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Chris Evert Was Hard to Beat on Clay 0

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Chris Evert won a record seven French Open Women's Singles titles. The first two came back-to-back in 1974 and 1975.

Chris Evert won a record seven French Open Women’s Singles titles. The first two came back-to-back in 1974 and 1975.

With Serena Williams not competing in the 2017 French Open due to her pregnancy, the women’s field is wide open and includes only two past champions (2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza). It is a far cry from the 1970s and 1980s when every year you knew there was one female player who would be pushing for the title.

With the possible exception of Rafael Nadal, who is aiming for his record 10th French Open title, no tennis player, man or woman, in the modern era of tennis has been more unbeatable on clay than Chris Evert.

Between August 1973 and May 1979, Evert won an amazing 125 consecutive matches on clay while losing only seven total sets.  After losing a third set tiebreaker to Tracy Austin in the semifinals of the 1979 Italian Open, she rebounded to win her next 72 matches on the surface.

She won seven French Open Championships and three of her six U.S. Open titles came while the tournament was played on clay.

Even though Evert was particularly tough to beat on clay, it wasn’t like she didn’t also display dominance on other surfaces.

Easily the most consistent player in women’s tennis history, Evert won at least one grand slam title in 13 consecutive years. She reached at least the semifinals in each of her first 34 grand slam appearances and 52 times out of 56 total appearances in the four biggest tournaments in tennis.

While her total of 18 total grand slam singles titles is tied for fifth in women’s tennis history, it is likely she would have won considerable more titles had she participated in all four majors every year during her career.

Instead, Evert participated in the Australian Open only six times (winning twice).  After winning the French Open in 1974 and 1975, she skipped the tournament for three years before returning to win the title five more times between 1979 and 1986.

Her overall career singles record of 1,309-146 (.900) ranks as the best of any player in professional tennis history. Read the rest of this entry →

Shocking Tennis Moments That I Never Expected Would Happen 1

Posted on April 26, 2017 by Aleksandra Udovenko

McEnroe-umpireTennis is full of shocking moments and memorable matches. With a full calendar of Open events and major tournaments this year, we can expect to see more madness before 2017 is over. Here is a look at some of my favorite moments in tennis history.

I like a good marathon match. Nothing beats the excitement of a tied game in which one competitor needs to win by two match points. With players so evenly matched, this format can lead to some interesting and time consuming tie-breakers.

Take the 2009 Wimbledon Grand Slam Final, in which Roger Federer played Andy Roddick for a whopping 4 hours and 17 minutes, then the longest men’s singles grand slam final in history. Federer eventually went on to win his 16th grand slam title, but it was by no means easy.

If you thought it couldn’t get any more tiring than that, then just look at the Australian Open match between Hewitt and Baghdatis in 2008. The pair played from midnight until the following morning.

In the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, a match between Isner and Mahut took a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes to play over the course of three days. The match is considered the longest in history. Legendary! Frenchman Nicolas Mahut finally went on to win the match, but how the pair survived such an intense game is beyond me.

Tennis has had some fine marathon moments and epic showdowns, but it has also suffered from bad publicity at times due to the sporadic behaviors of professionals throwing tantrums. Read the rest of this entry →

Australian Open Goes Back in Time 0

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

If you didn’t know better, you might think the Australian Open being shown these days on ESPN was a replay from 2007, not the 2017 version. With Venus and Serena Williams set to meet in the women’s final and  Roger Federer facing Rafael Nadal in the men’s final, the tournament definitely feels like Old-Timers Day.

It is hard to say which performance is the most surprising.

Given her constant physical battle with Sjögrens Syndrome, you can perhaps give the nod for most impressive performance to Venus Williams. Though she did not have to face any of the top women’s players in the draw during her run to the finals, it is still impressive that the 36-year-old Venus is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2009 and the first at a tournament other than Wimbledon since reaching the Australian Open final in 2003.

The only performance so far during the Australian Open that isn’t much of a surprise is that of second seed Serena Williams. Shooting for her 23rd Grand Slam title and seventh Australian Open crown, Serena has again been dominant and will be facing her older sister in a grand slam final for the ninth time.

