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Monday 29 June 2015

Day 1 - Djokovic Signals His Intent With A Professional Win


The wait was long and it was reaching impatient levels to get the #Championships underway. And so they did under wonderful and sunny #London skies!

Per #tradition, the Men's Singles #defending #champion opened proceedings on #Centre #Court. #Novak #Djokovic, looking in great shape to defend his crown but utterly disappointed by that final loss to #Warinka at #Roland #Garros two weeks ago, walked in to a huge ovation. 

His opponent, Phillip Kohlshreiber, seeded 33 was no easy push over. Phil is known for his stinging backhand and ability to stay in matches for long. He started well too. Although Novak broke him in the third game of the match, he broke back immediately in the next game to level scores at 2-2. The first set saw a see-saw battle and it was Phil who was looking sharper and fitter of the two.

As with champions, they know when to up the game and how to handle pressure situations. Novak did just that. He hung on and then brought in his tenacity and sublime skill to the fore. Game after game, he upped his ante on Phil and won the first set 6-4.

After that it was a matter of time really. Phil began to lose his sting and Novak was waiting for his opportunities to grab crucial points and surge ahead. Sets 2 and 3 went the same way.

Final Scoreline
Novak Djokovic bt Phillip Shreiberger 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Other key games on Centre Court today involve 
#Glam #Doll #Maria #Sharapova
French Champion #Stan #Wawrinka

Important results so far on Day 1
Samantha Stosur beat Daniella Kovinic 6-4, 6-4
Radwanska beat Gallovits-Hall 6-2, 6-1
Nishikori and Bolelli have shared 1 set each
Lleyton Hewitt is fighting to stay in the championship against Nieminen in a gruelling 5 setter.

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Wednesday 24 June 2015

World Number 1 Who Never Won At Wimbledon


There have been great Wimbledon champions over the years and some glorious matches too. But how many have made headlines for not winning #Wimbledon?

#Ivan #Lendl​ - will forever remain etched in the annals of Wimbledon​ history as the greatest #tennis player never to win #TheChampionships.

He dominated the men's scene through the mid and late eighties, winning every tournament and #grand #slam along the way, except this one.
He still holds record for being ranked #1 for a stupendous 157 weeks!

During this same period he reached the Wimbledon finals twice, 1986 and 1987 losing to teen sensation #Boris #Becker​ and unseeded and unfancied #Pat #Cash​ respectively (both matches in straight sets).

Every top player dreaded playing Ivan because he was "robot" like on the court - precise, composed and never tired. Never a crowd favourite due to his almost emotionless demeanour on court and outside it but once he walked in to play, he just churned win after win.

The crowd started loving him once his die-hard ambition to win the Wimbledon crown became public. He even offered to exchange all his grand slams for that one elusive title he so cherished.
1987 was his best chance and he floundered against Cash. After that, he came and tried year after year but the gen next had taken tennis to next level of powerplay. He couldn't handle that and retired Wimbledon trophy-less!

He seeked redemption when his protégé, #Andy #Murray​ won the Wimbledon title in 2013. He partly lived his dream of being the champion here and the crowd saluted the hero of yesteryears who came so near, yet so far from the greatest triumph in tennis!

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Monday 22 June 2015

Golden Moments - Goran Wins In His 14th Attempt


As we move closer towards start of Wimbledon 2015, we are sharing some really golden moments from the past glory that this venue has produced over the years.

#Goran #Ivanisevic, a young Croatian, burst onto the tennis stage in late eighties (carrying forward a legacy of booming serves set by Boris Becker) and skittle opponents through sheer pace of his serves. His #aces mesmerized opponents, crowd and every critic around. The speed, precision and timing on those serves were amazing. But, his serve also became his weak point at times. In the quest to serve aces, he faulted, double faulted many times to throw away crucial games and even matches. His volatile temperament didn't help either.

His raw talent saw him rising up the tennis ladder very quickly on world stage.
In 1992, he demolished another super server youngster #Pete #Sampras in Wimbledon semi final to setup an amazing finals clash vs the flambuoyant and colorful youngster #Andre #Agassi. It was a game of Goran's serves vs Agassi' returns. As luck would have it, Agassi prevailed in that clash to win his first Wimbledon. Goran reflecting on what could have been!
Scoreline: 6-7. 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 

Again in 1994, Goran stepped up the gas to setup a finals clash with #Pistol #Pete.
Both matching serve to serve, the first two sets went into tie-breaks and Pete with better overall technique managed to win both of them. A demoralized Goran lost the third 0-6 to hand over the finals to Pete.
Scoreline: 7-6, 7-6, 6-0

