Tennis 20s Fashion

Grand Slam & Majors Winners 2011-2022

Tennis Ball


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Australian Open


Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic

Naomi Osaka 2021 Oz Open Champion

Congrats to Naomi Osaka

Noval Djokovic Oz Open 2021 Champion

Congrats to Novak Djokovic for making it a spectacular no. 9

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French Open

Barbora Krejcikova & Novak Djokovic

Barbora Krejcikova FO 2021 Champion

Congrats to Barbora on her maiden Grand Slam

Djokovic 2021 FO Champion

Congrats to Novak for his 2nd Grand Slam of the Year!


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Ash Barty & Novak Djokovic

Ash Barty Wimbledon 2021 Champion

Congrats to Ash Barty on her maiden Wimbledon title

Djokovic 2021 Wimbledon Champion

Congrats to Novak for his 3rd Grand Slam of the Year!


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Tokio Olympics

Belinda Bencic and Alexander 'Sasha' Zverev

Belinda Bencic Olympian 2021

Alexander Zverev Olympian 2021

Congrats to Belinda & Sasha on their awesome Olympian (Gold) success!


Tennis Ball


Emma Raducanu and Daniil Medvedev

Emma Eaducanu British US Open Winner 2021

Daniil Medvedev US Open Champion 2021

Congrats to Emma & Daniil on their maiden Slams.

Extra kudos to Emma for making it through as a qualifier meaning 10 not 7 matches!

And let's not hold it against Daniil that he ruined Novak's 'Calendar Slam' last won by Road Laver in 1969 - there's always next year!

WTA Finals 2021

Garbine Muguruza wins WTA Finals 2021

Congrats to Garbiñe Muguruza on her Maiden WTA Final

ATP Finals 2021

Alexander Zverev wins ATP Finals 2021

Congrats to Alexander Zverev on his ATP 2021 title

Tennis Ball

Australian Open


Sofia Kenin and Novak Djokovic

Sofia Kennin Australian Open Champion 2020

Congrats to Sofia on her Maiden Grand Slam

Noval Djokovic  Australian Open Champion 2020

Congrats to Novak for making it No. 8!

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US Open 2020

Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem

Naomi Osaka US Open Champion 2020

Congrats to Naomi on another US Open Final, the first of its kind since Covid-19

Dominic Thiem US Open Winner 2020

Congrats to Dominic Thiem on his first and unique Covid-19 Grand Slam Win

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French Open 2020*


*Weirdest Slam Ever!

Iga Swiatek & Rafael Nadal

Iga Swiatek French Open Champion 2020

Congrats Iga on your Maiden Slam & a First for Poland

Rafa Nadal French Open 2020

Congrats Rafa on your 13th French Open and 20th overall matching Roger Federer

Tennis Ball

ATP Finals 2020

Medvedev ATP 2020 Champion

Congrats to Daniil Medvedev on his maiden ATP Tour Final Success in Lock-down Britain

Tennis Ball

Australian Open


Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic

Naomi Osaka AO Champion 2019

Congrats to Naomi for her 2 in a row Maidens

Djokovic 2019 AO Champion

Congrats to Novak for his record breaking 7th Australian Open success

Tennis Ball

French Open


Ash Barty and Rafael Nadal

Ash Barty French Open Womens Champion 2019

Sincere congrats to Ash for her maiden Grand Slam and to Rafa for his record breaking 12th French Open Grand Slam success

Rafael Nadal 12th French Open 2019



Simona Halep and Novak Djokovic

Simona Halep Wimbledon Champion 2019

Congrats to Simona for her most endearing success and Novak for adding to his ever growing tally of Grand Slams

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon Champion 2019

Tennis Ball

US Open 2019

Bianca Andresescu of Canada US Open Champion 2019

Congrats to Bianca Andreescu on her maiden Grand Slam and Rafael Nadal who is getting closer to Roger's total!

Rafael Nadal US Open Champion 2019

Great colour scheme Rafa!

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WTA Finals 2019

Ash Barty Wins the 2019 WTA Finals

Congrats to Ash Barty who wins the WTA Finals title on her debut

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ATP Finals 2019

tefanos Tsitsipas  wins 2019 ATP Year End Finals

Congrats to Stefanos Tsitsipas who wins the Nitto ATP Finals title on his debut

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Australian Open


Caroline Wozniaki and Roger Federer

Caroline Wozniaki Australian Open 2018

Congrats to Caroline on her maiden Grand Slam and Roger on his ground breaking 20th Grand Slam

Roger Federer Australiam Open 2018

French Open


Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal

Simona Halep French Open Champion 2018

Congrats to Simona on her maiden Grand Slam and Rafa on his ground breaking 11th French Open

Rafa Nadal French Open Champion 2018



Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic

Angelique Kerber Wimbledon Champion 2018

Djokovic Wimbledon Champion 2018

US Open 2018

Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic

Naomi Osaka US Open Grand Slam Champion

Congrats to Naomi on her maiden Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic  US Open Grand Slam Champion

WTA Finals 2018

Elina Svitolina wins her first WTA Tour Finals in 2018

Congrats to Elina Svitolina

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ATP Finals 2018

Alexander Zverev Winner ATP Final 2018

Congrats to Alexander Zverev

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Australian Open


Serena Williams and Roger Federer

Serena Williams AO2017 Champion

Roger Federe AO2017 Champion

French Open


Jelena Ostapenko and Rafael Nadal

Jelena Ostapenko French Open 2017

Congrats to Jelena on her maiden Grand Slam and Rafa on his ground breaking 10th French Open

Rafael Nadal French Open 2017



Garbine Muguruza and Roger Federer

Garbine Muguruza 2017 Wimbledon Champion

Roger Federer 2017 Wimbledon Champion

US Open 2017

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal

Sloane Stephens US Open Champion 2017

Nadal 2017 US Open Champion

Congrats to Sloane on her Maiden Grand Slam

WTA Finals 2017

Caroline Wozniaki wins 2017 WTA Finals

Congrats to Caroline Wozniaki

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ATP Finals 2017

Dimitrov wins ATP 2017 Finals

Congrats to Grigor Dimitrov

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Australian Open


Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic

Kerber 2016 Champion

Congrats to Angie for her maiden Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic AO Champion 2016

French Open 2016

Garbine Muguruza and Novak Djokovic

Garbine Muguruza 2016 French Champion

Djokovic 2016 French Open Champion

Congrats to Garbine for her maiden Grand Slam & Novak for first male player since 1969 to hold all 4 Grand Slams at once



Serena Williams and Andy Murray

Serena Williams 2016 Wimbledon Champion

Andy Murray Champion Wimbledon 2016

Congrats to Serena for equalling Steffi Graf's 22 Grand Slam Singles titles



Monica Puig and Andy Murray

Monica Puig

Andy Murray

Congrats to Monica for her maiden Gold Medal

US Open 2016

Angelique Kerber and Stan Wawrinka

Angelique Kerber US Open Champion 2016

Stan Wawrinka US Open Champion

Congrats to Angelique for attaining Womens #1

WTA Finals 2016

Dominika Cibulkova

Cibulkiva WTA Champion 2016

Maiden Appearance Winner! Congrats!

ATP Finals 2015 & World No. 1

Atp Winner 2016

Andy Murray

Tennis Ball

Australian Open


Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic

Serena Williams 2015

Djokovic 2015

French Open 2015

Serena Williams & Stan Wawrinka

Serena Williams French Open Champion 2015

Stan Wawrinka French Open Champion 2015



Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic

Serena Williams Champion 2015

Djokovic Champion 2015

US Open 2015

Flavia Pennetta and Novak Djokovic

Flavia Pennetta US Champion 2015

Warm congrats to Flavia on her maiden Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic US Champion 2015

WTA Finals 2015

Agnieszka Radwanska

Singapore Champion 2015 Aga Radwanska

Warm Congratulation to Aga for her astonishing success!

ATP Finals 2015

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic ATP 2015 Champion

Masters Finals 2015

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Australian Open


Li Na and Stanislaus Wawrinka

Li Na 2014 Oz Champ

Stan W Oz Champ 2014

French Open 2014

Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal

Sharapoval French Open 2014

Nadal French Open 2014



Petra Kvitova and Novak Djokovic

Petra Kvitova Wimbledon Champ 2014

Djokovic Wimbledon Champ 2014

US Open 2014

Serena Williams and Marin Cilic

Serena Williams US Open Champ 2014

Marin Cilic US Open Champ 2014

WTA Finals



Serena Williams

Serena Williams Champion WTA 2014

ATP Finals

London 2014

Novak Djokovic

ATP 2014 World Champion Djokovic

Statoil Masters

London 2014

Champion Fernandez

Finalists Roddick and Gonzalez

Congrats to Champion Fernando Ganzalez and runner-up Andy Roddick

Warm Congrats to all the Champions of 2014

Tennis Ball

Australian Open


Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic

Azarenka 2013 OzOpen Champion

Noval Djokovic Australian Champion 2013

French Open 2013

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal

Serena Williams French 2013

Rafael Nadal French 2013



Marion Bartoli and Andy Murray

marion Bartoli Wimbledon Champion 2013

Andy Murray Wimbledon Champion 2013

US Open 2013

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal

Serena Williams US Open Champ

Rafael Nadal 2014 US Open





Serena Williams

Serena Williams Istanbul 2013

ATP World Tour 2013

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic wins 2013 ATP World Tour


Statoil Trophy 2013

Legends and Masters Champions Tour to round off the year

Patrick Rafter wins Masters 2013

Pat Rafter

John McEnroe triumphs in the Legends 2013

John McEnroe

Warm Congrats to all the Champions of 2013

Tennis Ball

Australian Open


Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic

Victoria Azarenka

Noval Djokovic

Congrats to Vikka on her maiden Grand Slam

French Open 2012

Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal

Sharapova French 2012

Nadal French Trophy 2012



Serena Williams and Roger Federer

Serena Williams

Roger Federer



Serena Williams and Andy Murray

Serena Gold Medallist

Murray Gold Medallist

US Open 2012

Serena Williams and Andy Murray

Williams US Open Champ

Murray US Open Champion

Congrats to Andy Murray on his maiden Grand Slam




2012 Serena Williams

Williams wins Istanbul

ATP World Tour 2012

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic wins end of year tour

The Legends and Masters Winners rounding off the year 2012

Fabrice Santoro

Fabrice Santoro

John McEnroe

McEnroe Legends Champ 2012

Warm Congrats to all the Champions of 2012

Tennis Ball

Australian Open


Kim Clijsters and Novak Djokovic

Kim Clijsters Australian Open Champion 2011

Novak Djokovic Australian Open Champion 2011

French Open 2011

Li Na and Rafael Nadal

Li Na French Open Champion

Rafael Nadal French Open Champion

Congrats to Li Na on her maiden Grand Slam



Petra Kvitova and Novak Djokovic

Petra Kvitova Wimbledo Champion 2011

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon Champion 2011

Congrats to Petra Kvitova on her maiden Grand Slam

US Open 2011

Samantha Stosur and Novak Djokovic

Samantha Stosur US Open 2011 Winner

Novak Djokovic US Open 2011 Winner

Congrats to Sam Stosur on her maiden Grand Slam



Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova Year End Champ

ATP World Tour Finals London 2011

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

The Masters and Legends Winners rounding off the 2011 Tennis Year

Tim Henman

Tim Henman

John McEnroe

John McEnroe

Warm Congrats to all the Champions of 2011

Tennis Ball


Favourite Players

Favourite players (in no particular order) will feature somewhere in this section when it has been completed.

Hubert Hurkacz - Poland

Pole Position: Hurkacz Claims First Masters 1000 Title In Miami - image and strapline sourced from and courtesy of ATP


Emma Raducanu - GB

11th September 2021 - US Open Champion - first Women's Grand Slam Winner since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977

Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu

Who would have thought from this preview that Emma would run away with the final having not dropped one set through 3 rounds of qualifying and 7 rounds of the tournament proper - image courtesy & © of

Tennis 10th September, 2021 US Open 2021 Women's Final Special Preview by Niloy Mukherjee


Wow! That is all one can say. The US Open Women's Singles final is going to be contested between a just turned 19-year old, and a yet-to-turn 19-year old. Two players ranked #73 and #150 will play for the crown!! We have spoken earlier of how women's tennis has shown a lot of fragmentation, even as men's tennis has gone through a period of amazing stability going back almost 14 years!! This tournament has been no different – in men's it is all about whether a 34-year-old can make history – in the women's, the four semi-finalists had all never made a slam final before, let alone winning it. The two finalists combined age is only marginally more than the age of the Men's favorite, Djokovic.

This tournament has also been a poster for globalization. Leylah Annie Fernandez, 18 at the start of the Open, born in Montreal, to parents of Ecuadorian and Filippino origin. Her opponent, Emma Raducanu, 18 years old, born in Toronto, to parents of Romanian and Chinese heritage, moved to Britain when she was two. Quite the melting pot right here with a coincidental Canada connection.


