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Mark43
Mar 10th, 2003, 04:03 AM
Okay I know we have had threads about 1979 and 1981, but has there been a fav years thread in BFTP?

There was one in GM and I almost replied to it when I realized most posters were born after many of my fave years.

Here are my fave years...

1976: Okay, okay...it's all about the Goolagong! But 1976 was a great year ('cept for that anemic US Open final). Goolagong and Evert were pretty much neck and neck up to that point. Evonne had taken the Slims final in LA and Chris had unexpectedly defeated Evonne at Wimbledon. Both finals were 3 set dramas and lovely affairs of contrast and femininity. Also Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova and Sue Barker were always threats. Billie Jean King made a comeback towards the end of the year, leading the US Fed Cup team to a victory over the (pregnant) Goolagong lead Aussie squad.

One of the other reasons I loved this year was the abundance of tennis on TV. I think the regular Slims tour finals were on a network (CBS?) every other week. ABC ran a 4 woman Legg's Event with Evonne, Chris, Martina and Virginia early in the year. ABC Sports ran a match a week (mens/womens/doubles/mixed) from the taped Hilton Head exhibition event that they stretched over several months. During the summer we saw the All-Star match of World Team Tennis on the tube and even the Fed Cup final was on tv...and I lived in a little town in Northern California withoutcable. Tennis was on a boom and there was never a more attractive rivalry in the sport than Chrissie + Evonne. Sure Martina and Chris were more prolific, dramatic and compelling. Monica and Steffi more tragic. But Chrissie + Evonne...just pure magic.

Throw in the (nearly) equally fabulous rivalry of polar opposites of Bjorn Borg + Jimmy Connors and the year was about as exciting as it gets. Borg taking his first Wimbledon final from the lovable, crazed Nastase, came out of nowhere. Who knew it was the first of five straight. And how could the baseline loving methodical Swede win his first Wimbledon title on grass and turn around and lose his first US title on clay a few months later. Oh yeah, it was the lights/night match phobia thing he had. Plus Jimbo snarling on the other side of the court.

Other faves:
1978: Loved Martina finally realizing her talents and challenging Chris. Evonne coming back and almost knocking Martina out of Wimbledon, before exiting for nearly another year. Pam Shriver, the Legend of Lutherville, MD, one-upping her fierce rival Tracy Austin and making the finals of the US. Austin ever improving.

1982: Similar to 1978 in that Martina controlled the begining of the year and Chris the end. Martina had not ran away with the tour yet and her rivalry with Chris was still very dramatic and unpredictable. Hana came back at the US Open and made the final (only to lose like a dog to Chris). Austin was a shadow of herself but I always expected her to kick it up a notch that year. Jaeger began to act like a real contender knocking off Chris in the French semies.

1985: Hana takes the US over Chris and Martina in the finals. Both wonderful matches. 'Nough said.

1999: We all know why...Steffi, Steffi, Steffi (and a lil' pouting Hingis at the French).

2001: Jennifer's comeback came out of nowhere and when she continued to win it made me fall in love with tennis all over again. I could not get enough of it.

Also 1979 + 198 but we have discussed those great years already.

Anybody???

Rollo
Mar 10th, 2003, 09:01 AM
1980 was fun, especially Wimbledon and the US Open-Hana Mandlikova's coming out event. There was a perfect mix of styles and personalities.


Just for you Mark. An EBay pic of the Gong winning the big W in 1980.

http://users.mcleodusa.net/k/koedewaldt/evonne.jpg

Gandalf
Mar 10th, 2003, 09:07 AM
My favourite years were '91 and '92...for Gaby, of course. But also, because, even if in hindsight there wasn't much parity then (Seles winning almost everything she entered), at the time it seemed that there were a lot of great players that could win the Slams...not only Seles and Graf, but Gaby seemed to be on the verge of becoming number 1, and Capriati and Mary Joe Fernandez looked to be coming to a breakthrough...

Recently, I enjoyed a lot '98 and '99 will all the 'change of guard' talk, and the battles between Graf-Seles-Novotna-S.Vicario against Hingis-Williams-Davenport.

irma
Mar 10th, 2003, 09:39 AM
it's year wich had the most frustrating matches but it's still 92

I can't think of a better year.

96 was great tenniswise but all these tomorrow she cries again made me not so happy :sad:

disposablehero
Mar 10th, 2003, 03:33 PM
1990, because Monica put her stamp on the game, Gaby got her Slam, and I was watching quite a bit of tennis that year.

steffilover
Mar 10th, 2003, 03:59 PM
my fav has to be 1988 - until then, i'd been firmly in the evert camp, but grateful that steffi was challenging martina regularly. when steffi beat chris in oz final, i was so excited - i knew she was a genuine champion then, with slam final wins over both martina and chris. the rest of the year was like a dream for me, a fan, so it must have been incredible for steffi...the whitewash french final, which had commentators and pundits gasping with incredulity, the astonishing tennis steffi showed in coming back from 0-2 in the second set of the wimbledon final....her cool in overcoming gaby at the us open, when the pressure was so great, i felt physically sick!! then the icing on the cake...the olympics! i remember waking at very strange hours to watch steffi win, the nerves over the larissa savchenko match (v. talented player!), the destruction of garrison - a wobbly player for steffi - and then victory over gaby again, her biggest threat that year, was supreme. i get a warm happy feeling just thinking of it - thanks steffi!!!! :worship: :worship: :worship:

JonBcn
Mar 10th, 2003, 04:13 PM
1994 - I must have watched hundreds of hours of tennis in what was the best year of Arantxa's career - 2 Grand Slams (8 titles in all, plus 11 doubles!), 3 wins over Steffi, a 77-9 win/loss record (32-2 on clay) and a Fed Cup to boot!

It doesnt get much better than that :)

Mark43
Mar 10th, 2003, 05:57 PM
Hey Rollo! Thanks for the pic of the Evonne postcard! I actually have the exact same one. i believe I got it in the fall of 1980 after writing to Evonne (where I got the address is beyond me). The postcard was sent out by one of Evonne's sponsors at the time. I believe it was Playtex, cause i think she was promoting their new sportsbra.

I better go dig it up, so I can make sure I am not making this all up! :p
Haha!

Mark43
Mar 10th, 2003, 06:23 PM
10 mins later...

Okay I dug up my Evonne postcard from my 1979-1981 memento scarpbook deLuxe. It was sent from IMG in Cleveland, Ohio on Oct 24, 1980 and say's...Compliments of Formfit Rogers on behalf of Evonne Goolagong and the Racquet Bra! I swear Evonne was way before her time promoting a sports bra in 1980.

The strange thing is the postcard is addressed to my mother. Hmm. Was she writing Evonne in 1980 at age 37? or did I write Evonne twice and use my mothers name the second time to get two coveted autographs...it's a mystery. I do remember that I framed the postcard and had it on the nightstand by my bed for about a year!

BTW...other contents of my 1979-1981 scrapbook:
Tons of (post Charlies Angels) Farrah Fawcett photographs. Many of them from the Star and National Enquirer and Faberge shampoo ads.

Countless Marilyn Monroe pics that I ripped out of library books (I was a 12 year old thief !).

All of Evonne's clippings from her Wimbledon 1980 win.

Many pics of Tracy Austin...including her ad campaign with Avon in 1980.

Autographed pics of Loni Anderson...who I nicknamed Loonie Bird Anderson (omighad!)

Pics of Regina Marsikova (!), Peanut Louie (!!), Sue Barker, Bettina Bunge, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova...and countless pics/polaroids of my childhood dog, Taffy (who I called TaffyJoe after watching the Waltons one night!).

