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Sports Then and Now



Queen Victoria Azarenka: The New Novak Djokovic of the Women’s Tour? 11

Posted on February 01, 2012 by JA Allen

Victoria Azarenka won the 2012 Australian Open for the first time.

Evidently, Victoria Azarenka finally got tired of waiting for her moment in the sun.

The new world No. 1 decided to take matters into her own hand in Melbourne—defeating both Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova consecutively to take the 2012 Australian Open crown.

Both her semifinal and final opponents had previously won the title “down under.” In fact, Clijsters was the defending Australian Open champion.  Sharapova had won the title in 2008.

Azarenka’s win harkens back to the sudden rise of  Novak Djokovic starting with the 2011 Australian Open when the No. 3 ranked Serb defeated No. 2 Roger Federer in the semifinals. Djokovic advanced to the finals where he defeated world No. 4 Andy Murray, claiming his second Australian Open title.

Djokovic had won his first Aussie Open back in 2008, again dismissing Federer in the semis. But after that lone slam victory three years ago—many feared the Serb would simply be another one-slam wonder.

Following his win at the 2011 Australian Open, Djokovic, of course, went on to win his next 43 matches, eventually losing in the semifinals of the 2012 French Open to Roger Federer. It took Djokovic until Wimbledon to overtake Rafael Nadal for the No. 1 ranking.

The Serb’s ascension marked the beginning of the Djokovic Era in men’s tennis and many predict the same sort of fortune for the newly crowned world No. 1 in women’s tennis.

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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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    • Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star
      November 12, 2017 | 8:52 am
      Bulldog Turner

      Bulldog Turner

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a two-way star for the dominant Chicago Bears teams of the 1940s.

      Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.

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