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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 02:48 AM   #46
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by Declan View Post
I can't be arsed to look it all up, but I always thought it was a fact that the final head to head was 9-8 in Tracy's favour. As a Chris fan I always thought the final 6-0 6-0 encounter sort of counted as two wins so the honours were even!!!

What about Tracy's comeback? Not the accident-hit 1989 attempt, but the full-on 1994 version? In her autoboigraphy, published about two years earlier, she said she thought she still had the game to get back into the top 15 in the rankings, no question, but further than that, she didn't know. But the reality was far less impressive, and she stalled in the 80s, I think. Did anyone actually see her play for her few months back on tour? I was due to see her in Eastbourne but she disappointly lost to Kristine Radford in her first match, the day before I had tickets to the event, and she announced her permanent retirement there and then...Damn!!
I saw Tracy play doubles in 1988 in New Orleans with Stephanie Rehe. They beat G.Fernandez/R.White before losing to Beth Herr and Candy Reynolds fairly easily. I saw the loss. Herr and Reynolds were traditional doubles players while Rehe/Austin were not strong serve/volleyers. I remember not being impressed with her power. Neither she nor Rehe could hurt their opponents at all.

I saw clips of her win in '93 over K.Maleeva. I was shocked that she won. The points that I saw looked like she was a rec player with good precision, but zero power. I think Maleeva just didn't show up.

I wonder if her back to back losses to Rottier that year were the only times she ever lost to the same player in consecutive matches.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 04:05 AM   #47
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

Tracy is always a terrific and tough subject, and this is NOT to malign the girl i so fondly call 'Braces' (hug) but to highlight some of the resistance some people probably put up when confronted with placing tracy at a certain tier of accomplishment. while she was handed a tough set of cards in the end, what she got was 'legend' because her whole existence is such a wild collection of what ifs and unknowns. many assume the legend would have been toward the greater, but that's not necessarily so when you look at all the teen phenoms who come and go after a few strong years.

first, the issue of her rivalry with chris -- they played 6 years but everyone tends to focus on & make many judgments by the 4 1/2 month stretch during which chris was handily beaten by tracy, with evert winning just 25 games in 5 matches total.

on the other side of that coin is that FIVE of tracy's 9-to-8 career head to head wins all happened in this very short span of time, when chris was dealing with the meaning of her marriage commitments at the same moment tracy was on an ascendency of fearlessness and desire (which happens for every great player when they first hit)... it is hard to find stable ground for meaning and measurements in such a tiny window of time with those heavily-weighing factors on both player's plates.

especially in regard to a player who never won -or reached a final- of any other slam on any other surface than the us open's hard court.

one could suggest that she may have developed into a fine grass court player but her overwhelming tendency to take the ball on the rise -- which serves her terrifically on a hard court -- doesn't pan so well on grass with so many bad and uneven bounces. a player like chris can adjust because she waits for the ball to go waist high... tracy was tripped up at the shoe laces many times on grass because of her timing of the ball, which is born out of learning to play with consistent hard court bounces.

clay she was very good but also not overwhelming. her 'claim to fame' on clay is still the beating of evert 7-6 in the 3rd in rome, within a month of evert's marriage to lloyd. chrissie barely escaped fromholtz -- 8-6 in the 3rd -- the week prior in spain. so again, nice accomplishment to be able to claim, but there were once again a great deal of 'circumstances' attached to her victory from the outside. for me, its another inconclusive assumption about her prowess on the dirt. though she certainly didn't suck!

still, its one thing to make a big horrah at the party when you're the new kid, and the older players are trying to fend you off... but that pressure gets to everyone when --as tracy commented this year-- when you're "no longer the hunter but the hunted, its a whole different dynamic and not everyone can make that shift" and to my mind, she did not have time to prove herself in that. her extremely weak serve and rigid movement make me doubtful she would adapt to the demands of the graphite racquet that came knockin' on the door in 83... but she was very tough, determined, and strong willed competitor so no one can count her out. It just seems that she had an edge of power that would have been a tad neutralized by the bigger gunned racquets everyone would be using just around the corner, when she had to pull out of the sport with her injuries.

mandlikova could also beat both chris & martina, and proved she could do it in succession. she could also beat graf. she also won more slams and on more surfaces (twice as many slams on all 3 surfaces, to be exact). i have no problem placing her above austin. a player like hana suffers in comparison because she DID have to prove herself long term and didnt get to skip away on 'legend'; and after winning a few slams early and getting to some slam finals with very big wins, people started to learn her game and the pressure also mounted. theres no way to assume austin would have done it, any more than that sabatini would lose from 6-1 5-1 up at the french and never be the same again.

