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Thread: Bettina Bunge
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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakarta
It would be interesting if she showed up for one of the over-35 events, like someone like Catarina Lindqvist, who shared her birthday, but I don't see it happening. Perhaps, despite her good looks, she was also someone not really comfortable with the spotlight (or maybe that was because she had received so much attention for being attractive, instead of a focus on her play). She wasn't a Temesvari or Carling, lapping up all the attention.


One thing I dislike is the kind of revisionism about her talent as a player. People have compared her to Katerina Maleeva on a thread here, but when it came to natural-born talent, it's kind of insulting to compare her game -- once seen, never forgotten -- to the Bulgarian's carefully honed, "manufactured" style. Yes, they had pretty much the same results at the grand slams -- fourth rounders -- but I think Bettina had the game for a grand slam but not the mental edge.

I think her failing was the mental side of things, and it got worse toward the end of her career (amid all those alcohol rumors, which now have a life of their own). If you look at her results early on, when she was still a teenager and new to the circuit, she could hold her own with Evert (that French Open near victory in 1980), Hana Mandlikova and Navratilova, before perhaps the pressure got to her. That also may explain her stupefying losses to people like the otherwise unexceptional Jolissaint, Pam Casale and Leigh Thompson, who could keep getting the ball back and put her under pressure until she folded.

The time I started watching, you couldn't see many of the early rounds like you do today. So, when Betina made the quarters or something, they would show her briefly and usually she did nothing spectacular and cut away to Evert, Martina, or a men's match. I did see her in full action about 3 or 4 times (thank God for ESPN and Cliff Drysdale). She was undescribable. It was as if she moved so people wouldn't look at her. Maria Bueno and Evonne Goolagong comes to mind when people describe her but Betina had more pop though. I dare go along the lines of Illie Nastase and Roger Federer, they could do so many things at moments notice.
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