Scattered thoughts on these-all the posts so far make for great reading-a lot better than the food fights I see in GM.
Posted by Sam L I think the answer is pretty simple, isn't it?
Times change. More importance is given to slams since the 90s since that's what players concentrate on. That wasn't the case back in the 70s where Chris Evert might've skipped Australian and French Opens to play WTT. But nobody does that now. Nobody skips slams since the 90s.
Novotna was the last one in my memory-skipping the Aussie.
BTW SAM, your post ROCKED.
There are two sides of the coin with almost all of these GOAT talks.
Posted by Preacherfan There are a list of GOATs. I think you have to include Connolly and Lenglen in the mix.
Yes, Yes, Yes! Connolly because she won the Holy Grail in 1953-and her 9 consecutive slams entered.
Lenglen as she was so invincible.
Sumarokov-Elston Most people rightfully mention that Evert skipped the French Open 1976-78, well inside the very years she was unbeaten on clay. But she also skipped the French Open in 1972, as she was finishing school I believe. Roland Garros was won that year by Billie Jean King, whom Evert had already thrashed on clay 6-1, 6-0 by that time (Nancy Richie would probably have been the favourite and had Chris's number on clay, but withdrew from the tournament). Evert also did well in Australia, a country where she had two grass-court wins over Navratilova (1981, 1982), not to mention her hard-court win in 1988, so you had to give her a couple there in the 1970s, I think
I love Chrissie-she deserves space in the GOAT talk. But using Sam's "two sides of the coin theory", I will play devil's advocate. Evert's "extra" French slams in 1972 and from 1976 to 1978 (plus 4 let's say) could easily have been reduced if Tracy Austin played and won the French in 1979 and 1980.
And don't forget her #1 rival in 1976, Goolagong, got pregnant. In addition Evonne was barred from the French in 1974 was refused to enter it for many years after.
Posted by Mrs Anthropomorphic The "greatest of all time" arguments as a constant talking point did not really exist until Navratilova's 1983.
I disagree Mrs A. Looking at the literature and viewing old matches on TV it's always been around-what changed by the early 1980s was more media exposure due to television.
And now the Internet of course.
And it's also hilarious how in this Era of Only-Slams-Count, Margaret Smith Court's record is so often brushed off as being "padded" with amateur/shamateur era Slams (as if she could help when she played or that tennis wasn't open) or "padded" with weakly-contested AOs (not all of them were that flimsy), while failing to take into account just how much of her prime Court missed. She retired for the first time after Wim 1966 and was absent for all of 1967. (Hey, Billie Jean, how's it feel to win some Slams with a major competitor sitting out?) She was MIA again after Wim 1971 when she had a baby, didn't return until USO 1972, then proceeds to win three out of four Slams in 1973, then takes more time off to have another baby in 1974. (Hey, Chrissie, how's it feel to win some Slams with a major competitor sitting out?) And let's not forget that she was playing with her non-dominant hand. Court's woulda-coulda-shoulda is downright scary -- but she still gets little to no respect.
Preach on sister! The church of Margaret Court devotees says Amen (or should it be "baaaah"! to that!
If ONLY slams count you either count them or you don't-period.
You'd think Court beat a series of weekend scrubs or something. If win all 4 in one year a la Connolly, Court, and Graf you are in rare air.