Can someone tell me about the early 90s? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Can someone tell me about the early 90s?

Hi,

I am just fascinated at the period from about 1988-1994 period, it sounds like a very interesting period with Mrtina Navratilova, Chris (I think she retire in 1989) and then there is of course the rise of Steffi and Monica, and also a great supporting cast of Zina Garrison and of course Sabatini (can someone tell me about her game). I think this period is very competitive as well, and as people start threads on 70s and 80s, I just wonder where anyone can share some fascinating story on the late 80s to early 90s please thanks

quentin
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post #2 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 06:43 AM
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It was an interesting period, not really the greatest IMO...

You had Graf, who was winning everythign fairly easily, but when you look at the competition she had, you sort of understand why...


Navratilova was ageing, and past her best..Sill capable of playing amazingly well on her day - But 'her day' came a lot less often than in her prime, as it does to all ageing champions...Inconsistency becomes the problem...

Martina has talked about how she was actually 'burnt out' from about 87-90 - she would work out her schedule and try to play the least amount of tournaments possible etc...Her enthusiasm was suffering...And she was obsessed by getting her 9th WImbledon.

Sanchez hit the scene in 89 by beating Graf in the French final in a huge upset (and stopped Steffi fromwinning 2 slams in a row)...But she was still improving and in late 80's wasnt really a 'rival' as such.

Chris Evert retired in 89, and never was really capable of challenign Graf once Graf got to # 1...

Sabatini was the same as always - obviously very talented but unable to harness the talent into success... She won the US Open in 1990 by attacking Graf and being aggressive, and we all got excited after the USO and thought Sabatini would go on to more and more slams etc, but she went back into her defensive style of play, and never really threatened to win another slam (except for Wimby 91...ooooh so close..)...

So basically, I actually feel that this was one of the 'weakest' periods of the WTA ever...

It wasnt until Seles came along in 1990 and especially 91 that Graf was knocked off the top and we all know where that ended up....

Sabatini had a beautiful game to watch - when you watch Mauresmo you see glimpses of Sabatini IMO, especially her backhand...

Gabby had a wonderful touch game at the net - her drop volleys were superb...

Her serve was terrible, and basically her weakpoint...I saw matches where she wouldnt even be serving 2nd serves above 100km/ph!!!!!!

Basically, this period for me was all about willing Martina to get that 9th Wimbledon title...every year it revolved around that...

She had been stopped by Graf in the finals in 88 and 89, and the title was looking further and further away...But I rejoiced when Zina Garrison knocked off Seles and Graf back to back to get to the final in 1990....I rejoiced even more when Martina beat her to finally win the coveted 9th title....
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post #3 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Czechfan I was hoping guru like you will give me a insight. There are of course a lot of questions I want to ask people like you who witness the early 90s tennis.

1. Jana as remember reach the 1991 Aussie Open final and play Monica in the final. I just want to know whether at that time of her career, what was her style, was she serve and volley like the late 90s or she is a baseliner, I got a feeling that she was a baseliner changing to serve and volleyer midway through her career.

2. why players so dislike Monica at that time, I understand the fact that people dun like her because of what she said about idolising Madonna which been blown out of proportion and the grunting issue and the throwing roses issue on her debut grand slam in French Open. Was the young Monica very arrogant. and how can you compare the way she play now and then? I mean of course it is hard to see coz at that time players do not hit as hard as her at all.

3. Wow, Sabatini sounds like a very talented player, but I am sure that her serve would have been got whipped by players nowadays, was her serve being exploit at all in her matches, or all players hit serve like that at that time?

4. One more questions before I finish for now. I am just wondering whether Chris Evert ever beat Steffi in the 1987,88, 89? I mean I watch clips of her playing Martina in 1978 in the infamous Wimbledon final, it seems like that there is no way she would have cope with people like Steffi and MOnica and people like that. I know she is no longer a dominant player then, but she is still around at the top, did she change her game at all to adjust to players in the late 80s? I just love to see some memory on Chris losing to Zina in teh US Open quarterfinal to finish her career, was it very emotional, I have never remember any player recently announce her plans to retire on a specific tournament before they play let alone in a grand slam where she is adored.
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post #4 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 07:04 AM
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Steffi was getting f.ucked by her boyfriend, so she didn't care about tennis. Thus, a lot of other lesser players won a lot titles.

Of course, I am only joking. I think it was an interesting time with a lot of good players and there were some great matches. I was a transition period, for sure, which made for many great tournaments.
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post #5 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 07:41 AM
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The early 90's were probably won of the best eras in history! You had of course:

Steffi Graf- great rivalry with Monica, Gaby, Martina, and Arantxa

Monica Seles- 90-early 93 were HER years!

