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View Full Version : Peak Navratilova vs Peak Serena Williams?


tonybotz
Mar 20th, 2007, 03:55 AM
Hah, I've always wanted to start one of these. So, thoughts?

Martina: fast, fit, best volleyer in the game, lefty serve, tactician, net rusher,
Serena: fast, power ground strokes, extreme angles, huge first, strong second serve, great return game.

:devil:

cellophane
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:00 AM
YAY!!!! The Peak threads are officially back. :D

Apoleb
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:01 AM
I'm waiting for the Peak Serena vs Peak Lenglen thread.

Stamp Paid
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:03 AM
Jesus.
Nav.

samsam4087
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:06 AM
Martina Navratilova

cherseles
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:25 AM
The title should be " with wood rackets Peak Navratilova vs Peak Serena Williams"
:devil:
:wavey:
:bounce:
:tape:

wtatennisballer
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:28 AM
What surface would they be playing on?

tonybotz
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:34 AM
What surface would they be playing on?

Good question. Fast outdoor surface.

LUIS9
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:34 AM
Navratilova may trouble Serena with her superb volleys but that's about it. Her slick lefty serve could be tricky too but Serena would be much too phyiscal and explosive for even an extremely fit Martina Nav.

Early on Navra could have the edge but slightly on grass. Serena would tear her apart on hardcourts, rebound ace and clay. Martina again would fair well or have the slight edge indoors.

Serena would lead this hypothetic h2h to the effect of 6-3 or 6-4.

RJWCapriati
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:52 AM
I missed these threads.......I would say S. Williams

tennisbear7
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:23 AM
Nav.

~Eclipsed~
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:30 AM
Hopefully a moderator moves this thread soon!

darrinbaker00
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:35 AM
If a 50-year-old Martina Navratilova can hit a serve 105 MPH with a modern racquet, one can only imagine how a 25-year-old Navratilova would do. Martina at her best was slightly less athletic than Serena is, but much more skilled. They would break even on clay and hard courts, but Martina would own Serena on grass and indoors.

Lulu.
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:37 AM
Too bad we'll never find out :)

darrinbaker00
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:45 AM
Too bad we'll never find out :)
They played doubles together once: Tokyo Indoors, September 2002 (lost in quarters to Kuznetsova/Sanchez-Vicario 5-7, 4-6). I know that has nothing to do with this thread, but I just like to show off my knowledge of superfluous information. ;)

azinna
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:15 AM
With modern racquets? 7-3 Serena. Nav's success is dependent upon her getting to net on her own terms and imposing her game with her gasp-eliciting volleys. There's currently too much that phenomenal strikers of the ball like Davenport, Seles, Serena and Pierce can do, off both wings, against constant serve-and-volleyers. Nav is great, the greatest at net. Period. But the percentages would no longer be in her favor.

Worse yet for her is that (on any surface, I think) the baseline rallies would go to Serena: neither Nav's forehand nor backhand (slice or topspin) would trouble much; Nav wasn't at her best on defense; and I doubt she'd have many opportunities to come in and knock off the easy volleys with Serena stepping into the court on every shot.

And Nav wouldn't be making much of a dent on Serena's 1st or 2nd serves (the chip-and-charge would be difficult). Easy holds would be the norm for Serena, and that would just add pressure on Nav's service games. Even during her peak years, when she couldn't impose herself on her opponents' return games, Nav did let the tension, pressure and emotions get the better of her when she served.

Now, if they were forced to play with wooden racquets......

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:47 AM
Martina Navratilova

J_Migoe
Mar 20th, 2007, 11:14 PM
Serena would break Navratilova in two...and that's if they were using wooden racquets!!!

John.
Mar 20th, 2007, 11:35 PM
:yawn:

jazar
Mar 20th, 2007, 11:45 PM
navratilova no doubt

lauro78
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:36 AM
peak serena vs. peak lottie dod:rolleyes:

supergrunt
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:40 AM
If a 50-year-old Martina Navratilova can hit a serve 105 MPH with a modern racquet, one can only imagine how a 25-year-old Navratilova would do. Martina at her best was slightly less athletic than Serena is, but much more skilled. They would break even on clay and hard courts, but Martina would own Serena on grass and indoors.

:confused:

supergrunt
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:42 AM
I am not a hater really, but lets be honest here... Navratilova at her peak would be crushed by Serena... if you just watch a good match from both of them you would see that... I think people say Navrat because
A) it will never happen
B) she is a legend and they don't want to belittle her accomplishments or believe that she would lose because she was a great champion

She is a legend though and she shouldn't really be compared because of the different eras..

kiwifan
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:54 AM
1978 rackets, "Average" Nav.

1985 or better rackets, "Average" Serena.

Too easy to hit passing shots with newer rackets. I'm a serve and volleyer and I could get away with that even though I was under 6 feet tall (1st singles as a high school junior '83-4 :cool:).

Today complete hacks can smoke passing shots down the lines, it totally sucks :(

:scratch: oh sorry, I left out the "Peak" aspect of this analysis...

Peak Serena beats EVERYONE!!!

gocanadago
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:56 AM
boring thread :rolleyes:

Philbo
Mar 21st, 2007, 01:21 AM
If Serena was smoking Serena, totally in form, hitting under 10 unforced errors a set, then i would pick Serena - mostly due to the fact that the raqcuets would help her so much more than Martina.

But if Serena was having one of her error prone days, Martina would trounce her quite handily.

Martina on grass would rush Serena more than she has ever experienced and I would pick Martina on grass. But on slower hard courts I think Serena would win more often

thrust
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:35 AM
Peak Martina, with today^s equipment, would be awsome! I think she would be better than any of today^s players. Not that she would totally dominate Serena or Venus, but she would have the edge.

trufanjay
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:50 AM
Serena would destroy her. A discussion is useless.

darrinbaker00
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:57 AM
Serena would destroy her. A discussion is useless.
What do you base that on?

supergrunt
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:13 AM
^ Well if you watch tennis :shrug:

abayen
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:44 AM
^ Well if you watch tennis :shrug:

Those of you who are talking about modern rackets and everything - you clearly forget Martina was beating the likes of Steffi and Monica till as recently as 1994. With her serve and volley game and at a ripe age of 37!

So let's not forget - a peak Martina was truly an exceptional talent.

I would give the edge to Martina on any average day. But Serena on her best days would make it very competitive.

Mother_Marjorie
Mar 21st, 2007, 04:48 AM
Since Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, there hasn't been any player which could remotely have challenged Navratilova during her peak, historically speaking, or otherwise.

jellybelly
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:12 AM
Since Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, there hasn't been any player which could remotely have challenged Navratilova during her peak, historically speaking, or otherwise.

You cannot just make blanket statement like that without any proof. That is rediculous. Serena has a better serve, better forehand, better backhand, faster, stronger and more indurance and most important no player can serve-volley against Rena effectively. Her returns are too good and her shots are too hard and she is too good at lobbing and passing. It is just natural that Serena's game is better than game from 20 years ago

darrinbaker00
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:28 AM
You cannot just make blanket statement like that without any proof. That is rediculous. Serena has a better serve, better forehand, better backhand, faster, stronger and more indurance and most important no player can serve-volley against Rena effectively. Her returns are too good and her shots are too hard and she is too good at lobbing and passing. It is just natural that Serena's game is better than game from 20 years ago
What proof do you have to back up your statement?

LDVTennis
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:49 AM
Those of you who are talking about modern rackets and everything - you clearly forget Martina was beating the likes of Steffi and Monica till as recently as 1994. With her serve and volley game and at a ripe age of 37!

So let's not forget - a peak Martina was truly an exceptional talent.

I would give the edge to Martina on any average day. But Serena on her best days would make it very competitive.


Steffi reached her peak in '96, this by her own admission. Martina NEVER played Steffi at her peak. Serena NEVER played Steffi at her peak. On form alone, therefore, Steffi is NOT a good basis for comparison.

However exceptional a tennis talent Martina was, she was not as physically gifted as Serena or Steffi. Both are much faster. Steffi much quicker. Both are also much taller than Martina. Accordingly, Steffi and Serena had, have, or would have under any circumstances greater leverage on the ball.

On top of that, Steffi had greater racquet speed off both sides than Martina. Compare their slice forehands to see what I mean. Serena has more muscular force. Both, therefore, had or have a greater ability to generate pace on their groundstrokes than Martina.

