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Steffica Greles
Apr 9th, 2008, 02:10 AM
Suzanne Lenglen: Through her combination of dominance and natural chic, she brought attention to women's tennis before the 1920s, and through her success and the respect she earned, she engendered an acceptance of women showing their ankles for sporting purposes! Her match against Dorothea Lambert-Chambers in Edwardian times, when Mrs Lambert-Chambers sweated against the young upstart in a long skirt dragging across the floor, with raised-heeled boots, is an iconic moment in the history of women's sport.

Helen Wills-Moody: Another player who, in the late 1920s and early 30s, reached a level of dominance no player in the last fifty years has paralleled. She was, so they say, the first woman to play power tennis. Her groundstrokes could - shock! - regularly fly the length of the court, and she would pound her opponents into submission with her relentless barrage of artillery. She was also a mean competitor, who held her opponents in contempt whilst on the court.

Alice Marble: They say she was the first female champion to play 'like a man': she was a multi-championship-winning exponent of serve-and-volley in the 1930s.

Maureen Connolly: While her game did not introduce anything new, her place in the game's history will always be prominent because of the level of dominance she reached before her 20th birthday. She was the first woman to win the 'grandslam', and by the age of 19 had already won 9 grandslam titles. Therefore not only was she the first to hold all four championships at once, she also set a benchmark for teenage champions, demonstrating what could be achieved by young, still-soft bones.

Althea Gibson: She overcame racial discrimination, at the age of 30, to show the world that she was a champion. She ignored the tennis establishment and, through her success, rather like Lenglen, forced it to accept her owed to her undeniable talent and ability. She paved the way not only for Venus and Serena, but arguably even for unconventional white athletes who post-dated her, by showing the tennis world that aptitude cannot be stymied by bigotry.

Margaret Court (nee Smith): Was the first woman to pump iron, and to bring a raw, imposing type of athleticism to women's tennis, with her height and the length of her arms.

Billie-Jean King: On a political level, any player today will talk about how none of their wealth and fame would be possible without the leadership she showed in promoting the sport thirty years ago. Her battle of the sexes, against Bobby Riggs, proved that a woman could beat a man, and that women were not physically inept and could be taken seriously as athletes. Had she lost that match, and wilted under the pressure, as Court had done, the result for women's tennis could have been disastrous. She had the whole of women's tennis on her shoulders and she succeeded.

Chris Evert: The proto-type for almost all of today's players. Chris was the first player to utilize the double-handed backhand. Within a decade, the shot was commonplace, and by c1990, it dominated. Chris also proved that, in modern tennis, feminine women who were not natural athletes could reach fitness levels they never thought possible with hard work and determination.

Martina Navratilova: Took fitness and power to unprecedented levels in the 1980s with her dedication to fitness and nutrition. Her service action was similar to that of a man (unlike Evert, for example) and the reflexes she showed at the net had the potential to
wow even the most chauvinistic of males: women's tennis was no longer a gentle walk in the park.

Steffi Graf: Steffi was the first woman to truly utilize the racket technology to its most devastating effect. By c1984, Evert and Navratilova was ensconced at the top of women's tennis, without any real challengers. They were never going to take risks with their game. Graf, however, was only 13 or 14. She struck her forehand with a thrust and a velocity that no woman had ever demonstrated, and by 1987 she was as close to being invincible as any woman has ever gone.

Graf was also an athlete who covered the court quite possibly better than any woman ever has, and again, she set a benchmark in that area. She was also the first to hit a sliced backhand as an aggressive shot; her underspun balls sometimes almost used to burrow a hole in the court. Lastly, she proved that a litany of injuries can be overcome with hard work and dedication. In all of those areas, Graf set a standard for posterity.

Monica Seles: Seles was the first woman to play with a menacing intensity. True, Austin and Evert had both brought unbreakable concentration to the court, but Seles was just vicious, and when she decided to open her shoulders and let rip, her eyes almost popped out of their sockets in rage. As Graf once said, she 'hit the ball like she meant it', and she was the first player who seemed to survive purely on adrenaline. She wasn't a great althlete, and nor was she the fittest, but she had boundless reserves of spirit. I think that was one of the reasons she captured the hearts of so many.

