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View Full Version : Martina Hingis had the ability to become the best clay courter of all time?


SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:33 AM
Key word: Had. :(

Her serve, while technially good and IMO similar to Alicia Molik's never had enough bite on the 2nd delivery. It could be exploited on all surfaces quite severly except clay where a high bouncing topspin serve is generally sufficient and not too attackable.

Her returns are possibly the best ever. Not in terms of pace but in terms of variety in her returns and consistency, as her timing was impeccable. On clay she would be difficult to ace and anytime Martina gets a raquet on a return you can expect her to 'do something' with it most of the time. She did not simply get big serves in to play and hope for errors.

The general consensus by most I have spoken to is that Martina's game is most effective on clay despite the fact she never won the French. At the aus open she played unbelievable tennis, the courts are slow and high bouncing and quite similar to clay. It is much easier to negate 'big babe' tennis which had been profilerating in the latter 90's such as by Venus, Serena, Lindsay, Jen, Monica , etc as big flat groundies are much less effective on a surface where they bounce higher rather than skid through giving Martina less reaction time.

MARTINA'S BIGGEST WEAPON IMO was her ability to negate the strength of her opponents. She could use someone's power against them by taking the ball extrmely early, mixing up the pace/directionality to keep opponents guessing and off balance. If someone tried to use variety against Martina in most cases it looked like she just blasted them off the court but in fact no one in womens tennis had the ability to place the ball and mix it up as well as she did, and it wasnt sheer power, it was placement and taking the ball so early that her opponents felt they were always a step or two too late to set-up their shots.

Discuss. (seeing Martina is getting lots of attention these days)...

VeeDaQueen
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:36 AM
I was about to ask this :lol:

I thought she would easily be a great clay-courter. It is shocking how the only Grand Slam she never won was Roland Garros (a few unlucky breaks). I've hardly ever seen her play, but from what I know, she could create great angles and had the typical spanish game.

SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:43 AM
Please, no discussion about French Finals 99. She pretty much had that match and started off for the first half of the match as expected, but let's not go there. Lets just discuss this from a purely technical viewpoint.....did you hear that Calimero????:p

selking
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:44 AM
ahhhem best return ever=monica :lol:

SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:46 AM
ummmm can you back that up with some reasoning? Sure Monica returned harder than Martina, but did you hear what Goran Ivanisevic had to say about Martinas return at hopman cup one year????????? Monica probablly had the best combo of pace and control on returns, but Martina had the best combo of placement and consistency due to her impeccable timing!!!!

Volcana
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:57 AM
Martina Hingis had the ability to become the best clay courter of all time?

We're comparing her to Christine Marie Evert then.

The Evert with the best record on clay of any player for any single surface with a 125-match win streak set from August 1973-May 1979. (Five and a half YEARS.)

7 French Opens
5 Italian Opens
4 U.S. Clay Courts
6 Hilton Heads

That Evert?

Of course, one does not know what Hingis would have been with the training techniques from the 70's, or what Evert would have been with the training techniques of the 90's. However...

Certainly in relative terms, Evert was a much better athlete. Evert was almost as fast as Navratilova.

Accuracy. Evert takes this one too. Evert could hit a hundred straight balls into the same one foot square corner of the court. She was a ball-striking machine. A baseliner in the days of serve-and-volley, she passed all but the very best net players at will.

Variety of shots. Hingis. Evert didn't rely so much on vareity as accuracy. She didn't miss. You did. You gave her a short ball, she always hit the angled winner.

Serve. Evert.

No, I think Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all time. I think it will be a very long time before anyone comes within hailing frequencies of Chris Evert on clay.

senorgato
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:02 AM
Martina could have been the Chris Evert of clay courts. My only question would be her stamina to maintain the long rallies. She never worked hard on the physical aspect of the game since her natural abilities were so exemplary.

As far as her return game, it's a tough call between her and Monica. I think Martina had an impeccable way of learning an opponent's serve as a match progressed, then eventually anticipating the serve to the point where they could barely ace her. I don't think Monica possessed that same gift.

