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Sports Then and Now



Classic Match: Nikolay Davydenko Vs. Juan Martin del Potro at 2009 WTF in London 4

Posted on November 19, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

2009 winner Nikolay Davydenko, runner-up Juan Martin del Potro

It’s London 2009, in the gloomy chill of November, and the British are about to see tennis in a whole new light.

Since O2 had transformed the Millennium’s ugly duckling dome that squatted alongside the Thames into a swan, it had become the place to perform: for Prince and Springsteen, for Kylie and Led Zeppelin, and for Rafa and Roger.

Because 2009 had marked the transfer of the Masters Cup from Shanghai to the newly-titled World Tour Finals in the original capital of tennis: London.

But this was a far cry from Wimbledon. This was modern cityscape replete with light show, soundtrack and glamour, determined to bring the best of Shanghai to London’s unlovely Docklands.

As if to celebrate the occasion, the end-of-year climax had secured the top eight men in tennis for the first time in years. The finale in Shanghai was missing Rafael Nadal, injured before it began. It lost Andy Roddick, injured in practice and replaced by Radek Stepanek at the last minute.

The first year for the WTF in London with loaded field.

And Roger Federer was only there by the skin of his teeth, having pulled out of Paris, mid-tournament, two weeks before with a back injury. In the event, he barely made it through the round robins, so debilitated had he become.

But London welcomed the crème-de-la-crème. Even a limping Andy Roddick, who was replaced at the last moment by Robin Soderling, turned up to watch. And the tennis-mad home crowd quickly adjusted from English to British and embraced Andy Murray as one of their own.

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Roger Federer Is No ‘Casey At the Bat’ 7

Posted on November 12, 2010 by JA Allen

Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

At the start of the $5 million Breeder’s Cup Classic held at Churchill Downs on November 6, the track announcer kept repeating “And Zenyatta is dead last,” as the race continued.

It was her 20th and supposedly last career race for the finish line.  The big girl had made her reputation running over the competition including all the boys for the past four years.

In fact, she had never lost a race.  Now as the oldest in the field at age six, Zenyatta had one more hurdle––in order to allow her to go out as perhaps the greatest racehorse in the history of the sport.

Traditionally Zenyatta came out the gates slow and sat at the back of the pack until the final curve toward home. That’s when she turned on the afterburners launching her signature heart-stopping finish.

Zenyatta continuously left the competition panting and spent, wondering how this racing marvel had come so far so fast, beating them to the finish line.

During this race on November 6th, the track announcer at last began to report Zenyatta was moving forward, zigzagging in and out, squeezing her way past most of the pack.

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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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