Top 20 aces to grace Eastbourne

Ana Ivanovic, Legends, News, WTA Players

by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

anaKEBAlthough there have been some truly greats to have played singles at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park, there have been so many doubles experts as well as well-known crowd-pleasers who failed to make a real impact despite all the hype.

Fans have been extremely vocal towards the stars that have shone in the annual event, held a stone’s throw from the seafront at the ppular British resort. with Russian babe Anna Kournikova especially popular with both male and female fans despite never winning a singles title throughout her career.

And although fans have adored these aces, there have been a number of tennis stars who were due to play at the prestigious Devonshire Park International Tennis Centre and disappointed the crowds with their non-appearance.

ana-ivanovicIn recent years, both Russian ace Maria Sharparova and Serbian starlet Ana Ivanovic have been pencilled in to play at Eastbourne. Sharparova won the Edgbaston event so skipped Eastbourne and went on to win become a Wimbledon champion.

Ivanovic pulled out of making her Eastbourne debut last year, partly because of injury and partly because of exhaustion following her unexpected French Open triumph, missed out on playing at Devonshire Park in 2005 because of an injury but is set to make it third time lucky in 2009 despite not being the force she was.

Appreciative fans have been treated to superb strokes and thrilling matches as well as a number of upsets on both Centre Court and the intimate No1 Court.

We have served up what we believe is the ultimate top 20 aces to grace Devonshire Park in terms of results, commitment to playing the pre-Wimbledon tournament and how the fans really reacted to their presence.

Our leading ladies | listed alphabetically

Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, Andrea Jeager, Anna Kournikova, Conchita Martinez, Amelie Mauresmo, Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Monica Seles, Pam Shriver, Betty Stove, Virginia Wade, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

tracey-austinatEastbourneTracy Austin

Ex-world no1 American teenage prodigy who exploded onto the sport aged 14. In 1979, aged 16, Austin became the youngest player to win the US Open. She added the 1981 US Open for 30 career titles, but never got further than the semi-finals of Wimbledon. Retired aged 21, made two comebacks and now works as a commentator for American TV. Austin’s record in the UK was pretty impressive, with two Eastbourne titles and became Wimbledon’s youngest ever competitor aged just 15.

Kim ClijstersKim Clijsters

Ex-world no1 Belgium who won the 2005 US Open. Finished runner-up at the Australian Open and the French Open although never got further than the semi-final stage at Wimbledon despite her runner-up spot at junior Wimbledon in 1988. Retired from the sport aged 24 in 2007 and had a baby the following year but is going to give it another shot on the Sony Ericssson WTA Tour after 2009 Wimbledon.

lindsaydavenportatEBLindsay Davenport

Ex-world no1 American who has won all the grand Ssam titles except the French Open, including the 1999 Wimbledon Championships. Took a 11-month break from the sport to give birth to her son, Jagger, in 2007. Is expecting her second child in 2009, and is unlikely to ever return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

chris-evertatEastbourneChris Evert

Ex-world no1 American in 1976 became the female athlete to win over $1m in career earnings. Evert won 18 grand slams, comprising seven French Open titles, six times a winner of the US Open, a trio of Wimbledon triumphs and two Australian Open successes. Retired in 1989, runs her own tennis academy in the USA and is almost as famous for her many marriages – to British tennis no1 John Lloyd but is currently married to veteran golfer Greg “The Shark” Norman.

JHenin2007EBsemiJustine Henin

Ex-world no1 Belgian who in 2007 became the first sportswoman to earn over $5m a year in prize money. Henin won her fourth French Open and second US Open in 2007, adding to her 2004 Australian Open title. She reached all four grand slam finals in 2006 but only won the French Open. Made shock retirement aged 25 in 2008.

