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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

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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