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Dave & Pam at Hall of Fame.JPG (127510 bytes)

Dave Crook and Pam at Hall of Fame Induction Dinner




Ian Thorpe meets Ian and Aryn.JPG (100099 bytes)Ian and Aryn talk with Ian Thorpe (Thorpedo)





Ian, Aryn and Mike with Fred Stolle.JPG (125756 bytes)Fred Stolle with Ian and Aryn at Hall of Fame Dinner.

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Pam, Ian and Aryn with Tony Roche




Escargot Agassi_shows_trophy 2001.JPG (26084 bytes)Arnaud

Andre Agassi used his ability to speed up points and take balls early (on the rise) to force Arnaud Clement into a game of  running for ball after ball.  Clement, to his credit, played Agassi as well as anyone in the tournament with the exception of Rafter.  Still it was not enough as Andre took his seventh Grand Slam here, and third Australian Open Singles titles, in straight sets 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Nor was the heat a real factor.  Melbourne surprised everyone, including the tournament officials, giving a warm (24 degrees centigrade) 75 degree day with clear blue skies.  As in previous Agassi matches, Andre's return of serve placed so much pressure on Clement forcing him to hit second serves as first serves and pushing him to double faults over an acceptable level.

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Australian Open players show off

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Watch Sampras serve and volley

Opening day of the Australian Open 2001 was something besides usual.  The first round matches on Rod Laver Arena began at 10:45 in the morning and lasted till 11:40 that evening.  Each match first round match on Centre Court pushed the seeds to top form early on.  The opening match saw Marat Safin play Galo Blanco.  A slugfest of serves, returns  and baseline rockets left Safin the winner in four sets 6-4, 1-6,6-4,7-6,(7-5) three hours later.

Next on the card was a match-up of Jennifer Capriati versus Henrietta Nagyova.  Both played brilliantly. There was no loser on the court and the match went the limit with Capriati pulling out the win in the third set 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. There could not have been more than four points separating the winner from the loser.  From the looks of Capriati, and the way she fought through the points, you would have to pick her as the wild card favorite to possibly go all the way in this Australian Open.

Next up were the two Australians, Patrick Rafter and Scott Draper. Patrick started slow and managed to win 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.  Pat will have to really start playing better his next matches to stay in.

The talk of the Open was the terrible outfit Venus wore on court on her opening day match and the "attitude" and antics of child-boy-man Lleyton Hewitt during his match against Jonas Bjorkman.  The fist pumping, in your face, arguing about line calls, ... and general rude sportsmanship overshadowed his good play. While Venus reminded all women to think about keeping their tops on while playing an active sport. She adjusted the top back into place between each point. She also swore she did not design the outfit, but others do not agree. Venus is winning but looks in poor shape and is not hitting the ball cleanly.  Sister Serena is playing much better than Venus.  Venus and Davenport are both struggling with their matches. If Davenport doesn't serve well she may lose early on since her footwork is slow and poor.

Gustavo Kuerten had one of those matches he and his fans will be talking about for years when he met Greg Rusedski in the second round. For Guga, who has not made it passed the second round at any Australian Open tournament, Rusedski's big serve (with an amazing first serve percentage of 79%) and volley play (95 at net points won during the match) of had Guga confounded. Kurten was forced to revert to his more familiar style of game, anchoring himself to the baseline. After a number of questionable calls to both Guga and Rusedski, and a match point opportunity for Guga, Rusedski prevailed in a five set 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 thriller.

Friday's line-up on Centre Court saw Lindsay Davenport playing Farina Elia of Italy. Pete Sampras was on second playing Ignacio Chela of Argentina followed by Andre Agassi playing David Prinosil of Germany.  Davenport, Sampras and Agassi all won though none - maybe with the exception of Agassi won convincingly.  Sampras was pushed to five sets while Agassi met a hot Prinosil who fought to an 11-13 loss to Agassi for the first set then went behind 5-0 in the second before he could not continue due to heat exhaustion.  The temperature at Centre Court was over 124 degrees.  The winds were warm but Agassi was hotter.

Yevgeny Kafelikov claimed he could play at 80% and still win this tournament and, supposedly speaking for the players, felt the prize money at Grand Slam tournaments was ridiculous. "Golfers get so much more money". Andre's advice to Yevgeny was to take his money and "go buy some perspective".

So far all the top seeds have held at the Open with the exception of Kuerten. Rafter is playing inspired after his first round slow start. Pat says his grinding hard training with Tony Roche in Spain playing on clay courts is paying off. He is hitting more balls and staying in points for longer times.  This year could see Rafter retire.  He'd like at least one more good showing.

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Rafter vs Agassi Semi-Final on Thursday night was a come out party for the Australians.  Rafter is the first player to make it to the semis of the OZ Open since Pat Cash did it. After three sets Rafter had Agassi down two sets to one.  The crowd around me asked if I was nervous. I reminded them that the Grand Slams are not sprints but marathons.  Sure enough Rafter began to cramp, a problem he has had many times and recently in Davis Cup. The next two sets were won by Agassi with ease.

