Sports > Tennis
Eugenie Bouchard practicing in July.
Photograph: Benjamin Lowy/Reportage,
for The New York Times
Eugenie Bouchard Could Be Tennis’s Next Big Shot
AUG. 21, 2014
Serena Williams enters Saturday’s Miami Open final
on a 20-match winning streak.
Photograph: Ella Ling/
Serena Williams v Carla Suárez Navarro: Miami Open – live!
Saturday 4 April 2015 17.15 BST
The Guardian 3 July 2004
Tennis Great John McEnroe
the fourth seed
the n°9 seed
/ semifinal USA
take a 6-2, 6-4 lead
take the first set against N
take the French Open final
drop 13 games in a row
3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6 victory
back from two sets down UK
6-2, 6-4, 6-4
in the sixth game
lob on the run
retrieve a lob
in the first
round of the French Open
come back from two sets down
66% 1st serve % 65 %
2 Aces 5
9 Double faults 6
55 Unforced errors 54
36 Winners 38
73% Break points won 56%
148 Total points won 137
won his fourth straight Open title
and his 12th
Grand Slam crown on Sunday.
Photograph: Vincent Laforet
for the New York Times
Federer Collects 12th Grand Slam Title
10 September 2007
win a grand slam
a straight sets victory
disqualified / defaulted / dismisssed
The Guardian > Special report > Wimbledon
UK > Wimbledon
UK / USA
USA > United States Open
UK / USA
Williams UK / USA
Venus and Serena Williams
UK / USA
Gertrude Agusta Moran USA 1923-2013
as a ranked
American tennis player in 1949
(she) caused an international stir
and gained worldwide fame
for competing at Wimbledon
while wearing a short skirt
By the end of her life
she had come to know hardship
— bouncing from job to job,
living in near squalor,
telling of abortions and
At her death
she lived in a small apartment.
But for a time,
more than half a century ago,
she was a household name
around the world.
an airplane and a sauce
were named after her.
Neighborhood children greet Ms. Gibson
upon her return to Harlem
after winning Wimbledon in 1957.
Carl T. Gosset Jr./
The New York Times
Before Serena, There Was Althea
Althea Gibson was the first Black player to
Soon, the block in Harlem where she grew up
will bear her name.
August 25, 2022
Althea Neale Gibson USA
with his father after winning
the U.S. Open.
John G. Zimmerman Archive
The Quiet Heroism of Arthur Ashe
Aug. 27, 2018
Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. USA 1943-1993
the first black man to win Wimbledon
and the United States and Australian
James Pierce McDaniel USA 1916-1970
In the pantheon of great Black
— Serena and Venus Williams,
Althea Gibson and so many others —
Jimmie McDaniel undoubtedly has a
having preceded the others
in breaking the sport’s color
Yet mention of his name would
elicit blank stares from tennis
— the curse of a man
ignored in the history of a sport
during his time, overwhelmingly
rich and white.
Corpus of news articles
Sports > Tennis
Career Grand Slam
The New York Times
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
does, of course, share an era with Roger Federer, which has done the era plenty
of good, but this season and this year’s United States Open now belong
exclusively to Nadal.
There were times, in his earlier years, when it seemed too much to ask for Nadal
to hold up the trophy in New York.
The courts were supposed to be too quick for his big forehand backswing. The
balls were supposed to bounce too low for his extreme grip. The lack of an
overwhelming serve made it too tough to win easy points. The combined weight of
the early season, with all those inevitable clay-court victories and his
hard-charging style, were too much for a body — even his body — to bear.
But Nadal, with his 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic in Monday
night’s rain-interrupted United States Open final, has proven beyond a
reasonable doubt that there are no limits to his range or appetite.
Playing against an opponent who had beaten him in their last three matches, all
on hardcourts, the No. 1-seeded Nadal prevailed in 3 hours 43 minutes in the
face of inspired resistance to become, at age 24, the youngest man in the Open
era to complete a career Grand Slam.
Nadal, the relentless left-handed competitor from Spain, did so by wearing down
the third-seeded Djokovic with his phenomenal court coverage, consistent returns
and improved serve, particularly the sliced serve to the ad court that forced
Djokovic to release the second hand from his backhand and lunge in desperation
on multiple occasions.
“More than what I dreamt,” said Nadal, when asked on court to put his first
United States Open victory into words.
