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louloubelle
Feb 25th, 2003, 01:08 PM
OK I have been reading some of the Greatest Ever threads in GM... some lists with amusement mind you... (Mo Connolley no. 16 ppfff) and so I thought I would try to set some greatest ever criteria. (with the help of you guys ofcourse)
It does annoy me when people just do the 'numbers game' or the 'I can't see past my fave game' and don't consider other factors.

Anyway (in no particular order of importance at the moment) heres some criteria that could define the greatest ever.

1- no. of slam titles
2- no. of important non-slam titles
3- depth of competition during the era of dominance
( I tread carefully here because I beleive most eras had a good number of challengers at one time)
4- longivity of dominance and career
Includes time at no. 1 or at the top. If a short time... why???
5- playing restrictions - was the player hindered by travel, association politics, wars, race i.e. Althea Gibson.
6- How did the player react to serious challengers to her mantle.
7- Any hardships to get to, or, stay at, the top.
How did the player rise there. How did they respond to personal hardships during their careers? Injuries during career.
8- Other special acheivements within a single year.
Grand slam, golden slam, winning percentages in a year, number of tournament wins in a year etc...
9- Relevance of slams at the time
Were all the grand slams the 'be all and end all' during the players career. Eg. At one stage the Virginia Slims tour took precedence over the Oz Open, players missed the French for WTT or tour ending finals were more important than both the French and Oz.
10- Legacy to the game
Did the player leave a mark on the game. Chris with her two-hander, BJK for equality for woman players, Martina's fitness, the power game etc...

I'm leaving doubles out. It throws in another variable.....

SSSoooooo many variables, and therefore I will be a basket case to ever come up with a proper list. But it's good to research further than the numbers game... and maybe even prove that with so many variables it's impossible to come up with a list.

Please give me your feedback, additions and even rank the above criteria in order of importance.

:)

Gallofa
Feb 25th, 2003, 01:36 PM
Well, this is a tough issue :p

We all have our rankings, and like to twist them a bit throwing in other variables to include our favourites or move them up or down the list ;)

To me:

1. Total No. of Grand Slams (singles)

That is the definying thing - specially for players whithin the same generation. Exceptions to this rule:

1A. The Australian Open case. For many years, this was not a GS per se. With only the Australians playing it, and considered smaller than say, the Virginia Slims for instance. But generally, you would had to consider each player individually. I think each of Steffi Graf GS count as 1 GS, but for almost everyone before her, specific considerations could be taken into account... disposablehero came up once with a ranking of points to determine greatness that was based on this idea. Not sure if it was on this board or in the other.

In the case where players have won the same No. of GS, specially if from more or less the same generation, such as the case of Majoli, Sabatini, Martinez or Novotna for instance is where I would consider other factors, the ones you talk about.

In ranking order:
- Being No.1 at some point.
- Higher ranking achieved (figure, not how many players and how many matches away from a better ranking the player was). Longetivy at the top (top10 years). Longevity of a competitive career.
- Number of other titles won in the career.
- Doubles: IMO, being a great in dubs counts a lot. To succed in dubs and in singles means the player was a true great. More matches, more competitive spirit.
- Other achievements: Fed Cup titles, Olympic success.
- All this subjective stuff about life hardships. That's one very tough issue to categorise (no. 6, 7 on your list)

irma
Feb 25th, 2003, 01:52 PM
where is the most important one? do I like the player or do I think she is a bitch :p

irma
Feb 25th, 2003, 01:57 PM
if you go on doubles though was steffi at her most great in 86 then? lol;)

Gandalf
Feb 25th, 2003, 02:51 PM
Louloubelle,

I agree with most of your choices, but I'm not sure if you can quite quantify the 'depth' of the competition. I think the depth depends actually on the parity between the top players, so you could argue that in '98 and '99 there was more depth (that is, more serious candidates at the Slams) than in 2002. But I'm not sure if the level of the competition is bigger or not.

Re: the doubles issue, being great in singles and doubles is better, IMO, than being great in singles and bad in doubles. But there are some top players who didn't play much doubles (like Graf and Seles) but were good when the did it (specially Graf). So I'm not sure if you should put that in the mix.

You could also include mental toughness, ability to close out matches and save match points, etc. But overall I think it's going to average with the results: a more talented player without mental toughness may have the same results than an average player who is mentally tough.

It's like the Novotna/S. Vicario debate: i think that Novotna was way more talented than Arantxa, but Arantxa was much more accomplished. If you want to measure who was the greatest player, you would probably have to say Arantxa based on results AND taking into account that she was stronger mentally than Jana. It all depends on the parameters you consider.

BCP
Feb 25th, 2003, 04:05 PM
Great thread Louloubelle, and I'm sure it'll be one to get everyone going.

I like most of what has been mentioned already. JMHO, but I think that there are a lot of room for subjective judgments in some of your criteria, like hardships and legacy, which sort of makes it hard. I also agree with what you and Gallofa mentioned about the majors.

Being a bit of an organised and practical soul, I thought that I would offer the following for comment.


To get into the GREATS club:

* number of GS titles
* weeks ranked at number 1
* number of Year end Championships
* total number of titles won
* number of tier 1 tourneys won
* career % matches won/lost


To seperate the GREATS from the greats

* unique records like holding a Grand Slam, 125 consecutive victories on a particluar surface;) , number of consecutive matches won etc etc

* record in the majors, ie how many finals, SF, QF, 1st round losses

* has the person won tournaments on all surfaces, or are tournament victories weighted on one surface

* doubles record......I personally think that this is very important, not for the actual titles won, but for the physical and emotional toll that playing 2 or 3 events in the one tournament takes. I think that a person who wins 2 or 3 events at a grandslam deserves more recognition than a singles GS winner who only entered the GS singles


To seperate the GREATS from the greats from the goods

* intangibles like level of competition, racism/homophobia, etc, travel restrictions, level of dominence etc.

I think that covers it..............

Gallofa
Feb 25th, 2003, 04:13 PM
Yes, Gandalf, but the thing is that "talent" might not be that hard to evaluate if you see the players play. I agree that Novotna was more talented than Arantxa, since I have seen both of them play, but was Lili Alvarez (20's player) more talented than Arantxa? I have no way of knowing, maybe she was, but I can only look at their records.

Talent is one of those subjetive things. Because isn't making the most of what you have talent too?

Great post, BCP, you have some in there that I forgot :D

irma
Feb 25th, 2003, 04:36 PM
talent doesn't say much. it's how you use what you have.

when you have two persons in school

1 does nothing then maybe reading it over one time and get's an A anyway
another person works his ass off and also gets an A

then I call the achievement of the second one greater!

Grafiati
Feb 25th, 2003, 05:58 PM
This has no business in this thread... except for the fact that you people FIT THE CRITERIA :) for being more grounded people than in other forums! My question: what is the best way to go for Roland Garros tickets? Send an e-mail/fax/what to the FFT? Thanks :cool:
And as for this debate... don't EVEN throw in names and try to calculate point totals if you want things to be calm ;)
I think talent does not count in the greatest ever debate, personally, as talent is an internal, static quality that needs to be put into play for it to "count".
:)

Colin B
Feb 25th, 2003, 07:01 PM
One of the main criteria for me is a player's 'all-round' abilities.
To qualify as a Great, a player must be/have been equally at home at the net as the base line, on clay as grass, power shots or 'touch', singles, doubles, mixed doubles etc, etc. - the perfect all-rounder.

This is perhaps the only criteria that allows you to 'span the eras'.

BCP
Feb 26th, 2003, 07:41 AM
I respectfully disagree with you ColinB.

I think that results should be a primary consideration for greatness rather than being an all court player. For example, even the most devoted Chris Evert fan could not claim that she was much of a net player, yet I think that everyone would agree that she is higher on the greatness-o-meter than say Hana Mandlikova, who is a much better all court player. Chris is also a much better singles player than doubles player, so would this disqualify her from the greatness list?

Equally I would disagree with your contention that a great player must be equally comfortable on all surfaces. For example Martina Navratilova is far more comfortable on grass than she is on clay, where as Martina Hingis is probably more equally comfortable on all surfaces.......who is greater?

JMHO.

louloubelle
Feb 26th, 2003, 08:57 AM
Too right I think it covers it!!! Great post BCP.

Just to touch on Colin's post I feel that Steffi and Seles had something that the Martinas and Courts didn't have. The ability to crack a winner from midcourt. Martina and Mags needed to push forward to finish a short ball. Steffi and Monica didn't volley much because they had this talent. So for all-round ability it sort of levels itself out. Therefore you can still sort of call them all-courters... wel nearly!!

Originally posted by BCP
Great thread Louloubelle, and I'm sure it'll be one to get everyone going.

I like most of what has been mentioned already. JMHO, but I think that there are a lot of room for subjective judgments in some of your criteria, like hardships and legacy, which sort of makes it hard. I also agree with what you and Gallofa mentioned about the majors.


As you said the hardship part comes when it is practically impossible to separate players. I would never use it to extrapolate a players achievements like a Seles or a Gibson etc... and say: because they had some hardship then if this didn't occur they would've won 6 more graand slam titles. You eventually have to work with what has happened in their careers, not what could've been.

Originally posted by BCP

Being a bit of an organised and practical soul, I thought that I would offer the following for comment.


Yes it's alot better than the spaghetti I put forth :D

Originally posted by BCP


To get into the GREATS club:

* number of GS titles
* weeks ranked at number 1
* number of Year end Championships
* total number of titles won
* number of tier 1 tourneys won
* career % matches won/lost

It's definitely a mixture of all these. I too would use this to separate the great from the good. But as you have done, I wouldn't judge entirely on this criteria either.

Originally posted by BCP

To seperate the GREATS from the greats

* unique records like holding a Grand Slam, 125 consecutive victories on a particluar surface;) , number of consecutive matches won etc etc

* record in the majors, ie how many finals, SF, QF, 1st round losses

* has the person won tournaments on all surfaces, or are tournament victories weighted on one surface

A difficult one for players pre-open particularlywhen at one stage 3 slams were played on grass. But for nowadays very applicable.

Originally posted by BCP

* doubles record......I personally think that this is very important, not for the actual titles won, but for the physical and emotional toll that playing 2 or 3 events in the one tournament takes. I think that a person who wins 2 or 3 events at a grandslam deserves more recognition than a singles GS winner who only entered the GS singles


I have a theory on this!!!!! I'll post on another reply!!!!

Originally posted by BCP

To seperate the GREATS from the greats from the goods

* intangibles like level of competition, racism/homophobia, etc, travel restrictions, level of dominence etc.

I think that covers it..............

Again Great Post!!!!

louloubelle
Feb 26th, 2003, 09:22 AM
Originally posted by Gandalf
Louloubelle,

I agree with most of your choices, but I'm not sure if you can quite quantify the 'depth' of the competition. I think the depth depends actually on the parity between the top players, so you could argue that in '98 and '99 there was more depth (that is, more serious candidates at the Slams) than in 2002. But I'm not sure if the level of the competition is bigger or not.

Totally agree here, thats why I said that I would tread carefully. Basically during the eras of great players at times they were dominating and had one or no rivals but then at other times they had rivals. Not sure if I can think of too many players that won titles without any competition at all. Maybe Lenglen???
Either way you get some people saying that there was no competition for the likes of Court, King, Martina, Chris, Mo. Rubbish!!
Every champion had their share of rivals, at times one or two, at others three or four. Steffi had only ASV at one stage and another time Seles, Gaby, ASV.
The truth is that throughout the years of women's tennis... from pre-open to now, top woman players usually are challenged from the qtrs or semis onwards. It was the case back then and still the case now (with the one or two exceptions of course).

Originally posted by Gandalf

Re: the doubles issue, being great in singles and doubles is better, IMO, than being great in singles and bad in doubles. But there are some top players who didn't play much doubles (like Graf and Seles) but were good when the did it (specially Graf). So I'm not sure if you should put that in the mix.

You could also include mental toughness, ability to close out matches and save match points, etc. But overall I think it's going to average with the results: a more talented player without mental toughness may have the same results than an average player who is mentally tough.

It's like the Novotna/S. Vicario debate: i think that Novotna was way more talented than Arantxa, but Arantxa was much more accomplished. If you want to measure who was the greatest player, you would probably have to say Arantxa based on results AND taking into account that she was stronger mentally than Jana. It all depends on the parameters you consider.

Yeah you could consider the mental toughness and talent issue, but as you said it does level out with the results in the end. And it's subjective. Martina was never considered as mentally tough as Chris but she won more titles.
There are different talents too. Jana had more variety but Arantxa had the ability to stay concentrated for ages and counter-attack with the best. Everyone has their talents.

Another great post.

I'm totally confused now
:confused: :D

Hidden Stillness
Feb 26th, 2003, 04:46 PM
I think I agree more with Colin B on how to judge these things, although of course, most people will always use the Most Grand Slams Won type criteria, as you have to, or you would never know where you were. To calculate or determine who is the greatest is different from feeling, "This person is so great," because that reaction is more of a total sense of things, and also makes allowances, where stats don't. My own example is my favorite, Jana Novotna, and if I wanted to show you how great she was, I would play a few of her best matches, (1996 Olympics vs. Seles, 1993 Wimbledon vs. Navratilova, several things from 1998 Wimbledon, etc.), where she is so totally on, so intelligent, so quick, anticipating everything, using all skills, etc., that you really know how great she was, because here it all is. Another way of judging, then, is not "Who won the most...," etc., but, "Who had the best slice backhand, serve, drop shot, who covered the court best" etc., and other things I believe Novotna was best at. Novotna had Graf crying on the Duchess's shoulder right up until the end of that '93 Wimbledon match, and didn't lose it for any reason having to do with talent. She panicked. How are wins and losses the determinant of greatness as a player, when someone like Novotna (and Mandlikova, etc.) lost exactly because they thought TOO much? It defeats the category--not that they had one great shot and used it, but that they had so many options, that they didn't know which way to turn. Everybody know this is true of certain players. This is actually what I relate to--the "Novotna type," where you think, "God, all this talent--why doesn't she do more with it, win more?" Something or other told you she was great, and it wasn't number of wins. Study the way Novotna did these things, as opposed to just about everyone else, and know her greatness--otherwise, you might as well just throw an elbow into the face of the catcher at home plate (just kidding). Other little telling details: she had a winning record on all surfaces, and a winning record against Venus Williams, even winning her last tournament, Hannover 1999, against her. If Venus Williams is one of the GM ideas of greatest ever, then what is Jana Novotna, who had no problem with her--and how many people can say that? The problem is, she then retired, so this effect was over. Also, it becomes impossible to calculate what might have been lost by fighting against resrictions that limited your ability to get a fair shot, because if you were truly restricted, we would never have heard of you at all. Also, with a case like Meghann Shaunessy and the U.S.T.A., and lack of support--what do you do with that knowledge once you have it; what do you "credit" her with having lost? Also, you can't remove the subjective concern from your opinion: if someone you don't like does something great, you can dismiss it from your mind a thousand ways, but if your favorite does it, it was more impressive because you were cheering them on in your mind anyway. The difference between eras: Is it harder to play the great, conditioned athletes of today, or is it harder to play with one of those horrible old wooden racquets? I had an example of that a couple of years ago, old and new equipment, but with golf: I was on a driving range with somebody, used old clubs, then a new one, and the result was immediate--it was more fun to use the new one, went further, straighter, etc., and I never play golf!
Of course, the usual stats, categories, etc. will always be used, and should be, but then Jana Novotna will not be there, which makes it a fake list as far as I'm concerned. When it comes right down to it, my ultimate criterion is: "Go Jana!"

_________
Out, out, damned spot!
William Shakespeare (anticipating George Bush)

irma
Feb 26th, 2003, 06:41 PM
but you can hardly say sure the head to head is 29:4 but it was only because she didn't know what to do (except 4 times when her opponent didn't know it either lol) so she is greater anyway

that would be a weird criteria;)

Colin B
Feb 26th, 2003, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by BCP
I think that results should be a primary consideration for greatness rather than being an all court player. For example, even the most devoted Chris Evert fan could not claim that she was much of a net player, yet I think that everyone would agree that she is higher on the greatness-o-meter than say Hana Mandlikova, who is a much better all court player. Chris is also a much better singles player than doubles player, so would this disqualify her from the greatness list?

Yes, BCP, of course you're right - without results, even a talented all-rounder would not even be considered for discussion.LOL.
But when trying to separate two (or more) acknowledged Greats, even across the eras, all-round ability counts more than who won what because, as mentioned elsewhere, the Slams and other major tournaments have fluctuated in importance or have been inaccessible to some players.

In answer to your example: Yes, I feel that Martina's all-ruond ability makes her a greater 'Great' Than Chris and her results make her greater than Hana. (IMHO!!)

Sam L
Feb 26th, 2003, 11:59 PM
One possible criteria to use (amongst other criterias) is the idea of "extreme values". I got this from statistics. The idea to take out the highest number of slams won at a certain venue and only count the total of the rest. So for example, Graf has 22 slams. She won her most slams at Wimbledon with 7. Take that out and you have 15.

So using that we get:

Graf - 15
Court - 13
Wills - 11
Evert - 11
Navratilova - 9
King - 6
Connolly - 6
Seles - 5

Of course this favours the more all-rounded players and heavily punishes those 'specalists'. We could use this if we wanted to say a critieria is that for a player to be great or greatest they need to be all-rounded and be able to win 'a lot' on all surfaces, not just one.

louloubelle
Feb 27th, 2003, 04:43 AM
You are naughty mentioning that elbow incident Hidden :devil: ;) :D
The fact that being ejected from the game, usually means an automatic two game suspension. BUT I only received a one week suspended sentence so I can play this Saturday.
This result obviously proves MY INNOCENCE
:angel: :angel: :angel: :angel: :D

How did I know you would mention Jana in your reply :D :D
I resisted temptation to post something like: After Margaret Court who is the greatest ever!!! :D :p

PamShriver
Feb 27th, 2003, 06:53 AM
I think that length of career and consistancy are a huge factor. Of course Slams are the be all and end all, and, ultimately, I think that Graf is the greatest player of all time. However, that being said, my choice of Graf was a difficult decision. Ultimately, my choice of Graf did not come down to the amount of GS titles that she won, but the consistent level of GS titles that she won on each and ever surface-W (7 on Grass), FO (6 on Clay), UO (5 on Cement), AO (4 on Rebound Ace). Graf, IMO, had too many victories during the time of Seles' absence to make her an unquestionable all-time number one, but her ability to win numerous GS after GS, regardless of the surface puts her ahead in my book.

With a heavey heart I put Navratilova at Number 2. Why the heavy heart? Because I would prefer that Chris be in this position. It is so close between the two of them, both ridicoulously dominated one GS event and one surface (Navrat Grass and Wimby -9 titles, plus 3 AO's-Evert Clay: FO - 7 titles, plus 3 UO's on Clay). Evert is the most astoundingly consistnet player in modern tennis history, only failing to reach the sems of 4 GS in 19 years!!!

From there I go on history more than anything-Court cannot be denied 4th place, despite her nerves and that the great majority of her GS titles were won at home with less that stellar competition.

Then Lenglen and Wills, with Suzanne with the one victory in their head to head and really no legit loss on record claiming the victory there.

Connolly is next on my list and should, would, could be even higher. But sadly for Maureen, with 9 GS titles and a career finished by 19 it is hard to gauge her career properly, and finally, I must give her more accomplished colleagues the nod.

King-She did everything and anything for woman's tennis, sadly, she never completely focused on her career. The more important question is: could she?

Seles: Monica has fallen behind a couple of pages, however, she is still one of the top 5 in the world, in spite of her condition. Monica is the ultimate genius. Not an athlete by any stretch, but a world beater thanks to the comfort and support of her familyh.

That's me!

PHS

BCP
Feb 27th, 2003, 07:38 AM
Hey Colin B, I think we are saying the same thing. The only reason why i questioned your post was becuase to said "To QUALIFY as a Great, a player must be/have been equally at home at the net as the base line, on clay as grass, power shots or 'touch', singles, doubles, mixed doubles etc, etc. - the perfect all-rounder. "

Pam, I've been missing you terribly, and all the time you've been in the hot tub with Judy! What's George got to say about all that.......more importantly, what's Wendy got to say?

