France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Patrick Michael Rafter is an Australian former professional tennis player. He reached the Association of Tennis Professionals world No. 1 singles ranking on 26 July 1999. His career highlights include consecutive US Open titles in 1997 and 1998, consecutive runner-up appearances at Wimbledon in 2000 and 2001, winning the 1999 Australian Open men's doubles tournament alongside the Swede Jonas Björkman, winning two singles and two doubles ATP Masters titles, he became the first man in the Open Era to win Canada Masters, Cincinnati Masters and the US Open in the same year, which he achieved in 1998. To date, only 2 players have followed this feat: Andy Roddick in 2003 and Rafael Nadal in 2013. Rafter is the third man in the Open Era to reach semifinals or better of every Grand Slam tournament in both singles and doubles, after Rod Laver and Stefan Edberg, remains the last man to date to accomplish this. Rafter is the only player to remain undefeated against Roger Federer with at least three meetings.
He is the only player who has a winning record against the 20-time Grand Slam winner on all the three main tennis surfaces: hard and grass. Rafter turned professional in 1991, he twice was twice the runner-up at Wimbledon. He was known for his natural serve-and-volley style of play. Rafter was on the Australian Davis Cup Team that lost in the final in 2000 and 2001, he was unable to play in the 1999 Davis Cup final – where Australia beat France to win the cup – because of injury. Rafter was on the Australian teams that won the World Team Cup in 1999 and 2001, he retired from the professional tour at the end of 2002. He returns to the courts annually to play World Team Tennis for the Philadelphia Freedoms. Rafter won his first tour level match at Wimbledon, he reached the third round, before losing to Andre Agassi. He reached the semifinals in Indianapolis, he defeated Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals in three tight sets, before losing to Boris Becker in the semifinals. Rafter finished 1993 with a ranking of 66.
Rafter won his first career singles title in 1994 in Manchester. Prior to 1997, this was the only ATP singles title. Pat got to the QFs of Miami where he lost to 17 year old future star Ivo Karlovic in the juniors tournament. Rafter's breakthrough came in 1997. At that year's French Open he reached the semifinals, falling in four sets to two time former champion Sergi Bruguera, he surprised many by winning the US Open, defeating Andriy Medvedev, Magnus Norman, Lionel Roux, Andre Agassi, Magnus Larsson, Michael Chang and Greg Rusedski in a four-set final. This was his first Grand Slam title, catapulted him ahead of Chang to finish the year ranked #2 in the world, behind only Pete Sampras; the unexpected nature of his U. S. Open title led many, including Hall-of-famer and four-time U. S. Open champion John McEnroe to criticise Rafter as a "one-slam wonder". 1998 was a strong year for Rafter, who won the Canadian Open and Cincinnati in a row. Rafter defeated ninth ranked Richard Krajicek in the Toronto final and second ranked Pete Sampras in the Cincinnati final.
When asked about the difference between himself and Rafter following their titles, Sampras stated "10 grand slams", that a player has to come back and win a Grand Slam again in order to be considered great. Following his title at Cincinnati, Rafter won a US Open warm-up tournament in New York. Entering the US Open as the defending champion, he reached the final again by defeating Hicham Arazi, Hernán Gumy, David Nainkin, Goran Ivanišević and Jonas Björkman before defeating Sampras in a five-set semifinal. Rafter pointedly took issue with Sampras' refusal to show him respect in defeat: "That is what upsets me about him", Rafter said, "and the reason why I try to piss him off as much as I can."Rafter defended his U. S. Open title by defeating fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis in four sets, committing only five unforced errors throughout the match; when asked about Sampras' earlier comments about having to win another Grand Slam in order to be considered great, Rafter replied: "Maybe you can ask him that question, if he thinks that now.