From start to finish — with a 1-hour-57-minute rain delay in between — this was
not Nadal’s finest performance. He had not lost a set on his way to the final
and had dropped his serve just twice.
Against Djokovic, he was broken three times and struggled with his timing from
the baseline in some early phases of the match, mis-hitting ground strokes and
also struggling to capitalize on his own break-point opportunities, failing to
convert on 20 in total. That was in part because Djokovic continued to play
remarkably bold tennis under pressure, just as he had in his five-set victory
over Federer in Saturday’s semifinals.
But there can be no quibbling with the bottom line. Nadal, in his first United
States Open final, was the more irresistible force: quite capable, when
necessary, of summoning a higher gear than the player who will be ranked No. 2
when the new rankings are released on Tuesday.
“Right now he’s the best player in the world, and he absolutely deserves this
title,” Djokovic said after Monday’s match.
Nadal earned it by transforming defense into offense in an instant, by putting
67 percent of his first serves into play and, above all, by forcing Djokovic to
keep running and lunging and feeling the increasingly heavy obligation to come
up with something extra.
“Rafa’s fortitude is just off the charts,” said Brad Gilbert, the veteran
American coach. “He just doesn’t give up, whether or not it’s 40-love up or
40-love down. He just doesn’t take a point off.”
Djokovic did not take many vacations either. He countered Nadal’s baseline power
effectively for much of the match, beginning with the extended opening rally,
which set the tone for the corner-to-corner action to come. Djokovic actually
came up with one more forehand winner (22 to 21) than Nadal, whose whipping
forehand is his signature stroke.
But Djokovic’s serve, which has lost power in the last two seasons because of
technical issues, kept putting him in danger, and Nadal kept making him work too
hard to hold: putting 86 percent of his returns in play.
The cumulative effect proved too much for Djokovic, the 23-year-old Serbian who
lost to Federer in the 2007 Open final but saved two match points on his way to
beating Federer here.
Djokovic had the benefit of an additional day’s rest after rain on Sunday forced
the final to be delayed, but Nadal still looked like the fresher, faster man
down the stretch. Djokovic, who smashed a racket in anger in the first set,
managed to even the match after returning from the rain delay, closing out the
second set from 4-4, 30-30. But Nadal gave no hint of being demoralized, and
Djokovic lost control for good early in the fourth set, when Nadal broke his
serve in the third game.
“Maybe emotionally I was a little bit drained after the semifinal match, but I
recovered,” Djokovic said. “I had two days, and I was motivated to win this
Nadal now holds the French Open, Wimbledon and United States Open titles. When
Djokovic’s last forehand sailed wide, Nadal dropped to the blue court, covered
his head with both hands and then jogged toward the net and exchanged an embrace
with his opponent.
“It’s just great for somebody who had so much success as he did, very young age,
and to be able to continue motivating himself to perform his best each
tournament, each match he plays regardless of who he has across the net,” said
Djokovic, who is now 7-15 against Nadal over all.
Nadal has followed his own path from the beginning, with his uncle and coach
Toni Nadal serving as his guide.
Now he has won everywhere that matters most in the game that he once chose over
soccer. He is three years younger than Federer was when he rounded out his Grand
Slam collection at last year’s French Open.
“Aside from the victory, what gives me a great deal of satisfaction is to see
how much he has improved on fast courts,” said Toni Nadal. “It was a goal we had
in mind never knowing for sure if we’d get there. But he’s returning better,
serving a bit better and is closer to the baseline. The sliced backhand is much
better. In the end, to see that is really satisfying.”
Though Nadal has now won 9 Grand Slam singles titles to Federer’s 16, there are
a growing number within the game who feel that Nadal will eventually challenge
“I think this victory says that we should stop talking about Federer being the
greatest player of all time,” said Mats Wilander, the former United States Open
champion from Sweden. “I truly believe that. We can say that Roger is, but
there’s no point in doing that until Nadal is done. It’s already unfair to me to
say Roger is because Rafa is beating him all the time on every surface and in
the Slam finals.”
Nadal Caps Career Grand Slam,
refuses to blink in fight to finish
July 6, 2009
From The Times
Roger Federer: the man who broke the unbreakable man. There are all kinds of
ways of being a champion. The least sexy, and perhaps the hardest, is simply to
stand your ground, simply to outlast the other bugger, simply not to fold and
never to compromise. Federer didn’t get to win 15 grand-slam titles — more than
anyone else has won — just by pretty shot-making.
