PDA

View Full Version : Greatest womens grass court player ever?


thalivest
04-28-2009, 04:42 PM
Who do you consider the greatest womens grass court player ever. For me it would be Martina but you could make an argument for Steffi Graf, Margaret Court, Suzanne Lenglen, Helen Wills, or even Billie Jean King too. Graf and Lenglen would be my close 2nd and 3rd choices.

boredone3456
04-28-2009, 05:43 PM
Navratilova without a doubt. Record number of Wimbledon titles that I think will stand for quite some time, between 1978 and 1994, she contested all 17 Wimbledons, only failing to make the semi's once in 1991. She won 9 titles and finished runner up 3 additional times. She also won a couple of Australians on Grass, so in 17 wimbledons, she made 12 finals winning 9, that is just incredible.

Graf would be a very solid 2nd on Grass in my opinion. Court...she only won 3 Wimbledons, and for all her grass court hype and wins in Australia, 3 Wimbledons is a pretty low number to have if your going to call her the best grass court player in womens tennis ever, I couldn't see calling her it over Navratilova when Navratilova has 3 times the number of Wimbledons. the rest were all good, King would probably be my number 3 because of her having the most over all wimbledons titles (20, tied with Nav).

Top 3 for me

Nav
Graf
King.....the rest in some order below that.

anointedone
04-28-2009, 05:53 PM
Court was a huge underperformer at Wimbledon. She really is so much better a grass courter than her Wimbledon record shows but Wimbledon is the biggest tournament on grass. She is hard to evaluate, but she is often underrated heavily on this forum (eg- someone on the clay court thread even ranking her below Navratilova on clay).

BTURNER
04-28-2009, 05:55 PM
1. Navratilova
2. Graf
3. court
4. Wills
5. King
6. Connolly
7. Lenglen
8 Evert
9 Goolagong
10 V Williams


I think! I could easily have made stupid errors. Reserving the right to fix em.

anointedone
04-28-2009, 06:05 PM
1. Navratilova
2. Graf
3. court
4. Wills
5. King
6. Connolly
7. Lenglen
8 Evert
9 Goolagong
10 V Williams


I think! I could easily have made stupid errors. Reserving the right to fix em.

Venus has 5 Wimbledons. Isnt that a bit of a stingy ranking for her? Then again she faces a hopeless grass court field. She faced Davenport for a while, and she has faced Serena this whole time, nobody else really. She has never even played Mauresmo at Wimbledon, nor ever played a prime Henin at Wimbledon, and even they arent the toughest opponents on grass.

BTURNER
04-28-2009, 06:11 PM
Well you figured out my reasoning. I could move Evonne or EVert down but hell, what do you expect of them with Court, King, young Navratilova, Wade, Casals, etc in there draws. Williams gets Davenport, Henin and Sharapova.

crabgrass
04-29-2009, 01:04 AM
two horse race IMO, martina or steffi......martina is the record titleholder at wimbledon so ranking her no.1 would be justified but on the other hand i stongly believe without her years lost to injury steffi would have tied and possibly surpassed the record.
anyone know their head to head on grass?

Lionheart392
04-29-2009, 02:14 AM
two horse race IMO, martina or steffi......martina is the record titleholder at wimbledon so ranking her no.1 would be justified but on the other hand i stongly believe without her years lost to injury steffi would have tied and possibly surpassed the record.
anyone know their head to head on grass?

According to the WTA website it's 2-1 in Graf's favour, the 3 Wimbledon finals from 87-89 were their only matches on grass.

pc1
04-29-2009, 04:43 AM
I voted for Navratilova but I'm not sure that Margaret Court doesn't deserve second or even first. There were a lot of grass court tournaments in her day, including the Australian and the U.S. Nationals and Court probably won the majority of grass court tournaments she entered.

I think an aging Court beat a young Navratilova one year at Wimbledon. It may have been 1975.

hoodjem
04-29-2009, 06:07 AM
Where's Monica Seles?

CEvertFan
04-29-2009, 02:31 PM
Lenglen, Wills and Connolly were all superb grass court players as well. You also have to throw King in there, especially at Wimbledon.

