While the 1991 Grand Slam tennis circuit officially began with January's Australian Open, the competition won't really heat up until late spring. Meanwhile, armchair tennis fans are left desperate for top-class matches to watch. It's just the time, then, to pop in two superb videos capturing recent action from the British and American Grand Slam events, both excerpted from TV coverage and blessed with comprehensive camera work and minimal commentary.
A fairly straightforward record of a riveting tennis event, Wimbledon '90 focuses on the reemergence of Zina Garrison as a Grand Slam force and Martina Navratilova's emotional, age-defying campaign for her record-breaking ninth Wimbledon championship. The men's matches include John McEnroe's first-round humiliation by Derrick Rostagno, a player not even in the international top 100, and the third consecutive final between Boris Becker and eventual winner Stefan Edberg. In addition, commentator Chris Collingsworth conducts a whimsical tour of the Royal Box and other trappings of the 113-year-old event.
The Best of U.S. Open Tennis, meanwhile, is a video scrapbook covering 10 years' worth of championship play. Beginning in 1980, we see Evert, McEnroe, and Connors dominate the decade's early years; Navratilova and Lendl control the middle; and Graf, Sampras, and Sabatini emerge late. Unfortunately, the tape's producers felt compelled to provide historic context by shoehorning news headlines between each year's segment, leading to some mawkish juxtapositions. In 1982, for instance, a reminder of Princess Grace's death sets up the tasteless transition: ''While we lost a Princess, the Queen Chris Evert gained another title.'' Wimbledon '90: B+ U.S. Open: B-