Oh, one’s heart bleeds for Andy Roddick all right. He played 37 service games in
this titanic match without being broken once. He would not be broken, no, not
him. Not till the 38th game he served, and then Federer showed that he was that
tiniest bit better when it came to outlasting.
The scoreline reads like an epic of suffering, and so it was, as Federer won
5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14. That final set became a blur: on and on they toiled,
taking turns to slap aces at each other. The match was close, the games within
it were not. In that final set, each man, as the four-hour mark ticked past,
continued to serve with undiminished venom. Love games were common; deuces were
rare; break-points almost non-existent. There were three in the first 29 games
of that extraordinary set.
You kept saying, well, someone has to break. And break is a big word — in men’s
tennis it is like breaking the man himself. To be broken is to surrender a
little of your manhood. So this became an old-fashioned bout of male
head-butting, and in this department, until the very last game of the match,
Roddick had the edge.
He broke Federer in the first set and again in the fourth. And his own serve was
a monstrous, inviolable thing. He hit 143mph at one point: more importantly, he
crashed down a winner every time the Swiss sniffed a quarter-chance. Federer
needed the tie-breakers to get past him. In a normal service game, he just
didn’t have a chance. The fifth set looked like a long one from the very first
point because Federer had no breaker to wait for.
Roddick served like a champion, served like he meant to win. But always there
was Federer at the other end, never matching Roddick for pace on the serve, but
very seldom letting Roddick get close. As the final set rolled on, it was
impossible to see a winner, perhaps ever. It looked as if they would still be
swapping aces and love games for years to come.
But somebody always does break. You know it, both players know it.
And Federer simply wasn’t prepared for it to be him. And so, in the 30th game of
the fifth set — how absurd it feels to write those words — Roddick made a series
of small errors, errors that Federer had been waiting for, errors that Federer
pounced on without a shred of compassion.
Federer has won Wimbledon before and done so with tennis of beauty and wonder.
He has woven a spell, he has entranced, he has created such visions of
loveliness that we got all fanciful and called it Art. On Sunday he won by the
brilliantly simple tactic of Not Losing. In the second set, he saved four
successive set points in the tie-breaker. Had Roddick been two sets to love up,
who can say what would have happened.
And in the final set, Federer was mostly outplayed. Roddick was rallying with
more aggression, more conviction. But no man would be broken, serve-serve,
ace-ace, on and on as the skies grew dark and the sun began to sink.
The end was mercilessly swift. Federer had waited and waited, never buckling. He
didn’t beat Roddick, he outlasted him. In the end it was the only ploy that was
going to work against a man inspired, against a man who served thunderbolts in
the manner of Zeus. Roddick served better, and for much of the match played
better, but Federer has another very important weapon in his armoury. He is
better at winning championships.
It was a back-to-basics sort of day, a serving duel on a grass court, an
eyeballing, antler-crashing battle of the manhoods, an examination of the most
basic requirement for winning a championship.
Federer didn’t want it more than Roddick, don’t think that for a second, nobody
could have wanted it more than Roddick.
But Federer was better at actually getting it. Federer has won 15 grand-slam
tournaments, he won the fifteenth because he is the best at winning.
Serving up a
exploded on Sunday night as sportsmen and women opened up their conversations by
phone and computer during the epic final (Kevin Eason writes). Laura Robson,
Britain’s teenage sensation and last year’s Wimbledon girls’ champion, was all
dressed up to go out to see her favourite pop singer. “Going to be late for Lady
Gaga because of final,” she told her followers. “Can someone win now, please?”
Lance Armstrong, making his comeback at the Tour de France, was just frustrated.
He tweeted: “Unreal. The Wimbledon final is not on here in France. Bummer!”
Then: “Wanted my Austin homeboy Roddick to take this one. Aargh!”
Roger Federer refuses to blink in fight to finish,
a Wimbledon Tradition:
June 21, 2009
The New York Times
By SARAH LYALL
LONDON — What
do people think of when they think of Wimbledon? The manicured green courts. The
all-white outfits. The gentility of it all. The time that John McEnroe, in tiny
shorts and big hair and acting like Borat at a meeting of the Junior League,
screeched: “You cannot be serious!” and “You guys are the absolute pits of the
Oh, and the rain. Rain that comes in trickles and torrents, rain that starts and
stops, rain that turns the tournament into an annual exercise in
unpredictability, vexation and futility.
