• December 9 down the years

Two great Swedes do battle

The sporting events of December 9 down the years
Stefan Edberg's backhand was poetry in motion © Getty Images

The final of the Australian Open was the only one in any grand slam tennis tournament to be contested by two Swedish players, men or women. Mats Wilander was looking to retain the title he'd won for the previous two years, but went down in straight sets against the big serves and superb volleys of Stefan Edberg. Between them, the two Swedes won the Open five times in a row.

The All Blacks first toured Britain in 1905 but didn't complete the Grand Slam until today. An 18-9 win at Murrayfield made it four out of four against the British countries. In a dull match, they outscored Scotland by two tries to one.

Having beaten Audley Harrison to win the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title on December 10 the previous year, Danny Williams lost the rematch, a non-title bout, in the third round. Williams weighed 19 stone to Harrison's 17 stone 12. As usual with these two, not much else to report.

Alastair Hignell scored 19 points, a new record for the Varsity rugby match. Hot favourites Cambridge won 34-12 but led only 16-12 with 12 minutes left and scored only three tries. Hignell later played for England and spent several years in broadcasting despite suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Tom Kite was born in Texas. He had to wait until he was 42 before he could give up the title of best player never to win a major by taking the US Open in 1992.

When the IBF took their world heavyweight title away from George Foreman, François Botha of South Africa won a split decision over Germany's Axel Schulz to win the vacant crown, but was stripped of the belt when he tested positive for steroids after the fight.

Britain's Zoë Baker won gold in the 50 metres breaststroke at the European Short-Course Championships. Three years later, she set a world long-course record in the event.

Willoughby Hamilton was born in County Kildare. In 1890 he stopped Willie Renshaw winning an eighth Wimbledon singles title. Two sets to one down in the Challenge Round, he outlasted the champion 6-1 6-1 in the last two. Hamilton never had much trouble with fitness: he and his brother William played football for Ireland in 1885, winning their only caps in the match against Wales. Ireland led 2-0 at half-time, but 40-year-old Jack Henderson had a nightmare in goal and Wales won 8-2!

In the Australian Open final, Helena Sukova took the first set on a tiebreak against Chris Evert, only to lose the next two easily. It was Evert's 16th grand slam singles title. She won two more after this. Suková, tall and talented though she was, never won one. She lost two finals in the Australian and two in the US Open, always to an all-time great: Evert, Martina Navrátilová, and Steffi Graf twice. At Wimbledon, she was doubles champion four times and won the mixed with her brother Cyril Suk in 1996 and 1997.

In 1952, world middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson tried to take Joey Maxim's light-heavyweight title, only to collapse from heat exhaustion and retire from boxing. Three years later, he made a comeback, working his way through the middleweight contenders before demonstrating what everyone knew: that Carl 'Bobo' Olsen had only been keeping the throne warm. Olsen won the vacant title against Britain's Randolph Turpin (see July 10, 1951), but couldn't cope with Sugar's Ray thunder and lightning. It was all over in the second round. Six months later, Bobo tried again. This time he lasted twice as long. Robinson lost and regained the title again and was still fighting in 1965, when he was 44.

Hannes Kolehmainen was born. Never mind Nurmi in the 1920s, this was the original Flying Finn - and maybe the greatest of all. At the 1912 Olympics, he ran shoulder-to-shoulder with the famous Frenchman Jean Bouin before winning the 5,000 metres by a yard as both men shattered the previous world record. Two days later, Kolehmainen won the 10,000 metres by 45 seconds, then added a third gold in the cross-county race. He also set a world record in the 3,000 metres, but Finland were eliminated without a medal. The 1916 Olympics were cancelled by the First World War, but Kolehmainen came back in 1920 to win the marathon, finishing just 70 yards ahead of the silver medallist. Like Nurmi, he showed that vegetarians could hold their own pretty well in distance races.

On the last day of the world judo championships in Paris, gold medals were won by top names like Shozo Fujii, Sumio Endo, and Thierry Rey of France.

Steve Waugh became the first batsman to score a century against every other Test-playing country.

Geoff Boycott's sacking as Yorkshire captain was confirmed once and for all.