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Tennis Greats

1900-1952

Watch them on You Tube

Elegant Tennis Styles

Tennis Action Shot Female Retro

Tennis Hug Retro

Stylish Retro Female Tennis Player

Retro Girl Player

Cartoon Tennis

Murray Cartoon 2011 Action Shot

A fascinating collaboration between Margaret Morris (Scottish danseuse)

Group of MM dancers

and French Tennis superstar Suzanne Lenglen - click on images for more.

Suzanne Lenglen

Betty Batt

Betty Batt by Bassano - 5th May 1937 - distinguished English Player - her portrait from the National Portrait Gallery.

A muse for Ravilious in a unique way - he cut out images of her as a working resource!

Terrible Splendour

A Terrible Splendour by Marshall Jon Fisher chronicling the the persectuion years of Gottfried von Cramm, everyone's favourite German in the 1930s.

Davis Cup Logo

It also highlights the importance of the Davis Cup in the tennis calendar.

Hopman Cup History

Hopman Cup Logo

The Hopman Cup was named in honour of one of Australia’s greatest tennis players and coaches, Harry Hopman.

Hopman’s record speaks for itself. He captained Australia to 16 Davis Cup titles between 1939 and 1967. As a player he won seven Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles (several with his first wife, Nell), was a member of the victorious Australian Davis Cup team in 1939 and reached the singles final of the Australian Championships three times. Hopman was a trim, dapper, sandy-haired gentleman with considerable composure and contagious confidence, who shared a great rapport with his players. He had supreme authority over his Davis Cup squad, regardless of the individual’s standing in world tennis. Players knew that their own reputation as a flag-carrier of Australian sport was in the hands of this quiet achiever who organised their fitness programs, kept the team together away from the prying eyes of the media, watched over their lifestyle and maintained a critical and constant watch on their techniques.

A meticulous planner, Hopman left nothing to chance in his quest to keep the Cup in Australian hands. His coaching philosophies were absorbed by many Australian players of the 1950s, 60s and onwards and his fame spread to the USA, where he would later set up his international coaching school.

As well as several generations of outstanding Australian tennis players, there have been many others who have benefited from Hopman’s influence. John McEnroe still refers to Hopman as “Mr Hopman”, South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer attended his camp, as did French stars Guy Forget and Mary Pierce, and also late American Vitas Gerulaitis.

The Hopman name is still connected to the coaching world at the Saddlebrook Resort, near Tampa, where previous Hopman Camp coaches moved the training venue when it was scaled down at its previous Florida headquarters. Players including Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriatti and Mardy Fish have all used the Saddlebrook facilities.

The Hopman Cup was named in honour of one of Australia’s greatest tennis players and coaches, Harry Hopman.

Hopman’s record speaks for itself. He captained Australia to 16 Davis Cup titles between 1939 and 1967. As a player he won seven Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles (several with his first wife, Nell), was a member of the victorious Australian Davis Cup team in 1939 and reached the singles final of the Australian Championships three times.

Hopman was a trim, dapper, sandy-haired gentleman with considerable composure and contagious confidence, who shared a great rapport with his players. He had supreme authority over his Davis Cup squad, regardless of the individual’s standing in world tennis. Players knew that their own reputation as a flag-carrier of Australian sport was in the hands of this quiet achiever who organised their fitness programs, kept the team together away from the prying eyes of the media, watched over their lifestyle and maintained a critical and constant watch on their techniques.

A meticulous planner, Hopman left nothing to chance in his quest to keep the Cup in Australian hands. His coaching philosophies were absorbed by many Australian players of the 1950s, 60s and onwards and his fame spread to the USA, where he would later set up his international coaching school.

As well as several generations of outstanding Australian tennis players, there have been many others who have benefited from Hopman’s influence. John McEnroe still refers to Hopman as “Mr Hopman”, South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer attended his camp, as did French stars Guy Forget and Mary Pierce, and also late American Vitas Gerulaitis.

The Hopman name is still connected to the coaching world at the Saddlebrook Resort, near Tampa, where previous Hopman Camp coaches moved the training venue when it was scaled down at its previous Florida headquarters. Players including Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriatti and Mardy Fish have all used the Saddlebrook facilities.

- See more at: http://hopmancup.com/history/the-legacy#sthash.o9ctgZse.dpuf

The Hopman Cup was named in honour of one of Australia’s greatest tennis players and coaches, Harry Hopman.

Hopman’s record speaks for itself. He captained Australia to 16 Davis Cup titles between 1939 and 1967. As a player he won seven Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles (several with his first wife, Nell), was a member of the victorious Australian Davis Cup team in 1939 and reached the singles final of the Australian Championships three times.

Hopman was a trim, dapper, sandy-haired gentleman with considerable composure and contagious confidence, who shared a great rapport with his players. He had supreme authority over his Davis Cup squad, regardless of the individual’s standing in world tennis. Players knew that their own reputation as a flag-carrier of Australian sport was in the hands of this quiet achiever who organised their fitness programs, kept the team together away from the prying eyes of the media, watched over their lifestyle and maintained a critical and constant watch on their techniques.

A meticulous planner, Hopman left nothing to chance in his quest to keep the Cup in Australian hands. His coaching philosophies were absorbed by many Australian players of the 1950s, 60s and onwards and his fame spread to the USA, where he would later set up his international coaching school.