By 1998, Pete vs Goran was becoming a great duel of big servers. The difference? Pete was winning grand slams while Goran was missing out on them. After a gruelling 5-set semi final against Richard Krajicek, Goran stepped on centre court to meet Sampras once again. This time he was ready to give it back. Both shared the first two sets (again in tie-breaks), Pete won the third, while Goran roared back to win the fourth. This one had the making of a great final. At the final stretch though, it was Pete, once again, who raced ahead and won.
Scoreline: 6-7, 7-6. 6-4,3-6, 6-2

With all those final losses and age catching up, Goran was running out of time but he hung on coming back year after year to try and win the elusive Wimbledon crown. In 2001, a teenage sensation Roger Federer pushed Pete Sampras (the king of Wimbledon - 7 titles) out in the fourth round. Goran heaved a sigh of relief and pushed towards the final. Both semis were classics. Goran beating home favorite Henman in 5 sets while Pat Rafter beat Andre Agassi in a nail biter 5 set match.

When the two met on centre court, it was a case of who wanted it more badly.
They matched serve to serve, stroke to stroke, set to set.
At 2 sets apiece, it was shaping into a colossal duel and it continued in the 5th too
5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-7 and then Goran did what he had dreamt as a child and all those heart breaking losses! He broke Pat to win his first Wimbledon crown in 14 attempts and 4 finals.
Scoreline: 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 

The crowd went wild, Goran's celebrations after that game were amazing and his dream had come true ultimately!!

True Golden moment from Wimbledon!

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Friday 19 June 2015

Andy Roddick Interviews Roger Federer

Why is Roger Federer Great?

Watch this video to find out...

The greatest of all time ... without doubt .. as he said - its not all about skill, its about sweating it out and loving to win rather than hating to loose. Wonderful words from a great sportsman, role model for young athletes and people in general.

His biggest quality is humility in greatness, so rare in today's world. That sets him apart from the rest by a long way. Perhaps a few more French Open titles and a Calendar Grand Slam missing from his CV. All in all, a great ambassador of the game!

Roger you are a LEGEND!

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Golden Moments: Steffi Graf Vs Monica Seles 1992

Amazing #Wimbledon moments

What rivalry!!

Arguably the greatest rivalry of all time ... had it not been for that idiot who attacked  . What a pity. She's the only player, who not just troubled   but dominated most of their contests until that fateful day!. 

Not a very great final in terms of the result, drama or neck-n-neck points but just the intensity these two brought to the game and tennis overall in that era made it spectacular.

Monica was World No 1, had won the last 5 grand slam tournaments and looking ominous to win her sixth. Her double handed ground strokes and agility being her key strengths. She was the boss of tennis winning almost every tournament she participated in and there were rumours, other top players including Steffi had begun to "fear" her domination on court.

She had a flawless run to the finals except that epic clash vs #Martina #Navratilova in the semi finals where she won in 3 sets. At 18 years age, she was certainly looking to rule women's tennis for years to come.

Steffi, on the other hand, was looking a bit off-color and overwhelmed by Seles on the tennis circuit. She had just lost to Seles in a close match at Roland Garros previous month and not looking as solid coming into the final. She had struggled in the earlier rounds against unseeded players but got the better of #Gabriella #Sabatini in the semi finals with ease. 

The big "issue" in this tournament was hounded with conspiracy theories though. Monica made a huge grunting noise when hitting balls fiercely. Her opponents had started complaining about it and she even received a warning for that. Whether the noise levels were too high or others were trying to put her off her bull run? we will never know but that warning was certainly playing on her mind as she entered the Centre Court for the women's final.

The build up in media about this game was huge!
All tabloids, newspapers, TV, radio (there wasn't "The Web" then!) were anticipating a mouthwatering clash of the titans.
As the match started, it became evident that Seles without her grunting was a shade of her usual self. Trying to play safe than her usual freedom, she started making errors and Steffi pounced on that opportunity winning the first set 6-2.

The second set was no different, and Seles inexplicably did not get into her groove at all. What was affecting her? Steffi steamrolled through the second set 6-1. Game Over....

Steffi lifted her fourth Wimbledon crown and young Monica pondered on what could have been an monumental achievement. This kind of rivalry and media hype about it was never seen in women's tennis before. This is what made this moment special and golden!

Both these superstars went to play some memorable tennis matches in their career against each other until Monica was stabbed in the back by a self-proclaimed Steffi fan, in 1993. She did make an amazing comeback from that injury but wasn't able to terrorize other players with her gruesome powerplay and presence on the court. What a pity!

