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Obviously wouldn't handle power that well, but she had an extremely impressive finesse-type game that could definitely win matches against much physically stronger opponents.
 

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I think a better question would be how would today's players go against her with wooden rackets and on a fast court eg. indoor or grass. Evonne was one of the best players in the world from 1971-1980 and in addition to her 2 Wimbledon titles, French Open and 5? Aussie Open titles she was runner up at the USO Open for 4 consecutive years 1973-1976. She also won the end of year championships. I don't have my books in front of me, but all I am saying is that Evonne was a wonderful player, and she was able to handle the best in the world during her era.

I don't know if Evonne's style would lend itself to today's brand of tennis. Today's larger rackets better suit the brutally struck baseline shots - with topspin. Evonne relied more on feathery shotmaking with a heavily sliced backhand and cutting volleys. I would suggest she would have to completely change her style to adjust to the new rackets, as would most of the players from the pre-graphite era eg. Evert, Wade, King, Durr, etc. It's all too difficult. Plus the court surfaces make a difference. In Goolagong's day the courts were either grass or clay with a hardcourt just starting to take over in America. But today hardcourt predominates and therefore topspin is the most suited shot. Just too difficult to compare the players and their styles. I think a champion from any era would adjust to the conditions they found themselves in and do well.
 

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One thing that a lot of people forget, or do not realize, is that the way Evonne and players like her hit the ball, it would draw unforced/forced errors from todays players.

Novotna was able to hold her own, Navratilova just took a set of off Hantuchova last year, when Hantuchova was not in a slump. Who knows who would win, but I do know that those low slices and no pace balls would cause several errors from the power babes of today.

Lastly alfajeffster, you should check out our blast from the past section ... you would have have gotten several more replies there with this type of thread. :)

Hello Craig :wavey:
 

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Novotna had an eastern forehand and continental backhand. She had a huge, flat forehand whereas Evonne hit slice balls.

Navratilova has changed her grip to semi-western and her groundies have become more akin to the power strokes of today than they were back in those ages.
 

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the fact evonne had a good slice fh and good slice bh doesnt mean much in today's game. She cant get away with using the continental-sliced forehand today.
 

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but i agree with craig regarding the fact that if we gave today's players wood raquets and they played evonne at her own game that it would be a good contest! but tennis has evolved :)
 

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I think Evonne would have done quite well -- champions are champions after all. Besides, look at Pozzi, the Italian who played very well on the men's tour into his late 30s. He played an old school game, and players had difficulty adjusting to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A good match to watch is the 1974 U.S. Open Final with Billie Jean King vs. Evonne Goolagong. It contains some of the best tennis ever played, in my humble opinion. Goolagong had much more than slice on the forehand, she came over the ball, only not with the exaggerated topspin today's players seem lost without. She also had arguably the best backhand in the game- "when Evonne's ball came back over the net, it was as if it had a nest around it" as Virginia Wade so aptly put it. She had a terrific slice that ate up the court much like Graf's, but she also had the best topspin backhand passing shot- something that Margaret Court and Billie Jean King didn't.

I agree with the Novotna assessment- in similar conditions- she would have beaten many of today's top players
 

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alfajeffster said:
A good match to watch is the 1974 U.S. Open Final with Billie Jean King vs. Evonne Goolagong. It contains some of the best tennis ever played, in my humble opinion. Goolagong had much more than slice on the forehand, she came over the ball, only not with the exaggerated topspin today's players seem lost without. She also had arguably the best backhand in the game

Exactly, Evonne had more than just a slice game. SM, I am familiar with your name, but not your age so forgive me if I am saying something that you have witnessed firsthand as I have. Evonne, Billie and Margaret all posessed topspin forehand and backhands.

If you watch any of those old matches, they hit with slice off the backhand most of the time to keep the ball low and deep, becuase most of the players were net players. When someone came in, they were passed with topspin backhands. The only backhand that I thought was better than Evonne's in the 70's, belonged to Dianne Fromholtz ... what a backhand she had! :eek:
 

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Right you are, Evonne. I thought Dianne Fromholtz's backhand was beautiful and one of the most effective shots in the game. Except when she went off with it and lost her rhythm. I still think Chris Evert had the best backhand ever in the game -- not as flashy as Evonne's slice or Fromholtz's topspin, but was there any shot more reliable than Chrissie's doublehander?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Evonne Goolagong said:
Evonne, Billie and Margaret all posessed topspin forehand and backhands.
I admit to being an unabashed Margaret Smith Court fan, however, I have yet to discover a piece of footage that shows her hitting a topspin backhand. If you can point me to a match where it happened (and I'm not saying it did), please do...
 

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Jem said:
Right you are, Evonne. I thought Dianne Fromholtz's backhand was beautiful and one of the most effective shots in the game. Except when she went off with it and lost her rhythm. I still think Chris Evert had the best backhand ever in the game -- not as flashy as Evonne's slice or Fromholtz's topspin, but was there any shot more reliable than Chrissie's doublehander?

Thats why we can say best one handed ... and best two handed backhands. ;) :)
 

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alfajeffster said:
I admit to being an unabashed Margaret Smith Court fan, however, I have yet to discover a piece of footage that shows her hitting a topspin backhand. If you can point me to a match where it happened (and I'm not saying it did), please do...
I have seen her do it many times, but as far as what is available for you to see, try the 1970 Wimbledon final against Billie (Court won 14-12, 11-9).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have that match on tape, and she slices every single backhand. I actually have 2 other matches on tape- the 1964 Wimbledon Final where she lost in 3 sets to Maria Bueno, and the 1972 U.S. Open semis, where Billie Jean took Margaret out (just returned from childbirth), and she slices and chips all her backhands in those matches too. I'm not saying she didn't come over the ball on that side- just that I'd like to see it.
 

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alfajeffster said:
I have that match on tape, and she slices every single backhand. I actually have 2 other matches on tape- the 1964 Wimbledon Final where she lost in 3 sets to Maria Bueno, and the 1972 U.S. Open semis, where Billie Jean took Margaret out (just returned from childbirth), and she slices and chips all her backhands in those matches too. I'm not saying she didn't come over the ball on that side- just that I'd like to see it.
Do you have the whole match? she sliced 90% of the time, but she did come over sometimes for passes. I saw her do it during the match and the 1971 Aussie final vs Evonne, I don't know what else to tell you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Evonne Goolagong said:
Do you have the whole match? she sliced 90% of the time, but she did come over sometimes for passes. I saw her do it during the match and the 1971 Aussie final vs Evonne, I don't know what else to tell you.
Do you have a copy of either of the above matches on video? I'd love to see the 1971 Aussie Final!!! I'll pay!!!!
 

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my point was give evonne a modern raquet and she would have alot of troube even if she started out with them. her game would probably havew been similar to someone like Ruxandra Dragomir and not Wiliams-beater material.
 
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