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alfajeffster
Jun 6th, 2011, 10:12 AM
In watching the men's final yesterday, I was reminded how much I don't like watching Federer play Nadal. So many times in this match-up, Roger gets a lead playing aggressive, dominating tennis. Spectacular tennis like only he can play, really. Then there comes that point where you can almost visibly see the something click in Federer's head as Nadal stages a comeback simply by getting a few impossible balls back or hitting a passing shot or two. Roger's level of play drops to Nadal's level (especially on clay), and he almost never gets the upper hand for the remainder of the match.

My question is, are there any women from the past that you can think of who had this problem. It's borderline choking on a regular basis against a chief rival.

bia
Jun 6th, 2011, 10:35 AM
The ultimate choker was Jana Novotna, especially against Graf.

austinrunner
Jun 6th, 2011, 12:43 PM
Rosemary Casals against Billie Jean King. No one lost more singles matches to another player (52), not even Chris Evert to Martina Navratilova. King won 48 of her last 56 matches with Casals, ending with a 52-11 lead.

Others who were pigeons of King's included Ann Haydon Jones (40-13), Francoise Durr (29-7), Virginia Wade (31-11), Karen Krantzcke (19-2), Betty Stove (19-2), Mary Ann Eisel Curtis Beattie (16-1), Kathleen Harter (13-0), Leslie Hunt (12-0), Helen Gourlay Cawley (12-0), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (13-3, including 6-1 in Grand Slam tournaments), Wendy Turnbull (11-1), and Kristien Kemmer Shaw (10-0, including 20-1 in sets). Someone King dominated in Grand Slam tournaments but not elsewhere was Maria Bueno (6-1 but only 8-5 overall).

alfajeffster
Jun 6th, 2011, 09:59 PM
Rosemary Casals against Billie Jean King. No one lost more singles matches to another player (52), not even Chris Evert to Martina Navratilova. King won 48 of her last 55 matches with Casals, ending with a 52-10 lead.

Others who were pigeons of King's included Ann Haydon Jones (40-13), Francoise Durr (29-7), Virginia Wade (31-11), Karen Krantzcke (19-2), Betty Stove (19-2), Mary Ann Eisel Curtis Beattie (16-1), Kathleen Harter (13-0), Leslie Hunt (12-0), Helen Gourlay Cawley (11-0), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (13-3, including 6-1 in Grand Slam tournaments), Wendy Turnbull (11-1), and Kristien Kemmer Shaw (10-0, including 20-1 in sets). Someone King dominated in Grand Slam tournaments but not elsewhere was Maria Bueno (6-1 but only 8-5 overall).

Wow, what an interesting stat for King. I'd venture to say, though, that the only surprise on that list is Goolagong, given that on any particular day when Evonne showed her talents during an entire match, she was capable of beating anyone (and did). I'm a little surprised that she only got Billie Jean three times over the years. I knew their majors record was lopsided, but thought Evonne might have more regular circuit wins than that. I always felt bad for Rosie- clearly she was influenced (if not intimidated) by partnering Billie Jean in doubles so much. Similarly, it could also be said that Martina stopped playing doubles with Chris for much the same reason.

austinrunner
Jun 7th, 2011, 05:22 AM
For a list of their career singles matches, refer to this post:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=19687645&postcount=59

justineheninfan
Jun 7th, 2011, 06:21 AM
How is it surprising Casals beat King only 7 times out of 55 meetings. King is far and away the superior player, she should win the vast majority of their matches. I would say Casals did very well to win 13% of them. The only remarkable thing is they somehow played 55 times.

I would say players that are the biggest chokers would be:

Novotna- 93 Wimbledon final vs Graf, 92 WTA Championship quarters vs Seles, 95 French Open 3rd round vs Rubin, 98 U.S Open semis vs Hingis, 91 French Open quarters vs Sabatini, were all epic chokes, the likes you rarely see that bad even today. And many other arguable chokes on a lower scale. You never felt comfortable watching her play whether you were cheering for her or not, always waiting for the inevitable collapse.

Petrova- I have seen her blow many matches over the years as well. 2007 Australian Open vs Serena she was playing amazing tennis for almost 2 sets, and while Serena did raise her game she really fell apart once she was close to winning. She even choked away a match she was dominating vs Oudin during her U.S Open run. And when she plays other Russians, especialy Sharapova, ugh. Definitely a headcase and mental midget.

Safina- Played awful tennis relative to her regular level of play at the time in 3 of her 4 biggest finals. Began to collapse completely under the pressure of being a suspect #1, leading to her losing to players outside the WTA top 100 late in that year. Major headcase in the heat of the moment.

Sorry I just noticed you said from the past. Well Petrova will soon be the past, and Safina probably already is anyway.

I guess another past one besides Novotna would probably be:

Sabatini- defeated Graf 11 times overall yet only once when it mattered in a slam (in 12 tries).
That win over Graf was her only win over any of Graf, Navratilova, Evert, Seles, in a slam event despite countless wins elsewhere. At her peak lost Wimbledon final to Graf after serving for it twice, losing her serve 3 times in a row to end the match. Then lost the French Open semis the following year to Seles from 4-2 up in the 3rd. Most famous of all lost to Mary Joe Ferandez from 6-1, 5-1 and many match points up at the 93 French. Near the end of her career blew a 6-1, 5-1 lead to Kimiko Date in the Miami semis.

