I thought it'd be nice to discuss some of Lori's best moments:
1. Her VS of Oklahoma title that was the first pro tour final between two Black women, if I remember correctly. Lori beat her Houston chum, Zina Garrison, to win the crown.
2. Her spectacular one-two punch at the 1987 US Open, where she saved a match point to upset Garrison (again) in the fourth round and then became the first woman to stop Chris Evert before the semifinals at the US Open. Her run ended after a marvellous semi-final against Graf that McNeil lost 4-6 in the third.
3. Her two first round defeats of Graf, at the 1992 Slims finals and then, even more memorably, at Wimbledon 1994. The latter made her the first woman to send the defending champ packing in the first round at Wimbledon.
4. The 1988 French Open mixed doubles crown with Jorge Lazano.
I'd love to hear more about Lori from folks who saw her play more than I did. (I've only seen her in action three times: the 1987 Open semis, 1R Wimbledon 1994, and her loss to Martinez in the '94 Wimbledon semis). Has there been any woman since who's tried her strategy of coming in on everything, including her opponent's first serves?
Sep 18th, 2010, 12:54 PM
Have never seen a McNeil thread since I joined this forum. Saw Lori play several times in the 80's and 90's (all in Flushing). You cited her career highlights (all good ones) but the one that sticks out in my mind is that I would've loved to have seen her play Navratilova in the '94 Wimbledon final. McNeil had Martinez on the ropes in their semi but couldn't close it out. Garrison said in 'Hard Courts' that they had a prickly relationship. I'd be interested in hearing McNeil's side of the story.
Sep 20th, 2010, 11:38 PM
Great Info on Lori here:
<Chanda, Martina, Lori>
Inspired by her mother’s love of the game, Lori McNeil (b. 1963) spent most of her formative years on the tennis court, growing into a champion. McNeil honed her skills at Houston’s MacGregor Park alongside her close friend Zina Garrison, guided by former American Tennis Association champion John Wilkerson. An All-American at Oklahoma State University, McNeil went pro in 1984. Two years later she reached the USTA Top 10 in singles, and climbed as high as No. 9 in the world rankings. She also represented her country on the U.S. Fed Cup and Wightman Cup teams.
With her classic serve-and-volley game, McNeil captured 32 career doubles titles, including the mixed doubles championship at the French Open in 1988. She also scored a stunning first-round victory over defending champion Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1994, eventually reaching the semifinals. Retiring from the tour in 2002, McNeil was named a USTA high peformance coach and was appointed assistant coach to the U.S. Olympic team in 2004, continuing to serve as a mentor and inspiration to a new generation of tennis players.
All-American in singles and doubles, Oklahoma State University 1982
NCAA Big Eight Athletic Conference Singles Champion 1982
10 WTA tour singles titles; 32 doubles titles 1984-2002
Career singles record 436-309
Ranked in the USTA Top 10 1986 (No. 9), 1987 (No. 5), 1988 (No. 6), 1991 (No. 6), 1992 (No. 4), 1993 (No. 6), 1994 (No. 7), 1995 (No. 8)
Ranked No. 4 in WTA world doubles rankings 1987; No. 9 in singles 1988
Wimbledon Singles Quarterfinalist 1986
Australian Open Singles Quarterfinalist 1987
U.S. Open Singles Semifinalist 1987; defeated Chris Evert in quarterfinals
Australian Open Doubles Finalist 1988 (with Zina Garrison) ??? Chris & Wendy beat Zina Garrison/Barbara Potter 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in the semis...so not sure what year they really mean?)
French Open Mixed Doubles Champion 1988
Wimbledon Semifinalist in Singles 1994, defeated defending champion Steffi Graf in first round