What strategic difference would Serena's physical superiority have in a match up between them? Here we can use Steffi's physical superiority as a basis of comparison. In the '88 Wimbledon Final, Steffi deployed a first strike strategy in the second and third sets to completely neutralize Martina's serve and volley game. Provided Serena could use either her forehand or backhand to generate 18+ return winners, then, I think she could take Martina completely out of her game, even on grass.

azinna
Mar 21st, 2007, 06:11 AM
Those of you who are talking about modern rackets and everything - you clearly forget Martina was beating the likes of Steffi and Monica till as recently as 1994. With her serve and volley game and at a ripe age of 37!....

For both the men's and women's tour, the demise of the serve-and-volleyer has really come to a head in the last 5-7 years. The cited causes for this include subtle but numerous advances in racquet technology not only since Navratilova's retirement in 1994, but also since Novotna's in 1999.

ewbangkok
Mar 21st, 2007, 06:23 AM
rena i think

jellybelly
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:25 AM
What proof do you have to back up your statement?

tennis results. Peak Serena has easily better forehand and better backhand than Peak Navra. Same with serve, service speed is much better for Serena, no contest. For serve-volley compare Serena's record against Mauresemo, Callens, Raymond, Molik etc. Also watch a match where she plays against a volleyer. At peak Serena has very accurate passing shot and lob. You should know this if you are a Serena fan. Only Hingis has close 6-7 record with Serena but 3 wins were before even Serena won a slam and of other 3, one is retirement and other two are in early 2001 when Serena was choking leads. What else do you want?

darrinbaker00
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:05 AM
tennis results. Peak Serena has easily better forehand and better backhand than Peak Navra. Same with serve, service speed is much better for Serena, no contest. For serve-volley compare Serena's record against Mauresemo, Callens, Raymond, Molik etc. Also watch a match where she plays against a volleyer. At peak Serena has very accurate passing shot and lob. You should know this if you are a Serena fan. Only Hingis has close 6-7 record with Serena but 3 wins were before even Serena won a slam and of other 3, one is retirement and other two are in early 2001 when Serena was choking leads. What else do you want?
Like I said earlier, if a 50-year-old Navratilova can break 100 on the radar gun, how do you think a 25-year-old Navratilova would have done with the same racquet? Secondly, the four players you mentioned aren't even in the same area code as Navratilova when it comes to serve-and-volley tennis (Els Callens? :haha: ) Thirdly, and most importantly, PEAK SERENA DOES NOT EXIST. She's a creation of the KADs on this board who have no concrete evidence to back up their claim that Serena is the greatest female player of all time. Only one player, male or female, has won more majors than Navratilova, and no player in the Open era has won more overall titles. By any objective criteria you wish to use, Navratilova is the better player.

MistyGrey
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:16 AM
Navratilova wipes the floor with Serena.




:p

Kunal
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:20 AM
serena

Steffica Greles
Mar 21st, 2007, 10:20 AM
Steffi reached her peak in '96, this by her own admission. Martina NEVER played Steffi at her peak. Serena NEVER played Steffi at her peak. On form alone, therefore, Steffi is NOT a good basis for comparison.

However exceptional a tennis talent Martina was, she was not as physically gifted as Serena or Steffi. Both are much faster. Steffi much quicker. Both are also much taller than Martina. Accordingly, Steffi and Serena had, have, or would have under any circumstances greater leverage on the ball.

On top of that, Steffi had greater racquet speed off both sides than Martina. Compare their slice forehands to see what I mean. Serena has more muscular force. Both, therefore, had or have a greater ability to generate pace on their groundstrokes than Martina.

What strategic difference would Serena's physical superiority have in a match up between them? Here we can use Steffi's physical superiority as a basis of comparison. In the '88 Wimbledon Final, Steffi deployed a first strike strategy in the second and third sets to completely neutralize Martina's serve and volley game. Provided Serena could use either her forehand or backhand to generate 18+ return winners, then, I think she could take Martina completely out of her game, even on grass.

I think this is a fairly good analysis, although I'm not sure Steffi was built much differently from Martina. Steffi had longer legs, but Martina was the more muscular and powerful. I don't think Steffi -- "by her own admission" -- would have been able to be scurrying around on a regular basis at 37.

Martina's arm-speed was, as you pointed out, considerably less than Steffi's, but Martina was raised in a different era, when balls were caressed and baseline strokes were merely a precursor to an incisive volley. Players in times past did not utilize their physical power to the extent which they do today, hence their careers often lasting into their 30s. For example, Graf has claimed on several occasions that she would have played with a double-handed backhand had she been able to start from scratch. In 1991, she was even seen practicing the stroke. But she was raised to hit with slice; one side was for the thrust, the other for positional purposes.

So my bottom line is that Martina could have hit the ball extremely hard, but it wasn't her method of playing. A much better measure of a player's phyiscal strength is simply by their ability to compete with hard-hitting players, their capacity to return deep balls hit powerfully on to their baselines. Kim Clijsters is a great example. She doesn't generate a great deal of pace from her own strokes, but she can muscle back deep balls with her immense upper and lower-body strength. Well, in her 30s, Martina defeated Steffi, Monica, Sabatini, Huber, Davenport, Pierce, Capriati -- all of the prototype power players of today. She could certainly handle pace.

But I basically agree with you that Steffi was marginally quicker, and the best all-round athlete of the three players, although I think Serena was even quicker in terms of sprint speed, which is rarely required on the tennis court.

I don't think Martina, playing as she did in the 1980s, or even the 1990s, would have been a match for Serena. But Martina would have been a different player today, no doubt.

tennisbear7
Mar 21st, 2007, 11:08 AM
tennis results. Peak Serena has easily better forehand and better backhand than Peak Navra. Same with serve, service speed is much better for Serena, no contest. For serve-volley compare Serena's record against Mauresemo, Callens, Raymond, Molik etc. Also watch a match where she plays against a volleyer. At peak Serena has very accurate passing shot and lob. You should know this if you are a Serena fan. Only Hingis has close 6-7 record with Serena but 3 wins were before even Serena won a slam and of other 3, one is retirement and other two are in early 2001 when Serena was choking leads. What else do you want?

Yeah, and what are you comparing? You are comparing Serena's skills to Navratilova. Sure, Serena's strokes have more pace. BUT you are comparing one era of racquet technology to another. Do you truly think that Rezai's strokes are better than Navratilova's? Crazy. Also, I do not think that Serena's serve is necessarily better than Martina's. Once again you've compared two eras of racquet technology but I do think that Martina would have a better serve if both were brought up in the same era. First of all, she's a lefty, and as an above poster pointed out, Nav was easily reaching 100mph with very primitive metal racquets. Evert said that it was pretty much impossible to break Martina on a grass court.

It comes down to technology. Wooden racquets and early metal racquets - Navratilova would crush Serena who, like it or not, has had the modern racquet play a large role in her success.

Does that belittle Serena's achievement? No, it just proves that as an athlete she is incredible for coping with the constant changing technology which has allowed so many players to smack the ball hard.

If Martina and Serena were raised in the same era, however, I think that Martina would have played differently. I think that Martina has much more skills than Serena, especially up at the net, and if she was brought up on power, this would compensate her tremendous volley play.

... And let's not forget that Martina has about 213091823 titles, both in doubles and singles. There's a reason why people believe she's one of, if not the greatest player in all time. (Screw you, Tennis Magazine. Pete Sampras does not rank above Court/Nav.)

Apoorv
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:05 PM
Dont know! Although it will be tough for Serena to be in her peak, since it comes here and there after some gaps.

bandabou
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:59 PM
If a 50-year-old Martina Navratilova can hit a serve 105 MPH with a modern racquet, one can only imagine how a 25-year-old Navratilova would do. Martina at her best was slightly less athletic than Serena is, but much more skilled. They would break even on clay and hard courts, but Martina would own Serena on grass and indoors.

But Venus would have destroyed Martina N huh?

trufanjay
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:36 PM
Navratilova would be crushed by many power players of today. Like I said before, many people would like to believe that the greats of her time could hold their own against these powerful athletes but I can't see it happening. If Serena could beat players like Maria and Justine is straight sets what do you think she would do to Martina? Hingis at her best could probably take Navratilova. Martina is very talented, one of the greats. But she cannot handle players like Serena, Venus, Justine and Maria. Yes she would win games and she would make it close at her best. But she can't beat these type of players at their peak. I think many people are just being bias.

thrust
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:28 PM
Great players adapt to the game of the times. If Martina were playing today, she would have to adjust to todays game. She was a great athlete, and using todays equipment, there is no reason why she could not be a great champion in todays game.

rjd1111
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:57 PM
Like I said earlier, if a 50-year-old Navratilova can break 100 on the radar gun, how do you think a 25-year-old Navratilova would have done with the same racquet? Secondly, the four players you mentioned aren't even in the same area code as Navratilova when it comes to serve-and-volley tennis (Els Callens? :haha: ) Thirdly, and most importantly, PEAK SERENA DOES NOT EXIST. She's a creation of the KADs on this board who have no concrete evidence to back up their claim that Serena is the greatest female player of all time. Only one player, male or female, has won more majors than Navratilova, and no player in the Open era has won more overall titles. By any objective criteria you wish to use, Navratilova is the better player.


