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Sports Then and Now



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.

Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

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    • 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.

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