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Sports Then and Now



How She Fared in 2009: Serena Williams, Nearing Legendary Status 1

Posted on December 13, 2009 by Claudia Celestial Girl
Sererna Williams began 2009 by winning her fourth Australian Open title.

Sererna Williams began 2009 by winning her fourth Australian Open title.

The Serena Slam took place in long ago 2002-2003 (leading to major titles No. 2-7; a win of five major titles in six Grand Slam events).

Then came injury, a sister’s murder, a notorious match of atrocious line calling that knocked her out of the USO in 2004, and a slip to No. 81 ranking. Poor performances. Criticism for being AWOL from segments of the tour.

Then, a triumph. A Grand Slam win in the Australian Open in 2007 (major title No. eight) that saw Serena hit a resurgence in her career. In 2008, the retirement of a major rival; the finals of Wimbledon; a win at the USO (major title No. nine), (not to mention continuing doubles’ titles including yet another Olympic gold medal) led to a simmering argument over who is the “real” world No. 1 on the Women’s Tour.

2009

Coming into the Australian Open, the usual criticisms abounded. Serena didn’t look very good in Sydney in January (losing to Dementieva 6-3 6-1). In fact, Serena looked “fat”—like she could bench press a dump truck (paraphrasing humorous remarks by Andy Roddick exchanged on camera because Serena claimed she had beaten Andy when he was 12 years old), and the press pestered her about being out of shape, overweight, and not ready for the majors. These (very funny remarks) can be seen here.

The top ladies in the draw included photogenic and personable stars: Jancovic, Ivanovic, Dementieva, also Kuznetsova, and Safina. Super-photogenic and telegenic star Maria Sharapova was still nursing the shoulder injury that would keep her out of the tour for about eight months.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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