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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #48
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

From what I see, it seems Austin's numbers re Evert where fairly even but as Daze points out she was dominant during a very brieg period and so her stature got enhanced in the process, but in the big picture Evert got up the upper hand?
I think Austin's win at the Italian 79 is remarkable, but the wedding factor and all the pressure after such a long streak would have been hard to deal with (à la Nadal), and she would eventually lose some time, especially against a good player. Simply a probability issue. Yet I think it's right to assume that Austin was lucky to have played against Evert on clay more, as the number would have probably ended up better for Chris. I think the same about Nadal vs. Federer, yet the Spaniard brings the worst out of Federer, too many of their matches were on clay so Rafa got an advantage: Roger got to the finals on EVERY surface and got beaten by Nadal mostly on clay, but Rafa didn't reach all the finals on other surfaces so Roger couldn't get a chance to get even.
I think Navratilova's numbers against some players would have been different (especially the top players in early nineties) had she not skipped playing most of the clay court season and mainly Roland-Garros: she could beat anyone, but her chances were thinner on clay against the likes of Graf, Sánchez, Sabatini and some more.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #49
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by gabybackhand View Post
I think Navratilova's numbers against some players would have been different (especially the top players in early nineties) had she not skipped playing most of the clay court season and mainly Roland-Garros: she could beat anyone, but her chances were thinner on clay against the likes of Graf, Sánchez, Sabatini and some more.
the 6 matches (ie, if chris won 3 more of the 80 matches, they'd be even) that chris is down in the martina rivalry would definitely be evened out had navratilova not skipped the clay court season all those years (don't even get me strated!! ) ... especially as chris never skipped the indoor circuit even though most of her bad losses (including *ALL* of the bad ones to tracy) occured on indoor hardcourt.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #50
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by daze11 View Post
the 6 matches (ie, if chris won 3 more of the 80 matches, they'd be even) that chris is down in the martina rivalry would definitely be evened out had navratilova not skipped the clay court season all those years (don't even get me strated!! ) ... especially as chris never skipped the indoor circuit even though most of her bad losses (including *ALL* of the bad ones to tracy) occured on indoor hardcourt.
I know that this is a Tracy thread, but...
To add to this sentiment - From 1973-1977 Martina lost numerous times before the semis and finals of events. This rarely occurred in Evert's career. Therefore, I submit that Evert probably had more events that she won in which Martina played than events that Martina won in which Evert played - which in my mind might be more important than a h2h.

Also, noting the h2h in Grand Slam finals is overly Martina-favoring. Why didn't Chrissie beat Martina in more of her Slam finals. Often, that's because Martina lost earlier to someone else. You don't get that in a h2h.

Probably the same is true when comparing Austin vs. Evert.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #51
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Fed Cup is not the same as tournaments.

And I ask again, why didn't Austin play the French in 19791 or 1980? I don't believe it was injuries.

1981? Perhaps it was injuries. The German open was only her first event of the year.

Of course it's all supposition. But I will always maintain: AIN'T no way Austin would have beaten Evert at Roland Garros, or even on the green clay at Hilton Head or Amelia Island. No way. Why? Evert grew up on clay. Austin didn't. Chris had all the experience and skills to succeed on clay (125 in a row; 64 in a row). Tracy did not. Evert had a much more fluid and flexible game, which you need on clay to succeed.

And looking at it from the big picture. Being in shape, knowing how to train, how to maximize your physicality in the game of tennis is a skill. Some players have done it better than others. Luck is an issue too. Austin was injury prone from the time she was young. Evert was not.

There are too many "what ifs" out there for so many players. It's always easy to play the "what if" game for your favorite, because things didn't go their way. Some like to extrapolate out from a single result, meaning, well if it happened once, it was always going to happen the same way. (A classic example was Chris Evert's 6-0,6-0 demolition of Navratilova in 1981 Amelia Island. Who would have guessed that 3 years later in the very same tournament, Navratilova would win her first match ever over Evert on clay, and lose a mere 2 games in the process?) Tennis is an interesting sport. Results are never a given. But I tell you one thing. The closest there ever was to a give in tennis is Chris Evert's success on clay! And I do wish Chris and Tracy had played more often on clay. The H2H no doubt would have been in Evert's favor.
I believe Tracy missed Roland Garros in those key years because of school, quite simply. She said that seemed more important, and she figured she had many years thereafter to win in Paris.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #52
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

I'm in the mood for a bit of debate Daze-and as the new Austin mod-well


Quote:
Tracy is always a terrific and tough subject, and this is NOT to malign the girl i so fondly call 'Braces' (hug) but to highlight some of the resistance some people probably put up when confronted with placing tracy at a certain tier of accomplishment. while she was handed a tough set of cards in the end, what she got was 'legend' because her whole existence is such a wild collection of what ifs and unknowns. many assume the legend would have been toward the greater, but that's not necessarily so when you look at all the teen phenoms who come and go after a few strong years.
Which teen phenoms do you we know who won two slams and 3 other majors (counting the tour finales)? Austin stands alone in that category unless we mention Hingis.


