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Discussion Starter #1
During the height of the Steffi Graf/Monica Seles era, there was a group who enjoyed some measure of success on tour. Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sanchez, Conchita Martinez, and Jana Novotna frequently went deep into Slam events, reaching the Quarterfinals or beyond. Rank these 4 women, with #1 the best of the group, and please explain your rankings. Here's a quick recap of some of their career accomplishments:


Arantxa Sanchez - Arantxa won 29 singles titles along with 69 doubles. Arantxa reached 12 Slam singles finals, cashing in with 4 Slam wins. In addition, Arantxa played in 22 Grand Slam Semifinals and first achieved the world #1 ranking in 1992. Arantxa was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, capping off an outstanding career.

Sabatini - The stylish Argentine won 27 Singles titles along with 14 doubles. Sabatini was a 3 time Slam singles finalist, upsetting Steffi Graf to capture the 1990 US Open. Sabatini faced Steffi in the 1988 US Open Final and 1991 Wimbledon Final as well. In both those matches, Steffi dispatched Sabatini in 3-sets. Sabatini reached 18 Grand Slam semifinals, and her highest singles ranking was #3. In 2006, Sabatini was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Jana Novotna - Jana won 24 singles titles, to go with her 76 doubles titles. Jana was a 4 time Grand Slam Finalist, beating Natalie Tauziat to win the 1998 Wimbledon Crown. Jana reached the 1991 Australian Open Final, taking Steffi Graf out in the Quarterfinals. However, Jana blew a golden opportunity against Steffi in the 1993 Wimbledon Final, losing a heartwrenching match in 3 sets. Jana reached 9 Grand Slam semifinals, and achieved her career high ranking of #2 in 1997. Jana was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

Conchita Martinez - Conchita won 33 Singles titles to go along with 13 doubles. Conchita was a 3-time Grand Slam singles finalist, beating Martina Navratilova in the 1994 Wimbledon Final. Conchita's other 2 Slam finals were at the 1998 Australian Open and the 2000 French. Conchita was a 12 time Grand Slam semifinalist, and reached a career high singles ranking of #2 in 1995. Conchita retired in 2006, and with Jana and Sabatini's recent HOF inductions, Conchita will be a lock for the Hall of Fame.


Comparing their careers, I have to rank them as follows:

1. Arantxa
2. Jana
3. Sabatini
4. Conchita

To me, Arantxa is clearly the best of the group. Between Jana and Sabatini, it was difficult choosing between the two, but I have to give Jana a slight edge over Sabatini for the #2 slot. As for Conchita, she comes in a distant last behind Sabatini.

So that's the way I see it. Just how would you rank these four, and why?.
 

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Please take Arantxa out of that list :fiery:
 

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1. Arantxa














2. Sabatini
3. Martínez
4. Novotna
 

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this thread again...

I think it would be more interesting to rank Pierce instead of ASV
 

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Like size, Wimbledon's not just important, it's everything.
1. Jana
2. Conchita
3. ASV
4. Gaby
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LOL-thanks for my chuckle of the day Helen. My list would be a bit different.

1. ASV-by FAR

2. Sabatini- (two YEC titles trump Jana's 1)
3. Novotna. (Jana's 1 YEC title trumps Martinez with none)
4. Martinez.

Other than the WTA year-end titles I see little to separate #'s 2-4. Conchita's supporters point out she had more titles than Gaby or Jana. This si true, but many were lower tiered events, and Martinez never got close to #1 on the computer like Gaby or Jana.
 

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Sadly, I don't think there's any debate that Conchita is last and ASV is first. It's really who you select over Gaby and Jana, and like Rollo says, the YEC probaby give Gaby the advantage even if Jana has one more slam final. Gaby has the win over Steffi in her lone slam, and that is a big deal. The title is the title, but I don't think Jana would have ever won a major except against a fluke finalist.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
LOL-thanks for my chuckle of the day Helen. My list would be a bit different.

1. ASV-by FAR

2. Sabatini- (two YEC titles trump Jana's 1)
3. Novotna. (Jana's 1 YEC title trumps Martinez with none)
4. Martinez.

Other than the WTA year-end titles I see little to separate #'s 2-4. Conchita's supporters point out she had more titles than Gaby or Jana. This si true, but many were lower tiered events, and Martinez never got close to #1 on the computer like Gaby or Jana.
Rollo,

You and Helen made some good points. Your right, Sabatini's 2 YEC trump Jana's 1. However, I'm positive Sabatini would gladly trade her US Open title for Jana or Conchita's Wimbledon Crown. What say you?.

