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Tennis March Madness: The Top 9 Who Won Back-To-Back Titles at Indian Wells & Miami 66

Posted on March 04, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won the Key Biscayne/Miami title in 2005

March Madness has its own special setting for tennis. Prior to the start of the dusty clay-court season in April, the tour swings through the States landing first in the California desert at a venue called Indian Wells before proceeding to Miami and the Sony Ericsson Open.

Both tournaments field players for a Masters 1000 for the men and a premiere mandatory event for the ladies with 96 participants in the field. Play extends over 10 days, which is unusual for a Masters Series tournament.

The BNP Paribas Open held at Indian Wells will begin March 8, 2012, concluding on March 18.  The Sony Ericsson Open will follow, starting on March 21, 2012, and ending on April 1.

For the men, multiple winners of each tournament remain relatively rare when you consider the number of participants each year.

But the true piece de resistance of the March Madness swing through Indian Wells and Miami is winning both titles, back-to-back in the same year. Surviving to win one of these tournaments is a testament to a player’s endurance, but to win both in the same season is one of the most difficult doubles of the tennis tour.

Only nine players, both men and women, have accomplished this rare feat to date. Only one man and one woman claimed the double more than once—Roger Federer and Steffi Graf.

Indian Wells

Eight men have won Indian Wells more than once.

Boris Becker (1987-1988), Jim Courier (1991, 1993), Michael Chang (1992, 1996-1997), Pete Sampras (1994-1995), Lleyton Hewitt (2002-2003), Roger Federer (2004-2006), Rafael Nadal (2007, 2009) and Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011) all captured the trophy at Indian Wells more than one time.

Only Federer and Chang can claim three titles—so far.

Seven ladies including Martina Navratilova (1990-1991), Mary Jo Fernandez (1993, 1995), Steffi Graf (1994,1996), Lindsay Davenport (1997, 2000), Serena Williams (1999, 2001), Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007), and Kim Clijsters (2003, 2005) have won the championship at Indian Wells.

None of the ladies have managed to win the tournament more than twice.

Key Biscayne/Miami

Locale for the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami

Only six men have won the championship in Miami more than once, although Andre Agassi managed six titles during his long, illustrious career.

Ivan Lendl (1986, 1989), Andre Agassi (1990, 1995-1996, 2001-2003), Sampras (1993-1994, 2000), Federer (2005-2006), Andy Roddick (2004, 2010), and Djokovic (2007, 2011) have all brought home multiple titles.

By the same token, eight women have won the championship in Miami more than once with  Graf and Serena Williams bringing home the most titles with five each.

Graf (1987-1988, 1994-1996), Monica Seles (1990-1991), Arantxa Sanchez (1992-1993), Martina Hingis (1997, 2000), Venus Williams (1998-1999, 2001), Serena Williams (2002-2004, 2007-2008), Clijsters (2005, 2010) and Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2011) represent the some of the best of the best in the women’s game.

But only nine players in the history of these tournaments have won both respective championships in the same year.  They follow.

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The Top Ten Champions of the ATP World Tour Finals 57

Posted on November 19, 2011 by JA Allen

Roger Federer will be looking to win Title No. 6 at the WTF in London.

For men’s tennis, the season is a long one—starting in January and ending in early December with the Davis Cup finals. The ATP, however, ends its year with the World Tour Finals which get underway on Sunday.

The tournament is the crowning event of the 2011 season where the top eight man do battle to determine the champion of the champions.

The World Tour Finals is the latest title for the ATP year-end tournament for men’s professional tennis to be held in London for the second consecutive year.

The Masters year-end tournament, first played in 1970, features the top eight players on the men’s tour selected based on accumulated calendar year ATP ranking points. The top eight men draw to create two teams with members of each four-man team competing with each other in three round-robin matches.

This year in Group A are Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. In Group B we find Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish.

From each group, the two players with the best results move onto the semifinals where the top-ranked player from each group plays the second-ranked player from the other group.

The final is contested by the winners of the semifinal contests.  The winner of that match is accorded 1500 ranking points as well as the honor and prestige of winning in a field of the best eight players in the world.

Last year Roger Federer faced Rafael Nadal in the final which Federer won 6-3, 3-6, 6-1— giving the Swiss his fifth title in this event.  That ties Federer with Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl at five championship titles at the ATP year-end tournament.

So in the 41 years the championships have been held, who are the multiple winners of this event?  Who reigned as the best of the best at the end of the season?

We will count them down here.

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From Agassi to Ljubicic: The Last 10 Tennis Pros Who Ruled at Indian Wells 3

Posted on March 02, 2011 by JA Allen

BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament held annually at Indian Wells.

The BNP Paribas Open, a Masters Series 1000 Tournament held annually, has a rich and storied history.

Staged at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens, the setting is lushly picturesque with its 12 courts bathed in the warm California sun.

The tournament’s roots go back to 1976 with its name changing as often as its sponsors.

The popular tennis event, however, had its beginning at its current Indian Wells locale in 1987.

Boris Becker won the inaugural men’s tournament at Indian Wells defeating Stefan Edberg in the final 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Since that time this premiere tennis tournament has attracted the top players from the men’s and women’s field.

Following upon the heels of the Australian Open, the one-two punch of Indian Wells and Miami, closes the early American hardcourt season, pressing the players toward the upcoming clay season.

