Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Repeating History: What Sampras-Rafter Can Teach Us About Nadal-Soderling 5

Posted on January 04, 2010 by Rob York
Could Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling develop the next great rivalry in tennis?

Could Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling develop the next great rivalry in tennis?

In 1997 Patrick Rafter won his first major at the US Open, thanks to his agile movement, big-kicking serve and unparalleled net coverage. Though this put him exactly nine majors behind Pete Sampras at that point in their careers, it was easy to begin wondering how the two would match up in future encounters.

Still, the two weren’t truly rivals yet; Sampras was 5-1 against the Australian at that point and would add three more lopsided victories over Rafter to his tally that fall. Plus, with the bulk of his accomplishments and the fact that he had a commanding lead in the race for No. 1, few could seriously claim that the two were players of equal stature.

To become a rival to Sampras, Rafter would have to beat the American, and take something he wanted.

That would come in 1998, when the Australian rallied from down a set to top Sampras at the Cincinnati Masters tourney. Sampras had already won Wimbledon that year, and Rafter’s successes for 1998 were just beginning; still, Sampras hungered for the points that event would bring him. He was pursuing the year-end ranking for the sixth consecutive year – a record – and Marcelo Rios was hot on his heels. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Follow Us Online

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Current Poll

    Who is the Greatest Player in NBA History?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top