As well as several generations of outstanding Australian tennis players, there have been many others who have benefited from Hopman’s influence. John McEnroe still refers to Hopman as “Mr Hopman”, South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer attended his camp, as did French stars Guy Forget and Mary Pierce, and also late American Vitas Gerulaitis.

The Hopman name is still connected to the coaching world at the Saddlebrook Resort, near Tampa, where previous Hopman Camp coaches moved the training venue when it was scaled down at its previous Florida headquarters. Players including Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriatti and Mardy Fish have all used the Saddlebrook facilities.

- See more at: http://hopmancup.com/history/the-legacy#sthash.o9ctgZse.dpuf

Creation of the Grand Slams

There are four international tennis tournaments that take precedence in world tennis and they are the celebrated grand slams or majors of the sport- the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

The tennis grand slams are the most valuable tournaments on the circuit and carry the largest prize funds of the professional game. Successful players are further rewarded by double ranking points that count towards the year end ranking and they remain the only tournaments where the men have to contest the best of 5 sets.

All these tournaments, bar one, the Australian Open, have been contested by the greats of the game since the late 1800's and all of them still ooze the prestige and status they enjoyed way back then.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon Logo

 

The Wimbledon Championships kicked off at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1877 but this time around only the male tennis player's battled it out for the crown of Wimbledon. The organisers managed to entice close on 200 smartly dressed spectators to the maiden clash and at a shilling a pop it must have felt as though they had hit pay dirt!

Spencer Gore

Spencer Gore, an old Harrow man and an accomplished cricketer for Surrey, picked up the maiden title by thrashing his hapless opponent, William Marshall, in three easy sets but it was the twin Renshaw brothers, William and Ernest, who dominated the Championships for well over a decade.

William Renshaw

William and Ernest Renshaw

The first foreigner to claim the grass court crown was the legendary Norman Brooks from Australia. He claimed the singles title in 1907 & 1914 and went on to be knighted for his distinguished service to the game. The trophy for the men's singles champion at the Australian Open is named after this ground breaking tennis player who was instrumental in the formation of the Australian Open in 1905.

Lillian Watson

The Watson sisters, Maud and Lillian, contested the final of the first ever ladies singles event at the Wimbledon Championships in 1884 and it was the younger of the two, Maud, who claimed the kudos!

Maud Watson

The US Open

US Open Logo

The precursor to the US Open, the US National Men's Singles Championship, was first contested at Newport, Rhode Island in 1881 and local boy, Dick Sears obliterated his rival, William Glyn 6-0 6-3 6-2. Sears went on to set an all-time record of seven, successive titles, a record that still stands today.

R D Sears

Dick Sears

William Glyn

But the tournament only really donned the mantle of an international competition in 1926 when Frenchmen Rene Lacoste and Jean Borotra battled it out for the title. The fabulous Fred Perry became the first Englishman to win the US Open in 1933 and he went on to claim the title again in 1934 and 1936!

The inaugural ladies event was held in Philadelphia six years after the maiden men's singles event and local Philly filly, Ellen Hansell, bludgeoned her way to a dominant victory over her American rival, Laura Knight 6-1 6-0.

The French Open

French Open Logo

The French Open started life in 1891 as a humble national tournament dubbed the 'Championat de France International de Tennis' and oddly enough it was won by a Brit resident in Paris, known only by the name H Briggs. He defeated a French national, P Baigneres, but even the score has been lost in perpetuity!

Right up until 1924 the French Open could only be contested by players registered in France so it was clearly a very limited event in its infant stages. From then on in, until the mid-1930's, the event became the personal playground of three of the four famous Frenchmen known as the four Musketeers, or the Mousquetiares - Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra and Henri Cochet. They shared the title between them until Australian Jack Crawford, Britain's Fred Perry and Germany's Gotfried von Cramm spoilt their party!

The ladies event was contested for the first time in 1912 and local girl Marguerite Broquedis was crowned Queen of the courts. She was obviously enormously skilled as in the same year she claimed the gold medal in singles and the bronze in mixed doubles at the Stockholm Olympics!

But it was the flamboyant Frenchwomen, Suzanne Lenglen, who arguably put the French Open firmly on the map. In her long and glittering career she won over 30 grand slam titles, two gold medals and 1 bronze and the lady who the media called 'La Divine' became the first-ever tennis celeb!

Coupe des Mousquetaires

History

In 1891, what is now the French Open began competition as a tennis tournament exclusively for men.  Over time, the sport grew in stature amongst the public, buoyed by the France national team dominating international opponents at the Davis Cup, the championship moved to a purpose-built stadium in the mid-1920s and officially took on the name Tournoi de Roland-Garros.  To honor the four players bringing home such wild success on the world stage, a new trophy was made in 1927 and named the Coupe des Mousquetaires

Jean Borotra

Jacques Brugnon

Henri Cochet

Rene Lacoste

(Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste were referred to as “The Four Musketeers” owing to the 1925 box office smash based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas.)

The Musketeers’ Cup, as it is called in English, is modeled on a traditional Roman bowl. Unlike the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, which is handed over to the champion of the Australian Open, it has a rather understated appearance.  The floral bands around the top and bottom of the cup provide a touch of elegance, while the sweeping handles are more whimsical than you might expect for such an important piece of silver – shaped almost like wings, they might echo the messenger god Mercury.  Standing on a black marble plinth with a silver plaque on each side for winners’ names to be engraved, The Musketeers’ Cup is a testament to simple sophistication.