MHingisEBMartina Hingis

Ex-world no1 from Switzerland who dominated the sport in 1997 by winning three grand slam titles and added two more grand slams in her career. The prodigy, named after Martina Navratilova, retired between 2002 and 2006 following injuries. Hingis was banned for two years from January 2008 after testing positive to cocaine during 2007 Wimbledon but is unlikely to return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

andrea-jaegeratEastbourneAndrea Jaeger

American whose promising career was curtailed by shoulder injuries, but won 11 titles. Jaeger reached two Grand Slam finals, the 1982 French Open and Wimbledon in 1983. Retired aged 22 in 1987, and in 2006 took the vows to become an Anglican Dominican nun so is now known as Sister Andrea.

anna-kournikovainsunnyeastbourneAnna Kournikova

Russian doubles specialist who was famous for never winning a singles title. In 1997, she became only the second woman – following Chris Evert – in the open era to reach the semi-final on her Wimbledon debut. Retired from the WTA Tour in 2004 but still plays in high-profile celebrity matches for charity.

Hana MandlikovaEastbourneHana Mandlikova

Czech Republic ace who played in four consecutive grand slam singles finals, from the 1980 US Open to Wimbledon in 1981, Mandlíkova won all the grand slam titles except Wimbledon, and finished runner-up in four grand slam singles events. Retired aged 28 after struggling with injuries.

conchita_martinez_mylife-retConchita Martinez

The only Spanish woman to have won the Wimbledon, after shocking Martina Navratilova in the 1994 final. Finished runner-up at the 1998 Australian Open and 2000 French Open. Became the only player to win the Italian Open singles title in four consecutive years (1992-1996). Retired from the WTA Tour in 2006.

AMauresmo2007EBQFAmelie Mauresmo

Ex-world no1 French ace who won her only two grand slam titles in 2006, the Australian Open and Wimbledon, following the disappointment of losing the 1999 Australian Open final to Martina Hingis. One of only three women to be crowned world no1 without first winning a grand slam singles title. W,on the 2009 Paris Indoors event. Won Eastbourne once and finished runner-up once.

Martina-NavratilovaHSMartina Navratilova

Ex-world no1 Czech-born American who dominated the women’s tennis in the late 1970s and 1980s. In 1982, she became the first player to win over $1m in a single year. Reached Wimbledon final 12 times, including nine consecutive years from 1982 through 1990, and won the title a record nine times. Won Eastbourne a remarkable 11 times, though was disappointed by having to play the qualifying event at Devonshire Park in 2004.

jana_novotnaJana Novotna

Doubles specialist from the Czech Republic whose only grand slam success was the 1998 Wimbledon Championships. Twice finished runner-up at Wimbledon, in 1993 and 1998. Famously burst into tears at SW19 after she narrowly lost to Steffi Graf, and was comforted by the shoulder of the Dutchess of Kent.

arantxa-sanchez-vicarioArantxa Sanchez Vicario

Ex-world no1 Spaniard who won four grand slam titles, which included a hat-trick of French Open victories in 1989, 1994 and 1998. Finished runner-up in eight grand slams, including the 1995 and 1996 Wimbledon finals and three French Open finals. Retired from the WTA Tour in 2001.

monica-selespracticeatEBMonica Seles

Former world no1 American-Yugoslavian who collected seven grand slam titles between 1990 and 1992. Forced out of the sport for two years after a crazed fan of rival Steffi Graf stabbed her in the back on court. On her return Seles won the 1996 Australian Open and retired after the 2003 French Open but suffered weight problems until 2008.

pamshriverPam Shriver

American doubles expert who reached just one grand slam singles final, the 1978 US Open, where as an unseeded 16-year-old amateur she beat Martina Navratilova but lost to Chris Evert. Currently is a sports presenter for television stations in the United States.

BettyStoveBetty Stove

Dutch doubles specialist who failed to win any singles titles throughout her career, but came closest in her 1977 Wimbledon final defeat to Virginia Wade. After she retired she coached Hana Mandlikova for 10 years from 1980.

virginia-wadeEBVirginia Wade

Last British player to win a Wimbledon singles title, brilliantly triumphing during the centenary year of the Championships in 1977 in front of Queen Elizabeth II. Captured three grand slam titles during a 26-year career, which included the end of the amateur era. Works as a tennis commentator for BBC TV.

