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Found 42 results

  1. This 1974 episode of the "Dinah!" show just popped into my head, and I found a picture of it - Dinah Shore pronounced the name "Nav-ra-ti-lo-va" veeerrry carefully, reading it from the teleprompter. Martina was only 18, and hadn't lost her baby fat yet!
  2. Unless Nadal picks up the pace over the next several years, I fully believe that Federer has to be considered the better all time player. It will be hard for me to think of Djokovic as a potential #1 of all time but, as you say, the book's still open. The players just keep getting better and better and it becomes unfair to compare one generation against another. As someone old enough to have seen Laver et al play (in person), then to continue thru the Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi eras, I am continuously amazed at how each "new" great player is so much better than the ones before them. And I expect this to continue. I have some perspective on this issue. Having converted from tennis to squash in college & graduating in '74, I played NYC league squash in '81-'83 while I was ranked in the top 100 (amateurs) nationally. I played on a co-ed team and played #1 for a season, with the #2 player being the #2 women's pro. in the country. I could beat her in a match, barely, but I could (the #1 woman's player at the time could roll over me like I was hit by a train, but that's another story). At any rate, a # of years later, by the time Venus was coming up in the tennis ranks and I was playing tennis again (at a much lower pedestrian level), I remember standing court side and having a revelation that, in my prime, I wouldn't stand a chance against the then current top 50 women squash players and would be lucky to win a game (okay, 2 points) against a top woman's tennis player. Not even a tough analysis. They were just that much better. I cannot fathom how good these current players are. Yes, as you (Don) say, the training is better, the equipment much better and everything else is a better environment to produce better athletes. But, the bottom line remains -- these are the best ever. And soon there'll be better. By the way, I still have my Tad Davis Imperial wood racquet & the "new" racquet I replaced it with"¦ the Wilson T-2000. Both are strung and usable. Neither can be used effectively & I'll stick with my current Head Radical. Too bad I didn't keep a container of white balls.
  3. Past or present. I decided to ask this in a new thread instead of distracting another one.
  4. I've seen enough of Naomi Osaka where I'm thanking the Lord that we have the next Women's superstar who doesn't squeal like a sodomized chipmunk every time she strikes the ball. Osaka grew up idolizing Serena_Williams, and was wonderfully deferential to her after a somewhat controversial victory (which included three code violations that went against Williams). In fact, when Williams won her first Grand Slam title, Osaka wasn't yet born. Remember the name, Naomi Osaka: You'll be hearing it for years to come.
  5. This guy is from another world - I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone use the court - not side-to-side, but back-to-front - more effectively, and I'm certain I've never seen anything like Dustin Brown's jumping two-handed backhanded robo-kill shot.
  6. "Arthur Was Always Different": Reflecting on Ashe's Legacy, 50 Years after U.S. Open Win" by Ava Wallace on washingtonpost.com I remember pulling for Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon Finals - had I only known better ... I am *so glad* Ashe won that match, and it took a lifetime of living (not just being a tennis player) to understand *why* I'm so glad Ashe won.
  7. The date besides Félix Auger-Alissime's name isn't the year he went on tour; it's his birth year. At age 16: * He's the youngest player in the World Top 800 (currently ranked #749) * He's the youngest player ever to qualify for, and win a main draw match, on the ATP Challenger Tour (the Challenger Tour is just one step below the full-fledged ATP World Tour - sort of like AAA Baseball). * He won the Sopra Steria de Lyon in June, making him the 7th-youngest player ever to win a Challenger tournament. * He has won both the U.S. Open Junior Singles and Doubles titles. Auger-Alissime is someone to look out for in future years - here's a highlight film of his Sopra Steria de Lyon victory. Notice the way he can play side-to-side, but also that he's not the least bit afraid to come to net: This represents the next generation of great tennis players (with Federer, and to a lesser degree, Sampras, already having paved the way). This will place more emphasis (slightly more) on speed and quickness than sheer endurance, and will probably make players like McEnroe and Sampras very happy. I don't think he's going to be able to get away with drop shotting this much as his competition gets better-and-better: You don't beat a great player hitting short.
