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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 02:27 PM   #31
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Rollo - you and I must be the only ones that have completely erased Chris's 3rd Rd loss to Kathy Jordan @ Wimbledon 83 from history.

If we say it enought times, it will become fact!
LOL. Maybe we can rewrite history as the Egyptians liked too. lets just erase KJ from history! (just kidding)

Ok. So Evert made evert semi up to the 1983 Wimbledon event. How many semis in a row was that? It's surely a record.

Give me a minute and I will calculate.

Every US Open from 1971
Every Wimbledon from 1972
1974,75,79-83 French
1974 and 1981-82 Aussie.

33 straight slams semis made. Quite a record.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 03:48 PM   #32
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

I think that players like Magdalena Rybarikova and Kirsten Flipkens today play "the old game" (not to speak of Monica Niculescu, the Radwanska sisters and some others), means without giving priority to power-hitting. Unfortunately, I think that if most players use a "modern game" today (topspins that keep players on the baseline, for instance), it's due to its efficiency. I think the game as evolved to the best way to win. When the lift was on its rise at the end of the seventies on clay (Borg, Vilas, Solomon, and so many others), I guess those who loved watching Rosewall and Laver were starting to find it boring.

I remember Boris Becker saying about Sampras that he brought "a new kind of power". I think that with men and women, there's a tennis player who brings, every decade or every twenty years, "a new kind of power". I think the Williams sisters brought "a new kind of power" after Steffi Graf (though they don't have many followers so far, apart from Sloane Stephens who seems to have the required athleticism).

I think the game can still be beautiful to see with any new kind of power, and I don't think, like I think Sabatini said once, or Virginia Wade also, that the Williams sisters "killed the game". But as Chris Evert said, now you have to be a real athlete to be a tennis champion. So far it's not a general rule on the tour, you still find players who rely mostly on skills, but when it comes to win great matches and events, the winners are the most solid physically. See Simona Halep: it's obvious, to me, that she makes the difference on a physical level. That was already the case with Borg dominating Nastase at Wimbledon in 1976: he was extraordinary quick. Nastase even called him a "E.T.".
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 04:54 PM   #33
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post

To my mind what hurts Chris (and Serena to a lesser extent) is the lack of 3 slams in one year. Serena has done it only once. Evert's best shot was in 1980, when she won 2 slams and then didn't show for the Australian Open.

Stack that up against those who won slams and it gets tough.
Unfortunately, in 1976, Evert played only 2 Slams (won both), in '77 played 2 slams (won 1 in I think her most dominant year), in '78 played 2 (won 1) and then didn't play the Aussie in '79 or '80. The number of Slams won in a year was shaped by the fact that during most of the 70's, the French and Aussie tourneys were just not a priority for most of the top players. (Don't you know that these players regret not going for those titles now?)
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 05:06 PM   #34
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by preacherfan View Post
The number of Slams won in a year was shaped by the fact that during most of the 70's, the French and Aussie tourneys were just not a priority for most of the top players. (Don't you know that these players regret not going for those titles now?)
Please take a look at the seeds at the French Open from 1970 to 1979. I don't see much top players missing. Obviously Evert not playing for three years (76-78) was a big miss. But the French wasn't neglected by most top players for that matter.

Feel free to correct me everyone.

EDIT: on closer inspection, there's a hole of seeds in the years Evert missed: 76, 77 and 78 (but not from 1970 to 1975, either in 1979). I know there are some reasons for that, but I don't know much about it.

Last edited by Hugues Daniel : Nov 20th, 2013 at 05:15 PM.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 06:30 PM   #35
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by Hugues Daniel View Post
Please take a look at the seeds at the French Open from 1970 to 1979. I don't see much top players missing. Obviously Evert not playing for three years (76-78) was a big miss. But the French wasn't neglected by most top players for that matter.

Feel free to correct me everyone.

EDIT: on closer inspection, there's a hole of seeds in the years Evert missed: 76, 77 and 78 (but not from 1970 to 1975, either in 1979). I know there are some reasons for that, but I don't know much about it.
Check the draws.
In '74 - top seeds were Evert, Wade, Morozova, Navratilova and Masthoff. No one but Evert had ever won a claycourt major. Highly ranked Wade was awful at the French. Top players Goolagong, King, Casals and Melville absent. Depending on your rankings list, this field included 3 or 4 of the top ten at the time.
In '75 - top seeds were Evert, Navratilova, Morozova and Masthoff. Only of year end top ten.
In '76-'78 - no top players participated. Barker wasn't a top five player when she won and Jausovec and Ruzici were borderline top tenners when they won.
In '79 - The top seeds were as follows:
1. Chris Evert Lloyd
2. Virginia Wade
3. Dianne Fromholtz
4. Wendy Turnbull
5. Virginia Ruzici
6. Sue Barker
7. Regina Marsikova
8. Betty Stove
9. Mima Jausovec

No Austin, Navratilova, King...