Serena-WilliamsatEastbourne-Serena Williams

Ex-world no1 American who helped revolutionise women’s tennis with her powerful style of play. Is the most recent player to hold all grand slam titles simultaneously and has an incredible tally of nine grand slams to her credit, including Wimbledon in 2002 and 2003. Still a major force on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and believes that she is really the world no1.

venus-williamsatEastbourneVenus Williams

Former world no1 American who has help redefined the women’s game with her sheer strength and athleticism. Collected seven grand slam titles, including a remarkable set of five Wimbledon triumphs in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008. She was the voice who championed equal prize money for men and women at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Still on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and a true champion on and off the court with her genuineness and stylish plat.

Wimbledon winners return

2013 AEGON International, Legends

eastbournetenniscourtsLindsay Davenport and Rennae Stubbs, both former world no1s at Ladies Doubles and each victorious at the Wimbledon Championships, are set to treat the Devonshire Park crowd to their grass skills this year.

The pair, who have both claimed the crowns at Eastbourne, have signed up to compete in the Legends Exhibition Mixed Doubles matches at Eastbourne on Sunday June 16.

American Davenport, a former world no1 at Singles on the WTA Tour, had a wondrous 1999 at SW19 by beating German Steffi Graf for the Singles crown then added the Ladies Doubles title with fellow American Corina Morariu. She also took the Eastbourne title in 2001, one of her 55 WTA Tour triumphs over a 15-year period.

Australian Stubbs is a Doubles specialist who teamed up with compatriot Lisa Raymond to win the 2001 Ladies Doubles at Wimbledon and three years later added her second crown with South African Cara Black.

The two aces will be facing-off on opposite sides of the court with big-serving grass court specialists Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski, both former US Open runners-up. The Australian star will take on Rusedski at Singles before the Mixed Doubles contest.

Rusedski, the ex-British no1, explained: “I’ve had some tough matches against Mark and I enjoy playing on grass, so I’m looking forward to dusting down my racquet.”

Phillipoussis (1998) and Rusedski (1997) were both unseeded and each fell in four sets to Australian Patrick Rafter in tense US Open finals, but never reached the dizzy heights they achieved at the New York Grand Slam event.

Rennae Stubbs

Grass court specialist Stubbs

However, Philippoussis finished 2003 Wimbledon runner-up to Swiss star Roger Federer and collected 11 ATP Tour titles, including on grass at Queen’s in London in 1997. His last success was at Newport in the United States seven years ago, when he dethroned reigning champion Rusedski.

For Rusedski, Newport proved to be a happy hunting ground as he took the title three times and won the first (1993) and last (2005) of his 15 ATP Tour crowns on the grass courts.

Stubbs boasts an impressive record at Devonshire Park, having captured the Ladies Doubles title with American Lisa Raymond four times and finishing runner-up on four other occasions.

She revealed: “Eastbourne holds a special place in my heart because it was my last victory, my 60th title, in 2010. If you asked me to play in any tournament again, apart from Grand Slams, I would have always picked Eastbourne so I can’t wait to get back.”

 

Legendary men served up

2013 AEGON International, Legends, News

Mark Philipoussis

Aussie ace Philippoussis

Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski, both former US Open runners-up, have signed up to treat the Devonshire Park crowd to their grass skills this year as part of the annual Legends Exhibition Event on 16 June.

The big-serving grass court specialists will face each other Singles for only the seventh time, three wins apiece on the ATP Tour, before competing in the Mixed Doubles contest with ex-Wimbledon winners Lindsay Davenport and Rennae Stubbs.

Rusedski, the ex-British no1, explained: “I’ve had some tough matches against Mark and I enjoy playing on grass, so I’m looking forward to dusting down my racquet.”

Greg Rusedski

Great Brit Rusedski

Australian ace Phillipoussis (1998) and Rusedski (1997) were both unseeded and each fell in four sets to Australian Patrick Rafter in tense US Open finals, but never reached the dizzy heights they achieved at the New York Grand Slam event.

However, Philippoussis finished 2003 Wimbledon runner-up to Swiss star Roger Federer and collected 11 ATP Tour titles, including on grass at Queen’s in London in 1997. His last success was at Newport in the United States seven years ago, when he dethroned reigning champion Rusedski.

For Rusedski, Newport proved to be a happy hunting ground as he took the title three times and won the first (1993) and last (2005) of his 15 ATP Tour crowns on the grass courts.

