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Here are my picks:

Bill Jean King- without her I would not even think there would be a WTA.

Martina Navritolova- The most dominating player I have ever seen.

Graf/Seles- I think Seles deserves this spot because before she left the tour she already won 8 GS and I think we all know she would have won a lot more. Steffi becuase she won the Golden Slam and thats all I have to say about her, steffi had a carrer which many people would love.
 

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Definitely STEFFI GRAF !!!!<br />She won the Golden Slam, and not only for that, she was 377 weeks at # 1, 186 consecutive weeks at # 1, more than any man or woman. And these are only a few of the records she has. <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" />
 

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Do we really have to get into this? It's only been debated 20,000 times. Each time, there was a clear winner, too! Once Monique Viele blossoms, she will eclipse the records of everyone on the list. She will win the Australian Open 23 times, all with top players in the draw, so there's no Margaret Court argument. She'll claim Roland Garros 15 times, once again with all the top players. Wimbledon? 47 titles in singles, mixed, and ladies' doubles. U.S. Open, she will win 22 singles titles. She will play and be in the Top 10 until she is 67 years old, thus ending the longevity argument. She will have several rivals who are taken out of the game, but genetic clones will come in immediately with new technology, and she will beat them also. Suzanne, Helen, Maureen, Margaret, Billie Jean, Evonne, Chris, Martina, Steffi, Martina Hingis, the Williams sisters, Lindsaty, and Monica will donate their DNA to science so their clones will be able to play with the top equipment at their peak ages. Monique will beat them also, ending the debate about equipment. She ends with 556 weeks at No. 1 and 457 singles titles, and 456 doubles titles with $987,678,890 in prize money. Then, the debate will end! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Celeste - WIth all due respect, I think Sam is quite entitled to want to debate this subject.

You may have done it a thousand times and be over debating it, but sam may not have...

Jeez, its not like the ranking system hasnt been done to death, or how the Williams are victims of racism constantly, or Jennifers comeback story etc etc...they've ALL been done to death!!!!

<br />For what its worth - Martina Navratilova is the best of all-time IMO...

A 9-9 head to head record with Graf from the age of about 29 onwards, and a 2-2 record against her in the 90's alone is enough for any argument for Graf to be cut down IMO...

Navratilova achieved a level of dominance not seen before, or since (72 matches, 6 grand slams in a row), plus she had a multitude of personal problems she dealt with along the way, and still managed to chalk up such an impressive career.....

<br />And Martina had Chris Evert, another ALL-TIME great to compete with throughouther whole career....Chris wasnt stabbed at her peak and Martina left behind to clena everything up....

Arantxa Sanchez is a solid player, but Im sorry, winning slam after slam against her as your top rival does cheapen the value of them IMO....
 

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Ok, you speak the truth. But I know that Steffi once had diarrhea before she played Martina, so that doesn't count.
 

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LOL " Ok, you speak the truth. But I know that Steffi once had diarrhea before she played Martina, so that doesn't count."

If I didnt know Graf fans as well as I do, Id think you were joking..But in my expereince, I have to say, you are probably serious!!!

Ive heard some doozies of excuses to explain each and every loss Graf ever had throughout her career....
 

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Steffi is the greatest for me, if she wasn`t, I wasn`t her fan.
 

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This is always a difficult subject. Everybody has their favorites, reasons why, etc.

I am going to pick Graf. I always liked Navratilova better but I think Steffi was the slightly superior player. She was more consistent across the boards, winning almost equally on each surface. She won the French 6 times and clay is her worst surface. That pretty much says it all for me. Steffi could play on any surface, anywhere, against anyone. Martina did a wonderful job in winning the French twice and making the finals 3 years running but she was never the clay courter that Steffi was. Otherwise they were about equall on grass, hardcourts and indoor carpet. I think if Steffi had continued to play she would have had a chance at chasing some of Martina's records.

Martina makes a very good claim to being the greatest with her utstanding record and amazing longevity. She is certainly the greatest all around of all time (singles and doubles).

I would put Evert at number 3. I don't think she was the athlete that King and Court were but some of her records make Graf and Navratilova look like mid-level players, particularly that she played almost 60 grand slams and only lost before the semi's 4 times. That record will never be broken and neither will her clay court streak (one of the greatest, but most under rated, streaks in all of sports history).

King would be 4, Court 5, Goolagong 6, Seles 7, Hingis 8, Venus 9, Davenport 10, Wade 11, Mandlikova 12, Sabatini 13, Novotna 14, Austin 15...and so on and so forth.

I don't rank the pre-Open era players because they don't interest me as much. Obviously they fit in there somewhere!
 

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Thanks for your post Marylinda, I enjoyed reading it, and thought you had some good points, but just for the fun of 'debate' let me attempt to pick it part a little and discuss it more....

<br />"She won the French 6 times and clay is her worst surface. That pretty much says it all for me. Steffi could play on any surface, anywhere, against anyone. Martina did a wonderful job in winning the French twice and making the finals 3 years running but she was never the clay courter that Steffi was"

Martina won the French in 82 and 84, she didnt play it at all during 76,77,78,79,80... She lost the finals to Evert (the # 3 player of ALL-TIME, in your opinion), on her best surface, and even walloped her 6-3 6-1 in 84...

But let me ask you - Who would have stopped Martina if Chris had been stabbed in say, 84??

I mean, lets get serious about Graf's 6 French victories, I give her 3 of those 'cleanly'... 93, and 95 + 96, are all very tainted IMO....I def credit her with 87, 88 and 99 victories though...

I just think although its 6 French Opens to 2, I think Maritna had much more competition, and less 'help' than Steffi had....