Meet Li'l Lleyton's imaginary friend, Mr Forehand - story from The Age

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Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Lleyton Hewitt, JrTennis has the exclusive story behind his on-court shenanigans. The crucial antic to remember here is the "bent hand to the forehead" pose, thought by some to be adapted from the Swedish players in the 1980's. Yet other speculated it might be his version of Rodin's The Thinker, or an attempt at shadow puppetry. Now Jr Tennis can reveal that when Li'l Lleyton assumes the pose he is actually turning for advice from his invisible childhood friend Mr Forehand.  This explains several Hewitt traits:

* Apparently Li'l Lleyton's pet nickname for Mr Forehand is "Balboa", hence the constant cries of "C'mon Balboa".

* Mr Forehand is said to be a neatness freak, which explains why Hewitt's neck is at such an awkward angle as he physically struggles to prevent his little friend from straightening the racquet strings after every point.

* It was said to be love at first sight when Mr Forehand walked into an Antwerp bar and spotted Kim Clijsters (or "Mrs Palmer and her five sisters" as rhyming slang would have it).

*During the Davis Cup final, Mr Forehand is said to have grown a splendid moustache above the second knuckle.

*Now you know the source of Hewitt's "little voice in his head" that occasionally prompts him to question line calls.







See Marat Safin first and second serve.

Watch Rafter serve and volley

War of Words

Now that the recently sworn-in George W. Bush has his finger on the button, is the growing animosity between Russian and U.S. tennis players wise? Yesterday the Cold War II escalated after New Jersey Lip, Paul Gimelstob (partnered by fellow American Scott Humphries) took exception to an overrule in his doubles match against Yevgeny Kafelnikov and South African Wayne Ferreira. Gimelstob felt the umpire had been successfully intimidated by the now destitute Russian and approached the chair to dish up a volley of his own. " There's no way you're overruling  that! You let him intimidate you into that call," he screamed as he waived his racquet in umpire Grillotti's face.  Cash strapped Kafelnikov proved to be the more accomplished intimidator and the umpire stood firm. But the Gimelstob and Humphries had the last laugh, winning the match 6-2 7-6.

Speaking of Doubles

While going up the elevator at the Grand Hyatt with Jeff Tarango, his doubles partner Michael Hill and an un-named chair umpire, the discussion turned to the new Mixed Doubles rules where all third sets are played as a tie breaker only!  Jeff saying "You split sets and all of a sudden you find yourself in a tie breaker losing 5-7".  The chair umpire states "TV. wants it that way 'cause No one wants to really watch Mixed Doubles"

Anna Kournikova's new diamond ring.

Just after her doubles match she won in the third set on Monday there was Anna K wearing what had to be a 5 carat square cut diamond ring on her left hand.  What a rock!

More on Anna

After Anna's win in the fourth round getting her to the quarters and her third set doubles come from behind win, and Rafter's great play over Henman, both waited in the queue (Aussie way of saying line) for the players courtesy cars to drive them to where they are staying. The driver pulled into the pick-up area and there was Pat Rafter at the top of the queue.  A moment later Anna jumps into the back seat of the car ahead of Rafter and a number of other players.  The driver looks back in some dismay.  Rafter opens the door and points at Kournikova to get out of the car.  Anna reluctantly gets out, being embarrassed and Rafter and his ride drive away.  Anna may have been running from the tournament in embarrassment after being fined $2,000.00 for being coached while playing singles against her doubles partner before their doubles match together.

Swede and Sour

No.4 seed Magnus Norman has played well, but his progress at the Open has not attracted much attention. This may have something to do with his reputation for being a little dull. The bionic Swede is better known for his forehand than his wit and his quotes rarely fill column space in papers. To redress this balance, here is the best of Magnus from the first week of the Open. Norman on the heat. " In the beginning it was a big factor. I mean it's obviously very, very, hot out there, but I think after perhaps one, one and half, two sets, it got a lot cooler and actually we had to turn on the lights, you know because it got dark." Magnus on his preparation for the Open: "I think the preparation last year was a little better than I had this year. This year I was sick during the last season so I really couldn't practice. I think the preparation was better last year. But I feel like I'm hitting the ball as good as I 've ever done and I'm feeling better for every day." Numerical Norman: " I think it suits me pretty much to play around 25 (tournaments). Perhaps 27 is like three weeks too much. But around 25, I don't think I would play less because I tend to need, you know, I need a lot of match practice to get in shape, you know."

The Agassi -Ilie Show

Watching Andre play Andrew Ilie saw Andrew play the most remarkable first set I have ever seen with Andrew making shots that no one but Ilie would  think of hitting.  Agassi's game plan was to limit his mistakes and let Ilie play. Ilie took the first set in a tie breaker 7-1 only to realize he could do nothing more and no human was going to continue to play at his intensity for more than one set.  Agassi cruised through the next three sets in quick time as Ilie found himself a half step, to a full step, slower and his first service percentages dropping quickly. After the match when Agassi was asked what Ilie could have done different  Agassi stated Ilie shouldn't change anything as he is the only person able to do what he can do to make those shots.

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