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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 03:54 PM   #1621
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Sumarokov-Elston View Post
Graphite was never going to do Chrissie any favours on clay. She switched to graphite for reasons of power, which helped her greatly on grass (on which she was always not too far behind Martina) and hard (witness the handy beatings of Martina on cement in 1988 - when you watch the AO semi, you sometimes wonder how Martina ever beat her on hard surfaces). But I believe graphite was detrimental to Chris's clay game. The 1985 FO final is great suspense, but it is ultimately a "bash-fest". Chrissie on clay with wood and graphite is basically two different players. I think she would have beaten Navratilova at the FO in 1983 with wood (look how she handled her 6 months earlier at the AO 1982 on grass, which was wood against metal). When Chrissie had a wooden racket in her hand, she played with her mind. But with graphite, she played with the racket. So on red clay at least (I believe Chris had the edge on green clay), Evert and Navratilova were 2-2 at Roland Garros in 1984-87. But I will always maintain this - as someone who remembers how Chris played in the 1970s - give both players wooden rackets and there is no earthly way that Martina could ever beat Evert on a clay court.
That is such an interesting technical analysis thanks. But dont you think that there would ever be a case to say that Navratilova could have challenged Evert on clay mid 80s if both had wooden rackets???
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 03:58 PM   #1622
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
Daze, how could you say that about my Mima?!? Ms. Jausovec was like my second favorite player. But OK, Chris could have played the match with a one handed backhand and still beat Mima that day! (But to her credit, Mima did push Chris on more than one occasion, including on clay. But also true that Chris never lost to her, and certainly wasn't going to lose in the final. It might have been closer had it been a 4R or QF encounter, but not the finals.



Agree that Chris probably put a lot of pressure on herself. And it was perhaps the last time Martina could go into a match with Chris, and even though an overwhelming #1, still feel like a slight underdog, at least as far as the pundits and fans go. And Martina was always susceptible to how others perceived her. Still, Chris winning a paltry 2 games from Martina on green clay at Amelia Island? How desperate was Chris to get off that island!!! What was interesting about both the Amelia Island and French finals is that Chris went into the final coming off some recent strong results, whereas Martina was tested, and thus looked slightly vulnerable. (Maybe those Chrissie watchers among us were desperate for any signs of vulnerability from Martina at the time). And yet Martina stepped it up big time and crushed Chris on both occasions! And I also think the 1984 French final was another turning point in their rivalry. From that point on, their matches were much more competitive. Sure they both snuck in a few easy 6-2,6-3 type wins, but the majority were close encounters.



Interesting comment. Then again it's well known around these parts how much I detest the "could have" words. Yes, A LOT could have been different.....alas it wasn't! And as much as I detest the words and sentiment....I would have liked to have seen a Chrissie-Martina final at the 1983 French. Martina was undefeated going into the French. Martina was the defending champion. Chris was a 4 time champion, gunning to regain her title. And Chris had beaten Martina in their last Grand Slam encounter, the Australian 6 months earlier. That 1982 Australian Open was a glorious win for Chris, playing with her little wooden racquet! I recently re-watched that match, and marvelled at how well Chris played in that one! Apart from a few games in the second set, Chris played a perfect match. And on grass against Martina!!! Beginning with the 1981 Australian and extending all the way until the 1984 Australian, Martina lost but one match on grass, and hardly lost sets to anyone. So that 1982 Australian win was a big one for Chris! It's a match I think is a bit underrated in Chris' career, but shouldn't be overlooked. Afterall, it was the only time Chris beat Martina in a grass court major final (Chris never beat Martina in a hard court major final either).
Dennis.I havent ever seen the 82 Aussie final? What specifically did Evert do in the match that kept Martina at bay? It was a remarkable result at the time and even more in hindsight.
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 04:00 PM   #1623
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Agree, agree! I think the 83 U.S. Open final was a wake-up call. I thought Chris got a little lucky the week before when she pushed Martina to three sets in the Canadian final. In the U.S. Open final, she was pulverized and never really stood a chance. You're right -- she did get inspired and played some marvelous tennis after her racket adjustment. The fact that she actually reclaimed the No. 1 spot for a short time still amazes me. She pushed herself and rose to the challenge, which is the mark of a great champion. I still contend, however, that Chris began her real decline after 1985. That may seem a strange thought, and I know she had good wins, etc., but she just seemed a different player after that. I always thought the 86 French was a nice bonus and a tribute to her willpower -- pushing herself to achieve something great when she was past her prime. In many ways, Sampras's last U.S. Open win reminded me of Chris's last French win, although I think Pete had gone even more beyond his prime.
Jem, that is an interesting comment re 86 and the relative decline. However I still feel she played some great matches at this time- even in losing to Mandlikova in the semis at Wimbledon. Remind me re 86- it was Sukova who beat her at the US Open wasnt it???
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 05:39 PM   #1624
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Dennis.I havent ever seen the 82 Aussie final? What specifically did Evert do in the match that kept Martina at bay? It was a remarkable result at the time and even more in hindsight.
Chris' depth off the ground kept Martina pinned at the baseline. And Chris also played a strategically brilliant match, coming in at every opportunity and taking that away from Martina. At one point during the match the commentators claimed Chris had been to the net more than Martina. I don't have stats, so I can't corroborate, but my sense from watching was that was true, at least halfway through the match. Martina picked it up in the 2nd set, and came in more. But at the start of the third set Chris again took control of that match.

