Sugiyama, Suarez & Frazier - how the game moved on
Ai Sugiyama (29), Paola Suarez (28) and Amy Frazier (32) are veterans on the tour who still are well in the top-20 today. They are a bridge between the times of Graf, Novotna and Sabatini and the times of today's "power players".
When we want to compare former greats with today's top players it might help to have a look how those three players fared against both groups.
Miss Frazier was able to beat FO 04 winner Myskina at Wimbledon 4 weeks later (4-6, 6-4, 6-4) and fell only to later Wimbledon champ Sharapova - after a tight clash (4-6, 5-7).
Between 1991 and 1996 Graf played Frazier 6 times, winning all 6 matches.
One was a 3-setter (Graf winning decider with 6-2), the other 5 wins were blow-outs (Amy winning only 3, 3, 5, 5, and 3 games).
But obviously a 32-year-old Frazier is better than a 19-25 year-old Frazier. Because the game has moved on since Graf ....
Miss Sugiyama beat Zvonareva and Henin in fall of 2003 and took later Wimbledon 04 champ Sharapova to 3 sets in the quarters there.
Sugiyama played Graf 5 times in 98/99 when an old Graf with reconstructed knee returned to the tour for 15 months again. Sugiyama won one match, a tough 3-setter. In the other 4 matches she was blown off the court by the former great. Ai made only 13 games in 8 sets ......
But obviously a 29-year-old Sugiyama is better than a 23, 24 year-old Sugiyama.
Because the game has moved on since Graf .....
Miss Suarez beat Wimbledon 04 champ Sharapova like a drum at FO 04. At the Canadian Open 03 she beat USO 04 champ Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva, at L.A. 03 she beat Bovina.
Suarez played Graf 3 times (1996-99). She lost all matches.She made only 14 games in 6 sets ....
But obviously a 28 year-old Suarez is better than a 20-23 year-old Suarez.
Because the game has moved on since Graf ....
Oh boy, just imagine what today's Sugiyma, Frazier and Suarez and especially what today's top power players would have done with Graf of the 90ies.
Steffi really dodged some bullets there!