Originally Posted by dsanders06
But, in fairness, I really am making a point for ALL sports, not just the WTA. Like I said in the OP, it does seem to me that ATP commentators are even MORE fickle and subscribe to the illogical "this era is so much better than previous ones", to the extent that I've genuinely seen on Men'stennisforums people saying Peak Sampras and Agassi would have no chance against Murray
And just to expand on the point I was making in the OP -- I'm pretty sure that there'll be many posters on TF in 10 years' time, and many commentators in the tennis media, who WILL be saying that the new generation will be better than the Williams/Belgians/Sharapova era, on the basis of nothing whatsoever, and I'm sure many of the people who are currently huge tennis fans would be amazed by it.
I agree with you that when ANYONE starts introducing entirely subjective criteria and assumptions (such as "the game is so much stronger/has more depth than back then") -- which is why imo GOAT debates have to rest entirely on quantifiable achievements.
Sorry, but look at the other thread -- many people HAVE been saying Serena is better, that Peak Graf would have no chance against Peak Serena, etc, using the "the game has evolved" logic.
I don't understand why the subject matter has to be so black or white for you. I mean as a general rule, yes the game does evolve. For example, the Seles-Capriati USO 91 semi was a level of womens tennis not seen before. Two women hitting the ball flat and hard from the baseline, consistently. That match was an exception at the time. By the early 2000s that level of tennis at the top was the norm!!! Sadly that evolution plateaued by the late 2000s, and infact the level at the top has somewhat declined (yes I believe a prime Graf would be very successful in todays game)
Evert and Navaratilova raised the bar in the late 70s, Graf's athleticism took the game to new heights in the late 80s/eary 90s and Seles inspired an entire generation with her hyper-aggressive baseline game. For me, the WTA reached its supposed peak so far in the early 2000s. The WS (and Belgians) were on par with Graf in athleticism (Graf was arguably faster, but speed was the only athletic edge id say she had over the WS) and were more explosive offensively than Seles. In my opinion of course.
Of course I would agree with you that the argument that Serena is the greatest ever, using the 'game has evolved' is rubbish. Graf achieved far more against the competition she had and that's fact!!!