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wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:52 AM
Hi,

I am just fascinated at the period from about 1988-1994 period, it sounds like a very interesting period with Mrtina Navratilova, Chris (I think she retire in 1989) and then there is of course the rise of Steffi and Monica, and also a great supporting cast of Zina Garrison and of course Sabatini (can someone tell me about her game). I think this period is very competitive as well, and as people start threads on 70s and 80s, I just wonder where anyone can share some fascinating story on the late 80s to early 90s please thanks

quentin

Philbo
Jan 30th, 2002, 06:43 AM
It was an interesting period, not really the greatest IMO...

You had Graf, who was winning everythign fairly easily, but when you look at the competition she had, you sort of understand why...


Navratilova was ageing, and past her best..Sill capable of playing amazingly well on her day - But 'her day' came a lot less often than in her prime, as it does to all ageing champions...Inconsistency becomes the problem...

Martina has talked about how she was actually 'burnt out' from about 87-90 - she would work out her schedule and try to play the least amount of tournaments possible etc...Her enthusiasm was suffering...And she was obsessed by getting her 9th WImbledon.

Sanchez hit the scene in 89 by beating Graf in the French final in a huge upset (and stopped Steffi fromwinning 2 slams in a row)...But she was still improving and in late 80's wasnt really a 'rival' as such.

Chris Evert retired in 89, and never was really capable of challenign Graf once Graf got to # 1...

Sabatini was the same as always - obviously very talented but unable to harness the talent into success... She won the US Open in 1990 by attacking Graf and being aggressive, and we all got excited after the USO and thought Sabatini would go on to more and more slams etc, but she went back into her defensive style of play, and never really threatened to win another slam (except for Wimby 91...ooooh so close..)...

So basically, I actually feel that this was one of the 'weakest' periods of the WTA ever...

It wasnt until Seles came along in 1990 and especially 91 that Graf was knocked off the top and we all know where that ended up....

Sabatini had a beautiful game to watch - when you watch Mauresmo you see glimpses of Sabatini IMO, especially her backhand...

Gabby had a wonderful touch game at the net - her drop volleys were superb...

Her serve was terrible, and basically her weakpoint...I saw matches where she wouldnt even be serving 2nd serves above 100km/ph!!!!!!

Basically, this period for me was all about willing Martina to get that 9th Wimbledon title...every year it revolved around that...

She had been stopped by Graf in the finals in 88 and 89, and the title was looking further and further away...But I rejoiced when Zina Garrison knocked off Seles and Graf back to back to get to the final in 1990....I rejoiced even more when Martina beat her to finally win the coveted 9th title....

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:04 AM
Thanks Czechfan I was hoping guru like you will give me a insight. There are of course a lot of questions I want to ask people like you who witness the early 90s tennis.

1. Jana as remember reach the 1991 Aussie Open final and play Monica in the final. I just want to know whether at that time of her career, what was her style, was she serve and volley like the late 90s or she is a baseliner, I got a feeling that she was a baseliner changing to serve and volleyer midway through her career.

2. why players so dislike Monica at that time, I understand the fact that people dun like her because of what she said about idolising Madonna which been blown out of proportion and the grunting issue and the throwing roses issue on her debut grand slam in French Open. Was the young Monica very arrogant. and how can you compare the way she play now and then? I mean of course it is hard to see coz at that time players do not hit as hard as her at all.

3. Wow, Sabatini sounds like a very talented player, but I am sure that her serve would have been got whipped by players nowadays, was her serve being exploit at all in her matches, or all players hit serve like that at that time?

4. One more questions before I finish for now. I am just wondering whether Chris Evert ever beat Steffi in the 1987,88, 89? I mean I watch clips of her playing Martina in 1978 in the infamous Wimbledon final, it seems like that there is no way she would have cope with people like Steffi and MOnica and people like that. I know she is no longer a dominant player then, but she is still around at the top, did she change her game at all to adjust to players in the late 80s? I just love to see some memory on Chris losing to Zina in teh US Open quarterfinal to finish her career, was it very emotional, I have never remember any player recently announce her plans to retire on a specific tournament before they play let alone in a grand slam where she is adored.

Celeste
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:04 AM
Steffi was getting f.ucked by her boyfriend, so she didn't care about tennis. Thus, a lot of other lesser players won a lot titles.

Of course, I am only joking. ;) I think it was an interesting time with a lot of good players and there were some great matches. I was a transition period, for sure, which made for many great tournaments.

Julian
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:41 AM
The early 90's were probably won of the best eras in history! You had of course:

Steffi Graf- great rivalry with Monica, Gaby, Martina, and Arantxa

Monica Seles- 90-early 93 were HER years!

Gabriela Sabatini- such a threat to Steffi that I still cry about that 91 Wimbledon final

Martina Navratilova- even at her age was still in the top 10!

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario- was a threat in almost every tournament but between 90-93 was not as successfull as in the Grand slams (very consistent in the non-slam tournaments)

Mary Joe Fernandez- got to a few finals herself and was consistently in the top 10

Jana Novotna

Conchita Martinez

A young Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati, Anke Huber, and Lindsay Davenport were projected promising players and at first Jen was the one to be looked at the most but out of the 4 of them was the last to win a grand slam! (excluding Anke)

You also had Zina Garrison, the Maleeva sisters, and Kimiko Date

anton
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:48 AM
Monica and Steffi ruled. that is why that guy stabbed monica=to get steffi back on top.

Jakeev
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:15 AM
I actually think this time period you are talking about was very competitive and very similiar to what we have today.

Of course there were many more finesse players at that time to make things intriguing, but still a very competitive period of tennis.

roscoe111
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:27 AM
the early 90's was not particularly interesting. Graf and Seles were so much better than the rest of the women that unless both were entered in a tournament the outcome was too predictable. To illustrate the gap between them and the rest of the players:- Of the 16 slams contested from '90-'93 Monica won 9 , Steffi 6 ,Sabatini 1 and Martina Navratilova 1, *(Monica only competed in 12 of these). The rivalry between the top pair did produce some riveting tennis though. Their Aussie Open final of '93 is one of my favourite matches, with Monica winning 6-2 in the 3rd set of a very high quality contest. Tragically the rivalry was prematurely concluded shortly thereafter by a deranged "fanatic" of Graf's. That heinous stabbing incident is unforuneately the enduring memory of the early 1990's. p.s. almost forgot,, Monica also won the "5th" slam, the Viginia Slims Championships, from '90 to'92 with Steffi winning (after the stabbing) in '93

BCP
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:37 AM
There was a period there approaching the mid 90s when Martina referred to the tour as steffi and the seven dwarves.

This was probably also the time when the tour became really corporatised, and the palyers became major starts and felt that they did not need to put anything back into the game.

There is a book called Ladies of the Court which chronicles the 1991 seasons (just as Venus Envy) did for the 2000 season. There is divided opinion as to hopw good the book is, but I certainly was glad that I read it:)

Philbo
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:42 AM
Its interesting how some people found this period to be really competitive...I didnt.

Of course it was when Monica came on the scene, but during the late 80's, I would say it was an average, transition period...


No problem wongks - I'll try and give my answers to your questions, but Im sure people like Rollo and Zummi can elaborate on what I recall...I basically started wathing tennis around 86/87...


1) Jana was always a serve-volleyer, at least I remember her volleying a lot the year she got to the final of the Oz Open. She beat Graf in the QF's (from memory I think) in a thrilling match by being very aggressive. But I never ever remember Jana as a baseliner, I always thought of her as a serve volleyer.

2) The young Monica was never 'arrogant' imo. I think the dislike of her was mainly because she was so dominant and unorthodox. She did sound really strange with the LOUD grunting (which was quite original back then) and most people's initial reaction was "why does she make that noise when she hits it"??

I remember there being a HUGE uproar about the fact that she skipped WImbledon, citing some injury, but played Exhibitions very soon after...It was quite obvious that she wasnt realy injured, she just didnt feel comfortable playing on the grass at that stage, and some people got angry that she would just 'skip' the # 1 tournament..

But there were never any personality issues I had with Monica. She was very much into make up and getting her hair coloured. She once got a big makoever done by Max Factor, or some cosmetics company paid her a lot of money to cut off her blond pig tail and it was replaced with a SHORT hair do, coloured black!!!!

I think the resentment toward Monica stemmed from the fact that people didnt understand her, nothing more..same could be said about some of todays players....

