Great Project Guys!
Don't know if any of this info is interesting or not:
1974 Slims: RICHEY and MELVILLE withdrew ill, MOROZOVA injured and back in Russia
1975 Slims COURT & HUNT qualified but did not play.
1978 Colgate GOOLAGONG-CAWLEY qualified but did not play (injured)
1980 Avon FROMHOLTZ qualified but did not play
1982 Avon JAEGER qualified but didn't play
1986 November Slims EVERT qualified but didn't play
1988 November Slims REHE qualified but DNP
1989 November Slims EVERT qualified but DNP
1990 November Slims NAVRATILOVA qualified but DNP
This is a small homage of Martina Navratilova's run at the YEC :worship: :worship:
The illustrious history of the WTA TOUR Championships began on the clay courts of Florida in 1972. The tournament was originally the springtime, season-ending championships of the Virginia Slims winter circuit. A 17-year-old Floridian named Chris Evert won the inaugural Virginia Slims Championships.
The tournament was held practically in Evert's own backyard at the Boca Raton Hotel on a clay court. The 1972 tournament foreshadowed two things: First, Evert's dominance on clay. The following year she would begin her five-and-a-half year, 125-match winning streak on the dirt. The second foreshadowing was of Evert's intense concentration. In that 1972 Virginia Slims Championships final, she battled back from a 1-5 deficit against Kerry Melville to win the title 7-5, 6-4. With it's $100,000 purse, the tournament was the richest in women's professional tennis history (a history that was quite short at that point). However, with all the hoopla came a glitch: Evert hadn't yet reached her 18th birthday and was therefore an amateur. She had to forego the $25,000 first prize.
Evert won the season-ending championships again in 1973, again on the Florida clay courts. In 1974, the Virginia Slims Championships moved indoors to the Los Angeles Arena and expanded the eight-player field of the previous two years to a 16-player draw, since the number of professional women tennis players had grown dramatically. However, three of the world's top 16 players were absent from the 1974 Championships: Olga Morozova was recalled to Russia, and Nancy Gunter and Kerry Melville were ill due to exhaustion. Evonne Goolagong rose to the occasion to defeat both Billie Jean King and Evert to claim one jewel of the Triple Crown, as it was known then (Wimbledon and the U.S. Open were the other two jewels), as well as the $32,000 winner's check, then the largest ever.
Martina Navratilova made her first Championships appearance that year but did not make much news. She won her first match over Kathy Kuykendall and then lost to Virginia Wade. A review of the 1974 tournament in the Virginia Slims media guide mentions her just once. It calls Martina a "fresh face" along with Kuykendall, Marcie Louie, and Pam Teeguarden.
Just a year later, a section in the media guide read: "The 1975 Virginia Slims Tennis Circuit _ Evert's championship and the emergence of Navratilova highlight greatest season ever." Evert defeated Navratilova in the Virginia Slims Championships final but the two players tied in the point standings for the Silver Ginny Trophy. Their rivalry was off and running.
Goolagong stopped Evert in the 1976 tournament in Los Angeles for her second Championships crown. In 1977, the Virginia Slims Championships moved to Madison Square Garden in New York. Evert reached her sixth Virginia Slims Championships final in as many tries, and defeated the newcomer Sue Barker of Britain to win her fourth Championships title. The Virginia Slims points winner wasn't decided until the Championships, where Evert won the Silver Ginny trophy when Navratilova fell in the semifinals.
The Championships headed back to the American west coast in 1978, this time to northern California at the Oakland Coliseum. During the season, Martina broke records by winning seven consecutive tournaments on the Slims circuit and 37 straight matches. In the Championships, she ripped through the field and toppled Goolagong in the final with her powerful, well-executed serve-and-volley game.
Avon took over sponsorship of the winter circuit in 1979. The Avon Championships returned to New York and Madison Square Garden that year and haven't left since.
A new, double-elimination format was introduced for the Championships, for which the top eight players in the point standings qualified. The players played for a top prize of $100,000. The 1979 tournament was a thriller, as Navratilova beat 16-year-old Tracy Austin in the final. The pig-tailed teen had defeated Evert for the first time, and the Championships showcased greater things to come as Austin would win the U.S. Open later in the year. The following year, the outcome reversed as the newly-confident Austin topped Navratilova in the 1980
An even younger face appeared in the Avon Championships in 1981 as 15-year-old Andrea Jaeger made her way to the final, where she was halted by the oldest player in the draw, 24-year-old Navratilova. Jaeger actually held a 3-1 edge over Navratilova in previous matches, but Madison Square Garden was Martina's forum.