Winners pose with the trophy in a post-match ceremony, then receive a scaled-down replica made by French silversmiths Maison Mellero for their personal collection.

With thanks to mapsofworld.com for the history of the Coupe des Mousquetaires

In 2012 - Roland Garros went unexpectedly pink!

The Australian Open

Australian Open Logo

The 'Down Under' version of the grand slam tennis tournament only saw the light in 1905 as the Australasian Championships but the event battled to attract a wholly international field primarily because of the huge distances the consummate tennis stars of both Europe and America had to make to compete.

Even the local giants of the game, Norman Brooks and New Zealander, Anthony Wilding, opted to remain in the thick of things in Europe instead of contesting their home event. Brooks, who was later knighted for his dedication to the game, entered the event only once in 1911 and ended up with the title in his pocket and Wilding too had success at both of his Oz Open campaigns, in 1906 & 1909! Brooks went on to become the President of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia and, today, the men's singles trophy bears his name!

Local Moll, Maud Molesworth, crushed her Melbourne rival, Esna Boyd Robertson, 6-3, 10-8 to claim the inaugural ladies singles competition in 1922 and the first foreigner to claim the struggling grand slam was Englishwomen, Dorothy Round Little, in 1935!

The Paris Expo of 1937

Paris Expo Programme Cover

Paris Expo 1937 intro

Cover of the 1937 expo programme in which the British Pavilion features on page 11

Pictures courtesy of Derek Pullen via Fb

1933 Davis Cup

The Teams :

GB - Bunny Austin, Fred Perry (singles) and Patrick Hughes and Harry Lee (doubles)

France - Henri Cochet, Andre Merlin (singles) and Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon (doubles)

France 2 : GB 3

Tennis Ball

1936 Davis Cup

The Teams :

GB - Bunny Austin, Fred Perry (singles) and Patrick Hughes and Raymond Tuckey (doubles)

Australia - Jack Crawford and Adrian Quist (singles and doubles)

GB 3 : Australia 2

Tennis Programme 1936

Cover of the original Davis Cup programme - Getty Images

The Davis Cup trophy was originally a silver punchbowl, to which plinths have been added over time to include the winners' plaques. The trophy was donated by US tennis player Dwight Davis. He founded the competition in 1900 and it's named after him.

The current format of the competition is the same as in 1936. A best-of-five with two singles matches, a doubles, followed by reverse singles. But it was played over Saturday, Monday and Tuesday rather than Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

In 1936, Britain won the first two matches but lost the third (doubles) and fourth, taking it to a fifth round decider. It was down to Fred Perry to win Britain the trophy 3-2 by beating Jack Crawford in straight sets. Perry is famously the last British man before Murray to win Wimbledon (coincidentally also in 1936).

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Tennis is a bit of a passion of mine, so there may be lots of information here that is relevant or not to actual tennis, but Fashion is always interesting! This is a lovely illustration from the April 1930 (my favourite decade of course) edition of Good Housekeeping and a lovely pose from Senorita de Alvarez in 1927.

April 1930 Good Housekeeping Illustration Tennis Fashion Senorita de Alvarez 1927

1960s tennis fashion

What the fashionable set wore in the 1960s

2017 Davis Cup GB v Canada

Davis Cup Poster 2017 Ottowa

Image courtesy of The National Capital Tennis Association - neither Milos Raonic (Canada) nor Andy Murray (GB) played in the tournament

Referee injured Ottowa 2017

Umpire Arnaud Gabas, of France, holds his face after being hit by a ball during first-round Davis Cup tennis match action between Canada's Denis Shapovalov and Britain's Kyle Edmund, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Ottawa, Ontario. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

What a start to proceedings - in the nail biting 5th set the Canadian player (Junior Wimbledon Champion) scores an own goal by taking out the Umpire with a fit of temper right in front of the adoring GB fans!

Ball hits Davis Cup umpire in face, Canada loses to Britain

Associated Press Published: February 6, 2017 9:31 AM CDT Updated: February 6, 2017 9:31 AM CDT

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — In a startling ending to a Davis Cup match, Canada lost to Britain on Sunday when a 17-year-old player, frustrated by missing an easy shot, suddenly launched a spare ball that hit the chair umpire in the left eye.

Britain advanced to the World Group quarterfinals with Kyle Edmund's 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 default victory over Denis Shapovalov in the decisive fifth match. Shapovalov had just been broken by Edmund, hitting wide on a simple backhand, when he took a ball out of his pocket and wildly smacked it. The ball struck umpire Arnaud Gabas of France in the face, and the contact resulted in an automatic default. Gabas put ice under his eye as swelling and bruising began and was taken to Ottawa General Hospital for a precautionary evaluation. Shapovalov immediately came over to check on Gabas after the accident and appeared to be shaken, holding his head in a towel.

"Obviously this is unacceptable behavior from me," Shapovalov said. "I just feel awful for letting my team down, for letting my country down, for acting a way that I would never want to act." "I can promise that's the last time I will do anything like that," he said. The crowd of 7,497 at TD Place was stunned by the turn of events. Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau had never dealt with a similar situation.

"He's not that kind of guy. It's just the beginning of his career, so he'll draw a big lesson out of this," Laurendeau said. "Curbing your emotions on the court is probably something that he'll need to make a living out of this sport. You can't compete if you don't have emotional control and this lesson can serve him for the rest of his career and the rest of his life." The first-round victory moved Britain into a meeting with France in the quarters. Britain is assured a spot in the World Group next year while Canada must win a World Group playoff tie to keep its spot for 2018.

