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View Full Version : One match (if won) would completely change a player's place in tennis history?


bluetrain4
11-28-2007, 11:01 PM
Almost all I can think of involve a player completing a career slam.

For example:

Edberg winning the 1989 French Final
McEnroe winning the 1984 French Final
Lendl winning one of his 2 Wimbledon finals

Hingis winning the 1997 French Final - results in a Grand Slam. Doesn't move her up much in terms of overall Slams, but obviously would be huge.

Evert winning one of those early to mid 80s Wimbledon or US Open finals vs. Navratilova. Would change the singles slam totals from 18-18, to 19-17 in favor of Evert. Of course, the same would be true in reverse for any final that Martina lost to Chris.

On a lesser note, Sabatini or Conchita Martinez winning one of their other Slam finals - would take them out of the one-slam wonder category. Sabatini, though, had the morre realistic chance with the close losses to Graf at the USO and Wimbledon. Martinez was beaten rather handily in her other 2 Slam finals.

Obviously any player who lost in a Slam final that never won a final- but there's too many of those to list.

urban
11-29-2007, 12:39 AM
If von Cramm would have beaten Budge in the 1937 DC, after leading 4-1 in the fifth, he wouldn't have been put into prison by the Gestapo. Germany would have won the DC, and maybe Budge wouldn't have won the Grand Slam in 1938, with von Cramm present at RG. If Ashe hadn't beaten Connors at Wim 1975 (and showed a way to beat Connors), maybe Jimbo would have dominated the scene for the next 5 years.

Wuornos
11-29-2007, 12:51 AM
Almost all I can think of involve a player completing a career slam.

For example:

Edberg winning the 1989 French Final
McEnroe winning the 1984 French Final
Lendl winning one of his 2 Wimbledon finals

Hingis winning the 1997 French Final - results in a Grand Slam. Doesn't move her up much in terms of overall Slams, but obviously would be huge.

Evert winning one of those early to mid 80s Wimbledon or US Open finals vs. Navratilova. Would change the singles slam totals from 18-18, to 19-17 in favor of Evert. Of course, the same would be true in reverse for any final that Martina lost to Chris.

On a lesser note, Sabatini or Conchita Martinez winning one of their other Slam finals - would take them out of the one-slam wonder category. Sabatini, though, had the morre realistic chance with the close losses to Graf at the USO and Wimbledon. Martinez was beaten rather handily in her other 2 Slam finals.

Obviously any player who lost in a Slam final that never won a final- but there's too many of those to list.


I always think a huge emphasis is put on the Grand Slam by the tennis community. I also would go along with this as while I don't value the Grand Slam in itself, I do value dominanance. And while crude the Grand Slam, whether Calendar year or not is the most widely recognised indicator of dominance.

With this in mind for the open era I would say the major finals lost by Roger Federer in the 2006 and 2007 French Opens. Had he won these I doubt there would be any debate regarding Men's GOAT right now.

Also Andre Agassi's Wimbledon Final of 1999 which would have allowed him a none calendar year Grand Slam Ending in the Australian Open of 2000.

On the Women's side looking to the same criteria for the open era Monica Seles loss in the 1992 Wimbledon Final to Steffi Graff stopped what would have been a Calendar year Grand Slam for Monica. While Chris Evert's loss to Navratilova in the 1982 Wimbledon Final stopped what would have become a none Calendar Year Grand Slam for Chrissie ending at the French in 1983.

As you have already identified Hingis at the French Open of 1997.

All of these results would have influenced by opinion within the confines of increased levels of domination during their peak years but I believe they would have had an even greater effect upon how these players would be viewed by the tennis fans.

Nice post Bluetrain.

Regards

Tim

msunderland71
11-29-2007, 12:53 AM
If Federer had won the French Open final this year, it would allow him to have a better claim as GOAT (13 separate slams + 1 grand slam). But maybe not the biggest change in status.
If Lendl had won his 1986 Wimbledon final he would have won all the slams that year (Australian not held in '86). Not a grand slam, but close.
Considering Lendl's lack of a Wimbledon title is the most talked about in terms of "the one that eluded him" I'd say it would have had a greater effect than Edberg winning the French in '89 or McEnroe in '84.

Now that I think about it - Malavai Washington winning his Wimbledon final in 1996 vs. Krajicek would lift him tremendously. Yes - any outsider getting to a grand slam final just once would be the one to pick.

msunderland71
11-29-2007, 01:01 AM
Shame on me. I should have picked my countryman Chris Lewis in his Wimbledon final in 1983. Possibly an even bigger underdog vs. McEnroe than Washington was vs. Krajicek. Chris was a legend over here for his effort, but to win would have made people remember him better (Chris who I hear you say?)!

tzinc
11-29-2007, 01:20 AM
Federer losing the French is HUGE!

OrangeOne
11-29-2007, 01:32 AM
I don't think it's possible to go past Fed at the French or Lendl at Wimbledon, at least not in the last 30 years.

HyperHorse
11-29-2007, 01:38 AM
How about Sampras winning one or 2 of his lost US Open finals?
Roger would have to win 1 or 2 slams more to break his record..

On a lighter note, how's my new avatar? :-P

SgtJohn
11-29-2007, 01:52 AM
Funny question, the only weak point of the approach, is that we assume that if the player won THE match, everything afterwards would have gone as it did in 'our world'. Winning this very significant match coud add pressure (especially when a player is on his way to a Grand Slam), and prevent him from winning subsequent tournaments... Anyway, as I said, this is mostly for fun.

-About Federer, it's obviously very early to tell. Given his sudden bursts of genius in significant matches and maybe Nadal's physical problems, it's not very unlikely for him to win one or even two Roland Garros. In this case, his lost finals wouldn't look as career-defining of course.

-I agree with McEnroe at RG '84, and I would add Borg at the US Open '78 and '80. If they had won these matches, both of them would have been on their way to a Grand Slam, as they would probably have played in Australia, on grass, a surface on which they seemed invincible on these respective years... Mac is currently not in the GOAT discussion but would obviously be with a Grand Slam. Borg is in this discussion, but with a GS the decision would be between him and Laver.

Then, chronologically:

-Tilden in the 1927 RG final against Lacoste (he had match points). A win gives him the fourth of the most significant titles at the times (RG, Wimbledon, Forest Hills, Davis Cup), and 1926-1930 don't look as years when he was totally dominated by the Mousquetaires anymore.

-obviously, Crawford and Hoad's finals at Forest Hills. A win would have meant a Grand Slam, and a dramatic change in these players' place in history.

