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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2007, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

NOTE: There are a lot of things that have changed over the course of tennis history. Travel, acceptance of women's sports, exceptance of Blacks in tennis, racket technology, surfaces, the number of slams, etc. SO it's hard to compare across eras.

But the slams are the only measure of greatness we have that spans most of the history of the sport. Anna Kournikova would likely beat Helen Wills 10 times out of ten. Athletes are bigger and stronger now. But 19 GS singles titles is what it is.

So I'm going to violate all reason, and do the comparison.

The ‘Big Six’ are who they are: Navratilova, Court, Graf, Wills, Evert, BJK (not necessarily in that order). Whether you measuring all-around tennis players or singles specialists, those six remain the same. After those six, it gets intersting. We'll do all arounders first, with this caveat. Singles IS more important. Natasha Zvereva had a wondeful career, but she isn't on this list.

07. 1919-1926 Suzanne Lenglen .......... 08 _ 08 _ 03
08. 1999-2007 Serena Williams .......... 08 _ 06 _ 02
09. 1951-1954 Maureen Connolly ......... 09 _ 02 _ 00
10. 1915-1926 Molla Bjurstedt Mallory .. 08 _ 02 _ 02
____(won US Champs at 42!)
10. 1990-1996 Monica Seles ............. 09 _ 00 _ 00

12. 1947-1955 Louise Brough ............ 06 _ 21 _ 08
13. 1946-1950 Margaret Osborne duPont .. 06 _ 21 _ 09
14. 1959-1966 Maria Bueno .............. 07 _ 11 _ 00
15. 1949-1955 Doris Hart ............... 06 _ 14 _ 10
16. 1971-1980 Evonne Goolagong ......... 07 _ 06 _ 01
17. 1937-1951 Nancye Wynne Bolton ...... 06 _ 10 _ 00
18. 2000-2007 Venus Williams ........... 06 _ 06 _ 02
19. 1903-1914 Dorothea Douglass-Chambers 07 _ 00 _ 00
20. 1997-1999 Martina Hingis ........... 05 _ 09 _ 00
21. 1936-1940 Alice Marble ............. 05 _ 06 _ 07
22. 1925-1930 Daphne Akhurst ........... 05 _ 05 _ 04
23. 1956-1958 Althea Gibson ............ 05 _ 05 _ 00

24. 2003-2007 Justine Henin ............ 06 _ 00 _ 00
24. 1886-1900 Blanche Bingley .......... 06 _ 00 _ 00
24. 1951-1957 Shirley Fry .............. 04 _ 12 _ 01

27. 1909-1919 Hazel Hotchkiss .......... 04 _ 07 _ 06
28. 1989-1998 A. Sanchez Vicario ....... 04 _ 06 _ 03



If you just look at singles, purely using doubles andmixed as tie-breakers, there are a few changes

07. 1951-1954 Maureen Connolly ......... 09 _ 02 _ 00
08. 1990-1996 Monica Seles ............. 09 _ 00 _ 00
09. 1919-1926 Suzanne Lenglen .......... 08 _ 08 _ 03
10. 1999-2007 Serena Williams .......... 08 _ 06 _ 02

11. 1915-1926 Molla Bjurstedt Mallory .. 08 _ 02 _ 02
____(won US Champs at 42!) _
12. 1959-1966 Maria Bueno .............. 07 _ 11 _ 00
13. 1971-1980 Evonne Goolagong ......... 07 _ 06 _ 01
14. 1903-1914 Dorothea Douglass-Chambers 07 _ 00 _ 00
15. 1947-1955 Louise Brough ............ 06 _ 21 _ 08
16. 1946-1950 Margaret Osborne duPont .. 06 _ 21 _ 09
17. 1949-1955 Doris Hart ............... 06 _ 14 _ 10
18. 1937-1951 Nancye Wynne Bolton ...... 06 _ 10 _ 00
19. 2000-2007 Venus Williams ........... 06 _ 06 _ 02
20. 2003-2007 Justine Henin ............ 06 _ 00 _ 00
21. 1886-1900 Blanche Bingley .......... 06 _ 00 _ 00