On a serious note, it surprises me that you would believe that gap betweern Martina and Chris is that close. I believe that they are close, but for me Martina is clearly a step ahead of Chris on the greatness-o-meter for the following reasons:

* more weeks at no.1
* more tournaments won, and higher match winning %
* leads the head to head, including 13 straight victories
* 74 consecutive matches won
* 6 consecutive grand slam victories
* much more dominant than Chris when she was no.1 especially 83-84
* could still compete with Graf, Seles, and Sabatini, when Chris had fallen by the wayside

Add to the above Martina's doubles record, and I think that she would CLEARLY come out ahead....this from a devoted Chris fan. BTW, won't Martina be upset to know that her doubles partner prefer little Miss Ice Block!

Rollo
Feb 27th, 2003, 08:28 AM
Little Miss Ice Block! that's a good one BCP:)

Great thread BTW.

I'd rate Martina ahead of Evert too-though I do believe Evert has a higher win-loss percentage of matches won. Graf would get my slight nod over Navratilova for one reason only-that Grand Slam.

I can't see how doubles counts for anything at all in singles. The categories of best singles and doubles are separate-only in creating a third (best all around) can both be counted together IMO. And playing doubles in the past hardly harmed a person's singles game. Navratilova WAS practicing for singles by entering the doubles-after all, net-rushing was her style. Since today's women rarely go up is it any surprise dubs has decreased?

Wills and Lenglen are clearly the two best before 1950.

Lenglen's 2 difficulties in some imaginary tennis heaven where greats play each other would be handling defeat and power. The woman went to pieces for days after tough matches and often defaulted when things didn't go her way. La Diva also was more or less a clay court Queen. Lenglen played only two singles events EVER on a surface other than clay-and it was on grass that she suffered her only defeat as and adult and where she was often pushed at Wimbledon. Had Wills faced Lenglen on fast grass rather than slow clay one wonders how different things may have been.

Suzanne has been called the most accurate woman ever. One is forced to sacrifice accuracy in the face of power and on faster surfaces. Conditions favored Suzanne her whole career until Helen Wills came along.

Sam L
Feb 27th, 2003, 09:44 AM
Originally posted by Rollo
Had Wills faced Lenglen on fast grass rather than slow clay one wonders how different things may have been.


Rollo, wasn't it written in "The Goddess and the American girl", that Helen struggled against Suzanne in that match in Cannes because she grew up on the hard courts in California? Yeah I wonder too, who would've won if they had played on grass.

disposablehero
Mar 2nd, 2003, 02:32 AM
Well, the top 4 I listed aren't necessarily my exact opinion. (because it leaves out my favourite for one thing, due to an injustice) What I would call it is a compromise based more on big numbers and defendable stats. So anyhow, lets rank those 4 from best to worst in your criteria:

1- no. of slam titles
Court, Graf, Evert, Navratilova (more Finals for Evert)

2- no. of important non-slam titles
Navratilova, Evert, Court, Graf

3- depth of competition during the era of dominance
Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Court

4- longivity of dominance and career
Navratilova, Evert, Court, Graf

5- playing restrictions - was the player hindered by travel, association politics, wars, race i.e. Althea Gibson.
Navratilova, Court (had babies), Evert, Graf

6- How did the player react to serious challengers to her mantle.
Navratilova, Court, Evert, Graf

7- Any hardships to get to, or, stay at, the top.
How did the player rise there. How did they respond to personal hardships during their careers? Injuries during career.
Navratilova, Graf, Court, Evert

8- Other special acheivements within a single year.
Grand slam, golden slam, winning percentages in a year, number of tournament wins in a year etc...
Graf, Court, Navratilova, Evert (I hesitate to put Court ahead of Navratilova given some of Martina's winning %, but there is the Calendar Slam. Which I consider (along with other calendar year stuff) overrated.)

9- Relevance of slams at the time
Were all the grand slams the 'be all and end all' during the players career. Eg. At one stage the Virginia Slims tour took precedence over the Oz Open, players missed the French for WTT or tour ending finals were more important than both the French and Oz.
Navratilova, Graf, Evert, Court (Majority opinion says Wimbledon is tops. I consider it overrated, but that's what the majority says.)

10- Legacy to the game
Did the player leave a mark on the game. Chris with her two-hander, BJK for equality for woman players, Martina's fitness, the power game etc...
Evert, Navratilova, Court, Graf (It is difficult to assess Court or Graf's impact. Mainly it would be copying of styles, but both only continued the dominant trend of the time, S&V for Court, Baseline for Graf. So while they kept styles in vogue, which is less significant than changing them, as Evert did.)

Let's award 4 points for 1st place and 1 for 4th. Give me a second here.

Navratilova-33
Court-23
Graf-20
Evert-24

So Navratilova, Court and Graf go in that order, just as I had said. Except for the small detail that Evert leapfrogs both Court and Graf. Told you it was hard to put her 4th. Of course, I was counting doubles before, and Court has a big edge on Evert there. Anyhow, these criteria don't all deserve the same weight so it certainly isn't an exact science.

disposablehero
Mar 2nd, 2003, 02:38 AM
So using that we get:

Graf - 15
Court - 13
Wills - 11
Evert - 11
Navratilova - 9
King - 6
Connolly - 6
Seles - 5

Of course this favours the more all-rounded players and heavily punishes those 'specalists'. We could use this if we wanted to say a critieria is that for a player to be great or greatest they need to be all-rounded and be able to win 'a lot' on all surfaces, not just one.

It also favours players who played all the Slams, whenever they were healthy. Penalizes Wills the most, but penalizes pretty much everyone on your list to some extent except Graf, Court, and Seles.

Rollo
Mar 2nd, 2003, 03:24 AM
That must have taken some work DL!

Not sure I can agree on a lot of those-depth of competition is very subjective (I'd say Court had the most competition myself-but its hard to prove), but an impressive list nonetheless.

BTW, Louloubelle clued me in to the fact that Mags had a lot more than the 92 titles listed. Those 92 were Open era (1968-76) only:)

Court actually has more singles titles than Navratilova. My latest count (I'm still hunting for her complete 1965 and 1966 matches) is 172 titles.
She may well top out around 180 or so. That's the second highest all-time so far.

disposablehero
Mar 2nd, 2003, 04:42 AM
Actually, it went pretty quick as it was just off the cuff. If Court has more singles than Navratilova, then it would be Nav 32, Court 25, Evert 23.

As for Quality of opposition, Margaret had fairly weak opposition in most of her Australians, and in the 60's had been mainly Bueno in the first half and King in the 2nd half. Chrissie on the other hand, faced Mags, BJK, EGC, Martina, Tracy Austin for those who care, Hana, Steffi, and Monica.

Rollo
Mar 2nd, 2003, 07:14 AM
But DH-if Evert had Court then surely it works the other way. And Court had to deal with the likes of Darlene Hard and Ann Jones (both surely as tough as Mandlikova) and Goolagong and Navratilova. Still, you're probably right on this one-I just think it's arguable.

And how about the ability to win on different surfaces? Here it would have to be Court or Graf at 1 or 2 with Evert at 3 (weak on grass) and Navratilova at 4 (weak on clay).

The "impact on the game" is HIGHLY subjective IMO. Yes, Martina was big into fitness-so was Court. And because of Court Fed Cup became possible and her success in many ways made Aussie women's tennis (and by extension the Aussie Open) legit. Graf ushered in power tennis and helped spawn a women's tennis boom in Europe.

irma
Mar 2nd, 2003, 12:57 PM
I don't think steffi reacted worse to her rivals then others

ask sabatini who was set pretty much straight in wimbledon 92

she was never the same again (yeah I mean the semis of 92 not the final of 91. after that she didn't win a title anymore for the next 2,5 years)

or novotna who seemed to be on her way to pass steffi at least in head to head after Chicago 92 before steffi took over again with 14 wins in a row

or asv who in 94 seemed to have a mental edge over steffi(6 matchpoints in two matches) and lead 2:1 in grand slam finals then steffi won the next 4

we can't base that all on monica considering between french 90-french 92 she didn't lose to her anyway and then they played 3 times and it was 1:2 that's to close to say that she didn't react well to her!
it says more that steffi did better then in 91 so improved again.


chris evert lost 13 times to nav at one point. steffi was never anywhere such a stat

I also don't see why evert had more problems in her life then steffi either.
her men problems don't count since we don't know about steffi's problems in that category. that she didn't marry the wrong guy was just smart;) (even when he was cute :hearts: ) maybe I missed something though.
that combined that there is always a chance that the spiegel book is somewhat true (spiegel is a respectable magazine afterall) so who knows what really happened after the bruhler walls (and not just that daddy fucked a prostituee.)

disposablehero
Mar 2nd, 2003, 11:18 PM
I also don't see why evert had more problems in her life then steffi either.


She didn't. That's why I gave Steffi a higher score on "obstacles" than Evert OR Court. Look again.

PamShriver
Mar 3rd, 2003, 05:24 AM
[QUOTE]I also don't see why evert had more problems in her life then steffi either.
[QUOTE]

We also don't know that Steffi had more problems than Chris. Mind you, the Evert's are the most private of families and Jimmy Evert would never allow a word to be said by any of his children that would bring question as to how they were raised etc.

I'm not saying that Chris had a more difficult life than Steff, but I also don't neccessarily buy the opposing argument. Chris is one of the most guareded players in the history of the game. Do we even know now what exactly went wrong with her and John? There have been suggestions about his motivation, etc. But come on, the guy was never ranked within the top 20 in the first place so I don't know how anyone can buy that that was what tore them apart, he was an unapologetic underachiever from day one, everyone knew that so I'm sure that Chris did too. I don't know if Chris has even publicly confirmed her affair with Adam Faith. I know that in "Lloyd on Lloyd" she said that they had a "close relationship" but never came out right and admitted to a physical affair.

So again, I argue that you cannot suggest that one or the other had a more difficult life since both of them were so guarded, it's just that one had a more, shall we say, overt, father?

Zummi
Mar 3rd, 2003, 06:38 AM
And how about the ability to win on different surfaces? Here it would have to be Court or Graf at 1 or 2 with Evert at 3 (weak on grass) and Navratilova at 4 (weak on clay).

Martina's & Chris' low totals at Roland Garros & Wimbledon respectively have more to do with the fact that they had to play each other at those events rather than any surface weakness on their part. Had it not been for Chris, Martina would easily have won more Roland Garros titles and the same is true for Evert at Wimbledon.

Court's main clay-court opposition in the 60s were Lesley Turner-Bowrey and Ann Jones. Both nowhere near the calibre of Chris Evert. Both Maria Bueno & Billie Jean King were at their best on grass and it is telling that Court was only able to win three Wimbledons where she had to deal with those two more frequently.

Graf's numbers are similarly benefited. Monica Seles, at 19, had more Roland Garros wins than Graf before she was stabbed... and that is another story in itself.

Court & Graf might still be considered better all-surface players b/c they have the wins and that is what will matter the most. But it is unfair, IMO, to label Martina & Chris as "weak" b/c they really weren't. The quality of opposition was such that their numbers would be understandably lower.

irma
Mar 3rd, 2003, 06:59 AM
"- playing restrictions - was the player hindered by travel, association politics, wars, race i.e. Althea Gibson.
Navratilova, Court (had babies), Evert, Graf"

I meant this one!
I understand both came from free, rich countries and got no babies during their tennis career. so maybe they are even;)

I don't think two or three grand slams make you weak on a surface anyway. (except when your name is Steffi and you play on clay but that's a different story)

hingis-seles
Mar 3rd, 2003, 09:09 AM
Monica will always be left as a "what if" in tennis history. :sad:

Shouldn't Monica also be included in playign restrictions-stabbed in the prime of career.

BCP
Mar 3rd, 2003, 09:57 AM
Hey DH, I can see a lot of where you are coming from in your original post in trying to put an order to Court Evert, Nav , and Graf.

A lot of the points where I would disagree with you have been raised in previous posts.

I definitely agree with Zummi about Chris and Martina being just as comfortable on all surfaces. Chris won 5 GS titles of grass, and reached 10 Wimbeldon finals in all. She just kept on running into Martina. Anyone who saw Martina beat Chris 6-0, 6-0 in Amelia Island, or beat Chris 6-3, 6-1 in the 84 FO final would agree that she was also quite comfortable on the surface. The other thing that counted aginst these ladies was that for kost of the 70s, the French and AO were not played by the top players (as you alluded to in your original post), so there totals may have been better.

In your point number 9,in relation to the relevance of the GS, you have put Nav, Graf, then Evert, but Nav and Evert played 90% of their careers in the same era, so what is relevant for Nav, must surely also be relevant to Evert. Imagine how many more French Opens Chris could have won if she had bothered to turn up in the 70s.

In you point number 3, I would place Nav in front of Evert in terms of level of competition......or I would make it pretty close in any event. Graf, Seles, Sabatini to me are just as formidable as Court and BJK....once again, Evert and Nav played most of their careers in parallel, but I am extremely impressed that Nav could hang with Graf Seles and Sabatini in the early to mid 90s.

In your other impressive achievements point, the placings depend heavily on how much you value a calendar grand slam. I totally agree that it is the pinnacle of the sport....no argument......but I don't think that it overrides everthing. I think that Nav deserves to be much higher, for her 6 GS won in a row, her 74 match winning streak, and that fact that her records from 83-85 are the top 3 dominant years for any player. It is also with a heavy heart that I agree that Chris should be placed 4th here........but she probably has more records than any other player, but the fact that she never held 4 GS in a row, and only once went for the GS probably weighs heavily against her.

Those are the MAIN points that I disgree with you. I also wanted to add that you have given the same weighting to each point on your list, while I would agrue that some points are more important than others.....but then we get really complicated........

I guess once again, it comes down to the fact that there is no scientific method for it, and that seperating the greats is completely subjective.

louloubelle
Mar 3rd, 2003, 11:08 AM
Thankyou everyone for all the fantastic replies to this thread.

mmmm are we all agreeing that the top 4 is Nav, Evert, Court and Graf? If so what would be the next four...... Mo, Seles, BJK, Wills, Lenglen??

Just looking at DH's ranking the top 4 by my list of criteria (which I feel isn't a complete list and should either be expanded or probably some criteria deleted/downgraded) I feel there is nothing stopping giving the top 4 equal standing on some issues.

So for all-round ability on surfaces (which isn't on the list, but the best example) I would give each player equal standing. Chris was great on grass and I think at the end of her career was playing better tennis on that than on clay. Martina had a purple patch on clay during her dominant era, Steffi was great on all surfaces, Marg was the same.... unseparable.

Legacy..... Court should have left a bigger legacy than she did. Her fitness training was never emulated, more or less considered abnormal. She was never a favorite in Australia and often foreign opponents were cheered for against Marg. She professionalised (if thats a word) Australian tennis as Rollo indicated. BUT Australian's tend to look overseas for their heros. But all the little girls wanted to be the next Chris not the next Marg. Even with Evonne, you didn't see players hitting drop shots and angles, you saw double hand backhands. McEnroe, Edberg and Wilander where veiwed as better heros than Cash. We all tried copying Macs serve, Edbergs kicker, or used Wilanders Rossignol. Maybe Hewitt, Pou and Rafter may change this.
A bit of tall poppy syndrome with many female athletes like Court, Kathy Watt (cyclist), Karrie Webb, Lisa Ondieki are viewed with indifference. (sorry off the topic)

It's hard to separate the legacy with the next 3. Chris with the doublehander, Martina made fitness work necessary and acceptable, Graf made it necessary for players to have the killer shot, Seles decided that you needed the killer stroke on both sides, and the likes of the Williams... dominating the point with the serve ala Sampras.
Again I would give equal standing for Chris, Martina, Steffi and even Monica and Venus/Serena.

BCP
Mar 3rd, 2003, 12:01 PM
I've just had an idea.....sorry Louloubelle for taking your thread into a different direction.

A couple of years ago, Tennis magazine appointed a panel to collate their 20 greatest players ever. As the BFTP forum seems to be a hive of historical information, why don't we posters in the BFTP forum try to agree on our 20 greatest players ever. LET'S NOT WORRY ABOUT PUTTING THEM IN ORDER. Let's try and agree which 20 players the BFTP poster believe are the greatest 20. After we have agreed on the list, let's get 20 volunteers to profile 1 player each (say Zummi- Nav, me-Evert, Louloubelle- Court, Irma- Graf, etc), so that we have a record not only of wtaworld-BFTP greatest players ever, but also a profile of those players.....

What do you guys think?

Here's some names that would definitely make the 20:

1. Margaret Court
2. Helen Wills Moody
3. Maureen Conolley
4. Chris Evert
5. Suzanne Lenglen
6. Martina Navratilova
7. Steffi Graf
8. Billie Jean King
9. Monica Seles
10. Althea Gibson

(Once again, not in any order....I've tried to mix the names up a bit)

Any others?................

hingis-seles
Mar 3rd, 2003, 03:11 PM
I've got that issue of tennis magazine. They had 10 men, 10 women and claimed them the 20 greatest players of the 20th century without ranking them.

BCP, do you want 10 women or 20? If you want 10 women, then I agree with your list. If there are 20 women, how about Tracy Austin, Margaret Du Pont, Molla Mallory(spelling?), Martina Hingis, Serena Williams to name a few....

disposablehero
Mar 3rd, 2003, 04:19 PM
Hey DH, I can see a lot of where you are coming from in your original post in trying to put an order to Court Evert, Nav , and Graf.

A lot of the points where I would disagree with you have been raised in previous posts.

I definitely agree with Zummi about Chris and Martina being just as comfortable on all surfaces. Chris won 5 GS titles of grass, and reached 10 Wimbeldon finals in all. She just kept on running into Martina. Anyone who saw Martina beat Chris 6-0, 6-0 in Amelia Island, or beat Chris 6-3, 6-1 in the 84 FO final would agree that she was also quite comfortable on the surface. The other thing that counted aginst these ladies was that for kost of the 70s, the French and AO were not played by the top players (as you alluded to in your original post), so there totals may have been better.

In your point number 9,in relation to the relevance of the GS, you have put Nav, Graf, then Evert, but Nav and Evert played 90% of their careers in the same era, so what is relevant for Nav, must surely also be relevant to Evert. Imagine how many more French Opens Chris could have won if she had bothered to turn up in the 70s.

In you point number 3, I would place Nav in front of Evert in terms of level of competition......or I would make it pretty close in any event. Graf, Seles, Sabatini to me are just as formidable as Court and BJK....once again, Evert and Nav played most of their careers in parallel, but I am extremely impressed that Nav could hang with Graf Seles and Sabatini in the early to mid 90s.

In your other impressive achievements point, the placings depend heavily on how much you value a calendar grand slam. I totally agree that it is the pinnacle of the sport....no argument......but I don't think that it overrides everthing. I think that Nav deserves to be much higher, for her 6 GS won in a row, her 74 match winning streak, and that fact that her records from 83-85 are the top 3 dominant years for any player. It is also with a heavy heart that I agree that Chris should be placed 4th here........but she probably has more records than any other player, but the fact that she never held 4 GS in a row, and only once went for the GS probably weighs heavily against her.

Those are the MAIN points that I disgree with you. I also wanted to add that you have given the same weighting to each point on your list, while I would agrue that some points are more important than others.....but then we get really complicated........

I guess once again, it comes down to the fact that there is no scientific method for it, and that seperating the greats is completely subjective.

Don't disagree with ME. I didn't say that single year achievements were a particularly important thing. I merely rated the players on louloubelle's criteria. I put Navratilova ahead of Evert on Slam relevance because Wimbledon is PERCIEVED (once again, not my opinion) as the most important Slam.

Rollo
Mar 3rd, 2003, 07:26 PM
I think your idea about profiling a top 20 is great BCP:)

My top 10 (I'll add the other ten later)
1. Helen Wills
2. Steffi Graf
3. Martina Navratilova
4. Chris Evert
5. Margaret Court
6. Suzanne Lenglen
7. Billie Jean King
8. Mo Connolly
9. Monica Seles
10. Maria Bueno

Rollo
Mar 3rd, 2003, 08:06 PM
LOL-I'm clearly in the minority regarding the surface issue, but
I still say Evert and Navratilova had obvious surface preferencesthroughout their careers. "Weak" is a relative term. Perhaps I should have said they were more beatable on certain surfaces.