-Von Cramm in the Wimbledon final, 1936. Unfortunately this great player is not much remembered today. A RG-Wimbledon double in 1936 would have changed that... Or maybe simply if the Na-zis [strange thing, the forum don't seem to allow writing this word directly...] had left him alone (three more shots at RG, and one very serious shot at Wimbledon in 1939 (he beat eventual Wimbledon winner Riggs in the Queens event, 61 60)).

-1969 US Open final. In 1968-1969, Roche looked very much like Laver's heir. An injury in 1970 prevented him from winning a Slam in the Open Era. Winning at Forest Hills would have been very prestigious, stopping Laver's way towards the Grand Slam, just like Perry and Rosewall had done in the past.

-Rosewall's 1970 and 1974 Wimbledon finals. The 1970 final would give him a SW19-US Open double and make him, at age 36, a very clear #1 for that year, as well as a career slam. A win in 1974 would give him a Career Slam and an unbeatable record in longevity for the Open Era.

-Nastase in Wimbledon '72. He was a brilliant player, but could never really focus to reach his full potential. A Wim-US Open double in '72 would mean a really dominant year, and change our view of this player.

-1978 RG Final: obviously, keeping his RG title against Borg would have totally changed the way we see Vilas, and his '77 title would seem totally legitimate, retrospectively...But it wasn't even close.

-1981 RG: Lendl beating Borg would make him look like a very gifted young player, rather than a late bloomer/choker, and people would remember more of his great '81 and '82 seasons.

-Wimbledon 1986. There was no AO that year, so Lendl's year would be regarded as a Grand Slam year, all the more as he won Boca West, 128-players, best-of-5 tournament in march.

-Jim Courier is a good player, but unfortunately his fate is to be forgotten over time due to weak credentials compared to his American contemporaries. A win in either RG or Wimbledon in '93 would give him a 5th Slam as well as second year at the top, which would have made it for him.

-1995 US Open. A win by Agassi gives him the top spot, and a nearly perfect year on hardcourt (AO, USO, Key Biscayne, Canada, Cincy, etc.).

-Marcelo Rios at the '98 AO. A Grand Slam win plus his 3 Masters Series and good showing in tournaments would give him the year-end top spot and one of the most dominant years in the 90s.

-Marat Safin at the 2002 AO? This is just speculation, but a win could have given him more confidence for years to come.Anyway, with Safin you can't get much beyond speculation...

-Montreal 2003: Not career-defining at all, but if Federer had won this match (in a 3rd set tie-breaker!), he would've got the top spot for 2003. As he's on his way to breaking every record, an extra year at #1 would've been a nice addition and a shot at breaking Sampras's 6-year streak.

-Roddick in 2004 Wimbledon. I don't see him winning it in the future, unfortunately he is likely to stay a 1 slam-winner.

-Hewitt in the 2005 AO. A win gives him a 'non-clay' career-Slam and makes him a national hero.

Jonathan

OrangeOne
11-29-2007, 01:57 AM
^^ Monster list, but the whole "what would have then happened" is irrelevant for Fed. He needs the career slam far more than the calendar year slam, and when he played his two (to date) French finals, he already had the other 3.

He'd have retired a legend if he'd won this year's French and no other match thereafter....

NadalandFedererfan
11-29-2007, 06:58 AM
Federer winning 1 of the last 2 French Open finals.

Nadal winning 1 of the last 2 Wimbledon finals.

Edberg winning the 1989 French Open final, he would be rated atleast as highly as Agassi today, maybe higher.

Agassi winning the 1995 U.S Open final with Sampras. He would have been much more motivated the next 3 years were he wasted a large chunk of his physical prime, and instead later refocused and had alot of his actual prime past his physical peak so not what it could have been.

Rosewall winning 1 of his Wimbledon finals lost.

Lendl winning that Wimbledon final he lost to Cash.

Seles winning Wimbledon final over Graf in 1992.

Hingis winning French Open final vs Majoli in 1997.

Henin winning Wimbledon semis with Bartoli this year.

gsquicksilver
11-29-2007, 07:17 AM
if michael chang would have beaten pete sampras in the 1996 us open final, he would have been the first asian #1 in the world.

GS
11-29-2007, 07:41 AM
Hey, what about the guys that almost won THEE Grand Slam? Connors won 3 Slams in '74 but was banned from playing the French. And Wilander won 3 Slams in '88 but lost to Mecir in the quarters at Wimbledon.

krosero
11-29-2007, 07:51 AM
Hey, what about the guys that almost won THEE Grand Slam? Connors won 3 Slams in '74 but was banned from playing the French. And Wilander won 3 Slams in '88 but lost to Mecir in the quarters at Wimbledon.With Connors there's no one match that you can point to; he would have had to win 7 matches in Paris, and I don't think he would have won. Same with Wilander, if he had beaten Mecir; I don't think he would have won the tournament.

krosero
11-29-2007, 07:56 AM
Agassi winning the 1995 U.S Open final with Sampras. He would have been much more motivated the next 3 years were he wasted a large chunk of his physical prime, and instead later refocused and had alot of his actual prime past his physical peak so not what it could have been.All true, and it would also change our perception of the Sampras-Agassi rivalry. Agassi would have a win over Sampras at one of the two big events, W and USO. It's a little like Chris Evert winning a final against Martina Navratilova at W/USO (though she did have semifinal wins over her).

krosero
11-29-2007, 08:03 AM
If Ashe hadn't beaten Connors at Wim 1975 (and showed a way to beat Connors), maybe Jimbo would have dominated the scene for the next 5 years.Arthur's win did have a huge effect, no doubt. But I think 5 years is going too far. Jimmy's weaknesses were going to come out before then.

krosero
11-29-2007, 08:11 AM
If Lendl had won the 1983 USO final -- he had 3 sets points in the third set -- he would not have the most infamous of his "choker" performances. He would then have only two Slam finals lost at the outset of his career: Borg at RG, which is understandable, and which no one faults him for even today (it went five sets); and Connors at the '82 USO. And that one he would "make good" by reversing the result the next year. He would then have gone to Australia in December and would surely have been a different player than the one who went down meekly to Wilander in straight sets. In short, there would be a lot less for us to point to as "choker" performances, and more good stuff to set against it.

It would have made some difference even if he had just not double-faulted when he had set point in the third, and not given up in the fourth set.

bluetrain4
11-29-2007, 08:22 AM
Hey, what about the guys that almost won THEE Grand Slam? Connors won 3 Slams in '74 but was banned from playing the French. And Wilander won 3 Slams in '88 but lost to Mecir in the quarters at Wimbledon.


True, but I literally meant one match. Wilander for example, if he would have won his Wimbledon quarterfinal in 1988, would have simply been a semfinalist.

