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Old Jan 7th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #2101
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

yeah, chrissie's forehand definitely changed from i think around 77 onward and kept changing and kept getting better until she retired...

from her first appearance as a 15 year old until about 1976 or so.. her forehand was very how should i say "studied" and almost like she was actually guiding the ball as opposed to hitting it, from the way she took the racket back and had it low to the ground to the way she made contact with the ball and her overemphazied follow thru.. while it wasn't "stiff and mechanical" like austin's it was very clinical looking... she looked and swung like she was trying to place the ball on a dime instead of just swinging freely and giving it a good whack like she did on her backhand...

thank goodness her forehand changed! whether it was the wtt surface, the rise of martina as a challenger the fact that she grew older and stronger and wiser, the fact that she needed more variety with the forehand, i think all combined to change her forehand swing, completely... by the time she was in her full womanhood and graphite wielding days in the mid 80's until her career end in 1989.. everything about her forehand was different, she even took the racket back differently starting out high and could hit it flat, or with topspin and the occassionally sidespin which she employed alot more of when she was younger and with the wood racket... adding her experience and better conditioning and strength with the graphite racket, chrissie could really hit the ball nail her forehand pretty darn hard, not graf like winners all over the place forehand weapon hard, but pretty darn close.....
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Old Jan 7th, 2012, 05:00 PM   #2102
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

While it was pretty well-known that Evert's backhand was better than her forehand (all relative, of course), two particular stand-out matches for her forehand are the 1986 French Open final against Navratilova (win) and the 1989 Boca Raton final against Graf (loss).

The forehand is harder to suddenly change the pace, hit with more spin, but Evert could hit sidespin forehands down the line that just kept moving away from her opponent, and she could also produce a dropshot out of nowhere (incredible example is first match point she saved against Seles in the 1988 Houston final).
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Old Jan 7th, 2012, 06:16 PM   #2103
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Sumarokov-Elston View Post
While it was pretty well-known that Evert's backhand was better than her forehand (all relative, of course), two particular stand-out matches for her forehand are the 1986 French Open final against Navratilova (win) and the 1989 Boca Raton final against Graf (loss).

The forehand is harder to suddenly change the pace, hit with more spin, but Evert could hit sidespin forehands down the line that just kept moving away from her opponent, and she could also produce a dropshot out of nowhere (incredible example is first match point she saved against Seles in the 1988 Houston final).
Also, it must be noted that, while Evert hadn't yet honed in on her forehand, the placement and shot selection was there. Margaret had an incredible cross-court stinger of a forehand- most time hit on the run and catching her opponent unaware of the angle she could hit with pace. It was her hardest-hit shot, and very seldom did she put in anywhere but within inches of the sideline and deep. The top players obviously expected it, but it won a ton of points for her. The best I've ever seen Chris play off both sides at the same time was that warm-up exhibition in Paris (vs. Navratilova) in 1987. Martina didn't play badly, but Chris was rifling both returns and groundstrokes off the forehand with heavy pace and accuracy, on a fast indoor court!
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 02:07 PM   #2104
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

yeah, margaret's forehead was very tough, strange though because when you actually watch it and pay attention her forehand production seems "OFF" to me.. i mean she swings away, but for instance, most of the time if not all the time, she looks like she was "off balance when she was hitting it, and it looked like a how should i say "violent" stroke production..while it was hard hit and powerful to me it's actually amazing, that it was as accurate as it was.. i can though see how someone who slowballed her and with tons of spin and if she got nervous and tight,or if someone could go toe to toe with her her forehand could fall apart.......
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 07:59 PM   #2105
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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yeah, margaret's forehead was very tough, strange though because when you actually watch it and pay attention her forehand production seems "OFF" to me.. i mean she swings away, but for instance, most of the time if not all the time, she looks like she was "off balance when she was hitting it, and it looked like a how should i say "violent" stroke production..while it was hard hit and powerful to me it's actually amazing, that it was as accurate as it was.. i can though see how someone who slowballed her and with tons of spin and if she got nervous and tight,or if someone could go toe to toe with her her forehand could fall apart.......
If you read her books, she does hint that it's the side she always had problems with and had to work hard on to steady herself,enlisting several coaches (Dennis Van der Meer, etc). I imagine that since her arms were unusually long, she'd have had a lot of trouble with such a long, loopy swing breaking down at some point in production. I think her greatest weapon (like Graf after her) was her footwork. She was incredibly fast and got to Evert angles (especially on the backhand) that most players would've given up on. In the hypothetical, someone like Seles would have given her fits, because of the disguised and unreadable angles. Margaret outside of her comfort zone of pattern tennis was not a pretty sight. She (like Lendl after her) normally bludgeoned opponents with consistent pace and never let up.
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Old Jan 10th, 2012, 04:35 AM   #2106
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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yeah, margaret's forehead was very tough, strange though because when you actually watch it and pay attention her forehand production seems "OFF" to me.. i mean she swings away, but for instance, most of the time if not all the time, she looks like she was "off balance when she was hitting it, and it looked like a how should i say "violent" stroke production..while it was hard hit and powerful to me it's actually amazing, that it was as accurate as it was.. i can though see how someone who slowballed her and with tons of spin and if she got nervous and tight,or if someone could go toe to toe with her her forehand could fall apart.......
You also have to remember she was a natural leftie taught to play right handed. So none of her shots are elegant not does she have the touch that the other greats had playing with their natural hand/arm.
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 02:12 AM   #2107
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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You also have to remember she was a natural leftie taught to play right handed. So none of her shots are elegant not does she have the touch that the other greats had playing with their natural hand/arm.
wow, i never knew that, TV!! it makes a lot of sense, though she did walk very stiffly as well in general, so grace of presence may simply not have been a physical trait of margaret court. but fascinating to think how well she DID, while yet having been 'corrected' from a leftie natural stroke! She may have been even more fearsome. Certainly, Evert had much more trouble against leftie serves too, so that would have helped Court's batting average against Chris as well.

