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View Full Version : IF: Tracy Austin was healthy, what could she have achieved?


Gundam
04-24-2007, 08:38 AM
If Tracy Austin was healthy, what could she have achieved?
Can we say she was an improved version of Evert with even stronger competitive heart? Probably Graf must have been too much for her too in the end but during the era of Navratilova and Evert, what she would have done if he didn't have health or burnout issue?

The Gorilla
04-24-2007, 08:55 AM
singlehandedly killed wta tennis probably.

Gundam
04-24-2007, 10:51 AM
I could only watch some videos but my impression was she was super-competitive, focused. Even more so than Evert if it's possible. Stroke-wise, Austin seemed to have more fluid swings than Evert. I am pretty sure Evert must have been quite disturbed when Austin began to make some fuss. It could have been interesting if Evert and Austin threatening Navratilova together.

BTW, I believe Austin was the player who beat Grat at her debut pro match.

suwanee4712
04-24-2007, 11:31 AM
I thought of Austin as being more mechanical than Evert, especially on the serve and forehand. Her serve was weaker than Chris'. I think Tracy's forehand was stronger but more error prone. I don't know if injuries made a big difference in this, but the last time I saw her play in early 1983, she was out of shape. Anyone that competes as hard as and is as smart as Tracy could win slams. But she would've needed to be in much better shape to stay at the very top, I think.

federerfanatic
04-24-2007, 03:58 PM
It is hard to say. Her career as a fully healthy force was over after 1981, even if she did not officialy retire until sometime in 1984. She was fully healthy through the end of 1980, then injuries began to hinder her in 1981, not to the extent she wasnt still a major threat for big titles and rival to Evert and Navratilova, but she did seem a bit down from 1979-1980 still, and it was the first year she began to experience serious health problems, so the two go hand in hand. 1982 and 1983 she was still a top 5 player but already a shadow of her old self, almost certainly due to the same injuries that would soon force her to retire.

Best case scenario is she would have gone on to be the dominant player for the next decade some people predicted of her to go on to be, back when she began winning major titles and challenging for #1 as a teenager in 1979 and 1980. Worst case scenario is she goes on to many years as a solid #3, who wins only the occasional major, falling short of her early career hype by a long ways, but still having a great career. In that case first a solid #3 behind Evert and Navratilova, as she was much more consistent them Mandlikova as good as Hana was, later #3 behind Graf and Navratilova, and maybe later #3 behind Graf and Seles, again only winning the occasional major, and never truly threatening for #1 again. The real truth is probably something completely in between the two, less then the former, and more then the latter scenarios. Of course, sadly, nobody will ever know.

federerfanatic
04-24-2007, 04:06 PM
I thought of Austin as being more mechanical than Evert, especially on the serve and forehand. Her serve was weaker than Chris'. I think Tracy's forehand was stronger but more error prone. I don't know if injuries made a big difference in this, but the last time I saw her play in early 1983, she was out of shape. Anyone that competes as hard as and is as smart as Tracy could win slams. But she would've needed to be in much better shape to stay at the very top, I think.

I agree with your comparisions of Evert and Austin's games. Tracy Austin had an almost painfully weak serve. Evert's serve was make to look worse by the outstanding Navratilova serve, but it was clearly superior to Austin's. I agree with your comparision of their forehands as well.

As for the out of shape by early 1983, it was definitely due to injuries. Tracy was a workoholic, she would never have simply allowed herself to get out of shape. The reason her potentialy legendary career was cut so short was she in fact overworked and overplayed at a young age. There was a bit of bad luck, but she even admits she pushed herself a bit too hard so young, and especialy when she got minor injuries she was far too eager and insistent on returning before some of them had fully healed.

suwanee4712
04-24-2007, 07:35 PM
I agree with your comparisions of Evert and Austin's games. Tracy Austin had an almost painfully weak serve. Evert's serve was make to look worse by the outstanding Navratilova serve, but it was clearly superior to Austin's. I agree with your comparision of their forehands as well.

As for the out of shape by early 1983, it was definitely due to injuries. Tracy was a workoholic, she would never have simply allowed herself to get out of shape. The reason her potentialy legendary career was cut so short was she in fact overworked and overplayed at a young age. There was a bit of bad luck, but she even admits she pushed herself a bit too hard so young, and especialy when she got minor injuries she was far too eager and insistent on returning before some of them had fully healed.


One thing still sticks out in my mind about Tracy's comeback in 1993 when she beat Katerina Maleeva in San Diego (I think). Someone asked Chris Evert about how Tracy would do and she said that if a match with Tracy came down to a mental challenge, she knew who would win.

Of course, she was implying that most players (regardless of era) would not be able to take many matches away from someone as tenacious as Austin. Coming from Chris about her old rival, I thought that was an extremely high compliment.

suwanee4712
04-24-2007, 07:50 PM
It is hard to say. Her career as a fully healthy force was over after 1981, even if she did not officialy retire until sometime in 1984. She was fully healthy through the end of 1980, then injuries began to hinder her in 1981, not to the extent she wasnt still a major threat for big titles and rival to Evert and Navratilova, but she did seem a bit down from 1979-1980 still, and it was the first year she began to experience serious health problems, so the two go hand in hand. 1982 and 1983 she was still a top 5 player but already a shadow of her old self, almost certainly due to the same injuries that would soon force her to retire.

Best case scenario is she would have gone on to be the dominant player for the next decade some people predicted of her to go on to be, back when she began winning major titles and challenging for #1 as a teenager in 1979 and 1980. Worst case scenario is she goes on to many years as a solid #3, who wins only the occasional major, falling short of her early career hype by a long ways, but still having a great career. In that case first a solid #3 behind Evert and Navratilova, as she was much more consistent them Mandlikova as good as Hana was, later #3 behind Graf and Navratilova, and maybe later #3 behind Graf and Seles, again only winning the occasional major, and never truly threatening for #1 again. The real truth is probably something completely in between the two, less then the former, and more then the latter scenarios. Of course, sadly, nobody will ever know.

