Archive for 12 junio 2018

Tennis Remembrances

junio 12, 2018

Rafael Nadal spent Sunday afternoon in Paris achieving what no other man in tennis history has done — and no player, man or woman, has done in the Open era — by winning the same Grand Slam title on 11 occasions.
The following came to my mind:

My wife and I had recently a conversation about some tennis remembrances, although we did not remember player names in some instances. I searched the internet and found the following:
8 APRIL 2002

The love match between dazzling Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis and Spanish golfing champion Sergio Garcia seems to be hotting up, with the couple, who spent several days at Sergio’s home in Spain recently, becoming much more relaxed about being seen together.

The two are both sporting prodigies: Martina became tennis´s youngest Grand Slam winner and number one in 1997 at only 16, and 22-year-old Sergio, or ‘El Niño’ (The Kid), as he was known, was considered to be Tiger Woods’ greatest long term rival, prediction that did not materialized.
He won many tournaments internationally and in the US, and won his only Major, the Masters in 2017. He is considered to have a net worth of around US$70 million.
Manuel Martínez Santana, also known as Manolo Santana (born 10 May 1938), is a former tennis champion from Spain who was ranked World No. 1 in 1966.[5] He was born in Madrid.
Before winning Wimbledon he was quoted as saying “Grass is just for cows.”[6] He thought that tennis should be played on artificial surfaces as opposed to lawn tennis courts like the ones at Wimbledon. This statement has been echoed throughout the years by numerous players including Ivan Lendl, Marat Safin, Marcelo Ríos, and, despite his 1973 victory at Wimbledon, Jan Kodeš.
Singles wins: 1961 French Open, 1964 French Open, 1965 US Championship, and 1966 Wimbledon.

Boris Becker

Boris Franz Becker is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany.
Becker burst onto the world scene by winning Wimbledon as a 17-year-old behind his booming serve and acrobatic play. He did one of the hardest things there is to do the following year: defend a major title. He went on to add another Wimbledon title, a U.S. Open and two Australian Opens to the trophy cabinet.
Year Turned Pro: 1984
We watched on TV the following match, although we took a break for lunch. The United States had already fallen behind West Germany, 0-1, in their Davis Cup relegation, when a marathon match between Boris Becker and John McEnroe required five sets and lasted more than six hours.

The 28-year-old McEnroe was indeed valiant, but Becker, nine years his junior, was the victor. The West German lost the first and third sets, but he pressured McEnroe with blistering volleys throughout the afternoon and evening to emerge with a 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2 victory. The match was believed to be the longest in Davis Cup history involving an American team.

Manuel Orantes

Manuel Orantes Corral is a former tennis player who was active in the 1970s and 1980s. He won the US Open in 1975, beating defending champion Jimmy Connors in the final. Orantes reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 2. Birthplace: Granada, Spain

We watched this match on TV. I remember Connors charging to the net several times, with Orantes returning topspin lobs above racket reach to win the points.

Pam Shriver.

Growing up in Baltimore in the mid-1970s—when many American girls were devoted baseliners trying their best to emulate Chris Evert’s two-handed backhand—Shriver was a 6’ serve-and-volleyer with a one-hander. She grew up quickly. At the age of 16 (and two months), Shriver helped revolutionize the transition to the oversize racquet in a stirring 1978 U.S. Open debut.
Wielding a Prince, Shriver scored one of the most memorable Open upsets in edging top-seeded Martina Navratilova in the semis, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).
I watched the Navratikova/Shriver game at Flushing Meadows. It stuck out in my mind, when sometime in the match, Navratilova’s body language showed fatigue or certain loss of willingness to win this match.
Attacking relentlessly, Shriver tested the second-seeded Evert in the final before bowing, 7-5, 6-4. But she still made history, becoming the youngest U.S. Open finalist—nine months younger than Maureen Connolly, who reached the 1951 final.
This early singles achievement proved the pinnacle of Shriver’s singles success. She won important double matches during her career.
Ranked world No. 3 in 1984 • 1984/1985/1987/1988 French Open women’s doubles champion • 1981/1982/1983/1984/1986 Wimbledon women’s doubles champion • 1983/1984/1986/1987/1991 US Open women’s doubles champion • 1982/1983/1984/1985/1987/1988/1989 Australian Open women’s doubles champion • 1987 Wimbledon mixed-doubles champion.


In a trip to Paris, our daughter Cristina made our hotel reservations, in the outskirts of the city. We had been together with her and our son Gonzalo in London. She returned home and Gonzalo went with us to Brussels, and by train to Paris, enjoying a wonderful lunch with a bottle of French wine in the food wagon.
At the Paris train station, our son went to do something away from us. He returned and said to us: “There are a couple of Cuban girls next to where I went…” We said, “How come you know they are Cuban?” He laughed and said, I heard one saying: “Oye, que embarque nos han dado.” Embarcar is a verb that in Cuban slang means something like being fooled. Gonzalo only stayed a couple of days.

We were aware that the French Tennis Open was being played at the Roland-Garros stadium, a few blocks from the hotel.
We decided to go there in the morning. I sat at the hotel lobby and Teresa went to the front desk to ask for directions. (She had taken French in high school, and could manage some simple conversation). She came back and we started walking to the stadium. After two blocks, buying tickets crossed my mind. And then I came to realized that I had left behind a blackhand purse I was carrying with all the French francs and travelers checks we had.
We rushed back to the hotel; we went to the front desk and Teresa managed to tell the clerk that I had left a black hand purse at a table next to a chair nearby where I had been seated 15 minutes ago. The clerk smiled, and said to us, “someone found it and turned it over to me”. He looked into a drawer, and gave the black hand purse to us!
We were lucky having an honest “someone” at the hotel lobby.
We finally made it to the Roland-Garros. They were playing preliminary matches. The only top player I remember was Jimmy Connors, and the mostly French crow loved him, applauding and cheering Jimmy, Jimmy, any time he had a good point.

I worked for ITT Corporation in Buenos Aires, New York Headquarters, Puerto Rico and eight years in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The ITT company in Raleigh used to have employee annual tennis and golf tournaments. My wife Teresa and I enrolled for a tennis tournament one year.
We played our first match, a mixed double against a Venezuelan engineer and a female partner. The Venezuelan was an excellent player, very fast, covering both of their court sides for winning shots. They won.
Two weeks later the Venezuelan quitted his job with ITT. All their wins were cancelled. That way we got to the final match tied with another couple with the same number of wins and no losses recorded. The other couple were friends of ours Bill and Claire Bass. Bill was the better player and Teresa was a little better than Claire.
We managed to get a tie at five games. We lost the next game and it was a 6 – 5 score. We thought that we had lost the match, but Bill told us, we continue playing until one couple gets ahead by two games. I don’t know how, but we won the following three games and won the match 8 -6.
In the last game we were “advantage”. Bill smashed a shot to my right, close to the court line. I stretched and returned a top spin cross court to win the First Place trophy.
I knew the mechanics of spinning a ball, but not enough to trying doing it when playing. I always wondered how I had that top spin return.