As critical as winning Wimbledon is, Arantxa's body of work is more impressive then Jana's, Sabatini's, or Conchita's without a doubt. And had Jana's Slam come somewhere other then Wimbledon, I would still rank her ahead of Sabatini. Again, Jana's overall career was more successful than Sabatini's, notwithstanding Sabatini owning one more YEC then Jana. Lastly, even taking Conchita's Wimbledon title into account, Sabatini accomplished more then Conchita.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sadly, I don't think there's any debate that Conchita is last and ASV is first. It's really who you select over Gaby and Jana, and like Rollo says, the YEC probaby give Gaby the advantage even if Jana has one more slam final. Gaby has the win over Steffi in her lone slam, and that is a big deal. The title is the title, but I don't think Jana would have ever won a major except against a fluke finalist.

Helen,

We agree about ASV first and Conchita last. Between Sabatini and Jana, it's so close you could flip-flop them. However, Jana gets a slight edge over Sabatini when you look at the totality of their careers(singles & doubles).

As for Jana only having to beat Natalie Tauziat to win her Slam, I'm not going to hold that against her. You can only play the hand your dealt, and Jana facing Natalie isn't Jana's fault. Likewise, I'm not going to deduct points from Sabatini's Slam either. Yes, Sabatini's win over Steffi at the '90 US Open was a big deal. But lets not forget, Steffi was beatable in 1990, unlike previous years. Steffi was no way at the top of her game, and Sabatini took advantage of it. Also, Sabatini was somewhat fortunate in that match anyway. In the 2nd set tiebreak, Sabatini's shot sailed wide on match point. The ump blew the call, and Steffi knew it.

To sum up, just like I can't subtract from Jana's win over Natalie, likewise I can't take away from Sabatini's win over Steffi. To me, it's a wash.
 

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As for Jana only having to beat Natalie Tauziat to win her Slam, I'm not going to hold that against her. You can only play the hand your dealt, and Jana facing Natalie isn't Jana's fault.
Yeah, but we saw how she would choke big time against the big guns...it's strange, but she was so close and (at the same time) so far away of beating Graf, Seles and Hingis in these finals...we'll never know but I'm pretty sure that if instead of Tauziat she had played any other player she would be slamless (which would be so unfair, on the other hand)
 

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I haven't posted in this forum for a while.

ASV
Sabatini
Novotna
Martinez

I actually do rate Novotna's slam for the fact that she beat Hingis in the semis but Gaby leads their head to head. In fact she leads the head to head with all of the three other players on this list.
 

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I actually do rate Novotna's slam for the fact that she beat Hingis in the semis but Gaby leads their head to head. In fact she leads the head to head with all of the three other players on this list.
Yeah, that is an interesting fact...in order to understand how huge was Gaby's fall in her later years, eventhough she had a winning record against both Arantxa and Conchita, she had really bad losses against the Spaniards at that point of her career :tape:

Conchita won 4 of their 5 last meetings
Arantxa won 8 of their 9 last meetings :eek: :help:
 

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She never really did anything after the French open 1993 disaster.

I appreciate she won YEC and Sydney after but really, she only won matches she was supposed to and didn't really threaten anyone else.

It's hard to begrudge ASV and Conchita winning all those matches against her though because they really all were peers. I've never really understood why they continued to play well and she just went downhill - it certainly wasn't because their games suddenly improved out of sight. It was more that hers lost its fire.

This is coming from someone that loves her till the end I should add ;).
 

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She never really did anything after the French open 1993 disaster.

I appreciate she won YEC and Sydney after but really, she only won matches she was supposed to and didn't really threaten anyone else.

It's hard to begrudge ASV and Conchita winning all those matches against her though because they really all were peers. I've never really understood why they continued to play well and she just went downhill - it certainly wasn't because their games suddenly improved out of sight. It was more that hers lost its fire.

