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Warriorroger
12-26-2007, 01:17 PM
Someone on youtube took the time to post the Navratilova - Graf match of Wimbledon 1988. I have never watched that match, but I think every poster who said Steffi couldn't hit a topsspinbackhand should watch that match. There is only one other match where I have seen Graf play as good as this and that was her final match with Venus Williams in 1999 on the same court.

I wondered what made Steffi's game so one dimensional after 1988, cause in that match she showed that she had it all.

I hope some posters take the time to watch the match on youtube and tell me what you think.

Happy hollidays..

CEvertFan
12-26-2007, 03:32 PM
Great highlights before the match started. That semifinal with Martina and Chris was a heck of a match and it's the only time I ever saw Evert not shake the hand of the chair umpire after that questionable line call on match point that went in Martina's favor and Chris also slammed her racket down onto her bag when she got to her chair which was also uncharacteristic of her normally cool on court demeanor.

As for the final, Martina just got outplayed in the last two sets and Steffi used her improved topspin backhand and her footspeed to great advantage. There wasn't anyone who could have stopped Steffi in 1988.

grafrules
12-26-2007, 03:51 PM
Great highlights before the match started. That semifinal with Martina and Chris was a heck of a match and it's the only time I ever saw Evert not shake the hand of the chair umpire after that questionable line call on match point that went in Martina's favor and Chris also slammed her racket down onto her bag when she got to her chair which was also uncharacteristic of her normally cool on court demeanor.

As for the final, Martina just got outplayed in the last two sets and Steffi used her improved topspin backhand and her footspeed to great advantage. There wasn't anyone who could have stopped Steffi in 1988.

Was it ever established with certainty if that was the correct call or not? I often wonder about the same thing in that line call on the near ace that went against Seles on 1st set set point in the 95 U.S Open final between Graf and Seles. In both cases I never heard if it was ever established if it was the correct call or not. Thank goodness for the challenge system and we dont have these questions anymore.

CEvertFan
12-26-2007, 05:18 PM
Was it ever established with certainty if that was the correct call or not? I often wonder about the same thing in that line call on the near ace that went against Seles on 1st set set point in the 95 U.S Open final between Graf and Seles. In both cases I never heard if it was ever established if it was the correct call or not. Thank goodness for the challenge system and we dont have these questions anymore.


I don't think there was/is a way for them to establish with certainty if the line calls were bad or good but the consensus from what I read and heard was that it was a bad line call that went against Evert at the worst possible time in that match. Although past her prime, she was still playing well enough in '88 to challenge most everyone and at that point in the match Chris had already saved 3 match points, and winning that point would have brought her back to deuce on her serve and a win over Martina at Wimbledon (something that had eluded her for quite a few years) might very well have followed because it is well known that Navratilova was having all kinds of trouble with her nerves as well as her game throughout that year and she knew that Chris had already beaten her at the AO that year as well.

I do agree with you that the challenge system is a great thing for the sport of tennis and I too am very happy to see it being implemented at long last. You can bet your *** that Evert would have challenged that call for certain! I personally thought the call was a bad one as well, but I could only judge from the slow motion replay, just like everyone else that was watching on TV and also from playing it in slow mo on my VCR which was still inconclusive although you could see a bit of chalk fly up when the ball landed. It's not often that we saw Evert visibly angry which only meant that she was certain that the extremely difficult passing shot she hit had kissed the line.

bluetrain4
12-26-2007, 07:36 PM
Someone on youtube took the time to post the Navratilova - Graf match of Wimbledon 1988. I have never watched that match, but I think every poster who said Steffi couldn't hit a topsspinbackhand should watch that match. There is only one other match where I have seen Graf play as good as this and that was her final match with Venus Williams in 1999 on the same court.

I wondered what made Steffi's game so one dimensional after 1988, cause in that match she showed that she had it all.

I hope some posters take the time to watch the match on youtube and tell me what you think.