It’s true that weather has played havoc with this year’s United States Open in
golf. But only in look-on-the-bright-side England would people consider holding
a Grand Slam event during the iffiest, soggiest time of year on a surface
rendered instantly unplayable by rain.
But all that is coming to an end. On Monday, spectators will find a new,
waterproof feature on Centre Court: a translucent retractable roof.
The roof was officially dedicated at a ceremony last month. Some 15,000 people
turned up to watch it unfold, accordionlike, across the top of the arena. “The
roof is an insurance,” Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England club,
The consensus was that it was about time.
“I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much on a tennis court,” said Andre Agassi,
who played there that day.
But there is, perversely, a dissenting view. First, there are the
traditionalists who mourn the passing of an era that began in 1922, when the new
Centre Court was unveiled before a crowd that spent much of the afternoon not
watching any tennis.
“The rain interfered with a good part of the program,” The New York Times
reported. Stirring music was played, the crowd cheered for King George and Queen
Mary, and the tarpaulins were rolled out. Time passed. Finally, the day was
rain-free enough for the British player Leslie Godfree to serve the first ball;
his countryman Algernon Kingscote hit it into the net.
Then there are those who feel that the roof robs Wimbledon of its ineffable
spirit, the spirit that believes in triumphing over adversity and making do with
unfortunate turns of events.
Rain delays “play on your mind, testing your mental resilience,” the Australian
player Pat Cash wrote in 2007. They can even come as a “blessed relief” when you
“I feel like I achieve clarity when it rains,” Venus Williams said in 2007.
Roger Federer once announced that the delay meant he had “played even better.”
In 2001, on the brink of losing a semifinal to Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic got
a reprieve, a second wind and eventually a victory because of a sudden outburst
of bad weather. It was the rain that did it, he declared, “God wanted me to win
The roof will rob spectators and players of the chance to recreate some of the
more memorable precipitation-related incidents from past summers. During a
three-and-a-half-hour delay in 1996, the British pop star Cliff Richard grabbed
a microphone and performed a medley of songs before the soggy and captive
audience, backed by a clapping chorus line of players that included Virginia
Wade, Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver.
Before the roof, grass-protecting tarpaulins had to be deployed by teams of
groundsmen at the merest hint of rain, then removed when the rain ended, a
stop-start process that could go on ad infinitum.
Some fans still remember the epic unpleasantness of 2004, when only three days
of the tournament were free of rain. At one point, the referee announced,
stating the obvious, “A very large cloud is approaching the club,” before
sending everyone home (without refunds).
In 2007, it took Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling 5 days and more than 92 hours
to complete their third-round match, only four hours of which were spent playing
tennis. There were seven rain delays.
“Is this the worst Wimbledon there has ever been?” The Guardian said, pointing,
as an example of the general wretchedness, to an official weather forecast
saying, “As the showers are moving slower, there may be longer dry periods.”
(“Please be advised that there is rain in the Wimbledon area,” the referee
announced as crowds ran for cover.)
And then there is the camaraderie. Spectators dressed in slickers fashioned from
garbage bags may, perversely, enjoy the chance to sit around with other people
who have paid exorbitant prices for one-day-only seats, watching water beating
incessantly down upon plastic sheets.
Crammed together in the humid locker room for unpredictable stretches, players
have different ways of handling the emotional and physical uncertainty, Cash
said. Andy Roddick plays poker, and Andy Murray listens to his iPod. Pete
Sampras tended to sleep, flat on his back, on a bench.
“I still remember the sound of Stefan Edberg perpetually skipping with a rope in
the shower cubicles,” Cash wrote.
Back to the roof. At the unveiling, the assembled reporters invited the
assembled tennis players, including the laconic Murray, to comment on it.
Murray tried hard, really he did.
“It looks really nice,” he said, “compared to most roofs.”
Roof Ends a Wimbledon Tradition: Rain Delays, NYT, 21.6.2009,
Eliminated at French Open
May 29, 2009
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PARIS (AP) -- Venus Williams was eliminated from the French Open on Friday,
losing in the third round of the clay-court major for the third straight year.
The third-seeded Williams, who reached the 2002 final at Roland Garros, lost to
No. 31 Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-0, 6-4.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion was playing for the third straight day. She
lost the first set of her second-round match against Lucie Safarova on Wednesday
before play was suspended because of darkness. Williams saved a match point
before beating Safarova on Thursday.