Just because she hit a ball 100mph once doesn't mean a lot. She can't
do it consistantly over a whole match. Serena can, and when she's on, hits
it harder than 109mph. And Martina's woes would not only be from not
being able to hit a consistant 100mph serve. They would be from consistantly
recieving 115 to 120 mph Serves. She never had to do that. I have seen
a lot of Nav matches from back in the day. MoonBall city. Her great
shots depend on getting to the ball and setting up for a great return. I
saw her do that to Chrissy many times. In moonball tennis they had time to
do that. She wouldn't get to do that consistantly with the pace Serena generates.

And I can't see why anyone would think that Serena, Being a naturally
gifted Athlete like she is , could not play with a wooden racquet.
If her opponet used one too she'd still be the better player. And I'm
pretty sure she and Venus played with them when they were young.

Serena will never have the Titles and stats Nav has. Nav did that against
the players of her time and it was great. But as I have said before
If she brings all her trophys and titles with her they won't win one
point for her when Serena is standing across the net from her.

MistyGrey
Mar 21st, 2007, 04:03 PM
Some Williams fans really make me laugh! :lol:The ignorance!:tape:

Rollo
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:18 PM
Posted by LDV Tennis However exceptional a tennis talent Martina was, she was not as physically gifted as Serena or Steffi. Both are much faster. Steffi much quicker. Both are also much taller than Martina.

Martina was only an inch shorter at 5' 8"-it hardly makes a big difference IMO.

As for Martina being "less physically gifted", are you kidding? What do you base that on? Just a few months ago you were saying Serena would never win another major because of her body type.

Rollo
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:35 PM
Anyway-LOL at anyone saying for certain who would win:lol:
We're talking two totally different eras.

Before you even guessed we would have to set a time (now or the 70s-80s?), a surface, and what types of racquets to use.

Then you'd have to assume that each had several years under those conditions, otherwise Serena would get killed being time warped back to 1978, because every other ball would flying out of the court, and sorry rjd1111, but Serena babe won't be hitting 120 mph serves with a tiny framed wood racquet, the men couldn't even do it then.

Timewarp Martina forward and she gets killed just as easily IMO as Rena hits winner after winner past her. The larger frame might help Martina serve bigger and better, but serve and volley just doesn't work in 2007.

I have no doubts both women would be champions in the other's era, but a 70s Serena would be a lot less powerful and have more touch, and she'd be at net more too.

And a 2007 Martina wouldn't be serving and volleying nearly as much, plus she'd have to develop a topspin backhand. Think Amelie Mauresmo, just tougher.

Comparisons and "what ifs" are fun, lets just please remember that BOTH women deserve a little
R-E-S-P-E-C-T:)

Chrissie-fan
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:37 PM
Navratilova would be crushed by many power players of today. Like I said before, many people would like to believe that the greats of her time could hold their own against these powerful athletes but I can't see it happening. If Serena could beat players like Maria and Justine is straight sets what do you think she would do to Martina? Hingis at her best could probably take Navratilova. Martina is very talented, one of the greats. But she cannot handle players like Serena, Venus, Justine and Maria. Yes she would win games and she would make it close at her best. But she can't beat these type of players at their peak. I think many people are just being bias.
Well, most people are bias towards their faves, sure. But try for a minute or two to imagine what will happen on the GM board twenty years from now. They will have peak vs peak polls between the greats of that time and Serena, Justine, Venus and others. And you know what will happen, don't you? Youngsters who will only know Serena as a name will say that she was good for her day but that she would be no match for players X, Y and Z and they would break her in two and that "the game has moved on." And you will try to argue about the different sets of circumstances under which the game was played in 2007 as opposed to 2027, the different technology involved, etc. But no matter how sure you are about Serena's greatness, no matter how much you are convinced that Serena would be able to hold her own against players X, Y and Z if only those players could have played Serena on HER terms with HER rackets and what have you in 2007 instead of 2027, it will fall on deaf ears.

That's the way it goes, many tennis fans don't respect, or at least underestimate the skills of the greats of the past, even those from the recent past. So, enjoy the regard in which the Williams sisters are held today, because it won't be long before fans of the next generation will start to belittle their achievements.

Steffica Greles
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:28 PM
Well, most people are bias towards their faves, sure. But try for a minute or two to imagine what will happen on the GM board twenty years from now. They will have peak vs peak polls between the greats of that time and Serena, Justine, Venus and others. And you know what will happen, don't you? Youngsters who will only know Serena as a name will say that she was good for her day but that she would be no match for players X, Y and Z and they would break her in two and that "the game has moved on." And you will try to argue about the different sets of circumstances under which the game was played in 2007 as opposed to 2027, the different technology involved, etc. But no matter how sure you are about Serena's greatness, no matter how much you are convinced that Serena would be able to hold her own against players X, Y and Z if only those players could have played Serena on HER terms with HER rackets and what have you in 2007 instead of 2027, it will fall on deaf ears.

That's the way it goes, many tennis fans don't respect, or at least underestimate the skills of the greats of the past, even those from the recent past. So, enjoy the regard in which the Williams sisters are held today, because it won't be long before fans of the next generation will start to belittle their achievements.

Too true. Although, I haven't ever compared players who I haven't seen at their peaks (although admittedly I'm too young to remember Navratilova or Evert at their peaks -- I've bought videos).

But you're right about what you've said. I personally don't think Federer would necessarily have defeated peak Sampras on grass. But nobody says that.

trufanjay
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:35 PM
I still hold my position. I have a lot of respect for Martina and I have seen videos. I still feel the same way.

Craigy
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:36 PM
:lol: Great thread :o

trufanjay
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:37 PM
Well, most people are bias towards their faves, sure. But try for a minute or two to imagine what will happen on the GM board twenty years from now. They will have peak vs peak polls between the greats of that time and Serena, Justine, Venus and others. And you know what will happen, don't you? Youngsters who will only know Serena as a name will say that she was good for her day but that she would be no match for players X, Y and Z and they would break her in two and that "the game has moved on." And you will try to argue about the different sets of circumstances under which the game was played in 2007 as opposed to 2027, the different technology involved, etc. But no matter how sure you are about Serena's greatness, no matter how much you are convinced that Serena would be able to hold her own against players X, Y and Z if only those players could have played Serena on HER terms with HER rackets and what have you in 2007 instead of 2027, it will fall on deaf ears.

That's the way it goes, many tennis fans don't respect, or at least underestimate the skills of the greats of the past, even those from the recent past. So, enjoy the regard in which the Williams sisters are held today, because it won't be long before fans of the next generation will start to belittle their achievements.
Interesting. But you don't know how much the game will have evolved in 10 years do you? Navratilova played doubles and tried to make a comeback in singles with modern technology not too long ago. And just because someone has a different opinion does not mean they lack respect for certain players.

lecciones
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:51 PM
Well, most people are bias towards their faves, sure. But try for a minute or two to imagine what will happen on the GM board twenty years from now. They will have peak vs peak polls between the greats of that time and Serena, Justine, Venus and others. And you know what will happen, don't you? Youngsters who will only know Serena as a name will say that she was good for her day but that she would be no match for players X, Y and Z and they would break her in two and that "the game has moved on." And you will try to argue about the different sets of circumstances under which the game was played in 2007 as opposed to 2027, the different technology involved, etc. But no matter how sure you are about Serena's greatness, no matter how much you are convinced that Serena would be able to hold her own against players X, Y and Z if only those players could have played Serena on HER terms with HER rackets and what have you in 2007 instead of 2027, it will fall on deaf ears.

That's the way it goes, many tennis fans don't respect, or at least underestimate the skills of the greats of the past, even those from the recent past. So, enjoy the regard in which the Williams sisters are held today, because it won't be long before fans of the next generation will start to belittle their achievements.

:bow: :worship: That's what I was thinking. So my first and last post in this thread goes to the quotation above that sums up everything.