Rollo
Mar 10th, 2003, 06:32 PM
I got such a kick out of your posts Mark. This part
is classic-you smart and sly one!

The strange thing is the postcard is addressed to my mother. Hmm. Was she writing Evonne in 1980 at age 37? or did I write Evonne twice and use my mothers name the second time to get two coveted autographs...it's a mystery. I do remember that I framed the postcard and had it on the nightstand by my bed for about a year!

And you admit to a Farah and Loni crush! (I went for Jane Seymour myself) All that hair.

And you watched the Waltons too?

Rollo
Mar 10th, 2003, 06:40 PM
Back to favorite years-I'd say anytime the #1 ranking is up for graps or all 4 slams are split among different winners its a vintage year. By that measure 1998 and 1999 was a mini golden age. Hingis-Davenport, Willie sisters in the hunt, Jana-and Sanchez-Vicario. What a wonderful brew.
The 99 French final is a drama-fest of the first class!

1990 was great too. Monica shocking Graf at the French to end Steffi's boring (to me) domination. Martina getting her final Wimbledon after all the drama of Garrison's two wins over Seles and Graf. Then the US Open
with Sabatini's breakthrough and Steffi shoving her father away at the end. Toss in the 5 set WTA final and it was a perfect end to a perfect year:)

irma
Mar 10th, 2003, 07:13 PM
I only saw like 5 matches in 90 then we got cable and I could watch a lot of steffi from that moment on lol;) (that was not such a good thing in another departement but that's a different story.)

cunnihingis
Mar 10th, 2003, 10:58 PM
my favourite years:

1982-2987 Navratilova's Wimbledon wins; i savoured everyone of them especially 1985 where came form behind to beat chrissie

1979 - tracy austin's breakthrough year

1984-1985 - the height of the chrissie/martina rivalry

1988 - steffi's golden slam year

1994 - martina hingis debuts while arantxa wins the french and us opens

1997 - martina's (almost) grand slam

Zummi
Mar 11th, 2003, 04:21 AM
If I could take the first 6 months of 1990 (with a little bit of July thrown in) and the last 6 months of 1991, it would have been one great year for me. During both periods, Martina was playing consistent tennis and was winning titles. Nothing could come close to watching her win that 9th Wimbledon, except this year's Australian Open mixed title which felt like her greatest win ever. Wimbledon 1990 was really special as was that incredible run to the U.S. Open final in 1991 which she lost to Monica. She also reached the season-ending ch'ship final that year. And ended the season with her 157th title.

SM
Mar 11th, 2003, 09:06 AM
1999 :)
- Jelena's first full year as a pro and she came on tour with a BANG winning hopman cup (with wins over Testude, ASV and Asa) following it up with a 3rd rd at Aus. Open. Mediocre results followed from then until Wimbeldon where she shocked the world as a qualifier crushing the then world #1 Hingis 6-2 6-0 :). My fave match ever and fave tournament, as she really broke through by showing the win over Hingis was no fluke by crushing Pierce in the 4th rd. The rest of Jelena's year wasnt too good, but it was a good taste of the future!
- Ofcourse the Steffi d. Hingis match at Roland Garros! Good quality, but the drama of it cant be beaten. Steffi showed us why she's such a great champion with an unbelievable grand slam record. But, poor Martina :(

pan
Mar 11th, 2003, 03:56 PM
1988
1999

STEFFI :kiss:

louloubelle
Mar 28th, 2003, 09:11 PM
I too love it when the no. 1 ranking is up for grabs.

1990-91 was a good example with seles, graf, gaby all up there with ASV, Martina, mary Jo and Jana snapping at their heels.

Being a Oz tennis fan I missed all of Court and most of Goologong, so i just have fleeting!!! moments during the years, not a great year where I get huge amounts of success from Oz female tennis players!!!

1983 - Turnbull getting to US semis - beating whinging Pam in the qtrs.
1992 - Provis defeating Graf in Fed Cup
1988 - Provis getting to semis of French.
1985 - Jordan/Smylie def Navratilova/Shriver Wimbledon final was HUGE.

That sort of thing!!!!!!

scandic78
May 14th, 2009, 10:55 PM
1994 - I must have watched hundreds of hours of tennis in what was the best year of Arantxa's career - 2 Grand Slams (8 titles in all, plus 11 doubles!), 3 wins over Steffi, a 77-9 win/loss record (32-2 on clay) and a Fed Cup to boot!

It doesnt get much better than that :)

I second that entirely! Never since 1994 have I watched so much tennis in one year! And I just loved Arantxa that year - just plain awesome grit and determination.

trivfun
May 14th, 2009, 11:13 PM
1982. Was the year for me. I became a Martina fan. I was so upset when she lost to Pam in the U.S. Open. I didn't even watch the rest of the tournament. Back then Australian didn't appear much except on ESPN if you are willing to watch it over Christmas.

tennisvideos
May 15th, 2009, 03:04 AM
Although I wasn't watching tennis at the time, when I look back 1973 gives me the biggest thrills. So many great Semis and Finals of the Slams (singles and doubles) and the top ten was littered with legends:

Margaret Court
Billie-Jean King
Evonne Goolagong
Chris Evert
Virginia Wade
Francoise Durr
Nancy Richey
Rosie Casals
Olga Morozova
a young Martina Navratilova etc

Mark43
May 15th, 2009, 05:43 AM
1973 always looks like such an exciting year. I wish I had been following the game back then as well. Has anyone ever seen the French final or the US with Rev Mags and Evonne?

Mark43
May 15th, 2009, 05:45 AM
Quick question... How come BFTP has only three pages of threads? I know I haven't been online for a while (hey guys, what's up. Hope everyone is well!) but it used to have countless pages of thread after glorious thread. Also, when I click on a link to an older thread it leads back to the main page? Hmmm.

tennisvideos
May 15th, 2009, 06:40 AM
1973 always looks like such an exciting year. I wish I had been following the game back then as well. Has anyone ever seen the French final or the US with Rev Mags and Evonne?

I have managed to see much of the 73 French Final and it's great stuff. And I have entire 73 US Final and that is a ripper of a match too IMO and both of the semis were great as well. Shame I haven't been able to get hold of the Aussie Final.

Rollo
May 15th, 2009, 10:41 AM
It's been a while Mark-welcome back!

I can answer a couple of your questions.

How come BFTP has only three pages of threads? I know I haven't been online for a while (hey guys, what's up. Hope everyone is well!) but it used to have countless pages of thread after glorious thread.

The old pages are still there. The 3 pages are just within the last month. Find the drop down menu and change "Last Month" to whatever you wish and voila!--other threads will appear.There is even an option that shows all the threads-some 40 plus pages in all.

Also, when I click on a link to an older thread it leads back to the main page? Hmmm.

A lot of the links no longer work because of the forum name change. To get around that please use the Thread Index, which is always found near the top of the forum page. I've posted the link below for you.

Index thread
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=295765

I hope this helps-welcome back:wavey:

Josus57
May 15th, 2009, 10:41 AM
My favorites were 74-78.

1974: Evonne winning the Australian Open, nearly taking the U.S. Open, and taking the Virginia Slims Championships trophy (beating both Evert and King in that tourament would love to have, or at least see those 2 matches)

1975: Virginia Wade's title runs in Dallas, and Philadelphia (beating Navratilova in the former, and going through Goolagong, King, and Evert in the latter) and the match of the year her quarter final loss to Evonne at Wimbledon: 5-7 6-3 9-7. And her winning Eastbourne a fortnight earlier beating King 7-5 4-6 6-4. (another match i'd like to see/have) Evonnewin in Australia, and making the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals

1976: Evonne winning the Virginia Slims of Philadelphia in straight sets (6-3 7-6) over Chris. (and I was there in person, just like the year before when I saw Wade defeat Evert), and Goolagong also taking the VS Championships over Evert in a great 3 Set Final.