Serena has claimed six of the previous eight finals matchups, including a three-set victory in the 2003 Australian Open. The last time the two met in a Grand Slam Final was the 2009 Wimbledon final when Serena won in straight sets. Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Building His Own Tennis Legacy 1

Posted on January 31, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Novak Djokovic claimed his 11th grand slam title and sixth Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic claimed his 11th grand slam title and sixth Australian Open.

Since the turn of the 21st Century, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won a combined total of 31 grand slam singles titles to rank first and tied for second all-time. They seemingly have been the dominant faces of the men’s tennis world, yet, at the end of the day it now looks possible that they both could be overtaken by another player who once lived in their shadow.

With his three-set victory over Andy Murray in the finals of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic claimed his third straight major championship and has now won 10 major titles since 2011 and 11 overall.

Nearing his 29th birthday, Djokovic is now tied with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver for fifth all-time in major championships. He has won five of the last seven and many think he could become the first men’s player since Laver in 1969 (the first year of the open era) to win all four major championships in the same year.

Even if he doesn’t claim all four this year, Djokovic can become the first men’s player since Laver to hold all four major titles at the same time if he can win the French Open in June.

He nearly won the grand slam last year as it was only a four-set loss to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open Finals that kept him from the amazing feat in 2015.

If his dominating victory over Murray is any indication, Djokovic is a man at the peak of his game ready for the challenge associated with achieving new heights. Read the rest of this entry →

Can Another Outsider Spring a Shock at the US Open? 0

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Andre Smith
Could 17th seed Grigor Dimitrov be the next longshot to emerge with a major tennis title?

Could 17th seed Grigor Dimitrov be the next longshot to emerge with a major tennis title?

The fourth and final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, is perhaps one of the favorites for the neutral tennis spectator as it throws up the potential of a shock winner.

For so long the men’s singles game has been dominated by the ‘big four’ of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, but with Marin Cilic winning at Flushing Meadows last year – and Stan Wawrinka’s famous victory over Djokovic on the French clay in June – it is fair to say that this tournament is wide open.

And that’s why this even is so intriguing; and why it is well worth keeping an eye on the US Open betting odds to see if you can pick out a potential surprise winner.

The Contenders
What was incredible about Marin Cilic’s victory in this tournament last year was that he wasn’t expected to even reach the latter stages, let alone lift the trophy, as the 14th seed. He’d only reached one Grand Slam semi final in his career up to that point, at the Australian Open in 2010, and had only ever gotten to the last eight at Flushing Meadows twice in five attempts.

But something just clicked in the Croatian’s game during that fortnight, and his straight sets wins over Kei Nishikori (another surprise) in the final and Federer in the semi-final, show that there can be demons in the hard courts of America for the more fancied players.

So who are the players to watch at this year’s event? Read the rest of this entry →

Triumphs in Tennis: What is Expected in the U.S. Open This Year 0

Posted on August 06, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
All eyes will be on Serena Williams and her attempt at the grand slam.

All eyes will be on Serena Williams and her attempt at the calendar year grand slam.

One of the great locations to watch Grand Slam tennis is Flushing Meadows, especially when the match is close and the atmosphere becomes electric in a distinctly New York kind of way. The best seat in the house is in the elevated bleachers high above the baseline inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, as you get up-close and personal with some of the best players in the world.

Tennis is a sport with a long season full of ups and downs for players. Studying for an online masters in coaching shows how professional athletes like these must survive the mentally and physically grueling pace of the games. The U.S. Open begins August 31st and is scheduled through September 13th of this year. A lot is expected from the players, and here are a few determined to do well.

Serena Is the Talk of Broadway
One of the themes that has emerged on the WTA Tour this year is that Serena Williams is capable of blasting the competition off the tennis court. Her play has become increasingly aggressive with each passing Grand Slam, and it is pretty clear that a triumphant win at the U.S. Open would be a great achievement for Williams. She has made a career of surpassing expectations and frustrating opponents and is capable of doing it again in Flushing Meadows. The tennis world is longing for this type of a compelling story, and there’s no one more qualified to pull this off than Williams herself.
Read the rest of this entry →

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      May 30, 2017 | 9:21 pm

      Blair-OriolesMore than 40 years before current stalwart Adam Jones first patrolled centerfield for the Baltimore Orioles, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month roamed the field with grace while also providing the Orioles with timely hitting for more than a decade.

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