I agree with your placement of her in the rankings. At worst, I think Chris conquered a mental mountain so to speak by beating Tracy at the US Open in 1980. I have no doubt that a healthy Tracy could've beaten her again. But especially as Chris starting revving up her game in 1984, I think Chris would've gotten the better of her. Martina was overwhelming everyone so I'm not sure that she could've overtaken her either. And Tracy would definitely be more consistent than Hana.

Would've been interesting to see Tracy in a French or Wimbledon final. I think she might've fared better at the Australian overall than Wimbledon because of the higher bounces. And the fact that many players thought that the hotter and dryer conditions often made Kooyong play similar to a hardcourt.

CEvertFan
04-24-2007, 07:54 PM
One thing still sticks out in my mind about Tracy's comeback in 1993 when she beat Katerina Maleeva in San Diego (I think). Someone asked Chris Evert about how Tracy would do and she said that if a match with Tracy came down to a mental challenge, she knew who would win.

Of course, she was implying that most players (regardless of era) would not be able to take many matches away from someone as tenacious as Austin. Coming from Chris about her old rival, I thought that was an extremely high compliment.


I think that Evert was the better player, but I do believe that Tracy would have been loads of trouble for both Evert and Navratilova during the 80's had she not been injured so young. I remember reading about Tracy's personality as well as having been able to see a few of her old matches and it's been said that she treated Evert with something approaching disdain when she first began beating her. She was definitely a force to be reckoned with and I myself have often wondered how different women's tennis in the 80's would have been if she had been healthy throughout.

suwanee4712
04-24-2007, 08:03 PM
I think that Evert was the better player, but I do believe that Tracy would have been loads of trouble for both Evert and Navratilova during the 80's had she not been injured so young. I remember reading about Tracy's personality as well as having been able to see a few of her old matches and it's been said that she treated Evert with something approaching disdain when she first began beating her. She was definitely a force to be reckoned with and I myself have often wondered how different women's tennis in the 80's would have been if she had been healthy throughout.


I definitely think there was a strain between the two even though they shared a lot of similarities. For whatever reason, Chris had an easier time being one of the girls in the locker room, while Tracy hardly tried. But perhaps that would've changed as she matured. From what I've read, Chris tended to distance herself from players once she perceived them as a threat. So there were a lot of different angles going on at once in that relationship.

At any rate, I think there's a lot of respect between them now. But a real friendship may not have been possible.

CEvertFan
04-30-2007, 09:18 PM
The Evert/Austin rivalry ended 9-8 in Tracy's favor, although Tracy got spanked by Evert in their last match 6-0, 6-0. In all fairness though Tracy was struggling with injuries by this time and clearly wasn't the same player anymore.

federerfanatic
04-30-2007, 09:29 PM
In my opinion, watching old tapes of her matches, and reading documentaries of her career, Austin started to show her first slight signs of decline in 1981, the first year she also started to deal with serious injuries. It may sound odd I am saying I believe she was actually starting a decline in 1981 when she won a slam title in 1981 and not 1980. However in 1980 I think she was regarded by most as the best player in the World, she just got unlucky to lose 3-setters to a truly inspired Goolagong in the 1980 Wimbledon semis, and a a truly inspired Evert in the 1980 U.S Open semis. Austin was really picked to win both matches, and both events in fact, and both those great players really had to "play up" if anything to take her down. Austin also may have been over-confident going into both those matches. Plus she chose not to play the French that year, at a time top players didnt all play that particular slam, while Evert did and won, which led to her ending that year #2 ranked.

However in 1981 while she did win a slam-the U.S Open, she got pretty lucky as her draw ended up with none of her main rivals to face to reach the final. Evert and Navratilova were in the other half, Jaeger was upset, Mandlikova did not end up in her path, nor did Shriver. She then got very fortunate when Navratilova choked badly in the final. One sign of her decline is losing in the quarter of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open in straight sets to Pam Shriver. She had been 9-0 vs Shriver before those back-to-back straight set losses. Now despite Austin beating Shriver 9 times in a row at that point, I would not just state with certainty losing to Shriver shows she was in decline or a slump, since I know Pam was a quality player of that era. However it is pretty strange to lose two times in a row in straight sets, in consecutive slam quarters as turns out, to a player your own age you had beaten 9 times in a row. Plus watching her on tape she just looks a bit weaker to me that year then she had before, not quite as strong, not quite as sharp in her play.

1982 is when she really shows a big decline in her level though. She doesnt even look like the same player anymore, even though she mantains a credible ranking. Then 1983 she shows another big dropoff. I can see watching her on tape why she retired in early 1984.

CEvertFan
04-30-2007, 11:22 PM
Austin is one of those players who I haven't seen very many matches of. Thanks for the synopsis. I will continue my search for older matches, particularly the Evert/Austin 1980 US Open semi, which is at the top of my most wanted list.

Condoleezza
05-01-2007, 01:40 AM
If Tracy Austin was healthy, what could she have achieved?
Can we say she was an improved version of Evert with even stronger competitive heart? Probably Graf must have been too much for her too in the end but during the era of Navratilova and Evert, what she would have done if he didn't have health or burnout issue?

She would have won many, many slams.
Navratilova & Evert would have been left with only about 13-15 slams.

And don't forget - Austin had a really career-ending injury, not only minor stab wound.


Condi

Scorch
05-01-2007, 07:45 AM
But let me guess:

Austin would not have troubled Graf at all right?

p.s.y.c.h.o

Condoleezza
05-01-2007, 08:26 AM
But let me guess:

Austin would not have troubled Graf at all right?

p.s.y.c.h.o


Austin and Graf played twice.
In 1982 when Graf was 13 years old, Tracy won 6-4 6-0.
And in 1994 when Austin was 30 years old, Steffi won 6-0 6-0.

