I am taking a poll here, and asking for your opinion.
Which one of these surprised you the most?
A) Billie Jean King's 1974 U.S. Open:
B) Chris Evert's 1976 Wimbledon:
C) Virginia Wade's 1977 Wimbledon:
D) Martina Navratilova's 1978 Wimbledon:
E) Tracy Austin's 1979 U.S. Open:
F) Evonne Goolagong's 1980 Wimbledon:
For me, it was Evonne's triumph at Wimbledon in 1980.
From the 3rd Round on, she had some tough opponents, as well as a unpredictable one, and a up coming star to be.
My second choice would be Virginia Wade winning the 1977 Wimbledon Championships. That tournament, and her victory had a very surreal feeling to it, perhaps it was destiny, or was it that the stars and planets were all in align. It had me thinking of a line from an old Walt Disney movie Re: "The Sword In The Stone". I am not mocking religion when I write/say this quote:
"It's a miracle, ordained by heaven"
It just seemed unreal, the 100th Wimbledon, The Queen's Jubilee, and a British player winning a singles title.
Well, I hope to hear from many on this thread.
I do ask of you - PLEASE do not add any other matches to these 6 that I listed.
Well., actually - Thank You ALL - Twice:
The second "Thanks", is for the prayers, thoughts, and well wishes you extended to me, and the strength and compassion you gave and showed my partner during my recent medical procedures and ill health.
JOe - hope you are well.
Interesting poll question. I just didn't find the connection, or commonality among the 6 contenders you chose. For Wade and Goolagong, it was their last major triumph. Austin and Navratilova their first. And King and Evert's wins were not really that surprising.
But like you, and most, I'd have to agree that Evonne's and Ginny's were the most surprising, and for me, heartwarming triumphs.
It's hard for me to remember what I made of their triumphs at the time, apart from being peeved they each had the NERVE to beat Chris Evert en route to the title
Ginny's was a tennis fairy tale come true. But I think I recall not being all that surprised. Despite her numerous failures, she never gave up. And I think she had extra incentive to win. And perhaps Sue's rise in 197, the fact that more eyes were on Sue as potential champ, plus BJ King's return, the fascination with young Tracy, and the foregone conclusion Chris would repeat took some of the pressure off Ginny. And yet she had a tough draw. She faced Rosie in the QF, and I believe Rosie had beaten her a few times that year. And int he semis she had to get by Queen Chris. but what Virginia had working in her favor was that she had beaten Chris twice in the previous eight months, including a straight set win on the VS tour. And Chris was feeling the pressure in that match. And it was marvelous to see Ginny rise to the occasion, and play brilliantly, especially in the 3rd set, to seal the win. While Betty Stove might have seemed like easy pickings int he final, perhaps compared to a final against Martina or Billie Jean, Betty was still a dangerous opponent for Wade. And again Virginia came through like a champ, winning the final set 6-1, just like she had in the semis. Bravo Ginny!
But I think Evonne's 1980 triumph edges out Ginny's on my surprise-o-meter. Evonne had not won a tournament all year. She did struggle with injuries. And she couldn't even count a big win over Martina, Tracy, Billie Jean, or Chris that season to give her any real confidence she might be able to win the tournament. Evonne also had a very tough draw. She had to get by Stove in the 3R. And Betty had just beaten Martina at Eastbourne. Hana was avery dangerous R16 opponent, and she proved it by playing Evonne tough for a set and a half. Wendy Turnbull was no slouch in the QF. The there was the semi against Tracy. Evonne was the better grass court player. But it's nerves and execution that matter in a big match. Thankfully for Evonne she was able to come up with the goods and upend Tracy.
The reason why I think Evonne's win in 1980 was the most surprising of the lot you chose is that it didn't occur to me Chris would lose to Evonne that day. Chris was playing very well in her return to the tour that spring. She rediscovered her joy for playing. She hadn't lost in any match. And that included a tough 3 set win over Evonne in the Chichester final just a few weeks before. Chris had handily defeated Evonne the year before in the semis. And Chris bested Evonne in the 1976 Wimbledon final at a time when Evonne was playing the best tennis of her career. Apart from Chris' loss to Evonne in March 1978 Boston, Chris hadn't lost to Evonne in 4+ years. The motivation Chris had from beating Martina in the semis surely would carry over into the finals. And yet Chris came out extremely flat, and Evonne was at her brilliant best. As Chris has mentioned, she may have felt she won the title by virtue of her win over Martina and may have underestimated Evonne. I do recall being flabergasted when Evonne raced to a 6-1,3-0 lead. Chris losing 9 of 10 games in a major final ?! It was beginning to look rather embarassing for Chris. Then she raises her game, gets back in the match. At which time I did expect a full and triumphant recovery for Mrs. Lloyd. But Evonne held on, outplaying Chris at the end to earn a very, very well-earned triumph!
Despite the fact they beat Chris to win Wimbledon, I am very happy for Virginia and Evonne that they triumphed in very significant wins. Thoroughly well deserved, whether they were surprising or not!