Helen Lawson
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:55 PM
You can't totally write off the old bats due to the power generation. I saw some mid-70s tapes of Margaret Court on TCC when it first started, it was clay and obviously, she was not at her prime. I thought her serve looked VERY good and strong, she looked big and strong like she could take some of these girls today, and maybe not too tough for her to do. She had good foot movement. I'm not tennis expert, but I remember thinking watching her that she could compete well with today's girls. I do think she was tall for her time so maybe she's the exception, but with the right equipment for today, she'd especially have no problems.

Chrissie-fan
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:21 PM
Interesting. But you don't know how much the game will have evolved in 10 years do you? Navratilova played doubles and tried to make a comeback in singles with modern technology not too long ago. And just because someone has a different opinion does not mean they lack respect for certain players.
Just for the record: I didn't mean to suggest that you personally don't respect certain players. I only chose your post as the one to respond too because I know from past experience that it's ok to disagree with you and that you don't interpret a difference of opinion as a personal attack.

PS: Don't just try to imagine how Navratilova would do with modern technology but also how the current players would do with the technology of Navratilova's day. ;)

Chrissie-fan
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:51 PM
I personally don't think Federer would necessarily have defeated peak Sampras on grass. But nobody says that.
Or peak McEnroe with wood (on grass). But I don't want to take anything away from Federer. Maybe he is indeed "the greatest of all time" (if there is such a thing).

trufanjay
Mar 21st, 2007, 09:07 PM
Just for the record: I didn't mean to suggest that you personally don't respect certain players. I only chose your post as the one to respond too because I know from past experience that it's ok to disagree with you and that you don't interpret a difference of opinion as a personal attack.

PS: Don't just try to imagine how Navratilova would do with modern technology but also how the current players would do with the technology of Navratilova's day. ;)
Oh ok. I kind of knew, I guess I was trying to defend some of the other people because I assume that most people do respect Martina regardless of what they think. Maybe there are some people who don't really respect the players of her time and before but I do.

And btw, I think players like Lindsay and Serena would break those old rackets. :lol:
I would assume that there is more to power than the equipment. How much of a difference do you think the technology makes?

rjd1111
Mar 21st, 2007, 09:19 PM
Well, most people are bias towards their faves, sure. But try for a minute or two to imagine what will happen on the GM board twenty years from now. They will have peak vs peak polls between the greats of that time and Serena, Justine, Venus and others. And you know what will happen, don't you? Youngsters who will only know Serena as a name will say that she was good for her day but that she would be no match for players X, Y and Z and they would break her in two and that "the game has moved on." And you will try to argue about the different sets of circumstances under which the game was played in 2007 as opposed to 2027, the different technology involved, etc. But no matter how sure you are about Serena's greatness, no matter how much you are convinced that Serena would be able to hold her own against players X, Y and Z if only those players could have played Serena on HER terms with HER rackets and what have you in 2007 instead of 2027, it will fall on deaf ears.

That's the way it goes, many tennis fans don't respect, or at least underestimate the skills of the greats of the past, even those from the recent past. So, enjoy the regard in which the Williams sisters are held today, because it won't be long before fans of the next generation will start to belittle their achievements.


I have no doubt you are correct.

Chrissie-fan
Mar 21st, 2007, 09:27 PM
And btw, I think players like Lindsay and Serena would break those old rackets. :lol:
I would assume that there is more to power than the equipment. How much of a difference do you think the technology makes?
I think it makes a HUGE difference. Asking current players to play with a racket of, say Suzanne Lenglen's day would be almost like asking them to play badmington or pingpong in terms of how different it would feel.:lol: But I agree that the current players would break those old rackets....they would break them out of frustration with all the unforced errors they would make :lol: .........if they would try to hit the ball as hard with each shot as they do today, that is. ;)

But to be fair, many of the oldies would find it equally hard to deal with the pace and power of todays game. My honest opinion is that a player has to establish how good she is by doing great against her contemporaries, not by imaginary battles with players from another era in which there are too many ifs and buts involved.

Rollo
Mar 21st, 2007, 09:43 PM
How much of a difference do you think the technology makes?

It makes a HUGE difference. I started playing tennis in 1977 (yep, I'm as old as the hills) and there was no way we could generate the kind of power like today with a wood racquet.

Even if you WANTED to smack the hell out the ball you had to be careful, because

A. you had to hit the ball square in the center of the strings.
B. On top of that the sticks we used were a lot smaller. The "sweet spot" was about half what it is now.
C. Most of the balls were heavier, especially in Europe.

I still hold my position. I have a lot of respect for Martina and I have seen videos. I still feel the same way.

But what videos have you seen? Be specific, because it makes a difference.

Take a look at at the Borg-Mcenroe classic Wimbledon final.

Then fast forward to Graf-Seles in 1990. The women were hitting harder than than the men were with wood, and there's no way in hell Graf or Seles was going to beat John Mcenroe in 1990 given the same equipment.

If you watch the Evert-Navratilova Wimbledon final from 1978 and then their 1985 final it looks like night and day. The 85 version seems totally superior, because they are hitting harder.

The reality is though that Evert and Martina's games evolved with the technology, which allowed them to hit harder.

If Martina hadn't been able to evolve she wouldn't have beaten Steffi as often as she did-and if memory serves me right Steffi has a tied record with Serena:)

The bottom line we'll never know who would really have the fastest serve or hit the hardest unless both women were playing under the same conditions.

rjd1111
Mar 21st, 2007, 10:00 PM
Anyway-LOL at anyone saying for certain who would win:lol:
We're talking two totally different eras.

Before you even guessed we would have to set a time (now or the 70s-80s?), a surface, and what types of racquets to use.

Then you'd have to assume that each had several years under those conditions, otherwise Serena would get killed being time warped back to 1978, because every other ball would flying out of the court, and sorry rjd1111, but Serena babe won't be hitting 120 mph serves with a tiny framed wood racquet, the men couldn't even do it then.

Timewarp Martina forward and she gets killed just as easily IMO as Rena hits winner after winner past her. The larger frame might help Martina serve bigger and better, but serve and volley just doesn't work in 2007.

I have no doubts both women would be champions in the other's era, but a 70s Serena would be a lot less powerful and have more touch, and she'd be at net more too.

And a 2007 Martina wouldn't be serving and volleying nearly as much, plus she'd have to develop a topspin backhand. Think Amelie Mauresmo, just tougher.

Comparisons and "what ifs" are fun, lets just please remember that BOTH women deserve a little
R-E-S-P-E-C-T:)

I respect Navs achievments and don't mean to belittle them. But I still
think Serena would at her best beat her and any of the past players.

But everything is relative. I was speaking of peak Nav against Serena of
today with todays equip. But if Serena of today was transplanted back
in Navs time and with those little wood racquets you speak of my premise
remains the same. It may slow her serve down a little but wouldn't it slow
down Nav's as well. She would still hit harder than Nav. She excels today
because of her abilities and better physicality with todays equip. If she
was back then and everybody used the same equip she would still have
the superior skills and physicality. Why wouldn't you think she could not
learn to use a wooden racquet better than the players then. Of course
she would have to change some things to compensate for what the wooden racquet would not let her do. But athletes of today are better than athletes
20 years ago. And trust me, she would still play a power game. She would
just introduce it a couple of decades sooner.
in

trufanjay
Mar 21st, 2007, 10:17 PM
I think it makes a HUGE difference. Asking current players to play with a racket of, say Suzanne Lenglen's day would be almost like asking them to play badmington or pingpong in terms of how different it would feel.:lol: But I agree that the current players would break those old rackets....they would break them out of frustration with all the unforced errors they would make :lol: .........if they would try to hit the ball as hard with each shot as they do today, that is. ;)

But to be fair, many of the oldies would find it equally hard to deal with the pace and power of todays game. My honest opinion is that a player has to establish how good she is by doing great against her contemporaries, not by imaginary battles with players from another era in which there are too many ifs and buts involved.
I agree. Thanks for the answer :)

Rollo
Mar 21st, 2007, 10:39 PM
I respect Navs achievments and don't mean to belittle them. But I still think Serena would at her best beat her and any of the past players.

Hi there rjd1111:) I wasn't suggesting you or anyone in particular was dissing Martina, just pointing out a general trend. Like Chrissie-fan was writing, in a few years it will be Serena's turn to be dismissed as old and slow. I'll be around to defend her LOL :lol:

But everything is relative. I was speaking of peak Nav against Serena oftoday with todays equip. I agree 100%. Even if Martina WAS as powerful she'd still lose under those conditions, because serve and volley doesn't work today and Serena would exploit her sliced backhand.

But if Serena of today was transplanted back in Navs time and with those little wood racquets you speak of my premise remains the same. It may slow her serve down a little but wouldn't it slow down Nav's as well.

