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Discussion Starter #1
When Amanda Coetzer retired, an interesting point was brought up. Some argued she was the best player to have never reached a grand slam final. It's something I had never really thought about. Others that come quickly to mind are Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Manuela Maleeva. Any others????
 

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I think this one we have to reduce on open tennis cause hardly anyone knows anything about great quarter- and semifinals of the early years of international Tennis who just didn't have the luck or whatever to reach a GS final.

Greer Stevens, Bettina Bunge, Barbara Potter, Jo Durie, Man.Maleeva, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Bonnie Gadusek, Kathy Rinaldi, Katerina Maleeva, Kimiko Date, Barbara Paulus, Amanda Coetzer, Irina Spirlea, Barbara Schett, Julie Halard were year-end top 10 players from 75 to 99 that didn't reach a GS final.

IMO the best of them were Kohde-Kilsch and Man.Maleeva. Both were top ten for several years, both reached semifinals, both beat top players.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
you could argue Lori McNeil too. She lost two close grand slam semifinals: to Graf 6-4 in the '87 U.S. Open and 10-8 to Martinez at Wimbledon '94. So she probably came the closest of anyone. I don't know how close she got to beating Martinez....whether she was ever like one or two points away from winning. I know Spirlea was one point away at the '97 U.S. Open, but McNeil seemed to have made more of an impact at more grand slams than Spirlea ever did.
 

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Kohde came close at the Australian Open 1987, she got controll in her match vs. Mandlikova when they had to delay at 1:6,6:0 due to rain. 3:6 was the result a day later.
McNeil (and definitely not Spirlea) weren't year-long top tenners. Still McNeil is one of the best and most talented who didn't get to a final, I agree.
 

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I think this one we have to reduce on open tennis cause hardly anyone knows anything about great quarter- and semifinals of the early years of international Tennis who just didn't have the luck or whatever to reach a GS final.
I disagree. We read and learn.

Anyway, technically the greatest woman to never reach a slam final would surely be someone like Marguerite Broquedis, a winner of the World Hard Court around 1913. Since those events aren't counted as the "French" until 1925 any of those women would be a candidate.

Then there was Aussie Rose Payten. In the 1890s many swore she was better than any Wimbledon champ, but she never got the chance to enter it, let alone win the Aussie title, because in those days it didn't exist.

"Molly" Martin won the Irish title 9 times from 1998 to 1903. She beat many a Wimbledon champ (including the nearly invincible Lottie Dod), yet never reached the final there.

When South African "Bobbie" Heine burst on the scene in the late 20s many thought her destined to win a slam. After a good start in 1927-29 she didn't tour internationally again until 1938,as Mrs. Miller! I believe her father died in a plane crash and it affected her so greatly she lost a lot of her desire.
Mrs. Miller merits a menttion by Helen Jacobs (in her famous book, Gallery of Champions) as one of those greater than some who won slams in the 30s.
 

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I think Kohde got to 4 Slam semis (85, 87, 88 Aussie and 85 French) and I'm not sure if any other non-finalist player in the Open era got to more than that. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I'd say that McNeil was good enough to get to a slam final. I loved her game and her grace. She would have made for an interesting final round opponent for Martina in either the 87 US Open or 94 Wimbledon.

My knowledge of pre-Open era tennis isn't up to snuff, so to speak. :)
 

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Claudia was darn close in the 1985 semi vs. Chris. A bad line call at a crucial point really cost Kohde, with Evert suggesting that those were the breaks.

One wonders how Chris felt when she was (some believed) shafted on a line call in the final! Wonderful irony.

Hanafan-the problem I'd have with suggesting Mcneil was the "best" player NTRAF is her record outside the slams wasn't in the class of a Kohde or Garrison, or even a Coetzer. Unlike those women she was NEVER a solid member of the top ten. Those two semis are the real highlights of her career. Both were heartbreakers though. I vividly recall the botched volley vs. Graf, it was sitting up high waiting to be killed:sad: And in 1994 she was 2 points from putting away Martinez at least twice.
 

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Rollo said:
Claudia was darn close in the 1985 semi vs. Chris. A bad line call at a crucial point really cost Kohde, with Evert suggesting that those were the breaks.

One wonders how Chris felt when she was (some believed) shafted on a line call in the final! Wonderful irony.

Hanafan-the problem I'd have with suggesting Mcneil was the "best" player NTRAF is her record outside the slams wasn't in the class of a Kohde or Garrison, or even a Coetzer. Unlike those women she was NEVER a solid member of the top ten. Those two semis are the real highlights of her career. Both were heartbreakers though. I vividly recall the botched volley vs. Graf, it was sitting up high waiting to be killed:sad: And in 1994 she was 2 points from putting away Martinez at least twice.

