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Calimero377
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:08 PM
Why is it that current U.S. players play only an awkward bash-the-ball-at-all-costs style (Seles, JenCap, Davenport, Willies)? Where are the graceful Americans? Chrissie seem to have been the last of a dying (dead?) breed. And the Russians don't seem to do better in this department.

So it is up to West Europeans again (Belgians, Mauresmo) ....

:worship:

blumaroo
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:10 PM
All the "graceful" players will dissappear one day. Power is a must these days.

Calimero377
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:13 PM
All the "graceful" players will dissappear one day. Power is a must these days.


Power doesn't exclude grace at all!
Graf comes into mind at once. And Enna of today's players.

tennislover
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:13 PM
All the "graceful" players will dissappear one day. Power is a must these days.

true :sad:

23TwentyThree23
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:14 PM
sharapova i think has some grace and is powerful, no? and ana ivanovic..she is big and hard but she has grace? :confused:

bandabou
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:16 PM
enna? the same one who can't even REACH finals wimbledon, let alone win it?

And what happened to the germans? Sunk so low they have to put their hopes in a belgian and horrors of horrors in a french choker? :sad:

Calimero377
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:19 PM
enna? the same one who can't even REACH finals wimbledon, let alone win it?

And what happened to the germans? Sunk so low they have to put their hopes in a belgian and horrors of horrors in a french choker? :sad:


I don't know any German pro tennis players. That a player who has retired 6 years ago still is the best German player speaks volumes ...

thelittlestelf
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:21 PM
Yeah, you'd think German tennis would fare better after Steffi.

tennislover
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:22 PM
Power doesn't exclude grace at all!

true: Martina Nav is the living proof of that.... :hearts: :hearts: :hearts:

bandabou
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:22 PM
Tjaaa....

Calimero377
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:24 PM
true: Martina Nav is the living proof of that.... :hearts: :hearts: :hearts:


Navi had no power AND no grace. Sorry ....

tennislover
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:29 PM
Navi had no power AND no grace. Sorry ....



:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
and what's she? A ghost? :eek: :eek: :eek:





(no goodrep points for you.... ;) )

tennnisfannn
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:33 PM
sharapova i think has some grace and is powerful, no? and ana ivanovic..she is big and hard but she has grace? :confused:
depends on how you define grace but according t dictionary.com:


Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.

A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
A sense of fitness or propriety
no.1 is probably the definiton we are lookng at then all those commentaor who kept saying maria won wimbledon with such elegance and grace were lying. That would exclude serena and justine coz they really throw themselves into their shots. according to this defnition I would say daniela and therefore I will be looking for an american who plays like her. venus fits that bill for me:hearts:

K.U.C.W-R.V
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:35 PM
Its been a while... Chris Evert.

Yonexforever
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:35 PM
I have to admit, no one moved toward an approach shot with more grace than the original Martina in my book, however for an AMERICAN born player I think grace went out the window in terms of playing style on these shores probably in the 60's.
Im assumin the poster meant playing style and NOT carriage.

bovina_forever
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:35 PM
sharapova i think has some grace and is powerful, no? and ana ivanovic..she is big and hard but she has grace? :confused:
Sharapove and grace do not got togeather, maybe if you get rid of the grunt.

tennislover
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:37 PM
I have to admit, no one moved toward an approach shot with more grace than the original Martina in my book, however for an AMERICAN born player I think grace went out the window in terms of playing style on these shores probably in the 60's.
Im assumin the poster meant playing style and NOT carriage.


at least a real tennis expert! :worship: :worship: :worship: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey:

TeamUSA#1
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:38 PM
I think Navi had a lot of power and grace of movement-- she was #1 for a very long time for this reason.

Of the current crop of USA players, I think Venus and Jennifer are particularily graceful in their movement and play. What makes them such great players is their power and grace. Look at both of these players hit a shot on the run (esp. Jen's FH on the run)! Their movement is incredible and they send the shot back with lots of power. You need both power and grace today to be on top.

thelittlestelf
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:41 PM
I personally think Lindsay has extremely graceful ground strokes.

Becool
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:44 PM
Which Belgians are you talkin about? :confused:

Yonexforever
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:46 PM
Hmmmm Lindsay certainly hits one of the cleanest balls around, but her movement or lack thereof kind of keeps from giving it to her!
Jennifer can never be accused of being graceful but she is one hell of a fighting/running you are not beating me today B****!
For not a slight woman she runs like a runaway train! I love it!
:)

Yonexforever
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:49 PM
I guess "grace" like most things is highly subjective.
BUT I would like to think it involves at least a "package" with appearance of sublime movement and ball striking.

K.U.C.W-R.V
Feb 25th, 2005, 11:05 PM
sharapova i think has some grace and is powerful, no? and ana ivanovic..she is big and hard but she has grace? :confused:

What the heck are you blathering on about: "ANA IVANOVIC...SHE IS BIG AND HARD" - WTF does that mean? The last time I checked a Ana Ivanovic was a young female SERBIAN tennis player not a male porn star.

You are either insane, drunk or taking the piss.

Knizzle
Feb 25th, 2005, 11:09 PM
enna? the same one who can't even REACH finals wimbledon, let alone win it?

And what happened to the germans? Sunk so low they have to put their hopes in a belgian and horrors of horrors in a french choker? :sad:

2001 ring a bell??

To answer Calimero, GRAF was American.

Martian KC
Feb 25th, 2005, 11:35 PM
Power doesn't exclude grace at all!
Graf comes into mind at once. And Enna of today's players.

Graf seems to come into your mind quite frequently.:haha:

RenaSlam.
Feb 25th, 2005, 11:41 PM
Power doesn't exclude grace at all!
Graf comes into mind at once. And Enna of today's players.

Justine isn't a power player? Oh, since when???

bwguy
Feb 25th, 2005, 11:53 PM
Mary Joe Fernandez was a graceful US player.

Martian KC
Feb 25th, 2005, 11:54 PM
Mary Joe Fernandez was a graceful US player.

There you go! We found one!!!!!

fammmmedspin
Feb 26th, 2005, 12:25 AM
What the heck are you blathering on about: "ANA IVANOVIC...SHE IS BIG AND HARD" - WTF does that mean? The last time I checked a Ana Ivanovic was a young female SERBIAN tennis player not a male porn star.

You are either insane, drunk or taking the piss.

watching her this week I thought Ana actually looked very graceful for a tall player - she seems to glide around the court relatively quietly which is distinctly different to many of the tall players. Alicia gets about pretty well - she was floating to the net today but her breathing heavily - hu, hu hu - when she runs fast spoils the effect a bit. Venus lunges and grunts a bit too loudly to fit "graceful" - she's just damn fast and very powerful....

Elena, Nastya, Patty probably qualify as graceful but interestingly they are not products of US or Spanish tennis academies. Golovin might qualify too?

LDVTennis
Feb 26th, 2005, 12:31 AM
Calimero. I just know I would set off a firestorm if I tried to explain why I didn't think Martina N. was graceful at all.

So, instead of explaining it. I am going to direct you to videotape. For those who are interested, take a look at Martina's legs (thighs) as she sets up to hit a slice backhand. Something not so pretty is happening there.

But, back to the topic. How about Mary Joe Fernandez? There was just something so ladylike about how she hit all her shots. She may not have had all the power in the world, but she had some grace.

Yonexforever
Feb 26th, 2005, 01:47 AM
Mary Joe lacked athleticism BIG TIME.. sure she was a girlie girl on court but graceful athlete?
errr NOT!

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 02:48 AM
2001 ring a bell??

To answer Calimero, GRAF was American.


Graf was and is a German citizen. Didn't you know that? :lol:

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 02:50 AM
Graf seems to come into your mind quite frequently.:haha:


Yes, when we discuss qualities of tennis players then it is natural that the benchmark comes into mind frequently ... :)

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 02:51 AM
Mary Joe Fernandez was a graceful US player.


:yeah:

vogus
Feb 26th, 2005, 03:44 AM
Two words for you Cali:

SHENAY PERRY.

Let me repeat them, in case you missed it:

SHENAY PERRY.

vogus
Feb 26th, 2005, 03:46 AM
Mary Joe Fernandez was a graceful US player.


MJ Fernandez had a pretty awkward and stiff looking game actually - not unlike her TV commentary.

PointBlank
Feb 26th, 2005, 03:48 AM
Kathy Rinaldi

Knizzle
Feb 26th, 2005, 03:55 AM
Graf was and is a German citizen. Didn't you know that? :lol:

Graf never played for the US?

switz
Feb 26th, 2005, 04:26 AM
people may disagree but i consider chanda to be a graceful player when she is on her game. she strikes the ball so sweetly, moves likes a gazel, and has magnificent touch around the net.

of course at other times (usually when injury is involved) she is a far from it.

who gives a shit. obviously this thread was clearly designed as another medium for calimero to vent his lust for steffi.

vogus
Feb 26th, 2005, 04:33 AM
who gives a shit. obviously this thread was clearly designed as another medium for calimero to vent his lust for steffi.


it drives Cali bananas that Stefanie married an American. ;)

le bon vivant
Feb 26th, 2005, 04:52 AM
It is a very chauvinist assumption that a woman must be "graceful" while playing a sport.

Prizeidiot
Feb 26th, 2005, 04:56 AM
Maybe Lisa Raymond in terms of style of game? She would be the closest out of current Americans. Before that, yeah, I can only think of Chris Evert

SelesFan70
Feb 26th, 2005, 05:06 AM
Chris Evert was always graceful on and off the court. She was fleet of foot and her stroke technique was (still is!) impeccable. :worship:

backhanddtl4
Feb 26th, 2005, 05:27 AM
Lisa Raymond definietely. Shenay Perry in a sense too.

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Two words for you Cali:

SHENAY PERRY.

Let me repeat them, in case you missed it:

SHENAY PERRY.


What is this? :confused:

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 07:18 AM
it drives Cali bananas that Stefanie married an American. ;)


André is OK! He is very popular here.
:yeah:

BTW, it's about graceless female U.S. tennis players here.

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 07:20 AM
It is a very chauvinist assumption that a woman must be "graceful" while playing a sport.


She can play the sport without being graceful. But then she can't count on real men watching her ...

Jakeev
Feb 26th, 2005, 08:09 AM
Why is it that current U.S. players play only an awkward bash-the-ball-at-all-costs style (Seles, JenCap, Davenport, Willies)? Where are the graceful Americans? Chrissie seem to have been the last of a dying (dead?) breed. And the Russians don't seem to do better in this department.

So it is up to West Europeans again (Belgians, Mauresmo) ....

:worship:

I have two words for you honey bunch: FIGURE SKATING..........now go find a messageboard and talk about it there all you want.........

switz
Feb 26th, 2005, 08:23 AM
She can play the sport without being graceful. But then she can't count on real men watching her ...

since when did "real men" count grace as the most appealing quality in a female tennis player? i would have thought that would be something women and gay men would be more interested in. oh i see cali, you're gay. makes sense now.

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 08:49 AM
since when did "real men" count grace as the most appealing quality in a female tennis player? i would have thought that would be something women and gay men would be more interested in. oh i see cali, you're gay. makes sense now.


I'm neither gay nor "lusting" for Steffi - unbelievable, I know ...

BTW, don't get me wrong - even gay men can be "real men". There are some here in GM. And they count grace and other qualities in Graf's game and personality of course.

:worship:

Julia1968
Feb 26th, 2005, 11:29 AM
Why is it that current U.S. players play only an awkward bash-the-ball-at-all-costs style (Seles, JenCap, Davenport, Willies)? Where are the graceful Americans? Chrissie seem to have been the last of a dying (dead?) breed. And the Russians don't seem to do better in this department.

So it is up to West Europeans again (Belgians, Mauresmo) ....

:worship:

Agreed.

When Chris Evert retired in 1989, so did the Queen of American tennis. To date, no one has been able to pick up the torch.

Wannabeknowitall
Feb 26th, 2005, 11:35 AM
Chris Evert was boring. She was very consistent but there was no umph to her game. Chanda Rubin has grace. Sure she has some power to her game. She wins most of her matches by staying to her gameplan. Moving players around and then finishing off points at net.

Chrissie-fan
Feb 26th, 2005, 03:49 PM
Chris Evert was boring. She was very consistent but there was no umph to her game. Chanda Rubin has grace. Sure she has some power to her game. She wins most of her matches by staying to her gameplan. Moving players around and then finishing off points at net.

Or when she's playing someone as "boring" as Chris,getting passed by them. :smoke:

manu32
Feb 26th, 2005, 10:25 PM
chrissie,i think....but the last graceful non american player is.....????

Calimero377
Feb 26th, 2005, 10:28 PM
chrissie,i think....but the last graceful non american player is.....????


Enna.

tennislover
Feb 26th, 2005, 10:46 PM
Enna.

yes enna & momo.....

fammmmedspin
Feb 27th, 2005, 12:54 AM
Chris Evert was boring. She was very consistent but there was no umph to her game. Chanda Rubin has grace. Sure she has some power to her game. She wins most of her matches by staying to her gameplan. Moving players around and then finishing off points at net.

I was thinking Chanda too - something about the way she moves and her style of playing - its powerful but not strained.

Mary Jo was a very elegant player too.

Sam L
Feb 27th, 2005, 01:02 AM
It is a very chauvinist assumption that a woman must be "graceful" while playing a sport.
No. I'm a gay man, and if I were a woman, I'd want to be nothing but graceful on a tennis court.

I'd say Chris Evert. Helen Wills-Moody was very graceful also.

Philbo
Mar 1st, 2005, 01:00 AM
LOL @ Cali and LDV - Steffi's two little henchmen on the board obsessed with disrespecting Martina at all costs! LOL..

Of course Navratilova was graceful - I guess you losers selectively ignored every amazing half volley that Martina touched over the net for an amazing winner, or the countless backhand volleys that she would dispatch with authority. The complexity of Martina's all-court game which requied so much more skill than running around a weak backhand to hit forehand afte forehand all day equates to gracefulness.

All Steffi ever did was move side to side and camp in her backhand corner to avoid hitting the pathetic shot. Still she couldnt avoid it forever which is why Seles overtook her as # 1 and Martina finished with a 9-9 head to head being 13 years older.

LOL..

Chew on that losers.

le bon vivant
Mar 1st, 2005, 01:10 AM
No. I'm a gay man, and if I were a woman, I'd want to be nothing but graceful on a tennis court.

I'd say Chris Evert. Helen Wills-Moody was very graceful also.

So because you're a gay man, that somehow inhibits you from being a chavinist?

LDVTennis
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:03 AM
Of course Navratilova was graceful - I guess you losers selectively ignored every amazing half volley that Martina touched over the net for an amazing winner, or the countless backhand volleys that she would dispatch with authority. The complexity of Martina's all-court game which requied so much more skill than running around a weak backhand to hit forehand afte forehand all day equates to gracefulness.

All Steffi ever did was move side to side and camp in her backhand corner to avoid hitting the pathetic shot. Still she couldnt avoid it forever which is why Seles overtook her as # 1 and Martina finished with a 9-9 head to head being 13 years older.


Head to Head Record:

Martina finished with a 9-9 record against Graf because she didn't play Graf in the final years of her (Martina's) singles career on either clay or rebound ace. Whether it was intentional or not, we'll never know. What we do know is that from 1988 to 1994 (6 years), they only faced each other on Carpet or Grass. No clay! No Rebound Ace! For those wondering, Graf's all-time record against Martina on Clay is 2-0.

Despite playing Graf only on the surfaces where Martina had an even chance of beating her, Martina's record against Graf from 1988 to 1984 is 2 to 6. Graf won all their matches in 1988 and 1989. They did not play each other in 1990. From 1991 to 1994, they only played each other four times, once each year. Graf won their last match in 1994, 6-2/6-4.

More stuff to think about...

Whenever I hear someone belittle the athletic skill requried to run around one's backhand and hit a forehand from the backhand corner, it is very clear to me that the person who dares to make that claim has never ever played much tennis himself or herself. The forehand from the backhand corner (particularly when the ball is hit dtl) is one of the most remarkable athletic feats in the game. Perhaps, that is why only some of the greatest players the sport has ever seen have ever been able to master the mechanics, the movement, and the body control required to pull off the shot with any consistency. The list includes Federer and Sampras. The list includes more men than women because the balance and racquet speed required to hit the shot is more natural in men than women.

Impressions of Martina:

After her transformation, from 1982 onward, Martina cut a very masculine appearance on the court. There was the visible vascularity in her muscles, notably her arms. Her increased muscularity also had the effect of making some of her movements seem more masculine, for example, her gait as she walked from one side of the court to another and the choppy movement of her legs as she ran.

Her rigorous training regimen also seemed to lessen her interest in putting on a feminine appearance on the court. Martina had always been a plain looking woman, but until 1982 she'd always tried to appease the tennis establisment by wearing tennis dresses, makeup, and earrings. Beginning in 1982 or thereabouts, the more emphasis she seemed to put on her fitness the less emphasis her general appearance (i.e., hair, makeup, and oncourt attire) received. It was almost as if her coterie (Team Navratilova) wanted her to be the exact opposite of Chris Evert in every way. And, by and large, they succeeded.

Bearing all this in mind, let us now try to reimagine how Martina played the game. She was an aggressive serve and volley player. No fluid, long movements like those of a baseliner, just a lot of lunging, reaching, and punching. While there are ways of making these kinds of movements graceful (e.g., Lenglen), Martina was as interested in that as wearing an outfit by Ellesse. That left only her natural balance, gait, and posture to give her any semblance of grace. She had great posture, though she had a tendency to roll her shoulders inward and scrunch. She did have great balance, but that balance was most often achieved by positioning her shoulders very close over her knees. She didn't have a very graceful gait. She moved with short, choppy steps.

Against that backdrop, one has to understand what a revelation Steffi Graf was. Steffi had long legs, flowing blond hair, and two fluid strokes, the slice and forehand. By 1987, her legs had obtained their full muscular development without any of the vascularity associated with Martina. While Steffi was no supermodel (e.g., Linda Evangelista), she did have a very feminine appearance on the court, enhanced over the years by the ponytail, the way she set up to serve, the way she posed her left hand as she hit her fabulous forehand, and all the nervous tics she had. For many of us who first saw her play in 1986, she was better than Martina simply because she was even more athletic than Martina without appearing in any way masculine.

Philbo
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:36 AM
Blah blah blah.. I turned off your usual pro-steffi, anti-martina spiel as soon as you mentioned the bullshit about Martina avoiding Graf..We'll never know?? Andy T has PROVEN that Martina's schedule those years was virtually the same except for not playing the French which there is a totally believeable reason for (increased prep time for Wimby)..But as that doesnt back up your pro-graf agenda you selectively forget that - very Calimero like of you LDV..

The fact is, Martina at 36, 37 could still beat Graf - this proves that at her peak, 10 years earlier, she would have easily wiped the floor of her more often than not.

It must really irk you Graf fans that Martina approaching 40 could still kick the ass of the so-called Greatest Ever!! What a laugh..

BTW - Who won the last grand slam match they played?

switz
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:46 AM
you are all sensational.

you're good, very good. you're great. you're excellent. you're sensation.

haha

le bon vivant
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:37 AM
I abhor graceful female tennis players. Either give it your all, or take it home.

LDVTennis
Mar 1st, 2005, 11:23 AM
Blah blah blah.. I turned off your usual pro-steffi, anti-martina spiel as soon as you mentioned the bullshit about Martina avoiding Graf..We'll never know?? Andy T has PROVEN that Martina's schedule those years was virtually the same except for not playing the French which there is a totally believeable reason for (increased prep time for Wimby)..But as that doesnt back up your pro-graf agenda you selectively forget that - very Calimero like of you LDV..

The fact is, Martina at 36, 37 could still beat Graf - this proves that at her peak, 10 years earlier, she would have easily wiped the floor of her more often than not.

It must really irk you Graf fans that Martina approaching 40 could still kick the ass of the so-called Greatest Ever!! What a laugh...

I did not use the verb "avoid" in a declarative mode. I said that they didn't play much from 1988 to 1994, just 8 times over 6 years, with Graf winning 6 of those times.

To Martina's credit, all of those matches, except for their last one, went to three sets, hardly the stuff of "ass kicking." Had Graf had the chance to play Martina on clay in those years, we might have seen some real "ass kicking." As it was, Steffi did handle Martina rather easily in their last match, 6-2, 6-4.

Their last meeting at a major took place at the 1991 US Open, three years before Martina thought she was old enough to retire. Martina was 34 at the time, not 36, not 37. That match was no "ass-kicking." The scoreline was 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 in Martina's favor.

Martina would only defeat Graf one more time after this match, 1993 Pan Pacific. By this time, Martina had indeed reached the ripe old age of 36, not 37.

I have also taken note of the fact that you made no effort to respond to the other points I made. Your silence on those points speaks volumes.

It proves to me that as I suspected you play very little, if any tennis, and that therefore you have no technical knowledge of the sport. Next time I have the opportunity to see Federer hit a forehand from the backhand corner dtl, I'll have a good laugh at your expense. He hits his almost as well as Steffi hit hers.

You also had nothing to say about my characterization of Martina's style of play. Why is that? Because the memories of how unpalatable she was to most tennis fans are just too painful to deal with. Martina turned off many fans of women's tennis not because she was so dominant, but because she was so unappealing as a woman.

For many of us, who first tuned in to see Chris Evert play, Martina was an abomination. First, she was overweight. Then, she had the vascular muscularity of a man. And, from the start to the end, she had the cocky swagger of a man. There was indeed little to like if like me and many of my contemporaries you had grown up watching Chrissie's manicured strokes, soft, almost demure steps, and impeccable appearance.

Years later, my preference for everything that Chris represented made me into a Steffi Graf fan. She was Chris Plus. As feminine in appearance as Chrissie, but even faster, stronger, and fitter than Martina. And, it was all natural or at last it seemed that way. She was truly a revelation for those of us who had started fearing in 1982 that the future of women's tennis might belong more to the Martina's than the Chrissie's of the world.

Chrissie-fan
Mar 1st, 2005, 11:36 AM
Tennis needs all types. It would be boring if they all were the same. It's possible to admire different things about different players. Like my two faves are very different from one another. Chrissie is very graceful,well mannered,"feminine",etc...Jennifer is more of a street fighter,often controversial on and and away from the courts,etc... Yet,I love both,not despite of what they are,but BECAUSE of what they are. :smoke:
I abhor graceful female tennis players. Either give it your all, or take it home.

Andy T
Mar 1st, 2005, 12:42 PM
Head to Head Record:

Martina finished with a 9-9 record against Graf because she didn't play Graf in the final years of her (Martina's) singles career on either clay or rebound ace. Whether it was intentional or not, we'll never know. What we do know is that from 1988 to 1994 (6 years), they only faced each other on Carpet or Grass. No clay! No Rebound Ace! For those wondering, Graf's all-time record against Martina on Clay is 2-0.

Despite playing Graf only on the surfaces where Martina had an even chance of beating her, Martina's record against Graf from 1988 to 1984 is 2 to 6. Graf won all their matches in 1988 and 1989. They did not play each other in 1990. From 1991 to 1994, they only played each other four times, once each year. Graf won their last match in 1994, 6-2/6-4.

More stuff to think about...

Whenever I hear someone belittle the athletic skill requried to run around one's backhand and hit a forehand from the backhand corner, it is very clear to me that the person who dares to make that claim has never ever played much tennis himself or herself. The forehand from the backhand corner (particularly when the ball is hit dtl) is one of the most remarkable athletic feats in the game. Perhaps, that is why only some of the greatest players the sport has ever seen have ever been able to master the mechanics, the movement, and the body control required to pull off the shot with any consistency. The list includes Federer and Sampras. The list includes more men than women because the balance and racquet speed required to hit the shot is more natural in men than women.

Impressions of Martina:

After her transformation, from 1982 onward, Martina cut a very masculine appearance on the court. There was the visible vascularity in her muscles, notably her arms. Her increased muscularity also had the effect of making some of her movements seem more masculine, for example, her gait as she walked from one side of the court to another and the choppy movement of her legs as she ran.

Her rigorous training regimen also seemed to lessen her interest in putting on a feminine appearance on the court. Martina had always been a plain looking woman, but until 1982 she'd always tried to appease the tennis establisment by wearing tennis dresses, makeup, and earrings. Beginning in 1982 or thereabouts, the more emphasis she seemed to put on her fitness the less emphasis her general appearance (i.e., hair, makeup, and oncourt attire) received. It was almost as if her coterie (Team Navratilova) wanted her to be the exact opposite of Chris Evert in every way. And, by and large, they succeeded.

Bearing all this in mind, let us now try to reimagine how Martina played the game. She was an aggressive serve and volley player. No fluid, long movements like those of a baseliner, just a lot of lunging, reaching, and punching. While there are ways of making these kinds of movements graceful (e.g., Lenglen), Martina was as interested in that as wearing an outfit by Ellesse. That left only her natural balance, gait, and posture to give her any semblance of grace. She had great posture, though she had a tendency to roll her shoulders inward and scrunch. She did have great balance, but that balance was most often achieved by positioning her shoulders very close over her knees. She didn't have a very graceful gait. She moved with short, choppy steps.

Against that backdrop, one has to understand what a revelation Steffi Graf was. Steffi had long legs, flowing blond hair, and two fluid strokes, the slice and forehand. By 1987, her legs had obtained their full muscular development without any of the vascularity associated with Martina. While Steffi was no supermodel (e.g., Linda Evangelista), she did have a very feminine appearance on the court, enhanced over the years by the ponytail, the way she set up to serve, the way she posed her left hand as she hit her fabulous forehand, and all the nervous tics she had. For many of us who first saw her play in 1986, she was better than Martina simply because she was even more athletic than Martina without appearing in any way masculine.

LDV tennis, without wishing to get into a pointless slanging match regarding Steffi or Martina, I would like you to consider the following points. When two players are 13 years apart in age, h2h stats are highly unreliable because the overlap is at a moment when one is on the up and the other in decline. This is not a partisan point but equally true in the cases of Martina and Steffi, Chrissie and Margaret Court or Steffi and Serena Williams. Had Martina and Steffi met more often in early rounds pre 1986, the h2h could have been in Martina's favour and had they met more post 1987, it could have been more in Steffi's favour. 9-9 is what happened but it has to be taken with a large pinch of salt in both directions. Just as they did not meet on clay after 1987, they did not meet on grass before 1987. On the subject of surfaces, you state "What we do know is that from 1988 to 1994 (6 years), they only faced each other on Carpet or Grass." This is not true as they met at the US Open twice (1989 and 1991) in their 8 encounters 1988-94, both being three setters with opportunities for both players to win.

Your feelings about Martina's gait and vascularity express a personal view of the female physique with which others may or may not agree (or consider relevant to a discussion about a professional athlete). Speculating that any changes in her cosmetic appearance (make-up, hairstyle, etc) should be attibuted to her entourage without some kind of evidence seems rather pushing it. This is only speculation but a sense of personal liberation resulting from her decision to come out publicly about her sexuality around this time and her obtention of US citizenship may also have played a rôle in her less compromising attitude.

Your appreciation of her movement on a tennis court " a lot of lunging reaching and punching" belies a very restricted view both of her game and of what constitutes gracefulness, a view which many tennis players and fans will not share. The serve volley game requires a very different type of athleticism to the baseline game as practised by Chrissie and Steffi. It is more explosive in terms of movement but no less graceful on its own terms when played well. I can think of countless points played between Chris and Martina and Steffi and Martina where there is immense gracefulness on both sides of the net, both in lateral and forward-backward movement. Of course, it's all in the eye of the beholder and if you don't have they eye to appreciate it, you don't see it.