Her style of play, well imo, Monica was more fearless back then, actually she is still fearless now when down breakpoints etc, but she was jsut more accurate back then...Players couldnt move Monica around as well as they do these days, and she was younger and fitter so mobility or fitness wasnt a problem...You dont beat Graf 10-8 in the 3rd set of the French if you are unfit!!!!

But Monica just seemed to have this amazing, and I mean amazing ability to hit on the lines on HUGE points back then, and more often than not when she is down...

These days, I feel like Monica plays the ball half a metre inside the line, rather than right on it, and it hurts her..Plus the other players hit it harder now....

3) No, players back then did not serve at 80kmph, Gabby's serve was her BIGGEST weakness that players exploited constantly. During her last year or so on tour, her serve was a joke...Her serve is what stopped Gabby winning many more slams..

4) You've touched on the main reason why people never mention Chris Evert as a candidate in "best ever' discussions..

Once Chris beaten by Graf once, she never beat her again. Evert last beat Graf in Boca Raton in 86, from that point, Steffi won the last 8 times they played in 87, 88 and 89....

With Martina, even though Graf took the # 1 spot, Martina was still able to compete with, and defeat Graf, right up to her 37th birthday...

But Chris couldnt compete with Graf. The matchup was not a good one for Chris.. Martina could come to net and attack Graf's backhand - she had a good game to matchup against Steffi, but Chris didnt.

Chris was a baseliner, so was Steffi, Chris was steady off both sides, but exposive off neither...Steffi was explosive off her forehand and steady off her backhand, and Steffi was faster and more athletic on court than Chris...

So Chris never really challenged Graf once graf got her first victory, she only ever got one more set off her in 8 matches!!!

Chris Evert would matchup againsnt Hingis better than she would against graf or any power players of today - I think Evert vs Hings would be a classic battle of accurate groundstrokes painting every corner...

disposablehero
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:55 AM
Czechfan describes Monica excellently. Another example of just what a clutch player she was, compare her results in regular tournaments to her results in Slams/VS Championships. In regular tournaments, she would make every Final and only win about half of them. In Slams or VS, she was near automatic. 67-1 from the 90 VS on, 10 titles and 1 Finals loss.

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 03:24 PM
91 wasn`t that competed either. Monica was far above the rest, steffi number 2 was out of sorts(records show it. pre 91, in 13 of last 14 grand slam finals. 91 1 of 4 grand slams finals, 92-94 she reached the final everytime but one, that wasn`t tainted by Monica absense in 93 since Steffi was number 2 so she would have reached the final anyway losing that or not), well further Sabatini wasn`t very well in big matches, Nav was too old, and the rest couldn`t keep up anyway even not with Steffi out of sorts, in 92, 93 Steffi improved a little, except when she needed to go on holiday with her new boyfriend(but that`s a different story;)) , but anyway, the rivarly between her and Monica just started to grow and I think anybody who was a Steffi fan(I mean a real fan) couldn`t wait for a french open 92 revenge in 93, sadly it didn`t happen, you know why:sad:

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 03:28 PM
Everybody knows I was everything but a Monica fan, but all credit for her abillity to peak when she needed it, that made the big difference between her and the rest.

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:11 PM
Thankyou, espcially Czechfan for the insight, I kinda of know that this period is dominating by Steffi and Monica, but I thought it is pretty much like a transition period , jus like what we witness in 1998-1999.

I am just a bit fascinated with Chris, I mean I gather that she did not really beat Steffi after her loss once coz I just don't think her style would have let her beat Steffi. But I am surprised that Monica lost to her twice, I knew the first one is like Monica second tournament. But the US Open farewell in the last 16 was definitely for the taking for Monica and she lose handily, I guess Monica is just nervous out there to play and try to beat a champion in her last tournament. Also, when did Chris start playing pro tennis? I got a feeling that she plays in the early 70s as well. And how old was she wwhen she retire?

As far as competitiveness is concern, yeah i think it is very predictable, but I just thought there are so many great personalities out there. I don't know whether it is because I follow more tennis now, but do you consider this period to be the most unpredictable, most competitive period? or you think the early 80s is more exciting than that? Anyone care to discuss?

Sam L
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:28 PM
Czechfan described prefectly Monica of 90-93.

I just wanted to add that Monica was so refreshing when she came bursted onto the scene in 89. A lot of people didn't like her. Another reason why she was so good was that first she was able to match it Steffi and gradually she took over Steffi as the best player in the world. And Steffi was still only in her early 20's! :eek:

Of course Steffi tried to catch up to her again but whether she really would've or not we shall never know :( 1993 would've been a most telling year if it had happened. Because it would've really shown whether Steffi could still mix it Monica or whether Monica was going to continue be the most dominant player for years to come.

I think that period from 90-93 is the most competitive period in women's tennis. Ok so maybe I'm a bit biased but I really think it also produced the highest quality tennis.

"Also, when did Chris start playing pro tennis? I got a feeling that she plays in the early 70s as well. And how old was she wwhen she retire?"

I know Chris beat Margaret Court, the then #1, as a 15 year old in 1970. But I don't know much about her early career. I think Chris was 35/36? when she retired.

MLF
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:39 PM
Monica wasn't liked by the other players because she wasn't friendly to them and kept her distance. I have been a huge Monica fan since '87 so that's not meant to be a slight on her. As GiGi Fernandez said when asked about Monica's unpopularity " We're out here to win. It's not a popularity contest." I think the friendlier Monica has been part of her problem since her return to the game.
As for Monica's loss to Chris in Chris's final US Open well Monica was only 15 at the time and was tired after a long season. The fact she had struggled to beat Ann Henricksson, Shaun Stafford and Ann Smith before meeting Chris indicated she wouldn't win.
As for this period in time well the strength in depth wasn't there but I do feel it was a very competitve period at the top. I was enthralled by many of the match ups and there was real needle between the leading players when they met. Seles and Graf in the early '90s were ahead of the pack but you knew they would have thei hands totally full with Navratilova whenever they would meet her. Also Sabatini and Sanchez had the capabilites of providing the upsets and you also had Novotna, Mary Joe and Zina who were all dangerous on their day. Throw into the mix the bright prospects Capriati, Pierce, Huber, Maggie Maleeva, Majoli and Frazier and you had an interesting time I feel.

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:45 PM
I know I ask too many questions already haha, but just curious about the matchup between Monica and Jenny in 1991 US Open semis, people still talk about it now, is it really high quality? or just pure drama or both, anyone see it? I want to buy this video but only after someone give me a little bit more about this match.

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:48 PM
It was the most funny time to watch tennis for me(1990-1993), that`s for sure. I went realy crazy when Steffi had to play and it didn`t go well:cool:,but I was 13, 14 years old, there are people at that age who do much worse things then crying over a tennismatch:cool:

MLF
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:53 PM
Both semis of the 1991 US Open were amazing. I have both on tape. First up there was an ageing but fired up Navratilova taking on a Graf who was playing very well. Martina was serving beautifully with some lovely volleys. Her 2nd serve that day was awesome too and she stormed into a 7-6 5-3 lead only to lose her nerve somewhat and lose the second set on a tiebreak. Martina then raced into a final set lead again only to be caught before hanging on for a 7-6 6-7 6-4 win. I was off my seat, the crowd was going mad and Martina was ecstatic because so many people doubted she could have a win like that again.
As for Seles-Capriati well no one had seen such hard hitting at the time. The crowd was gasping. Jenny led all the way in the final set, serving for it twice only for Monica to do what she did regularly in those situations at the time i.e stand even further in and hit harder and closer to the lines and not miss. The tiebreak swung when Jenny put in a very weak second serve midway and from then on Monica took charge. It was a very draining day for Martina and Monica fans such as myself!

thefreedesigner
Jan 30th, 2002, 06:01 PM
We should definitely archive some of these threads that are doing the rounds about the 70's 80's and 90' (even further back).

It's great because - speaking for myself - at the time, you don't get a true appreciation of the quality of the field, or the intensity of the rivalries. Time brings that.

I was a casual follower of tennis in the early 90's and all I remember is Monica winning <i> everything </i> practically, and Graf looking like a poor relation in comparison (except for Wimbledon).

I hope there are some television producers and executives out there looking to comission a series. That would be really educational and would I''m sure challenge our perceptions of today's female tennis stars too.