thats probably the trouble i have watching later evert matches in fact - it's just much less graceful tennis and probably half the art is lost as her dimensions are far fewer once the play is more about graphite doing a lot of extra work in the stroke production & having to defend the court against the influx of that power-heavy influence, than about precision and purity of form. chrissie's forehand devolved into that meatier topspin stroke that is very repetitive, whereas when you watch her for the first 80% of her career, she had all the great variety, especially with those laser-bullet forehands & her unique inside-out shot which almost disappeared entirely from her arsenal; those shots alone had always made her tennis compelling.

but she did succeed in developing a better relationship with the mid-court ball~ albeit, which is much easier to hit in play than with wood~ and the resultant all-court displays in the 87 & 88 wimbledon matches against navratilova in particular, definitely had an added kick to them for that reason. that's where the variety of styles in her career does feel rewarding. Would have been very interesting to see how Court would have differed in her matches with Evert had Chris pushed the envelope on athleticism like that during the Court/Evert era rivalry!! would have been very fun to watch those dynamics!

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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 03:53 AM   #2108
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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wow, i never knew that, TV!! it makes a lot of sense, though she did walk very stiffly as well in general, so grace of presence may simply not have been a physical trait of margaret court. but fascinating to think how well she DID, while yet having been 'corrected' from a leftie natural stroke! She may have been even more fearsome. Certainly, Evert had much more trouble against leftie serves too, so that would have helped Court's batting average against Chris as well.

thats probably the trouble i have watching later evert matches in fact - it's just much less graceful tennis and probably half the art is lost as her dimensions are far fewer once the play is more about graphite doing a lot of extra work in the stroke production & having to defend the court against the influx of that power-heavy influence, than about precision and purity of form. chrissie's forehand devolved into that meatier topspin stroke that is very repetitive, whereas when you watch her for the first 80% of her career, she had all the great variety, especially with those laser-bullet forehands & her unique inside-out shot which almost disappeared entirely from her arsenal; those shots alone had always made her tennis compelling.

but she did succeed in developing a better relationship with the mid-court ball~ albeit, which is much easier to hit in play than with wood~ and the resultant all-court displays in the 87 & 88 wimbledon matches against navratilova in particular, definitely had an added kick to them for that reason. that's where the variety of styles in her career does feel rewarding. Would have been very interesting to see how Court would have differed in her matches with Evert had Chris pushed the envelope on athleticism like that during the Court/Evert era rivalry!! would have been very fun to watch those dynamics!
Yes I am like you - I much preferred watching the pre-graphite Evert for the very same reasons you mentioned. Her deft touch, exquisite lobs and laser like drives with pin point accuracy were all astonishing.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #2109
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Chris Evert's last match at the French Open, a 1988 third round loss to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-1, 7-6(4) on Court 1 (the "bullring") that took 2 hours, 51 minutes. That averages to 8 minutes, 33 seconds per game, precisely the kind of match that Evert hated to play at that stage in her career. But note the 54-shot rally that Evert won while serving to save the match at 4-5 (15-30).
http://www.ina.fr/sport/tennis/video...anchez.fr.html

Our thread about this match:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=164620
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 10:42 PM   #2110
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Chris Evert's last match at the French Open, a 1988 third round loss to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-1, 7-6(4) that took 2 hours, 51 minutes. That averages to 8 minutes, 33 seconds per game, precisely the kind of match that Evert hated to play at that stage in her career. But note the 54-shot rally that Evert won while serving to save the match at 4-5 (15-30).
http://www.ina.fr/sport/tennis/video...anchez.fr.html

Our thread about this match:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=164620
when i finally saw that match, i was shocked to learn she was down 1-6 1-5.... and came back to achieve the exact same score as her match in the previous grand slam event, when she lost to Steffi 1-6 6-7 at the Australian Open, ALSO coming back from 1-6 1-5 down!!! Amazing!!