Even in 1980, #2-4 were King, Turnbull and Wade (2 of the 3 being past their prime and no threat on clay.)

These fields would have been strong fields for the VS of Philadelphia, but for a Slam?
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 08:17 PM   #36
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

Seeds at the French and the UO from 1970 to 1979:

1970

FO: Court, King, Wade, Heldman, Melville, Durr, Niessen, Casals

UO: Court, Casals, Richey, Durr, Wade, Melville, Krantzche, Tegart

1971

FO: Court, Wade, Goolagong, Gunter, Niessen, Durr, Heldman, Morozova

UO: King, Casals, Wade, Melville, Durr, Tegart, Richey, Heldman

1972

FO: Goolagong, Gunter, King, Casals, Durr, Wade, Niessen, Tuero

UO: King, Goolagong, Evert, Casals, Court, Gunter, Durr, Wade, Melville

1973

FO: Court, Evert, Wade, Goolagong, Gunter, Durr, Niessen

UO: King, Court, Evert, Goolagong, Melville, Casals, Wade, Morozova

1974

FO: Evert, Wade, Niessen, Navratilova, Sawamatsu

UO: King, Evert, Morozova, Melville, Goolagong, Casals, Wade, Hunt

1975

FO: Evert, Navratilova, Heldman, Giscafré

UO: Evert, Wade, Navratilova, Goolagong, Court, Morozova, Durr, Heldman

1976

FO: No seeds indicated, but I see in the draw (not in order): Niessen, Tomanova, Nagelsen, Jausovec, Turnbull, Bueno, Ruzici, Barker

UO: Evert, Goolagong, Navratilova, Wade, Richey, Casals, Richey, Melville, Morozova

1977

FO: Jausovec, May, Niessen, Marsikova, Tomanova, Hunt, Newberry, Richey

UO: Evert, Navratilova, Wade, Barker, Stove, Casals, King, Fromholtz, Turnbull

1978

FO: Jausovec, Ruzici, Marsikova, Richey, May, Newberry, Ebbinghaus, Du Pont

UO: Navratilova, Evert, Wade, Turnbull, Austin, Fromholtz, Stove, Melville, Shriver

1979

FO: Evert, Wade, Fromholtz, Turnbull, Ruzici, Barker, Marsikova, Stove

UO: Evert, Navratilova, Austin, Wade, Goolagong, Fromholtz, Turnbull, Melville

As you see I prefer to list everything to avoid any biaised view. So we can clearly see that from 1970 to 1973, the French is as decent as a slam as it gets. In 1974, slightly weaker than the UO. From 1975 to 1978, way more weaker than the UO, for reasons that escape my knowledge. In 1979, slightly weaker again, but it gets better.

So, if to you the French is, overall in the seventies, not worthy of a slam, I disagree. I'll say it was pretty weak from 1975 to 1978.

I notice that in those times, you had many grass specialists not attracted to clay and many US players more naturally willing to play the US Open. I will also say that the "weak" period grabbed interest to new players coming on the tour, coming from eastern Europe and favoring clay court game. I certainly find these underrated draws interesting, and they take a nice place in the history of the French Open.

If some players neglected the French then, their loss.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 09:06 PM   #37
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by Hugues Daniel View Post
Seeds at the French and the UO from 1970 to 1979:

1970

FO: Court, King, Wade, Heldman, Melville, Durr, Niessen, Casals

UO: Court, Casals, Richey, Durr, Wade, Melville, Krantzche, Tegart

1971

FO: Court, Wade, Goolagong, Gunter, Niessen, Durr, Heldman, Morozova

UO: King, Casals, Wade, Melville, Durr, Tegart, Richey, Heldman

1972

FO: Goolagong, Gunter, King, Casals, Durr, Wade, Niessen, Tuero

UO: King, Goolagong, Evert, Casals, Court, Gunter, Durr, Wade, Melville

1973

FO: Court, Evert, Wade, Goolagong, Gunter, Durr, Niessen

UO: King, Court, Evert, Goolagong, Melville, Casals, Wade, Morozova

1974

FO: Evert, Wade, Niessen, Navratilova, Sawamatsu

UO: King, Evert, Morozova, Melville, Goolagong, Casals, Wade, Hunt

1975

FO: Evert, Navratilova, Heldman, Giscafré

UO: Evert, Wade, Navratilova, Goolagong, Court, Morozova, Durr, Heldman

1976

FO: No seeds indicated, but I see in the draw (not in order): Niessen, Tomanova, Nagelsen, Jausovec, Turnbull, Bueno, Ruzici, Barker

