Originally Posted by Andy T
Guys, I often get the impression that both BJK and Martina never quite convinced themselves that they had achieved all they could have and that Chris, on the other hand - the odd regret for a particular match aside - is very much satisfied and at peace with her entire career and overall record. I wonder if this has sth to do with the fact that neither M nor BJK hit real the top until their Wimbledon wins around the ages of 21 and their attainment of a period of domination only in their mid-20s. Chris and Steffi both enjoyed periods of supremacy earlier in their lives and careers and maybe the psychological impact of this plays a role. Just speculating really but i'd be interested in your thoughts.
Funny that you should mention that very point...I recently got a 'champion's ceremony' that was done for chris back in 1987, as a pre-retirement 'we know you're gonna retire soon' type affair. And on that program, Bud Collins says that he spoke with Billie Jean King about the career of Chris Evert, and that BJK's remark was that "Chris is one of the few players who will be able to walk away from her career never wondering whether she gave everything she could back to the sport; she will never have to question that."
So Chris didn't have any particluar reaction to that, actually...she kind of looked like, "Hmm..ok, well, that's interesting" but nothing more. But the fact that BJK thought of it as something to say meant it was uppermost on HER own mind...and served as a better mirror into Billie Jean than into Chris, as comments so often do. So you may have something there indeed, AndyT!!!
Jaeger also had great success very early on, and even though she could be bitter for being 'forced' into retirement by injury, she came out like a dozen roses...really giving herself to an....'outer' cause in life.
So the early resolving of a sense of success in the self may also be a factor, as you say. We certainly do fall into behavior patterns, and the older we get, the harder they are to break.
But I wouldn't call Martina 'unsuccessful' even at the beginning. I got a tape of her loss to Goolagong in the finals of the Australian Open in 1975. And already, the "Now I know I shouldn't have partied so much last night" was handed to the audience as an excuse for losing. Goolagong picked up on it very quickly, though, and said in her speech, "I am also certainly glad that last night didn't take its toll on me too much" as a kind of, 'listen, M, we were both in the same boat, ok?' ... but I do understand to the extent that Martina was not the success she yet wanted to be, and showed she was able to become. It's hard to put ourselves into the mind of someone who has the desire to achieve at the level we are talking about.