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A short summary of the year


After the horror of Hamburg most people expected to see Monica Seles back in action soon-surely by 1994 the grunting girl would be back to pummeling the ball with her usual intensity?

Battling issues in the aftermath of the stabbing, Seles never did step back on court in 1994. The expectation was that Stefi Graf would dominate in her absence. She certainly started off with a bang, routing all comers, incuding a drubbing of Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the final.

The press decided the meme of the year was how the women's tour was in deep trouble, boring, etc.

Things didn't quite pan out as expected though. At the French Open Mary Pierce played the match of her life to dismantle Steffi in straight sets in front of a highly partisan French crowd. Rain dampened conditions in the final allowed veteran Sanchez-Vicario to prevail to claim her second French Open.

Wimbledon was even more surprising. With 16 women seeded, fate threw world #17 Lori McNeil up against Steffi Graf in the opening round. In the biggest early upset since Billie Jean Moffitt upset Margaret Smith in 1962, the charging American took out the world #1. Mcneil went on to the semifinals, falling by the slimmest of margins to Spaniard Conchita Martinez. Nostalgia reigned on the other half of the draw-with Martina Navratilova coming through to the final. In an enchanting encounter Martinez prevailed in 3 sets to deny Navratilova a 10th Wimbledon. The irony was the Conchita, normally thought of as a clay courter, ended her career with her lone major of a surface most Spaniards think is fit only for cows.

The summer leading up to the US Open saw Graf, suffering with a bad back, lose in the final of the Canadian Open to Sanchez-Vicario despite having a match point.

The doughty Spaniard won the US Open by repeating a 3 set victory over Steffi. Refusing to bow under, the Barcelona Bumblebee buzzed around the net in the last two sets for a well fought 1-6 6-4 6-4 victory.

The year closed with Gabriela Sabatini winning her last significant title-the WTA Year End Championships.

Steffi Graf ended the year as #1 on the computer. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was clearly the player of the year however, with two major to 1 for Graf. Head to head Sanchez and Graf split 6 encounters.

Vamos! was the familiar battle cry of a surprise season, and with 3 out of 4 slams Spain would not see a reign like it again until Rafa Nadal.
 

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Troubled WTA Tour limps through '94 season

1994-03-05

INDIAN WELLS, California (Agencies via Xinhua) - With two major stars in limbo, a third on her way out and another so dominant she has made recent tournaments a formality, women's tennis troubles did not end with conclusion of the disastrous 1993 season.
"Everyone thinks women's tennis is in trouble, but no one will admit it," said one tour official who works for Philip Morris, parent company of the tour's former major sponsors.

The new WTA Tour, formed when Kraft General Foods ended its sponsorship deal after the 1993 season, is currently searching for a major sponsor.
What is most troubling for the future of women's tennis, however, is not the unsettling sponsorship void, but a lack of competition.

As the 1994 season gets into full swing, there is little indication of when Monica Seles or Jennifer Capriati will play again and no one seems capable of challenging Steffi Graf. To make matters worse, ninetime Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova - one of the sport's biggest draws - has announced that this year will be her last.

"We really need to have Monica and Jennifer back," Graf said. "To lose them would be very difficult. There is no doubt that they are two of the biggest personalities and women's tennis misses them."

The plight of the women's tour was painfully evident at the $400,000 Evert Cup which ended here on Sunday.
Graf rolled through the event without losing a set and the stadium was never more than half full, even for the final.
The men's tour, by contrast, is thriving.

At this week's $1,720,000 Champions Cup, 14 of the top 18-ranked men are competing. The tournament is being televised every day internationally and the same stadium was two-thirds full on opening day.

"The women must act now," said one agent at International Management Group, which represents several players and owns several tour events.
"If the perception is that the tour is in trouble now, it will probably stay that way for a couple years. They need to turn things around soon, or it will snowball."

Things unravelled in 1993 for the most popular and richest women's sport in the world, offering more than $33 million a year in prize money.
The most severe blow came when Seles, then the top-ranked player in the world, was stabbed in Hamburg by a deranged fan during a match. She has not played since the April 30 attack.

Capriati, the 17-year-old American sensation, put her racket down after a disastrous first round exit at the US Open and hasn't picked it up since.
Another disruption came from Mary Pierce's father. The rising star's father had to be banned from tour events for his ugly disruptions during his daughter's matches.

