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Archive for the ‘Boris Becker’ Category

We saw Roger Federer lifting the Wimbledon trophy for the fifth consecutive time, and thus the question remains can someone beat him on the grass surface.

After watching the Swiss master in Wimbledon, Tim Henman thought that one man alone could not get the better of Federer. “If you take Roddick’s serve,” Henman said, “and Agassi’s returns and my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, then you’ve probably got a good chance against Federer. That’s a lot of people involved in beating one player.”

So, let us try and create an ultimate player, the one who could maybe stand a chance against Federer on Central Court.

Goran Ivanisevic’s first serve

The rest of Ivanisevic’s game may have been prone to falling apart depending on his mood, but he could always rely on his serve. Tall at 6’4” (three inches taller than Federer), and left-handed, the Croat could blast aces to a band playing. Unlike Andy Roddick, who just belts the ball for all he is worth, Ivanisevic could thump it, kick it, spin it and place it – and always it was devastating. When he won Wimbledon in 2001, he racked up a record of 212 aces over the course of the two weeks and when he was facing Tim Henman in that epic semi final spread over three rain-sodden days, he was as nervous as a kitten and yet still managed to serve his way into the final.

Pete Sampras’s second serve

Maybe not the most obvious of the American’s talents, but it was the one that brought him 14 grand slam titles, seven of them in SW19. He beat Jim Courier to win his first Wimbledon title in 1993 and Courier could not believe what he was facing. “I thought I played pretty well but it’s hard to beat a guy who plays two first serves on every point for the entire match,” the runner-up said. In that match, the average speed of his second serve was 110mph yet despite that, he only double faulted four times over four sets. The fans may not have noticed Sampras’s second serve, but his opponents dreaded it.

Andre Agassi’s return

Gifted with perfect vision and lightning reflexes, there was not a serve that Agassi could not read and defuse. He took the ball so early that he virtually picked it off his opponent’s strings and like a master of the martial arts, Agassi would take the force of the serve and turn that power back on the server. Backing up every break with a service game that was never flashy, never overdone but always as solid as a rock, he was a ferociously aggressive counter puncher.

Boris Becker’s intensity

Becker’s winning match face was a scary sight. With those pale blue eyes fixed on a point somewhere in the middle distance during the change overs, he was living in a place of his own making, a place where no one else was allowed to intrude. In his pomp, he would stride onto Centre Court as if he really believed he owned it and the opponent was simply not welcome. Players face Federer with that sinking feeling, hoping that they will not be humiliated by the Swiss, but against Becker, they were made to feel surplus to requirements.

Stefan Edberg’s movement

He was possibly the quietest and most unassuming of champions, but, as the old saying goes, the quiet ones are the worst. No one was ever sure quite how or when Edberg made his move to the net but he did it like greased lightning. In the blink of an eye he went from preparing to start his service action to hanging over the net like a preying mantis. Every part of his game was beautiful to watch and all of it depended on his ability to glide across the grass as if on castors.

John McEnroe’s volley

Maybe it is the effects of age or maybe it is just the old tapes of matches from a bygone era, but McEnroe seemed to move in slow motion at the net. Where others rush to snap their volleys away, Mac the Mouth appeared to have all the time in the world, holding the ball on his racket strings until his opponent had committed himself, leaving McEnroe to put the ball into the space left behind. He made it look so simple. Helped enormously by a left handed serve, his approach to tennis was the same as his approach to life – take it head on and attack.

Jimmy Connors’s fight

Connors was pathologically incapable of giving in, even when the cause seemed lost. In 1987, he came to Wimbledon with a leg injury and, aged 34, he was supposed to be in the twilight of his career. When he slumped to a 6-1, 6-1, 4-1 deficit against Mikael Pernfors in the fourth round, he should have been down and out. But with his pride wounded, Connors began to fight and, running away with 18 of the last 25 games, he cussed, hollered and roared to a five set win and was only beaten in the semi finals. He was not done as in 1991, aged 39, he scrapped his way to the US Open semi finals and only retired the following year.

Bjorn Borg’s ice-cold reserve

The man with a resting heart rate that was only marginally above unconscious, Borg could not be rattled on a tennis court. If they had dropped the bomb beside him during a match, he would have finished match point before looking up to see what all the fuss was about. His cold reserve was catching, too, and not even the volatile McEnroe would dare disturb the calm with an outburst when he was playing the Swede. Refraining from sex and shaving (an odd combo) during Wimbledon, he allowed nothing to disturb his focus on winning the title. The effort was exhausting, though, and he retired at the age of 26, mentally spent.

Now, the only thing that remains is to name this player.

(source: scotsman)

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Andy Roddick plans to see some of his favourite bands in London to make sure he hits
the right notes at Wimbledon after claiming a record-equalling fourth Artois
Championships title at Queen’s Club in London yesterday.

The second-seeded American came from a set down to overcome Frenchman Nicolas
Mahut 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 to match the achievements of Boris Becker, John McEnroe and
Lleyton Hewitt, who have also won four times here.

Roddick is expected to be one of the main challengers to reigning champion Roger
Federer at Wimbledon, but his thoughts are already turning to live music as he contemplates a week in London before the third Grand Slam event of the year.
Two of his favourite bands, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumkins, are playing in
London this week.

Roddick also praised his opponent Mahut, whose world ranking of 106 means he
will have to try to qualify for Wimbledon by playing at Roehampton, beginning
today against Noam Okun of Israel. The American has seen enough quality in the
25-year-old, who beat French Open champion and last year’s beaten Wimbledon
finalist Rafael Nadal as well as Ivan Ljubicic, Arnaud Clement and Jonas Bjorkman,
to believe he can be a surprise contender at Wimbledon.

(source: scotsman)

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Should Lleyton Hewitt defend his Artois Championships title this year, the Australian would become the first person to win this trophy for the fifth time. With that result he would pass John McEnroe and Boris Becker in the number of titles won in Queens.

Last year the Australian beat James Blake in the final, and he also won three consecutive titles from 2000-2002.

Hewitt, who reached the fourth round of the French Open in Paris, said he’s happy to get back on the grass. It is his favourite surface, and look for Hewitt to be a real contender in Wimbledon because his form is going upwards.

Seeded No. 6 this year, Hewitt will begin his campaign against either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Frenchman who combined qualification for the main draw and winning the Challenger tournament in Surbiton, or Denmark’s Kristian Pless. His potencial opponent in the third round is Tim Henman, his former doubles partner and a good friend.

(source: artoischampionship)

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