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Roger Federer: How Does He Stack Up Against the 10 Greatest of All Time? 3

Posted on April 14, 2011 by JA Allen

Roger Federer wins Wimbledon in 2009.

In over a century of judging the hits and misses of men’s professional tennis, tournament rules have come and gone. Styles of play rose and fell with the passage of time.

Technology has increased speed, spin and accuracy as rackets evolved and athletes became bigger, stronger and faster.

In light of constant evolution, it becomes difficult to compare players from one generation to the next because unlike baseball, tennis has never been a game noted for rote statistics.

That is not to say the stats were not there, but as a professional organization, no one thought to keep numbers comparing players in a consistent and forward-thinking manner. Sometimes even the most rudimentary facts about a match are missing.

Even today, there is no consensus about just what statistical measures are important in judging the overall careers of the top men in tennis.

The statistics that seem to matter most currently are: (1) the number of grand slam victories; (2) the number of weeks or total length of time holding the No. 1 ranking; (3) the number of year-end tour championship wins over the best eight men in the field, and (4) the number of Master’s Shields won. Many other statistics considered important by the ATP are detailed here

This ranking looks at players of the modern era, since 1968, although a great case can and should be made for male tennis stars who played before the Open Era.

Compare Federer’s numbers to the stats of others with him in the top 10, especially those who have won slams on all surfaces.

These 10 players in the modern era have set the bar for the rest following in this 21st century.

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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.

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What Have Been the Greatest Upsets in U.S. Open Tennis History? 1

Posted on August 19, 2010 by JA Allen

Night Sessions at the U.S. Open are momentous occasions.

Looking at the modern era or from 1968 forward, how many times has the number one seed or one of the top seeds gone down to defeat unexpectedly in New York during the U.S. Open?  Here are some of the most famous upsets listed here in chronological order.

1975 Jimmy Connors (1) vs. Manuel Orantes (3), Finals

Ornates won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. In 1975 Jimmy Connors, the No. 1 seed defeated his arch rival Bjorn Borg in the semifinals while Spain’s Manuel Orantes defeated the No. 2 seed Guillermo Vilas in a very difficult match to reach the final, facing Jimmy Connors.  The Open at Forest Hills was being played on clay in 1975.

Connors was having a bad year, for him, losing his Australian Open crown to John Newcombe and his Wimbledon trophy to Arthur Ashe.  His back was against the wall as the American faced the Spaniard Orantes, trying to retain his hold on the No. 1 ranking.

The clay surface obviously benefitted Orantes.  But Connors had defeated the Spaniard in six of their last seven meetings and felt confident going into the match that he would win again.

Orantes never let the American into the match.  The Spaniard played slow, denying Connors pace, never allowing him to establish a rhythm. Orantes lobbed and passed Connors at the net with amazing accuracy.

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The Greatest U.S. Open Tennis Champions of the Modern Era 4

Posted on July 22, 2010 by JA Allen

The United States Open has hosted some of the greatest matches in tennis history.

In a another month we will be heavily invested in the last grand slam tournament of the season, the 2010 U.S Open to be held in Queens, New York, at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Last year’s winner of the U.S. Open men’s trophy, Juan Martin del Potro will not be on hand to defend his championship.  The Argentine has been sidelined most of 2010 after surgery for a wrist injury.

The question remains whether Roger Federer will reestablish his dominance in the event or if a new champion will crowned as the next U.S. Open winner.

Some believe Federer’s era has past. But most have adopted a “wait and see” attitude.  Time will tell whether the Swiss continues to add to his impressive record at the U.S. Open, moving him up the ladder on the list of greatest champions.

An examination of  the top U.S. Open champions since 1968 should focus on both the number of finals won plus the total number of final appearances.  If those totals are equal then consider the total winning percentages of the respective players.

Of all the tennis professionals who have participated in the modern era at the U.S. Open, the number of men who have multiple wins is few.  It is a very difficult accomplishment––making it to the final of a major and then winning the tournament––most of all, doing it more than once.  The following men are great champions.

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Bjorn Borg Blames “Bad Luck” For Never Winning the U.S. Open 9

Posted on July 15, 2010 by JA Allen

Bjorn Borg lost in 4 U.S. Open finals in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1981.

U.S. Open 1976

The year was 1976 and 20-year-old Bjorn Borg was playing Jimmy Connors in the finals of the U. S. Open.

The ice man or “Is i magen” in Swedish paced the baseline like a tiger ready to leap forward into the court at the slightest provocation.

The players battled on skimpy-looking green clay under the lights after beginning the match in the bright sunlight.

In 1976, Borg had won his first Wimbledon Championship after losing in the French Open quarterfinals to Italian Adriano Panatta, the only man who ever beat Borg at this event––twice.

It was the Swede’s first final in New York and it was on clay.  1976 would be Borg’s best chance to win what would prove to be his most elusive final.

Connors, however, was aiming toward his fourth grand slam title and his second U.S. Open title. Since 1974, Connors was clearly struggling to quiet his critics who touted that the American could no longer win the big tournaments, especially the majors.

In 1974 the American triumphed in three of four majors––all except the French.  In 1975 Connors made all of the major finals, except the French––losing them all.  So far in 1976 Connors had added no major trophies to his mantle.

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The Sports World Provides Special Fourth of July Fireworks 3

Posted on July 04, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Lou Gehrig's speech was one of the most memorable 4th of July moments in sports history.

The Fourth of July is known for fireworks, patriotism, and family outings, but it’s also a day that has been filled with some great moments in the sports world.

No July 4th moment has been bigger than the day, 71 years ago, when Lou Gehrig stood on the field at Yankee Stadium and proclaimed himself, “The luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

The sudden transformation of Gehrig from the “Iron Horse” to a man for whom a disease would soon be named after was punctuated that day, when the baseball world said goodbye to one of the all-time greats.

Gehrig died less than two years later, but his legacy is still alive today and will be honored in special ceremonies all across the baseball world on Saturday.

Yankee Stadium was the site for another memorable July 4th moment, 44 years later. On July 4, 1983 New York Yankees left-hander Dave Righetti hurled a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox.

The “no-no” by Righetti, who would go on to earn his greatest distinction as a relief pitcher, was the first by a Yankee since Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

More than any other sport though, tennis and the Fourth of July have had a very special history.

The premier tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon, is contested each year in late June and early July and often crowns a champion on a day that isn’t recognized as fondly in England as it is in the former colonies. Read the rest of this entry →

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