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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 →

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.

Read the rest of this entry →

Is It Over for the Williams’ Sisters? 2

Posted on June 29, 2011 by Pete South

Will Serena and Venus Williams be able to recover from injuries and recent losses to regain their tennis dominance?

With women’s tennis seemingly in a state of flux it would seem foolish to write off Venus and Serena Williams after they crashed out of Wimbledon at the fourth round stage.

Serena’s title defense came to a halt when Marion Bartoli of France claimed a straight sets win 6-3 7-6 (8-6), while Tsvetana Pironkova scored an even more comprehensive victory over Venus taking the match 6-2 6-3.

There were always doubts about Serena’s ability to cut it at Wimbledon this year as she was recovering from the various problems which had kept her out of the game for over a year, but there still has to be worries about her ability to compete at the highest level. Those planning to bet on US Open action will have to think long and hard before backing her.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Ten Greatest Players Never to Win the French Open 5

Posted on May 27, 2011 by JA Allen

The French Open is the only major played on clay.

Regarded by many players as the most difficult grand slam to win, the first French Open was held in 1891. But it was not until 1925 that the tournament moved to the grounds of Stade Roland Garros.

The French Open is the only major still played on clay.

Playing tennis on clay was once deemed a special art. Roland Garros became the arena for clay court specialists.

Even today’s players utilize a particular skill set to do well on the clay court surface––which not only slows down the ball but can produce a high bounce.

It takes great patience, but learning to play on clay also provides a good foundation for doing well on all surfaces.

Winning in Paris is essential to winning a grand slam. Very often, lack of success at Stade Roland Garros has kept many a player from winning that elusive fourth major.

Few players have won a grand slam––all four majors in a calendar year. For the men, there was Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.

For the ladies, Maureen Connolly Brinker won in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988. These three ladies all won calendar year grand slams.

Additionally, many players have won a career slam––winning at all venues during the course of a tennis player’s career.

The men who have won career slams are Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

For the ladies the career slam belongs to Maureen Connolly Brinker, Doris Hart, Shirley Fry Irvin, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

Many great players have been stopped because they could not negotiate the clay.  Following are the top 10 players who could never find a way to win that elusive French Open title.

Read the rest of this entry →

What Will Be Serena William’s Wimbledon Legacy? 2

Posted on May 12, 2011 by Pete South

It may be difficult for Serena Williams to repeat her Wimbledon title in 2011.

Serena Williams’ place in the order of Open era Wimbledon greats is hard to measure. Although Roger Federer is certainly near the top of the list of male Wimbledon legends, Serena, the female incarnation of the modern great, might not even be the best Wimbledon player in her family.

It is too early to write the 13-time slam winner’s career obituary, although her prospective absence from this year’s tournament would make her a less dominant favorite in 2012 at the age of 30 with a serious medical problem only just behind her. Anyone looking at the 2011 Wimbledon betting will doubt her ability to challenge this year.

Although the Williams sisters have prospered as siblings on the WTA tour, their bond allowing greater longevity than most of their rivals have achieved, they suffer from their family connection when it comes to an evaluation of achievements, especially at Wimbledon.

This has partly by their joint domination – they have played four finals against each other that have often disappointed – and their success in the ladies’ doubles, a title they have won on four occasions. Followers are used to seeing ‘a Williams sister’ win succeed at SW19. Read the rest of this entry →

Australian Open 2011: Clijsters? Wozniacki? Who Will Win Down Under? 5

Posted on January 16, 2011 by JA Allen

Caroline Wozniacki is the new World No. 1 in womens tennis.

It is redundant to repeat that the women’s field in Melbourne is wide open.  This is because the 2010 defending Australian Open Champion Serena Williams is not competing,

The media has already taken a big bite out of the No. 1 seed, Caroline Wozniacki, finding her lacking in seasoning, flavor and a coup d’etat at any major.

Previously, the pundits did the same thing to Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina, hounding these ladies, driving them out of range of reaching that ranking again.

Wozniacki, however, is not quite as fragile or as susceptible to harsh, self-centered commentator remarks. Of course, the No. 1 seed wants to capture this title and will do everything in her power to win her first slam.

What everyone seems to overlook is that Wozniacki is 20 years old and her game is still evolving. Just as Nadal starting winning on one surface then improved his game to win on all surfaces over time––Wozniacki has not yet perfected her game.

The No. 1 seed is certainly not the favorite to win.  Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are.

Most feel Venus Williams has not played enough good tennis in preparation for the Australian Open to win. Maria Sharapova, they feel, is also not in top form and perhaps never will be again.

Many look at Samantha Stosur to break through at home and win her first major. That would, indeed, please the natives.

In order for Wozniacki to win, she would have to play perfect tennis for two weeks, serving well plus out-hustling any player standing across the net.  The question is––can Wozniacki do it?

Read the rest of this entry →

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