  8. I knew that racket technology had ended serve-and-volley tennis, but I never really knew if there was a specific "moment in time" when it ended. Well, there was - in 1997, when Gustavo Kuerten won his first French Open using Luxilon polyester strings. This article says it better than I can - especially the video which shows Kuerten's returns dipping down at Sampras' feet at the net in a 2000 tournament. Because of these strings, players were now able to swing as hard as they could, off both wings, and almost never miss. Look at what the game is today - the best players can rally for hundreds of shots without missing, all the while swinging as hard as they can swing. Tennis is now a sport of who is in the best physical condition - there are twelve-year-old kids who can hit better ground strokes than many college players could a generation ago. Oct 8, 2015 - "1997: Gustavo Kuerten's Game-Changing Win with Polyester Strings" by Steve Tignor on tennis.com Pete Sampras was *so much better* than Gustavo Kuerten that it was a travesty that he lost, and Sampras will quite possibly be remembered as the last pure serve-and-volley player in history, thanks to these strings. A quote from the article: "By 2000, Kuerten was No. 1 in the world, and some of his fellow players began to whisper that his string should be banned for giving him an unfair advantage. Tour stringer Nate Ferguson has said that as he watched Guga dip passing shots at the feet of Pete Sampras on his way to the title at the Tennis Masters Cup (now called the World Tour Finals) in Lisbon in 2000, he wondered how anyone would ever be able to rush the net again. Ferguson’s thought proved prescient: Fifteen years later, now that polyester is the standard on tour, virtually everyone rips the ball with pace and spin the way Kuerten did back then, and few dare to venture to the net. The feel of natural gut is out; the power of poly is in." The game has been forever changed. I think it's a very similar concept to "clap skates" - the speed skates with blades that were only attached to the boot from the front, which interestingly caught on around the same time as Luxilon strings did in tennis (and, not long before Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs). This article explains it very well: Feb 15, 2014 - "How a Century-Old Skate Design Completely Changed Modern Speed Skating" by Bring Back (?) Anthony Mason on kinja.com I'm not being judgmental here - however, one thing technological advances do (as is touched on in the speed-skating article) is take away valid comparisons with past and present generations. Baseball - steroids excepted - is the one sport where the equipment was mandated to stay basically the same as it was almost one-hundred years ago, so it's much more reasonable (and fun!) to compare Ty Cobb to Rickey Henderson, than it is to compare Jack Kramer to Roger Federer.
  9. Yes, but only when they've played away against the NY Sporttimes over the past couple of years. These matches are very informal, lots of fun and yet highly competitive. Well worth going.
  10. It has been said about Michelle Larcher de Brito that, 'Every time she hits a tennis ball, a little girl falls off a cliff.'
  11. There are several highlight films of Roger Federer hitting near-miraculous shots on YouTube. This 2008 Wimbledon tiebreaker against Nadal is as good as any highlight film - this is some of the greatest tennis ever played (by both players):
  12. Steroids? Maybe. A class act? Absolutely. "Berdych Withdraws: Nadal to Face Djokovic in Final" on miamiopen.com "It's very unlucky, very unusual," Nadal said. "Sorry for Kei, sorry for Tomas, and sorry for the tournament, especially sorry for the fans."
  13. International Tennis Federation Wheelchair Tennis Home Page on itf.com --- If you're like me, you know Wheelchair Tennis exists, but you've never taken the time to look into it, or know much about it at all. I finally decided to take some time and look into this sport, its sanctioning bodies (the International Paralympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation), the qualifications for entry, rules of play, etc. I went so far as to complain to myself that people having a lifetime of disability would have an unfair advantage over someone like me, if I got into an accident later in life, because they've been playing so much longer. Then, I realized the absurdity of what I was thinking (sorry, that was the natural competitor in me). I've had a lifetime of normal activity; *so what* if they have an advantage because they've been disabled longer! I mentally kicked myself for letting myself go there. Anyone interested in looking at this should begin at the ITF's (International Tennis Federation's) Wheelchair Page. This page will quickly direct you to the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Classification Manual. In fact, it's so comprehensive that it's almost pointless for me to type much more. There are actually two different divisions of Wheelchair Tennis being played right now at the U.S. Open: "Normal" Wheelchair Tennis, and a Quad Division - the Quad Division is reserved for athletes disabled to an even more severe level, and can give them the right to use power wheelchairs, tape the rackets to their hands, etc. If anyone reading this has ever considered participating in wheelchair tennis, start with these as your references, and write me if you need any further help. Wheelchair or not, I cannot imagine the thrill of coming home holding a Wimbledon Championship trophy. That is awesome. Kuneida Shingo is one of the all-time great players:
  14. This is funny - in 1974, I went to Don Budge Tennis Camp, and one evening we went to see the Baltimore Banners play. Who on earth are the Baltmore Banners, you might be asking? This was Baltimore's World Team Tennis (WTT) team which lasted precisely one season. Speaking of banners, I remember seeing one which said, "Our Jimmy's The Champ!" This was right after Jimmy Connors won his first Wimbledon, and he played for the Baltimore Banners, believe it or not: They signed him to a $100,000 contract to play for 22 of the team's 44 matches, so I got to see him in his prime). That summer, my parents got to watch me hit tennis balls with Don Budge - I will never forget how they sent me to this camp when they couldn't afford it.