UO: Evert, Goolagong, Navratilova, Wade, Richey, Casals, Richey, Melville, Morozova

1977

FO: Jausovec, May, Niessen, Marsikova, Tomanova, Hunt, Newberry, Richey

UO: Evert, Navratilova, Wade, Barker, Stove, Casals, King, Fromholtz, Turnbull

1978

FO: Jausovec, Ruzici, Marsikova, Richey, May, Newberry, Ebbinghaus, Du Pont

UO: Navratilova, Evert, Wade, Turnbull, Austin, Fromholtz, Stove, Melville, Shriver

1979

FO: Evert, Wade, Fromholtz, Turnbull, Ruzici, Barker, Marsikova, Stove

UO: Evert, Navratilova, Austin, Wade, Goolagong, Fromholtz, Turnbull, Melville

As you see I prefer to list everything to avoid any biaised view. So we can clearly see that from 1970 to 1973, the French is as decent as a slam as it gets. In 1974, slightly weaker than the UO. From 1975 to 1978, way more weaker than the UO, for reasons that escape my knowledge. In 1979, slightly weaker again, but it gets better.

So, if to you the French is, overall in the seventies, not worthy of a slam, I disagree. I'll say it was pretty weak from 1975 to 1978.

I notice that in those times, you had many grass specialists not attracted to clay and many US players more naturally willing to play the US Open. I will also say that the "weak" period grabbed interest to new players coming on the tour, coming from eastern Europe and favoring clay court game. I certainly find these underrated draws interesting, and they take a nice place in the history of the French Open.

If some players neglected the French then, their loss.
I agree. We make the same point. During much of the 2nd half of the decade the field was quite a bit weaker than Wimbledon or the USO. I'll bet that those who skipped the French and Aussie tournaments now wish that they had taken advantage of Slam wins.

Weaker fields or not... Barker, Jausovec and Ruzici as well as Barbara Jordan and Chris O'Neil will be known as Slam winners.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 12:49 AM   #38
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by Hugues Daniel View Post
You can't say that seriously. Players often say that you can't compare different eras of tennis and they're right. You will never convince me that the tour in the Evert-Navratilova days wasn't easier than it is today, and that it wasn't easier to Evert or Navratilova to be more consistent than it is for Serena today. At some point I just think it's a matter of tennis fans defending the eras they love. I love every era of tennis but let's be serious. As if Sloane Stephens and Sabine Lisicki weren't players you can lose to? Let's ask this: who were the Stephens and Lisicki in those days? There wasn't any. Not the same power. It was easier for Evert to be consistent against talented players who hadn't the power to give her trouble. It was just a matter of keeping focus and control for Evert. Errani would have been the Evert of the seventies. And it was easier to Evert to stay out of injury, too. Consistency today demands much more athleticism and physical force. No wonder there are so much injured players on the tour these days.
You've completely misinterpreted my point.

Obviously the game is vastly different today than it was in Evert/Navratilova's day. You are the one trying to compare the two generations directly. Both Martina and Chris would be expected to play significantly different today than they did, but that is obvious...technology and training has changed a lot. But given the relative comparison, Stephens and Lisicki are low level compared to Serena. The reason Evert didn't have any trouble is because she was HEADS and SHOULDERS above everyone else on the tour, with the exception of a few of the other household names. It wasn't because they "lacked power". Every play in those days lacked power. Early in her career, Evert was considered to hit the ball pretty hard.

I agree that today's game is way more physical...But look at this: according to WTA stats, Martina played 2,551 singles and women's doubles matches in her career. Serena-- 935. My conclusion from that is that those numbers go beyond the reasonable aspect of taking into account the extreme physicality that the game has evolved.

Also, a large portion of my argument was Steffi's generation. Again, I ask you how you figure that the current crop is so much more gifted, yet a 40 year old Kimiko Date was able to push the top 50 and win numerous matches against top 10 players?

You're a little on the defensive for Serena. Again, I think she is ONE of the GOATs. But I am just pointing out that while her "level of play" is definitely a highlight, she has some arguments against her as well.