Gabriela Sabatini- such a threat to Steffi that I still cry about that 91 Wimbledon final

Martina Navratilova- even at her age was still in the top 10!

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario- was a threat in almost every tournament but between 90-93 was not as successfull as in the Grand slams (very consistent in the non-slam tournaments)

Mary Joe Fernandez- got to a few finals herself and was consistently in the top 10

Jana Novotna

Conchita Martinez

A young Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati, Anke Huber, and Lindsay Davenport were projected promising players and at first Jen was the one to be looked at the most but out of the 4 of them was the last to win a grand slam! (excluding Anke)

You also had Zina Garrison, the Maleeva sisters, and Kimiko Date
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post #6 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 07:48 AM
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Monica and Steffi ruled. that is why that guy stabbed monica=to get steffi back on top.
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post #7 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 08:15 AM
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I actually think this time period you are talking about was very competitive and very similiar to what we have today.

Of course there were many more finesse players at that time to make things intriguing, but still a very competitive period of tennis.
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post #8 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 08:27 AM
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the early 90's was not particularly interesting. Graf and Seles were so much better than the rest of the women that unless both were entered in a tournament the outcome was too predictable. To illustrate the gap between them and the rest of the players:- Of the 16 slams contested from '90-'93 Monica won 9 , Steffi 6 ,Sabatini 1 and Martina Navratilova 1, *(Monica only competed in 12 of these). The rivalry between the top pair did produce some riveting tennis though. Their Aussie Open final of '93 is one of my favourite matches, with Monica winning 6-2 in the 3rd set of a very high quality contest. Tragically the rivalry was prematurely concluded shortly thereafter by a deranged "fanatic" of Graf's. That heinous stabbing incident is unforuneately the enduring memory of the early 1990's. p.s. almost forgot,, Monica also won the "5th" slam, the Viginia Slims Championships, from '90 to'92 with Steffi winning (after the stabbing) in '93
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post #9 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 08:37 AM
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There was a period there approaching the mid 90s when Martina referred to the tour as steffi and the seven dwarves.

This was probably also the time when the tour became really corporatised, and the palyers became major starts and felt that they did not need to put anything back into the game.

There is a book called Ladies of the Court which chronicles the 1991 seasons (just as Venus Envy) did for the 2000 season. There is divided opinion as to hopw good the book is, but I certainly was glad that I read it
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post #10 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 08:42 AM
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Its interesting how some people found this period to be really competitive...I didnt.

Of course it was when Monica came on the scene, but during the late 80's, I would say it was an average, transition period...


No problem wongks - I'll try and give my answers to your questions, but Im sure people like Rollo and Zummi can elaborate on what I recall...I basically started wathing tennis around 86/87...


1) Jana was always a serve-volleyer, at least I remember her volleying a lot the year she got to the final of the Oz Open. She beat Graf in the QF's (from memory I think) in a thrilling match by being very aggressive. But I never ever remember Jana as a baseliner, I always thought of her as a serve volleyer.

2) The young Monica was never 'arrogant' imo. I think the dislike of her was mainly because she was so dominant and unorthodox. She did sound really strange with the LOUD grunting (which was quite original back then) and most people's initial reaction was "why does she make that noise when she hits it"??

I remember there being a HUGE uproar about the fact that she skipped WImbledon, citing some injury, but played Exhibitions very soon after...It was quite obvious that she wasnt realy injured, she just didnt feel comfortable playing on the grass at that stage, and some people got angry that she would just 'skip' the # 1 tournament..

But there were never any personality issues I had with Monica. She was very much into make up and getting her hair coloured. She once got a big makoever done by Max Factor, or some cosmetics company paid her a lot of money to cut off her blond pig tail and it was replaced with a SHORT hair do, coloured black!!!!

I think the resentment toward Monica stemmed from the fact that people didnt understand her, nothing more..same could be said about some of todays players....

Her style of play, well imo, Monica was more fearless back then, actually she is still fearless now when down breakpoints etc, but she was jsut more accurate back then...Players couldnt move Monica around as well as they do these days, and she was younger and fitter so mobility or fitness wasnt a problem...You dont beat Graf 10-8 in the 3rd set of the French if you are unfit!!!!

But Monica just seemed to have this amazing, and I mean amazing ability to hit on the lines on HUGE points back then, and more often than not when she is down...

These days, I feel like Monica plays the ball half a metre inside the line, rather than right on it, and it hurts her..Plus the other players hit it harder now....

