By Denise Morris.
The Liverpool International 2005 had lots of extras – our 2004 champion Ivan Ljubicic returned, our wonderful legends returned to entrance us once again but this time we had added bonuses in the form of Woman’s legend Martina Navratilova and that Australian personality and former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.
The weather was kind in part – beautiful sunshine, a few fluffy white clouds – perfect tennis weather until finals day which dawned grey and damp but didn’t dampen the sell out crowds’ enthusiasm for a day of great tennis.
Adding to those two famous names were the wonderful legends Bahrami, Leconte, Nastase and McNamara, our very own Liverpool Ambassador Barry Cowan and upcoming Liverpudlian Ken Skupski as well as our ATP players Ivan Ljubicic, Mikhail Youzhny, Paul Goldstein, Novak Djokovic ( a rising star at 18 in his first time on grass), Jan-Michael Gambill, Bobby Reynolds,Robert Kendrick and Norwegians Jan-Frode Andersen and Stian Boretti.
During her time in Liverpool Tennis legend Martina Navratilova got her hands on some new silverware – the Champions League trophy at Anfield.The nine-time Wimbledon singles champion visited the Reds Museum during her short time in Liverpool.
Martina is an amazing ambassador for tennis, always being ready to give advice to the youngsters.On completion of her last match she was treated to thunderous applause and in an emotional speech she thanked Tournament Director Anders Borg for inviting her and hoped that she would be back again. As she said as long as she enjoys playing tennis she will continue. An amazing example to us all.
This year we supported 2 charities in The Marina Daglish Breast Cancer Fund and the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust and the grand sum of £12,000 was raised for these charities over the 5 days.
The semi finals were a multinational affair. The first was a match up of two youngsters. Up & Coming star on his first senior ATP year 18 year old Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Montenegro versus 23 old Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Mikhail(Misha) was the victor in an interesting match.
The second semi final was between the defending champion of 2004 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia and Paul Goldstein of USA. and Ivan wasthe victor – through to defend his title.
And so to the 2005 Final of the ATP Singles. Unfortunately the weather tried its best to upset the great occasion but thankfully stayed dry though windy and overcast. The packed crowd were entertained to an enthralling match of three tightly contested sets before finally after 2 1/2 hours Ivan Ljubicic retained his title and became the 2005 champion. Sky Sports were there to record the match as well. As Ivan said afterwards it was the first time he had had the chance to defend a title and it meant a lot to him to actually win it.
A great spectacle of tennis and getting bigger and better every year.