Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Petra Kvitova Captures Wimbledon: Tops the Women’s Tennis Power Ranking 7

Posted on July 08, 2011 by JA Allen

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic Wins Wimbledon

Who has not heard the news? A whole new era is afoot in women’s tennis.

Considering the players who captured headlines and the attention of tennis pundits during the second week of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships – you quickly surmised that the usual suspects were missing in action.

Gone was defending champion Serena Williams who had held the Rosewater Dish aloft four times, hoping that 2011 would bring her five.

Another Wimbledon win would tie Serena with her older sister Venus Williams who had won the All England Club Championship five times. Venus was also no longer in the house.

Absent, too, were French Open champion Li Na, who lost in the second round in a fierce contest as well as the No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki who failed again to make the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

No. 2 ranked Kim Clijsters never checked in for Championships, still sidelined with an ankle injury.

That left the field wide open for a newly invigorated Maria Sharapova, the wide-eyed power game of German Sabine Lisicki, the finely-honed game of Victoria Azarkena and the excellent grass-court assault of Petra Kvitova.  It was a worthy fortnight – an ultimate contrast in competence and mental fortitude.

The “Power Rankings” are compiled and presented by JA Allen, Marianne Bevis and Feng Rong using . We present the periodic rankings at least four times a year.

Following are the latest top ten in our women’s tennis power rankings as determined at the conclusion of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships in London.

Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Seized the Wimbledon Crown and the No. 1 Ranking 6

Posted on July 03, 2011 by JA Allen

Novak Djokovic at press conference after winning 2011 Wimbledon Championship.

New World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated defending champion Rafael Nadal in the men’s final at the All England Club Sunday, claiming his first Wimbledon championship in two hours and 28 minutes.

The Serb served up 21 winners, including seven aces as opposed to 12 unforced errors. Nadal was not far behind with 21 winners, five aces and 15 unforced errors.

The break point conversion was the most critical stat, with Djokovic breaking Nadal in five of six opportunities, while Nadal converted only three of his six chances to break serve.

Prior to the men’s final at Wimbledon, Djokovic won his last four meetings with the former world No. 1, Nadal. The four tournaments were, in fact, consecutive Masters events at Rome, Madrid, Miami and Indian Wells—all in 2011.

The Serb was enjoying an outstanding year on the tennis courts.

In fact, Djokovic managed to win 43 in a row before Roger Federer defeated him during the French Open semifinals. Now the Serb has a 48-1 winning record to build upon during the American hard-court season starting later this month.

Even though Nadal led in their head-to-head 16-11, Djokovic had won seven of their last nine meetings––now eight of their last 10.

The only other time they had met in a major final, however, was the 2010 U.S. Open; Nadal won 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

On Sunday, Djokovic responded positively to the fact of his imminent No. 1 ranking as he took his place on Centre Court. From the early going it appeared the Serb was going to anoint his ascension to the top of men’s tennis by winning his first Wimbledon Championship.

Nadal came out blazing, bouncing and ready to rumble. The No. 1 seed was serving brilliantly in the first set, getting more than 90 percent of his first serves in.

Read the rest of this entry →

Women’s Tennis Power Rankings: Li Na Takes the Top Spot After Winning in Paris 3

Posted on June 08, 2011 by Ronger Fengerer

Li Na wins the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in Paris

China is known for its domination in the sport of table-tennis, but in tennis it is a completely different story.

Indeed, tennis has long been dominated by players from Europe, America and Australia. While Asian players like Kimiko Date-Krumm (former world No. 4) and Paradorn Srichaphan (former world No. 9) were able to win a few titles and make some deep runs in Grand Slams, Asia has failed to produce one single major champion. Until now.

Li Na, from Wuhan China, became the first Asian player to reach a Grand Slam final at the 2011 Australian Open (l. to Kim Clijsters). And at the 2011 French Open, she went one-step further and became the first Grand Slam champion from her continent by defeating the defending champion from Italy, Francesca Schiavone.

Many claimed this year’s French Open the “most open” Grand Slam in recent years, and so it proved to be. None of the top four seeds were able to make it to the semifinals, and the “favorite” for the crown changed after each passing day. Not many predicted the final line-up of Li and Schiavone, even fewer picked the Chinese woman to win the title. But against all odds, Li conquered the Parisian clay and for ever etched her name in the annals of tennis.

It is hard enough to make it to a major final, and it is even harder to win it. Many players faltered at the last hurdle (one needs to look no further than the dropping out list below). To make it to two consecutive Grand Slam finals is no small feat. And to win the second final after losing the first one takes courage, dedication and enormous self-belief. To be a champion, you must have the heart of a champion.

This installment of our women’s power rankings is a tribute to the 2011 French Open Champion, Li Na from China. Her success will for sure serve as an inspiration to the next generation of young players from China and Asia.

Read the rest of this entry →

Rafael Nadal Tops the Men’s Tennis Power Rankings 9

Posted on June 08, 2011 by JA Allen

Rafael Nada wins French Open championship number six.

The 2011 French Open is history, one for the books. It proved to be an exciting two weeks of action with plenty of surprises as the world tuned in to watch players battle it out on the courts of Stade Roland Garros.

It is rare that the ATP top-ranked players are also the top four in our power rankings. Understandably, that does not happen often. But this was a year for the unusual. A case in point––in 2011 the men’s top four seeds reached the French Open semifinals.

It was the first time since since the 2006 French Open that the top four men’s seeds reached the semifinals at any Grand Slam tournament. At that tournament those final four were Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal,  David Nalbandian and Ivan Ljubicic.

The men’s tour has already moved onto grass with the crisp white tradition of historical Wimbledon––the most prestigious of all the grand slam tournaments. While French crowds booed and hissed at players, the exact opposite will unfold under the pristine umbrella of proper British behavior.

So as we shake the red dust off our tennies and cross the channel to London, a new brand of tennis awaits. The question is––who will win the next grand slam tournament held at the All-England Club.

Grass changes the complexity of the game. The slow grind of clay speeds up on the grass courts and low bounces at your ankles becomes the norm.

Change is good and Wimbledon promises another great tournament.

The men’s current power rankings are based on a player’s results in his last four tournaments. In this entry, ranking points come primarily from the ATP points awarded at the French Open.

For the list on the women’s side, please check out the complementary article authored by Feng Rong (Ronger Fengerer). This season-long series contains contributions from JA Allen, Marianne Bevis and Feng Rong.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    8mm film to digital
  • Current Poll

    Which NBA Team Will Win More Games in 2019-2020?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top