Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2014, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss

In researching some for the biographies, I came upon Mary Ann Eisel's career. She was a borderline top ten player at one point (Bud Collins ranked her #8 on year). She competed well and pulled some upsets occasionally. She was an outstanding doubles player also.

However, the thought occurred to me: Mary Ann Eisel will always be remembered for a loss - the 46 76 61 loss to 16 year old Chris Evert where she had 6 match points but couldn't put her opponent away. Of course, that win began monumental Grand Slam resume of Chrissie. I guess a name like Eisel wouldn't be remembered by most casual fans, but mention her name to someone who has followed tennis closely for many years and most will point to that match.

The only other player I can think of who is more remembered for a loss is Jana Novotna. Though Jana had a fantastic career and later won Wimbledon, the most prominent image of her is her crying on the Duchess' shoulder after crumbling with a big lead against Steffi Graf.

Any thoughts?

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2014, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

No, Zvereva's loss is definitely one of the biggest marks on her career. I think of her as an all-time great in doubles, but her singles career highlight (and lowlight) is that 60 60 loss.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2014, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

Sorry about the typo in the thread title - just noticed "remember" instead of "remembered". Don't know how to edit that.

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

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One that jumps off the page for me was Natalia/Natasha Zvereva, RG88. Yeah, I know she was remembered as a great doubles player too, but the French Open loss is what always springs to my mind.

Perhaps you're meaning more obscure players than this?
In men's tennis, Krickstein versus Connors at the 1991 USO.

But Novotna does win the, uh, prize, but not just for the 1993 Wimbledon singles final. Her nickname was "No No" well before that. To me, what she did in 1993 Wim. doubles final was even more monumental. (And you can't say monumental without mental!)
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2014, 10:12 PM
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

I don’t know if my post fits here, but... here is a short story about a slightly forgotten Australian tennis player, Maureen Pratt. After she lost the final of the Victorian Hard Court Championships in 1972 – it was her seventh final and seventh loss in that event (though it seems at some point everyone had stopped counting her losses, as the press stated it was even the eighth or ninth time !), she was described as a player “destined never to succeed” there. Luckily for her, she won some other tournaments in her career, so people can remember also her victories, but whenever I see her name, that old article comes back to my memory.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 17th, 2014, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

I did think about the Hingis collapse against Graf at RG. That is probably her best remembered match, though she had a very successful career.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 17th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

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And Jana's match against Chandra at RG. Epic!

Oh boy, how many times did Connors do that? Pernfors, remember that one? What a match.

Funny thing is, most people I know seem to remember Martina Hingis more for losing the RG Final and the Dokic loss. Whereas, I recall her achievements in 97.
Jana's career is chock-full of "I was so close!" moments and assorted collapses of form. E.g., she hit a flurry of double faults to crash out early against Patty Fendick at Wimbledon 1992 -- just getting in some practice for the 1993 final, I guess. And Steffi edging her out in extreeeeemely close third sets three times within a span of four weeks in 1992. Which is why after the 1993 Wim. final, when Bud Collins asked Steffi post-match if she had sensed a collapse setting in, Steffi replied with half-embarrassed honesty, "Well, I was hoping for it." A rare example real world example of "dangerously genre savvy." And the press never let up on poor Jana, either. I mean, any time she was up a break in any set against any opponent and lost, they almost always talked about a "choke." If you think about it, she actually had to be a very mentally tough person to face all those press conferences and never snap.

Hingis is a lot like Lendl, where some people will remember his Wimbledon exercise in futility and first five Slam finals more than all the successes. In Hingis, case it's made worse by the "clear career turning point." I wouldn't call the 1999 Wimbledon first round a "monumental" loss. That's just a bad day. But the 2000 USO semi versus Venus and 2002 AO final versus Capriati? Those are monumental.

And Kournikova. While there isn't one "monumental" loss, she was almost as famous for never winning a singles title as she was for her looks/endorsements.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 17th, 2014, 08:12 PM
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Re: Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss

Quote:
Sorry about the typo in the thread title - just noticed "remember" instead of "remembered". Don't know how to edit that.
I fixed it for you PF. Great thread BTW

Last edited by Rollo; Feb 17th, 2014 at 08:18 PM.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 17th, 2014, 10:43 PM
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

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Jana's career is chock-full of "I was so close!" moments and assorted collapses of form. E.g., she hit a flurry of double faults to crash out early against Patty Fendick at Wimbledon 1992 -- just getting in some practice for the 1993 final, I guess. And Steffi edging her out in extreeeeemely close third sets three times within a span of four weeks in 1992. Which is why after the 1993 Wim. final, when Bud Collins asked Steffi post-match if she had sensed a collapse setting in, Steffi replied with half-embarrassed honesty, "Well, I was hoping for it." A rare example real world example of "dangerously genre savvy." And the press never let up on poor Jana, either. I mean, any time she was up a break in any set against any opponent and lost, they almost always talked about a "choke." If you think about it, she actually had to be a very mentally tough person to face all those press conferences and never snap.

