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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

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

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