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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

Does anyone have a video clip of the post-match speeches after the 1981 Toyota finals? I'd love to hear the fan bellowing "This is Joisey, you dummy" at Tracy. Also, the bit where Deford refers to Pammy as "stunning" made me laugh out loud. Since we all know that our Pammy is into dudes and is NOT a lesbian, no sirree, Bob, I wonder if she counts Frank among her conquests.

On a more serious note, reading this article leaves me with a sort of ache in my heart knowing that this was to be Austin's last hurrah and that she'd be pretty much finished as a professional tennis player within a year and a half. Women's tennis would have been so much more interesting in the mid 80s with a healthy Austin challenging the Evertilova axis.

She Won, But Is She No. 1?
Tracy Austin was indeed driven as she won the Toyota Championships to stake her claim to the top spot in women's tennis
- by Frank Deford

As the old rhyme goes, "Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,/Please to put a penny in the old man's hat./If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do...." It was that sort of year in the battle for supremacy in women's tennis: A ha'penny was the best anybody could do. Consequently, when the Toyota Championships were held last week on a holiday court of green fringed with poinsettia-red banners, three of the sport's elite were still in the hunt. For the first time, it was quite possible that No. 1 for the year would be decided by a tournament winding up Christmas week.

The victor, it developed, was Tracy Austin, who beat Martina Navratilova in a three-set final, much as she had come back against the same opponent to win the U.S. Open. Austin had cruised to victory in the semis over the third claimant to No. 1, Chris Evert Lloyd, but earlier in the week, in the best match of the tournament, Austin had lost to Evert Lloyd. Austin lived to win another day because the Toyota is one of those tournaments for which only eight players qualify, and there has to be a way to keep everybody around for the weekend gate.

It was an appropriate note on which to end a year of confusion. The winner wasn't even sure where she had won, which was the new Brendan Byrne Meadowlands Arena, a beautiful $85 million edifice that has risen alongside a racetrack and a stadium in the New Jersey marshes across the Hudson River from Manhattan, the three athletic monuments looming up like the Pyramids. But in her bread-and-butter victory speech Austin said, "New York seems to be my city, I guess." As the catcalls rained down, one especially loud local voice bellowed, "This is Joisey, you dummy."

In any event, a few days earlier, as the tournament opened before sparse crowds, an argument could have been made for all three pretenders to No. 1, but just as easily against: Scissors cut paper, paper wraps rock, rock breaks scissors. Coming into the Meadowlands, these were the curricula vitae:

Evert Lloyd—Best winning percentage (.929) and tournament victory record (eight for 13). Won Wimbledon. Tough draws all year and never failed to reach semis in any event. But choosier schedule (28 fewer matches than Navratilova) and nothing special since the Fortnight.

Navratilova—Most wins (86 of 99 matches), record prize money (more than $800,000). Quarters French, semis Wimbledon, finals U.S. Open, won Australia, a nice progression up as the year wore on. In March won Avon Championships, culmination of the winter indoor tour. Also to be considered in a tight race: lead player on world's best doubles team. But didn't win either Wimbledon or U.S. Open and failed to win 50% of tournaments. Also, two bad losses, to Claudia Kohde (ranked 67th at the time), and Betsy Nagelsen (33). In women's tennis, a bad loss means losing to a lesser light. Navratilova lost love and love on clay to Evert Lloyd this year, but even that double bagel isn't considered a bad loss; it's just a day's beating from one of your own kind.

Austin—Head-to-head edge over both Evert Lloyd (1-0) and Navratilova (3-2). Won U.S. Open. Also won Canadian Open against class field, beating Navratilova in semis and Evert Lloyd in finals. But out first third of year with sciatica, so missed French. Only quarters at Wimbledon and Australia, losing to Pam Shriver both places. Two bad losses, to Sandy Collins (29) and Sue Barker (15).

Evert Lloyd was clearly the leader. In Australia earlier this month she beat Navratilova in a prelim tournament and then lost to her 7-5 in the third set in the finals of the Open. In New Jersey she wasn't so much a loser as the victim of a bungled draw and a greedy double-elimination format that prevailed up to the semifinals.

Tennis promoters love round robins and double eliminations for the same reason NBA owners love playoffs: Drawing cards can't be rubbed out early. But such arrangements are a bastard form of the sport and invariably create distortions or fraud. Besides, the very heart of tennis competition is knockout: Losers leave. The indomitable Evert Lloyd has played many roles in her career, and even though Austin won the tournament, perhaps the fate of the martyred Mrs. Lloyd will finally cause this hideous format to be deep-sixed.

Here is how they burned her at the stake. First, although she was seeded second, Chris was obliged to face the fifth seed in her opening match. It has been worse, of course. As the top seed at both the Canadian and U.S. Opens this year, Evert Lloyd had to play fifth-seeded Hana Mandlikova in the quarters of both tournaments. That's a travesty. The first seed should draw No. 8 in the quarters, second seed No. 7, and so on. That's why you seed. To seed someone first or second and then give her the draw the third or fourth seed deserves is, to rework Lincoln some, like calling a tail a leg and thereby claiming that a dog has five legs.

Anyway, onward with Evert Lloyd. It was even more bad luck for her that Shriver, though seeded fifth, was, as everybody recognized, the fourth-best player in the field. Andrea Jaeger, the high school drop-in, seeded fourth, is never at her best in major tournaments, suffering a slight touch of Lendl's disease at these times. But at the Meadowlands she was also a shadow of her old young self. Andrea is an adorable little sprite, but she is drained. In May she jetted to Tokyo for a doubles tournament, and she took a full month off from 11th grade to play in Australia. Down Under the press excoriated her for the unbecoming petulance she is developing, and in New Jersey all the joy was missing from her labors, even when she tromped Hana Mandlikova in an opening-round match.

It's hard to believe that, only a few months ago, Mandlikova, the French champion, was the leading candidate for Player of the Year. Is she still bothered by her back injury but refusing to alibi? Or, as she maintains, is she whole of body again but still thinking of her back? Whatever, on this marvelous athletic package, suddenly much postage is due.

By contrast, Shriver has never been better. Only 19, she has grown up to become a positively stunning woman—nearly everybody's favorite, if not for her looks then for her animation. The curly-haired Shriver is rather what we can imagine Little Orphan Annie would have become if she had been given pupils and legs. Shriver pounds the stuffing out of her serve and occasionally even negotiates a ground stroke or two.

She won her first set ever from Evert Lloyd in a first-round match and carried her to a tiebreaker, too, before falling nobly, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. That cleared the path for Evert Lloyd's Thursday-night match with Austin. If anyone ever had any doubts about Chris's determination, she erased them when she met the press after beating Shriver. "Chris," said the gentleman from The Times, "you had nine set points in the second. Have you ever given up that many set points before?"

If looks could kill. Chris stared at him before slowly uttering, "You should know. I don't ever give up points."

"Squandered?" he ventured. Yes, she admitted, that might be a record.


Austin had uncharacteristically squandered some opportunities of her own in Australia, but against Evert Lloyd on Thursday she was never more stalwart than in the seventh game of the first set, when she held serve in a titanic struggle that lasted 26 points. At least 500 shots were struck in this game, 49 in one rally alone. The seventh game of a set is always said to be pivotal, and indeed it seemed to be so here. Austin won the first set 6-4 and took a 4-2 lead in the second after hitting her first volley of the evening.

When facing Austin, Evert Lloyd may be seeing a portrait of herself as a young woman, but theirs is never any simple looking-glass war. Tracy hits hard, harder, hardest. As her coach, Marty Riessen, acknowledges, she never really plays against anybody. "Tracy's got to learn that she can do better adjusting some against different opponents," he says.

Evert Lloyd herself knows that she must vary the menu against Austin, change speeds and dink, even attempt some low-percentage shots in the same way that a pitcher wastes a few. Let Austin dig in behind the baseline and she'll win any war of attrition. What's so emotionally wearing about making her chase shots is that Austin is far quicker and a better retriever than she is given credit for being.

On Thursday, though, Evert Lloyd's more intelligent presentation eventually began to tell. It wasn't easy to see—it was like watching soil erosion, for God's sake—but there it was: Chris coming to net a little more than she had in the early stages of the match, hitting a few more shots Tracy couldn't reach and, perhaps of greater importance, a few more that forced her to hit off the wrong foot. Four straight games for Evert Lloyd and, after two hours, a 4-6, 6-4 dead heat.

Then Evert Lloyd moves ahead. She has two match points at 5-3. Austin saves. Chris serves for the match at 5-4, but Tracy breaks and then holds for 6-5. The match has now passed the three-hour mark. None of their matches has lasted so long. Austin goes up love-30. Chris comes back, winning four straight points. And now the tiebreaker. Evert Lloyd wins another four straight points. Surely it's over. No. Austin wins four points in a row. It has been three hours, 15 minutes: 4-6, 6-4, 6-6 (4-4).

And you know what happened then? Austin double-faulted. Really. For the first time in the match. That was the whole difference. You never know how you look till you get your picture took. Eighteen minutes into the fourth hour of the match Evert Lloyd won the tiebreaker, 7-5.

"I thought I was going to hyperventilate just watching them," Shriver said. "God knows how they were doing it."

"It was the most grueling match I ever played," said Evert Lloyd. "I had aches in places I never had before." But with a 2-0 record she earned a pass (as did Navratilova) into the semis. At 1-1, Austin was required to meet Mima Jausovec on Friday night before Shriver and Jaeger, the other 1-1ers, faced off. For much of the match Tracy looked like a boxer—Duran? Frazier?—who can never be the same again after one punishing bout. Austin had a blood blister on her hand and "rug" burns on her feet. Jausovec, who had never so much as taken a set from her, won the first one 6-1. Tracy finally escaped 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, but she needed two and a half hours.

Afterward came the main event of the evening. Shriver, who beat Jaeger 6-3, 6-2, flipped a coin. Heads, Evert Lloyd would get Shriver in the semis; tails, Chris would face Austin. Isn't that a great way to run a championship?

Tails. One simply had to see the reactions of the two principals to know that it was quite unnecessary to go through the motions of playing the damn thing. Austin was so thrilled about the possibility of revenge that she couldn't bear to watch the flip and sent Riessen in her place. Chris got the word back at her hotel. Dennis Ralston, her coach, came round to see her later. "What do you think?" she said glumly. He didn't even have to ask her whom she would play.

If you needed to know any more, Evert Lloyd wore black for the match. She virtually stood still, and her mind seemed to be elsewhere as Austin blasted winners all over the place. Evert Lloyd held serve once. She lost nine straight games and 14 consecutive points. Final score: 6-1, 6-2.

Well, her husband's in Australia and that affects her, people said. It wouldn't have made any difference if her husband had been the net-cord judge. "Every tense match you have drains you a little more," Evert Lloyd said. "I didn't have as much of me tonight as Tracy did of herself." Tracy said that was interesting, that she'd always heard that playing more gives you experience. Austin doesn't give an inch.

As Navratilova, who defeated Shriver 6-4, 7-6 in the other semi, would find out again. In the U.S. Open she ran Tracy off the court in the first set, 6-1, and then lost two tiebreakers. This time the turnaround was even more devastating. Navratilova won eight straight games to win the first set 6-2 and go up a break in the second. Then Austin assumed total command and finished her off four and two.

It was like two separate matches. In the beginning Navratilova was brilliant, staying back, trading ground strokes with the nonpareil of ground strokes—but undercutting almost everything, never providing Austin with the pace she favors. When Martina ventured up, it was almost always to clip off easy volleys or smashes. Typical of her superb play was the shot with which she broke to go ahead 2-0 in the second. Navratilova stepped up and sharply angled a forehand cross-court that Austin could only wave at. As Martina prepared to serve for 3-0, 1981 belonged to her.

We didn't know it then, but five points later the jig would be up. Austin broke at 15 with a backhand drive down the line, and the set was back on serve. "I started to play my own game," Austin said later, "and stopped worrying about what she was doing. I started hitting harder."

Still, as Martina ruefully admitted, she continued to play it safe, never pressuring Austin. Tracy moved into command and then in for the kill. By the end, roles had become so reversed that it was Austin who was boldly knocking off volleys. It was the most complete, all-court Austin we have ever seen.

Navratilova cried when it was over. So close. The last four times she and Austin have gone three sets, Tracy has won. And as Austin improves, who will be there to challenge her in the year ahead? But that is 1982. The jury must now rule on 1981.

Tennis has no one omniscient ranking authority, but major opinions will be offered by a board of the International Tennis Federation, by the London Daily Telegraph and by World Tennis magazine. (The latter's competitor, Tennis magazine, for some reason closed out its rankings in early December.) The choice now is obviously down to Evert Lloyd and Austin. And by a hairsbreadth, on the basis of a full year's consistency and a 7-5 third-set tiebreaker in the most grueling match she has ever played, this year's shiniest ha'penny must be Mrs. Christine Marie Evert Lloyd.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 03:21 PM   #2
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

Thanks for that great article Samn. I just love 1981 far and away my favourite WTA year, and like many others, wish I saw that Chris/Tracy match.

Though it pains me to say, I think that Tracy was the no.1 for 1981, and her efforts to come back after that epic Chris match is a further illustration of her guts and determination.

I can see his argument though that if it had been an elimination style tournament, that Tracy would have been out of the tournament, but it wasn't, and we can only go by what actually happened than what we believe should have happened.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Thanks for that great article Samn. I just love 1981 far and away my favourite WTA year, and like many others, wish I saw that Chris/Tracy match.

Though it pains me to say, I think that Tracy was the no.1 for 1981, and her efforts to come back after that epic Chris match is a further illustration of her guts and determination.

I can see his argument though that if it had been an elimination style tournament, that Tracy would have been out of the tournament, but it wasn't, and we can only go by what actually happened than what we believe should have happened.
Certainly, one of the most interesting years from the ranking point of view.

It's a pity P/F never got round to this one in the Ranking Projects.

Although she did have an h2h advantage over Chris personally I can't really see that Martina had a strong claim to the #1 spot.

I hate round robins because IMO it can really muddy the waters but as you say you can't alter the fact after the event and Austin won the event.

It's a bit offputting that Chris would be #1 with losing h2hs against her two main rivals but then it can't also be ignored that Tracy lsot in two Slams at the quarter-final stage to Pam Shriver.

So you would need to have the full results in front of you.

Maybe once Rollo gets the full data for 1981 completed we'll get something organised and rank the players for it.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 07:38 PM   #4
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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I can see his argument though that if it had been an elimination style tournament, that Tracy would have been out of the tournament, but it wasn't, and we can only go by what actually happened than what we believe should have happened.
On the other hand, if it had been a regular elimination draw, Evert and Austin would not have faced off before the semis anyway since they were both among the top four seeds. Austin and Evert Lloyd would both have played one of the 5-8 seeds (Shriver, Mandlikova, Jausovec, Ruzici) for a place in the semifinals.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

Thanks for posting that Samn. Brilliant wriring by Deford, and one of the most dramatic ending to the what may have been the greatest year ever in women's tennis.

Is it ok if I copy the post in the 1981 thread?
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 07:03 AM   #6
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Originally Posted by chris whiteside View Post
Certainly, one of the most interesting years from the ranking point of view.

It's a pity P/F never got round to this one in the Ranking Projects.

Although she did have an h2h advantage over Chris personally I can't really see that Martina had a strong claim to the #1 spot.

I hate round robins because IMO it can really muddy the waters but as you say you can't alter the fact after the event and Austin won the event.

It's a bit offputting that Chris would be #1 with losing h2hs against her two main rivals but then it can't also be ignored that Tracy lsot in two Slams at the quarter-final stage to Pam Shriver.

So you would need to have the full results in front of you.

Maybe once Rollo gets the full data for 1981 completed we'll get something organised and rank the players for it.
Chris was definitely #1 for 1981, not only via the computer rankings (and she had a comfortable lead too), but in the minds of every expert too.

Even though she had losing H2H against Austin (1-2) and Navratilova (2-3), her overall consistency, which was much greater than Navratilova or Austin, gives her the edge.

Martina had her big rush at the end, and had she won the US Open, she would have a terrific claim to #1. I think even if Martina had won the Toyota Championships over Austin, Chris was still #1.

Tracy missed the first 4 months of the year, started slowly, and had a good two month run in August-September, winning 4 tournaments in a row. I don't think that's enough to claim #1.

Martina won more matches, but lost more than Evert and Austin combined.

But Chris was winning, and winning consistently throughout the year. She won the first 33 matches she played. It was close, but I say it was Evert, Austin, and Navratilova for the year. One of the closest season ending rankings ever.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #7
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Chris was definitely #1 for 1981, not only via the computer rankings (and she had a comfortable lead too), but in the minds of every expert too.

Even though she had losing H2H against Austin (1-2) and Navratilova (2-3), her overall consistency, which was much greater than Navratilova or Austin, gives her the edge.

Martina had her big rush at the end, and had she won the US Open, she would have a terrific claim to #1. I think even if Martina had won the Toyota Championships over Austin, Chris was still #1.

Tracy missed the first 4 months of the year, started slowly, and had a good two month run in August-September, winning 4 tournaments in a row. I don't think that's enough to claim #1.

Martina won more matches, but lost more than Evert and Austin combined.

But Chris was winning, and winning consistently throughout the year. She won the first 33 matches she played. It was close, but I say it was Evert, Austin, and Navratilova for the year. One of the closest season ending rankings ever.
I guess it always comes back to the age old question: What do you value more, consistency, or the peaks. Though 1981 was a 3 horse race, I think most would agree that it actually boiled down to Tracy or Chris. I think Tracy holding 2 of the 5 biggest tournaments, and beating both Chris and Martina along the way to claim the Toyota title gives her the no.1, plus the fact that she had winning H2H record against both of them. Sure she lost twice in the QF to Pam, but these weren't bad losses, ie Tracy's troughs weren't too bad.

Much is made of the fact that Tracy didn;t play early in the season, but in one of the 1981 threads, comparing the 3 players, it showed that Tracy actually played a lot of matches during the year- much more than what many people thought.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

It's great to have you back BCP! How have you been?
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #9
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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On the other hand, if it had been a regular elimination draw, Evert and Austin would not have faced off before the semis anyway since they were both among the top four seeds. Austin and Evert Lloyd would both have played one of the 5-8 seeds (Shriver, Mandlikova, Jausovec, Ruzici) for a place in the semifinals.
this is true, but what happened in the semi was more a result of the drain of that 3 + hour encounter in the RR; chris had been gearing up to re-validate herself as the best baseliner, so abstractly, her having to go thru austin twice is still the issue. what it probably ended up showing (to play twice in quick succession like that) was that it took more out of chris than a teenaged tracy, who was able to bounce back, than per se what may have happened had they met for the first time in the SF round.

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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #10
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Is it ok if I copy the post in the 1981 thread?
Sure! Do you want to move the thread to the one for 1981?
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #11
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Originally Posted by daze11 View Post
this is true, but what happened in the semi was more a result of the drain of that 3 + hour encounter in the RR; chris had been gearing up to re-validate herself as the best baseliner, so abstractly, her having to go thru austin twice is still the issue. what it probably ended up showing (to play twice in quick succession like that) was that it took more out of chris than a teenaged tracy, who was able to bounce back, than per se what may have happened had they met for the first time in the SF round.
Well, I don't really buy the excuse that Austin was able to bounce back because she was younger. Chris did, after all, get a day off in between while Austin had to play another three setter against Mima Jausovec to even get to the semis. So Evert not only played one less match than Austin, she also got a day to recover after the arduous three setter. (Besides I think Evert would probably have lost to Navratilova too if they had faced off in the semis.)
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Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 05:56 AM   #12
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

A. I don't agree with the sentiment that it was "brilliant" writing by Deford. But then again I am rather biased against him. It did have is moments. And I never laughed so hard when I read his comments about Shriver! "Positively stunning woman." ? ? ! ? "Nearly everyone's favorite" ? ? ! ? How much did Pam have to pay him to write that? At least Deford got it right that "occasionally....[she] negotiates a groundstroke or two."

But I digress.

I place more of a value on overall consistency, and a player's performance throughout the year. If for whatever reason, injury, burnout, indifference, a player doesn't compete for a whole season I think that can (in my book) detract from an overall assessment when ranking players. Tracy had a great season in 1981. I just think Chris' overall season and record were better. But I respect other's opinions and analysis.

As for who was better able to bounce back, it's not surprising to me that the Austin-Evert semi was a whitewash. Several of their matches were one-sided. The Toyota semi, along with the Italian semi, were their two only really close matches. Every other match was relatively one sided. I even include their 1980 US Open semi. Austin won the first set 6-4, but Chrissie steamrolled from there. They played only one other three setter (NJ in 1979, when Chris roared back from a 6-7,2-4 deficit to win 10 of 11 games).

Despite a tough defeat for Chris in 1981, Chris got perfect revenge by blanking Tracy 60,60 exactly one year later! I know Tracy was beginning her decline physically. But that match, along with their 1980 US Open semi, really showed how much better an overall player Chris was than Tracy. I always felt that from every area of the court, serve, forehand, backhand, volley, court movement, and tactics, Evert was the better player. However, it was often who executed better, and who was more patient. Tracy was practically Chris' equal in the mental department. And quite frankly, IMHO, Chris got spooked by Tracy from the first time they ever played, and that affected her down the road. It was like Chris envisioned Tracy was going to be a better version of herself (which she wasn't) and in part was why Tracy was able to dominate for a short time.

Amazing how rapidly Austin went down after her Toyota triumph. In the first Avon event of 1982, she lost second round to Anne Smith, and never was able to challenge for the top spot. And Martina soared right away.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:15 AM   #13
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

Thanks Rollo- I haven't been away really. I just read more than post, but always in the mood to talk about 1981!

Great to see so many posters in BFTP now, and to see that Mark40 is back too...............
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #14
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Originally Posted by BCP View Post
Thanks for that great article Samn. I just love 1981 far and away my favourite WTA year, and like many others, wish I saw that Chris/Tracy match.

Though it pains me to say, I think that Tracy was the no.1 for 1981, and her efforts to come back after that epic Chris match is a further illustration of her guts and determination.

I can see his argument though that if it had been an elimination style tournament, that Tracy would have been out of the tournament, but it wasn't, and we can only go by what actually happened than what we believe should have happened.
I am with you on that. 1981 was a truly fantastic year and deserves to be remembered and praised. It is somehow appropriate that the number one ranking went right down to the wire in 81. That reflected the closeness and quality of the year.
On another point it is absolutely tragic for the game that this was the last great performance from Tracy Austin. Navratilova and Evert would have been hard pushed to keep up with her if injuries had not gotten her. In Everts case I am sure that she would have fallen behind both Navratilova and Austin in the eighties.
Austins injury was as significant a moment in tennis as the horsing accident that stopped the career of Maureen Connolly.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #15
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Re: SI article on the 1981 Toyota Championships

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Originally Posted by iainmac View Post
I am with you on that. 1981 was a truly fantastic year and deserves to be remembered and praised. It is somehow appropriate that the number one ranking went right down to the wire in 81. That reflected the closeness and quality of the year.
On another point it is absolutely tragic for the game that this was the last great performance from Tracy Austin. Navratilova and Evert would have been hard pushed to keep up with her if injuries had not gotten her. In Everts case I am sure that she would have fallen behind both Navratilova and Austin in the eighties.
Austins injury was as significant a moment in tennis as the horsing accident that stopped the career of Maureen Connolly.
This is where I'm going to have to disagree with you. Definitely Tracy had Chris's number for a while, but I think Chris is the better player- much more versatile, and more nimble around the court, with a better range of shots. Tracy is definitely the more aggressive, and maybe more hungry as she was newer to the tour (so maybe a very slight edge in the mental department), but the way she played would have been too tough on her body. The way that Chris plays is a lot easier on her body, and makes her a lot less prone to injury.

I think that the two telling matches were the 80 US Open semi, and this RR Toyota match (though I never saw it)- I think the 80 USO semi really demonstrated the difference between the two.

As an aside, interesting to hear that the writer thought that Shirver was the no.4 for the year. We all know Hana faded pretty badly after Wimbeldon, but she had a pretty strong start to the season, and Jaeger reached no.2 for a while I think.

Rollo, I think you did a ranking exercise a long while back. What was the order of your top 10?
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