Jul/18

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Tennis Hall of Fame Thoughts


By Scoop Malinowski

I adore the International Tennis Hall of Fame and have attended the renowned venue for ten consecutive years with no plans to stop in the near future. It’s a very special, inspiring, awe-inspiring place, in a beautiful setting. It actually gets better every year to visit the hallowed grounds of the Newport Hall of Fame on Bellevue and Memorial Avenues in the heart of one of America’s most spectacular towns.

With all due respect to traditions and history, I think the Tennis Hall of Fame can be enhanced and revised in a few small ways.

The motto of the Fame is stated on the www.tennisfame.com web site…

Preserve. Celebrate. Inspire.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame preserves and promotes the history of tennis and celebrates its champions, thereby serving as a vital partner in the growth of tennis globally.

Of course it’s obvious to celebrate the great champions of the sport but I think there are many more tennis figures and players who also are worthy of Hall of Fame recognition. There are many players who have fallen short of winning majors however they still created a special magic and unforgettable memories in tennis and they should not be forgotten. They deserve to be celebrated.

The first that come to mind are John Isner and Nicolas Mahut for their 71-69 fifth set marathon at Wimbledon. They both created an impossible miracle, something no one ever thought could ever happen. I think just for that match alone both should be elected to the Hall of Fame. This match is without a doubt one of the most incredible contests in the history of SPORT. Both deserve the ultimate recognition for their roles in creating this mind-blowing event. Even if Isner never does win a Grand Slam title in the remaining years of his career.

Another player that also stands out to me and is worthy of special honor is Victor Estrella Burgos. This man from the Dominican Republic struggled as a pro with minimal funding, well outside the top 100 rankings until the age of 33 when he finally qualified for his FIRST Grand Slam main draw at the US Open four years ago and proceeded to reach the third round and later on he won three ATP singles titles in Quito, Ecuador. What an example of dedication and perseverance. Estrella Burgos set and holds the record for being the oldest man to first enter the top 100 at age 33. Estrella Burgos supplemented his pro career by playing USTA open money tournaments in the Eastern Section. He played a friend of mine about ten years ago and during the match told him that he had to borrow a friend’s car to get to the next USTA tournament. Victor never won the NJ State Open red clay tournament in Kearney NJ at Arlington Players Club but he did manage to win three ATP singles titles.

Todd Martin was a superb, classical player in the 90s and 2000s who won eight career ATP titles and no majors (two finals) but his example of playing and competing was pure class and sportsmanship. Tennis is a cutthroat, brutal sport but Martin always exemplified class and never once, to my recollection, ever was involved in any kind of controversy. His contributions to the sport as the head honcho of the Hall of Fame, in my opinion, along with his playing career qualify him for serious consideration for the Hall of Fame ballot. Players like Martin should be remembered and celebrated. Like so many say, it’s not always about winning and titles, it’s the journey. I think the Hall of Fame emphasizes too much value on winning and major titles, and should also open and expand qualifications to qualities and attributes outside of primarily “winning.”

Marcelo Rios was a beautiful player who reached ATP world no. 1 and played one major final but his style of playing was unique and special. So special that even Roger Federer often cites Rios as one of his favorite players and inspirations. Roger even told me a few years ago he would vote for Rios to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Winning is great and thrilling but winning isn’t everything. And it shouldn’t be everything regarding being elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Scoop’s seventh tennis book Facing Marat Safin is nearly finished and will be published before 2018 US Open.

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45 comments

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 26, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Scoop makes a good point. Some other players.. .

    Mardy Fish. Good guy and reached the top 10.

    James Blake. Great human being and reached No. 4 in the world.

    Rainer Schuttler. Slam finalist and well respected in German tennis

    Arnaud Clement. A Slam finalist whose style
    And elegance epitomized French class.

    Barbara Schett. Terrific player and beautiful inside and out.

    Amanda Coetzer. Another cutie I admired and a great player.

    Kimono Date. An elegant player who is one of the most popular ever in Asia.

    Younes el aynoui. Played many classic matches at the Open. Inspirational in Africa.

    Paradorn Srichaphan. Thai great once married to the reigning Miss Universe.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Duke, Younes El Aynoaui is a great call. I was told he was so determined to make it he went to Bollettieri’s and worked as a bus driver in the beginning, then he became a top 15 player. Amazing story. Such a beloved player too. Forgotten player. I heard he’s coaching with a Federation of an Arabian nation. Great guy. Did a Biofile with him years ago and last year in Delray ran into him again and he remember the interview we did. Blake is another player who was a major underdog, not projected to be a top ten pro but he made it. Great ambassador. All the players you mentioned were just a few wins away from majors and they all had superb careers. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to invite fringe Hall of Fame players like these for a special recognition or award, not necessarily the HOF induction.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Of course I meant Kimiko Date.