I also hate watching Federer and Nadal play, especialy on clay. Roger is such a mental midget when he plays Nadal, it is pathetic, especialy for the so called greatest ever. There is no way he should have lost that French Open final this year.

alfajeffster
Jun 7th, 2011, 07:31 AM
[QUOTE=justineheninfan;19684918]...Sabatini- defeated Graf 11 times overall yet only once when it mattered in a slam (in 12 tries).
That win over Graf was her only win over any of Graf, Navratilova, Evert, Seles, in a slam event despite countless wins elsewhere. At her peak lost Wimbledon final to Graf after serving for it twice, losing her serve 3 times in a row to end the match. Then lost the French Open semis the following year to Seles from 4-2 up in the 3rd. Most famous of all lost to Mary Joe Ferandez from 6-1, 5-1 and many match points up at the 93 French. Near the end of her career blew a 6-1, 5-1 lead to Kimiko Date in the Miami semis...


I still maintain that last Sabatini forehand was wide in that 90 USO final, and I'm sure Graf feels the same way. I wouldn't necessarily say Gaby was a choker as much as I'd say she had a major liability with that serve. in many of those losses when Sabatini was up, it just took her opponent longer than expected to exploit the push/spin service and start cracking deflating return winners. Much as I enjoyed watching Sabatini, that serve and her penchant to back up and hit many shots off of her back foot were usually the deciders. She's an anomaly to me because to watch her crack groundies in practice, she actually creamed the ball and (arguably) was the best ball striker off both sides. Why she didn't hit like that in matches is beyond me, and not just against Graf, she had the same loopy defensive style of play against most of her rivals. Her court speed also left much to be desired. The worst matchup for me was when she played Sanchez Vicario. The moonballs hit off the back foot were awful.

tennisvideos
Jun 7th, 2011, 08:18 AM
Rosemary Casals against Billie Jean King. No one lost more singles matches to another player (52), not even Chris Evert to Martina Navratilova. King won 48 of her last 55 matches with Casals, ending with a 52-10 lead.

Others who were pigeons of King's included Ann Haydon Jones (40-13), Francoise Durr (29-7), Virginia Wade (31-11), Karen Krantzcke (19-2), Betty Stove (19-2), Mary Ann Eisel Curtis Beattie (16-1), Kathleen Harter (13-0), Leslie Hunt (12-0), Helen Gourlay Cawley (11-0), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (13-3, including 6-1 in Grand Slam tournaments), Wendy Turnbull (11-1), and Kristien Kemmer Shaw (10-0, including 20-1 in sets). Someone King dominated in Grand Slam tournaments but not elsewhere was Maria Bueno (6-1 but only 8-5 overall).

Very impressive records. So much for the conjecture from a couple of posters that Bueno never bothered unless it was a Slam.

I am thrilled with Durr's record against King. It's virtually 1 win in every 4 matches which is pretty impressive IMO. I know Frankie had a lot more trouble with Court & Evert.

chris whiteside
Jun 7th, 2011, 05:14 PM
Very impressive records. So much for the conjecture from a couple of posters that Bueno never bothered unless it was a Slam.

I am thrilled with Durr's record against King. It's virtually 1 win in every 4 matches which is pretty impressive IMO. I know Frankie had a lot more trouble with Court & Evert.

I think saying Maria never bothered unless it was a Slam is too sweeping a statement, T/V

Maria along with Darlene Hard could command good appearance money at many tournaments. I do contend and it is only my opinion - that on many occasions when she had reached the semis or so she didn't really put herself out at LESSER EVENTS and tended more than Margaret or BJ to lose to players she should really have beaten easily (even Jan Lehane :devil:)

I don't see that the figures against BJ give lie to this. If you take the Slams out then Maria is 4-2. 2 of her 4 wins were at the end of the 50s were when BJ was just a teenager at the beginning of her career and Maria was likely to win at that stage reasonably handily.

One other win was at the Pacific Southwest and this is not the sort of tournament Maria would take lightly. Admittedly it is not a Slam but after these and the three leading National Championships the PSW was the next biggest event.

The other win was at Beckenham in 1965 the score being 6-2 6-0 which doesn't sound as if Billie-Jean was in any sort of form on that day.

I don't believe this supports your view.

Re: Durr vs King. It's roughly 1 win in 5.

austinrunner
Jun 7th, 2011, 05:47 PM
Virginia Wade was particularly hapless against King on grass, winning only 3 out of 20 matches. On other surfaces:
Clay: Tie 2-2
Hard: King 2-1
Indoor: King 10-5

Indoors against King, Ann Haydon Jones lost 14 of 16 and Francoise Durr lost 14 of 15.

On hard courts against King, Rosemary Casals lost 12 of 13.

If you take the Slams out then Maria is 4-2. 2 of her 4 wins were at the end of the 50s were when BJ was just a teenager at the beginning of her career and Maria was likely to win at that stage reasonably handily.
Those first 2 wins were in 1959 and 1960.

alfajeffster
Jun 7th, 2011, 11:26 PM
Virginia Wade was particularly hapless against King on grass, winning only 3 out of 20 matches. On other surfaces:
Clay: King 3-2
Hard: Tie 1-1
Indoor: King 10-5

Indoors against King, Ann Haydon Jones lost 14 of 16 and Francoise Durr lost 14 of 15.

