The ever so ironic year of 1998 - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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The ever so ironic year of 1998

We hear so many people saying how 1999 was the best year in recent tennis history. In my opinion, 1998 was damn close to it, if not better.
At the beginning of the season teen phenom hysteria was at its height - Hingis, Venus Williams, Kournikova, Lucic were all coming up. Any player under 19 was seen as washed up and too old to win anything. And yet, look how it ended up.

The only teenager to win a Slam that year was Hingis, at Australian Open.
Arantxa won RG, and Jana won Wimbledon, and neither of them was a teenager, to say the least. Lindsay, who at the age of 22 was seen as a wasted talent, won US Open.

Wonderfully ironic, don't you think?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joana
We hear so many people saying how 1999 was the best year in recent tennis history. In my opinion, 1998 was damn close to it, if not better.
At the beginning of the season teen phenom hysteria was at its height - Hingis, Venus Williams, Kournikova, Lucic were all coming up. Any player under 19 was seen as washed up and too old to win anything. And yet, look how it ended up.

The only teenager to win a Slam that year was Hingis, at Australian Open.
Arantxa won RG, and Jana won Wimbledon, and neither of them was a teenager, to say the least. Lindsay, who at the age of 22 was seen as a wasted talent, won US Open.

Wonderfully ironic, don't you think?
The other interesting thing about 1998 is Hingis' performance at the majors. I often hear people saying that Hingis was dominating tennis until the Williamses hit their peak form, but imo, she started showing signs of coming apart slowly even in 1998. For instance, in 1997 she beat Seles in the French semis, Novotna in the Wimbledon final, and Davenport in the US semis. In 1998 the tables were turned on her by the same opponents; Seles beat her in the French semis, Novotna avenged her loss in the Wimbledon semis, and Davenport got the "will never win a big one" monkey off her back by beating Hingis in the US final. Until another poster pointed it out to me, this little fact had escaped my notice. What's interesting is that neither Seles nor Novotna was, as you say, a "teenager", and even Davenport was considered a has been who never was. In terms of measuring Hingis' decline in 1998, it's very interesting to note that the chinks in her armor were first exposed by the "oldies" and were then exploited even better by Capriati, Davenport, and the Williamses in the years to come.

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 #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samn
The other interesting thing about 1998 is Hingis' performance at the majors. I often hear people saying that Hingis was dominating tennis until the Williamses hit their peak form, but imo, she started showing signs of coming apart slowly even in 1998. For instance, in 1997 she beat Seles in the French semis, Novotna in the Wimbledon final, and Davenport in the US semis. In 1998 the tables were turned on her by the same opponents; Seles beat her in the French semis, Novotna avenged her loss in the Wimbledon semis, and Davenport got the "will never win a big one" monkey off her back by beating Hingis in the US final. Until another poster pointed it out to me, this little fact had escaped my notice. What's interesting is that neither Seles nor Novotna was, as you say, a "teenager", and even Davenport was considered a has been who never was. In terms of measuring Hingis' decline in 1998, it's very interesting to note that the chinks in her armor were first exposed by the "oldies" and were then exploited even better by Capriati, Davenport, and the Williamses in the years to come.

Uhum.....and the final blow came again by an oldie: Graf in the ´99 RG final.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 09:02 PM
 
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I don't think Lindsay was seen as a wasted talent in 1998. She had only really begun to show what she was really capable of in the preceeding 12 months. I know about her bursting onto the scene in 1994 etc but IMHO she was 100% improved after she got fitter.

Still, 1998 was totally a 'revenge of the old guard' which was great for their fans.

Re: Hingis, I'm not sure her losses to Monica and Novotna were that critical because she came back and beat both of them at the US open and went on to win 1999 Oz. I didn't see the final against Lindsay but still the French 1999 and US open 1999 losses were far more significant IMHO.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 09:15 PM
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I've always considered 1997-1999 a building period. Graf was no longer around or was building for that one last Slam. Hingis was really good and though she dominated 1997, after that she kept #1 through her consistency and not through winning Slams. Davenport was improving, the Williamses were improving, Seles couldn't maintain a top level of play because of injuries/personal crises. If a player wanted a window to win a Slam, 97-99 was the time to sneak in and do so. Until Venus began dominating Wim and US, and Serena asserted herself, there was no dominant force. '97-'99 was interesting, but a transitional time without a real all-time great in charge. Apologies to Martina H, who was a phenomenal talent, but couldn't handled the enslaught of big hitters.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kart
I don't think Lindsay was seen as a wasted talent in 1998. She had only really begun to show what she was really capable of in the preceeding 12 months. I know about her bursting onto the scene in 1994 etc but IMHO she was 100% improved after she got fitter.

Still, 1998 was totally a 'revenge of the old guard' which was great for their fans.

Re: Hingis, I'm not sure her losses to Monica and Novotna were that critical because she came back and beat both of them at the US open and went on to win 1999 Oz. I didn't see the final against Lindsay but still the French 1999 and US open 1999 losses were far more significant IMHO.

Uhum....me thinks so too. The losses in ´99 were more crucial to Hingis´s mind and spirit.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2004, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preacherfan
I've always considered 1997-1999 a building period. Graf was no longer around or was building for that one last Slam. Hingis was really good and though she dominated 1997, after that she kept #1 through her consistency and not through winning Slams. Davenport was improving, the Williamses were improving, Seles couldn't maintain a top level of play because of injuries/personal crises. If a player wanted a window to win a Slam, 97-99 was the time to sneak in and do so. Until Venus began dominating Wim and US, and Serena asserted herself, there was no dominant force. '97-'99 was interesting, but a transitional time without a real all-time great in charge. Apologies to Martina H, who was a phenomenal talent, but couldn't handled the enslaught of big hitters.

Which all-time great was in charge '00-'01?
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