1977: I just have only 4 words to say:

Virginia Wade Wins WIMBLEDON[/B]

1978: Martina Navratilova winning her first Wimbledon (and her first Grand Slam Singles Event over Chris), though her semi-final win over Goolagong was rough to watch. And the U.S. Open with Pam Shriver making the final (wish I had seen, or own her semi-final 7-6 7-6 win over Navratilova) and who I thought would have won at least won 1 Major Singles title. Though I still loved, and enjoyed watching her play. (Wish I had one, two, or all 3 of her wins over Chris Evert in my collection though).

and1980: Evonne winning Wimbledon again!

Mark43
May 15th, 2009, 06:51 PM
Thanks for all the tips/advice Rollo. I've been crazy busy with work and haven't had time to browse this site, but I still enjoy reading the posts about the golden oldies - so much more interesting than the current crop IMHO. How have you been?

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
May 16th, 2009, 01:09 AM
There are a lot of years I loved -- but the two that meant the most to me:

1972. I remember being at my aunts house with 20 relatives. Wimbledon. I begged them to turn on the tennis. NO one wanted too. Then they saw that Evonne was playing. Everyone got into it then. They were yelling and shouting and having a good time (it was a weird experience given that it was tennis and my family!). I wasn't having a good time! I was rooting for Chrissie by my lonesome. A 12 year old against mostly adult people! Chris lost that match. But a great rivalry -- perhaps my favorite -- had begun.

1976. There was just a magic with Chrissie and Evonne, and with LA (which I got to see again a couple of years ago -- great match) and Wimbledon...it was so much fun. Plus Chris and Martina won the doubles. Also, Chris played WTT for Phoenix that year. I saw Chris live that year too. What a great year.

samn
May 16th, 2009, 09:25 AM
1986: Navratilova was still a dominant #1, but Evert managed to win her seventh and last French title with some terrific clay court tennis in the last two sets; Mandlikova was looking like a genuine challenger to the Evertilova axis; Sabatini was shaping up to become a genuine star; and, most of all, it was the year I saw Graf play for the very first time - in the nailbiting US semis against Navratilova.

Although the actual changing of the guard didn't happen until, say, late 1987 or thereabouts, I actually think 1986 was a very exciting year in that there finally seemed to be players good enough to legimately and consistently challenge for the top spot and put an end to years of (by then a bit tiresome) Evert/Navratilova finals.

chris whiteside
May 16th, 2009, 11:53 AM
1966.

Margaret Court began by winning the Australian and seemed set to continue her domination of the women's game but then an injury to her hand at the South African where she got beaten by Billie-Jean King kept her out for a month and her play never really recovered for the rest of the year.

Ann Jones then won the Italian and French and surprised everyone who thought she had left her best days behind her by making a determined and realistic assault on the #1 spot, only to be derailed in the end by her shoulder injury.

Billie-Jean came through Wimbledon beating Margaret and Maria. The final set of the Bueno/Jones semi was one of the most thrilling ever played as Ann came from 0-5 and was also down 40-0 in two games to level at 5-5 and hold a point for 6-5 before Maria won 7-5.

Going into Forest Hills it seemed as if BJ only had to reach the later stages to guarantee the #1 spot but Kerry Melville showed that she would be a force in the future by knocking BJ out in the 2nd round and going on to the semis. Also, Virginia Wade reached her first Slam quarter.

With BJ losing early the #1 would have been anyone's guess had Nancy Richey, Ann Jones or Margaret Court won it but Jones was out injured and Margaret had returned home after Munich to contemplate her future.

Late in the year came the news that Margaret had announced her retirement to open a business in Perth, Western Australia.

Add to this the controversy in the Wightman Cup amd a really competitive Federation Cup and 1966 had everything.

Sumarokov-Elston
May 16th, 2009, 11:30 PM
1986: Navratilova was still a dominant #1, but Evert managed to win her seventh and last French title with some terrific clay court tennis in the last two sets; Mandlikova was looking like a genuine challenger to the Evertilova axis; Sabatini was shaping up to become a genuine star; and, most of all, it was the year I saw Graf play for the very first time - in the nailbiting US semis against Navratilova.

Although the actual changing of the guard didn't happen until, say, late 1987 or thereabouts, I actually think 1986 was a very exciting year in that there finally seemed to be players good enough to legimately and consistently challenge for the top spot and put an end to years of (by then a bit tiresome) Evert/Navratilova finals.

Definitely a turning point. At the US Open, we were one point away from having NEITHER EVERT NOR NAVRATILOVA in a Grand Slam final :help: - the first time that had happened since, oh, work it out for yourself.

My favourite year was 1980, probably because of Wimbledon. Chris and Evonne were relegated to No. 3 and 4 seeds, while Centre Court was all Martina and Tracy. That always seemed wrong from the way the two heroines of the 1970s were playing in the rounds leading up to the semi-finals, and I was confident that Chris would take out Martina and Evonne would easily handle Tracy on grass. In the final, although I was supporting Evert, Cawley's win was wonderful and seemed to go down as well with the crowd as the (in)famous coronation of Our-Ginny-And-She's-A-Jolly-Good-Fellow in the Silver Jubilee year of 1977. Then the US Open was just the icing on the cake - Chrissie was Bette Davis in "All About Eve" showing the upstart understudy and copycat extraordinaire Tracy "Eeeeevvveee?!?" Austin how it's done, then was the Duchess in "Alice in Wonderland" in the final, neatly chopping off Hana's head. Chris never looked better than in 1980 and the Wimbledon Plate never looked better than held above Evonne's head. Great play at Wimbledon from BJK also, who was unlucky not to take out Martina, so a great showing at SW19 from the three top girls of the 1970s. 1979 was a horrible year, with Chris losing in straight sets to Martina in the Wimbledon final, then to Austin in the US Open final (shudder) and (maybe even worse; I thought it would be the kiss of death to her killer instinct and thus career) getting married to "gutless" John Lloyd! So 1980 seemed to show that night is always followed by day.

Another good year was 1988 - Chrissie beating Martina in two Grand Slam semi-finals, Australian Open and Wimbledon (ducks to avoid flying furniture); Graf's Golden Grand Slam including the most spectacular women's tennis ever seen in the Wimbledon final, beating four different champions of the past and future to do it; Gabby making it to the US Open finals and winning the Wimbledon doubles with Graf; Chrissie's recovery from 1-5 in the Australian Open final to force a tiebreak; Edberg beating Becker in the men's final at SW19 and the first indications of a new wave of Sampras, Agassi and Chang; Chrissie not shaking hands with the hapless umpire in her Wimbledon semi-final (she's so beautiful when she's angry).

Josus57
May 17th, 2009, 06:24 PM
QUOTE] Another good year was 1988 - Chrissie beating Martina in two Grand Slam semi-finals, Australian Open and Wimbledon (ducks to avoid flying furniture)QUOTE]

I am sorry to correct you "Sumarokov-Elston", but Chris only beat Martina in one Grand Slam event in 1988, and that was at the Australian Open semi-final and the score was 6-2 7-5. Martina won their next Grand Slam match up, and that was a semi-final at Wimbledon 6-1 4-6 7-5, and the match had a very controversial ending. I also believe that was their last meeting in any Grand Slam event.

