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View Full Version : Grafīs forehand VS. Ivanovicīs forehand


Mr. Federerpov
04-15-2008, 10:37 AM
What do you think ? Are their forehands similiar or does one of them have the edge on a specific forehand shot ??

I actually wonder whose forehand would defeat the otheroneīs since they have both great forehands :)

daddy
04-15-2008, 10:54 AM
Graf immediately took control over the points when you send a ball to her fh side. Ivanovic has a powerfull weapon in her fh but I would say that Graf's fh was much better due to the fact that she based her complete game on that one shot and movement to get in place to hit it, while Ivanovic can hit a good serve and bh also but still fails to make and major impact to the game, historicly speaking.

Edit - as for the technique, Graf hit a flat as you get fh. No such fh's in WTA anymore.

Mr. Federerpov
04-15-2008, 11:16 AM
But I still think that the similarity would be that both of their main weapons is the fh and the both hit it reaaaaly reaaly fluently :)

daddy
04-15-2008, 11:21 AM
But I still think that the similarity would be that both of their main weapons is the fh and the both hit it reaaaaly reaaly fluently :)

Well yes but they play so differently that you can overlook that one. Graf's famous slice and her run arounds were virtually every point habits while Ivanovic does seem to work on other weapons as I said. She hits hard from bh side also. Graf was forced to hit fh in a very attacking maneer so that she can take advantage of it every time she was givena chance while Ivanovic spins it a bit and takes of a bit of pace very often, goes for it from time to time when she feels its on. It is still a no contest, Graf won 22 majors with that shot alone.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 11:40 AM
Graf's forehand was a weapon of itself, obviously. But, her hitting patterns, including a lot of inside out forehands could be done so consistently and effectively because of her footspeed, on overlooked "weapon"

Ivanovic could never do what graf did. She's too slow.

Graf's backhand slice is another overlooked shot. It was knifing, it was quick, it was deep, it was low. It didn't blow by people, but it was hard for opponents to take the offensive off of it. It bought her time until she hit a forehand.

I like picking apart Graf's game, because the forehand is so preeminent in people's minds, but there was a lot more too her game.

hoodjem
04-15-2008, 11:45 AM
Did Graf's BH slice skid and stay low the way Rosewall's did?

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
04-15-2008, 11:47 AM
I think Graf had the edge. Graf's utter confidence in the shot surpasses Ivanovic, as well as the consistent effectiveness of its effect on opponents. Ivanovic is still learn, improving, perfecting, so we've yet to see in the end, but Graf definitely dominated greatly by her forehand as most know or would agree.

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
04-15-2008, 11:47 AM
Did Graf's BH slice skid and stay low the way Rosewall's did?

Absolutely. Nearly as well.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 11:55 AM
Graf won 22 slams predominantly with her forehand.

Ana Ivanovic has won 0 slams also predominantly with her forehand.

Need I say more.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 12:04 PM
Graf's forehand by far was the better shot. No contest.

The Graf forehand is the best forehand ever in the women's game and it probably still holds the record for being the most feared shot ever in the women's game.

Steffi-forever
04-15-2008, 12:11 PM
It is still a no contest, Graf won 22 majors with that shot alone.

Yeah, but her serve gave her a lot of free points too.

daddy
04-15-2008, 12:20 PM
Yeah, but her serve gave her a lot of free points too.

Well guys here need to have a broader understanding of terms. For example talking about Graf you will always mention that her Fh was the best weapon she had and the best Fh in womens game for sure. Probably the most feared shot in womens tennis as someone said. This does not mean she was bad overall but had a good Fh. She won 22 majors which is a hell of accomplishment if you ask me, and no single shot will win you this. But it is a figure of speech so to say - her forehand won her 22 majors means 'her Fh is her main weapon and people had no answer for it' while 'her other shots were good as any pro shots but not near the same quality as her forehand' ..

Got it ?

As for the guy who wrote about hes slice bh, yes the quality was there but when you expect a shot like that and its not exactly a killer shot, surprise element is gone. That means people got her bh back on average 98% of the time while her Fh was unanswered thru her career.

I just wrote a long post because people dont bother to read between the lines. You got to learn to understand not only what is written but what is just taken as such and left out.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 12:22 PM
Graf's forehand was so distinct. You couldn't really teach it. She caught it closer to her hip than you would normally teach, not as far out in front. Her shoulder rotation and little jump off the ground also really made the shot heavy.

Of all the great forehands I've seen her hit, the one that stands out in my mind is from the 1992 Wimbledon final against Seles. Seles was working Graf over in the point, moving her around, and hit a shot cross court so the ball was far beyond the doubles alley after the bounce. Graf sprinted over, planted her feet and ripped the sh*t out of a cross court, severely angled, flat forehand, harder than I'd ever seen from a woman.

Seles had to be frustrated. Graf beat her down 6-2, 6-1, and Seles really didn't play bad. And, this was a year when Seles won the other 3 slams. Yes, it was a best surface/worst surface matchup, but it was an incredible win nonetheless.

daddy
04-15-2008, 12:26 PM
Graf's forehand was so distinct. You couldn't really teach it. She caught it closer to her hip than you would normally teach, not as far out in front. Her shoulder rotation and little jump off the ground also really made the shot heavy.

Out of all the pro players, only Sampras hit as close to his hip. This I believe was his habit because he could generate pace with his small frame and hard stringing, and he had pretty strong hands so he managed to pull the shot off many times and control it well.

superman1
04-15-2008, 12:56 PM
Well, they do look similar, but Graf's was clearly better, especially since she was a far superior athlete.

Djokovicfan4life
04-15-2008, 03:32 PM
Graf won 22 slams predominantly with her forehand.

Ana Ivanovic has won 0 slams also predominantly with her forehand.

Need I say more.

Ivanovic is still young. Her time will come, but of course she won't have as much success as Graf, that's a pretty high standard! :shock:

Bud
04-15-2008, 03:52 PM
Graf's forehand was a weapon of itself, obviously. But, her hitting patterns, including a lot of inside out forehands could be done so consistently and effectively because of her footspeed, on overlooked "weapon"

Graf's backhand slice is another overlooked shot. It was knifing, it was quick, it was deep, it was low. It didn't blow by people, but it was hard for opponents to take the offensive off of it. It bought her time until she hit a forehand.

This sums it up very well, IMO.

Graf's weapons:

Foot speed (some of the best ever)
Forehand (consistent and big angles)
Slice backhand (low/skidding, deep and consistent)

Bud
04-15-2008, 03:57 PM
As for the guy who wrote about hes slice bh, yes the quality was there but when you expect a shot like that and its not exactly a killer shot, surprise element is gone. That means people got her bh back on average 98% of the time while her Fh was unanswered thru her career.

I just wrote a long post because people dont bother to read between the lines. You got to learn to understand not only what is written but what is just taken as such and left out.

Her slice backhand was a weapon because it was so good that the opposing player could not take the offense returning it. It virtually hypnotized her opponents into playing a neutral rally... allowed them to relax just a bit... then Steffi would strike.

These days, I think she'd have trouble against heavy ball hitters like Kuznetsova who hits the ball deep with a ton of topspin. A deep kicking ball is very hard to slice effectively. Not many women hit like that in Graf's era.

gj011
04-15-2008, 04:07 PM
Graf won 22 slams predominantly with her forehand.

Ana Ivanovic has won 0 slams also predominantly with her forehand.

Need I say more.

Yes you need. Some of Graf's slams are won, not due to her forehand, but due to other weapons applied on her main opponent by lunatic fans.

flying24
04-15-2008, 04:12 PM
Yes you need. Some of Graf's slams are won, not due to her forehand, but due to other weapons applied on her main opponent by lunatic fans.

What are the chances of Ana coming close to the 16-18 slams Graf would have even without the unfortunate incident. If she is very lucky she might retire with 3-5 slams. You still cant compare the two nor their forehands.

soyizgood
04-15-2008, 04:15 PM
Yes you need. Some of Graf's slams are won, not due to her forehand, but due to other weapons applied on her main opponent by lunatic fans.

Many of those slams came courtesy of Seles being out of the picture. Don't forget to take that into account.

gj011
04-15-2008, 04:21 PM
What are the chances of Ana coming close to the 16-18 slams Graf would have even without the unfortunate incident. If she is very lucky she might retire with 3-5 slams. You still cant compare the two nor their forehands.

That is correct, but every time someone mentions Graf's 22 slams due to forehand or something else, I have to remind them how this number is actually achieved. How many slams would Nadal od Roddick have if someone, god forbid, stabbed Federer in 2004 or vice versa (talking about Nadal here not Roddick :))

16-18 is realistic number for Graf - Dagger, as well as 3-5 for Ana if lucky.

Many of those slams came courtesy of Seles being out of the picture. Don't forget to take that into account.

That is exactly what I am talking about.

flying24
04-15-2008, 04:26 PM
That is correct, but every time someone mentions Graf's 22 slams due to forehand or something else, I have to remind them how this number is actually achieved. How many slams would Nadal od Roddick have if someone, god forbid, stabbed Federer in 2004 or vice versa (talking about Nadal here not Roddick :))

16-18 is realistic number for Graf - Dagger, as well as 3-5 for Ana if lucky.



That is exactly what I am talking about.

Fair enough. We are pretty much in agreement then. I wish I could be wrong actually and for Ana to win more slams then Maria; but I know that is realistically unlikely since Maria is already off to a head start and Ana is going to have to keep improving to even get equal results to Maria in the future.

laurie
04-15-2008, 04:39 PM
I've been incredibly impressed with Ana's forehand the last 12 months. I also got to see her play Sharapova live in Madrid in the WTA championships last November, as some of you guys have mentioned the two players - Maria won that day if I remember correctly in straight sets.

To me so far the big difference is that Ana's game can go off - when she's in full flow her forehand looks unbelievable and inspirational - just seems so much instinct and feel for the shot.

However, I was also lucky to see Graf play live at wimbledon - I think Graf's forehand is more consistent and her movement vastly superior to Ana's.