C'mon folks-look at the facts.

*Evert's 125 straight wins were on what surface? And how many straight
did she ever win on grass?
*And she lost to Virginia Wade and Billie Jean King at Wimbledon, no
disgrace, but she NEVER lost to either one on clay.
*She was often accused by Martina of skipping fast surface events.
One glaring example was the 1983 Aussie, where Chrissie dear just
bailed on the event. Evert NEVER one the US Open until it switched
from grass to clay.

As for Martina, she was unbeatable on grass for quite some time, but on clay she much more prone to defeat. She was often accused by Evert of skipping clay events-especially red clay. You'd think Martina was allergic to red clay between 1975 (her last red clay event) and 1981-when she finally showed up for the French. And other than the French she didn't enter ANY red clay event til 1986-when Graf scalped her in Berlin. Martina's lone defeat of 1983 was to Kathy Horvath on the dirt-do you REALLY think she would have lost that match on grass?

And the 6-0 6-0 BCP was Evert over Martina. On CLAY. Martina's worst ever loss. Again-do you you REALLY think Evert could have done that to Martina on grass?

Yes, Martina whipped Chris in 84 at RG. It was also Martina at her best. Evert's WORST defeat, however-was to Martina indoors at 6-2 6-0.

I concede that Evert and Navratilova were often in each other's way. Yes, without the other one blocking their path more titles would have been won. But getting to finals and winning finals are two different matters. They still would have had more wins on clay (Evert) or grass (Navratilova) for the simple reason that their games were better on those surfaces. One look at their head to head tells you which surface they liked.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Court and Graf just didn't have a similar mindset. I can't recall either one
"dodging" a surface often as Chris or Martina did (Graf did dodge the Aussie in 87 though). They were thus more balanced.

Yes, Court won only 3 Wimbledons-but her load or US and Aussie titles clearly indicate it was the place and not the surface.
And while Court frequently beat Bueno and King on grass Zummi, they sure couldn't beat her as often on clay, just as Jones and Turner couldn't touch her on grass. Mags was comfortable enough on both surfaces in a way all the other 4 women wern't.

As for Seles-Graf, I can merely point out that Steffi beat Monica on clay
and hard courts just as often as she lost to her. It was Monica who was had the surface "weakness"-on grass.

All the women we speak of here are great. But if you are Chris Evert and had to face the other 3-what surface would she pick? Easy. Clay.

If you're Martina and you play the other 3 ? Grass.

If you're Court or Graf? Well, depends on who you're up against, doesn't it? More than anything this shows the importance of surface. It doesn't make Court or Graf "better" overall, but it does make them more "balanced" champs:)

hingis-seles
Mar 3rd, 2003, 11:04 PM
I completely forgot, but what about Hana Mandlikova for the Top 20? She could be a possibility, right?

Zummi
Mar 4th, 2003, 04:01 AM
A couple of points...

1) Martina's best win over Chris was 6-2 6-0 recorded both indoors and on clay.

And 2), I think it's safe to assume that none of us in here ever saw Court play on clay in the 60s. Her recognition for being comfortable on all surfaces is, I gather, an assumption made solely on her wins & career stats.

And she [Evert] lost to Virginia Wade and Billie Jean King at Wimbledon, no disgrace, but she NEVER lost to either one on clay.

Martina's lone defeat of 1983 was to Kathy Horvath on the dirt-do you REALLY think she would have lost that match on grass?

Not following. Graf lost to Lori McNeil & Zina Garrison on grass. Would she have lost to them on clay? No. Court lost to Gail Sherriff-Chanfreau on clay? Would she have lost to her on grass? No. What does all this prove??

As for Martina, she was unbeatable on grass for quite some time, but on clay she much more prone to defeat. She was often accused by Evert of skipping clay events-especially red clay. You'd think Martina was allergic to red clay between 1975 (her last red clay event) and 1981-when she finally showed up for the French. And other than the French she didn't enter ANY red clay event til 1986-when Graf scalped her in Berlin. Martina's lone defeat of 1983 was to Kathy Horvath on the dirt-do you REALLY think she would have lost that match on grass?

I suppose saying Martina didn't play on red clay between 1975 & 1981 helps to exaggerate the scenario but none of the top players played the European red clay events between 1976 & 1978. In 1979 & 1980, Evert was the only one of the top 4 to play in Paris - Martina, Tracy & Evonne all didn't play. And in the 80s, the only reason Evert bothered playing the warm-ups in Italy, and later Lugano, before Roland Garros was because she had to for contractual reasons - her clothing sponsor was Ellesse.

Using that argument, Graf never played any of the grasscourt warm-ups until 1998. I suppose this could be considered "dodging" a surface the way Martina & Chris did?? Is that supposed to indicate a weakness on grass then?? No, it doesn't and it shouldn't. Ditto for Martina & Chris.

I concede that Evert and Navratilova were often in each other's way. Yes, without the other one blocking their path more titles would have been won. But getting to finals and winning finals are two different matters. They still would have had more wins on clay (Evert) or grass (Navratilova) for the simple reason that their games were better on those surfaces. One look at their head to head tells you which surface they liked.

The numbers speak for themselves.

If that is so, then Court's numbers would be even more glaring. 19 of her 24 Slams came on grass.

Court and Graf just didn't have a similar mindset. I can't recall either one
"dodging" a surface often as Chris or Martina did (Graf did dodge the Aussie in 87 though). They were thus more balanced.

There never was an issue of dodging a surface for Court back in the Amateur Era. She couldn't go home in between tournaments and the majority of tournaments in Europe were on clay. So she had to play there. Fast forward to the professional era and it seems she did exercise a good deal of subjectivity when playing warm-up events on red clay. She never returned to the German Open after tennis went Open. And she never played in Rome as a professional either.

There were "NO" Tier I red clay events in Europe until 1988 when the Italian & German Opens were upgraded. To that point, the major clay tour events besides Roland Garros were Hilton Head Island, Amelia Island & Orlando. Martina played at least one of these each year.

Yes, Court won only 3 Wimbledons-but her load or US and Aussie titles clearly indicate it was the place and not the surface.

3 Wimbledons & 5 U.S. titles. But 11 Australian titles. I do see a discrepency and it has to do with more than just location...

And while Court frequently beat Bueno and King on grass Zummi, they sure couldn't beat her as often on clay, just as Jones and Turner couldn't touch her on grass. Mags was comfortable enough on both surfaces in a way all the other 4 women wern't.

My point was she did not have a major rival on clay of the calibre of Chris Evert. Had Evert been off the scene in the late-70s to mid-80s, Martina's French Open collection would have been more than just 2. And without Martina, you'd probably need two hands to count Chris' Wimbledon victories.

As for Seles-Graf, I can merely point out that Steffi beat Monica on clay and hard courts just as often as she lost to her. It was Monica who was had the surface "weakness"-on grass.

I didn't say Seles was an all-surface player. I said she had more Roland Garros titles than Graf till she got stabbed. And btw, of their 4 matches on clay between 1990 & 1993, Monica won 3 of them.

All the women we speak of here are great. But if you are Chris Evert and had to face the other 3-what surface would she pick? Easy. Clay.

If you're Martina and you play the other 3 ? Grass.

Not really. Martina would choose indoor carpet.

If you're Court or Graf? Well, depends on who you're up against, doesn't it? More than anything this shows the importance of surface. It doesn't make Court or Graf "better" overall, but it does make them more "balanced" champs

But isn't that true for all of them? Ask Martina which surface she'd rather play Billie Jean King on. Clay, most likely. Ask Chris where she'd rather face, say Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario - most likely grass. The relativity of the surface is not so restrictive. Most of the greats will have such surface preferences depending on the opponent.

irma
Mar 4th, 2003, 06:22 AM
"Court and Graf just didn't have a similar mindset. I can't recall either one
"dodging" a surface often as Chris or Martina did (Graf did dodge the Aussie in 87 though). They were thus more balanced"

no one only screamed how much she sucked on a certain surface (don't know about court. I was not born yet)

oh yeah I am not gonna make a 20 list. I feel to clueless for that and when I don't put steffi on one. I feel like a bad fan too :p

Rollo
Mar 4th, 2003, 07:32 AM
LOL- a couple of points Zummi? I'll throw a couple back at ya ;)
I'm sure we provide entertainment for other Blast members and it's fun to debate.

*you got me with Navratilova's Amelia win. I forgot that one.

*The whole Martina would have won more on clay without Chris in her way and vice versa only proves my point-they were more comfortable on extreme surfaces. Look at the head to head.

Grass 10-5 for Martina
Clay 11-3 for Chris
Hard 11-7 for Martina.

* Quote:
----------------------------------
And she [Evert] lost to Virginia Wade and Billie Jean King at Wimbledon, no disgrace, but she NEVER lost to either one on clay.

Martina's lone defeat of 1983 was to Kathy Horvath on the dirt-do you REALLY think she would have lost that match on grass?
-------------------------------------------------------
Not following. Graf lost to Lori McNeil & Zina Garrison on grass. Would she have lost to them on clay? No. Court lost to Gail Sherriff-Chanfreau on clay? Would she have lost to her on grass? No. What does all this prove?
It proves they were more one dimensional than Graf and Court:)

*
In 1979 & 1980, Evert was the only one of the top 4 to play in Paris - Martina, Tracy & Evonne all didn't play. And in the 80s, the only reason Evert bothered playing the warm-ups in Italy, and later Lugano, before Roland Garros was because she had to for contractual reasons - her clothing sponsor was Ellesse.

True about Evert and Paris in 79 and 80-but this ignores the fact that Goolagong entered several red clay events in 79 (she hated the French after her ban in 1974), Austin was out for school-but managed to win Rome on red clay (snapping Evert's clay run at 125) and Fed Cup in Madrid. From 1979 to 1980 all the top 10 women EXCEPT Martina entered at least one red clay event. Heck, even BJKing came in 1980.

Now as for Chris-you fail to mention the OTHER reason she entered all the clay events in the 80s. She was hungry to play on clay in 1980-81-and 82 because she had skipped most of the indoor circuit. I can dig up a ton of quotes from 1979 to 1983 that reference accusations that the two were avoiding the surface they disliked. And as I stated before-this was never the case with Steffi or Court.

* Court's numbers would be even more glaring. 19 of her 24 Slams came on grass.

C'mon Zummi. We know in Court's day 3 of 4 slams were on grass. Her wins on the two extremes (clay /grass) are more blanced than Evert or Navrailova's. lok at the numbers:

Court won 5 of 11 slams entered on clay .45
19 of 37 on grass .51
8 of 23 (excluding the Aussie) .34

Evert won 10 of 16 on clay .62
5 of 27 on grass .18

Navratilova won 2 of 15 on clay .13
12 of 32 on grass .37

The percentage "difference" between the two is greatest for Evert at
.44, Martina second with .24, and Court third with .11 (or only .06 if you include the Aussie). Thus Court was far more likely to win on her "weaker" surface (clay) in slams than either Chris or Martina. I'm sure regular wins and loses would get the same results.

There never was an issue of dodging a surface for Court back in the Amateur Era. She couldn't go home in between tournaments and the majority of tournaments in Europe were on clay. So she had to play there. Fast forward to the professional era and it seems she did exercise a good deal of subjectivity when playing warm-up events on red clay. She never returned to the German Open after tennis went Open. And she never played in Rome as a professional either.

You're just wrong here. There were so many events at the time that Court could easily have dodged a surface had she chosen too. I've never seen it suggested in print.

And no, I didn't see her play a lot, but I've got a huge collection of mags and clippings from the 60s-none of which mention her hating or disliking a surface, in contrast to others of her era.

And if we can't judge by numbers what do we judge by? It's like me saying-oh Navratilova won 9 Wimbledons to 2 French but was she really more effective on grass? The answer is self-evident.

Court played and won several red clay events in the Open era. Go look at her wins that wtatour.com lists. The Dutch Open, not to mention several English clay events going on the same week as Rome such as Bournemouth. And in 1969 she did the Caribbean circuit-which was mostly on clay.

We all know Evert and Navratilova played "dodge"-so far there's no credible evidence Court ever did so. I could concede on your point about Graf skipping grass warmups, but the odd-timing with the French being so near surely explains that.

Martina might prefer carpet vs the other 3-I was thinking of grand slam surfaces only.

Ask Martina which surface she'd rather play Billie Jean King on. Clay, most likely. Ask Chris where she'd rather face, say Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario - most likely grass. The relativity of the surface is not so restrictive. Most of the greats will have such surface preferences depending on the opponent.

The examples you give are of like minded styles. Evert COULD win a slam on grass while ASV couldn't-that's one big reason she was better. Ditto for Navratilova vs. King on clay (2 slams to one). Give me a list of players for our 4 women to compete against and Martina and Chris have options-sure, but Court and Graf would have a WIDER variety.

Finally, one has merely to watch tapes (I've seen Court on tape now Zummi) to see why Court and Graf were more all surface. Graf was a baseliner like Chris, but her serve was more effective-hence more Wimbledons. Navratilova had great groundies, but her backhand was more defensive as a rule than Court's. Mags consistently topped it more often.

It's been a pleasure, as always :bounce:

BCP
Mar 4th, 2003, 08:37 AM
I love it when we get into a discussion like this......I get to learn so much. I thiink Steffi was the most comfortable on all surfaces, but that Maragret Court was no more comfortable than Chris or Martina. JMHO.

BTW in relation to my inital post, I was thinking about Martina's heaviest victory over Chris on clay. Wasn't sure whether it was 6-0, 6-0 or 6-2, 6-0.

At this stage for our 20 players, we have the following as dead certs:

1. Margaret Court
2. Helen Wills Moody
3. Maureen Conolley
4. Chris Evert
5. Suzanne Lenglen
6. Martina Navratilova
7. Steffi Graf
8. Billie Jean King
9. Monica Seles
10. Althea Gibson
11. Maria Bueno

I think that Serena deserves to be there on the strength of her grandslam.

I don't at this stage think that Hana, Tracy, Hingis or Venus should be counted in yet. Maybe we should put them on the bench.

I don't know too much about Margaret Du Pont & Molla Mallory....anyone willing to back them?

stefanieforever
Mar 4th, 2003, 11:05 AM
steffi graf is the criteria! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

louloubelle
Mar 4th, 2003, 12:23 PM
The Post War American Champs!

I would probably pencil in these three players.
No question about a lack of depth here. These girls played against each other and then were swept away by little Mo.

Louise Brough
4 time Wimbledon winner (a three-peat from 48-50)
US winner 47 - but runnersup 5 times (wonder what happened there :confused: )
Australian winner 1950
Never reached past the semis at the French tho.

Doris Hart
US Champ 1954, 55 - never beaten before the semis from 44 to 55
Wimbledon 1951 Winner - runner up 47, 48, 51
Australian winner 1949 - runner up 1950
French winner 1950 and 52.
Italian winner 51, 53 beating Connolley in 1953
Overcame a disability (illness in her early years) which affected her leg.
Opinion is that the likes of duPont and Brough had her measure until they faded.
However has won every major!!

Margaret duPont
French winner 1946, 49
Wimbledon 1947 Runner up twice including a 8-10 6-1 8-10 loss to Brough in 49
US Winner 48, 49, 50

Pauline Betz is worth a mention even tho she may not reach the top 20. She ruled the roost in 1946. Four time US winner during the war, Wimbledon winner in 46, French runnerup that year despite having two match points against duPont. Late in 46 she enquired about turning professional and subsequently was stripped of her amatuer status before making the decision. It was highly probably she would've joined the all-time elite and won more titles if she remained amatuer.

BTW Court grew up on clay or en-tous-caus as we call it in Oz so it was a surface she was comfortable on. Tho it maybe feasible that she couldn't dodge the clay tour because she was travelling so far from Oz, there's no record to suggest otherwise. The fact that her results of 5 French, 3 german and Italians doesn't indicate a dislike for clay just because she served and volleyed. From a baised point of view!! I would say that she would've always been confident of winning on clay, the likes of Turner and Jones were hardly going to make her shiver in her boots.

But when tennis turned professional she had already retired once and then afterwards having a baby, so I don't think it should be held against her that she may have skipped some clay events, being probably her least preferred surface. I think mags was too concerned later in her career of chasing the $$$ in the US than winning titles on clay anyway.

BCP
Mar 4th, 2003, 05:35 PM
Since Mark has not been around for a while, I'll also say that Evonne Goolagong would have to be a dead cert. So far then we have:

Dead certs

1. Louise Brough
2. Maria Bueno
3. Maureen Conolley
4. Margaret Court
5. Margaret DuPont
6. Chris Evert
7. Althea Gibson
8. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
9. Steffi Graf
10. Doris Hart
11. Billie Jean King
12. Suzanne Lenglen
13. Martina Navratilova
14. Monica Seles
15. Serena Williams
16. Helen Wills Moody

Does any one have any objections to the above?

On the bench we have

* Hana Mandlikova
* Venus Williams
* Martina Hingis
* Tracy Austin
* Pauline Betz

Out of this group, I would have to pick Hingis, then Betz, then Venus. Tracy and Hana would probably struggle to make the 20....JMHO.

Have we left anyone out? Zummi? Sam L? Rollo? Brian? Mark? anyone?

BTW, thanks Louloubelle for the info on the post war American Champions!

BCP
Mar 4th, 2003, 05:40 PM
What about Arantxa....keep on forgetting about that darn Arantxa! ;)

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 05:48 AM
Since everyone is making lists, I will reprint my list from a couple weeks ago.

1. Martina Navratilova
2. Margaret Court
3. Steffi Graf
4. Chris Evert
5. Helen Wills Moody
6. Billie Jean King
7. Monica Seles
8. Suzanne Lenglen
9. Maureen Connolly
10. Evonne Goolagong
11. Alice Marble
12. Molla Bjurstedt Mallory
13. Maria Bueno
14. Martina Hingis
15. Serena Williams
16. Althea Gibson
17. Doris Hart
18. Helen Jacobs
19. Pauline Betz
20. Venus Williams
21. Lottie Dod
22. Louise Brough
23. Hana Mandlikova
24. Dorothea Lambert Chambers
25. Aranxta Sanchez Vicario
26. Lindsay Davenport
27. Blanche Bingley Hillyard
28. Virginia Wade
29. Margeret Osborne DuPont
30. Ann Haydon Jones

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 05:52 AM
A comment about 7,8,9. Mo gets a lot of respect, and many would put her above Monica or Suzanne. My main reason is this. Suzanne faced Wills once in singles, and beat her. Suzanne was also unbeatable for pretty much 7 years. Monica flat-out replaced the #3 player on this list while that player was in her prime. Mo played some great players, but nobody who would even be considered in a best-ever debate, and nobody in the top 15 of my list.

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:01 AM
As for Martina and Chris on their "bad" surfaces. Chris was in 10 Wimbledon singles Finals. I don't think there is any argument that she was a bad grasscourt player, just a bad one compared to Martina. Martina was in 6 Roland Garros Finals, including a 3 set loss to Chrissie when she was only 18.

Rollo
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:18 AM
What you say is true DH. The key words there are "compared to"-and I was comparing the women to each other and across surfaces. The difference may be as slight as 5%. At this level 5% is all it takes. When someone is this good they reach the semis and finals-but it's telling that at the finals stage the numbers break according to surface. And it's not all about Evert or Martina losing to each other in finals. Goolagong scalped Evert on grass 4 times in her career in slams, including the 1980 Wimbledon final. Even without Evert around Martina fell just short vs. Steffi at RG in 1987-yet held her off on faster surfaces.

Serena may win 5 French titles before she's done, but I'll wager it will still be her weaker surface compared to hard courts and grass.


Pauline Betz has a strong case to be on any top 20 list IMO. She was de facto #1 from 1942 to 1944, and after the war she dominated 1946, taking 2 of the big 3 that year. She failed only in the French final after having a match point vs. Dupont. Her amateur career was ended after she was banned in 1947 for talking about turning pro. She would have almost certainly added to her 5 slam total. She's another in the category of Connolly and Seles "what ifs".

Consider a few more Pauline facts:

1. She had a winning record vs. ALL the other "Amazons", including
Dupont, Brough, and Hart.
2. Those who saw all the Amazons rate her higher than the other 3.
3. As a pro she beat Althea Gibson once in the late 50s. This was AFTER Althea was world champ in 1958-9 and Pauline had 4 children! In the World Pro event in 1960 Gibson won 7-5 in the third. Gibson was 33 and Betz was 41.

