1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 2017, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

Obviously not everybody was at their peak at the same time but on the tour we had: Graf, Navratilova, Evert, Seles, Mandlikova, Sanchez, Sabatini, Novotna, Martinez who between them won like 78 majors in their entire careers. Am I missing anyone? Not to mention the likes of Fernandez and Sukova who are considered among the greatest players not to have won a major. This year also had the youngest ever Grand Slam semifinal lineup at the French I believe and with players like Capriati and Pierce around the corner this was truly an exciting time in women's tennis.

What do you all think? My first Tennis magazine ever was the 1989 Tennis Year end magazine which I got my hands on in 1990. It had all the slam results and there were photos of Monica throwing flowers at the French, Chris at Wimbledon semis and Zina reaching the US Open semi sending Chris into retirement.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 2017, 08:43 AM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

I agree with all of that. Great clashes of completely different generations, like Navratilova v Graf at US Open, Evert v Graf at Boca Raton, Evert v Seles at Houston and US Open. You still had Mandlikova playing and you had Sabatini and Sanchez as well.

I would give a shout to 1975. Evert, King, Goolagong, Navratilova (made first two GS finals), Court, Wade, Richey, Casals, Stove, Chymreva, Morozova and a great supporting cast of Americans, Australians, South Africans, Europeans... Or you could go back to 1973 and basically have the same line-up with a few tweaks.

The QF line-up at Wimbledon 1980 is also pretty good as you had the old guard of King, Cawley, Evert clashing with the new generation of Austin, Jaegar, Mandlikova... So that was quite a good year as well, especially as Austin broke into the Evert-Navratilova stranglehold then she too had Jaegar coming hot on her heels, while 1980 started Hana off on a roll of four straight GS finals.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 2017, 02:13 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

Strongest year in women's tennis history, to me, must be one of the early 2000's. The rise of the Williams sisters as well as Henin and Clijsters, with Capriati, Seles, Hingis, Pierce, Mauresmo, Davenport, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, etc.

A level of competition made of many potential slam winners facing other potential slam winners. Which led to an impossibility, for all of them, to win as many slams as they would have liked to.

Serena certainly managed to overcome that very tough battle, thanks to her dedication, strength, longevity, athleticism and a kind of fighting spirit she's addicted to.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 2017, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
Obviously not everybody was at their peak at the same time but on the tour we had: Graf, Navratilova, Evert, Seles, Mandlikova, Sanchez, Sabatini, Novotna, Martinez who between them won like 78 majors in their entire careers. Am I missing anyone?
Technically speaking, Austin was also "active" in 1989. Not enough to get a ranking, but she did play in a few tournaments early in the year. So make it 80 major tournaments.

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Not to mention the likes of Fernandez and Sukova who are considered among the greatest players not to have won a major. This year also had the youngest ever Grand Slam semifinal lineup at the French I believe and with players like Capriati and Pierce around the corner this was truly an exciting time in women's tennis.

What do you all think? My first Tennis magazine ever was the 1989 Tennis Year end magazine which I got my hands on in 1990. It had all the slam results and there were photos of Monica throwing flowers at the French, Chris at Wimbledon semis and Zina reaching the US Open semi sending Chris into retirement.
From a (good) promoter's perspective, 1989 would have to be top level. There were so many names that the fans were interested in watching.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2017, 04:32 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

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From a (good) promoter's perspective, 1989 would have to be top level. There were so many names that the fans were interested in watching.
So true. While I think other years were more exciting (1990 for example) the cup was overflowing with star names in 1989.

I was lucky to be living in Japan that year and watched two events.

At the Pan Pacific I was able to see Evert, Navratilova, Sabatini, Mary Joe Fernandez and Lori McNeil in one afternoon.

Later in the year at the Fed Cup Graf (up close no less) Evert, Novotna and Kohde.

How I missed Evert when she retired.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2017, 04:36 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

It was the most star filled and had interesting storylines. The only years I can say that would come close would have been the 2000-2004 period, when you had:

Seles
Davenport
Capriati
Williams sisters
Clijsters
Henin
Hingis
Mauresmo
Pierce
Dementieva
Sharapova
Myskina
Kuznetsova
Dokic
Rubin
Sugiyama
Shaughnessy

Even the second tier had good quality players as well, just like 1989.

But I kind of agree that 89 was the best year from a promotional standpoint.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2017, 05:25 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

Wow, there's a real thread here. I think 1980/81 were strong years as well as 2001.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 12:38 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

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Wow, there's a real thread here. I think 1980/81 were strong years as well as 2001.
Agreed Mark.