Happy hollidays..

Graf actually had a great topspin backhand (well, not Sabatini great, but very good) that she used sporadically. She seemed to use it less and less as her career progressed. I remember watching her matches and I was always surprised when she hit it. But, she could hit it, confidently, with authority. Her record speaks for itself. I don't think she lost many tournaments because she didn't hit a ton of topspin backhand winners. Then again, she probably could have put away some opponents easier. I can't imagine Graf with a consistent ripping backhand to go with that forehand. She was deadly enough as it was.

Jack Romeo
12-26-2007, 09:05 PM
in the late 80's and early 90's, when there were still serve and volleyers on the women's tour, graf had to hit a lot of topspin backhands. whenever she was playing well, as she did all year in 1988 and also in 1989, her topspin backhand worked wonders. it has often been said that her topspin backhand was even better in practice.

however, during the instances that she wasn't at her best, her opponents still had the most success attacking her backhand. this was evident in 1990 at wimbledon and the us open, and also at the 1991 australian. in those events, steffi lost to garrison, sabatini and novotna respectively, because they attacked the graf backhand. even so, graf had her chances in those matches.

throughout the 90's, graf's main opponents were baseliners - the likes of seles, sanchez-vicario, martinez, fernandez, capriati, pierce, davenport, huber, coetzer, majoli, and, at the tailend of her career, hingis, venus and serena. her slice was the shot that worked best against them in rallies because she could work the point to set up her forehand. so therefore, she really didn't need to hit a lot of topspin backhands. novotna and tauziat were the only serve and volleyers left and, yes, they did force steffi to hit topspin backhand passes. but graf had such a huge mental edge over them that it didn't matter what they forced her to do.

the other thing people don't appreciate is that graf also improved her slice backhand a lot since her earlier days. her slice wasn't always that good. when she lost to sanchez vicario and to seles at the french open in 89 and 90, her slice was relatively harmless, especially on clay. but she stuck with it and it became such a solid shot that she just wouldn't miss with it. it stayed so low and was so penetrating that it set up her forehand perfectly.

VikingSamurai
12-26-2007, 09:24 PM
I always felt that Steffi's slice was more like a Rosewall kind of back hand.. Not topspin, not slice, but more of a flat punch that was pin point accurate..

Warriorroger
12-27-2007, 03:45 AM
in the late 80's and early 90's, when there were still serve and volleyers on the women's tour, graf had to hit a lot of topspin backhands. whenever she was playing well, as she did all year in 1988 and also in 1989, her topspin backhand worked wonders. it has often been said that her topspin backhand was even better in practice.

however, during the instances that she wasn't at her best, her opponents still had the most success attacking her backhand. this was evident in 1990 at wimbledon and the us open, and also at the 1991 australian. in those events, steffi lost to garrison, sabatini and novotna respectively, because they attacked the graf backhand. even so, graf had her chances in those matches.

throughout the 90's, graf's main opponents were baseliners - the likes of seles, sanchez-vicario, martinez, fernandez, capriati, pierce, davenport, huber, coetzer, majoli, and, at the tailend of her career, hingis, venus and serena. her slice was the shot that worked best against them in rallies because she could work the point to set up her forehand. so therefore, she really didn't need to hit a lot of topspin backhands. novotna and tauziat were the only serve and volleyers left and, yes, they did force steffi to hit topspin backhand passes. but graf had such a huge mental edge over them that it didn't matter what they forced her to do.

the other thing people don't appreciate is that graf also improved her slice backhand a lot since her earlier days. her slice wasn't always that good. when she lost to sanchez vicario and to seles at the french open in 89 and 90, her slice was relatively harmless, especially on clay. but she stuck with it and it became such a solid shot that she just wouldn't miss with it. it stayed so low and was so penetrating that it set up her forehand perfectly.


