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View Full Version : McNeil vs Navratilova 94 Wimbledon final


mistymore
May 7th, 2012, 06:44 PM
At Wimbledon 94 Steffi Graf was considered the runaway lock, and would have trounced Martinez or 37 year old Navratilova in the semis or final. However Lori McNeil, a talented, erratic, and unerachieving serve and volley player played the match of her life to oust Graf in an all time first round upset. The tournament became wide open by the quarterfinals. McNeil ended losing a heartbreaker to #3 seed and clay court specialist Conchita Martinez 10-8 in the 3rd. Then Navratilova the sentimental favorite to win her unlikely 10th Wimbledon went down to Martinez in a good final, but less competitive than the semifinal. Who would have won the final between McNeil and Navratilova had it occured.

mistymore
May 7th, 2012, 07:02 PM
I would go with Navratilova. Martinez was always a tough opponent for her. McNeil pretty much never was. I dont see what she would have had to hurt Martina, even an old one with to be honest, even with how well she was playing at that Wimbledon.

Calvin M.
May 7th, 2012, 07:48 PM
Navratilova in straight sets with one of them being highly competitive. I was really disappointed for McNeil (that she didn't make the final) because she had her chances against Martinez and it would've been fantastic for her Cinderella run. On a side note, I really liked the fact that after the final, NBC had Evert (live from Boca) comment on the match. Evert was quick to point out Navratilova's mistake of continuously approaching to Martinez's backhand. I agreed; it was so frustrating to watch as was seeing Navratilova succumb to nerves.

mistymore
May 7th, 2012, 08:31 PM
Conchita Martinez is considered to have a far better forehand than backhand, which is where the obvious logic of approaching the backhand came from. Martinez's crosscourt backhand pass ended up a great success that day, but I dont know how approaching Martinez's stronger side would have helped Martina, she probably would have just lost worse then. Martinez was just a bad opponent for an old Martina, their head to head is 4-1 Martinez. Other than Graf or Seles it was the worst possible opponent for Martina to have played in the final, despite that Martinez isnt an imposing grass courter.

McNeil on the other hand is her pigeon and probably would have just been happy to be in the final anyway, and would have almost semi donated it to Martina.

alfajeffster
May 7th, 2012, 09:24 PM
I'm not really sure what the poll is asking me to vote for- who is greater, or who would've won had Lori made the final?

I was really cheering for Lori against Conchita, because McNeil was such a beautiful and natural grass court player- as good as anyone when she was on. She played Steffi close nearly ever time they played if memory serves. Her attacking game worked like magic in picking apart Steffi's game, but Lori obviously was a player who bothered Steffi. I loved watching their matches, because you never knew what you would get from McNeil, and some of their matches were outstanding (Philadelphia final). I didn't get to see the McNeil/Martinez match- wasn't televised.

mistymore
May 7th, 2012, 10:38 PM
I'm not really sure what the poll is asking me to vote for- who is greater, or who would've won had Lori made the final?


Obviously the latter (who would have won that particular final). Nobody would ever ask the former (who is greater).

AdeyC
May 8th, 2012, 10:29 AM
I think the first set would have been close, Martina would have won it and then would have run away with the second set - 7-5 6-2

Rollo
May 9th, 2012, 04:47 PM
I'd go with Martina too. We write off Lori too quickly though IMO. Yes, it could have been a sort of 1990 final where Martina easily took out a nervy Garrison. By 1994 Navratilova was really up there in years for a tennis player though. And who would have (or did) bet on Lori to beat Steffi?

People were all predicting a win over Martinez too-and we saw how that turned out. would I still go with Navratilova?-of course. I just see it as the same slam dunk it's coming across as-we've all seen a lot of slam surprises.

mistymore
May 9th, 2012, 05:38 PM
People were not all predicting a win over Martinez. Martinez was 3-1 vs Martina coming into that match, and had won their last 3 dating all the way back to 1991 when Martina was way better than 1994. Martina had not won a tournament all year either. Bud Collins and Fred Stolle for instance both picked Martinez to win.

Rollo
May 10th, 2012, 01:57 PM
Bud Collins and Fred Stolle for instance both picked Martinez to win.

I always liked "Fiery Fred" Stolle. He was an astute commentator without ever going overboard.

justineheninfan
May 12th, 2012, 10:26 PM
McNeil would have 90% likely won. Who cares about her head to head with Navratilova, look at what her head to head with Steffi was before that Wimbledon and what happened. Furthermore Navratilova in 1994 was not near the player she had been when she last won Wimbledon in 1990. McNeil was playing better grass court tennis than Martinez at that Wimbledon, her choke which cost her their semifinal aside, and Martinez despite going 3 sets clearly outplayed Navratilova in the final. Navratilova also played her worst match of the tournament in the final, serving atrociously at times.

Another false myth, Martinez was not a tough matchup for Navratilova. The reason their head to head is 4-1 for Martinez is 4 of their 5 matches were on clay between 1990-1993 and a prime Martinez is a better clay courter than a past prime Navratilova, so those results were not a surprise. Unless your name is Graf, Seles, Sanchez Vicario, and at time Sabatini and on fire Pierce, if you are playing Martinez on clay in the 90s, you will likely lose. Even Hingis has a losing record vs Martinez on clay. Clay is of course by far her best surface, and the only surface she is considered a great player, despite her slam title coming on grass (a minor fluke to be honest). Had they played on any of grass, carpet, or even hard courts from 1991-1993 instead, Navratilova would have likely won the majority of the meetings. Other top players like Sanchez Vicario, Novotna, Sabatini, had the misfortune to keep playing Navratilova on her best surfaces, which were mostly all she played in the 90s to preserve her body, hence whey they all did so much worse. Considering how rarely Navratilova by then was playing on clay, it was major luck for Martinez to somehow keep playing her only there in fact, and also a sign of how ineffective Martinez was on non clay surfaces most times, especialy anytime outside her peak years of 1994-1996.

gabybackhand
May 13th, 2012, 03:21 AM
SPOT ON! I totally agree, Martínez is nowhere a better player than Martina, she was just lucky to play on her best surface and Martina's worst in the last years of the Czech on Tour. On her prime, Martínez was a force on clay, even if she never beat the top player on this surface as Sánchez-Vicario or Sabatini did.

highflyer
May 13th, 2012, 01:22 PM
Unfortunately, Martina was out of her match concept because of a faked injury by Martinez during the 3rd set.