Martina Hingis had the ability to become the best clay courter of all time? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Martina Hingis had the ability to become the best clay courter of all time?

Key word: Had.

Her serve, while technially good and IMO similar to Alicia Molik's never had enough bite on the 2nd delivery. It could be exploited on all surfaces quite severly except clay where a high bouncing topspin serve is generally sufficient and not too attackable.

Her returns are possibly the best ever. Not in terms of pace but in terms of variety in her returns and consistency, as her timing was impeccable. On clay she would be difficult to ace and anytime Martina gets a raquet on a return you can expect her to 'do something' with it most of the time. She did not simply get big serves in to play and hope for errors.

The general consensus by most I have spoken to is that Martina's game is most effective on clay despite the fact she never won the French. At the aus open she played unbelievable tennis, the courts are slow and high bouncing and quite similar to clay. It is much easier to negate 'big babe' tennis which had been profilerating in the latter 90's such as by Venus, Serena, Lindsay, Jen, Monica , etc as big flat groundies are much less effective on a surface where they bounce higher rather than skid through giving Martina less reaction time.

MARTINA'S BIGGEST WEAPON IMO was her ability to negate the strength of her opponents. She could use someone's power against them by taking the ball extrmely early, mixing up the pace/directionality to keep opponents guessing and off balance. If someone tried to use variety against Martina in most cases it looked like she just blasted them off the court but in fact no one in womens tennis had the ability to place the ball and mix it up as well as she did, and it wasnt sheer power, it was placement and taking the ball so early that her opponents felt they were always a step or two too late to set-up their shots.

Discuss. (seeing Martina is getting lots of attention these days)...

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 05:36 AM
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I was about to ask this

I thought she would easily be a great clay-courter. It is shocking how the only Grand Slam she never won was Roland Garros (a few unlucky breaks). I've hardly ever seen her play, but from what I know, she could create great angles and had the typical spanish game.
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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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Please, no discussion about French Finals 99. She pretty much had that match and started off for the first half of the match as expected, but let's not go there. Lets just discuss this from a purely technical viewpoint.....did you hear that Calimero????

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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ahhhem best return ever=monica




















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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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ummmm can you back that up with some reasoning? Sure Monica returned harder than Martina, but did you hear what Goran Ivanisevic had to say about Martinas return at hopman cup one year????????? Monica probablly had the best combo of pace and control on returns, but Martina had the best combo of placement and consistency due to her impeccable timing!!!!

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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Martina Hingis had the ability to become the best clay courter of all time?

We're comparing her to Christine Marie Evert then.

The Evert with the best record on clay of any player for any single surface with a 125-match win streak set from August 1973-May 1979. (Five and a half YEARS.)

7 French Opens
5 Italian Opens
4 U.S. Clay Courts
6 Hilton Heads

That Evert?

Of course, one does not know what Hingis would have been with the training techniques from the 70's, or what Evert would have been with the training techniques of the 90's. However...

Certainly in relative terms, Evert was a much better athlete. Evert was almost as fast as Navratilova.

Accuracy. Evert takes this one too. Evert could hit a hundred straight balls into the same one foot square corner of the court. She was a ball-striking machine. A baseliner in the days of serve-and-volley, she passed all but the very best net players at will.

Variety of shots. Hingis. Evert didn't rely so much on vareity as accuracy. She didn't miss. You did. You gave her a short ball, she always hit the angled winner.

Serve. Evert.

No, I think Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all time. I think it will be a very long time before anyone comes within hailing frequencies of Chris Evert on clay.

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Last edited by Volcana; Jul 11th, 2005 at 06:04 AM.
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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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Martina could have been the Chris Evert of clay courts. My only question would be her stamina to maintain the long rallies. She never worked hard on the physical aspect of the game since her natural abilities were so exemplary.

As far as her return game, it's a tough call between her and Monica. I think Martina had an impeccable way of learning an opponent's serve as a match progressed, then eventually anticipating the serve to the point where they could barely ace her. I don't think Monica possessed that same gift.

Martina not only had the ability to become a great clay courter, but also could have become one of the greatest of all time. But she took the physical game for granted. She could easily still beat any of the power players on any given occasion. But it was difficult for her to take beat them in succession because she was too worn out from the previous match(es).
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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Im speaking in terms of technical ability and not what they each achieved. Do you think if Martina and Chris both made full use of their ability (or close to it) thet Chris' game was stronger?

IMO Martina's game is very akin to Evert, but is a superior version of it. Chris is a ball striking machine, but Martina was more than that. Her anticipation and 'tennis brain' (ability to construct points and see the play many shots ahead) were second to none. Furthermore, Martina took the ball earlier and had more variety which i explained above as giving her the ability to negate anyones weapons IMO greater than Evert.

just my humble opinion

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Isn't it ironic how the best clay-courter of all time was an American? We can't even win matches at the French any more.
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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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The catch, of course, is that clay requires one thing more than anything else: fitness, particulary at the French Open. You have to be in incredible shape, and I don't think Hingis had the lungs to play for hours on end.
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post #11 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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senorgato, this is a 'wudda-cudda' thread as Calimero would put it lol.

We are talking about something that could have happened. If Martina was injury free and worked hard on her fitness, do you think her technical ability was greater than the great Chris Evert?[/

lets not get engaged in a long protracted thread throwing facts and figures at each other, but discuss her tennis game and how far you think it could/should have taken her and if you think she had th egame to be the best on clay

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #12 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Hingis was better on fast courts IMO because they added pace to her variety of shot and angles. She could use and deflect the pace from her opponents and move them around more effectively and also get into the net. That's not so easy to do on clay when you don't have alot of pop behind your shots.
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post #13 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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For Hingis, it was the same problem that Lleyton Hewitt has on the men's tour - seemingly, their game is fitted to clay; They're both great counter-punchers who can fight and return like demons.

The problem is that neither has the power to hit through the opponent, and while it seems that this is less significant on clay - it ain't. On faster surfaces (both Hingis and Hewitt were fantastic grass and/or indoor players), the faster ball gave them that extra edge to hit winners that their power alone would'nt have enabled them to, and their counter-punching ability made it harder for their opponents to hit as many winners as against lesser defensive players. They had to battle longer on clay because it was (for Hewitt it still is) so difficult for them to finish rallies with winners - thus clay was is so much more demanding.

In nowdays' game especially - no, Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all times.

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post #14 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nimi
For Hingis, it was the same problem that Lleyton Hewitt has on the men's tour - seemingly, their game is fitted to clay; They're both great counter-punchers who can fight and return like demons.

The problem is that neither has the power to hit through the opponent, and while it seems that this is less significant on clay - it ain't. On faster surfaces (both Hingis and Hewitt were fantastic grass and/or indoor players), the faster ball gave them that extra edge to hit winners that their power alone would'nt have enabled them to, and their counter-punching ability made it harder for their opponents to hit as many winners as against lesser defensive players. They had to battle longer on clay because it was (for Hewitt it still is) so difficult for them to finish rallies with winners - thus clay was is so much more demanding.

In nowdays' game especially - no, Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all times.
This is basically my line of thinking also.
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post #15 of 55 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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good point knizzle, kinda like with Hewitt. He doesnt have the strength to generate the big groundies with heavy kick as well as the best European clay-courters and his game relies on absorbing his opponents power and deflecting it, His lack of ability to generate his own power makes it hard to finish rallies on clay himself.....however, on WTA i think this would be less of an issue for Hingis. Especially at this years french

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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