Vasek Pospisil defeated Britain's Daniel Evans 7-6 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) earlier Sunday, tying the matchup at 2-all. Pospisil said Shapovalov's action was out of character. "No one is nicer or carries themselves better for a 17 y/o than Shapovalov. Everyone can see that today was an accident. Can happen to anyone," Pospisil tweeted.

Britain team captain Leon Smith called the turn of events "a shame." "I feel sorry for Denis. He's gotten a harsh lesson," Smith said. "He'll learn, I'm sure. But firstly I hope the umpire's OK. That can be really dangerous."

Source : NewsOK - for more read the Ottowa Sun

2016 - Anne Keothavong appointed Federation Cup Captain

Anne Keothavong

Anne Keothavong - image courtesy and © of the Lawn Tennis Association

Anne Keothavong named Senior National Women's Coach and Fed Cup Captain

29/11/2016

"The Lawn Tennis Association is pleased to confirm the appointment of Anne Keothavong to the role of Senior National Women’s Coach. The position will involve working with Head Coach Women’s Tennis Jeremy Bates in overseeing the development and delivery of individual support programmes for aspiring professional players, as well as preparation and management of the Aegon GB Fed Cup team in the role of Captain. Keothavong will start December 1 and will travel out to the Australian Open in preparation for the Fed Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 (February 7-12) in Tallinn, Estonia.

Jeremy Bates, LTA Head Women’s Coach, said: “We have found the best candidate in Anne.  She has a tremendous work ethic having gone through triumph and adversity in her own career, and has a burning desire to give back to British Tennis.” Keothavong stated: “I’m delighted and honoured to accept this position in the sport that I love.  What a privilege it’s been to see all the British success on the court over the last couple of years, especially this last 12 months.  But success doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work, dedication, commitment and a desire to continually do better.” Current British No.1 and Britain’s first WTA Top 10 year-end finisher since 1983, Jo Konta commented: “I think Anne is a great choice as our next [Aegon] GB Fed Cup captain. She will lead from real life experience because she was a winner on court and she knew what it took to step up and play for her country.  I wish her the best and look forward to the 2017 campaign.”

As a professional player, Anne won 20 singles titles from 2001-2013 across all levels on the ITF Women’s Pro Circuit.  On the WTA, Keothavong was a runner-up in doubles at Florianopolis and a seven-time singles semi-finalist, including the WTA Premier stop at 2009 Warsaw.  That same year in February, she became the first woman since Jo Durie 16 years earlier, to break into the world’s Top 50. Keothavong had an illustrious and long-standing Fed Cup playing career. 

GB Fed Cup Team pre-2016

l to r - Anne Keothaving, Laura Robson, Judy Murray, the late Elena Baltacha and Heather Watson - image courtesy and © Sky Sports - read more here

She first represented her country in 2001, playing in all years of the tournament, apart from 2002, during her 13-year pro career. Aged 17 years, 221 days, Keothavong was the youngest Briton to represent her country in Fed Cup, in a 52-year span until Katie Swan (270 days younger) broke that record in 2016.  Only Virginia Wade has donned the Union Jack more in the competition than Keothavong’s 40 ties.  She played 44 singles and doubles Fed Cup rubbers in that time. Her record of 21 singles wins in the competition is only bettered by Wade (with 36)." Full report here

2016 - Murray becomes 26th Player in History to hold No. 1 in ATP Rankings

Andy Murray No. 1 Tribute

Briton ends Djokovic’s reign atop Emirates ATP Rankings. (Follow link for full article and here for the BBC)

More than seven years after he first ranked No. 2, Great Britain’s Andy Murray will take over the No. 1 position in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, replacing Novak Djokovic, who has held the top spot since 7 July 2014. Murray will now battle Djokovic for the coveted year-end No. 1 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Murray was guaranteed to move to No. 1 for the first time as a result of reaching the BNP Paribas Masters final in Paris on Saturday (05.11.2016). Djokovic had been No. 1 for the past 122 weeks since 7 July 2014, and 223 weeks overall. Murray, who has spent 76 weeks at No. 2 since first reaching the mark in 2009, is the first British male to rank No. 1 in the history of Emirates ATP Rankings (since 23 August 1973). On Monday (07.11.2016), at 29 years, 5 months and 23 days, the Dunblane native will be the 26th player in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings (since 1973) and the second-oldest player (John Newcombe, 30 years, 11 days, on 3 June 1974) to debut at No. 1 in the official rankings in men's tennis. He is the 15th European player to rank No. 1 and owns the ATP World Tour record for most time between becoming No. 2 and No. 1, having debuted at No. 2 on 17 August 2009.

Murray and Ball Kids at ATP Finals 2016

ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode said, “Andy has shown incredible dedication, determination and hard work in his bid to get to No.1. It’s difficult to think of a player more deserving of this accolade, what is more in one of the toughest eras in the history of our sport. He has had a phenomenal season and fully deserves this latest recognition, which confirms his status as the best player in the world.” This year, his brother, Jamie Murray, rose to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings for the first time on 4 April 2016 and held the top spot, in two stints, for a total of nine weeks.

Andy Murray No. 1

All images courtesy and © of the ATP

2016 - Which was Wimbledon's sexiest decade?

