August 29, 1999 |
Our immense, insatiable fascination with statistics and records has created a veritable cottage industry--the pursuer and pursued, the legend-in-waiting and the icon. Blame it on Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Baseball reinvented itself with the Great Home Run Chase of Roger Maris last summer--with McGwire and Sosa doing the heavy lifting and Maris' family in a nearby field box, flown in to participate in the ceremonial torch passing.
September 5, 2010 |
Rafael Nadal easily navigated another pothole on his road to history Sunday, a history with which he has not quite come to grips. Besides the best game in tennis at the moment, the Spanish star had everything going for him in his third-round U.S. Open match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. Skies were blue, the temperature was perfect, the puffs of wind were more comfort than pain. Plus, his opponent, 42nd-ranked Gilles Simon of France, was present, but elsewhere. Two days ago, his girlfriend gave birth in France to their first child, four weeks early, and Simon acknowledged afterward that he was more interested in seeing new son Timothy than more of Nadal's forehand.
September 13, 2010 |
From New York The changing of the guard has arrived in men's tennis. We have moved from the Swiss Surgeon to the Spanish Assassin. In a U.S. Open that carried on for 15 days, through heat and wind and rain, threatening to never end, Rafael Nadal put the perfect finishing touch on the proceedings. At 10:10 p.m. EDT, he held the winner's trophy over his head in a manner that made it clear that this was more than just another piece of tennis hardware. "It is what I dreamt," he said, his broken English increasingly endearing.
May 7, 1989 |
It had poured the day before, on Sunday, and the championship match was held over. "So we played on the Monday," Rocket Rod Laver said, "and it was a dull, heavy, overcast day, not a very good day at all. The grass was still wet and we were slipping all over the court. I took off the tennis shoes and put on my spikes." That was nearly 20 years ago, on Sept. 8, 1969, at the U.S. Open, at Forest Hills. The grass no longer is there, the Open no longer is there, but Forest Hills remains, going together with Laver the way a ball goes together with a racket.
June 10, 1987 |
Tennis is a game of eras, usually defined by the players who dominate them. The Four Musketeers and Suzanne Lenglen of France owned the 1920s, and the English much of 1930s. Then came the Americans, players such as Don Budge and Jack Kramer and Maureen Connolly followed by the Aussies--Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong, to name but a few.
August 27, 2000 |
If you didn't know better, you might think Roy Emerson was at home in Newport Beach watching on television last month when Pete Sampras broke the Australian's record for Grand Slam tournament singles championships. Moments after Sampras wrapped up his seventh Wimbledon title with a victory over Patrick Rafter, giving the Palos Verdes Estates native his 13th Grand Slam event title, NBC cut to an image of Emerson.