Daze - curious why you felt Evert was not threatened in the '83 Amelia Island final. I know she was cruising up 6-3,2-0, but she suddenly drops 8 games in a row! Too much thinking about having her nails done AND relishing thrashing Martina in the French finals at the same time!!!
I remember Carling scared the bejeesus out of me by not only having the gall to win a set off of 'never even came close to losing set before at Amelia Island' Miss Queen of Clay, but then carrying that momentum to a 4-2 third set lead.
No, i was then speaking of the 83 french final; she knew mima could not possibly win. I would go as far as to say if chris tied her left hand behind her back, she would have been able to run around her backhand enough to still win in straight sets.
carling she ALWAYS took seriously; about half of their matches went 3 sets, and I am sure she knew she had to be prepared when she played her.... she probably always thought she'd win so long as she did play well, but every match was a battle, even the 6-2 6-2 wins were closely fought.
I recently re-read The Rivals by Johnette Howard and was struck by Chris' bitchy attitude towards Martina (care of Nancy L) and how badly she wanted to beat Martina in Paris. I especially loved the quote after a reporter said to her "it's your tournament to win now that Martina lost" and Chris retorted, "You mean it wasn't my tournament to win before?" Mee-ow!!
What still remains a mystery to me is the 1984 Amelia Island result. Chris went into that tournament with some momentum, having won 2 tournaments in a row, using her new Graphite racquet. And Martina was not exactly rolling over opponents the way she had been the last year. In one of the best matches I ever saw (at least until NBC cut away in the exciting third set), Hana was outplaying Martina, and probably should have won. I thought for sure Chris would continue her unbeaten streak on clay vs. Martina
Chris did not have time to be as psyched out in 83 as she became in 84 (The bad loss in the 83 USO was the real alarm for her...) so i think she actually might have faired well if they had met in that final. But in 84, she was still adjusting to the graphite after a whole career with essentially that same wood racquet. Most people dont realize she switched versions of the pro staff a number of times that first year, making slight adjustments to find the right balance. the 84 french final was played with a different 'wilson pro staff' than the 85 final that she won.
When i watch the 84 amelia, I am not struck by martina's play.... I am struck by chrissie's nervousness. There is a shot early on where you can visibly see her hand shake a tad as she prepares to serve. I would not say martina played one of her best matches that day, but that chris played her worst. There was simply too much on the line; the streak with MN, the first clay meeting where she still felt she had one kind of 'crown' left to her name, it was on her home court...it is the only example where the ice princess melted under her own pressure. she usually lined up circumstances to help her defeat an opponent but the truth was there for all to see; self-doubt had officially crept in and there was no hiding it.
The 84 french final.... is interesting. Look how well she did indoors against MN at Madison Sq Garden, & how easily she pushed Martina around in the early stage of the wimbledon final, before she remembered who that was over there, and you wonder how much was perception dictating results. On any given day, anyone can play a great match, regardless of surface. In 87 houston, chris wins, in 87 french, she could barely get a game from martina. Likewise, I think a lot of things could have happened in the 84 french final, had they played it 5 times instead of once. They would not have all been a 6-3 6-1 win for Martina.
But the results 'of the day' seem to form a stone statute in our memory that tell one kind of story line, and we forget how different all of it could have come off. As it is, however, I must say it tells a compelling story!