Keep the observations coming guys (irma, czechfan, mirjanalfan...) :)

GoDominiqu
Jan 30th, 2002, 06:02 PM
I also remember that Monica was always extremely tough in crucial situations.
For example, in her first Grand Slam win, FO 1990, she was close to losing more than once. She had tough matches against Kelesi, Meshki and Manuela Maleeva (who somehow split her eye-brow with her racket and still continued playing). In the final, Steffi led 6-2 in the first set tie-break but Monica fought back.
And at AO 1991, I think she saved match-points in the semi against Mary Joe.

But I also remember a sensational upset by unknown Italian Linda Ferrando at US Open 1990 where she beat Monica 7-6 in the third. It was partly Monica's fault because she didn't know that Ferrando played serve-and-volley. :)

GoDominiqu
Jan 30th, 2002, 06:06 PM
BTW, does anyone remember the 1990 Manhattan Beach final between Monica and Martina ?
That was really great. I think Monica led 5-1 in the 3rd set but Martina came back. The third set tie-break ended 8-6 in favour of Monica. :)

I think both players matched really well.

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 06:11 PM
Wow,
imagine being in the stands on that day in 1991 semis, I don't think anyone in the stand could forget about those experience, after hearing what you guys said maybe I should try to save money and get both videos.

It looks like a very good period to me but maybe again the lack of depth means that the tour will only depend on those players. Thanks for all the insight.

I agree that we should really treasure the history of women tennis, I wish some sport channel can pull themselves together and get a three part documentary or something on those periods and all those stories behind it should be very exciting.

I just start seriously following tennis since 1998 so I really did not appreciate the level of competitiveness in those big matches, we hardly get really good match nowadays in the marquee matches, hopefully this trend will change.

I know it is really silly to compare different periods, but will Venus or Lindsay able to dominate maybe a Martina or Chris or Steffi at their best? I hope this is not going to turn into a sour arguement, just maybe some nice analysis.

MLF
Jan 30th, 2002, 06:17 PM
It's so hard to compare eras but my gut instinct is that an inform Venus could have competed well with Martina and Steffi. I'm not sure Lindsay ( who is a wonderful player ) would have had the athletic ability to get out to Navratilova's swinging leftie serve and then baclk over to cover the volleys and I think Steffi could have run her around too much but you never can tell.

Loyal Selesian
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:39 PM
great thread!!!!!!!!!

more people more pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee
I love reading people opinion about Monica in the early 90's

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:46 PM
the us open 91 was called the tournament of the oldies because of Nav and Jimmy Connors and they(the crowd) didn`t like it all that at 17 year old(Monica) disturbed that.<P>It`s weird when they have stories about tennis it`s often about wimbledon, I remember seeing a movie about the french 81 once but further then that it`s always wimbledon and more wimbledon, even a story about German tennis back from 89 was mostly about wimbledon.

Rollo
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:47 PM
Nice thread Wongqks:)

my thoughts--

Jana was a serve and volleyer from day one, or close to it. I saw her play at the Fed Cup in Tokyo in 1989-and in 1988 her style was the same from what I've read. She was different looking then,chubby with spiked hair. She reminded me then of a cute porcupine. The Monica-Novotna Aussie final of 1991 was a nice match of contrasting styles.

I actually think it was a great era, especially 1990-92. Monica was dominant in 1991-2, but people forget she overcame a match point Down Under vs. Mary Joe Fernandez in 1991 and the 1992 French final was one that could have gone either way. And the Capriati semi has been mentioned. Head to head Monica wasn't dominating Graf, she was winning the majors, which is what counts.

Even 1993-disaster that it was with the Seles stabbing, had exciting 3 set finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

As for Martina's "Steffi and the 7 dwarfs comment", true enough in the mid 90's, but how about the Martina and Chrissie pony show of the mid-80's? Hardly competitive either if you're just counting slams won. Those who want to cut down Graf for having no other competition other than Seles should think twice, because IF Steffi had no competition, what does that say about MONICA's competition other than Steffi? Graf missed the Aussie Open in 1992 and 1996-do you think Seles had any competiiton there?

I feel as if Chris Evert needs defending.
In December of 1987 she was 33 years old:sad:
Martina was two years younger, and after her knee injury in 1986 Evert wasn't the same. Comparing the two at such distant ages is unfair IMO.
Martina did have a style that matched up better with Steffi, that I'll agree on. Don't forget inher last US Open that Evert demolished Monica Seles. Monica was no where near the top of her game in 1989, but neither was Chris, and Seles took Gfar to 3 sets in the French semis.

The fact that Seles and Capriati played so close over 11 years ago, are still competitive today, and that Martina beat them both, should put to rest ideas that one generation can't compete with another. Davenport could beat Graf and Navratilova-and vice versa, though conditions(surface and racquets used) may favor one over another. Most champions could compete in any era IMO-it's more a mental attitude than the physical.

Last idea. Yes, Monica was unpopular in 1991, but no more unpopular than Graf, Navratilova, Evert, or any other #1. The public loves a sentimental underdog and cheers against the #1. Mark my word, Hingis will have crowds on her side more and more.

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:05 PM
Thanks rollo,

I love reading these threads as well, I am just currently trying to search some news aricle on the web about those periods hopeflly I can get something in the sports illustrated.

I think Chris deserve a lot of credit as well, if she was in her 30s, and still among the top, then she is definitely right up there in tennis history, I mean can you imagine people like Venus or Lindsay in their 30s still playing? personally I highly doubt it will happen.

I guess I shouldn't have broght up teh different generation matchups coz it will just ruin this thread. So just pre early 90s late 80s talk now.

I am very amused at Martina run in her 30s, I mean how could she do that? I mean her serve and speed gotta be deflated a bit by the time she is way over her 30s.

Also, I want to hear more story on Monica as well, she and Graf have definitely embarked on a rivalry comparable to Martina and Chris if not better.

I want to know more about Sabatini as well, I mean does she choke on important matches like jana? She sounds pretty much like Amelie, very stylish and elegant strokes but never raise to the occasion.

I just miss those serve and volleyers on the tour, and I am now counting on Anna Kournikova to develope to one and give the tour a little bit more variety.

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:08 PM
Didn`t Nav said that she was still succesfull at her age because nobody of the youngsters could handle her style? but I think when she said that she lost to JC the next day so that wasn`t a smart comment;)

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:18 PM
Sabatini was very unlucky, she always had this problem that she had to face Steffi who was mentally stronger as her(you have to see how close their first matches where a lot of them looked like they could have gone either way) and then when finally Steffi became mentalily less stronger in 90, there was already a new player who maybe even overclassed Steffi in mental department in the name of Monica so she still didn`t came further and then came wimbledon 91 where Sabatini choked the match away and Steffi had mentally a little recovered again(I think because of beating Monica twice and then the close match in Berlin against ASV) so Steffi won and Gaby never recovered, I think french open 92 and 93 did the rest.(two other matches she lost after a lead)

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:34 PM
Yeah, so I gather that Sabatini is a bit like being caught in between, but I think at least she won a Grand slam but maybe never really get into hall of fame.

I suppose Kimiko Date have not started playing pro tennis then if I am correct, she is the only asian representative who get close to top oh well, hopefully we will see some more.

Rollo
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:43 PM
Sabatini was just pure joy to watch. I'm not sure why she didn't win more slams. She was sort of seasonal, always a terror from March to May, when she beat just about anyone. Because of that Gaby always seemed a threat at the French. Like Hingis, it was the one slam she appeared certain to win, but she never got past the semis.

IMO her family overplayed Gaby and didn't let her grow as a person or as a player. As a result, she often looked out of it by the early 90's. She was pitifully young when she left, all of twenty four or five.

I think Irma is right about Martina's style being unique by that time. It helped Novotna too, and Rita Grande showed it can still work up to a point.Martina was the ultimate athlete too. I doubt if anyone worked harder off court and combined it with natural talent.

cnnsi.com sometimes carries old Sports Illustrated bits Wongqks. If you want a particular major from SI and can't find it let me know-I'll e-mail or copy or paste it here in this thread. Do be aware that SI was often negative about the ladies, especially the acid tounged Curry Kirkpatrick.

louloubelle
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:45 PM
Irma - that match between Martina and Capriati might be the one at Wimbledon when Jennifer was a bit peeved that Martina had been quoted as saying that she hadn't gotten any better because she keeps on playing exhibitions. Jennifer apparently used this as motivation for her win.

Jana - in her early days (spiked hair) was alot more adventureous. I saw plenty of matches of her in Aust when she was rising up, and she wailed on the forehand and came into the net some. However as she began working with Hana she toned down her game a bit to add consistency, mixing up baseline play and serve/volley. However trying to make her forehand more consistent I feel she lost a weapon in that forehand. Which eventually became her dodgy shot.