I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by "better" in the phrase, "she was better than Martina simply because she was even more athletic than Martina without appearing in any way masculine". It is certainly true that Steffi had a wonderful lithe and lean body, with powerful shoulders and those superb sprinter's legs. Martina's athleticism was not the same but that does not make it worse, just different. I don't understand how you can claim that Martina "appearing...masculine" makes Steffi "simply better". Are you sure you are not trying to impose your personal view of how a woman athlete should look/be/move as a universal standard, one which many others would not accept?

starr
Mar 1st, 2005, 12:53 PM
Chanda Rubin is an extremely graceful player, IMO.

She's the last of the American players who plays a graceful game. I haven't seen Perry play except briefly. I'm going to try to catch more of her game at IW.

starr
Mar 1st, 2005, 12:58 PM
Oh, and re the Martina/Steffi argument: I 've never liked either of them very much. To me, they both presented disturbing visual images on the court -- just different ones.

But, honestly, Martina hasn't played competitive singles for 10 years and Steffi has been retired for sometime now. I think we can respect them for their tremendous achievements, just as we respect Margaret Court or Chris Evert or BJK or Maureen Connoly. There's no point in comparing the great players because they were each great for their time.

Golinds
Mar 1st, 2005, 01:12 PM
[QUOTE=Ferdinand]sharapova i think has some grace and is powerful, no? and ana ivanovic..she is big and hard but she has grace? :confused:[/QUOTE

Sharapova isnt american though...

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:14 PM
Lori McNeil was (and is) an extremely graceful and beautiful tennis player to watch. LOL at LDVTennis' comment on Marti's legs setting up to hit a slice! I agree with that assessment, with the proviso that the back court is not where Navratilova's beauty shines, it's in her hands when she moves into that first volley- exquisite

hingis-seles
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:23 PM
Everyone is forgetting Martina Hingis. She was the personification of grace on a tennis court. Her shots were so fluid and effortless, yet so deadly and effective. She was literally toying with her opponents. I'm talking of her peak years ofcourse.

hingis-seles
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:24 PM
Yes, I know she wasn't American, but neither are Steffi, Henin and Mauresmo and if the verbal masturbation re: Steffi can go on, why not mention one of the most graceful tennis players in modern times.

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:30 PM
...and if the verbal masturbation re: Steffi can go on...

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Serena+LenaDrule
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:38 PM
it drives Cali bananas that Stefanie married an American. ;)
He is so obssesed by steffi that I end up thinking that he is nuts :lol:

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:50 PM
...Of course Navratilova was graceful - I guess you losers selectively ignored every amazing half volley that Martina touched over the net for an amazing winner, or the countless backhand volleys that she would dispatch with authority...

I for one have been working on developing an all-court game, and have been quite vocal in the past regarding my love of volleying. It's far and away my favorite part of playing tennis and I'd go as far as to submit that it's probably the one thing that keeps me coming back. There's no better feeling for me than to hit a well-sliced chip approach down the line and to follow it into the net, hit the studder-step just as the opponent is hitting an attempted down-the-line pass, and to explode toward the dipping shot, flow downward with the racquet face slightly cocked up, and my left arm flying out behind me for balance, and to intercept the ball at my shoelaces and punch it crosscourt sharply angled short in the court away from my opponent. Martina Navratilova, Stefan Edberg, and to the largest extent, Billie Jean King were (and are) my greatest sources of inspiration for this one, simple, yet very beautiful and graceful tennis play, especially when the passing shot got down to the court surface too quickly and they were forced to hit deft half-volleys.

I think what LDVTennis (I'm not really sure where cali stands on volleying) is expressing about Martina is the unattractiveness of the rest of her game, and how it has been magnified and exascerbated by her actions and choices (like complaining about lack of endorsements while seemingly making a concerted effort to appear as unendorseable as possible, and her constant whining and complaining and blatant reliance on Team Navratilova). It leaves a bad taste, but not one that will ever make me not want to see her volley again.

Orion
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:16 PM
Enna.

I would agree that Henin of 2001-2002 was graceful, but then she realized that times were a-changing, and bulked up in Florida, and now I don't think she can be honestly called a graceful player. She hits a one-handed backhand, and dropshots...sometimes...but other than that, she powers people off the courts just like the Williamses.

To whomever thought Mauresmo was graceful, she simply plays a very different style. Using topspin doesn't, in my book, qualify as grace. But I will agree that Mauresmo at the net is the most beautiful shot left in women't tennis.

JustmeUK
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:37 PM
She can play the sport without being graceful. But then she can't count on real men watching her ...

Just as real men don't watch Federer playing with grace and finesse? Now that is really being sexist to men :P!

As for graceful.. if u're going to mention a Fernandez then I would think Gigi would be the one. Even if she wasn't born American.

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:43 PM
In my opinion, Evonne Goolagong Cawley is definitely the benchmark here- it would be a good exercise to hold anyone up to that standard of comparison.

bandabou
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:54 PM
LDVtennis....you really should stop presenting your PERSONAL taste as it being a thing of fact..

LDVTennis
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:01 PM
LDV tennis, without wishing to get into a pointless slanging match regarding Steffi or Martina, I would like you to consider the following points. When two players are 13 years apart in age, h2h stats are highly unreliable because the overlap is at a moment when one is on the up and the other in decline. This is not a partisan point but equally true in the cases of Martina and Steffi, Chrissie and Margaret Court or Steffi and Serena Williams. Had Martina and Steffi met more often in early rounds pre 1986, the h2h could have been in Martina's favour and had they met more post 1987, it could have been more in Steffi's favour. 9-9 is what happened but it has to be taken with a large pinch of salt in both directions. Just as they did not meet on clay after 1987, they did not meet on grass before 1987. On the subject of surfaces, you state "What we do know is that from 1988 to 1994 (6 years), they only faced each other on Carpet or Grass." This is not true as they met at the US Open twice (1989 and 1991) in their 8 encounters 1988-94, both being three setters with opportunities for both players to win.

Your feelings about Martina's gait and vascularity express a personal view of the female physique with which others may or may not agree (or consider relevant to a discussion about a professional athlete). Speculating that any changes in her cosmetic appearance (make-up, hairstyle, etc) should be attibuted to her entourage without some kind of evidence seems rather pushing it. This is only speculation but a sense of personal liberation resulting from her decision to come out publicly about her sexuality around this time and her obtention of US citizenship may also have played a rôle in her less compromising attitude.

Your appreciation of her movement on a tennis court " a lot of lunging reaching and punching" belies a very restricted view both of her game and of what constitutes gracefulness, a view which many tennis players and fans will not share. The serve volley game requires a very different type of athleticism to the baseline game as practised by Chrissie and Steffi. It is more explosive in terms of movement but no less graceful on its own terms when played well. I can think of countless points played between Chris and Martina and Steffi and Martina where there is immense gracefulness on both sides of the net, both in lateral and forward-backward movement. Of course, it's all in the eye of the beholder and if you don't have they eye to appreciate it, you don't see it.

