Originally Posted by Sumarokov-Elston
My take on it is this. Graf was best in the last two and a half years (clearly 1988 and 1989, 1987 split with Martina). Evert was the best in the first two and a half years (clearly 1980 and 1981, 1982 was decided at YEC [when Evert demolished Tracy Austin 6-0, 6-0] as Chris won both USO and AO). So that leaves the middle years of 1983-1986 to decide and every one of those clearly goes to Evert - you could kindly give 1986 to Graf, but that would mean overloooking Chris's French Open title.
I think Evert was clearly dominant in the whole of 1980. At Wimbledon 1981 no one could touch her. At the Australian Open in 1982 she ran through absolutely everyone. And for those three years she was only beaten once on clay!
Evert was at best a shaky best in 1980 and 1981. That cant even be compared to Graf in 1988 and 1989 who was the runaway best, chasms ahead of everyone else ala Martina in 83 and 84, and posted two of the best years ever. To put those two years on par with each other as if they were equal is a joke.
Martina was also clearly the best in 1982, Chris does not share the #1 honor for 1982 in any sense or come close to doing so despite both winning 2 majors, while Graf clearly deserved #1 in 1987. Even if you want to argue 1987 as a split based on Martinas Wimbledon and U.S Open titles, which you would be in the vast minority on given the extremity of the other stats this year, there is no argument for 1982 being a split. If
Evert had a claim to being the best in 1982 if she won the YEC it is meaningless as it turns out she didnt, was never expected to anyway, and she was clearly behind Martina before the event and overall up to any given point in the year even with both winning 2 majors (the latter two so you have no argument for Chris being the best the first half of 1982, she was in fact much further behind at that point). As Martinas infamous ex Nancy Lieberman said at the time it never should have been in debate even if Chris had pulled an upset and won the YEC as all the stats were clearly in Martinas favor, but Chris and her popularity with the ITF is the only thing that could have made it so, in the highly unlikely event Chris had even won the 1982 YEC over Martina in the final that is.
Even if you want to approach things from your perspective fact is Graf was #1 in 1987 which gives her 3 years as the #1 player, and Evert was not #1 in 1982 which gives her only 2 years. Graf was also the unaminous choice as Player of the Year by all bodies in 1987, which Chris was not in 1980, and was one RR match at the YEC from not being in 1981, which makes it all the more funny how you give Graf only partial credit as the #1 in 1987 yet Chris full credit for both 1980 and 1981. Fact is based on the ranking and voters Graf was the undisputed #1 for 3 different years, while Chris was the #1 ranked player for two years, and was not the unaminous pick as so in atleast 1 of those 2.
Evert was not dominant in 1980 with a 1-3 record vs Tracy Austin, being ranked #2 or #3 alot of the year and the WTA even named Austin Player of the Year over Evert. Also many would say the 4 biggest events at the time were really Wimbledon, U.S open, Avon, and Toyota, and she won only 1 of the 4 (Austin failed to win any of the 4 slams but did win both the Avon and Toyota Championships). As I said at best a shaky best. The best player of 1981 was also debated heavily between Martina, Chris, and Tracy Austin as well, all of whom had 1 slam title for the year, with Tracy winning the YEC title as well which arguably gave her the better year. Wrong on all levels to compare that to Grafs 88 and 89 clear cut dominance over the field, or even make it out to be a cut above Grafs 1987 which in fact was also a much better overall year than either Chris 1980 or 1981 years.
Lastly being better than a 13-16 year old Graf from 1983-1985 is hardly anything to toot about. It is akin to those stupid Graf fanatics who gush of Grafs dominance of a 15 year old Seles in 1989.