 6–2.

The core of Connors’s career came from 1974 to 1978 when he won five major championships, appeared in six additional finals, and appeared in a record five-straight US Open finals (the first male player since Bill Tilden played in eight straight from 1918-25), winning titles in 1974, 1976, and 1978. In that memorable 1974 season, Connors was not just dominant, but unstoppable. He compiled a 93-4 record, won 15 tournaments, including three major championships. Officials in Paris denied Connors entry into the field at the French Open because of his association with World Team Tennis (WTT). 

The bigger the stage, the better Connors performed. In major tournament play he reached the semifinals or better 31 times (a record he held until surpassed by Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2012) and advanced to the quarterfinals or better 41 times (another Connors record until broken by Federer at Wimbledon in 2014).

Connors didn’t play a lot of doubles tournaments, but he did win 16 tournaments and two majors. He picked the right partner – equally entertaining and controversial Ilie Năstase – and the pair were finalists at the French Open in 1973 and won Wimbledon in 1973 and the US Open in 1975. He also advanced to the US Open Mixed Doubles final with Chris Evert, who he was briefly engaged to in 1974.

In his interview on Center Stage, Connors was asked what championship he was most proud of. “The one I didn’t win, 1991 US Open,” he said. Connors was coming off a wrist injury, was ranked 174th in the world and was in the field as a wild card. He was twice the age of the previous year’s champion Pete Sampras, and the odds of him advancing past the first round weren’t favorable. In the first round against Patrick McEnroe, Connors went down 2-0 in sets and trailed 3-1 in the third set. “I thought I had it in the bag,” McEnroe said. Connors used a questionable line call that went in McEnroe’s favor to ignite himself and the fans. With chants of “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy” reigning down from the crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, he roared back and at 1:35 a.m. earned a shocking five-set victory, 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. He defeated qualifier Michiel Schapers easily in the second round, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, and the excitement and momentum was palatable throughout the Open. He thumped Karel Novacek in the third round, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3, setting up a classic fourth round match against Aaron Krickstein, who had defeated Andre Agassi in straight sets in the opening round.

Connors was celebrating his 39th birthday, which ratcheted up the drama. Krickstein took the first set easily, 6-3, and had hoped to earn a quick 2-0 sets lead, silence the crowd make an exit before things got hairy. That didn’t happen. At 7-all in the second set tiebreaker, the match spiraled away from Krickstein after a Connors crosscourt overhead was called out, then overruled by the chair umpire Paul Littlefield after a Krickstein protest. Connors went on a five-minute tirade that challenged the entire match complexion. He thundered back and on each winner pointed his racquet at Littlefield which created a rock concert atmosphere in the stadium. Krickstein won the third 6-1, and Connors tied the match with a 6-3 fourth set victory.

Krickstein was confident in five-setters and took a 5-2 lead and was serving for the match at 5-3. He won the first point on an ace, and the game went to deuce. Krickstein muffed one of his favorite shots, a one-bounce overhead, that went seven feet long and Connors hit a crisp volley on the next point to come within 5-4. Krickstein surged ahead 6-5 and needed just two points to defeat Connors for the first time ever. Connors leveled the match at 6-6 and on the changeover looked into the CBS television camera, saying, “This is what they paid for, this is what they want.” He defeated Krickstein in five sets and in the quarterfinals took out Paul Haarhius in four sets. The match became a classic based on a single point that saw Connors return four consecutive overheads and then launch a lunging backhand winner down the line. The magic ended in the semifinals against Jim Courier, and although Stefan Edberg won the championship that year, Connors was the sentimental champion, Sports Illustrated placing him on its cover with the headline, “The People’s Choice.”

“If you took the ten greatest moments or points in US Open history, six or seven of them would be his,” said John McEnroe, “and three or four would be at the ‘91 Open.”

In head-to-head competition against his main rivals, Connors trailed McEnroe 20-13, Borg 10-7, and Ivan Lendl 22-13, but posted five of his eight major victories against that trio, defeating Borg in the 1976 and 1978 US Open, McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1982, and Lendl in back-to-back US Open championships in 1982 and 1983.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

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#1253 2023-01-28 00:05:04

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1217) Bobby Fischer

Summary

Robert James Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American chess grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion. A chess prodigy, he won his first of a record eight US Championships at the age of 14. In 1964, he won with an 11–0 score, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. Qualifying for the 1972 World Championship, Fischer swept matches with Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen by 6–0 scores. After another qualifying match against Tigran Petrosian, Fischer won the title match against Boris Spassky of the USSR, in Reykjavík, Iceland. Publicized as a Cold War confrontation between the US and USSR, the match attracted more worldwide interest than any chess championship before or since.

In 1975, Fischer refused to defend his title when an agreement could not be reached with FIDE, chess's international governing body, over the match conditions. Consequently, the Soviet challenger Anatoly Karpov was named World Champion by default. Fischer subsequently disappeared from the public eye, though occasional reports of erratic behavior emerged. In 1992, he reemerged to win an unofficial rematch against Spassky. It was held in Yugoslavia, which was under a United Nations embargo at the time. His participation led to a conflict with the US government, which warned Fischer that his participation in the match would violate an executive order imposing US sanctions on Yugoslavia. The US government ultimately issued a warrant for his arrest. After that, Fischer lived as an émigré. In 2004, he was arrested in Japan and held for several months for using a passport that the US government had revoked. Eventually, he was granted Icelandic citizenship by a special act of the Icelandic parliament, allowing him to live there until his death in 2008.

Fischer made numerous lasting contributions to chess. His book My 60 Memorable Games, published in 1969, is regarded as essential reading in chess literature. In the 1990s, he patented a modified chess timing system that added a time increment after each move, now a standard practice in top tournament and match play. He also invented Fischer random chess, also known as Chess960, a chess variant in which the initial position of the pieces is randomized to one of 960 possible positions.

Fischer made numerous antisemitic statements and denied the Holocaust; his antisemitism, professed since at least the 1960s, was a major theme in his public and private remarks. There has been widespread comment and speculation concerning his psychological condition based on his extreme views and eccentric behavior.

Details

Bobby Fischer, byname of Robert James Fischer, (born March 9, 1943, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.—died January 17, 2008, Reykjavík, Iceland), was an American-born chess master who became the youngest grandmaster in history when he received the title in 1958. His youthful intemperance and brilliant playing drew the attention of the American public to the game of chess, particularly when he won the world championship in 1972.

Fischer learned the moves of chess at age six. He attracted international attention in 1956 with a stunning victory over Donald Byrne at a tournament in New York City. In what was dubbed the “Game of the Century,” Fischer sacrificed his queen on the 17th move to Byrne to set up a devastating counterattack that led to checkmate. At age 16 he dropped out of high school to devote himself fully to the game. In 1958 he won the first of eight American championships. He became the only player ever to earn a perfect score at an American championship, winning all 11 games in the 1964 tournament.

In world championship candidate matches during 1970–71, Fischer won 20 consecutive games before losing once and drawing three times to former world champion Tigran Petrosyan of the Soviet Union in a final match won by Fischer. In 1972 Fischer became the first native-born American to hold the title of world champion when he defeated Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland. The tournament was highly publicized. The Soviet Union dominated chess; all the world champions since the end of World War II had been Soviets. The Fischer-Spassky match thus became a metaphorical battle in the Cold War. In defeating Spassky 12 1/2–8 1/2, Fischer won the $156,000 victor’s share of the $250,000 purse.

When playing White, Fischer virtually always opened with 1. e4 (see chess notation). His victories commonly resulted from surprise attacks or counterattacks rather than from the accumulation of small advantages, yet his play remained positionally sound.

In 1975 Fischer refused to meet his Soviet challenger, Anatoly Karpov. The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE; the international chess federation) deprived him of his championship and declared Karpov champion by default. Fischer then withdrew from serious play for almost 20 years, returning only to defeat Spassky in a privately organized rematch in 1992 held in Sveti Stefan, Montenegro, Yugoslavia.

After defeating Spassky, Fischer returned to seclusion, in part because he had been indicted by U.S. authorities for violating economic sanctions against Yugoslavia and in part because his paranoia, anti-Semitism, and praise for the September 11 attacks alienated many in the chess world. On July 13, 2004, he was detained at Narita Airport in Tokyo after authorities discovered that his U.S. passport had been revoked. Fischer fought deportation to the United States. On March 21, 2005, Fischer was granted Icelandic citizenship and within days was flown to Reykjavík, the site of his world-famous encounter with Spassky.

Additional Information

Bio

Bobby Fischer is the first and only American world chess champion in history. Many consider him to be among the greatest chess players of all time, as well as the most famous. Fischer sparked an entire generation of chess players, especially in the United States and Iceland.

His success against the Russian chess empire of the 1960s and 70s remains as one of the most incredible individual performances by any chess player. Of his most famous quotes, perhaps one of his simplest statements displays the most important and fundamental truth about the game: "Chess demands total concentration."

Early Chess Career And U.S. Champion

In 1949, Fischer's family moved to New York City when he was six years old. Fischer started playing competitive games at the Brooklyn and Hawthorne Chess Clubs, and began drawing attention from chess players nationwide. In 1956, Fischer won the U.S. Junior Chess Championships, becoming the youngest player to win the tournament at that time. The tournament win earned him a spot in the 1957 U.S. Chess Championships.

Prior to his U.S. Championship debut in 1957, Fischer would win the U.S. Open Championship, becoming the youngest-ever winner of the tournament. After defending his title as U.S. Junior Champion and winning the New Jersey Open Championship, Fischer became the youngest National Master in American history. Near the end of 1956, he played one of the most famous chess games of all time, known today as the "Game of the Century."

At just 14 years old, Fischer played in his first U.S. Chess Championship. Pitted against the country's best, Fischer convincingly won the tournament with a +8 score and became both the youngest U.S. champion and an international master. He would go on to win seven consecutive titles, winning each one by at least a one-point margin.

Grandmaster And World Championship Candidate
After winning a round trip to Russia in order to appear on a game show, Fischer played some matches in Yugoslavia to prepare for the 1958 Interzonal. In finishing in the top six, Fischer qualified for the Candidates tournament, becoming the youngest player at 15 years old to ever reach this stage of the world championship cycle. Qualifying for the Candidates tournament earned Fischer the grandmaster title. He would be the youngest player ever to earn the title until GM Judit Polgar broke the record in 1991.

Fischer finished fifth in the 1959 Candidates tournament and soon after dropped out of high school to devote more time to chess. In 1962, Fischer became the first non-Soviet player ever to win an Interzonal tournament and qualified for the Candidates tournament later that year. Falling short, Fischer famously accused the Soviet players of pre-arranging draws to conserve energy in the tournament.

Than taking a break from Candidates qualification, Fischer won the 1963/1964 U.S. Championship with 11/11, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. Fischer won his eighth U.S. Championship in 1966/1967. The American took a break from tournament chess in 1968 and wrote his book, My 60 Memorable Games, which is still considered one of the best chess books of all time.

World Champion

In 1970, Fischer made his return to chess, and after closing with a seven-game winning streak, won the Interzonal tournament by a 3.5-point margin. The tournament win meant Fischer qualified for the 1971 Candidates tournament. Fischer beat GM Mark Taimanov 6-0 in the quarterfinals and then repeated the score against GM Bent Larsen in the semifinals. This twelve-game stretch is considered by many to be the best individual performance by a chess player ever.

In his final Candidates match against former world champion GM Tigran Petrosian, Fischer won the first game, amassing a total of 20 consecutive wins against elite competition. Petrosian would end the streak with the next game but would go on to lose the match, 6½–2½, which meant that Fischer had earned his spot in the 1972 World Championship Match.

In 1972, Fischer faced World Champion GM Boris Spassky in a match publicized as a Cold War confrontation that attracted more worldwide interest than any chess championship before or since. After starting the match down 0-2 (he did not even show up to play the second game), he won an electrifying game three with an early novelty in the Benoni Defense.

Fischer went on to win game five with the black pieces and then played a positional masterpiece to win game six. Spassky himself gave Fischer a standing ovation immediately after this game.

Fischer eventually defeated Spassky by the score of 12.5-8.5 to become the 11th world champion. In 1975, the enigmatic Fischer elected not to defend his world champion title—the only world champion to do so. Afterward, Fischer became a recluse and disappeared from the chess scene entirely for 17 years. In 1992, Fischer won an unofficial rematch against Spassky in Yugoslavia.

Legacy
Despite some of Fischer's incomprehensible decisions after becoming world champion, his legacy lives on today. Multiple generations of chess players either learned the game because of him or were greatly inspired by his play. Fischer has two books listed in Chess.com's top-10 chess books, and three of the seven movies listed in Chess.com's Chess Movies You Do Not Want To Miss are either about or closely related to Fischer.

Although he was known for his brilliant opening play and theoretical novelties on the biggest stages, as well as his fantastic middlegame play, his endgame play was also exceptional and well worth studying—Fischer was a complete player. Fischer, the most famous player of all time, passed away on January 17, 2008 at the age of 64, the same number of squares as on a chessboard.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1254 2023-01-30 00:03:59

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1218) Gabriela Sabatini

Summary

Gabriela Beatriz Sabatini (born 16 May 1970) is an Argentine-Italian former professional tennis player. A former world No. 3 in both singles and doubles, Sabatini was one of the leading players from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, amassing 41 titles. In singles, Sabatini won the 1990 US Open, the Tour Finals in 1988 and 1994, and was runner-up at Wimbledon 1991, the 1988 US Open, and the silver medalist at the 1988 Olympics. In doubles, Sabatini won Wimbledon in 1988 partnering Steffi Graf, and reached three French Open finals. Among Open era players who did not reach the world No. 1 ranking, Sabatini has the most wins over reigning world No. 1 ranked players. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and in 2018 Tennis Magazine ranked her as the 20th-greatest female player of the preceding 50 years.

Childhood and junior career

Sabatini was born 16 May 1970 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Osvaldo and Beatriz Garofalo Sabatini. Her father was an executive in General Motors. Her elder brother, Osvaldo, is an actor and producer.

Sabatini started playing tennis at the age of six, and won her first tournament at eight. In 1983, age 13, she became the youngest player ever to win the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. She won the girls' singles at the 1984 French Open and the US Open girls' doubles with fellow Argentinian Mercedes Paz. Sabatini reached world No. 1 in the junior rankings that year and was named 1984 Junior World Champion by the International Tennis Federation.

Sabatini stated that she deliberately lost matches in her youth to avoid having to do on-court interviews and therefore avoid media attention. She said that her shyness had been a major problem, and she thought she had to speak on-court after playing in the final of a tournament; so, she would lose in the semifinals.

Details

Tennis success came fast and furious for a young Gabriela Sabatini, launched into a pressure-cooker of high expectations to achieve major championship greatness at a time in the women’s game where any one of 15 players could win a tournament at any time.

Sabatini was like a thoroughbred race horse that blasts through the gate and storms past the field with immense power and speed, only to realize when peaking backwards that the competition can easily gain ground because it shares a commonality of talent. Like so many of her contemporaries in the late 1980s and into the mid-1990s, Sabatini started tennis as a young kid. She began playing at age 6, won a tournament two years later and in 1983, at 13 became, the youngest player to win the prestigious Orange Bowl, a veritable stage of the world’s finest players – which the Argentine had become. In 1984, Sabatini was the world’s No. 1 ranked junior.

At age 13, Sabatini left her native Argentina to train in the United States for a professional career that oozed with potential. Her strokes were beautifully groomed; she possessed a thunderous topspin forehand and a sweeping one-handed backhand that cracked winners from anywhere on the baseline. Her game was baseline-based, her groundstrokes so polished and powerful that she rarely needed net play to win matches. Matching stroke-for-stroke against Sabatini was an arduous proposition; her balls were solidly struck and a chore to return. Sabatini hit long and with her heavy topspin kept her opponents camped out with her on the baseline. She was a notorious fast starter – not easing into matches, but bombing away from the outset. That strategy and athleticism would exhaust her opponents. Just ask Zina Garrison, Manuela Maleeva, and Pam Shriver, all three World Top 10 ranked players that Sabatini polished off as a 14-year-old playing at the Hilton Head Tournament to advance to the finals against Chris Evert in April 1985. 

Her first significant dent in the women’s game came at the 1985 French Open, where the No. 14 seeded Sabatini advanced to the semifinals – at age 14 the youngest female semifinalist in history at Roland Garros at the time – falling to eventual champion Evert, 6-4, 6-1.

Sabatini’s era was jammed packed with sensational women’s players; there were no easy routes to championships. But before she turned 20, Sabatini reached the semifinals of all four major tournaments, an accomplishment no female player from Argentina had ever accomplished. She capably carved out her niche with 27 career singles, eight of which came before earning her first major final appearance at the 1988 US Open. Notably, in December 1986 she dispatched Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario at Buenos Aires, 6-1, 6-1 and defeated Steffi Graf – the first time in 12 attempts – at Boca Raton in March 1988, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. Throughout her entire professional career, Graf would loom large for Sabatini, as both her major singles nemesis and major doubles winning partner.

She headed into the 1988 US Open with momentum, having easily defeated Natasha Zvereva, 6-1, 6-2, at Montreal in August.  As the No. 5 seed, Sabatini won her first four rounds in straight sets and bounced Garrison from the draw in the semifinals, 6-4, 7-5. She split the first two sets against No. 1 seed Graf in the final, but the German hitting machine turned her game up a notch and with the prospects of becoming the third woman in history to win a calendar year Grand Slam at stake, completed the task, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.   

Sabatini returned to the US Open final in 1990 with a different result. The No. 5 seeded Argentine reached the final with a superb all-court effort against Mary Joe Fernandez in the semifinals. In registering a huge 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 victory, Sabatini chipped and charged, pounced on short balls and attacked the net more than usual. Against Graf in the final, Sabatini hit the ball as cleanly as ever, her forehand relentless with pace and power, her backhand sliced deeply and smoothly. Playing with precision, she won the first set 6-2 and the second set went into a tiebreaker, where Sabatini had won 6 of 8 sets that season. Graf went ahead 3-1, and looked primed to play a third set. Sabatini surged ahead 4-3 by nearly jumping out of her shoes with a blistering forehand down the line winner, followed by a Graf error and then a punchy crosscourt volley. At 5-4, she may have made the biggest shot in her career, a lunging backhand volley at net to punch back a driving Graf forehand, and after spinning herself back into position, saw Graf’s return shot float wide to her forehand side. She closed out the match with a forehand winner after Graf’s return of serve clipped the net, allowing Sabatini the time to pound the ball down the line, earning her the coveted US Open championship.

Sabatini met Graf in every one of her biggest career matches. Graf defeated her at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul; Sabatini earning a Silver Medal. In 1991, the pair met at the Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship, one that held true to seeding as the No. 1 Graf defeated No. 2 Sabatini in three brilliant tennis sets, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6. Fittingly, when Sabatini was enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006, Graf was her presenter. The two faced one another 40 times, and Graf held a 29-11 lead.

Sabatini and Graf collaborated to reach four major doubles finals (the 1986, 1987, and 1989 French Open) and won the 1988 Wimbledon Ladies Doubles championship with a hard-fought 6-3, 1-6, 12-10 victory over the Russian duo of Larisa Savchenko and Natasha Zvereva. In her career, Sabatini won 14 doubles titles.

Sabatini had more rivals than just Graf. She met Monica Seles (a friend and foe) 14 times, the most memorable of Seles’s 11 victories coming at the Virginia Slims Championship held at Madison Square Garden in November 1990. The pair played the first women’s five set final in the modern era – and the first in 89 years – in a match that lasted 3 hours, 47 minutes. Seles won the marathon encounter 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. On March 10, 2015, twenty-five years since that historic event, Sabatini and Seles returned to MSG to play each other as part of the BNP Paribas Showdown.

Sabatini closed out the 1988 season by winning the year-end Virginia Slims Championship in November over Pam Shriver, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 (she would win a second year-end title in 1994 over Lindsay Davenport, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4). Sabatini won six tournaments in 1989, helping her to achieve her highest career world ranking at No. 3. Winning a major cemented Sabatini in tennis annals, but her greatness on court transcended her entire career, witnessed by her winning four of six Italian Open titles in 1988, 1989, 1991, and 1992 over Canadian Helen Kelesi, Sánchez –Vicario, and Seles twice.

In October 2014, Sabatini was named the sixth most influential Hispanic female of all time by espnW and ESPN Deportes. She retired from the professional tour in 1996.

Sabatini was glamorous both on and off the court, her Latin American beauty attracting a legion of followers that would cram her practice sessions to watch her play. In the late 1980s she launched a line of fragrances, her signature scent Gabriela Sabatini, debuting in 1989, and in retirement she has forged a successful business career promoting her line of perfumes and cosmetics.

In 1994 she published a motivational autobiography, My Story.

Additional Information

Gabriela Sabatini is a retired Argentinian professional tennis player who has a net worth of $8 million. Born in 1970 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Gabriela Sabatini picked up tennis when she was six years old and won a tournament within two years. By the time she was 13, Sabatini was the youngest tennis player to ever win Miami's Orange Bowl. She went on to claim six international titles as a junior and was considered the top junior player in the world in 1984. A year later she burst onto the scene by becoming one of the youngest women to ever reach the French Open semifinals. In 1988, she faced off against Steffi Graf in the U.S. Open finals, losing in three sets. She took silver in the Summer Olympics that year and again lost to Graff, this time in straight sets. She and Graf joined forces and claimed the doubles championship at Wimbledon. Sabatini finally got her revenge on Graff in the U.S. Open finals in 1990, winning 6-2, 7-6, giving her the only Grand Slam title of her career. In 1994, she claimed the Year-End Championship title. In the late '80s, she attempted to capitalize on her tennis fame by releasing her own fragrance line. Sabatini retired from tennis in 1996 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame a decade later. She finished with a 632-189 record, 27 titles, and a peak world ranking of three.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1255 2023-02-01 00:09:19

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1219)  Arantxa Sánchez Vicario

Aránzazu Isabel María "Arantxa" Sánchez Vicario (born 18 December 1971) is a Spanish former world No. 1 tennis player in both singles and doubles. She won 14 Grand Slam titles: four in singles, six in women's doubles, and four in mixed doubles. She also won four Olympic medals and five Fed Cup titles representing Spain. In 1994, she was crowned the ITF World Champion for the year.

Career

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario started playing tennis at the age of four, when she followed her older brothers Emilio Sánchez and Javier Sánchez (both of whom became professional players) to the court and hit balls against the wall with her first racquet. As a 17-year-old, she became the youngest winner of the women's singles title at the 1989 French Open, defeating World No. 1 Steffi Graf in the final. (Monica Seles broke the record the following year when she won the title at age 16.)

Sánchez Vicario quickly developed a reputation on the tour for her tenacity and refusal to concede a point. Commentator Bud Collins described her as "unceasing in determined pursuit of tennis balls, none seeming too distant to be retrieved in some manner and returned again and again to demoralize opponents" and nicknamed her the "Barcelona Bumblebee".

She won six women's doubles Grand Slam titles, including the US Open in 1993 (with Helena Suková) and Wimbledon in 1995 (with Jana Novotná). She also won four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. In 1991, she helped Spain win its first-ever Fed Cup title, and helped Spain win the Fed Cup in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1998. Sanchez Vicario holds the records for the most matches won by a player in Fed Cup competition (72) and for most ties played (58). She was ITF world champion in 1994 in singles.

Sánchez Vicario was also a member of the Spanish teams that won the Hopman Cup in 1990 and 2002.

Over the course of her career, Sánchez Vicario won 29 singles titles and 69 doubles titles before retiring in November 2002. She came out of retirement in 2004 to play doubles in a few select tournaments as well as the 2004 Summer Olympics, where she became the only tennis player to play in five Olympics in the Games history. Sanchez Vicario was the most decorated Olympian in Spanish history with four medals – two silver and two bronze. Her medal count has since been surpassed by David Cal and Saul Craviotto with five medals each.

In 2005, TENNIS Magazine ranked her in 27th place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era and in 2007, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She was only the third Spanish player (and the first Spanish woman) to be inducted.

In 2009, Sánchez Vicario was present at the opening ceremony of Madrid's Caja Mágica, the new venue for the Madrid Masters. The second show court is named Court Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in her honour.

In 2015, Sanchez Vicario went into professional coaching. She got involved in training Danish player Caroline Wozniacki.

Details

At the 1990 US Open, a reporter asked Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario what she kept in her oversized Reebok sports bag that she was toting around the grounds at Flushing Meadows. With a wide grin, and the exuberance of a teenager (Sánchez-Vicario was still four months away from turning 19), she explained that in addition to a half-dozen racquets, extra sets of strings, grips, socks, clothing, and assorted fruit, that she often carried her Pomeranian dog in the bag. It was good luck, she said with a bright smile, explaining how her dog traveled the globe with her.

Sánchez-Vicario had a personality that lit up courts from Spain to London to Paris, the last destination the location where she won three French Open titles in 1989, 1994, and 1998. On court, she lit up her opponents with relentless tenacity and an all-business demeanor. She would pound groundstrokes with the generation’s top players, including Steffi Graf, Mary Pierce, and Monica Seles, players she defeated to win the French and US Opens. When Sánchez-Vicario defeated Graf to win the 1994 US Open, she became the first Spanish female in history to win the championship.

Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, the hustling 5-foot-6 Sánchez-Vicario began playing tennis at age 4, the product of a tennis-household that included touring professional brothers Javier and Emilio. What she lacked in size, she more than compensated in grit, determination, and a slugger’s mentality from the baseline. She played every point to its fullest, and although primarily heralded for her relentless baseline game, as her game matured Sánchez-Vicario learned the importance of net play. This led her to reach the Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship match in 1995 and 1996. When she advanced to her first Wimbledon final in 1995 against Graf, Sánchez-Vicario was trying to deliver Spain back-to-back champions, as compatriot Conchita Martínez had won the 1994 title over Martina Navratilova.

It’s hard to suggest that a player that toured for 15 years, won 14 major titles (four singles, six doubles, four mixed doubles), and hit the ball with such big pop as Sánchez-Vicario had a quietly productive career. In some ways the sum of her achievements were earned in such a workmanlike fashion that even the most ardent tennis fans may forget how impactful she was in the 1990s. Sánchez-Vicario appeared in 12 major finals – six on her favored clay surface at Roland Garros (1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998), and two each at the US Open (1992, 1994), Australian (1994, 1995) and Wimbledon (1995, 1996). She is only one of 14 women in history to appear in the singles finals of all four majors. When you tack on an additional 11 trips to major doubles finals (six titles) and another eight in mixed doubles (four titles), Sánchez-Vicario’s tennis bag of accomplishments bulges at the seams. Sánchez-Vicario was a 5-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004). She won a Silver Medal in doubles and Bronze in singles at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and a Silver Medal in singles and Bronze in doubles at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, solidifying her place in history as one of the all-time greats.

Her stern on-court disposition was apparent the moment she left the locker room. Sánchez-Vicario sent a message to her opponent with each stinging forehand shot: I am in this match for as long as it takes. I will not quit. That mantra raged as a 17-year-old at the 1989 French Open, where she rose from the No. 7 seed to swipe the championship from Graf, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. The German superstar, who had won five straight major championships, was serving for the match leading 5-3. Graf herself was still a teenager, a few months shy of her 20th birthday. Nerves may have played a factor in Graf losing her serve at love, which provided Sánchez-Vicario with a lifeline. With a glimmer in her eye, a sly smile that said, “I got this,” Sánchez-Vicario took complete control of match, evening the score at 5-5, breaking Graf, and kept ball after ball in play until she won the final set, 7-5. She became the youngest French Open champion in history until Seles won the title the following year as a 16-year-old.

Sánchez-Vicario has a big heart and a strong head on her shoulders, and it led to her second French title over Pierce in 1994, 6-4, 6-4, in the most dominant of all her major victories. Her third French championship was her last major singles title, an unevenly played 7-6, 0-6, 6-2 victory over Seles in 1998. Sánchez-Vicario battled Graf in seven of her 12 major singles finals, winning two. In the 1994 US Open, she roared back from a 6-1 first set loss to stun Graf in the final two sets, 7-6, 6-4, to win her only US singles title.

Sánchez-Vicario ranked in the world Top 10 for 11 years, rising to the No. 1 slot briefly in 1995 and No. 2 in 1993, 1994, and 1996. She was far from a one-dimensional player that simply focused on singles, however. Her career 759-295 record in singles meant she won 72 percent of her matches, but of her 102 career professional titles, 73 came in doubles (69 in women’s, four in mixed) and 29 were earned in singles. For Sánchez-Vicario, the adage “there’s little rest for the weary” didn’t apply to her. She never tired of playing tennis. Her primary doubles partner was Jana Novotná, whom she teamed with to win the US Open in 1994, the Australian in 1995, and Wimbledon in 1995. Her first major doubles title was earned at the Australian Open, when she and Helena Suková defeated Americans Mary Joe Fernández and Zina Garrison, 6-4, 7-6. Suková would also help Sánchez-Vicario secure a US Open trophy in 1993. Her last women’s doubles major was earned alongside American Chanda Rubin in an epic victory over Fernández and Lindsay Davenport, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, at the 1996 Australian Open.

Two of her four mixed doubles major titles came with Aussie Todd Woodbridge at the 1992 French Open and 1993 Australian Open. Mexican star Jorge Lozano teamed with Sánchez-Vicario to win the 1990 French and the 2000 US Open title was earned with American Jared Palmer.

With her celebrity in Spain came certain expectations and Sánchez-Vicario happily obliged. She played on Spain’s Federation Cup teams for 16 years, winning championships five times (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998). Her longevity set all-time records for most years played (16), series (58), total matches (100), wins (72) and singles wins (50).  Sánchez-Vicario was also Spain’s Fed Cup Captain in 2012.

Additional Information

Aranxa Sánchez-Vicario’s Olympic Games performance spans over 12 years and includes four medals, a record she shares with Steffi Graf.

A tennis player from early on

The Spanish tennis player started playing tennis at the age of four, following in the footsteps of her two older brothers who also went on to be professional players. She played her first Grand Slam tournament at the age of 15, in 1986. She went on to win the French Open Singles for the first time in 1989. Sánchez-Vicario was part of the Olympic tennis tournament in 1988, when tennis was included again in the Olympic programme. She was, however, knocked out in the first round.

4 medals, one record

In 1992, the young tennis player competed in her second Olympic Games on home ground. She was beaten in the semi-final but went on to win bronze in the singles tournament. Together with Conchita Martínez she succeeded better in the doubles tournament where she won the silver medal. Atlanta in 1996 also saw Aranxa return with a silver medal, after losing to Lindsey Davenport in the singles final, and a bronze medal in women’s doubles.

A well deserved retirement

Aranxa competed at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004. Shortly after, in 2004, she retired from professional tennis, a sport she had been playing for 29 years. Her retirement was well-deserved after having won four Olympic medals (a record shared with Steffi Graf), four Grand Slam singles titles, six doubles titles (for eight finals lost) and 92 other titles on the international circuit. She had also been the world number one in 1995.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

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#1256 2023-02-03 00:51:42

Jai Ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1220) A. R. Rahman

Summary

Allah Rakha Rahman (born A. S. Dileep Kumar; 6 January 1967) is an Indian music composer, record producer, singer and songwriter, popular for his works in Indian cinema; predominantly in Tamil and Hindi films, with occasional forays in international cinema, as well as an arrangement of the 20th Century Studios fanfare for Star Studios. He is a winner of six National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Filmfare Awards and seventeen Filmfare Awards South. In 2010, the Indian government conferred him with the Padma Bhushan, the nation's third-highest civilian award.

Rahman initially composed scores for different documentaries and jingles for advertisements and Indian television channels. With his in-house studio Panchathan Record Inn, Rahman's film-scoring career began during the early 1990s with the Tamil film Roja. Following that, he went on to score several songs for Tamil language films, including Ratnam's politically charged Bombay, the urban Kadhalan, Thiruda Thiruda, and S. Shankar's debut film Gentleman. Rahman's score for his first Hollywood film, the comedy Couples Retreat (2009), won the BMI Award for Best Score. His music for Slumdog Millionaire (2008) earned him Best Original Score and Best Original Song at the 81st Academy Awards. He was also awarded Best Compilation Soundtrack Album and Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 2010 Grammy Awards. He is nicknamed "Isai Puyal" (musical storm) and "Mozart of Madras".

Rahman has also become a humanitarian and philanthropist, donating and raising money for a number of causes and charities. In 2006, he was honoured by Stanford University for his contributions to global music. In 2008, he received Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rotary Club of Madras. In 2009, he was included on the Time list of the world's 100 most influential people. In 2013, he introduced 7.1 surround sound technology to South Indian films. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. He has also received honorary doctorate from Aligarh Muslim University. In 2017, he made his debut as a director and writer for the film Le Musk.

Details

A.R. Rahman, in full Allah Rakha Rahman, original name A.S. Dileep Kumar, (born January 6, 1966, Madras [now Chennai], India), is a Indian composer whose extensive body of work for film and stage earned him the nickname “the Mozart of Madras.”

Rahman’s father, R.K. Sekhar, was a prominent Tamil musician who composed scores for the Malayalam film industry, and Rahman began studying piano at age four. The boy’s interests lay in electronics and computers, and his father’s serendipitous purchase of a synthesizer allowed him to pursue his passion and to learn to love music at the same time. Sekhar died when Rahman was 9 years old, and by age 11 he was playing piano professionally to help support his family. He dropped out of school, but his professional experience led to a scholarship to study at Trinity College, Oxford, where he received a degree in Western classical music.

In 1988 his family converted to Islam following a sister’s recovery from a serious illness, and he then took the name Allah Rakha Rahman. He grew bored with playing in bands and eventually turned his talents toward creating advertising jingles. He wrote more than 300 jingles and would later say that the experience taught him discipline because jingle writing required delivery of a powerful message or mood in a short time. In 1991, while at a ceremony to receive an award for his work on a coffee advertisement, Rahman met Bollywood film director Mani Ratnam, who persuaded him to write music for motion pictures. Their first project was Roja (1992), which resulted in Rahman’s first film soundtrack hit. More than 100 movie scores followed, including the music for Lagaan (2001), the first Bollywood film nominated for an Academy Award. Rahman’s albums sold more than 100 million copies.

British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber heard some of Rahman’s soundtracks and asked the composer if he would be interested in writing a stage musical. Working with lyricist Don Black, Rahman composed the score for Bombay Dreams, a colourful satire of Bollywood films, and the show opened in London’s West End in 2002 without much fanfare. Rahman was already well known among London’s large Indian population, however, and ticket sales were strong, which prompted the launch of the Broadway version of the show in 2004. Rahman’s next stage project, a musical version of The Lord of the Rings, premiered in Toronto in 2006. Budgeted at $25 million, the production teamed Rahman with the Finnish folk ensemble Värttinä to compose a musical score that captured the otherworldliness of J.R.R. Tolkien’s creations. While the play met with harsh reviews in both Toronto and London (where it opened in 2007), it proved to be a moderate success with audiences.

Rahman continued his work for the screen, scoring films for Bollywood and, increasingly, Hollywood. He contributed a song to the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s Inside Man (2006) and cowrote the score for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). However, his true breakthrough to Western audiences came with Danny Boyle’s rags-to-riches saga Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Rahman’s score, which captured the frenzied pace of life in Mumbai’s underclass, dominated the awards circuit in 2009. He collected a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for best music as well as a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for best score. He also won the Academy Award for best song for “Jai Ho,” a Latin-infused dance track that accompanied the film’s closing Bollywood-style dance number. Rahman’s streak continued at the Grammy Awards in 2010, where he collected the prize for best soundtrack and “Jai Ho” was again honoured as best song appearing on a soundtrack.

Rahman’s later notable scores included those for the films 127 Hours (2010)—for which he received another Academy Award nomination—and the Hindi-language movies Rockstar (2011), Raanjhanaa (2013), Highway (2014), and Beyond the Clouds (2017). In addition, he scored the biopic Pelé: Birth of a Legend (2016). He later wrote the music for the British film Blinded by the Light (2019), about a British-Pakistani student who is inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen, as well as the Tamil-language films 2.0 (2018), Sarvam thaala mayam (2019; Madras Beats), and the popular Bigil (2019; “Whistle”). In 2020 he scored the Hindi-language films Shikara and Dil bechara (“The Helpless Heart”), the latter based on the 2014 American film The Fault in Our Stars.

Additional Information

A two-time winner and five-times nominee of the Academy Award (Oscar), A. R. Rahman is popularly known as the man who has redefined contemporary Indian music. Rahman, according to a BBC estimate, has sold more than 150 million copies of his work comprising of music from more than 100 film soundtracks and albums across over half a dozen languages, including landmark scores such as 'Roja', 'Bombay', Dil Se', 'Taal', 'Lagaan', 'Vandemataram', 'Jodhaa Akbar', 'Slumdog Millionaire', '127 Hours' and countless more.

Rahman pursued music as a career at a very young age and after assisting leading musicians in India went on to compose jingles and scores for popular Indian television features. He also obtained a degree in western classical music from the Trinity College of Music, London and set up his own in-house studio called Panchathan Record-Inn at Chennai. In 1991, noted film maker Mani Ratnam offered Rahman a movie called Roja which was a run-away success and brought nationwide fame and acclaim to the composer. The movie also won Rahman the Indian National Award for the best music composer, the first time ever by a debutant. Since then, Rahman has gone on to win the National Award 3 more times, the most ever by any music composer.

In 1997, to commemorate 50 years of Indian Independence, Sony Music signed up Rahman as its first artiste in South Asia. The result was Vande Mataram, an album that instantly made Indians relate to it and succeeded in rekindling the spirit of patriotism. In 2001, Andrew Lloyd Webber, the well known composer of musicals like Phantom of the Opera &Jesus Christ Superstar invited Rahman to compose for his musical, Bombay Dreams, the first time he would produce a musical he did not compose for. Bombay Dreams opened to packed houses at London's West End and had an unprecedented run for 2 years and later premiered at New York. In 2005, Rahman composed the score for the stage production of 'The Lord of the Rings', one of the most expensive productions mounted on stage.

Rahman's music led him to be noticed internationally with several of his tracks featuring in movies such as 'The Lord of War', 'Inside Man' and 'The Accidental Husband'. His composition, Bombay Theme holds the distinction of being featured in over 50 international compilations. He also scored the music for the Hollywood productions, 'Elizabeth - The Golden Age', 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'Couples Retreat', '127 Hours', People Like Us, the Chinese movie, 'Warriors of Heaven & Earth' and more recently 'The 100 Foot Journey', 'Million Dollar Arm' & 'Pele'.

In 2008, Rahman's work gained global prominence with the extraordinary success of his score for 'Slumdog Millionaire' that won 8 Academy Awards including two for Rahman, for Best Score and Best Song. Rahman won over 15 awards for this score including two Grammys, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA.

Rahman has also been conferred with honorary doctorates from the Trinity College of Music, Aligarh Muslim University, Anna University, Middlesex University and the prestigious Berkley College of Music. He was also named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, in 2009.

In 2011, Rahman joined a super band, SuperHeavy, comprising Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley and Dave Stewart. Rahman has collaborated with several other international artistes including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, MIA, Vanessa Mae, the Pussycat Dolls, Sarah Brightman, Dido, Hossam Ramzy, Hans Zimmer and Akon.

Rahman remains one of the few mainstream artistes, classical adaptations of whose works have been performed live by the likes of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Babelsberg Film Orchestra and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Rahman has expanded his focus to newer horizons like setting up the A R Rahman Foundation to help poor and underprivileged children. Rahman has also announced initiatives to establish a tradition in western classical music in India and embarked on an ambitious venture to set up the KM Music Conservatory and the KM Music Symphony Orchestra based out of Chennai, India.

ARRahman.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1257 2023-02-05 00:16:36

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1221) Björn Borg

Summary

Björn Borg, in full Björn Rune Borg, (born June 6, 1956, Stockholm, Sweden), is a Swedish tennis player who was one of the finest competitors of the modern era. He was the first man to win the Wimbledon singles championship five successive times (1976–80) since Laurie Doherty (1902–06). He won the French Open men’s singles championship an unprecedented four times in a row and six times in all (1974–75, 1978–81).

Borg learned to play tennis at a very early age, and, by the time he was 13, he was beating Sweden’s top junior players. Noted for his powerful serve and two-handed backhand, Borg joined the professional circuit at age 14 and went on to win the Italian Open at 17 and the French Open at 18. In 1975 he helped Sweden win its first Davis Cup, and by that time he had won 16 consecutive cup singles, passing Bill Tilden’s record of 12. By the spring of 1981, when he finally lost at Wimbledon to John McEnroe, Borg had won 41 singles matches and 5 championships in a row, a record never previously set. Borg, however, proved unable to ever win two of the four Grand Slam events, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open.

In January 1983 Borg abruptly announced his retirement from professional tennis, though he did attempt a short-lived comeback in 1991. Borg founded a successful sportswear company in the early 1990s. He wrote, with Eugene Scott, Björn Borg: My Life and Game (1980). In 1987 Borg was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Details

Björn Rune Borg (born 6 June 1956) is a Swedish former world No. 1 tennis player. Between 1974 and 1981, he became the first man in the Open Era to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles with six at the French Open and five consecutively at Wimbledon.

Borg won four consecutive French Open titles (1978–81) and is 6–0 in French Open finals. He was the first man since 1886 to contest six consecutive Wimbledon finals, a record surpassed by Roger Federer's seven consecutive finals (2003–09). He is the only man to achieve the Channel Slam three times. Borg contested the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open finals in the same year three times (1978, 1980–81). He won three major titles without dropping a set during those tournaments. However, he never won the US Open despite four runner-up finishes.

Borg also won three year-end championships and 16 Grand Prix Super Series titles. Overall, he set numerous records that still stand. He was ATP Player of the Year from 1976 to 1980, and was the year-end world No. 1 in the ATP rankings in 1979 and 1980 and ITF World Champion from 1978 to 1980. Borg is the only Swede, male or female, to win over 10 majors. Borg unexpectedly retired from tennis in 1981, at the age of 25. He made a brief and unsuccessful comeback in 1991.

Borg is widely considered one of the all-time greats of the sport. He was ranked by Tennis magazine as the sixth-greatest male player of the Open Era. His rivalry with John McEnroe is considered one of the best in the sport's history, and their meeting in the 1980 Wimbledon final is considered one of the greatest matches ever played. A teenage sensation at the start of his career, Borg experienced unprecedented stardom and consistent success that helped propel the rising popularity of tennis during the 1970s. As a result, the professional tour became more lucrative, and in 1979, Borg became the first player to earn more than US$1 million in prize money in a single season.

Additional Information

Before he was 21, Bjorn Rune Borg had registered feats that would set him apart as one of the game's greats - and before he was 26, the head-banded, golden-locked Swede was through. No male career of the modern era has been so brief and bright. Tennis is filled with instances of precocious achievements and championships, but none is quite as impressive as those of the seemingly emotionless Borg. Just before his 18th birthday he was the youngest winner of the Italian Championship, and two weeks later he was the youngest winner of the French Championship (a record lowered by Mats Wilander, 17, in 1982, and subsequently by Michael Chang, a younger 17 in 1989).

Eighteen months later, at 19, he climaxed a Davis Cup-record winning streak of 19 singles by lifting Sweden to the 1975 Cup for the first time in a 3-2 final-round victory over Czechoslovakia. His Cup singles streak of 33 was intact at his retirement, still a record. Although Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall were a few months younger in 1953 when they won the Davis Cup for Australia, both were beaten during the final round. But Borg won both his singles in straight sets, over Jiri Hrebec and the clincher over Jan Kodes, after teaming with Ove Bengtson for the doubles win. Borg's Davis Cup debut at 16 in 1972, as one of the youngest ever in that competition, was phenomenal: A five-set win over seasoned pro Onny Parun of New Zealand. Borg was also the youngest winner of the oldest professional championship, the U.S. Pro, whose singles he took in 1974 at 18 over Tom Okker (and, subsequently, 1975 and 1976). Aaron Krickstein, 16, lowered that record in 1984.

A player of great strength and endurance, he had a distinctive and unorthodox style and appearance, bow-legged, yet very fast. His muscular shoulders and well-developed torso gave him the strength to lash at the ball with heavy topspin on both forehand and backhand. A right-hander, he used a two-handed backhand, adapted from the slap shot in hockey, a game he favored as a child. By the time he was 13 he was beating the best of Sweden's under-18 players and Davis Cup captain Lennart Bergelin cautioned against anyone trying to change Borg's rough-looking, jerky strokes. They were effective. Through 1977 he had never lost to a player younger than himself.

Born June 6, 1956, in Stockholm, Sweden, Bjorn was fascinated by a tennis racket his father had won as a prize in a ping-pong tournament. His father gave him the racket and that was the start. Borg preferred to battle from the baseline, trading groundstrokes tirelessly in long rallies, retrieving and waiting patiently to outlast his opponent. Volleying, with his Western grip forehand and two-fisted backhand, was troublesome, and his serve was not impressive at first. He didn't do much on grass until 1976, when he was determined to win Wimbledon, and did so after devoting himself to two weeks of solid practice on serve-and-volley tactics. He won the most important tournament without loss of a set, beating favored Ilie Nastase in the final, 6-4, 6-2, 9-7. Borg was the youngest champion of the modern era at 20 years, one month, (until Boris Becker, 17, won in 1985).

Borg repeated in 1977, although the tournament was more demanding. His thrilling five-set victories over Americans Vitas Gerulaitis in the semi-finals, and Jimmy Connors in the final were considered two of the best ever played at Wimbledon. By that time Borg had more confidence and proficiency in his volleying. Borg repeated over Connors in 1978, overpoweringly, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, becoming the first to win three successive years since Fred Perry (1934-36). He made it four in a row with a five-set triumph over American Roscoe Tanner in the 1979 final, thus becoming the first player since Tony Wilding (1910-13) to win four straight years. His fifth straight Wimbledon championship, in 1980, climaxed with an all-time great final, a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 triumph over John McEnroe. During one of the most electrifying passages in tennis history; the 34-point tie-breaker, Borg was stymied on five match points and saved six set points before giving way. But his famous resolve brought him through in the brilliantly battled fifth.

Borg was now flirting with the ancient Wimbledon record of six straight titles. That was the much less demanding feat of Willie Renshaw (1881-86), who, in the era of the challenge-round format, needed to play only one match to win each of his last five titles. Thus his match-winning streak was only 13. While winning 1980, Borg also surpassed Rod Laver's Wimbledon male match winning-streak record of 31. Bjorn built that to his own record 41 (Helen Wills Moody won 50 straight between 1927 and 1938) by reaching the 1981 final. There he was finally dethroned by McEnroe, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

When he won his male record sixth French title in 1981, with another record, his 28th straight match win, over Ivan Lendl, it seemed that Borg, then 25, would surely surpass Roy Emerson's male record of 12 major singles titles (subsequently surpassed by Pete Sampras,14 and Roger Federer, 15). Borg had 11. But he would not win another, remaining tied with Laver. His left-handed nemesis, McEnroe, followed up on Wimbledon by beating Borg in a second successive U.S. Open final to take over the No. 1 ranking that the Swede had held in 1979 and 1980. That defeat, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4,6-3, effectively ended Borg's career. He won only two more matches, reaching the quarters of Monte Carlo in 1982.

Shortly after that he retired, having won 62 singles (of 88 finals) and four pro career doubles titles, including the Masters of 1979-80, and $3,655,751. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. Nevertheless, he did try comebacks in 1991, 1992 and 1993, all unsuccessful. The balletic footwork and marvelous anticipation couldn't be coaxed to return with him, even though others had stayed afloat and earning at 35. He lost eight first-rounders in 1992, three in 1993. Bjorn's parting shot, in Moscow's Kremlin Cup, was as close as he got, holding a match point in a farewell tie-breaker while losing to Alexander Volkov, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9-7). Thereafter he confined himself to senior events, renewing his rivalry with Connors, against whom he had been 10-7. He was 7-7 lifetime against McEnroe. The U.S. Open was his particular jinx. He failed to win in 10 tries, losing four finals, 1976 and 1978 to Connors, and 1980 and 1981 to McEnroe. Thrice (1978-79-80) he was halfway to a Grand Slam after victories at the French and Wimbledon only to falter at the three-quarter pole at Flushing Meadow. His career singles win-loss record was 606-123 (.831).

MAJOR TITLES (11) - French singles, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979,1980, 1981; Wimbledon singles, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980.

DAVIS CUP - 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980; record: 37-3 in singles, 8-8 in doubles.

SINGLES RECORD IN THE MAJORS - Australian (1-1), French (49-2), Wimbledon (51-4), US.(40-10).

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1258 2023-02-07 00:05:10

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1222) Wasim Akram

Summary

Wasim Akram, byname King of Swings, (born June 3, 1966, Lahore, Pakistan), is a Pakistani cricket player generally regarded as the greatest left-handed bowler of all time, arguably among the very best fast bowlers ever, and an outstanding all-rounder, who helped lead Pakistan to the World Cup championship of one-day international (ODI) cricket in 1992.

Akram was born into an upper-middle-class family and was brought up in the comfortable suburb of Modeltown. His father was a successful businessman, and Akram was sent to the Cathedral School in Lahore, where his main sporting obsession was table tennis. From age 10 he lived with his grandparents, and his grandfather, a passionate cricket follower, introduced Akram to the sport. He studied fine arts at Islamia College, Lahore, but his success in local club cricket brought him to the attention of the state selectors and the international side. He made his first-class, ODI, and Test debuts within the space of three months at the turn of the 1984–85 season as a teenager, and, barring periods of injury or political upheaval, was thereafter a regular member of the Pakistan side, which he captained frequently before his retirement in 2003. Polite and eloquent, Akram was a great favourite in all parts of the world, most notably in England, where he produced several devastating performances with both bat and ball for his county, Lancashire.

