Tennis Still Rules Women's Sports
It was a great day for women's tennis on Tuesday, December 13, as three Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players were named in AOL's Ten Most-Searched Athletes of 2005, the most for any one sport. The list was based on online queries from AOLSearch.com, AOL.com and the AOL Service (AOL).
The highest tennis player on the list was American superstar Serena Williams, AOL's third-most searched athlete of 2005. Despite finishing the tennis season ranked outside the Top 10 for the first time in seven years (largely due to ongoing struggles with knee and ankle injuries), Williams was one of four players to capture a Grand Slam singles title in 2005, winning her seventh major in January at the Australian Open. Older sister Venus also tasted Grand Slam glory this season at Wimbledon, but did not make AOL's most-searched list.
Russian teenager Maria Sharapova, who continued to add to her illustrious tennis resume in 2005, was the second-highest tennis player on the list, finishing at No.6. After capturing her first Grand Slam title in 2004 at Wimbledon, Sharapova took things to another level in 2005, ascending to the world No.1 ranking on August 22 and holding that spot for a total of seven non-consecutive weeks before allowing Lindsay Davenport to reclaim it. The 18-year-old was the 15th player in Tour history to achieve the feat, and the first from Russia. She also won her eighth, ninth and 10th career Tour singles titles at Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Doha and Birmingham.
Also featuring on the list was another Russian icon, Anna Kournikova, who was No.8. Although she has been on somewhat of a hiatus from the Tour in recent years, she has been keeping her skills sharp with exhibition play, most recently this past weekend in Rio de Janeiro, where she played good friend Martina Hingis, who is making a full return to the Tour in 2006. Among the credits to the 24-year-old's name are career-high rankings of No.8 in singles and No.1 in doubles, as well as reaching four Tour singles finals and capturing 16 Tour doubles titles.
Other athletes featuring on the list were 23-year-old Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick (No.1); seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong (No.2); recently-deceased former WWE World Champion Eddie Guerrero (No.4); current WWE Champion John Cena (No.5); multiple All-Star and World Champion baseball player Derek Jeter (No.7); African-American baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson (No.9); and NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No.10).
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.