I only think it is natural for the current best player to be the "best" of all time...the game evolves, technology and training knowledge advance as well. I would expect the next GOAT candidate to have an even higher level of play than Serena, but that's not a knock against her. It is a tribute to the way that having these GOATs helps to accelerate the game forward.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 02:08 AM   #39
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Obviously the game is vastly different today than it was in Evert/Navratilova's day. You are the one trying to compare the two generations directly. Both Martina and Chris would be expected to play significantly different today than they did, but that is obvious...technology and training has changed a lot
You bring up a good point Joseosu19.

Watch video of Evert and Navratilova from 1981 and then the late 80s. With metal and larger frames the speed went up dramatically. The 1984 US Indoors final is vividly burned in my memory bank because it was was Evert's first tournament where she played with metal-(if not her 1st event-the first vs Martina). Watching on TV I was amazed-and you could hear the small gasps in the crowd thinking "no two women have hit this hard".

Silly me. Of course then came Steffi, Monica, Venus, Serena--and who knows what's next.

Power is relative. It also evolves. Look at how Capriati was able to retool herself and win 3 slams.

We can guess at how Serena might do in a wood era and vice versa, but in the end it's guesswork.

Fun seeing everyone's thoughts on this though. And for all staying relatively respectful BTW.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 02:21 AM   #40
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by rollingraces View Post
Regarding Court, yes that is probably a better way to look at it. Only winning 3 Wimbledons when it was generally regarded grass as her best surface, is definitely a hole of sorts when talking about the possible GOAT. Not that Court couldn't still well be the best ever, but 3 Wimbledons is a mark against her in that argument for sure.

As for the 11 Australians, while it is great anyway you look at, the circumstances around the Australian Open in that time period are well known so I wont even bother going into those. Not Court's fault of course, you can only play who shows, but all the Australian players of that era benefited to some degree from the situation- Court (11 of her slams there, more than double she won anywhere else), Goolagong (over twice her slams there, from 72-79 she won 0 non Australian slams but 4 straight Aussies somehow), Chris O Neill (shock slam winner). They still deserve credit for their victories but they also deserve some context all the same.
In 2 of Court's Aussie wins she beat Maria Bueno, once in the quarter finals, once in a final. In 2 more she beat BJK, once in a semi and once in a final. In 2 more she beat Goolagong. In others, Hard, Wade, Richey, Caldwell and others competed. Also, Turner, Lehane, Melville, Karen K and Judy Tegart were top players who happened to be Aussies. Overall, Court's competition was superior to much of Graf's in many of her slam wins. Serena's competition has not been great the last few years either. The idea that Court's Aussie wins were all against inferior players is a myth or outright lie. Most players would die to have won 3 Wimbledons, however, Court won 5 US titles on grass and of course she beat the top players whenever they came to Australia. Court's slam wins, all tournament wins, years at #1, winning %;, doubles and mixed doubles wins, puts her in the very highest echelon of the game. There is NO GOAT, but All Time Greats.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 04:40 AM   #41
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

I do cite Court's 3 Wimbledon's as a weak spot (vs 6 for Billie Jean for example-in the same era).

When it comes to the Aussie though I am totally with you Thrust. She simply didn't lose until 1968-to Billie Jean-and that was when she was coming back on tour after a layoff. Her next defeat wasn't until 1975 to Navratilova, and this after Court was 30.

Besides, as Thrust wrote, there were other Aussie top tenners in the 1960s. Some years half the top 10 came from Australia!

Finally, in this year when the Fed Cup celebrates it's 50th birthday, I think it's important that Court is given credit for helping to start the Fed Cup. Nell Hopman got the event organized through her connections, but without Margaret Smith as world #1 Fed Cup would never have gotten off the ground. It was Fed Cup being held in Australia in 1965 that led to the best field in Australian women's history at Kooyong in 1965.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 08:04 AM   #42
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by Joseosu19 View Post
1. But given the relative comparison, Stephens and Lisicki are low level compared to Serena.

2. You're a little on the defensive for Serena.
OK, got your overall point. But would like to answer two little points.

1. Stephens and Lisicki played wonderfully to defeat Serena in 2013. It's not Serena who didn't play as great as she should have done. Also: Sloane has 20 years old, Sabine 24. If it may be a bit late for Sabine to become a multi slam champion (I hope she still can win one at least), who knows what Sloane will do in the next future? What if she suddenly raises her game and become a great champion, if not a GOAT herself in the years to come? She certainly has the athleticism. If so, can this change your idea that Serena lost to "low level" players? That's something to keep in perspective: the career of some current players isn't fully accomplished yet.