And as someone pointed out, that cracking the ball off the hip by Graf is beautiful to watch. Davenport also does that as well many times.

split-step
04-15-2008, 04:52 PM
Can we actually compare the 2 forehands, given that they play in different eras and the type of pace and weight of ball they face is different, not to mention racquet technology?

Graf's opponent didn't hit with the type of pace, Sharapova, Venus or Justine get on their groundstrokes. The game was different.
I don't feel I can say whose is better; but I will say that both had/have amazing forehands.

Ivanovic's forehand is just killer. IMO best forehand on women's tour right now (Sveta is second). Also notable is her forehand return of serve which is so compact, takes the ball so early and just lets it rip.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 05:40 PM
"Can we actually compare the 2 forehands, given that they play in different eras and the type of pace and weight of ball they face is different, not to mention racquet technology?"

That's a tricky question. Today, there are defintely more big hitters than when Steffi played. But, Seles hit as hard as anyone today in her prime years, and Graf had to play her.

Also, the generations are not that far separated. Steffi played Venus and Serena and Lindsay several times in her career, though not at a time when both were in their primes. Steffi was past her peak when she played these players, and they had not yet reached theirs.

The problem with thinking that Steffi couldn't handle the pace today (which I don't) is that it assumes that Steffi is behind in the point and being dictated to. Yes, that would happen, and I could see Sharpaova and the Williams ripping consecutive shots and Graf not being able to in offensive positiion with her forehand. She would have to play more defense than before.

But, I can also see Graf not letting these players get grooved. She would slice Sharapova left and right and get her moving, behind in the point. And, Sharapova is about as bad of a defensive top player as there has been. So, yes, if Sharpova is dictating, Steffi will face power that she has not faced except for Seles. But, Steffi in her prime with her footspeed and low slices would be able to prevent letting Sharapova be in a position to dictate.

As for the Williams, who are fast themselves, they could also have points where there power would overwhelm Graf. But, Graf would force a lot of errors with that slice backhand and ability to run and keep the ball in. Add to that she too would get her chances to be on the offensive and she would have no problems competing, if not winning.

As for today's spin. Give me a break. More players hit with more topspin than in Graf's day, for sure. But, other than Henin and Mauresom, there are really no topspin artists who would bother Graf.

Go back and look at Graf-Sabatini matches. Graf didn't always take her backhand slice low. She had to take it high too and she could do it. Sabatini hit hard, heavy topspin, in addition to offspeed stuff. I don't think it's that much different from a lot of today's players, who are more inconsistent.

Also, watch her play Conchita Martinez (who she dominated), whose topspin would put most of today's players to shame. Also, Martinez could, and often did, hit much harder than she is thought of as doing. We think of her as "Ms. Loopy Claycourter" but watch her crack passing shots in the 1994 Wimby final, or watch her matches on hardcourts where she could really jack shots when she wanted to. She was a 3 time Wimbledon semifinalist (including her championship year), she made the finals at the AO and other SFs, she made the SFs of the USO. She was more than just loopy topspin.

So, I don't think the ball Steffi faced is so greatly different that we can't compare.

Moose Malloy
04-15-2008, 06:01 PM
^and don't forget the serve. She hit it as well as anyone today, got a lot of free points off it.

That's still an aspect of the women's game that hasn't really improved too much over the last 10 years, they still get broken a lot, which I have to think is as much mental as anything.

Plus you can't overstate the movement factor, outside of Henin & the sisters is anyone in the same ballpark as Graf today?

Steffi played Venus and Serena and Lindsay several times in her career, though not at a time when both were in their primes.

I'd say Lindsey was in her prime, she won the '98 USO, finished that year #1, & Graf beat her at the year end championships(after missing a lot of the year due to injury) She also beat her at the '99 FO & was a huge favorite over her at '99 Wimbledon(lost 64,75 with only 2 breaks of serve...again going back to that serve thing, Graf was not easy to break)

So, yes, if Sharpova is dictating, Steffi will face power that she has not faced except for Seles.

And the thing that made Seles a tough matchup for Graf wasn't power, but the angles(which I don't think anyone has come close to since, she was like Agassi)
Sharapova can unload as much as she wants, but since she doesn't own those insane angles, don't think the power would be that big a deal, its just a side to side movement, not a way off the court retrieving like facing Seles.

And don't forget Steffi played Capriati(who let's face it, would probably still be top 10 today if her shoulder didn't give out at the end of '04) quite a bit, & I don't see much difference in power between her & Sharapova. Also played Mary Pierce quite a bit(who was in 2 slam finals in '05! the game doesn't change as quickly as some think)

I think the sisters in their prime would be the toughest matchups for Graf since they are the fastest players combined with probably the most power. Sharapova is missing movement, henin is missing massive power, Ivanovic is missing movement, Jankovic serves like Hingis, Kuznetsova is missing movement. And then there's the whole mental thing with most players today.

As for today's spin. Give me a break.

Yeah, we aren't talking about men's tennis here, the women don't hit with insane amounts of spin today or anything.

She would have to play more defense than before

was just rewatching that date-graf '96 w match, date had graf on a string in that match, & graf got balls back that I'm not sure anyone else could have. playing more defense wouldn't be an issue, she kinda liked to run.

kungfusmkim
04-15-2008, 06:06 PM
As we all know Graf's OHBH (not sliing) wasn't her forte. I remember in he 1999 semis Graf V Venus Williams where he commentators were saying how the backhand passing shots are 10-15 mls slower then her forehand passing shots. Im guessing that for graf to have won many tournis, she would have had to rely on her forehand alot. But the thing is that Graf was able to get almost every forehand in.

kungfusmkim
04-15-2008, 06:09 PM
Now about Ivanovic, i say she is way more all arounded then Graf, ground strokes wise. She can hit the sinners with her backhand but her forehand is the big weapon. This is where the big difference is. Graf's foreahnd was the biggest and the main weapon for her but Ivanovic's forehand is stroke that often hits the winner but sets the game. She isnt as heavily dependent on her forehand as Graf was. However, if Graf were to be as dependent as graf was with her forehand IMO, she would hav won that many Slams.

laurie
04-15-2008, 06:14 PM
^and don't forget the serve. She hit it as well as anyone today, got a lot of free points off it.

That's still an aspect of the women's game that hasn't really improved too much over the last 10 years, they still get broken a lot, which I have to think is as much mental as anything.

Plus you can't overstate the movement factor, outside of Henin & the sisters is anyone in the same ballpark as Graf today?



I'd say Lindsey was in her prime, she won the '98 USO, finished that year #1, & Graf beat her at the year end championships(after missing a lot of the year due to injury) She also beat her at the '99 FO & was a huge favorite over her at '99 Wimbledon(lost 64,75 with only 2 breaks of serve...again going back to that serve thing, Graf was not easy to break)



And the thing that made Seles a tough matchup for Graf wasn't power, but the angles(which I don't think anyone has come close to since, she was like Agassi)
Sharapova can unload as much as she wants, but since she doesn't own those insane angles, don't think the power would be that big a deal, its just a side to side movement, not a way off the court retrieving like facing Seles.

And don't forget Steffi played Capriati(who let's face it, would probably still be top 10 today if her shoulder didn't give out at the end of '04) quite a bit, & I don't see much difference in power between her & Sharapova.

I think the sisters in their prime would be the toughest matchups for Graf since they are the fastest players combined with probably the most power. Sharapova is missing movement, henin is missing massive power, Ivanovic is missing movement, Jankovic serves like Hingis, Kuznetsova is missing movement.

Indeed Moose, and Sharapova's forehand is her weaker side - technically it's not a good shot.

I've been watching some of my matches from the late 1990s and the power then was already incredible. Graf's forehand would match anyone today, and I've literally seen all of the current women players live over the last 10 years, in many cases more than once too.

As for Svetlana, yes potentially she also has a great forehand - besides the different grip her forehand reminds me of Sampras' forehand.

But then again as a Svetlana fan and someone who does a website for her, I'm bound to say that I suppose - but I do think it, if she gets consistency she could have the best forehand in the womens game because it's also deadly on clay as well. Svetlana's movement is very good, unederrated - she often runs around her backhand to hit forehand.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 06:14 PM
The standard of the game being better today is a myth. I remember at the time of the year end Championships last year people were laughing at the event and what a sad state womens tennis has reached. Justine and Maria both made all the other supposed top 8 ranked women in the world look like amateurs. The womens game would only be as great as some make it out to be if Venus and Serena were regularly commited and healthy, if Justine could stay healthy and wasnt such a mentally fragile champion, if Sharapova could stay healthy and develop a more complete game; if Ivanovic, Jankovic, and Vaidisova fulfill their full potential in the future, and if Kuznetsova, Dementieva, and Petrova were not all the chronic scatterbrains and underachievers they all are. Sabatini in the late 80s and early 90s was easily a better player then Kuznetsova and Jankovic are today and yet they have reached #2 in todays supposably so much upgraded womens game, while Sabatini could never get higher then #3 with people like Graf, Seles, Navratilova, and Sanchez V. around.

Venus, Serena, and Lindsay are hard hitters? So were Graf, Seles, Pierce, Capriati back then also. Graf and Seles actually kept the ball in court with some regularity though unlike the unforced error sisters, and Lindsay's very slow court coverage is a massive detriment.

I agree neither Graf or the Williams were in their primes in 1999 but Graf was probably further from hers. Look at alot of her loses her last year and a half only on tour. Sabine Appelmans, Anna Kournikova, Natasha Zvereva, Ai Sugiyama, Magui Serna, Patty Schnyder on a fast court, Julie Halard, Amy Frazier, was losing to Tauziat before rain called the match too. Those absolutely embarassing unthinkable defeats for a prime Graf actually accounts for 8 of her 22 tournaments (9 of 23 if you count the probable semifinal loss to Tauziat in the tournament unfinished due to rain) in 1998 and 1999. Many of these are not new breed players either; Zvereva, Appelmans, Halard, Frazier, and Tauziat are Graf-generation players she had played many times and always beaten. Did Serena and Venus in 1999 when they split matches with Graf right down the middle have that many for them unthinkable losses compared to their prime years, the "she would never lose to her" kind?

daddy
04-15-2008, 06:20 PM
^^ I am sure that no women was ever complimented with - 'many top pro players on mens side wish they had such a forehand' - Graf got these virtualy every time she played. It was a true distinction between her and others while Ivanovic's fh is not. Svetlana is powerfull and especially on the fh side but lacks many other things. Probably one of the best fh's today in WTA, imo not the best.