It would slow down her serve by about 20 MPH, because she'd have to get in the first one in or Martina would be chipping and charging off her second serve. It would still be faster than Martina's serve, but then remember Martina is serving a tad slower because she is serving and volleying.


She would still hit harder than Nav. She excels todaybecause of her abilities and better physicality with todays equip. If she was back then and everybody used the same equip she would still have the superior skills and physicality.

Remember that in 1978 "hitting harder" just doesn't pay off as much as today. The men of 1978 couldn't hit winners left and right, so I doubt Serena would do it the same as she does today.

As for "superior skills and physicality"-I'm not convinced the edge goes to Serena. Martina was just as intimidating as Serena and her conditioning was just as good.

"Skills" means a lot of things beyond power-like keeping the ball in court, hitting volleys and overheads.Serana does these things well by 2007 standards, but by 1978 wood standards she sucks the same way Martina's sliced backhand would suck in 2007.

Why wouldn't you think she could not learn to use a wooden racquet better than the players then. Of course she would have to change some things to compensate for what the wooden racquet would not let her do.

Given the same chance she would adjust, but she wouldn't be the same player, would she, so we don't know.


But athletes of today are better than athletes 20 years ago.

Yeah, but remember that in "time warping" Martina forward or Serena backward Serena conditions are equal, so that takes away this advantage. If Martina was born in 1980 she'd be on average an extra inch taller look like Mauresmo and there goes your advantage. Taken another way, suppose Serena was born in 1956 like Martina was and odds are she's a bit shorter, etc.

And trust me, she would still play a power game. She would just introduce it a couple of decades sooner.

Bet you're right about playing a power game. She didn't introduce it though-Helen Wills did. Helen Wills and Mo Connolly both hit the hell out of the ball from both sides. Helen had a serve like a man's and pissed off a lot of people by doing her own thing and partying, skipping minor events, and concentrating on majors. Sounds a LOT like Serena to me.

terjw
Mar 21st, 2007, 10:51 PM
Anyway-LOL at anyone saying for certain who would win:lol:
We're talking two totally different eras.

Before you even guessed we would have to set a time (now or the 70s-80s?), a surface, and what types of racquets to use.

Then you'd have to assume that each had several years under those conditions, otherwise Serena would get killed being time warped back to 1978, because every other ball would flying out of the court, and sorry rjd1111, but Serena babe won't be hitting 120 mph serves with a tiny framed wood racquet, the men couldn't even do it then.

Timewarp Martina forward and she gets killed just as easily IMO as Rena hits winner after winner past her. The larger frame might help Martina serve bigger and better, but serve and volley just doesn't work in 2007.

I have no doubts both women would be champions in the other's era, but a 70s Serena would be a lot less powerful and have more touch, and she'd be at net more too.

And a 2007 Martina wouldn't be serving and volleying nearly as much, plus she'd have to develop a topspin backhand. Think Amelie Mauresmo, just tougher.

Comparisons and "what ifs" are fun, lets just please remember that BOTH women deserve a little
R-E-S-P-E-C-T:)

A post that actually makes sense.:worship:

mboyle
Mar 21st, 2007, 11:23 PM
Serena would destroy her. A discussion is useless.

You must keep in mind that Serena hits the ball harder now even than in 98/99. Why? Racquets. It's not too noticable and she still hit the ball hard back then, but racquets allow you to hit harder. Martina Nav made history in the 80s cuz she could hit a 95MPH serve consistently. Today, as a 45 year old, she hits it 10MPH harder (105MPH.) That suggests (when accounting for age,) that modern racquets give a player an extra 15-20% power. If Nav is hitting heavy kick or slice serves at 105/110MPH all day long and following it in with her amazing volleys, Serena could win, but she'd certainly have a hard time.

misael
Mar 21st, 2007, 11:43 PM
Remember that back in the 70s most people did'nt even have full time coaches, training was different, and Martina loved to eat Mcdonalds,she was called the great white hope, because in the begining she was quite chubby.,T

trufanjay
Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:24 AM
It makes a HUGE difference. I started playing tennis in 1977 (yep, I'm as old as the hills) and there was no way we could generate the kind of power like today with a wood racquet.

Even if you WANTED to smack the hell out the ball you had to be careful, because

A. you had to hit the ball square in the center of the strings.
B. On top of that the sticks we used were a lot smaller. The "sweet spot" was about half what it is now.
C. Most of the balls were heavier, especially in Europe.



But what videos have you seen? Be specific, because it makes a difference.

Take a look at at the Borg-Mcenroe classic Wimbledon final.

Then fast forward to Graf-Seles in 1990. The women were hitting harder than than the men were with wood, and there's no way in hell Graf or Seles was going to beat John Mcenroe in 1990 given the same equipment.

If you watch the Evert-Navratilova Wimbledon final from 1978 and then their 1985 final it looks like night and day. The 85 version seems totally superior, because they are hitting harder.

The reality is though that Evert and Martina's games evolved with the technology, which allowed them to hit harder.

If Martina hadn't been able to evolve she wouldn't have beaten Steffi as often as she did-and if memory serves me right Steffi has a tied record with Serena:)

The bottom line we'll never know who would really have the fastest serve or hit the hardest unless both women were playing under the same conditions.
Regardless of technology some women are naturally more powerful than others.

GABRIEL
Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:30 AM
Serena may be the hardest hitter, but she is not even close to Martina's talent...it is a difficult comparison because of the different times they have played, but Navratilova to me is by far superior to Serena

Philbo
Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:58 AM
Steffi reached her peak in '96, this by her own admission. Martina NEVER played Steffi at her peak. Serena NEVER played Steffi at her peak. On form alone, therefore, Steffi is NOT a good basis for comparison.

However exceptional a tennis talent Martina was, she was not as physically gifted as Serena or Steffi. Both are much faster. Steffi much quicker. Both are also much taller than Martina. Accordingly, Steffi and Serena had, have, or would have under any circumstances greater leverage on the ball.

On top of that, Steffi had greater racquet speed off both sides than Martina. Compare their slice forehands to see what I mean. Serena has more muscular force. Both, therefore, had or have a greater ability to generate pace on their groundstrokes than Martina.

What strategic difference would Serena's physical superiority have in a match up between them? Here we can use Steffi's physical superiority as a basis of comparison. In the '88 Wimbledon Final, Steffi deployed a first strike strategy in the second and third sets to completely neutralize Martina's serve and volley game. Provided Serena could use either her forehand or backhand to generate 18+ return winners, then, I think she could take Martina completely out of her game, even on grass.

Steffi physically much taller than Martina? There was one inch between them LDV. Showing yet again how your inherant bias clouds your judgement and perception.

The other example is this typical drivel of yours is that Steffi was peak Steffi in 1996. My, how convenient. Forget the fact she lost two matches all year in 87, won the golden slam in 88 etc. You just conveniently choose 1996 as a transparent way of diminishing Seles overtaking Graf as the number 1 player in the early 90's.

How pathetic. But nothing new from you...

trufanjay
Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:08 AM
Serena may be the hardest hitter, but she is not even close to Martina's talent...it is a difficult comparison because of the different times they have played, but Navratilova to me is by far superior to Serena
So you are saying that all Serena has is her big ball striking? That's not fair to say if that's what you are syaing. By far superior? In don't know. But Serena has a lot more going for her than her big groundstrokes.

supergrunt
Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:36 AM
Navrat fans need to get real... :rolleyes:

mboyle
Mar 22nd, 2007, 04:10 AM
Regardless of technology some women are naturally more powerful than others.

Well that's obvious. Nav was considered one of the strongest women in her time.

However, using wood, strength doesn't really matter. Technique is much more important.

Further, you have no evidence that Serena was naturally stronger than Nav.

Rollo
Mar 22nd, 2007, 04:24 AM
Regardless of technology some women are naturally more powerful than others.


We can say Martina was more powerful than Chris-or Serena is more powerful than Hingis. They played side by side.

But until you are somehow able to put Serena and Martina in a time machine and have them come out at the same age (and era) you have no PROOF that Serena is more powerful.

The only thing you can proove is Serena hits harder with oversize metal racquet at than Martina did with a smaller and less powerful racquet.

That proves nothing at all.

LDVTennis
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:09 AM
Martina was only an inch shorter at 5' 8"-it hardly makes a big difference IMO.

As for Martina being "less physically gifted", are you kidding? What do you base that on? Just a few months ago you were saying Serena would never win another major because of her body type.

Clearly, you have never seen Steffi in person. Why does that not surprise me?