Although his staccato run-up and hurried delivery stride betrayed the lack of proper coaching early in his career, his batting, always aggressive and often destructive (most notably during a 257-run performance against Zimbabwe in 1996–97), put him firmly into the all-rounder class occupied by such greats as his Pakistani mentor Imran Khan, Ian Botham of England, and Sir Richard Hadlee of New Zealand. As a bowler, Akram was capable of moving the ball late both in the air and off the pitch with subtle changes of pace, and he had one of the most varied math in cricket history, with inswing, outswing, yorkers, and bouncers being just some of the weapons at his disposal. He and Pakistani teammate Waqar Younis developed such overwhelming command of their revolutionary use of reverse swing that it prompted allegations of ball-tampering.

In the 1998–99 season Akram captained Pakistan to the final of the Cricket World Cup, but inexperience emerged in their defeat by Australia. Also that season Pakistani cricket was dominated by allegations of match fixing. Akram was implicated but never charged, and he was officially cleared in September 1999. At the end of his career he had taken 414 wickets in Test cricket and 502 in ODI.

Following retirement from the game, Akram became a cricket commentator for ESPN STAR Sports. He also served as a bowling coach for various teams. In 2009 he was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame.

Details

Wasim Akram HI (born 3 June 1966) is a Pakistani cricket commentator, coach, and former cricketer and captain of the Pakistan national cricket team. Akram is widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, and several critics regard him as the greatest left-arm fast bowler in cricket history. He is often revered as The Sultan of Swing.  In October 2013, Wasim Akram was the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in an all-time Test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

A left-arm fast bowler who could bowl with significant pace, he holds the world record for most wickets in List A cricket, with 881, and he is second only to Sri Lankan off-spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of ODI wickets, with 502 in total. He is considered to be one of the founders, and perhaps the finest exponent of, reverse swing bowling.

He was the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark in ODI cricket, and he did so during the 2003 World Cup. In 2002, Wisden released its only list of best players of all time. Wasim was ranked as the best bowler in ODI of all time, with a rating of 1223.5, ahead of Allan Donald, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath and Muralitharan. Wasim took 23 four-wicket hauls in 356 ODI matches played. On 30 September 2009, Akram was one of five new members inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He was the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders. However, he took a break from the position for IPL 6, citing a need to spend more time with family in Karachi, and he took a further break from IPL 2017; he was replaced by Lakshmipathy Balaji.

He was working as director and bowling coach of Islamabad United in Pakistan Super League until he left to join Multan Sultans in August 2017. In October 2018, he was named in the Pakistan Cricket Board's seven-member advisory cricket committee. In November 2018, he joined PSL franchisee Karachi Kings as a President.

The Government of Pakistan awarded him the Hilal-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2019 for his life time achievements In field of cricket.

Additional Information

Batting Career Summary

M  :  Inn  :  NO  :  Runs  :  HS  :  Avg  :  BF  :  SR  :  100  :  200  :  50  :  4s  :  6s
Test  :  104  :  147  :  19  :  2898  :  257  :  22.64  :  5389  :  53.78  :  3  :  1  :  7  :  324  :  57
ODI  :  356  :  280  :  55  :  3717  :  86  :  16.52  :  4208  :  88.33  :  0  :  0  :  6  :  247  :  121

Bowling Career Summary

M  :  Inn  :  B  :  Runs  :  Wkts  :  BBI  :  BBM  :  Econ  :  Avg  :  SR  :  5W  :  10W
Test  :  104  :  181  :  22627  :  9779  :  414  :  7/119  :  11/110  :  2.59  :  23.62  :  54.65  :  25  :  5
ODI  :  356  :  351  :  18186  :  11812  :  502  :  5/15  :  5/15  :  3.9  :  23.53  :  36.23  :  6  :  0

Career Information

Test debut vs New Zealand at Eden Park, Jan 25, 1985
Last Test vs New Zealand at National Stadium, May 08, 2002
ODI debut vs New Zealand at Iqbal Stadium, Nov 23, 1984
Last ODIvs Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club, Mar 04, 2003

Profile

Wasim Akram was one of those rare talents, who never played first-class cricket, before making his international debut. In fact, he could not even get into the college team. Born in a Punjabi Arain family in Lahore, Wasim Akram's magical moment came when he participated in the trials conducted at the Gaddafi Stadium. Interestingly, he was a mere spectator for the first two days and finally, got a chance to roll his arms over on the third day.

Straightaway, he impressed Pakistan's senior cricket Javed Miandad, who then pressed for Akram's inclusion immediately into the national team. That was the opening the legend needed. From a bloke who was not even part of competitive cricket, Akram went on to become 'The King of Swing.' In fact, shockingly, Akram himself admitted that he did not know how to swing the ball during his early days.

On November 23, 1984, Akram made his international debut in the second ODI against New Zealand at Faisalabad. Soon after, he made his Test debut against the same opposition at Auckland and in just his second Test appearance for Pakistan, he bagged a fifer each in both innings and grabbed eyeballs. He was a regular member of the side in the late 1980s, until an injury forced him to stay away.

Post multiple surgeries, Akram returned to the international circuit and the emphasis was on mastering the art of swing bowling. He played a crucial role in Pakistan's success at the 1992 World Cup, while he also led them to the final, seven years later. Alongside Waqar Younis, Akram formed a fearsome bowling partnership and at a stage, the duo were literally unplayable.

Akram scaled mountains quite easily with loads of wickets and even hat-tricks. The fact that he would go through the defences of many batsmen at will spoke volumes of his ability to trouble the batsman, both off the pitch and with movement in the air. During the 2003 World Cup, Akram became the first man on the planet to record 500 wickets in the 50-over format. Eventually, he finished his career as Pakistan's top wicket-taker in both Tests and ODIs. He was also the leading wicket-taker in ODIs, with 502 wickets, until Muttiah Muralitharan overtook him to push him to the second spot.

As a 35-year-old, Akram announced his retirement from ODIs, after the 2003 World Cup. Akram had earlier quit Test cricket in 2002. He was a key figure in England's domestic circuit, having represented Lancashire and later Hampshire. Impressed by his show, fans would even sing "Wasim for England," when he was in action for Lancashire.

Post retirement, much like many former cricketers, Akram decided to voice his opinion on the game and became a prominent commentator. He is also the current coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) side Kolkata Knight Riders since 2010 and helped them to be crowned champions in 2012 and 2014.

wasim-akram-insta-new_1634974993444_1634974999319.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1259 2023-02-09 00:17:07

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1223) Boris Becker

Summary

Boris Franz Becker (born 22 November 1967) is a German former world No. 1 tennis player. Becker is the youngest ever winner of the gentlemen's singles Wimbledon Championships title at the age of 17 in 1985. Becker is regarded as one of the greatest Tennis players of all time and was featured in the list of Tennis magazine's 40 greatest players on its 40th anniversary in 2006. He won 64 titles overall including an Olympic gold medal. Becker won 49 singles and 15 doubles titles including six Grand Slam singles titles: three Wimbledon Championships, two Australian Opens and one US Open, 13 Masters titles, three year-end championships and leading Germany to back-to-back championship wins in Davis Cup 1988 and 1989.

Becker is often credited as the pioneer of power tennis with his lightning fast serve and explosive all-court game featuring flying through the air volleys, acrobatic dives, rolls and crushing service returns. He is also among the Top 10 players with the best ATP win percentages in the history of the game.

In 1989, he was voted the Player of the Year by both the ATP and the ITF. Becker is arguably the greatest Davis cup singles player with a win percentage of 92.70%, a win loss record of 38-3 and two championship wins for Germany. In his autobiography, Andre Agassi mentioned that Becker was the world's most popular tennis star while recalling the events of a match he played against Becker in late 1980s.

After his playing career ended Becker became a tennis commentator and media personality, his personal relationships were discussed in news outlets. He has engaged in numerous ventures, including coaching Novak Djokovic for three years, playing poker professionally and working for an online poker company. In October 2002, the Munich District Court gave Becker a suspended two-year prison sentence for tax evasion. He declared bankruptcy in the UK in 2017. In April 2022, he was sentenced by UK courts to two and a half years in prison for hiding assets and loans that the court required him to disclose to creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. On 15 December, he was released from prison early, having served eight months, and was immediately deported to Germany by UK authorities.

Details

Boris Becker, in full Boris Franz Becker, (born November 22, 1967, Leimen, near Heidelberg, West Germany [now in Germany]), is a German tennis player who, on July 7, 1985, at age 17, became the youngest champion in the history of the men’s singles at Wimbledon. At the same time, he became the only unseeded player and the only German ever to win the title as well as the youngest person ever to win any Grand Slam title in men’s singles (a mark lowered by four months when Michael Chang won the French Open in 1989).

Becker’s father, an architect, built the hometown tennis club (Blau-Weiss Tennisklub) where Becker learned to play as a child. He started playing competitively at age 8 and began concentrating almost wholly on tennis by age 12; he dropped out of school in the 10th grade (or form) and instead was schooled in the West German Tennis Federation, where his principal coach was Günther Bosch, a Romanian-born German.

Becker burst onto the international tennis scene at age 17 at the Wimbledon Championships in 1985. With powerful serves and an attacking style, he overpowered his opponents, advancing to the finals, where he defeated Kevin Curren in four sets. Excelling on the fast grass surface, he won Wimbledon again in 1986 and 1989 and was a finalist there in 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1995. He won the Australian Open twice (1991, 1996) and the U.S. Open (1989). In international tennis, he was a member of West Germany’s and then Germany’s Davis Cup squads (1985–99), helping the team to victories in 1988 and 1989; he served as the team’s manager in 1997. He also captured an Olympic gold medal in doubles in 1992 at the Barcelona Games.

Becker retired from competitive tennis in 1999; during his career he had won 49 singles and 15 doubles titles. He subsequently became involved in various business ventures. Becker also worked as a TV commentator, and from 2013 to 2016 he coached Novak Djokovic, who won six Grand Slam titles during that time. However, Becker faced various legal problems. In 2002 he was convicted of tax evasion in Germany. He received a two-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a fine. In 2017 Becker filed for bankruptcy in England, but he was later accused of hiding assets and loans. A trial ended with his conviction in 2022, and he received a prison sentence of two years and six months. However, Becker was released in December after serving just eight months. He immediately returned to his home country of Germany.

Becker was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003. The autobiography Boris Becker: The Player (2004) details his professional and personal life, including his high-profile marriage and divorce from model Barbara Feltus and his alcohol and drug addiction.

Additional Information

Watching Boris Becker play tennis was akin to witnessing a trapeze-group perform their high-wire act: He attacked the game horizontally – diving, lunging, and flying through the air with reckless abandon – and often with disregard as to how it would affect his body when he landed. His game had characteristics of a gymnast as well – power, balance, agility, precision, and mobility. His explosive game was coiled from a big and strong 6-foot-3, 180 pound frame, which magnified his athleticism.

Becker arrived on the professional tour in 1984 with little fanfare except premier advisors in his coach Gunther Bosch and manager Ion Ţiriac. But within a year, he’d become a household name. At Wimbledon in 1985, the redhead from Germany became the youngest male major champion in history at age 17 years, 7 months (a record later broken by Michael Chang at the 1989 French Open), defeating American Kevin Curren, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Becker arrived at Wimbledon ranked No. 20 by the ATP, but was unseeded (only the top 16 players drew seeds), thus becoming the first unseeded champion in history and perhaps most importantly, the first ever German men’s titlist. Compatriot Gottfried von Cramm was a finalist in 1935, 1936, and 1937, but couldn’t seal the deal. When Becker won, his celebrity in Germany reached frenetic heights.

Sports Illustrated featured him on the July 15, 1985 cover with the headline, Das Wunderkind. “He played like it was the first round,” Curren told the magazine about competing against the loose and carefree Becker.

Becker would win six major singles titles in a 16-year career that earned him 49 championships and a tidy $25,080,956 in tour money. His major triumph in 1985 was most memorable, though he successfully defended his title in 1986 with a slick straight sets upset victory over No. 1 seed Ivan Lendl, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5. The difference between the two years was considerable. In 1985, Becker was an “unknown outsider” as the BBC called him and not worthy of a seeding. In 1986, he rose to a No. 4 seed and was hardly unknown. 

Against No. 8 Curren in 1985, Becker needed 3 hours and 18 minutes to power his way to an unlikely championship. His blistering serve produced 21 aces and he wore out the grass with his headlong dives at net – and on the baseline – playing half a set with a shirt soiled in dirt as a badge of effort. After the match, Becker told the media, “I’m going on court to win, to fight, to do what I can.” He spoke the truth. His third and fourth round matches were monstrous five-set affairs, as was his semifinal victory over No. 5 Anders Jarryd of Sweden.

Becker began playing tennis at age 8 and occasionally practiced with compatriot and the biggest star in German tennis history, Steffi Graf. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade to train with the West German Tennis Federation. At 16 he turned professional and his game wasn’t hard to scout: He was going to launch a big, booming serve, and attack the net. He had hefty, stinging, and powerful volleys, an accessory to his serve. He’d pound a volley and on the slight chance one was returned, acrobatic play at net ensued, complete with dives, rolls, tumbles, and leaps. Becker would try and crush his service return and go from defense to offense instantaneously. A winning shot brought his trademark fist pump and Becker often energized himself by shouting encouragement that intensified his matches.

The fast lawn at Wimbledon was made for his game. In a 10-year span, he appeared as a finalist on Center Court seven times, winning his third title in 1989, a convincing straight-set victory over Stefan Edberg, 6-0, 7-6, 6-4. His semifinal victory over Lendl, 7-5, 6-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, became a Wimbledon classic, played in 4 hours and 1 minute, the second longest semi in history. Becker was a finalist in 1988 (losing to Edberg 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2) in 1990 (Edberg, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4), in 1991 (losing to Michael Stich, 6-4, 7-6, 6-4) and in 1995 (losing to Pete Sampras, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2). He compiled an impressive 71-12 record at Wimbledon.

Becker’s chief rivals during his heyday were Edberg and Lendl. Against Edberg, Becker led the head-to-head series 25-10, including three victories in the Davis Cup, but Edberg won three of four matches in major finals.

Becker earned his first non-Wimbledon major singles title at the 1989 US Open, arriving as the No. 2 seed, and defeated No. 1 Lendl in yet another marathon thriller, 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6, his second major victory over his longtime foe. With victories at Wimbledon and the US Open, 1989 was clearly Becker’s best year on tour, as he compiled a 64-8 match record. Becker’s third major at Lendl’s expense came at the 1991 Australian, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. All-time, Lendl held an 11-10 margin over Becker, but no victories came in the majors. Lendl defeated Becker at the 1985 Masters in New York City, but Becker ousted Lendl in the same event final in 1988. Becker won the Masters twice more, both played in Frankfurt, Germany, defeating Jim Courier, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in 1992 and Chang in 1995, 7-6, 6-0, 7-6.

Becker’s final major title after a five-year drought came in 1996 when he captured his second Australian Open championship with a 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Chang. Becker much preferred fast surfaces and never won a title on clay, though he did advance to the French Open semifinals in 1987, 1989, and 1991. Interestingly, Becker won an Olympic Gold Medal in doubles competition alongside compatriot Stich at the 1992 Barcelona Games, which were played on clay. He won 15 tour titles in doubles.

For a player who wasn’t particularly known for grinding it out on the baseline, Becker adapted his game when necessary. As a Davis Cup member for Germany (1985-1989, 1991, 1992, 1995-1999), he led his team to back-to-back championships in 1988 and 1989. He won 22 consecutive matches, second longest in history to Björn Borg’s 33. In 1987, Becker played one of the longest matches in tennis and Davis Cup history, defeating John McEnroe, 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2, in 6 hours and 22 minutes.

Becker was ranked in the world Top Ten 11 times in 16 years, rising to No. 1 briefly on January 28, 1991 and No. 2 three times (1986, 1989, 1990). He won 80.3 percent of his major singles matches, ranking among the ten best in history.

Becker’s lengthy career came to a close in 1998. When his game began to slip, he knew the time was right to move onto other facets of his life. In 2003, Becker put his career and expectations in perspective, saying, “One thing I know is that the world will not allow me to just play tennis. It will not allow me to be No. 15 in the world. So I do it right or I don’t do it at all.”

Post-playing days, Becker formed his own racquet and apparel manufacturing company, worked with the BBC as an analyst on Wimbledon coverage, and became a proficient poker player, competing in both the European and World Poker Tours. Becker was Novak Djokovic's coach from 2014-2016. With Becker in tow, Djokovic has added to his major-win tally, telling Dubai-based Zee News in February 2015, “I constantly learn something new from him from a psychological point of view, mostly because he had been in these situations before. He understands what I go through, the challenges that I face, the obstacles that I need to overcome to win big titles and be number one in the world, because he was there.” Becker helped Djokovic win six major titles.

TENNIS Magazine ranked Becker No. 18 in its list of the 40 Greatest Players in the magazine’s 40-years history. In 2004, Becker released his autobiography, The Player.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1260 2023-02-11 00:06:08

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1224) Roy Emerson

Summary

(born 1936). Australian tennis player Roy Emerson set a Davis Cup record by playing on eight winning teams between 1959 and 1967. He won 22 of 24 Cup singles and 13 of 15 doubles titles. He also set the Grand Slam record for men with 28 singles and doubles titles; the 16 doubles titles were won with five different partners. His six Australian singles titles (1961, 1963–67) also set a record.

Details

Roy Stanley Emerson (born 3 November 1936) is an Australian former tennis player who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, for a total of 28 Grand Slam titles. All of his singles Grand Slam victories and 14 of his Grand Slam doubles victories were achieved before the open era began in 1968. He is the only male player to have completed a career Grand Slam (winning titles at all four Grand Slam events) in both singles and doubles, and the first of four male players to complete a double career Grand Slam in singles (later followed by Rod Laver, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal). His 28 major titles are the all-time record for a male player. He was ranked world No. 1 amateur in 1961 by Ned Potter, 1964 by Potter, Lance Tingay  and an Ulrich Kaiser panel of 14 experts and 1965 by Tingay, Joseph McCauley, Sport za Rubezhom and an Ulrich Kaiser panel of 16 experts.

Emerson was the first male player to win 12 singles majors. He held that record for 30 years until it was passed by Pete Sampras in 2000. He also held the record of six Australian Open men's singles titles until 2019 when Novak Djokovic won his seventh title. Emerson won five of those titles consecutively (1963–67), a still-standing record. Emerson is one of only five tennis players ever to win multiple slam sets in two disciplines. Emerson was a member of a record eight Davis Cup–winning teams between 1959 and 1967. Unlike several of his contemporaries, he chose to remain an amateur player and did not turn pro during the pre-Open Era.

Biography

Emerson was born on a farm in Blackbutt, Queensland. His family later moved to Brisbane and he received better tennis instruction after attending Brisbane Grammar School and Ipswich Grammar School.

Emerson won his first Grand Slam tournament doubles title in 1959 at Wimbledon (partnering Neale Fraser). In 1961, he captured his first Grand Slam tournament singles title at the Australian Championships, beating compatriot Rod Laver in four sets in the final. Later that year, Emerson claimed his second major singles crown when he again beat Laver in the final of the US Championships.

Known as "Emmo" on the tour, the six-foot right-hander was known for training hard and always being ready for strenuous matches because of his outstanding level of fitness. He was primarily a serve-and-volley style player, but was also able to adapt to the rigours of slow courts, allowing him to enjoy success on all surfaces.

From 1963 to 1967, Emerson won five consecutive men's singles titles at the Australian Championships. His record of six Australian men's singles crowns was surpassed in 2019 by Novak Djokovic who won his record seventh.

Emerson's first Wimbledon singles title came in 1964, with a final victory over Fred Stolle. Emerson won 55 consecutive matches during 1964 and finished the year with 109 victories out of 115 matches. He won three of the year's four Grand Slam events that year (failing to win only the French Open).

During his amateur career Emerson received several offers to turn professional, including an £38,000 offer made at the end of 1964 by Jack Kramer, but declined and opted to remain an amateur. In 1966, Emerson rejected a $100,000 guarantee over two years offer to turn pro, stating that he "couldn't afford to take a pay cut." It was estimated that Emerson and Santana were paid about $1,000 to $1,500 a week in living expenses alone from their national tennis associations as "shamateurs".

Emerson was the world No. 1 amateur player in 1964 and 1965 according to Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and in 1961 and 1964 according to Ned Potter of World Tennis. In 1965, he successfully defended his Australian and Wimbledon singles crowns. He was the heavy favourite to win Wimbledon again in 1966, but during his fourth round match he skidded while chasing the ball and crashed into the umpire's stand, injuring his shoulder. He still finished the match, but was unable to win.

Emerson's last major singles title came at the French Championships in 1967 – the year before the open era began. His 12 major singles titles stood as a men's record until 2000, when it was surpassed by Pete Sampras. Emerson signed a professional contract with the National Tennis League in early April 1968.

Emerson had 10 straight victories in Grand Slam tournament finals in which he appeared, which is an all-time record.

Emerson's final Grand Slam doubles title was won in 1971 at Wimbledon (partnering Laver). His 16 Grand Slam doubles crowns were won with five different partners. From 1960 to 1965, he won six consecutive French Open men's doubles titles. Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and tennis great, writes in his 1979 autobiography that "Emerson was the best doubles player of all the moderns, very possibly the best forehand court player of all time. He was so quick he could cover everything. He had the perfect doubles shot, a backhand that dipped over the net and came in at the server's feet as he moved to the net. Gene Mako and Johnny van Ryn could hit a shot like that sometimes, but never so often nor as proficiently as Emerson."

Emerson was also a member of a record eight Davis Cup winning teams between 1959 and 1967.

Emerson's 12 singles and 16 doubles titles make him one of the leading players in Grand Slam tournament history.

Emerson's last top-20 ranking was in 1973, primarily owing to his winning his 105th and final career title at the Pacific Coast Championships in San Francisco. He defeated Roscoe Tanner, Arthur Ashe, and Björn Borg in the last three rounds of that tournament. Emerson played just a few tournaments through 1977. His last appearance was in the Gstaad, Switzerland tournament in 1983.

Although he exited the tournament circuit, Emerson did not retire. In the late 1970s, he served as a player/coach for the Boston Lobsters in World Team Tennis (WTT). He mostly played doubles with the Lobsters and often teamed with fellow Australian Tony Roche. In the 1978 season, the last season under the original iteration of World Team Tennis, Roy coached the Lobsters to the Eastern Division Championship and into the WTT Finals against the Los Angeles Strings. The final Lobster team that Emerson coached consisted of Tony Roche, Mike Estep (for part of the season), and Emerson himself as the male players.

Emerson now resides in Newport Beach, California with his wife, Joy, and daughter, Heidi, and has a home in Gstaad where he holds a tennis clinic each summer. His son, Antony, was an All-American in tennis at Corona del Mar High School and the University of Southern California and played on the professional tour briefly. Roy and Antony won the United States Hard Court Father-and-Son title in 1978. Roy briefly coached promising juniors at East Lake Woodlands in Oldsmar, Florida.

Awards and honours

Emerson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986.[19] The main court for the Suisse Open Gstaad, a tournament which Emerson won five times and where he played his last match as a professional, is named Roy Emerson Arena in his honour.

In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal, and in 2001 received the Centenary Medal.

The Roy Emerson trophy, which is awarded to the male champion at the Brisbane International, is named in his honour. In 2009 Emerson was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. He was honoured during the 2013 Australian Open at the Australian Open Legends' Lunch.

In 2014, the Brisbane City Council named the new tennis centre in Milton at Frew Park after Roy Emerson. The same year at Blackbutt, the Roy Emerson Museum was opened by Roy Emerson. On the 18 January 2017, a statue of Roy Emerson was unveiled at the Blackbutt Museum.

Place in history

In the Tennis Channel series "100 Greatest of All Time" in 2012, Emerson was ranked the 11th greatest male tennis player of all time, and the second highest rated Australian in the series, behind Rod Laver.

Additional Information

In the 1960s, when an endless array of Australian men’s tennis players dominated the major tournament circuit, winning 32 of 40 major singles championships, Roy Emerson was the ring-leader, winning 12 of them himself. His name was linked to a male record 28 major titles (16 won in doubles), during his ten-year stretch of near invincibility on all surfaces.

Growing up on a dairy farm in Queensland, Australia, and being responsible for milking the cows each morning made Emerson’s wrist and forearm strong. With a tennis court on the property, he had an early foray into the game. He was popularly known as “Emmo,” especially among his Aussie Davis Cup teammates, who he helped win eight championships from 1959-67 while compiling a stunning 34-4 record. On tour, and especially at the Australian Championships, he was a popular player to face. Nine of his 28 majors were won in Melbourne during his record-setting career. He won a record six Australian singles titles and five consecutively from 1963 to 1967, standing alone all-time at that major. Emerson’s resume of accomplishments runs deeper. To wit:

* He was the first to win 12 major singles titles, a record that lasted 33 years until broken first by Pete Sampras (14) at Wimbledon in 2000 and since surpassed by Novak Djokovic (15), Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17).
* He is the only male player in history to win a career Grand Slam in singles and doubles.
* He is one of only eight male players in history to record a career Grand Slam.
* He was the first male player to win each major title at least twice in a career.
* 28 combined singles and doubles major titles is a record in men's tennis

An integral component of Harry Hopman’s stable of Aussies who ruled tennis with an assortment of playing styles, Emerson was primarily a serve-and-volley specialist who thoroughly ruled doubles competition, appearing in a stunning 30 Grand Slam doubles finals, winning 16 of them. Six straight doubles championships came at the French (1960-65), four at the U.S. Nationals (1959, 1960, 1965-66) and three each at the Australian (1962, 1966, 1969), and Wimbledon (1959, 1961, 1971). Emerson wasn’t picky who he shared the trophy with. He teamed with compatriots to win 15 of 16 titles; seven with Neale Fraser, four with Fred Stolle, three with Rod Laver, one with Ken Fletcher, and one with Spain’s Manolo Santana. In his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer wrote, “Emerson was the best doubles player of all the moderns, very possibly the best forehand player of all time. He was so quick he could cover everything. He had the perfect doubles shots, a backhand that dipped over the net and came in at the server’s feet as he moved to net.”