1970CRBase
04-15-2008, 06:24 PM
Graf also had IMO the best overhead smash in the women's game ever.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 06:26 PM
^and don't forget the serve. She hit it as well as anyone today, got a lot of free points off it.

That's still an aspect of the women's game that hasn't really improved too much over the last 10 years, they still get broken a lot, which I have to think is as much mental as anything.

Plus you can't overstate the movement factor, outside of Henin & the sisters is anyone in the same ballpark as Graf today?



I'd say Lindsey was in her prime, she won the '98 USO, finished that year #1, & Graf beat her at the year end championships(after missing a lot of the year due to injury) She also beat her at the '99 FO & was a huge favorite over her at '99 Wimbledon(lost 64,75 with only 2 breaks of serve...again going back to that serve thing, Graf was not easy to break)



And the thing that made Seles a tough matchup for Graf wasn't power, but the angles(which I don't think anyone has come close to since, she was like Agassi)
Sharapova can unload as much as she wants, but since she doesn't own those insane angles, don't think the power would be that big a deal, its just a side to side movement, not a way off the court retrieving like facing Seles.

And don't forget Steffi played Capriati(who let's face it, would probably still be top 10 today if her shoulder didn't give out at the end of '04) quite a bit, & I don't see much difference in power between her & Sharapova.

I think the sisters in their prime would be the toughest matchups for Graf since they are the fastest players combined with probably the most power. Sharapova is missing movement, henin is missing massive power, Ivanovic is missing movement, Jankovic serves like Hingis, Kuznetsova is missing movement. And then there's the whole mental thing with most players today.



Yeah, we aren't talking about men's tennis here, the women don't hit with insane amounts of spin today or anything.



was just rewatching that date-graf '96 w match, date had graf on a string in that match, & graf got balls back that I'm not sure anyone else could have. playing more defense wouldn't be an issue, she kinda liked to run.

Great points. Seles really opened up the court with those angels and would hit slapshots into the open court or behind her opponents. None of the biggest hitters today do that as consistently. Also, pre-stabbing, Seles could move very well. She wasn't as heavy, and she was such a competitor that sheer determination got her to move even if she wasn't as natural of a mover than others. A lot of today's big hitters, except the Williams, are not great movers. Henin moves great too, and she can hit big, but she hits big in a different way and mixes it up more.

And, yes, I forgot about Capriati, whose power matches anything today and who Steffi had to play against.

And as long as we're bringing up power players from the Graf era, we cannot forget Mary Pierce, who truly may be the hardest hitting female ever. When she was on, watch out. No one today can match that pace. This is a woman who beat Graf 6-2, 6-2, in a Slam semi, but who Graf beat several times in return.
So, yeah, Graf could handle today's pace just fine.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 06:30 PM
I think the sisters in their prime would be the toughest matchups for Graf since they are the fastest players combined with probably the most power.

I agree with that. The Williams in their primes would indeed be a handful for Graf (and probably every other truly great women player in history for that matter). The thing is Serena's prime only lasted 2 years, Venus around 3 years.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 06:42 PM
Great points. Seles really opened up the court with those angels and would hit slapshots into the open court or behind her opponents. None of the biggest hitters today do that as consistently. Also, pre-stabbing, Seles could move very well. She wasn't as heavy, and she was such a competitor that sheer determination got her to move even if she wasn't as natural of a mover than others. A lot of today's big hitters, except the Williams, are not great movers. Henin moves great too, and she can hit big, but she hits big in a different way and mixes it up more.

And, yes, I forgot about Capriati, whose power matches anything today and who Steffi had to play against.

And as long as we're bringing up power players from the Graf era, we cannot forget Mary Pierce, who truly may be the hardest hitting female ever. When she was on, watch out. No one today can match that pace. This is a woman who beat Graf 6-2, 6-2, in a Slam semi, but who Graf beat several times in return.
So, yeah, Graf could handle today's pace just fine.


Before I edited the above post, I somehow was thinking that Mary Pierce had only come close to winning a Slam and had lost in 3 finals. I think I was getting her confused (I have no idea why) with MJ Fernandez who lost 3 Slam finals. Pierce also lost 2 or 3 Slam finals, but won 2.

So, if you're responding to my pre-edited post, I'm just letting you know that I'm aware Pierce is a Slam champion.

jgreen06
04-15-2008, 07:08 PM
i agree and have always thought that ivanovic's forehand looks awfully similar to graf's. obviously graf (as of now) was a more complete player given the insane number of slams she won.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 07:14 PM
Before I edited the above post, I somehow was thinking that Mary Pierce had only come close to winning a Slam and had lost in 3 finals. I think I was getting her confused (I have no idea why) with MJ Fernandez who lost 3 Slam finals. Pierce also lost 2 or 3 Slam finals, but won 2.

So, if you're responding to my pre-edited post, I'm just letting you know that I'm aware Pierce is a Slam champion.

When you confused them I sure hope you were not thinking of MJ Fernandez when you used the terms "hardest hitter ever". :twisted: I liked MJ but when she played Hingis in a couple of early 97 matches the commentators were referring to Hingis as the "power" player in that matchup.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 07:33 PM
When you confused them I sure hope you were not thinking of MJ Fernandez when you used the terms "hardest hitter ever". :twisted: I liked MJ but when she played Hingis in a couple of early 97 matches the commentators were referring to Hingis as the "power" player in that matchup.


No, I wasn't thinking of MJF as the hardest hitting player. I had originally written that Pierce could be stiff competition for Graf and that she was a near-champion (thinking she had lost in 3 Slam finals). But, it was MJF who lost in 3 Slam finals, including 2 to Graf. Again, no rhyme or reason to get those two confused. I realized my error quickly.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 08:04 PM
No, I wasn't thinking of MJF as the hardest hitting player. I had originally written that Pierce could be stiff competition for Graf and that she was a near-champion (thinking she had lost in 3 Slam finals). But, it was MJF who lost in 3 Slam finals, including 2 to Graf. Again, no rhyme or reason to get those two confused. I realized my error quickly.

Pierce can crush anyone on her best day. In addition to her 6-2, 6-2 French Open semifinal win over Graf she has a 6-1, 6-1 win over then reigning U.S Open Champion Serena, a 6-1, 6-1 win over Seles on clay, a 6-1, 6-0 win over Sanchez Vicario on clay.

daddy
04-15-2008, 08:18 PM
Pierce can crush anyone on her best day. In addition to her 6-2, 6-2 French Open semifinal win over Graf she has a 6-1, 6-1 win over then reigning U.S Open Champion Serena, a 6-1, 6-1 win over Seles on clay, a 6-1, 6-0 win over Sanchez Vicario on clay.


But she was more likely to be crushed by anyone than anything else. She could lose as badly as she could win. You never knew with that girl.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 08:20 PM
But she wasmorelikely to be crushed by anyone that anything else. She could lose as badly as she could win. You never knew with that girl.

Very true indeed. Reading the section of one of Nick Bolleteiri's books dedicated to his coaching period with Mary Pierce really gives you some insight into the enigma that is Mary Pierce.

split-step
04-15-2008, 08:49 PM
That's a tricky question. Today, there are defintely more big hitters than when Steffi played. But, Seles hit as hard as anyone today in her prime years, and Graf had to play her.

I am going to have to disagree. Seles in her GS winning years 91-93 didn't hit the ball as hard as Venus, Sharapova, Serena. It was her angles and ability to open up the court that was were her weapons not sheer pace as it is in the case of Venus and Pova.

Also, the generations are not that far separated. Steffi played Venus and Serena and Lindsay several times in her career, though not at a time when both were in their primes.

The generations are far apart enough for an Ivanovic-Graf comparison. As you said, she didn't play Venus/Serena/Lindsay in their primes not to mention not playing Henin or Pova at all.

The problem with thinking that Steffi couldn't handle the pace today (which I don't)

I don't think this either. However we will never know so to extrapolate is basically conjecture and not really factual. Hence my questioning whether the comparison can be made.


<a lot of conjecture...>

Sabatini hit hard, heavy topspin, in addition to offspeed stuff. I don't think it's that much different from a lot of today's players, who are more inconsistent.
Also, watch her play Conchita Martinez (who she dominated), whose topspin would put most of today's players to shame.

lol, are you seriously comparing Conchita 'moonball' Martinez's topspin to the likes of Henin or Kuznetsova??
Yes she would moonball you to death and then hit a winner or passing shot. Those shots were not hard. They were winners because of her variety. The opponents weren't expecting it.
And Sabatini (a very good player let me say) with her WEAK serve who would get behind in the point immediately because of it.
These girls didn't hit the ball with the pace or spin (in the case of some players) being hit today.

Oh and for someone who mentioned Capriati, she doesn't hit the ball hard either. Her serve is weak as is her backhand and her forehand is average speed. When she played the top players her strength was her movement and retrieving skills. She seemed like she hit hard when she was Capriati Part 1, but that was because the game was slower then.

And to someone else who mentioned serve, this area has changed in the women's game. The serves are bigger. Average first serve speeds are up.
I remember reading an article about the Seles Graf AO final (can't remember which year) and they gushed about Graf's huge 104mph serve. That is average first serve speed for Venus/Ivanovic matches.
Also, the return is now looked at as a weapon in the game. It wasn't so, so much in the early 90s. Now everyone is looking to pummel first and second serves.
And there have always been tons of breaks in the women's game. It is only for a handful of players that the serve is truly a weapon.

split-step
04-15-2008, 08:52 PM
^^ I am sure that no women was ever complimented with - 'many top pro players on mens side wish they had such a forehand' - Graf got these virtualy every time she played. It was a true distinction between her and others while Ivanovic's fh is not. Svetlana is powerfull and especially on the fh side but lacks many other things. Probably one of the best fh's today in WTA, imo not the best.

