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Discussion Starter #1
Like the title says, it's only about GS performance. This is where players like Pancho Gonzales suffer. He turned pro young in the pre-Open era, so he has a poor Davis Cup and GS record. Nonetheless, one of the best in history. But I digress. Today's topic is Martina Hingis.

Martina's GS record is basically period of unmistakable dominance. But a rather short period. Martina won four GS singles titles in five tries from OZ ’97 to OZ ’98. And perceptually, she did it without breaking a sweat. She’s won only one since then, and against a vastly tougher draw than her first four. Check out her opponents.

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The Period of Dominance

97 OZ QF Spirlea
97 OZ SF Fernandez
97 OZ FN Pierce

97 WB QF Chladkova
97 WB SF Kournikova
97 WB FN Novotna

97 US QF ASV
97 US SF Davenport – Pre-GS winning Lindsay
97 US FN Williams – She ended 1997 ranked 22nd despite USOpen final.

98 OZ QF Pierce
98 OZ SF Huber
98 OZ FN Martinez
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!998 became the ‘Year of the Veterans’. Arantxa won Roland Garros, Jana won Wimbledon, Lindsay won the US. (23 year old ‘veteran’).

1999, Martina seemed ready to take back the GS spotlight. She wins OZ 1999. And does so while beating three straight ‘power players’ in a row.

99 OZ QF Pierce
99 OZ SF Seles
99 OZ FN Mauresmo

This may seem odd, given recent results. However, these are three of the slowest power brokers in the current top ten. Despite the slump in 2001, Martina has always demonstrated the ability to handle power. It’s really combining power, speed and accuracy that overwhelm her. As that combination overwhelms 99.9% of the tour.

From RG 1999 to RG 2000 – Steffi, Lindsay, Serena, Lindsay, Mary

Then, ‘The Venus and Jenn Show’ starts.

Martina Hingis, looking back, was almost a mutation against the evolutionary process of tennis. She excels at a form of tennis that the superior athleticism of today’s players threatens to make obsolete. I say ‘threatens to make’, not ‘has made’, because Martina is ranked #3. Obviously her style works and works well. But it’s not the direction the evolution of the game is going.

Martina’s still the only player since Steffi to establish a real period of dominance in the GS’s. The surprising part is she did it so young, and the period of time was so short. Steffi won three GS titles in 1996, but she only won one after that. So Martina wasn’t simply winning because of Steffi’s injuries. And Martina continues to go deep into GS tournaments. She’s very competitive. She’s regularly in GS semis. And she’s only 21. It seems impossible that her best GS days are behind her. Yet, four years ago, Martina would be favored in any GS tournament she entered. Now, realistically, she wouldn’t be THE favorite in any of them. Four titles out of five secures her footnote in GS history (Putting aside all the doubles titles). But unless something changes drastically, it’ll be a footnote in GS history, not the chapter we all foresaw (and maybe feared) in February of 1998.
 

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Very nice. Hingis may not be winning the Slams but I always see her as a contender in every GS and is a very safe bet to make at least the final four every time. It's a really great position to be in considering that that can't be said of most players.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Shockingly, she never won Roland Garros.

I apologize if I left the impression she won four of her first five GS titles. She won four OUT OF five. However she played in all four GS tournament in 1995 and 1996. Her record

95 OZ - 2r Nagatsuka
95 RG - 3r Davenport
95 WB - 1r Graf
95 US - 4r Sabatini

96 OZ - QF Coetzer
96 RG - 3r Habsudova
96 WB - 4r Graf
96 US - SF Graf
 

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I am not sure we are going to a period were athelticism and power is the key.

since the second half of 1998 to the present, it's true the power players have dominated the tour: Lindsay, Venus, Serena, Jennifer, Monica, with Martina in the middle, but if you take a look to the new generations, not all of them are based in athleticism, Hantuchova, Justine, Bedanova are good examples. Rita Grande demonstrated you can play a power player with finesse, and she was close to beating the Australian Open champion, had Martina or Justine used the same approach we probably would have had a different champion at the Australian Open.

I don't think there will be a domination of finesse, or power, but rather a mix of both, with player with both styles alternating in the wins.
 

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But until players are willing to use finesse more, we are not going to see that, unfortunately.
 

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How many players have ever won their first GS title without dropping a set? Martina won her first GS title without dropping a set at the AO in 1997. The only other players from recent memory to do that were Mary Pierce (Melbourne in 1995) and Lindsay Davenport (New York in 1998).
 
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