Davenport and Stubbs, both former world no1s at Ladies Doubles, each victorious at the Wimbledon Championships and ex-winners at Devonshire Park, will add to the day’s spectacle for the Mixed Doubles contest.

Lindsay Davenport

Ex-Wimbledon winner Davenport

American Davenport, a former world no1 at Singles on the WTA Tour, had a wondrous 1999 at SW19 by beating German Steffi Graf for the Singles crown then added the Ladies Doubles title with fellow American Corina Morariu. She also took the Eastbourne title in 2001, one of her 55 WTA Tour triumphs over a 15-year period.

Australian Stubbs is a Doubles specialist who teamed up with compatriot Lisa Raymond to win the 2001 Ladies Doubles at Wimbledon and three years later added her second crown with South African Cara Black.

2008 final: Slippery Pole takes title

Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Nadia Petrova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

ARadwanskaEB2008winnerAgnieszka Radwanska was overwhelmed after picking up the Eastbourne title, her third this season (Istanbul and Thailand), at the expense of Russian Nadia Petrova 6-4 7-6 6-4 win in two hours and 37 minutes.

The talented teenager had to wipe away her tears when presented with the unsponsored International Women’s Open trophy, which lifts her to a career-high of world no11 when the WTA Tour rankings are revealed.

And on Monday the no4 seed will return to grass when she takes on Czech ace Iveta Benesova at Wimbledon.

Radwanska, the 2005 Junior Wimbledon champion, admitted:

“I was emotional out there as I’ve played so many tough matches in the last week and today’s final was the most difficult one here.

“When you are winning it is great and the money comes along, but you cannot stop playing – even as tired as I am – if you want to achieve your goals.

“I’m happy for my mother and my father Robert, who is also my coach, when I play in matches like this he is even more nervous than me.”

Although both players needed treatment for injuries during the final in hot and sunny Centre Court, the 19-year-old was swifter around the courts than the Bulgaria-based opponent seven years older.

With such a strong field at Devonshire Park, neither of these players were expected to get to this stage – especially after narrow victories.

Ana Ivanovic, the world no1, withdrew at the last minute but her replacement Svetlana Kuznetsova made an early exit with her first match of the grass court season.

Former Wimbledon champions Amelie Mauresmo and Lindsay Davenport, as expected, swiftly moved on to the practice courts at SW19 claiming injury during their brief appearance at Eastbourne.

Petrova, who retired injured in last year’s Eastbourne semi-final against Mauresmo, had her right knee heavily strapped up and at times looked way beyond her best with a flare-up of a hip injury adding to her woes and denying the Russian her maiden grass court title.

The Centre Court crowd saw the opening 10 points slugged out with heavy groundstrokes, each going with serve.

Agnieszka-RadwanskaEB2008finalWith the two heavyweights soon sizing each other’s game plan up the contest moved up through the gears with five breaks of seven over the next seven games, Radwanska winning three games to draw first blood and take the opening set.

Petrova, one of seven Russians in the main draw, started turning the screw and added precision to deep shots. After the pair swapped one service break each, the final moved into a tie-break that just never looked as though it would end.

Radwanska fluffed three match points before Petrova levelled matters 13-11, and then required a lengthy break for medical attention during which she was cautioned for blatant coaching advice from the stands.

Petrova looked comfortable in the decisive set but after taking a 2-1 advantage Radwanska needed medical treatment for cramp. The Russian’s game fell apart in the ninth game, put a simple close-range lob into the net followed by a mis-hit lob and a dreadful forehand shot to hand Radwanska the initiative.

NadiaPetrovaEB2008finalPetrova, who had pressed the self-destruct button, did manage to stave off four championship points before bowing out with a mistimed backhand that flew into the net.

Petrova but a brave face on and explained:

“I was doing OK and in with a chance of victory until some awful mistakes in that ninth game in the third set – I don’t know where they came from.”

2001 Britannic Asset Management International Championships

News, Players, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Lindsay Davenport 2001Lindsay Davenport demolished struggling Spaniard Magui Serna 6-2 6-0 in a disappointing 43 minute final to take the Eastbourne title with aplomb.

