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Old Jun 25th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoanHJ
Here is a quote from Allison Danzig's article "Queen At Seventeen" about Mo:

"The Concentration this 17-year old youngster brings to the court is almost unequaled. Her fighting sprit is even more pronounced. The tougher the going, the greater the danger, the harder she fights and the more of a threat she becomes."

Now, when I read that quote the first thing that pops into my head is that Mo would have been more than capable of taking on Davenport who is prone to mental let downs. I could easily see Mo running Davenport from one side of the court to the other just wearing her out. Lindsay would go into a funk and that would be the end of that match. Same thing for Venus and Amelie. Sure, they could hit the ball harder but could they keep up with Mo's unrelenting game and her Steffi like attitude on the court? I think not.

Btw, there is a site called unitedstreaming. com and you can catch little tid bits of some matches from the past. The thing is you have to go through a school to use the site.
Your arguments are all reasonable, but isn't it a bit of a stretch to assume that Connolly would have beaten today's players because of her focus and concentration based solely on the fact that those were her assets as a teenager? Many great players have said that they found it easier to focus on court when they were younger and that, the older they got, the more prone they were to getting nervous or losing their concentration. Isn't it just as valid to wonder whether she'd have managed to maintain that sort of focus if she had to deal with injuries, stress, and a physically demanding style of play that players today have to put up with?
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Old Aug 12th, 2005, 06:44 PM   #17
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Old Aug 12th, 2005, 07:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samn
Your arguments are all reasonable, but isn't it a bit of a stretch to assume that Connolly would have beaten today's players because of her focus and concentration based solely on the fact that those were her assets as a teenager? Many great players have said that they found it easier to focus on court when they were younger and that, the older they got, the more prone they were to getting nervous or losing their concentration. Isn't it just as valid to wonder whether she'd have managed to maintain that sort of focus if she had to deal with injuries, stress, and a physically demanding style of play that players today have to put up with?
I (like most people, I suspect) have only seen a little bit of film of Maureen in action. She was playing Doris Hart, and from what I could see, she hit the ball about as hard as Chris Evert or Tracy Austin, but a little flatter. Much as I love the old classic style of play with standard size frames, we're back to apples and oranges, because unless Davenport or Venus Williams (or whomever) is forced to use the standard size frame in that hypothetical match-up in the sky against Maureen, there is no way she could compete, even if you gave her Venus huge Wilson showshoe.
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Old Aug 12th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
I never saw her play, but I've talked to Louise Brough about 3 times, and she said Mo was the without doubt the hardest woman she ever hit against. Jack Kramer (a star from the 40's) was convinced she would crush Chris Evert by hitting her off the court. Ted Tinling, who saw them all from the 20's to the 90's, ranked her up there.

She was a killer baseliner a la Graf-except Mo didn't have Steffi's great serve, and Connolly had an aggressive topspin backhand.

Tiny Justine Henin can hold her own versus the power-babes Mo would too. Heck, tiny Justine IS A POWER BABE.

I'd expect no less of Mo Connolly





If you go to Mo's website you can order "Unforgettable", a documentary which shows some footage. Tennisvideos might be able to hook you up to a full match.

Here is the Connolly site:

http://www.mcbtennis.org/

There are some short clips of her on this site.
Thanks so much!

I've read the Connolly story SO, SO many times in tennis books et cetera. She was often compared with Seles for her intensity and merciless resolve under pressure at such a young age, and then later to Hingis. Graf was also said to resemble Connolly's demeanour.

And I think the Evert analogy is a good one. Chris Evert was a major player right up until 1988, or even 1989. And that was when she was 34 and hadn't grown up playing with the new technology and therefore hadn't developed the aggressive style that kids in the early 80s were developing having just picked up the rackets and realised their possibilities. I wrote this last week in another thread: when Evert and Navratilova's games were already developed and they were in their late 20s, why would they have wanted to make loads of errors blasting the hell out of the ball? It was different for Seles or Graf, who, growing up with the technology, had nothing to lose from trying new, more aggressive techniques.

So I suppose my point is that if Chris Evert could still be a force in the game as late as 1988, having grown up with wooden rackets, then why wouldn't Connolly have been at least as great a player? And as you've noted, the evidence is that she was greater in 1954 than Evert in her peak year of 1974.

And Evert at 34 was competing with the likes of Sabatini, who was playing against Davenport and beating her as late as 1995. And Davenport happens to be number one in the world RIGHT NOW

It's interesting when we make chains like this. But when you do, you realise that there's not necessarily any reason why players these days are any better than those of earlier decades.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 10:44 AM   #20
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I have seen some footage of Maureen. But that was of her rallying on the baseline. It didn't appear as if she hit the ball that hard. But who knows? I've always thought Mo was the consistent baseliner kind like Evert, rather than someone who relied on power.

Anyway, I think that she's too short to be a force on the today but who knows.

How tall was Helen Wills anyway? Now that's someone I'm willing to bet will be a force on the tour if she was born in the 1980's instead.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 11:02 AM   #21
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Maureen hit the ball magnificently. She was the Chris Evert of her era ... and I think her shots had quite a lot of sting to them judging from the footage I have of her 3 Wimbledon victories. I don't have the complete matches, just about 15 minutes of highlights from each plus post match interviews. Unfortunately that's all that has been kept from Wimbledon in that era.

But deadly accurate and powerful drives to the corners off both wings. And she was quite fast around the court.

I'm never keen on trying to compare eras ... but a champion is a champion and would most likely adjust to the conditions of the day. And Maureen is one of our legends of the game - such a tragedy that her career was cut short.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 11:30 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam L
I have seen some footage of Maureen. But that was of her rallying on the baseline. It didn't appear as if she hit the ball that hard. But who knows? I've always thought Mo was the consistent baseliner kind like Evert, rather than someone who relied on power.

Anyway, I think that she's too short to be a force on the today but who knows.

How tall was Helen Wills anyway? Now that's someone I'm willing to bet will be a force on the tour if she was born in the 1980's instead.
Helen Wills was around about 6 feet. And her domination ended 20 years before Connolly, so I don't see why Connolly wouldn't have beaten Wills. Connolly beat some of the players who'd beaten players who had played Wills - if that makes sense?

True, I think Connolly would have struggled in today's game with her height, and not just her height, but her style of play allied to her height. If she had been a volleyer, then who knows. But go back to 1982, when they were still using wood, and I don't see why Connolly would not still have been a great champion, because the women were no bigger and hitting no harder than 30 years earlier.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffica Greles
...And Evert at 34 was competing with the likes of Sabatini, who was playing against Davenport and beating her as late as 1995. And Davenport happens to be number one in the world RIGHT NOW...
Evert (IMO), to her everlasting credit, got out of the game at just the right time. Her last 6 matches against Graf (all losses, even though a couple were competitive) at the end of the 80s signalled the end of an era when women could rely primarily on court tactics and heady play. Both Graf and Seles were well on their way to destroying Evert on a regular basis, simply by overpowering her with winners from the baseline. Sabatini was never a power baseline player. She was (and still is) famous for her flourishing, overly-topspinned and loopy strokes, as well as weak serve. Easy pickings for someone like Evert if you give her that much time to set up. Davenport in 1995? Take a look at her match with Steffi Graf from the Australian Open that year. Pudge, pudge, call the judge, mama's had a baby- not a girl, not a boy, just a little baby!

All funnin' aside- give them all a standard size frame, and a Connolly/Evert match would be a hot ticket.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
Both Graf and Seles were well on their way to destroying Evert on a regular basis, simply by overpowering her with winners from the baseline.
Um, Evert was 31 already by the time Graf defeated her for the first time.

Graf wasn't even on tour anymore at the age of 31 for someone like Serena Williams to beat her up.