I went with Navratilova.

thalivest
04-29-2009, 02:31 PM
Where's Monica Seles?

At Wimbledon? Already eliminated by the first weekend and watching Steffi Graf or Venus Williams dominate the second week while eating doughnuts from her hotel room.

thalivest
04-29-2009, 04:44 PM
The matchups I would most like to see on specific surfaces are probably:

Prime Navratilova vs prime Graf on grass
Prime Lenglen vs prime Wills Moody on grass
Prime Evert vs prime Graf on clay
Prime Evert vs prime Seles on clay
Prime Graf vs prime Seles at the U.S Open (we never saw this even once)

Not to mention Court and Connolly playing on all surfaces in the early-mid 1960s if Connolly had stayed in her prime that long.

hoodjem
04-29-2009, 06:21 PM
At Wimbledon? Already eliminated by the first weekend and watching Steffi Graf or Venus Williams dominate the second week while eating doughnuts from her hotel room.


Oooohhh. Ooooohhhh. You meanie!


Any fries with those doughnuts?

thalivest
04-29-2009, 06:23 PM
Oooohhh. Ooooohhhh. You meanie!


Any fries with those doughnuts?

Sure why not. :)

pc1
04-29-2009, 09:01 PM
Sure why not. :)

Fries and donuts?? Any ketchup with the fries?

Here's some more dream matchups.

Prime Court versus Prime Graf or Navratilova at Wimbledon.
Prime Lenglen versus Prime Evert on clay.
Prime Graf versus Prime Serena Williams at Wimbledon with today's grass or at the U.S. Open decoturf
Prime Henin versus Prime Seles on red clay

boredone3456
04-29-2009, 09:15 PM
Fries and donuts?? Any ketchup with the fries?

Here's some more dream matchups.

Prime Court versus Prime Graf or Navratilova at Wimbledon.
Prime Lenglen versus Prime Evert on clay.
Prime Graf versus Prime Serena Williams at Wimbledon with today's grass or at the U.S. Open decoturf
Prime Henin versus Prime Seles on red clay

Those are pretty good. I would love to see prime Court vs Prime Nav at Wimby. 2 all time great S & V women going at it would be pretty good.

Lenglen vs Evert, can't really comment as I have never seen a ton of Lenglen footage to really comment on how they would match up.

Graf vs Serena...that would not be interesting in my opinion at least on Grass because Graf in my opinion would beat even Prime Serena by frustrating her with topspin and that slice backhand plus even prime Serena athletically is inferior to Prime Graf and would likely get run around the court if she was put on the defensive. On Hardcourts Serena would have more of a chance as then her power comes into play moreso than on grass and Serena wass so good at dictating pace on Hard that she would do better against Graf there I think.

Henin vs Seles would be interesting, and I think a lot closer of a battle than many would think. Henin zoned in could probably take it to Seles, and I could see Henin's backhand giving Seles some trouble. However Seles was mentally tougher and if Henin even let up for a second Seles would be on her.

Matches I would like to see

Prime Graf vs Prime Venus at Wimbledon (this would be closer than Graf vs Serena in my opinion)
Prime King vs Prime Navratilova on Grass (if their 1980 Wimbledon clash is any indication...this would be a heck of a battle)
Prime Connolly vs Prime Court on any surface (ort of fantasy land here I know)
Prime Seles & Graf vs Prime Evert on Clay.

thalivest
04-29-2009, 09:19 PM
Henin's relatively weak mental game would be a roadblock for her vs any all time great player on one of their prefered surfaces. That is the most overrated part of her as a player. I actually like Henin alot, she is one of my favorite players ever, but I kind of laugh how people talk about her renowned mental toughness. I think people confuse her incredibly hard work and determination to overcome her size deficit with strong competitive nerve and focus in the heat of competition. The two do not go hand in hand always.

BTURNER
04-30-2009, 01:49 PM
prime matches: Goolagong vs Hingis on Clay. Connolly vs King on grass.