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:26 AM
What you say is true DH. The key words there are "compared to"-and I was comparing the women to each other and across surfaces.

Pauline Betz has a strong case to be on any top 20 list IMO. She was de facto #1 from 1942 to 1944, and after the war she dominated 1946, taking 2 of the big 3 that year. She failed only in the French final after having a match point vs. Dupont. Her amateur career was ended after she was banned in 1947 for talking about turning pro. She would have almost certainly added to her 5 slam total. She's another in the category of Connolly and Seles "what ifs".

Consider a few more Pauline facts:

1. She had a winning record vs. ALL the other "Amazons", including
Dupont, Brough, and Hart.
2. Those who saw all the Amazons rate her higher than the other 3.
3. As a pro she beat Althea Gibson once in the late 50s. This was AFTER Althea was world champ in 1958-9 and Pauline had 4 children! In the World Pro event in 1960 Gibson won 7-5 in the third. Gibson was 33 and Betz was 41.

You'll have to excuse me Rollo, but I don't have a good knowledge of Betz. A lot of my information of that era comes from Ted Tinling, so of course was largely about Mo. Thus, I have a better understanding of Doris Hart than Pauline, as Doris was the rival Mo needed to beat, and Pauline was obviously gone already. I will amend my list, but would appreciate if you could give me the exact head to heads against those 3 players, if she ever faced Alice Marble, insofar as you have been able to unearth. Then I will find her a suitable place.

Rollo
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:33 AM
It might take some digging for me to come up with direct head to heads, but I'll give it a shot. BTW, I noticed you included Chambers on your list.
She must have been good indeed to push Lenglen at Wimbledon when she was over the age of 40! Louloubelle wrote a nice piece on that match in the 1920s thread.

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:37 AM
One thing I am noticing right away, is that Pauline beat Doris in 3 tough sets at the 41 US Open when Doris was only 16. To me, that makes it difficult to put Pauline ahead of Doris or even the great Helen Jacobs.

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:40 AM
Don't give yourself too much work Rollo, it's not that big a deal. Based on what you've told me and what I have briefly seen, Pauline should either go right above Venus or right below her. The results of the Gibson matches at her advanced age sways me to put her ahead.

Rollo
Mar 5th, 2003, 06:41 AM
This ranking list is fron Helen Jacobs book, called Gallery of Champions. It was published in 1949, so it was pre-Mo and missed some of Dupont, Brough, and Hart's slams. It's a great book. Every chapter has action pics and Jacobs played each woman mentioned except Lenglen, whom she hit with in 1933. Jacobs doesn't rank herself out of modesty.

BTW, you can find this book relatively cheap at alibris.com or other used book services.

1. Suzanne Lenglen
2. Helen Wills
3. Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling
4. Alice Marble
5. Dorothy Round
6. Molla Mallory
7. Pauline Betz
8. Simone Mathieu
9. Cilli Aussem
10 Sarah palfrey
11 Anita Lizana
12 Louise Brough
13 Margaret duPont
14 Betty Nuthall
15 Peggy Scriven.

macn
Mar 5th, 2003, 01:17 PM
I'm not the biggest Chris Evert fan in the world; however, let's give her the respect she deserves. She made 10 Wimbledon finals and lost to three of the greatest grass court players in history. Billie Jean, Evonne and Martina couldn't hold a candle to Chris on the clay courts. Many people say that Martina wasn't a great clay court player, she had to contend with the greatest of clay court players, Chris Evert. The reason I never put Graf at the top of the greatest lists is because of the competition. Graf didn't play any qualified greatest of all time top 20 players besides Monica during her reign. Many people want to point out that she had Chris Evert and Martina, but both players were past their prime. Martina could still beat Steffi in when she was past her prime, imagine what she would have done during her prime.

irma
Mar 5th, 2003, 02:25 PM
but steffi had two rivals close to her age(no not monica) who had potential according to all but steffi except for a short period in the early ninties beat them mentally to mars in the end.

you have to give her credit for that too :cool:

macn
Mar 5th, 2003, 04:12 PM
I agree that Steffi had competition; however, no one to mention that's considered one of the top 20 greatest of all time. Those who were her main competition sans Monica were Sanchez and Sabatini. Both of whom were good players in their own right, but not top 20 greatest of all time IMO. Martina had to deal with Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King, Monica Seles and Steffi herself, all of the aforementioned are top 20 greatest of all time. and add the Bench players, Hana, Tracy, Virginia Wade and there is no contest about competition.

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 04:20 PM
Damn, forgot Tracy Austin

1. Martina Navratilova
2. Margaret Court
3. Steffi Graf
4. Chris Evert
5. Helen Wills Moody
6. Billie Jean King
7. Monica Seles
8. Suzanne Lenglen
9. Maureen Connolly
10. Evonne Goolagong
11. Alice Marble
12. Molla Bjurstedt Mallory
13. Maria Bueno
14. Martina Hingis
15. Serena Williams
16. Althea Gibson
17. Doris Hart
18. Helen Jacobs
19. Pauline Betz
20. Venus Williams
21. Lottie Dod
22. Louise Brough
23. Hana Mandlikova
24. Dorothea Lambert Chambers
25. Aranxta Sanchez Vicario
26. Lindsay Davenport
27. Blanche Bingley Hillyard
28. Tracy Austin
29. Virginia Wade
30. Margeret Osborne DuPont
31. Ann Haydon Jones
32. Charlotte Cooper Sterry
33. Jennifer Capriati
34. Nancye Wynne Bolton
35. Darlene Hard

macn
Mar 5th, 2003, 04:24 PM
Q. Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Hana Mandlikova and Steffi Graf deprived you of a few Grand Slam titles, but also helped turn you into the player you became. Are you grateful for those rivals?
A. You’re only as good as the opponents you beat. You could be the greatest player in the world, but if you don’t have great opposition, people aren’t going to see you hit great shots because you’re not forced. In golf, you can play great on your own – it’s you and the golf course. But tennis, you need quality play to make the great get. You need to be pushed. Yeah, I could have won more but I’m glad that I was pushed to the level I was.

Martina navratilova

BCP
Mar 5th, 2003, 05:15 PM
Rollo, remember on the old board you started an individual record thread, and people were throwing records at you left right and centre, and you were trying to keep up and summarise people's posts....well, I know how you feel!

As far as I can tell, no one has any objections to the 16 players I listed as dead certs, and I think that there is a general consenus that Pauline Betz should make the 20. So here is the list of dead certs so far:

1. Pauline Betz
2. Louise Brough
3. Maria Bueno
4. Maureen Conolley
5. Margaret Court
6. Margaret DuPont
7. Chris Evert
8. Althea Gibson
9. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
10. Steffi Graf
11. Doris Hart
12. Billie Jean King
13. Suzanne Lenglen
14. Martina Navratilova
15. Monica Seles
16. Serena Williams
17. Helen Wills Moody

That leaves 3 places left, with the following players (in random order) with a REALISTIC chance of taking the last three places:

* Martina Hingis
* Venus Williams
* Alice Marble
* Molla Mallory
* Helen Jacobs
* Hana Mandlikova

I'll leave it to the experts to argue who out of these players (or any other they want to nominate) deserve one of the last 3 spots. I don't have the knowledge to argue properly for players before the mid-70s.

Is there anyone in the 17 dead certs who shouldn't be there?

disposablehero
Mar 5th, 2003, 05:57 PM
Is there anyone in the 17 dead certs who shouldn't be there?

I think that Brough and DuPont belong just outside the top 20.

macn
Mar 5th, 2003, 07:58 PM
Brough and Dupont belong in the top 20. Brough won 4 wimbledons and 1 U.S. Open and Dupont won 3 or 4 U.S. Opens, 2 French and Wimbledon. Both women were #1 at one time and both represented their country in the team competition. Participation in the team competitions is an important criteria whe ranking the greatest of all time.

Rollo
Mar 5th, 2003, 08:30 PM
I hear ya BCP. It's fun letting you be the judge. Promise I won't toss any rotten tomatoes your way :wavey:

Perhaps some of the pre-1919 women DH mentioned could be considered too. Remember they were limited to one slam a year because of travel restrictions.

Don't worry about creating work for me DH. I just love trying to dig up all these old records. If we only had a time-machine! My eventual goal
(and Brian Stewart's too) is to have results from every year in the Blast.
Right now it's slams only though. Baby steps first:)


Macn-So for Martina's competition you said:
[B]QUOTE]
Martina had to deal with Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King, Monica Seles and Steffi herself, all of the aforementioned are top 20 greatest of all time. and add the Bench players, Hana, Tracy, Virginia Wade and there is no contest about competition. [/QUOTE]

If we count Court as a "rival" of Martina's than surely we have to rate
Evert and Navratilova as Steffi's rivals. Then Seles. Mandlikova too. And Sanchez together with Gaby. Add in Hingis, Venus, and Serena late in Steffi's career and it looks like plenty of competition to me.

Your list had 6 in our "top 20". By my count my list has 4.
Navratilova, Evert, Seles, Serena. It's a difference of two-though of course Venus and Hingis may move up.

Rollo
Mar 5th, 2003, 08:34 PM
There are many women with 3 or more slams that could be in a top 20.
Only the top 10 would make every list "for certes" as BCP put it.

Zummi
Mar 6th, 2003, 05:10 AM
Ok, just a couple of comments on Louise Brough & Margaret du Pont. I respectfully disagree with disposeablehero that they do not belong in the top 20. Here is why:

Margaret du Pont

Margaret's career spanned four decades; she was ranked in the U.S. top 10 in the late-30s and was still one of the top doubles players in the world in the early-60s, winning the 1962 Wimbledon mixed doubles at the age of 44 (women's record till Martina broke it this year).

Margaret was ranked #1 by The Daily Telegraph for 4 straight years - 1947, 1948, 1949 & 1950. She left the tour in 1951 to have a baby, and on returning, regained her status in the world's top 10 which she last held in 1957 at the age of 39.

She won at least once at all Grand Slams she played in. She never played the Australian Open b/c her husband did not permit her. He threatened to divorce her if she chose to go to Australia. In those days of the Amateur Era, with Will du Pont footing most of her's (and Louise's) bills, Margaret had little say. Just a little trivia: Will had previously proposed marriage to Alice Marble, hoping she would not have to turn professional if she were married to him, but Alice turned him down.

Anyway, back to Margaret's Grand Slam record. It was at the U.S. Nationals where she had her greatest success.

Champion: 1948, 1949, 1950
Finals: 1944, 1947
Semifinals: 1941, 1942,
Quarterfinals: 1943, 1945, 1946, 1953, 1956

At Wimbledon, she was overshadowed by Louise who was at her best there. But she won it in 1947 and reached the semifinals or better on four other occasions. She also lost a number of years there b/c of the War. She reached the quarterfinals in 1958 at the age of 40.

Champion: 1947
Finals: 1949, 1950
Semifinals: 1946, 1948,
Quarterfinals: 1951, 1954, 1958

She won the first Roland Garros after the War, upsetting Pauline Betz in the final.

Champion: 1946, 1949
Semifinals: 1947, 1951
Quarterfinals: 1950

Louise Brough with her 4 Wimbledon titles was widely considered the best American of that generation - between Margaret, Doris Hart, Shirley Fry, Patricia Todd, Gussie Moran & Beverly Baker-Fleitz. She was often spectacular at Wimbledon, where she never lost before the semifinals until her last appearance in 1957 when she lost in the quarterfinals. Her American twist serve was considered one of the finest in womens tennis.

In her autobiography, Maureen Connolly spent some time analyzing her peers and it is clear that she held Louise in the highest regard - rated her higher than Doris Hart. Maureen was quick to point out that she never played Louise at her peak, but it was her opinion that she was always a difficult opponent for her and her main disadvantage was her problem with nerves and she had a tendency to choke many matches from winning positions.

Louise played once in Australia and won it. She never won in Paris though she only played there four times. Her career was another thing of amazement, stretching from 1940 to 1957 and then a final stab at Forest Hills in 1959, when she made the quarterfinals. Her record:

Wimbledon

Champion: 1948, 1949, 1950, 1955
Finalist: 1946, 1952, 1954
Semifinalist: 1947, 1951, 1956
Quarterfinalist: 1957

U.S. Nationals

Champion: 1947
Finalist: 1942, 1943, 1948, 1954, 1957
Semifinals: 1944, 1945, 1949, 1952, 1953
Quarterfinals: 1946, 1956, 1959

In addition, there is their doubles partnership which is legendary - 20 Grand Slam titles together, including 9 straight U.S. titles between 1942 & 1950 (12 in total).

Another great who deserves to be in the top 50 would be Shirley Fry. Shirley, while often overlooked in favor of her more illustrious peers, is one of a select group of women to have won all 4 Grand Slam singles events at least once.

I understand, dh, that you might be getting a lot of the information on the players of the 40s & 50s from "Love & Faults." While Tinling is a competent historian, it is my opinion that he was very biased towards the players who wore his dresses or the good-looking ones. His disdain for Margaret & Louise is obvious in that chapter on Gussie Moran. I think they deserve better. Try Billie Jean King's book "We Have Come a Long Way." It is a much better read for a good synopsis of the greats of the past. Virgina Wade's book "Ladies of the Court" is another good one.

In my top 10, I'm usually waffling for the #10 spot between Alice Marble & Louise. I liked co-ranking them but if I had to choose, I'd give a slight edge to Alice. Margaret du Pont is right behind those two. Ace magazine of Britain ranked Louise in their top 10 greatest players of the last century.

P.S. The above post involved liberal consultations with the excellent "Grand Slam Results" section :)

disposablehero
Mar 6th, 2003, 05:28 AM
Great players both, Zummi, but look at my top 20 and tell me who you would kick out to make room for them.

And herein lies my other problem. The numbers game certainly does not rule, but it has to be respected. Doris has the career Slam, the most Slam finals out of herself, Betz, Dupont, Brough, and Fry, being tited with Dupont and Brough for the most actual singles titles. But Mo Connolly is the be all end all of that generation, and only Fry was more precisely a peer of Maureen's than Doris. So those 17 Slam Finals would likely have translated to more titles if she was facing a "mere" DuPont or Brough, as opposed to "Little Mo".

Zummi
Mar 6th, 2003, 06:01 AM
Rollo, I had a reply typed out re: the last discussion before my computer froze and I lost everything. I'm not up to writing the whole thing again so I might try tomorrow...

disposeablehero, in a nutshell, no Molla Mallory, no Helen Jacobs, no Evonne Goolagong and no Venus Williams (at least not yet anyway).

Btw, Shirley Fry was just two years younger than Doris Hart who in turn was two years junior to Louise Brough. Shirley & Althea Gibson were the same age. As far as numbers go, I think it is reasonable to take in the circumstances of the times into consideration and not go by raw numbers alone. The more I read up on tennis history, the more I find this to be necessary.

BCP
Mar 6th, 2003, 08:03 AM
Zummi, it's interesting that you would not include Evonne, given that she won 7 GS.....only the USO eluded her, and she was runner up there (was it 4 times?). I think she definitely belongs there, but is there anyone else who thinks that she shouldn't be there?

I think that we all agreed that Alice Marble deserves to be there, so here is the list so far:

1. Pauline Betz
2. Louise Brough
3. Maria Bueno
4. Maureen Conolley
5. Margaret Court
6. Margaret DuPont
7. Chris Evert
8. Althea Gibson
9. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
10. Steffi Graf
11. Doris Hart
12. Billie Jean King
13. Suzanne Lenglen
14. Alice Marble
15. Martina Navratilova
16. Monica Seles
17. Serena Williams
18. Helen Wills Moody

Only 2 more spots guys. I guess this is where we look at the "Greatest Ever Criteria" posts which we started off with this thread and try to apply them to the remaining players up for nomination.

I personally think that Martina Hingis has a strong case. Her 1997, 5 GS singles in total, her doubles record, and fistful of Y/E championships and tier 1 victories, plus being number 4 on the longest number 1 list is a pretty strong case. Any thoughts?

BCP
Mar 6th, 2003, 08:05 AM
BTW Zummi, how did Tracy do against Martina the other day?

louloubelle
Mar 6th, 2003, 01:20 PM
BCP without having looked too much into the likes of Mallory, Jacobs atm (I've realised during this thread I know sweet nothing about Hart, brough, betz so researching them atm etc...) I'm placing Evonne above the likes of Mallory, Jacobs etc.... but around the US Amazons. As you said it really comes down to dissecting each players careers and intanglibles.

Not a huge favorite for Jacobs and mallory in the top 20 atm (but things may change). The fact that neither could make in roads into the careers of Lenglen and Wills whereas Evonne at least beat Chris and Mags both on a huge stage (tho she had lopsided h2h's with them both and BJK) and had more big moments in her career. However I will be more sure with more research so I'll withold a definite opinion (sitting on the fence :D )

I heard an opinion that Doris Hart came into her own more or less when Brough and duPont faded a bit and Mo retired. I wonder if this is true??? Or is it being a bit critical of someone who was unfortunately playing around the time of a great legend?? Is this the case with mallory and Jacobs too?? Am I being too harsh??

Mark43
Mar 6th, 2003, 03:21 PM
Great thread guys! Maybe we should copy + paste it into GM to show the kids how we can all argue/debate intelligently and still get along with out resorting to crap.

Thanks BCP, for listing Evonne. I think she definetly needs to be included here. Evonne had great winning percentages of all the slams she played. I think she made the finals about 45 percent of the time. She made 17 slam finals and I would guess she played about 36 slams in her career (don't quote me on that). Evonne took 2 Virginia Slims Championships titles over the likes of Chris Evert (twice) and Billie Jean King, during a time when these titles were as big as the slams. Her only achilles heal was the US Open and she made the finals 4 straight years (1973-76), no mean feat. She should have taken the 74 title, without a doubt. But this thread isn't about shoulda, coulda, woulda!

As for the people on the bench...I would go for Hingis. None of the others rival her consistency and overall records (weeks at #1, titles, season enders).

Jane
Mar 6th, 2003, 04:14 PM
Please don't put this wonderful thread in GM to be spoiled by the usual "my player is better than your player" and the "no one who played before 1995 really counts" comments.

My vote for the last two slots would be:

Martina Hingis for the reasons already mentioned.

Dorthea Douglass Chambers. She won Wimbledon 7 times and was runner up 4 times when Wimbledon was the only tournament that really mattered. That record inspite of a career interuppted for 4 years by WWI. I think there is a bias in favor of more recent players and the earlier ones are often overlooked.

One more thought, would it be appropriate to confine the choices to the greatest players of the 20th century? This of course would eliminate both Serena and Venus from consideration. It is very difficult to evaluate a player's career while they are at or near their peak and while Serena has certainly earned a place in the best ever, it is hard to tell where she will rank when her career is finished. (This of course, leaves Serena as the greatest player of the 21st century.)

Finally, I hope someone is preserving all of the great information in this and other threads from BFP somewhere more permenent than an internet message board. I think one/some of the more ambitious posters here could turn it into a wonderful book on tennis history.

BCP
Mar 6th, 2003, 05:04 PM
Hey Louloubelle, I think we should hold judgement on the last 2 places for a few days so that the case can be stated for the remaining players. At this moment, I think that Martina Hingis is a slight favourite to get one of the places. But I think that it's important for the researchers on this board to make sure that there is a general consensus for the 20 that are chosen by all of us.

BTW, your thread is fast becoming the greatest ever "greatest ever" thread! ;)

Hey Mark, great to see you back! I had to stick up for Evonne while you were away...I'm sure you nwould do the same for Chris....well, you would wouldn't you?! ;) Besides, if hingis makes the list, then Evonne definitely should be there.

Hey Jane :wavey: Thanks for the info on Dorethea Chambers. It'll be taken into account when everyoine debates on the last two places I'm sure. I gather from your post that you agree on the other 18 players already there?

Rollo
Mar 6th, 2003, 08:16 PM
Janie-I finally mailed the package yesterday to your friend at Tennis Week-thanks again!

BCP wrote: BTW, your thread is fast becoming the greatest ever "greatest ever" thread! So true :worship:


I feel for you Zummi. It's happened to me too many a time. I knew you better than to give up without a further post ;) I'll be looking forward to your next reply.

