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Interesting. What do you put her success down to?
I haven't watched any of her matches against the Williams ladies for quite some time, but I can guess from memory: she was an all-around player who could mix things up, and those kinds of players gave Venus and Serena problems in 1998-1999 and even later. Also, MJF may have had success early on against one sister and realized that while the two ladies are talented, they are not unbeatable. Confidence is huge in tennis. Finally, Mary Joe may have been good at scouting out opponents and devising a good strategy, especially in relation to others on the tour at the time and at their ages. So, it may have been a combination of skills/game, confidence, and strategy... a combination anyone would want to favorably use against an opponent.
 

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MJF was a very friendly player, if I recall correctly. I know she was very close friends with Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Gigi Fernandez, and Arantxa Sanchez amongst others.

She was kind of a child prodigy, too, I believe. I think she was the youngest player to ever win a grand slam match (at least at that time).

Ultimately, she was a very talented player, perhaps one of the best to never win a slam, but came really close against Steffi at RG. She just seemed to never have the killer instinct in big matches, especially against Graf. As mentioned above, injuries plagued her throughout her career, which didn't help.
 

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MJF was a very friendly player, if I recall correctly. I know she was very close friends with Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Gigi Fernandez, and Arantxa Sanchez amongst others.
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Wasn't she really close with Davenport? I recall some kind of dust-up too-not sure what it was about, but they eventually patched things up.
 

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In the main I agree with your assessment Grafiati. While patterning her game on Evert's, Mary Joe was in a different era. Chris had a much better backhand, anticipation, and movement. Mary Joe was quite tall, so she had range to volley well. Her numerous doubles titles suggest she could volley better than most.

Mentally tough against 95% of the tour, my take on her was she lacked a lot of self belief versus the likes of Graf or Seles.

Numerous injuries were another negative; it's as if her slender frame just couldn't stay healthy the way her idol Evert was.



Interesting. What do you put her success down to?
MJF was soooo late Seventies/early Eighties textbook in her tactics that the New Power Generation -- raised and taught to play against straight-up sluggers like themselves -- couldn't read or anticipate her and didn't know how to counter some of her quaint tactics. (Martina Hingis' success in 1996 & 1997 was also in a similar vein.)

While MJF's endometriosis was certainly a legit health problem, so many of her "I can't play, I have a cold" excuses strike me as she just didn't feel like playing. It's almost not an exaggeration to say that she withdrew from more tournaments than she completed. It was like she was more into "being friends" than being a professional competitive athlete. Probably another case of being a tennis player looks like a really cool "job" when you're 13 or 14, but the downsides and your personal tastes don't become apparent until you're 20 or 21.
 

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Wasn't she really close with Davenport? I recall some kind of dust-up too-not sure what it was about, but they eventually patched things up.
They fell out over the ending of their doubles partnership in 1996. They were having a good year - won the French Open together - but Davenport thought Fernandez was going to play a reduced schedule in 1997 so she committed to playing with Jana Novotna the next year - without talking to Fernandez first. Fernandez was hurt because they were supposed to be good friends and she had no intention of curtailing her schedule. They still managed to win the season-ending Championships together, but their friendship took a beating. 1996 was weird because all the top doubles teams split up at the end of the year, with the exception of Arendt/Bollegraf.

Things are, of course, back to normal these days. Davenport and Fernandez have played together in the senior events at the Slams, winning the U.S. Open last year.
 

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Mary with her son Nicholas Godsick :)

 
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