Archives for January 2016

Kei Nishikori

Brief bio

Kei Nishikori is a professional tennis player and the only male Japanese player ever to rank inside the top 10 in ATP’s singles ranking. He was named the ATP newcomer of the year in 2008, runner-up at the 2014 U.S Open, and the first man from Asia to qualify for the ATP World Tour finals, reaching the semi-finals in 2014 and ranked number 4 by March 2015.

Kei Nishikori Credit: pdrocha / Shutterstock.com

Early playing history

Nishikori began playing at the age of 5 and moved from Japan to the US at age 14 to train at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Florida and could not speak a word of English when he arrived. Born in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, he first won the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids in 2001, graduated from the Aomori-Yamada High School and then moved to Florida.

His junior career really started-off when he won the Raid 21 Tournament in Rabat, Morocco in 2004, he reached the quarterfinals at the 2006 Junior French Open, and together with Emiliano Massa enjoyed victory in that year’s Junior French Open. He also won the Luxilon Cup in 2007, traditionally presented at the Sony Ericsson Open wherein he defeated Michael McClune.
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Novak Djokovic

Brief bio

Novak Djokovic is an unstoppable professional tennis player from Serbia, in 2008 he won his 1st multiple Grand Slam championships and continued in 2011 to take over the number one ranking, currently ranked by the Association of Tennis Professionals as the world number one men’s singles player.

 

Early playing history

Born on May 22, 1987 in Belgrade Serbia, his parents owned a company called Family Sports that consisted of a tennis academy and three restaurants. His uncle and aunt were professional skiers and his father an excelled soccer player. Tennis legend Jelena Gencic spotted Djokovic in 1993 and although he was only 6 years old, Gencic worked with him for the next six years. Due to the war in Yugoslavia and bombings of Belgrade the young tennis player and his family was forced to spend hours in the basement, and Djokovic said the hardships of war is what drove him to pursue tennis with greater determination. At 13 he went to Pilic Academy in Munich, Germany to pursue higher levels of competition and in 2001, aged 14 he started his international career.

Novak Djokovic Credit: Neale Cousland / Shutterstock.com

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Serena Williams

Brief bio

Serena Williams is one of the top female tennis players in the world and earned her first Major Singles title at the U.S Open in 1999. In recent years she has been the undisputed force in woman’s tennis and has won 21 Grand Slam singles, several Olympic gold medals and reached the finals of the mixed team events as the world’s number one in women’s singles and is currently ranked as the world’s number one by the Women’s Tennis Association.

Serena Williams Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Early playing history

Born in Saginaw, Michigan as the youngest of five daughters, while still young the family move to Compton, California. In California, Williams started playing tennis when she was only three years old, where her father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus. Her official coaches was her mother and father, plus other mentors and a number of official coaches helped her to learn the game, including Richard Williams.

Williams qualified for her first professional event in 1995 at the Bell Challenge, when she was just 14 years old; where she lost in the first round to Anne Miller. While ranked number 304 in the world, she defeated the both world number 7 Mary Pierce and Monica Seles who was ranked number 4 at the time. In the recording of her first career wins she became the lowest ranked player in the Open Era to defeat two of the top ranked opponents in a single tournament, which moved her up to the 99th ranked position.
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Maria Sharapova

Brief bio

Maria Sharapova is ranked as the world’s number 4 female professional tennis player, and is from Bradenton in Florida, although born in Russia SFSR, and Soviet Union. She turned pro in April 2001, has been ranked world number one in singles by the WTA for a total of 21 weeks on five different occasions. She is the only Russian and one of ten women to achieve a career Grand Slam and earned a silver Olympic medalist in women singles, which she received at the Summer Olympics held in London in 2012.

Maria Sharapova Credit: Jimmie48 Photography / Shutterstock.com

Early playing history

Maria Sharapova was born in Nyagan, in the Russian SFSR during 1987, her parents both from Gomel, Belarusian SSR, left their homeland concerned about the effects of the Chernobyl 1986 nuclear power plant disaster before she was born.

Aged 2 her family moved to Sochi, in the Krasnodar Krai region of Russia in 1989 and her father became friends with Aleksandr Kafelnikov, his son Yevgeny won two Grand Slam singles crowns and became the first Russian number one ranked male tennis player. Sharapova got her first racquet from Aleksandr when she was 4 years old in 1991 and she began practicing with her dad at the local park. Her starting tennis lessons were with Yuri Yutkin the well-known Russian Coach, he was immediately impressed with her extraordinary hand-eye coordination.
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Most Dramatic Tennis Australian Open Moments

Melbourne-tennis-center

In its 110 year history the Tennis Australian Open and its spectators saw thousands of brilliantly played matches between some of the world’s best match play champion’s; however, some of these matches became moments in history to be remembered because their light shone just a little brighter than all the other stars over the years. Finals matches such as the 1969 men’s singles finals battle that saw the legendary Australian “RocketRod Laver defeat Tony Roche in a pivotal victory on his road to become the only player that won the Grand Slam title twice.

