Originally Posted by iainmac
But Andy, the whole point with Austin was that she was not intimidated by Evert or Navratilova. That counts for so much. There are countless matches I can think of in the 80s, post 81, when Evert and Navratilova won GS semis and finals with tennis that would not have been good enough to put Austin away. I think on clay she would have been formidable- sadly she never played at the French when at her peak. And I dont think there is any comparison as a mental and strategic maestro between Austin and Martinez and Sabatini.
I agree with you about Tracy's mental fortitude Iain but the Evert-Navratilova obstacle I had in mind was more along the lines of having to play well enough in two successive matches to beat both to win a major.
Sure, Tracy would certainly have approached the challenge from a much better place mentally but physically she'd have found it very tough against two women who managed to up the stakes considerably on the fitness level, especially given that she'd be playing an attacker one time and a baseliner the next. Given the way both Chris and Martina raised their physical game, I am skeptical about how often she'd have been able to deal with both of them back to back in the kind of form they were in during thein the period in question. For example, if she'd been able to get past Chris at RG 84, would she have stopped Martina? If she'd been able to pull of a win over Martina in 85 RG, would she have stopped Chris? You can only answer yes if you assume (a) a vast physical improvement in Tracy's game (b) a notable development in her tactics (c) a real beefing up of her serve and (d) efface the psychological damage (e.g. 06 06) done in 82/3 during her 'decline'. In other words, we'd be talking about a reinvented Tracy Austin: injury free, airbrushed career history/psychology; beefed up body, more complete game.... In that case, the sky's the limit as to what she'd have achieved.