22. 1997-1999 Martina Hingis ........... 05 _ 09 _ 00
23. 1936-1940 Alice Marble ............. 05 _ 06 _ 07
24. 1925-1930 Daphne Akhurst ........... 05 _ 05 _ 04
25. 1956-1958 Althea Gibson ............ 05 _ 05 _ 00
26. 1951-1957 Shirley Fry .............. 04 _ 12 _ 01
27. 1909-1919 Hazel Hotchkiss .......... 04 _ 07 _ 06
28. 1989-1998 A. Sanchez Vicario ....... 04 _ 06 _ 03

So, pretty muich regardless, the rest of the all-time top ten in Connolly, Lenglen, Seles And Serena, with Molla Mallory just missing out. Current tennis looks pretty good. Four of the top 25 all time careers are players who are active right now. And three of them won slams this year.

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Last edited by Volcana; Aug 18th, 2007 at 12:42 AM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2007, 11:55 PM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

Monica might have had a lot more Slams if not for the stabbing dulling her (no pun intended) killer instinct. After her first 3 Slam singles draws, she won an amazing 8 out of the next 11. Its possible that @ 100% mentally, she'd trail Steffi by something like the 18-16 in that category as Chris does Martina I.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:01 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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Originally Posted by Volcana View Post
...The ‘Big Six’ are who they are: Navratilova, Court, Graf, Wills, Evert, BJK (not necessarily in that order). Whether you measuring all-around tennis players or singles specialists, those six remain the same...

...with this caveat. Singles IS more important.
Let's see your 01-06 list.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:14 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

I think what this doesn't take into account is legacy. Serena might be where she is anyway, but there's no way Venus will be that low. No matter how much she, or Serena for that matter, accomplishes, their legacies will always be greater because they are tied to each other. Of course, their careers and accomplishments speak for themselves and can stand alone, but the fact that they are two sisters who did this at pretty much the same time, has NEVER happened and probably never even will come close to happening again. I mean it's still hard to comprehend what they've done. Plus they can say, along with very few other players in the HISTORY of the game, that they have changed the way it was played. I think in some ways the legacy you leave behind an the impact you ahd on the game, is just as important as how many slams you've won.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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I think what this doesn't take into account is legacy.
You're absolutely right. Althea Gibson would be in the top ten if I counted that. But it's SO subjective. I decided to just stick to what happens on the court.
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Monica might have had a lot more Slams ....
True. And Steffi might have had a lot less. But for her accident, Maureen Connolly might have won 30 GS singles titles. But we're stuck with the tennis history we have.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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Let's see your 01-06 list.
I don't see whay those years are so important to you, but ....


1. Dorothea Douglass* ....... 1903,1904, 1906 Wimbledon champ, 1905 Wimbledon final
2. Elisabeth Moore .......... 1901, 1903, 1905 US Champ, 1902, 1904 US final
3. May Sutton ............... 1904 US champ, 1905 Wimbledon champ, 1905 Wimbleon final,
4. Charlotte Cooper-Sterry .. 1901 Wimbledon champ, 1902, 1904 Wimbledon final
5. Marion Jones ............. 1902 US champ, 1903 US final (This was before her career as a sprinter)

* Dorothea Douglass (Chambers) won Wimbledon a total of seven times, and was runner-up four other times. But you did ask me to focus on '01 - '06.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:37 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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Originally Posted by Volcana View Post
I don't see whay those years are so important to you, but ....

1. Dorothea Douglass ........ 1903,1904 Wimbledon champ, 1905 Wimbledon final
2. Elisabeth Moore .......... 1901, 1903, 1905 US Champ, 1902, 1904 US final
3. May Sutton ............... 1904 US champ, 1905 Wimbledon champ, 1905 Wimbleon final,
4. Charlotte Cooper-Sterry .. 1901 Wimbledon champ, 1902, 1904 Wimbledon final
5. Marion Jones ............. 1902 US champ, 1903 US final (This was before her career as a sprinter)
I think they meant who would you rank 1-6 in terms of players.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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I think they meant who would you rank 1-6 in terms of players.
Oh.

