Greg Rusedski

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Greg Rusedski : biography

6 September 1973 –

Towards the end of 2005, Rusedski’s ranking had risen to the high thirties. A poor end to the year by Henman almost allowed Rusedski to overtake him as British no. 1 again. However, a defeat for Rusedski in the first round of the Challenger Event in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, left him ranked 38th, just one place short of regaining the British top spot. Rusedski finally reclaimed the British no. 1 spot on 15 May 2006, overtaking Andy Murray by getting to the third round of the Rome Masters Event. But Rusedski lost the top British ranking after a first-round exit at Wimbledon.

On 7 April 2007, Rusedski officially retired from tennis after partnering Jamie Murray to a doubles victory over the Netherlands in a Davis Cup match, a result which gave Great Britain a winning 3–0 lead in the tie. He announced his retirement immediately after the win during a live interview with Sue Barker on BBC Television. Rusedski has stayed involved with professional tennis in his retirement, and currently works for the Lawn Tennis Association as a talent and performance ambassador. Rusedski held the record for fastest serve at 149 miles per hour until Andy Roddick broke it.

On 25 January 2009, Rusedski announced a shock return to professional tennis. However, he was denied an opportunity to compete in his much-loved Davis Cup. Because of this, Rusedski quickly retracted his announcement and is still retired.

Rusedski vs. Henman

Rusedski was often overshadowed in the British press by the more popular Henman, especially at Wimbledon. It is arguable who had the better playing career. Rusedski won more singles titles than compatriot Henman, with 15 singles titles compared to Henman’s 11. Rusedski also reached the final of the US Open in 1997, whereas Henman never made it past the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. However, Henman reached six Grand Slam semifinals and an additional four quarterfinals, whereas Rusedski reached just two Grand Slam quarterfinals in total: his US Open final performance, and at Wimbledon (also in 1997), a venue where he consistently under-performed. Neither Rusedski nor Henman ever reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Henman reached the semifinals of the French Open, while Rusedski never made it past the fourth round at that tournament.

Rusedski’s Davis Cup singles record was also considerably poorer than Henman’s. In Great Britain’s two key Davis Cup ties in the World Group knockout stage, Rusedski lost all four singles rubbers, despite home advantage (against the USA in 1999 and Sweden in 2002). Rusedski and Henman were, however, a formidable doubles partnership, winning tournaments together, and vital matches in Davis Cup.

Henman shares a birthday with Rusedski; Henman is exactly a year younger.

It was perhaps fitting that Rusedski’s final match at a Major was against his old rival and compatriot Tim Henman, at the 2006 US Open. After a competitive first set, where Rusedski was edged out by Henman in a tie-break, Henman dispatched his opponent, 7–6, 6–2, 6–3. This did turn out to be Rusedski’s final match in a major, and it was against a man with whom he not only competed on a tennis court, but also off it for the affection of his home fans. In their head-to-head encounters, Henman won 8–2.

Controversies

In the 2002 US Open, after losing to Pete Sampras in the third round after a gruelling five-set match, Rusedski described Sampras as "a half-step slow" and predicted that Sampras would lose his fourth-round match to young German star Tommy Haas. Sampras, however, went on to win the tournament. In the 2003 Wimbledon tournament, Rusedski swore at the umpire in the second round after not being allowed to replay a point after fan interference, losing his temper and ultimately losing the match to Andy Roddick, 6–7, 6–7, 5–7.

Rusedski tested positive for nandrolone in January 2004, but was cleared of the charges in a hearing on 10 March 2004.

Media career

Rusedski has written columns for tabloid newspapers The Sun and the Daily Mirror. He has also worked for the television channel British Eurosport, providing analysis during the station’s coverage of the Australian Open in 2003 and 2007 and of the 2007 French Open. During the 2007 Wimbledon Championships, Rusedski was both a commentator and an analyst for the BBC, and he has continued to be a part of the BBC Wimbledon team. He also has done some acting, appearing in an episode of Miss Marple as a tennis star. In 2008, he appeared as a contestant on the reality TV shows Dancing On Ice and Beat the Star. Sky Sports contracted him to provide analysis for the 2008 US Open alongside former British tennis player Annabel Croft.