As a group, the Aussies were a gregarious group, but Emerson may have been the most affable and likeable. His persona, however, changed dramatically on the court. Perhaps it was the stern coaching he received from Hopman or his own internal fortitude, but Emerson was competitive and focused come match time. The statistics are conclusive. In major singles finals he won 80 percent of the time (12 of 15) and in doubles play he won 53 percent (16 of 30).

Emerson was fluid and agile on court, due largely to his focus on fitness and conditioning, all trademarks of the Hopman philosophy. “Harry said get yourself in shape and do well in the majors because a win there goes in the record books,” Emerson said. “I took heed of that.” He had a deceptively big serve, especially difficult on grass, and his attacking game put pressure on his opponent to make good shots, otherwise his punctuating volleys would end points quickly. He claimed that his backhand was his strongest shot, but he was being especially modest. Emerson didn’t have any weaknesses.

He won his debut major singles title in 1961, appropriately at the Australian, defeating Laver in four sets. He conquered Laver later that summer at the U.S. Nationals, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2. In his next three finals appearances, all in 1962, Laver defeated him each time at the Australian, French, and U.S. Nationals. Starting in 1963 he had a spectacular run, which included five titles at the Australian, two at the French, and Wimbledon and one at the U.S. His doubles partner Stolle had both the fortune and misfortune of having to face Emerson in five major finals, and although he pushed Emmo to five sets at Wimbledon in 1964 and five at the 1965 Australian, he never came away a champion when facing his mate.

Emerson made the leap to professional tennis in 1968, just before the Open Era, and won three singles and 30 doubles events. Overall, he captured 103 combined titles, 88 of them as an amateur. He was a player-coach with the World Team Tennis Boston Lobsters in 1978.

Emerson was ranked in the world Top 10 nine times between 1959-1967, ascending to the No. 1 position in 1964 and 1965 and No. 2 in 1961-1962, 1967.

Emerson was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986. A few additional honors from his homeland followed. For being a “wonderful competitor and outstanding sportsman,” he was presented with the Australian Sports Medal in 2000. For service to Australian Society through the sport of tennis, Emerson was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001. He was inducted into his native Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Roy Emerson Tennis Centre in Milton was revamped bearing his name in 2014. The complex was shared with doubles partner Fletcher with a pair of sculptured busts honoring the duo that won 11 of the 13 doubles finals they contested in 1964.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1261 2023-02-13 00:19:18

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1225) Lottie Dod

Summary

Charlotte “Lottie” Dod was born in the small town of Lower Bebington, England, tucked away in the North West corner of the United Kingdom, five miles from Liverpool, home of the Beatles. The All England Club in London is diagonally south east, 220 miles away in London. Dod was an English tennis prodigy. Her look, skills, and youth made her a curious entrant at the 1887 Wimbledon’s Ladies Singles Championship.

First off, her tennis attire was eye-catching: Because she was only 15 years, 285 days old, she was allowed to wear clothing that looked like her school uniform. The ensemble consisted of black stockings and shoes, a white flannel cricket cap atop her black hair, and a calf-length dress. She was unencumbered by the eras more confining layered outfits and full length dresses that restricted movements, giving Dod a considerable advantage. She could swiftly run around the court; her lateral and horizontal movements provided mobility her opponents lacked. Tennis historian Elizabeth Wilson, interviewed by The Canberra Times, said that “Dod always spoke up in favor of the right of women to dress in a manner that did not impede their tennis.”

Was it Dod’s trimmed down outfit that earned her the championship on her first attempt, making her the youngest Wimbledon Ladies titlist in history? Perhaps. But more likely, it was her advanced game. At 5-foot-6 she was tall for the time period. She hit a hard forehand, was the first woman to volley, “smash,” and served underhand, which was a confounding tactic for opponents not skilled in handling such a maneuver. It was not a lady-like game, but Dod made no excuses. “As a rule, ladies are too lazy at tennis,” she once said. “They should learn to run and run their hardest, too, not merely stride. They would find, if they tried, that many a ball, seemingly out of reach, could be returned with ease; but instead of running hard they go a few steps and exclaim, ‘Oh, I can’t’ and stop.”

In 1887, she defeated defending champion Blanche Bingley (Hillyard), 23, in a rout, 6-2, 6-0, winning the final 10 straight games and a second set that lasted 10 minutes. An account of her achievement appeared in the July 14, 1887 Sheffield Independent: “About the ladies’ singles there is little to be said – only five entered as against eight last year. Miss Lottie Dod simply ‘cantered’ through the two rounds in which she had to play. In the final round she met Mrs. C.J. Cole, formerly, as Miss Coleridge, well known as a tennis player. In the challenge round she easily vanquished Miss Bingley, who only got two games in the two sets.”

Nicknamed “The Little Wonder,” Dod won four more championships in 1888, 1891, 1892, and 1893 – all against Hillyard – and lost only one set in the five championships. In the 1893 finale, then 21-year-old Dod lost the first set 8-6, took stock in that rare occurrence, and won the next two, 6-1, 6-4. In her four previous victories, Dod lost just 13 games.

In 1887, she won the Irish Nationals Singles Championship, defeating Maud Watson 6-4, 6-3.

Dod was an extraordinary athlete who was accomplished in skiing, archery, field hockey, and golf. She forsook tennis to play golf and in 1904 became the British National Golf champion. Her eye-hand coordination made her skill in archery, earning a place on the 1908 Olympic Archery team where she won the Silver Medal. 

Her story, Lottie Dod: Champion of Champions – The Story of an Athlete, was published in 1989.

Details

Charlotte Dod (24 September 1871 – 27 June 1960) was an English multi-sport athlete, best known as a tennis player. She won the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Championship five times, the first one when she was only 15 in the summer of 1887. She remains the youngest ladies' singles champion.

In addition to tennis, Dod competed in many other sports, including golf, field hockey, and archery. She also won the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, played twice for the England women's national field hockey team (which she helped to found), and won a silver medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics in archery. The Guinness Book of Records has named her as the most versatile female athlete of all time, together with track and field athlete and fellow golf player Babe Zaharias.

Early life

Dod was born on 24 September 1871 in Bebington, Cheshire, the youngest of four children to Joseph and Margaret Dod. Joseph, from Liverpool, had made a fortune in the cotton trade. The family was wealthy enough to provide for all members for life; Lottie and her brother math never had to work. Besides math, Lottie had a sister, Annie, and another brother, Tony, all of whom also excelled in sports. Annie was a good tennis player, golfer, ice skater and billiards player. math Dod won the Olympic gold medal in archery at the 1908 Games, and Tony was a regional level archer and a chess and tennis player. The Dod children received a private education by tutors and governesses. In her childhood Lottie played the piano, banjo and she was member of a local choir. When Dod was nine years old, two tennis courts were built near the family's estate, Edgeworth. Lawn tennis, invented in 1873, was highly fashionable for the wealthy in England, and all of the Dod children started playing the game frequently. Tennis parties were occasionally organized and among the invited guests were future Wimbledon champions Joshua Pim and the brothers Herbert and Wilfred Baddeley. When she was eleven Dod joined the Rock Ferry Tennis Club in Birkenhead.

Tennis

Together with Annie, who was eight years her elder, Dod entered her first tennis tournament, the 1883 Northern Championships in Manchester, at age eleven. They had a bye in the first round and lost in the second round of the doubles tournament to Hannah Keith and Amber McCord, but won the consolation tournament. One journalist, Sydney Brown, noted that "Miss L. Dod should be heard of in the future". The following year, 1884, she participated in two tournaments, the Northern Championships, played that year in Liverpool, and Waterloo. With Annie she reached the doubles finals in both tournaments and with Tony she was defeated in the first round of the mixed doubles event at Waterloo. At the Northern Championships in 1885, she came to prominence when she nearly beat reigning Wimbledon champion Maud Watson in the final, losing 6–8, 5–7. Dod would win the doubles event (with Annie). Earlier she had won the first singles title of her career at the Waterloo tournament where she was also victorious in the doubles and mixed doubles events. These performances earned her the nickname "Little Wonder" in the press.

In 1886, Dod won the singles title at the West of England Championships in Bath where she defeated Watson in the final, ending the latter's run of 55 consecutive victories. That year, she played tournaments in Liverpool (Northern), Cheltenham and Derbyshire but won no further singles titles. In 1887, Dod became an established first-class player, illustrated by the fact she partnered the then seven-time Wimbledon doubles winner Ernest Renshaw at the mixed doubles event of the Irish Championships. She won the singles in Dublin defeating Watson in the final in straight sets. She again won the singles title at the Northern, defeating leading players Louisa Martin, May Langrishe and Watson without losing a set and conceding no more than two games per set.

Encouraged by these results, she decided to enter the 1887 Wimbledon Championships. Only six competitors, not having had included Martin and Watson, had entered. Dod had a bye in the first round and easily advanced through the semifinal and final of the All-Comer's tournament to earn the right to challenge the defending champion, Blanche Bingley. She defeated Bingley in straight sets 6–2, 6–0, the second set lasting just 10 minutes. At 15 years and 285 days, she is the youngest winner of the ladies' singles championships. During the match, Dod wore a metal-and-whalebone corset which punctured her skin and caused her to bleed as she played.

The two met again in the final of the 1888 West of England Championships. Although it was designated an "open" tournament, the officials made the remarkable decision to impose a handicap of 15 on Dod. She still managed to win against her opponent, now known by her married name, Blanche Hillyard. The Wimbledon final of 1888 was a rematch of the previous year, and Dod, this time defending her title in the Challenge Round, again emerged victorious (6–3, 6–3). During that year she won several doubles and mixed doubles titles with her sister Annie, May Langrishe and Ernest Renshaw.

Lottie Dod's style of play, then regarded as unorthodox, now seems notably modern. She was perhaps the first player to advocate hitting the ball just before the top of the bounce and to adopt a modern, albeit single-handed, racquet grip. Her ground strokes were reported by contemporaries to be unusually firmly hit by the standards of the time, but – like many female players of the day – she served underhand and only rarely employed spin.

Dod only entered one open tournament in 1889 (the Northern Championships, which she won), and failed to attend Wimbledon, much to the disappointment of her fans. Together with Annie and some friends, she was on a sailing trip off the Scottish coast, and didn't want to return in time for Wimbledon. This was followed by a complete absence from the game in 1890.

After failing to do so in 1889, Dod was determined to win Wimbledon three times in a row, starting in 1891. Although it was her only competitive appearance of that season, she won her third Wimbledon title by defeating Hillyard (6–2, 6–1) in the final of the All-Comers tournament. The reigning champion Lena Rice did not defend her title. 1892 saw Dod's first singles defeat in an open tournament since 1886 when she lost to Louisa Martin of Ireland in the second round of the Irish Championships. It was the last of only five losses in her entire tennis career and her only defeat after the age of 15. She continued the year strongly, culminating in another easy straight-set Wimbledon victory over Hillyard. Dod's last tennis season as a competitive player was 1893, and she played in just two tournaments, The Northern in Manchester and Wimbledon, winning both. On both occasions, she defeated Blanche Hillyard in three sets despite a heavy fall in the Wimbledon final. Her record of five Wimbledon titles would not last for long, as Hillyard, after losing in the final to Dod five times, won her sixth title in 1900. Suzanne Lenglen broke Dod's record of three consecutive singles wins by winning from 1919 to 1923.

Apart from entering women's tournaments, Dod sometimes played and won matches against men (who usually played with a handicap), and on one occasion defeated star players Ernest Renshaw and George Hillyard (the husband of Blanche) when doubling with Herbert Baddeley.

Additional Information

Birthday: September 24, 1871

Who is Lottie Dod?

Charlotte "Lottie" Dod became popular as a tennis player, but she was a multi-sport athlete. She competed in other sports, including archery, field hockey, and golf. She was included in the list of the most versatile female athletes of all time, along with Babe Zaharias, in the Guinness Book of Records.

Five Facts about Lottie Dod:

* Dod was 15 when she entered the Wimbledon ladies singles championship in 1887, which title she won.
* Dod believed that ladies must be less ladylike when playing a sport.
* She became an amateur champion in the British ladies division for golf in 1904.
* She won at the 1908 Olympics for archery.
* She started playing field hockey in 1897 when the sport was still young and became one of the founding members of the Spital's women's hockey club.

Lottie Dod Biography:

Early Life

Dod hailed from Bebington, Chesire, and was the youngest of four children. She never had to work due to her family's fortune from her father, Joseph's, success in trading cotton.

Aside from Lottie, her three siblings also excelled in sports. Her brother, Tony, played tennis, chess, and archery. Meanwhile, her sister, Annie, played billiards, ice skating, golf, and tennis. Her other brother, math, was an Olympic gold medalist for archery.

All Dod siblings had governesses and private tutors. Besides sports, Lottie played the piano when she was young and was part of a local choir. It was in 1873 when lawn tennis was invented, which used to be associated with wealth. The sport was considered highly fashionable in England.

When Lottie was nine, two tennis courts were made near Edgeworth, her family's estate. She would often play the sport along with her siblings. The courts were also used as venues for tennis parties attended by would-be champions, including Wilfred and Herbert Baddeley, and Joshua Pim. Lottie joined Birkenhead's Rock Ferry Tennis Club when she was eleven.

Career:

Tennis

Lottie was eleven when she entered her first tournament in tennis, the Northern Championships in Manchester, in 1883. After almost beating Maud Watson, she gained prominence in the sport in 1885 at the Northern Championships, the reigning Wimbledon champion. The press gave her the nickname, Little Wonder, for accomplishing a lot at such a young age in the singles games and doubles along with her sister, Annie.

She won the singles title in 1886 at the West of England Championships in Bath against Watson. A year later, Lottie was considered a first-class player after being paired with Ernest Renshaw, a seven-time winner in the Wimbledon doubles, for the Irish Championships' mixed doubles event.

She became the youngest winner of the singles championship ladies division at the Wimbledon Championships in 1887. She bled during the match due to the metal and whalebone corset she was wearing. She was 15 at the time, making her the youngest ladies singles champion of all time, even up to this day.

Winter Sports

She tried other activities starting in 1895 when Lottie went with her brother, Tony, to the St. Moritz winter sports resort. She passed its skating test, which was considered the most prestigious event in figure skating during that time. The other winter sports she tried the following years after included toboggan, mountaineering, and curling.

Field Hockey

Lottie started playing hockey when the game was still new for women. She even became the team captain of the women's hockey club in Spital as the team had winning streaks, except when she did not play. She continued soaring high in the sport until she had to lie low in 1900 due to sciatica attacks.

Golf

Lottie first played golf when she was fifteen when there were limited golf clubs that allowed women to play. In 1894, Lottie was among the pioneers of the ladies' golf club in Moreton.

Archery

Lottie and her brothers sold Edgeworth in 1905 before moving to Newbury, Berkshire, their new home. They picked up archery, which they have been practicing in the past year, as a sport.

In 1906, Lottie won her first tournament at the Grand National Archery Meeting. She was too close to winning the Grand National in 1910. She continued playing archery as a pro until 1911, which also became the end of her career in participating in long competitive sports.

Legacy and Death

She moved to a new home in Bideford with her brother, math, in 1913. During World War I, Lottie spent her time working as a nurse for the British Red Cross and Chelsea VAD Hospital. She also volunteered in a Berkshire military hospital.

She would have helped out in France's war zones but was forced to stay in England due to her sciatica.

In the latter years of her life, she lived in London and Devon and never missed watching Wimbledon Championships. She spent time hopping from one nursing home to another after she lost her brother. She was 88, unmarried, and was listening to the radio broadcasts about Wimbledon in her bed when she died.

In 1983, she was recognized and became part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1262 2023-02-15 00:03:32

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1226) Gustavo Kuerten

Summary

Gustavo Kuerten (born 10 September 1976) is a Brazilian former world No. 1 tennis player. He won the French Open singles title three times (1997, 2000, and 2001), and was the Tennis Masters Cup champion in 2000. During his career he won 20 singles and 8 doubles titles.

Kuerten suffered many problems with injuries which resulted in his non-attendances at many tournaments in 2002 and between 2004 and 2008. After two hip surgeries and a few failed attempted comebacks, he retired from top-level tennis in May 2008. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 2016, Kuerten was asked to be a torch bearer for the Rio Olympics.

Professional career

As a junior player in South America, Kuerten won many of the most important tournaments in the region. He often played in an age group above his.

After two years as a professional, Kuerten rose to the position of No. 2 player in Brazil, behind Fernando Meligeni, and he had his then highest point by helping the Brazil Davis Cup team defeat Austria in 1996 and reach the competition's first division, the World Group.

Following his unexpected victory in the 1997 French Open – which was not only his maiden ATP Tour victory but also the first time he had reached a professional ranking final – Kuerten had a difficult year and a half, adjusting to his sudden fame and the pressure of being expected to win. 1998 was the worst year in his career that was not related to injuries. The pressure for him to become an "ambassador" for tennis in Brazil was made evident after his early defeat to a then unknown Marat Safin in the 1998 French Open: the entire body of Brazilian journalists that had been dispatched to Paris to cover the event immediately returned home, leaving the rest of the tournament unaccounted for in Brazil.

Like many South American players, his favorite court surface is clay. He won three Grand Slam titles, all of them at the French Open, played on the red clay courts of Roland Garros. He won these titles in 1997, 2000 and 2001. In every one of the three French Open victories he defeated Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the quarterfinals and two top 10 players on his way to the title. Kuerten became the world No. 1 player in 2000.

Kuerten won at least one title a year between 1997 and 2004. The streak came to an end in 2005, when injuries and below-average performances kept him from winning tournaments. He was also a regular participant for Brazil in the Davis Cup.

Details

(born 1976). By winning the 1997 French Open, 66th-ranked tennis player Gustavo Kuerten became the lowest-ranked men’s champion in the event’s history and the first Brazilian man to win a Grand Slam title. In 2000 he became the first South American man ever to end the season ranked number one in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world standings.

Kuerten was born on Sept. 10, 1976, in Florianopolis, Brazil. He began playing tennis with his older brother at the age of 8. By the time he was 17, Kuerten was one of the world’s top junior players and achieved a sixth-place ranking in singles. In 1994, the right-hander won the junior doubles title at the French Open. He turned professional at age 18.

Kuerten had never advanced past a quarterfinal in any tour-level event before his triumph at the 1997 French Open. He beat 1996 champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov and 1995 winner Thomas Muster in earlier rounds before facing the 16th-seeded Spanish player, Sergei Bruguera, the 1993 and 1994 titleholder, in the final. Guga, as Kuerten was nicknamed, used his powerful forehand and ability to run down balls to beat Bruguera 6–3, 6–4, 6–2 in 1 hour and 50 minutes. The 20-year-old joined Marcel Bernard and Mats Wilander as the only non-seeded athletes to win the men’s singles title at the French Open. Bernard and Wilander accomplished the feat in 1946 and 1982, respectively. Kuerten jumped 51 places to rank 15th after the contest.

Kuerten received $695,500 for his Grand Slam win, more than double his total career earnings up to that point. The success of the lanky, smiling youth who clad himself during competition in yellow and blue, Brazil’s colors, became a source of national pride and set off an interest in tennis known as Gugamania. Kuerten dedicated his 1997 French Open victory to his father, who had died while umpiring a tennis match when Kuerten was 8 years old.

Although Kuerten failed to advance past the second round in any of the Grand Slam events in 1998, he regained momentum the following season, winning the Monte Carlo and Rome masters tournaments and reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the French and U.S. opens. In 2000 Kuerten’s game ignited. He defeated third-seeded Magnus Norman in a 3-hour 44-minute match to win the French Open, and he won his first indoor title at the Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon, Portugal. Kuerten finished the season ranked number one in the ATP’s first ever Champions Race, and the ATP named him player of the year. He won his third French Open in 2001.

Additional Information

Novak Djokovic is the King of tennis impersonations, and his comedic act has ranged from John McEnroe to Rafael Nadal to Andy Roddick to even Maria Sharapova. In a friendly exhibition match between two friends in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, Djokovic donned a curly brown wig, a white headband and wore the exact same black shirt and white shorts as Gustavo ”Guga” Kuerten. He warmed up like Kuerten, stretched like Kuerten, and hit his serve, forehand, and backhand exactly like Kuerten. For the No. 1 player in the world to pay such homage to a fellow player speaks volumes about respect and admiration.

BRAZILIAN SPORTS HERO

Guga has a legion of adoring fans in his native Brazil. Part lies in his beaming smile, engaging personality, and the high-energy style of tennis he brought to courts all around the world. Another part lies in the fact that Kuerten won the French Open three times (1997, 2000, 2001) and in doing so joined rarified space: only Björn Borg (1974-75, 1978-81), and Rafael Nadal (2005-2008, 2010-2014) have more titles at Roland Garros. He also won his first major title in his third attempt, tied with Mats Wilander as the fastest of any player in the Open Era.

Following his victory in 2001, Brazil issued a postage stamp featuring Kuerten with the Eiffel Tower in the background. He was flamboyant and colorful – always wearing colorful tennis togs on the court – and beloved for his ear-to-ear smile and how he comported himself on and off the court.

CLAY COURT STAR

The road to his first championship as a 21-year-old in 1997 was out of a storybook. When he entered Stade Roland Garros for his first match against Czech Sláva Doseděl, he was ranked No. 66 in the world and had earned just eight ATP World Tour wins. He proceeded to knock off three former champions – Thomas Muster in the third round (6-7, 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4), No. 3 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the quarterfinals ( 6-2, 5-7, 2-6, 6-0, 6-4), and Spain’s Sergi Bruguera in the finals (6-3, 6-4, 6-2). No one saw it coming; no one could have predicted a Kuerten victory.

The 2000 season was far different story. The clay court specialist who hit with heavy topspin and possessed a potent weapon in his arching, whipping backhand wasn’t sneaking up on the French Open field. He was an established star on the tour, and arrived in Paris as the No. 5 seed. He knocked off No. 4 Kafelnikov in quarterfinals in a carbon-copy comeback victory in a raucous five-setter, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and methodically dismantled Sweden’s Magnus Norman, the No. 3 seed in the final, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6. It certainly didn’t hurt Kuerten’s cause that No. 1 seed Andre Agassi lost in the second round and No. 2 seed Pete Sampras was upset in the first round in a memorable match by Australian Mark Philippoussis. Kuerten won five titles in 2000, and rose to a world No. 1 ranking, punctuated by winning the Masters at Lisbon by defeating Sampras and Agassi in the semis and finals respectively – the only player in history to do so. His ascent to the ATP World No. 1 ranking broke an eight-year reign of No. 1 finishes by Americans and was the first time that a South American had ever been ranked No. 1, a slot he held for 43 weeks.

There was no denying Kuerten his third championship in 2001. This time he was seeded No. 1 in Paris and was simply overwhelming in the semifinals, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 over Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero, and coming back from dropping the opening set to pound another Spaniard Alex Corretja in the finals, 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-0.

As the 2002 season unfolded, injuries began to plague Kuerten, and in September 2004 he withdrew from the ATP Tour to undergo hip surgery. The next several years were uneventful, and the player who had won the Italian in 1999, Monte Carlo titles, in 1999 and 2001, and the German Open in 2000 saw persistent health problems shorten his career. Fittingly, he played his last match at the 2008 French Open on the courts where his career had blossomed.

GUGA KUERTEN FOUNDATION

Kuerten—inspired by his late brother Guilherme, who suffered from brain damage during birth and contracted cerebral palsy, founded the Instituto Guga Kuerten in 2000, which is dedicated to helping the disabled by providing developmental opportunities, sports, and education, as well as promoting social inclusion throughout Brazil.