She was also stretched to three sets in the first round.
Ana Ivanovic had little trouble in her match, advancing to the fourth round by
dominating another opponent in a 6-0, 6-2 win over Iveta Benesova of the Czech
The defending champion from Serbia has lost only eight games since being taken
to a tiebreaker in her opening match.
"(The) score doesn't indicate how hard I had to work for some points," Ivanovic
said. "She started playing much, much better in the second set, and started
hitting the ball much heavier. I just played really good and stayed in the
moment and did what I had to do out there."
Ivanovic, a former No. 1-ranked player, won her only Grand Slam title at last
year's French Open. She lost in the final at Roland Garros in 2007.
Novak Djokovic reached the third round in the men's tournament, quickly
completing his suspended match by easily winning the final set and beating
Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.
The fourth-seeded Djokovic won the first two sets Thursday, but the match was
stopped because of darkness. He broke Stakhovsky to open the third set and had
little trouble the rest of the way.
"It's not pleasant when you don't finish a match in one day," Djokovic said.
"But I was lucky to come back and be two sets up."
Djokovic won his only Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, but the Serb
has reached at least the semifinals at all four major tournaments.
No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany also advanced to the third round,
beating 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (3),
6-3 in another match suspended by darkness Thursday night.
Later Friday, top-seeded Dinara Safina was scheduled to get back on court, as
were four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal and third-seeded Andy Murray.
On Thursday, Jelena Dokic's professional comeback took a painful turn.
The Australian was leading fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the second round of
the tournament when she twisted her body into position for a backhand. Not too
long after that, she retired from the match in tears.
"Don't know what it is yet," said Dokic, who reached the quarterfinals at the
Australian Open after a three-year absence from Grand Slam tennis. "It was very
painful, and I just hope it's not too serious."
The withdrawal, with the unseeded Dokic leading 6-2, 3-4, sent Dementieva into
the third round at Roland Garros along with Serena Williams, and Jelena
Roger Federer also made it through, rallying from a 5-1 deficit in the third set
on his least favorite surface to beat Jose Acasuso of Argentina 7-6 (8), 5-7,
7-6 (2), 6-2. Fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and No. 6 Andy Roddick also
Eliminated at French Open, NYT, 29.5.2009,
All-Williams Wimbledon Final
Is All Venus
July 6, 2008
The New York Times
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
WIMBLEDON, England — Sisters for life and doubles partners later in the
afternoon, Venus and Serena Williams put most of that aside for nearly two hours
on Saturday at Wimbledon, smacking serves and ground strokes in each other’s
direction with a vengeance and an accuracy that have often been lacking in their
previous family reunions.
It had been five years since they squared off in a Grand Slam singles final, and
the long wait produced one of their most consistently intense and entertaining
matches despite the gusty conditions that often made Centre Court feel more like
the front deck of a ship.
But there is still no doubt about which Williams sister has the best record at
Despite a ferocious start from Serena, Venus absorbed the shock and gradually
imposed her long-limbed presence on her favorite tennis court. Her 7-5, 6-4
victory gave her a fifth Wimbledon singles title, leaving Serena with two.
“I can’t believe it’s five, but when you’re in the final against Serena
Williams, five seems so far away from that first point,” Venus said in her
postmatch remarks to the crowd. “She played so awesome. It was really a task to
Although Serena hugged her older sister at the net and was gracious during the
ceremony, this defeat was clearly a major blow. Serena has worked herself into
fine shape this season, but she has not won a Grand Slam singles title since her
surprise run at the 2007 Australian Open.
“I don’t think I’m satisfied with the way I played today,” Serena said. “For me,
there’s nothing to be satisfied about.”
Serena was feeling cheerier by the end of the night, after she and Venus won
their third women’s doubles title here by beating Lisa Raymond of the United
States and Samantha Stosur of Australia, 6-2, 6-2.
This Wimbledon was a Williams revival indeed, but the match that mattered most
was the singles. “I had a feeling that they were finally going to play a really
good final,” the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion Martina Navratilova said.
“Today was fantastic tennis.”
Serena beat Venus in their previous Wimbledon finals in 2002 and 2003. But the
record books now make it clear that the All England Club is more Venus’s
stamping ground than hers. This was Venus’s second straight title and her third
in four years, but it was the number five that popped into her head immediately
after she had secured the match on a backhand error by Serena.