The top seed, competing in her first tournament following a three-month absence from the WTA Tour because of a knee injury, simply swept aside her hapless opponent.

Davenport did not drop a point on her opening two service games but in contrast unseeded Serna started nervously with a double fault and failed to recover.

The American ace began the second set with a break despite requiring treatment on her heavily bandaged right knee, and superbly dominated the one-sided contest from start to finish.

Former Wimbledon champion Davenport won at SW19 in 1999 and finished runner-up last year, so was always the most likely champion at Devonshire Park.

Davenport said: “The knee’s given me no problems at all this week, and it hasn’t bothered me for about a month.”

Teenage beauty Anna Kournikova, still seeking her maiden WTA Tour title, is a previous winner of the U21 crown at Eastbourne but was absent from Devonshire Park.

The Russian bombshell shot to fame when she reached the 1997 Wimbledon semi-finals as a 16-year-old, but missed both Eastbourne and a return to SW19 due to a stress fracture in her left foot that she sustained in March.

Kournikova explained: “I always enjoy playing at Eastbourne. so I am really sorry that my foot has not healed quickly enough to allow me to play there again this year.”

 

Final

1

 Lindsay Davenport

6

6

 Magüi Serna

2

0

 

First Round

Second Round

Quarter-finals

Semi-finals

1

 L Davenport

6

6

 D Bedáňová

2

5

 A-G Sidot

3

2

 A-G Sidot

6

7

1

 L Davenport

3

6

6

Q

 A Molik

6

77

6

 S Farina Elia

6

2

1

WC

 L Ahl

1

64

Q

 A Molik
 L Osterloh

1

4

6

 S Farina Elia

w/o

6

 S Farina Elia

6

6

1

 L Davenport

6

6

 C Rubin

1

1

3

 A Coetzer

5

6

3

 L Raymond

6

6

 L Raymond

7

3

6

 C Black

3

4

 L Raymond

4

4

 C Rubin

6

4

6

 C Rubin

6

6

 A Sugiyama

2

6

4

 C Rubin

64

7

6

Q

 E Baltacha

3

3

8

 C Martínez

77

5

0

8

 C Martínez

6

6

 

First Round

Second Round

Quarter-finals

Semi-finals

7

 M Shaughnessy

77

62

6

Q

 S Sfar

62

77

4

7

 M Shaughnessy

77

1

7

 F Schiavone

4

6

4

Q

 E Dominikovic

64

6

5

Q

 E Dominikovic

6

3

6

7

 M Shaughnessy

0

63

 M Serna

6

6

 M Serna

6

77

 A Frazier

1

2

 M Serna

7

6

4

 M Maleeva

5

2

 M Serna

5

6

7

5

 S Testud

5

2

 E Likhovtseva

7

1

5

 A Kremer

7

6

 A Kremer

1

65

WC

 L Latimer

5

3

 E Likhovtseva

6

77

 E Likhovtseva

7

6

 E Likhovtseva

6

6

 T Tanasugarn

6

6

 T Tanasugarn

3

1

 J Hopkins

1

2

 T Tanasugarn

61

78

6

2

 N Tauziat

77

66

3

2000 Direct Line International Championships

News, Players, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

juliehalarddecugisJulie Halard-Decugis kept her nerve and concentration in a fiercely fought rain interrupted final to see off Belgian Dominique van Roost 7-5 6-4 to claim the Eastbourne crown.

The French ace was a last-gasp entrant in order to get as much grass court practice ahead of Wimbledon, so winning the tournament was a massive bonus for the world no17.

It proved unlucky 13 for the packed Centre Court fans as 13 minutes into the contest heavy rain caused play to be suspended. Yet no6 seed Halard-Decugis had already got the upper hand with a break of serve to lead 2-1.

There was a three hour delay before the final resumed, and the patient supporters – who had already waited for the final to start following a 30 minute delay – were rewarded with aggressive play.

The Versailles-based French no4 tested the mettle of Van Roost by deliberately standing close to receiving serve in order to try to pressure her opponent into being accurate.

