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The 20 Greatest Male Australian Open Champions of All Time, Part 1 1

Posted on January 18, 2011 by JA Allen

Roger Federer serves in 2010, winning the Australian Open that year.

It used to take 45 days on a ship to get to Australia from Europe.

For that reason, in the early days, the Australian Championships were not well-attended by players outside of Australia and, at times, or even by their own players.

But as the world grew smaller, the importance of this colorful slam down under grew until now it ranks up there with the other three, receiving the attention from the players and the media the Australian Open so richly deserves.

This year as the 2011 Australian Open gets underway, the world is focused on many fascinating tennis stories.

For example, the women will be looking to crown a new champion with the absence of last year’s winner and former World No. 1 Serena Williams.

On the men’s side, the questions center on whether Rafael Nadal will be able to complete his “Rafa Slam,” winning the Australian Open––owning all four major titles at one time.

No one has accomplished that since Aussie Rod Laver completed his own grand slam in 1969.

There is also much speculation wondering if Roger Federer, who is the defending champion, can win career grand slam title No. 17.

It would also give Federer five Australian Open Championships, which has not happened in the Open Era of men’s tennis.

Such a win would surely boost Federer higher on the list of the 20 all-time greatest Australian Open Champions.

Read the rest of this entry →

Poor Form of Protagonists Makes Things Interesting in Melbourne 0

Posted on January 15, 2011 by Thomas Rooney

With Serena Williams out of the way, Caroline Wozniacki will look to break through at the Australian Open.

The 2011 WTA tour has started in just the way punters like. The continued absence of Serena Williams makes the first major of the year a wide open affair, especially as the main challengers in Melbourne have generally started the season in poor form.

World numbers one and two Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva lost their first competitive matches of the season at the Medibank International. Both were dismissed in straight sets after receiving a bye in the first round, meaning both go into the Australian Open with minimal court time under their belt.

Sam Stosur is another who will arrive in Melbourne under-prepared having also lost in the second round at Sydney. Indeed, only three of the eight seeds made it beyond the second round in Sydney, meaning Kim Clijsters and Li Na should be followed closely in Melbourne by those placing emphasis on current form.

Clijsters is rapidly becoming a hot favourite to win her maiden Australian Open title. Her early season form is complimented by her victories in the US Open and WTA Tour Championships at the end of last season, as well as the inconsistent form shown by her competitors in those events.

Wozniacki was blown off course at a windy Flushing Meadows after starting the event in supreme form, the world number one also running out of steam in Doha, where the combustible Zvonareva lost the plot in losing to the Dane in the semi finals. Read the rest of this entry →

Which Top 20 Roger Federer Records May Never Be Broken? 2

Posted on September 02, 2010 by JA Allen

Roger Federer is used to winning at the U.S. Open

Do you remember what it felt like when Emmitt Smith hung up his cleats,  no longer hustling in the Dallas Cowboy backfield?

Or how the “Windy City” sighed when the Chicago Bears could no longer rely on “Sweetness” to gain  impossible yardage to convert on a third down?

When was it that Edwin Moses no longer dominated the 400 meter hurdles at the summer Olympics or when Michael Jordan no longer jammed the ball home for the Chicago Bulls?

You see, great athletes not only impact themselves and their teams––they have a profound influence on the game itself, and its fans.

They push the limits and stretch former boundaries as peers and competitors learn that something new is possible and follow their lead.

The longer they play, the greater their record.

Their  time to excel on the playing field––whatever its boundaries––is limited by time because no player’s athletic life goes on forever, despite rumors to the contrary brought on by Brett Favre aficionados.

Sooner or later, the athlete cannot continue to improve and if you cannot continue to add to your game, the process of subtraction begins––you began to move toward “less.”  You settle for “good” rather than maintaining “great.”

For Roger Federer, proving he is moving forward, adding to his game, means increasing the distance between himself and everyone else on tour.  He must add to his already staggering records to bounce back to glory again.

How many of these records are reachable by anyone currently playing tennis today, including Federer himself?

Can Federer himself improve on perfection??

Read the rest of this entry →

Roger Federer, the Smiling Assassin, Puts Andy Murray To the Sword Again 11

Posted on January 31, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Andy Murray could do little but watch as Roger Federer claimed his 16th Grand Slam title.

Andy Murray could do little but watch as Roger Federer claimed his 16th Grand Slam title.

Early Sunday morning, and the Great British public has risen early, as one, in the expectation of witnessing something special. It is the growing burden that Andy Murray has borne since he strode into battle in the Australian Open two weeks ago.

