Celebration Week for Tennis Great Althea Gibson - UBITENNIS
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Celebration Week for Tennis Great Althea Gibson

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TENNIS – Before there was Serena and Venus Williams, Arthur Ashe, Zina Garrison, Chandra Rubin, Donald Young and James Blake just to name a few, there was Althea Gibson. This tall and beautiful athlete reigned supreme in the sport of women’s tennis back in the pre-open era of 1950’s. What is most remarkable about Ms. Gibson is that she rose to the top of the sport as a black athlete enduring resentments, restrictions and racism, something none of the white competitors ever faced.

 
Freeport, Bahamas Retro Photo of Sports Pioneer and Legend Althea Gibson, who died, at age 76 on September 28l 2003 in South Orange, New Jersey, after a long illness with teenager Martina Navratilova at the Superstars Competition.  Althea was the first black person to play at Wimbledon and the first black champion at Wimbledon...likewise the first black to play on the LPGA Tour....she was the pioneer, who broke the racial barriers and set things up for Arthur Ashe, Zina Garrison, Venus & Serena Williams.  photo by Art Seitz

Freeport, Bahamas Retro Photo of Sports Pioneer and Legend Althea Gibson, who died, at age 76 on September 28 2003 in South Orange, New Jersey, after a long illness with teenager Martina Navratilova at the Superstars Competition. Althea was the first black person to play at Wimbledon and the first black champion at Wimbledon…likewise the first black to play on the LPGA Tour….she was the pioneer, who broke the racial barriers and set things up for Arthur Ashe, Zina Garrison, Venus & Serena Williams. photo by Art Seitz

Fort Lauderdale, Florida  Around 1974.  Wimbledon Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles Champion Bobby Riggs with 1957 and 1958 WImbledon Champion Althea Gibson at the Tennis Club of Fort Lauderdale.  Althea was the first Afro-American  woman to play at Wimbledon, win Wimbledon and to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.  Exclusive photo by Art Seitz

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Around 1974. Wimbledon Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles Champion Bobby Riggs with 1957 and 1958 WImbledon Champion Althea Gibson at the Tennis Club of Fort Lauderdale. Althea was the first Afro-American woman to play at Wimbledon, win Wimbledon and to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour. Exclusive photo by Art Seitz

 

Ms. Gibson was an 11-time major winner, claiming her first title at the 1956 French Open becoming the first person of colour to do so. Ms. Gibson went on the following year to make the Australian Open final and then claiming the Wimbledon and US Nationals (US Open) titles. She would defend both her Wimbledon and US Nationals title in 1958. She won 5 doubles titles (1957 Australian Open, French Open 1956, Wimbledon 1956-1958) and one mixed double (1957 US Nationals). Ms. Gibson retired from tennis soon after owning the financial hardships of being an amateur athlete in 1958 with 56 national international tennis titles. She went on play professional golf becoming the first black athlete on the professional tour.

WIMBLEDON, UK, ALTHEA GIBSON AND ZINA GARRISON IN 1980S.

WIMBLEDON, UK, ALTHEA GIBSON AND ZINA GARRISON IN 1980S.

PARIS, FRANCE IN THE 70'S TENNIS LEGEND ALTHEA GIBSON WITH KIM SANDS AND ...MAYBE CAMILLE BENJAMIN?? NOT SURE ART SEITZ  copyright 1970-2000 ERA BEST OF ART SEITZ  35MM SLIDES CONVERTED FOR DIGITIAL USE   ART CAN BE REACHED AT 954 563 0060  OR ASEITZ2690@AOL.COM OR ART SEITZ, 1905 N. ATLANTIC BLVD., FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 33305 USA

PARIS, FRANCE IN THE 70’S TENNIS LEGEND ALTHEA GIBSON WITH KIM SANDS AND …MAYBE CAMILLE BENJAMIN?? NOT SURE
ART SEITZ copyright 1970-2000 ERA BEST OF ART SEITZ
35MM SLIDES CONVERTED FOR DIGITIAL USE
ART CAN BE REACHED AT 954 563 0060 OR ASEITZ2690@AOL.COM OR ART SEITZ, 1905 N. ATLANTIC BLVD., FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 33305 USA

August 25, 2015 marked the 88th birthday of tennis great Althea Gibson. A week long celebration is being held in honour of Ms. Gibson along with a new documentary film, American Masters ALTHEA directed by Rex Miller, set to be aired early in September across the US. Ms. Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971

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Alexander Zverev On 2020 Breakthrough, Dealing With Disappointment And Idols

The world No.7 reflects on his year so far during an interview with German magazine Gala.

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With less than a month until the 2020 ATP Tour season concludes Alexander Zverev has plenty to smile about.

 

The German tennis star is currently on an eight-match winning streak after claiming back-to-back titles in Cologne to bring his career tally to 13. Six more than any other professional male player born after 1994. He has also enjoyed success in the Grand Slams with him playing in his first ever final against Dominic Thiem at the US Open which he lost in five sets. Zverev also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

I think it’s difficult to single out a single moment (in 2020). I invested a lot of time and energy to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The pressure was great and it’s great that the hard work has finally paid off with great results in Melbourne and New York,” he said during an interview with Gala.
“There are many difficult moments in a player’s career and more is still expected. That is why it means a lot to be present on the last weekend of a Grand Slam.”

Undoubtedly his biggest heartbreak occurred during his clash against Thiem in New York. Zverev led the final by two sets to one before his rival battled back to clinch victory in dramatic fashion. The 23-year-old admits that he still thinks about the match as he aims to clinch his maiden Grand Slam title in the coming years. So far in his career, Zverev’s biggest triumph was at the 2018 ATP Finals.

“Of course, I still think about the fact that I was two points away from victory and my decisions in the fifth set. That is normal. I hope that I will have good chances again next year and in the years to come and at some point I can win the trophy,” he said.

Life on the Tour can be tough at times with the constant travel and living up to high expectations. So how does the world No.7 unwind after a match? For him the key is either playing a game of FIFA with his friends or watching TV shows such as ‘The Grand Tour.’ A TV programme on Amazon Prime about cars.

Unlike others Zverev said he never idolised a specific role model growing up but there were some athletes who he would ‘look up to’ from both the world of tennis and basketball. He is a keen follower of the NBA and is a fan of the Miami Heat.

“Role models may be the wrong word as I’ve always tried to go my own way. But as a child I always looked up to Roger Federer. He was my idol and embodied everything I wanted to be. I also like Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade. They were basketball icons growing up. They were amazing and just unstoppable,” Zverev revealed.

Zverev is set to return to action next week at the Paris Masters. He currently has a win-loss record of 23-8 this season.

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Benoit Paire – ‘I Was Not Mentally Ready To Play Without Fans’

Ubitennis.net speaks to the world No.28 during a press conference ahead of his campaign at the Astana Open.

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Benoit Paire knows better than anybody about how much of a roller-coaster 2020 has been for players on the Tour.

 

The Frenchman looked to be on course to continue his strong form of 2019 after reaching the final of the ASB Classic in January. Although as the season progressed with the COVID-19 pandemic wrecking havoc Paire have found himself struggling on the Tour not just physically but mentally too. He has failed to win back-to-back matches at 10 consecutive tournaments with his current earnings for this season standing at just over $500,000.

This year was good at the beginning. I made the final in Auckland, felt good on the court and I was happy to play. Last year was a good year too, so I was very happy to start the season like this and then covid-19 arrived with lockdown in France,” Paire told UbiTennis during his press conference on Tuesday.
“We had to stay at home and couldn’t do anything physically.”

