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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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Should Sports Stars avoid mixing business with pleasure? 5

Posted on February 10, 2011 by Rod Crowley

Romance is in the air at this time of year with Valentine’s Day falling in February, therefore it is probably worth a look of some famous sporting couples who have been successful in the love stakes and perhaps it would be a bit more fun to look at those who haven’t been as lucky as we look to answer the question whether sports stars should look to avoid mixing business with pleasure?

Former Tennis player, Chris Evert, is one sporting legend who features prominently in the failed stakes, after several failed relationships with sportsmen including Greg Norman, John Lloyd and Jimmy Connors.

Those sporting couples who have been Successful in love include…

Steffi Graf & Andre Agassi – This was a match made on the heavenly Courts at Roland Garros in Paris (where else?), which brought together arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time and one of the very best males. They were married two years or so later; they remain happily ensconsed with two children and live in Las Vegas. Steffi won a total of 22 Grand Slam titles including a Calendar year Grand Slam of all four titles in 1988, while Andre won a total of 8 ‘Slams’ including Wimbledon in 1992, the same year his wife to be won the women’s title. Agassi won a career Slam, making him one of only seven players to do so in history.

Zara Phillip & Mike Tindall – The oldest granddaughter of HM The Queen and former world eventing champion is said to be really happy following her engagement to the current England rugby captain, Mike Tindall, the hard tacking, broken nosed tough guy centre. No wedding plans have been announced at this stage but the couple do live together in Gloucestershire.

Kenny & Gabbi Logan – The former Scottish rugby union winger is said to have chatted Gabbi up in a pub in London, but obviously his chat up lines worked as he later married the daughter of former Welsh International, Terry Yorath who is currently a leading  BBC Sports presenter. The couple have been married for ten years and have twins.

Paula Radcliffe & Gary Lough – Marathon Queen Paula married her coach and former 1500 meter champion Gary Lough in 2000 and the couple have two children. They have been working extremely hard together to get Paula fit for a tilt at the Marathon in the 2012 London Olympics.

Couples who have suffered defeat meanwhile include

Kim Clijsters & Lleyton Hewitt – Once described as ‘Kylie and Jason with balls’ this engagement was doomed to failure from the start, with both players still far to committed to winning tennis tournaments rather than winning each other over. They lasted 12 months!

Zara Phillips & Richard Johnson – Royalty and Horse Racing normally goes hand in hand, Zara, daughter of Princess Anne and Richard one of National Hunt’s leading jockey’s had a well reported relationship for over three years but sadly for romantics they fell in the fourth. Read the rest of this entry →

The 20 Greatest Male Australian Open Champions of All Time, Part 2 3

Posted on January 18, 2011 by JA Allen

No. 10 John Bromwich (Won 1939 and 1946 – RU 1937, 1938, 1947, 1948, 1949 ) 7 Finals, 2 Wins.

Another of the great Ausssie's to play the game, John Bromwich won in singles and doubles.

Born in Sydney, John Bromwich was an innovator who helped usher in the two-handed forehand.

Primarily a doubles player, Bromwich could also obviously hold his own on the singles court.

He won his first Australian Open in 1939, defeating fellow Aussie Adrian Quist 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

After the war in 1946, Bromwich again captured the Australian Open title over fellow Aussie Dinny Pails 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2. It was a hard-fought contest.

Bromwich was also runner up five times in 1937, 1938, 1947, 1948 and 1949.

In 1937 Bromwich fell to his doubles partner Vivian McGrath and in 1938 to American Don Budge.

In 1947 Bromwich lost to Dinny Pails, in 1948 to Adrian Quist and in 1949, he lost to fellow Aussie Frank Sedgman.

In all, Bromwich appeared in seven Australian Championship finals, winning twice.

No. 9 James Anderson (Won 1922, 1924, 1925) – 3 Finals, 3 Wins.

James Anderson won three Australian Open titles in the 1920s.

Australian James Anderson won the Australian Open three times in the 1920s when the tournament was titled the Australasian Championships––back in the days when not many players traveled down under to participate.