No, Austin was worse than Seles against whom Graf is 10-5 H2H. Graf would have won about 90 % of her matches against Austin. Evert and Navratilova though would have had a lot of trouble against a fit Tracy (as could be seen in 1979/81).

Condi

suwanee4712
05-01-2007, 09:53 AM
Austin and Graf played twice.
In 1982 when Graf was 13 years old, Tracy won 6-4 6-0.
And in 1994 when Austin was 30 years old, Steffi won 6-0 6-0.

No, Austin was worse than Seles against whom Graf is 10-5 H2H. Graf would have won about 90 % of her matches against Austin. Evert and Navratilova though would have had a lot of trouble against a fit Tracy (as could be seen in 1979/81).

Condi


You've never even seen Tracy Austin play, much less know how to gage her performance...........

The lowest point of Evert's career was 1979 when Tracy got several of her wins against her in the span of 3 weeks. After she took time off from the game, she came back refreshed and was never challenged by Tracy again after the 1980 US Open.

You like to speak out of both sides of your mouth when it comes to Martina. When it suits your purposes, you act like pre 1982 Martina was pretty good. When it doesn't suit your purposes, you dismiss her and ask why she didn't win grand slams in 1980-1981.

Stick to what you know........the 1990's. Because you know little about anything else.

Condoleezza
05-01-2007, 10:05 AM
You've never even seen Tracy Austin play, much less know how to gage her performance. .......


I remember her 0-6 0-6 against Graf in 1994. Can't say I was impressed ...

.....
You like to speak out of both sides of your mouth when it comes to Martina. When it suits your purposes, you act like pre 1982 Martina was pretty good. When it doesn't suit your purposes, you dismiss her and ask why she didn't win grand slams in 1980-1981. ....

Because in 1980/81 King and Stove will still in their mid-30ies (enough to be competitive against Navi) and Austin and Jaeger not injured.


Condi

suwanee4712
05-01-2007, 10:13 AM
Are you actually going to say that Steffi playing Tracy Austin in 1994 was anything like playing her in 1980? You're dumber than I thought.

Again, you make a big deal of BJK and Stove playing well at the end of their careers. But you still ignore Martina beating Steffi and Monica at age 37. And you don't even know enough about Betty Stove to catch the comparison to Jana Novotna.

And why are you suddenly patting Andrea Jaeger on the back by saying that Martina was lucky that she was injured? According to you, Andrea was a "clown." I'll tell you this. If Monica hadn't gotten stabbed, a healthy Andrea probably would've won more grand slams than Aranxta did.

Condoleezza
05-01-2007, 11:12 AM
....
Again, you make a big deal of BJK and Stove playing well at the end of their careers. But you still ignore Martina beating Steffi and Monica at age 37. ...

Martina never ever beat Steffi at age 37.

Condi

suwanee4712
05-01-2007, 11:34 AM
Martina never ever beat Steffi at age 37.

Condi


Martina turned 37 in 1993, the year she beat Steffi in Tokyo and Monica in Paris. If she wasn't 37, then she was 36. As if it makes a difference. The only reason why I bring it up is that you keep making references to BJK doing well when she was 36, 37.

You're such a loser...........

Condoleezza
05-01-2007, 12:15 PM
Martina turned 37 in 1993, the year she beat Steffi in Tokyo and Monica in Paris. If she wasn't 37, then she was 36. As if it makes a difference. The only reason why I bring it up is that you keep making references to BJK doing well when she was 36, 37.

You're such a loser...........


Navratilova had a lot of embarrasing losses to very old or very young players in the middle of her career.
Losses to 36-year-old King, 35-year-old Stove, 15-year-old Jaeger (3 losses!), 15-year-old Austin in the early 80ies. Stove and Jaeger never even were good enough to win a slam!

Condi

suwanee4712
05-01-2007, 01:39 PM
Navratilova had a lot of embarrasing losses to very old or very young players in the middle of her career.
Losses to 36-year-old King, 35-year-old Stove, 15-year-old Jaeger (3 losses!), 15-year-old Austin in the early 80ies. Stove and Jaeger never even were good enough to win a slam!

Condi


And yet Steffi was losing matches and struggling in 3 set wins over Aranxta - who had Seles not been stabbed would likely have been a one slam wonder. And I don't get into what Amanda Coetzer did to Steffi.

Every player had nemeses from the lower ranks. As you yourself said, all the top players lose to "journeywomen" now and then. Need I bring up a few of Steffi's?

Condoleezza
05-01-2007, 01:49 PM
And yet Steffi was losing matches and struggling in 3 set wins over Aranxta - who had Seles not been stabbed would likely have been a one slam wonder. And I don't get into what Amanda Coetzer did to Steffi.

Every player had nemeses from the lower ranks. As you yourself said, all the top players lose to "journeywomen" now and then. Need I bring up a few of Steffi's?

Graf had only one loss against a player older than 34 (Navratilova in 93) and one loss against a player younger than 16 (Hingis in 96).
Two losses.

Navratilova lost to King, Stove, Austin, Jaeger (3 times), Capriati.
Seven losses.

Tells us a lot, IMO.


Condi

suwanee4712
05-01-2007, 02:00 PM
Graf had only one loss against a player older than 34 (Navratilova in 93) and one loss against a player younger than 16 (Hingis in 96).
Two losses.

Navratilova lost to King, Stove, Austin, Jaeger (3 times), Capriati.
Seven losses.

Tells us a lot, IMO.


Condi



Do we want to bring up Steffi's losses to players like Marianne de Swadrt, Barbara Paulus, and the aimless Natasha Zvereva?

Of course, you must remember a little match Steffi lost to Capriati in Barcelona? I think JenCap had just turned sweet 16. That was before she was even a serious threat to win a slam.

Let me guess? Steffi was sick that day?