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Tuesday 16 June 2015

Golden Moments Jana Novotna Weeping On Duchess Shoulder


As 2015 edittion of #WimbledonAwaits gets underway from 29th Jun 2015, we bring to you some of the greatest moments from over the years.

We start with an emotional one that broke most traditions at the halo'd venue and captured millions of hearts world over. 

Women's Final 1993
#Steffi #Graf vs #Jana #Novotna
As both ladies cruised into the final defeating their opponents pretty comfortably along the way, the stage was set for a grand finale. World number 1 and hot favorite to win the trophy, Steffi Graf seemed all geared up to add to her Wimbledon and Grand Slam crowns but the crowd favorite was definitely Jana Novotna.

And the match lived up to its billing.
After sharing the first two sets, it was a matter of who blinks first!
Novotna surged ahead in the decider, completely putting Graf off guard, breaking her twice and took a 4-1 lead. Graf looked listless while the momentum and crowd were right behind Jana.

But, what makes sports so enduring and beautiful is the uncertainty factor!
What looked like a straight win, Novotna started making mistakes (perhaps the big stage nerves got to her). She dropped serve. Graf, the ever efficient champion, was sniffing at this opportunity and went for the kill. With awesome power, fine placements and amazing focus she disintegrated Novotna completely and pulled off a miraculous feat to win 6-4 and complete her hat-trick of Wimbledon crowns.

Final Score
7-6, 1-6, 6-4

The real moment was yet to come though.
At the presentation, the Duchess held Jana's hand and said "You can certainly do it again ...". A disconsolate Novotna broke into tears and buried her head on the shoulders of her highness. The wonderful lady, stroked her back and head to console her. What a moment! The show and heart stealer of millions around the world. Wimbledon had never witnessed this and will never do so again probably.

The champion was overshadowed by tears of loser and her picture with the duchess made bigger headlines than Graf's hat-trick!   

Novotna went to win Wimbledon in 1998 beating Natalie Tauziat but this one were her best 10 seconds of fame!

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Tuesday 9 June 2015

After French Open History Its Wimbledon Glory

#Wimbledon #2015

From Red hot Clay the Green Soothing Grass!
From vibrancy in colors (did you see Stan Wawrinka's color shorts?? they were talk of the town all through the tournament) to all WHITES
From casuals to ultra formals and etiquette

Yes, we off to #Centre #Court at the legendary #Wimbledon know as "The Championships". The oldest and arguably the best of all #Grand #Slam tournaments (with all due respect to Australian Open, French Open and US Open) gets underway from 29th June 2015.

Its all about history, tradition and glory at the #AELTC Club in #Wimbledon.
The #Championships began way back in 1877 where 22 amateurs (all men, women's tennis was introduced 7 years later in 1884) participated with an entrance fee and had to get their own playing kit (racquets, shoes)! The AELTC only provided green balls as sponsorship. Wow...

Fast forward to 2015 where BBC will be covering the entire event like never before.
Its already being talked as the biggest, costliest and most watched sport event ever!!

The 138 year old tournament has seen it all.
Amateurs turning in legends. Canvas shoes to Nike and Reebok, Wooden racquets to Fiber ones, long maxis to mini skirts, one thing has not changed is the TRADITION and that is why this tournament is loved by everyone.

The rituals, discipline at the venue with time precision make it a treat to watch alongside tennis greats cracking serves and volleys. The Duchess and Duke of Kent don't seem to be old for years as they stride to give away the awards and trophies. the ball boy parades and drills, the only whites on all players, organizing committee member meetups, the rain songs, the covers being pulled to the court, the bow to the royal box and so on.... Its all there for everyone to see, witness and wonder how they do it with precision year on year?

Wimbledon has produced some of the most breathtaking sports moments in history. Magaret Court and her legendary wins, Rod Laver's great rivalry against Newcombe, Smith and Rosewall, McEnroe's outbursts of anger and equally brilliant strokeplay against his great rivals, Bjorn Borgs 5 consecutive titles, Martina Navratilova with 9 titles and her amazing rivalry with Chris Evert, German teen sensations turned all time greats, Steffi Graf and Boris Becker, Pistol Pete Sampras and the every lovable Andre Agassi, the Williams sisters, Yana Novotna's tradition breaking crying on the shoulder of her highness the Duchess of Kent, the epic battles between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, emerging talents in Djokovic, Murray, Sharapova and the list goes on... 

So what do we have in store for this year?  
A piece of history ... one more time!

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