Tag Archives: Pete Sampras

“Food for Thought on 12-8-10”

Kansas Junior, Marcus Morris (pictured above), has turned into one of the most talented forwards in the country. Could he lead Kansas to a Big 12 Championship and a run to the Final Four?

Due to popular demand, I am going to bring back the “Food for Thought” concept and make this more of a weekly type of ordeal.  People want to hear my thoughts on the various topics going on in the always busy, wide world of sports, and this is a way for me to do that on a weekly basis.

So here are some of the main topics making headlines and my incite on them:

-The “Old School” Texas basketball squads are not looking so old.

Is anybody else amazed by the red-hot starts of both the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks?  Both of these teams that many called “too old” at the beginning of the season sport the League’s two best records.  The Spurs  are a formidable squad that has 5 players averaging 11 or more points a game.  This team is full of experience, deep, and led by one of the best coaches in the NBA.  And then you have the Mark Cuban squad out of Dallas.  The Mavs have now won 10 straight games and are just blowing away the competition.  Dallas also plays a great brand of team basketball and is being led by arguably the game’s greatest shooting 7 footer ever, in Dirk Nowitzki.  Nobody talked about either of these team’s as contenders in the Western Conference.  It appears the Wild Wild West will have to go through Texas come playoff time.

-“Pistol” Pete Sampras has lost his bling.

Pete Sampras was possibly the most consistent player ever to play on the men’s professional tennis tour and arguably the greatest of all time.  He was an amazing champion who sported the greatest 2nd serve of all time and had the innate ability to stay cool during even the most pressure filled situations.  Well this situation is something he is not accustomed too.  Between moving houses, he stored many of his tennis trophies and memorabilia at a Los Angeles Public Storage Facility.  Pete always was good at taking care of business on his own during his phenomenal career.  He was not only a great player on the court, but he was a great person off of it.  This incident demonstrates to Pete why he played an individual sport where he only needed to depend on himself.  It is hard to trust in others for anybody, but I am sure Sampras will have a very hard time after this unfortunate occurrence to trust anybody.  I really hope his trophies and various memorabilia are found in the near future.

-Dave Wannstedt bids adieu to Panther Nation.

Can anybody really say that they did not see this coming?  The man with maybe the best mustache in College Football spent 6 years in Panther Nation.  And nearly every year started with high expectations and ended with some sort of downer.  This was supposed to be the year for Pittsburgh.  The Big East was way down.  Their rival Cincinnati was going through a major coaching transition.  And  the Panthers were extremely talented with the likes of Dion Lewis, Jon Baldwin, and Greg Romeus.  Instead, Pitt opened up the year with a very disappointing loss to Utah. And never really got it all together, finishing at 7 and 5. Plus they failed to nab the Big East’s automatic BCS Bowl bid.  So although Pitt finally won a share of the Big East Championship this year, it was not good enough to get into the BCS Bowl.  Wannstedt seems like a good guy.  But boy does he struggle to win big games.  And in the highly competitive and intense atmosphere that is College Football, the difference between a good coach and a great coach is the ability to win big games.  Some guys have it.  Some guys do not.  Here is a final though on this topic.  Could anybody see Bengal’s current coach Marvin Lewis on the Pitt sidelines next September?  Weirder things have happened.

-It is Rock Chalk Time as the beat goes on in Lawrence.

And the beat goes on for the Jayhawks.  Sure this team started out the year ranked in the Top 10.  But last year was “the year” in Lawrence.  And with the departures of Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry, nobody was expecting this team to be a Final Four Contender.   This team looks to have the potential to be the real deal.  Sure they have only played one real quality opponent.  Sure they struggled to victories over UCLA and Arizona.  But the Jayhawks are now 8 and 0, with a great opportunity to start conference play undefeated.  Plus they dominated a solid Memphis team on national television last evening.  This team plays phenomenally disciplined on the offensive end of the court.  They lead the country in assists per game and field goal percentage.  You know Bill Self has to be happy at the high percentage his team shoots from the floor and the way that they share the ball.  Marcus Morris has developed into one of the best forwards in the country and is extremely versatile.  The Morris twins remind me of the Lopez twins out of Stanford.  Could this team make some noise come March?  That is yet to be determined, but you better believe that these guys will contend with Kansas State for the Big 12 Title.

So there you have my “Food for Thought” on this Wednesday afternoon.  There is so much going on and I was only able to touch on a few things here.  If you want to hear my thoughts on anything else going on in the sporting world, please comment below and I will be sure to reply.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Welcome Ryan Harrison”

The American dream of bringing home a title in Flushing looks all but finished as America’s top player, Andy Roddick, went down in a tough loss to Janko Tipsarevic last night. Though there is still a glimmer of hope with Mardy Fish, John Isner, and Sam Querrey all left in the draw.  And have no fear, Ryan Harrison is here. Harrison is an 18-year-old (American) stud out of New Braunfels, Texas.  Could he be the next big thing in American tennis? 

