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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:26 PM   #16
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On the issue of the FEARLESS NEWCOMER...

Exactly, i try to make this point a lot with Chris (age 34) and Steffi (age 19)... totally fearless Steffi with Chris having lots of issues; saving face, getting older, BEING older, and from a previous 'model number' of player, with steffi fearlessly cracking the whip. I'd love to put 19-year old Chris' fearless (and perfect) concentration into that 34 year old body, and let Chris go to work. (They played a final 4-6 6-2 6-3 with one break in 89, and one line call got chris over to that chair, similar to Connors with krickstein at the 91 us open..."I have to work twice as hard for each point and you're sitting up in that chair calling my winning shot out!" chris screamed at the chair ump's suggestion that it was too bright out, "I don't CARE if its bright out!"...She could've won that match while BEING 34, much less if she could do a time-transport. Then when Wimby 89 rolled around, chris had been out for months with an injury, backed out of the prior wimby-tune-up with an illness, then was totally not tournament tough when she had to face graf in that disaster of a semi. Poor girl. Anyway, back to tracy.

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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:34 PM   #17
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BTW, I'm waiting for santorofan to see this thread, because he has a great recollection of the psychological 'mirror image' issues from chris' point of view, and he will articulate them better than i will. Santorofan, ya out there??

but on 1980 us open sf, chris had her back up against the wall. She told Jimmy Evert before the match, "If Tracy beats me today, i will admit to myself that she is the better player." which shows both how intense it was and how much Chris did not intend to lose. She was actually down 4-0 in the first set, Andy. Then she lost only 4 more games in the 3 sets of tennis that followed; 18 games to 4.

In terms of play...Chris was very smart. A lot of short angles, a lot of lobs to keep tracy running, and her eyes were almost reptilian in their focus...she looked very beautiful and feminine, all decked out in pink, but also looked like a monster at the same time. she wasn't gonna let this kid de-bunk her (in her OWN mind) as being the better player. So in that match, she had Tracy's 'motivation' of wanting to win every point, that by that time, she did not always have.

I think she hit 3 drop shot winners in the last game to win!! She was just being a master...and for Tracy to miss that trick 3 times shows she was both 'dazed' and that chris was very deceptive with her shots; Tracy really COULDN'T see the drops coming. It was an immaculate match.

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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:40 PM   #18
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Is that an invite Darren? You'd better have LOTS of Martina victories too - cos Missie here don't get in no plane and cross the ocean for nobody unless they got what she need and they's ready to give it to her :-o !!!!!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy T
Is that an invite Darren? You'd better have LOTS of Martina victories too - cos Missie here don't get in no plane and cross the ocean for nobody unless they got what she need and they's ready to give it to her :-o !!!!!
your 'official' invite is included in the box you'll be getting soon!

yes, i have plenty of Martinas victories, lots and lots...and of course i'll give you what you want! but a lot that doesnt include tennis!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:48 PM   #20
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Do you people tape everything?
I only taped one player (but I kept the loses too)
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:48 PM   #21
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"Give it to her" in many ways, i'm sure!!

Darren & Andy...I would like a TAPE of THAT!! hahaha....stroke those balls, boys!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 07:32 PM   #22
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In her autobiography "Beyond Center Court," Tracy said that her favorite player growing up was Evonne Goolagong.

She was not particularly close to Evert when she first came on tour. This is what she had to say about the differences she had with Evert:

Quote:
Chris and I had our differences and she has given me a hard time about them, though usually in a good-natured way. But not always.

At the Federation Cup in Australia, she asked me if I ever smoked pot. I was not yet sixteen. When I said no, I never had, she ripped into me. "You're so sheltered," she said.

At Wimbledon the next summer, Chris, Virginia Ruzici, a couple other players, and I were chatting in the locker room. Actually, they were talking and I was listening. They were discussing the first time they slept with a guy. They never looked at me. I was sixteen. They knew I didn't have an answer yet.

When I was seventeen, Chris told me a story one day about getting drunk. She glanced at me. I said I never had gotten drunk. She berated me for that one, too.

Chris always was very aware of her public image. She probably will be voted America's female sports heroine of the century, that's how popular she is. She openly talked about a very public affair with Adam Faith, the British rock star, and even after that, came out smelling like a rose. Overall, the positive aspects of her image - formed during seventeen successful years on the circuit - are so strong that things that might have tarnished it did not.

I held a 9-8 edge over Chris in our matches over the years, and I played her only as a teenager. I never played her after the age of twenty. I wonder what my record might have been against her had I continued playing. She had more trouble with me than any other player at that time.

Robert Lansdrop delighted in my victories over Chris. He used to whistle when I played her and he knew it bugged her, so he did it some more.
In her prologue, she writes this:

Quote:
I came away from my six years on the circuit with a lot of good friends, one of them being Martina. People are surprised when I say that, figuring that Chris would have been a better friend of mine than Martina was, but that wasn't so. Chris and I were such rivals that sometimes there wasn't a lot of opportunity to be close friends. We were so much alike: the "girls next door" with the two-handed backhand, the tennis families, and the feminine dresses.
Tracy's recollection of the buildup to her 1977 first-ever match-up against Chris at Wimbledon goes like this:

Quote:
So there I was, fourteen, facing Chris on Centre Court in front of fourteen thousand fans on a bright afternoon. I had played exactly four professional tournaments and had won a grand total of 128 tournaments as a junior, and was to win some more. Chris, well, was Chris, the top-ranked player in the world and the person I was most like. In her autobiography, she wrote that she got sick to her stomach before we played. Chris must have spent an hour in the locker room putting on makeup: bright-red lipstick, mascara, everything, all just to go out and play tennis. Her nails were perfect. She wore a sun dress that accentuated her bust line. I mean, her boobs were just hanging out. I didn't have that problem yet.

She put on a neclace that read BABE, a gift from Burt Reynolds. She was twenty-two and dating and into guys and all grown up - it seemed to me. I was fourteen and, as Bud Colls wrote in The Boston Globe, looked like "a deserter from the Campfire Girls." He was right.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 07:56 PM   #23
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Thanks for all the replies, interesting reading.

From '79-'81 I wonder if Navratilova fans were more dreading of an encounter with Evert or Austin?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 08:27 PM   #24
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I feel certain that BOTH Chris & Martina would rather play each other than Austin, just as they would both rather play each other than Steffi as early as late '86. But this is because they know each other's game, and you definitely want to face a known quantity more than an unknown. When someone new comes along, they've had years to study your game AND they have the 'x' factor on their side of your NOT having been able to study them back. So its very nerve-wracking to play a new-top-player whose game you're less familiar with.

As for Tracy's favorite player being Goolagong...yeah, she played a whole lot like goolagong. Not. I can understand her wanting to disassociate herself in people's minds with Chris, because she truly was her own person. But the fact that she tries so hard to hide Chris' influence only magnifies the fact that she herself is all-too aware of Evert's being a defining influence...a too-close-for-comfort influence.

And I also think her take on Chris' attitude toward her shows she may have just been over-sensitive. Chris, having received a very frosty reception from the top players when she herself arrived on the scene, would've been very aware of treating new players with a more welcoming attitude. She may have been teasing tracy in a friendly way (but without necessarily smiling when joking, like anyone who is funny) and Tracy, being young and insecure, took it as criticism. Do YOU think Chris thought tracy was smoking pot at age 15 (fed cup Australia was 1978) or would suggest that she should? Come on. Chris had a severe catholic upbringing, and didn't play up pot smoking too much, to say the least. So while I may think pot-smoking is good role-model behavior Chris did not, and does not.

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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 08:49 PM   #25
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If Tracy's tennis was to become as transparent as some of these off-court comments of hers, I imagine history would find that her game would have been figured out by everybody before long!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 01:20 AM   #26
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Very interesting thread. Simply stated, both Chris and Tracy felt threatened by each other, albeit in different ways. Certainly Tracy in her own way attempted to create some distance in disassociating herself from Chris's image. She was in the process of forming her own identity, and recognized right away that being categorized as a mere Chrissie-clone by the press was far from complimentary. She wanted to be recognized for her own achievements and style, and evidently found it necessary to deny any role- model associations with Chris and thus, indirectly, deny her any credit for influencing her game. Certainly however, Chris was an influence, yet there were significant distinctions in both their games (and as noted) personalities as well. Chris in general played a more fluid on-court style, whereas IMO, Austin's game came off as a bit mechanical. Though Chris's serve was generally not viewed as a weapon, it could still be quite effective when she was on, particularly her use of placement. Conversely, Austin's serve was clearly a liability, though because her groundstrokes were so strong, she was often able to recover from an opponents deep returns.

Concerning groudstrokes, Austin in general hit with slightly more pace, whereas Evert tended to utilize more variety...Austin hit flatter, whereas Evert utilized slight topspin, sidespin and flat strokes in general. This, I believe, is more an influence of the fact that Chris was raised on clay courts, and Tracy on cement. Unfortunately for Austin, this also likely contributed to her later injuries, as clay is a far more forgiving surface on the body in ones formative years than is cement.

Evert also used finesse more in her game, which when she was on, compensated well with Austin's power groundies. Evert's overhead was also a stronger shot than Austin's, which to quote writer Peter Bodo, when Austin went to hit the shot it "always looked like an adventure."

I have personally only viewed two Evert-Austin matches: their '79 and '80 US Open struggles. What I recall most about the '79 match is that Austin simply went for broke, hit out on every shot and was fiercely detirmined to win every point. Although Chris had beaten Tracy in the tournament prior, she clearly felt a ton of pressure to win this particular match and hence, a fifth consecutive Open title. Chris's faulty strategy IMO is that she did not give Tracy any change of pace and instead attempted to outslug Austin from the baseline, hitting harder and harder as the match wore on (and thus made more errors) which wasn't really her style. In short, she was reduced to playing Austin's game, which was an obvious losing strategy. A year later in the semi-finals, Chris simply played smarter, well thought out and intelligently constructed tennis. At 0-4 in the first set, their 1980 match simply seemed a continuation from the year prior. Then almost immediately, a lightbulb seemed to go off in Chris's head; suddenly Evert started throwing in a wide variety of dropshots (and lobs if successfully retrieved), off-pace strokes, and in general, successfully pushed Austin around the court. Evert played clever, inspiring, imaginative tennis, winning 16 of the next 20 games. Whereas in the '79 match, Chris generally seemed to play scared and didn't have much of a game plan (she later stated she wrongly assumed Austin would be nervous playing her first Slam final), the following year she played with genuine confidence and grit, stating she was "prepared to stay out there all day" if necessary, to win.


Lastly, concerning their personal attitudes towards one another, Austin at times seemed rather intimidated by Chris's image and overall popularity. In her autobiography, Austin labels Chris's look as "ultra-feminine," which to me strikes closer to personal insecurity than anything of real accuracy (Chris never looked like a wannabe drag queen, ok?!). While Tracy was considered cute by many, during this period Chris was outright sexy. Even my gay friends can't deny this! Although she in no way played it up to the extent of a Kournakova, neither did she try to hide this "side" of her, and the fans (at least her fans) loved her for it. Concerning Tracy, I too wish her career had not been so cruelly halted by fate* (in a sense, similiar to Little Mo); I cheered her comeback attempts and was glad to see her beat one of the Maleva's in her last go at it. I also enjoyed her battles with Pam Shriver (as well as Martina), admitedly loving it when Pam actually cussed her out on court at net after a match. Those two had a great rivalry and from what I recall, Tracy didn't have Pam's number the way Chris did, which I think their closeness in age, and therefore, the pressure being more on Austin, played a role in it, as well as Pam's general familiarity with Tracy's game from way back in the juniors.

*And the chance for Chris to improve upon her 8-9 career match deficit!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:36 AM   #27
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Very interesting thread. IMO Tracy Austin had overtaken Chris Evert and was the no.1 player of the next generation, well, was supposed to be. Injuries stopped her and after winning the Toyota Championships in December81 she was never a top player and herself again. Many say Evert would have quit her (great) career in the early 80s had Austin not been burnt out - I agree. So in a sense, there are paralleles to the Seles/Graf rivalry, yes.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:45 AM   #28
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Austin's and Evert's game was so alike, so an interesting point is, what were the (few) differences in their game? Andy named a few, Austin had more aggressive returns and passingshots.

I have the impression (having seen about 10 Austin matches on VCR) that Austin could play the ball harder than Evert, and also played more moonballs than Chris, so had more variety in that sense. Evert was better with short angles and at the net while Austin was better with shots down the line into the corner. Austin was a quicker runner but Evert's court coverage by back-and-forth running (as Andy wrote) was better.

When those 2 played each other it was the same game on both sides of the net, but Austin being a bit more aggressive (while keeping her consitency). If Chris wanted that aggressivness by playing moonballs, Austin didn't mind at all... So Chris' chance was to play short angles, dropshots, etc. which she did at the Open 80.

Tracy writes in her autobiography that she spend all her energy into the first set (64) and ran out of steam (16 16) afterwards.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:48 AM   #29
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I never saw Austin play live (was too young) and became interested in her career after she had left professional Tennis in the mid eighties. Unlike a few others here I loved her results and wins vs. Evert, Navratilova etc. but following her interviews and work as a commentator since the mid 90s I find her actually a bit dump (sorry). As a player from 77 to 84 I still find her very fascinating.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 08:15 AM   #30
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I'm not so sure a bout the parallel with Steffi and Monica, Robert1 for a couple of reasons:

In the period 79-81, Martina, Chrissie and Tracy all played 7 of the 12 possible slams (The 5 others were the three French Opens and the Aussie Opens of 79 and 80). Tracy, Martina, Chris and Evonne won one each during the 79-80 period and in 81, Martina Chris and Tracy won one each. You can't get more even than that. In contrast, Moncia was way ahead in 93.

Secondly, first Martina (81 on) then Chris (84 on) raised their games so incredibly dramatically that Tracy (81 version) would have been left behind.
Tracy was playing with wooden racquets during her heyday and would have had to work hard on her game to develop it and keep up. In contrast, Graf's game did not evolve dramatically after 93, so when Seles came back in 95, she was able to reestablish herself very quickly as #2.

Do you see what I mean?
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