Seles was also the first player to truly launch herself into a shot, and to do so from both sides. Today, so many baseliners with equal ferocity from both sides. Graf's forehand, crushing though it was, was a very rhythmic shot, but Seles seemed to thrust her entire upper body, from a low centre of gravity, into each shot. We see that trend in so many of our injury-plagued players of today, who pulverize their own bodies, just as Seles did. The level of physical exertion - and exhalation - Seles brought to women's tennis in the 1990s was something that inspired all of the highly physical styles of all of the current protagonists of women's tennis.

Martina Hingis: I think Hingis proved that it was not sufficient to be a great athlete, or to hit with immense power: the combination was what was needed to defeat her. Her dissection of Mary Pierce in winning her first grandslam title proved that a player who was slow off the mark was no match for her. Her dominance in 1997 forced both Davenport to improve her movement, and the Williams sisters to channel the skills they both had at their finger tips into an effective game plan. They also realised that, such was the quality of her return, they needed to use their phyisical advantage over her to improve the potency of their serves.

Before Hingis reached number one, an aggressive player was most often a big-hitter from both sides with poor movement (i.e Pierce, Seles, Davenport) with an average serve, a great athlete who played serve-and-volley, or perhaps one with one big shot, but who played a more strategic type of tennis, like Graf did on the backhand.

It was the response to Hingis in 1997 that resulted in what is now known as 'big babe' tennis reaching mass production level. It was the only winning formula against a great obstacle.

Venus and Serena Williams: They kind of came at the same time, or nearly enough, so it's difficult to separate their impact. And I'm tired of writing!

I think it's safe to say that they took strength, athleticism and raw power to even greater heights.

Henin?...Sharapova? Did THEY take the game forward in any way? I'll leave that for others to debate!!

(P.S I'm sure I've forgotten a few, so don't berate me, and excuse typos.)

esquímaux
Apr 9th, 2008, 02:44 AM
Mattek: Role model fashionista

Henin: Tenacious hauber man with an undying passion for fashion

Serena: Enlightened tennis that real women have curves...and u-turns...and speedbumps

J.Bravo
Apr 9th, 2008, 02:46 AM
I would add Davenport 78% of the tour replicated her ground strokes.

DOUBLEFIST
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:38 AM
I would add Davenport 78% of the tour replicated her ground strokes.

Forehand, arguably, but not necessarily the backhand. Though Davey's bh is great, she doesn't open her stance to the degree a lot of the girls do today unless she absolutely has to.

homogenius
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:41 AM
You forgot Bartoli.

G1Player2
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:42 AM
You forgot Bartoli.

:lol:

s_j
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:22 AM
Where's Brie?!

Golovinjured.
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:09 AM
I'd be inclined to include Anna Kournikova, she wasn't the greatest player I know... well... DUH! But in my opinion she definately changed the game.

People were more inclined to see her as a celebrity who played tennis, rather than a tennis player. With Kournikova's presence, tennis transformed into a sport familiarised with pop culture and the modern day celebrity. She was the pioneer in a flock of tennis femmes to be apart of pop culture and very expensive sponsorships, and without her I highly doubt that the endorsements and exposure would be so extreme for the tennis 'IT' girls of today.. Williams Sisters, Sharapova, Ivanovic..

kittyking
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:23 AM
Brie Whitehead: Gave us all hope of one day getting a Wta ranking :angel:

Golovinjured.
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:33 AM
Brie Whitehead: Gave us all hope of one day getting a Wta ranking :angel:

:lol: When I seen that you had posted in this thread I was afraid you were going to say Marina Erakovic ;)

Slutiana
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Brie Whitehead: Gave us all hope of one day getting a Wta ranking :angel:
You're a guy, :haha:

kittyking
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:38 AM
:lol: When I seen that you had posted in this thread I was afraid you were going to say Marina Erakovic ;)

Marina Erakovic has a changed tennis

......she was the first lady ever to wear boy scout shorts while playing tennis :angel: (okay so thats not nearly as big as Martinas achievements, but it rivals that of Anna K's)

kittyking
Apr 9th, 2008, 09:41 AM
You're a guy, :haha:

Okay I'll do the list

Brie Whitehead: Gave the every day women the hope of one day getting a Wta ranking
Marion Bartoli: Gave larger women the hope of reaching a Wimbledon final
Amelie Mauresmo: Gave the every day man the hope of one day winning Wimbledon

:angel:

Slutiana
Apr 9th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Okay I'll do the list