She is NOT, 5'9. I have stood right in front of her, face to face, the last time in 2001. The first time she was wearing tennis shoes; the second time she was wearing flat shoes as is her custom.

I am slightly taller than 5'10. Steffi is almost as tall as I am. Provided that Martina is really 5'8, that is a difference of at least two inches. Add Steffi's longer arms (wingspan) and it is no surprise to me from a physical standpoint why one developed a forehand like Steffi's and the other watched Steffi's forehand whiz by her at the net or in the backcourt.

I NEVER said Serena would never win another major because of her body type. I've said that Serena does not have the ideal body type for the sport of tennis.

And, yes, Martina is less "physically gifted" than Steffi. She is not anywhere near as fast or as quick over the whole court. She does not have the racquet speed off either side to hit a forehand like Steffi's or a slice backhand like Steffi's. Moreover, Martina does not have the muscular coordination to jump into her serve like Steffi and rotate her shoulders over the point of contact. Martina serves like most girls do, with a fully extended arm or a loop or hook at the top of her serve. In its fully-evolved form, Steffi's serve overcame that limitation such that at the top of the service motion it looked no different than Sampras'.

All of Martina's physical accomplishments on the court are based on brute strength and quick movement in a confined space (the net). Brute strength allowed her to muscle most volleys for stab winners. Quick movements in a confined space allowed her to dominate opponents who could not move well enough into our out of the forecourt.

Growing up with different racquet technology or having the benefit of modern training techniques would not have made Martina any more physically-gifted. Working with what she had, Martina would have had a problem hitting the ball hard because of her size, the loopiness of her swings, and her reliance more on brute force than natural racquet speed to produce pace. Working with what she had, Martina would have had a problem mounting a good defense against the hard hitters because she only had sufficient quickness over confined spaces like the net. When Steffi tested her side to side, Martina often couldn't cover well enough.

In a hypothetical matchup, under present circumstances, these are the things that would give Serena an edge.

azinna
Mar 22nd, 2007, 07:08 AM
Very good analysis, LDV. I'm not sure one can agree with every single detail (expected) but what I like about your last post is that it challenges the idea that great players in one era would invariably find a way to be great players in another. Your analysis prevents us from allowing Respect for legends to morph into Wishful Thinking.

For example, during ESPN's coverage of Indian Wells last week, Darren Cahill had a short interview with Rod Laver in the stands. He asked Laver how he thought he'd stack up against current players, what strategies he'd employ to win points, games, sets, matches.... The two-time Grand Slam champion, a great athlete in his time, replied that the current crop would probably kick their serves over his head. Cahill took the reply to be one part humour and another part modesty, but there was a good dose of reality mixed in. Laver was simply acknowledging that for some time (and I feel since the 1990s in particular) those gravitating to tennis as players have been much more impressive as physical specimens, gradually altering what it takes to be considered an outstanding athlete on the ATP or WTA. And folks have figured out ways to make athleticism count in every move and stroke on the court, so that any lack is exposed to such a degree as to effectively take certain talented players out of the point from the get-go, or always on the defensive, out of position, reaching, stretching or scrambling....

So I'm not actually sure that Navratilova's own athleticisim and physical gifts, both remarkable for the 1980s, wouldn't simply translate into a Mauresmo-like place in the contemporary hierarchy of champions. Amelie's best is nothing to sniff at, but it would lose more often than win against Serena's. And I don't think it's simply about balls, courts, training and technology, though these factors cannot be ignored.... But take this match back to the 1970s and 1980s, and I'm inclined to agree that Serena's own strength, quickness, athleticism and remarkable movement going in any direction from any part of the court would have had the sort of impact on the game that Margaret Court's did. The question would of course centre on the quality of her volleys, net coverage and overheads.

A bit off-topic: what about Venus playing in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Forced as a kid to develop a transition game and a taste for coming at every opportunity? My goodness....how consistently would Navratilova or even Evert be able to pass her?

Rollo
Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:54 PM
Clearly, you have never seen Steffi in person. Why does that not surprise me?

Well-clearly you're wrong, cause I saw them side by side at the Fed Cup in 1989 in Tokyo, and while Steffi was taller the difference wasn't that big.

Provided that Martina is really 5'8, that is a difference of at least two inches. Add Steffi's longer arms (wingspan) and it is no surprise to me from a physical standpoint why one developed a forehand like Steffi's and the other watched Steffi's forehand whiz by her at the net or in the backcourt.

Steffi watched plenty of volleys die in front of her too-or else their head to head wouldn't be tied at 9-9. Given that you could argue Martina was MORE gifted, as she had to do more with less (in your view).

And, yes, Martina is less "physically gifted" than Steffi. She is not anywhere near as fast or as quick over the whole court. She does not have the racquet speed off either side to hit a forehand like Steffi's or a slice backhand like Steffi's. Moreover, Martina does not have the muscular coordination to jump into her serve like Steffi and rotate her shoulders over the point of contact. Martina serves like most girls do, with a fully extended arm or a loop or hook at the top of her serve. In its fully-evolved form, Steffi's serve overcame that limitation such that at the top of the service motion it looked no different than Sampras'.

All of Martina's physical accomplishments on the court are based on brute strength and quick movement in a confined space (the net). Brute strength allowed her to muscle most volleys for stab winners. Quick movements in a confined space allowed her to dominate opponents who could not move well enough into our out of the forecourt.

Growing up with different racquet technology or having the benefit of modern training techniques would not have made Martina any more physically-gifted. Working with what she had, Martina would have had a problem hitting the ball hard because of her size, the loopiness of her swings, and her reliance more on brute force than natural racquet speed to produce pace. Working with what she had, Martina would have had a problem mounting a good defense against the hard hitters because she only had sufficient quickness over confined spaces like the net. When Steffi tested her side to side, Martina often couldn't cover well enough.

In a hypothetical matchup, under present circumstances, these are the things that would give Serena an edge.
__________________


Nice argument-love how Martina's abilities are described as "brute strength"-something one hears a lot with Serena. But again that fails to account for Martina's ability to stay even with Graf despite being over the hill at 30. And if you're aguing that Serena would push Martina around ....the same goes for Graf mon frere.

Philbo
Mar 23rd, 2007, 03:50 AM
Well-clearly you're wrong, cause I saw them side by side at the Fed Cup in 1989 in Tokyo, and while Steffi was taller the difference wasn't that big.



Steffi watched plenty of volleys die in front of her too-or else their head to head wouldn't be tied at 9-9. Given that you could argue Martina was MORE gifted, as she had to do more with less (in your view).



Nice argument-love how Martina's abilities are described as "brute strength"-something one hears a lot with Serena. But again that fails to account for Martina's ability to stay even with Graf despite being over the hill at 30. And if you're aguing that Serena would push Martina around ....the same goes for Graf mon frere.

Amen to that post Rollo

tonybotz
Mar 23rd, 2007, 03:54 AM
I stood next to graf once too, and to me she smelled like 50 years of repressed guilt.

trufanjay
Mar 23rd, 2007, 04:31 AM
Well that's obvious. Nav was considered one of the strongest women in her time.

However, using wood, strength doesn't really matter. Technique is much more important.

Further, you have no evidence that Serena was naturally stronger than Nav.
Consider these questions....

Was Martina using wood last year in doubles? Was she using wood a few years ago in singles when she lost to players ranked very low? How hard was she hitting the ball? How big were her serves? Did her strength compete with the likes of Serena, Lindsay and Venus?

Philbo
Mar 23rd, 2007, 05:02 AM
Consider these questions....

Was Martina using wood last year in doubles? Was she using wood a few years ago in singles when she lost to players ranked very low? How hard was she hitting the ball? How big were her serves? Did her strength compete with the likes of Serena, Lindsay and Venus?

Consider this question...

How old was Martina a few years ago when she did beat players ranked inside the top 30 in singles? 47.

Bringing up how she performed in the last few years is ridiculous. The thread is talking about PEAK Navratilova - Not 47 year old Navratilova.

trufanjay
Mar 23rd, 2007, 05:10 AM
Consider this question...

How old was Martina a few years ago when she did beat players ranked inside the top 30 in singles? 47.

Bringing up how she performed in the last few years is ridiculous. The thread is talking about PEAK Navratilova - Not 47 year old Navratilova.
My post has nothing to do with what you are saying. I was replying to someone who said that I had no evidence that Serena is more powerful than Martina because Martina used wood rackets. My post has nothing to do with performance.

