Marat Safin and Justine Henin entered into the International Tennis Hall of Fame - UBITENNIS
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Marat Safin and Justine Henin entered into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

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Henin in action at the 2011 Australian Open, her final Grand Slam tournament before retirement (Image via Zimbio.com)

Former Grand Slam champions Justine Henin and Marat Safin have been entered into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

Justine Henin is regarded as one of the best female players of the 21st Century, winning seven Grand Slam titles between 2003-2007. She won the French Open four times in the space of five years, taking the title in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007. She also won the Australian Open once, the US Open twice, and was twice a runner-up at Wimbledon. Henin was also ranked World No.1 for more than 100 weeks.

Henin is noted for being one of the most serious challengers to the dominance of the Williams sisters, Serena Williams led their head-to-head, but Henin led in Grand Slam meetings, four to Williams three. Henin also had a rivalry with fellow Belgian Kim Cjlisters and Amelie Mauresmo.

  • Henin winning the 2005 French Open.

Henin was noted for having one of the best single-handed backhands in tennis, earning praise from a number of players and commentators including John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova. Her game was also known for precise, accurate ground-strokes, and possessing an all-court game, compared to many more powerful base-liners. Henin retired in 2008 before returning to the tour in 2010. Henin retired for a second time in 2011 due to an elbow injury.

Henin – “Not a lot of people really believed I could reach my goal because my dream was to become the best player in the world. It became my goal. A lot of people thought I was a little bit crazy. But strongly, deeply I never really doubted about the fact that I could make it.

  • Marat Safin tribute video.

Marat Safin is a two-time Grand Slam title winner earning victories at the US Open in 2000 by defeating Pete Sampras, and also enjoyed a nine week reign as World No.1 that year. He would reach the 2002 and 2004 Australian Open Finals, losing to Thomas Johansson and Roger Federer, before finally winning the title in 2005 by defeating Lleyton Hewitt. Injury and loss of form would haunt the Russian, and he would only once progress past the fourth round of a Grand Slam after his Australian Open triumph. That was a shock run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2008, after defeating current world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the second round. That run ensured that Safin joined a select group of players who have reached the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams.

Safin also won five Masters 1000 titles earning the titles in Canada, Madrid and Paris (3). Safin was notable for being an tough opponent for the young Roger Federer. Between the 2004 Wimbledon and the 2008 Australian Open, Safin was the only player besides Rafael Nadal to defeat Federer in a Grand Slam tournament, as Safin defeated Federer in a five set thriller en route to his title win in 2005.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoYaSlbPHig

  • Safin defeating Federer en route to the 2005 Australian Open title.

Safin was also part of Russian Davis Cup team that included Yegeny Kafelnikov and Mikhail Youzhny. They won the title for the first time, with Safin crucially winning both of his singles rubbers in a 3-2 win. Safin also proved pivotal in Russia winning in 2006 , losing one singles rubber, but winning the second and playing in the winning doubles team to beat Argentina.

Safin on his career – “Very difficult to come out of the country. No money. To come out of the country and start to play on the world level, I think it’s a really big achievement.”

Safin has now embarked on a political career in Russia.

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Nick Kyrgios and Amanda Anisimova lose to Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic in the second round of the Australian Open mixed doubles tournament

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Nick Kyrgios returned to the court to play with Amanda Anisimova for the mixed doubles tournament just one day after losing to Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the men’s singles tournament.

 

Kyrgios and Anisimova lost to Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic 4-6 6-4 10-8 in the second round after 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Both teams traded holds in the first two games before Anisimova dropped serve, as she netted a backhand. Krejcikova consolidated the break by holding serve with a service winner. Kyrgios broke back to draw level to 3-3 with a return winner. Kyrgios saved a break point in the ninth game with his serve, before breaking serve in the 10th game with a return winner to seal the first set 6-4.

Kyrgios and Anisimova fended off three break points in the fifth game of the second set with a service winner from Kyrgios.

Mektic hit a volley winner on the fourth break point chance in the seventh game to break serve for 4-3. Kyrgios and Anisimova broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Krejcikova and Mektic broke serve to take a 5-4 lead. Krejcikova held serve at love to seal the second set 6-4, as she was serving for the set, forcing the match to the decisive tie-break. Krejikova and Mektic raced out to a 5-1 lead, when Amanda netted a backhand.

Kyrgios and Anisimova won three consecutive points to claw their way back to 4-5. Krejicikova and Mektic won four of the next five points to take a 9-5 lead. Kyrgios and Anisimova saved three match points before Krejikova sealed the win with a service winner to reach the quarter final.

Men’s doubles tournament: Ram and Salisbury reach the semifinal at the Australian Open

The US and British team formed Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury beat Finland’s Henri Kontinen and German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-4 to advance to the Australian Open doubles semifinal.

Ram and Salisbury will face Alexander Bublik and Kikhail Kukushkin, who reached the semifinal on Monday.

Last year’s Wimbledon semifinal Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek eased past Marcelo Arevalo and Jonny O’Mara 6-3 6-2 in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Dodig and Polasek set up a semifinal against Max Purcell and Luke Saville, who beat Santiago Gonzalez and Skupski 6-2 6-4 after 68 minutes.

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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(VIADEO) Australian Open Day Eight: Rafael Nadal Muzzles Kyrgios At Night

The match that everybody was talking about on the second Monday of the grand slam lived up to expectations.

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Rafa Nadal - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times joins Ubitennis to look back on Rafael Nadal’s latest win over Nick Kyrgios. The four-set triumph now sees the top seed extend his winning head-to-head record to 5-3. However, was the latest match between the two tennis stars as good as their clash at Wimbledon last year?

 

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