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5520935&categoryid=2491545 (Harrison ESPN interview with McEnroe)

Harrison defeated the 15th seeded and 17th ranked player in the world, Ivan Ljubicic in his first round match.  This was Harrison’s first time winning a match in a Grand Slam and he accomplished the feat with great grace and ease.  He had the look of a savvy veteran.  In winning this match, Harrison became the first American teenager to defeat a top 20 player in a Grand Slam tournament in over 9 years.  The last American to do this was Andy Roddick.  At the age of 19, Roddick burst onto the scene with a big time victory over the 11th seeded Alex Corretja (at the US Open).  Could this kid be the second coming of ARod? 

Ryan Harrison quietly burst onto the scene a couple of years ago when he won an ATP level match against the world #130 at the time, Pablo Cuevas.  This was at the 2008 US Clay Court Championships.  He became the 3rd youngest player to win a match at this level since 1990 (Nadal, Gasquet were younger), and the 10th player in the history of the ATP to have won a match on tour before the age of 16.  This kid has been a long time coming.  He has just been vastly overlooked until now.  

 I personally saw Harrison play in 2004 when I attended John Newcombe’s Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas (Harrison’s old training grounds).  While walking into the camp that first day, there was a kid out hitting with his father and his little brother (Christian, who is an internationally ranked junior player). The kids were absolutely amazing demonstrating a phenomenal consistency level, outstanding conditioning, and a drive like I had not seen on a tennis court.  Well I got a further taste of the Harrison brothers later in the week during drills and match play.  These kids hit the ball with pace, kept it deep, never missed, and refused to give up on a single point during the course of an 8 hour training day.  I have seen many very strong tennis players in my time, but I knew this kid was the real deal.  Could he finally be realizing his potential now? 

Currently Harrison is the 220th ranked player in the world and rising.  Could he win another match or two this year in Flushing?  I do not see why not.  His next opponent is the 36th ranked player on the tour, Sergi Stakhovsky.  Ryan Harrison is a name to remember now when discussing American tennis.  He brings some hope back to American tennis  connoisseur. 

I know I will be pulling for the youngster to go deep in Flushing. 

Say hello to the world, Ryan Harrison. 

Ryan Harrison provided American tennis with some excitement with a major first round victory yesterday. Could he be another big time American tennis player like the man he is pictured with above, the legendary Pete Sampras?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“A Whole New World”

7 years ago Andy Roddick, pictured above, brought home the US Open title and was ranked number 1 in the world. Since then, no Americans have won a Grand Slam Title and there are currently no Americans ranked in the top 10.

The ATP is heating up at this time and currently in the middle of it’s annual summer tour of the United States.  This all leads up to the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, in Flushing Meadows, New York.  Generally at this time, Americans celebrate the grandiose achievement of their phenomenal players.  This is the time of year where the tour gains the interest of the American public in the sport.

In the past, Americans have been spoiled by legends of the game such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi.  Since the retirements of Agassi and Sampras, the men have not really lived up to their normal expectations of being at the top of the ATP tour.  Americans the past 5 years have predominantly “Lived on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) that is Andy Roddick.  But when the new rankings come out on Monday, there will be no American’s in the top ten.  Ever since the computer rankings began in 1973, the US has always had at least one representative in the top 10, and generally multiple reps.

Well as the summer tour heats up in places like Washington D.C., LA, and Cincinnati, there is not a whole lot to celebrate.  There currently are no American’s in the top 10 on the men’s tour.  No American has brought home a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick won in Flushing Meadows 7 years ago.  That is a gap of 27 Grand Slam tournaments.  To add to no American men bringing home a Grand Slam Championship in 7 years, only 2 current Americans have ever even advanced to the semifinals of one of the prestigious majors (Roddick and Ginepri).  It is a sad time.

Tennis has become more global than ever.  Everything in the world is becoming more global than ever.  It sort of even makes you think about the economy and how the rest of the world has been gaining ground on the United States, and some, have even passed us in many ways.  It is truly amazing how the global nature of society seems to even spill over into the simple game of tennis.

Can American tennis save face this summer during their traditional tour of the United States?  This is the time of year that makes or breaks the popularity of American tennis?  Can America continue to “Live on the Prayer” that is Andy Roddick.  Or will they have to look elsewhere?

I do know that many Cincinnatians only watch the US Open and when the players come to Cincy.  Their whole perspective on the game is determined from these 2 tournaments.  There is an awful lot of pressure on Roddick, Isner, and others to save American tennis for at least another year.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze