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Sports Then and Now



Maureen Connolly: Little Mo 6

Posted on July 03, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Maureen Connolly

Maureen Connolly

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the most dominating women’s tennis player of her career before a tragic accident ended her career while she was still a teenager.

Maureen “Little Mo” Connelly won the final nine majors in which she competed, which is quite impressive given how challenging Serena Williams is currently finding it to win four straight majors for the second time in her career. Read the rest of this entry →

Playing the Tennis Rankings Game: Reviewing the Top 10 in 2011… 9

Posted on November 02, 2011 by JA Allen

Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the new world No. 1 in men's tennis.

What a difference a year makes. Nothing brings that point home more than looking back at the men’s and women’s tennis rankings at the end of 2010—and comparing it to today’s ranking.

For the last two years,  the ladies’ rankings were as follows:

2010

  1. Caroline Wozniacki
  2. Vera Zvonareva
  3. Kim Clijsters
  4. Serena Williams
  5. Venus Williams
  6. Samantha Stosur
  7. Francesca Schiavone
  8. Jelena Jankovic
  9. Elena Dementieva
  10. Victoria Azarenka

2011

  1. Caroline Wozniacki
  2. Petra Kvitova
  3. Victoria Azarenka
  4. Maria Sharapova
  5. Na Li
  6. Samantha Stosur
  7. Vera Zvonareva
  8. Agnieszka Radwanska
  9. Marion Bartoli
  10. Andrea Petkovic

Only four of the WTA top ten ranked women at end of 2010 appear again in the top ten in 2011 after the ladies concluded their battle for the 2011 WTA championship.

Many of the perennial “standards” have faded from sight with no Williams sisters or Kim Clijsters making the cut.

For the men, the story is a bit different. While the ATP top ten ranked players at the end of 2010 had a different order, most of the names are the same in 2011—now, as the final three men struggle to make the ATP elite eight field for the 2011 year-end championship.

Read the rest of this entry →

Petra Kvitova Proves When You’re Hot, You’re Hot in the Latest Women’s Power Ranking 12

Posted on October 31, 2011 by JA Allen

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic wins in Istanbul.

From the beginning, 2011 made its mark as the “Year of Injuries” for the top-ranked women in tennis.

Serena Williams, who cut her foot on broken glass after the 2010 Wimbledon Tournament, was out of tennis for most of the year.

Sister Venus Williams also suffered from illness and injury throughout 2011.

Kim Clijsters, who won the 2011 Australian Open over Li Na of China, sprained her ankle and never was able to compete fully after April of this year.

Justine Henin retired for the second and last time in January of 2011 after further injuring her elbow at the Australian Open. It was the same elbow she injured in a fall at Wimbledon in 2010.

For the most part the old guard was disappearing, it seemed, in the blink of an eye. That meant new champions would emerge.

Therefore, 2011 quickly evolved into the “Year of the Newcomers” in women’s tennis.

Li Na won the 2011 French Open, to claim her first major title.

Petra Kvitova, barely 21, won the 2011 Wimbledon title, defeating former champion Maria Sharapova in the final—even though the Williams sisters were competing once again.

Samantha Stosur finally won her first major at the US Open defeating Serena Williams in a brilliant display of tennis acumen and nerve.

The 2011 season culminated in Istanbul at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships where the elite eight women met to battle for the final title of the season.

Read the rest of this entry →

Can Caroline Wozniacki Grab a Grand Slam Title? 2

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Pete South

Though ranked number one in the world, Caroline Wozniacki is still looking for her first Grand Slam title.

The world number one Caroline Wozniacki is one of the most consistent performers in the sport, winning 17 WTA titles, which is why she is ranked so highly. However, that ever elusive Grand Slam title is yet to become a reality. If she is to win a Grand Slam, it looks like the US Open is the Dane’s best opportunity. Anyone looking at the Betfair Men’s US Open betting odds may find it slightly ridiculous that you can have a world number one who hasn’t won a grand slam.

Wozniacki came closest to Grand Slam glory in 2009 at Flushing Meadows, reaching the final only to lose out to the returning Kim Clijsters 7-5, 6-3. The next year saw Wozniacki come in among the favourites, only to be upset in the semi finals by Vera Zvonareva. 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 →

A Decade of Tennis Divas: The Last 10 Lady Champions at Indian Wells 14

Posted on March 05, 2011 by JA Allen

The tournament at Indian Wells gets underway on Monday March 7.

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells gets underway starting March 7.

It is easy to see that the 36-year old tournament has grown into a major attraction for tennis fans in this country as the stands and grounds become packed with spectators each year when March rolls around.

Some tennis aficionados have grown so enamored with the annual event they now call it California’s version of a fifth major.

This year’s Masters Series 1000 Tournament, whose inaugural event took place in 1976, is now held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens after several location changes during its history.

It features both a men’s and a women’s draw with the top players attending, hoping to add this prestigious title to their respective resumes.

For the ladies field, the tournament gradually evolved into a top tier event. In the beginning it was non-sanctioned. It became, however, an official WTA Tour event in 1991.

Initially the women’s tournament preceded the men’s but in 1996 tournament sponsors along with the WTA and ATP decided to hold both competitions concurrently.

Unlike the men, the women have no player who has won this tournament three times.

In the women’s competition, however, seven players have won the tournament twice—Daniela Hantuchova 2002 and 2007, Kim Clijsters 2003 and 2005, Serena Williams 1999 and 2001, Lindsay Davenport 1997 and 2000, Steffi Graf 1994 and 1996, Mary Jo Fernandez 1993 and 1995 and Martina Navratilova 1990-1991.

Who will add to these totals in 2011?

Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star
      November 12, 2017 | 8:52 am
      Bulldog Turner

      Bulldog Turner

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a two-way star for the dominant Chicago Bears teams of the 1940s.

      Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.

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