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The Most Dramatic Wimbledon Upsets of the Modern Era 7

Posted on June 30, 2012 by JA Allen

Kukas Rosol upset Rafael Nadal in the 2nd Round of Wimbledon

As a society, we love upsets—when the decided underdog comes up big to knock off the reportedly sure winner. It levels the playing field for that brief moment and we all feel empowered.

So, when Lukas Rosol sent Rafael Nadal home during their second round match at the All-England Club on Thursday, it marked a true upset. One of the most startling exits at Wimbledon in recent years.

As Rosol remarked in his post-match interview, Nadal is only human.

As such, even the great Nadal has some moments when he does not play his best for whatever reason pundits can determine.

For his part, Nadal had not looked comfortable at all during his early round matches at Wimbledon in 2012; but no one suspected that the world No. 2 could be defeated at this point of the Wimbledon fortnight.

As we look back surveying previous Wimbledon tournaments, determining upsets is a matter of degrees. Whenever the unexpected happens, we call that an upset.

We will use that criteria for discussing some of the greatest Wimbledon upsets in the history of the Modern Era in tennis.

The matches discussed here are listed in chronological order.

The debate about which upset is the most shocking will be saved for a later day.

Certainly this upset of Nadal on Centre Court in 2012 ranks right up there as one of the most shocking.

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Counting Down the 15 Greatest French Open Champions of the Open Era… 1

Posted on April 29, 2011 by JA Allen

The French Open Grounds surrounding Stade Roland Garros

Thoughts now turn to the red clay of Stade Roland Garros––the next Grand Slam championship on the calendar.

The French Open begins on May 22 following the Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

The French Open has often presented obstacles to many of the top players.  Pete Sampras never won on the red dirt nor did John McEnroe, although he came very lose in 1984.

Maria Sharapova could never capture this title and the Williams sisters never found the dirt to their liking, although Serena Williams did win the title in 2002 with her sister Venus as the runner-up.

In all eight men and seven women have won multiple championships since the Open Era began in 1968.

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, be it years or decades?

Further, how do you determine who is number one 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 man or woman won the title.  Add in as well the number of times a player made it to the French Open finals since 1968 (Open Era) as the initial demarcation of greatness.

To be considered the player must have won the French Open more than once since 1968.

It should be noted that Rod Laver did win this tournament twice in 1962 and 1969, once in the Open Era. He also made the finals in 1968.

Roger Federer made four consecutive finals from 2006-2009, winning the title once in 2009.

That just proves how difficult it can be to win this tournament multiple times as these 15 players have done.

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Who’s No. 1? 16 Women in Tennis Who Held the Top Spot Longest 21

Posted on February 27, 2011 by JA Allen

Two women who dominated on tour: Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

Points given in a WTA sponsored tennis tournament are used to calculate a players ranking and who ultimately is the No. 1 player on the women’s tour.

Points gained are totaled for one year. Then as the event rolls around again on the calendar, the points earned last year fall off and new points won replace them.

Various tournaments have different point values with the slams offering the most points. For example, the winner of a major receives 2000 ranking points.

The further a player advances in the tournament, the more points she will earn.

Ultimately for the women on tour, only the player’s best 17 tournaments count toward total ranking points. That means a player cannot simply add to her ranking total by entering every tournament.

Historically, for the women’s tour, ranking did not even appear as a statistic until 1921.

Back then rankings were subjective, based on human observation, often a professional panel. Certainly there was no universal system. Calculation of rankings were not point-based until 1975.

Despite the inadequacies of past record-keeping, evidence exists that indicate a number of very talented female players held the No. 1 ranking and dominated the women’s game prior to 1975.

We will use prior subjective rankings and convert those records to an appropriate number of weeks in order to rank the dominance of the top 16 female tennis players since 1921.

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Should Sports Stars avoid mixing business with pleasure? 5

Posted on February 10, 2011 by Rod Crowley

Romance is in the air at this time of year with Valentine’s Day falling in February, therefore it is probably worth a look of some famous sporting couples who have been successful in the love stakes and perhaps it would be a bit more fun to look at those who haven’t been as lucky as we look to answer the question whether sports stars should look to avoid mixing business with pleasure?

Former Tennis player, Chris Evert, is one sporting legend who features prominently in the failed stakes, after several failed relationships with sportsmen including Greg Norman, John Lloyd and Jimmy Connors.