Your examples are good ones, but speak more to which one tournament (entailing more than one match that the player didn't win) (if won) would completely change a player's place in tennis history. This would expand the discussion greatly.

bluetrain4
11-29-2007, 08:24 AM
if michael chang would have beaten pete sampras in the 1996 us open final, he would have been the first asian #1 in the world.

I like this answer. Like I said initially, the easiest examples to think of are matches that would complete the career Slam or the calendar year Grand Slam. Good to see something different.

krosero
11-29-2007, 08:33 AM
If Lendl had won the 1988 USO final against Wilander (and he came very close), he would have 4 straight USO's, 9 Slams overall, a fourth straight year as #1 (it would have broken Connors' record of 159 consecutive weeks at the top, a record broken only this year by Federer). His record in USO finals would be 4-4, and in Slams overall 9-10.

The effect on Wilander would be even greater, because it was his only win at W or the U.S. He would drop down to six Slams, and we'd remember him as the guy that lost three Slams finals to Lendl in 1987-88 including two straight at Flushing Meadow; the guy who could not beat Lendl in any tour match after 1985. Wilander's win in '88 was in many ways his greatest victory and the culmination of his career. That match made him #1; previously he had been regarded as the guy who wanted to "backdoor" his way into #1 (as I think John McEnroe put it); and that reputation might have stuck if he hadn't gotten to #1, even though he did work hard and produced many good performances in '87 and '88.

On the flip side, maybe Wilander would not have dropped off the radar if he had lost that match in '88. If loss did not discourage him too much, he might have continued working and stuck around longer.

Also: Becker's win over Lendl at the '89 USO would take on more luster. He, not Wilander, would have stopped Lendl at the Open and removed him from the top spot (though he could not do it on the computer; Lendl retained that until 1990, and if he had not lost it briefly in 1988 his record streak at the top would still not be broken by Federer).

Similar things can be said about the 2001 Wimbledon final: it would have been huge for Rafter, and it would have devastated Goran, who had no other Slam titles. Goran would then be the guy that was 0-4 in Wimbledon finals.

bluetrain4
11-29-2007, 08:36 AM
If Lendl had won the 1988 USO final against Wilander (and he came very close), he would have 4 straight USO's, 9 Slams overall, a fourth straight year as #1 (it would have broken Connors' record of 159 consecutive weeks at the top, a record broken only this year by Federer). His record in USO finals would be 4-4, and in Slams overall 9-10.

The effect on Wilander would be even greater, because it was his only win at W or the U.S. He would drop down to six Slams, and we'd remember him as the guy that lost three Slams finals to Lendl in 1987-88 including two straight at Flushing Meadow; the guy who could not beat Lendl in any tour match after 1985. Wilander's win in '88 was in many ways his greatest victory and the culmination of his career. That match made him #1; previously he had been regarded as the guy who wanted to "backdoor" his way into #1 (as I think John McEnroe put it); and even though he did work in '88, that reputation might have stuck if he hadn't gotten to #1.

On the flip side, maybe Wilander would not have dropped off the radar if he hadn't won that match. If the hypothetical loss to Lendl did not discourage him too much, he might have continued working and stuck around longer.

Also: Becker's win over Lendl at the '89 USO would take on more luster. He, not Wilander, would have stopped Lendl at the Open and removed him from the top spot (though he could not do it on the computer; Lendl retained that until 1990, and if he had not lost it briefly in 1988 his record streak at the top would still not be broken by Federer).

Similar things can be said about the 2001 Wimbledon final: it would have been huge for Rafter, and it would have devastated Goran, who had no other Slam titles. Goran would then be the guy that was 0-4 in Wimbledon finals.


Great answer and analysis.

bluetrain4
11-29-2007, 08:42 AM
While not earth shattering, I'd nominate Edberg's 1990 loss to Lendl at the AO final, where he had to default because of an abdominal strain. He had all the momentum when the injury occurred, winning the first set and I think up a break in the second. He very easily could have won that match as he was a difficult matchup for Lendl (in fact, he leads 14-13 head to head). If he won the match, Lendl, McEnroe, Wilander, and Edberg are all tied at 7 Slams and puts each of them in a different light. Also puts Connors, with 8 Slams, ahead of that group, instead of tied with Lendl.

Obviously, all of these examples assume that everything else would have remained the same for the rest of the players' careers, which it probably wouldn't, but it's fun nonetheless.

pabloJD
11-29-2007, 08:45 AM
On a lesser note, Sabatini or Conchita Martinez winning one of their other Slam finals - would take them out of the one-slam wonder category. Sabatini, though, had the morre realistic chance with the close losses to Graf at the USO and Wimbledon. Martinez was beaten rather handily in her other 2 Slam finals.


If I remember well, Gabriela Sabatini was one match away of being #1 in the world. If she had defeated Monica Seles in their 1992 (or '91?) French Open semifinal, she'd have reached #1 in the WTA Rankings. She lost and was not even able to be #2, ever (Seles, Graf and Sabatini were very tight at the top 3 at that time).

SgtJohn
11-29-2007, 08:54 AM
If Lendl had won the 1988 USO final against Wilander (and he came very close), he would have 4 straight USO's, 9 Slams overall, a fourth straight year as #1 (it would have broken Connors' record of 159 consecutive weeks at the top, a record broken only this year by Federer). His record in USO finals would be 4-4, and in Slams overall 9-10.



I'm not sure Lendl would have been #1, Wilander would still have the AO, Roland Garros, a USO final, Wimbledon QF, and some great tournaments, including Key Biscayne. That amounts to quite a lot of points...

Moose Malloy
11-29-2007, 08:57 AM
If Edberg won the French he wouldn't be ranked GOAT or something. I doubt he'd be even top 10 on most lists. You need to dominate the game as well to get high on that list.

But Borg winning the US Open? Even if didn't win Australia? He would be elevated to another level.

In terms of what-ifs, its a shame Mac didn't play more majors. It seems rather bizarre he could be tied with Wilander in total majors won, considering the huge gap in the domination factor.

But I think Rosewall winning Wimbledon, esp in the Open Era, would probably be the biggest single win in terms of how historians(& I mean real historians, not TV commentators who's level of knowledge on tennis history is rather suspect) views him today. Too often he is spun as Laver's Agassi or something, when his peak level was as high as anyone in history. He had to play even more of his prime pre-open era than Laver did, but Laver got a chance to still be close enough in his prime when the Open Era begun to win the Calendar Grand Slam.

Despite that, Rosewall was able to win 3 of the 4 majors in the Open Era.

If he won Wimbledon, he would have joined Agassi & Laver as the only players to win all 4 slams in the Open Era. That, combined with his pre-Open era record(complete domination for many years) would have put him much higher on many lists.

