View Full Version : Did Monica & Steffi unintentionally make some players underachieve to thei potential?

Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:34 AM
I was going to do a topic on players who have under-achieved in their careers but the names that were coming to my mind were:

Gabriela Sabatini
Anke Huber
Jana Novotna
Mary-Joe Fernandez

I know their are more but I wanted to focus on these ones.

Each one of these players either had a horrible head-to-head record against Monica or Steffi and/or choked a big match against them.

For instance Sabatini was never the same after Wimbledon 91 after she missed her shot with an open court which would have put a very close to winning the tournament. She was unable to get to a Grand Slam final again and was down 2-8 in the head-to-head afterwards after beating Steffi 5 times in a row. The French Open QF was the final nail in the coffin in 93. She should at least have one French title.

Anke Huber, was unable to beat Monica or Steffi and never took a set off Monica. Some of her worse losses came against these 2 and the pressure of being the next Steffi by the German media became too much. She should have won at least one Grand Slam but nerves always go the better of her.

Mary-Joe Fernandez well had horrible head-to-head records against both, she only beat Monica once and that was early in her career. Could have won the French in 93 but Steffi found a way to win. Unfortunately injuries was a major reason as well.

Jana Novotna, well what can I say?...Wimbledon 93 one of the biggest chokes in tennis history she was playing some of the best tennis I have ever seen (put in Wimbledon 97 as well, although she was never as close as she was in 93). her record against Steffi was very bad, she beat her 3 times (i am not counting philadelphia 96) and always seemed to have a mental block against her expecially at Wimbledon. She got her title but she was lucky she had Tauziat in the final, who was choking even worse than her;)...she had all the talent in the world and Steffi even said that she thought that she would be her main rival.

So I have come to the conclusion that the reason is that players in those days had a lot more respect for their opponent when they played them and that caused them to get nervous. You don't see that too much now, more players are self-confident and they just play to win.

Or maybe just Steffi and Monica were too good, mentally and game-wise;)

Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:38 AM
oopps...i missed a biggie there, Natasha Zvereva, bad head-to-heads against both, was able to beat both only once and that was in the same tournament, wimby 98 (she could have had a great chance of winning that year she was playing so well).

but with natasha there were other reasons, french open 88 was a factor but i like natasha but she was a little lazy (but that is the prob with players who have all that natural talent;)), and she did seem to concentrate on doubles more (she said it was more fun!)

Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:39 AM
How about Roland Garros 1988 final ??

That had a serious effevt on Natasha Zvereva.

Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:46 AM
Steffi made a mental wreck of sabatini in 86 and 87, the only time she could make a difference in that was in a time were Steffi was even mentally weaker as Novotna :eek: (australia 91 remember)
and then of course she always beat Steffi in Florida but that's a different story :(

Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:50 AM
unfortunately i wasn't around then to watch the matches of these players nor follow their careers.

but could have playing in the same decade as these two made it less easy for other women players to become as successful as they could have been without so much dominance in the tour? definitely yes.

Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:50 AM
I think Monica made Cappy underachieve for a long time because of us open 91!

Apr 3rd, 2002, 12:00 PM
well, i guess it's just that there are thousands of tennis players out there but only a few have the qualities to make it on TOP.:cool:

Apr 3rd, 2002, 05:38 PM
i'd also add martina hingis to the list, because she couldn't win another grand slam final since she lost to graf at the french open 99. and she made it to 5 more finals!

Apr 3rd, 2002, 10:38 PM
To play against Steffi or Monica in the days when they were dominating, you had to be as aggressive as they were and not fear them.

JenCap and Aranxta were two players who did not seem to fear them. If they underachieved it didn't have anything to do with Monica or Steffi.

But you had to have something special to beat those two on a regular basis and there just were not enough opponents like there are today to go around.

Apr 4th, 2002, 12:07 AM
Gaby could have been number one. :( i love her!

Apr 4th, 2002, 12:58 AM
Steffi and Monica were simply heads and shoulders above everybody else.:) I don't think these players you mentioned underachieved at all. In fact, they played very well. They just couldn't play as well as Steffi and Monica.

[Of course, Jana Novotna was an entirely different story. She was a world class choker.]

Apr 5th, 2002, 09:26 PM
All of the aforementioned had the talent to be the best, but what sets champions apart is their guts and determination. The truth is that Steffi and Monica had it and the rest didn't.

I don't doubt that Gaby and Jana would have had better careers if it hadn't been for Steffi and Monica, but I don't think that either of them underachieved.

Everyone makes out that Gaby's career died after losing to Steffi in Wimbledon 1991, but that's simply not true - she beat Steffi twice the following year and Monica again in Rome. Again Monica was too tough at the French and Steffi too tough at Wimbledon.

Ditto for Jana, she had a huge win in 1998. Granted without Steffi around and facing Tauziat in the final, but I remember watching her totally dissect Hingis in a dazzlingly tactical match in the semis there.

Both Gaby and Jana were leading in matches that if they had won would have taken them to no.1 in the world so they had their chances, but the truth is to be the best you have to beat the best and I'm afraid that neither of them managed to do that at the most important moments.

It's no big deal though - both will go down in history as hugely talented players and they were. Gaby went on record at the time of her retirement saying that she was happy with what she'd achieved and frankly she should be. Ditto for Jana.

As for Mary Joe well again it's a sad story of injury, but she also had her chances in the early nineties.

Anke Huber, no offence but I don't rate her in the same league as the above and Natasha Zvereva never seemed to me to be 100% committed to her singles.