Jo Durie : "The toughest opponent I ever faced was.... - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2004, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Jo Durie : "The toughest opponent I ever faced was....

...Chris Evert".

Jo was chatting on Eurosport about her time on the tour and this topic came up, Jo herself having made #5 in the world before injuries kicked in. I thought it was quite interesting as Jo has played many of the elite players of her time e.g Navratilova, Evert, Austin, Mandlikova, Graf and even Capriati. She was basically saying she always felt she had a chance to get into a match against Navratilova but never felt she ever was going to trouble Chris, even before they started their matches - that Chris had an air about her which made Jo feel defeated before they hit the first ball. She said Tracy had a similar game standard wise to Evert but not this air of intimidation with her. She also said she enjoyed her time playing doubles with Chris, though Chris could be very tough on her at times!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2004, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MirjanaLfan
...Chris Evert".

Jo was chatting on Eurosport about her time on the tour and this topic came up, Jo herself having made #5 in the world before injuries kicked in. I thought it was quite interesting as Jo has played many of the elite players of her time e.g Navratilova, Evert, Austin, Mandlikova, Graf and even Capriati. She was basically saying she always felt she had a chance to get into a match against Navratilova but never felt she ever was going to trouble Chris, even before they started their matches - that Chris had an air about her which made Jo feel defeated before they hit the first ball. She said Tracy had a similar game standard wise to Evert but not this air of intimidation with her. She also said she enjoyed her time playing doubles with Chris, though Chris could be very tough on her at times!

Jo had a wonderful spell in the early to mid 80's. I've often wondered why her ranking took such a fall.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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I wish I could have seen Jo play. I really enjoy her commentating, although she tends to talk a bit too much about herself.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2004, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joana
I wish I could have seen Jo play. I really enjoy her commentating, although she tends to talk a bit too much about herself.
I enjoy hearing her talk about her time on the tour - it's different to a lot of the commentators as Jo was top 5 so has real experiences of big time tennis.

As for her own game, Jo had a serve & volley game, sliced backhand and pretty big forehand for the time. She wasn't the most mobile of players and I think her peak rank of #5 was about right for her. I think her injuries prevented her being more consistently highly ranked but I don't feel she was ever top 3 material. She made the semis of the French and US Opens, and was up a set and 5-2 against Jausovec in the French semi before blowing it.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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She talks so highly about Capriati, I'd have expected her for have said her.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2004, 11:35 PM
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MirjanaLfan: Thanks for posting Durie's interesting comments Yup, it seemed that Chris's game matched up well against Jo's as it gave Chris a nice target, and that she lacked the speed to go along with her power. Too bad she came up short against Mimi though, as it would've been nice to see a player of her style game (other than Martina) win the French.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Jo really only had about nine months where she could challenge at the very top of the game and she never got anywhere near Chris Evert. Her loss to Jausovec was simply lack of experience at this level. It was easily the biggest match of her career to date and when she got within sight of the finishing line she didn't know how to cope with it. Nobody had payed much attention to her until she beat Austin in the quarters.

I think more than anything it was frailty of mind (how British!) which was Jo's downfall (although her back did cause her problems). All of a sudden there was a British player winning matches and tournaments and as usual the media built her up and put too much pressure on her shoulders and Jo wasn't able to cope with this.

A player can get on a roll and quickly rise up the rankings as the others are unfamiliar with their game - then they begin to recognise its weaknesses and how to exploit them. Jo was running on confidence for the rest of 1983 after the French semi.

It all came to a head at the end of the year when she played Martina in the quarters at the Australian (this was the period when the dates of the AO had been changed). Jo had just won the Sydney title and stormed through from 2-4 to win the first set full of confidence against Martina when the match was called off. After her usual slow start when she lost the second set she got ahead in the final one but blew a wonderful chance. This one defeat seemed to have a catastrophic effect on her and she was never able to produce her best tennis again. On the strength of her French and US semis she just about held on to her top 10 placing until after the French the next year but it was mostly downhill from there on with a couple of mini revivals when she managed to re-enter the top 20.

If Jo had been anything other than British it's just possible she might have been able to sustain her challenge at the top and reach #3 or 4 in the world. Certainly her game was suited to the Wimbledon grass courts. Dan Maskell the renowned British commentator thought her backhand was one of the best he had ever seen.
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