CEvertFan
04-30-2009, 03:44 PM
prime matches: Goolagong vs Hingis on Clay. Connolly vs King on grass.


Very interesting match ups. I'd be interested to know who you think would have the upper hand between Goolagong and Hingis on clay and Connolly and King on grass.

flying24
04-30-2009, 04:02 PM
Clay isnt the best surface of either Goolagong or Hingis. That is an interesting surface to choose them to meet on. Why pick them to meet somewhere neither player is that great. Goolagong was the 2nd best clay courter of the dreadful mid-late 70s clay court field which Evert thoroughly decimated, but that isnt saying much. She is much better on grass, and likely much better on hard courts. Hingis is far better on any type of hard court surface than clay. Probably even better on grass than clay, she just had some better results on clay since there were more bigger hitters in her way on grass during her era. Goolagong made virtually no impact vs Evert on clay, and losing a French Open final in easy straight sets to Billie Jean King (I am sure everyone is aware of BJK's struggles on clay) doesnt exactly speak highly to her prowess or consistency on the surface.

Hingis on the other hand is an overrated clay courter. She couldnt even win the French Open during a time where Graf, Seles, and Sanchez Vicario were all past their primes (97-2001) and before Henin, Clijsters, and Serena really emerged on the surface. Under her watch Majoli, a past her prime Sanchez, an nearly retired Graf, and Capriati all won French Opens.

So I have no idea who would win that, but it wouldnt be amazing clay court tennis from two players who are far from top notch clay courters.

BTURNER
04-30-2009, 06:20 PM
Flying : I want to magnify their creativity. Because both are definitely capable and competent of long rallies and the slower surface would demand the ultimate in their variety and creativity to win points. Just imagining the kinds of implosive angles, short and deep play and volleys. One would truly see every single shot and spin in the game both two handed and one handed backhands and volleys. who could guess what the australian would do, or how Hingis would reply but neither would win much with brute power, both are very quick and surefooted. It would be fun tennis!!!

Evertfan: King would beat Connolly (wild guess, because she did so well against baseliners on grass and was so shrewd about knowing just how to attack the individual weaknesses of their game and take them our of their comfort zone with soft stuff. Tactical genius! )

I think Hingis would beat Goolagong a bare majority in a series. She passed so well and controlled rallies so brilliantly when not overpowered. Her mental lapese were shorter. If Evonne was on one of her glorious streaks, poor Hingis! God both matches would be magnificent shotmaking extravaganzas!

grafselesfan
04-30-2009, 07:11 PM
Hmmm everything I aware of Connoly gives me the impression Connoly of the early 50s was so scary it might be hard for any of the other greatest women players in history to beat her on any surface those few years. Based on scorelines and complete monopoly of the field she essentialy turned the early 50s into the 20s and 30s with Lenglen and Wills, except the players she was facing were much better than what Lenglen and Wills were facing back then obviously.

She essentialy played with the same insane groundstroke descrutive power, precision, and timing combined with the same intensity and mental toughness as Seles of the early 90s except did so a full 40 years earlier. Given that 3 of the 4 slams were on grass back during her complete dominance she obviously did not share Monica's discomfort of grass in the slightest.

Xuxa Kuerten
04-30-2009, 07:43 PM
I don't have a deep knowledge about women's tennis, but shouldn't Maria Bueno be on this top 10 list suggested by the OP? She won wimbledon 3 times, reached another 2 finals, and also won 5 times in doubles, being runner-up once. I think she deserved an honorable mention here.

grafselesfan
04-30-2009, 07:44 PM
I don't have a deep knowledge about women's tennis, but shouldn't Maria Bueno be on this top 10 list suggested by the OP? She won wimbledon 3 times, reached another 2 finals, and also won 5 times in doubles, being runner-up once. I think she deserved an honorable mention here.

Who would be taken off this list to put Bueno on?

Xuxa Kuerten
04-30-2009, 08:46 PM
Who would be taken off this list to put Bueno on?

