Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread! - Volume 2
About Sabatini compared to the 4-Slam winners mentioned before, I think that of course she has a less storied career as a result of her peaking alongside with... Graf nonetheless. How would anyone compare to probably the best or second best ever? And she also peaked with Monica Seles, who was on her way to be one of the very best ever too, and Gabriela also had to deal with the last part of Navratilova's Golden Run, and Martina remained an incredible player well into the nineties, and also the last years of the improved version of Chris Evert. I can only say that Gabriela won a Slam, a silver medal, 2 Masters and several Tier Is, and got 10 wins over a reigning Nº1 player in THAT era, when you could get Novotna, Pierce, Sukova or Davenport in the round of 16 of any given Grand Slam, MJ Fernández, Martínez, Capriati or ASV for quarters, and Evert, Navratilva, Graf or Seles for the semifinals, and any of them (again!) for the finals. So, would you have María Sharapova winning a French, even reaching a final back then? Even Arantxa, who got her own Slam and some other important wins in that time, got it easier in her peak year in 1994, with only an injured Graf remaining of the big guns of late 80s - early 90s in the field (Seles stabbed!, Evert retired, Navratilova was aging and Sabatini was in a big slump). Even Capriati was not in a high level anymore.
But as a tennis player, I do think that Sabatini in her peak was better than Sharapova and ASV, and also than other multiple Slam winners Capriati, Davenport and Pierce. I'm not that sure about Mandlikova, I think they're pretty equal as in their peaks they were both true rivals to the very best (I mean by that Evert, Navratilova, Graf and Seles) even when these were in a good day. I believe it would depend on the surface, with Mandlikova having maybe a slight edge on faster courts, but then Gabriela was so good on indoor courts, beating everybody there but Seles (but Monica needed five sets in 1990 YEC...), and Sabatini having the advantage on clay, but then Hana won the French and had big wins on that surface too, so it's hard to say. Interesting anyway.
Witness of an Era of Grandeur
Chris the Ice Lady - Martina Grace&Power
Fraulein Forehand - The Divine Argentine
Merciless Monica - Barcelona Bumblebee