Martina not only had the ability to become a great clay courter, but also could have become one of the greatest of all time. But she took the physical game for granted. She could easily still beat any of the power players on any given occasion. But it was difficult for her to take beat them in succession because she was too worn out from the previous match(es).

SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:03 AM
Im speaking in terms of technical ability and not what they each achieved. Do you think if Martina and Chris both made full use of their ability (or close to it) thet Chris' game was stronger?

IMO Martina's game is very akin to Evert, but is a superior version of it. Chris is a ball striking machine, but Martina was more than that. Her anticipation and 'tennis brain' (ability to construct points and see the play many shots ahead) were second to none. Furthermore, Martina took the ball earlier and had more variety which i explained above as giving her the ability to negate anyones weapons IMO greater than Evert.

just my humble opinion :)

VeeDaQueen
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:03 AM
Isn't it ironic how the best clay-courter of all time was an American? :lol: We can't even win matches at the French any more.

deja_entendu
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:04 AM
The catch, of course, is that clay requires one thing more than anything else: fitness, particulary at the French Open. You have to be in incredible shape, and I don't think Hingis had the lungs to play for hours on end.

SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:05 AM
senorgato, this is a 'wudda-cudda' thread as Calimero would put it lol.

We are talking about something that could have happened. If Martina was injury free and worked hard on her fitness, do you think her technical ability was greater than the great Chris Evert?[/

lets not get engaged in a long protracted thread throwing facts and figures at each other, but discuss her tennis game and how far you think it could/should have taken her and if you think she had th egame to be the best on clay :)

Knizzle
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:09 AM
Hingis was better on fast courts IMO because they added pace to her variety of shot and angles. She could use and deflect the pace from her opponents and move them around more effectively and also get into the net. That's not so easy to do on clay when you don't have alot of pop behind your shots.

Nimi
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:11 AM
For Hingis, it was the same problem that Lleyton Hewitt has on the men's tour - seemingly, their game is fitted to clay; They're both great counter-punchers who can fight and return like demons.

The problem is that neither has the power to hit through the opponent, and while it seems that this is less significant on clay - it ain't. On faster surfaces (both Hingis and Hewitt were fantastic grass and/or indoor players), the faster ball gave them that extra edge to hit winners that their power alone would'nt have enabled them to, and their counter-punching ability made it harder for their opponents to hit as many winners as against lesser defensive players. They had to battle longer on clay because it was (for Hewitt it still is) so difficult for them to finish rallies with winners - thus clay was is so much more demanding.

In nowdays' game especially - no, Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all times.

Knizzle
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:12 AM
For Hingis, it was the same problem that Lleyton Hewitt has on the men's tour - seemingly, their game is fitted to clay; They're both great counter-punchers who can fight and return like demons.

The problem is that neither has the power to hit through the opponent, and while it seems that this is less significant on clay - it ain't. On faster surfaces (both Hingis and Hewitt were fantastic grass and/or indoor players), the faster ball gave them that extra edge to hit winners that their power alone would'nt have enabled them to, and their counter-punching ability made it harder for their opponents to hit as many winners as against lesser defensive players. They had to battle longer on clay because it was (for Hewitt it still is) so difficult for them to finish rallies with winners - thus clay was is so much more demanding.

In nowdays' game especially - no, Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all times.

This is basically my line of thinking also.

SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:13 AM
good point knizzle, kinda like with Hewitt. He doesnt have the strength to generate the big groundies with heavy kick as well as the best European clay-courters and his game relies on absorbing his opponents power and deflecting it, His lack of ability to generate his own power makes it hard to finish rallies on clay himself.....however, on WTA i think this would be less of an issue for Hingis. Especially at this years french :o

Volcana
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:20 AM
Im speaking in terms of technical ability and not what they each achieved.Yes. But what we objectively have to measure their respective games with is what they achieved. Still, I do see your point. As far as the subjective goes, I watched Evert's whole career. (Not happily either. BJK was my favorite player in those days.) Do you think if Martina and Chris both made full use of their ability (or close to it) thet Chris' game was stronger?On clay? Evert's.IMO Martina's game is very akin to Evert, but is a superior version of it.I VASTLY disagree with you. These were not at ALL similar players.

