ITFWorld Autumn 2013

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INSIDE OUT INSIDE out T POLAND Talented players from Poland have been making headlines recently, converting their country's once modest tennis success into strong results in individual and team competitions. As part of ITFWorld's occasional series on emerging tennis nations, Jeff Kavanagh discovers how this is being achieved. Agnieszka Radwanska was Poland's flagbearer at London 2012 Urszula Radwanska celebrates with her teammates after sending Poland back to Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II for 2014 10 ITFWORLD AUTUMN 2013 his year's Wimbledon, the 127th edition, will stick long in the memory for the series of firsts it produced. The men's champion, Andy Murray, was the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon. The Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli won her first major, and retired soon afterwards. And for the first time ever, a Polish man competed in the semifinal of a Grand Slam tournament. This last achievement was made more remarkable by the fact Jerzy Janowicz faced compatriot Lukasz Kubot in the quarterfinals. The only other Polish man to progress this far in a Grand Slam previously was Wojtek Fibak more than 30 years earlier, when Poland was still firmly ensconced behind the Iron Curtain and neither of 2013's quarterfinalists had been born. Not that the accomplishments of Polish players at Wimbledon were exclusively male. Current world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, the first Polish woman to win a WTA title in Stockholm in 2007, and no stranger to ground-breaking feats, followed up her 2012 Wimbledon final appearance with a semifinal berth of her own. Although both Radwanska and Janowicz would lose their semis, against the German Sabine Lisicki and Murray respectively, there was no doubting that their performances at Wimbledon underlined Poland's emergence as a major tennis force. The significance of what they had achieved wasn't lost on the players. Janowicz described the tournament as "magical" while Kubot explained one of the reasons behind his football-style shirt swap with Janowicz after their match was to "make our tennis more famous, more popular and show that Poland tennis is in the map of tennis." Much was then expected of the Polish contingent at the US Open in August. Unfortunately for the men the clouds were about to roll in on their golden summer. Janowicz, Kubot, Davis Cup by PNB Paribas teammate Michal Przysiezny, and the doubles pairing of Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenberg, runners-up in 2011, all limped out in the opening round — almost literally in the case of then world No. 14 Janowicz, who had injured his back in the lead-up to the tournament.

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