Svetlana herself said Ana's FH is the hardest forehand to deal with (on WTA). There's a reason people consistently play to her backhand and serve to her backhand.
She changed racquets so she could get more pace on her backhand because it was getting picked on an awful lot.

bluetrain4
04-15-2008, 09:04 PM
I am going to have to disagree. Seles in her GS winning years 91-93 didn't hit the ball as hard as Venus, Sharapova, Serena. It was her angles and ability to open up the court that was were her weapons not sheer pace as it is in the case of Venus and Pova.



The generations are far apart enough for an Ivanovic-Graf comparison. As you said, she didn't play Venus/Serena/Lindsay in their primes not to mention not playing Henin or Pova at all.



I don't think this either. However we will never know so to extrapolate is basically conjecture and not really factual. Hence my questioning whether the comparison can be made.



lol, are you seriously comparing Conchita 'moonball' Martinez's topspin to the likes of Henin or Kuznetsova??
Yes she would moonball you to death and then hit a winner or passing shot. Those shots were not hard. They were winners because of her variety. The opponents weren't expecting it.
And Sabatini (a very good player let me say) with her WEAK serve who would get behind in the point immediately because of it.
These girls didn't hit the ball with the pace or spin (in the case of some players) being hit today.

Oh and for someone who mentioned Capriati, she doesn't hit the ball hard either. Her serve is weak as is her backhand and her forehand is average speed. When she played the top players her strength was her movement and retrieving skills. She seemed like she hit hard when she was Capriati Part 1, but that was because the game was slower then.

And to someone else who mentioned serve, this area has changed in the women's game. The serves are bigger. Average first serve speeds are up.
I remember reading an article about the Seles Graf AO final (can't remember which year) and they gushed about Graf's huge 104mph serve. That is average first serve speed for Venus/Ivanovic matches.
Also, the return is now looked at as a weapon in the game. It wasn't so, so much in the early 90s. Now everyone is looking to pummel first and second serves.
And there have always been tons of breaks in the women's game. It is only for a handful of players that the serve is truly a weapon.

Well, I disagree with two points.

I still think prime era Seles (pre-stabbing) hit nearly has hard as anyone today and more consistently. I'll agree that the Wiliams can go up one more notch in the power department over Seles. Pierce, as I mentioned in an earlier post hit as hard as anyone today.

As to Martinez, I agree that she moonballed a lot (especially on clay), and her winners were mostly positional, not a result of hitting through the court like Graf, or James Blake. I'm just pointing out that she had suprising power when she needed it. Much more than she's given credit for.

Serves may be slightly better overall, and based on the Williams alone, the top serve speeds are higher, but women's serving overall is still pretty woeful and I don't see a huge difference overall.

Finally, while more girls hit with pace and spin, the consistency just isn't there. And, spin may be marginally more, but the difference is negligible. Spin hasn't overtaken the game as on the men's side.

And, while your criticisms of each indiviudal player (such as Capriati has a weak serve) are basically correct, the same could be said of every top player today. It's not like we now have 15 women with solidly complete games, except Henin when she's having a good day mentally and the Williams when they are focused.

split-step
04-15-2008, 09:25 PM
Serves may be slightly better overall, and based on the Williams alone, the top serve speeds are higher, but women's serving overall is still pretty woeful and I don't see a huge difference overall.

There are a number of big serving girls outside of Williams sisters. Justine, Kuznetsova, Sharapova, Mauresmo (first serve), Alicia Molik etc
I agree that the serves overall on the WTA is a MESS but serves of the top players are faster than they were a decade and a half ago.


Finally, while more girls hit with pace and spin, the consistency just isn't there. And, spin may be marginally more, but the diferrence is neglgible. Spin hasn't overtaken the game as on the men's side.

Definitely agree with you there. It is the rarity to get great matchups these days where the ball is going back and forth and players are using the entire court and different spins. Toronto 07 final last year Jankovic/Henin was such a match. Eastbourne 07 final Henin/Mauresmo was another such match.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:00 PM
Conchita Martinez could actually hit a mean forehand when she wanted to. When she stepped into it she could clobber it good. However when she played top players, especialy power hitters like Graf and Seles she went into her defensive shell and just stayed far too back behind the baseline and playing timid counterpunching tennis. Sometimes I saw her play them and the few times she went on the attack, especialy with her forehand, she fared alot better. She just didnt seem able or willing to do that regularly enough. A defensive clay court based game with lots of spins won her alot of matches, but only when she was agressive did she have some success vs players like Graf, Seles, and Hingis (not a power player but remember took the ball very early and controled the baseline) and that was rare when she went into that mode vs them.

Watch the 1995 French Open semis vs Graf and how she played the first set and a half compared to the last set and a half for an example. Another example would be the 1997 Canadian Open semis vs Seles, how she played the first set and a half, and the second half of the second set.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:12 PM
There are a number of big serving girls outside of Williams sisters. Justine, Kuznetsova, Sharapova, Mauresmo (first serve), Alicia Molik etc
I agree that the serves overall on the WTA is a MESS but serves of the top players are faster than they were a decade and a half ago.


Molik is not a top player so she doesnt make sense as an example. For every Molik there were players like Melanie Schnell or Marianne de Swardt back then, journeywomen with very big serves.

Justine's serve is not impressive to me, other then the "for her height and size" factor. It breaks down easily, and she only gets power by muscling it and struggling to get first serves in, and she hits the same targets over and over. I wouldnt rate her a big server really.

Graf, Novotna, Seles were all quite big servers for their time as well. If one suggest Novotna's serve could break down, I would argue Sharapova's is just as likely to break down if not more. Also I know what the MPHs say but alot of people have commented on this regarding the mens service speeds which are surprising on some, it is quite possible the radar guns are juiced these days. Mauresmo and Kuznetsova are no more deserving of being regarded "big servers" as players like Pierce or early 90s Capriati (she actually had a much better serve then compared to early 2000s) in fact. It was interesting before Pierce played Mauresmo in the 2005 U.S Open quarters, Tracy Austin and Jim Courier both seemed to think Pierce had the superior serve of the two talking before the match. Also if one is really fooled into believing that old past-her-prime Pierce (even in her very good 2005 comeback year) had a superior serve to what she had in her younger prime, then that only goes to show how people might be fooled by the possibly juiced up radar guns these days.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:26 PM
I am going to have to disagree. Seles in her GS winning years 91-93 didn't hit the ball as hard as Venus, Sharapova, Serena. It was her angles and ability to open up the court that was were her weapons not sheer pace as it is in the case of Venus and Pova.

I agree on Venus and Serena at their best, but they were only at their best for 2-3 years, and certainly no longer are, so pretty much a moot point. Anyway a clearly past her prime Seles was still taking sets off the Williams on occasion in the early 2000s when they were really peaked. Sharapova, I dont really agree. I dont see as showing superior pace of shot in general to Seles, or superiority on anything. At best just a bit weaker Monica clone in most regards, plus without the same ability to create angles and far less court smarts.

The generations are far apart enough for an Ivanovic-Graf comparison. As you said, she didn't play Venus/Serena/Lindsay in their primes not to mention not playing Henin or Pova at all.

1998 and 1999 was Davenport's prime. I find it funny that anyone would suggest she was not in her absolute prime from 1998-2000 when by far her biggest success came, even though she was still a very fine player for many years after those. It was Graf who was far from her prime by this point, and she still held her own vs a prime Davenport when they played.

And Sabatini (a very good player let me say) with her WEAK serve who would get behind in the point immediately because of it.

Hingis was ranked #1 and still contending for slam titles in the early 2000s with her "weak serve". Jankovic made it to #2 in the world last year with a serve that makes Sabatini look like she had a Brenda Schultz serve. As I already said Henin's serve does not really impress me.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 10:30 PM
Pure speed of serve isn't everything, just ask Roddick. Just because the women can now serve a 115-120 mph serve doesn't mean it's a good one. Placement is way more important than mph.

Of course if you place the serve well then the extra mph can only help increase your chances of getting an ace or a service winner.

TheNatural
04-15-2008, 10:30 PM
Many= 0-2

Consider this. Graf had a 60% record vs Seles before the Seles thing, so Seles could at most have hoped to win 3 of the 7 slam finals which Graf made in her absesnce(this is the best case scenario for Seles where Seles makes all 7 slams finals which Graf made). So Graf realistically could at worst have won 4 of 7 slam finals that she made in Seles' absence had Seles played instead of the 6 of 7 she won. Grafs slam count could realistically been 20 at worst and 22 at best had Seles played, so the Seles thing is relatively irrelevant to Graf's slam tally of 22.

The forehand was phenomenal live.

Many of those slams came courtesy of Seles being out of the picture. Don't forget to take that into account.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:36 PM
Pure speed of serve isn't everything, just ask Roddick. Just because the women can now serve a 115-120 mph serve doesn't mean it's a good one. Placement is way more important than mph.

Of course if you place the serve well then the extra mph can only help increase your chances of getting an ace or a service winner.

That is definitely true. Also I think the radar guns are juiced in recent times too as many others have suggested. Either that or technology is really making a big impact, but I think it is more likely the former as visually I just dont see it when watching the serves either. I remember how Graf's serve was topping out at 107-108 in her prime in 95-96, then she comes back in 1998-1999 as a clearly lesser player after all the injuries, and mysteriously her serves are now reaching 115-116. Watching her play I certainly did not see this jacked up serve the radar guns were suggesting. Capriati with what almost all observers has both a weaker and less powerful serve even in her second prime in the early 2000s was mysteriously reaching serve speeds 10 miles faster then in the early 90s, and faster then someone like Graf had reached in the early 90s. Brenda Schultz comes out of retirement and reclaims her WR serve MPH at age 35 by serving 14 miles faster then she did did in her mid 20s. Sorry I am just not buying it at all.