Between 1919 and 1925 Anderson played in 15 Davis Cup ties for Australia and was well-known on the tennis circuit.

In 1922, Anderson defeated Aussie Gerald Patterson 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In 1924, he defeated Richard Schlesinger also from Australia 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Finally in 1925, Anderson upended Patterson again 11-9, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

In 1927, the tournament name changed to the Australian Championships.

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Roger Federer Is No ‘Casey At the Bat’ 7

Posted on November 12, 2010 by JA Allen

Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

At the start of the $5 million Breeder’s Cup Classic held at Churchill Downs on November 6, the track announcer kept repeating “And Zenyatta is dead last,” as the race continued.

It was her 20th and supposedly last career race for the finish line.  The big girl had made her reputation running over the competition including all the boys for the past four years.

In fact, she had never lost a race.  Now as the oldest in the field at age six, Zenyatta had one more hurdle––in order to allow her to go out as perhaps the greatest racehorse in the history of the sport.

Traditionally Zenyatta came out the gates slow and sat at the back of the pack until the final curve toward home. That’s when she turned on the afterburners launching her signature heart-stopping finish.

Zenyatta continuously left the competition panting and spent, wondering how this racing marvel had come so far so fast, beating them to the finish line.

During this race on November 6th, the track announcer at last began to report Zenyatta was moving forward, zigzagging in and out, squeezing her way past most of the pack.

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Will Roger Federer Become the Greatest Champion of the World Tour Finals? 1

Posted on November 03, 2010 by JA Allen

Since 2009, the WTF has been held in London.

It is a given in any sport that happens to light your fire––at the end of the season, fans need to crown a winner––the ultimate champion whose accomplishments set him, her or them above all the rest.

For men’s tennis, this event rolls around shortly in November.

The World Tour Finals, paradoxically referred to as the WTF––the latest moniker for the year-end tournament for men’s professional tennis––will be held in London for the second year. It is an unfortunate acronym, although purportedly unintentional.

Since 1970 men’s professional tennis has tinkered with the year-end tournament, finally settling on its current format in 1999 when the ATP and ITF decided not to compete with each other. At long last the guys at the top realized that competition between the governing bodies in tennis was counter-productive.

Now if they could do something equally as innovative for the Davis Cup, the tennis world could breathe a collective sigh of relief! The Davis Cup should be a premiere event instead of a lingering afterthought as it is now.

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. 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. Ironically, last year’s champion, Nikolay Davydenko will not make the field in 2010.  It is tough out there when you get injured.

So in the 40 years the championships have been held, who are the greatest champions of the event? We will count them down here.

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What Have Been the Greatest Upsets in U.S. Open Tennis History? 1

Posted on August 19, 2010 by JA Allen

Night Sessions at the U.S. Open are momentous occasions.

Looking at the modern era or from 1968 forward, how many times has the number one seed or one of the top seeds gone down to defeat unexpectedly in New York during the U.S. Open?  Here are some of the most famous upsets listed here in chronological order.

1975 Jimmy Connors (1) vs. Manuel Orantes (3), Finals

Ornates won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. In 1975 Jimmy Connors, the No. 1 seed defeated his arch rival Bjorn Borg in the semifinals while Spain’s Manuel Orantes defeated the No. 2 seed Guillermo Vilas in a very difficult match to reach the final, facing Jimmy Connors.  The Open at Forest Hills was being played on clay in 1975.

Connors was having a bad year, for him, losing his Australian Open crown to John Newcombe and his Wimbledon trophy to Arthur Ashe.  His back was against the wall as the American faced the Spaniard Orantes, trying to retain his hold on the No. 1 ranking.

The clay surface obviously benefitted Orantes.  But Connors had defeated the Spaniard in six of their last seven meetings and felt confident going into the match that he would win again.

Orantes never let the American into the match.  The Spaniard played slow, denying Connors pace, never allowing him to establish a rhythm. Orantes lobbed and passed Connors at the net with amazing accuracy.

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