That's a tough question, not only because all contenders were really great on that field, but due to the fact that I've never seen half of them play. Results alone, I would say Bueno was superior to Goolagong (unfortunately I've never seen her play for more than five minutes on youtube). Bueno played superb tennis; she was one of those few players (men and women) that were able to play agressively and then in the subsequent point use the most sensitive touch that could be imagined. Some say here in Brazil that she played a true "aristocratic tennis"due to her extremely graceful, but firm strokes. She was one of the best volleyers I've ever seen (and I've had only the oportunity to watch her live a few years ago, when she was already above 60 yo). So I really think she could be on that list.

tintin
05-01-2009, 09:51 AM
I'd pay $$$ to watch A.Mauresmo vs V.Williams if both of them are healthy and playing well at the same time ;)

crabgrass
05-01-2009, 10:19 AM
That's a tough question, not only because all contenders were really great on that field, but due to the fact that I've never seen half of them play. Results alone, I would say Bueno was superior to Goolagong (unfortunately I've never seen her play for more than five minutes on youtube). Bueno played superb tennis; she was one of those few players (men and women) that were able to play agressively and then in the subsequent point use the most sensitive touch that could be imagined. Some say here in Brazil that she played a true "aristocratic tennis"due to her extremely graceful, but firm strokes. She was one of the best volleyers I've ever seen (and I've had only the oportunity to watch her live a few years ago, when she was already above 60 yo). So I really think she could be on that list.

it's ironic you mention goolagong of all players because when you talk about graceful both goolagong and bueno might be the first 2 players that come to mind.

Xuxa Kuerten
05-01-2009, 10:34 AM
it's ironic you mention goolagong of all players because when you talk about graceful both goolagong and bueno might be the first 2 players that come to mind.

I agree with you! As I've said, I mentioned Goolagong based on results alone, and because I haven't watch 5 of 10 players selected by the OP, so I just couldn't pick one of them based on their talent.

thalivest
05-01-2009, 10:43 AM
Ahh but there wasnt even room for Goolagong on my original poll choices either. For Bueno to be included someone else would have needed to be omited. I guess this just shows how many truly great grass court players there are in the games history. It was hard to leave Dorothy Douglas Chambers and Alice Marble off too. Bueno and Osborne Du Pont are outstanding grass court players too. Serena is even an amazing grass court player who while lucky to be in the era she is in in many ways is unlucky to be in her sister's era on grass.

Xuxa Kuerten
05-01-2009, 03:16 PM
Ahh but there wasnt even room for Goolagong on my original poll choices either. For Bueno to be included someone else would have needed to be omited. I guess this just shows how many truly great grass court players there are in the games history. It was hard to leave Dorothy Douglas Chambers and Alice Marble off too. Bueno and Osborne Du Pont are outstanding grass court players too. Serena is even an amazing grass court player who while lucky to be in the era she is in in many ways is unlucky to be in her sister's era on grass.

Yeah, that's true, I agree with most that you've said. Unfortunately nowadays I guess only Williams's sisters and Sharapova (if she continues to play) feel totally comfortable on that field. Oh, and I didn't know that the "US Open" of the sixties was played on grass (at least is what I've found on wikipedia. So Maria Esther has 7 grand slam titles on grass (not only 3, as I've supposed before, because I was only counting Wimbledon). It's quite interesting to see that the best brazilian players of all time were specialists on opposing surfaces.

julesb
05-01-2009, 10:13 PM
Why is there no poll option for Seles!?! I am not voting since there isnt an option for the true best female grass court player ever.

DMan
05-01-2009, 10:17 PM
Flying : I want to magnify their creativity. Because both are definitely capable and competent of long rallies and the slower surface would demand the ultimate in their variety and creativity to win points. Just imagining the kinds of implosive angles, short and deep play and volleys. One would truly see every single shot and spin in the game both two handed and one handed backhands and volleys. who could guess what the australian would do, or how Hingis would reply but neither would win much with brute power, both are very quick and surefooted. It would be fun tennis!!!