With every passing round, with each bigger foe put to the sword, the battle cries have grown.

Now, finally, the lights blaze over the perfect sweep of the Rod Laver arena and the crimson daylight subsides over the Melbourne skyline for the last time.

After two weeks of intense competition, it all comes down to this: Just two men standing.

They are the best that tennis has to offer on this last day of January. The three-time Australian champion, Roger

Federer, is attempting to hold off the aspiring first-time champion, Murray.

Federer has done it before, in the U.S. Open, but 18 months, many matches, sharper skills, and increased maturity have swelled the stature of the young Scot’s shoulders.

And there is something more. In the night sky beyond those spotlights, the stars seem to have shifted into alignment. This is Murray’s 17th Grand Slam in his 22nd year, the very number of Slams and years it took Federer to win his first title. Read the rest of this entry →

Australian Open Final: Two Murrays 6

Posted on January 31, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

Andy Murray struggled in his second Grand Slam final against Roger Federer.

Andy Murray struggled in his second Grand Slam final against Roger Federer.

One Murray showed up to play Rafael Nadal on the Australian Open quarter finals in Melbourne this year.  He came out on fire, pouncing on short balls, using his versatility on every shot, and playing ‘circus shots’ as soon as the chair umpire said ‘play.’  As if he knew that was what it took to get by a player with the talent of Rafael Nadal.  And as if he was motivated to get beyond the quarter finals.  As if he was the same age as the guy across the net, and just as good a player.  This Andy Murray played without letup for two whole sets.  Relentlessly aggressive, and respectful of what he was going to receive from the other side.

Another Murray showed up to start his semi-final match against Marin Cilic this year. Listless. Nervous. But when it looked like he was going to be out of the tournament, he came to life. The ‘other’ Murray manifested!

Let’s invent an avatar for this other Murray, and call him William Wallace Murray. We even have a visual to to with the avatar – it is the roaring face of Andy Murray at break point in the second set of the Cilic match! With face painted blue!

The second Murray showed up to play the final against Roger Federer. We can invent an avatar for this player too. We could call him Bonnie Prince Charlie – Murray, but that would be cruel. OK, let’s be cruel. There’s a visual to go with this avatar too. I can picture it now, a moment in 2008 at the Roger’s Cup in Toronto against Rafael Nadal, when he missed a put away and slammed his racket to the ground and made a mock barfing face. Or we could use one from this final: a grimace as he missed, yet again, one of his famous forehands down the line , one that he makes all the time on other, less momentous, occasions.

BPC-Murray (let’s shorten it) is not a total disaster. Against players outside of the top ten, BPC-Murray is crafty, capable, confident, in control. A great example of the efficacy of this Murray is his play against American John Isner in the 4th round. Even an American football player, visiting in the stands, could perceive the scary, deliberate, craftiness of this Murray as he probed and found the weaknesses of Isner, and then cruelly (and beautifully) wrapped him up, like spider with a fly. Read the rest of this entry →

One Fan’s Perspective On Justine Henin’s Comeback 1

Posted on January 30, 2010 by Jo Shum
Justine Henin

Justine Henin reached the finals of her first Grand Slam tournament in two years.

This post was provided by tennis fan Jo Shum. Sports Then and Now is happy to post submission by sports fans, so please feel free to contact us if you have a story or sports memory you want to share.

I don’t understand why, but I feel miserably sad watching Justine Henin lose the Australian open.  By any measure, this is a far-fetched coming back only in one month and an unbelievable fight into the final.  But as she said, the dream goes on… and somehow I would really want to believe in it that it may come true.

I think she is an amazing player with such gifted techniques and steely mentality, and just for once it would be great to show that you could possibly move the mountain by determination.  Almost, almost did.

I have not seen Justine so nervous in the entire tournament, and there the same goes for Serena.  They must be battling so much in their minds.  Justine was probably trying too hard, too much, out of reach of her own ability at this stage of comeback.

She would have played excellently just by doing exactly the same as the previous matches.  But I guess this is a lesson to learn.  God’s plan, when it is meant to be.  You can do only so far so much, the rest is to god.  I do hope that she would eventually find god and trust in him.  Peace.

I feel unbelievably sad, been catching up on the news of her and finding myself so involved in her experience, her life, her passion, her breakdown, her nerves, her competitiveness, her happiness and her disappointment. Read the rest of this entry →

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      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
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      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.

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