In 1999 he was awarded the Prêmio Brasil Olímpico, the highest award/recognition given to a Brazilian athlete by their country. He was named Brazil’s Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000 and awarded the ATP World Tour’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2003. Two years prior to his enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, he was honored with the Philippe Chatrier Award by the International Tennis Federation. In 2016, Kuerten was named a Global Ambassador and was honored by his country and the International Olympic Committee by bearing the Olympic Torch during the Opening Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gustavo-Kuerten-French-Open-2000_2454947.jpg?20100518145817


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1263 2023-02-17 01:28:49

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1227) William Renshaw

Details

William Charles Renshaw (3 January 1861 – 12 August 1904) was a British tennis player active during the late 19th century, who was ranked world No. 1. He won twelve Major titles during his career. A right-hander, he was known for his power and technical ability which put him ahead of competition at the time. Renshaw shared the all-time male record of seven Wimbledon singles titles with American Pete Sampras until 2017 when Roger Federer won his eighth singles title. His six consecutive singles titles (1881–86) is an all-time record. Additionally he won the doubles title five times together with his twin brother Ernest. William Renshaw was the first president of the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

Career

Renshaw won a total of twelve Wimbledon titles. His record of seven singles titles, which Pete Sampras tied in 2000, was surpassed in 2017 when Roger Federer won his eighth title. The first six were consecutive, an achievement which has been unequalled to this day. Since 1922 the reigning champions have had to play in the main draw, making such feats considerably more difficult. In the summer months he would compete in England and Ireland, while competing on the French Riviera during the winter months and practising on a private tennis court he and his brother had built at their own cost. In singles play he played his twin brother Ernest Renshaw three times (1882, 1883 and 1889) in the Wimbledon final, triumphing on all three occasions. He was unable to defend his title in 1887 because of tennis elbow, the first time this injury received public attention, and during his absence took up golf. The other five titles were in the Gentlemen's doubles, partnering with Ernest. Additionally, he and his brother dominated the sport for many years in a time when the only other Grand Slam was the U.S. Championships, and by custom players did not travel far. The rise in popularity of tennis in this period became known as the 'Renshaw Rush'. In 1888 William was elected the first president of the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). In 1983, William Renshaw was elected posthumously into the International Tennis Hall of Fame together with his brother.

Death

He died in Swanage, Dorset on 12 August 1904, aged 43, of epileptic convulsions. In 2020, a street in Leamington Spa was named after his brother and him, Renshaw Drive.

Additional Information

To casual tennis observers, those three tennis players share nothing in common. In fact, the name Willie Renshaw is an anomaly amidst the names of the two greatest players in history who combined to win more 30 Grand Slam titles.

Dig deeper. What that trio shares ranks among sports greatest achievements and Willie Renshaw was the first to do so – win seven Wimbledon Gentlemen Singles titles.

Six of those championships were consecutive (1881-86). No one in history can touch that streak. And while records are meant to be broken, it won’t be anytime soon that Renshaw’s mark gets eclipsed. Baseliner extraordinaire Björn Borg and the brilliant all-courter Federer each won five straight. That ranks as the modern record.

Sprinkle in five doubles championships (1884-86, 1889-90) playing with his younger twin brother, Ernest, and Willie’s Wimbledon titlist collection swells to 12 trips to the winners circle. It ranks second all-time behind Reginald Doherty’s 12 trophies (4 singles, 8 doubles) and eight behind the remarkable 20 titles won by Martina Navratilova.

Renshaw, noted for his serving and overhead smashes, won three of his championships against his brother Ernest (1882, 1883, 1889), who could never match his younger sibling’s championship prowess. Compatriot John Hartley was Renshaw’s first victim in 1881, 6–0, 6–1, 6–1, and Herbert Lawford suffered a 6–0, 6–4, 9–7 loss in 1884. Lawford, incidentally, was on the losing end of Ernest’s lone Wimbledon title in 1888, 6-3, 7-5, 6-0.

William advanced to Wimbledon’s third round in his first foray, losing to Otway Woodhouse in 1880. After that, he lost only twice more, in the 1888 quarterfinals and in his last trip to the finals in 1890, a 6–8, 6–2, 3–6, 6–1, 6–1 decision against nemesis Willoughby Hamilton. He won 22 of 25 matches and had 14-match streak from 1881-88. Fred Perry eventually broke that record by winning 15 straight.

In 1888, Renshaw was elected the first president of the British Lawn Association.

Wimbledon’s first 30 years were ruled by Britons and both Willie and Ernest led the assault. The duo, who had done wonders to popularize the game, were known as the “Renshaw Rush.”

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1264 2023-02-19 00:08:51

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1228) William Larned

Summary

William Augustus Larned (December 30, 1872 – December 16, 1926) was an American tennis player who was active at the beginning of the 20th century. He won seven singles titles at the U.S. National Championships.

Biography

Larned was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey on the estate of his father, William Zebedee Larned, a wealthy lawyer and a major landowner in Summit. Stoneover, the manor house in which he grew up, today houses the administrative and faculty offices of the Oak Knoll School. Larned Road in Summit honors both father and son; Brayton School in Summit was named in honor of his younger brother Brayton, who died at age 15. He came from a family that could trace its American roots to shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower. In 1890 he came to Cornell University to study mechanical engineering. He first gained fame in his junior year, when he became the first (and to this day, the only) Cornellian to win the intercollegiate tennis championship.

An all-around athlete, Larned captained the St. Nicholas Hockey Club in 1896–97 and was also a horseman, golfer, and rifle shot. He invented the steel-framed racquet in 1922 and founded a company to manufacture it.

Larned won the title seven times, as did Richard Sears before him and Bill Tilden after. Larned was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team in 1902–03, 1905, 1908–09 and 1911–12. Larned achieved a career-high U.S. ranking of No. 1. He twice participated in the Wimbledon Championships, in 1896 and 1905, but could not match his success at home, losing on both occasions in the quarterfinals.

Larned also won other tournaments multiple times including the Middle States Championships four times (1894–95, 1897, 1907), and the Longwood Challenge Bowl five times (1894, 1897, 1903–1907).

He was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1956.

Larned in 1898 had served in the Spanish–American War as one of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders. While serving in the war, Larned caught rheumatism in Cuba; rheumatoid arthritis later deteriorated his health forcing him to retire from tennis after losing the Davis Cup challenge round in early 1912. Partially paralyzed by spinal meningitis, he was unable to do any of the activities he loved most, and became depressed.

Playing style

In their book R.F. and H.L. Doherty - On Lawn Tennis (1903) multiple Wimbledon champions Reginald and Laurence Doherty described Larned's playing style:

Larned, when on his game, is very fine indeed and very brilliant. His is a good style and pleasant to watch. Throughout he hits hard, and goes for his stroke. With very little effort Larned gets great pace on the ball. His forehand is distinctly stronger than his backhand, but he puts top on both, hitting nearly at the height of the bound. Among his strongest points are his forehand volley, which is very hard indeed, and his service, which is a capital one of the ordinary straight kind, and which he, as a rule, follows up to the net. He is quick reaching the net after a good-length drive, and he can drive the ball while he is on the run. He is good at the volley but erratic at times in his return of service. He has really only one fault — namely, that he varies at times; he has his off-days.

Additional Information

The old adage that good things come to those who wait held true for William Augustus Larned, who didn’t win his first major championship until the advanced age of 28, the 1901 U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship. He needed four sets to conquer Beals Wright, 6-2, 6-8, 6-4, 6-4, but it was none-the-less a satisfying victory.

Larned became a star of the America’s premier tennis event, winning seven national singles titles, a record shared with only two other men – math Sears and Bill Tilden. He won his last national title in 1911 at age 38, making him the oldest champion in history, a record that holds firm today. In fact, five of Larned’s triumphs came in his mid-to-late 30s, evidence that he got better with age; Larned was the oldest champion in history every time he won a title. He appeared in nine U.S. Singles finals, second best all-time to only Tilden. Four of those forays were in succession (1900-03).

Big and strong and distinguished-looking in his tennis whites, Larned had powerful groundstrokes and did have the makings of a fine player from the outset, winning the 1892 Intercollegiate Singles Championship as a Cornell University student.

Larned’s dedication to tennis was evidenced by his ten years with the Davis Cup Team, seven times as a player and four times as a captain. His singles prowess helped the U.S. win the title in 1902 and reach the finals in 1903, 1905, 1908, 1909 and 1911.

As part of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders while fighting in Cuba in 1898, Larned developed rheumatism, an illness that affects the joints and connective tissue, an illness that ultimately led to his retirement from tennis in 1911. Post-tennis, Larned worked at the New York Stock Exchange.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1265 2023-02-22 00:09:05

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1229) Suzanne Lenglen

Summary

Suzanne Rachel Flore Lenglen (24 May 1899 – 4 July 1938) was a French tennis player. She was the inaugural world No. 1 from 1921 to 1926, winning eight Grand Slam titles in singles and twenty-one in total. She was also a four-time World Hard Court Champion in singles, and ten times in total. Lenglen won six Wimbledon singles titles, including five in a row from 1919 to 1923, and was the champion in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at the first two open French Championships in 1925 and 1926. In doubles, she was undefeated with her usual partner Elizabeth Ryan, highlighted by another six titles at Wimbledon. Lenglen was the first leading amateur to turn professional, and was ranked as the greatest women's tennis player from the amateur era in the 100 Greatest of All Time series.

Coached by her father Charles throughout her career, Lenglen began playing tennis at age 11, becoming the youngest major champion in history with her 1914 World Hard Court Championship title at age 15. This success, along with her balletic playing style and brash personality, helped make Lenglen a national heroine in a country coping with the aftermath of World War I. After the war delayed her career four years, Lenglen was largely unchallenged. She won her Wimbledon debut in 1919 in the second-longest final in history, the only one of her major singles finals she did not win by a lopsided scoreline. Her only post-war loss came in a retirement against Molla Mallory, her only amateur match in the United States. Afterwards, she began a 179-match win streak, during which she defeated Helen Wills in the high-profile Match of the Century in 1926. Following a misunderstanding at Wimbledon later that year, Lenglen abruptly retired from amateur tennis, signing to headline a professional tour in the United States beginning that same year.

Referred to by the French press as La Divine (The Goddess), Lenglen revolutionised the sport by integrating the aggressive style of men's tennis into the women's game and breaking the convention of women competing in clothing unsuitable for tennis. She incorporated fashion into her matches, highlighted by her signature bandeau headwear. Lenglen is recognised as the first female athlete to become a global sport celebrity and her popularity led Wimbledon to move to its larger modern-day venue. Her professional tours established a format that a series of men's professional tours continued until the Open Era, and led to the first major men's professional tournament the following year. Lenglen was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978, and the second show court at the site of the French Open is named in her honour.

Details

Suzanne Lenglen, (born May 24, 1899, Paris, France—died July 4, 1938, Paris), was a French tennis player and six-time Wimbledon champion in both singles and doubles competition, whose athletic play, combining strength and speed, changed the nature of women’s tennis and positioned her as the dominant women’s amateur player from 1919 until 1926, when she turned professional. She was also one of the greatest women players of hard-court tennis in her time. Her game, temperamental vagaries, and daring court dress were remarkable even in the 1920s, an era rich in colourful sports personages.

Chief among Lenglen’s lawn tennis titles were the Wimbledon singles (1919–23, 1925), women’s doubles (1919–23, 1925), and mixed doubles (1920, 1922, 1925) as well as the French Open singles (1920–23, 1925–26), women’s doubles (1925–26), and mixed doubles (1925–26). At the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium, she earned gold medals in singles and mixed doubles. In world hard-court championship play she won the singles four times (1914, 1921–23), the women’s doubles three times (1914, 1921–22), and the mixed doubles three times (1921–23). Her career was interrupted twice, first by World War I and later (1924) by illness.

In amateur lawn tennis Lenglen lost only one match: to Molla Bjurstedt Mallory at the 1921 U.S. Open in Forest Hills, New York. At Cannes, France, in 1926, she defeated the great American player Helen Wills 6–3 and 8–6 in their only meeting, a widely publicized match. Later that year she traveled to the United States to join a professional tennis tour.

Although admired for her athleticism, Lenglen was equally renowned for her daring fashion choices. While most players preferred the traditional costume of a corset, hat, blouse, and long skirt, Lenglen’s athletic wardrobe consisted of perfectly coordinated short pleated skirts, sleeveless blouses, and short-sleeved calf-length dresses worn without a petticoat. She often wrapped her head in a bandeau fastened with a jeweled pin. Her glamorous image was adored by fans and even led to the creation of the Lenglen tennis shoe.

Additional Information

Tennis fans in Australia never had the chance to see Suzanne Lenglen play in person. In her 12-year career, the most polarizing women’s tennis player of her generation didn’t play at the Australian Championships. In America, she was an apparition, playing only once at the 1921 U.S. Nationals and was bounced from the championships after the second round.

The same couldn’t be said for the throngs of fans who saw Lenglen as the box office attraction at the French and Wimbledon Championships, where she won a combined 21 major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. On the red clay at Roland Garros and green grass at the All England Club, the Frenchwoman filled the stands with her flamboyant brilliance on court and her eccentric personality that blurred the lines between superstar athlete and diva.

Lenglen was controversial, daring and dashing. In the September 13, 1982 issue of Sports Illustrated, the magazine profiled her with the headline: “The Lady in the White Silk Dress,” and wrote rhythmically, “Suzanne Lenglen drank, swore and had lovers by the score — and played tennis incomparably, losing once in seven years.”

Thanks to the research of Wimbledon librarian Alan Little in Suzanne Lenglen: Tennis Idol of the Twenties and cited in Bud Collins’s History of Tennis, Lenglen won 250 championships: 83 in singles (seven without the loss of a game), 74 championships, and 93 mixed doubles titles. Lenglen lost one singles match in eight years, and was unbeaten in 1919 and 1920, 1922 through 1926. During her career, she had winning streaks of 116 matches before the one defeat and ended her amateur career with 182 victories. Wimbledon was her haven — she won 90 of 92 matches (32-0 in singles, 31-1 in doubles, 27-1 in mixed doubles).

Lenglen’s worldwide popularity was twofold: First, she was a championship phenomenon at age 15 (winning the World Hardcourt Championships in Paris), who was groomed by her father for success and perfection. She was athletic and graceful, a relentless competitor who won the Wimbledon Ladies Singles and Doubles Championships five straight years and six of seven years (1919-1923, 1924). Had World War I not delayed Lenglen’s appearance until 1919, her victory total would have likely been higher. Secondly, her arrival on court was a theatrical and provocative production; she donned fur coats, was the first female player to eliminate bulky undergarments, wore her black hair in a short bobbed style, painted her nails and wore bright red lipstick. Her silk tennis dresses were trimmed above her calf — a big taboo for women’s players at the time — and her sleeves were cut short too, displaying bare arms. Lenglen fancied sucking on sugar cubes soaked in brandy or cognac between sets (tossed to her on court by her father from the stands) and often brought a flask with her for sipping those libations in between sets. She was glamorous, dramatic, unpredictable, prone to inexplicable mood swings, and through it all, a rare and fascinating champion.

At her Wimbledon debut in 1919, the 20-year-old Lenglen faced 40-year-old Dorothea Douglass Chambers, the seven time defending champion, in the finals. The contrast was striking, the difference between classical and rock ‘n roll music. Chambers was staid and traditional; Lenglen rebellious and trendsetting. With King George V and Queen Mary in attendance, Lenglen upset Chambers, 10-8, 4-6, 9-7, in a victory she had long said was her most difficult and rewarding. That triumph would lead to immortality at Wimbledon: victories over Douglass in 1920 (6-3, 6-0); Elizabeth Ryan in 1921 (6-2, 6-0), Molla Mallory in 1922 (6-2, 6-0), Kathleen McKane Godfree in 1923 (6-2, 6-2), and Joan Fry Lakeman in 1925 (6-2, 6-0). That reign of dominance was amped up in 1925, when Lenglen was simply invincible. She captured the French Championship losing just seven games throughout the entire tournament and crushed the Wimbledon draw, losing only five games while steamrolling over seven opponents.

Between 1919 and 1926, Lenglen lost only one match, a highly controversial default to Mallory at the 1921 U.S. Nationals. Lenglen had lost the first set badly, 6-2, and through fits of coughing and tears, alerted the chair umpire she could not continue. It was the only significant glitch in her career and one of two memorable matches that have been widely chronicled about Lenglen.

On February 16, 1926, Lenglen faced Helen Wills at the Carlton Tennis Club in Cannes. The match drew worldwide appeal; fans paying 50 francs ($12.50) for any available seat (some perched in trees, crowded the surrounding hotel and housetops, stood on ladders that leaned on fences).  It was billed as “The Match of the Century,” Lenglen was the best female player in the world and Wills was a 20-year-old who had already won three U.S. titles. Lenglen won, 6-3, 8-6, but a rivalry never unfolded. Wills had an emergency appendectomy during the 1926 French Championships, which caused her to default her second round match and also withdraw from Wimbledon. Lenglen became a professional in 1926 and the competition fizzled out. Accounts of that memorable match in France are chronicled in Larry Engelmann's novel, The Goddess and the American Girl.

Lenglen boosted her major championship portfolio with eight doubles and five mixed doubles major titles. All six of her Wimbledon victories were alongside American Elizabeth Ryan. In an interview with sports writer Bob Considine that appeared in Sports Illustrated, Ryan said of Lenglen, “She owned every kind of shot, plus a genius for knowing how and when to use them. She never gave an opponent the same kind of shot twice in a row. She’d make you run miles … her game was all placement and deception and steadiness. I had the best drop shot anybody ever had, but she could not only get up to it but was so fast that often she could score a placement off it.”

At her home-major, the French Championships, Lenglen enjoyed immeasurable success. Prior to 1925, the tournament was only open to French competitors; between 1914 and 1924, Lenglen won four singles, four doubles, and five mixed doubles titles in Paris (unfortunately these wins do not count as major titles). Following the inclusion of players from the rest of the world, Lenglen won the French Championships triple (singles, doubles, and mixed in the same year) in 1925 and 1926.

Lenglen earned Olympic fame at the 1920 Games played in Antwerp. She captured a Gold Medal in singles, a Gold Medal in mixed doubles alongside with Max Decugis, and a Bronze Medal in women’s doubles with Elisabeth d’Ayen.

She was ranked World No.1 for six years (1921-1926). Lenglen turned pro in 1926. In the first women’s professional series, she defeated Mary K. Browne in 38 straight matches.

Said Ryan, “Sure she was a poser, a ham in the theatrical sense. She had been spoiled by tremendous adulation from the time she was a kid … But she was the greatest woman player of them all. Never doubt that.”

Her celebrity was enormous, becoming one of the most followed and well-known athletes in the world, her rise to stardom was meteoric. Tragically, Lenglen’s life ended in 1938 at age 39 when she died of pernicious anemia. But from age 15 when she made her debut at the 1914 French Championships — losing in the finals against compatriot Marguerite Broquedis — to her last championship at the French in 1926, Lenglen provided fans with a tennis experience akin to riding an amusement park roller coaster.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1266 2023-02-24 00:21:42

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1230) Ken Rosewall

Summary

Kenneth Robert Rosewall (born 2 November 1934) is an Australian former world top-ranking amateur and professional tennis player. He won a record 23 Majors in singles, including eight Grand Slam singles titles and, before the Open Era, a record 15 Pro Slam titles (including a Pro Grand Slam in 1963). Rosewall also won a record 24 major men's doubles titles, with nine Grand Slam titles (including a career Grand Slam) and 15 Pro Slam men's doubles titles. Rosewall had a renowned backhand and enjoyed a long career at the highest levels from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. Rosewall was ranked as the world No. 1 tennis player by multiple sources from 1961 to 1964, multiple sources in 1970 and Rino Tommasi in 1971 and 1972. Rosewall was first ranked in the top 20 in 1952 and last ranked in the top 20 in 1977. Rosewall is the only player to have simultaneously held Pro Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces (1962–1963). At the 1971 Australian Open, he became the first man during the Open Era to win a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set. Rosewall won world professional championship tours in 1963, 1964, and the WCT titles in 1971 and 1972. A natural left-hander, Rosewall was taught by his father to play right-handed. He developed a powerful, effective backhand but never had anything more than an accurate but relatively soft serve. He was 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in) tall, weighed 67 kg (148 lb) and sarcastically was nicknamed "Muscles" by his fellow-players because of his lack of them. He was, however, fast, agile, and tireless, with a deadly volley. Now a father of two and grandfather of five, Rosewall lives in northern Sydney.

Details

Ken Rosewall, byname of Kenneth Ronald Rosewall, (born November 2, 1934, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), is an Australian tennis player who was a major competitor for 25 years, winning 18 Grand Slam titles, 8 of which were in men’s singles.

Although he was short and had a slight build, Rosewall remained a powerful force in tennis far longer than many stronger players and was never badly injured. In 1953 he won his first major titles, the Australian and French singles and (with fellow Australian Lew Hoad) the Australian, French, and Wimbledon doubles titles. Two years later he captured his second Australian Open singles title. In 1956 he and Hoad combined to take the Davis Cup from the United States and were also victorious in several international doubles championships.

Rosewall turned professional in 1956, and that year he claimed his first U.S. Open men’s singles championship. He later won U.S. pro singles titles in 1963, 1965, and 1971. His real achievement, however, came from his victories after open tennis started in 1968. That year Rosewall captured his second French Open title, and in 1970 he defeated favourite Tony Roche to win the U.S. Open, 14 years after beating Hoad at the same event. He won the Australian singles championship in 1971 and 1972 and helped Australia win the 1973 Davis Cup. In 1974 Jimmy Connors defeated him in the singles final at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but many thought it remarkable that the 39-year-old Rosewall had made it to the championship match. He had one of the longest professional careers in tennis, and his last victory on the tour came in 1977. His career Grand Slam wins included nine doubles championships and one mixed doubles title. In 1980 Rosewall was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Additional Information

At an age when most players were several years into retirement or at the very least at the tail end of their careers, Ken Rosewall was still winning major singles titles.

On a sweltering 100-plus degree day in Melbourne, one better suited for the pool or beach,  Rosewall became the oldest major tournament winner in the Open Era when, at age 37 years, 2 months and 1 day, he defeated fellow Aussie Mal Anderson, 7-6, 6-3, 7-5, to win the 1972 Australian Open at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

By tennis standards, the final was Old Timers Day. Anderson was 36, and had been working as a tennis and squash instructor the four previous years before coming out of retirement only a few weeks before the tournament. Both were family men and fathers – Anderson had three children, Rosewall two.

Age was never a factor for the resilient Rosewall. He was a modern day Ponce de Leon, and found his Fountain of Youth was on the tennis court. He was ranked No. 3 in the world entering the ’72 Australian Open and was the defending champion, winning at age 36 over Arthur Ashe in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 in 1971. He whipped through that Australian Open without losing a set, becoming the first male player during the Open Era to accomplish that feat.

Not lost in Rosewall’s magnificent three-decade assault on worldwide tennis courts was that his first Australian Championship was as an 18-year-old in 1953 and his last was in 1972 – a record 19-year gap between championships that won’t likely be broken. In 1974, proving he still had plenty of fuel in his tank, the 39-year-old Rosewall advanced to both the Wimbledon and US Open finals, thwarted by Jimmy Connors each time, but he became the oldest player to compete in two major finals in the same year.

Rosewall’s career transcended through the amateur, professional, and Open eras, and he was was immensely successful at every stage of his career. He was like the Energizer Bunny – he never slowed down and his game was timeless, proficient and effective until he decided it was time to end his remarkable run. He won 18 majors (eight singles, nine doubles, one mixed), which is sixth-highest male totals, and an additional 15 titles in 19 opportunities in professional tournaments.

Rosewall’s longevity combined with his results was remarkably uncommon: He won his first French Championship in 1953 and his second in 1968. When he captured his first Australian championship in 1953 at age 18 years, 2 months, he became the youngest champion of that major in history, a record he still holds. He returned to the Australian semifinals in 1976 and 1977, a stunning 22 years after his first time. Rosewall won his first U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship in 1956 and his last in 1970, producing another long gap between titles that stands alone in tennis annals. When he won the 1970 US Open, he was 35 years, 10 months, 11 days old, the third oldest in history behind Bill Tilden and William Larned, but the oldest during the Open Era. He also advanced to four Wimbledon finals (1954, 1956, 1970, 1974), in 20 years, the only major he failed to win. Rosewall didn’t stop competing until his early 40s. In 1975, at age 40, he was still ranked No. 2 in the world. In 1977, at age 43, he won the Tokyo Gunze Open International over Ilie Năstase, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. Just 15 days prior, he defeated Tom Gorman to win the Hong Kong Colgate Tennis Challenge, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.  Rosewall then slid into the senior tour.

“I was lucky,” the modest Rosewall said, “because the game didn’t change a great deal from the start of my career to the end.” Rosewall was severely downplaying his accomplishments, though, because the game did change during his career. Players were bigger and stronger, more prone to attack than languish on the backcourt and advances in racquet technology created a faster and more powerful game. Rosewall simply adapted and flourished.

Rosewall was a complete player in every regard, who didn’t have any discernible weaknesses as he switched from grass to clay to hard courts. Mentored by legendary Aussie coach Harry Hopman, Rosewall developed a game built on speed, agility, and quickness. He possessed a brilliant slice backhand, his best shot, hit tightly and accurately. He began his career as a backcourt specialist – he’d stroke ball after ball after ball – and as he matured, brought the serve-and-volley technique into his math. Similar to his compatriot and longtime rival Rod Laver, the right-handed Rosewall wasn’t big, 5-foot-7, 145 pounds, and was affectionately nicknamed “Muscle” by his Aussie mates because he was anything but strong and powerful. He started playing tennis as early as age 3, learning the game as a natural left-hander who was converted into a righty by his father Robert. Many believe Rosewall’s ambidextrous ability greatly benefited his backhand, widely considered among the best of all time.