Sumarokov-Elston
May 17th, 2009, 08:21 PM
No, Chris did NOT lose to Martina in a Grand Slam event in 1988 (ducks to avoid MORE flying furniture).

iainmac
May 18th, 2009, 07:47 AM
Okay I know we have had threads about 1979 and 1981, but has there been a fav years thread in BFTP?

There was one in GM and I almost replied to it when I realized most posters were born after many of my fave years.

Here are my fave years...

1976: Okay, okay...it's all about the Goolagong! But 1976 was a great year ('cept for that anemic US Open final). Goolagong and Evert were pretty much neck and neck up to that point. Evonne had taken the Slims final in LA and Chris had unexpectedly defeated Evonne at Wimbledon. Both finals were 3 set dramas and lovely affairs of contrast and femininity. Also Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova and Sue Barker were always threats. Billie Jean King made a comeback towards the end of the year, leading the US Fed Cup team to a victory over the (pregnant) Goolagong lead Aussie squad.

One of the other reasons I loved this year was the abundance of tennis on TV. I think the regular Slims tour finals were on a network (CBS?) every other week. ABC ran a 4 woman Legg's Event with Evonne, Chris, Martina and Virginia early in the year. ABC Sports ran a match a week (mens/womens/doubles/mixed) from the taped Hilton Head exhibition event that they stretched over several months. During the summer we saw the All-Star match of World Team Tennis on the tube and even the Fed Cup final was on tv...and I lived in a little town in Northern California withoutcable. Tennis was on a boom and there was never a more attractive rivalry in the sport than Chrissie + Evonne. Sure Martina and Chris were more prolific, dramatic and compelling. Monica and Steffi more tragic. But Chrissie + Evonne...just pure magic.

Throw in the (nearly) equally fabulous rivalry of polar opposites of Bjorn Borg + Jimmy Connors and the year was about as exciting as it gets. Borg taking his first Wimbledon final from the lovable, crazed Nastase, came out of nowhere. Who knew it was the first of five straight. And how could the baseline loving methodical Swede win his first Wimbledon title on grass and turn around and lose his first US title on clay a few months later. Oh yeah, it was the lights/night match phobia thing he had. Plus Jimbo snarling on the other side of the court.

Other faves:
1978: Loved Martina finally realizing her talents and challenging Chris. Evonne coming back and almost knocking Martina out of Wimbledon, before exiting for nearly another year. Pam Shriver, the Legend of Lutherville, MD, one-upping her fierce rival Tracy Austin and making the finals of the US. Austin ever improving.

1982: Similar to 1978 in that Martina controlled the begining of the year and Chris the end. Martina had not ran away with the tour yet and her rivalry with Chris was still very dramatic and unpredictable. Hana came back at the US Open and made the final (only to lose like a dog to Chris). Austin was a shadow of herself but I always expected her to kick it up a notch that year. Jaeger began to act like a real contender knocking off Chris in the French semies.

1985: Hana takes the US over Chris and Martina in the finals. Both wonderful matches. 'Nough said.

1999: We all know why...Steffi, Steffi, Steffi (and a lil' pouting Hingis at the French).

2001: Jennifer's comeback came out of nowhere and when she continued to win it made me fall in love with tennis all over again. I could not get enough of it.

Also 1979 + 198 but we have discussed those great years already.

Anybody???

What a great idea for a thread Mark, really enjoyable to read and learn from other people and their insights/perceptions.
I was not really into tennis until I was ten in 1980, so 1976 and 1978 I did not experience live. But I love the history of the game so much that I read and read. Yes 76 and 78 were great years of excitement and personalities. And I suppose from a purely British perspective they were great years- Wade having about her most consistent year in 76, Barker breaking the top ten and her controversial French Open win. 78 winning the Wightman Cup and Mottram and co doing the now unthinkable and taking GB to the Davis Cup final.
The only year I did not really rate was 1982- just felt that there were no outstanding matches that year at all. And I do think the game suffered from the reduction in the ability of Austin to compete. The other years you mention- great. And it would take some match to equal the drama of the Mandlikova win at the 85 US Open.:)

iainmac
May 18th, 2009, 07:57 AM
my fav has to be 1988 - until then, i'd been firmly in the evert camp, but grateful that steffi was challenging martina regularly. when steffi beat chris in oz final, i was so excited - i knew she was a genuine champion then, with slam final wins over both martina and chris. the rest of the year was like a dream for me, a fan, so it must have been incredible for steffi...the whitewash french final, which had commentators and pundits gasping with incredulity, the astonishing tennis steffi showed in coming back from 0-2 in the second set of the wimbledon final....her cool in overcoming gaby at the us open, when the pressure was so great, i felt physically sick!! then the icing on the cake...the olympics! i remember waking at very strange hours to watch steffi win, the nerves over the larissa savchenko match (v. talented player!), the destruction of garrison - a wobbly player for steffi - and then victory over gaby again, her biggest threat that year, was supreme. i get a warm happy feeling just thinking of it - thanks steffi!!!! :worship: :worship: :worship:

I agree with you that the Graf 88 Grand Slam was pure magic. And you know almost unbelievable for a young girl to have achieved what she did. The Australian final I did not see at the time, but the other performances were fantastic. I have to say especially in the Wimbledon final. The Olympics were great too and I would say that the 88 Graf Olympics is the only time that tennis at the olympics has caught the wider publics imagination. So that was a great acheivement and shows the impact of the golden slam. The Savchenko match- I had forgotten that till you mentioned it. A very talented player indeed and it was a really great match- the first indication I think that Graf would struggle in years to come against all out net attackers who were on form. Garrison, Novotna, McNeil etc.
Graf is a legend and to seal it so young is incredible. Only Maureen Connolly in history has ever been so remarkable and devastating so young.:worship:

iainmac
May 18th, 2009, 08:07 AM
I too love it when the no. 1 ranking is up for grabs.

1990-91 was a good example with seles, graf, gaby all up there with ASV, Martina, mary Jo and Jana snapping at their heels.

Being a Oz tennis fan I missed all of Court and most of Goologong, so i just have fleeting!!! moments during the years, not a great year where I get huge amounts of success from Oz female tennis players!!!

1983 - Turnbull getting to US semis - beating whinging Pam in the qtrs.
1992 - Provis defeating Graf in Fed Cup
1988 - Provis getting to semis of French.
1985 - Jordan/Smylie def Navratilova/Shriver Wimbledon final was HUGE.

That sort of thing!!!!!!

Agreed there and I am not Australian. Loved it when Australia put the Germans out in 1992. I remember watching it and I am sure that they so little expected a defeat for Germany they put it on an the second court while Sanchez Vicario and Martinez ripped Durie and Wood to bits on the Stadium Court. Great effort from Provis, a really fine player.

iainmac
May 18th, 2009, 08:14 AM
My favorites were 74-78.

1974: Evonne winning the Australian Open, nearly taking the U.S. Open, and taking the Virginia Slims Championships trophy (beating both Evert and King in that tourament would love to have, or at least see those 2 matches)

1975: Virginia Wade's title runs in Dallas, and Philadelphia (beating Navratilova in the former, and going through Goolagong, King, and Evert in the latter) and the match of the year her quarter final loss to Evonne at Wimbledon: 5-7 6-3 9-7. And her winning Eastbourne a fortnight earlier beating King 7-5 4-6 6-4. (another match i'd like to see/have) Evonnewin in Australia, and making the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals

1976: Evonne winning the Virginia Slims of Philadelphia in straight sets (6-3 7-6) over Chris. (and I was there in person, just like the year before when I saw Wade defeat Evert), and Goolagong also taking the VS Championships over Evert in a great 3 Set Final.