It is a remarkable story that these two are here at all. Emma Raducanu played her first-ever tour level tournament at Nottingham this June. She became famous when she made the 4th round at Wimbledon after receiving a wild card into the tournament. She then retired with breathing difficulty, which looked a bit to me at least, as though the nervous tension brought about by the occasion had overwhelmed her. (No offence meant, simply observing what it looked like – Judy Murray and other commentators please note). At this point she had achieved some wonderful wins over the World #41 and Grand Slam finalist Vondrusova and the World #45 Cirstea. But it could have been a flash in the pan. There is another tale here. The Nottingham WTA tournament she made her debut in (also through a wildcard) ended straightaway in defeat when she lost her debut match to Harriet Dart. At the time, she was refused the Wimbledon main draw wildcard based on her low ranking. She then played the ITF tournament in Nottingham (which is a rung lower) and beat WTA veteran Timea Babos (who has been ranked as high as #25), causing the Wimbledon organizers to revise their decision and award her a wildcard for the main draw. Almost 500 British players have received a wildcard into Wimbledon since these were introduced in 1977. Only 18 have gone past the 2nd round. Emma made it to the 4th.

Post-Wimbledon, Raducanu has played a couple of ITF tournaments, reaching the final most recently at Chicago in August where she lost to the even younger Clara Tauson. Her only other tour level match at San Jose ended in defeat to Shuai Zhang. With a ranking of 150, she had to play the qualifying rounds at Flushing Meadows. A qualifier has a pretty daunting task, they have to play 3 matches before they make the main draw, then they frequently face a seeded player and often lose at that point itself. If they are lucky enough to make it past the first round without playing a seed, almost always a seed awaits them in the next round. This Open saw six of the 16 qualifiers make the 2nd round. None of the six beat a seeded player. In the 2nd round five of the six survivors lost to seeded players. The remaining qualifier, Raducanu, was the only one not playing a seeded player and she continued to go through.

Raducanu did not play a single-seeded player till the quarter-finals. At this stage she had won seven straight matches (3 in qualifying and 4 in the main draw) without dropping a set. While it appears she was lucky in not meeting a seeded player, she had beaten 3 players ranked in the forties including her conqueror in San Jose – Zhang. While not too bad, not too many gave her a chance in the Quarters where she finally met a seed, the 11th ranked Belinda Bencic, who was coming off an Olympic Gold Medal and had easily beaten 2020 French Open winner and #7 seed, Iga Świątek, in straight sets in the previous round. And now we are here two matches later. Emma has beaten two seeded players and has not yet dropped a set. She is the first-ever qualifier, man or woman, to make a Slam final in the open era. Talk about a blazing entry into the centre stage!!!


Leylah Annie Fernandez, from my favorite tennis nation of Canada, is a little different. She has been talked up quite a lot for some time now by the pundits, as the next real thing. With Canada having produced Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger–Aliassime (who is currently in the men's semi-final here) and Bianca Andreescu in quick order one was keen to take a closer look at the next "big thing" from the land of the maple leaf. Unfortunately given the schedule, the courts that up and coming players are put on, the TV coverage (restricted to show courts) despite my best effort, I have not been able to watch her playing live. YouTube highlights never give you the same perspective. There is another story one needs to write about how Tennis is underserving its fans here. Her results, while she has steadily climbed up the ranks, did not inspire any great confidence. In the slams so far she has lost in the 1st round of the Australian, both times she played, she lost at Wimbledon in the 1st round this year, and in the 2nd round of the US Open last year. In the Olympics this year she lost in the 2nd round. Only at the French Open, has she done slightly better, making the 3rd round at the winter games of 2020 and the 2nd round this year. This however is the danger in assessing a player that is so young, based on past results. The game of a 17-year-old or 18-year-old matures by orders of magnitude every 3 months. Losing to players like Kenin, Kvitova, Keys, Ostapenko, Krejcikova at the age of 18 even in straight sets may not indicate what the player is going to turn into (hmm……maybe players with family names starting with K have a hex over Leylah!! 😊 Just kidding). Iga Świątek in 2019 suffered losses of 6-1, 6-0 to Halep (at Roland Garros), 6-0, 6-2 to Ostapenko, 6-0, 6-3 to Stosur and 6-2, 6-0 to Giorgi. Yet within a year she was handing out those kind of results to her opponents on a regular basis. Still recent form did not indicate anything about what was to come – in Montreal Fernandez lost to Harriet Dart (Ms Dart makes a 2nd appearance in this column 😊) in the first round in straight sets. At Cincinnati she had to qualify and lost to Alison Riske 6-2, 6-2 in the first round. At the Olympics, Krejcikova beat her 6-2,6-4 in the 2nd round. With this background, one did not really expect her to go too far at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre.

Raducanu had a run to the quarters before she met her first seed, and has not played a Top 10 ranked player or a player who has reached a Slam Final yet. Fernandez had quite a different route. She met #3 and 4-time slam winner Osaka in the 3rd round, 16th seed and 3-time slam winner Kerber in the 4th, World #5 Year-end Final winner and Olympic Bronze medalist Svitolina in the quarters and finally today she played the World #2 Sabalenka. She has beaten them all. Not in straight sets but she has beaten them all. She has been calm and collected and has shown tremendous maturity. I am amazed at barely 19, she knows just what to say in the on court interviews. Raducanu who is reputed to have aced her A levels this year is also very good at this. Two kids with a head far above their years it appears.


And so finally who will win this unprecedented encounter? In sports, only fools venture their neck out and predict results, but let's try and break it down a bit. Given that Emma is here without having dropped a set and has shown some amazing tennis, she has her legitimate claim to being the favorite. She has spent the lowest time on court of the four semifinalists at only 7 hours and 41 minutes. Leylah on the other hand has spent a full five hours more on court. This would definitely make her more likely to be weary. However these numbers only refer to the main draw, one has to remember that Raducanu would have spent possibly another 3 odd hours on court while qualifying including the sheer grind of having now played nine matches.

However, both are teenagers and the prospect of holding aloft the trophy should pump in enough adrenalin to make weariness moot!!! Both players have a solid game and athleticism. Raducanu's strengths are in her amazing vision of the court. She seems to know exactly where to put the ball and how to move her opponent around much like a chess master boxing the opponent in and then swooping away from the opponent's pieces. The way she plays though speed chess would be a better analogy. But clearly, a thinking player who is constantly outwitting her opponent. She also has a decently paced serve to back this up and will be formidable in the final.

Fernandez with her short backswing returns takes time away from her opponents and absorbs their pace very well. She also has the ability to change direction often and uses the court very well. Her greatest strength though I believe is her fierce desire to win. She really wants to win, and is confident in her abilities. She also seems aware that even if she loses, her time will surely come. Many players have an intense desire to win, but that can sometimes get in their way and tighten them up (Sascha Zverev definitely comes to mind). Leylah seems able to compartmentalize and play only the point and not the score. She was down against Osaka, who was serving for the match. She was in a 3rd set tie-breaker with Svitolina. But she never once backed down. She did not wait for the opponent to make mistakes. Today, with Sabalenka starting explosively in the first set – the opening 20 points went 14 to Aryna, 6 to Leylah. Yet serving in the next game, she did not falter and won at love with four unreturned serves, including a 2nd serve ace.

Honestly, the true answer is one does not know who will win. There is no obvious answer from what we have seen so far. I believe Fernandez has a slight edge having just played more matches, but if Raducanu can keep putting the ball behind her as she has done to Bencic and Sakkari, and also play as freely as she has so far, I would not count her out. It promises to be a real humdinger of a final. - Source : Sportco

Sue Barker - GB

11th June 2021 - Sue honoured with C.B.E. (Commander)

BIRTHDAY HONOURS 2021: Dame Arlene Phillips, Dame Prue Leith, Sue Barker CBE and Roy Hodgson CBE amongst those honoured by The Queen

By Charlie Proctor

Sue Barker NYHL 2021 CBE

Sue Barker NYHL 2021 CBE heading

Images of Sue Barker and selected recipients (above) sourced from with thanks

Arlene Phillips, Prue Leith and Roy Hodgson are amongst the famous names who are being recognised in The Queen's Birthday Honours List 2021. In a year that has seen a pandemic test the strength and resolve of the country, it is unsurprising that almost 23% of recipients are recognised for their services in relation to Covid-19.

Restaurateur, chef and television presenter, Prue Leith, leads the way as she is awarded with a Damehood. Dame Prue, best known as being a judge on the Great British Bake Off, receives her honour for services to food, to broadcasting and to charity.

Choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips also receives a Damehood from The Queen. Dame Arlene, who has choreographed numerous West End and Broadway musicals, films, and television shows, has been recognised for her services to dance and charity.

In the world of music, singer Lulu receives a CBE for services to music, entertainment and charity. Receiving OBEs are singer-songwriters Skin and Alison Moyet, both to recognise their significant contribution to the music industry. Pianist Imogen Cooper CBE has been made a Dame for services to music.

Ahead of the Euros tournament, footballers lead the way in the sporting landscape, with two England players named in the Birthday Honours List. Jordan Henderson receives an MBE for services to football and charity, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Teammate Raheem Sterling has also been recognised with an MBE for services to racial equality in sport. Former manager of Crystal Palace Football Club, Roy Hodgson, has been awarded a CBE for services to football. Director of Rugby at Leeds Rhinos, Kevin Sinfield, receives an OBE for services to Rugby League Football and charitable fundraising for motor neurone disease.

Sport commentator and A Question of Sport presenter, Sue Barker, receives a CBE for services to sport, broadcasting and charity.

To recognise the significant contribution made in vaccinating the nation, Kate Bingham, lately Chair of Vaccine Taskforce, is to become a Dame for services to the procurement, manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Three Members of Parliament have been named in the 2021 Birthday Honours. Andrea Leadsom and Meg Hiller will both become Dames, whilst Tony Lloyd is knighted for political service. The Earl Howe has been appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire for political and parliamentary service. Edward Ollard, lately Clerk of the Parliaments, has been appointed as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath for services to Parliament.

Actor Jonathan Pryce CBE has been knighted for services to drama and charity. Nick Ross, the broadcaster best known for presenting Crimewatch, has been awarded a CBE for services to broadcasting, charity and crime prevention. Radio presenter Simon Mayo has been awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting.

This year's list is the most ethnically diverse list to date, with 15% of recipients coming from an ethnic minority background. Source :

Sports broadcaster Sue Barker awarded a CBE

Former professional tennis player Barker was the last British woman to win the French Open in 1976.

By Press Association Published: 11th June 2021 - 9.30pm - sourced from

Presenter Sue Barker has been awarded a CBE in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to sport, broadcasting and charity. Former professional tennis player Barker, the last British woman to win the French Open in 1976, had previously been made an MBE in 2000 and received an OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours. "It's an absolute honour to be awarded a CBE. To have your work recognised in such a way brings such a sense of pride," Barker said. "Myself and all my family are thrilled, especially my mum who turns 100 next week."

 A tweet from the LTA acknowledging Sue Barkers Fo triumph

A tweet from the LTA acknowledging an anniversary of Sue Barkers French Open triumph - image sourced from with thanks

Barker, 65, recently ended her long-standing role as presenter of the BBC's A Question of Sport after 24 years at the helm, having taken over from commentator David Coleman. The show is set for a new look when it returns to air, with team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell also departing. At the end of her final episode last month, Barker said: "It's been such a privilege to sit in this chair for the last 24 years, taking over from David Coleman. "I'd like to say a huge thank you to the A Question of Sport team and to Matt and Phil." Barker added: "I want to wish the best of luck to the three people taking these seats next."

Barker is set to continue presenting duties for the BBC's tennis coverage at Wimbledon, which starts on June 28. Born and raised in Paignton, Devon, Barker started playing tennis at the age of 10 and moved to the United States as a teenager to further her development. Barker's professional career saw her claim 11 WTA Tour singles titles, victory at Roland Garros aged 20 proving the only Grand Slam triumph, as she reached a world ranking of number three.

The 1978 Wightman Cup Team

The victorious Wightman Cup Team of 1978

The Great Britain team with the trophy after winning the Wightman Cup at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 4th November 1978. The Great Britain team beat the United States team by a score of 4-3. From left to right: Anne Hobbs, Sue Mappin, Michelle Tyler, Sue Barker and Virginia Wade. Image and strapline sourced from & © of Getty Images (Photo by Phil Sheldon/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The Wightman Cup Team in 1979

What a truly fabulous image of the Wightman Cup Team of which Sue was a team member in addition to her other individual accomplishments
' The Wightman Cup'
WEST PALM BEACH, USA - 1979: British tennis players (L-R) Sue Mappin, Virginia Wade, Glynis Coles and Sue Barker pose together during the Wightman Cup tennis competition at West Palm Beach in Florida, USA circa November, 1979. Image and strapline sourced from & © of Getty Images - (Photo by Professional Sport/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Success at Wimbledon, though, eluded Barker. She reached the semi-finals in 1977, but suffered an unexpected loss to Holland's Betty Stove, who was then beaten by British rival Virginia Wade in the final. Having battled injury set-backs, Barker retired from playing in 1984 and soon moved into broadcasting, initially for Australia's Channel 7 and then BSkyB.