On hard courts against King, Rosemary Casals lost 13 of 14.



Wrong again. As I already said: 52-10. That's 10 wins out of 62 matches. That's a Casals winning percentage of 16%.


Those first 2 wins were in 1959 and 1960.

Okay, what was Martina's record against the old gal?

austinrunner
Jun 8th, 2011, 06:59 AM
For a list of their career singles matches, refer to this post:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=19694006&postcount=60

alfajeffster
Jun 8th, 2011, 08:50 AM
Not bad for a player so far removed from her playing prime (which, like King, believe to be 1971).

tennisvideos
Jun 8th, 2011, 02:30 PM
I think saying Maria never bothered unless it was a Slam is too sweeping a statement, T/V

Maria along with Darlene Hard could command good appearance money at many tournaments. I do contend and it is only my opinion - that on many occasions when she had reached the semis or so she didn't really put herself out at LESSER EVENTS and tended more than Margaret or BJ to lose to players she should really have beaten easily (even Jan Lehane :devil:)

I don't see that the figures against BJ give lie to this. If you take the Slams out then Maria is 4-2. 2 of her 4 wins were at the end of the 50s were when BJ was just a teenager at the beginning of her career and Maria was likely to win at that stage reasonably handily.

One other win was at the Pacific Southwest and this is not the sort of tournament Maria would take lightly. Admittedly it is not a Slam but after these and the three leading National Championships the PSW was the next biggest event.

The other win was at Beckenham in 1965 the score being 6-2 6-0 which doesn't sound as if Billie-Jean was in any sort of form on that day.

I don't believe this supports your view.

Re: Durr vs King. It's roughly 1 win in 5.

Well thanks very kindly for the corrections.

Durr winning 1 in 5 against King is not too shabby esp compared to her 1-23 against Court and 0-22 against Evert! LOL.

I still don't believe players like Maria Bueno would just tank matches or take the money and run. When you are that good obviously you have a great deal of self respect and a healthy ego. Being a competitive player myself I have only once in my life thrown a match. So I just don't buy it. Maybe in the heat of the moment all players have tanked the odd match (Billie Jean comes to mind on 2 occasions I am aware of) but I am sure it would be a rare event for any pro. But we are all entitled to our opinions.

As for Jan Lehane, she was good enough to beat anyone on her day.

Wimbledon9
Jun 9th, 2011, 09:15 PM
Alfajeffster Similarly, it could also be said that Martina stopped playing doubles with Chris for much the same reason.

It was the other way round Chris stopped playing doubles with Martina because she became too good she said so many times.

DennisFitz
Jun 10th, 2011, 06:38 AM
In watching the men's final yesterday, I was reminded how much I don't like watching Federer play Nadal. So many times in this match-up, Roger gets a lead playing aggressive, dominating tennis. Spectacular tennis like only he can play, really. Then there comes that point where you can almost visibly see the something click in Federer's head as Nadal stages a comeback simply by getting a few impossible balls back or hitting a passing shot or two. Roger's level of play drops to Nadal's level (especially on clay), and he almost never gets the upper hand for the remainder of the match.

My question is, are there any women from the past that you can think of who had this problem. It's borderline choking on a regular basis against a chief rival.

Tennis is a tough sport. Very mental. And anyone who has ever played competitively has choked. EVERYBODY! Sure, some more than others. And some more famously than others.

First, I think you're a bit unfair with comments about Roger. Not only is a clay meeting physically grueling, it's mentally taxing too. For 3-1/2 sets Federer played very well. (Sure he should have won first set) And I am not sure if you can say Federer's level of play drops to Nadal's. Be that as it may, I am sure many of the top women felt similarly during Chris Evert's glorious clay court streak.

Jana Novotna certainly had some mental meltdowns. The 1993 Wimbledon final was a big one. I recall the TV commentary, Bud Collins saying "too close to the title?" Basically she stopped playing her free flowing, beautiful grass court game, and started thinking about the result. And who hasn't done that? It was surprising, but human too. While it can be painful to watch, when a top player chokes, as Jana did, at least it shows they care. It also means they don't know how to get out of their frightful situation. But you know they care.

What irks me is when top players give up. Or any player gives up. Because that means they don't care. And that includes players who default mid match on a semi regular basis, because they are losing.

Novotna had chances to win more matches vs Steffi. But you can't rely on hope at the end of a tight match.

Sabatini had a number of collapses. I still never understood the 1993 French collapse against Fernandez. And amazing she lost a lead by the same advantage a few years later in Miami.

Capriati had some very choky moments. I also felt Davenport threw in the towel mentally on a number of big occasions. She sometimes was waving the white flag from the start of a match.

In some of the other rivalries, mainly the ones with BJ King, well Billie was just better than those players. And she competed better. So the wins the other players got were well deserved. I am always perplexed by Evonne's poor record vs Billie Jean. I wish they played more often on clay. And more grass court matches like their 1974 US Open final.

alfajeffster
Jun 10th, 2011, 08:52 AM
...First, I think you're a bit unfair with comments about Roger. Not only is a clay meeting physically grueling, it's mentally taxing too. For 3-1/2 sets Federer played very well. (Sure he should have won first set) And I am not sure if you can say Federer's level of play drops to Nadal's. Be that as it may, I am sure many of the top women felt similarly during Chris Evert's glorious clay court streak...

