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Best Player Never to Reach World Number 1 ?

  • Dementieva

    Votes: 11 7.5%
  • Conchita Martínez

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Kuznetsova

    Votes: 7 4.8%
  • Kvitova

    Votes: 49 33.6%
  • Mandlíkova

    Votes: 44 30.1%
  • Novotna

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Pierce

    Votes: 15 10.3%
  • Sabatini

    Votes: 17 11.6%
  • Suková

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Wade

    Votes: 1 0.7%

  • Total voters
    146
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I voted for Kvitova, but Pierce could be very well first. Honestly, my biggest problem is remembering some of the players.
 

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Kvitova has pretty similair career statistics to Jana Novotna actually (given that Novotna should have two slams and not just one :lol: and made one more slam final than Petra, similair number of titles). The only true answer is certainly Mandlikova though. Novotna could have won more slams but her mind was as much in her way as the body was for Pierce.
 

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Was Dementieva ever truly in contention for number 1? No shade, I actually want to know. I'm guessing it was close during 2008/09. That said, Dementieva's crazy scheduling ironically never made her a contender for the number 1 ranking, because she simply never peaked when it really mattered.

Novotna had the credentials for number 1, but there were always better players ahead of her at the time (Graf, Seles, Hingis).

Sabatini is probably my pick.
 

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Mandlikova simply because she won four slams in the era of Evertilova. Kvitova is close behind because she's been one match away on two separate occasions.
 

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As someone that followed womens tennis during Novotna's heyday there was never serious talk about her reaching #1 even during her times ranked #2. There was also never serious talk about her winning a slam outside Wimbledon, again even while ranked #2 or #3, and even when she was making semis/finals of hard court slams. For those alone I would completely eliminate her despite her record.

I might consider Sabatini only since she was mathematically very close to being #1 ranked in 1991. I think she was 1 match away 3 different times, interestingly despite never once rising above #3. Graf, Seles, Sabatini were almost interchangeable in points almost all year until the U.S Open, with Graf and Seles in fact switching rankings more than once.

On paper it should be Mandlikova since she does have 4 slams, but somehow I am not feeling her on this topic. She is probably the best player of those who didnt reach #1 (although Petra could still pass her on that) but I see that is different as the best player to never reach #1. Even though she was unlucky to be in the era of Chris/Martina she never got within even a country mile of being ranked #1 or #2, I dont think there was a time she was even within a thousand ranking points or something. While someone like Austin gets to #1 more than once in the Martina/Chris era as an undeveloped teenager with no net skills and one of the worst serves in WTA history. And in almost any era Hana would have 2 all time greats, so if she wasnt able to get even close then, she probably wouldnt be consistently strong enough rankings wise to ever be unless she happened to peak in an era like today maybe. She just isnt suited to being #1, way too inconsistent through a calendar year even in her good years, and never a dominant player in any field probably, just someone with brilliant highs who can beat anyone who has ever played on her good days.

I would still pick Petra Kvitova as my top pick, especialy as everyone knows she was the real #1 by a country mile despite no official computer rank for the year 2011, and she has been on the cusp of it twice now.

So my order would be:

1. Kvitova
2. Sabatini
3. Mandlikova
------huge gigantic gap-----


4. Novotna
5. Na Li
6. Pierce
7. Martinez
8. nobody else even worth mentioning

I laugh at people mentioning Dementieva. Girl didnt even win a slam, how on earth is she coming up.

For many years it would have easy been Goolagong, with her 2 weeks at #1 only coming in fairly recently. Although had there been computer rankings she would be #1 ranked at the end of 71/start of 72 I am pretty sure.
 

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I voted for Kvitova, but Pierce could be very well first. Honestly, my biggest problem is remembering some of the players.
I would never pick Pierce for this topic for the exact same reasons I dont pick Hana. Way too inconsistent and never even a semi dominant player, so just not suited to being #1. More suited for the big upsets, big victories, and capacity for big titles, than ever attaining the #1 ranking. And the very fact she never came even remotedly close to attaining the ranking, got as high as #3 at one point, but was never even close to taking #2, and I dont think even once got within 2000 ranking points of being #1 ranked.

While I consider Pierce as probably a better player than Conchita Martinez (although Martinez was much more consistent through the course of her career) the truth is Conchita was much closer to getting to the #1 ranking in 95 and early 96 than Pierce ever was.
 

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Mandlikova by far. She accomplished more during the peak of Evert's/Navratilova's dominance than several #1s have accomplished in their entire careers during much weaker eras.
 
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One other thing people also need to remember is while Hana was in the era of Navratilova/Evert the 82-86 period had utterly abysmal depth and quality of overall field. Even Evert herself was either slumping or old (early 30s) most of that time. There is a reason Navratilova opened up something like 4 of the 6 longest match win streaks in history that period, and it isnt just because of how good she was.