<br />The other thing I MUST pick at, is your claim that you'd have Navratilova and Graf EQUAL on grass???

I mean, if anything, Martina is INAURGUABLY (IMO <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> ) the clearcut best all-time grass court player!!!

Reaching the finals at 37??? I mean the fact is Graf DID not continue playing, so its unfair to Martina who did continue to play, and did continue to endure the tour, that her logevity accomplishments can be written off with a simple "If graf kept playing, she'd have a chance at breaking those records"....uh-uh, Graf can barely jog these days, let alone play.....

I agree with you about Everts consitency, truley remarkable...But I think that adds weight to Martina's claim... She managed 18 slams in the same era competing directly with Evert... Grafs main rival was conveniently taken out, and her career numbers are inflated accordingly....
 

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Martina Navratilova, baby! #1 <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

Won all 4 singles slams<br />Won all 4 doubles slams<br />Won 3/4 mix doubles slams

#1 in singles and doubles

Longest win streak in singles<br />Longest win streak in doubles

Title holder for most career singles titles<br />Title holder for most career doubles titles

No point in listing anything else... <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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Martina had to compete against the greatest clay court player of all time(chris evert) during her time at the french and was blessed to have won 2. Chris had to compete against the greatest grass court player of all time(martina) and was blessed to have won 3. Take away one or the other and one of them could have racked up a lot more grand slams during their career. Stefi had no and I mean NO competition to speak of during her prime, Martina and Chris were both past their primes when Steffi started to dominate, Sabatini and Aranxta were both good players during Steffi's reign, but neither could be considered one of the top 10 or 15 greats of all time and IMO Monica was Steffi's only true rival.
 

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You underestimate all the good players there were if you say Graf hadn´t had competition. It´s a shame that you don´t give credit to all those good players there were and to the best off all time : that is STEFFI !!!!! <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> She even won the award for the best player of the century! So don´t say she isn´t the best cause she didn´t had competition. <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
 

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I didn't mean to take any thing away from the GOOD players that you mentioned, but I don't feel that any of them were great. Martina had to deal with Chris and Tracy and Steffi had to deal with who?
 

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It`s not her fault that the Novotna`s, Sabatini`s, Fernandez`, ASV`s, Martinez` and who more couldn`t reach her level and it`s also not her fault that her career was ended when she was 23 years and 11 months because of some freaking idiot(yes it was ended according to her dislikers) If that had happened to Nav she wouldn`t even have been in the top 20.
 

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Funny how Tracy Austin is considered significant competition for Martina and Chris only when attempting to bolster their achievements, but as soon as one points out that Austin's career ended prematurely due to injury, thus helping Martina's and Chris's numbers, suddenly she's not so significant.

Of course Tracy didn't leave the game in the horrifying manner in which Monica did, but regardless how or why she left, her absence no doubt meant less competition for Martina and Chris. I know some will be quick to say that Tracy was no Monica. That may be true, but she was a significant opponent nonetheless. The point being that Steffi is not the only player in history who has benefitted from an opponent's absence.

[ December 04, 2001: Message edited by: G-Ha ]</p>
 

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I'd have to agree that Tracy Austin was not a tremendously significant factor, as a player who at her best won 2 Slams in a 3 year period. Chris's credentials, however, are unparalleld. You could make the argument that she was a greater player than EITHER of them, what with her 34 Grand Slam Finals and about 16-17 years in the top 3. However, I think Martina was better than Chris.
 

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Margaret Court<br />Martina Navratilova<br />Steffi Graff<br />Chris Evert<br />Monica Seles

In no particular order!

Oh and also

Suzzane Langleng(can't spell!)
 

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I agree G-HA that when Tracy left, the competition was weakened; however, Martina and Chris had each other and when Monica left Steffi didn't have a primary rival. Look at the Grand Slams and you can see how many times Chris and Martina met all over the world.
 

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"I know some will be quick to say that Tracy was no Monica. That may be true but..."

No buts. When you say that Austin and Seles cannot be compared, that is the crux of the argument. Seles' absence made it *much* easier for Graf to rack up more slams (including the next 4 consecutive ones, which I refer to as the non-calendar year "Grand Stab"). More so than Austin's exit made it for Martina & Chris. Austin was turning into a non-entity by 1982 and her injuries were her own fault entirely. Billie Jean King had warned her to engage in proper conditioning and practice habits but she never listened. Monica was the victim of a deranged Grafanatic with the intention of getting Graf back to #1. This action was a resounding success as Graf's inflated GS total indicates.

Chris Evert missed 3 consecutive French Opens (1976 to 1978) b/c of World TeamTennis. Martina missed 5 consecutive Australian Opens during that same period. Who's fault is it that those tournaments were worth squat at the time and that when people referred to the Big Four - it was Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the Virginia Slims Ch'ships and the Colgate Ch'ships??

For the record, Martina is the greatest of all time. She is also the greatest grass & indoor player that ever was. Not to mention the greatest doubles player too. Her longetivity sets her apart from the rest. The fact that at the age of 36 she was able to beat the #1 Seles and the #2 Graf in a span of 2 weeks is just mind-boggling. 167 singles titles. 165 doubles titles. The best.
 

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I think Navratilova is a really great player, and probably the greatest of all time. But I would put Steffi right up there too, as they have both achieved really great things, and I think they both deserve our respect. Greatest really isn't objective. Greatness in terms of what? Slams? Longevity? or how you helped to promote the game? It is all different.

I think Navratilova is the greatest indoor and grass player ever. Evert is the greatest clay player ever. And Steffi is the greatest all round player ever.
 
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