Which was why, in 1982, everybody was so shocked when West German Sylvia Hanika defeated Navratilova in the final 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Navratilova had not lost a match on the 1982 Avon circuit, and before the Championships it had been suggested that the tournament was just a formality before she accepted the trophy and the $100,000 winner's check. Some even joked that the lefty should play right-handed. Heading into the 1982 Championships, Martina had won five titles on the Avon circuit and was on a 24-match winning streak. Plus, Austin, Evert and Jaeger were not in the eight-player, double-elimination field.
Hanika's victory was an amazing feat, and as she hoisted the trophy above her head she said, "This is the happiest day of my life."
Virginia Slims returned as the tour's sponsor in 1983 and produced the most spectacular Championships yet. The $350,000 purse made it the richest women's event ever and the field included the top 15 players. Billie Jean King returned at age 39, and Martina played some of her best tennis ever to defeat Evert 6-2, 6-0 in the final.
"I'm playing on another level now," Martina said in 1983. "If I played the me of three or four years ago now, I would beat me. There is no comparison. I'm playing pretty close to as good as I can play."
In 1984 the Virginia Slims Championships added a 16th player to the elite field and a best-of-five-sets final was instituted, the format that remains today. The winner's reward of $125,000 in 1984 set yet another record for the biggest payday for a women's event winner. Names like Bassett, Garrison, Horvath, Potter and Shriver were among the qualifiers for this prestigious event. But Martina and Chris still ruled, as Navratilova won her fifth Championships crown.
Martina would win it again in 1985 and twice in 1986, when the Virginia Slims Championships were held in the spring and then again in its current spot at the end of the calendar year. Now Martina was winning over new names like Sukova, Mandlikova and Graf. It was the 1987 Championships, however, that seemed to usher in the new generation. West German sensation Steffi Graf held an insurmountable lead in the point standings, and she defeated another teen sensation, Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, in the final. Graf ended the year ranked No. 1, marking the first time in five years that Martina hadn't. It also marked the first time since 1974 that neither Navratilova nor Evert topped the
Before the Virginia Slims Championships in 1987, there had been some debate about whether Graf deserved to be No. 1. Martina had won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and said, "Number one is nice, but in the long run what counts most to me at this point in my career are the Grand Slams and the Virginia Slims Championships." She said that if she won the Championships, "the general public might feel I'm number one."
Graf, who won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open that year, replied. "Although I'm number one in the rankings, if I win the Virginia Slims Championships nobody will be able to argue that I'm not number one." A lot of pride was at stake. As it turned out, the 1987 Championships cemented Graf and Sabatini as the new superstars of women's tennis. Sabatini defeated Navratilova in the quarterfinals for her second win that year over her, and it was Navratilova's first loss in Madison Square Garden in five years. Evert bowed out in the opening round to Hanika, Evert's first opening-round loss in two years.
Graf summed up the tournament: "This was the toughest tournament of the whole year, with the top 16. For me, this is my biggest win."
But Madison Square Garden has not proved kind to Graf over the years. In 1988, after she had completely dominated women's tennis by winning all four Grand Slams plus an Olympic gold medal, Pam Shriver came along and knocked Graf out in the semifinals of the Championships. Sabatini went on to win the Virginia Slims Championships title that year. In 1989 Graf defeated Navratilova in a four-set final, but she did not reach a Virginia Slims Championships final again until 1993, when Graf defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to regain the crown.
Monica Seles hit the scene in 1989, and by 1990 she collected her first
Championships title by topping Sabatini in a tremendous five-setter after
trailing two sets to one. It is the only Championships final that has extended the full five sets. Seles continued her run in 1991 and 1992, defeating Navratilova in both finals to become just the second player to win three consecutive Championships crowns (Navratilova won five consecutive).
While Graf was winning the 1993 title, Mary Pierce emerged as a new contender during the `93 Championships. Having qualified for the season-ending tournament for the first time, she earned her first-ever win over a Top 10 player by downing Gabriela Sabatini in the first round of the 1993 Championships. She followed that with her second Top 10 win (and first Top 5 win), defeating Navratilova in the second round.
Navratilova ended her tennis career at the 1994 Virginia Slims Championships in an emotional match that was followed by a farewell ceremony extravaganza. Navratilova lost her last career match to friend and eventual champion Gabriela Sabatini. The unseeded Sabatini, who hadn't won a title in her previous 42 tournaments, broke through to defeat newcomer Lindsay Davenport in the final.