Anyone familiar with that period realizes it is overall one of the worst WTA fields in history bar none if you are talking about the overall quality of the top 10, top 15, top 20 and beyond. There were more obvious mugs in the top 10 on a regular basis than even today has. Shriver with her incredibly limited skills (in singles) was the perennial #3 or #4 that period. Martina even stormed out of a few press conferences in 83 and 84 crying since she was sick of dealing with reporters harassing her on the terrible WTA field. So while Hana is unlucky in a sense to have faced Chris/Martina, but remember is she were born a bit later it would be Graf/Seles instead, and born a bit earlier it would be either Court/King or King/Evert instead and she would be no better off really, she was lucky to have a lot of her prime in a depth-less and overall very weak field. And still never got within sniffing distance of #2. Although 80-81 was still a pretty good field, and this is the one time I can see her being a bit lucky with regards to some chances of being #1, as this was one of her few peaks where she had those 4 slam finals in a row.
 

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I would never pick Pierce for this topic for the exact same reasons I dont pick Hana. Way too inconsistent and never even a semi dominant player, so just not suited to being #1.
Same can be said about Petra. During her most "dominant" stretch—from Eastbourne 2011 to the French Open 2012 when she got within striking distance of snatching the top spot—she still posted some truly horrible losses, including a first-round exit at the USO.
 

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Same can be said about Petra. During her most "dominant" stretch—from Eastbourne 2011 to the French Open 2012 when she got within striking distance of snatching the top spot—she still posted some truly horrible losses, including a first-round exit at the USO.
I mainly agree but Petra in 2011 did win 7 titles, win Wimbledon and the YEC. That is a light years better year than Pierce ever had, and pretty sure a better year 4 slam winner Hana ever had.

Beyond that though I am also 110% sure Petra was the real #1 of 2011, and Wozniacki as YE#1 was the biggest computer ranking injustice in tennis history probably. Petra not only won way bigger tournaments, she even had a higher year win percentage than Wozniacki, so there isnt even much to say for Wozniacki being more consistent if she had a lower win percentage, LOL!

If I didnt pick Petra for this poll it would probably be since she was so obviously the #1 of 2011, she won every Player of Year award and most except massive tennis nerds probably dont even realize she wasnt the #1 computer ranked of the year; the rankings should be disregarded and you might as well say she has been ranked #1 anyway and just consider the players who really werent ever #1 like Hana, Pierce, etc...

Obviously there is no year Pierce was close to worthy of being #1 ranked, either at years end or in the duration.
 

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Sabatini by far!!!
 
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Same can be said about Petra. During her most "dominant" stretch—from Eastbourne 2011 to the French Open 2012 when she got within striking distance of snatching the top spot—she still posted some truly horrible losses, including a first-round exit at the USO.
Petra probably had more points going into Eastbourne 2012 than what Halep or Pliskova had when they reached the number one spot in 2017. A graph with the highest amount of points ever achieved by each player could be very telling.
 

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Gaby by far. Sadly she had to face the toughest competitors the game ever had (Steffi and Monica) but Gaby was able to beat them several times and being consistent throughout the whole year)

I would say she is the best player of the list. Others, like Kvitova and Pierce had great peaks but they were never consistent players.
 

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If the question is "best" and not "greatest" then it's definitely Radwanska.
 
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It is interesting the support Sabatini is getting. I like her a lot but is a player with a 3-15 slam semi final record (and I dont care who her opponents were if it is this bad) really a #1 worthy player in any era.

I guess it is possible she might be #1 in another era, but I wouldnt bet on it. She choked 3 times in 91 with the #1 ranking there, she might do that even against weaker competition. She never could handle the pressure well.
 

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Mandlikova by far. She was in four grand slam finals in a row - winning two. It's hard to imagine someone today with such 52 weeks results not becoming No. 1.
When were those four finals in a row?
 

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As someone that followed womens tennis during Novotna's heyday there was never serious talk about her reaching #1 even during her times ranked #2. There was also never serious talk about her winning a slam outside Wimbledon, again even while ranked #2 or #3, and even when she was making semis/finals of hard court slams. For those alone I would completely eliminate her despite her record.
Novotna was 4-1 up on Martina Hingis at the 1998 US Open in the final set. Had she won the tournament, she'd have reached number 1. But I will give you the point she was already close to 30 years of age at that point. Still, her career numbers are not so different from Kvitova and I would have seen many people doubt Kvitova's chance of winning a slam outside of grass, too. Both excelled on grass and indoor and usually won multiple titles a season. These two are not so different as you make them sound. I do think Kvitova will add quite a bit more to her credentials before she retires though.

Also, OP should specify how he defines 'best'. It's quite a different story if we talk about career achievements or peak level.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I laugh at people mentioning Dementieva. Girl didnt even win a slam, how on earth is she coming up.

She got to two finals, a load of Semi Finals, won the Olympic Gold, 16 titles and beat Serena, 3 times in a row, in two finals and 5 times over all, there's only been 5 players who have beaten her 5 times of more, and she was in her prime.
 
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