Brie Whitehead: Gave the every day women the hope of one day getting a Wta ranking
Marion Bartoli: Gave larger women the hope of reaching a Wimbledon final
Amelie Mauresmo: Gave the every day man the hope of one day winning Wimbledon

:angel:
:worship:

Olórin
Apr 9th, 2008, 10:24 AM
Martina Hingis: I think Hingis proved that it was not sufficient to be a great athlete, or to hit with immense power: the combination was what was needed to defeat her. Her dissection of Mary Pierce in winning her first grandslam title proved that a player who was slow off the mark was no match for her. Her dominance in 1997 forced both Davenport to improve her movement, and the Williams sisters to channel the skills they both had at their finger tips into an effective game plan. They also realised that, such was the quality of her return, they needed to use their phyisical advantage over her to improve the potency of their serves.


I don't think what you've said here is anything new that Hingis brought to the game. Chris Evert showed first of all that you could succeed without being the best athlete or hit with immense power. I agree that her dominance forced Davenport to improve her movement and Venus to play a better game against her, but I think these are effects that touch a few contemporary rivals rather than the whole evolution of women's tennis. Also, these are changes Davenport and Venus might have had to make even if Hingis had never been. Suffice to say I'm not convinced she changed the game.

Also Seles is the pioneer of power tennis, but I think we can link Venus and Serena to her as then taking it to the next level again, bringing in the athleticism and making the seve such a huge factor. There are just SO MANY great athletes these days and nearly EVERYONE hits hard. I think this is evidence of the Seles-Williams approach to tennis. Also in another vein, Chris Evert - Anna Kournikova - Williams Sisters - and to a lesser extent Maria Sharapova all changed not the game, but the image of women's tennis by their broad universal appeal as female sports stars and beyond into the celebrity world. I think the Williams sisters in particular have brought people into tennis who otherwise might not have cared about it.

Philbo
Apr 9th, 2008, 10:55 AM
I dont think Steffi changed the game. Her backhand slice wasnt exactly copied by a whole new generation of players. Steffi was a devastating player, however nothing she did in her career really revolutionised the game imo.
I agree Steffi had great movement around the court - but her movement was only side to side. She rarely came to net - when it comes to giving kudos for court coverage, I think you really need to highlight the movement of players who have to move left right, AND forwards and backwards to and from the net - thats true court coverage and noone moved better around the court in my experience than Martina Navratilova.

Steffica Greles
Apr 9th, 2008, 11:09 AM
I dont think Steffi changed the game. Her backhand slice wasnt exactly copied by a whole new generation of players. Steffi was a devastating player, however nothing she did in her career really revolutionised the game imo.
I agree Steffi had great movement around the court - but her movement was only side to side. She rarely came to net - when it comes to giving kudos for court coverage, I think you really need to highlight the movement of players who have to move left right, AND forwards and backwards to and from the net - thats true court coverage and noone moved better around the court in my experience than Martina Navratilova.

I've never seen a player quicker to reach a drop shot than Steffi.

Graf was the first player to really wallop a shot as if she did not intend the rally to continue. Up until that point, groundstrokes had been hit as if they were part of a strategical game.

I think that's something you're overlooking there. Graf showed other women that a ball could be struck from the baseline that would just obliterate opponents. No woman had done that before her. Evert's backhand was a great shot, but she'd used it mainly for attrition, to wear her opponents down and pin them back.

Had Graf not struck her forehand with the thrust that she did, there might not have been a Seles. It's interesting to watch Seles of 1989 moonballing a great deal. To capture her first grandslam in 1990, Seles was forced to step up the pace of her own groundstrokes.

Steffica Greles
Apr 9th, 2008, 11:11 AM
Nice list though I'm not sure about Hingis there. I think you could call her more of an anomaly in that she was very successful in a period when the big-hitters were beginning to come into their own - although that's just my opinion of course! :)

Maybe you could add Kournikova to the list. Not in terms of tennis technicalities as she played similarly to Hingis, but she was kind of the pioneer in exposing the Tour to individual player endorsements and celebrity. If it were not for Anna, today's players like Sharapova, Ivanovic and Vaidisova probably wouldn't get nearly as much in terms of off-court endorsements.