The early 90's was a great era, before the Seles stabbing. I can remember Seles playing Sabatini in a final at the Liptons and boldly saying that the women's final will attract more attention than the mens, which involved current mens no. 1 Jim Courier. At this time there were many contenders... Graf, Seles, Sabatini, Capriati, ASV, Novotna - unfortunately as the decade wore on many disappeared and only the likes of Peirce and Martinez were able to make an impact.

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:57 PM
Nice to esee jana do have a place even in teh early 90s, I am really surprised coz people always said that Jana is a late boomer and stuff. I also heard that Jana was very cheerful in the early 90s, and then after her infamous match in Wimbleodn, she start getting really serious and not let herself smile again until the last 2 years on the tour.

It seems like there were so many great matches at that time in the final and semis. it must be really exciting.

Irma, thanks for the offer, I think SI is negative about tennis in general, aren't they the one who on one issue on their cover saying something like 'is tennis dying?' or something like that. But unfortuneately, they are the only site and sports publication where they have an whole archive of past news.

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:58 PM
On emore question irma,

do you have to subscribe to SI to be able to search through the archive? If I do not need, how can I do that?

irma
Jan 30th, 2002, 09:04 PM
Rollo was the one who made you the SI offer not me:)<P>But I agree that SI is often negative about tennis especially about my fav(but that was already discussed in another thread;)

wongqks
Jan 30th, 2002, 09:06 PM
oops sorry rollo and irma as well LOL, not really thinking when typing

Rollo
Jan 30th, 2002, 09:11 PM
Yes Wongqks-SI did the "Is tennis is dying?", though I'm sure of the year. If you surf the web SI has links to some old articles. I can get them because the library where I work has a database going back that far.

Early Jana with a wicked forehand!:) I TOTALLY agree about the early 90's being "golden" louloubelle. Injuries, the stabbing, and other things ended it, but that's just tennis. The early 80's was that way too-and so was 1998-9 IMO. Some years are just like vintage wine, and 1990 was one. I have the 1990 French final on tape, and the ohhs and ahhs from the crowd send chills down my spine.

wongqks
Jan 31st, 2002, 02:41 AM
Also, I forgot other people in the cast, for example Mary Joe and Natasha Zvereva, they sounds like superbly talented players never really make it in big time, and I can see the only reason is because of Steffi and Monica. I don't think in anyway Mary Joe and Natasha is inferior to Steffi and Monica technicall, can it just be a mentality problem where they cannot bring their A game or close out on their rival? Anyone witness those matches can they give me a clearer reason?

irma
Jan 31st, 2002, 03:01 AM
Mary Joe had matchpoint at the australian open 91, wich she lost very unlucky, I think she would have beaten Novotna in the final and maybe her career would have gone different, in 93 she unlucky lost the french open against Steffi and she realy seemed to be on a good track and then she got sick. injuries and illness played a big part in her career and she missed a killer instinct as many said and she herself said that too.<P>Nathasha zwereva decided after she lost a few matches(especially french 88 wich she lost 6:0 6:0 against Steffi) that she never wanted to let her life control by a tennismatch again so she choose to have fun instead of having a very succesfull singlescareer, at least I read that in an interview with her once.

Philbo
Jan 31st, 2002, 04:30 AM
irma - Just have to compliment you on being a good fan of Steffi, not FANatic...youve shown good fairnes to Monica in here for a Graf fan!!! very resfreshing!!!

I also have both USO SF's from 91 on tape, and they are both classics..

Martina really turned back the clock in a high quality match, she totally dominated Steffi with her serve until 7-6 5-3, when her nerves let her down, but she recovered and played superbly to take it 6-4 in the 3rd...

It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside to know that Martina beat Graf the last time they played in a slam...:)

Has anyone else seen the Paris Indoors final from 1993 when Martina beat Monica to become the oldest woman (37) to beat the # 1 player?? It really was Martina in devestating form, and also illustrates that the players of yesteryear can compete with the next generation - this wasnt a fuzzy haired 15 or 16 year old Monica, this was the dominant # 1 Monica, and Martina won 7-6 in the 3rd.....and this was 2 weeks after beating Graf in the 3rd set in Tokyo!!!!!

Thats one of my favourtite Martina accomplishments...

Can aynone else remember clearly what sort of lead Mary Joe had over Graf in the 93 French final..I remember thinking she was gonna win...She was up 4-2 I beleive in the 3rd, but Steffi showed her champion qualities to thwart Mary Joe's grand slam dream...

On Martina's loss to Capriati in Wimby QF's - Lets not forget that this was in the middle of Martina's court case with Judy Nelson where she was being taken for hald her earnings!!! The stress off court on Martina really took its tool, and Martina's nerves were terrible during that match...

Capriati was standing inside the baseline about 2 metres to return serve and Martina doublefaulted on matchpoint. I cried.

wongqks
Jan 31st, 2002, 04:37 AM
Czechfan, thanks for the info, I decide to get both the 1991 semis into my collection and I think it will be worth it.

I just remember there is a girl call Carrie Cunningham, I heard she is like a promising junior and never make it or something, but I do recall seeing her name in a few big tournaments any info of her?

Celeste
Jan 31st, 2002, 06:18 AM
Come on, philbo, if you're going to write off a huge loss of Martina due to off-court events (and I agree with you here, it was an obvious factor), you have to afford other players the same. Steffi did have the whole Nicole Messinger/Black model fathering Peter's baby dog her for most of 1990 and into 1991. The woman was suing for a load of money, and you know who would have to pay that money. A used car/insurance salesman doesn't pay the big bucks. I think this is now, even today, why Steffi is such a freak with the media. I think that contributed to some less than stellar play from the German frau during this time as well, also. Then you have Peter doing hard time in the German slammer for basically embezzling her money and not reporting it properly. Sure, it is ultimately her fault, but those weren't great days for her either. While an off-court-bothered Martina would not have likely lost to J. Cap (I think that is accurate), if you're going to make off-court excuses for Martina, you have to afford them to other players. A good portion of the early 1990's was not a great time for Steffi mentally, and either was 1995-1996 when Peter was in stripes making large rocks into small ones. Her fault ultimately? Yes. Martina's fault for getting involved with Nelson? Yes. I'm not trying to argue with you, because I like a lot of your points, but you cannot selectively reason away Martina's weird losses to off-court events and not let other players have the same opportunity. ;)

Philbo
Jan 31st, 2002, 06:35 AM
Celeste - I understand your point, I guess it just comes down to personal opinions on what 'hardships' are worthy of being used as a 'reason' and what ones are clutching at straws...


I personally, feel like going through a relationship breakup that you envisaged being a life-long partnership, and having to appear in court (and on court TV!! :() to explain all the ins and outs of the relationship and why it fell apart would be a little bit harder than hearing about your dad's sex life, or your dads poor money management and greed....

I dont deny that all these problems affected Steffi's perormance on court - Im dont think Ive ever denied that...

And I dont think I do make 'excuses' for Martina's losses over the years...

I could blame every loss from 1978 - to 1982ish on Martina not being able to talk to parents and being totally on her own adjusting to a new country without any guidance etc etc, or her huge workload where she definitely lost matches because she was usually in the finals of the doubles and mixed doubles at the majors...just a few examples...I could think of many more...

I dont use those as excuses, and I didnt mean to undermine Jennifers victory at Wimbledon 91 - she played better than martina that day......

It was Martina first loss in the QF's at Wimby in about 15 years, and she got to the semis or better in 92, 93 and 94...So I was just pointing out that it was quite obvious that her breakup with Nelson and court case was a factor here...

I think its (the effect) more clearcut and obvious in this example, than in Grafs case, where she had NUMEROUS losses over months and months, (actually a couple of years), that you want written off because of all her problems...I dont buy into that.

Celeste
Jan 31st, 2002, 06:41 AM
No, you make good points! I've never had to appear on Court-TV about my sex life (embarrassing!), but my dad never went to jail either and was messing around on my mother with a nude model.

You know what really irks me is, that Nelson, according to Rita Mae Brown, blew through her multi-million dollar settlement with Martina in a year or so. We're talking leopard pelts on Porsche car seats! If I won the lottery or inherited money, I wouldn't care, but every dollar of Martina's was hard earned--hard earned by her. To see it wasted like that, I think if I was a tennis player, I'd be irate.

