Maureen Connolly: Most dominant player ever - Page 4 - TennisForum.com
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post #46 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 01:27 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

I think she was great and very dominant but she was undoubtedly benefited by the depleted field as result of WWII.

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post #47 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 01:57 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

At least 4 prior threads about Maureen Connolly Brinker:
https://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=126280
https://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=171135
https://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=291097
https://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=391953

Don't forget that she lost to Dorothy Bundy Cheney twice in six career singles matches. Both were in straight sets.

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post #48 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

The one player I think might have taken her to the cleaners a few times was Pauline Betz. Bobbie had a terrific baseline game with a legendary backhand (nobody I know of hit a two-hander) that Jack Kramer still calls one of the best backhands ever. She was also very, very quick. When Rollo and I interviewed her, when asked about Steffi Graf's speed, Bobbie wryly said "I was faster", and we're not talking about a girl who blew her own horn. She had nothing but respect for Maureen, but she just might have cleaned up in the early 50s were she allowed to play.

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post #49 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

Doubtful. She was not invincible, especially on clay.

For example, in 1945, she went 42-6 and lost 4 of 7 matches to Sarah Palfrey Fabyan Cooke Danzig.

She lost at least 3 times in 1946, including at the French International Championships to Margaret Osborne DuPont and once to Dorothy Bundy Cheney on hard courts.

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Billie Jean Moffitt King's playing career: http://billie-jean-moffitt-king.blogspot.com

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Last edited by austinrunner; Nov 27th, 2011 at 11:39 AM.
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post #50 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

Well, looking back at some of the results threads on this site, it's clear that Maureen Connolly was virtually invincible in singles play after she turned 16, certainly from 1951 to her accident in the summer of 1954.

In 1951, she lost just two singles matches, both to Patricia Todd. The first of these was in the semi-final of the Maidstone Invitational in East Hampton, New Jersey, where Pat Todd won 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, after Maureen had had three match points at 5-4 ,40-0.

Maureen's second loss to Pat Todd came in the final of the Eastern Grass Courts Tournament in Orange, New Jersey, at the start of August 1951, when Todd won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. A few weeks later Maureen won the US Championships at Forest Hills for the first time, beating Doris Hart in the semi-finals and Shirley Fry in the final. She hadn't really played anyone of their calibre in 1951 because they had been playing abroad, so to a number of observers Maureen's victory was a surprise. But looking at her form throughout 1951 – she had already won the old Ojai, Southern California and Hotel Coronado tournaments, for example – it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise.
--

After 1951, Maureen was more invincible than ever. In 1952, she lost just twice in singles. Her first defeat was to Louise Brough in the final of the Southern California Championships in Los Angeles, the score being 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

Later on in the 1952 season, after Maureen had made her first trip to Europe and won Wimbledon on her debut, she lost to Doris Hart in the semi-finals of the Eastern Grass Court Championships in Orange, New Jersey. The score was 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
--

In 1953, Maureen won the Grand Slam, taking the Australian and French Championships on her debut. In between, at the Italian Championships in Rome, Maureen lost to Doris Hart again, this time in the final. Although Maureen had several match points in the second set, Doris eventually won, 4-6, 9-7, 6-3.

Towards the end of the 1953 season Maureen lost again, this time to Shirley Fry at the semi-final stage of the Pacific Southwest Championships in Los Angeles in early September. The score was 6-2, 7-5.
--

In 1954, a fateful year, Maureen lost just one singles match, early in the season, in mid-March at the La Jolla tournament in California where Beverly Fleitz beat her in the semi-finals, 6-0, 6-4. This was a very surprising, one-natured defeat, probably the most surprising defeat suffered by Maureen after her initial win at the US Championships in 1951.

But she never lost a singles match again and, later in the 1954 season, in addition to retaining her French Championships and Wimbledon singles titles, won tournaments in Wiesbaden, Rome (Italian Championships), Manchester, England (Northern Championships) and Dublin (Irish Championships), in additon to the United States Clay Court Championships, her last ever singles title, which she won in mid-July.
--

Given the quality of the opposition – past major winners such as Margaret Dupont, Louise Brough, Doris Hart and Shirley Fry – and future ones such as Althea Gibson and Angela Mortimer – there is no doubt that Maureen Connolly was a great player because she rarely, if ever, lost to any of them. Of course, after Maureen's retirement, Brough, Hart and Fry all won majors again, but during Maureen's reign they had only been able to gather the crumbs she left on the table, particularly at the majors.