Following a five-month break in Tour events due to the pandemic, the hope for Paire that he would be able to get back on track during the North American swing. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way with the world No.28 testing positive for the virus on the eve of the US Open and was subsequently placed into isolation. To add to the drama, a couple weeks later in Germany he tested positive again but was allowed to play under local rules.

Although having COVID-19 wasn’t the only battle, it was adjusting to playing under the new rules concerning limiting spectators, continuous testing and restrictions as to where you can travel to. Like his rivals he embraced the changes but it was not easy.

When we started again I was not ready mentally to play like this without fans on the court. This is not easy for me but I am going to try and do my best in Kazakhstan.”

Paire is the top seed at this week’s Astana Open with him being the only top 30 player taking part. The event was a late addition to the tournament calendar in the wake of the pandemic with others being cancelled. However, the title isn’t the most important thing for the 31-year-old right now as he aims to get his momentum back.

“I have not had the best preparation for this tournament. I haven’t won a lot of matches but you never know. If I win one or two matches maybe I can go for the title,” he said.
“The confidence is not there for the moment but it will be here if I win a couple matches.’
“That is the most important thing for me in the tournament. To try to enjoy playing on the court and have fun. Even if I play bad, just try and fight. This is what I haven’t done since the Tour started again.”

Thriving on playing in front of fans in packed arenas, Paire has a somewhat traditional view of tennis as others debate modernising the game. Novak Djokovic recently suggested that the line judges should be replaced at tournaments by an electronic line calling system similar to what was used during the US Open. Although he won’t be able to count on the support of Paire.

“I don’t like this at all. I want to hear something from the crowd and a real person. The noise (from electronic line calling) I don’t really like honestly. This is not why I play tennis. I play to play in front of people. To have crowds and not fake noise,” he stated.

Paire, who has a bye in the first round, will play his opening match at the Astana Open against either Federico Delbonis or Mikhail Kukushkin.

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Plan Underway To Rename Top Spanish Sports Venue After Rafael Nadal

The world No.2 is said to be ‘delighted’ with the proposal but has set out one condition.

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The Caja Magica (venue of Madrid Open)

Members of Spanish political party VOX has set out a proposal for the venue of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament to be renamed in honor of world No.2 Rafael Nadal.

 

Madrid councillor Fernando Martínez Vidal is part of the group campaigning for the Caja Magica to be renamed the ‘Caja Magica Rafa Nadal.’ The venue is home to the Madrid Open which is Spain’s most prestigious tournaments in terms of attendance and Tour category. The multi-purpose arena also held the first edition of the revamped Davis Cup finals last year, as well as other events outside of tennis.

“Nadal already has other recognitions from the Community of Madrid (he received the Gold Medal of the Community of Madrid in 2007 and was named adoptive son in 2014), but we believe that this is going one step further,” Marca newspaper quoted Vidal as saying.

Nadal has won the Madrid Open more times than any other player in the history of the tournament with five titles. Originally the tournament was held on hard courts before switching to the clay in 2009. Nadal is one of two players to have won the tournament on both surfaces along with Roger Federer. So far in his career the Spaniard has achieved a win-loss record of 52-12 at the Masters 1000 event and has earned more than $6.4 million in prize money.

Despite being in line for another honour, Nadal has stepped in by saying that should the proposal get the green light he doesn’t wish for the Caja Magica to have its name changed until after he retires from the sport. At the Barcelona Open their premier court has been named after the 20-time Grand Slam champion since 2017.

They are delighted with the proposal, but understand that it is not the right time. He (Nadal) feels comfortable playing in the Caja Mágica, but he does not want his rivals to feel more uncomfortable about playing in a facility that bears his name,” Vidal explained.
“He has asked us, and thus we have accepted, that the name change be done once his stage as a professional ends.”

It is understood that one term in the possible renaming of the venue is the person in question, Nadal, will need to ‘stop playing in professional championships’ first.

The Madrid City Council will debate the motion put forward by VOX at a session on Tuesday.

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