A switch to the BBC followed to join tennis coverage at the All England Club, with Barker going on to become the anchor presenter. Barker hosted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards from 1994 until 2012. She has also been involved across broadcast coverage of racing, athletics, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Source :

2020 - A Question of Sport host Sue Barker is AXED along with team captains Phil Tuffnell and Matt Dawson as BBC plan a huge shake up to the panel in 2021

BBC confirmed on Sunday that Sue Barker, 64, Matt Dawson, 47, and Phil Tuffnell, 54, would be leaving the show in early 2021

- Sources claimed bosses were looking to shake up the show after marking its 50th Anniversary earlier this year
- Sue took over as the host of A Question of Sport in 1997 from commentator David Coleman
- Ex-rugby player Matt joined the show as a team captain in 2004, replacing Frankie Dettori
- Former cricketer Phil joined the team in 2008, replacing Scottish footballer Ally McCoist

By Laura Fox For Mailonline |Published: 13th September 2020 | Updated: 13th September 2020

BBC have axed A Question of Sport host Sue Barker and team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tuffnell. Sources claimed that bosses are planning a huge shake up to the quiz show in 2021, with the current trio set to film their final episode at the end of this month. Sue has been the host of A Question of Sport for 23 years after taking over from David Coleman in 1997, while former rugby star Matt and England cricketer Phil joined the show in 2004 and 2008 respectively. In a statement, a BBC spokesperson told The Daily Star on Sunday: 'We would like to thank Sue for her enormous contribution as the show's longest-reigning host over the last 23 years, and Matt and Phil for their excellent team captaincy over 16 and 12 years respectively.

Sue Barker with Question of Sport Team

Sad news: BBC have axed A Question of Sport host Sue Barker and team captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tuffnell (pictured during the show's 50th Anniversary Special earlier this year) - image sourced from the BBC via the Daily Mail

'Sue, Matt and Phil's final series will be broadcast next year before the series returns with a new team.' Sources also told the publication that BBC bosses thought it would be the perfect time to revamp the show after celebrating its 50th Anniversary earlier this year. MailOnline has contacted representatives for the BBC for further comment. Former tennis champion Sue took over as host of A Question Of Sport from commentator David in 1997. She previously said: 'QS has been such a huge part of my life - from watching it with my family growing up through my tennis-playing days, and then, of course, as the presenter.' Matt took over as team captain from jockey Frankie Dettori in 2002, while Phil joined the team to replace Scottish footballer Ally McCoist. A Question Of Sport was planning to go on the road for a nationwide tour in May, but these plans were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The quiz show has seen an array of sporting stars appear on the panel, including Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, legendary footballer George Best and even Princess Anne, who was a guest to mark the show's 200th episode.

2019 - Ooooops! The French Open dropped an almighty clanger in 1976 and it took the 2019 Champion to spot it!

The French think Sue Barker is Australian

Oh my - our National Treasure, Sue Barker, yes the doyenne of of 'Question of Sport' fame - has acquired Australian nationality according to the misogynists of Roland Garros - image scanned from the Daily Mail article dated 10th June 2019

When Ash Barty won the French Open title on Saturday she thought she was the first Australian woman to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since Margaret Court in 1973. According to the trophy, though, there was also an Australian champion in 1976. Clearly nobody has told Sue Barker, the Briton who triumphed in Paris 43 years ago.

Barker, now aged 63 and from Paignton in south-west England, is a sports presenter for the BBC. Back in 1976 she was a rising star and recorded her best Grand Slam result by winning in Paris aged 20, beating Czech Renata Tomanova in the final. She reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and the Australian Open the following year but never again played a Grand Slam final.

Sue Barker Honoured With 2018 Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award - 14th November 2018

Sue Barker Bookman Media Excellence Award

The BBC's Sue Barker was presented the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award, in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, from ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode during the Nitto ATP Finals. - Image and caption © and sourced from the ATP

Former Roland Garros champion and World No. 3 anchors BBC's tennis coverage. The BBC's Sue Barker was presented the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award, in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, from ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode during the Nitto ATP Finals.

"This really means a lot to me, having seen everyone that's won this award in the past and the people I've looked up to and admired over the years," she said. "Tennis is in my DNA. It has been from the first ball I hit against the garage wall when I was six years old, and now I've had two careers in it, it's absolutely amazing."

As accomplished in a television studio as she once was on a tennis court, the former Roland Garros champion and World No. 3 anchors BBC's tennis coverage, including from the Nitto ATP Finals. Each summer at the All England Club, Barker performs what has become a Wimbledon tradition: an on-court interview with the new men's and women's singles champions. Barker started her television career with Channel 7 in Australia, before working for SKY and then becoming one of the most celebrated presenters at the BBC.

(During the coverage of the Nitto ATP Finals while co-anchoring with Tim Henman and Andrew Castle, Castle kept trying to draw Sue out about this award but she was having none of it consolidating herself as a true professional - well done Sue on all levels!)

French Open Champion - 1976 | OBE - 2016

Suzanne Lenglen Trophy

Introduced in 1979 to replace the existing trophy as won by Sue Barker in 1976 - image courtesy of

Sue Barker OBE

Deservedly receiving her OBE for 'services to broadcasting and charity' from HM Queen Elizabeth II in April - images © Getty / PA

Sue Barker receiving Trophy

Sue being presented with her trophy in 1976 - image © Getty images via Daily Mail

Sue Barker French Open Champion 1976

Sue Barker won the French Open in 1976, beating Russian Renata Tomanova in three sets, and is the last Brit to win the women's singles in Paris - image features on Sky Sports, ESPN and is the © of Getty images

Sue Barker French Open Champion

Shame about the shadow on her face but the glorious smile and beautiful tennis dress show Sue's joy at becoming a Grand Slam Champion!
French Barker
14 Jun 1976: English Tennis player Sue Barker on her way to victory in the French Championships. She beat Russian Renata Tomanova in three sets. Image and strapline sourced from & © of Getty Images - Mandatory Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive

Sue Barker French Open Champion

French Barker
14 Jun 1976: English Tennis player Sue Barker on her way to victory in the French Championships. She beat Russian Renata Tomanova in three sets. Image and strapline sourced from & © of Getty Images - Mandatory Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive

From ESPN : Nowadays she is better known as the face of A Question of Sport, but in 1976 Sue Barker was the darling of British tennis after winning the French Open.

With the world No. 1 and two-time defending champion player, Chris Evert not in the draw, the 20-year-old Sue Barker, who had only made her debut at Roland Garros the year previously, was on the verge of her first Grand Slam title. Unlike the majority of British players, Barker was at home on the clay. And as the top seed, Barker was flying high after winning the German Open in Hamburg the fortnight previously.

However, Barker's route to victory was made easier by the absence of a host of big names, including Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The European clay-court season had been in decline since the introduction of the more lucrative World Team Tennis, championed by King. Even Barker's fellow Brit, the New-York-based Virginia Wade had signed up to play Team Tennis in the US. Barker herself signed up for the event the following year, but she is adamant that the absence of the defending champion and other high-profile names did not take away from the triumph of winning her first, and only, Grand Slam title.

"You can only beat who is there and at the end there was the French Open title waiting to be won," she said. "I had beaten all the top players during that time anyway, so it does not matter that I didn't do it at that tournament. I'm still incredibly proud of what I achieved."

Barker cruised through her opening two matches against Australia's Nerida Gregory and Carmen Perea, before meeting the future wife of Bjorn Borg, Mariana Simeonescu, in the third round. After taking the first set, the Romanian battled her way back into the match before Barker wrapped up a 7-5 2-6 6-1 victory. And she was to have to step it up another gear against her quarter-final opponent. After going a set down against the Czechoslovakian Regina Marsikova, Barker had to dig deep to level the scores and take the match to a decider. It was a gruelling final set, and Barker eventually triumphed 8-6.

"That was the point at which I really started to think about winning the whole thing," Barker said.

Next up was another Romanian, Virginia Ruzici, and after a 6-3 1-6 6-2 victory, Barker reached the final, and only one match stood in the way of claiming her maiden Grand Slam title. Her opponent was the unseeded Renata Tomanova, who had reached the Australian Open final in January, losing to Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.

On the morning of the final, Barker was overcome by terrible nerves, and had no appetite. " I went down to breakfast and I couldn't eat, so I went to practise and I just couldn't get a ball in court," she said. "I suppose it must be true that if you have a bad practice, you'll probably have a good match!" However, as the players made their way out onto Court Centrale, Barker had the edge, having beaten Tomanova two weeks earlier in the final in Hamburg. The nerves seemed to have disappeared as Barker confidently took the opening set 6-2. But then disaster struck as she failed to win a single game in the second set. To make matters worse, the players were forced to take a break at the end of the first set, and with no coach, Barker was forced to dwell on the events of the second set. Fortunately, a chance encounter with Tony Mottram, coach to another British player Michelle Tyler, helped settle her nerves, and she was able to recapture the form she showed in the opening set, and took the match 6-2 0-6 6-2.

But there were no wild celebrations for Barker, who never reached another Grand Slam final.

"Had I known that I would never win another one, I probably would have gone out and painted Paris red," Barker said. "As it was, I did my press conference, had some champagne with some of the British journalists and then flew home to see my Mum and Dad - not very glamorous!"

Angela Buxton

2020 - Angela Buxton, born 16th August 1934, died 15th August 2020

Angela Buxton at Hurlingham

Angela Buxton at the Hurlingham Club in 1955 Credit: Terry Fincher/Hulton Archive

What a beautiful woman and that neckline is just to die for - how is it that I had never heard of Angela Buxton prior to reading her obituary today? Her story is astonishing and as such I reproduce it in full so that she is not forgotten.

Begone the unprofessional female players that behave so outrageously today - a Canadian who slips in a dressing room and claims millions from the tournament organisers and who is now known more for her indiscretions and notoriety than her tennis; the American who considers herself a 'queen' in more ways than one and who completely blanked the player she was mentoring after being defeated by her pupil and then went on to completely spoil a Grand Slam maiden win for one young player who then had serious doubts about continuing along her career path. Yes I'm calling these two females out to be accountable for their actions (although there are more than I would care to mention) - neither will find their name on this page. They too should read Angela Buxton's biography, which follows :

Angela Buxton, tennis player who fought prejudice to win the Wimbledon doubles crown – obituary

Having faced anti-Semitism as a young player, she formed a winning doubles partnership with the African-American star Althea Gibson

By Telegraph Obituaries 17th August 2020

Angela Buxton, who has died on the eve of her 86th birthday, was a famously determined English tennis player who endured early experiences of anti-Semitism and went on to partner the African-American, Althea Gibson, to the Wimbledon and French Open doubles crowns. She later became an influential tennis writer and coach and won acclaim for her loyal support of her former doubles partner, who fell on hard times in old age.

Angela Buxton was born in Liverpool on August 18 1934, one of two children of a wealthy Jewish couple, Violet and Harry Buxton, whose Russian families had both fled the pogroms at the turn of the century. "Our surname had been something like Bakstansky', she later explained, "but they anglicised it to Buxton." Her father, who had been a jewellery trader in Leeds, developed an ingenious gambling system and went to the south of France with his brother to try it out. The pair played the tables and won so much money that they broke the bank, their vast windfall enabling Harry to buy a string of cinemas in the north-east in 1928. When war broke out, Violet Buxton took Angela and her brother to South Africa to escape the bombing and encouraged them to play sports. Angela, a bright, determined child, showed early promise at tennis, and when the family returned to England in 1946 she was sent to a boarding school in Llandudno, Gloddaeth Hall, where the coach immediately spotted her talent. "I was head and shoulders above the rest," she recalled. "During the war, they had no rackets, no balls and no nets in England. I was beating girls of 18. My coach said I was a potential Wimbledon champion."

He insisted she enter the Hightown tournament near Liverpool, her first championship, and she won the Under-14, Under-15 and Under-18 titles. After taking her School Certificate early, at 14, she decided to concentrate on tennis and attended a school for talented girls in Hampstead. She had several lessons with a coach at the Cumberland Club, but when she asked him about joining, he told her not to bother because she was Jewish. Later she took great pride in regularly winning the Cumberland's open tournament. By now her parents had divorced, and in 1952 her mother took her to California to continue her education, lodging opposite the exclusive Los Angeles Tennis Club. Once again, as a Jew, she was banned from playing there so instead she commuted to the La Cienega public courts, where she was coached by "Big Bill" Tilden, a three-time Wimbledon singles champion and later a film actor. An outcast from polite society in LA, after serving a prison term for sexually abusing teenage boys, he nonetheless retained numerous celebrity pupils and Angela Buxton played tennis with Charlie Chaplin and Doris Day.