Hingis is a lot like Lendl, where some people will remember his Wimbledon exercise in futility and first five Slam finals more than all the successes. In Hingis, case it's made worse by the "clear career turning point." I wouldn't call the 1999 Wimbledon first round a "monumental" loss. That's just a bad day. But the 2000 USO semi versus Venus and 2002 AO final versus Capriati? Those are monumental.

And Kournikova. While there isn't one "monumental" loss, she was almost as famous for never winning a singles title as she was for her looks/endorsements.
You almost have to wonder if she would have been better off accepting and admitting to the press that she choked in 93. If remember correctly, she kept vehemently denying that it was a choke, and complained often to the press about how they labeled her as a choker and how other players considered her a choker.

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 2014, 05:50 PM
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

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I always thought the press and crowd in particular were very sympathetic towards Jana, well here in the UK/Ireland it appeared that way. Yeah I know you mean the press conferences in general the players have to put up with. I'm going to disagree with you here, about her being 'Mentally Tough'. I don't believe, no matter how hard you try, not everybody is wired this way. Sometimes you just have to get on with it, and that's that. But true, myself personally, I think I may have snapped with them.
The WTA itself put a picture of Novotna crying on the Duchess of Kent's shoulder on the cover montage of their 1994 media guide. Maybe she wasn't so much "tough" as "resilient." As Bud Collins once wrote: "Why do I delight in Jana Novotna? Because she just keeps coming back for more." As you say, not everyone is wired to keep their emotions/nerves under control in high pressure situations (or has the ability to see that, in the case of tennis, the high pressure is merely an illusion, but still play well), but Jana's ability to bounce back from those monumental losses and never have a press conference meltdown or violent rampage should get some credit.

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My own opinion, Hingis loss in 99 was more fall out from RG than anything else, but it was a huge loss by her standards.
At the time, yeah. But the Dokic loss just doesn't have the same "You will never live this one down" quality as the others.

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Kournikova? Thought she had the makings of a really decent player. Saw her in the flesh once at Wimbledon, playiing one of my own favourites 'Anne-Gaelle Sidot'. (I'm not sure, but I think there's a very interesting stat for that match) I guess, a lot of people remember her serving vs Justine at the AO, but not really a monumental loss I can think of. She was a pretty darn good wee doubles player too. Funny how a person with her looks lacked so much confidence on her own, on court. Yet, when she played doubles with Chandra she was always beaming, odd.
Kournikova, Hingis, Novotna, Zvereva, fine doubles players all (although as I said Novotna's 1993 Wimbledon doubles final was an even more spectacular a brain cramp than the singles final). Some people just feel/play better with a partner to steady them, or get fired up to play better because they don't want to let the "team" down. So many oddballs in tennis.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 18th, 2014, 06:02 PM
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Re: Players More Remember For a Monumental Loss

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You almost have to wonder if she would have been better off accepting and admitting to the press that she choked in 93. If remember correctly, she kept vehemently denying that it was a choke, and complained often to the press about how they labeled her as a choker and how other players considered her a choker.
Denial might have been the only thing that kept her from hiding under a rock for 25 years. Of course, maybe the press would have been a little more tactful with her if she had walked into the press conference said, "Does anyone know the Heimlich Maneuver?"
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 19th, 2014, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss

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preacherfan, how about the very talented, but crazy (not go to hospital crazy, as she put it) Irina Spirlea? Her marathon match with Venus at the USO?
That is so funny that you just added her, because I had just logged in to add Spirlea. I saw her play at the Bausch and Lomb several times and she was very talented. Saw her beat Pierce and ASV. At her best, she had a Steffi Graf-like game. But her one moment in the sun was that loss to V. Williams with the famous "bump".

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 19th, 2014, 11:54 PM
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Re: Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss

Had Kimiko Date not come back for her second career, would she be remembered most for her loss to Steffi in the semis of Wimbledon? If I remember correctly, she was looking amazing in winning a second set, but the match got called for darkness. The next day Steffi came out and soundly dispatched Kimiko.

I always thought of that loss when I thought of her. As much as I don't like to admit it...she would have had a more than fighting chance at the title against Arantxa (certainly, that may have improved Arantxa's chances too...I think the match would have relied on Kimiko's nerves).

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 2014, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss

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I was wrecking my brain cell at work trying to come up with something when I thought of this. She's a player I would have loved to got to watch. I'm not sure, but didn't Richard Williams actually say to her, "He wished his daughter had a forehand like yours."? I think it came up after the whole "BUMP" debate. I know I shouldn't had, but I nearly fell off my chair laughing when it happened.
Let's be honest: Venus and Serena have become very gracious champions as they have gotten older. But I couldn't stand Venus' attitude early in her teen days. She never gave an ounce of credit to an opponent. I almost cheered the "bump". (I think Richard orchestrated some of the attitude.)

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 2014, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Players More Remembered For a Monumental Loss

What about Elena Dementieva. When I think of her, I think "she never showed up in a big final". The French Open final with Myskina was abyssmal. Though it might not be a singular most memorable moment, it kind of set a trend for her performances in the big moments. The USO final with Kuznetsova wasn't much better. She did improve in the clutch a little later in her career and really pushed Serena in the 2009 classic battle, plus she won the Olympic Gold. But my most lasting memory of Elena is that 2004 French Final.

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