During her reign, only Doris Hart, the next best player in the world, had been able to beat Maureen twice. Maureen was that good. And it's worth remembering that she achieved all that she did before her twentieth birthday!
-----

Last edited by newmark401; Nov 27th, 2011 at 01:41 PM.
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post #51 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 07:26 PM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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Originally Posted by austinrunner View Post
Doubtful. She was not invincible, especially on clay.

For example, in 1945, she went 42-6 and lost 4 of 7 matches to Sarah Palfrey Fabyan Cooke Danzig.

She lost at least 3 times in 1946, including at the French International Championships to Margaret Osborne DuPont and once to Dorothy Bundy Cheney on hard courts.
Actually, Sarah was a terrific player, and had wins over nearly every great player around her. Bobbie and Sarah were close friends off court. Sarah and Margaret Osborne were both attacking net-rushers, and I've always been of the opinion a good volleyer trumps a baseliner any day. Nobody said she was unbeatable- haven't seen a player who was. I just think she would've traded groundies with Maureen and possibly gotten the best of her on occasion. I don't think they ever played privately, but I love to be corrected.

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post #52 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 11:00 PM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

Of course Sarah Palfrey Fabyan Cooke Danzig was a terrific player. But she reached only 6 Grand Slam singles semifinals in 24 attempts. She won only two Grand Slam singles titles, both over Pauline Betz Addie, and lost 2 Grand Slam singles finals to Helen Jacobs. Sarah clearly was not in Maureen Connolly Brinker's 1951-54 league.

Neither was Pauline. She would rarely, if ever, have beaten Maureen on clay. She had immense trouble with "just" Dorothy Bundy Cheney on clay.

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Last edited by austinrunner; Nov 27th, 2011 at 11:15 PM.
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post #53 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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Originally Posted by austinrunner View Post
Of course Sarah Palfrey Fabyan Cooke Danzig was a terrific player. But she reached only 6 Grand Slam singles semifinals in 24 attempts. She won only two Grand Slam singles titles, both over Pauline Betz Addie, and lost 2 Grand Slam singles finals to Helen Jacobs. Sarah clearly was not in Maureen Connolly Brinker's 1951-54 league.

Neither was Pauline. She would rarely, if ever, have beaten Maureen on clay. She had immense trouble with "just" Dorothy Bundy Cheney on clay.
And we know that the clay court circuit was huge in those days- took up practically 1/3 of the tour and provided a ton of points for players who normally wouldn't even breathe near the top of the women's game. The clay court specialists were everywhere.

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post #54 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

I assume you're being sarcastic. It's hard to tell.

But FYI, there were a number of clay court tournaments. Continental Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean were entirely clay. As were a few tournaments in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the annual clay court tournaments included, but were not limited to:

(1) U.S. Clay Court Championships
(2) Eastern Clay Court Championships
(3) Tri-State
(4) Colorado State Championships
(5) Chicago
(6) Western Championships
(7) Florida State Championships
(8) Florida West Coast Championships
(9) River Oaks Invitational
(10) Southeastern Championships
(11) South Florida Championships

Let me know if you need more help.

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post #55 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 07:31 PM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

My point being that Pauline certainly had a chance on faster courts like Wimbledon, U.S. Championships, and even the Australian. The grass court circuit was much more celebrated than clay tournaments. There was also a healthy indoor circuit played on what amounts to basketball courts (wood). On these faster surfaces Betz was at her best. Bobbie came back for a couple of exhibitions against Althea Gibson in the late 50s/early 60s, and actually beat her, all after having children and not playing competitively in a very long time. We'll never know for sure what might have been, but I submit it would've been an interesting match-up on court, not on paper.

