Also, I would say that Serena's long periods of inactivity have probably enhanced her longevity. She has remained hungry and has had times to stay fresh and avoid burn-out. We might not have seen the best of her yet.
I do want to say that Evert gets a lack of respect in the discussion. She was unfortunate to have dominated tennis in a period in which the Aussie and French tournaments were considered lesser events. She would've almost certainly won the 3 French Opens she skipped while on her long clay win streak. Also, not playing the Aussie between 1974 and 1981 hurts. Surely, she could've found a way to win 2-3 of those (though Evonne and Martina would've been tough opponents if everyone played). Evert is hurt by her lack of a physical domination on the court. She also had the losing h2h with Martina 43-37. However, I'm getting ready to do a study of tournaments won in which those two played. I'll bet Evert leads that stat. Why? Martina defeated Chris in many tournaments where she was #1 and Evert was #2. But during the first 5 years of their rivalry, Evert won many events where Martina was ranked lower and never made the final.
Just want Chrissie to get her due. I usually say that Martina was the GOAT. I never saw a more imposing figure on the court than the Navratilova of 1982-1986.
It would really interesting to see your statistical analysis Preacherfan. I agree that Chris's numbers would stack up well against anyone's.
Even though I am an ardent Chris fan, I would give the edge to Martina for 4 reasons:
1. The H2H edge doesn't bother me so much. As you say Martina got a lot more chances to play Chris at her peak, and not the other way around. The biggest difference here is Martina's dominence indoors, otherwise there isn't a lot in it. The big psychological factor here is the 13 consecutive wins Martina had in 83-84. Some of those scores in 83 were brutal. To give Chris her due, she certainly did not quit, and managed a way to still score some good wins against Martina from 85. A couple of those wins after 85 were pretty lopsided too.
2. The 74 match winning streak. Still un beaten today. Martina was just miles ahead of anyone in 83/84, in a way that Chris never was, even though she was very dominant for much of the 70s.
3. Martina's 6 GS consecutive GS titles. Even if Chris had played all the GS in her prime, I'm not sure that she would have been able to achieve the same.
4. Martina's ability to compete and win against Graf, Seles, and Sabatini well past her prime. Martina's athleticism and attacking style enabled her to do this. Though Chris's speed, power, and athleticism are often underrated, her main strengths are mental.
I wholly agree that I haven't seen anyone as dominant as Martina.
Without igniting the boring old flame wars, I think that Monica is also someone that I watched and at times could not believe how phenomenally well she could play in her prime.