Take your pick - this Daily Mail article available here starts with the Sue Barker and Chris Evert era and continues through blonde favourites Anna Kournikova, Carling Basset Seguso, Gabriela Sabatini (an exception with Ana Ivanovic to the blondes), Steffi (now Stefani Graf), Maria Kirilenko, Eugenie Bouchard and those of Czech and Polish descent Hantuchova, Wozniaki, Radwanska (Ula is noticeably absent) and others. The earlier models of the 1970s are class personified on court but the 21st century maidens are honed to model proportions, like I said - take your pick! As for me - well it's these three :

Chris Evert in action

For an athlete on the move Chris Evert rarely had a hair out of place as this image shows

Chris Evert Current

A few decades on - Chris looks fresh as a daisy

Sue Barker in action

Sue in action a picture of concentration and elegant strength

Sue Barker current

A few decades on - elegant and instantly recognisable as the face of BBC Sport and Tennis

Aga and tennis balls

Not Aga's finest moment - but the body is honed to perfection - this pose caused quite a sensation and resulted in Aga losing her 'role as an ambassador for a Catholic Youth Group.'

Aga glammed up

I've never been a big fan of Aga's off court choice of dress, she does so love her 'cutaways' and mesh - but you get no argument from me that she 'scrubs up well!'

2016 - History in the making!

History making at the French Open 2016

History was made but not by Andy Murray - as Novak Djokovic lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the first time in his career he also became the first man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once since Rod Laver in 1969.

2016 - Roland Garros - Tennis Elite

Tennis Elite supporting RG expansion

Let's support the #NouveauRolandGarros stadium project! So say l to r - Rafael Nadal, Sabine Halep, Agnieszka Radwańska, Angelique Kerber, Kei Nishikori, Vikka Azarenka, Andy Murray, Jo Wilfrid Tsonga, Novak Djokovic (front and centre) Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza representing Spain, Roumania, Poland, Germany, Japan, Bielorus, UK, France, Serbia and the USA

UK - Davis Cup 2016 Winners!

Winning Team 2015

The Fans

Celebrating the win!

Images courtesy and © of The Davis Cup - Photographer Paul Zimmer

Biggest ever win for Agnieszka Radwanska - Singapore 2015

Aga and Ball Kids

UK - Davis Cup 2015 Finalists

Davis Cup 2015 UK Finalists

Hopman Cup 2015 - Winners

Hopman Cup 2015 Champions

Jerzy Janowicz and Agnieszka Radwanska - Hopman Cup 2015 Champions

Hopman Cup 2014 - Runners Up

Radwanska zagra z Janowiczem w Pucharze Hopmana!

Hopman Cup Advertising

This is how the home page looks currently (August 20th 2013) - prior to this the French team of Marion Bartoli and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga featured in the prime spot before Marion announced her retirement.

(Radwanska and Janowicz to compete in the Hopman Cup)

Hopman Cup 25 year Logo

As this is a first appearance by a Polish team it marks yet another great stride in Polish tennis and is worthy of recording on this page.

Hopman Cup 2014 Teams

From left to right : Bernard Tomic and Sam Stosur representing Australia and Agnieszka Radwańska and Jerzy Janowicz representing Poland

Po raz pierwszy w historii tenisowa reprezentacja Polski wystąpi w Hopman Cup. W składzie naszego zespołu znaleźli się najwyżej notowany w rankingu ATP Polak Jerzy Janowicz (14 ATP) i czwarta tenisistka świata Agnieszka Radwańska. Udział Polski w nieoficjalnych mistrzostwach świata par mieszanych potwierdzili organizatorzy turnieju.

Jestem bardzo podekscytowana grą w Pucharze Hopmana. Wystąpię tam po raz pierwszy w życiu. Jeszcze nigdy wcześniej nie grałam w grze mieszanej z Janowiczem. Poza tym, mój ostatni mecz tego rodzaju grałam jakieś pięć lat temu. Jestem jednak pewna, że to będzie wspaniała zabawa i spore wyzwanie. Co więcej będzie to dobre przetarcie przed wielkoszlemowym Australian Open. – powiedziała 24-letnia Radwańska.

22-letni Janowicz rozgrywa obecnie jeden z najlepszych sezonów w karierze. Po tym jak w zeszłym roku dotarł do wielkiego finału turnieju rangi ATP World Tour Masters 1000 w paryskiej hali Bercy, systematycznie poprawia swoją pozycję w rankingu. Jak na razie doszedł do czternastego miejsca na świecie, ale jak sam mówi stać go na wiele więcej.

Zdecydowaliśmy się wystąpić wraz z Agnieszką w tej imprezie myśląc, że to może być całkiem niezła zabawa zagrać razem przeciwko czołowym zawodnikom i zawodniczkom. - powiedział szczęśliwy Janowicz.

Dyrektor Hyundai Hopman Cup Steve Alayes jest zachwycony tym, że udało mu się namówić do gry w nieoficjalnych mistrzostwach świata polską parę.

Jesteśmy bardzo podekscytowani tym, że udało nam się namówić do gry tak utytułowanych tenisistów jak Janowicz i Radwańska. Oboje dodadzą naszej imprezie dużo kolorytu i prestiżu. W końcu są jednymi z najlepszych na świecie. Tegoroczny Hopman Cup zapowiada się bardzo interesująco. Będziemy mieli jedną z najmocniejszych obsad w historii. - powiedział uradowany dyrektor imprezy.