BTW, if you don't think BJK could've beaten Steffi with eras and equipment equalized, you'd be a lonely person with that ridiculous opinion. As Martina often said, King was the best at breaking a player's game down.

CEvertFan
05-01-2007, 04:13 PM
Do we want to bring up Steffi's losses to players like Marianne de Swadrt, Barbara Paulus, and the aimless Natasha Zvereva?

Of course, you must remember a little match Steffi lost to Capriati in Barcelona? I think JenCap had just turned sweet 16. That was before she was even a serious threat to win a slam.

Let me guess? Steffi was sick that day?

BTW, if you don't think BJK could've beaten Steffi with eras and equipment equalized, you'd be a lonely person with that ridiculous opinion. As Martina often said, King was the best at breaking a player's game down.

King also had a great mind for tennis and could analyze an opponent's strengths and weaknesses very well.

CEvertFan
05-04-2007, 10:59 PM
Navratilova had a lot of embarrasing losses to very old or very young players in the middle of her career.
Losses to 36-year-old King, 35-year-old Stove, 15-year-old Jaeger (3 losses!), 15-year-old Austin in the early 80ies. Stove and Jaeger never even were good enough to win a slam!

Condi


I would put Jaeger in almost the same category as Austin because if she hadn't had career ending injuries just like Austin then she would have done quite well in the 80's and Austin would have as well.

Condoleezza
05-04-2007, 11:23 PM
I would put Jaeger in almost the same category as Austin because if she hadn't had career ending injuries just like Austin then she would have done quite well in the 80's and Austin would have as well.

So we can say that Navratilova's and Evert's slam count are inflated because Austin and Jaeger had career-ending injuries.
While we can't say that of Graf's tally. After all Seles COULD have played again in August 1993. She CHOSE to wait for 2 years though.

Condi

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 12:23 AM
So we can say that Navratilova's and Evert's slam count are inflated because Austin had career-ending injuries.
While we can't say that of Graf's tally. After all Seles COULD have played again in August 1993. She CHOSE to wait for 2 years though.

Condi

I do not remember Navratilova or a supporter of Navratilova stabbing Tracy Austin in the back with a knife.

If only Tracey had been able to continue playing, who knows how good she could have become ...

We do know this ... she was not winning multiple major titles in a year. She won a U.S. Open in 1979 .. a WTA Tour Championship in 1980 .. and a U.S. Open in 1981.

Seles, on the other hand, won 2 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in 1990 ... 4 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in 1991 ... 4 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in 1992 ... and Seles beat Graf to win the ONLY Grand Slam event played in 1993 before a Graf fan stabbed Seles in the back with a knife in Germany at the end of April in 1993.

Big difference ... but thanks for playing ... nice try.

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 12:26 AM
She would have won many, many slams.
Navratilova & Evert would have been left with only about 13-15 slams.

And don't forget - Austin had a really career-ending injury, not only minor stab wound.


Condi

Two very major DIFFERENCES, of course, are as follows:

1. Tracy Austin never won more than 1 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in the same year. Monica Seles won 2 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in 1990 .. then, in both 1991 and 1992 Seles won 4 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in consecutive years.

2. Martina Navratilova, nor any supporter or fan ever decided that it was necessary to stab Tracy Austin in the back with a knife, behead her, cut off any of Austin's arms or legs, fire a gun into her or any other such horrific acts which would debilitate Austin from being #1 in women's tennis as a teenager while Austin was winning 10 of the 12 biggest events in women's tennis before such an attack.

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 12:37 AM
No, Austin was worse than Seles against whom Graf is 10-5 H2H. Graf would have won about 90 % of her matches against Austin. Evert and Navratilova though would have had a lot of trouble against a fit Tracy (as could be seen in 1979/81).

Condi

LOL ... and, of course, Austin never won more than 1 major singles title in just a 3 year period (1979-1981) ... what led to a Graf fan stabbing the more accomplished teenage phenom in the back with a knife was Seles being #1 and winning 2 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1990 ... Seles being #1 and winning 4 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1991 ... Seles being #1 and winning 4 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1991 ... and, then, Seles winning the only Grand Slam singles title (beating Graf in the final) of 1993 before a fan of Steffi Graf decided that the only thing to do would be to plunge a sharp knife into the back of Monica Seles when Seles was not looking.

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 12:42 AM
No, Austin was worse than Seles against Graf would have won about 90 % of her matches against Austin. Evert and Navratilova though would have had a lot of trouble against a fit Tracy (as could be seen in 1979/81).

Condi

No ... that is jealous. The all-time greatest champion does not need knifes in the backs of better players who are in their teenage years while winning 10 of the 12 biggest events in the sport over a 2 or 3 year period.

Condoleezza
05-05-2007, 02:05 AM
I do not remember Navratilova or a supporter of Navratilova stabbing Tracy Austin in the back with a knife. ....

What's the difference between a player being unable to play because of career-ending injury and a player who received a minor stab wound?

I tell you, the stabbed player could have played again within weeks, the player with a career-ending injury not.

So Navi profited from Austin not playing while Austin had no choice left.
Graf - maybe (we will never know!) - profited from Seles chosing not to play.

Condi

Condoleezza
05-05-2007, 02:09 AM
.... Martina Navratilova, nor any supporter or fan ever decided that it was necessary to stab Tracy Austin in the back with a knife, behead her, cut off any of Austin's arms or legs, fire a gun into her or any other such horrific acts which would debilitate Austin from being #1 in women's tennis as a teenager ...

Totally irrelevant.
Only if Graf had ordered the attack we could make an asterisk behind her 3 FO/AO slams in 1993/95. She was not responsible in the same way as Navi was not responsible for Austin's career-ending injury.

Condi

Condoleezza
05-05-2007, 02:12 AM
.... biggest singles titles in 1990 ... Seles being #1 and winning 4 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1991 ... Seles being #1 and winning 4 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1991 ..

What is this with your "biggest singles titles"?