Those sporting couples who have been Successful in love include…

Steffi Graf & Andre Agassi – This was a match made on the heavenly Courts at Roland Garros in Paris (where else?), which brought together arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time and one of the very best males. They were married two years or so later; they remain happily ensconsed with two children and live in Las Vegas. Steffi won a total of 22 Grand Slam titles including a Calendar year Grand Slam of all four titles in 1988, while Andre won a total of 8 ‘Slams’ including Wimbledon in 1992, the same year his wife to be won the women’s title. Agassi won a career Slam, making him one of only seven players to do so in history.

Zara Phillip & Mike Tindall – The oldest granddaughter of HM The Queen and former world eventing champion is said to be really happy following her engagement to the current England rugby captain, Mike Tindall, the hard tacking, broken nosed tough guy centre. No wedding plans have been announced at this stage but the couple do live together in Gloucestershire.

Kenny & Gabbi Logan – The former Scottish rugby union winger is said to have chatted Gabbi up in a pub in London, but obviously his chat up lines worked as he later married the daughter of former Welsh International, Terry Yorath who is currently a leading  BBC Sports presenter. The couple have been married for ten years and have twins.

Paula Radcliffe & Gary Lough – Marathon Queen Paula married her coach and former 1500 meter champion Gary Lough in 2000 and the couple have two children. They have been working extremely hard together to get Paula fit for a tilt at the Marathon in the 2012 London Olympics.

Couples who have suffered defeat meanwhile include

Kim Clijsters & Lleyton Hewitt – Once described as ‘Kylie and Jason with balls’ this engagement was doomed to failure from the start, with both players still far to committed to winning tennis tournaments rather than winning each other over. They lasted 12 months!

Zara Phillips & Richard Johnson – Royalty and Horse Racing normally goes hand in hand, Zara, daughter of Princess Anne and Richard one of National Hunt’s leading jockey’s had a well reported relationship for over three years but sadly for romantics they fell in the fourth. Read the rest of this entry →

The 10 Greatest Female Australian Open Champions 5

Posted on January 20, 2011 by JA Allen



Serena Williams was the last Australian Open champ in 2010.

Most of the ladies crowned as champions of the Australian Open hailed primarily from Australia back in the early days of this prestigious tennis tournament.

Distance from European capitals and the United States kept the Australian Open a happening mainly for locals, although there were foreign winners from time to time.

Overall Australians have won 43 Australian Open titles, 33 during the Amateur Era and 10 during the Open Era. Their first championship came in 1922 and their last in 1978.

The Aussies are all hoping Samantha Stosur can add to their total by winning the championship in 2011. The time is now for a  native to win the trophy––it has been 33 years, after all.

With defending champion Serena Williams not playing in 2011 because of injury, this year is wide open for the ladies as they look to crown a new champion.

Female champions from the United States are second having won 22 Australian Open titles, 7 in the Amateur Era and 15 during the Open Era.

Half of the ladies in this Top Ten list are logically from Australia and many of them represent titles won during the Amateur Era which began back in 1922.

But all have outstanding results in the “Happy” Slam now held annually in Melbourne.

10. Australian Joan Hartigan Bathurst: Won in 1933, 1934, 1936 – 3 Finals, 3 Wins, 2 Consecutively.

Joan Hartigan Bathurst won three Australian Open titles in her career.

Australian Joan Hartigan-Bathurst played her first Australian Open Championship in 1931 and her last one in 1947. She won three championships during her long career.

Traveling outside of Australia, Hartigan-Bathurst also made the semifinals at Wimbledon twice. She never, however, traveled to play in the United States championships.

During her years playing on tennis courts around the world, Hartigan-Bathurst won three Australian Open titles, made the semifinals twice and the quarterfinals four times.

In 1933 Hartigan-Bathurst defeated Coral Buttsworth to win her first Australian Open title 6-4, 6-3.

The Aussie repeated as champion the following year defeating Margaret Molesworth 6-1, 6-4 in 1934.

Her next Australian Open Championship came in 1936 when Hartigan-Bathurst won over fellow Aussie Nancy Wynn Bolton 6-4, 6-4.

Overall she played in 10 Australian Open Championships, winning three times. Her win loss record was 48-7 giving Hartigan Bathurst a winning percentage of 87.27.

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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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    • Original Patriot: Gino Cappelletti
      September 3, 2017 | 6:54 pm
      Gino Cappelletti

      Gino Cappelletti

      In recognition of the start of football season, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is one of the original stars for the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

      In many ways, Gino Cappelletti epitomized the early years of the American Football League. While the NFL was becoming more specialized and tougher to break into, the AFL provided former college stars with a new place to play and its “wild west” mentality allowed players to contribute in a wide variety of ways.

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