The 41 years old, 5 ft. 9 inches tall, right handed famous female tennis star Steffi Graf was born on June 14, 1969 in West Germany. Starting her professional career in 1982, Steffi retired in 1999 after grabbing a lot of career titles both in singles and doubles. Achieving the highest ranking of no. 1, Steffi claimed 107 singles titles making her land no. 3 in WTA’s all time ranking. She made a record by staying no. 1 for 377 weeks, the longest time any male or female player did in doubles; she claimed 11 doubles titles, too. She has got a great number of Grand Slam wins too: 22 out of 56 Grand Slams tournaments she participated in.
Apart from her big, record-breaking career, Steffi is an extremely gorgeous and good looking lady with perfect body and figure. A lady whom, famous male tennis player Andre Agassi, world’s former no. 1 American tennis player, fell for during a combined match at the French Open in 1999. Later, both married in 2001. They are among the top ten famous sports couples.
Even though now Steffi is a mother of two children, a son named Jaden Gill and a daughter named Jaz Elle, she still has a perfect athletic body and a super fit figure. At 41 years of age, she still has toned abs and trimmed legs. She says that age never meant anything to her; besides, when you have children, you don’t know how time passes. Laurie Hugh even wrote a song to her “I Am in Love with Steffi Graf”, starting with her “beautiful diamond eyes and twisted golden hair” and ending on “Steffi is an angel who folds her wings and walks like you and me.”
Famous female tennis player Venus Williams, the older sister of current world number one Serena Williams, has been world number one three times in the history of world tennis. Currently, she has lost her top rankings due to continuous injuries in the Women’s Tennis Association. Ms. Venus Williams has won twenty one Grand Slams in her career to date. Out of these titles, she has won seven titles in the singles, twelve Grand Slams in women’s doubles, and two titles have been won in mixed doubles. Even after sliding to the 19th rank, Venus Williams has won three Grand Slam titles, but due to her inconsistency she is not climbing up the rankings order. She makes the best pair with her younger sister, famous USA tennis player Serena Williams in women’s double events.
Basically, Venus is a powerful baseliner on the tour as well as having an attacking court game. Her game is very much adapted to grass where she is plays most comfortably and this directly reflects in the results of her Grand Slams. She has won five Wimbledon Grand Slams. In her career she has become expert volleyer and started using the long wingspan around the net. She has a record of fastest service in the women’s competition in the game overall as well as in all Grand Slam competitions. Venus Williams also holds the record of playing the longest Wimbledon match against famous female tennis player, Lindsay Davenport. Venus Williams also holds the record for fastest serve 130 mph (209.2147 km/h, 58.12 m/s) and is considered to have one of the best serves in the world of women tennis.
Famous male tennis player Lleyton Hewitt is an Australian tennis player who is currently ranked at number 67 in the ATP rankings and has achieved the feat of being number one in world tennis. In 2001, Lleyton Hewitt was the youngest ever player to have achieved the top spot in tennis at 20 years old. He has two singles Grand Slams and one doubles Grand Slams in his kitty. He won the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002 and in doubles event, he won 2000 U.S. Open. In 2001 and 2002, he won back to back ATP Masters titles. In 2005, Tennis Magazine ranked him of 34th of 40 greatest tennis players since 1965. In year 2003, Australian tennis player Hewitt was defending the Wimbledon title but eventually lost to Ivo Karlovic in the first round which made him the first defending player in Wimbledon in open era to lose in the first round. In 2004, Lleyton Hewitt lost to every Grand Slam’s eventual champion which is a record in tennis history. Since then, Hewitt never could make a strong come back due to his injuries.
Lleyton Hewitt is very famous for his competitiveness and has won his matches based on skilled footwork, consistency and fitness. Hewitt plays a defensive baseliner game with counter punching. Hewitt generally likes to be back at the baseline in rallies and only approaches the net to attend a drop shot or short reply from an opponent. In 2004, one commentator said that Hewitt was more difficult to “ace” in comparison to Agassi because he has more return shots in play.
The four Grand Slam tennis tournaments are considered the most prestigious tournaments in the world. They are held sequentially and annually as follows:
- The Australian Open (Tennis Australia)
- The French Open (the French Tennis Federation)
- The Wimbledon Open (the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and Lawn Tennis Association), and
- The US Open (the United States Tennis Association)
The associations listed above, as well as the International Tennis Federation (ITF), are responsible for organizing these events.
The ITF also organizes the Davis Cup, Federation Cup and Hopman Cup. These events have the largest prize money. The next level of tournaments, the Masters 1000 (men) and Premier events (women) allow the champions to achieve double the number of ranking points. There are an astounding 128 players in the singles draw which is more than any other professional tennis event.