BTW, I did some digging on Mags missing the German and Italian in 1969. Everyone skipped the German that year to play Fed Cup the same week. The German winner (Krantzcke) didn't make the Fed Cup team. Rev Mags was on the Caribbean circuit that year, which ended in Charlotte (on clay) the week before Rome. The week AFTER Rome Mags was starting the British clay circuit. So while she was skipping Rome, she wasn't bailing on clay itself, at least in 1969.

Rollo
Mar 6th, 2003, 08:54 PM
Hey Mark:wavey: -going to the Lipton (whatever the hell it's called these days) this year?

I almost forgot to add that I agree with Zummi about the value of King's book. It's a gem, and you can tell King actually put time into it rather than just adding her name to the project.

I can see different arguments for putting/not putting Goolagong on the 20 list.

Pluses-She was (arguably) #1 for 1971
-3 of 4 slams, just missing the US Open, where she was twice
points away from winning.
-she was an allcourt player. Gong beat Evert twice on clay
before Evert started that streak of 125, and Evonne was
up 4-2 in set 2 of their 1975 US Open final

Negatives: Losing records vs. all other "greats"
Some Aussies were "cheap" (notablt 1976, 1977)
Couldn't win that US open
Her only year at #1 was debatable.

It should be added that she DID win the Slims (often considered the 3rd most important event) twice-in 1974 and 1976.

Brough and Dupont merit a mention. King's book (like most) gives Betz the top dog spot among the amazons, but after that it's hard to chose among Brough, Dupont, and Hart. I have American Lawn Tennis for most years these women played,and some of the differences to me are:

Brough

As one rhyme went, "Brough is rough". Boy was she ever -at her peak! Louise was compared to Alice Marble. Everything was big, including her serve and volley. On raw talent Louise would be tops even over Betz, but her problem was she ckoked away a lot of big matches. In 1942 She didn't lose all year until the US Nationals, the one event that really mattered. Twice (1948 and 1954) Brough had match points in US finals and lost them. Winning those would have given her 8 slams rather than 6.

Another negative is Brough was the weakest Amazon on clay. She never made a French final and hated the surface.

So why consider her? Well, 4 Wimbledons isn't dirt! At that time it was the World Championship of tennis. And she won it even past her peak. Brough beat all the women mentioned on our list, including Connolly.

Dupont

Dupont had a more rounded game than Brough. She served and volleyed less than Brough but on clay could rally and win, as she proved with two
French wins. Betz feared Dupont over all the other Amazons because their styles were alike. It wasn't raw talent that won Margaret matches.
More often than not she used clever tactics. She almost never choked.

Dupont's strength vs. Brough would be she was more versatile. Her "weakness" would be only one Wimbledon title. As Wimbledon was the queen of events in her day some would give the edge to Brough.

Hart

Lets mention her weakness first-many felt Doris profitted by simply waiting long enough for Dupont and Brough to age. Before 1951 (when Dupont had a baby and Brough was injured) Hart had a French title and loads of losing slam finals. I suspect she has losing head to heads vs. Both (I'm checking!)

On the other hand Hart DID hang in there to weather the Mo Connolly storm. Mo "stole" Hart's place like Graf did Mandlikova's. The difference was Hart gained 6 slams in all-and won all 4-sometihng Betz,Dupont (who never went to Oz) or Brough (no French) did. Mo beat Connolly twice.

Last thought-as great as Connolly was she may have gotten lucky in her timing (champs always are IMO). By 1951 both Dupont (aged 33) and Brough (aged 28) were past their peak.

I'll slowly put up year by year stats as I find them in the the 1940s or 50s thread. Here's a great site for stars from that time:
http://www.wm.edu/tenniscenter/inductees.html

Finally-here are their dates of birth (oldest first)

Dupont-1918
Betz-1919
Brough-1923
Hart-1925
Fry-1927

disposablehero
Mar 7th, 2003, 12:42 AM
Please don't even mention this thread in general messages. If those kids come in here, my thin veneer of civilization will likely evaporate in about 5 minutes.

Mark43
Mar 7th, 2003, 02:13 AM
Hi Rollo, :wavey:

Yeah I am volunteering for the Lipton/Ericsson/Nasdaq-100 again this year. I have been upgraded to ticket checker in the main stadium so I hope to catch all the big matches. I am still not working full time (or even part time, shhhh!) so I am going to try and hit both the day and night sessions. Hopefully Jen and Monica will do as well as they did last year.

Oh don't remind me that Evonne was so close to winning the US on two different occassions. She really had 1974 in the bag and 73+75 were up for grabs as well. She had no killer instinct and that was her downfall. If she did have just an once of Chris/Monica/BJK's mental abilities I think Evonne would be firmly in the top 5 of all time. I mean, she made 4 straight US finals and 5 Wimbledon finals without an once of killer instinct. She should have taken about 12-15 Slams, if you ask me....but that is all dreamy conjecture.

It's fun to dream!

Since I am dreaming here are the titles Evonne should have won...

Aussie 1971-2.
French 1972
Wimbledon 1972,74,76 (74 was her year according to Mr. Edwards)
US 1973-75

disposablehero
Mar 7th, 2003, 03:01 AM
I find this debate on Evonne surprising. Given her number of Slams, number of Slam Finals, number of regular titles, and who she did all this stuff against, I couldn't even imagine her being out of anyone's top 15, much less 20. To me, the top 9 of my list are the Deities of women's tennis, and Evonne my #10 is the best of the mortals.

Mark43
Mar 7th, 2003, 05:09 AM
well put, disposable!!! I agree. :)

louloubelle
Mar 7th, 2003, 11:20 PM
Alice Marble is another joining the 'what-if' club.

She was a 1 time Wimbledon winner and a 4 time US champ. She started from very humble beginnings and it took a while for the Californian association to notice her.
She was made to play 9 consecutive hours for Wightman Cup trials one year and collasped. Then at the French later that spring she collasped again and diagnosed for tuberculosis (and told she would never play again) in which it was eventually found to be pluerisy and anemia. During this time the Californian association were more worried about recouping the expenses she hadn't spent.
She had a recovery time of 2 years with Teach Tennant (Little Mo's coach) and then returned to the tour without monetary assistance again.

Couldn't make an impression at Wimbledon like she did at the US losing in the semis in 37, 38 b4 winning 39.
The WW2 occurred, in which Alice moved professional in 41

Another of those what-if's, a player who faced many hardships, making another great player hard to place.

BTW The more I read about Hart the more I admire her. She stern competition in her time, and did beat Little Mo twice, once quite brilliantly at the Italian in which she mixed up her game and gave Little Mo no rythum. Her longevity is noteworthy as well as the fact she played with a lame leg, affected by a virus when she very young. I mentioned an opinion which indicated she came into her own after her challengers faded or retired. I don't think I buy that now.

Zummi
Mar 9th, 2003, 06:22 AM
Quickly, on the topic of Doris Hart, it is certainly unfair to say she was just a fill-in between Louise Brough & Maureen Connolly. She was probably the most consistent of the American women in the 40s & 50s. And certainly the best all-court player of them all, though she was primarily a serve-and-volleyer (initially her brother encouraged her to play that way so she wouldn't have to run as much if she were camped on the baseline).

However, stories of her leg injury have been exaggerated over the years. In her autobiography, "Tennis With Hart," she discussed in detail how she developed her knee infection (gangrene, I think) as a baby. It took a while for her to recover but she was back to normal within 2-3 years especially after her family moved to Florida. Doris said that news reporters always improvised her story and had gone as far to say that she was once lame & affected by polio. But she said that was not true. If anything, her court movement was considered one of the strongest parts of her game, very graceful & pleasing to watch.

I think Louise Brough should be considered the best of that batch. Her 4 Wimbledon titles merit that recognition. As far as longetivity goes, I don't think anyone could beat Margaret du Pont. She was the oldest of the group and she lasted the longest, active in doubles well into the 60s and making the Wimbledon singles quarterfinals at 40.

The thing about a top 20, I've realized, is that it is very hard to decide who to include and who not to. Especially given the recent accomplishments of players like Martina Hingis & Serena Williams. It's getting too crowded. May I suggest a top 25 so you would avoid having to make close calls. I think some of these players should make the list:

Lottie Dodd
Dorothea Lambert Chambers
May Sutton-Bundy
Suzanne Lenglen
Helen Wills
Helen Jacobs
Alice Marble
Pauline Betz
Margaret du Pont
Louise Brough
Doris Hart
Shirley Fry
Maureen Connolly
Althea Gibson
Maria Bueno
Margaret Court
Billie Jean King
Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
Chris Evert
Martina Navratilova
Steffi Graf
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
Monica Seles
Martina Hingis
Serena Williams

I think one addition above that no one has mentioned here before would be May Sutton-Bundy (mother of Dodo Cheney). Twice a Wimbledon winner & one-time U.S. Nationals winner, her record would have been far greater had circumstances been different. If she had been able to play at Wimbledon more, her rivalry with Dorothea Lambert Chambers would have been a great one. And at her peak, she only played at Forest Hills once - in 1904 and she won easily and was totally unimpressed with the competition, she did not return until something like 18 years later at the age of 36. And in her last year, in 1929, she reached the Wimbledon quarters at 42. Not to be outdone, Dorothea Lambert Chambers made the U.S. Nationals quarterfinals in 1925 at the age of 46! Both these great women should not be forgotten.

Rollo
Mar 9th, 2003, 12:26 PM
It certainly gets murky past the chosen few. I'd only put 9 or so women in a "cannot be left out category" if you limit it to 20.

May Sutton Bundy may have been the toughest bitch of the lot. And I DO mean bitch. Talk about competitive! Her rivalry with Hazel Wightman was so bitter that May just up and walked off court in disgust one time, failed to shake hands in another after losing, and once sat down for a tea break (the first recorded bathroom/stall for time break in tennis history) while her opponent and the crowd sat under a hoty sun and stewed.

May was such a sweety her own husband (they later divorced) cheered against her at times! :eek:

Well-personality aside, she was so good that she and Chambers stand out in the pre-1919 crowd. Even though Browne, Mallory, and Wightman all won more US titles they still lost more matches vs. May than they won. May just refused to come to the Nationals again after 1904-and she suffers for it in these all-time type conversations.

Sutton's forehand was so extreme (with loads of topspin) that she often had bruises on her back from hitting it with the racquet on the follow-through.

BCP
Mar 17th, 2003, 08:57 PM
Hey Guys,

Sorry I've let this thread go....I've just started working again, after a 7 month break!....and I don't get to post too much from there. Now, where are we? I guess we could make it 25 names, but keeping it to 20 keeps it interesting.

As far as I can see, there seems to be general consensus on the following 20:

1. Pauline Betz
2. Louise Brough
3. Maria Bueno
4. Maureen Conolley
5. Margaret Court
6. Margaret DuPont
7. Chris Evert
8. Althea Gibson
9. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
10. Steffi Graf
11. Doris Hart
12. Martina Hingis
13. Billie Jean King
14. Dorothea Lambert Chambers
15. Suzanne Lenglen
16. Alice Marble
17. Martina Navratilova
18. Monica Seles
19. Serena Williams
20. Helen Wills Moody

Is this the final BFTP Top 20 Women players ever?

Rollo
Mar 17th, 2003, 11:28 PM
I feel your pain BCP. I only post 1/10 of what I'd like to.

The list looks good to me. The question is who got left out?

One fact about Alice pushes her higher. With all the talk of Serena going a full year without a defeat it's a good time to point out that Alice was the last woman to do it.
She was undefeated in 1939 and 1940. Her win streak was at around 90 matches straight
and her last defeat may have been at Wimbledon in 1938.

disposablehero
Mar 18th, 2003, 03:18 AM
I feel your pain BCP. I only post 1/10 of what I'd like to.

The list looks good to me. The question is who got left out?


Well, IMO, Molla Mallory, Helen Jacobs, and Venus Williams. I'm flexible on Venus, but I feel pretty strongly about the other 2.

Rollo
Mar 18th, 2003, 06:41 PM
Ah DH-but which of the 20 on BCP's list would you bump to make way for them? It's rough keeping it to only 20 isn't it?

Molla and Jacobs certainly had distinguished records. It's a pity that Molla's best years coincided with World War One. Born in 1884 (or 1892 depending on the source)-her best years came long before she met the younger Lenglen. Molla was either 29 or 37 when she beat Suzanne in 1921-no spring chicken!

disposablehero
Mar 22nd, 2003, 02:04 AM
Ah DH-but which of the 20 on BCP's list would you bump to make way for them? It's rough keeping it to only 20 isn't it?

Molla and Jacobs certainly had distinguished records. It's a pity that Molla's best years coincided with World War One. Born in 1884 (or 1892 depending on the source)-her best years came long before she met the younger Lenglen. Molla was either 29 or 37 when she beat Suzanne in 1921-no spring chicken!

It's rough keeping it to any number other than 9/ But I would dump Brough and DuPont. I just think there are way too many American players from about 1938 to 1956 represented on his list. If you don't dump at least one of them, Helen would make NINE, which is just absurd.

BCP
Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:59 AM
It's been a quiet Friday at work, and I was reading through this wonderful thread. Some of the newer guys might have something to say about the list we came up with........ I'll try and find the thread with the greatest non-Slam winners...............

HanaFanGA
Apr 23rd, 2004, 01:53 PM
Hey Guys,

Sorry I've let this thread go....I've just started working again, after a 7 month break!....and I don't get to post too much from there. Now, where are we? I guess we could make it 25 names, but keeping it to 20 keeps it interesting.

As far as I can see, there seems to be general consensus on the following 20:

1. Pauline Betz
2. Louise Brough
3. Maria Bueno
4. Maureen Conolley
5. Margaret Court
6. Margaret DuPont
7. Chris Evert
8. Althea Gibson
9. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
10. Steffi Graf
11. Doris Hart
12. Martina Hingis
13. Billie Jean King
14. Dorothea Lambert Chambers
15. Suzanne Lenglen
16. Alice Marble
17. Martina Navratilova
18. Monica Seles
19. Serena Williams
20. Helen Wills Moody

Is this the final BFTP Top 20 Women players ever?

Other than simply by reading I don't have enough knowledge about anyone before the late 60's (except for the obvious Lenglen, Moody, etc) to construct an all time greats list. But BCP, can't you find some place in the top 20 for our girl Hana?(shameless I know) ;) I know that World Tennis and Tennis Week both did an all time greats tournament bracket and both included Hana.

Even I would never qualify her to be among Court, King, Evert, Navratilova, or Graf but after the top few I think you sort of establish a second tier so to speak and so on. From what I know (I know my heart's too close to really seperate) I'd put Hana somewhere between 14 and 20 ( I know yours is in no particluar order)? Is it just my heart telling me that or is there a case for it?

BCP
Apr 23rd, 2004, 02:03 PM
I AGREE!!!! VOTE HANA!!!!!!!!:bounce: :banana:


Who shall we kick out...................?:eek:

HanaFanGA
Apr 23rd, 2004, 02:06 PM
Whenever we try and rank players drawing from all eras its really hard. For me, its hard to overcome the thinking that I grew up with. The greats of my fomative years almost get put up on a pedastal and so far no one has knocked them off. So its really hard for me to rank anyone before 1980 and after 1999. I honestly don't think I could put together a credible list without snubbing a few players - just being honest.

Robert1
Apr 23rd, 2004, 04:38 PM
1. Monica Seles - number one in the world after having played only 30 professional tournaments, setting streaks at the US Open, French Open, Australian Open and the WTA Championships. Only the stabbing could stop her. A comeback after 2.5 years was crowned by her 4th Australian Open title. The consistency, match record, win/lose percentage and h2h Monica achieved in her first 5 years on the tour are unmatched by any other player in the open era and hardly anyone in the entire history.

2. Maureen Connolly - Her career was just as good as Monica's and Maureen even won the Grand Slam, however did she not come back after the accident she had to deal with.

3. Margaret Court - No one won more Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.

4. Billie-Jean King - The Queen of Wimbledon, 20 titles there. The achievements she gained off court in building up the professional women's Tennis tour are just as good as any Grand Slam title.

5. Martina Navratilova - Won any major title at least once - in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles and still continues to do so.

6. Suzanne Lenglen - Multiple winner of Wimbledon and French Open trophies, revolutioned the style of Tennis.

7. Chris Evert - The consitency itself by winning tournamens over an 18 years stretch. Lost only 4 times before a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

8. Helen Wills, 9. Steffi Graf, 10. Evonne Goolagong.

LDVTennis
Apr 26th, 2004, 07:29 AM
1. Monica Seles - number one in the world after having played only 30 professional tournaments, setting streaks at the US Open, French Open, Australian Open and the WTA Championships. Only the stabbing could stop her. A comeback after 2.5 years was crowned by her 4th Australian Open title. The consistency, match record, win/lose percentage and h2h Monica achieved in her first 5 years on the tour are unmatched by any other player in the open era and hardly anyone in the entire history.



She never won a single Wimbledon title in those years. That alone makes her unworthy to be in the Top 5. When Monica had her best chance, she demonstrated why she may not even belong in the Top 10. She didn't lose because she was apprehensive about grunting; she lost because she was such a poor athlete and she had the misfortune that day of playing the greatest natural athlete the woman's sport has ever seen.

But enough of this sideshow... One criteria that no one has mentioned is, for lack of a better descriptive term, "ability to demonstrate the beauty of the game."

I'll give two examples in order to demonstrate what I mean by this. Roger Federer is already being touted as the best men's player ever because of his slice backhand, his movement, the versatility of his forehand (i.e., spins, placement, and all), and his transition game (that is, his ability to hit midcourt balls on his way to the net). What makes his case even stronger is his ability to do certain freakish things, like half-volleying from the baseline, the backhand overhead, and the slice backhand to the short court. Add all of his shots together and his way of hitting them and he has a beautiful game.

Second example: In the history of the game, there have been players who have distinguished themselves by hitting a shot like no one ever has in the history of the game, not just with great power, but with great placement, from various positions on the court, for winners, etc.. Not all of these players have been consistent enough to be No. 1, to win a major, or even to win more than one tournament. That makes the ones who build a great career out of a great shot truly special. They are the ones that Virginia Wade often said make you want to go out to the court and see if you could hit that shot yourself. That is the beauty of their games.

Based on this criteria, here is how various players might be differentiated from each other in order to determine who makes a greater claim to be the greatest ever. I will start in the present and move backward in time.

Serena Williams - Serena is a champion. There is no denying that. But, what special shot does she possess? To be sure, she has a very good serve, but there is nothing really spectacular about her form. She is a strong woman and she has a strong serve. No mystery to that. By comparison, the current men's number one doesn't seem as muscular as Serena but has a spectacular serve because of his amazing placement. As to the general beauty of Serena's game, what beauty there is is undermined by Serena's failure to master some of the finesse or subtlety of the game, like hitting a slice backhand, half volleys, or drop shots. She often looks awkward, if not ugly, hitting those shots. Enough said.

Venus Williams - She also has a very good first serve. Her second serve, however, demonstrates how technically flawed and unattractive her service motion is. There are various things that can make a service motion look really beautiful, like the continuity of the motion, the balance at the point of ball release, the position and symmetry of the shoulders at point of contact, the degree of elevation off the court, and the balance and position of the player during follow through. Based on all these criteria, Venus' serve, though the fatest ever, just doesn't merit attention as a really spectacular shot. As for the beauty of the rest of the game, Venus's game also suffers from her inability to master the finesse parts of the game.

Monica Seles - She may or may not have ushered in the era of power tennis. She gets credit for that. But, based on my criteria, she should also be penalized for introducing into the sport some of the ugliest form the sport has ever seen. While clearly unusual, there is nothing particularly beautiful about her two handed shots. Even in her better days, Monica was a gangling player whose balance at point of contact was questionable and inconsistent. When her athleticism was tested, her game could become even uglier. Like Venus and Serena, Monica also lacked subtlety. She looked awkward hitting slice backhands, drop shots, balls hit low to either side, and balls hit short and at an angle. Moreover, there are shots that it seems Monica never hit, like chip lobs, backhand overheads, topspin lobs. The apparent beauty of Monica's game may be more an effect of her personality than her athleticism or the full range of shots she could hit.