The early '90's to me was an interesting time, though I still think Steffi was screwing some guy and didn't care!

Mr Luis Gonzalez
Jan 31st, 2002, 06:43 AM
Great inquiry with several wonderful replies....


If I weren't such a "sloth" (thanks Brian) I could add some great insight to that era in time with my Queen Sabatini.

I hope Zummi appears soon to add.
it will be very interesting reading..:)

BCP
Jan 31st, 2002, 06:53 AM
Rollo mentioned Sabatini, and I think that the two matches that Sabatini will be remembered for is her USO victory over Steffi, and unfortunately her French Open match against Mary Joe in the qtrs when she lead 6-1, 5-1, and lost! The loss set her back for quite a few months, and is probably the number 2 choke of all time after The Novotna loss to Graf in the Wimbeldon final.

I know that there are a lot of Sabatini fans out there, but I found her game to be agonising! Those 50 mph second serves made Chris's second serves look like Serena's!

Wongqks, Chris first rose to prominence in 1972 when she reached the semi of the USO as an unknown. She had just defeated Margaret Court in straight sets (something like 6-2, 6-2) during that summer. Her legacy to the game is the 2 handed backhand, and her remarkably consistent record (BTW Rollo, thanks for sticking up for Chris!;) ) She was not really that athletic, nor did she have the talent to have every shot at her disposal, such as Martina, or Hana, which makes her achievements all the more remarkable, and is a testament to her desire to win.

Her stats are truely remarkable for a baseliner:

* 18 GS singles in total, including 5 GS on grass, her weakest surface
* 125 matches won in a row on clay
* 2nd most tournaments won, and singles victories (to Martina)
* at least 1 GS for 13 consective years
* only one loss before the QF of her grandslams, and only 4 times before the SF

Czechfan, in light of these records, I also think that Martina's stats are second to none, and to beat the number 1 &2 at the age of 37 (and we are talking about 2 players who are included in everyone's top 10 of all time list) is truely astounding.

BCP
Jan 31st, 2002, 07:00 AM
I just read my post, and thought that it was a bit harsh on Sabatini... LOL! She had a nice backhand, and beat Graf 5 times in a row, until she lost that momentous Wimbeldon final to Steffi in 1991.......

BCP
Jan 31st, 2002, 07:16 AM
BTW Kimko Date was a fabulously underrated player until she cracked the top 10 and then the top 5. She had a great run at the Australian Open one year, beat Steffi in Fed Cup, and top her to a very tough 3 setter at Wimbeldon. She was actually left handed naturally, but was taught to play with her righthand out of tradition. It was often joked that she had 2 forehands, because she would sometimes swap hands if she was drawn out wide on the backhand, and hit a forehand........

Philbo
Jan 31st, 2002, 08:05 AM
BCP - Wasnt Date winning that wimbledon semi when a rain delay occurred and it took away all her momentum???


Luis - hey!!! Its been a while dude, where the hell have you been?? Im actually Philbo!!

Zummi is alive and kicking, check out the Youve come a long way baby, and Ladies of the Court thread!! He's posted in there a fair bit!!

BCP
Jan 31st, 2002, 08:57 AM
Yes indeedy Czechfan, Steffi was very lucky to get away with that match.....

irma
Jan 31st, 2002, 12:13 PM
people made sort of a fairytail out of that wimbledon 96 semi, it was only 1:1 in sets, the third set still had to start when the match was delayed till the next day so Kimiko was still far from winning. She played Steffi remember who was strong enough to be able to raise her level in the third set again. people talk like Kimiko lead 3:0 in the third and then it was to dark and the next day she lost the next 6 games, that`s not the what happened. <P>still I have to say that it was a shame that she retired so soon and that fed cup match is one I will never forget!

Gandalf
Jan 31st, 2002, 01:22 PM
What was weird about tennis in the early '90s was that Monica was far above the rest, but there wasn't such a gap between Steffi and the others. In '91, '92 she lost to Sabatini 5 times in a row (and 7 out of 8!), and also had some losses to Navratilova, S-Vicario and others. So you could have expected that after Monica's stabbing there would be much more parity in the circuit. But it was the opposite!. I think that from the final Hamburg in '93 (which she lost to ASV) to the final in Hamburg in '94 (which she lost again to ASV), Steffi only lost one match.

About Sabatini, I think that she should have won at least one French Open between 87, 88, 92 and 93. In 87 she led 5-3 in the semis against Steffi. In 8 she lost again to Steffi 6-3, 7-6, but had she won that match (and of the 3 losses of Steffi in 88 2 were to Sabatini, and 1 on clay!), she would play Zvereva in the final, which I think she would have beaten. In '92 she led Monica 4-2 in the 3rd, and had won Hilton Head, Amelia Island and Rome that year. And in the meltdown against MJF in '93 she had 5 matchpoints!.

Rollo
Jan 31st, 2002, 01:43 PM
Another dissapointment was how few times Graf and Seles actually played.

Their head to head-

1989-05-29 Roland Garros Clay SF Steffi Graf (GER) 6-3 3-6 6-3
1989-06-26 Wimbledon Grass R16 Steffi Graf (GER) 6-0 6-1
1989-10-23 Brighton Indoor Carpet F Steffi Graf (GER) 7-5 6-4
1990-05-14 Berlin Clay F Monica Seles (USA) 6-4 6-3
1990-05-28 Roland Garros Clay F Monica Seles (USA) 7-6 6-4
1991-03-25 San Antonio Hardcourt F Steffi Graf (GER) 6-4 6-3
1991-04-29 Hamburg Clay F Steffi Graf (GER) 7-5 6-7 6-3
1992-05-25 Roland Garros Clay F Monica Seles (USA) 6-2 3-6 10-8
1992-06-22 Wimbledon Grass F Steffi Graf (GER) 6-2 6-1
1993-01-18 Australian Open Hardcourt F Monica Seles (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-2
1995-08-28 U.S. Open Hardcourt F Steffi Graf (GER) 7-6(6) 0-6 6-3
1996-08-26 U.S. Open Hardcourt F Steffi Graf (GER) 7-5 6-4
1998-11-16 Chase Championships Indoor Carpet QF Steffi Graf (GER) 1-6 6-4 6-4
1999-01-18 Australian Open Hardcourt QF Monica Seles (USA) 7-5 6-1
1999-05-24 Roland Garros Clay SF Steffi Graf (GER) 6-7(2) 6-3 6-4

Only 15 matches in all. Even the Seles glory years of 1990-93 saw only 6 meetings,with it going 4-3 in Monica's favor. Not a lot for the #1 and #2's in the world, two a year on average. Graf actually matched up well with Monica, but in 1991 and 1992 Graf was more likely to lose BEFORE reaching the finals of big events. After the upset loss to Ferrando in the 1990 US Open Seles lost matches to only a select few: Sabatini, Sanchez, Capriati, Navratilova and Graf-(slam winners all). Steffi's problem wasn't so much beating Monica in those years as it was GETTING TO her. Graf was more likely in 1991-2 to be upset(especially by Sanchez).

irma
Jan 31st, 2002, 03:27 PM
Gandalf The gap between Steffi and the rest started to grow again in 92, I already said that Steffi was out of sorts in 91 especially in the big tournaments, those 14 of 15(pre 91) 1 of 4(91) 6 of 7(92-94) just say something about her form that year but still Steffi won 7 tournaments including wimbledon so it wasn`t that bad:) in the last 4 grand slams before the stabbing Monica and Steffi played each other in 3 finals<P>Monica and Steffi avoid each other in normal tournaments, I already told once about the Brighton incident in 91 where Monica literly said after being asked why she didn`t play there and instead played an exhibition "If Steffi had not played I would probarly have taken part" they made the Monica seles rule after that tournament(for skipping wta tournaments and play a exhibition instead)

wongqks
Jan 31st, 2002, 10:26 PM
I agree to a lot of what you guys and gals said, but having said that when we are looking at who is dominant in what era, we will always look at the grand slam, that's it, and it seems like Monica has Steffi no. in those days. I am pretty sure that Monica would not have won three grand slams in 1993-96 every year although I am her fan, Steffi will leap up the challenge somewhat and I mean take Chris example, she manage to savage her career in the early 80s. It seems like Monica was having a lot of tough matches from Steffi Martina etc. etc. and maybe that is because Monica is a bigger match player, who knows!!