But Wimbledon was(& I suppose still is) so much bigger in importance than all the others slams in the 60s/70s, if he just won Wimbledon in the 70s instead of the US Open, that alone may have elevated him as well.

krosero
11-29-2007, 09:03 AM
I'm not sure Lendl would have been #1, Wilander would still have the AO, Roland Garros, a USO final, Wimbledon QF, and some great tournaments, including Key Biscayne. That amounts to quite a lot of points...True, I only meant on the computer; I hadn't thought at all about who might be the true #1 of 1988, the year's best player.

Moose Malloy
11-29-2007, 09:03 AM
I'm not sure Lendl would have been #1, Wilander would still have the AO, Roland Garros, a USO final, Wimbledon QF, and some great tournaments, including Key Biscayne. That amounts to quite a lot of points...

The ranking system was quite different back then(one day I will list all the points' averages listed by month for a year in the 80s for certain players, so maybe hops can make sense of it)

The fascinating thing about Wilander's year in 1988, was that he didn't get to #1(even for just one week) at any point in that year until he won the US Open!

Can you imagine a player today winning 2 majors, being fairly consistent at all other events throughout the year & not getting to #1 until that late in the year?

The gap between Lendl & the field was much bigger through most of '88 than people realize(at least according to the computer of the time)

krosero
11-29-2007, 09:07 AM
I'm not sure Lendl would have been #1, Wilander would still have the AO, Roland Garros, a USO final, Wimbledon QF, and some great tournaments, including Key Biscayne. That amounts to quite a lot of points...I'm just going on the fact that the #1 ranking on the computer hung on the USO final, and presuming that Lendl would have stayed #1 for the rest of the year if he had won the Open ... but that may not be a correct assumption. He did have surgery after the Open and did not play until the Masters.

Wuornos
11-29-2007, 09:17 AM
The ranking system was quite different back then(one day I will list all the points' averages listed by month for a year in the 80s for certain players, so maybe hops can make sense of it)

The fascinating thing about Wilander's year in 1988, was that he didn't get to #1(even for just one week) at any point in that year until he won the US Open!

Can you imagine a player today winning 2 majors, being fairly consistent at all other events throughout the year & not getting to #1 until that late in the year?

The gap between Lendl & the field was much bigger through most of '88 than people realize(at least according to the computer of the time)

That's really interesting Moose. The DOT Ratings put Wilander at #1 after the French Open and he stayed there for a year. Since I redid the methodology on DOT there seems to be a reasoanble level of correlation between DOT and the official rankings. I wonder why it was so different for this year? Is this possibly a volume effect or an imbalance between weightings bewteen major and lesser events.

Curious nevertheless.

Regards

Tim

Moose Malloy
11-29-2007, 09:24 AM
Just looked up Lendl's activity for '88, he only played 10 events(had injury problems) that year.

He played no events between the US Open & Year end Masters, if he played a full indoor season in the fall that year & did well(which he historically did do, plus Wilander played very poorly in the fall that year), I think he could have ended '88 #1(with no majors to Wilander's 3)

A US Open win could have put him out of reach for Wilander.

pabloJD
11-29-2007, 10:43 AM
The ranking system was quite different back then(one day I will list all the points' averages listed by month for a year in the 80s for certain players, so maybe hops can make sense of it)

The fascinating thing about Wilander's year in 1988, was that he didn't get to #1(even for just one week) at any point in that year until he won the US Open!

Can you imagine a player today winning 2 majors, being fairly consistent at all other events throughout the year & not getting to #1 until that late in the year?

The gap between Lendl & the field was much bigger through most of '88 than people realize(at least according to the computer of the time)

Wilander didn't have consistent results at lesser tournaments, and that decreased his average. He lost early in Orlando, Montecarlo, Rome and Boston. Add to that first round losses in Scottsdale and Stockholm, and R16 at Frankfurt from the previous year and that's why he needed the US Open to surpass Lendl.

Moose Malloy
11-29-2007, 02:38 PM
also don't forget the many majors won by players that had to face match point.

Rod Laver had to save a match point in the QF of the '62 French. He went on to win the Calendar Grand Slam that year.

s_andrean
11-29-2007, 03:38 PM
Sorry to be so british, but why has no-one metioned 2001 Wimbledon?

Henman vs. Goran semi final...

That was his best chance IMHO

10nisDude~
11-29-2007, 03:49 PM
wut if andre agassi won that match against fererro...and versed andy roddick in the final....wut wud happen????

firstservethenvolley
11-29-2007, 03:50 PM
Sorry to be so british, but why has no-one metioned 2001 Wimbledon?

Henman vs. Goran semi final...

That was his best chance IMHO

I agree. Henman,had he won one of his semis, would've changed his place in tennis history.

KANZA
11-29-2007, 05:32 PM
Agassi winning the French in 1990 or 1991. I think those losses devastated him. He would not have had the hunger to win Wimbledon in 1992, and may have never won it at all, thus not having the 'Grand Slam'. He probably would have gone on to win five French Opens.

Gorecki
11-30-2007, 01:29 AM
Anyone said the loss of Sampras to Krajicec at WIMB?
that would be the highest landmark of tennis history imo...

Nickognito
11-30-2007, 01:38 AM
Seles not playing in Hamburg (or losing or winning by walkover in few games)

c.

AndrewD
11-30-2007, 01:47 AM
bluetrain,

The most obvious one to me is Navratilova losing her semi-final to Helena Sukova at the 1984 Australian Open. Navratilova had done all the hard work by winning the French Open (her stumbling block in 1983: a match you could almost exchange in signficance for the 84 Aus) and was at her most dominant. A win would have put her into the final against Evert and overwhelming favouritism for the title. Winning a genuine Grand Slam would have made that the argument for her as the greatest of all time even stronger. Her loss, however, puts her very clearly behind Court, Graf and Connolly because, on the two occasions it mattered most, she couldn't master her nerves. Even Court, who was prone to the jitters at Wimbledon, was able to keep it together when it really mattered.

Personally, I don't think that Mats Wilander's place in history would be changed if he hadn't won the US Open. Wimbledon, now that would have been an entirely different kettle of fish. For similar reasons, I don't believe that Ivan Lendl's status would have been increased if he'd won the 88 US Open. However, if he'd won either the 86 or 87 Wimbledon we'd most certainly have to reassess his place in history. Same goes for McEnroe at the 84 French. If he'd won that it would have made it much harder to know where he stands (also interesting to speculate what would have happened if he'd gone on to the Aus with 3 majors).

Oh, and I wonder what would have happened had Bjorn Borg won either the 1978 or 1980 US Opens. Three majors in the hand, only one more needed for the Grand Slam and him at the top of his game - who'd have bet against him? If Borg had won those two extra events he'd have 13 majors, 6 on clay, 6 on grass, 1 on hard courts and 1 Grand Slam. Could you rate anyone above him - even Laver?