This event collectively includes 32 seeded players, other players ranked in the world’s top 100 and wild card players who are invited to play in the event. The Men’s Grand Slam tournaments have a best of five set matches throughout.
Grand Slam tournaments are the only tour events to have mixed doubles. The Grand Slam tournaments are seen as the start of a particular season such as the Australian Open. These events each have their own individual peculiarities.
The United States Open tennis championship is the fourth and final Grand Slam of tennis tournament every year. Held in August and September every year for 2 weeks, the championship was started in 1881 and is now played at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York City at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis. There are final set tie breaks in US Open tournament, however, in other Grand Slams tournaments; the deciding set is continued until it is won by 2 games. The event features men’s and women’s doubles, men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles. You also get to see junior, senior and wheelchair players.
Originally played on grass, the US open shifted to Har-Tru clay courts in 1975 for three years. The US Open surface again changed to current Deco Turf and the game is still played on the same surface. The fast surface offers much less friction and low bounce, thus benefitting serve-and-volley players. Jimmy Connors won the US Open singles title on all surfaces. Hawk-Eye computer system was implemented for the first time in 2006 which facilitated immediate replay reviews of calls. While the outer courts are green, the inner courts are given blue color for more visibility of the ball on a TV screen.
The main court is the Arthur Ashe Stadium with 24,000 seats. Other courts are Louis Armstrong Stadium with a seating capacity of 10,000 seats and Grandstand Stadium with more than 1000 seats. There are 600 male and female professional players who fight for prize money of over US$19 million. While Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Roger Federer in the Men’s Singles in 2009, Kim Clijsters defeated Caroline Wozniacki in Women’s singles.
J.K Stephen, an English poet once quoted that,
“To see Good Tennis! What divine joy
Can fill our leisure, or our minds employ?
Let other people play at other things;
The King of Games is still the Game of Kings”
Tennis, the king of games, is much associated to Wimbledon, the king of all Grand Slams and the world’s most prestigious and most watched tennis tournament. The history of Wimbledon dates back to the second half of nineteenth century where it was first played in 1877 in the lush green lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The reason behind launching this tournament was to raise funds for the club. Today, the tournament is scheduled six weeks prior to the first Monday of August every year.
Initially, the tournament used to be for men’s singles, but in 1884 a lady’s single and men’s double competition also started. The Grand Slam received world status in 1905 when the first overseas, an American female tennis player, won the tournament. As the fame of the tournament improved, the facilities for the players and the spectators also enhanced. Due to an extreme liking for the tournament, the court remained opened during World War II. Wimbledon has procreated such great legends like Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.
Perhaps the only female tennis player who encapsulated the mind’s eye of fans across the globe with her unprecedented aggressive style and intent to conquer all the trophies that come in her way is none other than Martina Navratilova. Her exceptional resilience led her to the indomitable heights not only on the grass courts of Wimbledon but also at the Roland Garros. Though playing on clay courts was never preferred by her, she made such, records especially in the doubles event, which are still unbreakable. In contrast, her arch rival Chris Evert was the Queen of Tennis clay courts, holding the best record at the French Open Tennis with seven singles trophies on her rack. Though Navratilova did beat Evert three times on clay, one of which was French Open, Evert remained the ace and still holds the record of most singles titles won by any female at Roland Garros.
The sweet chubby Steffi Graf, who won 22 Tennis Grand Slams in her career, holds six French Open women title trophies (second to Evert) under her belt. She is the player of Navratilova’s list of great players. She was a blend of skill and stamina and the only tennis player who did equally well on grass as well as clay courts. Her main weapon was her accurate serves. Though Tennis clay courts never help those with great serves, she easily adjusted herself to the surface of Roland Garros and won many titles where men like Pete Sampras and Federer never did.
Tennis history is full of eminent names and great games. Players come and go leaving behind there traces of success and defeat. However, the enigma of red clay at the Roland Garros is still the same since the first day and is still a hard nut to crack. It has some unusual characteristics which keep the players perplexed and all the time test their skills and grandeur. Unlike grass courts, the clay court never gives a second chance to the players to recover once they lost their technique to meet the standards of this court. The French Open is one such competition with big guns like Sampras, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer who have never won their victory caps as they have never won any French Open in their awe-inspiring histories of Grand Slams. They loved Wimbledon, they enjoyed US Open and Australian Open, but the French Open has always remained a dream for them that that has never come true.
Unlike the grass courts, the game at Roland Garros is all about exhibiting stamina and strength and as to how long a player can hold himself to play on clay. Once he or she is worn out, the game can go to an opponent in the blink of an eye. Players with stamina always win the laurels at the French Open. However, for those who lack resilience, the French Open is just a fascination for them.