Wednesday, 18 January 2012

No Surprises...

Well it didn't take long but Andy Murray became the last British man standing when the other five Brits went out in the first round.  Shame for them, and for me since now we've just got Murray to focus on.  All favourites have gone through though, apart from US Open champ Sam Stosur who lost in the first round.  But apart from that, no surprises.

I went on a little trip to the David Hockney Gallery, I took a photo of one his and though I'd share it since it's a tennis match although you have to look for it a little:

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A New Year

Well, it's been a while since I went to the ATP final in November, in London.  But the new tennis year is finally heating up with the first Grand Slam of the year starting in Australia on Monday.  Heather Watson, Laura Robson, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothothong, and James Ward play for Britain on Day One, while Andy Murray starts later on.  The Brits will have a tough time getting to next round though; Watson faces third seed Azarenka (from Belarus, got to the quarter-final in 2010, and fourth last year), and Robson will play 13th seed Jankovic (from Serbia, former World number one, won Wimbledon doubles with Jamie Murray). Baltacha, Keothothong, and Ward play people I've never heard of but their people are probably saying the same about the Brits...

Murray is seeded fourth, and has started working with Ivan Lendl as his new coach and already won in Brisbane at the start of this year.  He will hoping to go one better than the final thrashing he received at the hands of Novak Djokovic last year.  Djokovic has yet to play this year but Nadal lost in the semi-final of the Qatar Open at the beginning of January to Monfils, while Federer lost in the other semi to Tsonga.  Both Gasquet and Del Potro lost in the quarter-finals of the Apia International in Sydney.

On the women's side, Serena Williams lost in the quarter-final of Brisbane and had a little injury scare, while Venus has pulled out of the Aussie Open due to illness.  Clijsters went out in the semi-final of Brisbane, and also may be playing slightly lame in Oz, and Jankovic lost in the quarters, while top seed Stosur lost in the second round.  World Number one Wozniaki went out in the quarter-finals of the Apia International, Li Na got to the final, but Stosur and Zvonareva both lost in the first round. 

We'll see what tomorrow will bring, but I haven't seen any tennis yet, and probs wont see any of the open (Murray's matches may be shown, but no other's will be on TV, and I don't have a TV anyway).

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

ATP World Tour Finals

Some pictures from the match between Tipsarevic (who subbed in for Andy Murray) and Berdych, that I saw in London with my friend Emily.  Tipsy was our fave and had a match point, but missed, double faulted, and fell over in the third set tie-break to lose the match :(

In the fan zone players lockers were auctioned off for charity- fed got the most at nearly £20,000, then Nadal at about £17,000, then Djok and Murray.  
The other guys struggled to get £3,000, and most of the winning bids came from Japan weirdly.


A Short History of Tennis at the Olympics- part the second

Right where was I?...
Ah yes...Tennis had returned in 1968 as a demonstration sport, it was then excluded again until 1984 in LA where once again it was only a demonstration sport.  In 1988 in Soeul, it was a medal winning sport again for the first time since 1924.  Brad Gilbert who would later work for the LTA as Andy Murray's coach won bronze in the men's singles, and Steffi Graff who won  all the grand slams in 1988 also won the Olympic gold.  She finished her career having won 22 grand slams.

The tournament was played on clay in 1992 in Barcelona where Steffi Graff was beaten by Jennifer Capriati.  In 1996, Agassi and Davenport both won golds in the singles but Neil Broad and Tim Henman won silver in the men's doubles. This Olympics was in Atlanta and was the first time a single bronze medal was given in all events.  Instead of giving two bronzes to the players who lose the semi-finals they now had to play for it.  The Williams sisters made their first appearance in 2000, in Syndey when they won the Women's doubles, and Venus won the Women's gold medal in the singles.   

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Short History of Tennis at the Olympics

There isn't much tennis on atm so I thought I'd take a gander at tennis at the Olympics.  It's been an Olympics sport since the first modern Olympics in Athens,1896 (although for men only of course, a lady might chip a nail or become a lesbian), it was won by a British man, John Pius Boland.  Scant information available, certainly no fancy photos (of the tennis, but here's a nice Greek weightlifter) but since you had to be entirely amateur to compete at the Olympics back then you can almost guarantee he was rather posh. 

Ladies were allowed to compete four years later, in Paris and Charlotte Cooper (three times Wimbledon champ) won the singles and mixed doubles and became the first female Olympic tennis gold medalist.  Incidentally, until 1904 only the winners received medals (silver medals) and diploma, and runners-up a copper medal and diploma.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have since retroactively awarded gold, silver, bronze to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd places in the 1896 and 1900 Olympics.
The Men's event featured three former Wimbledon winners in the semi-final, once again I point out there were few people who had the resources to travel and compete without turning professional so it isn't surprising the same names cropped up in finals.  One guy, Lawrence Doherty got to the final when his older brother Regie stepped aside, as they wouldn't play each other in a 'minor tournament'.  Ouch take that Olympics...burn. 

The women were clearly too distracting in their full-length tennis skirt, and they weren't included in the 1904 Olympics, in St Louis.  Shockingly, as there was only one foreign entrant, the host nation won every medal going.  But this was an entirely competitive tournament, as you can see in this picture of the Olympic tug-of-war...

Women were allowed back in 1908, this was in London and the British team were extremely successful; 146 medals, 56 gold, 51 silver, 39 bronze.  Only 22 countries had participants though (the UK competed as the UK and some Irish athletes boycotted the games with some American support), and in some events only British athletes competed.  In the mens 400metres an American athletes was disquliafied and the final was re-run but the two other American athletes refused to run to protest the judges decision.  Meaning British man Wyndham Halswell (posh) won the one man final, and gold medal.  In tennis they played indoors and outdoors, and women competed in the singles but not doubles, there was 50 competitors; 40 men and 10 women from 10 nations which must have been thrilling for all concerned. 

The 1912 Olympics in Stockholm don't seem to be at all interesting.  After that the First World War proved something of an interruption, the 1916 games had been scheduled to be held in Berlin but these were cancelled.  In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference created new states and new sanction on who could compete.  Budapest had been selected to host the games but as the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been a German alley the games were transferred to Antwerp.  Germany, Austria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary were banned from the games, Germany remained banned until 1925 and held a series of Winter games.

Tennis disappeared from the games after 1924 and didn't return until 1968 for unknown and entirely suspicious reasons I believe.  On return, in Mexico, it was only a demonstration exhibition.  The games were really known for the massacre that killed 44 people ten days before the start of the games, or the black power salute of two black American sprinters (Tommie Smith and John Carlos) on the medal podium.  They were suspended from the US team and banned from the Olympic village.  And Czechoslovakian gymnast Vera Caslavska turned and walked away from the podium as the Soviet anthem played in a protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia- she was subsequently forbidden to travel and compete at sporting events.

To Be Continued...