Philbo
Mar 23rd, 2007, 06:22 AM
My post has nothing to do with what you are saying. I was replying to someone who said that I had no evidence that Serena is more powerful than Martina because Martina used wood rackets. My post has nothing to do with performance.
You talked about Martina's strength using todays racquets by saying look at her performance in doubles and in singles a few years ago.

Im saying that at 47, no player, no matter how incredible they are, is going to be as strong, or hit the ball as hard as they did when they were at their peak. So mentioning Martina playing doubles and singles recently and how hard/powerful she was is just irrelevant to the discussion because Martina in the past few years, was nowhere near the strength or speed she had at her peak.

LDVTennis
Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:16 AM
Well-clearly you're wrong, cause I saw them side by side at the Fed Cup in 1989 in Tokyo, and while Steffi was taller the difference wasn't that big.

Steffi watched plenty of volleys die in front of her too-or else their head to head wouldn't be tied at 9-9. Given that you could argue Martina was MORE gifted, as she had to do more with less (in your view).

Nice argument-love how Martina's abilities are described as "brute strength"-something one hears a lot with Serena. But again that fails to account for Martina's ability to stay even with Graf despite being over the hill at 30. And if you're aguing that Serena would push Martina around ....the same goes for Graf mon frere.

No, I am not wrong! But, since you are in such deep denial about everything having to do with Steffi, I suggest you look at the photos taken last year at the Wimbledon ceremony for past Ladies' champions. Either Martina shrank since you last saw her standing next to Steffi or Steffi has grown considerably since then. You'll note that Steffi is the tallest one in the group, even taller than Margaret Court.

As to the head to head record which you are so quick to brandish, you do understand that it only ended that way because Martina and Steffi only played 4 times after 1989. I know someone has tried to explain this to you before, but obviously you still don't get it. They split those last four meetings, with Graf winning their last meeting in 1994 in straight sets. In 1994, Martina was 37 and losing in straight sets to a Steffi Graf who would only reach her peak (by Steffi's own admission) in 1996.

During the period in question ('91 to '94), they never met on clay or grass, surfaces that would have favored Steffi. Yes, Steffi has a winning record against Martina on Martina's best surface (grass), having beaten her 2 out of 3 times at Wimbledon. Some have even made the argument that Martina avoided playing Steffi on clay (if not grass) during this period in order to keep their head to head record close or even.

As to what ultimately accounts for Martina's two wins against Steffi after 1988 when Steffi first began dominating the majors, here is something you also never seem to get. From 1988 (the Golden Slam year) to 1989, Steffi is 4-0 against Martina, including 2 wins at Wimbledon. After 1989, they play only 4 times. In an interview from the 1995 Lipton, Steffi said that from 1990 to 1994 she had lost her sense of purpose on the court. In other words, she was in a slump. During that period, in fact, she found herself losing to players she had beaten consistently from 1988 to 1989. Martina was one of those players. By 1994, however, Steffi, thanks to Heinz Gunthardt, had found her way again. Thus, she handily defeated Martina 6-2, 6-4, on carpet no less.

That was the last time they met. That is more than one year before Steffi reached the peak form of her career in 1996. If you ever care to see how Martina would have fared against a peak Steffi of 1996, take a look at Steffi's '96 Wimbledon Quarter vs. Novotna. On Grass, Novotna played a similar game as Martina. By 1996, Steffi had all the answers and more. It is a stunning display of tennis that shows Graf's full array of shots and strategic combinations, particularly against a serve and volley player. Some of us, of course, always got it. Some like you are still trying to figure out what happened.

As to how Graf would have fared against Serena, we don't need to guess really. We know for a fact how she fared against her in her less than peak physical and technical form of 1999. I happened to have a courtside view of their 1999 meeting at Indian Wells. Serena hardly pushed Graf around. Graf was a break up in the third set and probably would have won the match if she had been playing or thinking better. Whatever the case, what kept Graf competitive until 1999 was her point blank speed. Despite her knee injury, she never really lost that. On the other hand, Martina never had that kind of speed. Hard to see how she could have stayed in points against a peak Serena without Steffi-like speed.

serena_fan
Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:29 AM
Serena

bandabou
Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:33 AM
As to how Graf would have fared against Serena, we don't need to guess really. We know for a fact how she fared against her in her less than peak physical and technical form of 1999. I happened to have a courtside view of their 1999 meeting at Indian Wells. Serena hardly pushed Graf around. Graf was a break up in the third set and probably would have won the match if she had been playing or thinking better. Whatever the case, what kept Graf competitive until 1999 was her point blank speed. Despite her knee injury, she never really lost that. On the other hand, Martina never had that kind of speed. Hard to see how she could have stayed in points against a peak Serena without Steffi-like speed.

Wasn't peak Serena either...sidenote. Don't be too biased.

trufanjay
Mar 23rd, 2007, 01:22 PM
You talked about Martina's strength using todays racquets by saying look at her performance in doubles and in singles a few years ago.

Im saying that at 47, no player, no matter how incredible they are, is going to be as strong, or hit the ball as hard as they did when they were at their peak. So mentioning Martina playing doubles and singles recently and how hard/powerful she was is just irrelevant to the discussion because Martina in the past few years, was nowhere near the strength or speed she had at her peak.
But someone did mention that her serve was harder once she used modern rackets. All I'm saying is how powerful was she once she got the chance to use the modern equipment. Some people make it seem like she has been using wood for her entire career which is not true. Maybe I should have been more specific because Martina was using modern equipment before a few years ago correct?

Rollo
Mar 23rd, 2007, 02:32 PM
Posted by LVD Tennis No, I am not wrong! But, since you are in such deep denial about everything having to do with Steffi

Guess what LDV-it's not all about Steffi, great as she was. The thread is about Serena vs. Martina. Steffi only comes in as a reference point as a bridge that connects the two. And try as you might to explain it away, Steffi's head to head with both women is tied.

Since all you've ever done in the past is run Serena down the explanation for you jumping in here is obvious, Martina is a threat to Graf as the GOAT, and it gets your goat:)

repeat after me-it's not all about Steffi.,it's not all about....

Rollo
Mar 23rd, 2007, 02:48 PM
But someone did mention that her serve was harder once she used modern rackets. All I'm saying is how powerful was she once she got the chance to use the modern equipment. Some people make it seem like she has been using wood for her entire career which is not true. Maybe I should have been more specific because Martina was using modern equipment before a few years ago correct?

You're right TruFanJay-Martina did use metal for most of her career. I was using wood as a comparison point because it's the other extreme from wham-bam-thankyou-maam 2007, which obviously favors Serena because (drum rools please) Serena IS playing in 2007.

So to answer your question. Yes-everything in Martina's game got more powerful in the 1980s. But the racquets wern't as developed as they were today, and the game you watch if you see a 1985 Wimbledon final is evolution in progress.

That's the key word IMO, evolution. Until the conditions are the same we just know. Chew on this though--if tiny Justine Henin can generate the power she does why wouldn't Martina be able to do the same?

thrust
Mar 23rd, 2007, 02:50 PM
Court was the best player of her era, Martina the best of hers, Graf the best of hers, Serena the best of hers-end of discussion-lol!!

thrust
Mar 23rd, 2007, 02:58 PM
Rollo- Good point about little Justine being as powerful as she is. If she can generate such power certainly Martina N., using todays equipment, would have been even more powerful than Justine and very nearly as powerful as Serena. So much for the end of the discussion!

rjd1111
Mar 23rd, 2007, 02:59 PM
Hi there rjd1111:) I wasn't suggesting you or anyone in particular was dissing Martina, just pointing out a general trend. Like Chrissie-fan was writing, in a few years it will be Serena's turn to be dismissed as old and slow. I'll be around to defend her LOL :lol:

I agree 100%. Even if Martina WAS as powerful she'd still lose under those conditions, because serve and volley doesn't work today and Serena would exploit her sliced backhand.



It would slow down her serve by about 20 MPH, because she'd have to get in the first one in or Martina would be chipping and charging off her second serve. It would still be faster than Martina's serve, but then remember Martina is serving a tad slower because she is serving and volleying.




Remember that in 1978 "hitting harder" just doesn't pay off as much as today. The men of 1978 couldn't hit winners left and right, so I doubt Serena would do it the same as she does today.

As for "superior skills and physicality"-I'm not convinced the edge goes to Serena. Martina was just as intimidating as Serena and her conditioning was just as good.

"Skills" means a lot of things beyond power-like keeping the ball in court, hitting volleys and overheads.Serana does these things well by 2007 standards, but by 1978 wood standards she sucks the same way Martina's sliced backhand would suck in 2007.



