Games that changed the game - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2004, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Games that changed the game

On another thread I was posting about Graf's inside out forehand and it got me to thinking about women's shots/games that really upped the quality of the women's game. Here's just a few that I think really raised the level of the women's game.:

1. Alice Marble playing serve and volley and introducing the idea of a women "playing like a man"

2. Maureen Connolly's aggressive baseline forehand and introducing the idea of having a "killer instinct".

3. Chris Evert's nerves of steel and mental toughness.

4. Martina Navratilova's over head. It becomes a full fleged weapon.


5. Steffi Graf's inside out forehand. Really shows how fast and quick she is around the court. Women must now have a solid running game.

6. Venus and Serena making both the serve and return a weapon. No more just getting the ball in.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:29 PM
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Can't speak of Alice Marble/Maureen Connolly ('ve heard of her of course). I agree with Evert/Navratilova/Graf. The Williams sisters made things happen too. Would include Seles too because of more players went on to use a double handed backhand.



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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:31 PM
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Nice post Roan- here's my list:

1. Suzanne Lenglen- played an all-court, attacking game- first player to have all the shots and make frequent forrays into the net with flourishing volleys, known for her balletic movement about the net. She liberated women's tennis with her unabashed and very French Isadora Duncan style and freedom of movement (before her shocking arrival on the scene, players were still wearing long skirts and playing what Bobby Riggs would have termed "a nice game for girls"). Also arguably the first professional female tennis player.

2. Helen Wills- probably still holds the record for the longest ralley every kept in play- in Golden Gate Park with her coach. She brought incredible consistency, coupled with accurate, powerful ball placement from the baseline, and her concentration was formiddible. The blueprint for tennis players from Connolly to Evert and countless others.

3. Alice Marble- Played the serve-and-volley game, and introduced the world to the idea that it was actually okay for a girl to really "muscle" the ball and hit volleys without leaping in artistic fashion a la Lenglen. A true pioneer for the concept (still suffering detractions today, incredibly) of women as athletes.

4. Althea Gibson- broke the racial barrier in tennis (with a little help from Marble and others) for both men and women- showed that it was possible for a woman of color to not only compete in the then elitist all-white sport, but actually win Wimbledon and much more.

5. Margaret Smith Court- the true pioneer of cross-training and using weights and training in a gym to perfect her body into the supreme female athlete. Long before Martina, she ran, did standing jumps, lifted weights, and trained just as hard as the Aussie men to achieve her goals, and it showed. Was arguably the quickest player of her era, and had the hardest first serve and toughest overhead smash.

6. Martina Navratilova- took a couple of years to get going, but once she dedicated herself- she sculpted her body into what is still today the most complete package for a female athlete on the tennis court. First player to actually use computers to aid and assist not only in her fitness, but in assessing opponent's strengths and weaknesses against her own finely tuned machine.

7. Steffi Graf- arguably the fastest woman ever to play tennis, and at 17 came out of the blocks with a serve and forehand one-two punch that had never been seen before. She was the first player to go for outright winners in the first two shots of any given ralley, and a pioneer of what is now considered the norm.

8. Venus & Serena Williams- the sisters combination sealed the direction of the game with a potent package of great serves, overpowering returns, sheer physical presence, and determination. Revolutionized tennis in America in that they came up outside the system, and basically used the system at the same time to develop their power games.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoanHJ
On another thread I was posting about Graf's inside out forehand and it got me to thinking about women's shots/games that really upped the quality of the women's game. Here's just a few that I think really raised the level of the women's game.:

1. Alice Marble playing serve and volley and introducing the idea of a women "playing like a man"

2. Maureen Connolly's aggressive baseline forehand and introducing the idea of having a "killer instinct".

3. Chris Evert's nerves of steel and mental toughness.

4. Martina Navratilova's over head. It becomes a full fleged weapon.


5. Steffi Graf's inside out forehand. Really shows how fast and quick she is around the court. Women must now have a solid running game.

6. Venus and Serena making both the serve and return a weapon. No more just getting the ball in.
I'd also add Evert's two-handed backhand, and Graf and Seles as the first to play the aggressive return game that's the bread-and-butter style for most top players these days.

Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2004, 11:45 PM
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Good posts.

I'd add some comments:

Evert's two-hander - started a trend that hasn't ended.

Navratilova - showed how physical fitness could bring potential to the top of the game. (same may be true about Court but it must not have caught on)

Seles - Never before had anyone generated such power off both sides

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