The same ASV at her peak who got clobbered by Graf and Pierce in two AO finals, who got bageled in a final set of the RG final against an injured Graf, who was only able to win the US Open because of Graf's bad back? Navratilova was for all intents and purposes finished in 93-94. What exactly did Pierce do besides clobber a mediocre Graf in '94 at RG? She won the AO but Graf didn't play and destroyed her in Paris 6-2, 6-2 a couple of weeks later. There's a reason why Martina referred to the Tour as "Steffi and the seven dwarves" when she retired in 1994, why Sports Illustrated ran a cover story "Is Tennis Dying?" in 1994, and why Navratilova made it her mission to get Seles back to the Tour.
In 1997, Hingis had a better Davenport than the earlier version Graf had been beating up on, she had Majoli (who was a top 10 player and winning Tier I titles over ASV and Seles in '96 during Graf's peak), Coetzer who was humiliating Graf every chance she got, Novotna on grass (who was also a Graf opponent). If the competition in '97 sucked, the competition in '96 couldn't have been much better.
Martina Navratilova said what she did simply because she always disliked Graf. She is the last one who should speak of a weak tour since the worst year in womens tennis history came in her own most historic year 1983. Worse than 1997, worse than 2010, far worse than any year Graf was on top. Chris Evert playing craptacular tennis, Mandlikova dropping out of the top 10 (and in that mug field for someone of her immense talent that was a huge achievement to manage), and the top 10 full of a collection of talentless and hopeless scabs who made the likes of Shriver and Jaeger look like supertalents who were by far the best of the rest. Just recollecting some off the top of my head- Bettina Bunge, Claudia Kohde Kilsch, Barbara Potter, Jo Durie, Andrea Leand, Sylvia Hanika, most of those Germans a 15 year old Graf was already beating 6-2, 6-2 or worse, oh Steffi was so lucky not to face that killer field Martina lorded over and rather dwarfes like Sanchez, Sabatini, Pierce, and others. It was so bad Navratilova went out of numerous press conferences either in tears or in rage defending agressive journalists who pounded her about how terrible the womens game in 1983 was, and if she felt embarassed for the state of the womens game, rather than talking about her historic year.
Do you want me to send you some videotapes of press conferences from the 83 U.S Open, since I would be quite happy too if you wish. The TV ratings for womens tennis during the first few years of Navratilova's dominance shot way downwards, lower than they were any year Graf was #1, and womens tennis only became watchable again in 1985 when Evert and Mandilikova resurged, and Graf and Sabatini began to emerge. Lastly these were the slam finals that year: Evert vs Jacousec, Navratilova vs Jaeger, Navratilova vs Evert, Navratilova vs Jordan. I think the closest one was 6-3, 6-1.
Are you seriously saying Coetzer, Novotna, Majoli or Davenport in 97 were better than Sanchez Vicario from 93-96, Pierce in 94-95, Seles from late 95-96, even Martinez from 93-96. Cute joke.
Yes Coetzer was around in the Graf post stabbing era you refer to and couldnt even get into the top 15, yet rose to #3 in the 97 field miracelously. She sucks so much her record vs Conchita Martinez is something like 2-18, and I am sure Martinez is someone you view as a weak player. Davenport in 97 still sucked, in slams she lost to Po, Chladkova, Majoli from 7-5, 4-0 up, before her one respectable showing in making the U.S Open semis after Novotna gagged a match point and lead in their quarterfinal. Seles in 95-96 made 3 of 5 slam finals, winning 1 and losing only to Steffi Graf in the other, destroying everyone in making those 3 slam finals except for one match with an inspired and then hot rising Rubin in doing. Her other big match losses were to Novotna who was always a tough opponent for her (and who is somehow you are apparently buffing up as that was Hingis's biggest competition by far in 97, lol), and the only bad one to Studenikova, but on grass where she was always mostly useless anyway. In 97 she lost in 2 of her 3 slams to Spirlea and Testud after choking away a match point and both no less, both women commiting 70+ unforced errors en route to their defeats of her to boot, and the other one lost to a sluggish, unfit, way off form Hingis just coming off a layoff, and who would get slaughtered by Iva freaking Majoli the next round. Novotna was indeed a player of the Graf era and found herself firmly below Sanchez Vicario, Sabatini, and even Conchita Martinez for many years, so if you think those people are weak obviously Jana is way weaker, since she was always worse than they were, only rising to the top 3 in 1997 after they all fell off the radar.