Chris was playing with her wooden racquet, Martina with the Yonex graphite. Chris could still match Martina's power with her stick. I was also impressed with Evert's variety. On a number of occasions she hit her two handed slice backhand, knifing the ball hard, low, and deep. There is no player today who could ever do that!! Even when you see Serena or other two handers try a slice, it is rarely an offensive shot, more of a change of pace. Chris hit aggressive two handed slice shots to her advantage. And her overall variety, her ability to hit accurate groundies off an abysmal surface - you could tell how patchy and uneven the grass was (it seemed much worse than Wimbledon) - her court sense throughout was marvellous. No other woman (and yes that includes the pesky and inferior from the baseline Tracy Austin) was able to challenge Martina on grass by mixing it up and playing as smartly as Christine Marie Evert!
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 06:16 PM   #1625
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

i don't think chrissie with a wood racket would have fared well against martina 6 months after her aussie open win, in that short span of 6 months martina was a totally different player and was also on her winning streak against chrissie.
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 07:25 PM   #1626
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
Chris' depth off the ground kept Martina pinned at the baseline. And Chris also played a strategically brilliant match, coming in at every opportunity and taking that away from Martina. At one point during the match the commentators claimed Chris had been to the net more than Martina. I don't have stats, so I can't corroborate, but my sense from watching was that was true, at least halfway through the match. Martina picked it up in the 2nd set, and came in more. But at the start of the third set Chris again took control of that match.

Chris was playing with her wooden racquet, Martina with the Yonex graphite. Chris could still match Martina's power with her stick. I was also impressed with Evert's variety. On a number of occasions she hit her two handed slice backhand, knifing the ball hard, low, and deep. There is no player today who could ever do that!! Even when you see Serena or other two handers try a slice, it is rarely an offensive shot, more of a change of pace. Chris hit aggressive two handed slice shots to her advantage. And her overall variety, her ability to hit accurate groundies off an abysmal surface - you could tell how patchy and uneven the grass was (it seemed much worse than Wimbledon) - her court sense throughout was marvellous. No other woman (and yes that includes the pesky and inferior from the baseline Tracy Austin) was able to challenge Martina on grass by mixing it up and playing as smartly as Christine Marie Evert!
I think it was on this thread a few pages back that I wrote that Chris's best two patented shots, in my view, were the forehand crosscourt dropshot and the forehand sidespin drive down the line. The holy trinity in the arsenal of St Christine Marie Evert of Fort Lauderdale, patron saint of multiple divorce and remaining cool when receiving service at triple-match-point down, is in my opinion Chrissie's double-handed slice APPROACH SHOT (!!) to the net.

I think there was a separate thread at one time on the 1982 AO final, I remember posting in it, so won't add anything else here, because Dennis has captured it all more or less in a nutshell. I was also impressed at Chrissie's speed about the court. She very much wanted to win this after losing such a tight match the year before to Martina, and this match shows very well why, I believe, ironically, grass was one of Chris's best surface. Her groundshots were so vicious at the best of times, with the sidespin sending it shooting away from the player like a guided missile, which grass made even more effective. Her overhead was also very effective in that match - actually, she was serving at 5-1 in the final set and the match was never really in any doubt. I see this match as the final hurrah of the vintage wooden-racket-playing ice-maiden mastermind.
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 07:56 PM   #1627
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Jem View Post
. I still contend, however, that Chris began her real decline after 1985. That may seem a strange thought, and I know she had good wins, etc., but she just seemed a different player after that. I always thought the 86 French was a nice bonus and a tribute to her willpower -- pushing herself to achieve something great when she was past her prime. In many ways, Sampras's last U.S. Open win reminded me of Chris's last French win, although I think Pete had gone even more beyond his prime.
there is much to support that claim, and let's face it, she is 31 from then on out....

steffi happens early in '86 and when she loses the semi to hana @ '86 wimbledon, she EASILY conceeds to the press, 'She is probably the better grass court player at this point in our careers" and prior to that, she didn't really ever concede anyone was at her level anywhere, except navratilova. So she is clearly taking her hands off the control counsel by this point.

then an all-time low of a performance in the us open semi w/sukova, where she just did not seem to care if she fought or not. The divorce to lloyd was imminent at this point though, so her heart was probably not really there.