Agree with what you're saying, the slice set up for the forehand, but in this 88 match she showed what a versatile player she was, good topspin backhands, good volleys and less errors on the forehand. She only showed this type of game again against Venus in 1999. It showed that she did have all the shots. Thanks for the replies.

boredone3456
12-27-2007, 04:00 AM
Someone on youtube took the time to post the Navratilova - Graf match of Wimbledon 1988. I have never watched that match, but I think every poster who said Steffi couldn't hit a topsspinbackhand should watch that match. There is only one other match where I have seen Graf play as good as this and that was her final match with Venus Williams in 1999 on the same court.

I wondered what made Steffi's game so one dimensional after 1988, cause in that match she showed that she had it all.

I hope some posters take the time to watch the match on youtube and tell me what you think.

Happy hollidays..

Just a small correction...Steffi's Final match was against Lindsay Davenport at 1999 Wimbledon's Final....unless you mean her final match against Venus...in which case disregard this entirely

Warriorroger
12-27-2007, 04:55 AM
Just a small correction...Steffi's Final match was against Lindsay Davenport at 1999 Wimbledon's Final....unless you mean her final match against Venus...in which case disregard this entirely


Yes, I meant her final match with Venus.:)

CEvertFan
12-27-2007, 05:01 AM
Steffi was always more comfortable hitting the slice rather than her topspin backhand. She knew she could depend on the slice but didn't have the same confidence in the topspin. She only hit it when players like Navratilova or Novotna made her hit it. The funny thing is she did so well during the '88 and '89 finals against Martina precisely because of that shot. Graf's slice backhand, even though it developed into a great shot, was still attackable by players like Seles, V. Williams and Davenport because they could overwhelm it with power.

suwanee4712
12-27-2007, 09:59 AM
Someone on youtube took the time to post the Navratilova - Graf match of Wimbledon 1988. I have never watched that match, but I think every poster who said Steffi couldn't hit a topsspinbackhand should watch that match. There is only one other match where I have seen Graf play as good as this and that was her final match with Venus Williams in 1999 on the same court.

I wondered what made Steffi's game so one dimensional after 1988, cause in that match she showed that she had it all.

I hope some posters take the time to watch the match on youtube and tell me what you think.

Happy hollidays..

Roger, if you haven't done so already, please find a copy of the 1987 French Open F vs. Martina. In my opinion, Steffi's topspin backhand won her that match. Martina challenged it time and time again, and Steffi came through. In my opinion, this match is a better quality match than the 1988 Wimbledon final where Martina's serve just didn't have much bite to it due to her hip injury.

It's funny, but the earliest match I ever saw Steffi play was the 1984 Wimbledon 4R vs. Jo Durie. Steffi was hitting topspin backhands then too. So I suppose as with most of us, she owned a topspin backhand. But if really depended on how confident she was.

Warriorroger
12-27-2007, 10:09 AM
Roger, if you haven't done so already, please find a copy of the 1987 French Open F vs. Martina. In my opinion, Steffi's topspin backhand won her that match. Martina challenged it time and time again, and Steffi came through. In my opinion, this match is a better quality match than the 1988 Wimbledon final where Martina's serve just didn't have much bite to it due to her hip injury.

It's funny, but the earliest match I ever saw Steffi play was the 1984 Wimbledon 4R vs. Jo Durie. Steffi was hitting topspin backhands then too. So I suppose as with most of us, she owned a topspin backhand. But if really depended on how confident she was.


Hello Suwanee, I have the RG tape, but I am not a big fan of the early RG matches. I prefered this match. Thanks anyway. Roger

Azzurri
12-27-2007, 11:44 AM
I always felt that Steffi's slice was more like a Rosewall kind of back hand.. Not topspin, not slice, but more of a flat punch that was pin point accurate..