If anyone got out IN TIME, it was Graf. The year or so after she left really signalled the arrival of the Williams sisters. And her record against them would've been embarassing if she continued to play on in those years.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 12:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam L
Um, Evert was 31 already by the time Graf defeated her for the first time.

Graf wasn't even on tour anymore at the age of 31 for someone like Serena Williams to beat her up.



If anyone got out IN TIME, it was Graf. The year or so after she left really signalled the arrival of the Williams sisters. And her record against them would've been embarassing if she continued to play on in those years.
I wonder what kind of excuses Maureen Connolly had. There was speculation that she could have returned to playing as early as 1956 or 1957, but simply chose to be a wife and mother (not that this choice was less stressful) instead of returning to tennis. I'd also be interested in hearing from any Aussies here about Maureen's trip to Australia. How was she received?
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #26
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Okay, I've been a scanning fool this weekend, so here's a couple Little Mo shots to share:



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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 06:23 PM   #27
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The Connolly Volley

Reportedly, she was very uncomfortable anywhere inside the service line. This pic shows that- a little awkward looking:

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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samn
Your arguments are all reasonable, but isn't it a bit of a stretch to assume that Connolly would have beaten today's players because of her focus and concentration based solely on the fact that those were her assets as a teenager? Many great players have said that they found it easier to focus on court when they were younger and that, the older they got, the more prone they were to getting nervous or losing their concentration. Isn't it just as valid to wonder whether she'd have managed to maintain that sort of focus if she had to deal with injuries, stress, and a physically demanding style of play that players today have to put up with?
She probably would have been the greatest person of her height to play the game if she were around today. But I have to agree that we cannot assume she just could have just walked on court today and beaten the daylights out of Venus or Lindsay.
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #29
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

I was looking for a Maureen Connolly thread and found four ones from the Thread Finder. I chose this one hazardously for a few points that fit more with what I'd like to observe from this short but interesting footage (that you've probably all seen by now):



From what I see: Connolly had great footwork - I mean: GREAT footwork, comparable to Steffi Graf. For the way she plays, on the other hand, I can't understand the comparison to Chris Evert. Chris doesn't hit the ball that way. Actually Maureen reminds me more of one Navratilova who would stay at the baseline. She hits the ball with the same kind of power, that seems to live in her right arm only. But to the contrary of Martina, doesn't seem attracted to the net. Connolly doesn't go the ball, she takes the time to be perfectly placed and hits the ball at the top of the bounce, with speed and power. This shows a taste for hitting the ball, but at the same time her footwork is very aerial. I think the comparison to Graf is the one that fits better (toute proportion gardée), but now it's from this short footage only, and it doesn't say everything about Connolly's game either.

From the few footages where we can see Little Mo facing other champions of her day (Louise Brough, Doris Hart...), she looks totally modern. Hart and Brough seem to hit the ball pretty well, but their footwork looks amateurish.

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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 04:20 PM   #30
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

GRAF'S VERVE AND PLAY SUMMON UP MEMORIES OF CONNOLLY
Chicago Tribune
Sunday, September 11, 1988
MIKE CONKLIN

At 14, she was an unknown Californian who impressed tennis great Jack Kramer at the La Jolla Beach Club when she whizzed a ball past him for an early point.

''I was with a prince from India, and she was with a local pro," recalled Kramer. "It was supposed to be a friendly doubles match. I knew then she was something special."

Maureen "Mo" Connolly left an early impression with Kramer, and in a career that sounds like something out of a movie, she sizzled across the sports horizon like one of her smashing serves.

At 16, she helped the U.S. to a victory in the Wightman Cup competition, and then boldly told Ted Tinling, famed clothing designer for women's tennis stars, that he should begin making outfits for her for the tour.

"She just marched up to me and said: 'I like your clothes. I'm going to wear them,' " said Tinling.

At 17, she called a news conference while in England, announced she was firing her longtime coach, "Teach" Tennant, and then went out to become the youngest Wimbledon champion in more than 60 years.

At 18, she became the youngest as well as the first female Grand Slam winner.

At 19, after she successfully defended her French and Wimbledon crowns amid rumors of a romance with a dashing Navy officer, her playing days abruptly ended in a horseback riding accident.

She even joined Kramer as a paid spokesperson for the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. soon after her playing days came to a halt, something that was almost unheard of for a female athlete in the 1950s.

"She was way ahead of her time, all right," said Kramer at this year's U.S. Open. "Just imagine what it would've been like if there hadn't been the accident. She had a cockiness, or overbearing, that always gave you the feeling that she was in charge and you were just an onlooker.

"The minute she got off the court, she lit up. But on the court, I'm not kidding, she was a damned killer.

"It's just too bad the world really never got to know what she was like. We even saw her fight the battle of cancer."

Connolly died at 34, leaving behind two daughters and her husband, Norman Brinker, the former Navy man and U.S. Olympic equestrian competitor.

If Connolly were still with us, she'd be the toast of this year's U.S. Open in which Steffi Graf is trying to become only the third woman to win the Grand Slam in a calendar year.

Connolly's death came in June, 1969 - within a week of the birth of Graf.

Her struggle with cancer showed the same determination she displayed on the tennis court. There were three major stomach operations over a three-year period before she succumbed.

"My sister and I never knew she was dying," said Cindy Brinker, Connolly's oldest daughter. "Being the champion she was, she thought she could beat it."

Brinker said that the day before Connolly died she remembers her mother practicing an acceptance speech for an award she was to receive later in the summer.

"I'm just sick she's not here," said Cindy Brinker, who administers the Connolly-Brinker Foundation and is active in other tennis endeavors in the Dallas area. "I miss her so much. I've stayed active in the sport because it makes me feel closer to her.

"I'm following the Open breathlessly because Steffi reminds me so much of Mom."

Connolly's first Wimbledon title in 1952 may have best characterized her style both on and off the court.

The 17-year-old Connolly, fresh from winning the U.S. championships, had the British press eating from her hand as soon as she stepped off the airplane, posing for all the picture requests.

Mo went straight from the airport to an arena in London to see a boxing match. "I don't believe in strict training," she said. "Bed by 11 o'clock is early enough, and an occasional night out until 1 a.m. is all right, too."

It was at this Wimbledon that she had a much-publicized falling out with Tennant, a famed San Diego-area coach who had tutored Bobby Riggs and Alice Marble. The dispute centered on how Connolly should treat a nagging shoulder injury, and Mo horrified the English by calling a news conference to announce a split with her mentor.

In the third round, Connolly was on the brink of elimination, down 4-5 in the deciding set, with British favorite Susan Partridge one point away from match point. Mo scrambled to make it 30-all when something that sounded like a scene from "The Natural" occurred.

"At 30-all, suddenly piercing the tense silence, a young voice rang out clear and bold: 'Give 'em hell, Mo!' " she wrote in her book, "Forehand Drive."

"I stood stunned, paused, looked and saw a U.S. Air Force boy," she continued. "His face was a flash of youth, shining and glowing with friendliness. I did not know him. I had never met him. But truly, in that second, I was lifted to the heights by a stranger. I smiled and said, 'Thank you,' in a whisper."

Connolly went from that point to win the match, eventually advancing to the finals to beat Louise Brough after downing Shirley Fry in the semifinals.

When she returned to San Diego, Connolly was presented with a horse - Colonel Merryboy - in civic ceremonies arranged by the San Diego Jaycees.

Two years later, Colonel Merryboy was spooked by a truck and threw Connolly. She suffered severe leg injuries and, after several comeback tries, ended her career in 1955 at age 20.

"In a way," said Tinling, "it almost seems natural that she didn't play very long. I just wonder how anyone could've maintained her intensity for a long period of time.

"There was only one like her."
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