Like you said though MPH on its own is highly overrated. Henin can reach 117 mph on her first serve, and I dont like her serve at all. I think it is the biggest thing that has kept her from being more dominant and winning more non-French slams in todays weak womens field, despite her otherwise excellent all around game. It breaks down easily, she has almost no variety and hits the same targets on both sides all the time, her serve motion is easy to read, she does not locate it that well.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 10:37 PM
When you confused them I sure hope you were not thinking of MJ Fernandez when you used the terms "hardest hitter ever". :twisted: I liked MJ but when she played Hingis in a couple of early 97 matches the commentators were referring to Hingis as the "power" player in that matchup.


MJ did have a nice flat forehand that she could whack with some power if she wanted to but her 2HB oddly enough was her weaker side. I don't think MJ could be considered a power player even though by '97 she was past her prime.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:42 PM
MJ did have a nice flat forehand that she could whack with some power if she wanted to but her 2HB oddly enough was her weaker side. I don't think MJ could be considered a power player even though by '97 she was past her prime.

Her forehand was a pretty big weapon in her prime I think, and she had some good power on it for sure. I agree on that. She had nice clean strokes in general, even if they were no the most overpowering, they were very nicely hit and technically sound.

gj011
04-15-2008, 10:46 PM
Many= 0-2

Consider this. Graf had a 60% record vs Seles before the Seles thing, so Seles could at most have hoped to win 3 of the 7 slam finals which Graf made in her absesnce(this is the best case scenario for Seles where Seles makes all 7 slams finals which Graf made). So Graf realistically could at worst have won 4 of 7 slam finals that she made in Seles' absence had Seles played instead of the 6 of 7 she won. Grafs slam count could realistically been 20 at worst and 22 at best had Seles played, so the Seles thing is relatively irrelevant to Graf's slam tally of 22.

The forehand was phenomenal live.

LOL. This is the biggest bunch of nonsesce I read here so far. Seles was 19 years old when stabbed and already had 8 GS titles. She was beating Graf on every surface but grass, winning 3 GSs in both 1991 and 1992. Also Seles would not be out of shape and demoralized like she was after the comeback. Graf would likely not easely see a GS other than Wimbledon until the end of her career. That is 8 Graf's GS titles with an asterisk (GS titles other than Wimbledon after stabbing). At least 6 of these would have been won by Seles.

So Graff + Dagger = 22 GS titles, Graff - Dagger = 16 GS titles. Many = 6-8.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 10:47 PM
That is definitely true. Also I think the radar guns are juiced in recent times too as many others have suggested. Either that or technology is really making a big impact, but I think it is more likely the former as visually I just dont see it when watching the serves either. I remember how Graf's serve was topping out at 107-108 in her prime in 95-96, then she comes back in 1998-1999 as a clearly lesser player after all the injuries, and mysteriously her serves are now reaching 115-116. Watching her play I certainly did not see this jacked up serve the radar guns were suggesting. Capriati with what almost all observers has both a weaker and less powerful serve even in her second prime in the early 2000s was mysteriously reaching serve speeds 10 miles faster then in the early 90s, and faster then someone like Graf had reached in the early 90s. Brenda Schultz comes out of retirement and reclaims her WR serve MPH at age 35 by serving 14 miles faster then she did did in her mid 20s. Sorry I am just not buying it at all.

Like you said though MPH on its own is highly overrated. Henin can reach 117 mph on her first serve, and I dont like her serve at all. I think it is the biggest thing that has kept her from being more dominant and winning more non-French slams in todays weak womens field, despite her otherwise excellent all around game. It breaks down easily, she has almost no variety and hits the same targets on both sides all the time, her serve motion is easy to read, she does not locate it that well.


I would have to agree. Graf placed her serve extremely well which is what made it formidable, not the speed. I think the hardest serve I ever saw her hit was around 109, and that was considered quite hard for it's time among the women. Navratilova's serve topped out at around only 100 mph on a good day but she also placed it extremely well. Evert had a more attackable serve but not as attackable as it could have been because she tried to place it well too. Too few women these days really concentrate on placing their serve consistently well.

I also agree that Henin's serve can break down quite easily but I think it's because she tries to serve bigger than her height really allows her to.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 10:49 PM
Her forehand was a pretty big weapon in her prime I think, and she had some good power on it for sure. I agree on that. She had nice clean strokes in general, even if they were no the most overpowering, they were very nicely hit and technically sound.

I always liked her and always thought she really should have won a Slam title. Too bad her nerves always got the best of her when she had the chance to do so.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:54 PM
I would have to agree. Graf placed her serve extremely well which is what made it formidable, not the speed. I think the hardest serve I ever saw her hit was around 109, and that was considered quite hard for it's time among the women. Navratilova's serve topped out at around only 100 mph on a good day but she also placed it extremely well. Evert had a more attackable serve but not as attackable as it could have been because she tried to place it well too. Too few women these days really concentrate on placing their serve consistently well.

I also agree that Henin's serve can break down quite easily but I think it's because she tries to serve bigger than her height really allows her to.

I definitely agree with those examples. Graf and Navratilova reached lower mphs then some of todays players but overall their serves were more effective then almost all of them. Examples of players today who do a great job combining placement and power on their serves would be Serena and Davenport. You are right that Evert was a smart server and was able to place her serve well enough to atleast start points on neutral usually, even vs someone like Navratilova who was looking to attack off the return always.

Henin definitely tries to play above her diminuitive size in almost all respects. What is amazing is in almost every other facet of the game she does a great job, especialy her groundstrokes which she rips with shocking pace considering her size and slight frame. Her serve is the place where it shows up most she is overreaching a bit though, probably because that is the shot where height and reach are most important.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 10:54 PM
Anyway, I would have to say that no woman's forehand since Steffi played can come close to being as good. The current top women can maybe match the Graf forehand power for power, but Steffi was also consistent with it which is something most of the women today can't say. I actually miss seeing it and it makes me want to break out one of my old tapes just to see it in all it's glory again. I'm also glad that I got to see it live and in person when she was in her prime.

grafrules
04-15-2008, 10:56 PM
I always liked her and always thought she really should have won a Slam title. Too bad her nerves always got the best of her when she had the chance to do so.

For sure. She was definitely a solid contender throughout the 90s and it is too bad she didnt get the elusive slam win. Her best chances were definitely the 1991 Australian Open and the 1993 French Open. The former she should have beaten Seles in the semis, the latter she should have beaten Graf in the final. She didnt have a full fledged collapse like Jana at 1993 Wimbledon, she just got a bit tenative and timid about taking the match at the end and that was enough. She had decent success vs alot of the top players (minus Graf and Seles) but she in general could have had even more if her nerves did not come into play late in alot of key matches it seemed.

CEvertFan
04-15-2008, 10:57 PM
I definitely agree with those examples. Graf and Navratilova reached lower mphs then some of todays players but overall their serves were more effective then almost all of them. Examples of players today who do a great job combining placement and power on their serves would be Serena and Davenport. You are right that Evert was a smart server and was able to place her serve well enough to atleast start points on neutral usually, even vs someone like Navratilova who was looking to attack off the return always.

Henin definitely tries to play above her diminuitive size in almost all respects. What is amazing is in almost every other facet of the game she does a great job, especialy her groundstrokes which she rips with shocking pace considering her size and slight frame. Her serve is the place where it shows up most she is overreaching a bit though, probably because that is the shot where height and reach are most important.

I would agree completely about Davenport and Serena (on a good day) and when their serves are really working for them it just makes the rest of their games fall into place.

I would say that I too am amazed at how much pace Henin gets off the ground but she has great technique especially on the backhand which is my vote for the best one handed backhand I've ever seen among the women.

split-step
04-15-2008, 11:32 PM
Conchita Martinez could actually hit a mean forehand when she wanted to.

Nobody isn't saying she couldn't step into her forehand. However if you ask anyone who knows about Conchi's game, it was based on moonballing. I'm not sure what you are trying to argue about.
Are you saying she didn't moonball her opponents to death? That about 60% of her groundstrokes weren't moonballs? :confused:
The evidence is clearly there.
So she played a couple of matches were she was more aggressive. That doesn't change what her plan A was. MOONBALL TO DEATH!

split-step
04-16-2008, 12:08 AM
Molik is not a top player so she doesnt make sense as an example.

Molik is an example of a WTA player outside of the William sisters with a big serve. Arguably one of the best serves in the WTA right now. That was what my post referenced. Bluetrain said WS increase serve speed as if they were the only ones. I was giving other examples. Besides de Swardt and Schnell were not hitting the 110s.

Justine's serve is not impressive to me, other then the "for her height and size" factor. It breaks down easily, and she only gets power by muscling it and struggling to get first serves in, and she hits the same targets over and over. I wouldnt rate her a big server really.

Justine is one of the biggest servers on tour. Have you looked at stats or are you just talking? Justine's fastest serve (122mph I believe) is faster than Maria Sharapovas (115). At the French Open 2003 SF (During Serena's Peak) Justine's average first serve speed was faster than Serena's.
Her second serve is also faster than other girls, partly because she doesn't really kick it, so while her serve percentage is usually in the lower 50%-upper 40% she wins a lot of points on her second serve.
Her serve is one of the biggest of the tour right now and it is on average about 10mph faster than Grafs. These are the facts.

Graf, Novotna, Seles were all quite big servers for their time as well.

Agreed, keyword 'for their time'. They were still serving slower than today. Like I mentioned the article which gushed about her 'big' 104mph serve.

it is quite possible the radar guns are juiced these days.

conjecture.

Mauresmo and Kuznetsova are no more deserving of being regarded "big servers" as players like Pierce or early 90s Capriati (she actually had a much better serve then compared to early 2000s) in fact.

Pierce yes. Capriati, sorry but no. Neither Capriati part 1 or 2 had a big serve.

It was interesting before Pierce played Mauresmo in the 2005 U.S Open quarters, Tracy Austin and Jim Courier both seemed to think Pierce had the superior serve of the two talking before the match.