Rosewall played on the amateur tour from 1951 to 1956, winning three majors – 1953 Australian over fellow Aussie Mervyn Rose, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4; the French Championships over Vic Seixas, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2; and the 1955 Australian over compatriot and frequent doubles partner Lew Hoad, 9-7, 6-4, 6-4.  He turned professional in 1957, making him instantly banned from the majors, and competing for a decade on the circuit where he flourished, winning eight French Pro championships (1958, 1960-68), five Wembley Pro (1957, 1960-63), and two US Pro (1963, 1965).

The decision to turn professional left Rosewall unable to compete in major tournaments, but when Open tennis made its debut in 1968 Rosewall won the first available major at the French, defeating Laver 6-3, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2. Laver defeated Rosewall in the 1969 French Open and held a distinct advantage when competing on the pro tour against Rosewall.

The duo did play two incredible matches competing on the World Championship Tennis tour in 1971 and 1972. Rosewall won both matches played in Dallas, earning the sweet $50,000 purse. The 1972 final against Laver is regarded as one of the greatest matches ever played. In a 3 ½ hour marathon seen by millions on television, Rosewall outlasted The Rocket, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, winning the match with his bread-and-butter shot, two huge backhand returns produced in the tension-filled final tiebreaker. In typical understated Rosewall fashion he downplayed his victory, telling the media, “There were 10 easy points he gave me,” he said in reference to Laver’s 10 double faults. “When he double faulted in the tiebreaker he really let me off the hook. I was fortunate he started serving poorly.” Rosewall had tied the match 1-1 with a 6-0 second set victory. “I’d like to say I planned it that way, but I didn’t,” Rosewall said. “It’s something that doesn’t happen very often. It certainly gave me a lift.”

Rosewall captured the 1970 US Open over Tony Roche, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3, and won the back-to-back Australian titles in 1971 and 1972, ostensibly closing out his career in the majors, though he splayed sporadically until 1978.

In doubles play, Rosewall won nine majors; three Australian (1953, 1956, 1972) and two each at the French (1953, 1968), Wimbledon (1953, 1956) and U.S. Championships (1956, 1959). Five of those titles were earned alongside Hoad.  In mixed action, he teamed with Margaret Osborne duPont to win the 1956 U.S. Nationals.

Rosewall was a youthful member of the Australian Davis Cup team, joining the squad as an 18-year-old in 1953, and helped the Aussies win the Cup that year three other times (1955, 1956, 1973) during his six years competing.

During the Open Era, the ATP lists Rosewall’s record at 550-175. He won 133 tournaments spanning his lengthy career (35 ATP) and was the No. 2 ranked player in the world in 1975. He earned $1,602,700 during his career in both singles and doubles play, pale in comparison by today’s standards.

In 1971 he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire and in 1975 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. He holds the distinction of being named an Australian Living Treasure for his outstanding contributions to Australian society.

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1267 2023-02-26 00:55:16

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1231) Molla Mallory

Summary

Molla Mallory, née Bjurstedt, (born 1892, Oslo—died Nov. 22, 1959, United States), was a Norwegian-born U.S. tennis player who was the only woman to win the U.S. singles championship eight times. She defeated Suzanne Lenglen of France for the U.S. title in 1921, the only loss in Lenglen’s amateur career.

Mallory was known for her endurance and baseline game, relying on a strong forehand and defense designed to tire her opponents. She moved to New York City in 1914 and won her first national title in 1915, defeating three-time winner Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman. She repeated her victory each year through 1918. After marrying Franklin Mallory in 1919, she again won the championship from 1920 through 1922 and for the last time in 1926. During this period she played some of the greatest women stars of the game, including Helen Wills Moody. She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1958.

Details

Anna Margrethe "Molla" Bjurstedt Mallory (née Bjurstedt; 6 March 1884 – 22 November 1959) was a Norwegian-American tennis player. She won a record eight singles titles at the U.S. National Championships. She was the first woman to represent Norway at the Olympics.

Tennis career

Although she had won a bronze medal in singles for Norway at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, and was the many-time champion of her homeland, Mallory was relatively unknown when she arrived in New York City to begin work as a masseuse in 1915. She entered the U.S. Indoor Championships that year unheralded and beat Marie Wagner 6–4, 6–4, which was the first of her five singles titles at that tournament. She also won the singles title in Cincinnati in 1915.

Mallory had less in the way of stroke equipment than most tennis champions, but she was a fierce competitor, running with great endurance. Robert Kelleher, a former president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and a ball boy during Mallory's era, once said "She looked and acted tough when she was on the court hitting tennis balls. She walked around in a manner that said you'd better look out or she'd deck you. She was an indomitable scrambler and runner. She was a fighter."

She held that a woman could not sustain a volleying attack in a long match. "I do not know a single girl who can play the net game." Therefore, she relied on her baseline game, consisting of strong forehand attacks and a ceaseless defense that wore down her opponents. She took the ball on the rise and drove it from corner to corner to keep her opponent on the constant run. Her quick returns made her passing shots extremely effective. She once said "I find that the girls generally do not hit the ball as hard as they should. I believe in always hitting the ball with all my might, but there seems to be a disposition to 'just get it over' in many girls whom I have played. I do not call this tennis."

Her second-round match with Suzanne Lenglen at the 1921 U.S. National Championships brought Mallory her greatest celebrity. Before the match, Bill Tilden advised Mallory to "hit the cover off the ball." Once the match began, Mallory "attacked with a vengeance" and was ahead 2–0 (40–0) when Lenglen began to cough. Mallory won the first set 6–2 and was up 40–0 on Lenglen's serve in the first game of the second set when Lenglen began to weep and walked to the umpire's stand and informed the official that she was ill and could not continue. After the match, the USTA accused Lenglen of feigning illness. The French Tennis Federation (FTF) exonerated Lenglen and accepted her testimony (and a doctor's) that she had been ill. However, Albert de Joannis, vice president of the FTF who accompanied Lenglen during her trip to the United States, quit his post in protest of the FTF's conclusion. He claimed that Lenglen was "perfectly fit" during the match and that, "She was defeated by a player who on that date showed a better brand of tennis."

Lenglen avenged the loss by defeating Mallory 6–2, 6–0 in 26 minutes in the 1922 Wimbledon final, the shortest final in a Grand Slam tournament on record. Lenglen reportedly said to Mallory after the match, "Now, Mrs. Mallory, I have proved to you today what I could have done to you in New York last year," to which Mallory replied, "Mlle. Lenglen, you have done to me today what I did to you in New York last year; you have beaten me." However, Kathleen McKane Godfree has said that Lenglen denied this exchange. Lenglen claimed that she merely said "thank you" to Mallory and coughed suggestively behind her hand. This was to remind Mallory that she – Lenglen – had indeed had whooping cough in their New York match the previous year. The two played for the last time that summer in Nice, France, with Lenglen winning 6–0, 6–0. This completed the head-to-head rivalry between the players, with Lenglen winning their first match at the 1921 World Hard Court Championships 6–3, 6–2, after which Mallory said about Lenglen, "She is just the steadiest player that ever was. She just sent back at me whatever I sent at her and waited for me to make a fault. And her returns often enough were harder than the shots I sent up to her."

Mallory won the singles title at the U.S. Championships a record eight times in 15 attempts, with the last of her titles occurring at age 42 in 1926. Her worst finish there was a quarterfinal loss in 1927 at age 43. In 1926, Mallory hit one of the heights of her career when she came back from 0–4 in the third set of the final against Elizabeth Ryan, saving a match point in winning her eighth championship. Her farewell to the U.S. Championships was as a 45-year-old semifinalist in 1929, losing to Helen Wills Moody 6–0, 6–0. Mallory is the only woman other than Chris Evert to have won the U.S. Championships four consecutive times.

Molla also multiple titles at other tournaments such as the Middle States Championships which she won record seven times (1915, 1921–22, 1924–25, 1927–28).

She died on 22 November 1959, aged 75, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Legacy

According to A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Mallory was ranked in the world top 10 from 1921 (when the rankings for women began) through 1927, reaching a career high of World No. 2 in those rankings in 1921 and 1922. She was ranked in the U.S. top 10 for 13 consecutive years from 1915 through 1928 (no rankings were issued in 1917) and was top ranked from 1915 through 1922 and in 1926.[

Mallory was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1958.

In 1916, she co-wrote the book Tennis for Women with Samuel Crowther.

Additional Information

Most tennis fans can recall the accomplishments of the great women players in the Open Era, but only true connoisseurs of tennis history can detail the remarkable exploits of Anna Margarethe Molla Bjurstedt Mallory. Despite winning the Bronze Medal in singles at the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, the Norwegian-born Mallory arrived in the United States in 1914 at age 30 with little fanfare and ostensibly to work as a masseuse. She would ultimately become one of the biggest names the sport has ever seen, winning a record eight U.S. National Women’s Singles Championships against eight different opponents. For that to materialize, however, Mallory would have to defeat the era’s most talented and recognizable players, including Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Helen Wills, Mary K. Browne, and Frenchwomen Suzanne Lenglen, the game’s most colorful and dominant player, to secure her place in history. She accomplished that task in droves, earned immortality with her enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1958. In 2008, 50 years after her induction, Mallory’s name was placed in the Court of Champions at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center alongside King, Chris Evert, and Martina Navratilova.

The first of Mallory's eight U.S. National Championships came as a 31-year-old against Wightman in 1915, coming back from dropping the first set 6-4 to ease into a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Her last was achieved as a 42-year old in 1926, making her the oldest champion in history. She clawed back from a 0-4 final set deficit to capture her eighth title against American Elizabeth Ryan, 4-6 6-4 9-7.

Mallory’s game was founded on fitness, strength, and size. She could play longer, hit harder, and move around the court better than her opponents. She played with supreme confidence and focus and attacked every rally as if it were match point. In one of her few published quotes, Mallory said, “I find that the girls generally do not hit the ball as hard as they should. I believe in always hitting the ball with all my might, but there seems to be a disposition to ‘just get it over’ in many girls whom I have played. I do not call this tennis.”

Mallory won five of her eight U.S. Championships before gaining true celebrity. In her 1921 second round match against the flamboyant Lenglen – the Frenchwomen’s only appearance at the U.S. Nationals – Mallory ran her opponent rampant, pushing her to exhaustion and cracking what had been an invincible player. Mallory cruised 6-2 in the first set. Two points into the second set Lenglen retired, informing the chair umpire of ill health. Mallory, who played in every U.S. National Championship from 1915-1929, finished her love affair with the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills as a singles semifinalist in 1929. Adding to her record titles were two additional finalist appearances (1923, 1924) and three trips to the semifinals. Her “worst” result was the quarterfinals in 1927. Tack on two U.S. National Women’s Doubles Championship titles (1916, 1917) and three in mixed doubles (1917, 1922, 1923) and the breadth of her career becomes crystallized. Two of those titles came with partner Bill Tilden, a formidable mixed doubles team as the sport has ever seen.  On seven other combined occasions Mallory was a doubles and mixed doubles finalist.

In 1922, she made her lone Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship final, falling to Lenglen 6-2, 6-0 in 26 minutes, reportedly the shortest major final in history. She was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1926, the year she won her last U.S. title. Mallory played on winning Wightman Cup teams in 1923 and 1927. Her remarkable career had her ranked in the world’s Top 10 three times (1925-27) and the U.S. No. 1 player seven times (1915-16, 1918, 1920-22, 1926, 1929).

f_Molla-Bjurstedt.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1268 2023-02-28 00:31:48

Jai Ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1232) Anthony Wilding

Summary

Anthony Frederick Wilding (31 October 1883 – 9 May 1915), also known as Tony Wilding, was a New Zealand world No. 1 tennis player and soldier who was killed in action during World War I. Considered the world's first tennis superstar, Wilding was the son of wealthy English immigrants to Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand and enjoyed the use of private tennis courts at their home. He obtained a legal education at Trinity College, Cambridge and briefly joined his father's law firm. Wilding was a first-class cricketer and a keen motorcycle enthusiast. His tennis career started with him winning the Canterbury Championships aged 17. He developed into a leading tennis player in the world during 1909–1914 and is considered to be a former world No. 1. He won 11 Grand Slam tournament titles, six in singles and five in doubles, and is the first and to date only player from New Zealand to have won a Grand Slam singles title. In addition to Wimbledon, he also won three other ILTF World Championships (period 1912–1923): In singles, two World Hard Court Championships (WHCC) (1913–14) and one World Covered Court Championships (WCCC) (1913). With his eleven Grand Slam tournaments, two WHCC and one WCCC titles, he has a total of fourteen Major tournament titles (nine singles, five doubles). His sweep of the three ILTF World Championships in 1913 was accomplished on three different surfaces (grass, clay and wood) being the first time this has been achieved in Major tournaments.

Wilding won the Davis Cup four times playing for Australasia, and won a bronze medal at the indoor singles tennis event of the 1912 Olympics, which made him the first and to date only singles player from New Zealand to win an Olympic medal in tennis in the Summer Olympics and the only New Zealand player to win a medal in any tennis event until Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus won the bronze medal in the men's doubles competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in July, 2021. He still holds several all time singles tennis records, namely 23 titles won in a single season (1906) and 114 career outdoor titles (shared with Rod Laver). In his ranking list of greatest tennis players compiled in 1950, Norman Brookes, winner of three Majors and president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, put Wilding in fourth place. Shortly after the outbreak of World War I he enlisted and was killed on 9 May 1915 during the Battle of Aubers Ridge at Neuve-Chapelle, France. In 1978 Wilding was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Details

Both World Wars tragically ended the lives of members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and interrupted burgeoning careers of many others who returned from duty. Anthony Wilding was one of the game’s brightest stars, a four-time Wimbledon champion (1910-1913) and two-time titlist at the Australian Championships (1906, 1909).

Athletic, handsome – some referred the 6-foot-2 Wilding as being debonair – the New Zealander was physically fit and regarded as a fair and honest sportsman. He played tennis in concert with the era – a baseliner who hit balls with precision, control, power and accuracy. While his game looked similar to his counterparts, it was vastly different because Wilding could execute those shots better than most.

He began playing competitive tournament tennis at age 17 in 1901, winning the Canterbury Championships over Richard Harman, 2–6, 8–6, 3–6, 6–0, 6–3. Three years later he made his Wimbledon debut, but it wasn’t until six years later that he was able to hoist the trophy. In the All-Comers draw had a rousing comeback five-setter victory over American Beals Wright, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, and in the Challenge Round he took out Brit Arthur Gore, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 becoming the first and only New Zealander to win a Wimbledon championship. In 1911 British opponent Herbert Roper Barrett retired after the fourth set and the match tied 2-2; in 1912 Wilding defeated Gore in a tight match, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; and in 1913 Wilding played his finest Wimbledon Gentleman Singles final in defeating American Maurice McLoughlin, known as the “California Comet,” 8-6, 6-3, 10-8. Wilding’s bid to win a fifth straight Wimbledon was stymied by doubles partner Norman Brookes in 1915, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

In the midst of his Wimbledon dominance in 1913, Wilding won world titles on clay (World Hard Court Championships), grass (World Lawn Tennis Championships) and wood (World Covered Court Championship), and was thought invincible, though Brookes did find a flaw one year later. While the era’s record keeping has several sources, none of which have total verification, it’s been chronicled that Wilding ranks as the leader, or at the very least among the all-time record holders, in clay court victories (75) and singles titles won in a season (23 in 1906), among major statistical categories.

When Wilding focused on doubles, he and Brookes in particular were a superb team. They captured Wimbledon Gentleman doubles titles in 1907 and 1914, while Wilding won the 1908 and 1910 titles with Brit Josiah Ritchie. Wilding and Brookes were teammates on the Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) Davis Cup team, leading to victories in the 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1914 championships over the United States each time. They won a huge five-setter match in 1908 over Americans Fred Alexander and Wright, 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4; a three setter over Melville Long and McLoughlin in 1909, 12-10, 9-7, 6-3; and a 6-3, 8-6, 9-7 triumph over Thomas Bundy and McLoughlin in 1914.

In 1906 and 1909, Wilding impressively won the Australian Championships in singles action. His first title came over fellow New Zealander Francis Fisher, 6-0, 6-4, 6-4, and his second over Aussie Ernest Parker, 6-1, 7-5, 6-2.

Wilding missed playing in the 1908 Olympics Games in London due to what was called an “administrative bungling,” but returned to compete at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, winning a Bronze Medal in the men’s indoor singles.

At the start of World War I, Tony Wilding joined the Royal Marines and served as a Captain with the Royal Naval Armoured Car Division in the battlefields of France. On May 9, 1915, during the Battle of Aubers Ridge at Neuve-Chapelle, France, he was killed in action. He was 31. He was soon to marry Broadway star Maxine Elliot.

Wilding's instructional book, On the Court and Off was published in 1912, and a biography, Captain Anthony Wilding, was written in 1916 by A. Wallis Myers.

anthony-wilding-medium.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1269 2023-03-02 00:50:06

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1233) Charlotte Cooper

Summary

In winning the women’s tennis singles title at Paris 1900, Charlotte Cooper became the first female athlete to win Olympic gold in an individual event.

A record breaker

Charlotte Cooper was one of the great women’s tennis champions of the late 19th-century, a time when the ladies’ game was played in long dresses. A member of the Ealing Lawn Tennis Club, Cooper won her first Wimbledon singles title in 1895, aged 25, and would go on to repeat the feat on four further occasions. She was a wife and a mother by the time she won the last of those titles, in 1908, when she became the oldest winner of the prestigious tournament at the age of 37 years and 296 days, a record that stands to this day. Her 11 singles finals between 1895 and 1912 represented another Wimbledon record, which she held outright until 1994, when it was equalled by Martina Navratilova.

Fun and games in Paris

Also known as Les concours internationaux d'exercices physiques et de sports, the 1900 Paris Olympic Games took place between mid-May and late October, and were held as part of the city’s Exposition Universelle (World Fair). Women made their first appearance on the Olympic stage, competing in archery, sailing, equestrianism, croquet, boules, life-saving, fishing, golf and tennis. Held in July, the tennis tournament took place on clay courts installed in the rural surroundings of the Ile de Puteaux, in the middle of the Seine, with Cooper entering the women’s singles and the mixed doubles.

History in the making

One of the few female players at the time to serve overarm, Cooper was a superb volleyer and played an attacking game, rushing up to the net at every opportunity. She collected her first gold medal of the Games in the mixed doubles with her compatriot R.F. Doherty, the pair beating Hélène Prévost of France and Great Britain’s Harold Mahony 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

Cooper dominated the women’s singles, winning all her matches in straight sets. After accounting for the USA’s Marion Jones 6-2, 7-5 in the semi-final, she got the better of Prévost once more in the final on 11 July, winning 6-1, 6-4 to become the first woman to win Olympic gold in an individual event.

A life devoted to tennis

Cooper continued to compete at the highest level for a number of years after the Paris Games, contesting her last Wimbledon singles final in 1912, by which time she had turned 42. She went on to appear in the women’s doubles final with Dorothea Douglas the following year, a full 18 years after her maiden singles triumph. The sprightly Cooper continued to play the game she loved right through to the 1950s, and died at home in Helensburgh, Scotland, on 10 October 1966 at the age of 96.

Details

Charlotte Cooper Sterry (née Charlotte Reinagle Cooper; 22 September 1870 – 10 October 1966) was an English female tennis player who won five singles titles at the Wimbledon Championships and in 1900 became Olympic champion. In winning in Paris on 11 July 1900, she became the first female Olympic tennis champion as well as the first individual female Olympic champion.

Early life and career

Charlotte Cooper was born on 22 September 1870 at Waldham Lodge, Ealing, Middlesex, England, the youngest daughter of Henry Cooper, a miller, and his wife Teresa Georgiana Miller. She learned to play tennis at the Ealing Lawn Tennis Club where she was first coached by H. Lawrence and later by Charles Martin and Harold Mahony. She won her first senior singles title in 1893 at Ilkley. Between 1893 and 1917 she participated in 21 Wimbledon tournaments. At her first appearance she reached the semifinals of the singles event in which she lost to Blanche Bingley Hillyard. She won her first singles title in 1895, defeating Helen Jackson in the final of the All-Comers event. In that match she was down 0–5 in both sets but managed to win in straight sets. In 1896, she successfully defended her title in the Challenge Round against Alice Simpson Pickering. Between 1897 and 1901 the titles were divided between Cooper Sterry (1898, 1901) and Bingley Hillyard (1897, 1899, 1900). The 1902 Challenge Round match against Muriel Robb was halted on the first day of play due to rainfall at 6–4, 11–13. The match was replayed in its entirety the next day and Robb won 7–5, 6–1, playing a total of 53 games which was then a record for the longest women's singles final. In 1908 as a mother of two she won her last singles title when she defeated Agnes Morton in straight sets in the All-Comers final after a seven-year hiatus and at the age of 37. She is the oldest Wimbledon's ladies’ singles champion and her record of eight consecutive singles finals stood until 1990 when Martina Navratilova reached her ninth consecutive singles final.

In addition to her singles titles, Cooper Sterry also won seven All-England mixed doubles titles; five times with Harold Mahony (1894–1898)  and once with Laurence Doherty (1900) and Xenophon Casdagli (1908). In 1913 she reached the final of the first Wimbledon women's doubles event with Dorothea Douglass, 18 years after winning her first Wimbledon title.

She won the singles title at the Irish Lawn Tennis Championships in 1895 and 1898, a prestigious tournament at the time. At the 1900 Summer Olympics, where women participated for the first time, Cooper Sterry won the tennis singles event. On 11 July 1900 she defeated Hélène Prévost in the final in straight sets and became the first female Olympic tennis champion as well as the first individual female Olympic champion. With Reginald Doherty, she won the mixed doubles title after a straight-sets victory in the final against Hélène Prévost and Harold Mahony. In 1901 she won the singles title at the German Championships, and in 1902 she won the Swiss Championship. Cooper Sterry remained active in competitive tennis and continued to play in championship events well into her 50s.

On 12 January 1901 she married Alfred Sterry, a solicitor, who became president of the Lawn Tennis Association. They had two children: Rex (1903–81) who was the vice-chairman of the All England Club for a period of 15 years during the 1960s and 1970s and Gwen (born 1905), a tennis player who participated at Wimbledon and played on Britain's Wightman Cup team.

Cooper Sterry, who had been deaf since the age of 26, died on 10 October 1966 at the age of 96, in Helensburgh, Scotland.

She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.

Playing style

Cooper Sterry had an offensive style of playing, attacking the net when the opportunity arose. She was one of a few female players of her time who served overhead. Her main strengths were her steadiness, temperament and tactical ability. Her excellent volleying skills stood out at a time when this was still a rarity in ladies tennis.

Additional Information

Take a look at Charlotte Cooper’s photo. There stands a tall, slender and angular tennis player. She played in ankle length tennis dresses, the appropriate Victorian attire for the time period. Cooper won five Ladies Singles Wimbledon Championships and reached eight consecutive finals from 1895-1902. Cooper’s last title came in 1908, when she was 37 years old, making her the oldest female champion in history. Her record-string of eight trips to center stage lasted 90 years until Martina Navratilova earned her ninth finals appearance in a row (1982-1990).

What’s increasingly more remarkable about Cooper is that at age 26 she lost her hearing and became totally deaf. In a sport where the sound of a ball coming off the strings are such an integral part of playing, Cooper captured all but one of her titles without the benefit of sound, paramount in recognizing the pace of an opponent shot.

If you were a tennis player in Cooper’s era, Wimbledon was the grandest stage to play on. The talented player from nearby Ealing was said to have ridden her bike to the All England Club, her tennis racquet strapped to the bracket in the front fork of the bicycle. It’s been chronicled that Cooper only used two wooden racquets: an old one for matches in the rain and a good one for matches when it was dry outside.

Cooper groomed her game at the Ealing Lawn Tennis Club and had several coaches that not only worked on her physical game, but also her mental disposition as well. Cooper was composed, steady, and consistent on court. That focus helped her win her first Wimbledon title in 1895 over Helen Jackson Atkins, 7-5, 8-6. She employed an attacking net game, a rare, but burgeoning strategy at the time for women, and was just one of a few female players that served overhand.

When Cooper won her fifth and final Wimbledon singles title in 1908, she had snatched back the trophy after a seven-year hiatus, and along the way, defeated the immortal seven-time Wimbledon champion Dorothea Lambert Chambers in the quarterfinals. It was sweet redemption for Cooper, who was crushed by Chambers in the 1904 final, 6-0, 6-3.

All of Cooper’s five Wimbledon titles came over a different opponent. Four of her eleven trips to the finals came against Blanche Bingley Hillyard (1897, 1899, 1900, 1901), but managed only one victory, a 6-2, 6-2 triumph in 1901. According to John Barrett’s Official Guide to the Wimbledon Championships, Cooper’s 1902 Challenge Round match against Muriel Robb was halted on the first day of play due to rainfall at 6–4, 11–13. The match was replayed in its entirety the next day and Robb won 7–5, 6–1, playing a total of 53 games which was then a record for the longest women's singles final.