“I think definitely winning this tournament so many times definitely puts you in
the stratosphere, to be honest, just because of what this tournament means,”
Venus said. “I think had I had this achievement at any other tournament, it
would have been awesome, but not nearly the same meaning as at Wimbledon.”
Venus, who was seeded seventh this year, is certainly a different player here.
Although she had not reached the final of any tournament this season, she swept
through the Wimbledon draw without dropping a set.
“She loves it here,” said Venus’s hitting partner, David Witt. “She comes here,
and it just seems like she just gets here and glows. She loves the grass, and
obviously confidence is everything in this game.”
On grass, Venus’s huge serves and flat ground strokes are penetrating. On grass,
she is more inclined to put her volleys to use. At 6 feet 1 inch, she covers a
lot of air and space at the net.
That ability, with her clutch serving under pressure, was one of the keys to
this victory. Venus came to the net 18 times and lost only 3 points when she
With the wind playing nasty tricks, Venus repeatedly grabbed her service tosses
out of the air instead of hitting them and often pushed well beyond the
25-second time limit before serving. During a changeover, she was told by the
chair umpire Carlos Ramos that she needed to speed up.
But Venus was all too aware that her younger sister was returning aggressively
and effectively. Venus lost her serve once in each set, but she could have been
broken on three or four more occasions. Serena failed to convert on 11 of her 13
break points, as Venus frequently jammed her by hitting serves into her body. In
the first game of the second set, Venus held after hitting the fastest serve
ever recorded by a woman at Wimbledon, 129 miles per hour.
“I think that was her tactic, was to serve every ball to the body; I’m glad she
did it, because next time I know what to expect,” Serena said.
“I knew what she was doing. It was very readable.”
When Serena finally broke Venus in the second set, prevailing on her seventh
break point of a marathon game to take a 2-1 lead, she then lost her own serve
in the next game to let Venus get back to 2-2.
Serena appeared dejected after that. Although she was still an imposing presence
on the court, Venus was the more audible presence down the stretch, shrieking as
she leaned into her ground strokes and playing world-class defense. Serena was
She had started more strongly, winning 10 of the first 11 points with a flurry
of winners and forcing Venus to scramble to avert a first-set rout. But with
Serena leading, 4-2, Venus scrambled back to 4-4.
“I don’t think she made me not play well; I think the conditions were really
tough out there,” Serena said of the wind. “I know she was under the same
conditions, but it was just really, really tough. She lifted the level of her
game, and I should have lifted mine. But instead, I think mine went down.”
The ninth game of the first set proved significant. Venus saved three break
points. At game point, Serena hit a backhand floater cross court that she
clearly thought was going to be wide. She yelled, but the ball landed in.
Ramos called a let, but after Venus and Serena approached the chair, Ramos ended
up pronouncing, “Game Venus.”
Serena had conceded the point. “Serena is the ultimate sportsperson; we both
are,” Venus said. “We don’t take injury timeouts. We just play.”
According to a spokesman for the Wimbledon referee’s office, Ramos had initially
called a let because he considered Serena’s shout to be an “inadvertent
hindrance.” If she had not conceded the point, it would have been replayed.
Serena declined to discuss the incident in detail after the match, but she still
managed to hold serve to 5-5 before being broken in her next service game to
lose the set. She later dropped her serve again to lose the match, saving the
first match point at 15-40 with an ace but knocking a backhand wide at the end
of a long rally.
There were no leaps in the air from Venus after the title had been secured, no
unbridled joy. But Venus was clearly over the moon, and she and her sister have
each won eight times in their 16 often-anticlimactic encounters.
This, however, was one of the best.
Final Is All Venus, NYT, 6.7.2008,
12th Grand Slam Title
September 10, 2007
The New York Times
By LIZ ROBBINS
Sweat dripped from Roger Federer’s black headband in the United States Open
men’s final, as the endearing newcomer Novak Djokovic held seven set points over
him like a mirror to his vulnerability.
Djokovic had been the comedian of the United States Open, a 20-year-old Serb who
had won over the crowd with his postmatch impressions of fellow players as well
as his gutsy baseline game.
Federer did not care for his act. And in the accelerated end, Djokovic, playing
in his first Grand Slam final, was not yet ready for the inimitable Federer.
