Sports Facts – Tennis

Did you know

Former tennis player Bjorn Borg -Europe’s best ever tennis player- is loved by the Swedish people as a baseball idol might be in the United States.Thanks to Bjorn Borg, Sweden won the Davis Cup for the first time in 1975. This former sportsman is a fan of Elvis Presley´s music…

Australian Evonne Goolagong became the first Aboriginal sportswoman to win an international tournament ( 1971 French Open ). Like Jim Thorpe ( American football, athletics, baseball / Olympic gold medalist, 1912 ) and Cathy Freeman ( 1997 World 400m gold medalist ), she is one of the greatest Aboriginal athletes of all time. Evonne has won 65 international trophies. In the 1970s, she was named the «Best Female Athlete» by the Associated Press.

In 1970, Margaret Smith Court ( Australia) became the first woman to win the Grand Slam (Wimbledon, the US, Australian and French Open tournaments ). In the 1960s, she once confessed, «I had given up most of my teenage years, sacrificed the parties and friends back home…»

Czechoslovakia -currently Czech Republic- won the Davis Cup in 1980. In the final, Czechoslovakia defeated Italy 4-1. This European country became the first socialist country to win the Davis Cup.

Manuel Santana became the first Spanish man to win Wimbledon (1966).

Chris Evert (USA) and Olga Morozova (USSR / Russia) won the women’s doubles tennis title at the French Open in 1974. Morozova was the first professional athlete in the Soviet Union.

The United States has won 32 Davis Cup trophies: 1900, 1902, 1913, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2007.

In September 1975, Martina Navratilova -one of the world’s most famous tennis players of the 20th century- sought political asylum in the United States. Fred Barman ( Martina’s manager ) said: «Just a year ago, she was in prison. Czechoslovakia is a prison. She’s like a young kid going to Disneyland. She wants to do this, she wants to do that. Maybe she’s gotten it out of her system now. It’s time to get down to brass tacks. This is not just another tennis player. This is another Billie Jean King».

American tennis star Jennifer Capriati won the women’s singles title at the 25th Olympiad in Barcelona (Spain). Curiously, she had lived in Spain in the late 70s. Aged just 16, she was the youngest player ever to win the Olympic title.

Arthur Ashe ,who was one of the greatest tennis players, became the second African-American to win the Wimbledon tournament (1975). For many years, he served as U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Africa. In the 1980s and 1990s, Arthur also dedicated his life to the fight against the AIDS pandemic.

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in Sweden. In the past century, three Swedish players won a total of 24 world titles:

-Bjorn Borg won six French Open singles titles ( 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981), five Wimbledon singles titles (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980).

-Mats Wilander won one U.S. Open title (1988), three French Open singles titles (1982, 1985, 1988), three Australian Open singles titles (1983, 1984, 1988).

-Stefan Edberg won two Australian Open singles titles (1985 & 1987), two Wimbledon singles titles (1988 & 1990), two U.S. Open titles (1991 & 1992).

Ilie Nastase was one of Romania’s greatest 20th century athletes. In the early 1970s, David Gray, a journalist, wrote of him: «Nastephobia is one of the current preoccupations of both the World Championship Tennis Professional and the United States Davis Cup team».

Fact File

Name: Ilie Nastase

Height: 1,81m

Nationality: Romanian

Born: 19 / 7 / 1946

Sports career: 1969-1981

Languages: Romanian & English

Coach : Constantin Chivaru

International championships:

1969 Davis Cup- 2nd place

1970 Wimbledon- 2nd place: mixed (with Rosemary Casals)

1970 Italian Tournament- 1st place: singles

1970 French Open- 1st place: doubles (with Ion Tiriac)

1971 Davis Cup- 2nd place

1971 French Open- 2nd place: singles

1972 Wimbledon- 1st place: mixed (with Rosemary Casals)

1972 Wimbledon-2nd place: singles

1972 U.S. Open-1st place: singles

1973 Wimbledon-1st place: doubles (with Jimmy Connors)

1973 French Open-1st place: singles

1974 Xerox Tournament- 1st place: singles

1975 U.S.Open- 1st place: doubles (with Jimmy Connors)

1975 American Airlines- 2nd place: singles

1975 Louisville Tournament- 2nd place: singles

1975 Canada Open- 2nd place: singles

1975 Hillton Head- 1st place: singles

1975 Masters- 1st place: singles

1976 Wimbledon- 2nd place: singles

1976 Altamira Cup- 2nd place: singles

1976 International Tournament- 1st place: singles

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