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Sports Then and Now

Picking Up The Pieces After A Disappointing Wimbledon 2

Posted on July 11, 2010 by Rob York

Defending champion Roger Federer lost in the quarterfinals of the 2010 championships.

Last time we looked at those who either met or exceeded their Wimbledon expectations. However, one player’s success at a major comes at another’s expense, and a surprise victory by one guy requires him to disrupt another’s plans. Here are some guys who left SW19 with regrets, and what we can expect from them on firmer footing.

Roger Federer: There certainly have been better times to be The Great Swiss. After a triumphant turn Down Under, Federer has not won a single tournament and has lost at the quarterfinal stage of the last two majors. That said, when one looks at each of the matches he’s lost this year —from Marcos Baghdatis in Indian Wells to Lleyton Hewitt in Halle—one sees that each match was competitive.

Even his four-set loss to Tomas Berdych at the All-England Club went four sets and Federer had break points as the Czech was trying to serve the match out. This indicates that a piece of the puzzle is missing, and if he finds it he’ll be back in the last weekend of majors.

I can’t tell you what that piece is, though; if Federer could tell us we probably wouldn’t be having to ask him about it. Read the rest of this entry →

“Nobody Said Winning Was Easy,” Andy Roddick Admits after Wimbledon Loss 6

Posted on June 29, 2010 by JA Allen

Andy Roddick playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Andy Roddick’s result at Wimbledon Monday mirrors the state of men’s tennis in the United States––generally showy but lacking substance.  It is not enough to have a huge serve and powerful ground strokes, you must also pay the ultimate price which means putting in the compulsory hours to ensure you are mentally and physically fit to win a major championship.

The No. 1 American, Roddick, with his rocket serves and his majestic, powerful ground strokes failed to live up to his expectations, let alone his potential.  Why? Because the American skipped the most important ingredient in success on the tennis court this Spring––commitment and preparation.

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Wimbledon 2010: Rafa Rules Men’s Power Rankings 7

Posted on June 20, 2010 by JA Allen

Wimbledon 2010 ready to get underway on Monday June 21.

On Monday, as the sun rises offering the first view of the well-tended lawns at the All-England Club at Wimbledon, tennis aficionados breathe a deep sigh of relief, having survived the dust of the red clay and the sometimes ugly tenor of long grueling matches.

Grass is green, invigorating, inviting brisk movement and light, skipping motions across the lawns.  This is the moment the earth spins properly, as we begin to relax and drink in the panorama of spectacle Wimbledon never fails to offer.

Our pre-Wimbledon Power Rankings fail to reflect the full impact of the move to grass because, as we lament, the grass season is far too short.  It remains a tiny slice out of a season played primarily on artificial, often debilitating hard courts and the soft, forgiving but deadening spirit of the clay.

Those players at the top linger there primarily due to their success on the red clay.  Most hope to repair their strokes and adjust their footwork in time to excel on the grass of Wimbledon, the grandest of the slams.

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Andy Roddick’s Short Trip to Roland Garros 0

Posted on May 30, 2010 by Rob York

Andy Roddick lost in straight sets in the third round of the 2010 French Open.

Andy Roddick entered last year’s French Open having played only one clay court event, and that was on the fast courts of Madrid. Having gotten married during the clay season to Brooklyn Decker, Roddick arrived in Paris relaxed, fresh and without terribly high expectations to disappoint.

He proceeded to have his most successful trip to Roland Garros ever, winning three matches without dropping a set before falling to Gael Monfils in the round of 16. He then parlayed that momentum into a career-reviving Wimbledon run, beating Britain’s own Andy Murray to reach the finals. There, he faced Roger Federer, the main impediment to his Wimbledon dreams, but came as close as anyone not named Rafa to stopping the Great Swiss on Centre Court.

With that precedent, it was no wonder that Roddick chose to play an abbreviated clay court season again, celebrating his wedding anniversary and resting from his successful spring hard court season, where he won his fifth Masters Shield in Miami.

This year, though, his clay court preparation would be even less extensive, as he skipped the no longer essential Monte Carlo, exercised his right to opt out of Rome, then was greeted with illness upon his arrival in Madrid, leaving him with zero matches played on the dirt before Paris.

After his third round exit this week, we may consider it a strong effort that he got that far at all. He certainly had opportunities to leave earlier.
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Men’s Tennis Power Rankings: Rafael Nadal Books Top Spot Again 8

Posted on May 03, 2010 by JA Allen

Rafael Nadal wins the Rome Masters tennis tournament in 2010.

As everyone predicted heading into the clay court season in 2010, it was to be the year of the Majorcan. So far it has been almost exclusively Rafa’s reign.

Bowing out of Barcelona, Rafa’s crown did not move far from its anointed position. Fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco wears it in Nadal’s place.

So far Nadal has captured wins in Monte Carlo and Rome, equalling Andre Agassi’s total of 17 Master’s Shields. Roger Federer is now one step behind at 16.

But there is still time for both to add to their totals and we suspect the dynamic duo will be able to add a few more wins before the final bell tolls on their respective careers.

The Power Rankings reflect the men’s prowess on the red clay and as we all know, Nadal rises to the top, especially on the dirt.

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Men’s Tennis Power Rankings: Roddick Reigns Supreme 3

Posted on April 05, 2010 by Ronger Fengerer
Sports News - April 05, 2010

Andy Roddick is leading the way in the men's tennis power rankings.

With the first two Masters 1000 tournaments of the season concluded, the men’s tour shifts to the Europe clay swing. Almost all the top players were in action at both Indian Wells and Miami, providing us a clear picture of their current form. Here is this week’s power ranking for men, though it might not be a good indicator for the coming events due to the switch of playing surfaces.

The Top 10

1. Andy Roddick (Last Power Ranking: 2; ATP Ranking: 7)

Last Four Tournaments: Miami [Winner]; Indian Wells [Finalist]; Memphis [Quarterfinalist]; San Jose [Finalist]

Power Ranking Points: 1232

Making into the finals at both Indian Wells and Miami and winning the latter, Andy Roddick was no doubt the most successful player in the past four weeks. The veteran showed that he has every intention of making the 2010 season one of his best. With an unbreakable service game and a full confidence in his mental toughness and match tactics, look for the American to go deep in all the tournaments he enters.

2. Tomas Berdych (Last Power Ranking: 1; ATP Ranking: 16)

Last Four Tournaments: Miami [Finalist]; Indian Wells [Quarterfinalist]; Memphis [Quarterfinalist]; San Jose [Quarterfinalist]

Power Ranking Points: 678

Tomas Berdych almost duplicated his dream run in the 2005 Paris Masters, when he won his lone Masters shield. With three wins against top 10 players, Roger Federer (R16), Fernando Verdasco (Q) and Robin Soderling (S), Berdych showed why he is a former top 10 player. Unfortunately he ran in to Roddick in the final at Miami, against whom he has already lost twice this season at San Jose and Brisbane.

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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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