OrangeOne
11-30-2007, 01:57 AM
Anyone said the loss of Sampras to Krajicec at WIMB?
that would be the highest landmark of tennis history imo...

Really? I mean, sure it's Sampras losing at Wimbledon, but he finished with a 4-6 record against Richard, clearly someone who gave him trouble.

That said: I suppose a loss is a loss, and Sampras losing at Wimbledon is always a story, so I see your point.

OT, but I wonder if Sampras was perhaps lucky he only ran into Krajicek once at Wimbledon?

Gorecki
11-30-2007, 02:40 AM
Really? I mean, sure it's Sampras losing at Wimbledon, but he finished with a 4-6 record against Richard, clearly someone who gave him trouble.

That said: I suppose a loss is a loss, and Sampras losing at Wimbledon is always a story, so I see your point.

OT, but I wonder if Sampras was perhaps lucky he only ran into Krajicek once at Wimbledon?

dude; you missed my point. i was talking about the possibility of winning wimb 8 years in a row if he had won that match...

OrangeOne
11-30-2007, 02:59 AM
dude; you missed my point. i was talking about the possibility of winning wimb 8 years in a row if he had won that match...

Well, I wasn't completely sure if *that* was the year, but I had a hunch it was. So I didn't miss it as much as I wasn't sure of it :)

I'm not sure it'd be the highest landmark in tennis history - well, not in my book, I mean, I think Sampras winning the French (or Lendl winning Wimbledon) would have been much more significant than Sampras just proving himself a little better at Wimbledon.

my_forehand
11-30-2007, 03:31 AM
wut if andre agassi won that match against fererro...and versed andy roddick in the final....wut wud happen????

Speaking of Roddick,
Wonder what would have happened if he won the '04 final at Wimbledon against Fed

noeledmonds
11-30-2007, 03:39 AM
Looking at open-era ATP players only I have these thoughts.

Firstly there are the obvious choices of matches that complete players' Grand Slam or Career Grand Slam. All of these matches (such as Federer's FO losses or Lendl's Wimbledon losses) if won would surely change the players' image dramatically. Also the matches that would have virtually complete a players' career slam when the AO was not so important, such as Borg's 4 USO final losses and McEnroe's 1984 FO loss.

Equally players who did complete The Grand Slam (or Career Grand Slam) would have their legacy reduced if they had failed to. If Laver had lost his 1969 5 setter to Newcombe at Wimlbedon then he would no doubt have less respect despite his other Grand Slam. Agassi would lose much credibility without his 1992 Wimbledon title or without his 1999 French Open title.

Other matches are speculation really but here are my thoughts on other seemingly important matches:

1975: Ashe's shock win over Connors at Wimbledon surely ended Connors's dominance of the game and despite his longitivity afterwards he never achieved any where near the success of the previous year.

1981: McEnroe beat Borg at Wimbledon. If Borg had won this match then perhaps he would not have retired the next year or perhaps he would have managed to beat McEnroe at the USO later in the year.

1995: Agassi loses to Sampras in the USO final. Had Agassi won this match he would have secured the year end number 1 ranking I believe. Sampras would not have 6 consecutive year end number 1 rankings. Perhaps this would have stopped Agassi's tempory collapse over the next few years. Agassi would have an the impressive hard court season and would have owned Sampras this year (head to head for 1995 would have be 4-1 and 2-0 in grand slam finals).

2006: Federer beats Nadal at Wimbeldon. Federer was being dominated by Nadal at this time. Nadal had beat Federer in 4 finals earlier this year, inlcuding on hard court. Had Nadal won this it might have been the start of a world number 1 take over for Nadal. However as it turns out this Wimbledon win for Federer started to turn the rivallry around.

Gorecki
11-30-2007, 07:12 AM
Well, I wasn't completely sure if *that* was the year, but I had a hunch it was. So I didn't miss it as much as I wasn't sure of it :)

I'm not sure it'd be the highest landmark in tennis history - well, not in my book, I mean, I think Sampras winning the French (or Lendl winning Wimbledon) would have been much more significant than Sampras just proving himself a little better at Wimbledon.

OK... fair enough!

AndrewD
11-30-2007, 03:20 PM
Anyone said the loss of Sampras to Krajicec at WIMB?
that would be the highest landmark of tennis history imo...

I wouldn't rate that near the highest mark in tennis history. Of infinitely greater significance (the most significant, in my opinion) is the ban on professionals playing at Wimbledon. Without that in place I truly believe that Ken Rosewall would have won over 20 majors and Laver would have won close to 20. Sampras's 14 and whatever Federer ends with would still be huge achievements but they would be seen in a totally different light.

The biggest 'losses' in tennis history are the 19 years Pancho Gonzalez lost, the 12 years Ken Rosewall lost and the 5 years Rod Laver lost due to the ban on professionals.

hyogen
11-30-2007, 03:22 PM
Federer at any Roland Garros :-P

>:F

Sampras at his one semi-finals of the Roland Garros

superman1
12-01-2007, 12:34 AM
Yeah, I'm going to go with Sampras v. Kafelnikov French Open SF. Probably the biggest match ever lost by a player when you think about it, because he probably would have been able to beat Stich in the final. He was 4-5 against Stich, but the guy knew how to win Grand Slam finals. Second to that is McEnroe v. Lendl 1984 French Open final. And then I'd say Agassi v. Sampras 1995 US Open final. Agassi was on top of the world at that point, and then promptly went careening down when he realized that his best wasn't enough to beat Sampras at his best.

CollegeBound
12-01-2007, 01:56 AM
Yeah, I'm going to go with Sampras v. Kafelnikov French Open SF. Probably the biggest match ever lost by a player when you think about it, because he probably would have been able to beat Stich in the final. He was 4-5 against Stich

Please tell me you're joking. You honestly reckon that's the biggest match ever lost by a player? Mac's loss to Lendl I can buy, but Sampras being demolished by Kafelnikov (he even bageled Pete in the second set), no way.

urban
12-01-2007, 03:35 AM
The one big win, a player may have regretted, may be Becker's first Wimby in 1985 at age 17. It came too soon, for his own sake, leaving a big psychological burden on the young guy. I think, if Boris would have reached the semi and won Wimbledon a year later, his whole career would have been much smoother and he would have eventually won around 10 majors.

superman1
12-01-2007, 04:04 AM
Please tell me you're joking. You honestly reckon that's the biggest match ever lost by a player? Mac's loss to Lendl I can buy, but Sampras being demolished by Kafelnikov (he even bageled Pete in the second set), no way.

