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Sports Then and Now



Ranking the Most Successful Male Clay Court Players of the Modern Era 1

Posted on May 17, 2013 by JA Allen

rafafrench2008Heading into the French Open, the second major of the season, most players prepare diligently for their final hurrah on clay. It remains as probably the least understood and least appreciated of the court surfaces players endure each year.

If the truth be told, players who learn to play on clay and who embrace the surface’s forgiving nature generally become better, more successful all-around players than those who learn the game on grass or hard courts.

The typical clay court player excels in patience by learning how to develop points as well as excellent defensive skills.

For a long time it seemed that some players segregated their careers by either avoiding clay altogether or by playing exclusively on the red dirt. But with the start of the Open Era and the necessity to play on multiple surfaces, some players built successful all-court games using clay court expertise as the foundation.

These male players achieved a top ten ATP ranking, a winning percentage in excess of 70 percent on clay throughout their careers—as well as double digit title wins on clay. Most also won at least one French Open, although not all.

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Zultan’s Fearless Football Forecast for Week 11 1

Posted on November 07, 2012 by JA Allen

Another bleak week for the Mighty Zultan whose Big Ten teams waited until the very end to lose, making the agony that much greater.  Zultan went 6-4. Hordes did better.

Mom’s beloved Hawkeyes waited until the fourth quarter to give up the ghost. She has taken up volleyball.

Michigan State looked great, right up until the end when Nebraska rose up and stole the game in the blink of an eye. Those Cornhuskers give the All-Seeing Seer an unending headache, blurring his vision at critical junctures.

Outside the Big Ten, wouldn’t you just know Texas would show up with a complete game on both sides of the ball?? Plus, Zultan heard that the Mississippi State Bulldogs forgot to show up for the game, filling in with locals from the stands.

Now heading down the final stretch, the picks get harder deep into conference competition. Zultan seems to be teetering—not quite as cocky as he was during his “hot streak.”  Now is the time to make your picks and grab a little glory of your own.

Those who outguessed Zultan last week will be listed at the end of this article with tons of kudos for those souls bright enough to surpass the Mighty Zultan.

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Week Ten of Zultan’s Fearless Football Forecast 0

Posted on October 31, 2012 by JA Allen

It was a horrible day for a daring football prognosticator who swore Notre Dame was over-rated, who was sure the Gators were worthy of being ranked No. 2 and who predicted the Lions could best the Buckeyes at home in Happy Valley.

Like Icarus who flew too close to the sun—Mighty Zultan came too close to perfection. The Football Gods torched his flammable cloak, sending the All-Seeing One headlong into the sink hole of also-rans—where the rest of you dwell.

Except, of course the dozen or so of you who out-guessed Zultan last Saturday.

These distinguished prognosticators will be listed at the end of this article with appropriate kudos for rising above Zultan in Week 9.

Week 10 promises even more untold surprises.

What unlucky unbeaten will fall? Will Nebraska manage to sustain their slight lead and win on the road? Can LSU change the course of football history in 2012? Who knows??

Zultan was mortally wounded in Week 9—managing to hang on at 5-5.  He staggered under the weight of expectation.  Can he exceed that mark?  Make your own picks in Week 10—and go head-to-head with Zultan to defend your choices.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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