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Chris Evert Was Hard to Beat on Clay 2

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Chris Evert won a record seven French Open Women's Singles titles. The first two came back-to-back in 1974 and 1975.

Chris Evert won a record seven French Open Women’s Singles titles. The first two came back-to-back in 1974 and 1975.

With Serena Williams not competing in the 2017 French Open due to her pregnancy, the women’s field is wide open and includes only two past champions (2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza). It is a far cry from the 1970s and 1980s when every year you knew there was one female player who would be pushing for the title.

With the possible exception of Rafael Nadal, who is aiming for his record 10th French Open title, no tennis player, man or woman, in the modern era of tennis has been more unbeatable on clay than Chris Evert.

Between August 1973 and May 1979, Evert won an amazing 125 consecutive matches on clay while losing only seven total sets.  After losing a third set tiebreaker to Tracy Austin in the semifinals of the 1979 Italian Open, she rebounded to win her next 72 matches on the surface.

She won seven French Open Championships and three of her six U.S. Open titles came while the tournament was played on clay.

Even though Evert was particularly tough to beat on clay, it wasn’t like she didn’t also display dominance on other surfaces.

Easily the most consistent player in women’s tennis history, Evert won at least one grand slam title in 13 consecutive years. She reached at least the semifinals in each of her first 34 grand slam appearances and 52 times out of 56 total appearances in the four biggest tournaments in tennis.

While her total of 18 total grand slam singles titles is tied for fifth in women’s tennis history, it is likely she would have won considerable more titles had she participated in all four majors every year during her career.

Instead, Evert participated in the Australian Open only six times (winning twice).  After winning the French Open in 1974 and 1975, she skipped the tournament for three years before returning to win the title five more times between 1979 and 1986.

Her overall career singles record of 1,309-146 (.900) ranks as the best of any player in professional tennis history. Read the rest of this entry →

Maria Sharapova Claims Career Grand Slam 4

Posted on June 09, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Maria Sharapova joined elite company with her French Open title.

With her dominating victory in the 2012 French Open finals, Maria Sharapova became just the sixth player in the open era of women’s tennis (10th all-time) to claim the career grand slam. However, while each of the other five posted double digit victories in each tournament, Sharapova has yet to win any of the championships more than once.

Since emerging on the scene as a 17-year-old with a victory over Serena Williams in the Wimbledon Finals in 2004, we have been waiting for Sharapova to become the dominant player in women’s tennis.

The 6-foot-2 inch Sarapova certainly has the size and power to be a dominant player, but injuries and an inability to maintain her game at the highest level has kept her from being consistently dominant.

She won the 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open before a shoulder injury hampered her over the next two years.

Sharapova reemerged as a top five player in 2011, but was unable to win a grand slam title. She reached the semifinals at the French Open and finals at Wimbledon, but lost both matches in straight sets. Read the rest of this entry →

Mardy Fish, America’s Top Hope, Out of the French Open 133

Posted on May 25, 2012 by John Ogalbe

After having his best French Open performance ever in 2011, Mardy Fish will miss the 2011 tournament due to illness.

Organizers have confirmed that Mardy Fish has been forced to pull out of the upcoming French Open, due to illness. The American had been something of an outsider in the French Open betting odds, prior to his withdrawal.

Fish, the US number one, was struck down by an unexpected illness, earlier in the year, which had left him feeling lethargic.

It is continuing to leave him fatigued, and he has decided that he will not be fit enough to take his place in the main draw at Roland Garros.

Fish has struggled in Paris, in the past, but secured his best performance at the French Open last year, when reaching the third round, before losing to home player, Gilles Simon. Read the rest of this entry →

The Ten Greatest Players Never to Win the French Open 5

Posted on May 27, 2011 by JA Allen

The French Open is the only major played on clay.

Regarded by many players as the most difficult grand slam to win, the first French Open was held in 1891. But it was not until 1925 that the tournament moved to the grounds of Stade Roland Garros.

The French Open is the only major still played on clay.

Playing tennis on clay was once deemed a special art. Roland Garros became the arena for clay court specialists.

Even today’s players utilize a particular skill set to do well on the clay court surface––which not only slows down the ball but can produce a high bounce.

It takes great patience, but learning to play on clay also provides a good foundation for doing well on all surfaces.

Winning in Paris is essential to winning a grand slam. Very often, lack of success at Stade Roland Garros has kept many a player from winning that elusive fourth major.

Few players have won a grand slam––all four majors in a calendar year. For the men, there was Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.

For the ladies, Maureen Connolly Brinker won in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988. These three ladies all won calendar year grand slams.

Additionally, many players have won a career slam––winning at all venues during the course of a tennis player’s career.

The men who have won career slams are Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

For the ladies the career slam belongs to Maureen Connolly Brinker, Doris Hart, Shirley Fry Irvin, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

Many great players have been stopped because they could not negotiate the clay.  Following are the top 10 players who could never find a way to win that elusive French Open title.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Toughest Tennis Double is the True Sign of Greatness 2

Posted on May 26, 2011 by Pete South

Bjorn Borg won the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year three times.

Winning both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year is perhaps the greatest double in tennis. The huge differences between clay and grass means the players who achieve this feat can be considered as the greatest amongst multiple slam winners; in fact it can used as the yardstick for measuring greatness in tennis, the hardest thing to define across eras in any sport.

The proximity of the two tournaments in the tour schedule further elevates the difficulty level of winning them both. Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg (three times), Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (twice) are the only men to have done this dream double in the Open Era.

As harsh as it may seem, the struggles on clay of Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and, in years gone by, of John Newcombe and Ken Rosewall, precludes them from joining the above names at the front of the hall of fame, just as Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander could never conquer grass. Those looking at the Wimbledon odds will know how tough it can be on Centre Court. Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Looks to Press His Advantage at the French Open 10

Posted on May 20, 2011 by Pete South

Novak Djokovic is asserting his dominance on the tennis world.

There is nothing ambiguous about Novak Djokovic’s current form. 37 matches won in 2011, bringing seven tour titles. Four straight wins over Rafael Nadal and three versus Roger Federer. The sixth longest winning streak in the Open Era. These achievements show the Serb to be in the form of his, or indeed anyone else’s life.

It is hard to imagine anyone playing better than Djokovic currently is, which in the era of Nadal and Federer is quite an achievement. The drawback with such supreme current form is that it brings extra pressure, something Djokovic is aware of in claiming Nadal is still the firm favourite for Roland Garros.

This is reflected in the French Open 2011 betting, but punters are starting to take more notice of his recent dominance over the Spaniard than the five-time champion’s pedigree in Paris. Beating Nadal at Miami and Indian Wells is one thing, but straight sets wins in the finals of Madrid and Rome are another. Read the rest of this entry →

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