Given the same chance she would adjust, but she wouldn't be the same player, would she, so we don't know.




Yeah, but remember that in "time warping" Martina forward or Serena backward Serena conditions are equal, so that takes away this advantage. If Martina was born in 1980 she'd be on average an extra inch taller look like Mauresmo and there goes your advantage. Taken another way, suppose Serena was born in 1956 like Martina was and odds are she's a bit shorter, etc.



Bet you're right about playing a power game. She didn't introduce it though-Helen Wills did. Helen Wills and Mo Connolly both hit the hell out of the ball from both sides. Helen had a serve like a man's and pissed off a lot of people by doing her own thing and partying, skipping minor events, and concentrating on majors. Sounds a LOT like Serena to me.


Of course in your Time-Warping, Altering of genetic make-up, dumbing down
abilities to make them equal anything is possible. But the way they are, and were, with what nature gave them Serena will win.

Rollo
Mar 23rd, 2007, 03:08 PM
Of course in your Time-Warping, Altering of genetic make-up, dumbing down
abilities to make them equal anything is possible. But the way they are, and were, with what nature gave them Serena will win.

Judging by your avatar you're non-biased rjd1111;)
I'll save this post just for you when Serena is in her late 40s and some tall 6' 2" amazon is taller, more powerful "the way she is"-LOL. Better hope Serena still has the best record of her era to protect her then, though it won't matter to some kid born in 2005 who has seen videos of Serena and is convinced she was good for her time but too slow and fat and nearly as powerful enough to deal with the "modern" great.

Chrissie-fan
Mar 23rd, 2007, 06:44 PM
Judging by your avatar you're non-biased rjd1111;)
I'll save this post just for you when Serena is in her late 40s and some tall 6' 2" amazon is taller, more powerful "the way she is"-LOL. Better hope Serena still has the best record of her era to protect her then, though it won't matter to some kid born in 2005 who has seen videos of Serena and is convinced she was good for her time but too slow and fat and nearly as powerful enough to deal with the "modern" great.
Question is of course if we're still talking about Martina and Serena if we're making them bigger or smaller, so I sort of understand rjd1111's problem with that point of your argument. But it's not necessary in my modest opinion. Martina's serve and volley game was ideally suited to the era she played in and Serena's power tennis is ideally suited to the game of today. I don't think that either one would have been as devastating in the others era, unless they made some significant changes to their game, although they probably would have done well. But whether either one would have been able to adapt to such a degree that they would end up at the very top is guesswork. The fact that they were/are great in their own era is not guesswork, we know that for a fact.;)

terjw
Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:48 PM
Question is of course if we're still talking about Martina and Serena if we're making them bigger or smaller, so I sort of understand rjd1111's problem with that point of your argument. But it's not necessary in my modest opinion. Martina's serve and volley game was ideally suited to the era she played in and Serena's power tennis is ideally suited to the game of today. I don't think that either one would have been as devastating in the others era, unless they made some significant changes to their game, although they probably would have done well. But whether either one would have been able to adapt to such a degree that they would end up at the very top is guesswork. The fact that they were/are great in their own era is not guesswork, we know that for a fact.;)

Well I don't really call Serena a great in her own era. She was great in 2002 and first half of 2003. But the rest of the time she's nowhere near to even being #1 let alone dominate, and since when has it been an earth shattering shock if she loses - like it was a big shock in 2002 when Justine won at RG - quickly avenged at Wimbledon. If she'd carried on like that or even dropped her level a just a little bit she would have been a great IMO.

Anyway leaving aside greatness. On peak - as if that's so important unless you can produce your peak a lot of the time. I agree at her peak Serena was pretty well unbeatable in 2002-2003.

And - on peak vs peak I totally agree with you. The whole argument is as stupid as saying a fighter pilot in a tornado in 2000 is better than a spitfire pilot im WW2 just by watching videos of what the pilots can do in their own respective aircraft. Pilot B has much more power. :rolleyes: Wow what a surprise. You can only begin to attempt to compare by asking what would pilot B have been like brought up in the WW2 era in the airforce with a spitfire and pilot A brought up in the 2000 era in the air force in a tornado. And so the time warp one player back or time warp the other player forward arguments are the only way to compare .. and then they'd be different players in their different era and we just will never know how the time-warped player would have been in another era. Comparing matches they play as a 47 year old or even at a younger age but at the end of their career is usually a dishonest way to make a comparison to favour the player you want.

Chrissie-fan
Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:17 PM
Well I don't really call Serena a great in her own era. She was great in 2002 and first half of 2003. But the rest of the time she's nowhere near to even being #1 let alone dominate, and since when has it been an earth shattering shock if she loses - like it was a big shock in 2002 when Justine won at RG - quickly avenged at Wimbledon. If she'd carried on like that or even dropped her level a just a little bit she would have been a great IMO.
Well, I guess that depends on one's personal opinion about what signifies greatness. Serena isn't winning tournaments week in, week out like other greats such as Court, Evert, Navratilova or Graf. The increased physical demands and the resulting injuries make that virtually impossible today, unless your name is Federer, but maybe the male body can absorb more punishment (???). But Serena's resume is the most impressive (so far) among players of her era, to me that means she's a great player. Besides, she ain't done yet. It's entirely possible that Serena will have won more than 10 slams by the time she retires. If so she has earned her place in the tier 1 group of ATG's in my opinion.

Apoleb
Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:26 PM
And - on peak vs peak I totally agree with you. The whole argument is as stupid as saying a fighter pilot in a tornado in 2000 is better than a spitfire pilot im WW2 just by watching videos of what the pilots can do in their own respective aircraft. Pilot B has much more power. :rolleyes: Wow what a surprise. You can only begin to attempt to compare by asking what would pilot B have been like brought up in the WW2 era in the airforce with a spitfire and pilot A brought up in the 2000 era in the air force in a tornado. And so the time warp one player back or time warp the other player forward arguments are the only way to compare .. and then they'd be different players in their different era and we just will never know how the time-warped player would have been in another era. Comparing matches they play as a 47 year old or even at a younger age but at the end of their career is usually a dishonest way to make a comparison to favour the player you want.

Yeah, sums it up. It's a pointless discussion. If this is about whose game can be appreciated more (respective to their times) then it would be understandable, but not the "who'll win at their peak if they played in this era or that bla bla bla." Like seriously, who fucking knows!

Steffica Greles
Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:32 PM
unless your name is Federer, but maybe the male body can absorb more punishment (???).

Don't :drool:

Federer has a fiiiiine body. I can see his pecs through his t-shirt.

<pause>

Yes, anyway. No, I agree, I think much of the problem over the past 7 years in particular, but actually going back as far as perhaps the late 1980s (think of all the injuries which caught up with Graf by her early 20s), is that women hit the ball hard at the expense of their bodies. The Williams sisters did themselves much damage, and in following their lead, so did the rest of the tour. All of the other prodigious players of this decade have suffered greatly: Hingis, Clijsters, Henin, Mauresmo, Capriati, Davenport, Pierce. Only Sharapova is yet to sustain serious injuries, although we know she's had many niggles.

Was there ever evidence any more stark?

bandabou
Mar 24th, 2007, 11:06 AM
Well I don't really call Serena a great in her own era. She was great in 2002 and first half of 2003. But the rest of the time she's nowhere near to even being #1 let alone dominate, and since when has it been an earth shattering shock if she loses - like it was a big shock in 2002 when Justine won at RG - quickly avenged at Wimbledon. If she'd carried on like that or even dropped her level a just a little bit she would have been a great IMO.

Anyway leaving aside greatness. On peak - as if that's so important unless you can produce your peak a lot of the time. I agree at her peak Serena was pretty well unbeatable in 2002-2003.

And - on peak vs peak I totally agree with you. The whole argument is as stupid as saying a fighter pilot in a tornado in 2000 is better than a spitfire pilot im WW2 just by watching videos of what the pilots can do in their own respective aircraft. Pilot B has much more power. :rolleyes: Wow what a surprise. You can only begin to attempt to compare by asking what would pilot B have been like brought up in the WW2 era in the airforce with a spitfire and pilot A brought up in the 2000 era in the air force in a tornado. And so the time warp one player back or time warp the other player forward arguments are the only way to compare .. and then they'd be different players in their different era and we just will never know how the time-warped player would have been in another era. Comparing matches they play as a 47 year old or even at a younger age but at the end of their career is usually a dishonest way to make a comparison to favour the player you want.

and if Serena with all her 8 majors ( most of any active player , save Seles), career-slam, 4 in a row,etc.. isn't a great. Who's then? Juju? :rolleyes: