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View Full Version : Who is the best clay court player of all time?


Henpova
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:40 PM
Chris Evert- Pro from 1972-1989 (17 years) Winner of over 50 clay court tittles. Has Seven French Opens and Two U.S Opens on clay also a one time runner up at the french. Has the Most Title Wins on the Pairs Red Clay.

Steffi Graf- Pro from 1982-1999 (17 years) Winner of 35 Clay court tittles. Has won Six French Opens with Three Runner Up finishes. This puts her with the 2nd most titles on the red clay in Pairs.

Justine Henin- Pro from 1999-2008(9 years) Winner of 12 clay titles. Four French Opens. Tied with the most wins in a row at the French(Seles). Also has the third most title wins on the Pairs red clay.

Monica Seles- Pro from 1989-2008 (19 years) Winner of 13 clay tittles. Won the French Open three times and runner up once. Is Tied with the most wins in a row on the Paris red clay.(Henin)

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario- Pro from 1985-2002 (17 years) Winner of 19 clay court Titles. Holds three French open titles runner up three times.

Dodoboy.
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:46 PM
Henin :)

But that is just my opinion.

RenaSlam.
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Can't argue with Evert.

LeRoy.
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Chris Evert. She has a 120+ match winning streak on clay. :eek:

Henpova
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:47 PM
I would say Chris Evert since she did so much. Then Justine, for the fact she did all that in a much shorter time then every one else. After that I would say Steffi.

Craig.
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:51 PM
Maria Sharapova. :worship:

Man, does she suck on clay though. :lol:

hankqq
Jun 13th, 2008, 10:51 PM
I guess by accomplishment it would be Evert, then Graf, then Henin, then Seles, then Sanchez-Vicario. If they all played each other in peak form, I would go with either Graf or Henin.

Joseosu19
Jun 13th, 2008, 11:33 PM
Evert, hands down. No ifs, ands, ors, or buts about it.

GABRIEL
Jun 13th, 2008, 11:55 PM
no match here...Evert by far, then Graf, Seles, Henin and Sanchez Vicario. Henin could have been number 2 if she hadn't retired

~Cherry*Blossom~
Jun 13th, 2008, 11:56 PM
Evert - Graf - Seles - Henin - ASV

Henpova
Jun 13th, 2008, 11:58 PM
Evert - Graf - Seles - Henin - ASV


Why would you put Seles over Henin. Henin has more French Open titles and is tied with her for the most win in a row.:confused:

AcesHigh
Jun 14th, 2008, 12:42 AM
Why would you put Seles over Henin. Henin has more French Open titles and is tied with her for the most win in a row.:confused:

She would have won more if she hadnt gotten stabbed. She was an unstoppable force at RG it seems.

bwahahahahaha
Jun 14th, 2008, 12:46 AM
1.Evert
2.Seles
3.Graf
4.Henin
5.Sanchez-Vicario

Uranium
Jun 14th, 2008, 12:47 AM
Seles should not be called a pro from 1989 to 2008 since her last match was 2003

Pasta-Na
Jun 14th, 2008, 02:05 AM
Chris :rocker2: She married a rich guy :devil:

CrossCourt~Rally
Jun 14th, 2008, 02:07 AM
Chris:bounce:

tennisvideos
Jun 14th, 2008, 02:11 AM
You'd have to include the following on the list:

Helen Wills Moody - 4 French titles
Suzanne Lenglen - 6 Frech titles and lots of clay court titles for sure
Margaret Court - 5 French titles and no doubt heaps of clay court titles

SV_Fan
Jun 14th, 2008, 02:31 AM
1. evert
2. seles
2. asv
4. henin
5. graf

Henpova
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:31 AM
Seles should not be called a pro from 1989 to 2008 since her last match was 2003

I know that, but that is when she retired. I just went with the dates, wtatour.com gave me.

Henpova
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:36 AM
You'd have to include the following on the list:

Helen Wills Moody - 4 French titles
Suzanne Lenglen - 6 Frech titles and lots of clay court titles for sure
Margaret Court - 5 French titles and no doubt heaps of clay court titles

They where great on clay, but I said Pro-players. Most of that happend pre-open era

Henpova
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:39 AM
She would have won more if she hadnt gotten stabbed. She was an unstoppable force at RG it seems.

You could say the same thing about Henin. If she did not just up and retire I am sure she would of won at lest two more Frenches but we will never know like we will never know what Seles would of done, if not for a crazy many. So we can not put "what if"" into some thing like this.

Yet, I do have to say this is how you feel and I should not disrespect that I just want to hear a reason.

Shvedbarilescu
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:49 AM
I know a lot of people here are young but I don't know which I find more absurd, people selecting Henin over Evert as the best claycourter of all time or people selecting Venus as the best grasscourter of all time over Navratilova. :shrug:

Henin is obviously the best claycourter of this decade and Venus obviously the best grasscourter. But to suggest they are better than Evert and Navratilova? I don't think so.

shirley
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:50 AM
You can't argue with Chris Evert's record on clay

Nacho
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:51 AM
evert, not even a contest, really

Kipling
Jun 14th, 2008, 12:06 PM
Chris once went six years and 125 matches without losing on clay. No one else is close.

tennisvideos
Jun 14th, 2008, 02:23 PM
They where great on clay, but I said Pro-players. Most of that happend pre-open era

It's no big deal except the thread title reads: Who is the best clay court player of all time?

It shouldn't matter whether we are talking about pro players or not really - the main difference is that prior to 1968 all the greats played simply for the love of the game. And of those since you never really knew who played for the love of the game and who played for the money.

That aside, it is Chris Evert who is head and shoulders clear of the pack, with daylight second.

LoveFifteen
Jun 14th, 2008, 02:36 PM
Chris once went six years and 125 matches without losing on clay. No one else is close.

And after that, she went another 78 matches without losing. That's a record of over 200-1. :eek:

AcesHigh
Jun 14th, 2008, 03:06 PM
You could say the same thing about Henin. If she did not just up and retire I am sure she would of won at lest two more Frenches but we will never know like we will never know what Seles would of done, if not for a crazy many. So we can not put "what if"" into some thing like this.

Yet, I do have to say this is how you feel and I should not disrespect that I just want to hear a reason.

Henin quit. She didn't want a chance at more French Open titles. So I'm not going to giver her the benefit of the doubt when she removed herself from this discussion herself.

Seles on the other hand was stabbed and taken out of the game involuntarily.

markdelaney
Jun 14th, 2008, 04:20 PM
You can't argue with Chris Evert's record on clay


Has to be Chrissie, she didn't even play from 76-78 at her peak due to team tennis commitments (I don't think Barker, Ruzici and Jausovec would have titles otherwise) nor did she need her chief rival put out of the game. She played 13 times, won 7, runner up in 2, semi finals in 3 and one 3rd round loss in her final year.

LDVTennis
Jun 14th, 2008, 10:38 PM
It's no big deal except the thread title reads: Who is the best clay court player of all time?

It shouldn't matter whether we are talking about pro players or not really - the main difference is that prior to 1968 all the greats played simply for the love of the game. And of those since you never really knew who played for the love of the game and who played for the money.

That aside, it is Chris Evert who is head and shoulders clear of the pack, with daylight second.

Based only on record.

On skill, Graf is better than Chris on clay.

Steffi moved better on clay than Chris ever did. Both could slide on clay, but it was Steffi who was better able to maintain her balance/leverage on the surface to hit groundstrokes for winners, particularly from the forehand side. (Federer could take lessons from Steffi.)

Both excelled at hitting dropshots on clay. But Steffi's on the backhand side is better disguised and better executed. Just a technical fact. Steffi's takeback on the slice backhand and backhand dropshot is identical.

On clay, Steffi hit her serve with more topspin. There are advantages to that. Chris could only slice her serve.

Tactically speaking, there is no difference between them at their peak. Compare Graf's courtcraft in 1987 vs. Navratilova or in 1996 vs. Sanchez-Vicario to Chris' courtcraft in any of her great claycourt matches. Their ability to use the court is similar.

When it comes to defense on clay, both were pretty good. But, due to her athleticism and speed, Graf was clearly better. Chris never faced anyone as relentless as Sanchez-Vicario on clay. Yet, Graf withstood that challenge because she could match Sanchez-Vicario's overall athleticism with her own.

Chris was good on clay. But, to believe that she was as great as Steffi on clay, the following analogy would have to hold --- Chris is to Mima Jausovec (Chris' opponent in the 1983 French Final) as Steffi Graf is to Sanchez-Vicario. Mima Jausovec is no Sanchez-Vicario.

Henpova
Jun 14th, 2008, 11:41 PM
I know a lot of people here are young but I don't know which I find more absurd, people selecting Henin over Evert as the best claycourter of all time or people selecting Venus as the best grasscourter of all time over Navratilova. :shrug:

Henin is obviously the best claycourter of this decade and Venus obviously the best grasscourter. But to suggest they are better than Evert and Navratilova? I don't think so.

The main reason people may pick, Justine over Chris and Venus over Marina is, that the game is harder then it was back then. You have to be stronger faster, and have better skill then you did back then. Also they may be thinking who would bet who at their best and if you look at it that way you can make the case that Justine would be Chris or even Steffi on clay. With that said I think Chris is the best by far.

thrust
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:19 AM
ALL TIME? How about Court who won 5 FO among other clay titles, and who defeated Evert in a FO final as a 31 YO mother. I suppose though Evert would have to be #1 then Court, Seles, Graf, Henin, ASV, not to mention Lenglen and Wills-Moody.

Henpova
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:24 AM
ALL TIME? How about Court who won 5 FO among other clay titles, and who defeated Evert in a FO final as a 31 YO mother. I suppose though Evert would have to be #1 then Court, Seles, Graf, Henin, ASV, not to mention Lenglen and Wills-Moody.

I was more thinking of a pro players and a lot of Courts wins where before the Open Era. So that is why I did not put her in her, but she was a great player.

Oh and Seles over Graf and Henin???? :confused: Oh wait you will just say she was stabbed and it was all taken away. :tape: Sorry but we can't say what would of happened, just what did happen.

Nicolás89
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:31 AM
Chris Evert definitely.
Nonetheless, I think Graf could have won several more French opens if not for Seles and Sanchez Vicario.
There were no real opposition for Chris on clay.

Joseph73
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:33 AM
She would have won more if she hadnt gotten stabbed. She was an unstoppable force at RG it seems.

The question was NOT "who would have been the best clay court player of all time if Seles weren't stabbed".

Joseph73
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:36 AM
Chris Evert- Pro from 1972-1989 (17 years) Winner of over 50 clay court tittles. Has Seven French Opens and Two U.S Opens on clay also a one time runner up at the french. Has the Most Title Wins on the Pairs Red Clay.

Steffi Graf- Pro from 1982-1999 (17 years) Winner of 35 Clay court tittles. Has won Six French Opens with Three Runner Up finishes. This puts her with the 2nd most titles on the red clay in Pairs.

Justine Henin- Pro from 1999-2008(9 years) Winner of 12 clay titles. Four French Opens. Tied with the most wins in a row at the French(Seles). Also has the third most title wins on the Pairs red clay.

Monica Seles- Pro from 1989-2008 (19 years) Winner of 13 clay tittles. Won the French Open three times and runner up once. Is Tied with the most wins in a row on the Paris red clay.(Henin)

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario- Pro from 1985-2002 (17 years) Winner of 19 clay court Titles. Holds three French open titles runner up three times.


Greatest ever: Evert, then Graf.
Best ever on a consistent basis: Graf
Best ever at peak: Henin, then Seles and Graf (tie)

mapaliey
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:39 AM
from technic ...steffi graf is the best..she is all around player............

LDVTennis
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:48 AM
Here is a list of their opponents in the French Open finals they won:

Chris Evert

1974 Olga Morozova
1975 Martina Navratilova
1979 Wendy Turnbull
1980 Virginia Ruzici
1983 Mima Jausovec
1985 Martina Navratilova
1986 Martina Navratilova

Steffi Graf
1987 Martina Navratilova
1988 Natasha Zvereva
1993 Mary Joe Fernandez
1995 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1996 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1999 Martina Hingis

Chris' weakest opponent in a French final -- Mima Jausovec, Wendy Turnbull, or Olga Morozova.

Steffi's weakest opponent in a French final -- Natasha Zvereva.

Chris' strongest opponent in a French final -- Martina Navratilova. Martina was a serve and volley player, with a game better suited to faster surfaces.

Steffi's strongest opponent in a French final -- Sanchez-Vicario. Sanchez-Vicario was a counter-puncher, as relentless in her defense as Nadal is today; her game was perfectly suited to the clay courts.

LudwigDvorak
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:51 AM
LDVTennis over-singing Steffi's praises in yet another thread? Surely I'm dreaming.

Yeah, I only came in here to mention how predictable he is. Cue my token Lena D reference.....here.

tennisvideos
Jun 15th, 2008, 04:37 AM
LDVTennis makes some interesting points about the quality of opponents etc but I wish to say that a player can only beat those who turn up.

Chris Evert was the dominant clay court player of all time (not counting the legendary Suzanne Lenglen). Just because her French finalists weren't as great as Graf's is irrelevent IMO. You just cannot compare different eras. Just as you can't compare the skills of Graf with those of Evert with any objectivity - Graf grew up with superior technology, Evert developed her craft with a wooden racket. The skills that Evert were able to develop with wood were incredible - her accuracy and tennis brain perhaps the greatest of all time. Just because she changed to graphite later in her career didn't mean she could suddenly switch off her old style and morph into a player with new skills - it just doesn't happen that way, she had a lifetime of muscle memory already in place.

Also, you can't JUST factor in the French Open titles when discussing who is the best clay court player of all time because there were heaps of other clay court tournaments they played in and these MUST be factored in. And we do know that Evert utterly dominated the entire clay court tour and beat many quality clay courters during her stints including Court, Richey, Austin, Jaeger, Navratilova (yes at times she was as patient and as good on the surface as just about anyone).

It's the same story as those trying to drag down Court because not all the top players competed in Australia. And yet her overall tour records are that astonishing that the argument is rendered obsolete. Same with Evert at the French. Who cares if she only beat those who happened to play or make it that far. Her overall clay court record is simply that outstanding that it renders this argument obsolete as well.

When you are talking about Graf and her clay court record (esp the French) you have to throw in a question mark. Surely the Seles stabbing made a huge impact on the clay court record. Seles had won the French 3 consecutive times 1990-1992 before the stabbing and had a great clay court record. Surely she was the number 1 clay courter of that period. Had she not been stabbed one can only guess at how many more French titles she would have won. Still it wasn't to be unfortunately as she was one of my all time favourites.

This is not to take anything away from Graf who was a phenomenal player and an unquestioned all time great with Lenglen, Wills, Court, Evert, Navratilova, Connolly. I am just stating this to base my argument that IMO there is no way we can rate anyone else from the modern game as being a superior clay court player than Evert.

Evert is the undisputed Queen of Clay IMO. With Suzanne Lenglen probably second. Then you have the rest ...

Tennisstar86
Jun 15th, 2008, 04:53 AM
I know a lot of people here are young but I don't know which I find more absurd, people selecting Henin over Evert as the best claycourter of all time or people selecting Venus as the best grasscourter of all time over Navratilova. :shrug:

Henin is obviously the best claycourter of this decade and Venus obviously the best grasscourter. But to suggest they are better than Evert and Navratilova? I don't think so.

well i mean in an answer to the question Venus is the best grass courter of all time as is Henin the best on clay as players get better and better with each generation....All this new technicnology isnt the only thing that makes players better. Its just a progression, which is why in sprinting for example new records are broken over time as people get faster...and its not the technology..... So yes if you say Venus is the greatest of this generation then shes more than the likely the greatest of all time..... Same as Henin....all this equalizing cause thats not possible...

Anyways..yeah my votes for Henin..maybe Seles though tough call...

Tennisstar86
Jun 15th, 2008, 04:57 AM
Greatest ever: Evert, then Graf.
Best ever on a consistent basis: Graf
Best ever at peak: Henin, then Seles and Graf (tie)

lol....you put Henin above Seles based on having 1 more slam even though she quit but then Graf who has more than both gets a tie... lol fool.....

from technic ...steffi graf is the best..she is all around player............

not really .......Henin was more complete than Graf....

tennisbear7
Jun 15th, 2008, 05:18 AM
well i mean in an answer to the question Venus is the best grass courter of all time as is Henin the best on clay as players get better and better with each generation....All this new technicnology isnt the only thing that makes players better. Its just a progression, which is why in sprinting for example new records are broken over time as people get faster...and its not the technology..... So yes if you say Venus is the greatest of this generation then shes more than the likely the greatest of all time..... Same as Henin....all this equalizing cause thats not possible...

Anyways..yeah my votes for Henin..maybe Seles though tough call...

You, my dear sir, are foolish.

DA FOREHAND
Jun 15th, 2008, 06:15 AM
Chris Evert

Steffi Graf
Seles




also ran

tennisvideos
Jun 15th, 2008, 07:00 AM
For my take, historically on clay:

1. Chris Evert
2. Suzanne Lenglen
3. Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Helen Wills-Moody

tennisIlove09
Jun 15th, 2008, 07:10 AM
It's hard to really say. How do you compare Henin to Evert? Henin had SO much more competition, yet won the French two years in a row with out the loss of a set ... and 4 of 5 years over all when the level of tennis was so high.

I have to say Henin because on level of tennis competition. No offence to Evert (or even Navratilova on grass) but these days any girl can win on any day it seems (at least in the top 10-15)

AnomyBC
Jun 15th, 2008, 07:24 AM
The question was NOT "who would have been the best clay court player of all time if Seles weren't stabbed".

I think Evert was the best on clay, but this statement is stupid. The question isn't who won the most titles on clay, it's who was the best player on clay. In the case of Seles, her number of titles can be misleading because of the effect of the stabbing. Same thing is true to a lesser extent in regard to Henin, since she retired early. To put things differently, the player who won the most titles is usually the best, but certainly not always, because there are always other factors that need to be considered. Right now the man and woman with the most major titles are Sampras and Court, but I think when you take everything into consideration the best players of all time are probably Laver and Graf. And even if Federer died today, he'd still probably be considered a better player than Sampras as well, even though Sampras won more titles, because Federer achieved a level of dominance that was never achieved by Sampras. And then of course you have the case of Maureen Connolly, who somehow won 9 straight major titles before her career ended, at the age of 19, when a horse she was riding was hit by a truck. So those 9 majors may not seem like a lot at first, but when consider she only played until she was 19 and that she was at that time undefeated for 9 majors in a row, you have to consider the fact that this girl may have been the best female player of all time.

Anyway, here's my Top 10:

1. Chris Evert
2. Stefi Graf
3. Monica Seles
4. Justine Henin
5. Suzanne Lenglen
6. Helen Wills Moody
7. Margaret Smith Court
8. Maureen Connolly
9. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
10. Martina Navratilova

bionic71
Jun 15th, 2008, 07:32 AM
Evert...without peer on the dirt

Henpova
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:10 PM
It's hard to really say. How do you compare Henin to Evert? Henin had SO much more competition, yet won the French two years in a row with out the loss of a set ... and 4 of 5 years over all when the level of tennis was so high.

I have to say Henin because on level of tennis competition. No offence to Evert (or even Navratilova on grass) but these days any girl can win on any day it seems (at least in the top 10-15)

I like your point. They are many more Top players now then back then. I can see any top 15 rank player wining a Major, and I don't think you could of said that back in the 70's

chris whiteside
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:43 PM
I like your point. They are many more Top players now then back then. I can see any top 15 rank player wining a Major, and I don't think you could of said that back in the 70's

I agree that there are more players capable of winning RG now but IMO it is because the overall standard is lower not that they are all better players than yesteryear!

chris whiteside
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:50 PM
Tough question. Obviously all the players listed have fantastic credentials on clay.

My immediate gut reaction was that it was a no-contest and Chris Evert was a shoe-in.

However, it is hard to put Monica Seles into context. There can be no question that her form from 1996 onwards was shaped by events in 1993. If you take the career as a whole then that obviously goes against her.

I just have a feeling though, that from 1990- 1992 on clay she would have beaten any of the above.

austennis
Jun 15th, 2008, 12:53 PM
on stats alone u have to go for Evert its incredible what she achieved and wont ever be matched... but graff and henin r close seconds

Mackep83
Jun 15th, 2008, 01:18 PM
Wtf!!??? I think Conchita Martinez is the best claycourt player, ever...she had the best game...she never won Roland Garros, but she should... second place Justine Henin...

Steff_forever
Jun 15th, 2008, 02:12 PM
Monica - nobody else before and after her ever used those ankles again to open the court on clay

Joseph73
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:00 PM
lol....you put Henin above Seles based on having 1 more slam ...

I didn't.
I think that peak Henin was better than anyone else on clay.
Better than Graf and Seles who - when being in-form - were about equal on that surface.

The question was not "greater" or "more successful" or "more slams on clay" or "best winning percentage on clay".
The question was "best" which I understood as "best while playing in peak form".

Tennisstar86
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:02 PM
I agree that there are more players capable of winning RG now but IMO it is because the overall standard is lower not that they are all better players than yesteryear!

that may be the case for RIGHT now (as in this year)..... but not for when Henin was winning her majors....

Joseph73
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:02 PM
lol....you put Henin above Seles based on having 1 more slam even though she quit but then Graf who has more than both gets a tie... lol fool.....



not really .......Henin was more complete than Graf....



Yes, that's why Henin won each slam at least 4 times and Graf didn't.

Say, you don't watch tennis for more than 2 months, do you?

;)

Joseph73
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:04 PM
It's hard to really say. How do you compare Henin to Evert? Henin had SO much more competition, ....


On clay?
At the FO ... ?

:lol:

Tennisstar86
Jun 15th, 2008, 03:18 PM
Yes, that's why Henin won each slam at least 4 times and Graf didn't.

Say, you don't watch tennis for more than 2 months, do you?

;)

I watched their games... and it has to do with Era and Competition... had Graf been in the era with the Williams Sisters/ Davenport, Amelie, Justine, Capriati, hingis, sharapova..... She would not have won each major at least 4 times.

I see you living in yesteryear and just like deluded Navratilova think your fav of back in the day could dominate with the same game they had back then today.... and thats simply not the case... Graf could do damage and be a threat... but she wouldnt have near the slam count in this generation as she did in hers...

Joseph73
Jun 15th, 2008, 05:20 PM
I watched their games... and it has to do with Era and Competition... had Graf been in the era with the Williams Sisters/ Davenport, Amelie, Justine, Capriati, hingis, sharapova..... She would not have won each major at least 4 times.

I see you living in yesteryear and just like deluded Navratilova think your fav of back in the day could dominate with the same game they had back then today.... and thats simply not the case... Graf could do damage and be a threat... but she wouldnt have near the slam count in this generation as she did in hers...


Graf and Navratilova would have won even more slams today.
Players like Mauresmo and Capriati would have won no slams in the 80ies or 90ies.
And even the Williams sisters, Davenport and Hingis struggled big-time in the late 90ies against an old Graf who was hampered by many injuries (and lost to players again and again whom she had beaten easily 5 years earlier).

LeRoy.
Jun 15th, 2008, 06:19 PM
Joseph73 = Calimero377

Henpova
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:09 PM
Graf and Navratilova would have won even more slams today.
Players like Mauresmo and Capriati would have won no slams in the 80ies or 90ies.
And even the Williams sisters, Davenport and Hingis struggled big-time in the late 90ies against an old Graf who was hampered by many injuries (and lost to players again and again whom she had beaten easily 5 years earlier).

You are living in the past. I love Graf and i believe she is the best Female player to ever live, but to say that Momo and Jen would not of won slams if they played Graf today, is just stupid. Also Hingis beat Steffi many time, and the Sister where just now getting on the tour when Graf's Carear was ending. So they should of had a hard time with her. She was a great player, and was a Legend by then. Most new players lose to then older player until the new player improves. I am sure the sister would of beaten Graf many times if they had there 2001-2003 form. You just want to believe that All the great player of the last 10 years would of never done any thing if Steffi did not retire after Wimbledon. So you can feel happy about how good she was. Well here is the fact. These girls today are very tough, and in ten year you will be saying how hard it most of been to play with the, Sister, Justine, Momo, Maria, Ann and Jelena. It is just how it works. No generation looks as good at the last, until it all over, and you can look at it in a whole. Any ways Steffi is great and don't take way from the things these girls have done.

morbidangle
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:10 PM
Oh Gosh! Cali is back...
I am sure he'll turn the entire board against Steffi in no time!

LDVTennis
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:11 PM
LDVTennis makes some interesting points about the quality of opponents etc but I wish to say that a player can only beat those who turn up.

Chris Evert was the dominant clay court player of all time (not counting the legendary Suzanne Lenglen). Just because her French finalists weren't as great as Graf's is irrelevent IMO. You just cannot compare different eras. Just as you can't compare the skills of Graf with those of Evert with any objectivity - Graf grew up with superior technology, Evert developed her craft with a wooden racket. The skills that Evert were able to develop with wood were incredible - her accuracy and tennis brain perhaps the greatest of all time. Just because she changed to graphite later in her career didn't mean she could suddenly switch off her old style and morph into a player with new skills - it just doesn't happen that way, she had a lifetime of muscle memory already in place.

When you are talking about Graf and her clay court record (esp the French) you have to throw in a question mark. Surely the Seles stabbing made a huge impact on the clay court record. Seles had won the French 3 consecutive times 1990-1992 before the stabbing and had a great clay court record. Surely she was the number 1 clay courter of that period. Had she not been stabbed one can only guess at how many more French titles she would have won. Still it wasn't to be unfortunately as she was one of my all time favourites.



Steffi learned the game with a wood racquet. She switched to a graphite racquet in her early teens. Superior technology? It wasn't the magic wand you make it out to be. It certainly was nothing like today's racquets. It was a midsize frame with a sweet spot not much larger than that on a wood racquet. From what I remember, it was quite a heavy racquet. If you could swing it freely, that was a plus on groundstrokes. That was not a plus on the serve, yet Steffi overcame that with her superior mechanics.

But, even if Steffi had learned the game with a graphite racquet, that does not make it impossible to compare Steffi's and Chris' skills objectively. The topspin serve, the slice backhand, the dropshot, speed, athleticism, courtcraft, all predate the invention of graphite racquets. The technique for the shots was perfected long before the invention of graphite racquets. If Chris couldn't hit a serve with more topspin than slice with a wood racquet, that's Chris' problem, not an artifact of the racquet material.

With detractors of Graf, the argument of last resort is always the stabbing of Monica Seles. To wit, I'll just repeat what you said -- "a player can only beat those who turn up." That being the case, the most glaring weakness in Chris' claim to be the greatest French Open Champion of all time is that she won four of her 7 titles against such competition as Wendy Turnbull, Mima Jausovec, Virginia Ruzici, and Olga Morozova. If that is the kind of competition she faced on the way to becoming the most dominant clay court player of all time, one has to seriously wonder.

thrust
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:20 PM
You are living in the past. I love Graf and i believe she is the best Female player to ever live, but to say that Momo and Jen would not of won slams if they played Graf today, is just stupid. Also Hingis beat Steffi many time, and the Sister where just now getting on the tour when Graf's Carear was ending. So they should of had a hard time with her. She was a great player, and was a Legend by then. Most new players lose to then older player until the new player improves. I am sure the sister would of beaten Graf many times if they had there 2001-2003 form. You just want to believe that All the great player of the last 10 years would of never done any thing if Steffi did not retire after Wimbledon. So you can feel happy about how good she was. Well here is the fact. These girls today are very tough, and in ten year you will be saying how hard it most of been to play with the, Sister, Justine, Momo, Maria, Ann and Jelena. It is just how it works. No generation looks as good at the last, until it all over, and you can look at it in a whole. Any ways Steffi is great and don't take way from the things these girls have done.
Graf has a winning H-H over Hingis. Graf would have the edge over the Williams on clay, IMO.

LDVTennis
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:30 PM
LDVTennis over-singing Steffi's praises in yet another thread? Surely I'm dreaming.

Yeah, I only came in here to mention how predictable he is. Cue my token Lena D reference.....here.

Steffi's opponent in the 1988 French Final, Natasha Zvereva was a better tennis player than your Lena D. Given that Steffi beat Zvereva in that final 6-0, 6-0, what does that say about Lena D as a tennis player? :lol:

thrust
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:34 PM
I was more thinking of a pro players and a lot of Courts wins where before the Open Era. So that is why I did not put her in her, but she was a great player.

Oh and Seles over Graf and Henin???? :confused: Oh wait you will just say she was stabbed and it was all taken away. :tape: Sorry but we can't say what would of happened, just what did happen.

The competition was just as tough before the Open Era. There was no womens pro tour, so all the top women played on the tour before 68. Seles beat Graf in 2 FO finals. I doubt Graf has more than 1 win over Seles on clay.

Sund7101
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:40 PM
the conversation starts and ends with the ice maiden

Dawson.
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:40 PM
you cant compare generations. every generation gets better, therefore justine is the greatest

Henpova
Jun 15th, 2008, 11:48 PM
Graf has a winning H-H over Hingis. Graf would have the edge over the Williams on clay, IMO.


I know she had a winning recored but its not like it was all one sided, and yeah, she would easily beat the sisters on clay, but I was more meaning all around, not just clay.

tennislover
Jun 16th, 2008, 12:05 AM
navratilova
of course

Scotso
Jun 16th, 2008, 12:06 AM
Chris Evert, hands down.

OsloErik
Jun 16th, 2008, 12:53 AM
The competition was just as tough before the Open Era. There was no womens pro tour, so all the top women played on the tour before 68. Seles beat Graf in 2 FO finals. I doubt Graf has more than 1 win over Seles on clay.

They are 3-3 on clay, 2-2 at the French Open. Seles has a 3-1 edge during her peak (90-93), but Graf has a win in 1999 when she was two tournaments from her retirement. Hard to say. Seles was terrific on clay, but she wasn't as good on it as she was on hardcourts (IMO).

tennisvideos
Jun 16th, 2008, 03:30 AM
Steffi learned the game with a wood racquet. She switched to a graphite racquet in her early teens. Superior technology? It wasn't the magic wand you make it out to be. It certainly was nothing like today's racquets. It was a midsize frame with a sweet spot not much larger than that on a wood racquet. From what I remember, it was quite a heavy racquet. If you could swing it freely, that was a plus on groundstrokes. That was not a plus on the serve, yet Steffi overcame that with her superior mechanics.

But, even if Steffi had learned the game with a graphite racquet, that does not make it impossible to compare Steffi's and Chris' skills objectively. The topspin serve, the slice backhand, the dropshot, speed, athleticism, courtcraft, all predate the invention of graphite racquets. The technique for the shots was perfected long before the invention of graphite racquets. If Chris couldn't hit a serve with more topspin than slice with a wood racquet, that's Chris' problem, not an artifact of the racquet material.

With detractors of Graf, the argument of last resort is always the stabbing of Monica Seles. To wit, I'll just repeat what you said -- "a player can only beat those who turn up." That being the case, the most glaring weakness in Chris' claim to be the greatest French Open Champion of all time is that she won four of her 7 titles against such competition as Wendy Turnbull, Mima Jausovec, Virginia Ruzici, and Olga Morozova. If that is the kind of competition she faced on the way to becoming the most dominant clay court player of all time, one has to seriously wonder.
Your comments are valild, but you said it yourself. Graf switched to graphite in her teens and was certainly able to benefit from that in terms of her stroke production and development. Evert only made the transition later in her career which makes it far more difficult to adapt to a new technology. And I agree, graphite doesn't compare to today's materials BUT it was a quantum leap from wood (including the mid size frame). It did make a tremendous difference.

As I alluded to, Evert dominated her generation on clay like no other - and there were other great players on clay that she beat, not just at the French Open eg. Court, Richey, Goolagong, Navratilova etc. It isn't JUST about the French.

Graf was indeed great on clay, but so was Seles. I think they split results and also Seles won the 3 successive French titles before she was taken out of the game. And this isn't to detract from Graf, but merely to point out that Graf didn't dominate her peers on clay like Evert did. And therein lies the difference in terms of all time greatest on clay.

Tennisstar86
Jun 16th, 2008, 03:50 AM
Graf and Navratilova would have won even more slams today.
Players like Mauresmo and Capriati would have won no slams in the 80ies or 90ies.
And even the Williams sisters, Davenport and Hingis struggled big-time in the late 90ies against an old Graf who was hampered by many injuries (and lost to players again and again whom she had beaten easily 5 years earlier).

lol... lets look at the list of players graf lost too in her last year on tour in 99...

Davenport Didnt come into her own until 97...and was the #1 player in the world at the time....
Venus 5 years before 99 she was 14.....
Seles 5 years before 99 was still recovering from being stabbed
Hingis 5 years before 99 she was 14....
Serena 5 years before 99 she was 12....

srry, you dont know what your talkin about.....Graf wasnt anymore hampered by injuries than any other player on tour.... and compared to what most players go through she got off easy in her career... and 30 is not old.... Navratilova found ways to dominate grass until she was 36..... Davenport was the #1 player in the world at the tender age of 30. it took pregnancy to knock her down... Stop feeding the B.S.

The only player of the new generation that struggled with Graf in their "prime" was Hingis and her brand of tennis was more from the older generation than the newer one so the head to head there really is a mute point as far as how the Graf would have shaped up this this generation...

LDVTennis
Jun 16th, 2008, 03:59 AM
Your comments are valild, but you said it yourself. Graf switched to graphite in her teens and was certainly able to benefit from that in terms of her stroke production and development. Evert only made the transition later in her career which makes it far more difficult to adapt to a new technology. And I agree, graphite doesn't compare to today's materials BUT it was a quantum leap from wood (including the mid size frame). It did make a tremendous difference.

As I alluded to, Evert dominated her generation on clay like no other - and there were other great players on clay that she beat, not just at the French Open eg. Court, Richey, Goolagong, Navratilova etc. It isn't JUST about the French.

Graf was indeed great on clay, but so was Seles. I think they split results and also Seles won the 3 successive French titles before she was taken out of the game. And this isn't to detract from Graf, but merely to point out that Graf didn't dominate her peers on clay like Evert did. And therein lies the difference in terms of all time greatest on clay.

If Evert had learned the game with a graphite racquet, I'm not sure her game would have improved. She would have gained some pace on her groundstrokes and her serve, but she also might have lost some of her finesse and flexibility.

She's one of the players (I think) who would have gone from using a conventional grip on her forehand to a more western grip. That change alone would have made it more difficult for her to hit dropshots and slice. Chris had a terrific slice forehand. With a more western grip, she might never have learned how to hit a slice forehand.

As for Steffi, I'm not sure the graphite made much difference. Her forehand was as good as it was because of an innovation in the swing, how she breaks the swing at the elbow and how her amazing racquet speed and athleticism allows her to have a late point of contact. Have her play with a wood racquet and her forehand would still have been just as good because of these two innovations.

Chris has an amazing record on clay. No doubt about that. All I'm saying is that the numbers aren't so impressive when you consider the level of her competition, particularly at the French Open.

As for Steffi, clay was her least favorite surface. With Steffi, of course, everything is relative. She still won 6 French Opens, the last in 1999, the last of her storied career. She may never have dominated on clay like Chris did, but she dominated her generation on almost every surface in a way Chris never could. To go with those 6 French Opens, Steffi has 7 Wimbledons.

tennisvideos
Jun 16th, 2008, 04:50 AM
As for Steffi, clay was her least favorite surface. With Steffi, of course, everything is relative. She still won 6 French Opens, the last in 1999, the last of her storied career. She may never have dominated on clay like Chris did, but she dominated her generation on almost every surface in a way Chris never could. To go with those 6 French Opens, Steffi has 7 Wimbledons.

Yes, on that basis you could say that Graf was the better all court player, but on clay I don't think anyone but Lenglen comes close to Evert. And I take your earlier point about the quality of the French, but we must also consider the entire clay court portfolio. Cheers :)