Though the competition was not given full-championship status until 1913, Cooper ruled the Wimbledon’s mixed doubles competition from 1894-1898, teaming with Harold Mahony to win five straight titles. She won a sixth with Laurence Doherty in 1900. In all-women’s competition, Cooper advanced to the 1913 Wimbledon Ladies Doubles final with partner Chambers.

In 1900, at the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, Cooper became the first woman in history to win a First Place Prize in tennis (medals were not given out until 1904), drubbing France’s Hélène Prévost, 6-1, 7-5. She added a second First Place Prize when she landed the mixed doubles title teaming with Reggie Doherty, 6-2, 6-4, over Great Britain’s Harold Mahony and Prévost.

Cooper had victories in locations other than Wimbledon. She won the Irish Lawn Championship in 1895 and 1898, a prestigious tournament at the time.

In her 1910 book Lawn Tennis for Ladies, Chambers included this passage from Cooper who described winning her first championship at the Ealing Club: "Winning my first championship of the Ealing Lawn Tennis Club at the age of 14 was a very important moment in my life. How well I remember, bedecked by my proud mother in my best clothes, running off to the Club on the Saturday afternoon to play in the final without a vestige of nerve (would that I had none now!), and winning—that was the first really important match of my life."

Cooper was the second – and one of only four women – to win the ladies’ singles titles at Wimbledon after becoming mothers. She joined Hillyard (the first in 1897). Chambers and Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1980) later joined the elite group.

charlotte-cooper-sterry.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1270 2023-03-04 00:38:09

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1234) Laurence Doherty

Summary

Hugh Laurence Doherty (8 October 1875 – 21 August 1919) was a British tennis player and the younger brother of tennis player Reginald Doherty. He was a six-time Grand Slam champion and a double Olympic Gold medalist at the 1900 Summer Olympics in singles and doubles (also winning a Bronze in mixed doubles). In 1903 he became the first non-American player to win the U.S. National Championships.

Early life

Doherty was born on 8 October 1875 at Beulah Villa in Wimbledon, London, the youngest son of William Doherty, a printer, and his wife, Catherine Ann Davis. Doherty was the shorter of the two brothers, at 1.78 m, who played championship tennis in their native England and at Wimbledon at the turn of the century.

Like his brother he was educated at Westminster School from 1890 to 1894 followed by Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he played for and became President of the Cambridge University Lawn Tennis Club. He gained his blues in 1896, 1897, and 1898. In 1892 Doherty won the Renshaw cup, the All-England Championships singles title for boys under 16 which was held in Scarborough.

In addition to lawn tennis he also played real tennis and golf.

Career

The brothers were reportedly urged to play tennis by their father, for health reasons. Known as "Little Do", Doherty won Wimbledon five consecutive times in singles and eight times in doubles with his brother. In 1903, he became the first tennis player to win a Grand Slam tournament outside of his native country by beating defending champion William Larned in three straight sets in the final of the US Championships in Newport. He won the singles title at the British Covered Court Championships, played at the Queen's Club in London, six consecutive times between 1901 and 1906. Additionally he won the singles title at The South of France Championships in Nice seven times in a row (1900–1906).

Doherty won the singles event of the tennis competition at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris. Gold medals were not given at the 1900 Games. In the semifinal he was scheduled to play against his brother but Reggie withdrew, since the brothers refused to play each other before the final. In the final Doherty defeated Harold Mahony in three straight sets. Doherty also won the doubles title at the 1900 Olympic Games with his brother. In the mixed doubles event he partnered with Marion Jones, the winner of the singles title at the 1899 U.S. Championships, and lost in the semifinal against his brother who had teamed up with Charlotte Cooper.

Between 1902 and 1906 Doherty played for the British Davis Cup team and was undefeated during this period. In 1902 he partnered his brother to win the doubles match in the challenge round against the United States but the latter retained the Cup after a 3–2 victory. In 1903 Doherty won both his singles matches as well as the doubles match to help the British Isles to their first Davis Cup victory. In 1904, 1905 and 1906 he was part of the British team that successfully defended the Cup.

The brothers co-wrote R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1903).

He gave up tennis for golf in 1906 and distinguished himself in that sport as well. In 1908 Doherty reached the last 16 of the British amateur championship at the Royal St George's course.

In 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, Doherty joined the Anti-Aircraft branch of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve but was released in 1915 due to ill health.

Doherty died of toxemia on 21 August 1919 at Leon Cottage in Broadstairs, Kent after suffering from tubercular nephritis and cystitis for two years. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980 together with his brother.

Additional Information

Whether by design or pure luck, Hugh Laurence Doherty lived on Hatfield Road, conveniently located near the main bus station eight miles away from the All England Club. While it’s not known whether Doherty walked, biked, or took public transportation to Wimbledon – bus routes were introduced in London in July, 1829 – this much we do know: Doherty dominated the early proceedings at Wimbledon like no other in history, winning five straight singles and eight straight doubles titles with older brother Reggie.

“Laurie” or “Little Do,” as he was called, captured six major singles titles (five Wimbledon, one U.S.). Doherty’s impressive string of Wimbledon titles didn’t exactly start as planned. Reggie Doherty defeated him in the 1898 final in a marathon battle of strokes, 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1. It took four years for Laurence to make a return appearance and in four sets ousted fellow Brit Arthur Gore, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.

Three of his championships came against different opponents. He defeated fellow Brit Frank Riseley in the 1903, 1904, and 1906 Wimbledon final. Two of the three went straight sets, but Riesley wouldn’t let Doherty escape his final Wimbledon easily, pushing him in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss. In 1903, American William Larned lost the chance to defend his native major title, falling to Doherty, 6-0, 6-3, 10-8, earning Laurence the distinction of becoming the first tennis player in history to win a singles major outside their home turf.

The August 28 New York Times reported that weather conditions on that memorable day were “fair and warm.” Both players were said to be in good shape and without explanation the match was late in starting, well after 11 a.m. Doherty broke Larned in the opening game and continued to play balls against the American’s backhand, his weaker side, throughout the match. The match was “of a highly spectacular nature, and several times the ball was kept in the air for a prolonged period, the point being earned by a pretty place or smash by the men.”

Doherty won a Wimbledon title in 1905, defeating Aussie Norman Brookes in straight sets, 8-6, 6-2, 6-4.

When it came to doubles competition, Laurie and Reggie dominated championships, winning eight Wimbledon titles, two U.S. titles, and playing for two other Wimbledon titles. In their ten victories, the brothers dropped just four sets and were pushed to a fifth set just once – the 1900 Wimbledon final against compatriots Herbert Roper Barrett and Harold Nisbet – the Dohertys winning 9-7, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3. The duo’s record eight championships and ten straight finals appearances had only two nicks – a 1902 loss to Brits Sidney Smith and Riseley 6-4, 6-8, 3-6, 6-4, 9-11) and again in 1906 (8-6, 4-6, 7-5, 3-6, 3-6). Back-to-back U.S. titles were won in 1902 and 1903, both coming rapidly in straight sets.

Doherty played various tournaments in New Zealand, Scotland, Germany, and France, and in July 1900 won First Place (no medals were awarded until 1904) in both singles and doubles  at the Olympic Games in Paris. The singles victory showcased Doherty’s prowess on a worldwide stage, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 over fellow Brit Harold Mahoney. The doubles victory was shared with brother, Reggie, over the mixed national team of American Basil Spalding de Garmendia and France’s Max Decugis.

Perfection was achieved in Davis Cup competition; Doherty played on the Great Britain team for five years, compiling an unblemished 12-0 record (7-0 in singles, 5-0 in doubles) and led the team to championships in 1903, 1904, 1905, and 1906. The 1903 title was the first for the British Isles.

The brothers co-wrote R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1903), one of the leading historical publications on the game. They were newsmakers themselves, prominently featured in Ernest C. Elliott’s Fifty Leaders of British Sport: A Series of Portraits, published in 1904.

Doherty’s sportsmanship was pronounced. In his obituary, the Times of London wrote, “He played an English game in the spirit in which Englishmen think games should be played.”

laurie-doherty.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1271 2023-03-06 00:12:36

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1235) Blanche Bingley

Details

Blanche Bingley Hillyard (née Bingley; 3 November 1863 – 6 August 1946) was an English tennis player. She won six singles Wimbledon championships (1886, 1889, 1894, 1897, 1898, 1900) and was runner up seven times, having also competed in the first ever Wimbledon championships for women in 1884.

She also won the Irish championships three times (1888, 1894, 1897); the German championship twice (1897, 1900); and the South of England Championships at Eastbourne, 11 times between 1885 and 1905.

Early life

Bingley was born in Greenford, west London, the daughter of a wealthy tailoring business proprietor. She was a member of the Ealing Lawn Tennis & Archery Club.

Biography:

Wimbledon

Her professional career at Wimbledon spanned almost 30 years, longer than any other woman to date. In 1884, she competed in the first ever Wimbledon championships for women, and two years later she captured the first of her six singles titles. Also a seven-time losing finalist, Bingley's 13 finals remain a Wimbledon record as is the 14-year time span between her first and last titles.

Bingley's Wimbledon record suggests that she was the second strongest female player of her day, only behind Lottie Dod, who defeated her in five finals.

After marriage to Commander George Whiteside Hillyard she usually was listed in various records as Blanche Bingley Hillyard. At age 36, she again won the Wimbledon final and continued to compete until age 49, playing her last Wimbledon in 1913.

Other championships

Bingley's first success came at the Middlesex Championships, held in Chiswick Park (west London) in 1884. She won the Irish championships on three occasions (1888, 1894, 1897) and the German International Championships, played in Hamburg, twice; in 1897, defeating Charlotte Cooper Sterry in the final in three sets, and in 1900 against Muriel Robb, also in three sets. Additionally, she won the South of England Championships at Eastbourne, then a major event, eleven times between 1885 and 1905. She also won the Sussex Championships at Brighton five times (1893–1896, 1900). She won the London Championships at Stamford Bridge three times (1886–1888), the Derbyshire Championships at Buxton six times (1888, 1893–1894, 1896, 1901, 1906), the Exmouth LTC Tournament two times (1887–1888) at Exmouth, the British Covered Court Championships (1901), the Bournemouth Open Tournament at Bournemouth (1901),

Private life

She married Commander George Whiteside Hillyard in Greenford on 13 July 1887) one week after the Wimbledon final. He was one of the foremost men's players on the international tennis circuit between 1886 and 1914. He also played first class cricket for Middlesex and Leicestershire. From 1907 to 1925, he was secretary of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and director of The Championships at Wimbledon between 1907 and 1925. He died in Bramfold, Pulborough, on 24 March 1943.

Death and legacy

Blanche Bingley Hillyard died at her home in Pulborough, West Sussex in 1946.

She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.

Additional Information

The record for most appearances in a Wimbledon singles final belongs to Great Britain’s Blanche Bingley Hillyard – a staggering 13 trips. The record for time span between winning Wimbledon championships belongs to Blanche Bingley Hillyard – 14 years between her first (1886) and last (1900). There’s a pattern readily seen with Hillyard. She dominated her native event like no other player in history.

Hillyard made her Wimbledon debut as a 20-year-old in 1884 and won her first championship in 1886, defeating compatriot Maud Watson, 6–3, 6–3. Hillyard won her last championship in 1900 at age 37, establishing herself as the oldest female champion in Wimbledon history at the time. The player she defeated in the 1897, 1899, and 1900 finals, Charlotte Cooper, became the oldest female player (just shy of 38-years-old) when she won the 1908 title over Agnes Morton, 6-4, 6-4. Hillyard continued playing into her late 40s, last playing at Wimbledon in 1913 at age 48.

Her chief rival during tennis’s early days was fellow Englishwoman Lottie Dod, who defeated her in the 1887, 1888, 1891, 1892, and 1893 finals.

Hillyard’s tennis exploits weren’t only reserved for Wimbledon. She won the Irish Championships in 1888, 1894, and 1897 and the German Championships over Cooper in 1897 and Muriel Robb in 1900. Impressively, she won the South of England Championships at Eastbourne – then considered a major championship – 11 times between 1885 and 1905.

blanche-bingley-hillyard.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1272 2023-03-08 00:05:39

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1236) Bill Johnston

Summary

William Marquitz Johnston (November 2, 1894 – May 1, 1946) was an American world No. 1 tennis player.

Biography

Bill Johnston was born November 2, 1894, in San Francisco, the son of Robert Johnston, an electrical plant mechanic and Margaret Burns, of Irish origin. Johnston started to play tennis in early 1906, aged 11, on the public asphalt courts in Golden Gate Park. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the schools were closed, and he spent much of his spare time practicing on the tennis courts. He achieved his first tournament victory at the 1910 Bay Counties junior singles competition.

In 1916, Johnston won the Cincinnati Open (now Cincinnati Masters) after Clarence Griffin defaulted in the challenge round. Johnston won the Longwood Challenge Cup, played on the Longwood Courts at Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in 1913, 1916, 1919, 1920 and 1921.

During World War I, Johnston served in the U.S. Navy.

Johnston was the co-World No. 1 player in 1919 and in 1922 respectively along with Gerald Patterson and Bill Tilden. He won the US Championships in 1915 and 1919 as well as the World Hard Court Championships (clay) and Wimbledon in 1923.

Until "Big Bill" Tilden began to defeat him regularly in 1920, Johnston had been the best American player for a number of years and was ranked No. 1 by the United States Lawn Tennis Association in 1915 and 1919. In July 1919, Johnston defeated Tilden in the final of the U.S. Clay Court Championships. A month later, Johnston beat Tilden in three straight sets in the final of the 1919 US Championships, then Tilden overtook him in 1920. Johnston remained competitive with Tilden for the next seven or eight years, but was never able to beat Tilden in an important match again. For instance, in 1922 Johnston defeated Tilden three times out of four occasions but Tilden beat Johnston in the final of the U.S. Championships in five sets. In 1923, despite Johnston winning both the World Hard Court Championships and Wimbledon, he failed to beat Tilden at the US Championships, losing in three one-sided sets. Johnston threatened to get closer to beating Tilden on the big stage in following years, but memorably lost the 1925 US Championships final in five sets to Tilden. Johnston was runner-up a record six times in the US Championships, and this is still a record today. Together Johnston and Tilden won seven consecutive Davis Cup trophies, from 1920 to 1926, a record that still stands. In September 1927, Johnston announced his retirement after the U.S. Davis Cup loss to the French team consisting of the 'Four Musketeers' and confirmed his decision in mid-1928. He turned down an offer to become professional.

Johnston was renowned for the power and deadliness of his forehand drive, which he hit shoulder-high with a Western grip and which was considered the best forehand of his time.

After his tennis career, Johnston was active in the brokerage industry. He died of tuberculosis on May 1, 1946 at the age of 51.

Details

“Little” Bill Johnston capably obtained six U.S. National Tennis Championships to become a member of the Hall of Fame. Johnston, a slight 5-foot-81/2 counterpuncher, was scrappy and tenacious. His athleticism and powerful western forehand compensated for size and reach. The San Francisco native began playing on public courts in 1906, shortly after the San Francisco fire and earthquake.

Though he played in the shadow of “Big” Bill Tilden, Johnston’s game was big when it mattered. He won the 1915 U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship over the “California Comet” Maurice McLoughlin, 1-6, 6-0, 7-5,10-8. Johnston pummeled Tilden in the 1919 final, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, initiating a rivalry that would captivate tennis fans. Johnston’s victory set the stage for epic battles between the two Davis Cup teammates and combatants. Starting in 1920, Tilden reeled off six straight U.S. National Men’s Singles Championships, and defeated Johnston five times – three times in epic five-setters – and four straight from 1922-1925. The first of those marathon matches came in 1920 when Tilden avenged the previous year’s loss with a 6-1, 1-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 gripping victory. Little Bill’s last of seven appearances in U.S. championship matches was in 1925, with Tilden sending off his worthy adversary with a 4-6, 11-9, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 loss. Johnston played in eight singles finals (1915, 1916, 1919, 1920, 1922-25), tied for third most in history with Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl.

Johnston was a mainstay at the U.S. Nationals, winning or earning a finalist position in 13 singles and doubles events. Johnston compiled a 58-10 career singles record (.853) at the U.S. event, the fourth highest winning percentage in history behind Tilden, Sampras, and Roger Federer. His 58 victories rank 10th best all-time. He was an adept doubles player as well. Teaming with Clarence Griffin, the two won three U.S. National Men’s Doubles Championships (1915, 1916, 1920) in what was surely entertaining and high-energy tennis featuring the game’s top “mighty-mites.”

Across the pond at Wimbledon, Johnston routed fellow American Frank Hunter 6-0, 6-3, 6-1 to capture the Wimbledon Gentlemen Singles Championship in 1923. Johnston was one of the most popular players of his generation and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1915 and 1919. “Little Bill” played on seven straight Davis Cup Championship teams from 1920-26, compiling a phenomenal 18-3 overall record, 14-3 in singles competition. With “Little Bill” and “Big Bill” leading the charge, the United States defeated Japan once and New Zealand, Australia, and France twice each for the seven straight championships, a record that still stands in the competition that began in 1900.

bill-johnston.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1273 2023-03-10 00:39:00

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1237) Juliette Atkinson

Summary

Juliette Paxton Atkinson Buxton (née Atkinson; April 15, 1873 – January 12, 1944) was an American tennis player. She was born in Rahway, New Jersey, United States.

Biography

Atkinson was the daughter of a Brooklyn, New York physician. She won five U.S. Championships doubles titles in a row with three different partners. Both natives of Maplewood, New Jersey, she and her sister Kathleen Atkinson partnered to win the last two titles. Also the sisters twice faced each other in the semifinals of the singles competition. She won three mixed doubles titles with Edwin P. Fischer.

In both 1899 and 1901, Atkinson won the doubles title and reached the singles final at the tournament now known as the Cincinnati Masters. She won the 1899 doubles title with Myrtle McAteer (falling to McAteer that year in the singles final) and the 1901 doubles title with Marion Jones Farquhar (falling in the singles final to Winona Closterman).

In 1896 and 1898, she won the Niagara International Tennis Tournament. She won the Canadian Championships three times in a row, 1896, 1897 and 1898.

In 1918, she married George B. Buxton and had no children.

She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1974.

Details

Newspaper stories during tennis’s early years provided colorful and descriptive accounts, often with their own spin. This recap from the June 18, 1898 New York Times, summarized Juliette Atkinson’s victory over Marion Jones at the U.S. National Championships held in Philadelphia:

“Miss Juliette Atkinson of the Ladies’ Club of the Staten Island Athletic Club this afternoon again won the lawn tennis championship of the United States by defeating Miss Marion Jones of the Southern California Lawn Tennis Association and daughter of United States Senator Jones of Nevada. This is the third time that Miss Atkinson has won the championship, having won it in 1895 and 1897. The Wissachickon Challenge Cup now becomes her personal property. It has been in competition for twelve years. To-day’s match...took five sets to decide it. The contestants were evenly matched, but Miss Atkinson was much the stronger at the end of the three hours of fast playing. Both played a baseline game throughout, seldom coming up to the nets. When they did come up to the nets, however, Miss Atkinson almost invariably got the better of the exchange.”

At 5-feet tall, the Rahway, New Jersey-born Atkinson was a tennis marvel, winning thirteen U.S. National Championships, three in singles and ten in doubles (seven in women's doubles and three in mixed play). Size was never a detriment, she had fitness, a knowledge of how to play an all-court game, and obvious skill.

In a time when women played best of 5 sets, two of her three victories went the distance. In 1895 she had her easiest match against Helen Hellwig, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. Longtime rival Elisabeth Moore lost the first two sets in 1897 and then pushed Atkinson to a deciding fifth, ultimately losing 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3. In 1898, Jones kept her title hopes alive by winning the fourth set, but losting the fifth.

Atkinson won seven U.S. National Women’s Doubles Championships with five different partners. Five straight came from 1894 to 1898, the last two playing alongside her sister Kathleen. Other than the Roosevelt sisters (Ellen and Grace in 1900) and the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena in 1999, 2009), the Atkinsons are the only sister duo to win a U.S. championship. They also had the distinction of becoming the first sisters to face each other in the U.S. Championships. That happened twice — in the 1895 and 1897 semifinals — with Juliette winning both matches in straight sets.

Atkinson was more particular about her mixed doubles partner, teaming with Edwin P. Fischer to win the 1894, 1895, and 1896 U.S. Championships. For the New York born Fischer, those were the only Grand Slam titles he earned in a nine year career playing amateur tennis.

Before she married in 1918, Atkinson competed at the Canadian Championships, which was initiated in 1881 and remains a popular tour site today, and won the singles title three straight times (1886-1888).

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It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

#1274 2023-03-12 00:10:36

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1238) Malcolm Marshall

Details

Malcolm Denzil Marshall (18 April 1958 – 4 November 1999) was a Barbadian cricketer. Primarily a fast bowler, Marshall is widely regarded as one of the greatest and one of the most accomplished fast bowlers of the modern era in Test cricket. He is often acknowledged as the greatest West Indian fast bowler of all time, and certainly one of the most complete fast bowlers the cricketing world ever saw. His Test bowling average of 20.94 is the best of anyone who has taken 200 or more wickets. He achieved his bowling success despite being, by the standards of other fast bowlers of his time, a short man – he stood at 180 cm (5 ft 11 in), while most of the great quicks have been well above 183 cm (6 ft 0 in) and many great West Indian fast bowlers, such as Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, were 197 cm (6 ft 6 in) or above. He generated fearsome pace from his bowling action, with a dangerous bouncer. He also statistically went on to become the most successful test match bowler of the 1980s with 235 scalps with an average of 18.47 within a time period of just five years.

Marshall was also a very dangerous lower middle-order batsman with ten Test fifties and seven first-class centuries. He ended his career as the all-time highest wicket taker for West Indies in test cricket with 376 wickets, a record which he held up until November 1998 before Courtney Walsh surpassed his milestone.

In 2009, Marshall was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. To mark 150 years of the Cricketers' Almanack, Wisden named him in an all-time Test World XI.

Early years

Marshall was born in Bridgetown, Barbados. His father, Denzil DeCoster Edghill, also a cricketer who played for Kingspark cricket club in St. Philip and the son of Claudine Edghill and Guirdwood Ifill, was a policeman; he died in a traffic accident when Marshall was one year old. His mother was Eleanor Welch. Malcolm had three half-brothers and three half-sisters. He grew up in the parish of Saint Michael, Barbados and was educated at St Giles Boys' School from 1963 to 1969 and then at Parkinson Comprehensive from 1969 to 1973.

He was partly taught cricket by his grandfather, who helped to bring him up after his father's death. He played cricket for the Banks Brewery team from 1976. His first representative match was a 40-over affair for West Indies Young Cricketers against their English equivalents at Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad and Tobago in August 1976. He made nought and his eight overs disappeared for 53 runs. He idolised legendary West Indies allrounder Sir Garfield Sobers at his young age and he started admiring Sobers after watching the magnificent test century by Sobers against New Zealand in 1972.

Marshall's initial senior appearance was a Geddes Grant/Harrison Line Trophy (List A) match for Barbados on 13 February 1978; again he got out without scoring and did not take a wicket. Four days later, he made his first-class debut against Jamaica, and whilst he failed to score runs, he claimed 6–77 in the Jamaican first innings. On the back of this single first-class appearance he was selected to tour India in 1978/79, many first-choice West Indian stars being unavailable having committed themselves to playing World Series Cricket. Marshall heard of his selection on the radio while working in the storeroom at Banks Brewery and later claimed he did not know where India was.

International debut

Marshall made his test début in the second test against India at Bangalore on 15 December 1978. He immediately developed a career-long antipathy to Dilip Vengsarkar due to his aggressive appealing. Despite doing little of note in the three Tests he played on that tour, he did take 37 wickets in all first-class games, and Hampshire saw enough in him to take him on as their overseas player as a successor to Andy Roberts for 1979, remaining with the county until 1993. He was in West Indies' World Cup squad, but did not play a match in the tournament. Hampshire were not doing well at the time, but nevertheless he took 47 first-class wickets, as well as picking up 5–13 against Glamorgan in the John Player League.

Marshall came to prominence in 1980, when in the third Test at Old Trafford he accounted for Mike Gatting, Brian Rose and Peter Willey in short order to spark an England collapse, although the match was eventually drawn despite Marshall taking 3–36 (and 2–116 in the second innings). After 1980/81 he was out of the Test side for two years, but an excellent 1982 season with Hampshire when he took 134 wickets at under 16 apiece, including a career-best 8–71 against Worcestershire, saw him recalled and thereafter he remained a fixture until the end of his international career. As of 2022 Marshall's performance in 1982 remains the highest haul of first-class wickets by any bowler in an English season for over fifty years, since a reduction in the annual number of County Championship matches in 1969.