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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 10:07 PM   #1628
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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i don't think chrissie with a wood racket would have fared well against martina 6 months after her aussie open win, in that short span of 6 months martina was a totally different player and was also on her winning streak against chrissie.
Well, it was true that Chrissie with a wood racquet didn't fare well against Martina 6 months after the 1982 Australian Open. In fact 1983 was the most lopsided period in their rivalry, with Martina winning all 6 encounters, many blowouts, and poor 'wooden' Chrissie winning just one set, in the 1983 Canadian final.

I think 1986 Chris, up until the desultory US Open semi vs Sukova, was still vintage Chris. I think that loss, and her knee and heart problems after that, signalled the end of what I felt were Chrissie's chances to be #1. Just remember that if Evert had won the US Open she could have claimed #1 for the year in 1986. Alas that was wiped clean in little over an hour after Helena wiped the court with Chris

Still, to be nearly 32 and in contention for #1 says a lot!!! Martina was never that close #1 at age 32, at least mathematically on the WTA rankings.

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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 02:09 PM   #1629
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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there is much to support that claim, and let's face it, she is 31 from then on out....

steffi happens early in '86 and when she loses the semi to hana @ '86 wimbledon, she EASILY conceeds to the press, 'She is probably the better grass court player at this point in our careers" and prior to that, she didn't really ever concede anyone was at her level anywhere, except navratilova. So she is clearly taking her hands off the control counsel by this point.

then an all-time low of a performance in the us open semi w/sukova, where she just did not seem to care if she fought or not. The divorce to lloyd was imminent at this point though, so her heart was probably not really there.
I really feel like the knee injury around Fed Cup time was the end...after that she really was never even close to number 1. She had a fantastic start in '86, winning Oakland, Key Biscayne and Miami (knocking off Graf twice), I believe her first loss of the season was to Nav in Dallas, then she lost a toughie to Hana at the VS Championships, but won Marco Island, Houston and Paris, only losing to Graf at Hilton Head before Wimbledon. She was really right there with Martina going into the Summer but things fell apart with the knee during Fed Cup and then the loss to Sukova and that was her season.
Coming into '87, with a rapidly improving Graf, she never was able to get back on board.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 03:16 PM   #1630
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Coming into '87, with a rapidly improving Graf, she never was able to get back on board.
That's true. Even more to her credit when she proved that she was clearly the second-best player at such slams as Wimbledon 87 (her semi with Martina was the match of the tournament) and Australian Open 88. Then there were other magic moments post-1986, like the crushing of Seles at the 1989 US Open or the dramatic win at Houston in 1987, ok it was clay, but she had no match practice after her long lay-off, and beat Hana (above her on the computer after winning AO) in the semis and then Martina (No. 1 on the computer) in the final, playing amazing attacking tennis (Martina served for the match in the third set). And in 1987-89 Chrissie's best surface for making her seeding at grand slams was actually grass!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 03:38 PM   #1631
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
Chris' depth off the ground kept Martina pinned at the baseline. And Chris also played a strategically brilliant match, coming in at every opportunity and taking that away from Martina. At one point during the match the commentators claimed Chris had been to the net more than Martina. I don't have stats, so I can't corroborate, but my sense from watching was that was true, at least halfway through the match. Martina picked it up in the 2nd set, and came in more. But at the start of the third set Chris again took control of that match.