I agree with you. That "slice" she used was to set up her opponent for her incredible forehand. Steffi's forehand was so dominating that she used her back hand to get players to eventually hit it there. She rarely made an unforced her on her backhand, but it was more than just slice.

krosero
12-27-2007, 03:15 PM
Agree with what you're saying, the slice set up for the forehand, but in this 88 match she showed what a versatile player she was, good topspin backhands, good volleys and less errors on the forehand. You mention the volleys. The announcers said that she was playing in the doubles final the same day. I wonder when she stopped playing doubles and if it affected her net game.

She's got this really nice drop volley early in the match.

Warriorroger
12-28-2007, 01:50 AM
You mention the volleys. The announcers said that she was playing in the doubles final the same day. I wonder when she stopped playing doubles and if it affected her net game.

She's got this really nice drop volley early in the match.

There was nothing wrong with her volleys, but however quick she was around the court, her reflexes at the net, later on in her career were poor. She had the perfect aproach shots, but when at the net, it always looked like she didn't kinow what to do. A lot has to do with confidence I think. She was very confident in the 1988 match. She was more a Federer type player in that match, having all the shots and more. But what set her apart was her footwork.

Had there been more all court attacking players like Martina Navratilova, to some extent Gabriela Sabatini, it would have forced Steffi to play a more versatile game, imo.

krosero
12-28-2007, 08:02 AM
There was nothing wrong with her volleys, but however quick she was around the court, her reflexes at the net, later on in her career were poor. She had the perfect aproach shots, but when at the net, it always looked like she didn't kinow what to do. A lot has to do with confidence I think. She was very confident in the 1988 match. She was more a Federer type player in that match, having all the shots and more. But what set her apart was her footwork.

Had there been more all court attacking players like Martina Navratilova, to some extent Gabriela Sabatini, it would have forced Steffi to play a more versatile game, imo.Re the approach shots, she was picking her moments to come in very well in the '88 final. The stats show her with more volley winners than Navratilova, even though Martina had more points won at net -- partly because Graf was running down Navratilova's volleys more successfully than vice versa, but also because when Steffi did come in, it was behind a great approach. And as you say, with great confidence.

When confidence goes down, certain shots will go back in the closet, so to speak, just because they're not natural to you; under pressure you'll find it hard to bring them out. For Steffi it was her topspin backhand and net play in general.

Regardless of nerves, however, you're right that she would have been forced to bring out those things against attacking players.

CEvertFan
12-28-2007, 09:40 AM
Re the approach shots, she was picking her moments to come in very well in the '88 final. The stats show her with more volley winners than Navratilova, even though Martina had more points won at net -- partly because Graf was running down Navratilova's volleys more successfully than vice versa, but also because when Steffi did come in, it was behind a great approach. And as you say, with great confidence.

When confidence goes down, certain shots will go back in the closet, so to speak, just because they're not natural to you; under pressure you'll find it hard to bring them out. For Steffi it was her topspin backhand and net play in general.

Regardless of nerves, however, you're right that she would have been forced to bring out those things against attacking players.

She did well enough without a great net game or a great topspin backhand. Her remarkable footspeed and great footwork allowed her to outrally her opponents form the baseline, and for many years that forehand was the most devastating shot on the women's tour. I do agree though that had there been more serve/volley players like Martina on the tour during her time it would have forced her to develop those aspects of her game and she would have ended up a more complete all court player.

Moose Malloy
01-01-2008, 01:26 AM
During the men's semi the day before Bud Collins made an interesting comment on the ladies final:

"There's never been a match in the history of tennis with more at stake."

Martina was going for a record #9 W, & Steffi was going for the calender GS.

I think the fact that it was a blowout has caused the historical nature of the match to be forgotten.

CEvertFan
01-01-2008, 08:41 AM
During the men's semi the day before Bud Collins made an interesting comment on the ladies final:

"There's never been a match in the history of tennis with more at stake."

Martina was going for a record #9 W, & Steffi was going for the calender GS.

I think the fact that it was a blowout has caused the historical nature of the match to be forgotten.

Martina was also going for her 7th consecutive Wimbledon title as well as her 9th overall.