Hingis was a throwback player to the pre-Evert days. Serve it wide, rally, get a short ball, move in , volley winner. More of a BJK with less ability at the net.

Evert was said by more than one commentator to be allergic to the net. She run up to the service line, hit shots, and retreat to the baseline.

The way to attack Evert was to force her to net.
The way to attack Hingis was to pin her on the baseline.

Chris is a ball striking machine, but Martina was more than that.Martina WASN'T that. She wasn't nearly as consistent or accurate as Evert.

Her anticipation and 'tennis brain' (ability to construct points and see the play many shots ahead) were second to none.All I can tell you is to go look at Evert's matches. Her anticipation was excellent as well. Her point construction was textbook.

Furthermore, Martina took the ball earlier and had more variety which i explained above as giving her the ability to negate anyones weapons IMO greater than EvertEvert 'negated' the weapons of every single player on the tour. She beat Navratilova on grass at Wimbledon. There never came a point til Evert was 30 years old and slowing down that anyone's weapons overpowered Evert. She could beat literally anyone up to that point, and was til winning slams into her thirties.

Hingis was surpassed as a player by three or four players on the tour BEFORE her foot problems sidelined her. Both Venus Williams, Davenport, Capriati and maybe Serena Williams (that last, it's kinda dicey).

If we're measuring ability to negate the oppositions weapons, Evert takes it hands down.

Knizzle
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:23 AM
good point knizzle, kinda like with Hewitt. He doesnt have the strength to generate the big groundies with heavy kick as well as the best European clay-courters and his game relies on absorbing his opponents power and deflecting it, His lack of ability to generate his own power makes it hard to finish rallies on clay himself.....however, on WTA i think this would be less of an issue for Hingis. Especially at this years french :o

JHH would have blazed her.

selking
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:23 AM
ummmm can you back that up with some reasoning? Sure Monica returned harder than Martina, but did you hear what Goran Ivanisevic had to say about Martinas return at hopman cup one year????????? Monica probablly had the best combo of pace and control on returns, but Martina had the best combo of placement and consistency due to her impeccable timing!!!!

well you can check tennis magazines best list and she is put as the best returner. Or you could watch her return and see she hit better angles then anyone who has ever played on the tour. So no martina did not have the best placement. Just go back and review some of monicas matches if you have any.

SM
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:23 AM
i didnt say they had the same game. alot of similarities in approach. ofcourse martina had the more aggressive game, ability to mix it up (shot pace, direction, volleys etC) WHICH is why i believe her game from a technical viewpoint couldve been more effective then Evert's...

If Hingis had played when finesse (variety volleys etc)were more important than power ie Chris Everts era she would've done much better :)

senorgato
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:26 AM
I don't agree that Hingis' groundstrokes were better than Evert's. Hingis had the advantage over Evert in that she played the net much better. Chris hit a hard, flat, deep ball. Hingis' groundies tended to sit up in her opponent's strike zone because of the grips she used.

As far as the other intangibles, like anticipation and strategy, it's hard to separate the two.

deja_entendu
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:32 AM
Volcana, what' your issue with Hingis??

Wannabeknowitall
Jul 11th, 2005, 06:01 AM
I agree. She had the ability to be the best clay-couter of all time. I still beleive if she works hard, she might have an AO or FO left in her. Hingis sometimes has a tendency to look nonchalant on the court. Even in the match against Navi in the WTT tourni she still looked that way. It's as if she believes she can get away with anything on the court which obviously now isn't true.

Sure Evert was textbook and textbook beauty is always something to marvel at in any sport. Hingis brought something even different to the table. Here was/is a player that had every shot in the game and used it in every match.
If you look at tennis in the pass 3 years, noone can get away with getting pinned at the baseline when it comes to playing the top 10 players.
There are exceptions in Sharapova and Capriati. Even Sharapova was pinned to the baseline at Wimbledon. She found ways to get the net and finish off some shots in the beginning of the match but then Venus took control and stuck her at the baseline.
In terms of Hingis she got caught earlier than most of the other top players because of her lack of power.

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 09:46 AM
No. Monica Seles did. 16 year old French Open champ who had 3 titles by 18?