To date, only three players in the tournament’s history have won the event more than twice–Americans Jimmy Connors, pre-Indian Wells, and Michael Chang who won the event in 1992 and then consecutively in 1996-1997.

Roger Federer is the only player to have won the tournament consecutively three times from 2004-2006.

The question looming on the horizon remains–who will win the title in 2011? Perhaps one of the seasoned veterans will reclaim his spot at the top or will one of the new up-and-coming players demand the trophy on the final Sunday?

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Classic Match: Nikolay Davydenko Vs. Juan Martin del Potro at 2009 WTF in London 4

Posted on November 19, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

2009 winner Nikolay Davydenko, runner-up Juan Martin del Potro

It’s London 2009, in the gloomy chill of November, and the British are about to see tennis in a whole new light.

Since O2 had transformed the Millennium’s ugly duckling dome that squatted alongside the Thames into a swan, it had become the place to perform: for Prince and Springsteen, for Kylie and Led Zeppelin, and for Rafa and Roger.

Because 2009 had marked the transfer of the Masters Cup from Shanghai to the newly-titled World Tour Finals in the original capital of tennis: London.

But this was a far cry from Wimbledon. This was modern cityscape replete with light show, soundtrack and glamour, determined to bring the best of Shanghai to London’s unlovely Docklands.

As if to celebrate the occasion, the end-of-year climax had secured the top eight men in tennis for the first time in years. The finale in Shanghai was missing Rafael Nadal, injured before it began. It lost Andy Roddick, injured in practice and replaced by Radek Stepanek at the last minute.

The first year for the WTF in London with loaded field.

And Roger Federer was only there by the skin of his teeth, having pulled out of Paris, mid-tournament, two weeks before with a back injury. In the event, he barely made it through the round robins, so debilitated had he become.

But London welcomed the crème-de-la-crème. Even a limping Andy Roddick, who was replaced at the last moment by Robin Soderling, turned up to watch. And the tennis-mad home crowd quickly adjusted from English to British and embraced Andy Murray as one of their own.

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Roger Federer and Other Tops Seeds Advance In Paris 2

Posted on November 10, 2010 by JA Allen

Roger Federer faced crowd favorite Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Paris.

Will Paris continue to sizzle? Unveiled in France this week is the last Masters event of 2010 before the year-end finals begin in London.

A few players are hanging onto the hope that they can make the final field of eight for the Barclays WTF. One is Fernando Verdasco who must make the semifinals in Paris in order to chance booking a flight to London.

Jurgen Melzer only has a prayer to make the field by winning this Masters event in Paris. That makes Melzer’s chances as one of the longest of long shots.

In the third day of action, the biggest names in the draw were on court for the first time.  Several of the contests on this day offered interesting and even inspiring performances by the top seeds.

No. 1 Roger Federer vs. Richard Gasquet

Federer faced crowd favorite Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the first evening match.

The No. 1 seed broke the Frenchman early during Gasquet’s first service game. Then Federer held on to win the opening set never allowing Gasquet a peek at a break opportunity.

Federer continued to dominate by breaking Gasquet during the Frenchman’s first game of the second set. That one break of serve was again all the Swiss needed.  The Frenchman never earned a break point on the Federer serve during the entire match as the Swiss won 6-4, 6-4.

One of the announcers described Federer’s play as poetry in motion.

In the end the commentator admitted that Gasquet did not play a bad match but was powerless against the Swiss.  It was indeed, a master class conducted by Federer in his opening match of this tournament.

The Masters in Paris remains one of the few that the Swiss has never won. Will this be the year?

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Andy Murray Out-Masters Roger Federer in Latest Men’s Tennis Power Rankings 0

Posted on October 21, 2010 by Ronger Fengerer

Murray won the ATP Shanghai Masters.

The three-week five-tournament Asian hard-court swing ended last Sunday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

The following players left with one more title on their career list: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Bangkok), Mikhail Youzhny (Kuala Lumpur), Rafael Nadal (Tokyo), Novak Djokovic (Beijing) and Andy Murray (Shanghai). Not surprisingly, all of the winners are featured in this installment of men’s tennis power rankings.

And the European indoor hard-court season has started this week in Stockholm and Moscow. With four open seats yet to be filled in the World Tour Finals, this is a key stretch for those still hoping to qualify.

The Top 10

Andy Murray No. 1 in this week's power rankings.

1. Andy Murray (Last Power Ranking: 10; ATP Ranking: 4)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [Winner]; Beijing [Quarterfinalist]; US Open [R32]; Cincinnati [Quarterfinalist]

Power Ranking Points: 1080

Andy Murray took several weeks off after his surprisingly early exit at Flushing Meadows and then joined the action at Beijing and Shanghai.

In the quartefinals at Beijing, Murray was unable to find his rhythm against a hard-hitting Ivan Ljubicic. However, he swept aside the competition at Shanghai, winning his sixth Masters 1000 title without dropping a set. His 6-3,6-2 final win over Roger Federer was most impressive, with his exceptional retrieving ability on full display.

After splitting with Maclagan, Murray has won two Masters 1000 titles, his only titles this season. However, already 23, Murray is yet to win that elusive first Grand Slam. Maybe more changes than his coaching staff are needed. How about giving up video games, Andy?

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      Billy Kilmer

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

      Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers.

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