I agree with them. Pierce's serve is more complete. But my point to bluetrain was that the top serves are bigger now than a decade and a half ago not about how effective the serve is.

then that only goes to show how people might be fooled by the possibly juiced up radar guns these days.

'might' and 'possibly' = conjecture. Spurious at best.

split-step
04-16-2008, 12:14 AM
Hingis was ranked #1 and still contending for slam titles in the early 2000s with her "weak serve". Jankovic made it to #2 in the world last year with a serve that makes Sabatini look like she had a Brenda Schultz serve. As I already said Henin's serve does not really impress me.

:rolleyes:
Again, my post was to bluetrain about the speed of the game being faster today than it was a decade and a half ago. Obviously, you can make up for the lack of speed on your serve in lots of ways but that is not my point of contention.

bluetrain4
04-16-2008, 12:38 AM
Bluetrain said WS increase serve speed as if they were the only ones.

You misunderstood me. I said: "Serves may be slightly better overall, and based on the Williams alone, the top serve speeds are higher, but women's serving overall is still pretty woeful and I don't see a huge difference overall."

I wasn't saying that due to them alone overall serving was harder or better. In fact, I think serving is still pretty bad overall. Of course, there are big servers ranked lower in both generations.

I was simply making the point that since Venus (when it's not breaking down) and Serena have very big serves, the serves you see at the top of the game (i.e., Venus and Serena) are harder than before (Graf, Seles). This doesn't necessarily mean "better" because it doesn't take into account placement, though Serena especially has good placement, as did Graf.

tzinc
04-16-2008, 01:38 AM
LOL. This is the biggest bunch of nonsesce I read here so far. Seles was 19 years old when stabbed and already had 8 GS titles. She was beating Graf on every surface but grass, winning 3 GSs in both 1991 and 1992. Also Seles would not be out of shape and demoralized like she was after the comeback. Graf would likely not easely see a GS other than Wimbledon until the end of her career. That is 8 Graf's GS titles with an asterisk (GS titles other than Wimbledon after stabbing). At least 6 of these would have been won by Seles.

So Graff + Dagger = 22 GS titles, Graff - Dagger = 16 GS titles. Many = 6-8.
Correct and Seles might have easily set the record for women's slams by the end of her career.

daddy
04-16-2008, 06:13 AM
Svetlana herself said Ana's FH is the hardest forehand to deal with (on WTA). There's a reason people consistently play to her backhand and serve to her backhand.
She changed racquets so she could get more pace on her backhand because it was getting picked on an awful lot.

That girl is a member of my tennis club. Seriously I watch every match she plays and the reason people play to her backhand is a silly mistake in tactics. By sending the ball to Ana's bh you give her time to get the fh rolling and adjust it. Then you get killed from both wings.

It should be the other way round. Ana is not a big server considering her height and arms. She has a flowing fh action though, not nearly as hard as Graf's fh used to be. Why does it seem like the hardest? Ana hits her forehands more than she should, she almost always goes for everything on that side. I saw her lose more than a dosen matches because of EXTREMLY POOR shot selection and lack of control over her forehand side. She does not pick and choose her chances, she bashes the ball every time it is on her fh side and other girls choose to send the ball to her bh. If it was the other way around results would be pretty much different, she would leave open court on her ( slower ) backhand side - and she is pretty slow as it is, and would waste many fh's.

Moose Malloy
04-16-2008, 09:37 AM
Oh and for someone who mentioned Capriati, she doesn't hit the ball hard either. Her serve is weak as is her backhand and her forehand is average speed.When she played the top players her strength was her movement and retrieving skills.

you really think she won all those slams mainly on the basis of her retrieving skills? when she played Serena a few years ago, they were tearing the cover off the ball. It was pure power tennis. Capriati has almost as much power as anyone today off the ground, when did Capriati become Jankovic? I always thought her movement was average frankly, and that she won mainly because of her power.

lambielspins
04-16-2008, 11:34 AM
Correct and Seles might have easily set the record for women's slams by the end of her career.

Considering she couldnt be bothered to get in good enough shape after returning in late 1995 to win more then 1 slam upon her return, and that Davenport and the Williams in their late 90s/early 2000s form were always going to be hell matchups for her, I very highly doubt that.

gj011
04-16-2008, 11:43 AM
Considering she couldnt be bothered to get in good enough shape after returning in late 1995 to win more then 1 slam upon her return, and that Davenport and the Williams in their late 90s/early 2000s form were always going to be hell matchups for her, I very highly doubt that.

Seles lost something important with the stabbing. There was no fire and desire to compete and win any more. It affected her in so many ways. So the fast that she "couldn't be bothered to get in shape" after her return is direct result of the stabbing and hence your analysis is incorrect. She would probably not win 20 or 22, but > 15 without the doubt, which is getting very close to the real record of 18 GS titles hold by Navratilova and Evert.

bluetrain4
04-16-2008, 12:15 PM
I'm wary about posting about Seles-Graf what-ifs because I like both players. All I ever say is that Seles, based on her from when she was stabbed (she really was at the height of her game), and her domination of the game, except grass, most likely would have won more Slams (and thus Graf would have won less). After winning 3 Slams in '91, 3 in '92, and the AO in 93', all before she turned 20 (or right around age 20), I don't understand why people wouldn't think she would have at least won another in 93 and a couple more in 94 and beyond. It could have been one more, it could have been 15 more. But, I'm guessing it would have more likley been 4-7.

She had beaten Graf in a lot of big matches, but many of those matches were close, and Graf could (and did) beat her, no question. So you can't assume that Graf would have lost every match to a healthy Monica. Also, we can't assume that the Monica-train would have continued uninterrupted until 1998 or 2000 or 2002 (when a natural slow down would have occurred). She had a very intense game, like Courier and Nadal. It is not unreasonable to believe that she would have cooled off eventually and not been SO dominant. Even with a little extra weight, her movement was hindered and she dropped a half-level.

I say none of this to take anything away from Graf. It's not her fault that some crazy guy did this. She went out and won the Slams. Yes, her main rival was out, but there were, contrary to what you read here, a bunch of other very tough players to contend with. If not, Graf would have won the Grand Slam again in 1994 (after winning the final three Slams in '93), when Seles was out, but won only 1 Slam that year, the AO. She got destoyed by Pierce in the French semis, lost to Lori McNeil in the first round of Wimbledon, and lost to Sanchez Vicario in the final of the US Open after dominating the first set. Yet, she went on in subsequent years to win more Slams. So, she deserves more credit than she gets for the non-Seles slams. She wasn't beating up a bunch of housewives. Would she have won less if Seles would not have been stabbed, almost certainly. But, she still would have won plenty.

Moose Malloy
04-16-2008, 12:29 PM
At the time of the stabbing Graf had 11 majors, Seles had 8. 3 majors is still a big lead, who knows what would have happened. And some of the tennis Graf played in '95 & '96 was the best of her career, so I wouldn't be sure that Seles would have kept her from more FO & USO titles had she not been stabbed, Graf was getting better(& so was Seles) But I think Seles would have managed to win Wimbledon at least once. Wouldn't be surprised if they ended up tied in majors, but I am pretty sure that neither would have gotten to 18. It had the potential to be the best rivalry of alltime imo.

CEvertFan
04-16-2008, 01:36 PM
At the time of the stabbing Graf had 11 majors, Seles had 8. 3 majors is still a big lead, who knows what would have happened. And some of the tennis Graf played in '95 & '96 was the best of her career, so I wouldn't be sure that Seles would have kept her from more FO & USO titles had she not been stabbed, Graf was getting better(& so was Seles) But I think Seles would have managed to win Wimbledon at least once. Wouldn't be surprised if they ended up tied in majors, but I am pretty sure that neither would have gotten to 18. It had the potential to be the best rivalry of alltime imo.


It would have been the best rivalry of the 90s men or women that's for sure, but best of all time? I don't think the Evert/Navratilova rivalry can be surpassed.

I would have to agree though that Seles would probably have managed at least one Wimbledon title and that if the Seles/Graf rivalry had continued uninterrupted that neither player would have amassed 18 Slam titles.

CEvertFan
04-16-2008, 01:49 PM
Seles lost something important with the stabbing. There was no fire and desire to compete and win any more. It affected her in so many ways. So the fast that she "couldn't be bothered to get in shape" after her return is direct result of the stabbing and hence your analysis is incorrect. She would probably not win 20 or 22, but > 15 without the doubt, which is getting very close to the real record of 18 GS titles hold by Navratilova and Evert.


You wouldn't be the same either if you always had the stabbing incident in the back of your mind whenever you walked out on a tennis court.


Also Evert and Navratilova's 18 Slam titles were never the highest totals. Helen Wills finished with 19 and Margaret Court has 24. So since Graf finished with 22 majors that ties Evert and Navratilova at 4th all time with 18 each.

gj011
04-16-2008, 03:35 PM
You wouldn't be the same either if you always had the stabbing incident in the back of your mind whenever you walked out on a tennis court.

Agreed. That is what I am talking about too.


Also Evert and Navratilova's 18 Slam titles were never the highest totals. Helen Wills finished with 19 and Margaret Court has 24. So since Graf finished with 22 majors that ties Evert and Navratilova at 4th all time with 18 each.

I was talking about the open era.

I would have to agree though that Seles would probably have managed at least one Wimbledon title and that if the Seles/Graf rivalry had continued uninterrupted that neither player would have amassed 18 Slam titles.

If Conchita Martinez managed to win it in 1994, Seles could do it too.

Also about neither of them reaching 18. Graf and Seles both won 22 + 9 = 31 which is 15.5 each if divided equally. I am sure Seles would have won some GSs won by other players, like mentioned Wimbledon 1994, or FO 1994 and 1997, or USO 1994, AO 1995, or ... , as well, so 18 by one of them is not that far fetched.

laurie
04-16-2008, 03:49 PM
Someone mentioned Conchita Martinez's forehand - it's true she had a fantastic forehand - a beautiful shot especially when she went for winners, a very modern shot combining pace and topspin when she stepped in to hit.