1977: I just have only 4 words to say:

Virginia Wade Wins WIMBLEDON[/B]

1978: Martina Navratilova winning her first Wimbledon (and her first Grand Slam Singles Event over Chris), though her semi-final win over Goolagong was rough to watch. And the U.S. Open with Pam Shriver making the final (wish I had seen, or own her semi-final 7-6 7-6 win over Navratilova) and who I thought would have won at least won 1 Major Singles title. Though I still loved, and enjoyed watching her play. (Wish I had one, two, or all 3 of her wins over Chris Evert in my collection though).

and1980: Evonne winning Wimbledon again!

Those were very interesting choices from you and interesting to read. I think that must have been Wade at her all time best in Philadelphia 75. To beat Evert, King and Goolagong in the same tournament is incredible.:)

iainmac
May 18th, 2009, 08:23 AM
1966.

Margaret Court began by winning the Australian and seemed set to continue her domination of the women's game but then an injury to her hand at the South African where she got beaten by Billie-Jean King kept her out for a month and her play never really recovered for the rest of the year.

Ann Jones then won the Italian and French and surprised everyone who thought she had left her best days behind her by making a determined and realistic assault on the #1 spot, only to be derailed in the end by her shoulder injury.

Billie-Jean came through Wimbledon beating Margaret and Maria. The final set of the Bueno/Jones semi was one of the most thrilling ever played as Ann came from 0-5 and was also down 40-0 in two games to level at 5-5 and hold a point for 6-5 before Maria won 7-5.

Going into Forest Hills it seemed as if BJ only had to reach the later stages to guarantee the #1 spot but Kerry Melville showed that she would be a force in the future by knocking BJ out in the 2nd round and going on to the semis. Also, Virginia Wade reached her first Slam quarter.

With BJ losing early the #1 would have been anyone's guess had Nancy Richey, Ann Jones or Margaret Court won it but Jones was out injured and Margaret had returned home after Munich to contemplate her future.

Late in the year came the news that Margaret had announced her retirement to open a business in Perth, Western Australia.

Add to this the controversy in the Wightman Cup amd a really competitive Federation Cup and 1966 had everything.

Sounds a truly great year Chris and very rich in the history of the game. I did not fully appreciate how close Jones was to the number one ranking. That is fantastic, and to come back like that against Bueno is incredible. If she had won it would have been the greatest come back victory in the history of Wimbledon. Interesting too how Virginia had her first grand slam quarter away from Wimbledon. Portents of the years ahead where the US Open was to be more therapeutic for her than SW19!!!
And of course that infamous Wightman Cup at Wimbledon......

iainmac
May 18th, 2009, 08:28 AM
No, Chris did NOT lose to Martina in a Grand Slam event in 1988 (ducks to avoid MORE flying furniture).

She did- in the Wimbledon semi final as indicated. Graf certainly did not beat Evert in the Wimbledon final for her first title.:)
And you know someone like John Lloyd I would not call gutless. Honourable and honest I would say.:)

Sumarokov-Elston
May 18th, 2009, 07:23 PM
She did- in the Wimbledon semi final as indicated. Graf certainly did not beat Evert in the Wimbledon final for her first title.:)
And you know someone like John Lloyd I would not call gutless. Honourable and honest I would say.:)

It wasn't me who called John Lloyd gutless - it was Chris Evert herself!! :worship:

And about the 1988 Evert/Navratilova Wimbledon semi-final - does NO ONE here do irony? Read the post: I tried to make it clear by mentioning that I might be "ducking flying furniture", but there is no way I am going to do that a THIRD TIME... What... I just have??? :bolt:

Jem
May 19th, 2009, 03:01 AM
Great thread!

My favorites years, though in no order:

1974 -- Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors; Evert winning Wimbledon and 55 straight, Connors winning virtually everything, and Linky Boshoff making the quarterfinals at Wimbledon!

1976 -- Yes, it may have been the Chris and Evonne show, but what a show it was, really dating back to that 75 U.S. Open final. And, hey, it was the U.S. Bicentennial to boot!

1980 -- Consider that it started so badly for my favorite, Evert, and ended with her once again the undisputed queen of the courts. I took a deep breadth and reconciled that Chris was gone for good. Then she came back and came back and came back. The Wimbledon loss was a heartbreaker, but that U.S. Open victory over Austin and then Mandlikova with her dad in tow was maybe even better than the 85 win over Martina in the French.

XTN
May 19th, 2009, 05:37 AM
I only started watching tennis in 93 so I can't really relate to a lot of the great years you all have mentioned. From what I've watched, I would have to say 1998-1999 are my favorite. It's probably the year when so many tennis Grand Slam winners or past and future #1's were at or close their peak (Hingis, Daveport), getting there (Williams sisters), or past their primes but not that far off and still challenging (Graf, Seles, Sanchez Vicario, Novotna - although I think Novotna was actually at her best in the 1997-1998 period). Both those years featured a different Grand Slam winner which at the time was not heard of in women's tennis at the time. All players listed (except Novotna) were multiple Grand Slam title holders and got to the #1 ranking. Novotna won her lone slam in 98 and got to #2. That's a pretty awesome line-up of players challenging for titles in that two year period.

iainmac
May 19th, 2009, 07:23 AM
It wasn't me who called John Lloyd gutless - it was Chris Evert herself!! :worship:

And about the 1988 Evert/Navratilova Wimbledon semi-final - does NO ONE here do irony? Read the post: I tried to make it clear by mentioning that I might be "ducking flying furniture", but there is no way I am going to do that a THIRD TIME... What... I just have??? :bolt:

I do irony but you have exposed my slowness there- good one;). That is good actually.
Ok I remember Evert saying that about him, related to his lack of fight on a tennis court. But in the general context of the things that are important in a relationship-fidelity, loyalty and not betraying your spouse- I am sure John is pretty high up there. He is, I know, a very decent bloke.;);)

iainmac
May 19th, 2009, 07:30 AM
Great thread!

My favorites years, though in no order:

1974 -- Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors; Evert winning Wimbledon and 55 straight, Connors winning virtually everything, and Linky Boshoff making the quarterfinals at Wimbledon!

1976 -- Yes, it may have been the Chris and Evonne show, but what a show it was, really dating back to that 75 U.S. Open final. And, hey, it was the U.S. Bicentennial to boot!

1980 -- Consider that it started so badly for my favorite, Evert, and ended with her once again the undisputed queen of the courts. I took a deep breadth and reconciled that Chris was gone for good. Then she came back and came back and came back. The Wimbledon loss was a heartbreaker, but that U.S. Open victory over Austin and then Mandlikova with her dad in tow was maybe even better than the 85 win over Martina in the French.

Great and historic choice of years there Jem. I was too young in 74 but it must have been amazing to witness the growth in tennis and the new styles and charisma that were brought to the scene by Connors and Evert. For the latter we often hear of Court 70, Graf 88, Navratilova 83/84 but not enough about Evert 74. The record incredible.:worship:
Linky Boshoff had some run did she not- Michelle Gurdal, Sue Barker, Rosie Casals and Helen Gourlay. That is some going for a very young player.
I agree that the 80 US Open win was a seminal moment in the career of Evert, and was the first real sign that actually Austin, Jaeger and Mandlikova were not going to have it all their own way.;)

iainmac
May 19th, 2009, 07:35 AM
I only started watching tennis in 93 so I can't really relate to a lot of the great years you all have mentioned. From what I've watched, I would have to say 1998-1999 are my favorite. It's probably the year when so many tennis Grand Slam winners or past and future #1's were at or close their peak (Hingis, Daveport), getting there (Williams sisters), or past their primes but not that far off and still challenging (Graf, Seles, Sanchez Vicario, Novotna - although I think Novotna was actually at her best in the 1997-1998 period). Both those years featured a different Grand Slam winner which at the time was not heard of in women's tennis at the time. All players listed (except Novotna) were multiple Grand Slam title holders and got to the #1 ranking. Novotna won her lone slam in 98 and got to #2. That's a pretty awesome line-up of players challenging for titles in that two year period.