Doesn't matter if he was demolished - we're talking about if they automatically WON the match. He would have been in the finals against Stich. If he won that, which I think he would, he'd have 15 Slams, and The Grand Slam. He'd be the GOAT, no question, unless Federer can come up with the goods.

And you can "buy" Mac's loss to Lendl? Uh...you don't need to buy that, that's a given. That's the obvious choice. Maybe once you get to college, you'll wisen up.

goober
12-01-2007, 04:41 AM
If Michael Chang won the 1996 final against Sampras he would have gained a #1 ranking and be a 2 winner of slams. That would have put him in a completely different place in tennis history.

A.J. Sim
12-04-2007, 06:01 AM
I agree with the Chang-Sampras '96 Open match; I don't think Chang was ever quite the same player afterwards; that match was just the latest of heartbreaking losses Chang suffered at the Open if you include the earlier ones to Agassi and that 5 hour match with Edberg.

Chang also had tough losses to Muster at the French and to Becker at the Australian

Todd Martin losing to Mal Washington after having that huge lead at Wimbledon?

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
12-04-2007, 06:23 AM
Coria at the 2004 French Open final, a match that was his for the taking... :cry::cry:

Moose Malloy
12-04-2007, 10:18 AM
I agree with the Chang-Sampras '96 Open match; I don't think Chang was ever quite the same player afterwards;

Its kinda interesting that both the '95 & '96 US Open finals were career altering to the losers. Both Agassi & Chang lost something that day(Agassi took years to regain it)

krosero
12-04-2007, 10:37 AM
The one big win, a player may have regretted, may be Becker's first Wimby in 1985 at age 17. It came too soon, for his own sake, leaving a big psychological burden on the young guy. I think, if Boris would have reached the semi and won Wimbledon a year later, his whole career would have been much smoother and he would have eventually won around 10 majors.You may be right, he probably won too soon. Wilander had won at nearly the same age, but Boris won on a bigger stage. He carried huge expectations in Germany, perhaps greater pressure than Wilander felt. And Becker, unlike Wilander, liked the limelight.

krosero
12-04-2007, 10:51 AM
The one big win, a player may have regretted, may be Becker's first Wimby in 1985 at age 17. It came too soon, for his own sake, leaving a big psychological burden on the young guy. I think, if Boris would have reached the semi and won Wimbledon a year later, his whole career would have been much smoother and he would have eventually won around 10 majors.Don't know if it was mentioned, but this would have altered Curren's career.

Moose Malloy
12-04-2007, 10:55 AM
Re Curren, how many others have beaten both Connors & Mac in a major?

krosero
12-04-2007, 11:05 AM
Re Curren, how many others have beaten both Connors & Mac in a major?If this question is not rhetorical: I remember hearing at the time that this was a first. I know that Lendl did it again at the 85 and 87 US Opens.

urban
12-04-2007, 11:23 AM
But Curren lost i think only 14 or 13 games alltogether in both victories over Mac and Jimbo. And its right, after his Becker loss at Wimbie he never was a factor again on grass, which is astonishing, given his big serve.

Moose Malloy
12-04-2007, 11:32 AM
If this question is not rhetorical: I remember hearing at the time that this was a first. I know that Lendl did it again at the 85 and 87 US Opens.

It was not rhetorical. Do you know any other regular tour events in which someone beat both players? Preferrably pre '85, after that point it sort of wasn't a big deal to beat both.

krosero
12-04-2007, 11:40 AM
It was not rhetorical. Do you know any other regular tour events in which someone beat both players? Preferrably pre '85, after that point it sort of wasn't a big deal to beat both.Off the top of my head I can't think of any. Lendl would be the prime suspect, after he got his first win over Connors in August '82 and before McEnroe got the better of him sometimes in '83. Not really a big window there.

Re Lendl at USO: the 87 win was not that big, but in 85 he did it only two months after Curren, while Mac was still #1, and on a stronger surface for Connors.

Moose Malloy
12-04-2007, 12:01 PM
^yeah, Lendl's probably done this a few times. He did it at the '82 Masters.

Was just wondering if there was a 'lesser' player that's ever done it as well.

Borg did it at the '79 & '80 Masters.

krosero
12-04-2007, 12:15 PM
^yeah, Lendl's probably done this a few times. He did it at the '82 Masters.

Was just wondering if there was a 'lesser' player that's ever done it as well.Never heard of one.

Tennis-Chris
12-04-2007, 12:42 PM
Derek Rostagno was playing my countryman Boris Becker. Rostagno was ranked #65 in the world and had Boris down two sets to luv. In the third set he was two match points from one of the biggest upsets in tennis that year. Boris went on to win the US Open that year. :mrgreen:

Moose Malloy
12-04-2007, 12:53 PM
Rostagno also beat Sampras at '91 Wimbledon. And Mac at '90 W.

suwanee4712
12-04-2007, 09:31 PM
Just picking one or two for a few players:

Martina - 1984 Australian SF vs. Sukova. Would've given her the calendar slam. As would her 1983 loss to Horvath at the French. But I think winning the slam in 1984 would be more impressive as her competition was better. I'm also tempted to throw in one of the several close French final losses to both Chris and Steffi. Winning any one of them might change the perception of her as a clay court player. She was one of the best clay courters.

Chris - She won 3 Wimbledons, but beating Martina in one of those finals would've improved her status as a grass player. I would pick the 1985 final because it would give her back to back slams over Martina when Martina was so good.

Steffi - 1989 French F vs. Sanchez to give her back to back slams. It was easily one of the worst matches I've ever seen Steffi play. But she was winning so much it was hard to avoid a letdown.

Billie Jean - 1982 Wimbledon SF vs. Chris. She played well enought to beat Chris and could have. Since King gave Martina fits, it would've made the finals very interesting.

Hana - Either the 1981 Wimbledon or 1986 Wimbledon finals. The 1981 Wimbledon would've given Hana 3 slams in a row. The computer rankings were screwy but I think that would've made Hana no worse than the #2 player, if not the #1 in some people's minds. The 1986 Wimbledon would've made Hana only the 6th or 7th woman all time to win all 4 slam titles in her career.

Monica - 1992 Wimbledon vs. Graf would've given her a career slam. Might even move her higher on the all time list.

Evonne - 1975 US Open vs. Chris - a long sought US Open title and a defeat of Chris on clay. This is still one of my favorite matches of all time. Evonne was such a great mover on any surface, but most especially on clay.

Lendl - The 1986 Wimbledon title would've been sweet. A career slam in a year where he also won the other 2 titles.

Mac - An Aussie title might make sense, but obviously the 1984 French is the one regret in his career. He almost won it that day.

Jimbo - The 1974 French - a calendar slam in a year that he absolutely dominated.

Borg - The 1981 US Open title - just to even things out after Mac won Wimbledon that year. I wish Borg would've hung in there for a couple more years at least.