  15. I just saw Rafael Nadal defeat Donald Young in the 2nd round of Wimbledon, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5, and Young was *right there* in the 3rd set, breaking Nadal to get to 5-5, before the pressure got to him, and he hesitated on some really important shots. You can see this because there's a slight loss of intensity, and as so often happens, a player "pulls up" on their shots, instead of driving through them. When they're down, and their backs are up against the wall, players play like there's nothing to lose, and usually hit out with much more fluency. Still, Young taking Nadal to 5-5 at Wimbledon is an accomplishment - like so many players of today, Young has a tremendous serve and forehand, but his backhand is just too much of a weakness ever to crack the top 10 (not that this is any sort of failing). Donald Young and Mexican Santiago González got to the finals of this year's French Open Men's Doubles championships, falling to fellow American Ryan Harrison and New Zealander Michael Venus in a tight match, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4), 3-6.
  16. Is this indictment of Bobby Riggs based on more than the unsworn and unverifiable testimony of a guy who alleges (four decades later) that he eavesdropped on some mobsters talking about Riggs throwing the "Battle of the Sexes" match against Billie Jean King before he had even played Margaret Court?
  17. In what was probably the greatest display of clay court tennis any adult will ever see: "Rafael Nadal Defeats Stan Wawrinka To Win 10th French Open, 15th Grand Slam Title" by Jamie Lisanti on si.com This was better than, and almost as dominant as, Bjorn Borg's performance in 1978, which itself was ridiculous. Being across the net from either man must have defined "hopeless." Name your poison: Borg (1978) 1. 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 2. 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 3. 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 4. 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 5. 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 6. 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 7. 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 Nadal (2017) 1. 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 2. 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 3. 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 4. 6-1. 6-2. 6-2 5. 6-2, 2-0, ret. 6. 6-3. 6-4, 6-0 7. 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
  18. I got up this morning and watched the first four sets (although I knew the outcome before I began watching). Wawrinka (age 31) is a beast, but this tournament is destined to be The Final Showdown between The Legends: Federer (age 35) - Nadal (age 30) in the Men's Singles final; The Williams Sisters (ages 35 and 36) in the Women's Singles Final, and The Bryan Brothers (age 38) in the Men's Doubles Final. Something similar to this happened in the early aughts with Sampras (age 31) winning the U.S. Open in 2002, and Agassi (age 33) winning the Australian Open in 2003 - neither were "supposed" to win any more majors. Enjoy this - it will almost surely be the last time you ever see this group of players in a final round.
  19. This is so amazing that it needs commentary. It's Nadal vs. The Stalker: The Stalker gets ready to hit a heavy topspin serve: And kicks it out wide to Nadal's backhand, stepping in to stalk a short return: Nadal is pulled wide, and stretches to hit a backhand return, The Stalker is one-step closer in: Nadal is now *backwards* after hitting his return. The Stalker closes in even more: Nadal gets it back, and starts sprinting to the other side of the court, while The Stalker prepares to hit a volley: The Stalker wisely goes *behind* Nadal, who has committed to sprinting across the court, forcing Nadal to apply the brakes: Two words are going through Nadal's mind right now: "Oh, fuck." But Nadal is Nadal, and somehow gets his racket on the ball: And Nadal sends it cross-court, The Stalker moving accordingly, and Nadal beginning to change direction again: Oh, if The Stalker could have only kept this volley a foot lower: The slow, red clay lets the ball bounce high, giving Nadal barely enough time to get there: But can only scoop the ball up - once again, Nadal is at The Stalker's mercy: The Stalker steps around to hit a backhand out wide, sending Nadal on another impossible sprint: And I mean, Nadal is in *big* trouble, but do you see the mistake The Stalker is making here? Look at that hole on the left side: I've seen this shot several times, and I'm *still* not sure how Nadal is hitting it, but he somehow gets it back on one bounce, facing backwards: "Oh ... fuck ...": But, oh my God, The Stalker is lining up for something incredible: Yes! A between-the-legs shot with Nadal pulled off the court! But no, not even The Stalker can pull this one off. It's Nadal's point.