...What irks me is when top players give up. Or any player gives up. Because that means they don't care. And that includes players who default mid match on a semi regular basis, because they are losing.

I totally agree with you regarding players giving up. Novotna lost to a Graf returning from major career-threatening injury in New Haven. She hadn't played Graf in nearly 2 years, and just gave up when she realized Graf was there to play. Jana already had her "welcome back" speech smoothed out before the match was over. Jana also did this type of thing against Navratilova on many occasions (their indoor match in Chicago comes to mind). i don't think Jana had as much trouble choking as she did just giving up the fight.

With Federer vs. Nadal, Roger goes through this regularly against Rafael. The pattern is so well defined, that when Roger came out of the gates cracking serves and backhand winners down the line, even John McEnroe commented "this is what we've been waiting for years for Roger to step in on the return and take it to Nadal instead of playing into Rafa's game. I say sinking to Nadal's level because when Roger executes aggressively, there's nothing Rafael can do except wait out the storm and look for that transition into the old backhand/forehand game that is so predictable. I mean, obviously nearly everyone played Steffi Graf's backhand, but feared the forehand so much that they never hit there and didn't use the whole court. This was why Martina was successful against Steffi, however, Steffi figured it out and when she did, Martina severely cut back her exposure to Steffi. Graf actually had a very good backhand, and used it very well to dominate the middle of the court with the forehand bazooka. Roger falls off the attack and reverts to behind the baseline, trying to out-hit Nadal from there on clay of all surfaces.

irma
Jun 11th, 2011, 08:07 AM
What irks me is when top players give up. Or any player gives up. Because that means they don't care. And that includes players who default mid match on a semi regular basis, because they are losing.



Passive fear of failure isn't about not caring. somebody with passive fear of failing (aka giving up before it even started), can care even more then somebody with active fear of failure.
It's just that you are afraid that if you give all you everything you have to offer, and you still end up being on the losing side what's left for you?

I think Conchita Martinez might have had this problem on big occassions. I don't believe she didn't care to win slam semis and still it looked often like she gave up before matches even started. (french open 1996 semi as a very good example)
Maybe that's why she could play well in the wimbledon final. She wasn't supposed to win wimbledon so no pressure.

Sumarokov-Elston
Jun 14th, 2011, 04:50 PM
In watching the men's final yesterday, I was reminded how much I don't like watching Federer play Nadal. So many times in this match-up, Roger gets a lead playing aggressive, dominating tennis. Spectacular tennis like only he can play, really. Then there comes that point where you can almost visibly see the something click in Federer's head as Nadal stages a comeback simply by getting a few impossible balls back or hitting a passing shot or two. Roger's level of play drops to Nadal's level (especially on clay), and he almost never gets the upper hand for the remainder of the match.

My question is, are there any women from the past that you can think of who had this problem. It's borderline choking on a regular basis against a chief rival.

When I first saw the title of the thread, I thought: Oh no, not another Hana Mandlikova thread! :tape:

The immediate parallel which came to my mind was Chris against Martina in 1984 (and even in 1985). In 1984, she was badly lacking in confidence, especially after the clay-court debacles in the first half of the year, and whenever she got ahead (Wimbledon final - 3-0 lead, US Open first set and one-game lead), mainly by hitting out and really taking the game to Martina, she would then retreat, play it safe - and ultimately get crushed by the Navratilova juggernaut. Of course, maybe part of the problem was that Martina was so strong in 1984 that to get ahead of her in the first place meant playing phenomenal tennis, which could not be kept up for as long as an entire three-set match. But this continued even into 1985. At the French Open, Chris should really have won 6-3, 6-2; she let Martina back into the game time and time again, in fact almost let her run away with it at the end. Then at Wimbledon she also took the first set... By then, of course, the spell had been broken. While I would not call it choking - it was maybe a combination of a lack of confidence/belief and Martina's own superiority at that time - I do think that there are parallels.

alfajeffster
Jun 14th, 2011, 11:54 PM
When I first saw the title of the thread, I thought: Oh no, not another Hana Mandlikova thread! :tape:

The immediate parallel which came to my mind was Chris against Martina in 1984 (and even in 1985). In 1984, she was badly lacking in confidence, especially after the clay-court debacles in the first half of the year, and whenever she got ahead (Wimbledon final - 3-0 lead, US Open first set and one-game lead), mainly by hitting out and really taking the game to Martina, she would then retreat, play it safe - and ultimately get crushed by the Navratilova juggernaut. Of course, maybe part of the problem was that Martina was so strong in 1984 that to get ahead of her in the first place meant playing phenomenal tennis, which could not be kept up for as long as an entire three-set match. But this continued even into 1985. At the French Open, Chris should really have won 6-3, 6-2; she let Martina back into the game time and time again, in fact almost let her run away with it at the end. Then at Wimbledon she also took the first set... By then, of course, the spell had been broken. While I would not call it choking - it was maybe a combination of a lack of confidence/belief and Martina's own superiority at that time - I do think that there are parallels.

Plus there was this German girl looming on the horizon that both Chris and Martina immediately recognized as a potentially big threat to break up the Evert/Navratilova stranglehold. It's almost funny to hear or see the word "choker" in the same sentence as Steffi's name. I'm sure it happened, but not only was it rare, most people never knew it from watching her play. Hana used to drive me crazy back then- so much talent and so incredibly unpredictable, even in her own head, obviously.