wongqks
Jan 31st, 2002, 10:28 PM
Regarding about Steffi and Monica avoid each other, I mean they are right. I mean take an example of Steffi, she maybe play like 12 tournaments, but she expect to win 3/4 of them at least, if she play equal amount of tournaments but in the same as Monica, she will lose a lot of points if they lose in the final, sam eapply to Monica. It may not be good, but may not be bad either coz we treasure their matches more

Rollo
Jan 31st, 2002, 10:56 PM
I think without the stabbing too Monica would have
won her a Wimbledon sooner or later too. Steffi won the one match they had there easily, but it takes time to get used to the surface. Monica's odds would have improved as her serve did. Pre-1995 Monica had a weak serve, which is why Navratilova could still win matches from her with a chip and charge. The big change when she came back was she had a serve(it's possible Hingis!:)
The 1995 US Open was a serving barrage from both ladies, and I'm sure Monica fans recall a (probably) bad call she got. Seles serves what most thought was an ace at set point for her. It was called out, Graf squeeked by, and in set 3 Seles just ran out of energy.

wongqks
Jan 31st, 2002, 10:59 PM
Yep, I read this a lot of time, and I don't want to get hold of a copy coz I know I will be furios, coz it waas in set point and Monica hit it down the T but is overruled, a bit like you know 2000 Dokic-Williams match except the fact that Monica did not give upin the second set

irma
Jan 31st, 2002, 11:03 PM
I think Monica`s serve improved already in 93, remember that ace she hit in the aussie open final 93 when Steffi had breakpoint. I think she had the fastest serve of the tournament(or she came close).

Rollo
Jan 31st, 2002, 11:15 PM
You're right Irma-it was getting better and better, but when she returned there was a big difference.

And I agree with you that Steffi was catching up again in 93. With the head to head and past rivalries to go by(such as Court-King and Evert-Navratilova)we could easily have seen Graf regain the #1 spot from a healthy Monica-then Monica regain it, etc.

babsi
Jan 31st, 2002, 11:38 PM
This was the era that I was first drawn to tennis, watching the Steffi/Gaby Wimby final in 91 was the match that did, Gaby had that open court but she missed by a long way, it was bad to see but that was the match that I became a massive Steffi fan;)

I love Monica as well, so don't get me wrong when I quote this, I remember she said something like this in either 91 or 92 when she was #1 'I don't talk to any players ranked lower than me'. Really Monica did have the diva attitude but she earn't it then, she was winning everything in site, the undisputed best player in 91 and 92.

Another match that marked the new era was Steffi-Mary in the French Open semis, although a big Steffi fan and VERY disappointed at the outcome I was happy to see a new face challenging for the top places, Mary played great that day as she had done previously in the tournament and she was the player who bought fashion back into tennis by wearing that Nike dress (as with Mary Joe Fernandez), but really her no-show at Wimby that year left a lot to be desired, she had played the Eastbourne junior championships and lost to Ludmila Varmuzova and then she pulled out because of 'reasons beyond my control'. Yes, the tabloid pressure on her was huge because of her father but I think this loss made her realise that grass was not her surface at all.

But really in this era there was many high quality matches where both players played well throughout the whole match, that is defintely missing from the game today.

G-Ha
Feb 1st, 2002, 12:45 AM
Good point, Rollo, about Steffi having more problems in the early nineties just getting to Monica than actually beating her. In fact, during Monica's most successful years to date on tour ('91 and '92), Steffi led their rivalry 3-1. Monica ruled the slams those years and of course that's what counts and what people will remember, but to suggest that Monica had Steffi's number during that time is really inaccurate.

But I have to disagree about Monica's likelihood of winning a Wimbledon crown. Steffi and Monica actually played twice on grass (albeit, their first encounter coming when Monica was only 15) and in those 2 meetings, Monica managed to win a total of only 4 games in 2 matches. As long as a healthy Steffi was around, I just don't see any concrete evidence suggesting Monica would have inevitably won Wimbledon.

It really is a shame they didn't meet more often, particularly at the slams. Monica did her part, but Steffi didn't uphold her end with the uncharacteristic losses. Had they met in more slam finals, no doubt there would have been a few more classics like the '92 French.

Rollo
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:04 AM
The Pierce demolition of Graf in the 94 semis was jaw dropping. On days like that Mary is unstoppable-Steffi was NOT poorly performing, Pierce just blew her off the court in a way not even Graf or Venus Williams herself could do at their best. Too bad she does that one time out of ten rather than every day.

It was once said of Mary by an agent that on a 1 to 10 scale she was "looks and body 8, strokes 9, and brains/court sense 3".
She really had poor court sense IMO, though to her credit Mary showed real brains in winning her French.

In the early 90's Pierce wore glasses and was known more for being a punching bag of her father Jim than for her tennis. That's all behind her now, thank god. Just come back one more time Mary, we miss you

:wavey:

wongqks
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:05 AM
G-ha

I like your post, but for a bit of fun, I gonna disagree with you on Monica chance at Wimbledon. Okay the first time they met in Wimbledon in the last 16, she was so young and she probably never play on grass before.

On the final she played against Steffi, that is a special circumstances, if you saw the match, Monica did not grunt at all, that's because she has been ripped apart by players like Martina and Tauziat (although Martina did apologize to Monica straight afterwards but damn right she should, coz she complain to umpire that her grunt is comparable to a pig being killed) and the press were writing stupid story on gruntometer and stuff, how can a tennager who is not even consider an adult be handle with such pressure?

hehe, that is my defence on Monica, I mean dun you think she had a good chance in 1994 when Steffi lost to Lori McNeil in the first round in possibly the biggest upset of all time in women tennis history? Although like I said we cannot turn back the clock and it is not fair to conchita, but it is only for a bit of fun hehe

irma
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:11 AM
I am still confused about Steffi`s weird behavior at the us open 92, those loses in 91 okee especially in the french semi 91, nobody could have under such circumstances, knowing that your drunk father is causing problems outside, it was brave that she went back on court after the raindelay, I would have ran away(and I know Steffi said that she didn`t care but of course she did) but in 92 it looked like she was back on track, losing the french unlucky, playing amazing in wimbledon even at the olympics she didn`t play bad but she just got tired at the end(it`s the only time I ever heard Steffi use that excuse so she was allowed) but then at the us open, she just wasn`t there with her head, you should know when you go on court that your opponent is lefthander and in the quarters against ASV she wasn`t there either and she was in a very bad mood the whole time, I was so dissapointed after she was so happy during the two wimbledon weeks(well except when they asked if she changed her mind about her play in the french open final;) )

irma
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:16 AM
after wimbledon 94, the commentaror said Steffi is so great that even in defeat she still writes history, that made me happy again:D

wongqks
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:19 AM
Since we are at Mary, I think at her best she can brush anyone aside, and not many people can say that. she just painted lines after line and there is no stop, can anyone remeber in 2000 when she won Hilton Head, in the semi she beat Monica 0 and 1 and she commit like 3 UFs, and tons of winners, can you imagine that, I would just love to see how she brush aside Steffi in 94. but I can imagine how she manage it

Barrie_Dude
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:20 AM
Well, The early 90's came right after the late 80's and before the mid 90's

wongqks
Feb 1st, 2002, 01:26 AM
Barrie Dude,

thanks for the info, it is mind-blowing and such an eye opener LOL :) :D ;) :p

G-Ha
Feb 1st, 2002, 02:26 AM
wongqks, I saw that match and I'm well aware of the "grunt incident" and the lack of it during the final. Sure Monica probably couldn't focus 100% on the match if she's worried about grunting. However, grunt or no grunt, Steffi was on a mission and nothing, not even a grunting Monica was going to stop her that year. Now maybe the final wouldn't have been as lopsided, but I'm convinced Steffi would have won either way. Aside from playing amazing tennis in general, Steffi served superbly throughout that match, which even a grunt wouldn't have prevented.

You mention Wimbledon '94 as a possibility for Monica because Steffi was upset. But this statement suggests to me that you think Monica couldn't win it with Steffi in her path, which was my point exactly. :)

I'm with you irma...I too am baffled as to Steffi's ups and downs in '92. I also thought she was back on track that year. She pushed Monica to 8-10 in the third on Monica's best surface, then weeks later blows her away at Wimbledon, and a Silver medal at the Olympics in a 3-setter is nothing to frown upon, so I just can't figure out what went wrong towards the end of the year.

veryborednow
Feb 1st, 2002, 02:36 AM
What about J. Cap?? Did she play loads of exhibitions comparedt to tour matches? What was she like?