Pierce again played well in the season-ending tournament, shocking top seed Steffi Graf in the 1994 quarterfinals before falling to Davenport. Second seed Sanchez Vicario fell early to Frenchwoman Julie Halard in the opening round.
Finally this year (30 YEC after the first one she played) Martina qualified for the 4 teams field pairing with Russian Kuznetsova losing against the eventual winners Suárez/Ruano Pascual
The1987 WITA media guide gives the complete results of the March Championships 1986 in doubles, here are the missing ones:
1st round (=quarterfinals): Navratilova/Shriver d. Maleeva/Maleeva 6-1,6-0, Mandlikova/Turnbull d. G.Fernandez/R.White 6-,6-3, Parkhomenko/Savchenko d. K.Jordan/Smylie 7-5,2-6,6-2, Kohde-Kilsch/Sukova d. Bunge/Pfaff 6-2,6-3
Semifinals: Mandlikova/Turnbull d. Navratilova/Shriver 4-6,6-3,6-4, Kohde-Kilsch/Sukova d. Parkhomenko/Savchenko 7-5,6-1
Colgate Series Championships ($250,000)
Landover, Maryland, 2-7 January 1980
Round Robin: Red Group - Austin d. Turnbull 6-1 6-0; Evert d. Fromholtz 6-1 6-4; Austin d. Evert 6-1 6-3; Turnbull d. Fromholtz 4-6 6-1 6-4
Blue Group - Navratilova d. Reid 6-3 6-0; Cawley d. Marsikova 6-1 6-1; Navratilova d. Cawley 6-3 6-2; Marsikova d. Reid w.o.
Play-offs: Evert d. Marsikova 6-3 6-0; Turnbull d. Cawley w.o.
Semi-finals: Austin d. Evert 6-3 6-0; Navratilova d. Turnbull 6-2 6-0
Final: Navratilova d. Austin 6-2 6-1
(Third Place: Evert d. Turnbull 6-1 6-1)
Semi-finals: King/Navratilova d. Kloss/Stuart 6-3 6-2; Casals/Evert d. Stove/Turnbull 6-2 6-2
Final: King/Navratilova d. Casals/Evert 6-4 6-3
Guys, I have a question about the March 1983 tournament. I notice that Evonne G-C was in the field but find it hard to see how she qualified, looking at her results from the tour. Even, BJK's presence seems questionable. Were they given a wild-card (as EGC was a previous winner + BJK was, well, BJK?
Hats off for all the help Robert and Andy T-I'll add those in soon.
Andy-your instinct was on target. As the 1983 Virginia Slims was a new unified world tour there weren't enough events in March to go with points-hence it was invitational. Thus points from 1983 really counted towards the 1984 event. The bottom line was Evonne and Billie Jean sold more tickets than all the other gals not named Chris or Martina!
The early date featuring points form the previous year was confusing.
When the Aussie switched dates in 1986 it was a perfect chance to switch the tour finale and make it a REAL year end event.
It is quite astounding that not until 1987 was there a unified women's tour run over a calendar year, incorporating all the major international championships and ending in a tour championships.
Have just got home from "Christmas with Mother" and not yet had a chance to read all the threads that have grown since I left. I noticed you've done a bit more work on those 60s finals results - FANTASTIC!
I remember reading a report about the Championships 83 saying that they invited the 15 leading women of the WITA rankings (Rollo mentioned the reason why they couldn't use the Slims rankings) plus they gave a Wildcard to Evonne G. Wasn't King top 15 in early 83 ? So she would have qualified anyway.
Thanks for clearing up how they made the field in 1983 Robert. King was certainly top 15 at the time-if not top 10! Evonne must have been in the midst of one of her post 1980 comebacks.
I wonder how often the WTA has used the option of keeping one spot open. Seles was offered a spot in 1995 before her injury and didn't they float the idea of giving a spot to Kournikoiva a year or two ago?
Rollo, as for Seles I also remember they kept a wildcard for her from the moment she played her first official match again. I'm not quite sure if she might have been qualified anyway as Toronto win and US Open final gave her quite an amount of VS points. She was something between 16 to 18 at the year's end rankings (Virginia Slims). BJK was no.6 at the end of 1980, she dropped out of the rankings in 81 and was no. 12,13 most of the time in 82,83. Would be interesting to know whether she actually got back into the top ten in those 2 years... Have you got a ranking at hand that shows that?
I'll check the magazine rankings Robert on Billie Jean Robert. My guess is you are spot on and 1980 was her last official computer top ten rank. She did make a few unofficial top ten lists in 1982-83 though.
I've added all the info we have so far on YEC's. The missing info is mainly doubles scores.