DennisFitz
Jun 16th, 2011, 11:43 PM
When I first saw the title of the thread, I thought: Oh no, not another Hana Mandlikova thread! :tape:

The immediate parallel which came to my mind was Chris against Martina in 1984 (and even in 1985). In 1984, she was badly lacking in confidence, especially after the clay-court debacles in the first half of the year, and whenever she got ahead (Wimbledon final - 3-0 lead, US Open first set and one-game lead), mainly by hitting out and really taking the game to Martina, she would then retreat, play it safe - and ultimately get crushed by the Navratilova juggernaut. Of course, maybe part of the problem was that Martina was so strong in 1984 that to get ahead of her in the first place meant playing phenomenal tennis, which could not be kept up for as long as an entire three-set match. But this continued even into 1985. At the French Open, Chris should really have won 6-3, 6-2; she let Martina back into the game time and time again, in fact almost let her run away with it at the end. Then at Wimbledon she also took the first set... By then, of course, the spell had been broken. While I would not call it choking - it was maybe a combination of a lack of confidence/belief and Martina's own superiority at that time - I do think that there are parallels.

Great observation!
And it goes to show you what a tough mental sport tennis is. Chris Evert was one of the toughest customers around as far as mental fortitude. But I think on rare occasions she suffered some mental lapses. Mind you I am not calling her a head case. I think Chris created quite a few head cases by being so mentally strong. But it's true that no one is immune to pressure in tennis, no matter if you're #1 or #2, or your age or experience. It happens to the best of players.

alfajeffster
Jun 17th, 2011, 08:39 AM
As an aside, and by no means referencing a player from the past, I see a classic example of a head case watching Samantha Stosur play. So many times she climbs the mountain against a quality opponent, gets on top of them, and just dissolves into a debilitating patch of unforced errors. It's almost as if she needs to be fighting from behind in order to play her best tennis. With Sammy, it's visible in her face when she self-destructs instead of stepping on the gas and closing out the match. Much the same happened frequently with Evonne Goolagong. She quite often got on top of Court, King and Evert, reaching the pinnacle and then pausing, looking around her from the peak she just climbed, and just falling off the other side with noisily chattering teeth and knocking knees.

DennisFitz
Jun 17th, 2011, 10:18 PM
As an aside, and by no means referencing a player from the past, I see a classic example of a head case watching Samantha Stosur play. So many times she climbs the mountain against a quality opponent, gets on top of them, and just dissolves into a debilitating patch of unforced errors. It's almost as if she needs to be fighting from behind in order to play her best tennis.

That's how women's tennis has been in the last 5 years. She who chokes last loses. Plain and simple. They all suffer from fear of winning. Stosur is at the top of the list.

With Sammy, it's visible in her face when she self-destructs instead of stepping on the gas and closing out the match.

I think we were all spoiled in the days of Curt, King, Evert, Navratilova, Graf, and Seles (and Serena during the every other year or so) in that they all knew how to win and close out big matches, on a very consistent basis. The women always had one or two players who you knew would not choke in the big moments. Sadly, that hasn't been the case recently.


Much the same happened frequently with Evonne Goolagong. She quite often got on top of Court, King and Evert, reaching the pinnacle and then pausing, looking around her from the peak she just climbed, and just falling off the other side with noisily chattering teeth and knocking knees.

Evonne had her walkabout days. Matches in which she seemed to compete with little intensity (and would lose handily to inferior opponents). And while she choked some matches, I don't know if I would agree she often got on top of Court, King and Evert, before choking. In fact, she had a rather poor record vs King, and most matches weren't close. She had one or two choky matches with Court, but then Margaret was the better player. Against Chris, they had some fierce battles pre-1977. Both brought out the best in each other, with contrasting styles. Chris was the steadier player, so she could truly fight and hang int here, and sneak out some come from behind wins vs Evonne. But I don't recall any matches in which Evonne completely collapsed against Chris after a big lead.

I think Virginia Wade was guiltier of choking away matches she should have won, than Evonne.

alfajeffster
Jun 18th, 2011, 10:37 AM
...I think Virginia Wade was guiltier of choking away matches she should have won, than Evonne.

Interestingly, when I had the chance to pick Virginia Wade's brain, she told me it was no secret she didn't like playing Evonne Goolagong. My favorite thing she mentioned was that Evonne had a slice backhand that came across the net as if it had a nest around it, in reference to her ball just sitting down on the grass. Evonne was up and outplaying King in that 1974 U.S. Championship final, and I submit she did choke that match away. Evonne was a head case against King and Court. She mentions this in "HOME" on more than one occasion, even intimating re: Court that "the princess had sniffed the throne, and the queen wasn't pleased" or something to that effect. King had an uncanny ability to figure out and exploit many players' weaknesses. To Evonne, the old gals were still in charge when Goolagong stepped out on the court with them. That in and of itself was good for a few games if not a set or match. I'll give you Evert, because I can't think of a match she choked away against Evert off the top of my head.

justineheninfan
Jun 18th, 2011, 04:43 PM
Didnt Evonne choke in the 75 U.S Open final vs Evert a bit. I seem to recall she was up and then began to fall apart in the 2nd half of the 2nd set and 3rd sets .

Wade was owned by all of Court, King, Evert, and Goolagong. She simply wasnt as good a player as the best of her era.

