(EXCLUSIVE) Stan Smith: "Some People Still Think I'm A Shoe" - UBITENNIS
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(EXCLUSIVE) Stan Smith: “Some People Still Think I’m A Shoe”

Despite being “Mr.100 million pairs”, Smith has been at the top of the rankings (albeit without the computerized system to certify the achievement), has won two Slams on his way to over 100 titles, and has been part of a record-breaking seven winning Davis Cup teams. He’s the current president of the Hall of Fame.

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Stan Smith, the 6-foot-4 American champion, was born in Pasadena on December 14, 1946, and is considered by some to have been the best player in the world between 1971 and 1972, before the ATP Rankings as we know them were introduced. But how many tournaments did he actually win?

 

According to the ATP website, Smith has 36 titles in singles and 54 in doubles under his belt… but that’s without adding the pre-ATP victories to the haul. To be honest, though, he doesn’t seem certain of the definitive amount himself. However, as Bud Collins said, “Stan is a bona fide Centennial.” A couple Slams are part of his resumé, and they could have been more, while he also won five in doubles (when doubles were still “a serious business,” in his own words), out of a grand total of 17 finals. To be precise, he reached 13 showdowns in the men’s doubles (10 with Bob Lutz, with 5 victories, and 3 more, all losses, with either Van Dillen or Gorman), one in the mixed doubles, which he won partnering Rosie Casals, and three in the singles (he lost at Wimbledon in ’71 against Newcombe, but won a couple months later at Forest Hills against Kodes before triumphing a year later at SW19 versus Nastase).

He also won the first year-end Masters event, surviving a round-robin tournament in Tokyo, in 1970, and, more importantly, he is the only seven-time winner of the Davis Cup, along with Bill Tilden. This chat will feature some unbelievable anecdotes, such as the two years he spent without talking to Ion Tiriac after what happened in the Davis Cup final in 1972, or the heart-breaking losses against Kodes and Rosewall in two Slam semis, matches he lost after squandering match points. Stan will also show us the trophies he won in Tokyo, New York, and London. Finally, he’ll show us some of his eponymous shoes (which have sold over 100 million pairs), and everything will be topped off with same trademark banter with me and Steve Flink.

VIDEO SCHEDULE:

Minute 00: How many tournaments has Stan Smith won, and why was he unlucky?

02:50: Playing mixed doubles with the diminutive Rosie Casals

03:32: All the best players used to play both singles and doubles, up to Connors and Borg…

04:21: The NCAA tennis tournament (the university championships in the US) and all the great champions who won it in the past, from Ashe to Smith himself to McEnroe, who did it after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals as a qualifier. Who are the collegiate players that have found pro success in the last few years? Stan, the last graduate to win his maiden Slam (although the last graduate to win is Arthur Ashe). When Ubaldo beat an NCAA champion – to Stan’s utter amazement!

11:56: “I realised I’d be among the world’s best when I beat Laver and Rosewall in Tokyo…” What Rosewall said about him… Here’s trophy #1!

13:56: Trophy #2, the US Open. Stan reminisces on that tournament and on his defeat at Newcombe’s hands in the 1971 Wimbledon final.

18:17: Some unexpected tactical advice from Pancho Segura, who also coached Connors and Chang, propelled him to beat Jan Kodes at Forest Hills… What kind of player was Segura?

21:05: Boycotting Wimbledon in 1973 for a guy who wasn’t particularly liked by his peers…

22:47: The WCT win against Ashe in 1973, in front of… Ben Hur! A hallmark event in Ubaldo’s career.

25:26: Lamar Hunt’s party in Dallas where Ubaldo met Stan’s future wife. A very shy teenager called John McEnroe and the likenesses between him and Nastase…

29:14: The 1972 Wimbledon final against the Romanian, one of the greatest matches of all time. His Davis Cup record against Nastase, who still thinks Smith was lucky against him. That with Billie Jean King before the final, a good omen?

33:41: The Davis Cup final in Bucharest and Tiriac’s concocting ploys to cheat the trophy out of the Americans’ hands… How to deal with security and guns after the terrorist attack against the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympics – two members of the American Davis Cup team were Jewish. Smith had won at SW19, Nastase at Forest Hills. Tiriac’s 100th tie: “Should I shake hands with him after what he’s done?”

40:58: That tie was remembered with a 30th anniversary party in Bucharest, culminating in a doubles exhibition match between the same four players. Remembering when Stan stopped talking to Tiriac, who now has a private jet…

44:05: Smith shows us the replica of the Renshaw Cup, Trophy #3!

44:51: Those two semifinal matches he lost after having match points in his favour, one against Kodes at Forest Hills (1973) and one against Rosewall at Wimbledon (1974): “Had I beaten Ken…”

49:27: The new Davis Cup versus the ATP Cup and the Laver Cup.

57:00: Smith is the current president of the International Hall of Fame. He tells us how hard it was to promote the whole endeavour, both as a concept and from a financial standpoint…

1:02:56: Stan’s Top 6 ever in the men’s game: “One of them is the current GOAT, another will overtake him. When Borg won his 6th French Open title…”

1:07:02: More GOAT debate. Head-to-head comparison versus years spent at N.1. The role of the crowd.

1:08:00: Was anybody ever cherished as much as Federer? The sport’s greatest personalities.

1:10:47: Does Stan agree with Patrick Mouratoglou, who thinks that there are no more huge personalities in tennis?

1:13:01: Ubaldo’s children’s Stan Smith shoes, and some very special shoe models…

1:15:26: Some people wore the crocodile without knowing who Lacoste was, then it happened with Fred Perry and his laurel: “That’s why the title of my book was ‘Stan Smith, some people think I am a shoe’!”

1:16:53: Stan’s four children and his Tennis Academy.

Article written by Tommaso Villa

 

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Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claim their third Masters 1000 title in Madrid

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Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claimed their third ATP Masters 1000 title with a 1-6 6-3 10-8 win over Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic after 73 minutes. 

 

Granollers and Zeballos avenged their 3-6 7-5 10-4 defeat against Mektic and Pavic in the semifinal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

Both teams were tied at 1-1 after the first two games of the opening set before Mektic and Pavic earned two back-to-back breaks to win five consecutive games en route to claiming the first set 6-1 after 22 minutes 

Zeballos and Granollers got their first break of the match in the eighth game of the second set and served out for the second set in the next game forcing the final to the Match tie-break. 

Granollers and Zeballos won five of the next six points from 3-3 and converted their third match point to claim the Match tie-break 10-8. 

Granollers and Zeballos have extended their record to 5 wins to 3 defeats in eight ATP Tour finals. 

Mektic and Pavic have claimed 32 of their 36 matches in 2021. They won titles at the Antalya Open, at the Murray River Open in Melbourne, Rotterdam and finished runner-up in Miami and Monte-Carlo.

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David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta advance to the second round in Rome

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Former top 10 David Goffin beat Salvatore Caruso 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the second round after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

The first set started with four breaks in the first five games, as Goffin raced out to a 4-1 with three break in the opening set. Caruso pulled one break back for 2-4, but Goffin earned his third break to open up a 5-2 lead. Caruso broke back in the eighth game, but Goffin served out the first set at love. 

The Belgian player went up a set and a break in the first game of the second set. Caruso wasted two break-back points in the fourth game. Goffin won four consecutive games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-1.  Goffin set up a second round match against either Karen Khachanov or Federico Delbonis. 

Pablo Carreno Busta came back from one set down to beat Laslo Djere 4-6 6-3 6-1 after dropping just seven of his first service points. Djere claimed an immediate break in the opening game. Carreno Busta saved a double break point in the third game, but he did not earn a chance on return and went to serve only once. 

Last year’s US Open semifinalist and 2018 Madrid quarter finalist Carreno Busta saved two break points to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Spaniard converted his fifth break point in the sixth game and dropped just eight points on serve held his next two service games to win the second set 6-3. 

Carreno Busta broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the third set. The Spanish player will face either Fabio Fognini or Kei Nishikori in the second round. Reilly Opelka beat Richard Gasquet 6-1 7-5 in 67 minutes. The US player hit 18 aces and won 79 % of his first service points. He won 12 consecutive points to open up a 3-0 lead and faced only a break point at 5-1 but he served out the first set 6-1 at deuce. The second set went on serve until the 11th game when Opelka converted his only break point to close out the second set 7-5. Opelka will face either Hubert Hurkacz or Lorenzo Musetti in the second round.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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