Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
A4, while this point is debatable and in reality both players had very similar years results wise I am willing to say that Martina had a better year overall than Serena. Although in those final 3-4 months as Serena tore quality fields apart and Martina wilted mentally and physically it made the decision more unclear.
The fact is that before August Serena had passed the quarterfinals of a tournament just once all year. Her confidence lifted in Canada but she still appeared past the quarterfinals in only 4 events all year. her statistics look like this:
TOURNAMENTS:10<br />WINS:3 FINAL:1 QF:6<br />While all her wins were in high quality fields and in high tier events, these are hardly the results of a top 5 player. (And before you argue Martina didn't win a Tier 1 event, I seem to recall Jelena Dokic also winning two Tier 1's this season, as Serena did - did she also have a better season than Martina <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> )
Serena fared well in grandslams, never falling before the quarters and then making that brilliant run at the US Open. But still in 4 Grandslams she went past the quarterfinals just once.
Martina had a year that by her standards was VERY mediocre but nonetheless it was a top 5 calibre season in which she contested 18 tournaments and fell before the semifinals just three times. Her results read impressively:
TOURNAMENTS:18<br />WINS:3 FINAL:3 SF:9 QF:2 EARLY ROUND:1
That is a high quality season, and her consistent excellence is demonstrated at the grandslams most of all, where she reached the semifinals in 3 out of 4 events, only Jennifer Capriati reached the semis at all majors.
While Serena held a better record overall in 2001 at the Grandslams (mainly due to Martina's first round wimbledon exit), Martina's appearance in 3 semifinals to serena's 1 (they both made 1 final) is enough for me to say that she performed to a higher quality at the grandslams overall.
And Martina held a 2-1 head to head record against Serena over the year.
Their winning percentages are also quite similar and both exemplary though Serena has a slight edge, Martina - 80% (81% if yout take out her very early retirement to Lindsay) and Serena - 84%. Slight edge to Serena, but she played thirty less matches.
The only other statistic that favours Serena is the higher calibre of her 3 wins over Martina's 3. But I do not believe that reasonably this makes up for all the semifinals and finals she DID NOT play in.
So while this is a tough call(even the computer saw it this wya as they are only 2 spots apart), and you can easily interpret these statistics in which ever way you wish to make an argument for Serena, I believe that Martina's Season while unspectacular by her standards was still the 4th best set of results on tour and that is the ranking slot in which she belongs at present.
[ December 20, 2001: Message edited by: tennisaddict ]</p>