DennisFitz
Jun 18th, 2011, 05:41 PM
Didnt Evonne choke in the 75 U.S Open final vs Evert a bit. I seem to recall she was up and then began to fall apart in the 2nd half of the 2nd set and 3rd sets .

I don't think that could be labelled a choke. Yes, Evonne won the first set, proving she could challenge Chris on clay (she was the last one to beat her on clay, in a streak that was 2+ years old at the time). If this were a grass court match, or indoors, I think you could consider it a choke. But this was Chris, clay, America. No matter the player, you would absolutely have to seal the deal to beat Chris on clay. Evert was the favorite (Evonne was only #4 seed), and it wasn't like Evonne was way ahead. There was a very slight opening for her. But remember, neither of these women had won a US Open before, so both had to be a wee bit nervous.

From what I understand, Evonne was playing really well in the 1974 final vs BJ King. She definitely had her chances. But again, this was King at Forest Hills on grass. It was a missed opportunity for Evonne. But I am going to be kind and say it wasn't a choke. (Choke is what happened to Martina Navratilova in the 1981 final against Tracy Austin).

alfajeffster
Jun 19th, 2011, 10:35 AM
...From what I understand, Evonne was playing really well in the 1974 final vs BJ King. She definitely had her chances. But again, this was King at Forest Hills on grass. It was a missed opportunity for Evonne. But I am going to be kind and say it wasn't a choke. (Choke is what happened to Martina Navratilova in the 1981 final against Tracy Austin).

Navratilova, even when she was on top of the world, always had this worried, just-about-to choke and whine and cry look about her. Great credit must be given to Team Navratilova for holding her together and preventing many meltdowns. People also tend to forget how she transformed herself physically, which had a direct bearing on winning instead of losing. Still, when the chips were down and someone could stay with her and make her use her head instead of bullying, she wilted. I'll never forget Ted Tinling's comment after the 1989 USO final- "Martina saw vultures that no one else could see that day" in reference to Navratilova being up a set and 2 games away from taking out Steffi Graf for the title. Graf saw the choke instantly, and stepped up her attack, rolling to an easy victory in the third set simply by making Martina try to pass an attacking Steffi.

With respect to Goolagong's meltdown in the 74 final, she was up 5-2 and, if memory is correct, served for the match twice. She began spraying forehands long and into the net, and in fact lost match point to King by hitting a forehand at least 10 ft beyond the baseline. Even King remarked at the handshake "how did I win that?" She also said "Evonne played tennis as though simply being out there were the greatest joy in the world."

austinrunner
Jun 19th, 2011, 11:24 AM
With respect to Goolagong's meltdown in the 74 final, she was up 5-2 and, if memory is correct, served for the match twice. She began spraying forehands long and into the net, and in fact lost match point to King by hitting a forehand at least 10 ft beyond the baseline.
That's incorrect. Goolagong Cawley led 3-0 in the final set. King then tied the set at 3-3 and served for the match at 5-4. The Australian broke for 5-5 but then lost the last 2 games. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=tWAdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VlsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6916,1630165&dq=billie-jean-king+evonne+goolagong&hl=en

alfajeffster
Jun 19th, 2011, 09:00 PM
That's incorrect. Goolagong Cawley led 3-0 in the final set. King then tied the set at 3-3 and served for the match at 5-4. The Australian broke for 5-5 but then lost the last 2 games. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=tWAdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VlsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6916,1630165&dq=billie-jean-king+evonne+goolagong&hl=en

Thanks for the correction. I guess I was thinking about her being ahead through the whole third set, and now I remember her breaking King to even the score late in the set. She did throw in a few forehand errors at that point, though. I used to love watching this match, and am lucky enough to have the whole three sets on VHS. Evonne's backhand passing shot was devastating in the first set, which is almost never seen. I'll have to dig my copy out and watch it again- it's chock full of fantastic all-court points like the famous one that's always shown.

laschutz
Jun 20th, 2011, 04:44 PM
espn classic channel showed the 74 evonne/billie jean final last year before the u.s.open and that match was a 'thing of glory" so beautiful, exciting, fun to watch THAT KIND OF TENNIS! WHICH I WOULD TAKE OVER TODAY'S TENNIS MATCHES EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!

even my family and friends who don't know much about tennis and only watch it if it's on and i'm watching it, saw this match and others on youtube.com agree that this era and style of tennis was waaaaay better to watch that the game now....sad commentary that a huge worldwide sport is actually "getting worse" then better after being around so many years!

DennisFitz
Jun 21st, 2011, 07:22 AM
Thanks for the correction. I guess I was thinking about her being ahead through the whole third set, and now I remember her breaking King to even the score late in the set. She did throw in a few forehand errors at that point, though. I used to love watching this match, and am lucky enough to have the whole three sets on VHS. Evonne's backhand passing shot was devastating in the first set, which is almost never seen. I'll have to dig my copy out and watch it again- it's chock full of fantastic all-court points like the famous one that's always shown.

Yes, Evonne led in the 3rd set, but didn't serve for the match.

She had her moments, her walkabouts. But I don't believe she was a head case (unlike most of the current crop of WTA'ers, or some famous head cases of the past). Evonne was beautiful to watch. And then she could be awful. But the fact is she just wasn't one of the really top tier. And by that I mean the Connolly, Court, King, Evert, Navratilova, Graf. She was just a step below. On her best day, Evonne could beat anyone. And she was mesmerizing to play against. You had to focus and concentrate to beat her because she could magnificently inspired tennis.