Sampras - 1996 French SF. Not sure if he would've won the whole tournament. But I have a feeling that if Pete had ever made a French final he would've found a way.

CEvertFan
12-05-2007, 11:15 AM
Just picking one or two for a few players:

Martina - 1984 Australian SF vs. Sukova. Would've given her the calendar slam. As would her 1983 loss to Horvath at the French. But I think winning the slam in 1984 would be more impressive as her competition was better. I'm also tempted to throw in one of the several close French final losses to both Chris and Steffi. Winning any one of them might change the perception of her as a clay court player. She was one of the best clay courters.

Chris - She won 3 Wimbledons, but beating Martina in one of those finals would've improved her status as a grass player. I would pick the 1985 final because it would give her back to back slams over Martina when Martina was so good.

Steffi - 1989 French F vs. Sanchez to give her back to back slams. It was easily one of the worst matches I've ever seen Steffi play. But she was winning so much it was hard to avoid a letdown.

Billie Jean - 1982 Wimbledon SF vs. Chris. She played well enought to beat Chris and could have. Since King gave Martina fits, it would've made the finals very interesting.

Hana - Either the 1981 Wimbledon or 1986 Wimbledon finals. The 1981 Wimbledon would've given Hana 3 slams in a row. The computer rankings were screwy but I think that would've made Hana no worse than the #2 player, if not the #1 in some people's minds. The 1986 Wimbledon would've made Hana only the 6th or 7th woman all time to win all 4 slam titles in her career.

Monica - 1992 Wimbledon vs. Graf would've given her a career slam. Might even move her higher on the all time list.

Evonne - 1975 US Open vs. Chris - a long sought US Open title and a defeat of Chris on clay. This is still one of my favorite matches of all time. Evonne was such a great mover on any surface, but most especially on clay.

Lendl - The 1986 Wimbledon title would've been sweet. A career slam in a year where he also won the other 2 titles.

Mac - An Aussie title might make sense, but obviously the 1984 French is the one regret in his career. He almost won it that day.

Jimbo - The 1974 French - a calendar slam in a year that he absolutely dominated.

Borg - The 1981 US Open title - just to even things out after Mac won Wimbledon that year. I wish Borg would've hung in there for a couple more years at least.

Sampras - 1996 French SF. Not sure if he would've won the whole tournament. But I have a feeling that if Pete had ever made a French final he would've found a way.

A very insightful post.

I too would pick for Evert one of those Wimbledon titles against Martina because Chris herself has said that one of her biggest regrets about her career is not winning another Wimbledon title, and the final in '85 would have given her two Grand Slam wins over Navratilova when everyone thought that Chris would never beat Martina again in a major final.

If not for those two shocking losses for Navratilova either one would have given her a Calendar Grand Slam as well as a perfect undefeated season in '83 as she only lost that FO match to Horvath for the whole year.

Definitely the '89 FO was a poorly played match from Graf but also a very well played match for Sanchez. Clay was always Graf's least favorite surface though as it blunted her powerful forehand. I remember watching that match and being in disbelief when Graf wound up losing - I was so sure she would win back to back Grand Slams as she was so good at the time and there wasn't anyone who could really seriously challenge her that year, as Navratilova and Evert were both past their primes, Sabatini wasn't playing all that well and Seles was just arriving and was still too young.

King was playing great grass court tennis into her very late 30s so it's no surprise that she made the semifinals against Evert in 1982 at the age of 38. She played well enough to beat Evert that day but Chris, who was the defending champion that year, just played too well in the end and then wound up losing in three sets to Martina. I do agree with you that Martina definitely had more trouble with King than Evert did.

Graf was definitely a better grass court player but Seles did wind up beating Navratilova in a very well played match in the semifinals. I think the flack Seles was getting for her grunting that year, w/ players complaining (Navratilova included) and the merciless British press printing outrageous stuff (Gruntometer anyone?) contributed to her poor decision to not grunt during the final and as it turns out she got whipped by Steffi, who still probably would have won but probably not quite that easily if Seles hadn't spent all her time worrying so much about holding the grunts in instead of playing her game.

Lendl not winning Wimbledon is undoubtedly his biggest regret. He would have had a better shot at it if he had just played his game instead of trying to be a serve/volley player, which he wasn't.

If Connors had played the FO in 1974 he most definitely would have a Calendar Slam under his belt today. There wasn't anyone who could have stopped him that year.

I'm sure Borg would have loved to win a US Open title but the surface and conditions in NYC really didn't suit him and it showed. I doubt he ever would have even if he hadn't retired early.

hoodjem
12-05-2007, 11:43 AM
I think Rosewall and a Wimby championship.

He played in four finals there: 1954, 1956, 1970, 1974, and lost all four.

None of these wins would have given him a Gland Slam, and his position in tennis is certainly very high without a W championship. But if he had won in 1974, he would have beaten Connors and set a record (beyond his awesome present 19-year spread) for slam longevity.

He did win the Australian in 1953 and 1972, and the French in '53 and '68, and the US in '56 and '70, among his other slam titles.

I guess it would not have been a career-changing victory, just a nice feather in his cap.

hoodjem
12-05-2007, 11:47 AM
A very insightful post.
I'm sure Borg would have loved to win a US Open title but the surface and conditions in NYC really didn't suit him and it showed. I doubt he ever would have even if he hadn't retired early.

I'd like to invert this thought a little, and believe that if Borg had won a US Open, he might not have retired so early. He came pretty darn close, getting to the finals in 1976, '78, '80, and '81.

Benhur
12-06-2007, 12:54 PM
If Lendl had won the 1983 USO final -- he had 3 sets points in the third set -- he would not have the most infamous of his "choker" performances. He would then have only two Slam finals lost at the outset of his career: Borg at RG, which is understandable, and which no one faults him for even today (it went five sets); and Connors at the '82 USO. And that one he would "make good" by reversing the result the next year. He would then have gone to Australia in December and would surely have been a different player than the one who went down meekly to Wilander in straight sets. In short, there would be a lot less for us to point to as "choker" performances, and more good stuff to set against it.

It would have made some difference even if he had just not double-faulted when he had set point in the third, and not given up in the fourth set.

I think his 1988 US Open final loss to Wilander was probably more important retrospectively. Had he won it, he would still today have the longest number of consecutive weeks ranked number one. He regained the number one spot just a few months later, after the AO I believe, and kept it until sometime in 1990.