Chris was playing with her wooden racquet, Martina with the Yonex graphite. Chris could still match Martina's power with her stick. I was also impressed with Evert's variety. On a number of occasions she hit her two handed slice backhand, knifing the ball hard, low, and deep. There is no player today who could ever do that!! Even when you see Serena or other two handers try a slice, it is rarely an offensive shot, more of a change of pace. Chris hit aggressive two handed slice shots to her advantage. And her overall variety, her ability to hit accurate groundies off an abysmal surface - you could tell how patchy and uneven the grass was (it seemed much worse than Wimbledon) - her court sense throughout was marvellous. No other woman (and yes that includes the pesky and inferior from the baseline Tracy Austin) was able to challenge Martina on grass by mixing it up and playing as smartly as Christine Marie Evert!
Thanks for that synopsis Dennis. I must say it is a testament to the remarkable ability of Evert that she was able to mix it up so effectively on a grass court against Navratilova. And while I still think Austin was a superior ground stroke player on an even and predictable bounce like indoors or hard, I dont think she at all had the skills to mix it up on a grass court as Chrissie did. On that point I readily concede!!!!!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 03:40 PM   #1632
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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i don't think chrissie with a wood racket would have fared well against martina 6 months after her aussie open win, in that short span of 6 months martina was a totally different player and was also on her winning streak against chrissie.
I think there is a point there. In that the age of wood was coming to an end and there was an inevitability that the game had changed. Even for all time greats like Evert and McEnroe this did have an impact. I wonder what would have happened if the rackets had stayed wooden? I guess Navratilova may have had her power a little nullified but that does not change the athleticism or superior natural talent that she had.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 03:43 PM   #1633
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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I think it was on this thread a few pages back that I wrote that Chris's best two patented shots, in my view, were the forehand crosscourt dropshot and the forehand sidespin drive down the line. The holy trinity in the arsenal of St Christine Marie Evert of Fort Lauderdale, patron saint of multiple divorce and remaining cool when receiving service at triple-match-point down, is in my opinion Chrissie's double-handed slice APPROACH SHOT (!!) to the net.

I think there was a separate thread at one time on the 1982 AO final, I remember posting in it, so won't add anything else here, because Dennis has captured it all more or less in a nutshell. I was also impressed at Chrissie's speed about the court. She very much wanted to win this after losing such a tight match the year before to Martina, and this match shows very well why, I believe, ironically, grass was one of Chris's best surface. Her groundshots were so vicious at the best of times, with the sidespin sending it shooting away from the player like a guided missile, which grass made even more effective. Her overhead was also very effective in that match - actually, she was serving at 5-1 in the final set and the match was never really in any doubt. I see this match as the final hurrah of the vintage wooden-racket-playing ice-maiden mastermind.
This has been said before but her record on grass was amazing and it is one of the oft forgotten legends of her career that her record at Wimbledon was remarkable, particularly in an era of truly great grass court players such as BJK, Navratilova, Court, Goolagong, Wade etc.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 03:47 PM   #1634
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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there is much to support that claim, and let's face it, she is 31 from then on out....

steffi happens early in '86 and when she loses the semi to hana @ '86 wimbledon, she EASILY conceeds to the press, 'She is probably the better grass court player at this point in our careers" and prior to that, she didn't really ever concede anyone was at her level anywhere, except navratilova. So she is clearly taking her hands off the control counsel by this point.

then an all-time low of a performance in the us open semi w/sukova, where she just did not seem to care if she fought or not. The divorce to lloyd was imminent at this point though, so her heart was probably not really there.
DazeThat was a match that really astonished for its simplicity and easiness for Sukova, 2 and 4 right?Mind you there were signs that she was struggling with Sukova at the Wimbledon quarter final that year when her superior will rather than anything else took her through. I have never seen the Sukova semi, and always did find it strange that she was so out of that match. Hindsight and the Lloyd divorce makes it all more understandable.But it must have hurt her to be out there in an event where she had achieved historic records, and not really do of her best. It is funny that it was the US Open, where she became world famous, where her form really began to decline. Her last really great run there was to be 84, whereas at all other GS she achieved far more for a few further years
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 03:50 PM   #1635
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
Well, it was true that Chrissie with a wood racquet didn't fare well against Martina 6 months after the 1982 Australian Open. In fact 1983 was the most lopsided period in their rivalry, with Martina winning all 6 encounters, many blowouts, and poor 'wooden' Chrissie winning just one set, in the 1983 Canadian final.

I think 1986 Chris, up until the desultory US Open semi vs Sukova, was still vintage Chris. I think that loss, and her knee and heart problems after that, signalled the end of what I felt were Chrissie's chances to be #1. Just remember that if Evert had won the US Open she could have claimed #1 for the year in 1986. Alas that was wiped clean in little over an hour after Helena wiped the court with Chris

Still, to be nearly 32 and in contention for #1 says a lot!!! Martina was never that close #1 at age 32, at least mathematically on the WTA rankings.
It was amazing to be number two at that stage. I agree, although I do feel that Navratilova was still a likely GS winner at 37, whereas by 88 it was pretty clear that Chrissie was unlikely to win another major.
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