I would go for Helena Sukova, she hit the ball harder than Kohde or Shriver and was technically more complete. When she was on (1986 was probably one of her best year), she was really dangerous. Mentally a little bit frail and lack of self-confidence, which cost her tough three-set matches against Martina and Chris this year.

I've never seen Lori play but I heard that she was increadibly talented, when she reached the semis at the US Open 87, the French press compared her style and game to Evonne Goolagong's, fluid, smooth, effortless and increadibly skilled net play.
 

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Rollo said:
Claudia was darn close in the 1985 semi vs. Chris. A bad line call at a crucial point really cost Kohde, with Evert suggesting that those were the breaks.

One wonders how Chris felt when she was (some believed) shafted on a line call in the final! Wonderful irony.

Hanafan-the problem I'd have with suggesting Mcneil was the "best" player NTRAF is her record outside the slams wasn't in the class of a Kohde or Garrison, or even a Coetzer. Unlike those women she was NEVER a solid member of the top ten. Those two semis are the real highlights of her career. Both were heartbreakers though. I vividly recall the botched volley vs. Graf, it was sitting up high waiting to be killed:sad: And in 1994 she was 2 points from putting away Martinez at least twice.

I'd definitely have to agree that McNeil's career wasn't as good as Kohde's or the other that you mentioned. But I think she may have been more capable of winning a slam than Claudia. Claudia's one of my all time favs from the 80's but I think Lori could have actually won a slam whereas Claudia just didn't seem to have it in her. However, players like Claudia and Coetzer definitely had more solid careers than Lori did.
 

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As boring as Manuela Maleeva was, I think she probably had the longest run in the top ten without a GS final. She wasn't explosive, but I'd rate her career as better than Kohde-Kilsch, Coetzer, or McNeil.
 

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I'd go with Lori McNeil or Claudia Kohde Kilsch. Our longtime favourite, Pamela of the Lutherville Shrivers, lucked out and beat the reigning Wimbledon champ at the time to reach the 1978 US Open final or she'd be winning this category hands down.
 

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In individual majors, I'm always astounded that Sabatini never managed a final at RG. Austin didn't play the French until after her peak years but she too is a name that "ought" to be on the roll of honour there somewhere. Sukova would get the award for Wimbledon, Capriati for the US Open, I think, and maybe Shriver for Australia.
 

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Andy T said:
In individual majors, I'm always astounded that Sabatini never managed a final at RG.
I think Sabatini missed a golden opportunity to win RG in 1989. Evert was missing and Graf was rather out of sorts in the final. More importantly, Sabatini had beaten Graf on clay earlier that year in Amelia Island. What was she doing losing to a 16-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez? :confused:

Austin didn't play the French until after her peak years but she too is a name that "ought" to be on the roll of honour there somewhere. Sukova would get the award for Wimbledon,
Considering Sukova never even made it to the semis at Wimbledon, I wouldn't go so far as to anoint her as a "should have been champion".

Capriati for the US Open, I think, and maybe Shriver for Australia.
I'll go with Hingis at the French Open and Hana Mandlikova at Wimbledon.
 

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Andy T said:
In individual majors, I'm always astounded that Sabatini never managed a final at RG. Austin didn't play the French until after her peak years but she too is a name that "ought" to be on the roll of honour there somewhere. Sukova would get the award for Wimbledon, Capriati for the US Open, I think, and maybe Shriver for Australia.
I think it might have been yours, Andy but I loved the comment, if you were good enough you would have won a Slam.

Hard to believe that even though Austin had declined slightly good old Jo Durie beat her in the French quarters of 1983.
 

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I wasn't thinking necessarily of "should have been champion" but more finalist, Samn and therefore ruled out any player who'd reached a final in the slam in question. I said Sukova for Wimbledon because she often gave Martina the jitters on grass (and cement for that matter!) and beat her both at Melbourne and Eastbourne. If i had to pick should-have-been-champions (1960 on), I would say Mandlikova at Wimbledon (sorry Robert1!), Goolagong at the US Open, Hingis or Austin at the French and Bueno in Australia.

All-time, Lenglen at the US and Oz and Wills at Oz would obviously come into the running. Had they been able to travel like today's stars, all this talk about Court's 24 and Graf's 22 titles would be reduced to nought in the face of their stats, I think.
 

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If we've moved the goalposts from players who have never won a Slam to those who have never won a particular Slam then I'd go for Austin at Wimbledon (golden chance 1980), Evonne at USO, Shriver for the Aussie and I don't understand why Conchita Martinez didn't do better at RG.
 

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Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere. She was not THAAAAAt boring at all....
 
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