Do you really think that a Masters title is sort of a equivalent of a WIMBLEDON title?????? :D :D :D :D

Oh my God ....


Condi

FedSampras
05-05-2007, 06:28 AM
No ... that is jealous. The all-time greatest champion does not need knifes in the backs of better players who are in their teenage years while winning 10 of the 12 biggest events in the sport over a 2 or 3 year period.


Seles > Graff without KNIFE.

FedSampras
05-05-2007, 06:32 AM
Totally irrelevant.
Only if Graf had ordered the attack we could make an asterisk behind her 3 FO/AO slams in 1993/95. She was not responsible in the same way as Navi was not responsible for Austin's career-ending injury.

Condi

Your Big nose girl owes half her slams to Gunther whose brutal KNIFING of Seles got rid of the player who was dominating women's tennis and leaving the ugly big nose girl:D way behind.

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 08:52 AM
Totally irrelevant.
Only if Graf had ordered the attack we could make an asterisk behind her 3 FO/AO slams in 1993/95. She was not responsible in the same way as Navi was not responsible for Austin's career-ending injury.

Condi

There was only one attacker in the Seles case. If the guy who did the attack on Seles had been doing it for Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario it would have been a different thing ... I would change my statements to reflect that the horrific attack on Seles had been to the benefit of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario ... but this simply was not the case. The attack was CLEARLY by a German man who was a Graf fan. He committed the attack on Seles for the benefit of Graf ... and it was, indeed, Graf who most benefitted from the attack on Seles (and the absence of Seles in 4 of the 5 major events she had successfully defended her titles in before the attack -- the Australian Open, the French Open, the U.S. Open and the WTA Tour Championships).

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 08:59 AM
What's the difference between a player being unable to play because of career-ending injury and a player who received a minor stab wound?

I tell you, the stabbed player could have played again within weeks, the player with a career-ending injury not.

So Navi profited from Austin not playing while Austin had no choice left.
Graf - maybe (we will never know!) - profited from Seles chosing not to play.

Condi

Health is a part of the game ... the better players try to stay healthy for a reason .. of course, there are times when the best players are stabbed in the back with a knife so that lesser players can have a chance to win ... but those occasions, fortunately, are very rare in the sport.

TheNatural
05-05-2007, 09:53 AM
Seles won 9 of 40 slams she participated in during her career. 22.5%
Graf won 22/56 39.3%

In Seles's last 25 slams , Seles won 1/25 slams 4%, in her last 24 she won 0/24, 0%.. Graf won 12 of her last 25. 48%

Seles had ample chances to win more slams in the 40 she participated in.




LOL ... and, of course, Austin never won more than 1 major singles title in just a 3 year period (1979-1981) ... what led to a Graf fan stabbing the more accomplished teenage phenom in the back with a knife was Seles being #1 and winning 2 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1990 ... Seles being #1 and winning 4 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1991 ... Seles being #1 and winning 4 of the 5 biggest singles titles in 1991 ... and, then, Seles winning the only Grand Slam singles title (beating Graf in the final) of 1993 before a fan of Steffi Graf decided that the only thing to do would be to plunge a sharp knife into the back of Monica Seles when Seles was not looking.

ATPballkid
05-05-2007, 10:22 AM
Seles won 9 of 40 slams she participated in during her career. 22.5%
Graf won 22/56 39.3%

In Seles's last 25 slams , Seles won 1/25 slams 4%, in her last 24 she won 0/24, 0%.. Graf won 12 of her last 25. 48%

Seles had ample chances to win more slams in the 40 she participated in.

I am not sure how well Maureen Connolly would have done after returning from her horseback riding accident .... I am not sure how Tracy Austin would have done if she had been able to truly return after her injuries.

Obviously, Monica Seles was not as good after being off for 2 or 3 years when she returned from being stabbed in the back with a knife in April 1993 by a jealous Graf fan.

TOTALLY beside the point.

Seles won 10 of the 12 biggest events in women's tennis between November 1990 and the stabbing ... and then, she was stabbed. Based on the 12 biggest events between the end of 1990 and the early part of 1993 there was nothing whatsoever which would suggest that Monica Seles was not going to continue her dominance over women's tennis going forward.

federerfanatic
05-05-2007, 10:50 AM
I do not remember Navratilova or a supporter of Navratilova stabbing Tracy Austin in the back with a knife.

If only Tracey had been able to continue playing, who knows how good she could have become ...

We do know this ... she was not winning multiple major titles in a year. She won a U.S. Open in 1979 .. a WTA Tour Championship in 1980 .. and a U.S. Open in 1981.

Back then the Australian and French Open were NOT considered 2 of the 5 biggest womens events however. They just were not valued as highly by the players which is why so many didnt even play. For what was considered the real 5 biggest events then, Austin won more then 1 each of those years.

TheNatural
05-05-2007, 08:56 PM
She came back an even better player and notably improved her serve and even learned to volley a bit. I remember seeing Seles Practice with Hingis a few times because they were playing doubled together. Hingis clearly had a lot more talent. She was directing the session and giving Seles tips. Seles played okay but she had some limitations in her strokes which held her back, and thats probbaly why she couldnt win any of her last 24 slams. There were other players that hit better and more cleanly. Seles wasnt that effective from so far back in the court because she didnt have the full natural swing of others. She compensated well by stepping into the court and trying to take the ball a bit early, but she had limitations in her stroke production. Or At least limitations from one of the sides. Players like Hingis also exploited her 2 handed shots from both sides.

I am not sure how well Maureen Connolly would have done after returning from her horseback riding accident .... I am not sure how Tracy Austin would have done if she had been able to truly return after her injuries.

Obviously, Monica Seles was not as good after being off for 2 or 3 years when she returned from being stabbed in the back with a knife in April 1993 by a jealous Graf fan.

TOTALLY beside the point.

