I don't believe I've ever seen a thread that compared the careers of Jana Novotna and Sabatini to find out who the better player was. Usually, when you talk about Sabatini and Jana Novotna, the first thing people bring up is the choking. I really don't want to get into that, as its been discussed time and again. However, you can't ignore it either. Jana choked against Steffi at '93 Wimbledon, and Sabatini choked big-time against Mary Joe Fernandez at '93 Paris.
Instead, lets compare their careers by crunching the numbers to find out who the better player was. I know that numbers never tell the whole story, but they don't lie either. Here are the most important raw numbers to digest:
1. Jana Novotna and Sabatini each won a Slam singles title. Jana won at '98 Wimbledon, while Sabatini captured the '90 US Open.
2. Jana played in 4 Slam singles finals, and Sabatini played in 3.
3. Jana retired with 24 singles titles and 76 doubles titles. Gaby finished with 27 singles titles and 12 doubles.
4. Highest singles ranking was #2 for Jana, and #3 for Sabatini.
5. Sabatini's career singles record was 632-189, while Jana's career singles record was 571-225. That works out to a win percentage of 77% for Sabatini, and 72% for Jana.
6. Jana's career doubles record was 697-153, and Sabatini's doubles record was 252-96. That's a win percentage of 82% for Jana, and 72% for Sabatini.
7. When you combine the number of singles and doubles matches they played in, you get 1,646 for Jana and 1,169 for Sabatini. That means Jana played 477 more matches than Sabatini.
As I said, the numbers never tell the whole story. There are a couple of intangibles to consider. Sabatini had to beat Steffi to win her slam title, while Jana beat Natalie Tauziat for hers. No disrespect against Natalie, but I'm sure Jana was much happier seeing Natalie across the net instead of Steffi!. Since Sabatini had to face Steffi, Sabatini's draw was much harder than Jana's. Also, in career head-to-head matches, Sabatini leads Jana 10-3. However, in many of those matches, Jana pushed Sabatini to 3 sets. So even though Sabatini holds the clear edge in head-to-head, Jana was certainly no pushover for Sabatini.
Before I looked up all those numbers, I would have given the edge to Sabatini as the better player. After I did the research, I would now say the career numbers certainly favor Jana over Sabatini. But I'll let you be the judge, as to who the better player was.
You are obviously biased towards Jana anand did not give us the whole numbers... lets see
Titles wise Novotna has a bunch of Tier III events win (8 at least which is 30% of her grand total wins), where she dipatched second Tier rivals, while lets say Gaby for example won 3 Tier II Amelia Islands beating Graf in the finals.
Jana took part in 9 grand slam semifinals, lets compare that to Sabatini's 18.
Sabatini spent 10 straight seasons in the top ten (1986-1995) while Jana was there for 7 interrupted years (1991-1994 and 1996-1998).
Sabatini spent 6 straight years in the top 5 (1988-1993) Jana spend 3 straight years (1996-1998).
Sabatini spent 4 seasons in the top 3 (88,89,91,92) Jana 2 seasons (97,98)
People also tend to forget the head to head stats, i don't even have to name but Gaby is way better than Jana in this category against the best players in the game.
Gaby not only gave Graf tons of troubles but also beat Seles on clay while Monica was at the top of her game 1991 and 1992 Rome finals. Jana only beat Seles after the stabbing.
And between the two
Gabriela SABATINI (ARG) Leads Jana NOVOTNA (CZE) : 11 to 3 *
To sum it up, for me Sabatini was the better singles player, with a slight but clear margin.