This is coming from someone that loves her till the end I should add ;).
I'm a Gaby's fan as well. I think she was basically a much better player than the other 3 mentioned here. But she had confidence problems. The lack of confidence was a big problem in her whole career (it was just her nature), but after this defeat, it just got worse and worse. Her confidence was low even against a non-top 50 player. Against ASV, Novotna or Martinez, it's hopeless if you are in this state of mind. I also think that tennis was not so much interesting for her anymore. She had struggled against the best Graf and Seles, she had suffered too much, and was still suffering a lot. No joy anymore. It was very painful actually.


Concerning the ranking of the four players here, I see it a little differently.

1. ASV first, it's very clear. We have to congratulate her for what she did with a limited talent, I guess. What a willingness.
2. Gabriela Sabatini. I'm biased, I have to admit it, but even with those awful last years, she has a very good record. You have to remember the exceptional fied she had to face in her best years. Reaching a Grand Slam final was very difficult then. You couldn't dream to face a Tauziat. And just when it got easier, she went down. :fiery:
3. Conchita Martinez
4. Jana Novotna

Nearly everyone says that ASV first and Martinez four are an evidence. The discussion is who is n°2 and who is 3. I know I'm biased concerning Gaby, but not concerning Martinez and Novotna. I think I'm objective. It's just that, I don't know, maybe it's me but I never looked at Novotna as a threat. A very good player of course, but nothing more. I would look at her more like a Mary Joe Fernandez player. A Mary Joe Fernandez who would have been lucky to face Nathalie Tauziat in a Grand Slam final. Of course, I speak about their singles career, I don't count the doubles. For me, Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Martinez are very close for the number 2 and 3, and Novotna is behind them (not much, I have to say).
And yes, I agree that Mary Pierce would be better in this thread than Sanchez. ASV has a too strong career for the other ones.
 

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I think Gaby and Jana are so close, it's nitpicking, but beatable or not, Gaby played and won that US Open final against Graf when I think she was still No. 1. I thought at the time, and still do, that if Jana's SF and F opponents had been flipped, she'd have lost in the final in '98. I feel like she was a lot like Kim, she can play a fabulous choke-free seminfinal against anyone, but the final's a whole different story--you need a Tauziat or over the hill Mary Pierce or it's not going to happen. But, she did it, her name's on the plate, it's not like it doesn't count.

The Wimbledon factor is interesting, would Gaby trade that US Open for a Wimbledon? Would she trade her career for Jana's on that basis? Twenty years ago, I'd say yes, but today's girls, I'm not so sure Wimbledon carries what it used, I just don't know. People like Hana I think would, no issue, they were open that that was the ultimate win, but someone like Justine, I don't think it bothers her at all and I bet she wouldn't trade any of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
She never really did anything after the French open 1993 disaster.

I appreciate she won YEC and Sydney after but really, she only won matches she was supposed to and didn't really threaten anyone else.

It's hard to begrudge ASV and Conchita winning all those matches against her though because they really all were peers. I've never really understood why they continued to play well and she just went downhill - it certainly wasn't because their games suddenly improved out of sight. It was more that hers lost its fire.

This is coming from someone that loves her till the end I should add ;).
Kart,

Your correct about Sabatini being a non-factor after the collapse against Mary Joe. That was really the match where Sabatini began going downhill. That said, I feel Sabatini's loss against Steffi in that Wimbledon final hurt just as much, if not more. But we all know the story there.

As for ASV and Conchita turning the tables on Sabatini late in Sabatini's career, you have to give Conchi and ASV some credit. I believe their games did improve enough where they gained the upper hand on Sabatini. But your right, Sabatini simply lost the desire she had early in her career. Why?. In my view, she gave up to some extent, losing matches to players who had no business beating her.

As for people comparing Sabatini's Slam win to Jana's, I feel Jana is being a little shortchanged. Again, Jana had no control who her opponent was going to be in that Wimbledon Final. Jana won her Slam, fair and square, and no one can take it from her.

I was happy that Sabatini and Jana were both able to win a Slam, although they had the talent to win more. However, Sabatini was somewhat lucky beating Steffi in the '90 US Open. If you remember, Sabatini was running out of steam in the 2nd Set tiebreak, and Steffi was beginning to get a foothold. There is no doubt in my mind, had Steffi managed to win that tiebreak, she would have gone on to win the match. We all know Steffi pretty much owned Sabatini in 3-set matches.