Excellent point, there were loads of great players then- I would add Conchita Martinez to the mix as well as she was still capable of great wins. And Mary Pierce about to win the French Open in 2000.
Not sure what you mean by not known at the time but in the modern game 1977,1978,1979,1981 all had different winners for each of the grand slams.;)

XTN
May 19th, 2009, 08:33 AM
haha ok that was an exagerration :) but really, from 1982 to 1997, you normally had 1 or 2 dominant players per year racking up all the titles. of course you had some years with 3 or 4 winners, but in that span of time, there were several seasons where one player won at least 3 of the 4 slams.

iainmac
May 19th, 2009, 08:45 AM
haha ok that was an exagerration :) but really, from 1982 to 1997, you normally had 1 or 2 dominant players per year racking up all the titles. of course you had some years with 3 or 4 winners, but in that span of time, there were several seasons where one player won at least 3 of the 4 slams.

Not at all you are absolutely right. By the time of the 98/99 season it had become normal for one player to win 2 or 3. And to be honest if all the top players had played the Australian and French in the late 70s then the years I mentioned I dont think would have had 4 different winners. The only exception was 81 with Mandlikova, Evert, Austin and Navratilova.;)

samn
May 20th, 2009, 06:34 PM
Not at all you are absolutely right. By the time of the 98/99 season it had become normal for one player to win 2 or 3. And to be honest if all the top players had played the Australian and French in the late 70s then the years I mentioned I dont think would have had 4 different winners. The only exception was 81 with Mandlikova, Evert, Austin and Navratilova.;)

Don't forget 1990: there were eight different winners across the four Grand Slam events. Lendl and Graf won the Australian, Gomez and Seles were tops at the French, Edberg and Navratilova were the champions at Wimbledon, and the US titles went to Sampras and Sabatini. I remember reading back then that it was the first such distribution of Slam titles in a fairly long time.

Mark43
May 21st, 2009, 05:40 AM
I always enjoyed those years. So unpredictable and exciting. Sabatini's win at the '90 Open seemed to come out of nowhere since she hadn't had a big win in while and didn't seem like the threat she was in 88-89.

Now I am just bored with the women's game and, except for Federer hanging on by a thread, I'm not that excited by the men's either. :weirdo:

iainmac
Jun 8th, 2009, 05:54 PM
I always enjoyed those years. So unpredictable and exciting. Sabatini's win at the '90 Open seemed to come out of nowhere since she hadn't had a big win in while and didn't seem like the threat she was in 88-89.

Now I am just bored with the women's game and, except for Federer hanging on by a thread, I'm not that excited by the men's either. :weirdo:

I actually think that the mens game is awesome just now Mark but the womens game is pathetic. What is your take on why it is so boring?

gabybackhand
Jun 8th, 2009, 10:54 PM
From what I've seen, my faves are 1990, as there some great stuff from my favorite 4 players: Steffi still consistent enough to stay at the top with a Slam and 2 finals; Seles emergence with a new concept of power and precission; Navratilova's showing her great game for a final big win; and my Gabriela finally breaking through at the big stage, with a refereshing aggressiveness that lead her to her Slam win and a tremendous fight at the YEC finals.

Of course, 1991 was a fantastic year to me, as these four players where playing at their peak or close to for most of the year, and they showed some of their best tennis to get the headlines during some period of the year each of them: Seles emerged as the best, and her fierce champion mentality took her to win most of the big titles, leaving only the Wimbledon crown to her closest rivals, which unfortunately for me went to Steffi, who thus prevented Gabriela to achieve so many things who finally she never accomplished: a second Slam, and Wimbledon at that, the top spot... But Gabriela played some of her best tennis in the first half of the year and for some time she played as the best in the world, unluckily never reflecting it on the rankings not even for a week. Martina had some brilliant moments at the US Open and the YEC, and some other players also played their parts to make it a fantastic year,such as Capriati (especially on the US Open and its warm-up events), or Mary-Joe at Wimbledon to mention some.

But the best year tennis-wise it was 1992, as these four champions, especially the three top-ranked players, were producing some of their best tennis with a peak Seles to lead the group, a more confident Graf challenging her more regularly and Sabatini completing her growth as an all-court player; they produced some of the best women's tennis ever seen. The rest of the top players performed at a high level to make this a year full of exciting moments and with some draws to drool at: just remember you had at any given Slam, competing for the title, a peak Seles, Graf, Sabatini, Navratilova, who for the quarter finals had to face Capriati, ASV, Martínez, MJ Fernández, Novotna, and then Garrison, Maleeva-Fragniere, a young but emergent Pierce, Zvereva...
Oh I miss those times...

iainmac
Jun 9th, 2009, 08:37 AM
From what I've seen, my faves are 1990, as there some great stuff from my favorite 4 players: Steffi still consistent enough to stay at the top with a Slam and 2 finals; Seles emergence with a new concept of power and precission; Navratilova's showing her great game for a final big win; and my Gabriela finally breaking through at the big stage, with a refereshing aggressiveness that lead her to her Slam win and a tremendous fight at the YEC finals.

Of course, 1991 was a fantastic year to me, as these four players where playing at their peak or close to for most of the year, and they showed some of their best tennis to get the headlines during some period of the year each of them: Seles emerged as the best, and her fierce champion mentality took her to win most of the big titles, leaving only the Wimbledon crown to her closest rivals, which unfortunately for me went to Steffi, who thus prevented Gabriela to achieve so many things who finally she never accomplished: a second Slam, and Wimbledon at that, the top spot... But Gabriela played some of her best tennis in the first half of the year and for some time she played as the best in the world, unluckily never reflecting it on the rankings not even for a week. Martina had some brilliant moments at the US Open and the YEC, and some other players also played their parts to make it a fantastic year,such as Capriati (especially on the US Open and its warm-up events), or Mary-Joe at Wimbledon to mention some.

But the best year tennis-wise it was 1992, as these four champions, especially the three top-ranked players, were producing some of their best tennis with a peak Seles to lead the group, a more confident Graf challenging her more regularly and Sabatini completing her growth as an all-court player; they produced some of the best women's tennis ever seen. The rest of the top players performed at a high level to make this a year full of exciting moments and with some draws to drool at: just remember you had at any given Slam, competing for the title, a peak Seles, Graf, Sabatini, Navratilova, who for the quarter finals had to face Capriati, ASV, Martínez, MJ Fernández, Novotna, and then Garrison, Maleeva-Fragniere, a young but emergent Pierce, Zvereva...
Oh I miss those times...

You are quite correct, when you look back it was a golden era for the womens game both in terms of the quality of the tennis played and the personalities that they had.

gabybackhand
Jun 9th, 2009, 10:08 PM
Yes, it really was, wasn't it? I'd also should have mentioned Novotna's great run at the AO 91, she was such a great player to watch too.

iainmac
Jun 10th, 2009, 08:13 AM
Yes, it really was, wasn't it? I'd also should have mentioned Novotna's great run at the AO 91, she was such a great player to watch too.