Despite some close, tough losses in majors (Evert 1976 Wimbledon, King 1974 US Open, Court 1971 Australian), I don't think she choked those. She also beat Evert (more than once in a final), King and Court to win majors.

alfajeffster
Jun 21st, 2011, 10:20 PM
Yes, Evonne led in the 3rd set, but didn't serve for the match.

She had her moments, her walkabouts. But I don't believe she was a head case (unlike most of the current crop of WTA'ers, or some famous head cases of the past). Evonne was beautiful to watch. And then she could be awful. But the fact is she just wasn't one of the really top tier. And by that I mean the Connolly, Court, King, Evert, Navratilova, Graf. She was just a step below. On her best day, Evonne could beat anyone. And she was mesmerizing to play against. You had to focus and concentrate to beat her because she could magnificently inspired tennis.

Despite some close, tough losses in majors (Evert 1976 Wimbledon, King 1974 US Open, Court 1971 Australian), I don't think she choked those. She also beat Evert (more than once in a final), King and Court to win majors.

I always liked Billie Jean's quote about Goolagong, "Evonne played as though just being out there was the greatest joy in the world".

DennisFitz
Jun 24th, 2011, 06:23 AM
I always liked Billie Jean's quote about Goolagong, "Evonne played as though just being out there was the greatest joy in the world".

And there are very few pro players who you could say that about!!! That's why the British press dubbed her 'Sunshine Supergirl.'

I do think Evonne loved playing, and competing. But never took it super seriously. That's why she could play, and have a smile on her face. Even if she didn't win.

I still recall the 1976 Wimbledon final. After the match both Chris and Evonne are all smiles. If you only saw them post match, you wouldn't know who won or lost. (Well, actually, Chris very rarely smiled much after a loss!) Evonne played really well in that match, had opportunities, but lost. She gave it her all. I am sure she was disappointed. But she didn't sulk.

I also believe it was a bit unfair and incorrect to characterize Evonne as not caring, or for being a head case. Yes, she did go on those 'walkabouts' mid match. Mentally, she wasn't always in a match. But no one should mistake that for not caring, or not wanting to win. I believe Evonne cared deeply about winning (otherwise she wouldn't have won as often as she did.) She wasn't as driven, or as determinedly grim/focused/animated as King, Evert, Navratilova. But I think a secret weapon of Evonne's was that she could make it look so easy, shrug off bad mistakes, and keep plugging along, rarely looking like she was frustrated or disappointed with herself. I'm sure that drove opponents crazy!

alfajeffster
Jun 24th, 2011, 07:47 AM
Evonne made a "comeback" of sorts in the early 80s by playing a green clay tournament in Florida, where she made the final against Evert. I can't remember where I read it, but Chis said she was amazed at how well Goolagong played after being away for so long (it was a 3-setter), and on a few points she found herself just mesmerized watching Evonne play. Obviously, I have no qualms making this an Evonne Goolagong thread. I guess including her name in a "head case" thread is cagy at best. She was just different, and altogether confusing to other players at times. Billie Jean felt that if Evonne had just developed that killer instinct, she would've won much more than she did. The tradeoff not mentioned is that if she had, she would've turned out looking like a trucker or West German olympic swimmer instead of the refreshing sylph we all loved watching. Virginia Wade once told me (I did a small interview with her for my local newsletter), that it was no secret she didn't like playing Evonne, because she never knew what to expect. Evonne once came upon a sobbing Chris Evert in the locker room after a loss in Dallas, and wondered why or how she could be so upset over a loss. If you haven't read Evonne's "HOME" autobiography, by all means get your hands on a copy, as it's so much better than the Bud Collins account, and Evonne goes into detail about what was going through her head at many tournaments and matches.

austinrunner
Jun 24th, 2011, 10:41 AM
The event was a 4-woman exhibition called the Citizen Cup in April 1982 at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Goolagong Cawley lost in the first round/semifinals to Evert 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. She had played 3 tournaments in Australia at the end of 1981.

alfajeffster
Jun 24th, 2011, 06:46 PM
The event was a 4-woman exhibition called the Citizen Cup in April 1982 at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Goolagong Cawley lost in the first round/semifinals to Evert 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. She had played 3 tournaments in Australia at the end of 1981.

Thanks for the clarification. You know me, not one much for that kind of detail. I tend to watch and remember the tennis versus keeping numbers and stats in a spiral notebook So did she play anything from the end of 1981 until this April 1982 encounter? I have the match somewhere on VHS, but unfortunately it's tucked at the end of another Evert match as filler so it's not labelled as such. I seem to remember Evert remarking in the post-match interview about Evonne not having played in so long.

austinrunner
Jun 24th, 2011, 07:34 PM
So did she play anything from the end of 1981 until this April 1982 encounter?
Nope. You can see about 19 minutes of the 2 hour, 45 minute match match here (Goolagong Cawley had a 4-1 lead in the final set before tiring and allowing Evert to win the last 5 games): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdGYUZM_e2s

alfajeffster
Jun 24th, 2011, 09:55 PM
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to austinrunner again.

Thanks for refreshing my memory- what great tennis!