Seles won 10 of the 12 biggest events in women's tennis between November 1990 and the stabbing ... and then, she was stabbed. Based on the 12 biggest events between the end of 1990 and the early part of 1993 there was nothing whatsoever which would suggest that Monica Seles was not going to continue her dominance over women's tennis going forward.

FedSampras
05-06-2007, 07:55 AM
She came back an even better player and notably improved her serve and even learned to volley a bit. I remember seeing Seles Practice with Hingis a few times because they were playing doubled together. Hingis clearly had a lot more talent. She was directing the session and giving Seles tips. Seles played okay but she had some limitations in her strokes which held her back, and thats probbaly why she couldnt win any of her last 24 slams. There were other players that hit better and more cleanly. Seles wasnt that effective from so far back in the court because she didnt have the full natural swing of others. She compensated well by stepping into the court and trying to take the ball a bit early, but she had limitations in her stroke production. Or At least limitations from one of the sides. Players like Hingis also exploited her 2 handed shots from both sides.

Of course not. It's clear that ugly big nose Graff was better than OUT OF SHAPE DEPRESSED POST STABBING Monica Seles was at that point. Seles was better than most other players, though of course far from peak (she lost to Novotna at the FO, for crissakes).

Yes - the GraFan stabber got exactly what he wanted. He desperately wanted Graf to be #1 and winning the lion's share of the slams again, but he had absolutely no confidence that Steffi could do that by herself. Why would he? Graf had been a solid #2 for 2+ years.

So he gave her the help she needed.

FedSampras
05-06-2007, 08:09 AM
Graf won 22/56 39.3%

Graf won 12 of her last 25. 48%

Seles had ample chances to win more slams in the 40 she participated in.

Graf was always the clear #2 for the *whole time* that Seles was #1. She was never less than #2, and never had less slam wins than anyone other than Seles.

Once MS was stabbed and taken out, everyone could tell that Graf was going to dominate once again. My immediate reaction was "Graf is going to win everything in sight". And she did.

That's why it's hard to call Graf "*best ever" - much of the accomplishments (about half her slam wins) that support that accolade were achieved after Seles was stabbed. That's all tainted with the KNIFE to a certain degree.

FedSampras
05-06-2007, 08:12 AM
Seles played okay but she had some limitations in her strokes which held her back, and thats probbaly why she couldnt win any of her last 24 slams.

Seles was clearly better than Graf in 91-93 and led 2-1 in Slam victories. She led 4-3 since 1990 in matches. play In stats terms winning 8 GS, 3 ye WTA champs she was a solid no. 1 in *absolute terms*. Once again, who cares if you weren'/t impressed. Obviously Graf and Parche were.

I think the hardest thing for you to take is that if Graf* was the *greatest player ever, how could another player in the middle of her reign win 8 of 9 GS and 3 WTA champs, plus be ahead of Graf 3-1 in GS finals? It really is unprecedented, for such a young dominant champ to be passed by so decisively and completely.

It happened to both Evert who was eclipsed by Navrativlova and by Navratilova when Graf came around, but in both cases a clearly aging player was surpassed. In Graff's case, she was all of 22 or 23 when Seles surpassed her.

Since there is no logical reason, the easiest thing to do is to try and deconstruct the other players accomplishments (Seles). It's an old trick.

FedSampras
05-06-2007, 08:16 AM
Seles had ample chances to win more slams in the 40 she participated in.

That's right, Seles rose when Graf was sub-par, and was stabbed when Graf was peaking again...uh huh... 1993 Graf was back to peak levels (she won 4 GS in a row)

To the eternal chagrin of the Grafan Seles was #1 in the middle of the so called "Graf' reign, thus the revisionist history.

ATPballkid
05-06-2007, 09:31 AM
So Navi profited from Austin not playing while Austin had no choice left.

Condi

#1 ... and Navratilova was able to win more than just 1 major title in 1979 and 1981 (the years Austin won the U.S. Open, her only Grand Slam singles titles).

Meanwhile, Graf could not win more than 1 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis during the years 1990-1993 while Seles won 2 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in 1991 and 4 of the 5 biggest events in women's tennis in both 1991 and 1992.

In fact, from the time that Seles started dominating the biggest events in women's tennis with her first win at the 1990 French Open, Graf was unable to win any of the 5 major events in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 until after Seles had been stabbed in the back with a knife by one of Graf's fans in April 1993.

Again, a very big difference.

CEvertFan
05-06-2007, 02:30 PM
Fed and ATP I totally agree with your views on the Seles/Graf thing and that's the main reason I don't consider Graf the best ever. Her record is padded by not having Seles there from 1993 on. And for those who feel that Monica was a better player when she came back, I think you should watch some of her post-stabbing matches again. She was clearly not the same player physically, and even more importantly, mentally.

I will concede that the women's game was a lot more focused on power after Monica came back than it was before she left (Seles was the biggest hitter on the women's tour by far in 1990-93) and a depressed, out of shape Seles wasn't able to keep up the pace. I do think the stabbing was always in her mind every time she stepped out on a tennis court after the incident. How could it not be?? I'm also willing to give Graf some credit for coming through and actually winning the Slams she did, but it was clearly made easier for her than it would have been if Seles had never been taken out of the game for almost 3 years.

In ranking the best women ever, I have to put Martina 1st closely followed by Evert and then Graf as a very close 3rd with Court 4th and King 5th. If Tracy Austin and Monica Seles had been able to complete their careers uninterrupted, then that list might be very different.

suwanee4712
05-07-2007, 06:52 AM
Federerfanatic, I broke out my partial copy of the 1983 Family Circle Cup final between Martina and Tracy. And Tracy looked better than what I had remembered. For some reason I pictured her being overweight. But I think it was just a time in Tracy life where her body was changing.