While the Pierce situation has stabilized, Seles and Capriati remain question marks.

Seles' agent last month said the eight-time Grand Slam champion has no plans to return any time soon, while Capriati, who seems to have lost some of her taste for tennis, will finish high school before returning to action.

Capriati's agent said last week that she may not play another Grand Slam event until the US Open in late August.

That leaves Graf so far ahead of the field that women's tennis at the top is no longer interesting. Since Seles was sidelined, Graf has a 65-2 match record and has gone 18 consecutive matches in 1994 without dropping a set.

"She's clearly much better than everyone else," retired champion Chris Evert said of Graf last week. "I would be surprised if Steffi dropped a set anytime soon.

"Unless Martina is on a grass court or Arantxa on the clay courts, I don't see anyone out there who can beat her," Evert said.
 

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A short summary of the year




Steffi Graf ended the year as #1 on the computer. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was clearly the player of the year however, with two major to 1 for Graf, and 3 wins vs Steffi to two defeats.

Vamos! was the familiar battle cry of a surprise season, and with 3 out of 4 slams Spain would not see a reign like it again until Rafa Nadal.
*Not sure where you got the idea of Arantxa leading Steffi 3-2 that year, but the head to head is below:
1994 US Open F Hard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Steffi Graf 1-6 7-6 6-4
1994 Canadian Open 1 F Hard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Steffi Graf 7-5 1-6 7-6
1994 San Diego F Hard Steffi Graf Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-2 6-1
1994 Hamburg F Clay Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Steffi Graf 4-6 7-6 7-6
1994 Delray Beach F Hard Steffi Graf Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3 7-5
1994 Australian Open F Hard Steffi Graf Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-0 6-2

Anyway, without looking into details, I don't seem to recall either woman being a clear-cut #1 for the year. In fact, I don't even remember a lot of memorable tennis from the second half of the year (not that the first half was amazing). I think 1995 was much more interesting, and 1993 before it was also more intriguing.
 

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*Not sure where you got the idea of Arantxa leading Steffi 3-2 that year, but the head to head is below:
1994 US Open F Hard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Steffi Graf 1-6 7-6 6-4
1994 Canadian Open 1 F Hard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Steffi Graf 7-5 1-6 7-6
1994 San Diego F Hard Steffi Graf Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-2 6-1
1994 Hamburg F Clay Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Steffi Graf 4-6 7-6 7-6
1994 Delray Beach F Hard Steffi Graf Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3 7-5
1994 Australian Open F Hard Steffi Graf Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-0 6-2

Anyway, without looking into details, I don't seem to recall either woman being a clear-cut #1 for the year. In fact, I don't even remember a lot of memorable tennis from the second half of the year (not that the first half was amazing). I think 1995 was much more interesting, and 1993 before it was also more intriguing.
Arantxa went RUP, W, 4r, W in the slams that year, while Steffi went W, SF, 1r, RUP. I would say Arantxa had the edge.

Considering their tournament titles outside of slams were pretty much identical, and they were tied head to head, it seems clear that the one with the better slam stats that year was the best player of 94...thus it was widely agreed upon that Arantxa was the top player of 94. She was hurt by the divisor system, and a couple times I have seen calculations that if there was "best of" system put in place like the tour would later use, Arantxa would have been the year end #1.

95 made for some more interesting storylines. The comeback of Monica, Arantxa falling short to Steffi, the questions of whether Conchita could begin to consistently challenge the big 3.
 

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In fact, I don't even remember a lot of memorable tennis from the second half of the year (not that the first half was amazing). I think 1995 was much more interesting, and 1993 before it was also more intriguing.
Thanks for the correction Grafiati. I forgot San Diego. The summary has ben changed.

I don't disagree per see overall about the overall interest of the tour. The press was setting it up to be an absolute desert without Seles and Capriati-and for me at least the Sanchez-Graf encounters and Wimbledon made for good matches and story lines.
 

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Arantxa went RUP, W, 4r, W in the slams that year, while Steffi went W, SF, 1r, RUP. I would say Arantxa had the edge.