Also underated as someone was talking about moonballs earlier, Conchita was a tactician on the court, she used all her skills to win points - she was a thinker.

TheNatural
04-16-2008, 05:58 PM
Seles' best change to grab a boat load of slams was 97/98 while Graf had injury, and for the following 8 years. Seles was young healthy, fit,and had every opportunity to grab slams but didnt(except the 96 AO which Graf missed) and others like Hingis took them. Seles was below the top tier on tennis talent and her game plateaued early, but her determination was one of her biggest strengths. Her 5-10 record vs Graf, 3-10 vs Davenport,1-9 vs V Williams, 1-4 vs Serena, 5-15 record versus Hingis is a good reflection of the level she was at. Ive seen her play and practice enough times and it was clear that her tennis ball hitting talent was below that of the very top players. Her tennis talent was certainly well below that of Hingis and it was very apparent when they practiced together.

Graf's slam count could easily have reached 30 had she not had all thsoe injuries in 97 onwards

Agreed. That is what I am talking about too.




I was talking about the open era.



If Conchita Martinez managed to win it in 1994, Seles could do it too.

Also about neither of them reaching 18. Graf and Seles both won 22 + 9 = 31 which is 15.5 each if divided equally. I am sure Seles would have won some GSs won by other players, like mentioned Wimbledon 1994, or FO 1994 and 1997, or USO 1994, AO 1995, or ... , as well, so 18 by one of them is not that far fetched.

TheNatural
04-16-2008, 06:52 PM
Grafs forehand wasnt flat. It may have looked flat on tv due to its speed and due to the high camera angle but if you saw it live at ground level it had a HUGE amount of forwards/top spin on it. Mariana Lucic's forehand is what you call a flat one, but it didnt resemble Graf's in any way. The trajectory of the Graf forehand looked amazing live, after she hit it it would be on the rise for a lot longer than that of other forehands, while travelling faster, and it would still land in due to the huge amount of driving forwards spin on it.It was a natural power/controlled shot. Also when the ball landed it accelerated off the court with a HUGE amount of forwards spin on it, so she often hit winners that just landed near her opponents but which were impossible to catch up to. It would be interesting to see some graphs on the trajectory of her forehands compared to the forehands of others.



Graf immediately took control over the points when you send a ball to her fh side. Ivanovic has a powerfull weapon in her fh but I would say that Graf's fh was much better due to the fact that she based her complete game on that one shot and movement to get in place to hit it, while Ivanovic can hit a good serve and bh also but still fails to make and major impact to the game, historicly speaking.

Edit - as for the technique, Graf hit a flat as you get fh. No such fh's in WTA anymore.

anointedone
04-16-2008, 07:08 PM
At the time of the stabbing Graf had 11 majors, Seles had 8. 3 majors is still a big lead, who knows what would have happened. And some of the tennis Graf played in '95 & '96 was the best of her career, so I wouldn't be sure that Seles would have kept her from more FO & USO titles had she not been stabbed, Graf was getting better(& so was Seles) But I think Seles would have managed to win Wimbledon at least once. Wouldn't be surprised if they ended up tied in majors, but I am pretty sure that neither would have gotten to 18. It had the potential to be the best rivalry of alltime imo.

Neither reaching 18? Well for that to happen the maximum they could win between them would be 15 for that to be possible (15 slams between them could still take both to 17 if it worked out exactly like that). There were 15 slams until the end of 1996. Who knows if anyone else would have won one. Can Sanchez Vicario really win another slam with both Graf and Seles around, particularly since she always fared much worse vs Seles then vs Graf. I guess if anything Pierce might have had the best chance to sneak one out in the mid-90s if she got on one of her hot runs. Then there is 1997 when Hingis dominated. Probably a good chance Seles gets atleast 2 assuming Graf is still injured and Hingis is her only obstacle. Then does Seles win anymore after 97, does Graf still win one in 1999? I think it would be hard for "neither" to reach 18 personally, probably atleast one of them does.

gj011
04-16-2008, 07:31 PM
Seles' best change to grab a boat load of slams was 97/98 while Graf had injury, and for the following 8 years. Seles was young healthy, fit,and had every opportunity to grab slams but didnt(except the 96 AO which Graf missed) and others like Hingis took them. Seles was below the top tier on tennis talent and her game plateaued early, but her determination was one of her biggest strengths. Her 5-10 record vs Graf, 3-10 vs Davenport,1-9 vs V Williams, 1-4 vs Serena, 5-15 record versus Hingis is a good reflection of the level she was at. Ive seen her play and practice enough times and it was clear that her tennis ball hitting talent was below that of the very top players. Her tennis talent was certainly well below that of Hingis and it was very apparent when they practiced together.

Graf's slam count could easily have reached 30 had she not had all thsoe injuries in 97 onwards

Lol, mister "many=0-2", you are quite delusional. That is all I have to say after this. Answers to why Seles played like she did in her later career years you can find in various posts above. No need to repeat the obvious.

anointedone
04-16-2008, 08:29 PM
Seles should not just be excused for her refusal to get back into shape for so many years after her return though. Of course you feel compassion for what happened and certainly in forseeable future she lost out on some more slams, but that does not mean she gets a free pass on the rest of her career if she does return and plays that many more years. She made the decision to pursue the life of a pro athlete again, so there was no excuse for her not to give the most to be the best she could be again, regardless the emotional baggage. If the emotional baggage was really that bad for it to be an excuse for never getting back into proper shape and condition to give herself the best chance to bid for big titles again, she should never have returned in the first place then.

CEvertFan
04-16-2008, 08:36 PM
you really think she won all those slams mainly on the basis of her retrieving skills? when she played Serena a few years ago, they were tearing the cover off the ball. It was pure power tennis. Capriati has almost as much power as anyone today off the ground, when did Capriati become Jankovic? I always thought her movement was average frankly, and that she won mainly because of her power.

Yep that other poster has it all wrong. Capriati could match most anyone power for power and that is what won her matches for her, not her serve or her movement. She did move decently only if she was in phenomenal shape and if she wasn't it was the movement that suffered more than any other part of her game.

tzinc
04-16-2008, 11:16 PM
Seles should not just be excused for her refusal to get back into shape for so many years after her return though. Of course you feel compassion for what happened and certainly in forseeable future she lost out on some more slams, but that does not mean she gets a free pass on the rest of her career if she does return and plays that many more years. She made the decision to pursue the life of a pro athlete again, so there was no excuse for her not to give the most to be the best she could be again, regardless the emotional baggage. If the emotional baggage was really that bad for it to be an excuse for never getting back into proper shape and condition to give herself the best chance to bid for big titles again, she should never have returned in the first place then.

You have no idea what it's like to be a human being. That is brutal. The fact she came back at all SHOWS INCREDIBLE HEART AND GUTS.

gj011
04-16-2008, 11:38 PM
You have no idea what it's like to be a human being. That is brutal. The fact she came back at all SHOWS INCREDIBLE HEART AND GUTS.

Exactly. Nobody else ever experienced the same. To be brutally attacked with a deadly weapon on the sports arena or court. And the guy didn't spend a single day in jail.

She tried, but she simply wasn't able to compete at the same level as before. As I said, she lost something. She still made a good living out of her later career years and to say she should simply quit, or disregard the negative effect the stabbing event had on her career and, at the same time, positive for careers of Graf, Sanches and others is simply biased and blind.

anointedone
04-17-2008, 05:00 AM
You have no idea what it's like to be a human being. That is brutal. The fact she came back at all SHOWS INCREDIBLE HEART AND GUTS.

Whatever. You are an idiot of the highest order. You are the same poster who actually thinks Agassi still has had a better career then Federer at this point, that Nadal has had the best hard court season over Djokovic (and I like Nadal much more then Djokovic for the record) so from you nothing surprises me.

To think Seles was going to make the decision that she was going to resume her career as a professional athlete and that her play and results were not going to be evaluated at all by people is incredibly foolish and naive. The emotional baggage is absolutely no excuse to spend the final 8 years of her career grossly out of shape, never commiting to acceptable fitness and conditioning standards for a pro athlete while still possessing elite talent. Why the heck is she suddenly in such good shape now that her career is over, she should have gotten in this shape again years ago, but it is too late now. If she makes the choice to comeback, she is making the choice to resume a career as a pro athlete so what happens is going to be evaluated and examined to some degree as she is returning to "competition" and it was her choice to do so. Is she supposed to go in thinking she shouldnt worry about trying to win slams again for all those years upon her return, as each slam for the next X of years should still be considered "would have been hers without the stabbing" so why bother even with the effort as they are unofficialy considered hers anyway, PLEASE. Now if she actually bothered to address the areas that are so easy and there is absolutely zero excuse to have addressed regardless what emotional baggage she carries like simply getting IN SHAPE, then it would be alot easier to acknowledge her potential disadvantages in mental state, etc.... However the fact she was unwilling to even bother going through the basic process of getting back in the shape and condition acceptable for a top level pro athlete makes is another story altogether. The idea she can get dominated by a bunch of people for all those years upon her return, choose to handicapt with herself with all that extra weight, and still have any idea stand that she could have dominated another decade is proposterous.

By the way being badly out of shape, especialy when your lifestyle is largely based on something like athletics, is only quite bad for your self esteem anyway. So if what is being said about her mental state in all its extremes is really true, she was really doing herself absolutely no favors by choosing to be that out of shape so long while pursuing an elite athletics career either.

gj011
04-17-2008, 06:36 AM
The idea she can get dominated by a bunch of people for all those years upon her return, choose to handicapt with herself with all that extra weight, and still have any idea stand that she could have dominated another decade is proposterous.

By the way being badly out of shape, especialy when your lifestyle is largely based on something like athletics, is only quite bad for your self esteem anyway. So if what is being said about her mental state in all its extremes is really true, she was really doing herself absolutely no favors by choosing to be that out of shape so long while pursuing an elite athletics career either.

