Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A decade of Grand Slams - Part 1

It was only yesterday that the world was panicking over the Y2K scare. We all believed the electronic world was to end as we knew it. Now ten years have passed since the turn of the century. The world has gone through a lot. Even the world of sports and similarly that of tennis has seen many ups and downs. Professionals have retired to join the ranks of “the Old Ones”. New blood has entered and outshone on number of occasions. We’ve seen new champions crowned and champions dethroned.

As in any sporting event, tennis has its own prestigious events. In tennis there are four every year; Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and United States Open, collectively known as the Grand Slams. Here at we take a closer look into the decade of Grand Slams.

 1. Australian Open 

The first Grand Slam in the tennis calendar is the Australian Open. Initially played on grass, the tournament shifted to hard court in 1988 and has been so ever since. The venue for the event has been the Melbourne Park since the shift.

The first winner of the new century in the men’s singles was the American superstar and former world number one Andre Agassi who defended his title against the French Arnaud Clement. It was Agassi’s seventh Grand Slam title and his third Australian open title. In the women’s singles final match American Jennifer Capriati, also a former world number one, defeated the Swiss legend Martina Hingis to win her first ever Grand Slam title. The men’s doubles title was bagged by the team of world number 4 Jonas Bjorkman from Sweden and the Aussie Todd Woodbridge. The William sisters from America, Serena and Venus won the doubles title for women. It was their first doubles win at the Australian Open.

In 2002, Swede Thomas Johansson won the title for the men’s singles since Agassi did not play in the tournament to defend his title. Capriati again defended her title against Hingis, and in an exciting match of 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 managed to retain it. This was her 3rd and last Grand Slam title. The Canadian Daniel Nestor along with his successful partnership with Mark Knowles from the Bahamas won the doubles titles. Tennis legends Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova dethroned the William sisters for the doubles titles though they did not play each other in the tournament.

2003 saw the last ever Australian Open title win for Andre Agassi. The two year consecutive winning streak of Capriati was also broken by the then rising star, Serena Williams. That year she also along with her sister, Venus bagged the doubles title.  The French team Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro won the doubles title that year and also managed to defend and retain their title, next year as well. The following year the title was won by the Zimbabwean team of Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett who defeated the American twins, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. Ironically next year the Bryan brothers won the title and to date retain it with the exception of 2008 when they lost it to the Israeli team of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.

2004 saw the rise of a new tennis superstar, Roger Federer who won the title four times to date with the exception of 2005, 2008 and 2009. He retained the title for the year 2006-2007. He was defeated by the now retired professional, Marat Safin in 2005. World number three, Novak Djokovic wrested the title from Federer in 2008 for his first ever Grand Slam title win. In 2009 the Spanish phenomenon, Rafael Nadal defeated three times champion, Federer to win his 1st Australian Open.  

The American winning talent, Serena Williams alternated a win at the Australian Open between the period 2003 and 2010. She lost the title to Belgian Justine Henin in 2004; French Amelie Mauresmo in 2006 and Russian legend Maria Sharapova in 2008. She has however been the reigning champion in the Australian Open for the last two years.

The dynamic duo of Spanish Virginia Pascual and Greek Paola Suarez won the doubles title in 2004, and lost it to Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russian) and Aussie Alicia Molik next year. 2006 saw a Chinese win when the team of Yan Zi and Zheng Jie won the title. The Ukrainian Bodarenko sisters, Alona and Kateryna won the title in 2008. For two years now the William sisters have managed to retain the title taking their tally to a total of four Australian Open wins.

Courtesy: Bettor

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