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Sports Then and Now



Roger Federer: Will it be Another Fruitful Autumn? 4

Posted on October 01, 2012 by Marianne Bevis

At 30, Roger is still at the top of the tennis world.

Autumn: The season of warm sunshine and cool evenings, of golden mornings and burnished afternoons, of dewy lawns and slanting shadows.

It’s a season of transition and reflection, of rest before making ready for the year’s push towards its wintery climax.

September sees some sports kick their way into a fresh season and others bat they way towards a conclusion. But for tennis, this is merely the lull after months of globe-scattered tournaments, after countless cities and adjustments from clay to grass to the hot and hard blue of the last Grand Slam of the year. New York feels like a climax, but then feels like an anti-climax, a thrilling conclusion on tennis’s biggest stage that is not a conclusion—just a temporary reprieve.

This autumn dip finds expression in the players themselves. They talk of tiredness and the need for rest, and this year more than most, the schedule has taken a heavy toll. Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Stakes His Claim to Number One 6

Posted on July 03, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets to win his first Wimbledon title.

Thanks to the crazy system used to determine tennis rankings, Novak Djokovic was assured of becoming the number one player in the world regardless of the result of the men’s final between Djokovic and current number one Rafael Nadal. But Djokovic eliminated any doubt about his worthiness with an impressive four set victory over Nadal.

In claiming his first Wimbledon title, Djokovic now seems to have replaced Roger Federer as Nadal’s primary rival for tennis supremacy. His 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory may not have been in the classic style of previous battles between those two tennis icons, but Djokovic has illustrated that at age 24 he is reaching his tennis prime.

With his sweep through Wimbledon, Djokovic now holds two of the four grand slam titles and has lost only one match in 2011 (in the French Open semifinals to Federer).

Though he still is capable of competing at a high level, the days of Federer dominating men’s tennis are clearly over. He will turn 30 next month and hasn’t won a grand slam since the 2010 Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal is only a year older than Djokovic, but has significantly more wear on his body than his new rival, but also more overall success with 10 grand slam titles. Read the rest of this entry →

Is It Over for the Williams’ Sisters? 3

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 →

Stosur Defeat Raises Fresh Doubts 0

Posted on June 23, 2011 by Pete South

Samantha Stosur continued her struggles with a first round loss at Wimbledon.

Samantha Stosur’s latest early Wimbledon exit further calls into question her ability to compete at majors. Combined with her freezing in the French Open final last year and a record of just three quarter final or better efforts at slams, it suggests the world number 10 cannot find her best game when it matters most.

The Australian’s poor Wimbledon record is one of the great anomalies in tennis. Stosur has fallen in the first round five times, reached the second on three occasions and has a best finish of the third round, achieved in 2009. Anyone with a free bet on US Open action may  want to bear her poor form in mind.

In that tournament she reached the doubles finals for the second consecutive year, which hints at why her singles record at SW19 is so hard to understand. Stosur is one of the best doubles players in recent times, possessing as she does a big and varied serve and excellent volleying ability. She is seemingly tailor-made for grass. Read the rest of this entry →

Gael Monfils Targets Wimbledon Improvement 1

Posted on June 19, 2011 by Pete South

Gael Monfils will look to make a good run at Wimbledon.

The top-seeded French player competing at Wimbledon next week, Gael Monfils, is shaping up for life on grass courts rather nicely at the Gerry Weber ATP event in Halle, Germany. He made it through to the semifinals before being eliminated by the German tennis player and eventual winner Phillipp Kohlschreiber and as such will be looking forward to play getting underway at the All-England Club in London on Monday.

He is perhaps not at his best on grass – a point highlighted by the fact that his best results in Grand Slams have come at the US Open and the French Open – snaring quarter-final and semi-final finishes respectively. But now, following a strong showing in Germany on grass, and a generous ninth seed placement for the SW19 tournament, he is looking in good shape to really mount a challenge and those who bet on Wimbledon 2011 will have to keep an eye on him.

“In the last days before Wimbledon, I want to improve my overall game further still – serve faster and stronger and work on my movement. Last year, I was terrible on grass, because that surface does not come naturally to me, so this year I am happy, I want to continue improving,” he said. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Women’s Tennis Legend Pauline Betz Addie 10

Posted on June 11, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Pauline Betz Addie's amateur career ended abruptly in 1947.

Considering how blurred the lines are today between amateur and professional sports, it is difficult to imagine a time when the rules were so strict that athletes were actually banned from competing in amateur competition simply for considering the idea of becoming a professional. Such was the case for tennis legend Pauline Betz Addie, who recently passed away at the age of 91.

As women’s sports rose in prominence and stature during World War II, Betz Addie was the most dominant women’s tennis player in the country.

After having reached the finals the previous year, she won the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) for the first time in 1942 while still an undergraduate student at Rollins College in Florida.  She went on to appear in the finals every year between 1941 and 1946 and claimed the championship four times.

In 1946 she appeared at Wimbledon for the only time in her career and easily won the title without dropping a set. Later that year, she won the U.S. Nationals for the fourth time and appeared on the cover of Time magazine, which pronounced her the “first lady of tennis.”

However, that would be the last year in which she would be able to compete for the most prestigious titles in tennis.

Until 1968, the four major tennis championships – U.S. National, French, Australian and Wimbledon – were all amateur events with no prize money and professionals were barred from competing. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

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