She hit some great shots in the first set before Martina took control. I very much wish that she would'n't have been upset by Durie (great win for Jo) at the French that year. We never got to see her play Chris at that tournament. Even though Chris would've been tough to beat as she seemed to be rising to a challenge against Martina on her best surface and at her best tournament.

federerfanatic
05-07-2007, 04:19 PM
Fed and ATP I totally agree with your views on the Seles/Graf thing and that's the main reason I don't consider Graf the best ever. Her record is padded by not having Seles there from 1993 on. And for those who feel that Monica was a better player when she came back, I think you should watch some of her post-stabbing matches again. She was clearly not the same player physically, and even more importantly, mentally.

I will concede that the women's game was a lot more focused on power after Monica came back than it was before she left (Seles was the biggest hitter on the women's tour by far in 1990-93) and a depressed, out of shape Seles wasn't able to keep up the pace. I do think the stabbing was always in her mind every time she stepped out on a tennis court after the incident. How could it not be?? I'm also willing to give Graf some credit for coming through and actually winning the Slams she did, but it was clearly made easier for her than it would have been if Seles had never been taken out of the game for almost 3 years.

In ranking the best women ever, I have to put Martina 1st closely followed by Evert and then Graf as a very close 3rd with Court 4th and King 5th. If Tracy Austin and Monica Seles had been able to complete their careers uninterrupted, then that list might be very different.

I agree with your accessment of the situation completely. Graf is a great champion obviously, but you are entirely correct her record is padded by Seles's absence, and subsequent diminished state post-stabbing state. The biggest claims to her being the best ever, such as the only player to win each slam atleast 4 times, and most weeks at #1, are highly questionable as a result. Of course it is difficult to determine exact results, and exact future outcomes, but with only 4 years of truly healthy/challenging to win slams for Graf she would need to manage every one of- 2 out of 4 French Opens, 2 out of 4 U.S Opens, and 1 out of 1 Australian Opens(she missed 95 and 96),to get the "4 of each" record, despite Seles winning the last 8 combined Australian, French, and U.S Opens. She also was almost 3 years(141 weeks) of #1 ranking time away from the most weeks record at the time of the Seles stabbing, and had spent all of 4 weeks ranked #1 since March 11, 1991 when Seles first became ranked #1, and as I mentioned earlier had less then 4 years of truly healthy/top level tennis left so would have needed to be #1 almost 2/3rds of that time somehow. So it is not being overly presumptous to question to legitimacy of those records which are the principal arguments for any "best ever" consideration to Graf.

I also agree it is not fair to assume anyone is ever the same after experiencing something like that, and it cant be dismissed as part of life like Graf's fathers problems and things like that, as it was a tennis-related crime that changed that interrupted and interfered with the course of events. One cant be accurately evaluated on what they do after something like that, and she should be admired for even returning at all. Even if I will concede,
I had wished she had found the motivation and enthusiasm to get fitter and in top shape, as I still believe she had more slams in her possibly(not domination at that point but possible slams)if she did. Of course had Seles managed to have more success upon her return it would have further increased her record/greatness, but to evaluate her showings vs Graf with any legit bearing to them at that point is completely wrong IMO.

It is also evaluating what Graf's competition without Seles was for me, and taking into consider who her competition was for 4 years of her 10 year period of winning 21 of her 22 slams, and that 4 year period of her winning 10 of those, the context of the competion of her overall career. Nobody turned up as anything close to filling Seles's shoes as the same degree of worthy opponent for Graf. Sanchez Vicario is a great player, and had some great matches with Graf, basically showing her phenomenal heard and fighting spirit to even be as competitive as she was as physically and talent-wise she was badly overmatched by Graf. Still to be fair, she comes nowhere near to being a replacement for the strength of competition that Seles was. Hingis did not go on to be the high end all-time great many predicted as a teenager(and clearly still wont IMO), and she started her run of biding for/winning slams, only after Graf's own run of winning slams all but ended with injuries, so you cant even really say she was a contempary rival except for Graf's final half year or so.

So Seles's tragic experience, and subsequent diminished state when she did return, leaves Graf with only 2-4 years of a fellow all-time great in her prime in Seles(91-early 93, maybe 90 although I think that is iffy). I do not consider Navratilova in her prime by the late 80s(except maybe close to it in 87 although I even question that), nor Sanchez Vicario an all-time great. It also leaves Graf failing to achieve more then 1 slam per year in any of the years a fellow all-time great was/may have been in her prime. Even if you consider Navratilova in her prime in 1987, and Seles in 1990, which I am highly skeptical of, Graf did achieve the #1 ranking those 2 years with the best record consistency wise, but she did not achieve anymore then 1 slam title, and as far as winning the biggest events and head to head success was outdone by both those 2 years. Seles in 1991 and 1992 was more obviously in the start of her prime, and likewise Graf managed only 1 slam both years, and this time was a distant #2.

federerfanatic
05-07-2007, 04:29 PM
Federerfanatic, I broke out my partial copy of the 1983 Family Circle Cup final between Martina and Tracy. And Tracy looked better than what I had remembered. For some reason I pictured her being overweight. But I think it was just a time in Tracy life where her body was changing.

She hit some great shots in the first set before Martina took control. I very much wish that she would'n't have been upset by Durie (great win for Jo) at the French that year. We never got to see her play Chris at that tournament. Even though Chris would've been tough to beat as she seemed to be rising to a challenge against Martina on her best surface and at her best tournament.

I was only born in 1979 so the tennis I started following in live time was around 1990. Tennis of the 80s and 70s I follow through watching tapes available from my relatives(I have lots of family members who are big tennis fans who tape almost every event like I do today who make copies for me)or sometimes ordering, and through reading history books on the game. It often makes me wish I was born earlier mind you as the tennis then seems to have been more enticing in a variety of ways then since I began following it in real time though. ;) As you were seem to be someone who obviously followed the game back then in real time, you would be much more qualifed to speak on that period of tennis then I would.