And as Defying Gravity said, the 2000-2004 period was exciting too. I would even throw in 1998-1999, when there were so many different slam winners but at least a solid cast of characters.

Now it's a Forrest Gump box of chocolate tour now-with Serena the only constant and the rest of the candy mediocre varying quality.

Returning to 1989, what were some of the best or most memorable matches?

The French final stands out in my mind. Had Sanchez not beaten Graf we might have had a a back to back Steffi slam-imagine that!

And Martina was up on Graf in the US Open final something like 4-2 in the 3rd set. I've never seen that match.

What others stood out?


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 03:53 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

I always felt the Steffi/Raunchy finale at FO was the most important match of the year. Had Steffi won it and gone on to win back-to-back slams against such a strong field would have been amazing and yet still completely believable. Looking back, I wish she would have won. And who knows, maybe she would have gotten just nervous enough to lose her incredible fight backs at both W + the USO. She KILLED Martina at W/USO finals and Gaby in the semis with the loss of only FOUR games in three sets. Martina was up a set + a break in that USO final and raised two fingers to indicate two more service holds and the trophy was hers. She won only two more games out of the next twelve. It was like a strange repeat of the 1988 Wimbledon final. Steffi looked down and out against Gaby in the semis, then the 3rd set started and boom(!) Gaby was a goner.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 09:53 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

How about this cast?



Notice they didn't use to reach their hands after each point in those times.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 12:48 AM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

Some matches at higher value tournaments featuring our main characters:

Sukova def. Navratilova at the AO. Match went to extra innings. Some great, ungracious whining by Martina afterward.

Graf def. Mandlikova at San Antonio. Not so much for the match as for the conditions: Air temperature in the low 30s Fahrenheit, 25mph wind, wind chill was 5 degrees. I wonder how many people they had in the stands? Honorable mention to the final (vs. Henricksson), slightly warmer and less windy.

Mandlikova def. Evert at Indian Wells. Chrissie blew a match point --first time since 1975!-- and ate a bagel in the third set. Maybe she couldn't get away with those long layoffs anymore...

Graf def. Evert at BOCA Raton. Chrissie won a whole set! But since Steffi had been double-bagelling and nearly golden-bagelling everyone, it was a huge result.

Sabatini def. Evert at the Lipton. Chrissie won another set! Unfortunately, the ones she lost had embarrassing scores. Probably a match that Chrissie felt she "should have" won, although whether that was really so or just case of an ego that had not come to terms with reality yet is open for debate.

Graf def. Zvereva at Family Circle Cup. Not for the match, which was a rout, but for Natasha's "This is just a piece of paper!" speech about not getting to keep her prize money. The beginning of economic freedom for the Eastern Bloc players.

Sabatini def. Graf at Amelia Island. First, Gaby showed some improvement in her serve, then she bored Steffi to death with moonballs, then she pulled off a Sabatweenie just when everyone was almost asleep. Steffi was not happy and vowed to work harder.

Seles def. Evert at Houston. Probably the match when Chrissie realized she wasn't getting any younger, but the opponents were. Retirement was starting to look more appealing.

Sabatini def. ASV at Rome. A tussle. First sign of just how pesky that Spaniard was gonna be.

No Show at the FO. No Evert, no Navratilova at the FO.

Graf def. Seles at FO. Some good hitting. Afterward, Steffi waited for Monica to stop showboating for the crowd so they could walk off the court together. Monica didn't stop showboating, so Steffi just left without her. Obviously, these two were not going to see eye to eye!

ASV def Graf at FO. And now everyone saw just how pesky that Spaniard was.

Graf def. Seles at Wim. "Get off my lawn!" Steffi made Monica cry.

Evert def. Golarsa at Wim. Laura had Chrissie all but defeated, but Chrissie determinated that she was not going to lose on an outside court to a pigeon at her last Wimbledon.

Graf def. Navratilova at Wim. Steffi really should have won it in two sets, but bobbled it. Third set was such a runaway that Steffi had to tell herself not to laugh. Some great, ungracious whining by Martina afterward.

Evert def. Seles at USO. Everyone expected Monica to deliver the coup de grâce, but instead Chrissie hauled off and spanked the little noob. I don't know if someone told Monica to moonball Chrissie or if that was her own tactical idea, but it was hilarious.

Garrison def. Evert at USO. Not for the match, but for the occasion.

Graf def. Sabatini at the USO. A hot, humid day. Steffi was cramping bad in third set, pacing and stretching during the changeovers instead of sitting down. Gaby still couldn't stop her. Neither could CBS, which actually wanted Steffi to chat for the cameras right after the match. "How dare she seek medical help before talking with us! She only has less than 24 hours to recover for the final! How rude!"

