One Slam wonders (Why didn't they win more?) - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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One Slam wonders (Why didn't they win more?)

In the Open era, most player who win one GS title, win more than that.

20 Multi GS winners
10 'one slam wonders'


This thread starts from the premise that players records are a true indicator of their talent. There's no 'should have won' or should have won more' here. Hana Mandlikova won 4 GS singles titles. Sabatini won one. Mandlikova was clearly the better player, but what was it Sabatini lacked? Why DIDN'T she win more than one?
That's my question. What's the good, athletic-related reason why each of these players only won one GS title?

No emotional control. No mental focus. Not that physically gifted. Injuries.

Here's a list

98 WB Jana Novotna - Failure of Nerve

97 RG Iva Majoli - Iva may not have been that physically talented in the first place. No one I know was expecting her to win the one she did. But she suffered a string of injuries after RG, and is only now rising up the rankings again. Can't see another GS title in her future, but she had the goods to win one, and she's still active and winning. (Charleston 02 - A Tier I)

94 WB Conchi - A wizard with the racket, but neither fast nor powerful. Martina was 36 at the time, but even so, I was surprised Conchi beat her in that final.

90 US Sabatini - Someone else should address this. I've never favored Sabatini's game, and my explanationwould be she simply wasn't that good a tennis player. Certainly I would Arantxa over her any day of the week.

Now we back up to players most of you never saw play, and I can only barely remember. But their were 6 winners in 16 GS tournaments who would never win a second.

79 OZ Barbara Jordan
78 RG Virginia Ruzici
78 OZ Chris O'Neil (Only tournament she ever won)
77 OZ Kerry Melville
77 RG Mima Jausovec
76 RG Sue Barker

The temptation is to say, "...well ______ WOULD have won more...". Forget it. They won as many as they had the health and talent and mental ability to win. More than circumstance seperates one time winners from multiple winners.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:49 PM
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Why didn't they win more?

because the players who won more where better in the long run?

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:54 PM
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sabatini lacked nothing, she faced Steffi and Monica in her prime and was lucky and took full advantage of a period where Steffi even choked against novotna in a grand slam.
face it, this are the facts!

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:58 PM
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You want concrete reasons based on their games, which is not possible in all instances. RG 1976-1978. One answer: No Chris Evert and no Martina Navratilova. Ditto AO. In fact, most of the top players skipped these events either because of lack of prestige, timing, or team tennis which paid more. If you drop the Top 15 right now and hold a Slam, you'd get a one-slam wonder. Not to put these woman down, but those are the facts.

The rest? Jana, head problems, some for Martinez as well. Gaby, extremely talented, but burned by Graf too much, I think lost some mo jo after Wimbledon of 1991 and was never the same, maybe head problems as well.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:59 PM
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I'd say the reason Sabatini never won more slams is because of who she was playing with. Even so, without Graf or Seles or whoever, I don't think she would have won many more slams. Being with Graf and Seles at their prime didn't help her either.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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irma - That arguement that Gaby didn't win more because of Steffi doesn't hold up. Han Mandlikova won 4 GS titles while competing against Chris Evert AND Martina Navratilova, BOTH in their prime. Chris won 7 GS titles after Hana's 1st, Martina won SIXTEEN. But Hana Mandlikova fought her way to 4 GS titles.

If Gaby was as good as Hana, she'd have found a way to win more. Arantxa managed to win 4 GS titles while dealing with Steffi.

Gaby only won one because she wasn't good enough to win more. What physical skills did ASV have that Gaby didn't? But one's a 4 time champ, one's a one slam wonder.

