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Sports Then and Now



Todd Martin to Juan Martin del Potro: What’s Missing? 8

Posted on March 30, 2010 by Rob York
Juan Del Potro is a throwback to Todd Martin.

Juan Martin del Potro is a throwback to Todd Martin.

Todd Martin had many of the qualities we ascribed to a top pro in the 1990s. In fact, he had no real flaws in terms of shots, as his return of serve was deadly, his 6’6” wingspan shrouded the net, and his serve was one of the most effective in the game.

In fact, in his autobiography, Andre Agassi described Martin’s serve as being so accurate that he aimed not at the lines, but the edges of lines. Throw in his excellent tactical skills, and Martin was able to serve his way to a pair of major finals and eight titles.

He might well have made more had he been a great mover, not suffered frequent injuries, and his cerebral approach not led to meltdowns in some critical moments in his career. Nonetheless, Martin was a trendsetter in men’s tennis, as one of the first players standing at two meters in height to reach the last round of a major. It took the finest players of his generation – Pete Sampras in the 1994 Australian Open and Andre Agassi in the 1999 US Open – to beat him in the finals he reached. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
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      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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