    Some others: Paul Haarhuis, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Karol Kucera, Cedric Pioline and Anke Huber and Manuela Maleeva.

    Plus a special mention for a personal fave. Iron Mike Russell!

  • Joe Blow · July 26, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Put everybody in. Have a Next Gen HOF..

    Stich jumped the line, but let’s not go nuts, and put in people cause they’re nice..

  • Dan Markowitz · July 26, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Change the name of the Hall of Fame to Hall of the Better Than Average. Or Hall of the Almost Coulda Shouda.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 26, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Isner and Mahut belong in there.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 12:23 am

    Well Isner could very well get in by winning the Open. He just reached the SW19 semis. He is playing well and sounds and looks confident.

    I feel he has just as good a shot to win the Open as the great Fed, who will only have one week in Cincy to get ready. Of course, Novak and Rafa are the co-favorites but after them, I’d say Isner, big Ando and then Fed.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 12:50 am

    Horrible story involving Djoker. Jelena’s grandfather was captured for ransom but looks like he is safe now. Just an awful thing to deal with.

    http://baseline.tennis.com/article/75581/novak-djokovic-grandfather-miroslav-radisavljevic-kidnap

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Duke, Isner has a very good shot but he must avoid Kohlschreiber and Monfils in the draw, Monfils may have the crowd on his side, which irritates Isner.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 9:07 am

    When someone is worth over $100 million, sadly these kinds of things will happen to family members. Crazy world out there.

  • Chazz · July 27, 2018 at 9:50 am

    There was nothing on it, so I’ll comment on Tiafoe vs. Baghdatis. That was a Jack Sock type of performance from him. He had 9 double faults and tanked the second set. He has to win a match against someone like Baghdatis at this point. Just an all around poor showing in front of his family and coaches. I know WTT is not the same as ATP, but getting crushed by Willis a week ago sure made me wonder if everything’s ok with ‘Foe mentally.

  • Chazz · July 27, 2018 at 9:54 am

    ‘Foe needs to keep his head on straight and forget about that Wimbledon loss to Khachanov which he led 2 sets to 0. Hopefully he can move on from that painful loss.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Maybe Tiafoe subconsciously tanked to Bag to gear up for Citi Open in DC, I would think Tiafoe is more motivated to do well in his hometown tournament than Atlanta. If he has another bad loss in DC then it may be time to hit the panic button.

  • Chazz · July 27, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Yeah, not time to panic yet, but it sure was eyebrow raising. His serve can’t be that bad, can it? Gilbert was announcing and was amazed at how soft his second serve was.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Soft serve sounds like a sneak tank or subconscious tank. Tiafoe all in on Citi Open is my guess.

  • Jg · July 27, 2018 at 11:54 am

    He totally tanked, had 2 break points in first set up 15 40, blew it then tanked rest of the match, didn’t look ready for the hot weather, the WTT was indoors, that cannot help, probably just wanted to get out of there. I will say Bagdatis is always tough, and getting back to Mayotte, I think Bagdatis has great balance also, and no hitch in his strokes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    You can call him Tankafoe if you like but we will never know if this was an actual I’m outta here tank job. It’s still July, August and September are what count. Bagdhatis looked like a special player destined for greatness, that Agassi loss at US Open seemed to kill him, his spirit or whatever it was, he was just not the same player after that. Only flashes of brilliance like when he beat Federer in IW. Maybe he just wasn’t big and strong enough, not physical enough to be the best. And he realized and accepted that. He’s only about my size, we did a Biofile last year in DC face to face. But he’s a special talent who could energize a stadium with excitement. Nobody will ever forget the magic Bagdhatis created in the tennis arena.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Let me get this straight, Scoop. You think Izzie can win the US Open?!! Are you serious? Izzie has as much chance of winning the Open as I do of running a 5-minute mile nowadays.

    I mean, yes, he won Miami, but please, he beat Zverev, who can’t win a slam either. Winning Miami doesn’t give me anymore confidence in Izzie to win a slam and neither does reaching semis of Wimby.

    Now, these subconscious tanks of yours are silly too. What has Tiafoe done since Estoril? Not a whole lot. I don’t believe he’d just throw away a matdh. The guy’s 20 years old, I don’t think he’s thinking, I’ll throw this one so I can do well in DC.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Of course Isner can win the Open. Besides Nole and Rafa, who else has a great chance? Ando and Isner and Fed and probably DelPo.