Rollo
Feb 1st, 2002, 02:59 AM
Very Bored-if you want a taste of what early Jen was like I suggest "Hard Courts" by John Feinstein. It covers her first year on tour(1990) and makes interesting reading . In 1990 Capriati was a breath of fresh air, only 13, and scared the crapola out of a lot of vets. Because Evert had retired in 1989 the press and public naturally(and mistakenly) pegged her as the second coming of Chris.

She had a thing for Bart Simpson(one cover of Tennis has Jen and Bart) and the constant "you knows" were still cute coming from a bubble-gum blowing kid. On her first trip to Paris she and brother Steve toured the city. At Napoleon's tomb little Stevie asked, "Who's Napoleon?" Jen replied, "Don'y you know , he's that little dead French dude". LOL:)

IMO her father pushed her too hard and she was overplayed like Sabatini. Gaby just burnt out, while Jennifer took out her angst /anger in rebellion. The 1991 semi defeat by Seles, when Jen was so near to victory, took a lot out of Capriati. She never looked the same after that except for the 92 Olympics.

Tour rules were broken so many times for Capriati it wasn't funny. She was only allowed to compete in a low number of events due to her age, but she was given an exception and allowed to play San Juan so she could qualify for the WTA finals.

essielewis
Feb 1st, 2002, 06:18 AM
Natasha Zvereva was a wonderful player with loads of talent but when she lost love-love to Stef at the French she just gave up.:( I was a fan of hers before that but not after. I just couldn't understand her attitude. After all, she was only about 19 wasn't she? It was really awful.

Mary Jo Fernandez lost that heartbreaker to Stef at the French also but she didn't give up. She still played hard every match. Unfortunately her health wasn't all it could be. She suffered from some "female" illness for quite awhile and she was very fragile because she was so skinny anyway. She was one of my favorites too.:kiss:

I'm not going to argue about the 90s but, since I've always been a Steffi fan, it was a wonderful era in my opinion. I do agree that the stabbing puts a blight on the entire era because it deprived all tennis fans of a potentially incredible rivalry. :mad: But, all in all, I think it was a great era.

Personally, I go back to the 70s so I saw the beginning of Chrissy/Martina. It was nice to see them, in their 30s, beating the new young players. Chris beat Stef the first 6 times they played. Stef finally won at Hilton Head and never looked back. But, that match was wonderful. I have it on tape and the funny part is watching Chrissy getting mad at the lines person (glaring at him) and then asking that he be removed (he was). The match went 3 sets but in the beginning Chris looked totally in control and totally confident. On the other hand, Stef never cracked a smile. It was great contrast.

The matches of Stef against Martina were also wonderful. Both Martina and Chrissy were still playing well into their 30s (Martina more so than Chrissy). By 1988, Chrissy was in love again (with Andy Mill) and she did lose her competitive edge. It came back a bit in the 1988 Aussie Open when she was down to Stef 6-1 and 5-1 and came back to force a tiebreak in the second set.

In my opinion, Jana Novotna was never much of a factor at any time because her psyche was far too fragile. She was very lucky to finally win Wimbledon but, with her game, she should have won many more than just one.:sad: She was very much a wasted talent.

Kart
Feb 1st, 2002, 06:55 AM
Sabatini rocked in 1991 :) and 1992 :).

Beating Graf five times in a row in 1991, she could have won the Wimbledon final and gone to no.1. I believe she could have gone to no.1 in 1992 at the French open semis as well.

Winning the Italian open for the third and fourth times in 1991 and 1992, beating Seles in the final both times, she was a strong contender for the French open titles - only to lose to Seles in the semis both times.

She had great talent and ability to vary spin on her groundstrokes which could compensate for a weak serve against everyone except Steffi and Monica.

Unfortunately as pointed out by others previously, Gaby's worst losses eclipsed what was a pretty amazing career.

The Wimbledon final of 1991 and French open QF 1993 are just prime examples. In 1995 Sabatini led Date 6-1, 5-1 and still lost in a 3rd set tie-breaker :(. Those of us who saw the US open QF in 1995 between Sabatini and MJ Fernandez saw her reach 6-1,5-1 again only to start collapsing yet again. Fortunately she close it out to 6-3 before I had torn all of my hair out ;). She went on to push Graf in two tough sets, but her second serve was just too predictable and whenever she served for the second set, Steffi broke with ease.

Interestingly enough, for all the criticism she came under for being a choker, I think that Jana Novotna was probably worse than Gaby. I only ever saw her play Sabatini once - in 1993 when Novotna reached the final only to choke against Graf - but from what I understand from the Menshaw book, in 1991 Novotna faced Sabatini three times, had matchpoints in all three matches and still lost all three. Also, who can forget her 5-0 third set lead against Chanda Rubin at the French.

For all that though, Novotna was also a match away from being no.1 in the 1998 US open semis where she was outplaying Hingis until she realise what she was doing and then the rest is history. It was sad to watch, especially after she had dissected Martina at Wimbledon only a few months before.

As for the Steffi and Monica Wimbledon argument - I think that although Monica was a mute in their 1992 final, Graf was a woman on a mission that day and probably would have won anyway. Monica and Wimbledon have never really fitted together too well - particularly after she skipped it in 1991.

BCP
Feb 1st, 2002, 08:02 AM
Esselewis, I am a Natasha fan, and boy it sure is frustrating! I think the best run of her career was when she reached the semis of Wimbeldon beating Monica and Steffi back to back- yet what did she do? She Lost in the SEMIS! ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!;)

If you like Chris and Martina, there is a 70s thread (You've come a long way), and 80s thread Ladies of the Court in which a lot ofm people tell really great stories from those eras.

I wish I had seen the Chris/Steffi match you mentioned.... I still haven't forgiven Steffi for beating Chris 6-1 6-2 in her last Wimbeldon........;)

Philbo
Feb 1st, 2002, 08:31 AM
Funny you should mention the Chris Evert v Graf wimby 89 match BCP!!!!



I walked into my dad in tears after it, saying "I hate her cause she just whipped Chrissie"... (talk about a kid being OBVIOUSLY gay!!!)...

And dad just laughed and spoke to me about how one day, I will be cheering for Steffi against the young up and comers etc!!!

I never thought Id see the day, But I had to give Dad credit when I found myself cheering for Graf in FO 99!!!!!

I thought hell would freeze over before I cheered Graf onto a grand slam victory!!!

roscoe111
Feb 1st, 2002, 08:40 AM
Many interesting posts here, but I still think this was an era overshadowed by the Seles stabbing. Sabatini and Zvereva were also favourites of mine. Gaby obviously was drop-dead gorgeous, so I would watch her even if she couldn't hit the ball over the net! The shame is that she really could hit every shot in the book, but seemed to suffer from brain failure when things were not going her way. Natalia Zvereva was another great talent who failed to reach half of her potential as a singles player. Her doubles accomplishments were exceptional of course. Zvereva's most attractive quality to me was the obvious joy she displayed on court. She had a really animated character and let everyone from opponent to officials and fans know how she was feeling. Still on the whole I think women's tennis is healthier and more competitive today than 10 years ago.

mishar
Feb 1st, 2002, 09:00 AM
Czechfan, Irma is a great Graf fan. She's always very fair even as she sticks up for her fave.
And I agree with 99% of what you write, but I do want to point out that Monica did have a virus that day in Paris that kept her from playing tennis for more than 2 months afterwards (her next tournament was the fateful one in Hamburg) Not that that takes away from the glory of 37 yr. old Martina (who I also adore) beating the #1.
And Steffi may have had serious distractions in 1991, but didn't she have even worse distractions in 95-96 when she won so many slams? She was a great champion, she didn't need excuses.
And re: Monica and Wimbledon. Well, this is entering the realm of the totally hypothetical, but I think Monica had a possiblity of beating Steffi at Wimbledon, even though their matches were so 1-sided there. Steffi had so many advantages for the surface: her athleticism, her serve, her slice. but Monica was only 18 in 1992, it was only her third Wimbledon, who knows how her game would have developed in the years to come if she hadn't been stabbed. Her serve would have improved (it already had, as Irma points out.) She was even coming to net a lot more in that Aussie 93 final. And she would have become more comfortable on the surface. And she had a tremendous will to win.
In general I thought that was why Monica won those big matches against Steffi -- she had a mental edge. Monica wasn't playing well at all in that classic French Open final of 92. Steffi started off terribly, but gradually got better and better, and by the middle of the second set, she was pushing Monica around the court. Monica (who had been sick all week) looked exhausted. The commentators all thought if Steffi won the second set, she would run away with the match. And then in the third set I think Monica served for the match twice and was broken both times. It just seemed Steffi had all the shots and was controlling all the points. But Monica came up with a few big shots on big points, hung in there and made fewer errors than Steffi and I think ultimately had the mental edge on Graf.
As someone said, that might have changed over the years. I think it's likely Steffi would have returned to #1 eventually, or they would have traded back and forth
Sadly, all that is what might have been.
That's the true story of the 90s, I think.
The matches we never saw.
That great Wimbledon final of 93 when Steffi won 9-7 in the third, and so on, all the imaginary matches between them we never saw.

louloubelle
Feb 1st, 2002, 02:32 PM
Some add-ons to other posts.....