For me, I won another Slam, it hasn't sunk in yet. It's very exciting for me to repeat it". Altogether, Rafter won six tournaments in 1998. At the 1999 French Open, Rafter drew future World No. 1 and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the first round, making him the first opponent of Federer in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. Rafter defeated him after losing the first set. Rafter reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time in 1999, where he lost in straight sets to Agassi, the first of three consecutive years that the two met in the Wimbledon semifinals. July 1999 saw Rafter holding the world No. 1 men's singles ranking for one week, making him the shortest-reigning world No. 1 in ATP tour history. As the two-time defending US Open champion, Rafter lost in the first round of the tournament, retiring in the fifth set against Cédric Pioline after succumbing to shoulder tendinitis. Rafter's shoulder injury wound up being serious enough to necessitate surgery, he won the Australian Open men's doubles title in 1999, making him one of few players in the modern era to win both a singles an
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
James Blake (tennis)
James Riley Blake is an American retired professional tennis player. Blake was known for powerful, flat forehand. During his career, Blake amassed 24 singles finals appearances, while his career-high singles ranking was World No. 4. Career highlights included reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics, the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and US Open, as well as two titles at the Hopman Cup and being the No. 1 ranked American singles player. Blake was a key performer for the United States 2007 Davis Cup championship team, going 2–0 in the championship tie vs. Russia at second singles. In 2005, Blake was presented with the Comeback Player of the Year award for his remarkable return to the tour. In 2008, Blake was awarded another honor by the ATP, where he was named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year. On July 3, 2007, Blake's autobiography, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, which discussed his comeback after his unlucky 2004 season, was released and debuted at No. 22 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
He co-wrote this book with Andrew Friedman. Blake announced that he would retire from tennis after competing at the 2013 US Open, where he suffered a first round loss in five sets against Ivo Karlovic. Blake's career ended on August 29, 2013, after a 6–2 2–6 2–6 doubles loss in the 2013 US Open. Blake was born in Yonkers, New York, to an African American father, Thomas Reynolds Blake, a British mother, Betty, he has a brother Thomas, a professional tennis player, three older half-brothers: Jason and Howard, a half-sister Michelle. Blake started playing tennis at age 5 alongside his brother Thomas; when he was 13, he was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, for five years as a teenager he was forced to wear a full-length back brace for 18 hours a day, though not while playing tennis. The Blake family moved to Fairfield, Connecticut when Blake's father's job selling surgical supplies took him from New York to Hartford, Connecticut. Blake attended Fairfield High School, where a schoolmate and childhood friend was future musician John Mayer.
Blake was inspired to pursue tennis after hearing his role model Arthur Ashe speak to the Harlem Junior Tennis Program. Brian Barker was his first coach. Blake left Harvard University, where he was a member of the A. D. Club, after his sophomore year to pursue a career in professional tennis. At the age of 21, Blake saw his first Davis Cup action in 2001 against India and became the third person of African-American heritage to play for the Davis Cup for the United States. Ranked no. 120 in the world, Blake accepted a wild card into Cincinnati Masters. He beat Arnaud Clément to reach the round of 16, where he met Patrick Rafter. Blake came close to winning the first set, after dropping the second set, according to Blake's autobiography, complimented him at the net and boosted his confidence immeasurably by saying, "Now do you believe you can beat someone like me, or me?" Blake's name became more recognizable worldwide after he pushed the eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt to five sets at the US Open.
In January 2002, Blake won the 2002 USTA Waikoloa Challenger in Hawaii. A month in Memphis he posted his first win over a top-10 ranked opponent, Tommy Haas, ranked no. 5, reached the final, losing to Andy Roddick. He reached the quarterfinals at the ATP Masters Series event in Rome in May and the final at Newport in July. In August, in Cincinnati, he won his first career ATP Tour title and his first ATP Masters Series title: it came in doubles with Todd Martin, making Blake the first African-American male to win a title of any kind in Cincinnati's 101-year history, he was the first African-American to reach a final in Cincinnati since 1969, when Arthur Ashe reached the doubles finals with Charlie Pasarell. The next week in Washington, he won his first ATP Tour singles title, beating Andre Agassi in the semifinals and Paradorn Srichaphan in the final. At the US Open, he reached the third round, where he again faced the top-ranked and world number one Lleyton Hewitt for the rematch of the previous year.
In an entertaining match Blake was again defeated in five sets. In 2003, his best results were a quarterfinals appearance at Indian Wells. Blake was eliminated from the US Open in the 3rd round by Roger Federer. 2004 was a difficult year for Blake. In May, while practicing with Robby Ginepri for the Masters event in Rome, he broke his neck when he slipped on the clay and collided with the net post. Blake fractured his seventh vertebra however did not sustain any nerve damage and was able to make a full recovery from the injury. In July, his father died of stomach cancer. At the same time, Blake developed shingles, which temporarily paralyzed half his face and blurred his vision. Blake's injuries and personal issues caused him to post poor results for the first half of 2005. By April his ranking was 210, he decided to play the Challenger circuit, the "minor leagues" of tennis, in order to regain confidence and get more matches. In May he entered events in Tunica and Forest Hills, New York, won both.