I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by "better" in the phrase, "she was better than Martina simply because she was even more athletic than Martina without appearing in any way masculine". It is certainly true that Steffi had a wonderful lithe and lean body, with powerful shoulders and those superb sprinter's legs. Martina's athleticism was not the same but that does not make it worse, just different. I don't understand how you can claim that Martina "appearing...masculine" makes Steffi "simply better". Are you sure you are not trying to impose your personal view of how a woman athlete should look/be/move as a universal standard, one which many others would not accept?

Thank you for the well-reasoned response.

On their head to head record, I cannot argue with the premise that "[w]hen two players are 13 years apart in age, h2h stats are highly unreliable because the overlap is at a moment when one is on the up and the other in decline." Had Czechfan been as reasonable in making sense of Steffi's head to head record against Martina, it would not have been necessary to suggest --- and, that is all I did, that Martina was avoiding Graf on the slower surfaces. Your point about their also playing from 1988 to 1994 on US hardcourts is also acknowledged.

As to the qualitative distinction, one kind of athleticism being more graceful than any other. As a sport, tennis is not like figure skating or gymnastics where judges actually take into account how beautifully something is done and award extra points for it. In tennis, if you win the most sets, no matter how pretty or how ugly you do it, you win.

That shouldn't, however, stop us who really care about the quality of the game from discussing the intangible aspects for which no points are earned or awarded. As long as we are allowed to do that, I see no problem with trying to say that one way of playing the game is prettier or more graceful than any other.

Under those conditions, I would like to explain that if it isn't apparent already I have a more traditional concept of what constitutes femininity and beauty. It may be an impossible standard for some women, but when a woman equals that standard without any coercion, either cultural or psychological I don't feel guilty about appreciating it.

You may be right to question the universality of that standard on cultural terms, but even after having done that you'd have a hard time explaining why it is that most of us find certain things beautiful and others not so much. In short, there are more people that would tell you that they find Nicole Kidman beautiful than find her ugly. Why is that? Could there be, as some researchers are trying to determine an instinctive or neurological basis for our more common perceptions of beauty?

On the basis that I also think that there is or there should be a more objective basis for our common perceptions of beauty, I am not a total relativist on the question of beauty. Hence, while I can certainly understand how one might find parts of Martina's game graceful, on the whole I cannot because Martina does not fit the traditional concept of femininity and beauty that I have. You may be right to wonder whether or not she refused to adhere to that concept in an expression of personal liberation. But, by the same token, I have a right to wonder, as I did then, whether or not it was possible for a female athlete to be as athletic as Martina, and yet still adhere to the traditional concept of beauty and femininity. When Steffi proved that was possible, my judgement that she was "better" was not seen as a personal preference, but as the realization of an ideal.

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:16 PM
LOL @ Cali and LDV - Steffi's two little henchmen on the board obsessed with disrespecting Martina at all costs! LOL..

Of course Navratilova was graceful - I guess you losers selectively ignored every amazing half volley that Martina touched over the net for an amazing winner, or the countless backhand volleys that she would dispatch with authority. The complexity of Martina's all-court game which requied so much more skill than running around a weak backhand to hit forehand afte forehand all day equates to gracefulness.

All Steffi ever did was move side to side and camp in her backhand corner to avoid hitting the pathetic shot. Still she couldnt avoid it forever which is why Seles overtook her as # 1 and Martina finished with a 9-9 head to head being 13 years older.

LOL..

Chew on that losers.


You don't know anything about feminine grace ....
Yes, Edberg was graceful too. So what?


BTW, Jo Durie finished with 4-3 H2H against Graf being 8 years older.
Graf finished with 3-2 H2H against Venus being 11 years older.
And Graf finished with 7-2 H2H against Hingis being 11 years older.
Your point being, Chokerfan?

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:19 PM
....
Against that backdrop, one has to understand what a revelation Steffi Graf was. Steffi had long legs, flowing blond hair, and two fluid strokes, the slice and forehand. By 1987, her legs had obtained their full muscular development without any of the vascularity associated with Martina. While Steffi was no supermodel (e.g., Linda Evangelista), she did have a very feminine appearance on the court, enhanced over the years by the ponytail, the way she set up to serve, the way she posed her left hand as she hit her fabulous forehand, and all the nervous tics she had. For many of us who first saw her play in 1986, she was better than Martina simply because she was even more athletic than Martina without appearing in any way masculine.



:worship: :worship: :worship:

Pengwin
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:21 PM
I really don't see why you'd think Graf was more graceful than Seles or Martina; her backhand was dreadful and her forehand was just plain ugly; don't get me started on her volleying skills. The only part of Graf's game that I'd have said was good would be her serve.

Navratilova on the other hand could manipulate the ball in every way, play the most difficult volleys with conviction and outwit the opponent.

Seles had the most incredible forehand and backhand, in my opinion the greatest groundstrokes of any player of all time; she moved around the court to hit these shots with the most grace of any other baseliner of all time.

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:22 PM
Blah blah blah.. I turned off your usual pro-steffi, anti-martina spiel ...

<rest of usual Chokerfan drivel mercifully del>

... BTW - Who won the last grand slam match they played?
[/size]

BTW, who won the last three slam finals they played (two of them Wimbledon)?
Hmmm ....


:lol:

LDVTennis
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:23 PM
LDVtennis....you really should stop presenting your PERSONAL taste as it being a thing of fact..

Read what I said to AndyT, it is an expression of an ideal.

Its only basis in fact is that there is a cultural standard for beauty that takes my side on the question of beauty. In my response to AndyT, I furthermore acknowledged that that cultural standard is open to deconstruction. It may, in fact, be based on a fiction. But, here is the twist, what cultural facts are not.

R&J
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:25 PM
I really don't see why you'd think Graf was more graceful than Seles or Martina; her backhand was dreadful and her forehand was just plain ugly; don't get me started on her volleying skills. The only part of Graf's game that I'd have said was good would be her serve.

Navratilova on the other hand could manipulate the ball in every way, play the most difficult volleys with conviction and outwit the opponent.

Seles had the most incredible forehand and backhand, in my opinion the greatest groundstrokes of any player of all time; she moved around the court to hit these shots with the most grace of any other baseliner of all time.

:yeah: I will second that opinion ti-online - in my opinion Seles had the greatest groundstrokes. So acurate, powerful, angles off both sides. Just phenominal groundstrokes.

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:34 PM
I really don't see why you'd think Graf was more graceful than Seles or Martina; ...


Simply watch them play tennis.
It's that easy.

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:37 PM
:yeah: I will second that opinion ti-online - in my opinion Seles had the greatest groundstrokes. So acurate, powerful, angles off both sides. Just phenominal groundstrokes.


Why then she has no Wimbledon wins?
And only a 0.84 career winning percentage (Evert has 0.90, Graf 0.89)?

LeRoy.
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:44 PM
Its your OPINION that Steffi was more graceful than Martina or Monica just like its ti-online/R &J's opinion that Monica was also very graceful. Why do you have a problem with someone else's opinion ? :)

LeRoy.
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:46 PM
Why then she has no Wimbledon wins?
And only a 0.84 career winning percentage (Evert has 0.90, Graf 0.89)?

what does having phenomenal groundstrokes have to do with winning percentage ?

P.S. Graf / Evert were not stabbed while they were winning 7/ 8 GS's played.