On the contrary. The fact that Seles "handicaped and badly out of shape" as you pointed out, with the clear emotional problem on top of that, managed to be one of the top 5-6 players until 2000. regularly making to the finals or SF of the big tournaments, is the proof, that motivated, in shape, "stabbless" Seles would clearly dominate women's tennis in the '90s.

Also she didn't "choose" to be out of shape and in mental state she was. It was the result of the stabbing she didn't know how to cope properly at the time.

bluetrain4
04-17-2008, 07:07 AM
I think you're both right.

Seles shouldn't be completely excused. There's no doubt she could have been in better shape later in her career.

That said, mentally we don't know where she was at. Emotional issues can bring eating issues. I don't know if this is the case, just a theory. And, remember her Dad died upon her return, which could lead to more emotional stuff. That said, every player has to face personal stuff, like Steffi and her dad's tax case, etc.

Also, wasn't her foot majorly screwed up? Her foot is the reason why she couldn't make her final return. She said in the past that it hindered her training, so this could be a reason behind her increased weight.

Seles frame is such that extra weight can come quickly if she's not diligent. This is the reason why when I'm trying to imagine how many more Slams Seles would have won absent the stabbing, I don't assume that she would have maintained her 1991-93 form for the rest of her career and set the all-time Slam mark. That's ridiculous. She would have evnetually slowed down like all players do, she probably would have lost a half step and gained a little bit of weight. She would have to, as she did, face increased competition. I highly doubt that she would have continued to win 3 Slams per year until 2000 if she wasn't stabbed.

But, the point is that all of this would have come later in her career. This would not have been an issue in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Those would have been her absolute prime years, and those were the years when she was absent (except the 1995 USO).

I think a lot of people give her a pass for her later year performances, not because they don't realize she wasn't in the best shape, but because they look at her career as a whole, and imagine what it would have been like uninterrupted and posit that if she never would have been stabbed, then the late career fitness and emotional issues would not have been the same. They see the situation as akin to being in prison. If you went away to prison for three years and then were released, sure you get to start over, but would your life really ever be the same? You may be able to get close, but the answer would be no.

Then there are those who recognize the tragedy, but basically say "what happened happened" and don't give Seles a lot of leeway for not training harder when she got back. This is also a reasonable point of view.

anointedone
04-17-2008, 07:45 AM
On the contrary. The fact that Seles "handicaped and badly out of shape" as you pointed out, with the clear emotional problem on top of that, managed to be one of the top 5-6 players until 2000. regularly making to the finals or SF of the big tournaments, is the proof, that motivated, in shape, "stabbless" Seles would clearly dominate women's tennis in the '90s.

Also she didn't "choose" to be out of shape and in mental state she was. It was the result of the stabbing she didn't know how to cope properly at the time.

Yeah because being #5 or #6 in the world in womens tennis (anyone who knows jack about womens tennis knows the typical light years gap between a 5th and 6th ranked and a #1) and going something like 4-30 vs the big 4 is close enough to dominating being a level better would get you there right!?! What nonsense.

She was not regularly getting to the semis or finals of big tournaments as you say. After 1996 she only made 1 slam final. She was a regular quarterfinal loser, not a regular final and semifinalist. She probably lost before the quarters atleast as many times as she went past them after 1996.

She did choose to make the decision that she wanted to return to "competitive" tennis and be a "pro" athlete again, putting herself on the line to compete and be judged again. She also chose to be 30-40 pounds overweight for the many years of her return and sustain being in disgusting shape for a pro athlete, hindering her chances of ever winning big titles again. Only the strongest of Seles fanatics, which you apparently are, would give her a free pass on all of that.

bluetrain4
04-17-2008, 07:57 AM
Yeah because being #5 or #6 in the world in womens tennis (anyone who knows jack about womens tennis knows the typical light years gap between a 5th and 6th ranked and a #1) and going something like 4-30 vs the big 4 is close enough to dominating being a level better would get you there right!?! What nonsense.

She was not regularly getting to the semis or finals of big tournaments as you say. After 1996 she only made 1 slam final. She was a regular quarterfinal loser, not a regular final and semifinalist. She probably lost before the quarters atleast as many times as she went past them after 1996.

She did choose to make the decision that she wanted to return to "competitive" tennis and be a "pro" athlete again, putting herself on the line to compete and be judged again. She also chose to be 30-40 pounds overweight for the many years of her return and sustain being in disgusting shape for a pro athlete, hindering her chances of ever winning big titles again. Only the strongest of Seles fanatics, which you apparently are, would give her a free pass on all of that.

30-40 pounds? I remember Seles being bigger later in her career, but don't remember her being that big. Then again, she's fairly tall, so there's more space to pack on those pounds. Also, since she's looking so good NOW, maybe I'm forgetting how big she actually got.

gj011
04-17-2008, 08:03 AM
30-40 pounds? I remember Seles being bigger later in her career, but don't remember her being that big. Then again, she's fairly tall, so there's more space to pack on those pounds. Also, since she's looking so good NOW, maybe I'm forgetting how big she actually got.

No, he is just trolling and throwing numbers around.

rolandg
04-17-2008, 11:09 AM
Yeah because being #5 or #6 in the world in womens tennis (anyone who knows jack about womens tennis knows the typical light years gap between a 5th and 6th ranked and a #1) and going something like 4-30 vs the big 4 is close enough to dominating being a level better would get you there right!?! What nonsense.

She was not regularly getting to the semis or finals of big tournaments as you say. After 1996 she only made 1 slam final. She was a regular quarterfinal loser, not a regular final and semifinalist. She probably lost before the quarters atleast as many times as she went past them after 1996.

She did choose to make the decision that she wanted to return to "competitive" tennis and be a "pro" athlete again, putting herself on the line to compete and be judged again. She also chose to be 30-40 pounds overweight for the many years of her return and sustain being in disgusting shape for a pro athlete, hindering her chances of ever winning big titles again. Only the strongest of Seles fanatics, which you apparently are, would give her a free pass on all of that.


That's a bit strong isn't it? It's just a game, and a lot of Seles' competitiveness went with the stabbing, so if she was happy to play the way she did, looking the way she did, which she was by all accounts, where's the problem? She said in an interview in 2005 that she wouldn't change anything about her career and that she's happy with everything she achieved, and that it was just a game. It clearly didn't mean all that much to her after her comback, but she competed well and enjoyed herself, and I don't really think pro-athletes really need to give anymore than that.

Moose Malloy
04-17-2008, 11:30 AM
30-40 pounds? I remember Seles being bigger later in her career, but don't remember her being that big. Then again, she's fairly tall, so there's more space to pack on those pounds. Also, since she's looking so good NOW, maybe I'm forgetting how big she actually got.


I think he's probably right on that figure, I saw her at the '97 USO she was massive, almost made Bartoli look slim in comparison. But she was a lot thinner in '96. Maybe her father's illness took time away from her training that year (I don't think she took much time off when he was ill) & she gained a lot that year. She probably weighs 30-40 lbs less today than she did 10 years ago.
I'm pretty amazed she had some fairly good results in that time period(almost won the '98 FO) while in that kind of shape.

I'm sure there are some pics of her circa '97 online somewhere, it wasn't a pretty sight. Tennis players have so little offseason, you can't really change your shape if you don't have significant time to train properly(& just playing tennis won't burn all that fat, you need weights, a strict diet, etc as well)

laurie
04-17-2008, 12:57 PM
I think he's probably right on that figure, I saw her at the '97 USO she was massive, almost made Bartoli look slim in comparison. But she was a lot thinner in '96. Maybe her father's illness took time away from her training that year (I don't think she took much time off when he was ill) & she gained a lot that year. She probably weighs 30-40 lbs less today than she did 10 years ago.
I'm pretty amazed she had some fairly good results in that time period(almost won the '98 FO) while in that kind of shape.

I'm sure there are some pics of her circa '97 online somewhere, it wasn't a pretty sight. Tennis players have so little offseason, you can't really change your shape if you don't have significant time to train properly(& just playing tennis won't burn all that fat, you need weights, a strict diet, etc as well)

I have to confess I saw Monica at 1997 Wimbledon against Sandrine Testud on court 13 I think, it was an outside court and we were quite close. Yes, she was big, I have the photos. Having seen Bartoli twice last year she was as big as Marion, perhaps even bigger - Marion is average height.

I have Monica's autobiograpghy called "From fear to victory" published in 1997. She explained in the book how eating comfort foods helped her to face the psychological traumas she experienced - she wasn't proud of eating out of control at the time.

Moose Malloy
04-17-2008, 02:10 PM
^I recall reading an interview with her in '91 or '92 where she said her favorite food was pizza with butter on it! Was kinda hard to forget that anyone could eat something like that. Maybe she just always had food issues.

bluetrain4
04-17-2008, 02:12 PM
^I recall reading an interview with her in '91 or '92 where she said her favorite food was pizza with butter on it! Was kinda hard to forget that anyone could eat something like that. Maybe she just always had food issues.

I doubt the butter is actually on the pizza. More likely that she liked to spread butter on the leftover crust, which my Dad and sister do. But, it does sound like she had food issues, which a lot of people do, especially women.

Moose Malloy
04-17-2008, 02:17 PM
I think she said she actually put it on the pizza(saying 'I know, it sounds gross!') She said she put it on lots of other food as well, it was her favorite condiment. This may have been in a tennis magazine interview in the early 90s.

Warriorroger
04-19-2008, 02:25 PM
Going back to what the OP intended. There are similarities between the shots, but because their movement is so different, I did not see it right away. Someone posted a short clip on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqmuDsDSPHA

daddy
04-19-2008, 03:24 PM
^^ Well it is similar in deed when you look at it this way. I thought Ana hits her fh a bit further from her hip but there you go.

TheNatural
04-19-2008, 09:54 PM
The Ivanovic forehand looks a LOT more like Kournikova's forehand (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOJydsK48-k) than Grafs. It looks only very little like Graf's to me.

Mr. Federerpov
07-29-2008, 05:58 PM
No I think the way Ana executes her forehand is more similiar to Steffiīs .
Anyway ! Steffi Graf has the better forehand IMO ;)