Steffi Graf - When one hears Pat McEnroe and others slobbering over Federer's ability to hit a slice backhand short into the forecourt, to run around his backhand, to hit his forehand with a Continental grip, and to hit winners by stepping forward and picking off short midcourt balls, one begins to wonder why there is any question of Graf's greatness. She too did all of these things. It is, of course, obvious that much of the beauty of Steffi's game is a result of how she hit her forehand. She could hit the ball late because she had such amazing foreward momentum on the shot, much like Federer does. And, she could also hit the ball late because of her Continental grip and the ability of her wrist to impart direction to the ball, yes also much like Federer. Unlike the others I mentioned above, Steffi mastered many of the subtler aspects of the sport. She had a freakish ability to pick up balls off her shoe tops and half volley them back. She had one of the best chip lobs and drop shots the game has ever seen. Graf's movement also contributed to the beauty of her game. She literally moved like a gazelle. Her balance at top speed was so good that she could slide on clay, move on her tiptoes on grass without slipping, and move side to side without losing her center of gravity. Venus and Serena may be fast movers, but their balance is often tested on grass and clay because they both move on the flats of their feet. They may be fast, but they are not pretty movers. Graf was, so much so that Dick Enberg once opined that one was tempted just to watch her and not the ball going back and forth over the net.

Martina N. - She too was a pretty mover, though clearly better moving forward to the net than side to side. When forced wide to retrieve the ball, she too could be pushed off her center of gravity. Of course, the beauty of her game depends almost exclusively on her net play. Her balance, her anticipation, and her volley technique were special. As a net player, she of course demonstrated her mastery of almost all the subtler aspects of the sport. Only when she was forced to play from the baseline (by a determined challenger like Chris Evert) could her game sometimes become pedestrian.

Chris Evert - If there was one place where Evert never looked pedestrian it was at the baseline. She moved so smoothly from side to side, it almost seemed sometimes like she didn't have feet. Though the introduction of a higher degree of speed to the sport by opponents like Martina N. and Steffi Graf would finally demonstrate Evert's slowness, what remains essential about Evert's movement is her balance, her ability to set up for one shot and then another while moving side to side. Evert's mastery of the finesse of the game is also noteworthy. I don't think there are any shots in this category that she couldn't hit. If this part of her game hadn't been what it was, I don't think she would have been able to keep up with Martina. Of course, when one thinks of the beauty of Chris's game, it would be enough just to mention her form on the two-handed backhand. It was truly special. She not only popularized the shot, but she stylized it. In Chris's hands that shot was graceful and fluid, almost as beautiful as a one-handed backhand. Really a shame how the beauty of the shot has degraded over the years. Players like Serena and Venus look like they are swinging a waffle iron; Chris looked like she was completing a dance move.

Well, those are my thoughts. IMHO, Chris and Steffi played some of the most beautiful tennis the women's game has ever seen. I think when it comes to determining the best player ever that should count for something. It does in other sports, hence the greatness of Jerry Rice (in football), Dorothy Hamil (in figure skating), and Michael Jordan (in basketball).

Robert1
Apr 26th, 2004, 10:35 AM
What Monica accomplished in her first 4 years on the tour, Graf couldn't even dream of in her own first years, LDV. Sure, Monica didn't win Wimbledon, you belong to those guys who measure a complete career by one match, right? Monica played comparebly poor in that Wimbledon final, of course she was put off by that grunting discussion. Had she played that way in the semis, she would have lost to Martina and she might have even lost at an early stage at this tournament had she played the way she played in the finals.


1. Monica Seles - number one in the world after having played only 30 professional tournaments, setting streaks at the US Open, French Open, Australian Open and the WTA Championships. Only the stabbing could stop her. A comeback after 2.5 years was crowned by her 4th Australian Open title. The consistency, match record, win/lose percentage and h2h Monica achieved in her first 5 years on the tour are unmatched by any other player in the open era and hardly anyone in the entire history.

On the other hand, many of Graf's wins came after she was actually done cause being overtaken by Seles. The stabbing gave her a 2nd wind. Not enough to be a top 5-ever.

macn
Apr 26th, 2004, 03:16 PM
Let's not forget about the competition each champion had to face and a rival that was just as worthy. Chris Evert, Maria Bueno, Martina navratilova, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong, Louise Brough, Doris Hart, Margaret Osborne, Venus, Serena and a few others all had stiff competition and a rival they had to contend with. Some say that Steffi Graff, Helen Wills, Alice Marble and Suzanne Lenglen were just too good and had no rivals, I don't agree. I feel that they were at the right place in time. Imagine Suzanne and Helen going at it 8 times a year for 10 years or Steffi and Monica going at it for the same amount of years. The above mentioned champions all had to contend with several rivals and dangerous players that lurked in the draws (lesley Turner, Ann Jones, Kerry Reid, Darlene Hard, Virginia Wade, Rosie Casals, Jan Lehane, Shirley Fry, Carole Caldwell,Judy Dalton, Beverly Flietz and the list goes on) I feel that Maureen Connoly and Althea Gibson dominated their years; however, both benefited from aging champions (louise, Dupont) and Althea didn't have Maureen to contend with.

jeanmi18
Apr 26th, 2004, 03:37 PM
She never won a single Wimbledon title in those years. That alone makes her unworthy to be in the Top 5. When Monica had her best chance, she demonstrated why she may not even belong in the Top 10. She didn't lose because she was apprehensive about grunting; she lost because she was such a poor athlete and she had the misfortune that day of playing the greatest natural athlete the woman's sport has ever seen.

But enough of this sideshow... One criteria that no one has mentioned is, for lack of a better descriptive term, "ability to demonstrate the beauty of the game."

I'll give two examples in order to demonstrate what I mean by this. Roger Federer is already being touted as the best men's player ever because of his slice backhand, his movement, the versatility of his forehand (i.e., spins, placement, and all), and his transition game (that is, his ability to hit midcourt balls on his way to the net). What makes his case even stronger is his ability to do certain freakish things, like half-volleying from the baseline, the backhand overhead, and the slice backhand to the short court. Add all of his shots together and his way of hitting them and he has a beautiful game.

Second example: In the history of the game, there have been players who have distinguished themselves by hitting a shot like no one ever has in the history of the game, not just with great power, but with great placement, from various positions on the court, for winners, etc.. Not all of these players have been consistent enough to be No. 1, to win a major, or even to win more than one tournament. That makes the ones who build a great career out of a great shot truly special. They are the ones that Virginia Wade often said make you want to go out to the court and see if you could hit that shot yourself. That is the beauty of their games.

Based on this criteria, here is how various players might be differentiated from each other in order to determine who makes a greater claim to be the greatest ever. I will start in the present and move backward in time.

Serena Williams - Serena is a champion. There is no denying that. But, what special shot does she possess? To be sure, she has a very good serve, but there is nothing really spectacular about her form. She is a strong woman and she has a strong serve. No mystery to that. By comparison, the current men's number one doesn't seem as muscular as Serena but has a spectacular serve because of his amazing placement. As to the general beauty of Serena's game, what beauty there is is undermined by Serena's failure to master some of the finesse or subtlety of the game, like hitting a slice backhand, half volleys, or drop shots. She often looks awkward, if not ugly, hitting those shots. Enough said.

Venus Williams - She also has a very good first serve. Her second serve, however, demonstrates how technically flawed and unattractive her service motion is. There are various things that can make a service motion look really beautiful, like the continuity of the motion, the balance at the point of ball release, the position and symmetry of the shoulders at point of contact, the degree of elevation off the court, and the balance and position of the player during follow through. Based on all these criteria, Venus' serve, though the fatest ever, just doesn't merit attention as a really spectacular shot. As for the beauty of the rest of the game, Venus's game also suffers from her inability to master the finesse parts of the game.

Monica Seles - She may or may not have ushered in the era of power tennis. She gets credit for that. But, based on my criteria, she should also be penalized for introducing into the sport some of the ugliest form the sport has ever seen. While clearly unusual, there is nothing particularly beautiful about her two handed shots. Even in her better days, Monica was a gangling player whose balance at point of contact was questionable and inconsistent. When her athleticism was tested, her game could become even uglier. Like Venus and Serena, Monica also lacked subtlety. She looked awkward hitting slice backhands, drop shots, balls hit low to either side, and balls hit short and at an angle. Moreover, there are shots that it seems Monica never hit, like chip lobs, backhand overheads, topspin lobs. The apparent beauty of Monica's game may be more an effect of her personality than her athleticism or the full range of shots she could hit.

Steffi Graf - When one hears Pat McEnroe and others slobbering over Federer's ability to hit a slice backhand short into the forecourt, to run around his backhand, to hit his forehand with a Continental grip, and to hit winners by stepping forward and picking off short midcourt balls, one begins to wonder why there is any question of Graf's greatness. She too did all of these things. It is, of course, obvious that much of the beauty of Steffi's game is a result of how she hit her forehand. She could hit the ball late because she had such amazing foreward momentum on the shot, much like Federer does. And, she could also hit the ball late because of her Continental grip and the ability of her wrist to impart direction to the ball, yes also much like Federer. Unlike the others I mentioned above, Steffi mastered many of the subtler aspects of the sport. She had a freakish ability to pick up balls off her shoe tops and half volley them back. She had one of the best chip lobs and drop shots the game has ever seen. Graf's movement also contributed to the beauty of her game. She literally moved like a gazelle. Her balance at top speed was so good that she could slide on clay, move on her tiptoes on grass without slipping, and move side to side without losing her center of gravity. Venus and Serena may be fast movers, but their balance is often tested on grass and clay because they both move on the flats of their feet. They may be fast, but they are not pretty movers. Graf was, so much so that Dick Enberg once opined that one was tempted just to watch her and not the ball going back and forth over the net.

Martina N. - She too was a pretty mover, though clearly better moving forward to the net than side to side. When forced wide to retrieve the ball, she too could be pushed off her center of gravity. Of course, the beauty of her game depends almost exclusively on her net play. Her balance, her anticipation, and her volley technique were special. As a net player, she of course demonstrated her mastery of almost all the subtler aspects of the sport. Only when she was forced to play from the baseline (by a determined challenger like Chris Evert) could her game sometimes become pedestrian.

Chris Evert - If there was one place where Evert never looked pedestrian it was at the baseline. She moved so smoothly from side to side, it almost seemed sometimes like she didn't have feet. Though the introduction of a higher degree of speed to the sport by opponents like Martina N. and Steffi Graf would finally demonstrate Evert's slowness, what remains essential about Evert's movement is her balance, her ability to set up for one shot and then another while moving side to side. Evert's mastery of the finesse of the game is also noteworthy. I don't think there are any shots in this category that she couldn't hit. If this part of her game hadn't been what it was, I don't think she would have been able to keep up with Martina. Of course, when one thinks of the beauty of Chris's game, it would be enough just to mention her form on the two-handed backhand. It was truly special. She not only popularized the shot, but she stylized it. In Chris's hands that shot was graceful and fluid, almost as beautiful as a one-handed backhand. Really a shame how the beauty of the shot has degraded over the years. Players like Serena and Venus look like they are swinging a waffle iron; Chris looked like she was completing a dance move.

Well, those are my thoughts. IMHO, Chris and Steffi played some of the most beautiful tennis the women's game has ever seen. I think when it comes to determining the best player ever that should count for something. It does in other sports, hence the greatness of Jerry Rice (in football), Dorothy Hamil (in figure skating), and Michael Jordan (in basketball).


Hi, this is a very interesting approach and I totally agree with your selection: Steffi and Chris were two of the most graceful players; Martina was quite nice to look at; and i'd add Hana and Evonne; I've always thought that watching Evonne play was a pure delight!

Alfa, welcome back, I love your posts. :wavey:

HanaFanGA
Apr 26th, 2004, 03:46 PM
I absolutely loved watching MN on clay. It was her worst surface but she was more than successful on it. Having grown up playing on clay its no surprise by how well she skimmed accross the court. Her 1984 French final was a thing of beauty and my favorite performance ever by MN.

jeanmi18
Apr 26th, 2004, 04:24 PM
I absolutely loved watching MN on clay. It was her worst surface but she was more than successful on it. Having grown up playing on clay its no surprise by how well she skimmed accross the court. Her 1984 French final was a thing of beauty and my favorite performance ever by MN.


Yes, impressive wasn't it? Did you see the Martina-Hana semi-finals in 84?

HanaFanGA
Apr 26th, 2004, 04:50 PM
Yes, impressive wasn't it? Did you see the Martina-Hana semi-finals in 84?

I've never seen that match but would love to (I think). This is, after all, the infamous French Open where Hana treated Martina terribly. But yes Hana was great to watch on clay as well. I'd love to find a copy of the 84 Amelia Island semi between Hana and Martina. On that day clay didn't mean anything to those girls. It might as well have been a grass court. Unfortunately Hana got the bad line call that sort of changed the match. But Hana benefitted from a bad call against Martina in Oakland just a couple of months before this match.

Andy T
Apr 26th, 2004, 06:18 PM
HanaFanGA, you're so fair and balanced in your posts - a delight to read.
:kiss:

Much as I'd like to vote for the inclusion of Hana M, I can't see anyone on the top 20 list who deserves to be kicked off. Hana would be in my top 25, though.

HanaFanGA
Apr 26th, 2004, 06:53 PM
HanaFanGA, you're so fair and balanced in your posts - a delight to read.
:kiss:

Much as I'd like to vote for the inclusion of Hana M, I can't see anyone on the top 20 list who deserves to be kicked off. Hana would be in my top 25, though.

Thanks Andy but actually when I've been drinking, alone, and at my most pathetic I watch Hana matches and plot how she would have taken over the world. :worship:

Andy T
Apr 26th, 2004, 06:59 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
So you're GA's answer to Sue Ellen, are you? I can picture it now - your glossylipsticked lower lip trembling away as you swig your liquor and stick pins in Chrissie and Martina dolls!

HanaFanGA
Apr 26th, 2004, 07:36 PM
[QUOTE=Andy T]:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
So you're GA's answer to Sue Ellen, are you? I can picture it now - your glossylipsticked lower lip trembling away as you swig your liquor and stick pins in Chrissie and Martina dolls![/QUO

I'm afraid I'd have to have collagen (?) injuections for my lips to look like Sue Ellen's. But you're very close!! Have you been peeping into my window? ;)

Andy T
Apr 26th, 2004, 07:43 PM
I may be many things but I'm not a peeper - it's front row seats for me kiddo!

tilden
Apr 27th, 2004, 06:13 AM
Thanks for your post LDVTennis - it was great to read your analyis. You sound like you've been there! Loved the comparison between the sisters swinging their waffle irons and Chrissie completing a dance move. Look forward to hearing (and learning) more from you on other threads.

Rollo
Apr 27th, 2004, 06:27 AM
Honey pie sugar sweet Sue ELLEN! Now there was one LUSHious lady:hearts:

HanFan-if you ever want company we'll gladly come by and drink WITH you hon.
A few frozen margeritas makes for a complete brain freeze. After 3 you can tell me Hana won ten slams as long as you'll agree Gaby won the 91 Wimbledon final;)

That 84 Amelia semi was pure magic. Two netrushers looking like ice skaters on the clay-falling down for points, sending chills up my spine.

irma
Apr 27th, 2004, 06:56 AM
Honey pie sugar sweet Sue ELLEN! Now there was one LUSHious lady:hearts:

HanFan-if you ever want company we'll gladly come by and drink WITH you hon.
A few frozen margeritas makes for a complete brain freeze. After 3 you can tell me Hana won ten slams as long as you'll agree Gaby won the 91 Wimbledon final;)

That 84 Amelia semi was pure magic. Two netrushers looking like ice skaters on the clay-falling down for points, sending chills up my spine.
You are in need of a fight? :mad: :devil: ;)

HanaFanGA
Apr 27th, 2004, 01:59 PM
Honey pie sugar sweet Sue ELLEN! Now there was one LUSHious lady:hearts:

HanFan-if you ever want company we'll gladly come by and drink WITH you hon.
A few frozen margeritas makes for a complete brain freeze. After 3 you can tell me Hana won ten slams as long as you'll agree Gaby won the 91 Wimbledon final;)

That 84 Amelia semi was pure magic. Two netrushers looking like ice skaters on the clay-falling down for points, sending chills up my spine.

Oh if I could have changed just a few points here and there.........just a few!

For those of us in the U.S. who remember that 84 Amelia SF, NBC broke away from the match with Hana leading 4-2 in the third set to show a baseball game! Mind you Amelia Island has always been played in April and April is merely the start of 7 month baseball season. Its not like that early season baseball game would have decided ANYTHING! :mad: NBC took a lot of heat and deservedly so. When NBC later showed highlights of the last few games, including the bad call, it was like a dagger to the heart!

samn
Apr 27th, 2004, 02:30 PM
HanFan-if you ever want company we'll gladly come by and drink WITH you hon.
A few frozen margeritas makes for a complete brain freeze. After 3 you can tell me Hana won ten slams as long as you'll agree Gaby won the 91 Wimbledon final;)



Yeah, watching Gaby unleash those lethal 50 mph serves must be quite the otherworldly experience when you're drunk <ducking> :D

alfajeffster
Apr 27th, 2004, 03:54 PM
Yeah, watching Gaby unleash those lethal 50 mph serves must be quite the otherworldly experience when you're drunk <ducking> :D
You forgot to mention hitting off the back foot- and those were quite a large pair of feet! :lol: Sorry Rollo- can't imbibe right now for a few weeks, so I have to be the sober one at South Fork for now, and wallow in my sarcastic mire! Maybe I could be the duty stretch limo driver...

Andy T
Apr 27th, 2004, 04:11 PM
If HanafanGA is going to be Sue Ellen and Rollo Kristen, you can be Miss Ellie Alfa, ok? I'll be Lucy ;-) We need a Pam and a Donna. Robert, who grabs you Cliff Barnes? JR? Jock? Bobby,? Ray? Oh, there's Gary and Valene, too!

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:01 PM
For those of us in the U.S. who remember that 84 Amelia SF, NBC broke away from the match with Hana leading 4-2 in the third set to show a baseball game!
i bet evert would pay a MILLION dollars TODAY to have had hana win that match...she had absolutely no confidence playing martina and just got killed on her home court. easily the worse loss of her career. Against hana, she would've thought there was some hope.

LDVTennis, masterful post! As graceful as the ladies you were writing about.

alfajeffster
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:10 PM
If HanafanGA is going to be Sue Ellen and Rollo Kristen, you can be Miss Ellie Alfa, ok? I'll be Lucy ;-) We need a Pam and a Donna. Robert, who grabs you Cliff Barnes? JR? Jock? Bobby,? Ray? Oh, there's Gary and Valene, too!
Actually, I always pictured Miss Ellie as having this private little jelly cellar somewhere secret in the basement of that mansion where she would disappear to several times a day and nip. Remember Eugene O'Neill's "Long Days Journey Into Night"- that kind of thing- much more dignified than Mrs. Nixon or any of those other broads...:lol:

HanaFanGA
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:11 PM
i bet evert would pay a MILLION dollars TODAY to have had hana win that match...she had absolutely no confidence playing martina and just got killed on her home court. easily the worse loss of her career. Against hana, she would've thought there was some hope.

LDVTennis, masterful post! As graceful as the ladies you were writing about.

Yes, Hana would have had a tall order waiting for her in the final. Beating the BIG 2 on successive days was a rare feat. As you said this would have been on Chris' front door step. I doubt Hana would have won, but obviously another win over Martina would have been nice. Also, it may have paid off later when they met in the Wimbledon semi. Hana many have benefitted from having played Chris especially since they had not played in quite a while if I remember correctly.

If you had asked me 20 years ago who would win if Chris played her best and Hana played her best I would have answered Hana without hesitation. But being removed from the situation and with more honest appreciation of Chris, I am thinking more objectively these days. At her best, Chris would have won under any circumstances at Amelia or Wimbledon. But if Chris was only at 90%, Hana would have had a chance.

HanaFanGA
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:14 PM
If HanafanGA is going to be Sue Ellen and Rollo Kristen, you can be Miss Ellie Alfa, ok? I'll be Lucy ;-) We need a Pam and a Donna. Robert, who grabs you Cliff Barnes? JR? Jock? Bobby,? Ray? Oh, there's Gary and Valene, too!

