Originally Posted by XTN
There also this comment which Navratilova made which is obviously shared with a lot of other people, including us Steffi fans:
“She would have won so much more,” Navratilova said. “We’d be talking about Monica with the most Grand Slam titles [ahead of] Margaret Court or Steffi Graf. Steffi had 22 [Navratilova and Evert have 18 apiece], but she didn’t have anyone to play against."
Before Monica was stabbed, she had won 8 slam titles and Steffi won 11. If of the 11 more titles Steffi won after the stabbing, she won only 4 more and Monica won the remaining 7. Add the 1996 AO she won and let's assume she won 4 more (taking some of the titles from the likes of Arantxa, Mary Pierce, and even Hingis). In this scenario, Monica would have ended up with 20 and Steffi with 15. I'd still say that Steffi with 15 Slams in her era would put her up there among the greatest. Evert won 18 in her era and played second-fiddle to Martina for most of her career and yet she is still ranked as one of the greatest of all time. In the scenario I painted above, Steffi would arguably have been playing in a tougher era and her 15 would be more or less equivalent to Evert's 18. So I find it sad that so many people have to take a swipe at Graf's legacy. She would still have been an all-time great regardless of what happened.
I don't think that Evert played second fiddle to Martina for most of her career. People just tend to focus on Martina's 13 match winning streak over Chris and voilà - that's the Martina/Chris rivalry in a nutshell for them. But there were periods when Chris dominated Martina, periods when Martina dominated Chris and periods when it was more or less even.
Whether Steffi played in a stronger era than Chris or Martina is also debatable. Perhaps Chris' and Matina's competition was comparitively weak from, say, 82 to 86. But when you consider who they had to compete against over the course of their entire careers - Margaret Court (early on in Chris' case anyway), BJK, Virginia Wade, Evonne Goolagong, Tracy Austin, Hana Mandlikova, Steffi Graf and each other - that's an impressive line-up of talent.
I also don't think that Graf fans have to concede so much ground to Monica. Don't get me wrong, Monica was an extraordinary champion who totally deserves her place up there with the all time greats. Without the stabbing she would have gone on to win more majors and more of everything else as well. But to go so far as to say that Seles would have ended up winning more majors than Graf is stretching it in my opinion. She might have of course, this is all just guesswork on our parts after all. But I think it's more likely that Monica would have ended up winning SOME of Graf's majors plus a few that others ended up winning. Monica would have won about 14-16 and Steffi about 17-19. That's my gut feeling anyway.
The reason why some think that without the stabbing Seles would have ended up winning more than Graf is mostly based on two reasons:
1) The fact that they think that it's only the stabbing that was responsible for Seles' (relative) decline. Only a person without a brain or a heart would deny that it was a big part of it, yes. But early on in her comeback Monica was doing fab. If she wasn't the Monica of old she was close and there was reason to believe that she and Graf would continue to do battle for the majors for the next three or four years. But than Monica's dad died - a second traumatic experience in her life. After that Seles was never (or rarely) as great again as she had been in the first year of her comeback and the overweight became really a problem.
2) The myth that before the stabbing Seles dominated Graf. But Seles dominated the rest of the field, yes, but she never dominated Graf. There is no period of their rivalry when Graf was ever dominated by Seles.
Lifetime: Graf 10 v Seles 5
Before the stabbing: Graf 6 v Seles 4
After the stabbing: Graf 4 v Seles 1
During Seles years where she was year end #1 (91 & 92): Graf 3 v Seles 1
During Seles entire reign as World #1: (91,92, part 93): Graf 3 v Seles 2
Matches in Majors prior to the stabbing: Graf 3 v Seles 3