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Sports Then and Now



Shocking Tennis Moments That I Never Expected Would Happen 1

Posted on April 26, 2017 by Aleksandra Udovenko

McEnroe-umpireTennis is full of shocking moments and memorable matches. With a full calendar of Open events and major tournaments this year, we can expect to see more madness before 2017 is over. Here is a look at some of my favorite moments in tennis history.

I like a good marathon match. Nothing beats the excitement of a tied game in which one competitor needs to win by two match points. With players so evenly matched, this format can lead to some interesting and time consuming tie-breakers.

Take the 2009 Wimbledon Grand Slam Final, in which Roger Federer played Andy Roddick for a whopping 4 hours and 17 minutes, then the longest men’s singles grand slam final in history. Federer eventually went on to win his 16th grand slam title, but it was by no means easy.

If you thought it couldn’t get any more tiring than that, then just look at the Australian Open match between Hewitt and Baghdatis in 2008. The pair played from midnight until the following morning.

In the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, a match between Isner and Mahut took a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes to play over the course of three days. The match is considered the longest in history. Legendary! Frenchman Nicolas Mahut finally went on to win the match, but how the pair survived such an intense game is beyond me.

Tennis has had some fine marathon moments and epic showdowns, but it has also suffered from bad publicity at times due to the sporadic behaviors of professionals throwing tantrums. Read the rest of this entry →

Australian Open Goes Back in Time 0

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

If you didn’t know better, you might think the Australian Open being shown these days on ESPN was a replay from 2007, not the 2017 version. With Venus and Serena Williams set to meet in the women’s final and  Roger Federer facing Rafael Nadal in the men’s final, the tournament definitely feels like Old-Timers Day.

It is hard to say which performance is the most surprising.

Given her constant physical battle with Sjögrens Syndrome, you can perhaps give the nod for most impressive performance to Venus Williams. Though she did not have to face any of the top women’s players in the draw during her run to the finals, it is still impressive that the 36-year-old Venus is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2009 and the first at a tournament other than Wimbledon since reaching the Australian Open final in 2003.

The only performance so far during the Australian Open that isn’t much of a surprise is that of second seed Serena Williams. Shooting for her 23rd Grand Slam title and seventh Australian Open crown, Serena has again been dominant and will be facing her older sister in a grand slam final for the ninth time.

Serena has claimed six of the previous eight finals matchups, including a three-set victory in the 2003 Australian Open. The last time the two met in a Grand Slam Final was the 2009 Wimbledon final when Serena won in straight sets. Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Carves His Own Spot in Tennis Lore 0

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Novak Djokovic lifted the championship trophy for the third time at the 2015 Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic lifted the championship trophy for the third time at the 2015 Wimbledon.

With his ninth tennis grand slam championship, Novak Djokovic has now separated himself from some of the greatest tennis players of all-time and seems to be on a path for even greater heights before his journey is complete.

In an era where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have clearly distinguished themselves as historic champions, Djokovic has been that irritating pebble in the shoe that has kept both of those stars from achieving even greater success.

His victory over Federer in the Wimbledon final marked the second straight year he has defeated the 17-time grand slam champion in the finals. He also has a 3-4 career record in finals against Nadal.

Clearly the number one player in the world, Djokovic will now set his sights on the U.S. Open, a tournament in which he has reached the finals five times. However, he has not won the title since 2011 and last year failed to reach the finals for the first time since 2009.

Having passed Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Fred Perry and Ivan Lendl, who each won eight grand slam titles during their careers, Djokovic now aims to become just the eighth player in history to reach double digits. He will match Bill Tilden with his next victory and then would aim for Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, who each won 11 grand slam titles.

While Djokovic will focus on growing his grand slam trophy collection at Wimbledon and then next year in Australia, you know that in the back of his mind is the French Open where his surprising loss to Stan Wawrinka kept him from reaching the career grand slam. Read the rest of this entry →

Halfway Through Wimbledon: Predicting the Future 3

Posted on July 03, 2015 by Marius Kiniulis
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is among the favorites to win the 2015 Wimbledon men's title.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is among the favorites to win the 2015 Wimbledon men’s title.

With Rafa Nadal unexpectedly dropping out of the most prestigious grass tournament of the year and Kei Nishikori leaving the title race due to an injury the tennis fans are wondering: who’s next? We took a shot and tied to predict the way Wimbledon is going to play out.

World’s No 1 Novak Djokovic should feel pretty comfortable with his upcoming bracket – none of his potential opponents, at least until the quarter-final are living up to their expectations. Today he plays the 27th seed Bernard Tomic, who had a pretty bumpy ride to the third round. It took the Aussie five sets to beat the 98th ranked Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round and two tiebreaks against ATP’s 151st Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second.

Meanwhile Djokovic himself feels really comfortable in the record-breaking Wimbledon heat outplaying both of his previous opponents in three-set matches. In fact, the highway to the semi-final looks pretty clear for the defending champion. Yes, there are eight players in the top half who yet have a set to lose, but of the whole list only Stan Wawrinka seems like a potential threat for Djokovic.

It comes as no surprise that the bookies see the Swiss as Novak’s most likely opponent in the semis. The US Open champ Marin Cilic took a huge blow for his reputation from the World’s No 90 Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in the second round, while the 7th seeded Milos Raonic has yet to face what seems to be a pretty tough challenge in the third round against Nick Kyrgios. The UK-licensed bookie TonyBet gives Raonic just 1.45 odds at advancing to the next round.

Meanwhile, the bottom half looks a little bit more complicated. The 2013 champion and the local favorite Andy Murray is seen as the main candidate to face Djokovic in the final, however, he still has a long way to go. While his third round opponent Andreas Seppi might not seem as a big threat for the World’s No 3, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga just might be. Read the rest of this entry →

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.

Read the rest of this entry →

Roger Federer: Will it be Another Fruitful Autumn? 4

Posted on October 01, 2012 by Marianne Bevis

At 30, Roger is still at the top of the tennis world.

Autumn: The season of warm sunshine and cool evenings, of golden mornings and burnished afternoons, of dewy lawns and slanting shadows.

It’s a season of transition and reflection, of rest before making ready for the year’s push towards its wintery climax.

September sees some sports kick their way into a fresh season and others bat they way towards a conclusion. But for tennis, this is merely the lull after months of globe-scattered tournaments, after countless cities and adjustments from clay to grass to the hot and hard blue of the last Grand Slam of the year. New York feels like a climax, but then feels like an anti-climax, a thrilling conclusion on tennis’s biggest stage that is not a conclusion—just a temporary reprieve.

This autumn dip finds expression in the players themselves. They talk of tiredness and the need for rest, and this year more than most, the schedule has taken a heavy toll. Read the rest of this entry →

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