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:48 PM
I really don't see why you'd think Graf was more graceful than Seles or Martina; her backhand was dreadful and her forehand was just plain ugly; don't get me started on her volleying skills. The only part of Graf's game that I'd have said was good would be her serve....

...Seles had the most incredible forehand and backhand, in my opinion the greatest groundstrokes of any player of all time; she moved around the court to hit these shots with the most grace of any other baseliner of all time.

Actually, I think most people would acknowledge that Graf's backhand slice was not only technically well produced, but her most consistent shot, and even Seles once remarked that people were wrong when they didn't see that Graf's slice was a weapon. It's textbook (or picturebook, as they'd say in Syd). Her forehand ugly? I'm trying, but the only adjective I can objectively see when remembering her forehand production is unconventional. Quite often she leapt off the court up into the air with all the balance of a ballerina while launching into this shot. She almost never hit it off her back foot or from an awkward position, like so many of Seles forehands. Monica Seles' greatest strength was her hand-eye coordination and her anticipation. She was, as Cliff Drysdale once aptly put it, "ungainly" in her movement around the court, never more so than when she was forced to make the rare forray into the net. Graceful? Hardly. Great? You bet!

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:50 PM
Its your OPINION that Steffi was more graceful than Martina or Monica just like its ti-online/R &J's opinion that Monica was also very graceful. Why do you have a problem with someone else's opinion ? :)


And it's my opinion that Salma Hayek is more beautiful than Vanessa Redgrave. Others may have another opinion. Do I have a problem with that?
No way!
It gives me a great opportunity to ridicule other persons' opinions!!

LeRoy.
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:51 PM
It gives me a great opportunity to ridicule other persons' opinions!!

You must be a very insecure person then :)

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:54 PM
And it's my opinion that Salma Hayek is more beautiful than Vanessa Redgrave. Others may have another opinion. Do I have a problem with that?
No way!
It gives me a great opportunity to ridicule other persons' opinions!!

I'd plunk down $7.50USD to watch Vanessa Redgrave move across a screen before Salma Hayek any day! Vanessa is infinitely more graceful of movement and gesture, and I won't even get into the natural intelligence that radiates from her eyes.

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:55 PM
what does having phenomenal groundstrokes have to do with winning percentage ?

P.S. Graf / Evert were not stabbed while they were winning 7/ 8 GS's played.


If you have "phenomenal groundstrokes" you are supposed to win more tournaments than Seles. You are supposed to win more than zero slams within 9 years.

P.S.: Seles did not win 6 slams while being investigated for tax evasion.
And she did not win a slam with a reconstructed knee (after an unique surgery).

P.P.S.: Graf would have played within 2 months after a stabbing. And would have continued to win slams. The right stuff indeed. Some have it, some not ...

:worship:

LeRoy.
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:57 PM
P.P.S.: Graf would have played within 2 months after a stabbing. And would have continued to win slams. The right stuff indeed. Some have it, some not ...

:worship:

And here i thought the Seles fans were the only one playing the "woulda coulda shoulda" game ;)

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:57 PM
You must be a very insecure person then :)


I don't think so.
Discussions in WTAWorld have taught me that I'm more intelligent that 98 % of mankind.

Calimero377
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:59 PM
I'd plunk down $7.50USD to watch Vanessa Redgrave move across a screen before Salma Hayek any day! Vanessa is infinitely more graceful of movement and gesture, and I won't even get into the natural intelligence that radiates from her eyes.


I have read and heard a lot of Redgrave's political opinions.
A dumb woman if there ever was a dumb woman. She should have lived in East Germany for some years ...

alfajeffster
Mar 1st, 2005, 06:05 PM
I have read and heard a lot of Redgrave's political opinions.
A dumb woman if there ever was a dumb woman. She should have lived in East Germany for some years ...

She is one of my all-time favorite actresses. Much like my appreciation for Graf, since I probably will never know her personally (unless she runs for political office in a jurisdiction where I vote, or moves into the apartment next door and tries to turn it into a crack house), I have no interest in her personal life. Vanessa Redgrave in a Merchant & Ivory film- it doesn't get any better than that.

LDVTennis
Mar 1st, 2005, 06:07 PM
I really don't see why you'd think Graf was more graceful than Seles or Martina; her backhand was dreadful and her forehand was just plain ugly; don't get me started on her volleying skills. The only part of Graf's game that I'd have said was good would be her serve.

Navratilova on the other hand could manipulate the ball in every way, play the most difficult volleys with conviction and outwit the opponent.

Seles had the most incredible forehand and backhand, in my opinion the greatest groundstrokes of any player of all time; she moved around the court to hit these shots with the most grace of any other baseliner of all time.

Seles, graceful?

Even Bud Collins, one of her greatest fans, called her movement "ungainly." Ungainly means "lack of grace or ease of movement, clumsy."

He could have been referring to any number of things: The way that Monica almost seemed to squat to set up for a shot; the gyrations and convolutions Monica had to go through in order to react to bad bounces; the running that so easily turned into stretching and lunging when a ball was barely out of her reach; the awkwardness of any attempt to hit a short ball and come to the net; and, without a doubt, the grunting.

Careful analysis would reveal that Monica had to squat to hit her shots because her body was disproportioned. She had rubber band-like legs without much muscle tone. By 1992, her butt was already becoming the biggest part of her body. That didn't force her to change her strokes at all, since she had always hit the ball as if it was. She would have had no power otherwise.

But, think whatever you want. Nevertheless, I dare you if you have the guts to stand the truth to go to the Getty Images website and do a search for photos of both Graf and Seles. To your consternation, you will find that the photographic record sides with me.

In that photographic record, Graf often appears in two poses which became over the years synonymous with her play: (1) her split step, raquet head held high, as she prepares to hit a slice backhand; and (2), her levitating in the air, ponytail hovering over her head, free hand held out, as if it were holding some fictional teacup, as she hits that amazing forehand.

Now look at the photos of Seles if you will. No common theme emerges. By and large, there are only shots showing her from her butt up. Her legs are cropped from most pictures. I wonder why. No pictures showing her dancing in the air. I wonder why. You may remember her one way, the preponderance of the photographic evidence remembers her in a much different light.

Andy T
Mar 1st, 2005, 06:26 PM
Thank you for the well-reasoned response.

On their head to head record, I cannot argue with the premise that "[w]hen two players are 13 years apart in age, h2h stats are highly unreliable because the overlap is at a moment when one is on the up and the other in decline." Had Czechfan been as reasonable in making sense of Steffi's head to head record against Martina, it would not have been necessary to suggest --- and, that is all I did, that Martina was avoiding Graf on the slower surfaces. Your point about their also playing from 1988 to 1994 on US hardcourts is also acknowledged.

As to the qualitative distinction, one kind of athleticism being more graceful than any other. As a sport, tennis is not like figure skating or gymnastics where judges actually take into account how beautifully something is done and award extra points for it. In tennis, if you win the most sets, no matter how pretty or how ugly you do it, you win.