  20. There's something going on that the vast majority of people don't know about: Tennis in the United States is dying. Slowly, methodically, over the past generation, college programs have been eliminated, one-by-one, as funding priorities go towards other things - college tennis has been deemed an expendable casualty of the budget wars - college tennis has always been a proving ground and development center for tennis at the professional level, but that won't be the case for much longer if the current trend continues: 250 college tennis programs have been eliminated since 2000. Here's a story that summarizes it very nicely: "They Cut My Team - UMBC and the Alarming Decline of College Tennis" on tennisfiles.com Now, I'm the first to admit that people fighting to keep college tennis alive in the U.S. can be legitimately considered a "special-interest group." There's a big difference between children going hungry, or classrooms being funded, and the existence of college tennis programs. My point isn't to argue the case that the world is going to end if college tennis goes away; merely to point out that the problem exists, and is very real. You are now armed with information that you didn't have before - you can do whatever you wish with it, but remember, a generation from now, when an American hasn't won a Grand Slam in two decades, the problem started here - it actually started many years ago. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Serena Williams will be the last great American tennis player for the forseeable future, and she's a special case, since she and Venus were raised to be professional tennis players from a very early age. The only hope for American tennis is for a program to emerge like Nick Bollettieri's campus, where elite juniors can go and give up their lives for the sport. Without college tennis programs, most promising players' careers will end when they graduate from high school, and the truly elite juniors (and I'm talking 8, 10, or 12 years old), won't even go to high school, since they'll be living at whatever emerges as the next Bollettieri school. So it goes.
  21. Did anybody watch the Murray - Nishikori match yesterday? In my entire life, I don't think I've ever seen such a momentum change from a single event. During the 4th set, Murray had a break point to go up 2-0, was in a slightly advantageous position during that point, and was well on his way towards closing out the match. Then, during the point, feedback from the PA system went off, and the umpire (*correctly*, in my opinion) called a let. Murray positively imploded, complaining that in the first set, the umpire said they'd play on anytime there's crowd noise. (The umpire replied, 'Yes, but this was more than just crowd noise," and she was right.) Nishikori then won 14 of the next 16 points, breaking Murray, and running out the 4th set 6-1! And then somehow, as if scripted, he hung on to win the 5th set 7-5. In Murray's mind, the feedback was the sole cause of the loss, but I know from experience that players often look for an excuse to lose, and Murray happened to find one to rally around. He fell apart mentally, and that's why he lost - he complained about this one event after every single point for several *games*. "Andy Murray Enters Full Meltdown Mode in Kei Nishikori U.S. Open Defeat - But Will He Ever Change?" by Charlie Eccleshare on telegraph.co.uk
  22. I know these four have been beaten to death in this forum (but at least I didn't add Brooks Robinson), but I just cannot get over their total domination of the sport for the past dozen years, and even without Murray in the equation, the Big 3 have been unprecedented in their dominance of the sport. Look at these statistics: At least one of them made the finals of 38 consecutive Grand Slams, from the 2005 French Open to the 2014 Wimbledon Championships - that's 9 1/2 years-worth of Grand Slams. As there are 2 finalists per tournament, they made up 62 of the 76 finalists of those 38 Grand Slams. Beginning with the 2004 Wimbledon Championships, at least 1 of them has been in the finals of 47 of the last 49 Grand Slams - that's 12 1/4 years-worth of Grand Slams which continues to this day, and doesn't show much sign of letting up, at least not just yet. For 10 consecutive Grand Slams, one of them was champion, and another one was runner-up. One of them won 34 out of 35 consecutive Grand Slams - if you remove Murray from the equation, one of the Big 3 won 32 out of 35 (Murray is only 3-11 in Grand Slam finals). You can manipulate and invent all sorts of unbelievable numbers, but this is a pretty good start. We're witnessing the tail end of perhaps the most historic period of men's tennis we'll see in our lifetimes. And don't forget the one woman most responsible for who is arguably the greatest female tennis player in history: Venus Williams. Okay, okay, you want me to talk about someone else who's awesome? Boris Becker! Look! This is also a rare opportunity to hear the great Arthur Ashe commenting on the match - he doesn't waste words, and everything that he speaks rings of wisdom.
  23. I'm not sure this merits its own topic, but I'd like to nominate Juan Martín del Potro as "Most Underrated Player in History" - he's the only "non-Big Four" player to win a Grand Slam between the 2005 French Open and the 2013 U.S. Open (that's 35 tournaments) - in the 2009 U.S. Open, he beat Nadal in the semifinals and Federer in the finals. del Potro is *great*, but nobody really knows him because he's been overshadowed by a handful of space aliens (plus he's been forced to battle injuries). --- And as long as I'm off-topic, I'd like to nominate Jack Sock for "Sportsman of the Year" for this amazing display where he *advised an absolutely dumbfounded Lleyton Hewitt to challenge a serve that he knew was in*! Almost as if to prove the existence of karma, Sock just won an Olympic gold medal in mixed doubles.
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