Roger Federer and Michael Jordan are arguably the two biggest sports stars from 1990 to today: beloved, revered by hordes of crazy fans, they are considered to be among the greatest, if not the greatest, in tennis and the NBA.
Today Federer and Jordan are thinking of having a business together. Like? It would seem that the two champions would like to buy a baskeball team in the USA, and even rumors speak of an NBA team! Michael, for his athletic and technical qualities, was elected in 1999 the greatest North American athlete of the twentieth century by the sports television channel ESPN.
The fame acquired on the field made him a sports icon, to the point of pushing Nike to dedicate a line of basketball shoes to him called Air Jordan, introduced in 1984. He was then chosen third in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls and quickly became one of the stars of the league, helping to spread the NBA globally in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1991 he won his first NBA title with the Bulls, then repeated with two more successes in 1992 and 1993, winning a three-peat, after which he retired to pursue a career in baseball. He returned to the Bulls in 1995 and led them to another three-peat victory (1996, 1997 and 1998).( Collapse )
Sport doesn't belong very much in my family, at least in terms of competition. Indeed, in a rather French tradition, studies quickly gained the upper hand and the practice of sport is in the perspective of Juvénal rather than that of performance and domination.
The practice of horseback riding, tennis, running, golf, surfing or light sailing are more intense in the summer in Biscarrosse or Arcachon where we spend the big holidays and it was around 7 years old that I had my first tennis class.
But the discovery of tennis was first made in real life, at Roland Garros.
"Rafael Nadal (Left Handed Player) Grand Slam success away from Roland-Garros has also been limited in the last six years."
Indeed, our parents "receive" at Christmas 1998 the idea of bringing the whole family to Roland Garros. Tennis is probably at its cultural peak and Agassi is an idol in my parents while Graf enjoys a remarkable aura. We are in the middle of Kournikovamania, probably the first sportswoman to earn more than silver thanks to her look than the greatest models of the time (Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell) whose fame was incomparable with that of Gisèle Bendchen ten years later.
Comes this day in May 1999, the excitement of my parents strikes me when we got out of bed at 8am on a Saturday to get ready: we will have a place on the Central for the 8th finals with a crazy program: Agassi and Graf are on the program!
The expedition to the Porte d'Auteuil starts in tension because, with my 3 sisters, the distribution of places in the Renault Espace is always a challenge. The cooler, sunscreen, and the famous Perrier bobs are all present to the great relief of my mother who makes sure every ten minutes that this is the case.
Parking in the maze of the Porte Auteuil, queuing in the typical mess does not dam masterpiece our enthusiasm to go and watch the best players in the world play
The central: huge building, our squares are above, towards the middle and in full sun, which hits hard that day. Two strangers (says my father) face off first: Hrbaty against Safin. In the few points we looked at, Safin impresses with the power of his first, peaks at 209 km/h are raised
The pater familias decides to start the tour of the side courses where it is possible to see the players up close, the strikes tense despite the strong lift, and especially the quality of anticipation and movement. The double is in the spotlight with a much more dynamic and lively style, where the look is more important than persistence and endurance. Occasionally, a ball rises high in the sky above the Lenglen: it was the Québéco-Torontais-British Rudsedski that woody a backhand.
True to myself, I get lost in the crowd by reading page by page Roland-Magazine 99, which does well 150 pages of fairly holistic articles on the organization of the tournament, the characteristics of the surface and courts of Roland Garros, the main historical matches of the tournament. Finally, half of the pages are devoted to the presentation of the headliners and the French of the two tables with a detailed review of the strengths and weaknesses, past performances, expectations. In short, my tennis prolegomen, I owe them to RG magazine 99
For example, my recollection is vivid that Federer was already presented as the greatest potential of the tournament, but with a pig character, that Grosjean's forehand was presented as smoking and that Agassi was not presented as the favorite of the tournament but of course the public.
After finding the troop, the first game on the Central that is expected with stars in the eyes of my parents can finally begin: The Graf vs. Kournikova!
This is the summit of the day: the idol of the crowds on the return, author of a fabulous shot the previous round. Moya is the title holder, and the lookalike in the sports version of Antonio Banderas who made a hit with The Mask of Zorro
The match was friendly but not dramatic, finally Agassi took the upper hand after heating up and broke the Spaniard's resolve in the third set. My parents are thrilled and applaud the divine bald man as the darkness has spread to the site.
The results of the day are excellent and definitely inoculated me with the virus of tennis that I am with interest since. This was really what today's marketers say an "experiment"; in all an activity that everyone enjoyed and loved.
When tennis fans assembled on Saturday, Sept. 8, 1984 at the US Open, they knew that the program was not only promising but highly enticing. How could they go wrong?
The proceedings began with a Senior final between 1971 men’s Open victor Stan Smith and 1973 champion John Newcombe. They would be followed by Pat Cash against Ivan Lendl in the opening men’s semifinal, Chrissie Evert versus Martina Navratilova in the women’s final, and John McEnroe confronting Jimmy Connors in the second men’s semifinal. This extraordinary all-star lineup seemed certain to provide entertainment of the highest order for the fans.
But they did much more than that. Every match went the distance and kept the spectators on the edge of their seats. Smith upended Newcombe for the Senior crown.
Lendl then found himself being tested to the hilt by the charismatic and contentious Cash. The Australian kept surging forward to assert himself at the net, while Lendl counter-attacked as only he could. Their contrasting methodologies made for a magnificent clash. In the end, Lendl saved a match point with a nifty topspin lob and triumphed in a fifth-set tiebreak.
Evert secured the first set in her stirring encounter with Navratilova, earning a standing ovation from large segments of the audience who were well aware that the Floridian had lost her last 12 meetings with her renowned left-handed rival. But Navratilova roared back to win a classic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 contest, defending her US Open crown honorably.