It Should’ve Been Hall Of Fame Induction Week

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Lost in the shuffle of the global coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the pro tennis tours since March, this was supposed to be induction week at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. This year’s induction class, Conchita Martinez and Goran Ivanisevic, both past Wimbledon champions, will have to wait until summer of 2021 to take their place among the legends of the game.

In their weekly “Rally” column for Tennis.com, Steve Tignor and Joel Drucker wrote about the Hall of Fame and what it means for the sport of tennis, and about Martinez and Ivanisevic – both of them outstanding players of their generation – who have remained close to the sport by becoming coaches.

Drucker:

Of the many ITHF moments I’ve witnessed, a delightful one came in 2004. It was on a Saturday afternoon. Two inductees were enjoying a smooth and friendly hit on the grass. One had just been inducted that afternoon. Her name was Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney, who on that day was 87 years old and would eventually earn a record 395 USTA national age-group titles. Across the net was the man who’d introduced her at the ceremony, 1999 inductee John McEnroe. Cheney’s mother, May Sutton Bundy, had been the first American to win Wimbledon, all the way back in 1905. Thirty-three years later, Dodo was the first American to win the Australian championships. How wonderful to see the connection between mother and daughter, across a century—and that most relentlessly contemporary of tennis personalities, McEnroe, taking part in it too.

Tignor:

I’ve attended the tournament and the induction ceremony three or four times in the past. It’s a nice way to come down off the frenetic two weeks of Wimbledon, while keeping the vintage-tennis vibe going. The highlight for me was seeing Steffi Graf induct her husband, Andre Agassi. Steffi gave a more moving and emotional speech than I think many of us expected. I also had a chance to see Rod Laver play doubles with McEnroe there. …

I like the Goran-Conchita combination, and I’m bummed that they won’t get a ceremony until next year. Both had their most memorable victories in Wimbledon finals, and both have been Slam winners as coaches. I love to listen to Conchita talk tennis, and Goran, of course, is one of the sport’s all-time personalities.

WTT: The King Trophy is in the house

Clijsters wins in her 2020 WTT debut

Kim Clijsters made her 2020 World TeamTennis debut a good one for the New York Empires against Bernarda Pera of the Washington Kastles. Clijsters, 37, won her women’s singles set 5-2 over Pera at The Greenbrier on Monday evening. However, Washington captured the match 21-20. The Kastles broke a 16-16 deadlock and took the men’s doubles set 5-4 in back of Marcelo Arevalo and Nick Monroe over Jack Sock and Neal Skupski.

Becker: ‘Djokovic lost his way’

Boris Becker has never been afraid to express an opinion – even if what he says may not always be popular. In the latest Eurosport Tennis Legends video podcast (vodcast) that dropped last Thursday evening, hosted by Mats Wilander, the three-time Wimbledon champion and former coach of current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic from 2013-16 said it was a tough, challenging time helping his pupil through a tough stretch in which the Serbian lost five Grand Slam finals between 2012-14.

However, once Becker went to work and started repairing Djokovic’s mental focus, soon, Djokovic began winning major titles. After all, he’s one who seems driven by attaining tennis records and by eternal history.

“It’s about attitude and then how you approach big matches. And he had his cheap way, he lost a couple of big finals to Rafa and to Roger,” said Becker during the vodcast. “So, he was mentally down. I thought his court positioning was a little off. I thought his old approach was a bit too passive to defend. If he let these guys overtake him and tough guys do that, so it was a whole package.

“But I remember the very first time I was on the sideline and obviously Novak and Roger were big rivals and they were speaking at Stefan (Edberg) and me right before the match, shaking hands and he a small talk. And ever after the match, it was a very odd atmosphere in the locker room when you had two guys in the corner looking at each other and Stefan and me chatting back like it’s a walk in the park.”

The Way Back Machine – Dylan Alcott, Wimbledon champion

A year ago, Dylan Alcott became the inaugural quad wheelchair champion at Wimbledon.

What they’re writing

Sharada Rajagopalan, an occasional contributor to Tennis TourTalk, has written a thoughtful essay about the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, which just concluded its inaugural season Sunday night. In “The road that has been Ultimate Tennis Showdown’s first edition,” she asks: Where does the event go from here?

What they’re podcasting

On The Tennis Podcast, Judy Murray conveys a rainbow of emotions in looking back on her son Andy’s 2013 remarkable Wimbledon title victory.

What they’re sharing on social media

Samantha Stosur / It’s a baby girl!

Judy and Andy Murray / Four years ago …

Elina Svitolina / A different scene to stay sane …