I'm more interested in technical/strategic/athletic evolution as opposed to symbolic, cosmetic change. That's why I'm not remotely interested in Kournikova.

homogenius
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:04 PM
I'm more interested in technical/strategic/athletic evolution as opposed to symbolic, cosmetic change. That's why I'm not remotely interested in Kournikova.

lol

DA FOREHAND
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:23 PM
I dont think Steffi changed the game. Her backhand slice wasnt exactly copied by a whole new generation of players. Steffi was a devastating player, however nothing she did in her career really revolutionised the game imo.
I agree Steffi had great movement around the court - but her movement was only side to side. She rarely came to net - when it comes to giving kudos for court coverage, I think you really need to highlight the movement of players who have to move left right, AND forwards and backwards to and from the net - thats true court coverage and noone moved better around the court in my experience than Martina Navratilova.

What other female players, controlled the court w/their forehand, Inside out forehands.


How many played with a ball in their hand?:lol:

Steffi Graf, definetly changed the game.

As for your assertion that no other players adopted her game? How many could?

bwahahahahaha
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:28 PM
How about a thread about people who changed the game, or more like history? I'll start, Gunther Parche. :mad:

Direwolf
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:42 PM
nice thread...

but some of them are really crap
some of them didnt change tennis at all

Venus brought the bashbash tennis

then Venus and Serena changed the game
in 2002
that raised the bar so freaking high
that everyone tried to hit harder and run
for more shots

kwilliams
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:43 PM
I don't think what you've said here is anything new that Hingis brought to the game. Chris Evert showed first of all that you could succeed without being the best athlete or hit with immense power. I agree that her dominance forced Davenport to improve her movement and Venus to play a better game against her, but I think these are effects that touch a few contemporary rivals rather than the whole evolution of women's tennis. Also, these are changes Davenport and Venus might have had to make even if Hingis had never been. Suffice to say I'm not convinced she changed the game.

Also Seles is the pioneer of power tennis, but I think we can link Venus and Serena to her as then taking it to the next level again, bringing in the athleticism and making the seve such a huge factor. There are just SO MANY great athletes these days and nearly EVERYONE hits hard. I think this is evidence of the Seles-Williams approach to tennis. Also in another vein, Chris Evert - Anna Kournikova - Williams Sisters - and to a lesser extent Maria Sharapova all changed not the game, but the image of women's tennis by their broad universal appeal as female sports stars and beyond into the celebrity world. I think the Williams sisters in particular have brought people into tennis who otherwise might not have cared about it.

That's true for me!

kwilliams
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:47 PM
What other female players, controlled the court w/their forehand, Inside out forehands.


How many played with a ball in their hand?:lol:

Steffi Graf, definetly changed the game.

As for your assertion that no other players adopted her game? How many could?

I do that! I didn't realise that she did that too though.

Sean.
Apr 9th, 2008, 03:57 PM
I am bias but I think you can include Henin. When she first started out she was 'the litle girl with the backahnd'. She used to scamper around defending until she could run round the forhand to hit a backhand. However through sheer hard work and dedication she has done what many may have considered impossible. Improved her serve, volleys, forehand, movement...so they are now among the very best on tour. With the mould of tennis players becoming bigger and more powerful she proved that a little girl can compete up their and beat them all.

Mr. Magassi
Apr 9th, 2008, 04:11 PM
I think it was Seles and Capriati who ushered in the power game in women's tennis (esp. from both sides)...

DA FOREHAND
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:13 PM
I am bias but I think you can include Henin....

LOL


thre you go working with no tools again

Steffica Greles
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:33 PM
I think it was Seles and Capriati who ushered in the power game in women's tennis (esp. from both sides)...

Capriati? I don't think so, fine physical specimen and hitter of the tennis ball as she was.

If you watch Jennifer in the early 1990s, she's basically a carbon copy of Chris Evert, though far less steady, but with a more aggressive forehand.

I don't think she added anything.

Steffica Greles
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:36 PM
What other female players, controlled the court w/their forehand, Inside out forehands.


How many played with a ball in their hand?:lol:

That was actually really common at one time. Watch footage prior to the 1980s.

For some reason, one-handed players stopped doing it. It was probably because opening the palm helps to maintain balance, and as the game grew more reactive and physical,
balance became more important.

Tennisstar86
Apr 9th, 2008, 06:55 PM
I'd be inclined to include Anna Kournikova, she wasn't the greatest player I know... well... DUH! But in my opinion she definately changed the game.