Andy, I have a hard time picturing Alfa as Miss Ellie. Something tells me he's much more devious than he lets on. I would nominate either Irma or Jeanmi as Pam because they're both very level headed.

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:21 PM
Evert was often accused by Martina of skipping fast surface events.One glaring example was the 1983 Aussie, where Chrissie dear just
bailed on the event. Evert NEVER one the US Open until it switched
from grass to clay.
sorry so late to this thread, but whew, its a good one--

chris didnt skip without reason; she was sequestered in ft. lauderdale learning how to play and be confident with the graphite racquets after receiving a clubbing from martina at the 83 us open. she wasnt ducking the aussie but investing in her future, which was the right decision.

the us open not switching from grass until 75 is relevant, as she didnt win ANY grand slams til 1974 (one being wimbledon) and by 75, yes it was clay, but she was ready to win any tournament on any surface by then.

Andy T
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:21 PM
Are you saying Alfa should be JR to your Sue Ellen?

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:29 PM
Look at the head to head.

Grass 10-5 for Martina
Clay 11-3 for Chris
Hard 11-7 for Martina.

note that chris was 2-7 against martina at wimbledon. they are TIED 3-3 on grass outside of wimbledon. An interesting thing.

HanaFanGA
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:36 PM
Are you saying Alfa should be JR to your Sue Ellen?

Poor thing I really wouldn't wish that on him. Then he'd be drinking too! :drink:

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:45 PM
ah...and now i am done with my self-appointed duty of defending ms. evert, who is always to be found laying underneath 3 floorboards of crap. and such a pretty girl!!! but anyway...

re; this thread

this is such a subjective comment, but in reality, i can only think that the major criteria of greatest ever is so personal rather than objective. its like picking the best BAND ever...

well, i dont know, do you listen to the bass player when you hear a song, or are you a lyrics person? some people go through life NEVER hearing the lyrics, but thinking they are part of the energy of the song, like a drum. Meanhwile some are JUST listening to the rhythmic presence to identify great music. For some its not the lyrics but the sound of a singers voice.

one of the original criteria is very interesting; the players impact on the game. for chris, we could talk about public image, having womens tennis taken seriously by having the consistent legitimizing standard of play AND being pretty & ladylike (and thus acceptable to the mainstream enough to embrace womens sports...ALL womens sports), or the fact that she was the wta president for 8 years.

i dont normally think of those aspects, though they are important. And someone would be totally valid in saying so-and-so is the best in the sport's history for these types of reasons.

martina bringing fitness in is another thing she could be praised for....i hate her for it. wish she had stayed plump and stuck with a wood racquet; she was great the way she was. Now my beloved sport has been turned into HANDBALL.

but this is my point, sort of as LDVTennis was saying, but at a broader level.. its all aesthetics. If you think ranting & raving makes a great player, mac is your man. if you think calm under fire and unflinching nerve is, borg is your man.

i LOVE the idea of the beauty of a players play. I also love the idea of someone whose stylistic IMAGE sends waves of excitement into non-tennis people's minds so much so that they get into tennis.

One person also mentioned chris was a great all-court player because she won so many times on all surfaces. But really, she was one dimensional at a very basic level, and thats part of what made her results so strong. No jack of trades, but a real master at ONE thing that could overwhelm other factors.

My only defense of her by the way (other than what i alreadyposted) is that she was NOT slow. Graf happened to be very quick, but chris covered the court extremely well; much more so than almost anyone. Remember pam shriver saying, "If I ever see chris NOT in position, it tells me one thing...that shot was hit incredibly well and incredibly hard, because chris gets to everything."

And so maybe this is a great thing about 'greats' -- kind of like the ZODIAC! instead of just which SURFACES do players master, what are the personality characteristics that different players "personify" through the variations of their game and demeanour. It all depends on the viewer, not the player.

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 05:56 PM
and since i have such a big mouth today, i will add that i have NEVER thought of the grand slams with the kind of awe that most others do. That may take notches-in-the-belt away from my favorite player, who is --and there is no question-- the greatest grand slam player of all time (evert has a 97% strike-rate to the semis over 19 years). but all those great 'little' tournaments that represent the 92% of the entire rest of year matter to me. (this is adding to my point about TASTE in what MATTERS being a personal opinion and not a quantifiable fact.)

HanaFanGA
Apr 27th, 2004, 06:41 PM
Great posts daze! I'd have to agree. Its a lot harder than it seems to come up with the criteria for what makes a player great. It IS all about opinion. Different people do look for different things. Also its too easy to consciously or subconsciously weight the criteria so that it favors a certain kind of player or specific players. I think this is a wonderful topic and I love to discuss it. But the question, "Who is the greatest of all time" is always going to be one of those questions with many answers. It will all depend on who is answering and from what perspective are the players being judged.

Daze himself just pointed out that he doesn't give the GS tournies the same weight that I would. Although I feel the entire season is important, I've said more than once that I look at the GS tournies themselves and little else. But daze certainly isn't wrong in his opinion. He makes a great point in that what you do the whole year does matter.

I used to think that I know a lot about tennis but now I know I didn't know the half of it. I've learned a lot from folks like daze, Rollo, BCP, louloubelle, and many others. Its been a great pleasure learning and relearning right here in this forum.

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 07:12 PM
Daze himself just pointed out that he doesn't give the GS tournies the same weight that I would. Although I feel the entire season is important, I've said more than once that I look at the GS tournies themselves and little else. But daze certainly isn't wrong in his opinion. He makes a great point in that what you do the whole year does matter.
thanks HanafanGA...just to be clear, i do recognize that a grand slam has the most competition and is a major trial because so many matches have to be played to reach the final or to win, but for me, if i think of a player, i think of how they played the sport, not their results in such & such a scenerio. How were they playing on the practice court? That's their tennis skill. And of course in terms of the 'rest of the year' -- that's them out there playing tennis, bottom line. IMO, a player just isnt a better player because they win the tournament that more people may be watching.

virginia wade and hana are good examples of people i think of as being better tennis PLAYERS than results-producers. Just as i know many brainier people who DIDNT test well and do well in school environments than those who were treated like they were dumb in school. Some of the most brilliant thinkers I know were in the latter category, and some of the most brain-dead people i know were straight A students. It's off the topic, but I mean it as a tangential example that does relate.

Andy T
Apr 27th, 2004, 07:57 PM
I'm going to chime in with you guys here; I can't (or won't) produce a hierarchy either for the same reasons as those you cite. Each of the players touted as being candidates for the greatest ever had a unique mix of strengths and abilities which it is ultimately impossible to compare in any objective way. The technical, physical, mental and artistic/instinctive aspects are all there, like the 4 elements of earth, air, fire and water and it really is impossible to prioritise one of these over the others.

Why is being fast and athletic but an ugly shot maker better or worse than being tough but unimaginative or technically perfect but mentally fragile or physically weak but highly inventive? If we look at any of the top players over the last few decades, we would all be able to appreciate one or more element in her game and find one or more weak points.

Also, strengths and weaknesses in tennis are always relative to those of the opposition and fluctuate over time to a certain extent. Hana was very confident 80-1, as was Tracy, but they faded thereafter. Chris' confidence dipped 80-81, as did Martina's. BJK went three years and 8 slams played without a victory (Wimb 68-US 71) but then won 7 out of 9 slams played between the US71 and Wimb75, etc. To me, making a rigid hierarchy implies that each player had an absolute level, which is nonsense.

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 08:03 PM
To me, making an rigid hierarchy implies that each player had an absolute level, which is nonsense.
call it a love of knowledge but this last sentence got me erect. :lol: i know, too much information.

Andy T
Apr 27th, 2004, 08:20 PM
I am, quite simply, speechless, daze. PM me with the details, please!

daze11
Apr 27th, 2004, 08:33 PM
you've got male! (i'll have to remove this very shortly) ..ok had to remove it. that was very naughty of me, huh? hope some of you hounds got a glimpse! ;)

alfajeffster
Apr 27th, 2004, 08:57 PM
you've got male! (i'll have to remove this very shortly) ..ok had to remove it. hope some of you hounds got a glimpse! ;)Did you finally figure out how to drive a hard post into a small hole? Whadimiss, whadimiss, whadimiss?!!!!:bounce:

Andy T
Apr 27th, 2004, 09:02 PM
You missed plenty alfa! As a real lady keeps her legs open and her mouth closed, I shall say no more than that.
;-)

HanaFanGA
Apr 27th, 2004, 09:04 PM
You missed plenty alfa! As a real lady keeps her legs open and her mouth closed, I shall say no more than that.
;-)

Okay, I'm extremely jealous now! :lol: :hearts:

samn
Apr 28th, 2004, 02:29 AM
You forgot to mention hitting off the back foot- and those were quite a large pair of feet! :lol:

Don't forget the John Wayne walk :D God, I'm now having visions of Gaby in a cheesy cowboy western with Steffi as the local sheriff, Pammy and Monica as the goofy sidekicks, Chrissie as the minister's wife who has a good time behind his back, Hana as the resident free spirit with the "colourful personality", Mary Joe and Carling as the damsels in distress, Conchita as the obligatory town frump who gets inspired by the dashing newcomer, and Arantxa as the greedy villain of the piece. Hmm, Martina needs to be in there somewhere, though.

Robert1
Apr 28th, 2004, 05:08 AM
Graf is the horse, of course, sorry, but looking from the side her head always reminded me of a horse, lol.

jeanmi18
Apr 28th, 2004, 10:20 AM
Andy, I have a hard time picturing Alfa as Miss Ellie. Something tells me he's much more devious than he lets on. I would nominate either Irma or Jeanmi as Pam because they're both very level headed.


OK, I accept to be Pam but I should rewrite the script, not the boring Pam that always do and say the right things, but Bitchy Pam, finishing off Sue Ellen's whisky behind her back, and of course a lot of sleeping around with Bobby's best friends :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

For the sake of clarity, we're talking about Pam Ewing, not Pam Shriver-Lazenby...

Rollo
Apr 28th, 2004, 12:11 PM
LOL@Samm, especially Conchita as "town frump". There's no doubt Steffi would be the quickest draw in town-she raced from one point to the next like her life depended on it!

louloubelle
Apr 28th, 2004, 12:24 PM
ah...and now i am done with my self-appointed duty of defending ms. evert, who is always to be found laying underneath 3 floorboards of crap. and such a pretty girl!!! but anyway...

re; this thread

this is such a subjective comment, but in reality, i can only think that the major criteria of greatest ever is so personal rather than objective. its like picking the best BAND ever...

well, i dont know, do you listen to the bass player when you hear a song, or are you a lyrics person? some people go through life NEVER hearing the lyrics, but thinking they are part of the energy of the song, like a drum. Meanhwile some are JUST listening to the rhythmic presence to identify great music. For some its not the lyrics but the sound of a singers voice.

one of the original criteria is very interesting; the players impact on the game. for chris, we could talk about public image, having womens tennis taken seriously by having the consistent legitimizing standard of play AND being pretty & ladylike (and thus acceptable to the mainstream enough to embrace womens sports...ALL womens sports), or the fact that she was the wta president for 8 years.

i dont normally think of those aspects, though they are important. And someone would be totally valid in saying so-and-so is the best in the sport's history for these types of reasons.

martina bringing fitness in is another thing she could be praised for....i hate her for it. wish she had stayed plump and stuck with a wood racquet; she was great the way she was. Now my beloved sport has been turned into HANDBALL.

but this is my point, sort of as LDVTennis was saying, but at a broader level.. its all aesthetics. If you think ranting & raving makes a great player, mac is your man. if you think calm under fire and unflinching nerve is, borg is your man.

i LOVE the idea of the beauty of a players play. I also love the idea of someone whose stylistic IMAGE sends waves of excitement into non-tennis people's minds so much so that they get into tennis.

One person also mentioned chris was a great all-court player because she won so many times on all surfaces. But really, she was one dimensional at a very basic level, and thats part of what made her results so strong. No jack of trades, but a real master at ONE thing that could overwhelm other factors.

My only defense of her by the way (other than what i alreadyposted) is that she was NOT slow. Graf happened to be very quick, but chris covered the court extremely well; much more so than almost anyone. Remember pam shriver saying, "If I ever see chris NOT in position, it tells me one thing...that shot was hit incredibly well and incredibly hard, because chris gets to everything."

And so maybe this is a great thing about 'greats' -- kind of like the ZODIAC! instead of just which SURFACES do players master, what are the personality characteristics that different players "personify" through the variations of their game and demeanour. It all depends on the viewer, not the player.
This thread originated from some ridiculous posts in GM in which the likes of Evert, Court, King only were successful because a lack of competition. Whereas the Williams were so the best ever!!! Anyway Daze, BCP and I defended Chriss honour! However the thread was an attempt to put some reasoning to the Greatest Ever issue amongst some more, lets say, knowledgable of tennis history. However youre all correct IMO, its all what each person weighs in their own opinion makes this issue impossible to come to the one correct answer.

Great posts Daze probably the most enlightening stuff Ive ever read on this board.

HanaFanGA
Apr 28th, 2004, 01:55 PM
OK, I accept to be Pam but I should rewrite the script, not the boring Pam that always do and say the right things, but Bitchy Pam, finishing off Sue Ellen's whisky behind her back, and of course a lot of sleeping around with Bobby's best friends :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

For the sake of clarity, we're talking about Pam Ewing, not Pam Shriver-Lazenby...

Don't touch my liquor! Nah, I'd share with ya. :lol:

HanaFanGA
Apr 28th, 2004, 01:56 PM
Don't forget the John Wayne walk :D God, I'm now having visions of Gaby in a cheesy cowboy western with Steffi as the local sheriff, Pammy and Monica as the goofy sidekicks, Chrissie as the minister's wife who has a good time behind his back, Hana as the resident free spirit with the "colourful personality", Mary Joe and Carling as the damsels in distress, Conchita as the obligatory town frump who gets inspired by the dashing newcomer, and Arantxa as the greedy villain of the piece. Hmm, Martina needs to be in there somewhere, though.

I can honestly say, you've put the girls in a different situation than I've ever imagined them! Sounds fun. :)

alfajeffster
Apr 28th, 2004, 02:06 PM
I can honestly say, you've put the girls in a different situation than I've ever imagined them! Sounds fun. :)
Anyone ever see that old 1950s color western "Johnny Guitar" with Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge? If you haven't- rent a copy of it and replace either of the two title characters with a player of your choice- it's way beyond camp, and SOOOOO hysterical because apparently Joan and Mercedes hated each other in real life that much as well- so the venom drips off the screen!:lol:

daze11
Apr 29th, 2004, 12:59 AM
Great posts Daze probably the most enlightening stuff Ive ever read on this board.
wow, thanks!!! that's quite a compliment. :drool: (blush) Great idea for a thread to begin with, louloubelle!!


7. Chris Evert - The consitency itself by winning tournamens over an 18 years stretch. Lost only 4 times before a Grand Slam quarterfinal.
oops, i missed this one...

hi robert1, glad you're showing chrissie some due respect! :) But as long as you are going to, be aware she only lost four times in her career before a Grand Slam SEMI-FINAL, not QUARTERfinal.

Santorofan
Apr 29th, 2004, 03:29 AM
Alfajeffster: The film Johnny Guitar* is fab! A sort of quirky, Freudian-feminist-fatale western decked out in technicolor. I can't imagine too many WTA players filling Crawford's shoes in that one, however I'll go out on a limb and suggest Irlina Spirlea or perhaps, Rev. Mags.

BTW, McCambridge just died last month :sad: ... but an interesting bit of trivia is that she also played the demonic voiceover of "Raven (yourmothersucksc@*%$inhell)" in The Excorcist.

*Will be showing again May 22 on the AMC Channel.

Rollo
Apr 29th, 2004, 04:04 AM
Daze was offering enlightenment? I didn't know you were a Buddhist Daze;)

daze11
Apr 29th, 2004, 04:40 AM
no, i'm a buttist!

(just kidding, that was for all you naughties. always the entertainer!)

rollo, i just...you know...eminate light. :lol: :angel:

HanaFanGA
Apr 29th, 2004, 02:07 PM
no, i'm a buttist!

(just kidding, that was for all you naughties. always the entertainer!)

rollo, i just...you know...eminate light. :lol: :angel:

Yes, we long to stand next to daze. If for nothing else, to get a good tan. :p

irma
Apr 29th, 2004, 02:12 PM
I don't wanna be in Dallas. I only wanna be in Wallnut groove;)

alfajeffster
Apr 29th, 2004, 07:23 PM
How about a modification of the terms: the most natural, graceful, and beautiful mover and striker of the tennis ball on the singles court ever? That's a no-brainer for me:


Evonne Goolagong Cawley

No one even comes close.

HanaFanGA
Apr 29th, 2004, 07:48 PM
How about a modification of the terms: the most natural, graceful, and beautiful mover and striker of the tennis ball on the singles court ever? That's a no-brainer for me:


Evonne Goolagong Cawley

No one even comes close.


You're just itching for a fight aren't ya? Get ready to roll up your sleeves! Them's fightin' words! :bounce: :lol: :kiss:

daze11
Apr 29th, 2004, 08:24 PM
maria bueno??

How about a modification of the terms: the most natural, graceful, and beautiful mover and striker of the tennis ball on the singles court ever? That's a no-brainer for me:


Evonne Goolagong Cawley

No one even comes close.

alfajeffster
Apr 29th, 2004, 08:35 PM
maria bueno??I reiterate, and challenge both you and HanaFanGA to show me anything as beautiful as Evonne Goolagong playing her best tennis. Sure, Maria had this reputation for being graceful, and she did flow about the court in her Tinling twirlers rather well, however, she just doesn't compare to Goolagong in flight.

As for Hana Mandlikova- I don't mean to start a fight, friend, because she had all the shots and produced them effortlessly on many occasions- beautiful tennis, but not really all that graceful and ballet-like as we saw with Evonne. Hana had that sturdy Czech projection, which, even though she was very fragile physically, still came off a little butch at times, especially if you watched her walk very much. An all-time great in all categories, but not the gazelle that made you gasp and stop when you saw her in flight- almost like slow motion. I think what made her even more beautiful to watch play, is that it was obvious she really didn't care who won- just how far she could explore this marvelous game and what she could do with the ball.

:wavey:

HanaFanGA
Apr 29th, 2004, 09:01 PM
I reiterate, and challenge both you and HanaFanGA to show me anything as beautiful as Evonne Goolagong playing her best tennis. Sure, Maria had this reputation for being graceful, and she did flow about the court in her Tinling twirlers rather well, however, she just doesn't compare to Goolagong in flight.

As for Hana Mandlikova- I don't mean to start a fight, friend, because she had all the shots and produced them effortlessly on many occasions- beautiful tennis, but not really all that graceful and ballet-like as we saw with Evonne. Hana had that sturdy Czech projection, which, even though she was very fragile physically, still came off a little butch at times, especially if you watched her walk very much. An all-time great in all categories, but not the gazelle that made you gasp and stop when you saw her in flight- almost like slow motion. I think what made her even more beautiful to watch play, is that it was obvious she really didn't care who won- just how far she could explore this marvelous game and what she could do with the ball.

:wavey:


Only teasing Alpha, I respect your opinion. Admittedly I've not seen enough of Evonne but I've liked what I have seen of her. She's very graceful no doubt.

The problem with Hana, to me, is that she moves deceptively fast with little effort and she strikes the ball the same way. That's wonderful to watch, but she's also as a writer once described her, "coltish."

I think that's a good description because there aren't many Hana matches that I've seen where she didn't slip, stumble, or fall. A good example was the 86 French quarter against Steffi where she slipped going for a backhand volley and tore the skin around her nail on her little finger. A small injury, but an aggravating one to a tennis player. Later, it was discovered that she had a hairline fracture so she did well to defeat Steffi but was no match for Chris in the semi.

So, I'm willing to accept the lesser comparison to Evonne. Her service motion, the fluidity of her strokes, and her (relative) grace were what drew me to her. After all, it would've taken quite a lady to make me forget Ms. Newton-John. ;)

irma
Apr 29th, 2004, 09:18 PM
Only teasing Alpha, I respect your opinion. Admittedly I've not seen enough of Evonne but I've liked what I have seen of her. She's very graceful no doubt.