Absolutely- she beat Graf in the quarters if I remember. How did Gabriella fair at the 91 Australian?

samn
Jun 10th, 2009, 07:54 PM
Absolutely- she beat Graf in the quarters if I remember. How did Gabriella fair at the 91 Australian?

Sabatini was trounced in straight sets by Sanchez Vicario in the quarters that year. So, instead of a Graf vs Sabatini semifinal, we got Novotna vs Sanchez Vicario instead.

iainmac
Jun 13th, 2009, 04:32 PM
Sabatini was trounced in straight sets by Sanchez Vicario in the quarters that year. So, instead of a Graf vs Sabatini semifinal, we got Novotna vs Sanchez Vicario instead.

Novotna was a great addition at the top of the womens game and it was really fine that she reached the final that year- and gave Seles a run for her money.;)

samn
Jun 14th, 2009, 06:35 PM
Novotna was a great addition at the top of the womens game and it was really fine that she reached the final that year- and gave Seles a run for her money.;)

Indeed. That was probably Novotna's best year against her nemesis Graf, with Jana beating Steffi in two big quarter-final matches. I do wish, though, that MJF had converted that match point against Seles in the semis and gone on to beat Novotna to win the Australian title.

iainmac
Jun 15th, 2009, 11:15 AM
Indeed. That was probably Novotna's best year against her nemesis Graf, with Jana beating Steffi in two big quarter-final matches. I do wish, though, that MJF had converted that match point against Seles in the semis and gone on to beat Novotna to win the Australian title.

Thst is so ironic- I was thinking just yesterday that it was a real shame that Fernandez did not win the French in 93. I love Graf but I was routing for Mary Joe that day and she could have took it. She deserved a slam title- shame it never happened.

DennisFitz
Jun 16th, 2009, 06:11 AM
1977:
IMHO, 1977 was one of the most fascinating years in Open tennis, and perhaps the history of the sport.

For one thing, it will go down in history as the only year in which there were 5 majors, with the Australian Open being staged twice during the calendar year - to make up for the move from January to December. (Although this is on the Women's Forum, I also think that 1977 was one of the most intriguing year in Men's Open era. Three players had a very legitimate claim to the #1 ranking. Jimmy Connors did spend the majority of the year ranked #1 on the ATP computer and finished #1. Bjorn Borg briefly replaced Connors at #1, and was considered by many to be #1 for the year. Guillermo Vilas had the most productive year of any player in tennis history, winning 16 tournaments and winning more than 120 singles matches! No player ever worked harder. And Vilas won 2 majors, the French and US Open, and was runner up in the Australian Open. As a Borg fan, I was pleased when most experts, along with Tennis Magazine named Borg #1. But upon further reflection, I think Vilas must be considered the #1 player for the year. Even though he lost both matches to Borg in '77, Vilas beat Connors in 2 very important matches, the US Open final and in the Masters. Borg beat Connors at Wimbledon but lost to him in the Masters. I would rank Connors #3, and Borg #2, Vilas thoroughly deserved to be #1 for 1977. The rest of the top 10 was very solid, with Vitas Gerulaitis the #2 ranked player on grass, staging a brilliant semi with Borg at Wimbledon and winning Australian Open II. Brian Gottfried had the best year of his career, beating every top player and winning a number of titles in a very productive year for him. Americans Roscoe Tanner (Australian Open I winner), Harold Solomon and Dick Stockton all had big moments in 1977. While some of the veterans like Nastase started their descent out of the top 10, veterans like Stan Smith (nearly toppling Connors at Wimbledon) and Ken Rosewall, winning his last tournament at age 43! were still competitive. And there was the emergence of John McEnroe. He went through qualifying and all the way to the Wimbledon semis. And he backed that result up with a 4R showing at Forest Hills. There was also the Mike Fishbach and Ilie Nastase spaghetti racket controversy. And what seemed like an explosion of tournaments and exhibitions.)

Although Chris Evert was #1 throughout the year, there was enough drama and intrigue throughout to keep things interesting. New and old faces appeared. Veteran Betty Stove moved up the ladder, and had a career year. Others such as Margaret Court and Maria Bueno called an end to their careers, but not before flashing a last bit of brilliance prior to departing. Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong re-emerged and resurrected their careers with outstanding showings after sabbaticals from the tour. And the initial wave of teen queens (or Chrissie clones) began with 14 year old Tracy Austin's appearance on the scene, along with other teens who made their mark on the pro tour.

In 1977 the VS Championships and the first Colgate Series playoffs were considered bigger events than the Australian and French Opens, it's thus plausible to consider there were 7 "main" events for 1977. The 5 traditional majors were divided among 5 different women. Imagine if all the top women did play in all the majors, what would the season have looked like? Or imagine another year when there were 5 majors, plus 2 season playoffs. Certainly many opportunities for more than one woman to make a claim for #1. With Evert winning 3 of the 7 main events and Virginia Wade, Kerry Reid, Goolagong, and Mima Jausovec taking the others, it's interesting that the computer ranked King and Navratilova at #2 and 3 respectively. King appeared in only one final of the main events. Navratilova did not appear in any.

I like that Kerry Reid got a chance to win a major, especially her home country Slam in the Australian Open Part I. Yes Margaret decided not to play and Evonne was pregnant. And of course none of the Slims gals played. But it was still a major, and she beat a top tenner, Fromholtz, to win the crown.

The Slims circuit was formful again, mirroring the 76 season with only 3 women able to claim a crown. Despite losing to Martina for the 2nd year in a row in the Slims opening tournament, Chris was the dominant player, losing only one other match all season. Martina's 4 tournament wins certainly made it seem like she was ready to make a run at Chris' #1 spot. Sue Barker continued improving, winning 2 events and beating everyone except Chris. She also prevented Wade from winning a Slims title in Virginia's only early season final round appearance. I also liked it that the 1977 Slims season bridged the careers of Austin and Court. Rosie Casals denied a meeting between the two, defeating Austin and then Court in Minneapolis. The top Russians Olga Morozova and Natasha Chymreva only played a few events each, neither getting to a final. Sadly, the Russian federation barred them from playing any more tournaments in 1977.

The 1977 VS Championships were held in Madison Square Garden for the first time, a precursor to the nearly 2 decade run in the Garden for the women. Sue Barker, who had already scored a win over Martina during the year, prevented another Martina-Chris final by stunning Navratilova to gain the final. She gave Chris a scare before Evert won 26,61,61

Although Martina skipped the Family Circle Cup, it was still a top event. Who would have thought Billie Jean would get to a clay final, beating among others Nancy Richey, Virginia Ruzici, Renata Tomanova, and Kerry Reid - all very good clay court players! A signature moment for the entire year. And then she gets clobbered by Chris 60,61 in the finals on national TV! Tracy claimed her first top 10 scalp - Fromholtz - en route to the quarters.

American women did well in the European clay court events - Janet Newberry winning Rome and Laura DuPont winning German Open. But Mima Jausovec won the biggest prize, capturing her only major in Paris.

Chris Evert made her Fed Cup debut when it was staged in Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon, displacing the tournament for that year. Chris didn't lose in singles, helping the US beat Australia for the 2nd year in a row.

Going into Wimbledon, Evert was considered unbeatable. She had lost only 1 time on grass since the start of the 1975 season. And she was riding a 19 match winning streak. Sue Barker was being touted as Britain's best hope. And despite missing former champs Goolagong and Court, other former champions Maria Bueno (1959, 60, 64) and Karen Susman (1962) were playing again, as was Billie Jean, returning to attempt a 7th singles crown and the all-time Wimbledon record.

