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Sports Then and Now

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 →

Maria Sharapova Looking to Rekindle Past Glory at Wimbledon 5

Posted on June 09, 2011 by Pete South

After reaching the French Open semifinals, Maria Sharapova will look to take the next step at Wimbledon.

This week Maria Sharapova chose to withdraw from the Aegon Classic tournament in Birmingham, a competition the Russian traditionally uses as her one and only warm-up event on grass before Wimbledon. Having recently lost to Li Na in the semi-final of the French Open, Sharapova has stated the reason for her withdrawal as being an unspecified illness –and given the regularity with which she normally takes part in the Eastbourne-based competition it would only be natural to worry for her wellbeing ahead of Wimbledon which is due to begin in just eleven days.

Maria Sharapova has played in Birmingham on the last seven occasions, winning the title twice and reaching the final on two other occasions, and as a result it is normally a fair representation of how the athlete is performing. But she is not the only major player to withdraw this week after Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli has also pulled out of the tournament through injury, leaving Estonian Kaia Kanepi as the top seed remaining in the event. Anyone planning on placing a Wimbledon bet 2011 will probably have to look elsewhere for form guides.

However, Sharapova has previous at Wimbledon – it was of course on the grass-courts of this competition where the Russian burst onto the international scene by taking apart Serena Williams five years ago. Now, provided that her illness is not too serious and that her injury fears are in the main behind her, she will have her eyes firmly set on a fourth Grand Slam title and a second Wimbledon crown, something the Wimbledon betting indicates she has every chance of doing. 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 →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bob Cousy: The Houdini of the Hardwood
      January 31, 2020 | 4:05 pm
      Bob Cousy

      As we reach the halfway point of the NBA season, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month the first in a long line of superstars to play for the Boston Celtics.

      Before there was Bill Russell and Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics were powered by a 6-foot-1 inch guard from Holy Cross. Bob Cousy was the on-the-court leader for the Celtics in the era during which they emerged as a basketball power.

      Read more »

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