    Isner clearly believes he can win it and why would he not believe that?

    Nice win for Harry over Chung today. I definitely think Harry should win that match since Chung is still finding his form from the lay-off but Harry served well and won by the nick of his teeth.

    He may get a break and face Norrie, who won the first set over Kyrgios.

    The southern boys like Harry and Isner do very well in Hot-lanta.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    DY plays some nobody in DC qualies tomorrow. If he wins, he faces Jung for a spot in the main draw.

    I look forward to a Jung-Chung matchup one day!

    The DC draw is out. Could be the first-ever ATP matchup of the Zverev brothers if each wins one match they meet in the round of 16! Sascha is defending champ.

    Other highlights – Wawrinka has a WC and could meet Nishikori in round 2. Tiafoe could face Hurkasz in round 2.

    Andy Murray v. Mac Mac in round one with the winner facing British No. 1 Edmund!

    Other notable round one matchups: Donaldson v. Thompson. Also Basic v. Copil in a rematch of this year’s Bulgarian Open three-set thriller in which Basic knocked off the home favorite in a hostile environment.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Kyrgios loses 7-5, 3-0. That’s right he retires with another “injury”

    One of the most mentally frail players in the history of the ATP tour.

  • Tom Sawyer · July 27, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Don’t know where to put this — it’s really bugging me so I’ll put it right here. Why in the heck is Thiem playing two clay court tourney’s now? Is he conceding ever being a good hard court player? I am a Thiem fan and love watching him play. Love his speed, power and court demeanor, and feel with proper coaching and his athleticism he can make the adjustments necessary to be tough on surfaces other than clay. He is top 3 in the world on clay, top 60 on hard.

    But he is blowing prime years and if he is content to rely on clay success only, I’m out….

  • Tom Sawyer · July 27, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Citi Open draw looks fun. Been going to that tourney for years and really love it – don’t live in DC anymore.

    I don’t pick Izzie to win US Open, but with a favorable draw it would not be shocking this year especially. Depends on who’s hot, who’s healthy, match-ups, etc.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Duke, you would have loved that Jimmy Wang-Chung match a few years ago, everybody was Wang Chunging that night.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Another probable tank by Tankrygios. On to DC. He did the same vs Sandgren last year in DC, moaning about some injury and not wanting to play all night, lost first set than tanked the second. Though I must say, Sandgren did not make it easy on him, playing the match of his life. Nick wasn’t expecting such a battle that Sandgren gave. This was the first glimpse of greatness from Sandgren. But Nick’s attitude was awful.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Thiem is showing he lacks the confidence on hard court. Mayotte explained it to me what his problem is on hard court. Will post that interview next week.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Citi OPen is a wonderful event, one of my favorites too. Hope to go for a few days. Isner can win the US Open. Nobody will predict it, just like NOBODY predicted Johansson, Goran, Gaudio, Cilic, Delpo to win when they won their first majors. Isner is looking damned good right now. Better than ever and he’s beaten Fed Rafa and Djokovic in the past.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    Pre-SW19, Johnny Mac had these thoughts on Kyrgios…

    Q. If you were coaching Nick Kyrgios, what would you encourage for him to maximize his potential here?

    JOHN McENROE: How much time do we have? I thought this was only like 45 minutes or an hour (laughter).

    Nick to me is the most talented tennis player of the last 10 years I’ve seen, since Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Federer. He’s an incredible talent. As far as mentally, I haven’t been around him much. I haven’t seen much of him. I’ve tried to reach out to him. I haven’t spoken to him. But it looks like at least he’s healthy because he’s been battling some issues with I believe his elbow and shoulder. Certainly he’s one of the most dangerous guys. He’d be one of the six, eight guys.

    I don’t know what his physical condition is at this point. He didn’t play any of the clay court events. He missed out on a lot of the hard court ones. My guess would be it would be tough considering mentally and physically for him to be able to go all the way.

    As far as coaching, I don’t believe in saying what exactly I would do without having spent some time. He’s got some issues with that fear, like everyone, of failure, laying it all out there and coming up a little short. I think that’s what makes Nadal so great. He’s willing to compete and start every match, each match, like he hasn’t played any before. That’s what separates the guys. The guys that are willing to dig in, dig deeper, he’s got to find a way to do that.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 27, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    CHRIS EVERT: I’ll talk about Nick a little bit because he’s down in Boca quite a bit. I observe him. The thing about Nick, he is his own person. We can just stand by and marvel at his talent, appreciate the big wins, but expect the big losses, too. This is his temperament.

