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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 →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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