I've been watching the clips from some of Chrissie's matches that Chrisevertdotnet has posted on youtube and they are phenomenal. They really give you a sense of Evert's true genius. Her groundstroke technique is sublime. Not one variation from shot to shot and little variation in mechanics through the years, actually as the years progressed Chrissie's strokes got cleaner and cleaner to the point that there was really no flaws whatsoever by the time you get to the '80 Austin match at the UO which to me is shear perfection.
And when talking about major weapons in the history of the game, infrequently is the Evert forehand dropshot mentioned, but that thing is AMAZING, not just in terms of accuracy and placement but also in Chris' ability to alter and adjust the pace and change the direction of the preceding shot. I have never seen anyone dropshot like that...not even close.
Speaking of Chrissie's forehand side, her forehand was pretty awesome back in the day-pre-graphite that is. Her variety on that wing was incredible. On the backhand she pretty much drove through hit with a titch of top-spin, the greatness from that stroke came from placement and pace. The forehand, however, was sometimes looped, sometimes driven, sometimes dropped, and of course her amazing side-spin fadeaway that just died on clay and grass. So much variety. I cannot even tell you what a delight it has been to go back and discover Chrissie's genius!
Pam, I agree with you so much!! That forehand crosscourt dropshot is probably the hardest shot in the world to play and in Evert's execution it is simply sublime. And I was just waiting for you to mention the side-spin forehand down the line. Martina must still have nightmares about that shot, because it was used so often against her. She would pin Martina to the baseline and pick apart her backhand with various spins, variations of flat, top-spin, slow, fast, then just when Martina was expecting another shot to her backhand, Chris would hit that sidespin down the line that just kept going further and further away and completely fading at the end!! My favourites are in the finals of the 1984 US open and the 1986 French Open (when Evert's forehand was really HOT, especially towards the end!).
Although the great clashes in Grand Slam finals against Martina and Evonne never disappoint, I actually prefer the more minor matches against feisty opponents like Kate or Darling Carling, where you can enjoy Evert's impeccable technique. It is like the way that artist's studies (Rubens, Constable, Uccello) are now valued and preferred more over their finished and polished works, because it gives an insight into their workshop. Such matches are like seeing what Chrissie does in the "kitchen," as it were - as opposed to her "dinner-table" triumphs against the greats.
And about Evonne - I noticed in the matches Evonne playing volleys in the mid-1970s that look as if she is playing with a mid-size graphite racket, but she is using a wooden racket, incredible!
But to return to the main theme, I think Evert's technical superiority over the rest of the pack - and not just in open tennis - is proved just by that one crosscourt forehand dropshot that she used to save the first matchpoint against Monica Seles in 1989 Houston. Can you show me one other woman player that has ever come up with a shot like that at match point down?