In seven successive Test series from 1982/83 to 1985/86 he took 21 or more wickets each time, in the last five of them averaging under 20. His most productive series in this period was the 1983/84 rubber against India, when he claimed 33 wickets as well as averaging 34 with the bat and making his highest Test score of 92 at Kanpur. A few months later he took five in an innings twice at home against Australia. In 1982, he signed a one-year contract with Melbourne Sub-District side Moorabbin and he eventually became the first active international cricketer to sign up for the Sub-District league. Marshall was reportedly approached by the Moorabbin officials during the first test match between Australia and West Indies at Melbourne in December 2021 after learning that Marshall was interested in playing domestic cricket in Australia. At the peak of his career, he turned down an offer of US$1 million to join a rebel West Indies team on a tour to South Africa, still suffering international sporting isolation due to apartheid.

Marshall relinquished his county duties during the 1984 tour of England. In a Test series that came to be known as the "Blackwash", the West Indians completed a 5–0 triumph, to date the only visiting team in England to have achieved such a feat. Marshall played a key role, taking the second-most wickets in the series with 24, behind only Joel Garner who took 29, and establishing his reputation as one of the finest bowlers in the world. In the series, he took five or more wickets in an innings three times, had the best bowling average – conceding only 18.20 runs per wicket, and the best strike rate – averaging one wicket every 42 deliveries.

In the first test at Edgbaston, which the West Indies won by an innings and 180 runs, he ended the Test career of local Warwickshire opener Andy Lloyd after half an hour; he had already faced a few short deliveries from both Marshall and Garner but was then caught unawares by a delivery from Marshall that rose sharply and struck him flush on the temple behind his right eye. Lloyd soon had to retire hurt when he realized he was suffering blurred vision in his right eye and was hospitalized for several days. Lloyd would remain stranded on 10 runs without being dismissed and he never went onto play international cricket again leaving him with a unique record of being the only opening batsman in test cricket to have never been dismissed by any bowler.

In the third Test at Headingley, Marshall ran through England's batting order in the second innings to finish with 7/53, despite having broken his thumb in two different places when he attempted to field a stroke played by Chris Broad on the first morning in the first innings. He also came out to bat at number 11 in West Indies' first innings despite his injury, allowing his team to gain a further psychological advantage as Larry Gomes completed an unbeaten century (Marshall batted one-handed that day, with one arm in plaster). Marshall himself also contributed to the team with the bat scoring a boundary with an inside-out forehand down the line. Marshall was dismissed soon after Larry Gomes had completed the century. Even though the partnership lasted for just 16 minutes and with only 12 runs being produced, it turned out to be one of the most memorable test match partnerships for the tenth wicket. His heroics by batting and bowling with a broken thumb also impressed his captain Clive Lloyd who recalled the incident as one of the greatest and most courageous efforts that he ever witnessed during his playing career.

In 1984/85 Marshall had another successful series at home against New Zealand, although there were calls for his bouncers to be ruled as intimidatory beyond what was acceptable, and that Marshall should have been admonished by the umpires. A rising delivery broke the nose of England batsman Mike Gatting in a one-day match in February 1986; Marshall later found bone fragments embedded in the leather of the ball. As well as the bouncer, however, Marshall succeeded in swinging the ball in both directions. He also used an in-swinging yorker as well as developing an effective leg-cutter, and with the exception of the 1986/87 New Zealanders, against whom he could only manage nine wickets at 32.11, no side seemed to have an answer to him.

1988 saw his career-best Test performance of 7–22 at Old Trafford, and he ended the series with 35 wickets in five Tests, at 12.65. Marshall was coming towards the end of his international career, moreover, and though he took 11 wickets in the match against India at Port of Spain the following winter, he played his last Test at The Oval in 1991. His final Test wicket – his 376th – was that of Graham Gooch. These efforts led him to retain the number 1 ranking in ICC Test Bowling Rankings for the year 1990 (which he attained in 1989).

Later career

Marshall's final appearances for West Indies came in One Day International cricket – the 1992 World Cup. However, in his five matches in the tournament, he took just two wickets, both in the penultimate game against South Africa at Christchurch. This was the only time Marshall played for West Indies against South Africa in his career, though he played provincial cricket for Natal in both 1992/93 and 1993/94. Whilst playing at Natal, his experience was invaluable, and his guidance was an influential spark in the early career of Shaun Pollock. Today, Shaun Pollock attributes much of his success to his mentor, Marshall.

Having missed out on Hampshire's earlier one-day triumphs in the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1988 and the Nat West Trophy in 1991 because of touring commitments with the West Indies, Marshall was in the Hampshire team that won the 1992 Benson and Hedges Cup. He played for Hampshire again in 1993, taking 28 wickets at a shade over 30 runs apiece, but that was to be the end of his time in county cricket. He bade farewell to Hampshire fans in a benefit match at the County Ground, Southampton in September 1993, representing a West Indies XI against the county. As he walked off the pitch after his dismissal, according to a report, "the crowd, as one man, rose to its feet and cheered Marshall every step of the way." This also proved to be one of the last matches at Southampton for David Gower (who Marshall dismissed on the day while bowling off-spin). In 1994 his only game in England was against the South Africans for the Scarborough President's XI during the Festival. He played five matches for Scotland in the 1995 Benson and Hedges Cup without much success, and his last senior games were for Natal in 1995/96. In his final senior appearance, against Western Province in a limited-overs game at Cape Town, the first of his two victims was his former international teammate Desmond Haynes. He took over 1,000 wickets for Hampshire, and received more than £60,000 (tax free) in his benefit year in 1987.

Illness, death and legacy

In 1996, Marshall became coach both of Hampshire and the West Indies, although the latter's steadily declining standards during this period brought a considerable amount of criticism his way. In 1999, during the World Cup it was revealed that Marshall had colon cancer. He immediately left his coaching job to begin treatment, but this was ultimately unsuccessful. He married his long-term partner, Connie Roberta Earle, in Romsey on 25 September 1999, and returned to his home town, where he died on 4 November aged 41, weighing little more than 25 kg.

"The worldwide outpouring of grief," wrote journalist-friend Pat Symes, "was testimony to the genuine love and admiration he engendered." At the funeral service at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium in Wildey, Barbados, former West Indian fast bowler Rev. Wes Hall whispered the last rites in the belief that Marshall, having found God again in the last few weeks of his life, was off to Heaven. His coffin was carried at the service by five West Indian captains. He was buried at St Bartholomew's Church, Barbados.

The Malcolm Marshall Memorial Trophy was inaugurated in his memory, to be awarded to the leading wicket-taker in each England v West Indies Test series. Another trophy with the same name was set up to be the prize in an annual game between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

Malcolm Marshall Memorial cricket games are also played in Handsworth Park, Birmingham, England. On the Sunday of the UK's August bank holiday, invitation XIs play against an individual's "select eleven".

The entrance road to Hampshire's ground the Rose Bowl is called Marshall Drive in memory of Marshall and another West Indian Hampshire great Roy Marshall.

His former Hampshire captain, Mark Nicholas, wrote a moving tribute to him.

Statistics

Personal information

Full name  :  Malcolm Denzil Marshall
Born  :  18 April 1958
Bridgetown, Barbados
Died  :  4 November 1999 (aged 41)
Bridgetown, Barbados
Height  :  180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Batting  :  Right-handed
Bowling  :  Right-arm fast
Role  :  Bowler

International information

National side  :  West Indies
Test debut  :  (cap 172)    15 December 1978 v India
Last Test  :  8 August 1991 v England
ODI debut  :  (cap 33)    28 May 1980 v England
Last ODI  :  8 March 1992 v New Zealand

Domestic team information

Years  :  Team
1977–1991  :  Barbados
1979–1993  :  Hampshire
1992–1996  :  Natal
1995  :  Scotland

Career statistics

Competition  :  Test  :  ODI  :  FC  :  LA
Matches  :  81  :  136  :  408  :      440
Runs scored  :  1,810  :  955  :  11,004  :  3,795
Batting average  :  18.85  :  14.92  :  24.83  :  16.86
100s/50s  :  0/10  :  0/2  :  7/54  :  0/8
Top score  :  92  :  66  :  120*  :  77
Balls bowled  :  17,584  :  7,175  :  74,645  :  22,332
Wickets  :  376  :  157  :  1,651  :  521
Bowling average  :  20.94  :  26.96  :  19.10  :  23.71
5 wickets in innings  :  22  :  0  :  85  :  4
10 wickets in match  :  4  :  0  :  13  :  0
Best bowling  :  7/22  :  4/18  :  8/71  :  5/13
Catches/stumpings  :  25/–  :  15/–  :  145/–  :  68/–

GettyImages-104206280-e1604469225535-980x530.jpg


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#1275 2023-03-14 01:35:17

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,561

Re: crème de la crème

1239) Virat Kohli

Summary

(As on 14th March, 2023)

Virat Kohli (born 5 November 1988) is an Indian international cricketer and former captain of the India national team who plays as a right-handed batsman for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL and for Delhi in Indian domestic cricket. Widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Kohli holds the records for scoring most runs in T20 internationals and in the IPL. In 2020, the International Cricket Council named him the male cricketer of the decade. Kohli has also contributed to India's successes, including winning the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions trophy.

Born and raised in New Delhi, Kohli trained in West Delhi Cricket Academy; started his youth career with Delhi Under-15 team. Kohli made his international debut in 2008 and quickly became a key player in the ODI team. He made his Test debut in 2011. In 2013, Kohli reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen for the first time. During 2014 T20 World Cup, he set a record for the most runs scored in the tournament. In 2018, he achieved yet another milestone, becoming the world's top-ranked Test batsman, making him the only Indian cricketer to hold the number one spot in all three formats of the game. His form continued in 2019, where he became the first player to score 20,000 international runs in single decade. In 2021, Kohli made the decision to step down as the captain of the Indian national team for T20Is, following the T20 World Cup and in early 2022 he stepped down as the captain of the Test team as well.

Kohli has received many accolades for his performances on the cricket field. He was recognized as the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012 and has won Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, given to the ICC Cricketer of the Year, on two occasions, in 2017 and 2018. Kohli also won ICC Test Player of the Year and ICC ODI Player of the Year awards in 2018, becoming the first player to win both awards in the same year. Additionally, Kohli was named the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for three consecutive years, from 2016 to 2018. At the national level, Kohli was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2013, the Padma Shri under the sports category in 2017 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honour, in 2018.

In 2016, he was ranked as one of the world's most famous athletes by ESPN and one of the most valuable athlete brands by Forbes. In 2018, Time magazine included him on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2020, he was ranked 66th in Forbes list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world for the year 2020 with estimated earnings of over $26 million. Kohli has been deemed one of the most commercially viable cricketers, with estimated earnings of ₹165 crore (US$21 million) in the year 2022.

Early life

Virat Kohli was born on 5 November 1988 in Delhi to a Punjabi Hindu family. His father, Prem Kohli, worked as a criminal lawyer and his mother, Saroj Kohli, served as a housewife. He has an older brother, Vikas, and an older sister, Bhawna. Kohli's formative years were spent in the Uttam Nagar and commenced his early education at Vishal Bharti Public School. According to his family, Kohli exhibited an early affinity for cricket as a mere three-year-old. He would pick up a cricket bat, display natural skill, and request his father to bowl to him.

In 1998, the West Delhi Cricket Academy (WCDA) was created and on 30 May of that year, Prem Kohli, espoused his younger son's fervor for cricket, assisted nine-year-old Kohli's aspirations and arranged for him to meet Rajkumar Sharma, who initially perceived him to be just another enthusiastic and determined young boy. However, two weeks later, Sharma was impressed by Kohli's accuracy and power in throwing. Upon the suggestion of their neighbours, Kohli's father considered enrolling his son in a professional cricket academy, as they believed that his cricketing abilities merited more than just playing in the gully cricket. Despite his abilities, he faced the setback of being unable to secure a place in the under-14 Delhi team, not due to a lack of merit but due to extraneous factors. Prem Kohli received offers to relocate his son to influential clubs, which would have ensured his selection, but he declined the proposals, as he was determined that Kohli should earn his recognition based on his own merit and overcome the system of nepotism and deceit prevalent in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Kohli persisted and eventually found his way into the under-15 Delhi team. He received training at the academy while simultaneously participating in matches at the Sumeet Dogra Academy located at Vasundhara Enclave. As per Sharma's recollection of Kohli's initial days at his academy, he exuded remarkable talent, making it arduous for the coach to curb his enthusiasm. Kohli remained prepared to bat at any position, and often, Sharma had to physically coerce him to leave the training sessions, as he was reluctant to depart. In pursuit of furthering his cricketing career, he transitioned to Saviour Convent School during his ninth-grade education. Kohli's ardent passion for cricket compelled him to travel long distances with his father to ensure that he never missed a match. With time, he diligently honed his skills and diversified his range of shots, commanding respect from the local bowlers.

On the 19th of December 2006, Kohli experienced the loss of his father due to a cerebral attack. During his childhood, his father played a crucial role in supporting his cricket training. Kohli has credited his father as the one who drove him to practice every day. He has expressed his feelings of missing his father's presence at times. Following the demise of Kohli's father, his mother observed a significant change in his personality. Kohli appeared to become more mature overnight, and he began taking every cricket match seriously. He harbored an aversion to exclusion from games and appeared to channel his entire existence into the pursuit of cricket following his father's untimely demise. Kohli's family resided in Meera Bagh, Paschim Vihar until the year 2015, after which they relocated to Gurgaon.

Personal information

Born  :  5 November 1988 (age 34)
New Delhi, India
Nickname  :  Cheeku
Height  :  5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Batting  : Right-handed
Bowling  :  Right-arm medium
Role  :  Top-order batter
Relations  :  Anushka Sharma (wife)

International information

National side
   
India (2008–present)

Test debut  :  (cap 269) 20 June 2011 v West Indies
Last Test  :  9 March 2023 v Australia
ODI debut :  (cap 175)  18 August 2008 v Sri Lanka
Last ODI  :  24 January 2023 v New Zealand
ODI shirt no.  :  18
T20I debut  :   (cap 31) 12 June 2010 v Zimbabwe
Last T20I  :  10 November 2022 v England
T20I shirt no.  :  18

Domestic team information

Years :  Team
2006–present  :  Delhi
2008–present  :  Royal Challengers Bangalore

Career statistics

Competition  :  Test  :  ODI  :  T20I  :  FC
Matches  :  108  :  271 :  115  :  137
Runs scored  :  8,416  :  12,809  :  4,008  :  10,368
Batting average  :  48.93  :  57.69  :  52.73  :  50.08
100s/50s  :  28/28  :  46/64  :  1/37  :  34/36
Top score :  254*  :  183  :  122*  :  254*
Balls bowled  :  175  : 641  :  152  :  643
Wickets  :  0  :  4  :  4  :  3
Bowling average  :  –  :  166.25  :  51.00  :  112.66
5 wickets in innings  :  –  :  0  :  0  :  0
10 wickets in match  :  –  :  0  :  0  :  0
Best bowling  :  –  :  1/15  :  1/13  :  1/19
Catches/stumpings  : 108/–  :  141/–  :  50/–  :  135/–

Details

ProfileA spunky, chubby teenager with gelled hair shot to fame after leading India to glory in the Under-19 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur in early 2008. In an Indian team filled with saint-like icons worthy of their own hagiographies, Virat Kohli, with his most un-Indian, 'bad-boy' intensity, would clearly be an outcast.

Grind through the ranks

He soon joined the senior Men in Blue in Sri Lanka, come August 2008. In the absence of the regular openers, Virat Kohli was given a chance to open the batting in the ODI series. He played some commendable knocks in his extended run as an opener, as India went on to win the ODI series. However, the established and formidable pair of Tendulkar and Sehwag kept Kohli out of the team

The 20-year-old continued to impress for Delhi and dominated attacks, clearly demonstrating that he belonged at a much higher level; that junior cricket was beneath his standards. Kohli then traveled to Australia in 2009 for the Emerging players tournament and stamped his authority all over the bowling attacks. He added 'big-match temperament' to his résumé too, lacing a fluent hundred in the final against South Africa, and guiding his team to a clinical victory. The young prodigy, barely old enough to receive his man-of-the-match champagne, ended the tournament with 398 runs from 7 outings with two centuries and two fifties, ensuring that he remained fresh in the selectors' minds.

Cementing a national spot

The selectors had no choice but to give Kohli another go in the Indian side, and this time he strung together a number of impressive scores. After being given an extended run, he repaid their faith by notching up his maiden ODI hundred in an impressive run-chase against Sri Lanka in December 2009 - his first of many exemplary knocks in run-chases. In the World Cup final of 2011, the biggest stage of them all, Kohli, along with his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir, pulled off a largely underrated rescue effort with an 83-run stand after losing the openers early. This knock played a crucial role in setting the platform for MS Dhoni's fabled knock of 91*, which eventually won India the World Cup on that enchanting evening in Mumbai.

In the hangover of the World Cup euphoria, Kohli continued to take giant strides in the limited-overs format. Three years after his ODI debut, he was finally handed the coveted Test cap in the Caribbean islands in July 2011, owing to the need to rest the senior players. After a series each against the Dukes ball and the SG ball, it was now time for his trial against the Kookaburra Down Under. In the first two Tests, he seemed to lack the technique to play in Australia, maintaining his low stance on the bouncy tracks. He also had a rather restricting trigger movement with his front-foot routinely coming across towards off-stump, thereby hindering the necessary movement to play back-foot shots such as the pull and the cut.

A baptism by fire Down Under

The selectors and the captain persisted with him going into the 3rd Test, and he delivered a break-through performance on a bouncy Perth wicket - an impressive 75 - where a visible change in technique was visible. He managed to stand tall, with a more open stance, and exhibited the back-foot shots in his repertoire during the course of the innings. The volatile Kohli managed to overshadow his impropriety in conduct with his performance in the final Test of the series. Notching up India's only century of a disastrous tour, Kohli was the shining light in amidst the chaos, as he stroked his way to a hundred in Adelaide exhibiting the will to improve and extraordinary focus under pressure in the searing heat and pressure of Australia.

While he grappled and clawed his way into the Test side, he went on a record-breaking spree in ODIs: the Indian record for the fastest to multiples-of-thousand runs in ODIs, culminating in the world record for the fastest to 9000 runs in ODIs. He was also the highest run-scorer for India in ODIs for three consecutive calendar years - 2010, 2011 and 2012 and won the ICC ODI cricketer of the year award in 2012.

That break-through innings…

We remember the accolades, but where did it all begin? There's always the one innings that made the world sit up and take notice; the 86-ball knock which he started off as a brash boy, but ended as a man. Chasing an improbable target of 321 off 40 overs to stay alive in the tournament, he laid into the Sri Lankan bowlers and carted his way to 133*, getting India home with more than 2 overs to spare, practically pulling them out of the airport after M.S. Dhoni rather ignorantly remarked that India had already been eliminated from the tournament.

King Kohli had arrived. The king of the run-chase, and a plethora of ODI records in the modern age.

Batting technique and idiosyncrasies

Kohli has a seemingly hot head on his shoulders, but he channels all his anger while he is batting. Known to be an aggressive batsman always on the lookout for runs, he has a fairly sound , albeit slightly unconventional technique, which makes him judge the length of the ball earlier than most, and amazingly quick wrists to run his hands through the ball, even against fast bowlers. He is equally adept against pace and spin, and never looks ungainly at the crease. With nimble foot-movement against the spinners, he is known to be quite destructive when the situation demands it. He has had to fill some rather big shoes of his predecessors, and has done an admirable job to say the least.

Captaincy and a change in technique

With regular captain MS Dhoni ailing from an injury, Kohli was named stand-in captain for the first Test at Adelaide. After an abysmal tour of England, critics were sceptical of Kohli's performance in Australia in the Border-Gavaskar trophy in December. Kohli proved that they couldn't have been more wrong, as he scored two fluent hundreds in the first Test at Adelaide. His second innings masterclass of 141 almost pulled off a stunning run-chase on a notorious 5th day rank-turner, and went on to score a total of four hundreds on this tour. Saying that he had silenced critics would be an understatement.

As India prepared for their title defence ahead of the 2015 World Cup Down Under, with the catch phrase 'Won't give it back' doing the rounds, Virat Kohli was touted to be a key performer for India. The Indians had a terrible run in Australia, having failed to win a single match in the Test series as well as the succeeding ODI tri-series. Kohli started off in signature fashion, with a typically stroke-filled hundred against Pakistan as India maintained their unbeaten run against their arch-rivals in ICC events. As India stormed into the semi-finals unbeaten, Kohli's form continued to take an uncharacteristic dip, culminating in a painstaking 1 in the semi-final loss against the co-hosts and eventual champions, Australia.

Kohli, the then full-time Test captain, toured Sri Lanka with a young side without the services of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, wary of the Sri Lankan spinners' fabled 4th innings con-job. After losing the first Test, Kohli's India recorded a dramatic come-from-behind win in the series, going on to win 2-1. Kohli continued to build on his auspicious start to Test captaincy as he led them to a rout of the South Africans on a series of rank-turners all around India. He had a quiet series with the bat, as the more stoic batsmen of his team took over. Nonetheless, the triumph took India to the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings for the first time since they forfeited it to England after the forgettable white-wash in 2011.

He continued his emphatic run in T20 cricket (and running) like a man possessed though, thrashing boundaries with ridiculous ease. Despite an 89* in the 2016 semi-final against the West Indies (extending his inhuman run of form in the format), India's bowling panicked at a crucial stage. One had to feel sorry for him as he had to make do with the 'Player of the tournament' award for the second successive Twenty20 World Cup; a distinction he would've gladly exchanged for the elusive World T20 trophy. Kohli's thirst for runs showed no signs of slowing down as he looted a small matter of 973 runs during the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League, the most (by far) by any batsman in the history of the tournament - as he led his Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) franchise to a runners-up finish.

However, it isn't beyond Kohli to prove his critics wrong yet again, as he continues to take criticism on his stride, setting new standards for modern batsmanship. And as a captain, he had his ups and downs, marred with a bit of controversy towards the end of his tenure. Kohli also became the first Indian, as well as the first Asian captain, to return victorious from Down Under when India won the 4-match Test series 2-1 (2018-19). Under Kohli, India also emerged as the number one Test side for five successive years (2016-2021).

The final frontier

In the first week of 2018, Kohli went on to lead India in South Africa, a few weeks after he tied the knot with Indian actress and long-time girlfriend, Anushka Sharma. India went on to concede the series in the first two Tests, but came back to win the third Test match on a difficult wicket. In a series full of difficult wickets, Kohli exhibited tighter technique than he had in England, and batted better than he did in his more prolific tour of South Africa in 2013/14. Kohli went on to conquer his (personal) final frontier in England later in 2018 too, scoring 593 runs in 10 innings, including 2 hundreds, and not conceding his wicket to his fabled nemesis, Anderson, even once. India went on to lose the series 1-4, and Kohli's record as captain was tainted by two consecutive Test series losses away.

Nevertheless, on a personal level, he had left no stone unturned to transform himself into the most consistent and versatile batsman of his age, and arguably the better of the Big Four. In October 2018, during the second of 3 consecutive hundreds against the West Indies in ODIs, he went on to become the fastest batsmen to reach the 10,000-run mark in ODIs, trouncing Sachin Tendulkar by a staggering 54 innings. Despite arguments about the two new balls, better bats, batting-friendly conditions, and more lethal bowlers, it was difficult to deny that this was a statistical outlier, very much along the lines of 99.94 - perhaps unlikely to ever be trounced.

However, being a cricket romantic (as we all are), as we reflect on his prolific international career (and with a plethora of records to be broken over the next decade) one must look back at the CB series knock that changed it all. On that fateful night at Hobart, Kohli had not only kept his team in contention, he had actually dragged a drained Indian side out of the airport. That night, at the Bellerive Oval, Virat Kohli transcended into a league of his own to etch his name in history - and a cricketing superstar was born.

IPL through the years

Ahead of the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Virat Kohli showed how much faith he had in the franchise by declaring that he would perhaps end his career with the Bangalore-based Royal Challengers. The only player to be a part of a single franchise for the entire duration of the tournament (right from the start of the cash-rich league in 2008), Kohli has developed an affection with the franchise and with the fans over the period of time.

Having been brought into the franchise as a young emerging player in 2008, Kohli's growth has been stupendous. He learnt under the wings of Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, before finally establishing himself under Daniel Vettori. It wasn't a free-flowing start, in a team that was struggling to find the essence of the tournament, it wasn't a surprise that they had a struggling youngster in the midst. Having learnt the ropes in the first three-year cycle, it wasn't a surprise that he was the only player retained in 2011. The purple patch began somewhere around that region, he then proved it wasn't just a purple patch, it was a career that was beginning to flourish. Soon after, Kohli became the best in all aspects, not just white-ball cricket, but in the red-ball version as well.

It became a no-brainer when he was asked to captain the Bangalore franchise on a permanent basis from 2012 and it also translated into more consistency with the bat. Kohli soon turned into a fan favourite even as runs flowed from his bat and eventually becoming the leading-run scorer in the history of IPL. Circa, 2016 - the India and RCB captain blasted 973 runs - the most by any player in the history of the game and it included four hundreds - the most by a batsman in a single edition. Alas, all this didn't translate into a title triumph - one that has kept Kohli and Bangalore waiting so far (As of March 2023).

virat-kohli-took-the-helmet-off-and-soaked-it-all-in-ap-photo.jpg?impolicy=website&width=510&height=356


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Online

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