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Sports Then and Now

Women’s Top Seeds All in Action Monday at Wimbledon 3

Posted on June 26, 2010 by JA Allen

All of the women's top seeds will be action on Monday in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon.

If you have any plans for Monday, put them aside because the ladies at Wimbledon have set a most appetizing table to lure you to their courts, away from the normal more masculine fare.  To call it “Blockbuster Monday,” is to minimize its significance.

The match-ups are staggering, some significant enough to rate as “finals” in most years.  The ladies round of sixteen at Wimbledon, unfortunately, will be blended with the gentlemen’s.  As is too often the case, the ladies will no doubt be overshadowed by their male counterparts since the media selects what will be covered.  This is not meant to discount the men, but the scope of the ladies’ matches is beyond comprehension.

Here are the matches you need to witness front and center:

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The French Open 2010: Punchlines and Pundits … 3

Posted on May 30, 2010 by JA Allen

The Tennis Channel as well as ESPN and NBC offer coverage of the 2010 French Open

In case you have not been paying close attention, the French Open is underway at Stade Roland Garros in Paris. This event, like most tennis majors, is best seen live—which only goes to prove that you must have money to follow tennis as a dedicated and deserving fan.

The predictable patter emanating from broadcast booths follows a familiar pattern, filling the airwaves with online personalities making their typical forecasts and touting the usual analysis replete with the most probable winners.  We watch on our tiny screens as the same top-seeded players go through their paces, generally walloping their lower seeded opponents in the early rounds.

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France’s Aravane Rezai Takes the Top Spot in Tennis Power Rankings 1

Posted on May 21, 2010 by JA Allen

France's Avarane Rezai defeats Venus Williams the final at Madrid.

The ladies prepare to do battle on the red clay of Stade Roland Garros as the 2010 French Open begins on Sunday. Questions abound concerning which players are fit to play––fully recovered from injuries mentally and physically.

Further which top players are peaking at just the right moment? Who will ride the wave and find herself standing on Court Philippe-Chatrier for the final match on June 5th.

The Power Rankings will give a clue as to which players are on top of their games at just the right time––to help us see who has the right stuff to make it through to the French Open finals.

The draw will be out soon––until then, here are the latest Power Rankings for the ladies.

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Top 9 Female French Open Finalists: Chris Evert Best of the Best 5

Posted on April 21, 2010 by JA Allen
Chris Evert is No. 1 for the Ladies Tour at the French Open

Chris Evert is No. 1 for the Ladies Tour at the French Open

How do you measure the greatness of an athlete within their respective sport? What factors determine the degree of greatness over a period of time––years or decades?

Further, how do you determine who is No. 1 in any given list or ranking? First you must find a pattern and then you must determine the significant components of the ranking––does each factor merit being used as part of the overall equation?

Sometimes it does, without question––like the score in a game. The highest or lowest score wins as in football or golf.

It is not always a simple task to determine who is the greatest because such discussions invariably have subjective components.

For this ranking, first consider the number of times a woman made it to the French Open finals since 1968 (Open Era) as the initial demarcation of greatness. To be considered she must have made it to the finals of the French Open at least 3 times.

Within the number of appearances, measure the wins against the losses in a given number of tries.

No. 1 Chris Evert ––Nine French Open Finals

Chris Evert winning seven of nine final appearances remains the undisputed leader on the clay at the French Open in Paris surpassing even her male counterparts in some estimations.

Evert won 7 French Open titles in 9 final appearances.

Evert won 7 French Open titles in 9 final appearances.

Clay brought out the strengths of Evert’s game––her patience, determination and her ability to construct points. She was tireless and unflappable on the red clay at Stade Roland Garros––hence her nickname, the Iron Princess.

The fact that she owns the clay court record with an 125-match win streak from 1973-1979 illustrates her prowess on the surface. During that run she lost only seven sets.

It was the one surface on which Evert generally prevailed over her arch-rival Martina Navratilova whose one weakness might have been the slow clay. They met in four finals on the red dirt with Evert coming out on top in three––all Evert’s wins over the Czech were three-set finals.

In all Evert appeared in nine finals at the French Open in 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, winning them all except in 1973 and 1984.

Evert’s winning percentage stands at 92.4% [73-6].

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Meltdowns! WTA Young Stars Against Belgium’s Best 1

Posted on March 30, 2010 by Jo Shum
Sony Ericsson Open - Day 7

Victoria Azarenka

What an eventful day in Miami.  Not that I was there to watch the game in person, I did catch the two matches featured Victoria Azarenka vs. Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva vs. Justine Henin on streaming.  What strikes me most was the resemblance of the (almost) complete collapse of both young stars, I have to say more so to Azarenka as she didn’t or possibly couldn’t get her mind to settle to even put up a fight in the second set.  It’s close to a complete handover or you can say, worse than actually retiring from the match.

After since Azarenka lost the lead in the middle of the first set, she got wrecked up, cursing, shouting, swinging racket to the ground, spitting foul language (and received a warning).  All drama.  And still no result.  She was not playing bad in my eyes, she just needed to play more rallies as Kim kept returning the balls.  Read the rest of this entry →

Indian Wells’ Garden of Delights: Rivalries, Comebacks, and Roger and Rafa 1

Posted on March 12, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
BNP Paribas Tennis in Indian Wells

Not one, but two Masters tournaments, the firsts of the year.

The only ATP events of the month, both centered in the sunshine of the United States.

These are the last hard courts before spring ushers in the clay. No more of the artificial, punishing surfaces until the tour heads back to North America in late July. Many, indeed, will postpone their transfer from the all-too-brief grass season until August.

So it is little wonder that Indian Wells and its Miami sister two weeks later draw the big names, the big crowds, the big coverage.

Indian Wells, in particular, is set like a sapphire in the Californian desert, a jewel in the tennis crown. More people soak up the tennis at this tournament than anywhere outside the Grand Slams.

It’s a place drenched in blue, wholly in tune with its watery origins. This most favored stop on the tennis tour, attracting the very best from both the ATP and WTA tours, offers a serene mountainous backdrop, cloudless skies, dry heat, clear air. It’s as close to paradise as wealth can bring to the desert.

More than 300,000 flock to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It overflows with tropical flowers, trees, and fountains, and the courts themselves sit like miniature Aegean Seas within their grass-green surroundings.

The pale violet and blue peaks of the distant Santa Rosa range provide a glorious setting as this oasis bursts into flower with a bouquet of wonderful prospects. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Archie Griffin: 2-Time Heisman Winner
      December 11, 2022 | 1:42 pm
      Archie Griffin

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

      As a star running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Archie Griffin claimed the Heisman Trophy during his junior season in 1974 and then was able to repeat the honor the following season.

      Griffin joined the Buckeyes for the 1972 season, which happened to be the first in which freshmen were eligible to play varsity football, and made an immediate impact. After fumbling in his only carry of his first game, Griffin more than made up for it in his second game by rushing for 237 yards against North Carolina. By the end of the season, Griffin had rushed for 867 yards.

      Read more »

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