DennisFitz
Jun 25th, 2011, 07:16 AM
Evonne made a "comeback" of sorts in the early 80s by playing a green clay tournament in Florida, where she made the final against Evert. I can't remember where I read it, but Chis said she was amazed at how well Goolagong played after being away for so long (it was a 3-setter), and on a few points she found herself just mesmerized watching Evonne play. Obviously, I have no qualms making this an Evonne Goolagong thread. I guess including her name in a "head case" thread is cagy at best. She was just different, and altogether confusing to other players at times. Billie Jean felt that if Evonne had just developed that killer instinct, she would've won much more than she did. The tradeoff not mentioned is that if she had, she would've turned out looking like a trucker or West German olympic swimmer instead of the refreshing sylph we all loved watching. Virginia Wade once told me (I did a small interview with her for my local newsletter), that it was no secret she didn't like playing Evonne, because she never knew what to expect. Evonne once came upon a sobbing Chris Evert in the locker room after a loss in Dallas, and wondered why or how she could be so upset over a loss. If you haven't read Evonne's "HOME" autobiography, by all means get your hands on a copy, as it's so much better than the Bud Collins account, and Evonne goes into detail about what was going through her head at many tournaments and matches.
Great analysis, in that Evonne Goolagong was different, in so many ways. It's why I find it very difficult to classify her as a head case at all.

That 1982 Citizen Cup match was magical. And it's another reason why Evonne was incredible. The match was in April 1982, during Evonne's comeback after her second child. She had played a few events in Australia at the end of 1981. Chris was the #1 player at the time, and had only lost 2 matches on clay in 8+ years. And yet Evonne nearly beat her, despite hardly playing at all. Chris had to really raise her level to her very best to eek out that win. Probably the longest match the two ever played, at 2hrs 45 minutes.
I'd watch that match any day over today's current crop of head cases.

alfajeffster
Jun 25th, 2011, 08:50 AM
...And yet Evonne nearly beat her, despite hardly playing at all. Chris had to really raise her level to her very best to eek out that win. Probably the longest match the two ever played, at 2hrs 45 minutes.
I'd watch that match any day over today's current crop of head cases.

Tell me about it! I found myself mesmerized just watching the video again. What really strikes me is that Evonne (and Chris for that matter) hits nearly every shot in the book, and comfortably. With todays' players, they sometimes hit a slice or get lucky with a backhand overhead, but it's rare and you can tell when they hit it they were lucky. The slice backhand in particular today is hit as merely a floater to get back into the point, and almost never a driving slice designed to slide under the opponent's hitting zone and force them to hit up. Evonne hit the slice off both sides with a much smaller racquet face, and more often than not it was not only a planned shot, it was a part of her arsenal. This particular match is one of my favorites, as both players were all over the court playing point after point that would qualify as celebrated point-of-the-tournament today. It's actually better than the 1974 USO final in that Chris' baseline counter-punching and aggressive drives provided a great contrast to Evonne's net play, and Goolagong's short angles actually forced Chris to volley quite a bit (for her), and she volleyed well!

BOEING 717
Jul 6th, 2011, 05:13 AM
When I saw head cases I was thinking "nuts" on the court. That said a bit of a choke but the most crazy player ever has to be Anastasia Myskina. Very talented but if you were down to her all one had to do was hang in there until she got mad at her coach of the month or anyone in her box and she would usually be good for a world class implode job(unless your name is Dementieva, somehow she seemed to hang in there and usually beat her fellow Russian, especially if the match was a final)

At times I though she could blow up if a ball boy looked at her the wrong way. Beautiful lady and always fun to watch, I really miss her.

DennisFitz
Jul 6th, 2011, 06:50 AM
When I saw head cases I was thinking "nuts" on the court. That said a bit of a choke but the most crazy player ever has to be Anastasia Myskina. Very talented but if you were down to her all one had to do was hang in there until she got mad at her coach of the month or anyone in her box and she would usually be good for a world class implode job(unless your name is Dementieva, somehow she seemed to hang in there and usually beat her fellow Russian, especially if the match was a final)

At times I though she could blow up if a ball boy looked at her the wrong way. Beautiful lady and always fun to watch, I really miss her.

I miss Miss Myskina too!

Can't believe she's already in the BFTP!

Yeah, she was a head case. But a good one. A fun one. I would laugh when she was imploding. Not at her, but just that I found her outbursts so entertaining! I did feel bad for her coach (sometime boyfriend?) But Msykina was subject to some horrific mental and emotional collapses in her career.

Yet if you would have told me on the eve of the 2004 French final that one player would only get to and win one major final, and then other would never win one, not sure I would have guessed Myskina would end her career with a major, and Elena would not. Myskina played three consecutive brilliant, clay court matches to rout Venus, Capriati, and Dementieva, losing 14 games total. When she was on, Myskina was a joy to watch float around the court.

And kudos to her that she stuck her one and only chance to win a singles major! And the first Russian to do so!

preacherfan
Jul 7th, 2011, 04:06 AM
I would have to say Lindsay Davenport fits this category. I hate to label her a head case, because she worked so hard to be in the best physical shape possible and had a very consistent career. However, she lost too many Slams that should should've or could've won. She could outplay the Williams sisters outside the Slams but lost heartbreakers against them in Slams. She had some bad breaks with injury (2004 vs. Kuznetsova in the US0, vs. Venus at Wimbledon). But she seemed to find a way to come up short in the big matches. After she won the '00 Aussie, she should've won at least a couple of other Slams.