Also, in that '90 US Open, Sabatini's shot on match point was clearly out, as any replay will show. And I feel had it not been for a blown call, Sabatini may have gone down as the best player to never win a Slam.

Lastly, although Sabatini's singles career is slightly better then Jana's, I have to give Jana props for finishing her career playing good tennis. After 1993, Sabatini was an also-ran, while Jana continued to improve. Like any other sport, your only as good as your last at-bat. And I believe that should be taken into consideration, when people compare Jana to Sabatini.
 

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Kart,

Your correct about Sabatini being a non-factor after the collapse against Mary Joe. That was really the match where Sabatini began going downhill. That said, I feel Sabatini's loss against Steffi in that Wimbledon final hurt just as much, if not more. But we all know the story there.

As for ASV and Conchita turning the tables on Sabatini late in Sabatini's career, you have to give Conchi and ASV some credit. I believe their games did improve enough where they gained the upper hand on Sabatini. But your right, Sabatini simply lost the desire she had early in her career. Why?. In my view, she gave up to some extent, losing matches to players who had no business beating her.
I don't really dispute any of this. ASV and Martinez were playing better in the mid-90s than they were before but Sabatini was also playing a lot worse. They may well have had the better of their encounters anyway and, as I said above, I don't begrudge them their wins. I do think, however, that Sabatini had the skills to make the matches a lot more competitive than she did - she may well not have won them anyway but, well, at least she would not have surrendered so tamely.


As for people comparing Sabatini's Slam win to Jana's, I feel Jana is being a little shortchanged. Again, Jana had no control who her opponent was going to be in that Wimbledon Final. Jana won her Slam, fair and square, and no one can take it from her.

I was happy that Sabatini and Jana were both able to win a Slam, although they had the talent to win more. However, Sabatini was somewhat lucky beating Steffi in the '90 US Open. If you remember, Sabatini was running out of steam in the 2nd Set tiebreak, and Steffi was beginning to get a foothold. There is no doubt in my mind, had Steffi managed to win that tiebreak, she would have gone on to win the match. We all know Steffi pretty much owned Sabatini in 3-set matches.

Also, in that '90 US Open, Sabatini's shot on match point was clearly out, as any replay will show. And I feel had it not been for a blown call, Sabatini may have gone down as the best player to never win a Slam.

Lastly, although Sabatini's singles career is slightly better then Jana's, I have to give Jana props for finishing her career playing good tennis. After 1993, Sabatini was an also-ran, while Jana continued to improve. Like any other sport, your only as good as your last at-bat. And I believe that should be taken into consideration, when people compare Jana to Sabatini.
I don't think you can have it both ways - as in Sabatini was lucky and Jana wasn't. I expect Graf would have won had it gone to a third set but it didn't and that infamous point really pales in comparison to the give away volley that Sabatini let drop at 5-5 in the Wimbledon final.

My point is simply that whoever won the match gets the credit without excessive post mortem - Jana deserved her slam, ASV and Martinez deserved their wins over Sabatini later in their career, Graf won Wimbledon 1991 fairly and Sabatini won her US open title fair and square. As I said above, Jana won my respect for her Wimbledon win by the way she despatched Hingis in the semis so I don't contest it.


Lastly, although Sabatini's singles career is slightly better then Jana's, I have to give Jana props for finishing her career playing good tennis. After 1993, Sabatini was an also-ran, while Jana continued to improve. Like any other sport, your only as good as your last at-bat. And I believe that should be taken into consideration, when people compare Jana to Sabatini.
To be fair, Jana quit basically after she won Wimbledon - you could see it in her US open semi later that year. So it's easy to say she finished well - I doubt she would have been able to produce many good results had she played on into 2000.

What strikes me about the Novotna vs Sabatini debate is their head to head. Sabatini leads 10-3. Most of those matches were between 1990 and 1994. Now you could say that was when Sabatini was at her best and I'd agree but Novotna was no amateur then either - she was half a match away from winning the Australian open in 1991 after all.

I don't think Novotna's game itself really improved much after mid-90s anyway - she had always had the kind of game to trouble baseliners but it was all in her head. What really changed her chances IMHO was Graf going off sick in 1997 - she took every advantage of the gap to her credit.
 
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