As the world’s No. 1 playing in his 14th Grand Slam final, Federer showed why he
is the reigning impresario of tennis. He pounced on Djokovic’s mistakes
yesterday, dissecting him for a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4 triumph to collect his
12th Grand Slam title.
“He had his chances today, many of them,” Federer said. “You could sing a song
about it. It’s a tough one for him to swallow, because especially him losing in
the end straight sets, it’s tough.”
Those were the closing words of his news conference, perhaps fueling a
compelling rivalry between the fashionable traditionalist, Federer, and the
YouTube star, Djokovic.
Not that Federer, 26, was willing to admit it. He is chasing one man, Pete
Sampras, the retired career leader with 14 Grand Slam titles.
With four consecutive Wimbledon titles and four consecutive United States Open
championships, Federer has climbed closer. He is the first man in the open era
to win four straight United States Open titles, the first since Bill Tilden won
six straight national titles from 1920 to 1925.
Federer might have struggled briefly in the middle of the tournament — losing
the first set to the 6-foot-9 John Isner in the third round and to Feliciano
López in the fourth — but he crisply eliminated Andy Roddick, Nikolay Davydenko
and Djokovic in straight sets.
The young players motivate Federer, he said. “Seeing them challenge me, beating
them in the final, it’s really for me the best feeling,” he said.
Djokovic, the No. 3 player in the world, made some notable friends and fans.
Sitting in his box were the 2006 women’s champion, Maria Sharapova (“It’s just a
friendship we have,” he said), and Robert De Niro, whose restaurant he ate in
during the tournament.
Djokovic upset Federer in Montreal last month in a third-set tie breaker, and he
came into yesterday’s final filled with confidence. He blamed himself as much as
he complimented Federer.
“I think I was mentally weaker today on the important parts than he is mentally
stronger,” Djokovic said.
He left war-torn Belgrade at 12 ˝ years old, when his parents, owners of a pizza
restaurant, sent him to train at Niki Pilic’s academy in Munich. Eight years
later, the sacrifice paid off.
His mother, Dijana, wearing the Djokovic team uniform, was happy with her son’s
performance here against Federer.
“Next year he will win for sure,” she said. “I know that he’s better.”
In the first set, Djokovic and Federer were feeling each other out from the
baseline. Djokovic broke Federer’s serve, then served at 6-5 for the first set,
Federer erased all three set points. Djokovic earned and lost two more. On the
third deuce, Djokovic hit a backhand that fluttered wide. Federer had his first
break point; Djokovic double-faulted to send the set to a tie breaker.
When Djokovic netted a backhand to even the tie breaker at 3-3, he slammed his
racket to the court. Djokovic double-faulted again, on set point for Federer.
In the 12th game of the second set, Djokovic had two more set points. Federer
came back with an ace to erase the first. On the second, Djokovic’s forehand was
called long and he challenged. The replay showed the ball had barely missed the
“It could have gone any way,” Djokovic said. “In these important moments, I was
doing something wrong, and then I missed that shot and I was unlucky.”
Then he joked about his lost chances.
“My next book is going to be called ‘Seven Set Points,’ ” Djokovic said,
deadpan. “No, I’m joking. I can say I’m sorry. I wish I can dress up and play
those 40-love points again.
“I have to look in a positive way. This has been one of the most amazing
experiences. This is one of the biggest cities in the world. The crowd — it was
a great atmosphere. I am really glad with my success on and off the court.”
Federer, who scored an extraordinary five-set Wimbledon victory against No. 2
Rafael Nadal, said that championship would be his favorite.
“But New York has definitely grown on me the last few years,” he said.
He could not say the same for Djokovic. Federer said he still considered Nadal
his true rival, even as Djokovic joined the conversation.
Federer was dismissive of Djokovic’s impressions of other players — Nadal,
Roddick, Andre Agassi and even Federer.
“In the locker room he’s always very respectful toward me,” Federer said of
Djokovic. “He’s pretty quiet. I didn’t see the stuff he did on court the other
day. I didn’t see what apparently he did in the locker room either.
“I know some guys weren’t happy. I know some guys might think it’s funny. He’s
walking a tightrope, for sure. If fans like it, it’s good for tennis, to be
honest. It’s good to have a character like him out there, there’s no doubt.”
Federer left no doubt. For now.
Federer Collects 12th
Grand Slam Title,
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