She would've broken Evert's French Open record if she had been allowed.

Brαm
Jul 11th, 2005, 09:51 AM
Her serve, while technially good and IMO similar to Alicia Molik's I stopped reading here :o

jack daniels
Jul 11th, 2005, 09:52 AM
no, but wimbledon yes

MLF
Jul 11th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Volcana, what' your issue with Hingis??

I don't think you've got the point really. I don't feel Volcana has an issue with Hingis, she has more an issue of rightly indicating that Evert is the greatest clay courter of all time and that a player would have a hell of a way to go to come to close to her. I believe that Seles was on course to challenge Evert's clay court prowess before her stabbing, but I guess we'll leave it at that....

SM, whilst you have some valid points, I'm totally at a loss to fathom how anyone who has seen both Molik & Hingis play could possibly say they have similar serves.

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 11:53 AM
No. Monica Seles did. 16 year old French Open champ who had 3 titles by 18?

She would've broken Evert's French Open record if she had been allowed.

seles was allowed, she couldn't win it

1996 q-final
1997 s-final
1998 final
1999 s-final
2000 q-final
2001 did not play
2002 q-final
2003 1st round

she had 7 attempts to add to her french open titles, steffi, hingis, sanchez, venus et al were too good for her

and please don't give me the 'seles has hever been the same since the stabbing excuse'

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:02 PM
seles was allowed, she couldn't win it

1996 q-final
1997 s-final
1998 final
1999 s-final
2000 q-final
2001 did not play
2002 q-final
2003 1st round

she had 7 attempts to add to her french open titles, steffi, hingis, sanchez, venus et al were too good for her

and please don't give me the 'seles has hever been the same since the stabbing excuse'
It's better than the Steffi couldn't dominate Monica in the early 90's because of tax/family problems. :rolleyes:

The stabbing made her lose her chance at greatness, and to pretend otherwise would be to pretty much commit the crime as well.

And at the very least, she wasn't allowed to in 1993-95. That's still 3 years.

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:10 PM
It's better than the Steffi couldn't dominate Monica in the early 90's because of tax/family problems. :rolleyes:

The stabbing made her lose her chance at greatness, and to pretend otherwise would be to pretty much commit the crime as well.

And at the very least, she wasn't allowed to in 1993-95. That's still 3 years.

whatever, she still had the chances

she could not take them, end of

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:13 PM
whatever, she still had the chances

she could not take them, end of
Yeah "whatever", indeed. You know what they say, those who've never achieved anything in life will never appreciate what it's like to have your achievements or potential achievements taken away.

I'm sure Steffi wouldn't say "whatever".

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:16 PM
Yeah "whatever", indeed. You know what they say, those who've never achieved anything in life will never appreciate what it's like to have your achievements or potential achievements taken away.

I'm sure Steffi wouldn't say "whatever".

why bring steffi into this?

oh, it must be because you're another insecure seles fan who can only wish the 'woulda, coulda and ifs'

never mind, seles still got 9...

LoveFifteen
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:18 PM
Why do some people think that even though the American Evert is the greatest clay courter of all time, Americans can no longer play well on clay? Didn't Capriati & Serena win in 2001 & 2002? And didn't at least one of them get to the semi's in '03 and '04?

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:21 PM
Why do some people think that even though the American Evert is the greatest clay courter of all time, Americans can no longer play well on clay? Didn't Capriati & Serena win in 2001 & 2002? And didn't at least one of them get to the semi's in '03 and '04?

i think what they mean is that evert was the last american to dominate on clay

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:23 PM
why bring steffi into this?

oh, it must be because you're another insecure seles fan who can only wish the 'woulda, coulda and ifs'

never mind, seles still got 9...
Ask the Graf fan who vehemently challenged a plausible statement out of insecurity. Oh wait, that Graf fan is YOU! :rolleyes:

Go back and read my original post, it had nothing to do with Graf. And Graf wasn't the ONLY ONE who won French Opens post-stabbing.

