Greatest at a certain age during teens
As I was watching the Capriati/Zvonerva match last night (thanks ESPN2), Pam Shriver was talking about the March 1990 Slims of Capriati in Florida. Jennifer was 13 when she made her professional debut in that tournament and she promptly creamed everyone in sight and gave Gabriela Sabatini a good run for her money in the finals (6-4, 7-5 I believe). It got me thinking that Jennifer was absolutley the best 13/14 year old I had ever see play the game. Actually I didn't get to see her play for a few more weeks, and she had turned 14 by then (Hilton Head), but she was absolutely amazing. A few weeks later and she was in the semis of the French.
So I know it is a little silly, but it's rather dead around here, so I thought we could list who we think we the greatest at a certain age during their teen years.
13-15: Capriati – At 14 she showed the most mature game I have ever seen for that age. When I saw the FCC final against the ledge Martina, I was amazed at her poise, near perfect ground stroke production, serve and shot selection. At 15, in 1991, she knocked off the defending champions at both Wimbldeon and the US (Martina and Gaby, both in the quarters) and was poised to become the youngest US Open winner ever.
16: Martina Hingis – One of the greatest years of all time and she just happened to be 16 for nine full months of it. No one even comes close. She was head and shoulders above everyone. Martina toyed with her opponents like puppets that year.
17: Monica Seles – 1991 was the first year she dominated and she won every major title except for Wimbledon and the German + Italian Opens. Otherwise it was all Monica, all the time.
18: Steffi Graf – She was 18 when her Grand Slam year began and halfway through she turned 19. I think she only lost 4 matches during that span and she was scarying the crap out of everyone in sight on tour.
19: Steffi Graf – Steffi only lost 1 slam match during this time period (FO '89 to ASV). She could have taken 2 straight Grand Slams.
Honerable mentions to Tracy Austin (16-18), Chris Evert (18-19), Evonne Goolagong (19), Andrea Jaeger (15).