Considering their tournament titles outside of slams were pretty much identical, and they were tied head to head, it seems clear that the one with the better slam stats that year was the best player of 94...thus it was widely agreed upon that Arantxa was the top player of 94. She was hurt by the divisor system, and a couple times I have seen calculations that if there was "best of" system put in place like the tour would later use, Arantxa would have been the year end #1.

95 made for some more interesting storylines. The comeback of Monica, Arantxa falling short to Steffi, the questions of whether Conchita could begin to consistently challenge the big 3.
Joseosu19,

I took a look at the WTA's website to see how Steffi and Arantxa performed in 1994, and their records seemed relatively comparable. It just dawned on me that bonus points were part of that era, so perhaps Steffi got a boost by drawing some higher-ranked players (overall) that year... although with Steffi being #1, Arantxa got more bonus points in her 3 wins over Steffi than Steffi got in her 3 wins over Arantxa!

Anyway, the computer doesn't play favorites or change its criteria mid-year, so it spat out what it spat out. Thank God for that; can you imagine if tennis somehow had figure skating judges to determine rankings? Some tennis fans might start riots ;)
 

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Joseosu19,

I took a look at the WTA's website to see how Steffi and Arantxa performed in 1994, and their records seemed relatively comparable. It just dawned on me that bonus points were part of that era, so perhaps Steffi got a boost by drawing some higher-ranked players (overall) that year... although with Steffi being #1, Arantxa got more bonus points in her 3 wins over Steffi than Steffi got in her 3 wins over Arantxa!

Anyway, the computer doesn't play favorites or change its criteria mid-year, so it spat out what it spat out. Thank God for that; can you imagine if tennis somehow had figure skating judges to determine rankings? Some tennis fans might start riots ;)
I don;t disagree at all that their 94 seasons had little separation, but I do think that Arantxa's slam season was the difference maker. Ultimately, though, you're right that the computer is what decides the rankings. Although it almost felt a bit misplaced that Arantxa took over #1 in 95, for once Steffi got going, it became clear that 95 was her year.

Rollo---I agree totally that 94 unfairly gets the rep as a terrible year. Yes, the tour was missing Seles, and Capriati was off, but it was like the press decided that two players gone made the tour go from deeper than ever to shallower than ever. Doom and gloom sells, though.
 

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The Volkswagen Cup (Eastbourne) - Tuesday 14th June 1994 - Order Of Play

Centre Court

J Pullin v N Tauziat
K Date v S Farina
M Navratilova v C Singer
J Halard/N Tauziat v V Lake/C Wood
S Reece/M Werdel v J Novotna/M Pierce

Court 1

S Appelmans v N Arendt
M Oremans v C Taylor
L McNeil v J Kruger
N Medvedeva/L Neiland v K Boogert/J Durie
A Fusai/S A Siddall v M Bollegraf/Z Garrison

Court 2

E Brioukhovets v N Zvereva
L Golarsa v G Fernandez
M Bollegraf v P Fendick
B Nagelsen/B Schultz v S Farina/G Helgeson
S Appelmans/E Reinach v C Singer/I Spirlea

Court 3

L Harvey-Wild v A Snijders
K Radford v N Muric or N Sawamatsu
I Gorrochategui v M Endo
E Likhovtseva/C Schneider v C Taylor/J Ward
I Dreihuis/M Muric v E Nado/N Sawamatsu

Court 4

C Kulhman v H Sukova
E Reinach v Y Basuki
J Hetherington/S Stafford v J Byrne/J Richardson
L Golarsa/C Vis v L Harvey-Wild/C Rubin
A Frazier/K Po v R McQuillan/M Oremans

Court 5
D Jones v M McGrath
L Raymond v M Werdel
C Benjamin/E Brioukhovets v N Arendt/K Radford
 

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Brighton International - Wednesday 19th October 1994 - Order Of Play

Court One

A Huber v E Likhovtseva
J Kruger v J Novotna
J Halard v G Fernandez
C Martinez v P Ritter
G Helgeson-Nielson & C Rubin v J Halard & N Tauziat
L Harvey-Wild & P Hy v V Lake & C Wood

Court Two

M Alejandra Vento v G Helgeson-Nielson
S Hack v M Maleeva
Y Basuki v L Neiland
M Babel v P Fendick
Y Basuki & N Miyagi v C Bakkum & N Dahlman
K Adams & D Graham v W Probst & C Singer
 
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