You're the one who got insecure. :rolleyes:

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:25 PM
Anyway, I didn't even get to explain why I didn't think Hingis would challenge Evert. Personally, I don't think she was that great on clay. If she kept her head in 1999, I'm sure she could've had better chances to win 1 or 2 in the next few years but otherwise no. I don't think she was ever better than Henin-Hardenne on clay.

LoveFifteen
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:30 PM
i think what they mean is that evert was the last american to dominate on clay

I am pretty new to tennis. Who was the last woman to dominate on clay?

After Evert, who took the Clay Court Queen crown?

Robbie.
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:40 PM
I am pretty new to tennis. Who was the last woman to dominate on clay?

After Evert, who took the Clay Court Queen crown?

After Evert won her last title in 1986, Roland Garros was really dominated by three women until 1999, only Iva Majoli's win in 1997 broke the sequence.

Graf won two straight in 1987 and 1988, then again in 1993,1995,1996 and 1999. She was also a finalist in 1989, 1990 and 1992.

ASV won in 1989 and added titles in 1994 and 1998. She was also a finalist in 1991, 1995 and 1996.

Seles won a hatrick of titles between 1990-1992 but lost the chance to go for four in a row when she was stabbed while preparing for the 1993 French Open. She was also a finalist in 1998.

These three were really the last clay court queens. Justine, after winning her second title at RG this year, is about to join them.

LoveFifteen
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:51 PM
Is Seles counted as an American? Or a Yugoslavian?

Scotso
Jul 11th, 2005, 12:52 PM
IMO, to be a great claycourter you need to have a powerful shot to finish points off. Hingis did not.

Andy T
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:02 PM
I tend to feel that Hingis' failure to win RG is due more to an unfortunate combination of circumstances than a lack of ability on clay. If ASV and Majoli could win titles there in 97 & 98, Hingis could certainly have done so, too. We shouldn't forget that she won all the big claycourt titles other than RG - FC Cup in 97 and 99, Hamburg in 98 & 2000, Berlin in 99, and Rome in 98.

That said, I don't see her in Evert's class, pretty much for all the reasons Volcana outlined.

Robbie.
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:11 PM
I tend to feel that Hingis' failure to win RG is due more to an unfortunate combination of circumstances than a lack of ability on clay. If ASV and Majoli could win titles there in 97 & 98, Hingis could certainly have done so, too. We shouldn't forget that she won all the big claycourt titles other than RG - FC Cup in 97 and 99, Hamburg in 98 & 2000, Berlin in 99, and Rome in 98.

That said, I don't see her in Evert's class, pretty much for all the reasons Volcana outlined.

I agree with everything you say. Hingis was basically the best performed clay courter on tour from 1997-2000. It still baffling to me that she couldnt crack it for a French title in those four years.

That said, i agree with others who say that Hingis' best surface was hard court.

Robbie.
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:28 PM
IMO, to be a great claycourter you need to have a powerful shot to finish points off. Hingis did not.

She had more powerful shots than ASV, in fact she cleaned Arantxa's clock both times they played at Roland Garros. Hingis even said after the 1999 semi that her game was actually very similar to ASV, of course she also added that hers was better :p.

If ASV isn't a great claycourter then very few qualify :shrug:

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:29 PM
Ask the Graf fan who vehemently challenged a plausible statement out of insecurity. Oh wait, that Graf fan is YOU! :rolleyes:

Go back and read my original post, it had nothing to do with Graf. And Graf wasn't the ONLY ONE who won French Opens post-stabbing.

You're the one who got insecure. :rolleyes:

??

you mention graf 3 times in your post but you say she has nothing to do with this lol :retard:

move on

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:32 PM
??

you mention graf 3 times in your post but you say she has nothing to do with this lol :retard:

move on
Do you know the meaning of "my original post"? :confused:

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:36 PM
Do you know the meaning of "my original post"? :confused:

well your original post is wrong anyway

because seles was allowed, but she was not good enough (the best she could muster was 1 final in 1998)

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:44 PM
well your original post is wrong anyway

because seles was allowed, but she was not good enough (the best she could muster was 1 final in 1998)
It's like arguing with a child, even they know when they're going in circles.

I'm going to sleep.

My last word: "Stop being so insecure, I'm sure Steffi isn't even that insecure about her slams post-stabbing."