Graf def. Navratilova at the USO. A set and 4-2 lead meant nothing. Blink -- Martina is two games from winning. Blink -- Graf is serving for the match. Third set was a little more competitive than the score would suggest, but Martina totally gave up in the last game. Some great, ungracious whining by Martina afterward.

Navratilova def. Seles at the VSC. Monica's return of serve turned what would have otherwise been a straight-sets shrugger into an ordeal. Martina panicked, Monica cramped, stretches of incompetence, but still kind of gripping.

Graf def. Sabatini at the VSC. Women's tennis finally sold out Madison Square Garden! Probably lots of horny guys and lesbians hoping to see another wet t-shirt contest like the USO semi. You idiots, it was November and they were playing inside! At any rate, Steffi told the umpire to make the obnoxious fans shut up or she'd stomp all over Gaby in the third set, bad ankle or not. The obnoxious fans didn't shut up, so the third set was a runaway. Pinky: "Oh, I love that stupid joke!"

Graf def. Navratilova at the VSC. Steffi had a bad ankle, Martina had a pulled groin; they still produced some good shot-making, although there were a few games when Steffi was just playing running-gag tennis. (Like three curveball backhand return of serve winners in one game -- Martina, I think she knows where you are going to serve on ad points.) Steffi apologized for beating her again after the match. Martina wasn't quite so ungracious and whiny afterward.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 12:56 AM
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How about this cast?

Notice they didn't use to reach their hands after each point in those times.
Nevermind not touching hands, sometimes Steffi and Gaby didn't talk to each other after every point, even on their own services games.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 10:49 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

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Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
Some matches at higher value tournaments featuring our main characters:

Sukova def. Navratilova at the AO. Match went to extra innings. Some great, ungracious whining by Martina afterward.

Mandlikova def. Evert at Indian Wells. Chrissie blew a match point --first time since 1975!-- and ate a bagel in the third set. Maybe she couldn't get away with those long layoffs anymore...
About Martina whining... Is it not in her name? I know that in Czech Návrat is return, but it is interesting that in other Slavonic languages the "na-vrat" combination can mean "to lie unashamedly".

I am sure Evert blew a match point against Navratilova at Eastbourne in 1978. I didn't know the story of the drama behind the match against Hana, however, although I do know that they paired up in doubles together for that event. Not sure how they got on. For some reason, it sounds like a pairing from hell...

Chris and Hana had some really topsy-turvey scorelines in the twilights of their career (Lipton 1987 being one case in point).
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 2017, 12:51 AM
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About Martina whining... Is it not in her name? I know that in Czech Návrat is return, but it is interesting that in other Slavonic languages the "na-vrat" combination can mean "to lie unashamedly".
If so, that would be an unfortunate surname, false cognate or not. But so many of the other communist-era Czechoslovakian players were also prone to ungracious whining and sometimes ungracious boasting/gloating. Mandlikova, Sukova, Novotna, and Hingis (I know she is from the post-commie regime and moved to Switzerland early on, but she also grew up in a tennis bubble-world created by her mother) also seem to lack an understanding of certain social conventions. It's humorous from a distance and added/adds another level of interest to the plot, but it's easy to see why Evert and Graf sometimes lost patience. Which is not to say that Evert and Graf didn't have their own intentional and unintentional ways of provoking people, but they just weren't as childishly mouthy.

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I am sure Evert blew a match point against Navratilova at Eastbourne in 1978. I didn't know the story of the drama behind the match against Hana, however, although I do know that they paired up in doubles together for that event. Not sure how they got on. For some reason, it sounds like a pairing from hell...

Chris and Hana had some really topsy-turvey scorelines in the twilights of their career (Lipton 1987 being one case in point).
It seems that Evert's serve really went awry in the third set, even to the point of foot-faulting a few times. Which is hard to imagine because Chrissie's service motion did not, uh, use a lot of leg. And Hana didn't hit her usual patch of errors to balance out the winners. Going into the match, they were both coming off long layoffs, but Hana had more matches. Not the sort of second round (with a first round bye) that player like Evert would want to see.

Evert admitted she was going to stew over it for a while, so if they did play dubs, the atmosphere probably was about as warm and friendly as the one on bus ride to the airport after the 1984 Italian Open final.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Mar 16th, 2017, 05:26 PM
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Re: 1989: Strongest Year in Women's tennis history?

The best years on the WTA tour were :

1999
1990
1981
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