He rejoined the ATP circuit and by August reached the final at the International Series event in Washington, D. C. where he fell to Roddick. He was given a wild card into AMS Cincinnati, he won the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, defe
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Stefan Bengt Edberg is a Swedish former world No. 1 professional tennis player. A major proponent of the serve-and-volley style of tennis, he won six Grand Slam singles titles and three Grand Slam men's doubles titles between 1985 and 1996, he won the Masters Grand Prix and was a part of the Swedish Davis Cup-winning-team four times. In addition he won four Masters Series titles, four Championship Series titles and the unofficial Olympic tournament 1984, was ranked in the singles top 10 for ten successive years, 9 years in the top 5, is considered one of the greatest players of his era. Edberg began coaching Roger Federer in January 2014, with this partnership ending in December 2015. Edberg first came to the tennis world's attention as a junior player, he won all four Grand Slam junior titles in 1983 to become the first player to achieve the "Junior Grand Slam" in the open era. That year as a professional, Edberg won his first career doubles title in Basel. Edberg accidentally caused the death of linesman Dick Wertheim with an errant serve during the 1983 US Open.
In 1984, Edberg won his first top-level singles title in Milan. Edberg won the tennis tournament at the 1984 Summer Olympics when the sport was an exhibition event and partnered with fellow Swede Anders Järryd to reach the final of the US Open. Edberg reached the French Open doubles final with Järryd in 1986 and was World No. 1 in doubles in that year. U. S. fans first took notice of Edberg's professional career when he won the U. S. Indoor in Memphis in February 1985, defeating Yannick Noah in the final. Edberg's first two Grand Slam singles titles came at the Australian Open. In December 1985, he defeated Mats Wilander in straight sets to claim his first major title. In January 1987, he defended his title by defeating local favourite Pat Cash in five sets to win the last Australian Open held on grass courts. Edberg won the Australian Open and US Open men's doubles titles in 1987. In 1988, Edberg reached the first of three consecutive finals at Wimbledon, but lost his ranking as Sweden's number one player when Mats Wilander had his best year by winning the Australian, French and US Opens in 1988, becoming the world's number one ranked player.
In all three of his consecutive Wimbledon finals, he played German Boris Becker in what became one of Wimbledon's greatest rivalries. Edberg won their first encounter in a four-set match spread over two days because of rain delays. A year Becker won in straight sets; the closest of their matches came in the 1990 final, when Edberg won in five sets after being down a break in the fifth set. Edberg reached the French Open final in 1989 but lost in five sets to 17-year-old Michael Chang, who became the youngest male winner of a Grand Slam singles title; this was the only Grand Slam singles title that Edberg never won, denying him the completion of a career Grand Slam at the senior level, to match his junior Grand Slam. In 1990, an abdominal muscle injury forced Edberg to retire from the Australian Open final while trailing Ivan Lendl 5–2 in the third set. Edberg took the World No. 1 ranking from Lendl on 13 August 1990 by winning the Super 9 tournament in Cincinnati. He held it for the rest of that year and for much of 1991 and 1992.
Edberg spent a total of 72 weeks as World No. 1. In 1991 Edberg again reached the Semi Finals of Wimbledon but lost to Michael Stich in a close match: 4–6, 7–6, 7–6, 7–6. Edberg's final two Grand Slam singles triumphs came at the US Open, with wins over Jim Courier in the 1991 final and Pete Sampras in the 1992 final, just months away from being ranked No. 1 in the world. Edberg reached the Finals of Australian Open again in 1992 and 1993, losing both times to Jim Courier in 4 sets, he was one of the few players. The 1993 Australian Open final was Edberg's last Grand Slam singles final appearance. In 1996, Edberg lost the match to Boris Becker, he won his final Grand Slam doubles title at Australian Open with Petr Korda. He reached quarterfinals of his last US Open after defeating Richard Krajicek and Tim Henman, but lost the quarterfinals to Goran Ivanisevic. Edberg was most comfortable playing tennis on fast-playing surfaces. Of his six Grand Slam singles titles, four were won on grass courts at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and two were won on hardcourts at the US Open.
In December 2013, Edberg began coaching Roger Federer. Edberg is noted as the finest serve-and-volley player of his era and arguably the greatest of all-time. Edberg did not possess a powerful dominating serve like Pete Sampras or Boris Becker, but his serve was still effective. Edberg chose to use a less powerful serve, such as a kick or slice serve; the extra time from using a slower serve gave Edberg more time to get to the net, where he used his quick feet and athleticism to gain control of the point. Edberg's volleying skills were the best and could redirect powerfully struck balls to the open court, he had sufficient groundstrokes, his one-handed backhand was one of his marquee shots. Edberg's backhand was effective and considered amongst the best of his era. Through his whole career, Edberg used Wilson Sporting Goods Adidas clothing and shoes. Edberg began playing competitive squash after his retirement from professional tennis and soon became an elite player in Sweden; when racketlon emerged as a growing sport in Scandinavia, Edberg's pro-level tennis ability and emerging squash prowess made him competitive, despite his relative