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The Greatest U.S. Open Tennis Champions of the Modern Era 4

Posted on July 22, 2010 by JA Allen

The United States Open has hosted some of the greatest matches in tennis history.

In a another month we will be heavily invested in the last grand slam tournament of the season, the 2010 U.S Open to be held in Queens, New York, at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Last year’s winner of the U.S. Open men’s trophy, Juan Martin del Potro will not be on hand to defend his championship.  The Argentine has been sidelined most of 2010 after surgery for a wrist injury.

The question remains whether Roger Federer will reestablish his dominance in the event or if a new champion will crowned as the next U.S. Open winner.

Some believe Federer’s era has past. But most have adopted a “wait and see” attitude.  Time will tell whether the Swiss continues to add to his impressive record at the U.S. Open, moving him up the ladder on the list of greatest champions.

An examination of  the top U.S. Open champions since 1968 should focus on both the number of finals won plus the total number of final appearances.  If those totals are equal then consider the total winning percentages of the respective players.

Of all the tennis professionals who have participated in the modern era at the U.S. Open, the number of men who have multiple wins is few.  It is a very difficult accomplishment––making it to the final of a major and then winning the tournament––most of all, doing it more than once.  The following men are great champions.

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Agassi vs. Becker: The Rivalry That Could’ve Been 1

Posted on June 15, 2010 by Rob York

Boris Becker and Andre Agassi have continued their rivalry even after retiring from the game.

If it weren’t for Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Boris Becker could’ve had quite the rivalry.

Both men tried to be rivals to Sampras, but rather unsuccessfully. Becker’s game matched up poorly with The Pistol’s, who had all of the German’s strengths plus better movement. The only truly real classic matchup between Becker and Sampras was the 1996 ATP Tour World Championships in Hannover, where Sampras weathered Becker’s hot streak and crowd support before taking a five-set victory.

Agassi’s game, with its immaculate returns, made for a fun contrast with Sampras, but he couldn’t match The Pistol’s dedication and often responded to losses from his compatriot by going into deep dry spells.

Sampras therefore won a combined 32 matches against these two and lost 21. He defeated Becker in all three of their Grand Slam meetings, and Agassi in six of nine. He finished with as many majors as Boom-Boom (6) and Double-A (8) put together.

Agassi and Becker, though, could have provided an ideal contrast to one another as players. Both were men of charisma with loyal fan bases, though Becker’s serve and net-rushing approach was mostly favored by classicists, while Agassi’s enormous groundstrokes and flashy wardrobe appealed to younger fans. Read the rest of this entry →

Top Ten French Open Legends from Agassi to Borg 2

Posted on April 17, 2010 by JA Allen
Top two active French Open finalists, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Top two active French Open finalists, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

What is it about the red clay at Stade Roland Garros that lifts some players to great heights while stopping others dead in their tracks? Is it a lack of patience or mental acumen that causes some great players to shut down on the red dirt?

The fact remains that in order to get to the very top of the men’s game, you must find an answer to the clay courts at the French Open.

For this ranking first consider the number of times a man made it to the finals of the French Open as the demarcation of greatness. Next consider the wins against the losses within a given number of tries.

No. 1 Bjorn Borg––6 French Open Finals

Bjorn Borg won the French Open six times in six tries.

Bjorn Borg won the French Open six times in six tries.

Bjorn Borg still reigns supreme in the record books at Stade Roland Garros, even after he retired from the game at age 26 almost 30 years ago. The red dust became the soul of his game. No one before him or since has ruled the red clay in Paris more definitively than the man from Sweden.

Borg won 41 consecutive sets and holds the record at the French Open.

He won the French Open six times starting in 1974––followed by victories in 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981. He never lost in a French Open final.

If you think about how many more French Open titles Borg might have won had he continued, the mind boggles because no one was close to defeating him. But then, we will never know––nor should such thoughts linger when estimating his place in tennis history.

Borg’s winning percentage at the French Open was 96% (49-2).

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Book Review: Andre Agassi “Opens” Up 7

Posted on November 14, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Andre Agassi uses his new book, Open, as a chance to purge his past and look toward the future.

Andre Agassi uses his new book, Open, as a chance to purge his past and look toward the future.

Much has been written about the admission by Andre Agassi in his new autobiography, Open, that he regularly used crystal meth over a period of months in 1997.

While some may see that revelation as significant and choose to use it as an opportunity to pass judgment on Agassi, the incident is actually little more than a relevant footnote in a 386-page memoir that serves as a self-introduction by a person we all thought we already knew.

While there have been greater tennis players, no other tennis star has so permeated the fabric of American culture as has this flamboyant character from Las Vegas. For more than 20 years, Agassi has transcended tennis and in the process become one of those rare American sports icons that is known not only by fans of his particular sport, but also by people who would be shocked to learn that all tennis matches aren’t played on hard courts.

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Andre Agassi: An “Open” and Shut Case 9

Posted on November 07, 2009 by JA Allen
After being the number one player in the world in 1995, Andre Agassi had fallen to number 141 in 1997.

After being the number one player in the world in 1995, Andre Agassi had fallen to number 141 in 1997.

It goes without saying that drugs are bad – even recreational drugs. That is why it is impossible to get them, right?  If drugs are a cancer to our society, then, of course, as a society we are doing everything in our power to counter them, protecting our children, our community, our cities and our states.

It is much the same for harmful weapons like guns.  We do not allow children or citizens who may harms others access to something that presents such an immediate and present danger.  Right?

As a people, as a community, we are doing everything in our power to create a safe environment for all people living within our boundaries. We treat everyone who breaks the law the same within our equal and passionate justice system.

If you believe the preceding statements are true then you live in la-la land with the rest of the self-appointed name-callers and blame gamers who hug today’s headlines.  It is these holier-than-thou critics who instantly rise to criticize someone else’s behavior who irritate the lining in one’s stomach.

Recently Andre Agassi had the courage to stand up and confess his addition to methamphetamine during his professional tennis career.  In fact he states that in 1997 he was caught using crystal meth by the ATP during a routine drug test.

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The Tennis World Speaks Out About Andre Agassi’s Book; How Should He Respond? 4

Posted on November 06, 2009 by Rob York
Some people tend to forget that Andre Agassi hasn't always been the prim and proper "pitchman" that we have become accustomed to over the last few years.

Some people tend to forget that Andre Agassi hasn't always been the prim and proper "pitchman" that we have become accustomed to over the last few years.

Even though it has yet to hit bookstores, Andre Agassi’s new book “Open” has some revelations that are already causing some controversy. Most notably among them is his admission to using crystal meth during his career.

In his first entry for Sports Then and Now, noted tennis writer Rob York looks at the reaction some notables within the tennis world have had to the news along with perhaps how Agassi should respond to each comment.

What Martina Navratilova said:

“Shocking. Not as much shock that he did it as shock he lied about it and didn’t own up to it. He’s up there with Roger Clemens, as far as I’m concerned. He owned up to it, but it doesn’t help now.”

“Andre lied and got away with it. You can’t correct that now. Do you take away a title he wouldn’t have won if he had been suspended? He beat some people when he should have been suspended.”

How Agassi should respond:

Apparently when you when enough majors you feel you have the right to pass judgment on anyone who has won less. Sadly, Martina, your memory isn’t as good as your Grand Slam record: I didn’t win any titles while I was using meth, and only won a total of 12 matches in 13 tour events.

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