The centenary year at Wimbledon, 1977 was one of the most interesting ones in the Open era. No, there were not a lot of crazy upsets. But much was made of the 3rd round encounter between Evert and Austin - the first meeting between the two. And there was another 3rd round encounter, a meeting of players with 9 singles crowns between them: Billie Jean bested Maria Bueno in the 3rd round as well. But the top 8 players made it to the quarters. And that's where it got real interesting.

Evert (1) vs. King (5)
Wade (3) vs. Casals (6)
Reid (8) vs. Barker (4)
Navratilova (2) vs. Stove (7)

Don't forget Reid was the year's Aussie Open champ, and an experienced grass court player. Casals had beaten Virginia 3 times already in 1977, and this really represented Rosie's last chance at a major (she never got as far as the quarters again.) Billie had never lost to Chris on grass. Navratilova had a dominating edge H2H against Stove. But Martina was the only top 4 seed who failed to make the semis.

Martina led Betty 6-2 in the first set tiebreak and lost 6 points in a row, and that basically cost her the match. She really faded in the 3rd set.
Wade beat Casals in straight sets, and Barker nerve's held up, and she did the same to Reid. The clash of the titans didn't materialize as Evert crushed King 61,62, avenging her 2 other Wimbledon defeats.
In the match of the year, Wade stunned Evert 62,46,61 in the semis, playing confidently and brilliantly to beat Chris for the 2nd time that year (but also the last time in her career). Stove edged out Barker in a nerve-racked and error filled encounter, much to the disappointment of the Brits hoping for an all-British final.
In front of queen and country, Wade rallied to beat Stove (making her only appearance in a major final) 46,63,61. I thought it was amazingly fitting that Wade should win Wimbledon on the centenary year, which was also the Queen's silver jubilee year, a very festive time for England.

Wade never really had a chance to win on clay at Forest Hills. The only real question would be could anyone challenge Chris. And the answer was no.
Another big story of 1977 was Renee Richards. Through a court order, Renee was allowed entry into the singles draw at the US Open. Renee had played a few satellite events earlier in the year. And to add drama to the intrigue, Richards was paired against Wade in the 1R! Virginia won handily.
Evert finally got the upper hand in her H2H with Nancy Richey in the R16, eliminating her 63,60 to forge ahead in their rivalry 6-5. Chris also gained revenge for her first ever Open defeat, crushing Billie Jean in the quarters with the loss of just 2 games.
If veterans like Richey, King and Maria Bueno were getting bounced by younger foes, Tracy Austin struck a blow for youth. At 14 in her first ever US Open, she bounded all the way to the quarters with 4 wins, including a big 61,64 win over #4 Sue Barker, who looked nervous and out of it from the start. Tracy beat Ruzici, another tough clay courter, to face Stove in the QF, who promptly trounced her 62,62.
Wendy Turnbull was the surprise of the Open. I don't know how she got the last seeded position, but she came in at #12, and in succession beat Casals, Wade , and Navratilova. She double bageled Rosie after dropping the opening set, lost only 3 games to Wade, and surprised Martina, bidding for her first ever US Open final.
Turnbull played Chris close for a set, but Evert prevailed 76,62 in winning her 3rd straight Open (2nd without losing a set) and her 113th consecutive clay court match.

Following the US Open, Virginia Wade had a big win in Tokyo over Martina Navratilova to win that event (her last ever victory over Martina).
Chris Evert triumphed in Atlanta, an event which featured 9 of the top 10 women. Fromholtz upset Stove and King to face Evert in the finals.
Billie Jean went on a 3 tournament streak in the fall, capturing Phoenix, Sao Paolo, and San Juan in consecutive weeks. Phoenix was notable for Evert's withdrawal and Kerry Reid's default in protest while losing to Renee Richards in the quarters - which turned out to be Renee's best result to date. Richards lost to Turnbull in the semis. Tracy Austin crushed Francoise Durr to gain the quarters, only to lose easily to Martina, who then fell to BJ in the semis.
Billie Jean beat Martina again in Sao Paolo, and followed that with wins over Fromholtz and Stove to win the event.

The first ever Colgate Series Playoff were held in Palm Springs. A round robin event featured the top 8 players from the series.
Dianne Fromholtz provided an initial shock, stunning Chris Evert in straight sets on the opening night. Chris needed help from her vanquished foes, Wade and Navratilova to reach the final. Both Virginia and Martina beat Dianne to prevent Fromholtz from making the final.
King coasted in her section over Reid, Stove, and Turnbull. For the fourth time in 1977 Evert and King squared off, this time for the big $75,000 first prize. It was the closest of the 4 they played, but hardly close at all. Billie Jean won 4 games, losing 62,62.

Perhaps one of the toughest ever Wightman Cup teams assembled in Oakland for the US' triumph over Britain. Evert, King and Casals led the way, 7-0 over a very tough British squad led by Wade and Barker.
The official 1977 season ended after the Colgate Championships. King won the Gunze exo over Martina (her 4th win over Navratilova that year). And then the 1977-78 Colgate season began with events Down Under. Evonne Goolagong returned to action, and won 3 events right away. She culminated the year with her 4th (and last) win at the Australian Open, the second one held during the 1977 calendar year. Goolagong was an easy winner over the other Mrs Cawley, Helen Gourlay, in a field that only included Barker and Reid as top tenners. Evonne was also the 5th woman to win a major in the year. The first and only time 5 women would earn a major title in a single season.

The WTA rankings listed 1 Evert; 2 King; 3 Navratilova; 4 Wade; 5 Barker; 6 Casals; 7 Stove; 8 Fromholtz; 9 Turnbull; 10 Reid

My ranking based on sentiment and a premium on the majors and other big events is as follows:
1 Evert - never any doubt at all
2 Wade - the Wimbledon win was a biggie. And to beat nemeses Casals and Evert, and not falter in the finals against Stove, was key. She did not suffer many bad or early round losses, as in previous years. Her wins over Martina in Tokyo and Palm Springs clinched the #2 spot.
3 Navratilova - a solid year throughout, she just faded in important matches, but had a very consistent season. Although she lost to King 3 times, she also beat every other top player.
4 King - a great comeback year where she hardly lost to anyone other than Evert. Different draws at Wimbledon and the US Open could have given her a higher ranking. A terrific year for a player aged 33 and past her prime.
5 Barker - best year of her career, with a spectacular Slims run. Seemed to fizzle after Wimbledon, but still deserves a top 5 spot.
6 Stove - finest year of career for the Dutch woman. Qualified at both VS and Colgate playoffs. Also appeared in her first major, and followed up with a US Open semi appearance.
7 Reid - Australian Open I winner, plus Colgate qualifier, had a very solid year. Her Oz win cost her a chance at qualifying for VS playoff, but was consistent player all year.
8 Casals - very fine VS season, but after gaining QF at Wimbledon, really fizzled afterwards.
9 Turnbull - strong finish to the year, with terrific run to US Open finals, and reaching 2 other tour finals.
10 Jausovec - French Open champ plus VS playoff qualifier gets final top 10 nod, over Fromholtz. Dianne had a big win over Evert, plus a victory over King, and a final round appearance in Australian Open I. But Mima's US Open win over Dianne bumps her over Fromholtz for #10.

PS - I am almost finished with my ranking project of revisiting the official computer rankings. Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who posted results on these boards!!!

iainmac
Jun 16th, 2009, 09:08 AM
Even after a few reads of this it is still great!!!