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:46 PM
It's like arguing with a child, even they know when they're going in circles.

I'm going to sleep.

My last word: "Stop being so insecure, I'm sure Steffi isn't even that insecure about her slams post-stabbing."

briniging steffi into again are we??

night night child :baby:

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:49 PM
she had 7 attempts to add to her french open titles, steffi, hingis, sanchez, venus et al were too good for her

and please don't give me the 'seles has hever been the same since the stabbing excuse'

You were the first poster to mention Steffi in this thread. :lol:

Do you know what "first" means? :haha:

Night. :wavey:

Experimentee
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:53 PM
Nowadays, to dominate on clay you need to have powerful shots and a better serve than Hingis had. I doubt that Hingis would be able to beat JHH now on clay, and Serena in her form when she won it. Surface is less of an issue in the womens game than in the mens, and if those players were beating her on other surfaces they would probably do so the majority of the time on clay too.

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:54 PM
You were the first poster to mention Steffi in this thread. :lol:

Do you know what "first" means? :haha:

Night. :wavey:

i thought you had your 'last' word?

do you know what ''last'' means? :haha:

sweet dreams :wavey:

Sam L
Jul 11th, 2005, 01:56 PM
i thought you had your 'last' word?

do you know what ''last'' means? :haha:

sweet dreams :wavey:
I couldn't resist the chance to belittle you. :kiss: Hey, it's a free world, I can come back and post ALL NIGHT if I want to. I changed my mind. What excuse do you have? Oh yes, you're insecure and stupid. :p

jimbo mack
Jul 11th, 2005, 02:00 PM
I couldn't resist the chance to belittle you. :kiss: Hey, it's a free world, I can come back and post ALL NIGHT if I want to. I changed my mind. What excuse do you have? Oh yes, you're insecure and stupid. :p

go to sleep, you're no good to anyone awake

and save the insults, they dont hurt from a nobody like you

LoveFifteen
Jul 11th, 2005, 02:04 PM
So, again, why this misconception that Americans cannot play on clay? (Talking about women only.)

bobcat
Jul 11th, 2005, 05:53 PM
^It depends on what surface the American grew up playing. The ones that grew up playing on green clay (Evert, Courier, MJ Fernandez, Capriati) are very good on clay. The ones that grew up playing only on hardcourts (Williamses, Davenport, Sampras, Austen) are not nearly as good.

K-Dog
Jul 11th, 2005, 07:09 PM
For Hingis, it was the same problem that Lleyton Hewitt has on the men's tour - seemingly, their game is fitted to clay; They're both great counter-punchers who can fight and return like demons.

The problem is that neither has the power to hit through the opponent, and while it seems that this is less significant on clay - it ain't. On faster surfaces (both Hingis and Hewitt were fantastic grass and/or indoor players), the faster ball gave them that extra edge to hit winners that their power alone would'nt have enabled them to, and their counter-punching ability made it harder for their opponents to hit as many winners as against lesser defensive players. They had to battle longer on clay because it was (for Hewitt it still is) so difficult for them to finish rallies with winners - thus clay was is so much more demanding.

In nowdays' game especially - no, Hingis did not have the ability to become the best clay courter of all times.

I think that the Hingis-Hewitt comparison is partly correct. The difference was that Hingis grew up with clay in her life and in the women's game she had enough power to hit winners. The difference is that Martina has more variety and more topspin to get through the clay unlike Lleyton. Lleyton hits the ball flat and topspin and slice balls give hewitt trouble because there is no pace to work with. Also Martina's serve is even more exploitable on clay becasue it seems like it is coming even slower. Yes she could run down returns, but then she would still be in trouble as Serena, Venus, Pierce, Justine (yes Justine) all have enough game and power to hit a winner on the next ball. The difference when the men like Nadal just get the serve in, it has A TON of work on it. The spin is unreal. Martina never had that. She was lucky that Steffi, Monica, and Arantxa were not at their peaks on clay when Martina started winning. She also never had to deal with an in-form, experienced Venus, Serena, Justine, or Kim on the clay courts. Now-a-days, they would still blast her off the court.