Sabatini quite clearly lacked SOMETHING. Otherwise she'd have won more, even competing in the same era as Steffi.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:33 PM
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Gaby was a little weak on strategy. She also let many tough losses to Graf and Seles wear her down mentally to the point where it seemed she was satisfied to make the quarterfinals of a slam. This is evident after 1991. Aranxta and Hana never gave up or lost hope, or at least you would never know it.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:40 PM
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I think Gaby lacked confidence. That is just my opinion but maybe the pressure of having everyone expecting you to do so well all the time got to her, and once she wasn't winning so many grand slams, she stopped believing that she could do it, and once she lost belief, she lost ability (sound familiar?) (cough cough... Anna...cough cough...Kournikova). With Conchita, she just did not work hard enough IMO. I think she would have won a lot more had she maybe gotten into better shape, practiced a little more, but I am not sure. Jana Novotna was the most famous choker of all time, and she was lucky to win the one she did. Iva was very lucky to win the one she did. Had Martina not liked horses, Iva would have been slamless.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:40 PM
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I agree with Helen. Mental toughness or lack thereof to begin with, and near the end of her career she just didn't want it as bad and was content with quarters or semis.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:51 PM
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They were good but not good enough.
Everyone has their 15 minutes.

Let me give you an example in the mens game THOMAS JOHANSSON won the AUSTRALIAN OPEN this year. Sure a good player but thats it, before he won he was not even in the top ten. how did he win?
I call it a default and an inspired win!
ALL the top players fell in early rounds and the underdog had a good day in the final against an indifferent Marat Safin!
Will Thomas johansson win another GRAND SLAM? i doublt it

Another question?
when these one time grand slam winners won their slam................ did they beat the top players in their own game?
ALSO if the top seeds fall out in the lower rounds this makes it easier for a lower seed to go through and win.
In this manner if you are a good player (not neccessarily the best) you can win a grand slam. Like Thomas johannson!
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:53 PM
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I think when you are 16/17 and you lose 8 times to a person in a season and this person is only 11 months older and you can only beat this person with the help of 10000 people(Florida) or this person wants to crack the record of being choker number 1(steffi 90/91) then it gets you in the end!
Steffi played a big part in Sabatini's career imho!

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 03:27 PM
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This is very interesting. I would think that a person who is capable of winning a Grand Slam (with the exception of RG) would also be capable of winning another. While I agree that a lot of it has to do with the individual, I believe that a really large portion of the explanation has to do with things beyond the individual (such as the competition, its level of performance, and the draw, etc.)

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 03:30 PM
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I agree with irma. Someone like Arantxa will make 3 slam finals with one win playing her absolute best all three times and be motivated and inspired by the one win to keep it up. I always got the feeling Gaby was the opposite. One for three discouraged her. Constantly losing to Graf did more harm for her than the good wins she did in fact have. She ended up, in my opinion, with "who cares" attitude after 1991 where she just played and was happy with getting to the quarters. She figured she'd probably lose anyway so why try that hard. Martinez is a little of the same with a great run in 1994 through 1996 but could never beat Graf in a slam and could never get to Number 1. Again, some players try even harder with those results, others become discouraged.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 04:32 PM
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With the exceptions of O'Neil and Jordan,all the women with one slam were top 10ers.


As for Sabatini
First off-Gaby was overplayed IMO by her family. This was a real problem for a woman who depended heavily on grinding out matches. Heavy topspin off both sides took its toll mentally and physically. She never did fix her serve, which just got worse and worse.

At some point she lost her desire, a la Capriati. Helen is right in suggesting the Wimbledon final in 91 broke her spirit. Gaby was never the same afterwards.

Overall though I'd say Sabatini deserves more respect than she's getting these days. She was much closer than the 4 to 1 gap with Mandlikova and Sanchez suggests.

Majoli's win in 97 also gets dissed. The Hingis and her horse excuse doesn't wash with me. Hingis beat Seles, after all. had Seles won would it be because of a horse? I have that match on tape, and Hingis played just fine. Iva was "on" with her forehand, just jerking martina around the court with big babe tennis.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 04:52 PM
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I do not think most if any of those women were in the Top 10 when they actually won their lone slams. I read somewhere, correct or incorrect, that Sue Barker was not even in the Top 20 when she won RG. Ruzici and Jausovec played a lot at this time but I do not think Ruzici ever ended the year in the Top 10. Though, she did achieve additional fame of a sort in another way. She was the one Richard Williams saw receive a big check at a tournament, and the rest, they say, is history.
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