People were more inclined to see her as a celebrity who played tennis, rather than a tennis player. With Kournikova's presence, tennis transformed into a sport familiarised with pop culture and the modern day celebrity. She was the pioneer in a flock of tennis femmes to be apart of pop culture and very expensive sponsorships, and without her I highly doubt that the endorsements and exposure would be so extreme for the tennis 'IT' girls of today.. Williams Sisters, Sharapova, Ivanovic..

I disagree with that... I mean Kournikova was a nice face which is why she got a big endorsement... but the Williams sisters became Celebrities in their own right. appearing on talk shows and red carpets...

Especially Serena, her big endorsement had much more to do with her character/ dress/ look than Kournikova...

Anyways it was a natural progression really.... Davenport had a decent sized endorsement. the new star Venus got an even bigger endorsement that eclipsed Davenports. The next new star Serena got and even bigger Endorsement that eclipsed Venus' and then Sharapova got the next big one.... I really dont think Kournikova had anything to do with them.. I just blame inflation

QUEENLINDSAY
Apr 9th, 2008, 08:37 PM
Lindsay revolutionized power and placement together. also her groundstrokes has been referenced to most up and coming players.

G-Ha
Apr 9th, 2008, 08:38 PM
I dont think Steffi changed the game. Her backhand slice wasnt exactly copied by a whole new generation of players. Steffi was a devastating player, however nothing she did in her career really revolutionised the game imo.
I agree Steffi had great movement around the court - but her movement was only side to side. She rarely came to net - when it comes to giving kudos for court coverage, I think you really need to highlight the movement of players who have to move left right, AND forwards and backwards to and from the net - thats true court coverage and noone moved better around the court in my experience than Martina Navratilova.

steffi did change the game. you focus on her slice backhand and movement, but then ignore the obvious which is the forehand. circa '85-'86, when steffi really began her assault on the rankings, audiences actually gasped when they first caught sight of the forehand because it was struck with such pace and ferocity, the likes of which had not been seen. she was the first aggressive baseliner, who actually played an attacking baseline game, which of course, most of the tour now employs.

a whole generation may not have copied her slice, but some did copy her game completely with a bit of success (spirlea, studenikova) while many others followed her overall game style by fashioning their games around the forehand. prior to steffi, few if any players on the women's side ran around the backhand as much as she did to hit the forehand. now we see that quite frequently on both the men's and women's side. we rightfully credit seles's influence on game style even though the vast majority of players didn't copy her exactly by using a two-handed forehand. thus, even though the slice is used sparingly, credit is also due steffi for her influence on overall game style which we still see in action today.

metamorpha
Apr 10th, 2008, 05:39 AM
Hmm, I agree Steffi did change the game on global scale, not her particular unique style but her aggressive baseline game and overpowering forehand.

Monica also changed the game with her relentless spirit, loud grunts and "all out" groundstrokes but not that rapidly until Williamses helped spreading the trend. Sharapova is a player who utilized the trend to the maximum. Fist pumping, yelling, screaming to intimidate.

I believe Williamses game are influenced by these two players. Physically and mentally.

Williamses themselves changed the game to what happen nowadays. Lots of big and tall muscular babes, booming serve and women tennis are more injury prone than ever! No more five setters.

Hingis may or may not change the game.

But she has 1997 period and a significant role by becoming a victim of power players. Hingis is a proof that tennis needs to change (to power game), then new upcoming players have no option but to follow (or adopt) the new change. Example: Henin.

Some of them were successful while others weren't. Clijsters and Capriati eventually burned out, like Hingis. :)

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
Apr 10th, 2008, 06:46 AM
I've always thought that Steffi was the first player to really bring about power tennis with her big forehand. Monica continued the progression of power with her two handed groundies on both wings, and it went from there.

I feel that Chrissie Evert was essential in bringing the pro women's game to the masses here in the US and around the world. Billie Jean and Gladys and the other 8 women built the car, but Chrissie was the first to successfully drive it.

Chris was one of the first women athletes in any sport to not only be respected as a tiger on the court, but also someone that people were interested in knowing about in the gossip pages. She also was amongst the first female athletes to be considered a "sex symbol." To this day, I'm surprised at the number of men who continue to admit in various articles and blogs, etc., how "hot" they were for Chrissie in their youth.