    I don’t know how much you can teach, again, hunger and focus and commitment. I mean, you can encourage it, but until it gets into his persona, until it gets into his conscience and his heart, we’re not going to see the best of Nick Kyrgios. It’s just the way he is.

    Again, it’s very often that the most talented players, when things come very easy to them, sometimes mentally they’re not as tough because they don’t have to be. It’s the grinders that have to work harder that are sometimes mentally tougher. He’s got to find that desire and that hunger inside himself.

  • Hartt · July 28, 2018 at 7:32 am

    As Evert said, the hunger, focus and commitment has to come from the player himself/herself. Nick hasn’t shown those attributes and there is no reason to think he will suddenly see the light. I am surprised that so many people think he will change. This has been a pattern for a few years now, and he is not a kid anymore.

  • Chazz · July 28, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Kyrgios does things that no one else can do and makes everything look easy. Tennis is better with him not tanking. It sure would be great to see him make it to the SF or Final of a masters or slam but not holding my breath.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 28, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Nick doesn’t have to win, he plays like an NBA player with a guaranteed contract. He has so much talent he can win matches without trying much. But sooner or later he will drop down the rankings and get on that edge and have to fight back to stay in the elite range. Like Sock, Nick may struggle to deal with that pressure when he suddenly MUST win to sustain his career. He’s developing bad habits that sooner or later will cost him his career if he does not mature and learn how to be a true professional.

  • Joe Blow · July 28, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Pretty disrespectful to his opponent and the game the other night. Laughing and yakking it up with Kokkinakis and Tomic during the match

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 28, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Wow DY needed nearly 2 hours to beat an 18-year-old kid ranked No. 760 today.

    He faces Jung for the first time tomorrow on Stadium Court. I

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 28, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Nick’s the class clown of professional tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 28, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Well that kid Danny Thomas is very tough. I saw him beat Paes and Purav at the end of last year in doubles with either Eubanks or Mmoh. That kid is a lefty and has some serious pop on his shots. Not surprised he was able to hang in there toe to toe with the downward spiraling zero confidence DY. Good win for DY though. Any win is a good win at this point.

  • Joe Blow · July 28, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Wonder if Kozlov made the cutoff for direct entry into qualies.. he’s 254 now, might need a WC into qualies. Slumping badly

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 28, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Scoop didn’t know the guy’s name but my church used to donate to Danny Thomas foundation, if you remember that!

    Crazy week for Harry – loses the first set in each match so far.

    Insane matchup set for round one of the Lexington Challenger – Marcel Granollers v Dan Evans.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 29, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Joe, the guy Kozlov lost to 63 63 is ranked 400 something. Kozlov confidence as low as Young right now. Can’t win anything.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 29, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Duke, Which Danny Thomas, the player or the – whatever the other Danny Thomas did, I remember that name from somewhere. .Harrison showed a lot of guts and top 20ness this week but Isner has always been his kryptonite. Isner will isnerize Harrison today 75 64.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 29, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Scoop I just remember the Danny Thomas foundation was a charity from before.

    Ramanathan loses in DC – 2 defeats since falling to SteveJo in Newport final. Guys like this have flash in the pan weeks and then lose their first match every successive week.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 29, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    DY wins over Jung and now faces Wawrinka in round one. If he wins that, he gets Nishikori and a win there and he wins that Shapo.

    Word is Kyrgios will pull out so a lucky loser – Jason Kubler – may advance to round two and face Duckworth or Kwiatkowski

  • Dan Markowitz · July 29, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Uh, Danny Thomas was a famous comedian, always smoking a cigar and had big smile. Also, Marlo Thomas of That Girl fame father. You guys should get off the tennis court from time to time.

    DY seems to have rebounded a bit. You’re comparing the Koz who’s won like three ATP matches to DY who’s been top 50 mostly most of his career? Please…we alll know Harry is not close to being top 20, but you put him up against Norrie and the gang he’s beaten this week in Atll and he looks pretty good. Then he’ll lose second round in Canada, Cindy and USO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 29, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Oh yes, Danny Thomas from Make Room For Daddy i think. But I never watched a second of that show nor of That Girl. My shows back then were Honeymooners, Star Trek, Bardy Bunch, Flintstones, Night Stalker, Columbo and Hawaii Five 0.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 29, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    If harrison beats isner here he wil be playing top ten tennis. Big win for Harrison if he can secure it.

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