a) I think anyone suggesting Mandlikova or Sabatini had more tennis talent than Navratilova or Graf is insane.
b) Mandlikova is a NOT an example of a 'talented' player who didn't win. She played slams from 1980 to 1990. Of the 44 slams in that period, In that period, Evert won 10, Navratilova 16, and Graf 9. That's 35. Of the 9 remaining, Mandlikova won 4. That's not exactly underachieving! She had the misfortune to spend her entire career playing against three of the five players in the history of the sport.
Sabatini, OTOH, was a player comparable to Mauresmo today. Able to beat anybody, except when it counted most.
c) You don't hear much commentary saying how other players are more 'talented' than Venus or Serena anymore. True, the word 'talent' is more often applied to lesser players, but to a great extent, it's used in place of 'potential'. Remember how 'talented' Daniela Hantuchova was supposed to be? But ultimately, her game is a lesser version of Lindsay Davenport. (Much
lesser, but I am comparing Dani to the world #1.)
d) I think it was Goran Ivanisevic who said the most talented player was the one who recieved a fault serve and sliced a drop shot with it so it just clears the net, then skips sideways to the ballboy, who never has to move.
e) 'Talent' is only talent if it's usable against the Williams' and Davenport's and Sharapova's and Dementieva's of the world. Hingis was a vastly talented player. But she won her last slam in 1999, and it wasn't because of her feet. (not 'sole'-ly anyway
) The speed and power of the game swamped her talent. It doesn't swamp Justine Henin-Hardenne's talent. Hingis didn't have talent that could execute when every shot coming at was 100 mph and near the opposite sideline.
In today's environment, against today's top players, who demonstrates
more talent than Venus or Serena? Henin-Hardenne. Mauresmo. That's about it. Throw in Martinez and Schnyder if you're talking strictly about shotmaking when they're playing their best.
Think about the Wimbledon commetary. It was Venus
who was siad to have more variety in her game than Pierce or Sharapova. It was Venus
who the long rallies was said to favor vs Davenport.
Was it Mary Carillo who spent all winter saying Sharapova was more talented than Serena, even though Serena beat her at OZ? Notice how we didn't hear that comparison between Sharapova and Venus? Or Sharapova and Davenport? That isn't because people don't want
to say it. It's because it sounds stupid.
Yet in 2002, people were talking about Serena maybe being the best 'most talented' player ever.
When you read through the threads about 'talent', you notice that every single time, people fall back on, 'that's just my opinion'. They avoid objective measures of talent, because it's pretty difficult to say a less successful player is 'talented', and a more successful player is not. (Unless you're dealing with the obvious mental fragility of Mauresmo or Schnyder.)
measure of talent are, a) what CAN you do during a match against the world's best? and b) do you win vs the world's best?
talent is ....
a) What shots do you have?
b) What shots can you execute under pressure?
If a) and b) are equal, it comes down to who's faster and stronger. (Like virtuall every other sport.)