Another finals match, rated by tennis historian Steve Flink as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time, etched to memory after the 1981 defeat of number 1 ranked Chris Evert at the hands of Martina Navratilova. John McEnroe the seven time Grand Slam winner, not being one to shy away from confrontation became the first tennis player in history to be turfed from any Grand Slam Open era finals match.

 

The Beginnings of the Australian Tennis Open

Rodney George Laver enjoyed a professional career spanning 24 years and retained his position as the world No. 1 ranked professional player from 1964 until 1970. He took his first Tennis Australian Open title in 1960 after defeating Neale Fraser a fellow Australian player he went on to win the same title on another two occasions despite suffering from a ban lasting five years in the pre-Open era. He still holds an all-time male singles record of having taken 22 titles during a single season in 1962.

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Rafael Nadal

Brief bio

Born in Majorca, Spain in 1986, Rafael Nadal Parera first picked up a tennis racket aged 3 and is currently is considered to be one of the best clay court tennis players. Giorgio Armani saw his modelling potential; however, the truly multi-talented professional Spanish player is a multiple Grand Slam tennis champion, winner of 2 Wimbledon’s, a record nine French Open titles and the U.S Open, well-known for his tenacity and aggressive topspin swing, the combination made him one of the top tennis players in the world.

Rafael Nadal Credit: Neale Cousland / Shutterstock.com

 

Early playing history

His Uncle Toni, a former professional tennis player noticed Rafael’s natural talent for sport at an early age and introduced him to tennis. Nadal won an under 12 regional tennis championship by the time he was 8 years old, although he was also a promising football player at the time. His uncle intensified his tennis training and encouraged the young star to play left handed to gain advantage on the court.

At 12 he won the European and Spanish tennis titles for his age group and turned professional in 2002 at age 15. By the time Nadal was 17 he was the youngest male player to qualify for the 3rd round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker. His first big win came in 2005 when the 19 year old enjoyed a victory in the French Open, it was the first time he played in the Grand Slam and his world ranking rocketed to number 3. In the same year he won 11 singles titles with at least eight taking place on clay and Nadal was dubbed the “King of Clay”.
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Tennis Australian Open Championship – A Historical Synopsis

Tennis Australian Open

Brief Biography

The Tennis Australian Open Championship established itself as one of the world’s Premier tournaments staged annually during the last two weeks of January, with Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia as the elected event host. Chronologically it is the first of four annual global tennis events known as the Grand Slam, the US Open, Wimbledon, and the French Open being the other three events on the Grand Slam calendar.

The championship features women’s and men’s singles; women’s and men’s mixed doubles; Junior Championships; the exhibition and legends; and wheelchair events. Prior to 1988 the competition had traditionally been played on grass; however, since 1988 the Melbourne Park tournament sought two distinctly different types of hardcourt surfaces, from 1988 to 2007 a green Rebound Ace surface was used, with a blue Plexicushion utilised since 2008 till current.

The Australian Open Championship experiences extremely high attendance figures, second only to those experienced at the U.S. Open. It also became the first of the Grand Slam tournaments to feature retractable roofs over all three the primary courts, namely the Hisense Arena, and since its refurbishment the Margaret Court Arena, as well as the Rod Laver Arena.

 

The History of the Australian Tennis Open

The inaugural Australasian Championship event took place in 1905 at Melbourne’s Warehouseman Cricket Ground, later renamed to Albert Reserve Tennis Centre; in addition, in 1927 the tournament became known as the Australian Championships, only in 1969 did it finally receive its final renaming to become the Australian Open.

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Martina Hingis

Brief bio

The Kosice, Slovakian born Martina Hingis celebrated her first birthday on the 30 September 1981. Beginning her tennis career a very young age she realised her some of dreams as a child early on in her career, by becoming the youngest ever Grand Slam female champion in the history of the game. She showed her future brilliance with a doubles win at Wimbledon aged only 15. Her long list of hard earned achievements and friendly demeanour made her a firm spectator favourite at the Tennis Australian Open ever since her first appearance, and by the late 1990s was already the top-ranked female tennis player in the world. Due to an unfortunate series of injuries she was forced to retire in 2003, and in 2014 she again went into retirement after allegations accusing her of drug abuse, in 2013 she once again made a successful return to tennis with her brilliant doubles play.

Martina Hingis Credit: Galina Barskaya / Shutterstock.com

Early playing history

Martina’s professional tennis debut occurred just after her 14th birthday and by age 15 years and nine months she and Helena Sukova paired up and took home top honours by winning the 1996 women’s Wimbledon doubles crown, this achievement earned her the title as the youngest ever women’s Grand Slam doubles champion. In her first year thereafter she also had the distinction of becoming the youngest women’s Grand Slam singles titleholder in the 20th century, after achieving her Tennis Australian Open victory, which earned her a double crown as the youngest ever woman to be ranked world number one, in the process she edged out Steffi Graf that suffered from injury.

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