Quote:
first, the issue of her rivalry with chris -- they played 6 years but everyone tends to focus on & make many judgments by the 4 1/2 month stretch during which chris was handily beaten by tracy, with evert winning just 25 games in 5 matches total.

on the other side of that coin is that FIVE of tracy's 9-to-8 career head to head wins all happened in this very short span of time, when chris was dealing with the meaning of her marriage commitments at the same moment tracy was on an ascendency of fearlessness and desire (which happens for every great player when they first hit)... it is hard to find stable ground for meaning and measurements in such a tiny window of time with those heavily-weighing factors on both player's plates.
Good points-but the fact that Austin had to endure beatdowns at the hands of Chris when she was 14 and 15 makes me less sympathetic.


Quote:
one could suggest that she may have developed into a fine grass court player but her overwhelming tendency to take the ball on the rise -- which serves her terrifically on a hard court -- doesn't pan so well on grass with so many bad and uneven bounces. a player like chris can adjust because she waits for the ball to go waist high... tracy was tripped up at the shoe laces many times on grass because of her timing of the ball, which is born out of learning to play with consistent hard court bounces.
Evert played 5 grass slams in her prime before she won 1 on her 6th attempt.
Austin had only Wimbledon from 1977 to 1981 until she played Down under.
Tracy has often mentioned her biggest regret is the Goolagong semi from 1980!

Quote:
clay she was very good but also not overwhelming. her 'claim to fame' on clay is still the beating of evert 7-6 in the 3rd in rome, within a month of evert's marriage to lloyd. chrissie barely escaped fromholtz -- 8-6 in the 3rd -- the week prior in spain. so again, nice accomplishment to be able to claim, but there were once again a great deal of 'circumstances' attached to her victory from the outside. for me, its another inconclusive assumption about her prowess on the dirt. though she certainly didn't suck!
Well Dianne Fromholtz didn't take Chris out. Little Miss Awesome did



Quote:
mandlikova could also beat both chris & martina, and proved she could do it in succession. she could also beat graf. she also won more slams and on more surfaces (twice as many slams on all 3 surfaces, to be exact). i have no problem placing her above austin. a player like hana suffers in comparison because she DID have to prove herself long term and didnt get to skip away on 'legend'; and after winning a few slams early and getting to some slam finals with very big wins, people started to learn her game and the pressure also mounted. theres no way to assume austin would have done it, any more than that sabatini would lose from 6-1 5-1 up at the french and never be the same again.
I'm glad you mentioned Navratilova. It would be one thing if Austin only terrorized Evert from 1979-1981, but she also beat Martina in their head to heads at that time.

That, plus her 3 tour finales wins, places her above Hana in my book.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 06:55 PM   #53
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
I'm in the mood for a bit of debate Daze-and as the new Austin mod-well
Which teen phenoms do you we know who won two slams and 3 other majors (counting the tour finales)? Austin stands alone in that category unless we mention Hingis.
Hingis. you only need one to prove the point.

but jennifer capriati won more slams than tracy on more surfaces, and she did it faster.

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Good points-but the fact that Austin had to endure beatdowns at the hands of Chris when she was 14 and 15 makes me less sympathetic.
chris beat margaret court the first 3 times they played, beginning age 15.... evert doesn't seem to need the same historical handouts that tracy gets.

granted, austin was on the scene earlier in comparison, but 'early blossoming' is the platform on which tracy's career rests. that was the special hype of her story. chrissie began playing pro events at 15, which is early enough for me.


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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Evert played 5 grass slams in her prime before she won 1 on her 6th attempt.
Austin had only Wimbledon from 1977 to 1981 until she played Down under.
Tracy has often mentioned her biggest regret is the Goolagong semi from 1980!
thats because almost all the slams were 'grass slams' in chrissie's early days! it only represents '71 to '73... so by your comparison, austin should have won something by 1980.


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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Well Dianne Fromholtz didn't take Chris out. Little Miss Awesome did
and lucky for her, since she'd have nothing to show for herself of major merit on clay courts without it!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
I'm glad you mentioned Navratilova. It would be one thing if Austin only terrorized Evert from 1979-1981, but she also beat Martina in their head to heads at that time.

That, plus her 3 tour finales wins, places her above Hana in my book.
does it place her above hingis?

but in any case, this is also not quite a correct statement. mandlikova dominated navratilova even worse in that time period (leading 4:2 h2h thru 1981)

1980-04-14 Amelia Island Clay F Navratilova 5-7 6-3 6-2
1980-08-18 Mahwah Hardcourt SF Mandlikova 6-4 3-6 6-3
1980-08-25 U.S. Open Hardcourt R16 Mandlikova 7-6 6-4
1980-09-15 Las Vegas Indoor Hardcourt SF Mandlikova 6-2 6-3
1981-01-26 Chicago Indoor Carpet F Navratilova 6-4 6-2
1981-06-22 Wimbledon Grass SF Mandlikova 7-5 4-6 6-1


post-script:
...ahhh, it feels like the 1980 us open semifinal all over again....

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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 10:14 PM   #54
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Which teen phenoms do you we know who won two slams and 3 other majors (counting the tour finales)? Austin stands alone in that category unless we mention Hingis.
Well, speaking of teen phenoms, I think Miss Seles belongs to the category too, and before her 18th birthday she had won 4 Slams plus 2 YEC along with beind the clear Nº1 player: she is definitely a teen phenom!
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #55
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by gabybackhand View Post
Well, speaking of teen phenoms, I think Miss Seles belongs to the category too, and before her 18th birthday she had won 4 Slams plus 2 YEC along with beind the clear Nº1 player: she is definitely a teen phenom!
And before her twentieth birthday (and the stabbing) Monica Seles had under her belt three consecutive French Opens, three consecutive Australian Opens, two consecutive US Opens and three consecutive Virginia Slims Championships.

Not forgetting Maureen Connolly and Steffi Graf, both winners of the Grand Slam in their teens.
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Old Dec 17th, 2009, 10:51 PM   #56
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

Quote:
Well, speaking of teen phenoms, I think Miss Seles belongs to the category too, and before her 18th birthday she had won 4 Slams plus 2 YEC along with beind the clear Nº1 player: she is definitely a teen phenom!
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I was thinking more along the lines of teen phenoms who burnt out or declined after winning slams as teen, since Daze mentioned this . In that category there's really only Hingis. Poor Seles (and Connolly, as Mark mentioned) were taken out by circumstances totally beyond their control. I would never rate Austin as their equals. Clearly though Tracy was the principal threat to the Evert-Navratilova era. Hana was flashy and brilliant at times, but a consistent threat she was not.

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Old Dec 18th, 2009, 01:45 AM   #57
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

I get your point. What I can say to sum it up my sensation about Austin is that much as she was a threat to the top two in late 70s-early 80s, it seems the transition to graphite era and more powerful tennis with the surge of the likes of Steffi and Gabriela and the following players would have been harsh for her and it's not certain if Tracy could have competed within the very top of the game. Am I correct?
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Old Dec 18th, 2009, 03:16 AM   #58
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
I was thinking more along the lines of teen phenoms who burnt out or declined after winning slams as teen, since Daze mentioned this . In that category there's really only Hingis. Poor Seles (and Connolly, as Mark mentioned) were taken out by circumstances totally beyond their control. I would never rate Austin as their equals. Clearly though Tracy was the principal threat to the Evert-Navratilova era. Hana was flashy and brilliant at times, but a consistent threat she was not.
tracy was superb, there is no two ways about it. my point is mainly that she was what she was and that her phenomenon 'was what it was', and has to be accepted as being just that thing: a little more than 2 years (mid 79 - end of 81) of flashing young results and promise of future success. Never evolved beyond young, never got to make good on that promise, and many ways to see how it all could have shaken out. but with so MANY questions that i feel she is most clearly seen by viewing her through the simplest lense: a 2 year tornado. and she was kinda bratty like 'the terrible twos' also!! so the shoe fits.
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Old Dec 18th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #59
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

I agree with Daze that Tracy does benefit from not having to sustain her stay at the top. No doubt she was more than a match for Martina & Chris but it was for a very brief time. Mandlikova is a very valid comparison. If Hana had been injured after Wimbeldon 81 and had to end her career in 82, how would she have been viewed?
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Old Dec 18th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #60
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Re: The much-maligned Miss Tracy Austin

Quote:
Originally Posted by BCP View Post
I agree with Daze that Tracy does benefit from not having to sustain her stay at the top. No doubt she was more than a match for Martina & Chris but it was for a very brief time. Mandlikova is a very valid comparison. If Hana had been injured after Wimbeldon 81 and had to end her career in 82, how would she have been viewed?
Excellent point! We view Mandlikova in terms of her overall career, but what if, like Tracy she was all but finished by '82? People would probably hold her in even higher regard than Austin seeing as how she made 4 GS finals in a row winning two of them.
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