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post #56 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 01:46 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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But FYI, there were a number of clay court tournaments. Continental Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean were entirely clay.
Slight correction here AR. the Carib circuit was never entirely clay. It had grass court events well into the late 1950s and also hard courts by that time. The surface changes made it one tough circuit if one entered all the events.
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post #57 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 02:02 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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hi everyone! big connolly fan, love how she plays in the short videos i have seen of her like on youtube.com and elsewhere.. love the whole myth of her career and legendary game.. but i was just thinking and perhaps some of you tennis aficionados can shed some light and commentary on these following thoughts...

just how dominant was maureen in reality? i mean we all know how maureeen only lost 4 matches in her dominant short career from 1951 to 1954.. but the thing is.. in some ways only losing 4 matches isn't that great of feat to me? in a few short years... now if she had played for 10 years and only lost 4 matches that they would be different?....
Well this depends on one's outlook. Basically Mo lost just those 4 or 5 matches over a 3 year period. No one AFTER her has done that. Some have had equal year (Graf's slam in 1988 or Martina's 1983 for exmaple), bit not over a sustained 3 year period.

And don't forget Mo won 9 consecutive slams entered.

That's dominance any way one cuts it.


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also, she lost to doris hart, shirley fry in her grand slam year 1953, louise brough in 1952 and ! beverly baker fleitz in 1954 6-4, 6-0!
My reply would be those are all top flight women with multiple slams except for Fleitz-a Mary Pierce type player who was hot and caught Mo on a off day.

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in comparison to all time greats that came before her and she is usually bracketed with lenglen and wills before the "modern age" i think would lenglen and wills EVER lose to a fry, hart, brough or FLEITZ!?!
I think the answer is "yes" if Wills or Lenglen had to compete in Mo's era. Wills herself praised Connolly to the skies as a sort of virtual reincarnation of herself. I'm not saying Connolly was better, but there is no doubt she had better overall competition as you yourself write below


Quote:
granted, i think fry, hart, brough and others connolly faced regularly were a big giant step up from any competition that lenglen and wills ever faced (i.e. ryan, mallory, mckane, etc)..
Quote:
going three tough close sets to a melinda ramirez a mexican player who i had never heard of before!

and almost losing twice! to susan "slow baller" partridge at the 52 wimbledon and the 53 french...
Yes, but closer overall competition usually means closer sets and matches.


Quote:
i mean who knows perhaps if maureen had played 18 to 20 tournaments instead of for instance the only 12 tournaments she played in her grand slam years, perhaps she would have actually lost more often?
I do think it's likely she would lose more often.


Quote:
also, you always hear and read how powerful her groundstrokes were and how accurate but looking at some of the facts and "box score" .. it sounds like maureen barely hit more winners than errors in alot of her matches?
Going for shots natually results in more errors and closer game counts (and less 6-0 sets). I think it's telling that players with percentage-type games such as Lenglen, Evert, and Hingis could rack up a lot of 6-0 sets compared to more aggressive baseliners like Connolly and Graf.


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i don't know... it sounds like i'm ripping on maureen.. i'm not trying to.. like i said i'm a huge connolly fan!
I'm a fan too. Not only because of how she played and her legend-but her legacy. Do you have the book her daughter wrote about her? And women as diverse as Billie Jean and Ann Jones thought the world of her class.
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post #58 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 02:07 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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Neither was Pauline. She would rarely, if ever, have beaten Maureen on clay. She had immense trouble with "just" Dorothy Bundy Cheney on clay.
No one has ever argued that Betz was better than or equal to Mo. The consensus opinion of most observers was that Betz was tougher than Brough, Dupont, Hart, and Fry though.

And there was clearly talk of a Betz-Connolly pro tour. With her spped of foot and never say die attitude I'd wager a bet on Betz to win at least a few matches versus any woman.
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post #59 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 03:56 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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No one has ever argued that Betz was better than or equal to Mo.
Tell that to alfajeffster. But maybe he has an unconventional definition of "cleaned up" or "early 50s."

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Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
... she just might have cleaned up in the early 50s were she allowed to play.

Prominent women tennis players: http://tennis-women.blogspot.com
Billie Jean Moffitt King's playing career: http://billie-jean-moffitt-king.blogspot.com

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post #60 of 76 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Re: Maureen Connolly.. just how dominant was she really?

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Bobbie came back for a couple of exhibitions against Althea Gibson in the late 50s/early 60s, and actually beat her.....
One win (in a two-woman exhibition event) and one loss (in a professional tournament).

Prominent women tennis players: http://tennis-women.blogspot.com
Billie Jean Moffitt King's playing career: http://billie-jean-moffitt-king.blogspot.com

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Last edited by austinrunner; Nov 29th, 2011 at 07:26 AM.
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