3) No, players back then did not serve at 80kmph, Gabby's serve was her BIGGEST weakness that players exploited constantly. During her last year or so on tour, her serve was a joke...Her serve is what stopped Gabby winning many more slams..

4) You've touched on the main reason why people never mention Chris Evert as a candidate in "best ever' discussions..

Once Chris beaten by Graf once, she never beat her again. Evert last beat Graf in Boca Raton in 86, from that point, Steffi won the last 8 times they played in 87, 88 and 89....

With Martina, even though Graf took the # 1 spot, Martina was still able to compete with, and defeat Graf, right up to her 37th birthday...

But Chris couldnt compete with Graf. The matchup was not a good one for Chris.. Martina could come to net and attack Graf's backhand - she had a good game to matchup against Steffi, but Chris didnt.

Chris was a baseliner, so was Steffi, Chris was steady off both sides, but exposive off neither...Steffi was explosive off her forehand and steady off her backhand, and Steffi was faster and more athletic on court than Chris...

So Chris never really challenged Graf once graf got her first victory, she only ever got one more set off her in 8 matches!!!

Chris Evert would matchup againsnt Hingis better than she would against graf or any power players of today - I think Evert vs Hings would be a classic battle of accurate groundstrokes painting every corner...
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post #11 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 08:55 AM
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Czechfan describes Monica excellently. Another example of just what a clutch player she was, compare her results in regular tournaments to her results in Slams/VS Championships. In regular tournaments, she would make every Final and only win about half of them. In Slams or VS, she was near automatic. 67-1 from the 90 VS on, 10 titles and 1 Finals loss.
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post #12 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 03:24 PM
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91 wasn`t that competed either. Monica was far above the rest, steffi number 2 was out of sorts(records show it. pre 91, in 13 of last 14 grand slam finals. 91 1 of 4 grand slams finals, 92-94 she reached the final everytime but one, that wasn`t tainted by Monica absense in 93 since Steffi was number 2 so she would have reached the final anyway losing that or not), well further Sabatini wasn`t very well in big matches, Nav was too old, and the rest couldn`t keep up anyway even not with Steffi out of sorts, in 92, 93 Steffi improved a little, except when she needed to go on holiday with her new boyfriend(but that`s a different story) , but anyway, the rivarly between her and Monica just started to grow and I think anybody who was a Steffi fan(I mean a real fan) couldn`t wait for a french open 92 revenge in 93, sadly it didn`t happen, you know why

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post #13 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 03:28 PM
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Everybody knows I was everything but a Monica fan, but all credit for her abillity to peak when she needed it, that made the big difference between her and the rest.

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post #14 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thankyou, espcially Czechfan for the insight, I kinda of know that this period is dominating by Steffi and Monica, but I thought it is pretty much like a transition period , jus like what we witness in 1998-1999.

I am just a bit fascinated with Chris, I mean I gather that she did not really beat Steffi after her loss once coz I just don't think her style would have let her beat Steffi. But I am surprised that Monica lost to her twice, I knew the first one is like Monica second tournament. But the US Open farewell in the last 16 was definitely for the taking for Monica and she lose handily, I guess Monica is just nervous out there to play and try to beat a champion in her last tournament. Also, when did Chris start playing pro tennis? I got a feeling that she plays in the early 70s as well. And how old was she wwhen she retire?

As far as competitiveness is concern, yeah i think it is very predictable, but I just thought there are so many great personalities out there. I don't know whether it is because I follow more tennis now, but do you consider this period to be the most unpredictable, most competitive period? or you think the early 80s is more exciting than that? Anyone care to discuss?
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post #15 of 97 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2002, 05:28 PM
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Czechfan described prefectly Monica of 90-93.

I just wanted to add that Monica was so refreshing when she came bursted onto the scene in 89. A lot of people didn't like her. Another reason why she was so good was that first she was able to match it Steffi and gradually she took over Steffi as the best player in the world. And Steffi was still only in her early 20's!

Of course Steffi tried to catch up to her again but whether she really would've or not we shall never know 1993 would've been a most telling year if it had happened. Because it would've really shown whether Steffi could still mix it Monica or whether Monica was going to continue be the most dominant player for years to come.

I think that period from 90-93 is the most competitive period in women's tennis. Ok so maybe I'm a bit biased but I really think it also produced the highest quality tennis.

"Also, when did Chris start playing pro tennis? I got a feeling that she plays in the early 70s as well. And how old was she wwhen she retire?"

I know Chris beat Margaret Court, the then #1, as a 15 year old in 1970. But I don't know much about her early career. I think Chris was 35/36? when she retired.
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