That shouldn't, however, stop us who really care about the quality of the game from discussing the intangible aspects for which no points are earned or awarded. As long as we are allowed to do that, I see no problem with trying to say that one way of playing the game is prettier or more graceful than any other.

Under those conditions, I would like to explain that if it isn't apparent already I have a more traditional concept of what constitutes femininity and beauty. It may be an impossible standard for some women, but when a woman equals that standard without any coercion, either cultural or psychological I don't feel guilty about appreciating it.

You may be right to question the universality of that standard on cultural terms, but even after having done that you'd have a hard time explaining why it is that most of us find certain things beautiful and others not so much. In short, there are more people that would tell you that they find Nicole Kidman beautiful than find her ugly. Why is that? Could there be, as some researchers, are trying to determine, an instinctive or neurological basis for our more common perceptions of beauty?

On the basis that I also think that there is or there should be a more objective basis for our common perceptions of beauty, I am not a total relativist on the question of beauty. Hence, while I can certainly understand how one might find parts of Martina's game graceful, on the whole I cannot because Martina does not fit the traditional concept of femininity and beauty that I have. You may be right to wonder whether or not she refused to adhere to that concept in an expression of personal liberation. But, by the same token, I have a right to wonder, as I did then, whether or not it was possible for a female athlete to be as athletic as Martina, and yet still adhere to the traditional concept of beauty and femininity. When Steffi proved that was possible, my judgement that she was "better" was not seen as a personal preference, but as the realization of an ideal.

Thank you, LDV, for your own well-reasoned response. We're as one with regard to most of the matters here - the h2h question (as far as who avoided whom or not, I've already expressed my conclusions on that one at length elsewhere).

With regard to the qualitative aspects, as you rightly point out, we all have our own perceptions of who plays tennis gracefully and who doesn't and what constitutes feminine and/or masculine beauty. I'm more than happy to leave you with yours, reassured by your explanation that you are aware that it is subjective and I'm sure that many other women athletes adhere to your traditional standard/ideal. It's obviously not one that I share.

DA FOREHAND
Mar 1st, 2005, 06:41 PM
Actually, I think most people would acknowledge that Graf's backhand slice was not only technically well produced, but her most consistent shot, and even Seles once remarked that people were wrong when they didn't see that Graf's slice was a weapon. It's textbook (or picturebook, as they'd say in Syd). Her forehand ugly? I'm trying, but the only adjective I can objectively see when remembering her forehand production is unconventional. Quite often she leapt off the court up into the air with all the balance of a ballerina while launching into this shot. She almost never hit it off her back foot or from an awkward position, like so many of Seles forehands. Monica Seles' greatest strength was her hand-eye coordination and her anticipation. She was, as Cliff Drysdale once aptly put it, "ungainly" in her movement around the court, never more so than when she was forced to make the rare forray into the net. Graceful? Hardly. Great? You bet!


Steffi's forehand is perhaps the single greatest shot in tennis history...just reading Alfa's description of it brings a smile to my face. :worship:

R&J
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:36 PM
You must be a very insecure person then Cali :)

:lol: You go LolaB :yeah: Good reps coming your way :kiss:

R&J
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:40 PM
If you have "phenomenal groundstrokes" you are supposed to win more tournaments than Seles. You are supposed to win more than zero slams within 9 years.

P.S.: Seles did not win 6 slams while being investigated for tax evasion.
And she did not win a slam with a reconstructed knee (after an unique surgery).


:lol: I cant believe you are trying to say that Monica doesnt have phenomenal groundstrokes. You are a joke Cali - made me laugh :yeah:

LDVTennis
Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:39 AM
Thank you, LDV, for your own well-reasoned response. We're as one with regard to most of the matters here - the h2h question (as far as who avoided whom or not, I've already expressed my conclusions on that one at length elsewhere).

With regard to the qualitative aspects, as you rightly point out, we all have our own perceptions of who plays tennis gracefully and who doesn't and what constitutes feminine and/or masculine beauty. I'm more than happy to leave you with yours, reassured by your explanation that you are aware that it is subjective and I'm sure that many other women athletes adhere to your traditional standard/ideal. It's obviously not one that I share.

Subjective? Not necessarily. Permit me to till the philosophical substrate of this dialogue just a bit more.

In another thread, in which the question of how one could write an objective history of tennis came up, I tried to explain how new methods for writing history have tried to overcome the false dichotomy between objectivity and subjectivity. This is a further elaboration of that presentation.

If Martina and Steffi were ahistorical entities, I could perhaps accept the conclusion that the standards by which I judged them both were subjective. It is not like I am unfamiliar with the claim. In the Freshmen Lit classes I sometimes teach, I get that claim all the time, specifically when a student disagress with my interpretation of a text. What I, of course, know that the student doesn't is that the text does not support an unlimited number of interpretations; it only supports those that would have been relevant to the time and place in which the text first appeared. Insomuch as I know what those historical conditions are and I interpret the text accordingly, there really is nothing subjective about my reading of the text.

Applying the same theory of reading to Martina's situation in 1982, let me therefore say that what argues against your conclusion that both our readings are valid is the fact that Martina's persona from 1982 onwards was a marketing failure. Alfa touched on this earlier. Martina's new persona did not result in much endorsement money. Despite losing whatever competitive edge she had against Martina, Chris remained the favorite of marketers.

Now, why is that? Could it have been for the reason that Chris had a more appealing feminine image than Martina, one that was more desirable to marketers? Could it have been for the reason that Chris had a less controversial feminine image than Martina, one that could be used to sell products as traditional as Lipton's Tea?

Of course, one can question the judgement of all the advertising executives who preferred Chris's image over Martina's image. One can even dismiss the effect they had on history by characterizing that preference as subjective. But, by doing so one would end up ignoring the historical efficacy of those judgements, that is how they served to reinforce a certain standard of feminine beauty and how they brought that standard of beauty to bear on the tennis and general public at a time when it was beginning to be questioned by female athletes such as Martina.

Of course, they were selling a cultural fiction as fact. And, I am not backing off my earlier claim that every cultural fact can be deconstructed to reveal an underlying fiction. But, where does recognizing the subjectivity of it all get us when we know that as a result of one misreading or fiction certain things happened. Chris got all the major endorsement deals; Martina was virtually shut out. That is why your conclusion that my standard of beauty is subjective seems ahistorical. It ignores the real possibility that at any given time there is a historical and pragmatic consensus on such questions and that that historical consensus performs actions that are not in any form "subjective" because they have actual consequences.

Andy T
Mar 2nd, 2005, 07:49 AM
LDV, I think my last post was not as clear as it could have been. I didn't mean to imply that I disagreed with your explanation about traditional views of feminine beauty and your point that Steffi's or Chris' image was closer to that view, which you share.

It is not really the notion of "beauty" or "femininity" that concerns me when watching women's tennis being played, though I know that for many spectators (and marketing agents) it is and to be honest I don't really have much to say on the matter.

When I used the word "subjective", I was more thinking about the notion of what constitutes gracefulness in a tennis player. I see plenty of gracefulness both in Martina's movement during the execution of a point and in her hitting of the ball, a gracefulness which is as striking as that which is shown by Steffi and Chris, though each form is very very different.