Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In a Hottub with Judy Nelson
Re: Houston 1989: Seles d. Evert 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
I totally forgot about the Virginia Slims of Capriati. I guess because Capriati never became the player that Chris, Monica, and Serena did I wasn't thinking of her 'debut' along the same lines. Jennifer never quite managed to live up to expectations, though in truth I think that she did as well as she could all things considered. I just don't think she was as mentally capable as the all time greats.
Granted she won a couple of GS titles and even reached number one for a brief period of time. But she never came close to dominating the sport for any period of time, and more often than not when the pressure was on she blinked. The most notable example of that would be the U.S. Open Semis of '91 versus Seles. Capriati blinked first and Seles wouldn't budge. That's the difference between a champion and a really good player. That isn't the only example of this with JCap either, witness her U.S. Open semi versus Henin from a couple of years ago. Those are the kinds of matches the all time greats win more often than not.
Seles did moonball a lot in that Houston match, but that had a lot to do with the fact that she was only 5'5" 100lbs at the time. Still, she pulled that match out and perhaps even more impressively took Graf to 3 sets a couple of months later at Roland Garros. I'm sure Capriati had more game than Seles at 15, but then I think that Capriati had more game than Seles for most of their careers, so did a lot of players. Monica won because, in her heyday, she had a ferocious tenacity to win that very few players have ever been able to match (Austin, another player with a relatively limited technical repetoire, was another) and when the pressure was on Monica became braver and bolder and that was why she was a champion.