(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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Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut secure their spot in the semifinals at Thiem’s 7 tournament

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Andrey Rublev edged Casper Ruud 6-2 3-6 10-4 at the Thiem’s 7 tournament in Kitzbuhel. After losing the first set Ruud came back to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Rublev won the super tie-break when Ruud made a double fault on the match point. Rublev needed a win from Dominic Thiem against Jan Lennard Struff to secure his spot in the semifinal.

 

Thiem beat Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to score his third consecutive win at this tournament after defeating Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev in the first two days.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Thiem converted on his first break point at 5-4 to clinch the first set in 30 minutes. In the second set Thiem did not convert two break points at 3-2 and another chance at 4-3. It came down to the tie-break. Thiem earned a mini-break to take a 2-1 lead and held on his serve to create three match point at 6-3. The home player converted on his first chance, as Struff’s backhand sailed long. Thiem set up a semifinal clash against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Spanish player converted five of his six break points and won 73% of the rallies of the rallies in his service game in his 6-0 6-1 win over Dennis Novak to get the second point in his round robin group and secure his spot in the semifinals in the Group B.

Bautista Agut won 5 of the 7 games of the match before Novak earned his only game of the match by holding his first service game in the second set. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios pull out of Berlin exhibition tournament

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios have withdrawn from the exhibition bett1 ACES tournament in Berlin. Both players were expected to join Dominic Thiem in the tournament, which will take place in the Steffi Graf Stadium from 13 to 15 July and in the Hangar 6 from 17 to 19 July. Caroline Garcia has pulled out from the women’s tournament due to a knee injury and will be replaced by Anastasija Sevastova.

 

“I was planning to play in Berlin this month, but I have made the decision to stay put and train with my team and not play any tournaments at the moment. It’s never nice to miss the chance to play, but I will be back soon”, said Zverev on the social media.

Zverev updated his fans on his latest news on his twitter account.

“I wanted to update you on a few things. First, on Friday I took my third test for Covid-19 and I am happy to say it also came back negative. Secondly, I am going through a trial period with David Ferrer on my team. I could not be more excited to get to work. I can’t wait for the tour to be back”, said Zverev.

Berlin organizers doubt that Zverev will play in Berlin. Last week Edwin Weindorfer said that he was considering refusing to allow Zverev to play in Berlin and warned he would have zero tolerance of any player who parties during the exhibition tournament.

“Zverev’s management said that he is not planning to play in any tournament at the moment. We are obviously disappointed, because he would have had a good opportunity to play in front of his fans”, said Weindorfer.

 Dominic Thiem, Jannik Sinner and Jan Lennard Struff in the men’s field and Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Andrea Petkovic are the top names of the Berlin tournament.

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Donna Vekic Splits With Coach, Disputes The Reason Behind Move

The world No.24 has questioned a statement from her ex-coach concerning the reason behind his departure.

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Croatia’s top women’s player has been left searching for a new mentor on the Tour after parting ways with her coach after more than two years.

 

Donna Vekic has confirmed that she is no longer working with Torben Beltz, who previously guided Angelique Kerber to two of her Grand Slam titles. Under Beltz’s guidance, the world No.24 reached three WTA Finals as well as the quarter-finals of her first Grand Slam at the 2019 US Open. Last year the 24-year-old also broke into the top 20 for the first time in her career.

News of the split was confirmed by Beltz after the German coach posted a statement on his Instagram account. In it, he cites ‘different views’ in practicing and scheduling as the reason behind them going separate ways.

“Unfortunately Team Donna and I had different views in setting up the practice and tournament schedule for the restart of the tour which is why we will go separate ways! Thanks Donna for the last 2.5 years, it was a great ride and I always enjoyed our time together. Good luck for you in the future. Ready for a new adventure,” Beltz wrote.

However, it appears that there is more to it than what Beltz has said. Taking to Twitter, Vekic called him out by questioning his view on why the two split. Although she didn’t comment on why the decision was made.

“Well this is the first time I’m hearing of different views in practice and tournament schedules…?” She wrote on Twitter.

The separation comes after what was a mixed start to the season for Vekic prior to the Tour suspension. In her first five tournaments she only won back-to-back matches in Adelaide and at the Australian Open. Her 2020 win-loss record currently stands at 5-5.

So far in her career Vekic has earned more than $4.2 million in prize money which is the fourth highest tally ever made by a female Croatian player. Petra Martic holds the record with $5,128,866 in earnings.

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