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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2005, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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The Changing of the Guard

What one or two year periods seem to be a transitional period (changing of the guard) in tennis history. I'll use '78-'79 for an example. The names of Wade, Reid, Casals and Durr had been fixtures at the top of women's tennis. Stove had risen to prominence after a long career. New faces, Austin, Shriver, Mandlikova, Jaeger and many others who would impact the top of the rankings made their initial run during this time.

What other periods of great change do you see?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2005, 09:18 PM
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1990 - 4 different GS winners. It was the "passing of the torch year" from Graf to Seles.

1998-1999 - Only Hingis and Davenport won more than one Slam in this period. The golden girls (Jana, Aranxta, Steffi) got their Slams. Martina was no longer miles ahead of the rest, but found herself on equal footing with Lindsay, Venus and Serena.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2005, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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I think 1997 was a huge transition from the powers of the early 90's to those who would carry tennis to the new millenium. Here are Barrett's rankings:

1996
1. Graf
2. Seles
3. Sanchez-Vicario
4. Martinez
5. Novotna
6. Huber
7. Davenport
8. Hingis
9. Date
10. Coetzer

1997
1. Hingis
2. novotna
3. Davenport
4. Seles
5. Majoli
6. Pierce
7. Coetzer
8. Sanchez-Vicario
9. Spirlea
10. Fernandez

Graf was absent after a dominating 1996. Seles' physical woes showed that she could not consistently challenge for #1. Sanchez-Vicario and Martinez fell back from the top. Davenport and Novotna had been around for awhile, but in 1997, they showed that they were ready to challenge for the top. Venus Williams ran to the USO final. And Martina Hingis stepped up to rule the game just like Graf had (though only briefly dominant).

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2005, 11:35 PM
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The two times I can recall thinking that were the 1988 Wimbledon Final, where Graf really came of age against Navratilova, and then (and I know you disagree with me LDV, and were even there for the match live) the 1999 Indian Wells Final, where Serena Williams took out Steffi Graf.

It's really tough to come across these kinds of matches, because usually the old guard is so firmly entrenched and protective that they are actually more often than not in a position to protect their schedule and shy away from having such losses injure their champions' pride. The few players who go out and lay it on the line and like the fight are the ones I really like.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2005, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Probably the USO final of '79 almost positively seemed to be one of those times. It seemed as though Evert had been already passed by Martina and then Tracy was passing her. It was inevitable that Evert's best days were behind her and that she would not be able to overcome her younger competitors. I remember Rosie and someone (Martina?) crying in the stands after the loss.

What a pleasant surprise Chrissie had for us!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2005, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
The two times I can recall thinking that were the 1988 Wimbledon Final, where Graf really came of age against Navratilova, and then (and I know you disagree with me LDV, and were even there for the match live) the 1999 Indian Wells Final, where Serena Williams took out Steffi Graf.

It's really tough to come across these kinds of matches, because usually the old guard is so firmly entrenched and protective that they are actually more often than not in a position to protect their schedule and shy away from having such losses injure their champions' pride. The few players who go out and lay it on the line and like the fight are the ones I really like.
Of all the players who could have been in a position to claim the mantel from Graf, I am in retrospect happy that it was Serena, and not Hingis or Davenport. On physical talent alone, Serena was a worthy successor to Graf. That I will not deny.

What we will probably never agree on is the quality level of the match. I don't think Steffi played well at all. She didn't think she played well according to her postmatch newsconference.

That does nothing to change the historical significance of this match. In fact, I find it even more telling that of the two sisters it was Serena who won her last match against Steffi and not Venus.

Steffi Graf was part of a youth tennis group that was studied from age 12 and then followed, and the scientists called her "the perfect talent" even then. In addition to her many tennis-specific skills, her aerobic capacity was on par with the best distance runners in Europe. --- David Epstein, The Sports Gene
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2005, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDVTennis
Of all the players who could have been in a position to claim the mantel from Graf, I am in retrospect happy that it was Serena, and not Hingis or Davenport. On physical talent alone, Serena was a worthy successor to Graf. That I will not deny.

What we will probably never agree on is the quality level of the match. I don't think Steffi played well at all. She didn't think she played well according to her postmatch newsconference.

That does nothing to change the historical significance of this match. In fact, I find it even more telling that of the two sisters it was Serena who won her last match against Steffi and not Venus.
It's what I like the most about Steffi Graf, and Margaret Court. Of all the great champions both past and present, they are the only ones I've seen who actually wanted to get at any and all competition laid before them, even when they were decidedly past their prime, and stood the very real chance of losing to the new guard. Margaret, in particular, stayed out there until 1977, and after the birth of two children and a miscarriage, was plugging away at the tennis ball and traveling the globe in search of the next challenge on court. She did lose most of her matches against Evert, Navratilova, and a couple lower ranked players 1975-1977, but she wanted the ball, and obviously loved to play in the truest sense of the concept- just as did Graf after her.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 17th, 2005, 08:41 AM
 
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Changing of the guard

1979 Evert to Austin
1990 Graf to Seles
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 17th, 2005, 06:56 PM
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In a longer, protracted way, when Billie Jean King and Margaret Court faded off into the sunset 1976-77, the era of King and Court had given way to Evert/Goolagong and Evert/Navratilova. The great thing about their abdication of the top spots was how long they managed to keep it. Except for a few brief flashes from Maria Bueno in the 60s, either Margaret Court or Billie Jean King was at one time or the other the indisputed queen of tennis for 15 straight years.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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