Zvereva also went thru the stage of defying the USSR tennis ferderation and crusaded for Russian players to keep their prize money. She virtually tanked matches because she said: if I'm not getting paid for my work, then I won't work. One apparently significant moment during this time was a doubles victory with Larissa Savchenko where Natasha held up the winners check and said: for me this is not money, just a bit of paper. She denies being the main crusader of this, but she got the most publicity and deserves alot of credit for Russian players keeping their prizemoney.

I thought Seles had Graf's number in big matches expect for that Wimbledon final because of the grunting debacle. The other 3 times they faced off in grandslam finals and the matches were hanging on a wire and it seemed to come to a battle of wills. Particularly the Aus Open final in 93, where Graf played superb in the 1st set. But Seles always seemed to come thru mentally.... Steffi was always the better conditioned player but could never exploit that because Monica had the better ability to WILL herself to win.

I was always surprised at the low number of tour tournies Mary Jo won compared to others. However she never seemed to indulge in the lower tier tournies and was always prepared to face off against the big guns. Credit to her for not trying to fill the trophy cabinet but put herself on the line against the top players.

Novotna once slagged off Capriati when Jen came back the first time after her break. It seemed to stem from the publicity it was getting and Jana wasn't happy. However she aplogised for her comments after they met in an indoor final.
Anyone remember Jana and ASV bitchy fight in the 90's. I think it stemmed from a match where ASV continually argued calls which infuriated Jana. This led to a split of a very formidable doubles combination and much bickering later on. Jana always though ASV just played negative tennis and relied on players errors. ASV said b4 Janas Wimbledon final: well until she has won a slam she shouldn't be talking.....as well as making references to Jana vs. Steffi choking debacle.

Gigi Fernandez also had her moments. Her entourage was once nearlly decapitated by a ball deliberately slammed at them by Kimiko Date for apparently making racist remarks at Date. Gigi also made many disparaging remarks against Monica, in which Monica publicy said they weren't friends.
Another one....... in a Aus Open doubles match between Gigi and Jana vs. Shriver and Garrison the umpire totally stuffed up the score to a point where he/she couldn't work it out. This developed into a screaming match between all four players particularly Zina and Gigi. It seemed that Gigi and Jana knew the correct score, but being in trouble in that set, preferred the umpires possibly wrong score!!!!! The 'wrong' score stood and Jana and Gigi won. Pam got called for unsportmanlike conduct because she continually tried to return balls back to Gigi and Jana when they had their backs to her, by lobbing them in the air with one actually beaning Gigi!!!!!!

mishar
Feb 1st, 2002, 07:14 PM
Yeah, I always wondered what made Gigi dislike Monica so. Was she just a b*tch?
I remember reading an interview with Monica a couple of years ago where they asked her about hostility from other players in the pre-stabbing years, and she said it was really only one player who was actively hostile to her, and I believed she was referring to Gigi.

Maybe she didn't like that Monica always whooped her, as well as Conchita.

irma
Feb 1st, 2002, 07:24 PM
I thought it was Tauziat who she meant with that, didn`t she write that in her book?

mishar
Feb 1st, 2002, 07:41 PM
From the context i assumed she meant Gigi

I'm not sure she and Tauziat had any particular issue until the grunting debacle at Wimbledon. In Monica's book, she describes that and then later how when she came back to the tour Tauziat didn't even say hello.
She also reports how the Maleeva sisters were constantly saying negative things about her, how she didn't know how to play tennis, etc..

But I have a feeling Gigi in a kind of childish way was organizing hostility against Monica more than the others

wongqks
Feb 1st, 2002, 07:42 PM
Irma, in her book, she said nothing about Gigi Fernandez, and yeah Monica said that when she return to the tour, everyone say hi to her or a welcome back or something, but Tauziat just walk past her without said anything.

Also, another funny incident, I cannot recall which tournament, but it was a semi final match or something in a tournament, Monica was facing Mary Joe, and they went to a tiebreak in the third, Monica was up something like 4-2, where on her second serve she thought she hit an ace or something and then it was ruled out, Monica thought fine, she will be 4-3 then, but umpire got mixed up and said 5-2 Fernandez, Monica is rightfully furious and the crowd booed the umpire so badly. Unfortuneately, there was no Tv coverage at that time so no one can reveal back. The tournament directors was rreally confused what is happening oz they did not see the match, and in the end nothing is done, and Monica lose that match. I was surpirsed that Mary Joe did not say anything at that point, maybe she want to win so badly at that time of her career.

irma
Feb 1st, 2002, 07:48 PM
If Monica didn`t know how to play tennis, why did she kick their but then? That they didn`t like her personality okee, that happens, but to bash her tennis especially when there is no doubt that she is better and kicks their ass, that`s weak and a big sign of jealousy.

MLF
Feb 1st, 2002, 11:57 PM
GiGi Fernandez was one of the games experts at gamesmanship. I remember her pulling every stunt in the book to overcome Zina 6-4 6-4 in the Wimbledon quarter finals in '94. I also had the "luck" o be in the crowd at one of GiGi's matches against Spirlea whenever GiGi in a rage threw her chair away and it bounced into the crowd! She had a lovely game when she was flowing though.

Rollo
Feb 2nd, 2002, 03:36 AM
LOL@ the Gigi stories:)
Of course Irina had a reputation even before the Venus Williams bumping incident. She was thrown out/defalted for cussing the umpire out one year in Palermo. That's the only time I remember that happening on the women's tour!

irma
Feb 2nd, 2002, 03:38 AM
Gigi Fernandez paid her fines at the start of a season because she knew she would get them anway :)

Kart
Feb 2nd, 2002, 07:32 AM
louloubelle, I remember the Novotna - ASV slagging match, I thought it was hilarious :).

From what I remember it was just before they met in the semis of Wimbledon 1997 (?).

Novotna commented that although ASV had cruised through the draw, she hadn't played any tough competition.

ASV's reply was something along the line of "when she's won a GS title then I'll have some respect for what she says !!!"

Of course, as we all know, Novotna dissected ASV in straight sets :( before losing to Hingis in the final, despite leading by a set then.

Miranda
Feb 2nd, 2002, 08:07 AM
the beautiful 90's :D when great ladies Monica/Graf/Martina N were dominating and Miranda was still youthful ;). Come back those good days :mad:

wongqks
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:29 PM
I think the spat between ASV and Jana started in the Olympics 96 semifinal when ASV won in a close contest, Jana was very angry at ASV for questioning a lot of calls and actually get a few overrule, and Jana said something along those lines of that ASV is unsportsmanlike etc. etc. and then the pair depart, but apparently they do play in one more torunament in doubles together, but according to some source, they can barely look at each other during the matches, no communication whatsoever LOL

irma
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:31 PM
LOL Miranda me too, I was so young and naive ;)

i_like_tennis
Aug 6th, 2003, 10:46 PM
best generations is the 90's.....
well, too young to remember anyways...:)

R&J
Aug 6th, 2003, 11:28 PM
Monica wasn't liked by the other players because she wasn't friendly to them and kept her distance. I have been a huge Monica fan since '87
1987?

bello
Aug 7th, 2003, 12:46 AM
Gabriela Sabatini- acheved quite a bit yet still un underacheiver, and in my opinion the most talented player to never reach no.1! She should have won a bucket load of slams and her name should be mentioned in the same breathe as Graf and Seles, but it wasnt to be...*sigh*

bello
Aug 7th, 2003, 12:47 AM
And when taling about early 90's dont forget the rise of Jennifer Capriati!! That was a phenomenon!

rhz
Aug 7th, 2003, 01:31 AM
It was very interesting that for the first time in i don't know how many years, the number 1 American wasn't Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova. It was Mary Joe Fernandez :)