Hmmm ... that's tough. Gotta allow for difficulties of travel, strength of field, cultural opposition to female athletes, homophobia, number of available slams (which gets back to travel) ....

Gimme a couple days.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:51 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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And Steffi might have had a lot less. But for her accident, Maureen Connolly might have won 30 GS singles titles. But we're stuck with the tennis history we have.
That is a very valid point. Seles had a second chance to correct history but Maureen didn't. In spite of her grand slam total, Maureen's title as the first woman in tennis history to win a calendar year slam should automatically put her in the top ten by default. She, Court and Graf accomplished the ultimate of grand slam feats, that is not only the ultimate standard in tennis, but other sports like Golf as well.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:52 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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I don't see whay those years are so important to you, but ....


5. Marion Jones ............. 1902 US champ, 1903 US final (This was before her career as a sprinter)
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 01:15 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

thanks

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

An interesting list. And the fascinating thing is, you ask 100 experts, you'll get 100 different lists. I agree about the talent level being higher now, with a lot of second line players who would beat past GS champs. And the travel factor is huge, as you rarely had a large contingent of top foreign players going to Australia in the early years, and thus some missed the opportunity to add to their list. And then there's the players who skipped half the majors in the 70's. You could put any player on the list through the "If Machine" and increase their totals. But looking strictly staticstically, these are the most accomplished players.

Not sure if it matters in the list (from the looks of things, it won't affect the standings), but Gibson also had a mixed title, for 11 total.

Some interesting info about Connolly came to light recently. (It might have been in the book, "The Match".) One of her friends said that even if she hadn't been injured, Little Mo was going to quit after the '54 season. Further, she said Connolly's injury didn't prevent her from playing (and in the friend's view, winning) the '54 US championships, but that she used it to effect an earlier exit. This contrasts the long held (by most of us)conventional wisdom that the injury ended Connolly's career. If what the friend says is true, it only diminished her career slam total by, at most, one. That puts a whole new angle on things.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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An interesting list. And the fascinating thing is, you ask 100 experts, you'll get 100 different lists. I agree about the talent level being higher now, with a lot of second line players who would beat past GS champs.
Probably, yes, although there's no way to know for sure how those current second liners would have done against the true statistical greats from the past, even those from the ancient past. I don't subscribe to the line of thinking that all too easily dismisses the achievements of, say Suzanne Lenglen or Helen Wills. The "Ok, they have amazing records, but how difficult could it have been in the 1920's and 30's?" type of comments. Yes, there's little doubt that their competition was not as fierce as todays, but that's not their fault. One has not only to consider how much they won but also by which margins they won. They didn't just beat their opponents, they totally outclassed them, humiliated them. If you won a couple of games against Lenglen it was considered a major achievement. Wills in her prime had a winning streak of 158 matches without even losing a set. Yes, that tells us something about the quality of their opponents, but it also tells us that they were playing a quality of tennis that was uncommon for those days. Who can say with any degree of certainty that these ladies wouldn't have been major players later on in history also?
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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Probably, yes, although there's no way to know for sure how those current second liners would have done against the true statistical greats from the past, even those from the ancient past. I don't subscribe to the line of thinking that all too easily dismisses the achievements of, say Suzanne Lenglen or Helen Wills. The "Ok, they have amazing records, but how difficult could it have been in the 1920's and 30's?" type of comments. Yes, there's little doubt that their competition was not as fierce as todays, but that's not their fault. One has not only to consider how much they won but also by which margins they won. They didn't just beat their opponents, they totally outclassed them, humiliated them. If you won a couple of games against Lenglen it was considered a major achievement. Wills in her prime had a winning streak of 158 matches without even losing a set. Yes, that tells us something about the quality of their opponents, but it also tells us that they were playing a quality of tennis that was uncommon for those days. Who can say with any degree of certainty that these ladies wouldn't have been major players later on in history also?
I agree
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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Re: All-Time Greatest Women's Tennis Careers

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dayuuuum that bitch is old!
i was think exactly the same
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