W Hyundai Hopman Cup 2014 wystąpi tak mikst australijski. Składać się on będzie z mistrzyni US Open Samanthy Stosur (13 WTA) i najmłodszego Australijczyka notowanego w czołowej setce rankingu ATP Bernarda Tomica (52 ATP). Stosur powróci do Australii Zachodniej po czteroletniej przerwie. Trzynasta tenisistka świata jest niezmiernie szczęśliwa, że będzie mogła ponownie reprezentować swój kraj w tych rozgrywkach.

Bardzo chciałam wrócić do Perth (tam będą rozgrywane spotkania ? TenisNET). Pomyślałam, że w tym roku ponownie chciałabym spróbować czegoś nowego. To będzie dla mnie wspaniałe doświadczenie, móc zagrać w Pucharze Hopmana. Mam tam zamiar wygrać trzy mecze. Może to być też świetny sprawdzian przed wielkoszlemowym Australian Open. – powiedziała Samantha.

Stosur, która w swoim dorobku posiada cztery tytuły singlowe, w tym wielkoszlemowy triumf w US Open, na pewno bardzo odpowiada format rozgrywek o Puchar Hopmana. A to dlatego, że doświadczona Australijka jest świetną deblistką, która 23-krotnie zwyciężała w turniejach gry deblowej mających rangę WTA. Spośród nich odniosła dwa zwycięstwa wielkoszlemowe. W 2005 roku wygrała Australian Open, a trzy lata później wraz z Bobem Bryanem była najlepsza na świętej trawie Wimbledonu.

Miałem w tym turnieju już wcześniej pewne sukcesy. Mam więc nadzieję, że uda mi się to zrobić ponownie w 2014 roku. Ta impreza zawsze przyciąga bardzo silne zespoły. Mam świadomość, że mecze przeciwko najlepszym nie będą należały do najłatwiejszych. Australijczycy mają tenis we krwi i kochają ten sport z całego serca. – powiedział 20-letni Tomic, który niedawno wygrał swój pierwszy turniej rangi ATP w Sydney.

Reprezentacja Polski jeszcze nigdy nie występowała w rozgrywanej pod egidą Międzynarodowej Federacji Tenisowej (ITF) imprezie o Puchar Hopmana. Rozgrywki rozpoczynające tenisowy sezon są uznawane za nieoficjalne mistrzostwa świata par mieszanych. Radwańska z Janowiczem o końcowe zwycięstwo powalczą w Perth, które od 1989 roku jest gospodarzem turnieju. XXVI edycja zawodów rozpocznie się 26 grudnia i potrwa do 4 stycznia.

Rywalizacja o Puchar Hopmana toczy się na twardych kortach w Perth Arena od 2013 roku, kiedy to otwarto ten tenisowy kompleks w stolicy stanu Australii Zachodniej. Może on pomieścić 13,910 kibiców. Tam prawo występu ma osiem najlepszych par mieszanych. Aby wejść do finału każdy z zawodników musi wygrać po dwa pojedynki singlowe i decydujący o wyniku jeden mecz par mieszanych. Zespoły są podzielone na dwie grupy, których zwycięzcy wchodzą do finału. Tam każdego z tenisistów czeka jeszcze jeden mecz singlowy i kończący rywalizację mikst. Ostatnią edycję turnieju zwyciężyli Hiszpanie Anabel Medina-Garrigues i Fernando Verdasco, którzy w styczniu 2013 roku wygrali z reprezentującymi Serbię liderem rankingu tenisistów Novakiem Djokovicem i Aną Ivanovic 2:1.

Update - Janowicz pulled out of partnering Agnieszka in 2014 but the Polish team, with Gregorz Panofil stepping in, still made the finals losing valiantly to the French team of Alize Cornet (replacing the retired Marian Bartoli) and Jo Wilfried Tsonga.

Cornet and Tsonga 2014 Hopman Cup Champions

2013 - an interesting year!

Farewell to Marion!

Marion Bartoli - Wimbledon Champion

Delightful Wimbledon Champion - Marion Bartoli - retires from tennis - photograph courtesy and copyright of Bob Martin / AELTC

We have a British Champion at last!

Murray wimbledon Champion 2013

The Austin Rover Mini Advantage

How many cars are purpose-designed and named after a tennis score? The ever popular Classic Mini shines a beacon yet again. For more about the Advantage please visit here

The Austin Rover Mini Advantage

The official advertising plate from Austin Rover (formerly British Leyland)

London 2012 Olympics Wimbledon

Wimbledon Olympics 2012 Entrance

The Rainbow coloured entrance makes a very eye-catching image in the sun

Wimbledon Pink Hoarding Olympics 2012

I really can't complain at the choice of Olympic colour for the transformed All-England Club.
(Olympic images courtesy of the All England Club and Getty)

The London Olympics fittingly brought two British Medals

Murray and Flag

Murray flying the flag for Great Britain

Male Tennis Olympians

The three proud medallists (l to r) Juan Martin del Potro (Bronze - Argentina) Murray (Gold - GB) and Roger Federer (Silver - Switzerland)

Murray and Robson Silver

Proud silver medallists for GB in the mixed doubles - Andy Murray and Laura Robson

We are Tennis.com comes the Tennis World

World Tennis Ball

Fabulous image of World Unity!

WTA Artwork for the Brussels Open

WTA Purple Design

Background image used on the WTA Brussels web-page.

Cartoon Murray

Murray Cartoon

Oh dear - yes, we do feel like that and Heath creates it beautifully! And then they ask - will we ever love Murray?