Harlard-Decugis, serving for the title at 5-3 up in the second set, lost her way with faltering play. But the 30-year-old sealed success by breaking serve immediately to notch her 11th WTA Tour title.

Harlard-Decugis said: “Along with the title I won in Paris in 1996 this is probably the most important in my career.

“It was getting dark near the end and after we lost so much time to the rain earlier I was afraid we would have to come back tomorrow and miss a day’s rest before Wimbledon.

“But I was determined not to rush and although I was not happy to lose a game when 5-3 up in the second, I was able to take her next service game for the title.”

Defending champion Natasha Zvereva stuttered in her first match at Devonshire Park, falling to Russian compatriot Anna Kournikova who lost to American Chanda Rubin in the quarter-finals.

 

Final

5

  Dominique van Roost

64

4

6/WC

  Julie Halard-Decugis

7

6

 

First Round Second Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
1   L Davenport 6 3 6
  A-G Sidot 2 2 Q   J Kandarr 3 6 4
Q   J Kandarr 6 6 1   L Davenport 6 4 4
WC   J Pullin 63 5 5   D Van Roost 4 6 6
  E Likhovtseva 7 7   E Likhovtseva 2 4
LL   T Pisnik 4 66 5   D Van Roost 6 6
5   D Van Roost 6 7 5   D Van Roost 4 7 6
  A Kremer 6 5 1
3   A Coetzer 6 6
  A Smashnova 6 6   A Smashnova 2 0
WC   L Latimer 1 3 3   A Coetzer 6 0 4
  A Stevenson 7 1 4   A Kremer 3 6 6
  A Kremer 63 6 6   A Kremer 6 6
  S Talaja 6 6   S Talaja 2 2
7   A Sugiyama 3 2

 

1996 Direct Line International Championships

Results, WTA Players

monicaseles19961996 Direct Line International Championships | 18-22 June

It had been almost four years since Monica Seles competed at Wimbledon, yet she completed her preparation for SW19 with a demolition job over American Mary Joe Fernandez with an emphatic 45-lesson finishing class to take the crown 6-0 6-2.

Seles never looked back after she won the opening 11 points and 20 of the first 22 despite an ailing shoulder and not quite being match fit.

But she was in tip-top form all week, rewarding the vocal Centre Court crowd with her sublime skills and finishing to complete the week on the sleep seaside town of Eastbourne without dropping a set.

Seles had taken just over an hour to see off defending champion Nathalie Tauziat of France 6-4 6-4 in an entertaining semi-final clash, but Seles impressed in her first grass court tournament since she lost in the 1992 Wimbledon final to German ace Steffi Graf.

Final      Monica Seles defeated Mary Joe Fernandez 6 -0 6 – 2

Semi      Mary Joe Fernandez defeated Jana Novotna 6 – 1 2 – 6 8 – 6

Semi      Monica Seles defeated Nathalie Tauziat 6 – 4 6 – 4

Quarter Mary Joe Fernandez defeated Conchita Martinez 2 -6 6 – 4 6 – 4

Quarter Jana Novotna defeated Yayuk Basuki 7 -6 6 – 1

Quarter Nathalie Tauziat defeated Lisa Raymond 6 – 2 6 – 0

Quarter Monica Seles defeated Ines Gorrochategui 6 – 3 6 – 1

Rnd 16 Conchita Martinez defeated Natasha Zvereva 7 – 6 (6) 6 – 3

Rnd 16 Mary Joe Fernandez defeated Ai Sugiyama 6 – 3 6 – 3

Rd 16 Jana Novotna defeated Nicole Arendt 6 – 4 4 – 6 6 – 3

Rnd 16 Yayuk Basuki defeated Lindsay Davenport 6 -2 6 – 3

Rnd 16 Nathalie Tauziat defeated Irina Spirlea 6 – 2 6 – 3

Rnd 16 Lisa Raymond defeated Chanda Rubin 6 – 3 retired

Rnd 16 Ines Gorrochategui defeated Lori McNeil 6 – 2 6 – 3

Rnd 16 Monica Seles defeated Meredith McGrath 6 – 2 6 – 4

CLICK HERE FOR PDF OF QUALIFYING & MAIN DRAW