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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know I keep harping on the older players, and I don't mean to- well, not maliciously- only from an educational standpoint. Let's compare today's champions to the past in a different way- physique and temperament:

Kim Clijsters- scrappy, speedy, fast player with no one big weapon except she hits all the shots well and gets to alot of balls most girls give up on, nothing major to pick on- wins lots of tournaments, but so far having trouble in the majors. Past player equivalent: Rosie Casals.

Justine Henin-Hardenne- A little pocket rocket with arguably the most explosive backhand ever- feisty, opinionated, loaded with talent, and just recently becomming one of the fittest players on tour- the hot one out of the gates right now. Past player equivalent: Billie Jean King.

Serena Williams- physically overpowering, in-your-face beat you down with brawny, heavy tennis- when she's on top of her game, virtually unbeatable. A little shakey mentally on the rare occasion when someone can stay with her. Past player equivalent: Martina Navratilova.

Lindsay Davenport- Giant girl with more powerful groundies shot for shot than anyone out there and usually a good thinker- only weakness is movement, and the occasional tendency to get down on herself when someone does move her or she's injured or not serving well.
Past Player equivalent: Betty Stove.

Jennifer Capriati- Muscular girl with solid, hard-hit groundies- runs very well for a power player, but has mental lapses and displays of temper tend to hurt her performances. Past player equivalent: Virginia Wade

Venus Williams- Great and powerful athlete- one of the best ever. Not a natural tennis player, but quickness covers the court and it's almost impossible to get the ball past her with that reach at the net. Could have excelled in a number of sports. Past player equivalent: Margaret Court

I'll stop there, because the bottom portion of the top 10 changes so much. Whadayathink?
 

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I think you didn't name Capriati's predessor, and I need to send you some tapes of Venus Williams, you have underestimated her, although Magaret Court is a flattering predessor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DA FOREHAND said:
I think you didn't name Capriati's predessor, and I need to send you some tapes of Venus Williams, you have underestimated her, although Magaret Court is a flattering predessor.
All fixed, thanks!
 

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Rosie Casals!
I think Kim is more Andrea Jaeger. Rosie had no weapons, what-so-ever. She was great to watch, though.

I love the Lindsay = Betty Stové! I am sure Lindsay would say "don't compare me to that DumpTruck!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mark36 said:
Rosie Casals!
I think Kim is more Andrea Jaeger. Rosie had no weapons, what-so-ever. She was great to watch, though.

I love the Lindsay = Betty Stové! I am sure Lindsay would say "don't compare me to that DumpTruck!"
The Rosie I remember had a good serve and she was a great volleyer- one of the best of her day, and she was scrappy. Andrea is a good comparison to Kim, though, but I think had Andrea's career not been so short with injury and burn-out, she would have won a few majors in the 80s before Graf took over.

I'm sure Lindsay Davenport with a wood racquet to complicate her lack of movement would look pretty much like a big thin, lean dump truck trying to get to the ball. Pretty even match on the temperament, though, wouldn't you say?
 

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LOL at the Davenport-Stove comparison! Pretty much spot on....I remember that final between Virginia wade and Stove, I was thinking I know that girl from somewhere! Aahh, it was Davenport!
 

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tennisfan1972 said:
What do you mean by "Natural tennis player"??
Yeah! What do you mean?
Is 'natural' being used the way posters use 'talent' on this board. Some players are said to be, others not yet the definition seems to exist only in the posters mind and can only be applied to their favourites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
tennnisfannn said:
Yeah! What do you mean?
Is 'natural' being used the way posters use 'talent' on this board. Some players are said to be, others not yet the definition seems to exist only in the posters mind and can only be applied to their favourites.
Now, now. No need to get defensive- I'll explain, and please read with an open mind. There are plenty of professional athletes who excel at what they do without being "natural" at the sport.

I mean "natural" with regard to Venus Williams in that she doesn't move naturally to where the ball will most likely go 2 or 3 shots ahead, with that chess-player anticipation you see in players like Martina Hingis, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Evonne Goolagong, Maria Bueno, and Billie Jean King among many others. Venus is big enough, fast enough, and that good of an athlete to move to most of her shots after the opponent strikes the ball- most people cannot do this, but then again, most people are not as physically gifted as Venus Williams. Margaret Court was born left-handed, but in the late 1950s, it was unheard of for a girl to be taught to play tennis left-handed- a stigma. She had to learn to play tennis right-handed, and because she was such a gifted athlete and powerful runner, she excelled. She was not the most natural tennis player, but that didn't stop her from winning more majors than any man or woman on this planet.

So you see, referring to Venus as not a natural tennis player isn't an insult or derogative- just a descriptive that actually fits, and does nothing to diminish her greatness!
 

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alfajeffster said:
Now, now. No need to get defensive- I'll explain, and please read with an open mind. There are plenty of professional athletes who excel at what they do without being "natural" at the sport.

I mean "natural" with regard to Venus Williams in that she doesn't move naturally to where the ball will most likely go 2 or 3 shots ahead, with that chess-player anticipation you see in players like Martina Hingis, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Evonne Goolagong, Maria Bueno, and Billie Jean King among many others. Venus is big enough, fast enough, and that good of an athlete to move to most of her shots after the opponent strikes the ball- most people cannot do this, but then again, most people are not as physically gifted as Venus Williams. Margaret Court was born left-handed, but in the late 1950s, it was unheard of for a girl to be taught to play tennis left-handed- a stigma. She had to learn to play tennis right-handed, and because she was such a gifted athlete and powerful runner, she excelled. She was not the most natural tennis player, but that didn't stop her from winning more majors than any man or woman on this planet.