2. I'm defensive of Serena, true, but also of the current tour, that leaves me enthusiastic. This WTA tour is full of great players and I may have never appreciated tennis as much as now. I haven't seen Date-Krumm play ten or twenty years ago, but who knows, she may play better than she ever did right now? That's not impossible. I'm personally convinced that players like Radwanska, Errani, Kerber, Wozniacki, etc, wouldn't be overpowered by the great players of the previous generation, Davenport, Capriati, Clijsters, Pierce, Henin, etc.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 12:10 AM   #43
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

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Originally Posted by Hugues Daniel View Post
OK, got your overall point. But would like to answer two little points.

1. Stephens and Lisicki played wonderfully to defeat Serena in 2013. It's not Serena who didn't play as great as she should have done. Also: Sloane has 20 years old, Sabine 24. If it may be a bit late for Sabine to become a multi slam champion (I hope she still can win one at least), who knows what Sloane will do in the next future? What if she suddenly raises her game and become a great champion, if not a GOAT herself in the years to come? She certainly has the athleticism. If so, can this change your idea that Serena lost to "low level" players? That's something to keep in perspective: the career of some current players isn't fully accomplished yet.

2. I'm defensive of Serena, true, but also of the current tour, that leaves me enthusiastic. This WTA tour is full of great players and I may have never appreciated tennis as much as now. I haven't seen Date-Krumm play ten or twenty years ago, but who knows, she may play better than she ever did right now? That's not impossible. I'm personally convinced that players like Radwanska, Errani, Kerber, Wozniacki, etc, wouldn't be overpowered by the great players of the previous generation, Davenport, Capriati, Clijsters, Pierce, Henin, etc.
Good point about Sabine and Sloane. There is a fair chance both will wind up as grandslam champions, so you are right that they are not the best examples.

But how about her 2012 grandslam losses to Makarova and Razzano...now those I think are hard to argue against.

Point is, Serena since her "Serena Slam" run in 2002-03, has played in 35 slams. She has lost before the QF in 9 of them. Lost in the quarterfinals in 9 of them. That's still a great record, but 18 times out of 36 not reaching the semifinals doesn't even begin to compare to Chrissie, Steffi and Martina. Granted, maybe some of that is due to depth, but to be fair, none of the above three ever had the benefit of having 32 seeds at slams (and thus a guarantee that you wouldn't see a top 30 player till the third round...and as long as you were top 8, guaranteed no top 20 player till the 4th rd).


I disagree about the talent of players like Radwanska, Errani, Kerber and Wozniacki, but again that is completely subjective and likely bolstered by the fact that the style of play that occurred when I first fell in love with the game has been largely removed.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 03:05 AM   #44
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

There is no doubt Serena will never get the award for most consistent champion ever. If she is crowned GOAT when all is said and done, it will be for reasons other than consistency. However consistency isn't the sole determent of GOAT either. If it were Chris Evert would be the GOAT, and most who are willing to choose a GOAT (although I like the idea of there being no one GOAT that others have suggested) do not choose her.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 05:46 AM   #45
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Re: Serena as GOAT???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseosu19 View Post
Good point about Sabine and Sloane. There is a fair chance both will wind up as grandslam champions, so you are right that they are not the best examples.

But how about her 2012 grandslam losses to Makarova and Razzano...now those I think are hard to argue against.

Point is, Serena since her "Serena Slam" run in 2002-03, has played in 35 slams. She has lost before the QF in 9 of them. Lost in the quarterfinals in 9 of them. That's still a great record, but 18 times out of 36 not reaching the semifinals doesn't even begin to compare to Chrissie, Steffi and Martina. Granted, maybe some of that is due to depth, but to be fair, none of the above three ever had the benefit of having 32 seeds at slams (and thus a guarantee that you wouldn't see a top 30 player till the third round...and as long as you were top 8, guaranteed no top 20 player till the 4th rd).


I disagree about the talent of players like Radwanska, Errani, Kerber and Wozniacki, but again that is completely subjective and likely bolstered by the fact that the style of play that occurred when I first fell in love with the game has been largely removed.
I won't argue against Razzano, but I haven't seen the match (the one Serena lost to). She's far from a bad player nonetheless. On the other hand, you may be surprised by what Makarova is able to do in the years to come. She went in the US quarters this year, playing very well and defeating Lisicki and Radwanska on the way. My answer to Serena's lack of consistency in comparison to the consistency of Evert and Navratilova is still the same: I think the tour is more challenging now than before.
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