The problem with Hana, to me, is that she moves deceptively fast with little effort and she strikes the ball the same way. That's wonderful to watch, but she's also as a writer once described her, "coltish."

I think that's a good description because there aren't many Hana matches that I've seen where she didn't slip, stumble, or fall. A good example was the 86 French quarter against Steffi where she slipped going for a backhand volley and tore the skin around her nail on her little finger. A small injury, but an aggravating one to a tennis player. Later, it was discovered that she had a hairline fracture so she did well to defeat Steffi but was no match for Chris in the semi.

So, I'm willing to accept the lesser comparison to Evonne. Her service motion, the fluidity of her strokes, and her (relative) grace were what drew me to her. After all, it would've taken quite a lady to make me forget Ms. Newton-John. ;)
about french 86. Was it the only time that Steffi ran out of gas?
I guess it was good though (well not that she ran out of gas and had to miss wimbledon but the fact that she didn't win). I can imagine there was a lot of pressure on her that tournament. Maybe if she had won. she had not been able to handle it yet (Steffi was not that cold and cool as people liked to believe)

I didn't see the match though so my whole source is only my fantastic Steffi 87 book :lol:

HanaFanGA
Apr 29th, 2004, 09:31 PM
about french 86. Was it the only time that Steffi ran out of gas?
I guess it was good though (well not that she ran out of gas and had to miss wimbledon but the fact that she didn't win). I can imagine there was a lot of pressure on her that tournament. Maybe if she had won. she had not been able to handle it yet (Steffi was not that cold and cool as people liked to believe)

I didn't see the match though so my whole source is only my fantastic Steffi 87 book :lol:

I wouldn't say that Steffi ran out of gas in that match. She was still fighting in the end. She was however sick earlier in the tournament and probably was a detriment to her chances. This match is was a rare match in which Hana used her experience and played a very calm and controlled match. Even when she lost the first set, Steffi was playing well and Hana was only missing by inches as Virginia Wade put it.

Steffi had the match point and Hana became extremely aggressive. She charged behind Steffi's serve causing a miss. Then she started coming behind almost every first serve and even a few second serves. But it was easy to tell her game plan for the match. As she explained in her book and Wade explained during the match, Hana went directly at Steffi's forehand with pace from her her own forehand. Steffi was catching the ball late and opening up causing her to hit wide. Also, Hana really worked her over with her forehand when she wasn't at the net herself. Hana took the tiebreak and cruised in the last set.

Unfortunately, Hana used the same game plan the next four or five times they played. That was a mistake because Steffi became bigger, stronger, and faster. It was simply harder to catch her in those situations. By the 88 Australian, it was obvious that Hana couldn't go toe to toe with Steffi. But then her serve let her down and Steffi punished the second serve. They only played about 3 more times after and Hana never served well enough to beat Steffi. Graf became the second player (other than Martina) in which it became essential to hold service. If you couldn't do that, you had no chance of winning.

irma
Apr 29th, 2004, 09:46 PM
Oke my Steffi book is also a bit biased to say it nicely. Claiming that Steffi had been the queen of wimbledon 86 fur sure had she not withdrawn (German tennisrevue writers. I am sure Robert can tell too how much they loved Steffi;))
Steffi was still a bit unlucky in slams in 86 with not making 4 matchpoints in two matches but as said it was probably good for her development :)

I was just thinking about french 86 lately because many were claiming how Steffi had no business winning french 95 because her semifinal opponent was so superior before the tournament;)

HanaFanGA
Apr 29th, 2004, 09:53 PM
Oke my Steffi book is also a bit biased to say it nicely. Claiming that Steffi had been the queen of wimbledon 86 fur sure had she not withdrawn (German tennisrevue writers. I am sure Robert can tell too how much they loved Steffi;))
Steffi was still a bit unlucky in slams in 86 with not making 4 matchpoints in two matches but as said it was probably good for her development :)

I was just thinking about french 86 lately because many were claiming how Steffi had no business winning french 95 because her semifinal opponent was so superior before the tournament;)

There's no doubt that Steffi could have made an impact at Wimbledon in 86. I'd still put my money on the more experienced players grass though at that point. She could have beaten Hana at the French, but as well as Chris was playing I would have picked Chris to win in the semi. But there's no doubt that Steffi could have won that fabulous US Open match with Martina that year. Had she done so, Helena may have tested her but I suspect that Steffi's first GS title would have come there.

louloubelle
Apr 29th, 2004, 11:38 PM
The French 86 - not too mention that many people had Graf as favorite in this match and thought she would beat Hana. Hana ofcourse didn't take to this kindly and was out to make a point.

I remember seeing the 88 qtr @ Australia and really Hana had dropped a level after injuries whereas Graf had kicked up a level no doubt. Graf always had no trouble generating pace, and with Hana tryin to glide the ball about, Steffi pasted the ball everywhere.

irma
Apr 30th, 2004, 07:22 AM
Mandlikova played better when she was not the fav? I just read an article from 84 and she said that she had many problems to handle the pressure because people expected her to be number 1 for sure when she just came up.
But she beat Nav in two slamfinals so it was obvious that she had the ability to be a big matchplayer.

I only became a rabid Steffi fan in 90 so I only remember Mandlikova as Novotna's coach! (and I never had money to order many matches so my collection from pre 90 is very small)

WTT#1Fan
Apr 30th, 2004, 08:33 AM
Re: Grand Slams. Lets not revise history as far as importance here. Wimbledon and Forest Hills were always important but in the 70s the Australian meant very little as evidenced by the fact Chris played there I think once in her first 9 years on the tour. Roland Garros lost its importance in the mid 70s when it interfered with WTT's season and all of the top women played WTT. Probably the 3rd most important tourny in the 70s was the Virginia Slims Championship (and WCT Finals for the men). Any way you slice it, Chris Evert, best there ever was.

Jane
May 2nd, 2004, 04:46 AM
A fine post from Daze11, there is no objective way to determine the greatest player. Greatness is hard to define, but we all recognize it anyway. If you asked 100 knowledgably people to list the 10 greatest players of the 20th century in alphabetical order, the lists would be nearly identical. Ask the same people to list them in order of greatness and you would be lucky to find two identical lists. I admit, I have never quite understood the need that many sports fans have to try and determine who is the "greatest"; not just in tennis, but seemingly in all individual sports. Still, it is fun if used as a reason to extol the virtues of the great champions of the past and no one takes it too seriously.
I have to agree with Alfajeffster about Evonne. Watching her play was like an evening at the Bolshoi, no one else compares.

louloubelle
May 3rd, 2004, 09:08 AM
A fine post from Daze11, there is no objective way to determine the greatest player. Greatness is hard to define, but we all recognize it anyway. If you asked 100 knowledgably people to list the 10 greatest players of the 20th century in alphabetical order, the lists would be nearly identical. Ask the same people to list them in order of greatness and you would be lucky to find two identical lists. I admit, I have never quite understood the need that many sports fans have to try and determine who is the "greatest"; not just in tennis, but seemingly in all individual sports. Still, it is fun if used as a reason to extol the virtues of the great champions of the past and no one takes it too seriously.
I have to agree with Alfajeffster about Evonne. Watching her play was like an evening at the Bolshoi, no one else compares.

You're right. I think in my case I was keen to see if someone could come up with a way of being able to construct a rationale or formulae or something!!! that could despiher this and stand up to criticism. Pretty impossible task - but no doubt if it was to happen it would happen here!!

hingis-seles
May 3rd, 2004, 12:36 PM
Speaking of beautiful movers, who looked graceful and could hit every shot in the book, I am surprised no one mentioned Martina Hingis.

Watching her play was a beautiful experience.

Andy T
May 3rd, 2004, 01:25 PM
That's very true H-S. She had a similar grace of movement to that of Chrissie. Neither looked rushed because of their great footwork and timing on the ball.

disposablehero
Oct 30th, 2005, 08:23 AM
hmm, this thread may be due for a bump. certainly my list needs a slight revision at some point. I think I had a longer list shortly after this, but who knows where it went.

gabybackhand
Oct 31st, 2005, 05:54 PM
As for Seles-Graf, I can merely point out that Steffi beat Monica on clay
and hard courts just as often as she lost to her. It was Monica who was had the surface "weakness"-on grass.

That is so true...

Robert1
Nov 1st, 2005, 09:18 AM
Hello, Seles was a different player after the stabbing, what do you think the h2h would look like had Graf had to come back after a stabbing and an in-form Monica? Honestly, I wouldn't see Graf winning a single set on any surface.

Also, Graf had the advantage of playing Seles at age 15 3 times. Yes, it does count, but keep things in perspective and see how well Seles did in those 3 matches already compared to how Graf did in her first matches vs. Navratilova or Evert!

Once, Seles got going in 1990, she ruled in any kind of statistic, except for grass-court Tennis, but even there she had done promising so far...

samn
Nov 5th, 2005, 11:01 AM
Speaking of beautiful movers, who looked graceful and could hit every shot in the book, I am surprised no one mentioned Martina Hingis.

Watching her play was a beautiful experience.

The thing about Hingis was that she always made every shot (well, maybe except the serve) look very easy. Federer does that a lot now (is it the water in Switzerland?); I see them play and I think I could hit some of those shots if I applied myself. I then go to the courts and find out how hard it can actually be!

alfajeffster
Nov 5th, 2005, 01:14 PM
The thing about Hingis was that she always made every shot (well, maybe except the serve) look very easy. Federer does that a lot now (is it the water in Switzerland?); I see them play and I think I could hit some of those shots if I applied myself. I then go to the courts and find out how hard it can actually be!

"no matter where she is on the court, she always hits the right shot."- Conchita Martinez on the difficulty of playing Hingis

I used to love watching her play. One of the things that sometimes got her into trouble was getting a little bit too creative and cute with her shots. It must be a very difficult thing to have all that talent at your fingertips and have to marshall and rein it in. That's what makes watching Goolagong in flight such a great experience. There were no reins.

Sam L
Nov 5th, 2005, 01:21 PM
Hello, Seles was a different player after the stabbing, what do you think the h2h would look like had Graf had to come back after a stabbing and an in-form Monica? Honestly, I wouldn't see Graf winning a single set on any surface.

Also, Graf had the advantage of playing Seles at age 15 3 times. Yes, it does count, but keep things in perspective and see how well Seles did in those 3 matches already compared to how Graf did in her first matches vs. Navratilova or Evert!

Once, Seles got going in 1990, she ruled in any kind of statistic, except for grass-court Tennis, but even there she had done promising so far...
Their head to head break-down:

Before Monica won her first slam (i.e. she was 15)

Steffi 3: 0 Monica

After Monica won her first slam and before the stabbing

Steffi 3: 4 Monica

After Monica's stabbing

Steffi: 4: 1 Monica

So the one time that Monica had an edge over Steffi was the period where she would've been at her peak physically and mentally. The other times have asterisks next to her name.

gabybackhand
Nov 9th, 2005, 06:42 PM
I took the items list of greatness posted by Daze and use it for great players, here are the first 3, I'll post more some other time


NOVOTNA

GRAN SLAM
FINALS APPEARANCES 4 (3 W- 1 AO)
TITLES 1 (W)
SF APPEARANCES 10
SF LOSSES 5 (1 W- 2 USO - 2 FO)
1ST ROUND LOSSES 7 (1 W - 2 USO - 3 FO - 1 AO)
WIN/LOSS RECORD 156/50 (75,75%)

WEEKS RANKED AT NUMBER 1 NONE
HIGHEST RANKING N2
CAREER WON/LOST RECORD 568-223 (71,80%)

YEC
QUALIFIED 10
FINALS APPEARANCES 1
TITLES 1
SF (W/L) 3 (1-2)

TOP-TEN YEAR-ENDINGS 7
TITLES 24
TIER 1 2
SURFACES: GRASS 1
CARPET 13
HARDCOURT 2
REBOUND-ACE 2
CLAY 6

1996 ATLANTA OLYMPICS BRONZE MEDALIST
QUALIFIED FOR YEC 10 STRAIGHT SEASONS
REACHED 7 STRAIGHT QF AT W ('93-'99) AND 5 AT USO ('94-'98)
WON AT LEAST 1 TITLE ON EVERY SURFACE
REACHED SF IN EVERY GS


GRAF

GRAN SLAM
FINALS APPEARANCES 31 (9 W- 8 USO - 9 FO - 5 AO)
TITLES 22 (7 W - 5 USO - 6 FO - 4 AO)
SF APPEARANCES 37
SF LOSSES 6 (1 W- 3 USO - 2 FO)
1ST ROUND LOSSES 3 (1 W - 1 USO - 1 AO)
WIN/LOSS RECORD 126/32 (79,74%)

WEEKS RANKED AT NUMBER 1 377 (RECORD)
HIGHEST RANKING N1
CAREER WON/LOST RECORD 900-115 (88,66%)

YEC
QUALIFIED 12
FINALS APPEARANCES 6
TITLES 5
SF (W/L) 9 (6-3)

TOP-TEN YEAR-ENDINGS 13
TITLES 107
TIER 1 35
SURFACES: GRASS 7
CARPET 30
HARDCOURT 34
REBOUND-ACE 4
CLAY 32

1988 SEOUL OLYMPICS GOLD MEDALIST
1992 BARCELONE OLYMPICS SILVER MEDALIST
1984 LOS ANGELES OLYMPICS GOLD MEDALIST (EXHIBITION EVENT)

WON CALENDAR GRAND SLAM IN 1988WON NON-CALENDAR GRAND SLAM IN 1993 (FO) - 1994 (AO)
WON 3 GS TOURNAMENTS IN THE SAME YEAR IN 5 OCASSIONS ('88, '89, '93, '95, '96)
ONLY PLAYER TO WIN EVERY GS AT LEAST 4 TIMES
2ND LONGEST STREAK (66 MATCHES) SINCE JUNE '89 (LOST TO ASV IN FO FINAL) TO APRIL '90 (LOST TO SELES IN BERLIN FINAL)
2ND LONGEST FINALS STREAK (TIED WITH SELES), SINCE HILTON HEAD '86 (DEF. EVERT) TO AMELIA ISLAND '88 (LOST TO SABATINI IN SF)
WON A TLEAST 1 GS FOR 10 STRAIGHT YEARS (1987-1996)
WON AT LEAST 1 TOURNAMENT FOR 14 STRAIGHT YEARS (SINCE 1986 TO 1999)
WORLD CHAMPION A RECORD 6 TIMES
2ND ALL-TIME GS SLAM WINNER (22 TITLES)
OWNS A POSITIVE RECORD AGAINST EVERY TOP PLAYER (ONLY TIED WITH NAVRATILOVA)
WON EVERY TIER I AT LEAST TWICE
3RD IN MOST GS FINALS (31), IN 54 PLAYED
MULTIPLE CHAMPION IN ALL SURFACES
1ST PLAYER TO DEFEAT N1, N2 AND N3 PLAYERS IN SAME TOURNAMENT (FO 99)
RANKED AND ENDED SEASON TOP-TEN FOR 13 STRAIGHT YEARS ('85-'97)
RANKED TOP-TWO FOR 11 STRAIGHT YEARS ('87-'97)
HIGHEST-RANKED PLAYER EVER WHEN RETIRED (N3)
REACHED 37 SF AND 42 QF OUT OF 54 GS PLAYED, INCLUDING 31 QF IN A ROW ('85 USO-'94 FO)
REACHED 13 STRAIGHT GS FINALS BETWEEN '87 FO - '90 FO)
REACHED 7 STRAIGHT GS FINALS BETWEEN '94 USO - '96 USO (DNP AO '95-'96)
REACHED 5 STRAIGHT GS FINALS BETWEEN '93 AO-'94 AO
REACHED 4 STRAIGHT FINALS AT FO AND USO ('87-'90)
REACHED 10 SF IN A ROW AT FO ('87-'96)
REACHED 7 SF IN A ROW AT W ('87-'93) AND USO ('85-'91)
REACHED 13 QF IN A ROW AT FO ('86-'99, DNP '98)
REACHED 12 QF IN A ROW AT USO ('85-'96)REACHED 7 QF IN A ROW AT W ('87-'93)
REACHED 6 QF IN A ROW AT AO ('88-'94, DNO '92)
QUALIFIED FOR YEC 11 STRAIGHT YEARS, REACHING AT LEAST SF 5 YEARS IN A ROW ('86-'90)


SABATINI

GRAN SLAM
FINALS APPEARANCES 3 (1 W- 2 USO)
TITLES 1 (USO)
SF APPEARANCES 18
SF LOSSES 15 (3 W- 3 USO - 5 FO - 4 AO)
1ST ROUND LOSSES 3 (1 USO - 1 FO - 1 AO)
WIN/LOSS RECORD 164/42 (79,61%)

WEEKS RANKED AT NUMBER 1 NONE
HIGHEST RANKING N3
CAREER WON/LOST RECORD 632-189 (76,97%)

YEC
QUALIFIED 10
FINALS APPEARANCES 4
TITLES 2
SF (W/L) 7 (4-3)

TOP-TEN YEAR-ENDINGS 10
TITLES 27
TIER 1 14
SURFACES: GRASS -
CARPET 7
HARDCOURT 7
REBOUND-ACE 2
CLAY 11


1988 SEOUL OLYMPICS SILVER MEDALIST
WON AT LEAST 1 TIER I FOR 6 STRAIGHT YEARS (1987-1992)REACHED FINALS IN EVERY TIER I BUT PHILADELPHIA (WON IN 5 OUT OF 8 TIER I SHE COMPETED)
WON AT LEAST 1 TOURNAMENT FOR 8 STRAIGHT YEARS ('85-'92)
POSITIVE RECORD AGAINST EVERY TOP PLAYER BUT EVERT, MANDLIKOVA, NAVRATILOVA, GRAF AND SELES
DEFEATED EVERY REIGNING N1 PLAYER DURING CAREER A TOTAL OF 10 TIMES: GRAF 7, SELES 2, NAVRATILOVA 1
ONLY PLAYER TO DEFEAT GRAF AND SELES DURING N1 REIGN THE SAME YEAR (1991)
DEFEATED GRAF A RECORD 11 TIMES, INCLUDING A 5 WINS IN A ROW (ONLY PLAYER TO REACH BOTH FEATS)
RANKED AND ENDED SEASON TOP-TEN DURING 10 STRAIGHT YEARS ('86-'95)
ENDED SEASON TOP-FIVE FOR 6 STRAIGHT YEARS ('88-'93)
QUALIFIED FOR YEC 10 STRAIGHT YEARS, REACHING AT LEAST SF 6 TIMES IN A ROW ('87-'92)
REACHED 18 SF AND 28 QF OUT OF 43 GRAND SLAM PLAYED, INCLUDING 15 QF IN A ROW ('90 W- '94 AO)
REACHED 9 QF IN A ROW AT USO ('87-'95)
REACHED AT LEAST 4 SF IN EVERY GS
FORMER YOUNGEST EVER (15 YEARS, 2 WEEKS) TO REACH SF IN HER DEBUT AT '85 FOFORMER YOUNGEST EVER (14 YEARS, 3 MONTHS) TO WIN A MATCH AT USO (IN HER DEBUT IN 1985)

Robert1
Nov 10th, 2005, 07:46 PM
Question to Irma: Which 2 weak years was Graf referring to?? 2 out of those years when it took her half a decade until she won her first Grand Slam tournament? Or 2 out of the years between 1990 and 1994 when there was only 1 year in which she won more than just 1 major tournament (which was in 1993 when nothing happened that might have helped her). Or was it from 1997 to 1998 when she dropped down the rankings like anything? Just wondering....

irma
Nov 11th, 2005, 06:10 PM
1988/1989 because she knew that some guy named Robert will never get over it!

alfajeffster
Nov 11th, 2005, 10:34 PM
"And remember, only your mother truly loves you, Norman."

tennis aus
Nov 11th, 2005, 11:17 PM
Question to Irma: Which 2 weak years was Graf referring to?? 2 out of those years when it took her half a decade until she won her first Grand Slam tournament? Or 2 out of the years between 1990 and 1994 when there was only 1 year in which she won more than just 1 major tournament (which was in 1993 when nothing happened that might have helped her). Or was it from 1997 to 1998 when she dropped down the rankings like anything? Just wondering....


brilliant robert1.

Mark43
Nov 12th, 2005, 12:09 AM
Utterly brilliant!