She returned to Britain in 1953, a rising star among a strong British contingent including Angela Mortimer, Pat Ward, Anne Shilcock and Shirley Bloomer, who were all in the world's top 10. After a humiliating 6-0 6-0 thrashing by the Wimbledon champion Doris Hart in the British Hard Court Championships, however, she decided to quit and chose the Maccabiah Games in Israel as her farewell tournament. Two gold medals restored her morale and she returned to competition reinvigorated, winning selection for the 1954 British Wightman Cup team against America. She became the protégée of the maverick tennis writer and amateur coach CM "Jimmy" Jones, later the editor of Lawn Tennis magazine, who trialled his offbeat training system – which emphasised agility and footwork training – on her. Her ranking soared and she reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 1955. Jones insisted she could win the doubles with the right partner and when she met the raw but powerful African-American star Althea Gibson on a goodwill tour of India, the pair developed a close rapport.

Both women were outcasts. Althea Gibson, a talented all-rounder, the daughter of penniless sharecroppers from South Carolina, had developed her game playing stickball in Harlem and winning a string of national blacks-only tennis titles, but it took years before she was allowed to play the top white players. When Jones asked her to partner Angela Buxton, she accepted enthusiastically. They won the 1956 French Open, beating the Americans, Darlene Hard and Dorothy Knode, in a three-set final, then looked unstoppable at Wimbledon. Angela Buxton, with the English Indoor and London Grass Court singles crowns under her belt, reached both the Wimbledon singles and doubles finals, the first Briton to contest the singles final in 17 years. Her mother Violet, realising that Angela would be opening the dancing with Lew Hoad at the Wimbledon Ball on the eve of finals day, decided she too would like to go to the ball.

When Angela went to the office with her mother to order the tickets, however, the pair were told that they had sold out. The redoubtable Mrs Buxton, detecting anti-Semitism, was furious and threatened to keep her daughter at home on the Saturday, finals day for both the women's singles and doubles, effectively stymying the entire Championship. The pair stormed out, before the ticket manager, realising how catastrophic Angela's non-attendance would be, sprinted after them in a panic, apologising and saying that she had managed to find two tickets after all. In the singles final, Angela Buxton was swept aside by the American Shirley Fry, who had put out Althea Gibson in the quarter-finals.

Angela Buxton and Althea Gibson Doubles Partnership 1956

Angela Buxton and Althea Gibson at Wimbledon in 1956 Credit: Reg Warhurst/REX

The doubles was a different matter and, having already beaten Fry and Louise Brough in the semis, they outplayed the Australians, Fay Muller and Daphne Seeney, 6-1 8-6, in the final. One British newspaper reported the victory under the headline "Minorities Win". "It was in very small type", Angela Buxton recalled acidly, "lest anyone should see it".

Angela Buxton and Althea Gibson after winning the 1956 Wimbledon Womens Doubles Championship

Angela Buxton and Althea Gibson after winning the 1956 Wimbledon Women's Doubles Championship Credit: Bettmann

A wrist injury at a New Jersey tournament weeks later virtually ended her career at just 22. Although she won the singles at the Maccabiah Games again in 1957 and played left-handed in lower-level tournaments, she accepted the inevitable and retired from international tennis. She became a tennis journalist and wrote several books on coaching technique, including Tackle Tennis This Way, Starting Tennis and Winning Tennis and Doubles Tactics. She also founded the Angela Buxton Tennis Centre in North London. Angela Buxton was never hampered by false modesty, and her forthright manner alienated many members of the tennis establishment. Unlike the rest of Britain's Wimbledon champions, she was never invited to join the All England Club, an omission she attributed to anti-Semitism, although the Club has had numerous Jewish members, the first admitted in 1952. In 1959 Angela Buxton married Donald Silk, president of the British Zionist Federation and later a prominent City figure. The couple had two sons and a daughter, and during the Six-Day War in 1967 she volunteered on a kibbutz in northern Israel with the three children, all aged under seven. The marriage did not last and Jimmy Jones, the greatest tennis influence of her life, became her long-standing companion.

In later life Angela Buxton divided her time between Altrincham, Cheshire, and the Palmaire Country Club in Florida, still taking a keen interest in tennis and mentoring promising young players. She remained a close friend of Althea Gibson who won the Wimbledon singles crown in 1957, the first African-American woman to play at Wimbledon and to win a major. When her friend rang her in 1995, destitute and suicidal, Angela Buxton organised a successful campaign among the tennis fraternity, raising over $1 million. The money transformed Gibson's final years, enabling her to cover her medical care and live comfortably until her death in 2003.

In 1981 Angela Buxton was admitted to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2015 was inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame. When a statue of Althea Gibson was unveiled at the US Open in 2019, Angela Buxton was honoured for her role in promoting her friend's career and supporting her in her decline. Angela Buxton is survived by her daughter, Rebecca Silk, wife of the Tory MP for Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly. Both her sons predeceased her.

Ash Barty - Australia

Yes, Ash Barty is a breath of fresh air and is refreshing to watch - she plays an exciting game without tantrums or screeching. It is sad that her career which had reached its pinnacle at the end of the women's season in 2019 is now on hold because of the global pandemic. I hope when she is able to return to the game that the 'magic' is still there.

Ash Barty lifting the year end trophy in 2019

Ash Barty lifting the WTA Finals title in 2019 on her debut tournament - no wonder Todd Woodbridge sings her praises!

2019 - Why Todd Woodbridge thinks Ash Barty should be Australian of the Year


- Australian Ash Barty has won the biggest cheque in tennis history, with victory at the year-ending WTA Finals in China.
- The world number one secured a straight-sets win over Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in the final on Sunday night.
- The 23-year-old has pocketed $6.4 million as a result, the largest tournament prize money for any player – male or female – in tennis history.
- But sports broadcaster and former tennis great, Todd Woodbridge, said the 23-year-old's career is about much more than making money.
- The Australian Open ambassador has called for Barty to be named Australian of the Year.

"A lot of people go 'oh it's great that you can win at sport and put money in your bank', but she does a lot more than that," he told 3AW's Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell. "Her indigenous background, the time that she spends up north, she's been to the Tiwi Islands and more recently she's been in Cairns trying to get kids out on the court, using sport as a great vehicle for health and to get them away from other activities that are not so healthy for them. "And then, just a spokesperson for sport and about how to go about being humble with winning and in defeat. "She is very real and there is nothing fake about what she's doing. "I think she covers so many bases."

Woodbridge also heaped praise on Barty's father. "Her father, Rob, actually was a very good sportsman himself. He was Australian amateur golf champion," he said. "He comes along to our nationals, junior tournaments, 16 and unders. He goes and talks to the parents. "It's almost a compulsory session where he brings the parents in and explains the journey that they're about to embark upon with their kids."

Robin Soderling - Sweden

I enjoyed watching Robin Soderling, he had a magnetic presence on court, it's a shame he was unable to fulfil the potential that was surely there had he not been overcome by the effects of a virus which shattered his career.

The man whose career was tragically cut short and who in 2009 gave Roger Federer (left) the French Open to add to and complete his full Grand Slam! - Image courtesy of the BBC and © of the AFP

From the Guardian in 2009: 'Federer beat Sweden's Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), and 6-4 in just under two hours and with rain falling for much of the final. As Soderling put Federer's last serve into the net, the Swiss dropped to his knees on clay as if history had suddenly pushed him to ground. And it had. "This was my greatest victory," said Federer, although undoubtedly the greatest win of all at this year's tournament belonged to his opponent Soderling who the previous Sunday has shocked tennis to its roots by defeating Rafa Nadal, the four times French Open champion who was attempting to become the first man ever to win five in succession.

Soderling's dramatic win in the fourth round took away the player who had stood four square between history and Federer for the last three years, the only player to have ever beaten Federer in a slam final, including last year's Wimbledon and this year's Australian Open. " I can now go the rest of my career without worrying that I would never win the French Open," said Federer. Soderling, playing in his first slam final, and watched by fellow countryman Bjorn Borg who won this title six times, was rarely in the match, but made Federer serve it out. "You gave me a lesson how to play," he said afterwards. "To me you are the greatest player in history."'

Chronicling his retirement the Guardian reports in 2015 : 'Sweden’s Robin Soderling, the player best known for being the first man to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open, has retired from professional tennis because of a long-running illness. The 31-year-old, twice a runner-up at Roland Garros, had not played an ATP World Tour event since 2011 after contracting infectious mononucleosis, a viral illness also known as glandular fever. “I’ve realised that I will not be healthy enough to be able to play tennis at the level I demand of myself,” Soderling told “For that reason I have decided to end my career as a professional tennis player.”

“Thank you so much for all your kind words. So sad I won’t play professional tennis again, but reading all your messages makes me feel a lot better,” Soderling said later on his Twitter account. Soderling spent 10 years on the Tour and rose to world number four. In 2009 he ended Nadal’s domination in Paris with a stunning victory in the fourth round, only to lose to Roger Federer in the final. Until Novak Djokovic defeated Nadal in the 2015 quarter-finals, Soderling was the only player to have beaten the Spaniard at Roland Garros. Soderling, who won 10 career titles including the 2010 Paris Masters, returned to the final at Roland Garros in 2010, losing in straight sets to Nadal. He won the 2011 Swedish Open shortly before being diagnosed with glandular fever – meaning that the final, where he defeated David Ferrer, proved to be the last Tour match of his career.'

Robin Soderling Life after Tennis

Image courtesy of the ATP and © of Getty Images

Read Robin's full interview for the ATP about life after Tennis! Here's a taster - 'Think about retirement now, Swede advises players in latter stages of careers.

Before 2015, he was the only person who had beaten Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. Sweden's Robin Soderling would achieve other notable results during his 10-year ATP World Tour career, including winning the 2010 Paris Masters and nine other ATP World Tour titles, before complications from mononucleosis forced him to retire in December 2015. The ATP World Tour caught up with Soderling last week and talked with the former World No. 4 about his business, RS Tennis, and what advice he'd give players about life after tennis.

Q: How difficult was the decision to officially retire?

RS: For me, it was extremely difficult, since I was pretty young when I had to retire. I always wanted to play well over 30, especially now when you still see players I used to play against doing really well and even winning Grand Slams. In the beginning, I was pretty sick and when you don’t have your health, that is when you realise what is really important. Then, after a while when I started feeling better, I could train again. However, I could not really get over it and come back and that is when it was really hard, but it has been some time so now I feel better again.'

In 2016 an unsuccessful attempt to return to main stream - see what the BBC has to say.

Chanda Rubin

Louisiana Hall of Fame Logo

Inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2013

"One of the few Louisiana natives to make it on the pro tennis circuit, the Lafayette native became an international star and a frequent contender for the most prized titles in tennis, highlighted by capturing a Grand Slam win in doubles at the Australian Open and a Wimbledon Juniors singles crown."

Graduate of Harvard

Life after professional tennis - Chanda Rubin graduates in 2013 - image courtesy & © of

"After retiring from a successful career as a professional tennis player, Chanda Rubin returned to school to earn her bachelor's degree. "

It was my pleasure and privilege to listen to the 2018 Australian Open radio service as Chanda Rubin, together with a host of other former professional tennis players, was part of the broadcasting team and an entertaining lot they were too - bravo! Chanda not only has an engaging radio personality but her voice is absolutely at 'perfect pitch' for broadcast. Not to be unkind, other women players I respect and admire have appalling voices : Chris Evert (too nasal), Martina Navratilova (very knowledgeable, great translation skills but comes over as not suffering fools gladly), BJK (too militant) and others who speak at extreme high pitch, The ones I especially don't have time for and who show great disrespect by deliberately refusing to pronounce names of players and their home country locations (as everyone knows a real pet hate or 'peeve' of mine). There is even one, a Brit I am ashamed to say, who actually, on air has said that it's 'too difficult' and she doesn't care one way or the other. Very nice! (not). And the latest and stupidest of all the grammatical mistakes are British broadcasters using 'Swenglish'. I have always enjoyed listening to Mats Wilander he has now resorted to using 'forwards' (as in towards the net) whereas he used to speak incredibly good English. Even the native English speaking players resort to 'I played good!' I suppose I ought to be grateful that the broadcasters at least, don't intersperse 'like' into their broadcasts! So what, if I am an admirer of Chanda Rubin, has she done to deserve this opening diatribe/tirade, nothing, other that I am reminded she speaks beautiful English!

Chanda Rubin Champion 2003

Hastings Direct International 2003 at Eastbourne - Chanda Rubin Champion - image courtesy & © of Scott Heavey at Hastings Direct

I came across Chanda sometime in the days before the Williams sisters dominated the game, she was particularly graceful and successful on grass and reminded me somewhat of another tennis favourite of mine Evonne Goolagong. But her star shone for a short time and it has taken me a whole to catch up with her so that I can at last make mention of her on my favourites page and here she is - radio supremo!

Read the full account of Chanda and the security alert that delayed her championship run here - but the main crux of the matter was reported as "The last balls before Wimbledon are normally struck in the genteel surroundings of Devonshire Park, but Eastbourne's gentility gave way to a final rich in delays, drama and a hint of gameswomanship. Five hours after the final was supposed to begin, Chanda Rubin of the US defended her championship title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over the veteran Spaniard Conchita Martinez. The delayed start was caused by a security alert triggered when a hoax caller phoned the tournament as the final was about to start. The match continued the drama, with two injury time-outs, a succession of fluctuating fortunes, and more breaks of serve than holds." with typical British understatement!

BBC Sport fittingly encapsulates her as: "One of the most popular characters on the tour among her fellow players, Rubin has enjoyed a resurgence over the last six months following a serious knee injury. On her return in May, she won the title at Eastbourne and then reached the last 16 at Wimbledon. She followed that with a series of brilliant performances at the prestigious tournament in Los Angeles, beating Serena Williams, Jelena Dokic and Lindsay Davenport. Rubin is most at home on faster surfaces and her best Grand Slam performance came at the Australian Open in 1996 when she came within two points of reaching the final before losing to eventual champion Monica Seles." As this was written to reflect her 2003 Australian Open seeding and I re-acquainted myself with this old friend through the Australian Open broadcasting service it concludes the section perfectly.

'Gentleman' Tim Henman

When Tim Henman started making a name for himself, I sat up and took note! The first occurrence wasn't auspicious as the young Henman through a temper tantrum and the ball he whacked indiscriminately injured an unsuspecting ball girl.

Tim apologising to ballgirl after the incident

Tim apologising to Caroline Hall who is still wearing the original green and purple Wimbledon outfit - image courtesy of the Daily Mail

Quite correctly Henman was thrown out of Wimbledon for his misdemeanour but he was gracious in his apology and took his punishment without chaffing against it! In the intervening years his conduct and achievements atoned for the one very silly youthful mistake and I am so chuffed at having had the privilege of seeing him play for the Davis Cup in Nottingham and on numerous occasions at Wimbledon'

A very young Tim Henman

Thirteen year old Tim Henman starts his fledgling career under the professional eye of Davis Cup stalwart David Lloyd

Daily Telegraph Flashback series fdeaturing Tim Henman

Starting his career under the auspices of British Davis Cup Player and older brother of John, David Lloyd a young Henman recounts a flashback account of his training as a 13-year old.

Read Henman's career factfile here

Farewell Jana Novotna

Novotna with the Wimbledon Shield in 1998

The winning smile everyone remembers - a deserving winner in 1998 - image courtesy of Dave Caulkin/AP via The Chicago Tribune

Who could forget the compassion shown by the Duchess of Kent in 1993 - Image courtesy of the PA via The Daily Express

The Centre Court had never seen anything like it – a beaten finalist weeping on the shoulder of a Royal Family member, who threw stiff etiquette to the wind by comforting the vanquished player. Thus did the nation take Jana Novotna and the Duchess of Kent to its heart in 1993, the aftermath of her late collapse against Steffi Graf providing one of Wimbledon’s most iconic images. Novotna, who died yesterday at 49 after battling cancer, became synonymous with the dreaded 'choke' across all sports, let alone tennis, although her career was to have a happy ending.  The Duchess’s words on that emotional afternoon – 'One day you will do it, I know you will' – turned out to be prophetic, for five years later she became champion by winning her third final at what was then considered the advanced age of 29.

Tributes poured in yesterday from around the tennis world, many along the lines of that from Chris Evert, who described Novotna’s passing as ‘a devastating loss to those of us who shared a deep friendship with her, a woman with integrity and honour.’ A generally private person, blessed with a smile that was warm and mischievous at the same time, the extent of Novotna’s illness was not common knowledge within the game. It was to her great credit that she did not let the famous defeat by Graf define her. She had the led the German 4-1 and 40-30 in the deciding set when her nerve deserted her after a double fault, with Graf ending up winning the last five games. Novotna was to later reflect: 'I don't think I'm a choker but I've got a label on my back which says, "At the most important point in the match, Jana will choke". 'The label is almost impossible to get rid of. I could win three straight tournaments and people would still say, "Yes, she can play well, but remember the Wimbledon when she choked".' And it should be emphasised that Novotna was no loser, more a serial winner who ended up with 100 professional tennis titles. She was a fine singles player but a truly great doubles exponent, blessed with a wide array of subtle hand skills that are increasingly hard to find in the modern women’s game, where power is the main currency. She won twelve Grand Slam doubles titles and four mixed doubles to add to her solitary solo triumph at Wimbledon, which propelled her to a career-best ranking of number two. Coached by Grand Slam winner and compatriot Hana Mandlikova, in 1997 she reached the final again, only to lose in three sets to Martina Hingis.

The following year she opened her draw up by beating Venus Williams in the quarters. The Duchess was on hand to present the trophy after she went on to defeat the overmatched French player Natalie Tauziat in the final, declaring, 'I’m so proud of you.' Former British number one Jo Durie yesterday recalled how difficult it was to face her old school volleying style, which on grass was backed up with a highly effective sliced backhand. 'She had such quick hands at the net and her movement was so sharp she could rush you into making mistakes, she was everywhere' said Durie. 'She had beautiful hands and feel of the type that you simply can’t coach. While she was a fierce competitor there was also a slight fragility about her. 'Away from the court she was friendly and softly-spoken with a good sense of humour, a very nice person.'

Fulfilled by her 1998 triumph, Novotna retired the following year but remained a regular visitor to the All England Club. She played in the veterans’ events and was a popular member of the BBC commentary team. Sometimes overlooked was her brief but highly influential spell coaching 2013 champion Marion Bartoli.  Working with her longtime companion, the former Polish player Iwona Kuczynska, the two of them were brought in to help the French player several months beforehand, and helped fashion her unexpected victory in the year that Andy Murray took his first men’s singles title.

Novotna attended the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague in mid-September, but this year had been absent from some of the senior Grand Slam events she usually attends. She died with her family by her side at her home in the Czech Republic. Source : Daily Mail

Sloane Stephens - US Open Champion

Sloane Stephens

Wonderful smile from Sloane Stephens winner of her maiden and home Grand Slam - image courtesy & © of Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Well done Sloane - quite a feat, a maiden Grand Slam, a home Grand Slam and a return from serious injury - it's been wonderful to see this young athlete return to form. She reminds me of Chanda Rubin and I was seriously amused when it became public knowledge that having been appointed as her tour mentor, Serena Williams, dropped Sloane like a hot brick and stopped speaking to her after the youngster defeated her in a pivotal match at the Australian Open in 2013. Here's hoping Sloane doesn't follow in Serena's footsteps when the time comes. I love this image of the newly crowned champion against a backcloth of the Stars and Stripes only hours before midnight ticked over into the 11th of September.

2017 - Lucie is Doubles No. 1

Safarova confirmed as Doubles No 1

Image courtesy of the WTA

Safarova with Doubles World no 1 cup

"Doubles is a team effort, and a large part of my success has my hurt partner partner. I'd like to wish her a speedy recovery, but I think we both deserve this title and it's nice that we both have it in our careers!" Generous Lucie paying tribute, on her Fb page, to injured doubles partner Bethany Mattek Sands

2017 - Lucie Šafárová's in Town

In Nottingham that is! My home town! Lovely Lucie from the Czech Republic, that makes us cousins by land! I have supported Lucie for many years now and my only regret is that I won't see her play in Nottingham! But she made my day by posting a picture of herself with a telephone kiosk!

Lucy and a red telephone kiosk in Nottingham 2017

"I'm happy I won my first match in Nottingham! Who would guess you find a great barista with coffee in English phone booth?" says Lucie somewhere in Nottingham (probably near Nottingham Castle), need to educate her that this is a kiosk not a booth! Image is from Lucie's own website

Lucy Safarova signing autographs at the Nottingham Open

Lucie signing autographs at the Nottingham Open with a that lovely smile of her - image courtesy & © of the LTA

Safarova and Mattek-Sands French Open Ladies Doubles Champions 2017

l to r Ashleigh Barty, Casey Dellacqua (runners-up), Lucie Šafářová, Bethanie Mattek-Sands - French Open 2017 Champions image courtesy & © of the WTA

Before Nottingham, Lucie attended the French Open and won her third Women's doubles title with long-time partner and great friend Bethanie Mattek-Sands bringing their Grand Slam total to five!

2017 - Virginia Wade - 40 years on!

The Daily Mail kindly reminds us of this milestone in Women's Tennis and gives Virginia the opportunity to sound off about a few matters that have been niggling her not least the figure 77 being gazumped by Andy Murray! Not known for not saying it as it is another Daily Mail interview allows Virginia to speak out. Visit her own website here

Virginia Wade holding up the Wimbledon Plate 1977

Wimbledon Champion of 1977 - image courtesy & © of Getty Images

HM Queen presenting the plate to Virginia Wade in 1977

Not a great fan of tennis HM the Queen attends the Wimbledon Ladies Singles Final in her 1977 Jubilee Year (Virginia says she didn't hear a word HM spoke to her) - image courtesy & © of the Press Association

Virginia posing with the 1977 plate

Beats Sharapova in front of the Eiffel Tower any day - Virginia at Wimbledon - image courtesy & © of PAimages

Cartoon of Virginia Wade

An affectionate set of 'Flik-Cards' featuring Virginia Wade - image courtesy of the official Virginia Wade website

Virginia was awarded the O.B.E. in 1986 - no Damehood yet however!

(Timeless) Roger Federer - The accolades keep pouring in!

Roger with his many 'best sportsman' trophies

Roger Federer named Sportsman of the Year (for 2017) at the star-studded Laureus awards

Roger Federer has been crowned Sportsman of the Year at the Laureus awards in recognition of his return to the top of tennis. Federer won at Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2017, his first major titles since a serious knee injury and surgery which ruled him out for six months. The Swiss icon won in Australia again this year, becoming the first man to reach the milestone of 20 Grand Slam singles titles and has reclaimed the world number one spot at the age of 36. 

He also picked up the prize for Comeback of the Year at a ceremony in Monaco taking his total number of Laureus awards to six. 'Last year was something else,' said Federer as he collected his Comeback award. 'It was a dream come true and I want to thank all the people who got me back, my doctor who did the operation, my physio and my fitness coach.' Source : Daily Mail

January 2018 - In the wonderful world of Oz

Roger selfie with quokka

Roger Federer takes a selfie with the famously friendly quokkas on Australia's Rottnest Island - image courtesy of Getty via the Daily Mail

Federer and Bencic Hopman Cup 2018 Champions

TOPSHOT - Roger Federer (L) and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland hoist the Hopman Cup after defeating Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber of Germany in the mixed doubles final on day eight of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 6, 2018 - image & dialogue courtesy & © of Getty

Whilst in the process of winning the Hopman Cup 2018 with Belinda Bencic Roger Federer had a happy encounter with some quokkas as recounted in the Daily Mail :

Roger Federer plays beach tennis and snaps selfies with happy quokkas ahead of Hopman Cup appearance

- Roger Federer spends day with quokkas and tourists on Perth's Rottnest Island
- The eight-time Wimbledon champion was relaxing ahead of the Hopman Cup
- Federer took photos with the famously tame animals and played tennis with fans

Roger Federer is so well loved across the globe, even marsupials are delighted to meet him. That much was evident as he snapped selfies with Perth's famously happy quokkas on Thursday. The current world No 2 is in Western Australia to partake in this weekend's Hopman Cup and took the chance to visit Perth's Rottnest Island, famed for the large population of the tame quokka. Federer was seen snapping selfies with the little creatures and later posted the pick of the bunch to social media, showing the quokka appearing to smile for the camera alongside the living tennis legend. But the quokkas were not the only inhabitants happy to see the five-time Australian Open champion as the nearby beach was littered with young tourists who couldn't believe their luck. Federer took the time to play tennis on the beach before signing autographs. He then posed for a photograph in front of a typical Australia paddle board before meeting Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan. That was it for the fleeting visit, however, and Federer boarded the helicopter once again to return to the mainland, where his preparations for his first tournament of the new season will continue.

Roger Federed selfie with obliging quokka

Roger with an obliging Quokka photo bombing his 'selfie' - image courtesy & © of Roger Federer on Twitter

What is a Quokka? The quokka is a small marsupial from the 'macropod' family - the same as a kangaroo and wallaby - which is found primarily off the coast of Western Australia on Rottnest Island. They are mainly nocturnal, and are renowned for their friendly nature - not being scared of the public approaching them in their droves. Quokkas are also known as the 'world's happiest animal', as a permanent grin is always etched across their face. That said, their big claws can be dangerous, and it is illegal for the public to touch them!

Roger McFederer - 2017

Honorary Scot for the day Roger McFederer

New honorary Scot - Roger McFederer in Glasgow on Tuesday, 7th November 2017 - image courtesy of Eurosport

The McFederer Serve

"Roger Federer wears a traditional Scottish kilt as he plays against Andy Murray." How glorious and majestic does McFederer look - even in a skirt! - Image source AP via

Roger Federer and kilt in action

"Here's the maestro hitting a backhand in the traditional Scottish garb." -  Roger and the Kilt in Action - image sourced from Sports Illustrated and the BBC and © of Getty Images

Roger Federer, the man who might become the first-ever person to defeat Father Time, played an exhibition match vs. Andy Murray in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday. Both players had good reason to be in a jovial mood; Federer won two majors on the year, and the match was Murray's first public outing since he suffered a hip injury at Wimbledon.  After taking the first set 6-3, Federer was interviewed and said that if someone brought him a kilt, he'd wear it. A woman in the crowd delivered, and Federer held up his end of the bargain. 

Murray would come back to win the second set 6-3, which set up a decisive 10-point tiebreaker. Midway through the breaker, Federer presented Murray with a tartan hat that had some gnarly fake hair attached. In keeping with the light hearted atmosphere, Murray put it on.  Federer ended up taking the tie break 10-6 to win the exhibition. No word on whether the hat impeded Murray's play.

The only thing that could have made this whole thing more Scottish is if Federer celebrated his victory with a bagpipe solo. Source : Sports Illustrated (Addendum from The Scottish Sun - which Roger attempted to do and failed!)

Action kilt McFederer

"Roger Federer plays a shot whilst wearing a Kilt during his match against Andy Murray" - McFederer in full swing - image © of Getty Images via the Daily Mirror

- Roger Federer dons a kilt to take on Andy Murray in Scotland - but says he feels NAKED wearing it
- Legend was given shortbread and Irn Bru on his first trip to Scotland - plus a baffling photograph of him as boy in full Scotland kit

Roger Federer won over the Scottish crowd by wearing a kilt as took on local favourite Andy Murray- and said he felt NAKED in it. The stars are used to meeting in major finals but were taking part in an exhibition match in front of 11,000 fans in Glasgow's SSE Hydro for Andy Murray Live. Returning Murray looked to be moving well enough during his singles match with Federer at a sold-out event which the Swiss won on a tie-break after both men claimed a set 6-3.

It was not the most serious of matches - Federer played one game wearing the kilt after a light-hearted promise during an interview quickly turned to reality when a female fan appeared at the side of the court. Earlier Murray welcomed the tennis legend to his homeland with home made shortbread and Irn Bru as he touched down in the country for the first time to compete in the charity event. Murray was delighted to have the 19-time grand slam champion supporting the event and treated him to traditional Scottish products ahead of the game.

Federer received a picture of himself as a child wearing a Scotland football strip - despite never before vising

Roger Federer - 18th Grand Slam

Roger Federed and a Roaring Lion

I don't know the provenance of this image but Roger, who is a Leo, has been compared to the leonine wonder and headlines such as Roger Federer, The Return of the King, or just Roger Federer, The Lion King are absolutely spot on!

Nadal Rod Laver Roger Federed

l to r Rafa Nadal, Rod Laver, Roger Federer and trophies - images courtesy and copyright of the ATP

What a year 2017 was in tennis, the grandees showing the young(er) whippersnappers that their day was not yet done. As James Keothavong features below it is exceptionally rewarding to see that he was chosen to umpire the final and the tournament organisers made special mention of the respect that Nadal and Federer showed one another throughout the match. This was a match to remember - my thanks to these champions and true interpreters of the 'gentleman's' game/

Anne & James Keothavong

Before anyone says anything - yes, I know James is not a player, rather an umpire - the best!

Anne Keothavong

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

I was pleased as punch to hear that Anne had been appointed as Federation Cup Captain because she was seriously wasted as a BT commentator especially when Sam Smith wanted to draw her into 'girlie popcorn' discussions. Anne didn't like being hurried and always made a considered and valuable contribution but she did tend to get muddled when rushed by the more accomplished Sam. I hate bad grammar at the best of times and both fell into the trap of using 'also' and 'as well' in the same sentence - it's not reinforcement, it's appallingly bad repetition! Another trap is the overuse of a suddenly discovered favourite such as the aforementioned 'popcorn' in relation to tennis matches. I believe that Anne has the gravitas and knowledge to get the right sort of results, although she starts her job with an unexpected and difficult task in that star player, who relies so much on the 'process' has just lost her link to the guru that kept her on the straight and narrow that led to the mega-success of last year. I wish them and Heather (who is in danger of morphing into a ladette if she's not careful) and the back-up team the best and most successful of seasons. I like this current and fresh GB team - so don't let the LTA and Jeremy Bates, whom I also admire as a British player who like others before and after him shouldered the burden of the lone British star for many years, interfere too much. Remember also that the Keothavongs seem to have tennis running through their veins, James, after all is one of the top Umpires in the game, spare a thought that he will never be able to umpire major British victories whilst stars like the Murrays and Konta continue to play at the highest level regularly!

Johanna Konta Poster Girl 2017

@ the Nottingham Open

Jo Konta Nottingham Open Poster

Jo Konta Poster Girl for the Nottingham Open

Jo Konta in Nottingham for the Open - images courtesy & © of the LTA

Konta receives flowers for 300th win at Nottingham Open

As if being the Poster Girl for the Nottingham Open isn't enough Jo notched up her 300th win and was presented with a floral tribute - Source BBC Sport image © Getty Images

Johanna Konta Starts Year 2017

What a start to the year, Jo matches her previous appearance (quarter-final in 2016) and wins the whole tournament taking out Caroline Wozniaki (no stranger to winning major titles) on the way. A well deserved win for Jo and here's hoping she keeps doing great things for British tennis in Virginia Wade's 40th anniversary Wimbledon win year. Let's restore the pride of the number 77 to Virginia!

Happy Birthday Jo Konta

The WTA celebrates Jo's birthday on 17th May with this queenly montage - what were they thinking?

Jo Konta wins Miami 2017

Image courtesy of the Team GB website

Konta and Miami Lighthouse

Of course I couldn't resist this image with Jo and the Lighthouse - courtesy & © of Getty Images and The Independent

The accolades are pouring in : The Telegraph says "Johanna Konta claims biggest title by any British woman for 40 years as she defeats Caroline Wozniacki" | From the BBC website, short and sweet "Johanna Konta beats Caroline Wozniacki to claim Miami Open title" | From the NY Times mention of her new ranking "Johanna Konta Wins Miami Open to Reach No. 7 in Rankings" | Even the Sun praises Jo "Johanna Konta wins Miami Open after brushing aside Caroline Wozniacki to make British tennis history"

The final point beautifully summarised by ESPN and equally typically played down by Jo herself - "Johanna Konta lifted the lob high in the air on match point. Caroline Wozniacki, who was crouched at the net, whirled and dashed madly toward the baseline. As the ball landed -- with no out call -Konta dropped her racket in disbelief that she'd won.

Wozniacki flung her free hand in the air to challenge the call, hoping to extend Saturday's Miami Open final. Konta stood there, her heart thumping in time with the public address system's dramatic audio track as the replay appeared on the large screens. The lob kissed the line. Konta, a 25-year-old from Great Britain, had just won her first big tournament 6-4, 6-3, clearing one of the taller hurdles on the WTA Tour.

"I couldn't believe it was really over," Konta said of that moment later. "I was convinced there were more points coming."

Johanna Konta's Year End 2016

Seeded No. 1 and leader of the Azalea Group at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai - what an achievement!

Jo Konta reaches Elite semis

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai 2016

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai 2016 All contestants

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai 2016 4 groupings

All Zhuhai images courtesy and © of the WTA

Johanna Konta's Sensational 2016

Johanna Konta on the brink of the Top 10

What a stellar year for Johanna Konta - she's made it to the top 10 but not quite the top 8 - but she is in Singapore!

Jo Konta with the White Group

Getty images provide a preview of the glamorous members of the 'White' Round Robin Group in Singapore - unfortunately Jo was just ousted out by Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Konta nominated for most improved player

Maybe Jo didn't make the elite 8 but she won the 'Most Improved Player of the Year' award - image courtesy and © of the WTA

Most improved player for 2016 Johanna Konta

WTA Winner Most improved 2016

From the WTA website :

SINGAPORE - Johanna Konta has been overwhelmingly voted as 2016 WTA Most Improved Player Of The Year.

Konta has enjoyed her best season to date, starting at the Australian Open, where she became the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Jo Durie in 1983. She went on to match Durie in ranking as well as result, finally ending the drought of British women in the Top 10 after reaching the final of the China Open, a Premier Mandatory event. In between, Konta captured her first WTA title at the Bank of the West Classic, stunning former No.1 and Stanford champion Venus Williams in three scintillating sets. In 10 matches against Top 10 players, Konta won six encounters, and also has a 12-2 record in tie-breaks - the second best on the tour this season. Her achievements have not gone unnoticed and she received 40 votes, ahead of Monica Puig with five, Kiki Bertens with three and Laura Siegemund with one.

From the LTA on Jo's success :

British No.1 Johanna Konta has been announced as the WTA’s Most Improved Player of 2016, according to a poll of her peers as well as fans and international tennis media. Jo was shortlisted for the award alongside Laura Siegemund, Monica Puig and Kiki Bertens and was confirmed as the winner on Friday, 21st October 2016.

The 25-year-old who recently became the first Brit in 33 years to break in the WTA’s Top 10 has enjoyed a scintillating year which began with a run to the semi finals of the Australian Open last January. Ranked 47 in the world at the beginning of 2016, Konta has since gone on to capture her first WTA title, beating former World No.1 Venus Williams in the final of the Stanford Classic in California in July. In 10 matches against Top 10 players in 2016, Jo has won six encounters, and also has a 12-2 record in tie-breaks  the second best on the WTA tour this season.

Meanwhile, Jo narrowly missed out on qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore (October 23-30) after Svetlana Kuznetsova's win in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Saturday. Konta was beaten to the eighth and final qualifying spot in the tournament after Kuznetsova's win, but she is in Singapore with the other finalists and will compete if any player withdraws.

Even the BBC reported Jo's stellar rise to the 2016 greats :

British number one Johanna Konta has won the WTA's most improved player of the year award for 2016. Konta, 25, reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January before going on to win her first WTA Tour title at Stanford in June. Ranked world number 147 in June 2015, Konta climbed to a career-high position of ninth earlier this month and is currently in 10th place.

Germany's Angélique Kerber won the WTA player of the year award. The world number one won her first Grand Slam at the Australian Open, and went on to pick up a second at the US Open. She also won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and lost in the Wimbledon final to Serena Williams.

Konta's record of seven victories over a top10 player this season is the second-most of any other player on tour. She became the first British woman to reach the top 10 of the world rankings since Jo Durie achieved the feat in 1984. Konta is currently leading the race for a place a the WTA Finals in Singapore, occupying the final qualification spot, but will be overtaken by Svetlana Kuznetsova if the Russian wins Saturday's Kremlin Cup final against Daria Gavrilova of Australia.

Analysis - BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

"At the start of the year, the question was not whether Konta could become a top 10 player, but whether she could consolidate her position in the top 50. Reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open was a fabulous achievement, but it has been her consistency throughout the year - and in many of the big tournaments - which has particularly impressed. She is a strong player, but by no means the most powerful: her success has stemmed from doing the basics to an exceptionally high level in highly pressurised situations. Her top 10 status is thoroughly deserved."

2016 WTA player award winners in full:

Player of the year: Angélique Kerber (Germany)
Doubles team of the year: Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic (France)
Most improved player of the year: Johanna Konta (GB)
Newcomer of the year: Naomi Osaka (Japan) Comeback player of the year: Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia)

Johanna Konta - GB

Konta wins QF at A) 2015

Konta makes history by winning her QF at the Australian Open on 27th January 2016 - Image courtesy of the Australian Open

Kerber and Konta at the net AO semi-final

Konta and Kerber congratulate each other at the net at the conclusion of their SF at the Australian Open on 28th January 2016. Konta lost to the eventual winner - no shame here! - Image courtesy of the Australian Open

Ever since the summer of 2015, starting on the grass courts of the United Kingdom, Johanna Konta has breathed fresh life into what has become a jaded and disappointing British season of tennis. Heather Watson has been left to carry the flag for GB since the injured and more flamboyant Laura Robson has not fulfilled her potential, mostly and unfortunately due to an injured wrist. Laura has attempted several comebacks, but her continued absence has surely impacted on Heather Watson who is an intelligent and compact player (in the mould of Agnieszka Radwańska of Poland). Johanna reached the semi-finals of the 2016 Australian Open equalling and beating the achievement of the last British female player, Jo Durie. Jo Durie has stated that she is thrilled her personal best in this tournament has been beaten after all these years! Jo appeared in the Australian Open QF in 1984.