So you see, referring to Venus as not a natural tennis player isn't an insult or derogative- just a descriptive that actually fits, and does nothing to diminish her greatness!
Yeah in fact it´s actually a compliment to Venus´s athletic abilities...to reach all those balls, without even knowing where they´re going first.

But that´s what also costing her against Serena....because Serena takes the ball so early and hit it so hard, it´s hard for Venus to reach them all.
 

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Serendy Willick said:
I see more of Monica Seles pre-stabbing in Serenas game than Martina Navratilova.

I would also compare Justine to Sabatini
Yeah, the Martina N comparison.....maybe the in your face-ness.

Serena indeed is Monica Seles embodied with superior athletiscism...even the grunting. That´s why Monica had such a hard time with Serena....same style, but superior athletiscism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Serendy Willick said:
I see more of Monica Seles pre-stabbing in Serenas game than Martina Navratilova.

I would also compare Justine to Sabatini
The Justine/Sabatini comparison I can see a little, but Gaby hit so many shots off her back foot (Justine doesn't), and Sabatini also was nowhere as quick as Henin-Hardanne.

Serena/Monica? Definitely not. They hit every shot in the book totally differently. First and foremost, Serena is much fitter than Monica ever was, and much faster. Secondly, Serena hits off both wings with much more topspin than the flat, hard drives from Seles. Oh, and then there's the one syllable scream/grunt from Serena, versus the two-syllable scream/cough from Monica. No comparison! :lol:
 

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alfajeffster said:
but I think had Andrea's career not been so short with injury and burn-out, she would have won a few majors in the 80s before Graf took over.
Why only before Graf took over? Martina won Wimbledon in 1990 and was in the Final again in 1994. She was almost 9 years older than Andrea.
 

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alfajeffster said:
Now, now. No need to get defensive- I'll explain, and please read with an open mind. There are plenty of professional athletes who excel at what they do without being "natural" at the sport.

I mean "natural" with regard to Venus Williams in that she doesn't move naturally to where the ball will most likely go 2 or 3 shots ahead, with that chess-player anticipation you see in players like Martina Hingis, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Evonne Goolagong, Maria Bueno, and Billie Jean King among many others. Venus is big enough, fast enough, and that good of an athlete to move to most of her shots after the opponent strikes the ball- most people cannot do this, but then again, most people are not as physically gifted as Venus Williams. Margaret Court was born left-handed, but in the late 1950s, it was unheard of for a girl to be taught to play tennis left-handed- a stigma. She had to learn to play tennis right-handed, and because she was such a gifted athlete and powerful runner, she excelled. She was not the most natural tennis player, but that didn't stop her from winning more majors than any man or woman on this planet.

So you see, referring to Venus as not a natural tennis player isn't an insult or derogative- just a descriptive that actually fits, and does nothing to diminish her greatness!
I wasn't being defensive. I genuinely did not know what 'natural' means when used to describe an athlete.
Take power for instance, Daniela hits with alot of it while it seems she produces it so easily, almost without effort.
Serena on the other hand throws herself into her shots and you see her creating the power.
Justine also throws herself into her shots imo but she is a smaller girl.
Of the three who is the more 'natural' athlete in this dept? Is it serena coz being the bigger girl it is expected? Or is it Daniela coz it seems to come to her easliy. Does that make Justine's power unnatural?
I am not comparing how much power each produces but how they do it.
 

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Serena/Martina? How I'd love to see Serena serve and volley like Martina!

I see what you mean in the physical developement though - both are streets ahead of their contemporaries in that department.
As for temperament, I don't think Martina was quite so ruthless as Serena. When Martina was walking all over a Mandlikova or Jaegar, etc (not Evert obviously) she could look, towards the end, compssionate, almost embarrassed at how easily she was winning. Serena, however, shows no mercy, gives no quarter, even against her sister.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
disposablehero said:
Why only before Graf took over? Martina won Wimbledon in 1990 and was in the Final again in 1994. She was almost 9 years older than Andrea.
Naturally, my response to that is Martina didn't have to play Graf either time! Martina Navratilova is the luckiest player in the history of women's tennis- and Chris Evert will back that statement!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
tennnisfannn said:
I wasn't being defensive. I genuinely did not know what 'natural' means when used to describe an athlete.
Take power for instance, Daniela hits with alot of it while it seems she produces it so easily, almost without effort.
Serena on the other hand throws herself into her shots and you see her creating the power.
Justine also throws herself into her shots imo but she is a smaller girl.
Of the three who is the more 'natural' athlete in this dept? Is it serena coz being the bigger girl it is expected? Or is it Daniela coz it seems to come to her easliy. Does that make Justine's power unnatural?
I am not comparing how much power each produces but how they do it.
Very good analysis with Daniela Hantuchova. I would say Daniela is the more natural player, and in fact, I saw the Indian Wells final she played a few years ago, and Martina Hings post-match words commented that she (MH) felt like she was playing herself- in reference to Daniela's flowing, easy shot production and also the fact that they trained and learned the game in many of the same places and with the same people. Daniela's strokes are very fluid and natural. I think where she suffers most is footwork. She looks faster than she is because she is a tall, lanky girl.

Both Justine and Serena rely heavily on the power of throwing themselves into their shots- this is not natural tennis- it is an acquired talent gleaned through very hard work. Imagine what Daniela could do if she worked herself that hard?!?
 
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