Not so elegant are the faces pulled by Andy Murray which I can't help thinking remind me of the 'Mouth of Sauron' but to save him any embarrassment I'll only show two really great cartoons commissioned by the Daily Mail and executed by Trevillion.

Murray the Mouth Cartoon

Maybe this artwork should have been part of a fascinating exhibition with a really good play on words entitled 'Court on Canvas' - this really appealed to me and opened my eyes to the vast spectrum of art on the subject of tennis available on canvas as a medium.

We are all accustomed to photographs of tennis players, action shots, modelling shoots, film footage, videos (as they were) DVDs and Blu-ray but the world of canvas which brings tennis alive has until now been a closed book to me.

I like this super-anti-hero (I don't really want to call a British player a villain, especially after we got used to the idea of 'Gentleman' / 'Practical Joker' Tim Henman once he'd stopped hitting ballgirls and getting expelled from Wimbledon) style of Andy Murray created by Trevillion because I have always liked the super-hero comics of the 1930s and the style which evolved from that - but to find the finesse and modernity of tennis on canvas from the whole of the 20th century is just plain fabulous! For the full article please visit here and for more on the Barber Institute which created the exhibition please visit here or got to You Tube for a quick stroll through the exhibition.

And now Spitting Image Murray

Poor Boris (Mophead) Johnson - what did he do to get included in this unsavoury line-up?

New Spitting Image Team including Andy Murray Link to Daily Mail Article Link to Daily Mail article

Those to be lampooned in the new show include, from left: Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray - image courtesy of the Press Association and the Daily Mail

Court on Canvas

To whet your appetite, here are some of the spectacular examples of that formed part of the exhibition and why they particularly appeal to me!

What caught my eye particularly with this exhibition, other than I did not realise there was such 'distinguished' tennis art in existence (never too late to learn about these things), was the fact that both Eric Ravilious and Eric Gill are contributors. This led to the knowledge that Oliver Hill was also a big fan of tennis - even more to like about the Midland Hotel triumvirate of designers (and of course another of those spooky links)! But then I found that another contributor and prolific painter of tennis scenes was Spencer Frederick Gore who painted the Carreras Black Cat Factory which he could, as it happens, see outside of his living quarters on Mornington Crescent! Here are some examples of his 'tennis' work:

Game of Tennis

"The Game of Tennis"

Simple Dame

A woman player in all the restricting garments of the day!

In the cool shade

In the shade - very reminiscent of Gore's Mornington Crescent paintings.

Andre Lhote

From André Lhote - 'Tennis Players' 1917 courtesy of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

André Lhote - originally trained as a sculptor and then turned to painting. Initially he worked in the Fauvist style, but joined the Cubist movement in 1910. The first world war interrupted his career, but he was discharged in 1917 and soon afterwards produced this cubist view of Tennis Players.

Tennis in Art

Peploe

Labelled as 'Scottish Art' - Game of Tennis, Luxembourg Gardens 1906 - Samuel John Peploe

On searching further, beyond the Court on Canvas exhibition I found several other pieces of interesting art - my thanks to the National Gallery of Scotland for giving us this wonderful very early Peploe piece.

Samuel John Peploe (Scottish, 1871 - 1935)

Peploe is one of the group of four artists known as the 'Scottish Colourists.' Born in Edinburgh, he studied art in Paris and lived there from 1910 to 1912. It was through painting holidays in Northern France that he was introduced to the use of bold colour, inspired by the bright sunlight. He later experienced the same intensity of light while painting on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. French painting proved to be a powerful influence for Peploe throughout his life. Although his work never became abstract, it was characterised by tight composition, strong colour and assured handling.

Royal Game

Fergusson enjoyed travelling to France with his fellow colourists and we benefit with this lovely piece.

John Duncan Fergusson (Scottish, 1874 - 1961)

‘Scottish Colourist’ John Duncan Fergusson is recognised as one of the most influential Scottish painters of the 20th century. Mostly self-taught, he moved to Paris in 1907, where he became a member of the Parisian art circles to which artists such as Matisse and Picasso also belonged. The outbreak of the First World War forced him to return to Britain, and by 1918 he was an established member of the art scene in Chelsea, London. In 1929 he went back to Paris for a further eleven years before moving to Glasgow, where he lived until his death. Like his friend S J Peploe, Fergusson’s early work was influenced by that of Whistler and the Glasgow Boys, but in France he came across Fauvism and adopted a similar style, using pure, bright colours and bold, rhythmic contours.

A Terrible Splendour

The harrowing biography of Gottfried von Cramm who as a confessed homosexual was shunned by society and persecuted by Adolf Hitler despite giving the sport one of its most exciting players - even the Wimbledon committee was uncomfortable with his personal status.

Cramm and Budge Wimbledon 1937

German Gottfried von Cramm, left, and American Don Budge take the court for the 1937 Wimbledon finals. They would play again two weeks later in Davis Cup competition. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The Four Musketeers

French Four Musketeers

From left to right France's Four Musketeers - Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste and Jean Borotra

The Dream Team of Tennis: The Four Musketeers by Alyce Vilines, GEM Tennis

Every sport has their Dream Team- that one unforgettable lineup of players whose grit and fierce determination allow them to break through impenetrable barriers, leap over unimaginable hurdles, and fight through impossible odds-sealing their fate and legacy in the minds and hearts of ardent fans.