From the Eurosport website :

Exclusive: GB's last Grand Slam quarter-finalist Jo Durie on Johanna Konta's run to the last eight

Johanna Konta has become the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final since 1984 - and the person she has emulated, Jo Durie, says it has made her as excited as she can remember about British tennis.

The British number one produced a stunning 4-6 6-4 8-6 win over Ekaterina Makarova on Margaret Court Arena to reach the last eight.

Durie - now a Eurosport commentator - reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 1984 and has been marvelling at Konta's progress at Melbourne Park.

Is this the most excited you have been following British female players over the last 20 years?

“Yes it is, because although Laura Robson has had some big wins in the Grand Slams, Jo is doing it consistently and she is really believable out there on court," Durie told Eurosport. “Obviously seeing Robson when she was winning matches and Heather Watson [was exciting], but this is just a bit above that. To get to the quarter-finals of a Slam, which hasn’t been done for so long, is something quite special. She is soon to be in the world’s top 30 and seeded in the Slams, and I can now see her getting wins week-after-week, which is a very nice thing to see."

Can she win a Grand Slam?

“To win a Grand Slam, you never know: it takes a lot. I won’t say that she could never do it, but it would be an extreme thing to accomplish. I’m sure it would be one of her goals, but I think at the moment she is just working through her goals and trying to get further into Grand Slams. Let’s not put any pressure on her and let her take it one Grand Slam at a time."

How has she mastered the mental side of her game?

“I think mentally she has really turned herself around. She really believes in herself and you can see that on court. Her composure on court in situations when she is under pressure, she seems able to cope with it all. She has become so consistent over the last year that she really doesn’t miss stuff – she’s very, very solid and keeps a good pace on the ball too."

What next for her?

“Her next match will be very difficult and Zhang Shuai is herself on a road to discovery. Anybody who gets to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam is clearly playing very well, so you cannot underestimate her. Jo is very clear-headed and she trusts herself. When you work so hard you begin to trust yourself under pressure, and that really does help mentally. She has got to come down from this win and then get ready for the quarter-finals where of course she has got a chance. “But I don’t think she has got to look too far ahead because she has been so composed so far."

Jelena Jankovic - Serbia

Jelena Jankovic in purple cocktail frock

Stylish on and off court - image courtesy & © of Getty Images - Jelena Jankovic is a worried woman.
‘I can’t go in front of the TV cameras looking like this, with my hair and no make-up,’ she says as she gets ready to do a post-match interview in Paris. ‘We women, we worry about these things. We have to blow dry our hair and look our best.’

This picture and her comments sum up JJ for me - stylish, poised, slightly quizzical, quirky and when I first saw her play, a joy on court. Over the years she's become a bit cranky on the court and on some occasions downright unwatchable when she starts berating everybody on the court except herself. Her redeeming quality is that she has never screeched her way through a match like other female players none of whom, by the way, will appear on the page as my favourites. They may, of necessity, be featured in the Grand Slam column but only because they've had the good fortune to win against opponents who don't make spectacles of themselves on court in a similar manner.

Action shot for Fila Fashions 2016

JJ posing in action shot for Fila 2016 US Open fashions - image courtesy of Fila and Tennis Identity

Back to JJ who unforgettably became the darling of the Centre Court at Wimbledon after Jamie Murray (not yet known for being a No. 1 Doubles Champion) plucked up the courage to ask her to partner him in the Mixed Doubles in 2007. I'm fairly certain that they didn't expect to win, or even have fun on court but they flirted their way and played fabulous tennis all the way to the Final which they won watched by thousands. It was a fun match, everyone enjoyed themselves and Jamie covered himself with glory by being the first Murray brother to win a Grand Slam on home turf even! Here are a few momentous pictorial moments from that victory!

Jankovic & Murray win 2007 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles

The cherished moment of success, joy shining brightly from JJ as she holds the Mixed Doubles trophy aloft - image courtesy & © of the Press Association

JJ and Murray sharing an air kiss

So was there a romance? More on Jamie's side than JJs we can bet - image courtesy & © of the Evening Standard

The Standard continues to speculate - "Jamie Murray and Jelena Jankovic arrived at the Wimbledon Champions' Dinner looking just as much the winning couple as they did on the Centre Court a few hours earlier. But as they celebrated their mixed doubles victory, there were still a few more questions left unanswered... such as: Are they? Have they? Will they? And will little brother Andy be best man?

JJ, Murray and Federed at the Champions Ball

Sharing the triumph with Wimbledon's Men's Singles Champion Roger Federer at the Championship Ball - image courtesy & © of Getty Images

Ever since Murray and Jankovic first stepped on to the court together in the first week of the tournament, tennis fans have been indulging in feverish speculation about the exact nature of their relationship. They have flirted, giggled, held hands and displayed such extraordinary on-court chemistry that some cheekier spectators have been moved to shout out, "Come on you lovebirds." In the great tradition of these things, Murray and Jankovic have insisted their relationship is entirely professional - a stance which was somewhat marred by Jankovic's promise that she would kiss him all over if they won."

Following their triumph JJ resisted all further attempts for the partnership to flourish explaining that she wanted to concentrate on her singles career as the Serbs were now producing quality tennis players in Ana Ivanovich and Novak Djokovic - in fact this triumvirate became unofficial ambassadors for Serbia in tennis and elsewhere.

JJ carrying the flag for Serbia in the Federation Cup

JJ & Ivanovic doubles for Serbia in the Federation Cup

JJ and Coach celebrate Fed Cup win

Representing Serbia in the Federation Cup JJ and Ivanovic took on the roles of playing singles and doubles and celebrating their win with coach Dejan Vranes against the Russians - image courtesy & © of Gerry Images

Poland's Finest

Suddenly, after watching the Girls Wimbledon Final in 2005 at the Midland Hotel, I knew a star had been born. I eschewed watching the matches on the main court because this was to have been the 5th time for me to see the emerging Agnieszka Radwańska over two days. She had had to play three doubles and two singles matches on Friday and Saturday to get to the finals of both girls tournaments. Other former and soon to become junior grand slam title holders were Caroline Wozniaki (Danish but from a Polish background), Aga's younger sister Urszula, Angélique Kerber (German but resident in Poland with her Polish grandparents) being the exception. The girls have all remained friends on the circuit frequently holidaying together - nice not to have the bitching so often associated in a febrile female dominated environment.

Polish tennis players line up for a publicity shot

The Polish ensemble featuring the Federation Cup Team and Poles representing other countries - from l to r Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark), Marta Domachowska, Urszula Radwańska, Agnieszka Radwańska, Klaudia Jans-Ignacik, Alicja Rosolski and Angélique Kerber (Germany) - before the U.S. Tennis Open at the Polish Consulate in NY. Photo: Consulate of the Republic of Poland in New York via

Ifromal holiday image of the Polish tennis players holidaying together

An all together more relaxed image of four friends (and a mascot) on holiday together l to r - Urszula and Agnieszka Radwańskie, Angélique Kerber and Caroline Wozniaki.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley - Australia

I loved Evonne from the moment I saw her glide around on court - was she a tennis player, a ballet dancer or an ice skater? She was sweet, she smiled a lot, she wore lovely dresses, she was supremely feminine and she was new! Margaret Court and Billie Jean King had dominated and were legends and beside the new kid on the block, they were giants - but we know what happens to giants, don't we? They get toppled! I don't dispute Court and King were greats in the game, movers and shakers, record-breakers and suffragettes in their own right - but it was the charisma or Evonne Goolagong that enchanted me, her grace, her self-effacement and the excitement that this Australian national Aborigine brought to the game. I have her biography waiting to be read, I think it will be next after I finish my current thriller!

Evonne Cawley at the AO 2017

Lovely to see Evonne so happy and healthy in a recent appearance at the Australian Open - "Evonne Goolagong Cawley waves to the crowd during the Celebration of Inspirational Women as part of women's semifinal day during day eleven of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Jan. 25, 2017 - Source: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images AsiaPac)" via Zimbio

A bronze bust of Evonne at the AO in 2015

Is this the ultimate accolade a bust of oneself at the Australian Open dedicated in 1994 - "She remains an iconic figure at the Australian Open each year where a bronze statue of her was unveiled in 1994" - source CNN

The CNN article entitled 'Sunshine super girl' Goolagong Cawley defied prejudice to become a star' is an excellent read - here are some abridged salient comments :

When Evonne Goolagong Cawley first picked up an apple crate board to hit a ball against any flat surface she could find, Wimbledon was always the dream. The tennis-obsessed youngster would play for hours on end against a wall or a water tank, at the time thinking the tournament was merely the stuff of fairy tales. "I read this princess magazine story," recalls the 63-year-old seven-time Grand Slam singles winner in an interview with CNN Open Court at the Australian Open."One story was about this girl who trained and was taken to this place called Wimbledon where she won on this magical court. "I didn't know it was for real but she said 'yes, this place exists in England'." From that moment henceforth, the wall or water tank was the net at the All England Club, the concrete under her feet the hallowed grass turf graced by so many past champions.

Cawley holding up the rosewater plate

Cawley being presented wiht the rosewater plate

The dream came true twice for Evonne Goolagong in 1971 (lower picture presentation) and again as Mrs Cawley in 1980 (upper picture)

Goolagong Cawley's fairy tale came true. Nicknamed the 'Sunshine super girl' early in her career, Goolagong Cawley achieved exactly that feat in 1971, winning the first of Grand Slam titles. She is 12th on the list of all-time singles grand slam winners level with Venus Williams and ended her career with 19 single titles in all. As well as two Wimbledon titles, Goolagong Cawley also won the Australian Open four times, the French Open, three Fed Cup titles and reached world No.1 in 1976. If the fairy tale came true, there were also many times when the clock struck midnight, with her story marked by episodes were -- as with so many Aborigines -- she was often treated as a second-class citizen.

There was a regular fear of being taken away from her parents. Many Australians thought the best practice was for Aboriginal children to be removed from their families to be given a life away from poverty and an education in white Australian society."Whenever a car would come down the road, my mum would tell us to hide 'or else the welfare man would take you away,'" she recalls.

Even as an adult she was acutely aware of how Aborigines could be excluded from everyday life -- even after winning Wimbledon."Before I started travelling overseas and I was with a friend and in those days I loved music and I loved disco dancing so she took me out but I wasn't allowed in."That happened again in Brisbane and I was with two Aboriginal friends and this was just after I won Wimbledon. I said 'don't worry we'll go somewhere else'. I think it hurt my friends more than me." Sydney was to provide no respite from the racism Goolagong Cawley had to face. She especially remembers an incident while playing with Edwards' daughter against two older ladies. "One of the older ladies didn't like the idea of two youngsters beating up on them. We won pretty easily. When it was time to shake hands."And she said; 'This is the first time I've had the pleasure of playing a Nigger' and I've never heard that before and I started to get really upset." As her mentor Edwards did his best to shield her from such prejudice."He taught me not to believe in what you read, believe in yourself so I never read anything. I realize now he was blocking me from a lot of things.

"I always just thought of myself as a tennis player. I was protected from a lot of publicity and politics of life." But her tennis success helped Goolagong Cawley break down barriers, becoming the first non-white to play in apartheid South Africa in a tournament in 1972. Even today, she is helping indigenous people in Australia with the foundation she has set up with her husband, the former British tennis player Roger Cawley. Her motto for it -- as it was during her playing days -- is "dream, believe, learn, achieve." By the time she arrived as a player at her dream location of Wimbledon, the then 18-year-old, also known as 'La Belle Evonne,' was already well known to the British press.

She was put on the show courts, unheard of back then for an unheralded young player."I didn't realize they were writing about me before I got there," she recalls. "They didn't normally put a young person first time at Wimbledon on centre court but they did with me."It really scared the hell out of me and I wanted to get off the court as quickly as possible and I did." On her return the following year in 1971, she beat the great Margaret Court and fellow Australian in the final, although graciously insists that was only because her opponent was pregnant and not moving to the best of her ability. However, Goolagong Cawley repeated the feat on the same hallowed turf in 1980 with a three-year-old daughter in tow. In so doing, she was the first mother to be crowned Wimbledon champion since before the outset of World War I. 'Super girl' had become 'super mum. 'But for all the monikers, titles and accolades, "having fun" was the key motivation.

Ted Tingling, Goolagong, Casals, Wade and King

What a quintet? Ted Tingling probably won more Wimbledon titles than any other singles player, in the fashion stakes of course - l to r Virginia Wade (GB), Evonne Goolagong-Cawley (Australia), Ted Tingling* (GB), Rosie Casals (US) and Billie Jean King (US) - image courtesy of

*Cuthbert Collingwood "Ted" Tinling (23 June 1910 – 23 May 1990), sometimes known as Teddy Tinling, was an English tennis player, fashion designer, spy and author. He was a firm fixture on the professional tennis tour for over sixty years. Source

Action shot of Goolagong at Wimbledon

Action shot of Goolagong at Wimbledon

And our thanks to Getty Images for these fabulous shots of Evonne Cawley at Wimbledon showing her athleticism and balletic grace.