The tapes I have seen of her in 1982 and 1983, she looked physical weaker and like she has lost something, maybe I am misjudging but it was my impression. Her results were certainly weaker those 2 years by a long ways, but it may have just been the game evolving as well. I did not see that particular final with Martina. Now that you describe it I will see if I can get it somewhere, since it sounds like an interesting match.

suwanee4712
05-07-2007, 07:46 PM
I was only born in 1979 so the tennis I started following in live time was around 1990. Tennis of the 80s and 70s I follow through watching tapes available from my relatives(I have lots of family members who are big tennis fans who tape almost every event like I do today who make copies for me)or sometimes ordering, and through reading history books on the game. It often makes me wish I was born earlier mind you as the tennis then seems to have been more enticing in a variety of ways then since I began following it in real time though. ;) As you were seem to be someone who obviously followed the game back then in real time, you would be much more qualifed to speak on that period of tennis then I would.

The tapes I have seen of her in 1982 and 1983, she looked physical weaker and like she has lost something, maybe I am misjudging but it was my impression. Her results were certainly weaker those 2 years by a long ways, but it may have just been the game evolving as well. I did not see that particular final with Martina. Now that you describe it I will see if I can get it somewhere, since it sounds like an interesting match.


I'm a few years older than you, but I did start watching tennis at an early age. No one in my family watched pro tennis and hardly anyone played. So I started hitting the ball up against the wall and immitating what I was seeing on tv. Took me a while to get the Lendl forehand down with a wood racquet. ;)

I think I only saw Tracy play live 4 or 5 times. So I'm not much of an authority on her. Though I did buy her autobiography. And my love for the 70's era was something that was learned later as I only enjoyed several of those players through dvd's (like you).

P.S. I'm not much an "authority" on anything. Just a tennis nut. ;)

CEvertFan
05-07-2007, 10:44 PM
I agree with your accessment of the situation completely. Graf is a great champion obviously, but you are entirely correct her record is padded by Seles's absence, and subsequent diminished state post-stabbing state. The biggest claims to her being the best ever, such as the only player to win each slam atleast 4 times, and most weeks at #1, are highly questionable as a result. Of course it is difficult to determine exact results, and exact future outcomes, but with only 4 years of truly healthy/challenging to win slams for Graf she would need to manage every one of- 2 out of 4 French Opens, 2 out of 4 U.S Opens, and 1 out of 1 Australian Opens(she missed 95 and 96),to get the "4 of each" record, despite Seles winning the last 8 combined Australian, French, and U.S Opens. She also was almost 3 years(141 weeks) of #1 ranking time away from the most weeks record at the time of the Seles stabbing, and had spent all of 4 weeks ranked #1 since March 11, 1991 when Seles first became ranked #1, and as I mentioned earlier had less then 4 years of truly healthy/top level tennis left so would have needed to be #1 almost 2/3rds of that time somehow. So it is not being overly presumptous to question to legitimacy of those records which are the principal arguments for any "best ever" consideration to Graf.

I also agree it is not fair to assume anyone is ever the same after experiencing something like that, and it cant be dismissed as part of life like Graf's fathers problems and things like that, as it was a tennis-related crime that changed that interrupted and interfered with the course of events. One cant be accurately evaluated on what they do after something like that, and she should be admired for even returning at all. Even if I will concede,
I had wished she had found the motivation and enthusiasm to get fitter and in top shape, as I still believe she had more slams in her possibly(not domination at that point but possible slams)if she did. Of course had Seles managed to have more success upon her return it would have further increased her record/greatness, but to evaluate her showings vs Graf with any legit bearing to them at that point is completely wrong IMO.

It is also evaluating what Graf's competition without Seles was for me, and taking into consider who her competition was for 4 years of her 10 year period of winning 21 of her 22 slams, and that 4 year period of her winning 10 of those, the context of the competion of her overall career. Nobody turned up as anything close to filling Seles's shoes as the same degree of worthy opponent for Graf. Sanchez Vicario is a great player, and had some great matches with Graf, basically showing her phenomenal heard and fighting spirit to even be as competitive as she was as physically and talent-wise she was badly overmatched by Graf. Still to be fair, she comes nowhere near to being a replacement for the strength of competition that Seles was. Hingis did not go on to be the high end all-time great many predicted as a teenager(and clearly still wont IMO), and she started her run of biding for/winning slams, only after Graf's own run of winning slams all but ended with injuries, so you cant even really say she was a contempary rival except for Graf's final half year or so.

So Seles's tragic experience, and subsequent diminished state when she did return, leaves Graf with only 2-4 years of a fellow all-time great in her prime in Seles(91-early 93, maybe 90 although I think that is iffy). I do not consider Navratilova in her prime by the late 80s(except maybe close to it in 87 although I even question that), nor Sanchez Vicario an all-time great. It also leaves Graf failing to achieve more then 1 slam per year in any of the years a fellow all-time great was/may have been in her prime. Even if you consider Navratilova in her prime in 1987, and Seles in 1990, which I am highly skeptical of, Graf did achieve the #1 ranking those 2 years with the best record consistency wise, but she did not achieve anymore then 1 slam title, and as far as winning the biggest events and head to head success was outdone by both those 2 years. Seles in 1991 and 1992 was more obviously in the start of her prime, and likewise Graf managed only 1 slam both years, and this time was a distant #2.


I do think that being thrust into the position of being Graf's "main rival" after Seles was stabbed made Sanchez-Vicario step up and max out her talent and ability and although she won 4 Slams and I do love her as a player, (for her ability to give fits to other players, Graf included, with her wonderful retrieving ability), as well as admire her for making a go of it, I agree with you and don't think she was anywhere in the same league as Seles was pre-stabbing. Seles owned ASV before she got stabbed, much as she owned pretty much everyone else, and a lot of the pre-stabbing matches between Seles and ASV were pretty lop-sided. Arantxa only beat Seles once in 1992 before the stabbing and then only beat her twice more once Seles came back. Their series stands at 20-3 for Seles.