JW10S
12-07-2007, 07:56 PM
Derrick Rostangno had match point against Boris Becker in an early round match at the '89 US Open when Becker hit a crosscourt passing shot that would have been a routine volley for Rostangno. Instead the ball hit the net and jumped over Rostangno's racquet for a winner. Becker went on to win the match and eventually the tournament. I can't help but wonder how often Rostangno thinks 'what if?'.

tzinc
12-07-2007, 08:13 PM
Nadal winning a Wimbledon final - take him out of the 1 tournament wonder crowd.

John123
12-09-2007, 01:25 AM
I'm astonished that no one's mentioned Helen Wills' loss to Suzanne Lenglen at Cannes in 1926 -- the only match between the two, with both in or very near their primes. If Wills had won the match, would there be any argument at all about the GOAT in women's tennis?

FedForGOAT
12-09-2007, 02:07 PM
Yes. There was Conolly and later Court and Graf and Navratilova + Evert. All contenders for GOAT.

mentalcase
12-09-2007, 04:58 PM
If only Anna beat Venus in the Lipton final...:cry:

joesixtoe
12-09-2007, 05:59 PM
if agassi beats federer at the 2005 us open. I think that does two things. one agassi gets a grand slam over the most dominant player of this decade. but two it also hinders federers bid for goat. cause he gets beat by a last generation great player.

superman1
12-09-2007, 10:46 PM
That's a pretty good point. I'll choose the 2005 US Open final over the 1995 US Open final, even though '95 was pivotal and was one of the reasons for Agassi's downfall.

If 35 year old Agassi was able to close out that third set, and somehow won the match, on 9/11/05 with every single fan in the stadium on their feet, that would be one for the history books. That would probably be the greatest Slam win in tennis history, wouldn't it? Believe me, I thought it was possible in that third set. I was so damn excited and nervous. But he put up a great performance.

John123
12-09-2007, 11:08 PM
Yes. There was Conolly and later Court and Graf and Navratilova + Evert. All contenders for GOAT.

I'm aware of those players. But Helen Wills went six years without losing a *set* -- winning 158 consecutive matches and all 13 grand slams that she entered (5 Wimbledons, 4 French Championships, and 4 U.S. Championships). In a career that spanned seventeen years, she played in 23 slams, reaching the final of 22 and winning 19. The one time she ever failed to reach a major final, she was forced to withdraw by an emergency appendectomy; and her only loss in any slam from 1927 through 1938 (during which she won all 8 Wimbledons she entered) also resulted from an injury withdrawal.

Apart from those two injuries, she never lost a single grand slam match after turning 19 years old -- and she was still winning Wimbledon at age 32.

None of the players you mentioned posted results remotely close to these. Wills won about as much as they did (8 Wimbledons, 7 U.S. Championships, 4 French Championships), but unlike them she virtually never lost.

CEvertFan
12-10-2007, 03:41 AM
I'm aware of those players. But Helen Wills went six years without losing a *set* -- winning 158 consecutive matches and all 13 grand slams that she entered (5 Wimbledons, 4 French Championships, and 4 U.S. Championships). In a career that spanned seventeen years, she played in 23 slams, reaching the final of 22 and winning 19. The one time she ever failed to reach a major final, she was forced to withdraw by an emergency appendectomy; and her only loss in any slam from 1927 through 1938 (during which she won all 8 Wimbledons she entered) also resulted from an injury withdrawal.

Apart from those two injuries, she never lost a single grand slam match after turning 19 years old -- and she was still winning Wimbledon at age 32.

None of the players you mentioned posted results remotely close to these. Wills won about as much as they did (8 Wimbledons, 7 U.S. Championships, 4 French Championships), but unlike them she virtually never lost.

You also have to base her results on the lack of competition during her time.

Pre WWII, Lenglen and Wills were completely and totally without peer and are far and away the best two women of that time. No other woman of that time even begins to come close to their level. If you took any of the truly great players of the Open era and put them in either Lenglen's or Wills' place (Evert, Graf, Navratilova, Court) they would have the same results as Suzanne and Helen did. The quality of competition just wasn't there to challenge either one of those two all time greats and they only played one another once before Suzanne turned pro. It would have been interesting to see who would have come out on top if their rivalry had been longer and I suspect that Little Miss Poker Face would have gotten the better of La Divine, but it wouldn't have been easy.

navratilovafan
12-10-2007, 06:33 AM
You also have to base her results on the lack of competition during her time.

Pre WWII, Lenglen and Wills were completely and totally without peer and are far and away the best two women of that time. No other woman of that time even begins to come close to their level. If you took any of the truly great players of the Open era and put them in either Lenglen's or Wills' place (Evert, Graf, Navratilova, Court) they would have the same results as Suzanne and Helen did. The quality of competition just wasn't there to challenge either one of those two all time greats and they only played one another once before Suzanne turned pro. It would have been interesting to see who would have come out on top if their rivalry had been longer and I suspect that Little Miss Poker Face would have gotten the better of La Divine, but it wouldn't have been easy.

It is too bad that none of Helen Wills, Suzanne Lenglen, or even Alice Marble were true contemparies who played each other more often. The gritty and determined Helen Jacobs did make a valiant attempt to be a Wills rival but was inevitably just overmatched by the power and talent of Wills in the end.

John123
12-10-2007, 10:22 AM
I agree with most if not all of what CEvertFan and navratilovafan wrote. Maybe there's just no way to compare such different eras, and it's impossible to say who the GOAT is if you take seriously the words "all-time." Having said that, if you're going to try to pick a GOAT, it's awfully hard to argue against a player who never loses.

KingCobra76
12-10-2007, 03:43 PM
One match that comes to mind that I believe would have definitely changed the period after Monica Seles was stabbed was Gabriela Sabatini losing that French Open quarterfinal to MJ Fernandez after leading 6-1 5-1 and having 5 match points because when you think about the results that Sabatini had in 91 and 92, she should have been the player that assumed the Number 2 position behind Graf after the Seles stabbing and I think she would have done that had she put Mary Joe away as she was playing great tennis and I think she would have definintely beaten ASV in the semis and then had a great chance to beat Graf in the final. Who knows how different womens tennis might have been had she won that match, she could have nabbed one or two more slams in seles' absence. She was never the same player mentally after losing that match though. It seemed like her fighting spirit had been crushed.

vandre
12-12-2007, 05:57 PM
i'm gonna show my bias and say that if agassi would've won the 90 french open final, that would have done wonders for his career right out of the gate. maybe it would've shown him it was possible and encouraged him to work hard and kept him interested in the sport later on.

but now that i think about it, winning the 90 uso final against sampras could've been huge for him too. maybe i'm reading too much into this, but it always seemed like sampras had agassi's number from that match on and it seemed like many of their subsequent meetings were colored by that match.

like others have pointed out, winning the uso title in 95 against sampras could have totally redefined the agassi/ sampras rivalry.

so there they are. 3 possibilities. one player.