Who can forget the brilliance of the US men’s basketball team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona or the passionate play of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team?  How about the inspirational four-member Jamaican bobsled team who overcame all odds to bring home the gold, or the young and inexperienced Brazilian soccer team who swept through the competition to capture the 1962 World Cup?

In tennis, where legends typically achieve their glory in singular fashion, it can be more of a challenge to recall a group of players whose combined talents are of such memorable stature. . . with one exception.

The Four Musketeers, a troupe of outstanding French tennis players who dominated the sport in the late 1920’s through the early 1930’s, achieved Dream Team status long before the term had even been coined.  Their unprecedented achievements and invincible spirit were certainly the stuff of which dreams are made, yet it took an American-born competition to make their Dream Team a reality.

The brainstorm of Harvard student, Dwight Filley Davis, the Davis Cup competition was first played in 1900, on the courts of Boston’s Longwood Cricket Club.  Designed to provide tennis players with the unique opportunity for a team experience, the Davis Cup founders encouraged other countries to assemble national teams of their most talented players.  These teams would then compete against one another for a coveted silver bowl, and more importantly, the honor of representing their nations.

In 1904, France became the third team to join the Davis Cup competition, along with Great Britain and the United States. Twenty-three years later, the revered contest included representative teams from more than 20 nations, including an impressive foursome from France.The celebrated French team of Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste were among the talented players who, in 1927, arrived at the grass courts of the Germantown Cricket club in Philadelphia to compete for the Davis Cup title.

The nickname given to this talented foursome was fittingly derived from the band of compatriots in Alexander Dumas’ novel, The Three Musketeers, whose motto- “all for one and one for all”- accurately portrayed the close bond shared by these extraordinary athletes.

For three agonizing years, this gritty troupe of Frenchman had battled unsuccessfully to upstage the reigning American champions (who had held the title since 1920), finishing a heartbreaking second in 1925 and 1926.

On that fateful day in 1927, however, their resilience and fortitude finally paid off.  In a victory which sent shock waves throughout the sports world, the Four Musketeers snatched the silver bowl from the Americans and the Dream Team of tennis was born.  Even before the excited teammates had the chance to pass around the silver cup, plans were underway in Paris to build a new stadium that would house the Davis Cup rematch the following year.

In 1928, upon completion of the magnificent Roland-Garros facility, the French Federation of Tennis wanted to honor these four tennis greats.  The answer was easy.  The Men’s Singles trophy for the French Open tournament was named the “Coupe des Mousquetaires”  (Cup of the Musketeers), a tribute befitting the inspiration they had provided in making this grand clay court stadium a reality.

Together they made history, but Borotra, Brugnon, Cochet and Lacoste were exceptional tennis players in their own right.

Jean “The Bounding Basque” Borotra (1898-1994), his trademark blue beret seated securely on his head,  battled his opponents and entertained his fans with a coffer of unconventional ground strokes, lightning speed, and brilliant volleys.   He captured the singles title at Wimbledon twice- in 1924 and 1926- and repeated the same at the French Championships – in 1924 and 1931.  He was also the Australian Open Champion in 1928 and a finalist in the United States Championships in 1926.  His greatest victory, however, may have come at the 1932 Davis Cup competition.  Borotra was called out of retirement (at the age of 34) to replace his ailing friend, Rene Lacoste, in a match against the US Davis Cup team’s Ellsworth Vines.  Borotra’s superb play, and ultimate defeat of this young American, clinched the Davis Cup win for France for the sixth year in a row, and for the last time for another 59 years.

Jacques “Toto” Brugnon (1895-1978) was the elder member of the Four Musketeers, and the only one who did not capture a major singles title.  His gifted play at the net made for a completely different story in the doubles arena, however, where he notched one Australian, four Wimbledon, and five French doubles championships during his successful tenure on the courts.  His Davis Cup doubles victories totaled an impressive 22 out of 31.

Henri “The Ballboy of Lyons” Cochet (1901-1987), considered by some to be the greatest French tennis player of all time, was a man of small stature and looming capability.  At a mere 5’6”, this diminutive Frenchman used his grace and speed on the court to overpower his taller competitors.  His ability to reach the ball early, coupled with his masterful execution of volleys, kept his opponents continually off-guard and ultimately ranked him as the world’s number one player from 1928-1931.  Cochet captured one US, two Wimbledon and five French championship titles, in addition to his many victories ( 44-14 overall) in Davis Cup competitions between 1927 and 1932.

Rene “The Crocodile” Lacoste (1904-1996) was perhaps the most memorable of the “Four Musketeers”, noted as much for his off-court presence as for his feats on the court.  Though a late bloomer (he didn’t pick up a racket until age 15), Lacoste quickly made up for lost time, participating on the Davis Cup team for the first time at the tender young age of 18.   His relentless training and tactical genius ranked him #1 in the world in 1926 and 1927, and netted him seven major singles titles- three at the French Open, two on the grass lawns at Wimbledon and three more at the US Open.  Off-court, he parlayed his popularity and flare for fashion into the infamous and enduring Lacoste clothing label.

The magical combination of this fabulous foursome who, in the words of Rene Lacoste, “crossed and recrossed the Atlantic seven times” in their endless quest for the prestigious Davis Cup title, earned them far more than the coveted silver bowl.  Their passion and guts gifted their homeland, and tennis fans everywhere, with a Dream Team whose story will continue to inspire for generations to come.

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Page updated : 6th February 2017