The other thing I didnt know is how sick Evert was during the French Open match... Mary Carillo says BEFORE they take the court, that she cant believe chris is going to play because she has "never seen her so sick" in the locker room...and she kept mentioning it through the match that she can barely watch, and can't understand why chris didnt ask to have it postponed.

you are certainly right about it being the kind of thing she hated at that point though - she was not sick or injured during the 89 french, for the record... she just didnt want to play on slow red clay for 2 straight weeks, and that's why she didnt compete there.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #2111
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Hello everyone. My first post in a long time. I remember this loss being a bit of a shock at the time, but I think the worse loss (and probably the worst claycourt loss of Evert's career) was to Barbara Paulus in '89. Evert was obviously prepping for the major clay court tournaments and (I'm guessing) thought she could cruise a bit to an easy title in the Swiss Open (and, if so, given her record, rightly so) and she gets bounced by Paulus in the final. I think that loss to Paulus really cut deep, especially as she had lost earlier to a very young Seles in Houston (another loss which cut deep, IMO). I remember reading a quote from Evert how she didn't feel like chasing moonballs or whatnot. Anyway, no Italian or French for Evert in '89. Was Evert injured at that time?

Anyway, I watched Zvereva beat Paulus in an i-n-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-b-l-e NSW Open final in '90 or '91. Really, little juniour girls did more with the ball and displayed more courtsense and tactical awareness than those two did that day, and I was not impressed at all with Paulus "live", and during the match I remember wondering how Evert could have lost to Paulus - she ate moonballers for breakfast all her career and to call Paulus' game "one-dimensional" would have flattered her. At least Sanchez turned out to be a multiple grand slam title winner and was ranked No 1 etc.

All just IMO, of course.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 03:22 AM   #2112
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

The loss to Paulus was not why she declined to enter the 1989 French Open. She just wasn't motivated for clay court tennis that year from the first moment of her first practice on clay back in the USA. She was done with the surface.
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 06:27 PM   #2113
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

i had always thought chrissie was injured, not sick in her match with sanchez vicario.. a very painful heel spur on her left foot which caused her not to be able to not only hit her backhand and step into it, but caused her not to be able to run or slide either.. the fact that she was in so much pain and could get 7 games off of sanchez vicario is saying something at least to me... in hindsight she should not have even entered the french that year....

yeah,those 1989 losses to paulas and later to anne minter?! at the canadian open right before the u.s. open and the poorly played mentally and physically match loss to garrison after being "super chrissie" destroying seles.. all led evert to her right decision that is was type to hang it up..

actually i think her feelings of retirement probably started in 1987.. not only the emergence of graf and sabatini, but losses to shriver and hanika and kate gompert?! started the belief in her mind and the reality of her play that when she started to lose to these inferior players whether because she mentally wasn't up for these matches or if it was physical in that her form and talent was ebbbing or a combination of both was evert's first notice her career was coming to a close...
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #2114
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Rather like the 1981 US Open final between Martina and Tracy, I just could not watch the end of that match, because it is so disappointing when you feel that the "best man" did not win the match! While the 1981 US Open final is, in my opinion, the ultimate car-crash tennis-tv (and you just know Martina is going to serve a double-fault at match point), I suppose Tracy won the match fair and square........ I even find the 1979 victory over Chris easier to watch than Martina's sheer terror and inability to close out the match in either of the two tiebreaks.

Was the Evert-Sanchez match not also played on the very same day that Martina went out to Zvereva? A horrible day for tennis. None of them ever went back to Paris....

Chris looks haggard, ill and just not wanting to be there. She hits her shots rather like in practice, not in a competitive, concentrated environment at all. ASV surely must be the most one-dimensional player in the history of the sport! Game tactic: push the ball. What shot to play: topspin or slice, as long as it involves pushing the ball. At one point, you have Chris Evert resorting to serve and volley on red clay!! That is how desperately dull it is - the last time she did that was against the moonballing Andrea Jaegar in the US Clay Court Championships in 1980, but even Jaegar had some other aspects to her game, unlike ASV (whom I always found more excruciating and embarrassing to watch than even Manuela Maleeva or Karen Susmann).
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 08:14 AM   #2115
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Was the Evert-Sanchez match not also played on the very same day that Martina went out to Zvereva? A horrible day for tennis. None of them ever went back to Paris....

Chris looks haggard, ill and just not wanting to be there. She hits her shots rather like in practice, not in a competitive, concentrated environment at all. ASV surely must be the most one-dimensional player in the history of the sport! Game tactic: push the ball. What shot to play: topspin or slice, as long as it involves pushing the ball. At one point, you have Chris Evert resorting to serve and volley on red clay!! That is how desperately dull it is - the last time she did that was against the moonballing Andrea Jaegar in the US Clay Court Championships in 1980, but even Jaegar had some other aspects to her game, unlike ASV (whom I always found more excruciating and embarrassing to watch than even Manuela Maleeva or Karen Susmann).
Yes ASV used to suck the life out of matches and opponents. I will never forget the 98 French Final when she managed to wear down the far more talented (more far less fit) Monica Seles in what should have been a fairytale finish to her career (not long after her father passed away). Unlike Evert, who had one of the greatest brains in tennis history, ASV was indeed a pusher that wore down opponents rather than beat them with clever tennis.
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