Happy Birthday: Rosewall, Johnson, Jovetic

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Rosewall is one of the finest tennis players of all time.

The Australian, who turns 82 today, won eight Grand Slam singles titles and made the then-record 35 major final appearances.

Rosewall, who also won nine major doubles titles, enjoyed a successful career in the early 1950s to 1970s. The left-hander had a powerful backhand but a surprisingly soft serve. He was, however, agile and had a lethal volley.

Rosewall rose to the top of the rankings and remained there for large parts of the early 1960s. He was ranked among the top 20 players in the world, amateur or professional, every year from 1952 to 1977.

His finest moment, arguably, came at the 1971 Australian Open when he became the first male player during the Open Era to win a Grand Slam without dropping a set.

More sporting birthdays on this day:

1974: Orlando Cabrera, Colombian-American ex-baseball player. Won the World Series with Boston Red Sox (42).

1981: Mitchell Johnson, retired Australian cricketer, who was a fast bowler and World Cup winner (35).

1987: Danny Cipriani, English rugby player who is an England and Wasps fly-half/fullback (29).

1989: Stevan Jovetic, professional footballer, who is a striker for Montenegro and Inter Milan (27).

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On This Day: 1998 - Mighty Mika brings it home for McLaren

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Flying Finn: Hakkinen.

On this day 18 years ago, Finland’s Mika Hakkinen enjoyed a flag-to-flag victory at the Japanese Grand Prix to clinch the 1998 Formula One world championship title.

It was McLaren’s first drivers’ championship in seven years. Hakkinen secured the title with a 14-point margin over Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, who had to start from the back of the grid and then suffered a 165mph blow-out when he ran over debris from an earlier crash that dumped him out of the action at Suzuka in the 32nd lap.

“When Michael was forced to start from the back of the grid it raised an enormous amount of pressure on me,” Hakkinen said afterwards. “I don’t know how to start explaining my feelings.”

More memorable events on this day:

1946: The New York Knickerbockers (now Knicks) beat the Huskies 68-66 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in what was the first-ever NBA game.

1987: The New York Jets retired the #13 jersey of Don Maynard, who played as a wide receiver for the team from 1960 to 1972.

2015: Roger Federer ended a three-and-a-half year drought against Rafael Nadal by defeating him 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to claim a seventh Basel title.

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Happy Birthday: Laxman, Gary Player, Mark Hughes

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(Clockwise): Gary Player, Mark Hughes and VVS Laxman.

Known for his historic knock of 281 against Australia in 2001, the career of VVS Laxman, who turns 42 today, signifies a lot more than that.

Considered one of the best batsmen India has ever produced in Test cricket, Laxman was a member of the ‘Great Indian Batting Quartet’ along with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, who took Indian batting to great heights in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Considered an underachiever until his life changed forever in March 2001 with a magnificent 281 in Kolkata when India looked set to go 0-2 down to Australia. It was at that time the highest Test score by an Indian.

Lax repeatedly saved his best for the Aussies and became just the second Indian to score more than 2,000 runs against Australia in 2008. He announced his retirement in August 2012.

More sporting birthdays on this day:

1935: Gary Player, retired golfing legend, who won nine majors between 1961 and 1978 (81).

1963: Mark Hughes, Welsh former footballer, who is the current manager of Stoke City in the Premier League (53).

1988: Masahiro Tanaka, Japanese baseball player, who is a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees (28).

1991: Jiang Yuyuan, Chinese retired gymnast, who won Olympic team gold Beijing 2008 (25).

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