Goolagong twitter banner

Australian Open Twitter Graphics

From Australia's Social & Cultural History from the 1950s - 1970s

Sporting Achievements and Sports People

Evonne Goolagong was named Australian Number One Female Tennis Player after she won Seven Grand Slam singles titles, and reaching a goal of eighteen Grand Slam singles finals in her career. Goolagong played in seventeen Grand Slam singles Finals during the 1970s. This was a period record for any tennis player, man or woman. With reaching the final of almost every Grand Slam she entered between 1973 and 1978, Evonne Goolagong was definitely worth of being ranked Number One in the world for two weeks in 1976. Goolagong was the Mixed Doubles Champion in France in 1972. Evonne Goolagong Cawley was the Doubles Champion in Wimbledon in 1974. In 1978, Goolagong joined with Peggy Michel to win the Ladies’ Doubles Title. Goolagong made seven consecutive finals at the Australian Open, winning four titles in a row, both records for
this time.

Guy Forget - France

Roland Garros Tournament Director - 2016

Guy Forget at Roland Garros

Guy Forget - newly appointed as Tournament Director at Roland Garros - image © RG

Guy Forget has been appointed as Roland Garros Tournament Director. Having successfully directed the BNP Paribas Masters tournament since 2012, he will bring his on-the-job experience and expertise to this new position. The former captain of the French Davis Cup team (from 1999 to 2012) is not venturing into unknown territory, as he has been a member of the steering committee for the Roland Garros tournament since 2011, responsible for player relations.

Heather Watson - GB

Mexican Champion - 2020

Heather Watson Mexican Champion

"Heather Watson dons a sombrero to celebrate winning the Mexican Open in Acapulco" - image courtesy of EPA and strapline as it appears in the Daily Mail on-line article

Heather Watson returns to the world top 50 for the first time in four years after beating 17-year-old Leylah Fernandez to win the Mexican Open

- Heather Watson defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-7 (8) 6-1 in Acapulco
- Watson squandered five championship points before finally sealing victory
- It's her fourth WTA title and her first since winning in Mexico back in 2016
- The success will lift Watson back into the top 50 of the world rankings

Heather Watson has won the Mexican Open after defeating Canada's Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-7 (8) 6-1. The British No 2 served up six aces on the way to victory over the 17-year-old, with the pair battling it out for almost three hours. Watson squandered five championship points in the second-set tie-break but eventually wrapped up a fourth WTA title on her 10th match point. 'I'm so happy to get my fourth title,' Watson said in quotes reported by 'It's been a few years, so I'm just really, really happy I came through that match. 'It was heartbreaking losing the second set, but I also reminded myself that I also saved a lot of set points before that. It was so close, both of us had our chances. 'I just had to leave that set behind me, even though I had my opportunities, and just remind myself that it's just a tennis match and it won't be the end of the world if I don't win. Just play every point and focus on just that one point, that next point.'

Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion - 2016

Heather Watson - Mixed Doubles Champion

Such a joyful picture - Heather Watson and partner Finn Henri Kontinen enjoy their mixed doubles success at Wimbledon 2016 - image © Getty

A perfect match has delivered the perfect result for Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson, who are the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles champions. Combining for the first time at The Championships, the British-Finnish duo defeated Colombian Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 7-6(5), 6-4 for their first Grand Slam title.

“I can’t really describe how happy I am right now. I can’t stop smiling,” said Watson, who became the first British woman to win a Wimbledon title since Jo Durie combined with Jeremy Bates to win in 1987. “We had so much fun from the first point to the last. “Some people say, like, it's fun, but don't actually really have fun. I think we did. We didn't think about winning. We just wanted to go out there and just enjoy our time and just try and play well and good.

“Now we're Grand Slam champions, Wimbledon champions.”

(Good to see Heather appreciating that she is a Grand Slam Champion and I do hope the euphoria was temporary, because much as I like her, she was beginning to behave like a 'ladette' at this years championships)

Heather Watson defeats Kirsten Flipkens to win third WTA singles title

Heather Watson wins title in 2016

Heather wins Abierto Monterrey Afirme

A great start to 2016 for Heather winning her 3rd ever WTA Title in Abierto Monterrey Afirme - Heather Watson said after beating Kirsten Flipkens: ‘It’s the first time my mum’s seen me win a title and it’s Mother’s Day back in England, so Happy Mother’s Day, Mum.’ Photograph: Miguel Sierra/EPA via The Guardian

Great Britain’s Heather Watson won her third WTA Tour singles title by beating Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the Abierto Monterrey Afirme final. Watson lost the opening set, concluded by Flipkens’ first ace, but broke twice in the second to force a decider.

There, the two players traded service breaks before Watson crucially earned another to lead 5-3, giving her the chance to serve out the match. She trailed 15-40 but battled back to force match point, which she took with an unreturnable body serve.

Watson, who remains without a coach following her temporary link with Judy Murray, brought on her mother, Michelle, as on-court coach when 5-2 down in the first set. And Watson admitted having her mother around made it an extra special day. In the post-match presentation, the British No2 said: “It’s the first time my mum’s seen me win a title and it’s Mother’s Day back in England, so Happy Mother’s Day mum!”

Flavia Pennetta - Italy

Flavia Pennetta wins US Open

The newly crowned U.S. Open Champion of 2015 is hanging up her boots (or should that be racket)? What a joy it was to watch Flavia play - she always looked elegant, commentators always praised her style on court - play and dress, the male commentators positively obsessed about it! I loved watching Flavia for her court craft so different to her spicy private and love life if all that you read is true. I shall miss Flavia and I'm pleased she went out on a high, and what a high, the oldest maiden Grand Slam winner (to date so far) and these pictures show her genuine delight. What a happy winner, no pretensions, nothing jaded and an acknowledgement to the VIP box at the conclusion of the match, in which sat, no less an celebrity as the Prime Minister of Italy! Flavia and her compatriot and runner up Roberta da Vinci were making history!

Pennetta and da Vinci making Italian Tennis history

Flavia wins US Open

Flavia and US Open Trophy on Empire State

Images courtesy & © of the US Open

Arthur Ashe - USA

Arthur Ashe Wimbledon Champion 1975

Arthur Ashe of the USA holds up the championship trophy for men’s singles of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships after defeating Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 July 5, 1975 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. (Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty)

Arthur Ashes success in 1975

Always a great fan of Arthur Ashe I wrote this piece for the Hucknall Dispatch - I remember the day in 1975 as clearly as if it was yesterday!

Arthur Ashe Time Magazine 1968

Arthur Ashe honoured by Life Magazine in 1968 - image courtesy & copyright of Life Magazine via

By Adam Glanzman dated 27th August, 2014

In 1968, LIFE magazine wrote that Arthur Ashe was the new “king of the court” upon winning the first U.S. Open in which professionals could compete. Today, more than 40 years later, the best players on the planet are vying for the Open crown in the world’s largest tennis stadium, by sheer capacity—a stadium in Queens, N.Y., named after Ashe himself. Ashe, a UCLA graduate, famously kept his cool on the court. In fact, during his playing days, commentators and even some early opponents suggested that he lacked the fiery, competitive drive of a true champion. But underlying Ashe’s levelheadedness was his profound desire to play, and he quietly, coolly revealed in proving his doubters wrong. Dr. Walter Johnson, the African American physician who coached Ashe, believed that “the tournaments would use any excuse to keep us out.” According to Ashe, Dr. Johnson “made sure we didn’t do any arguing.” He maintained his composure throughout his professional career.

In the 10 years following his victory in the ’68 Open, Ashe went on to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and made it to the quarterfinals of the French Open twice. In 1977 he married photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy. During their travels, Moutoussamy would show her photographic work, while Ashe played. Moutoussamy told People magazine in 1979, “a lot of wives just love to watch their husbands play match after match. I get tennised-out.” Ashe retired from pro tennis in 1980, but stayed involved as a writer for publications like TIME and a commentator for ABC. One of the great ambassadors of his sport, a man universally admired by players and fans, alike, Arthur Ashe died from AIDS-related pneumonia (he likely contracted HIV during heart bypass surgery years before) in February 1993. He was just 49 years old.

Miroslav Mecir - Czechoslovakia

Miroslav Mecir at 2011 US Open

It was great to see Miroslav featured in the 2011 US Open - but, I can't find out why he was there - an educated guess would be that he was appearing on the Seniors Tour - but there are no schedules of play for this event - strange.

Samantha Stosur - Australia

Samantha Stosur with her 2011 US Open Trophy

What a fabulous player (it helps that she wore purple to win her first grand slam) and what a modest winner. Solid as a rock, Samantha has overcome debilitating illness to climb to the elite of the tennis world and her win on that most poignant of dates in the United States calendar, 9th September, known to the world as 9/11, is well deserved! Bravo Sam!

Patty Schneider - Switzerland

Patty retired in 2011 after a long and distinguished career spanning 17 years, serving both women's tennis and her country by representing them in the Federation Cup in the wake of Martina Hingis. Patty was a 'quirky' leftie on court and played some of the most sublime tennis capable of beating anyone on her day. She was always a pleasure to watch.

Patty Schnyder retires 2011

Seen here being honoured by her former colleagues during her on-court retirement ceremony in iStanbul at the year end championships - from left to right Ipek Senoglu, Kveta Peschke, Katarina Srebotnik, Samantha Stosur, Mary Pierce, Iva Majoli, Victoria Azarenka and WTA CEO Stacey Allaster.

Marion Bartoli - France

On the 15th of August 2013, the reigning Wimbledon Champion announced her shock retirement from tennis - from the Wimbledon page

by Alexandra Willis -Thursday 15 August 2013

Bartoli retiresIn a small press room in Cincinnati, Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli announced her retirement from tennis, saying that she "couldn't permit herself to do things halfway."

With fellow players rushing to find television screens to watch the announcement, the 28-year-old, who who triumphed in the Ladies' singles final on Centre Court just 40 days ago, revealed that the pain of competing had become too much, and that she would rather leave the sport having reached the pinnacle of her career. 

“I’ve been on the tour for so long, and I really push through and leave it all during that Wimbledon," Bartoli said, speaking after a first-round loss to Simona Halep in Cincinnati. "I really felt I gave all the energy I have left inside my body. I made my dream a reality and it will stay forever with me, but now my body just can’t cope with everything.”

“It becomes an ordeal when I can’t even really walk because I have so much pain in my Achilles tendon, or I have so much pain my shoulder or my rib or in my lower back that I can’t even serve after one set. It all means that at a certain point, the body has its limits and I went past them. I was obliged to do so many times to make it, and I achieved the most beautiful goal of my life, my career. And now it’s time to move on to other things.”

Bartoli has never been afraid to buck the proverbial trend, on the court and off, and after winning Wimbledon she maintained that she would "always remain the same, very humble, very low-key and easy-going, down to earth person." It was a sentiment she touched on again in Cincinnati. 

"I think if people ask, 'How is Marion Bartoli?' They will always respond, 'She's a nice person.' That's what I'm most proud of," she said. It's time for me to retire and to call it a career. I will have won Wimbledon this year in 2013, and I will stop with that. It was magnificent.”

The ebullient Frenchwoman revealed she had called her father in the middle of the night to tell him of her decision, revealing that winning Wimbledon was the frosting on the cake of her career for him too. “He told me, ‘Marion, you can lose every single match you’re going to play. I don’t even care anymore. What I care for you is you get married, you find a nice husband, and that’s it,'" Bartoli revealed. 

As a result, Bartoli will not be at the All England Club to defend her Wimbledon title next June, echoing the actions of Pete Sampras, who shelved his racket after winning the US Open in 2002. "Everyone will remember my Wimbledon title.  No one will remember the last match I played here," she said.

As always, she couldn't have put it better. 

Chris Evert - USA

Chris Evert Nov 3 1975

40th anniversary of the introduction of the WTA rankings - Chris Evert presided over and participated in the WTA 2015 Singapore Year End Finals won by Agnieszka Radwańska

Still to come

This page is still under construction and will be added to on a regular basis.

Jaime Fillol - Chile

Wojtek Fibak - Poland

Bjorn Borg - Sweden

John Lloyd - GB

Mary Jo Fernandez - USA

Jan Kodes - Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)

(The list is by no means exhaustive and I will be adding to it)

I have an interest in Heather Watsons and Johanna Konta's progress which at the time of writing seems more robust than that of Laura Robson. Omissions of other British players (unless they come up in future revisions) is quite deliberate.

Greatest French Open Final - 1999

Hingis in despair 1999

Hingis in despair during that epic match in which she tried everything to put Graf off her stride!

Graf triumphant

Joyously triumphant - Steffi Graf with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen - both images © of Getty

The French Open Simple Dames (don't you just love that!) 1999 Graf v Hingis when Hingis totally lost it on court and then refused to come back on for the presentation of the trophy aha ha ha ha!

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