Evertfan: King would beat Connolly (wild guess, because she did so well against baseliners on grass and was so shrewd about knowing just how to attack the individual weaknesses of their game and take them our of their comfort zone with soft stuff. Tactical genius! )

I think Hingis would beat Goolagong a bare majority in a series. She passed so well and controlled rallies so brilliantly when not overpowered. Her mental lapese were shorter. If Evonne was on one of her glorious streaks, poor Hingis! God both matches would be magnificent shotmaking extravaganzas!

I agree. I also disagree that Evonne made no impact vs Evert on clay.

Evonne beat Chris in 2 clay finals in 1973, including Chris' last lost before her 125 match winning streak. Evonne crushed Chris in the 1973 Italian Open final 76,60. They also staged a very close, tough final at the 1975 US Open, with Chris barely winning 57,64,62.

BTURNER
05-01-2009, 10:41 PM
Here's the WHOLE clay record.
1973 SARASOTA CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 6-3 6-2
1973 MIAMI CLASSIC CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 3-6 6-3 6-2
1973 ST PETERSBURG CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 6-2 0-6 6-4
1973 ITALIAN OPEN CLAY (O) F E. GOOLAGONG CAWLEY 7-6 6-0
1973 CINCINNATI CLAY (O) F E. GOOLAGONG CAWLEY 6-2 7-5
1974 SARASOTA CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 6-4 6-0
1974 HILTON HEAD CLAY (O) Q C. EVERT 6-2 6-3
1974 SEA PINES CLAY (O) S C. EVERT 6-2 6-1
1975 US OPEN CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 5-7 6-4 6-2
1975 SEA PINES CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 6-1 6-1
1976 US OPEN CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 6-3 6-0
1979 INDIANAPOLIS CLAY (O) F C. EVERT 6-4 6-3
1982 CITIZEN CUP CLAY (O) S C. EVERT 5-7 6-1 6-4
1983 FRENCH OPEN CLAY (O) R32 C. EVERT 6-2 6-2

so Evert won 12 matches, Evonne won 2. Evert won 24 sets. Evonne won 8. Evonne was only competitive in 1973. After 1973 she won 2 sets out of the next 20 she played. I think those victories in that first years show that Evonne could rally on clay and slide well and her variety of shot confounded Evert. Once As Evert's tactical sense matured, the jig was up.

flying24
05-01-2009, 10:49 PM
1973 was not prime Evert. 1978 and beyond was not prime Evonne (she didnt play 1977). So prime Evert vs prime Evonne on clay was 6-0 Evert with Evonne winning only 1 set. In the other 5 encounters Evonne got between 2-5 games. I dont count that as "making much impact" vs Evert on clay. That means she basically equals the impact Jana Novotna or Manuela Maleeva made vs Graf on clay.

BTURNER
05-01-2009, 10:56 PM
I agree. Evert had her arsenal by 1973, but not the match experience. EVonne could be a stressful player to play. She was athletic and unpredictible and superb at times. I mean 2 love sets against Evert is impressive no matter how young she was.

flying24
05-01-2009, 11:13 PM
I agree. Evert had her arsenal by 1973, but not the match experience. EVonne could be a stressful player to play. She was athletic and unpredictible and superb at times. I mean 2 love sets against Evert is impressive no matter how young she was.

True on all counts. Evert in 72 and 73 was alot like Graf in 86 and 87, and to a lesser extent Navratilova in 75 and 77. Able to beat everyone but not in the biggest matches yet. That obviously has alot to do with experiencing those situations and the right mental approach needed.

Evonne no doubt was a very talented player and a good clay court player. Beating Evert twice on clay in 73 is still impressive as Evert in 72 was already murdering King and many others on clay. Evonne had the right strokes for clay for sure, but a big part of clay court tennis was concentration and determination, two areas that were quite her forte.

Now that you explained it in more depth though I do see how a match between Evonne and Martina H. could be wonderful to match. It is not the surface they are most effective vs their main competition, but it is a surface their artistry and whole arsenal of shots could be on full display nonetheless. Especialy vs the other one as they neither would really have to worry too much about being overpowered. I think another problem Evonne and Martina H. didnt have their best results on clay is they didnt have quite enough power to hit through the clay vs their main rivals, they needed that extra speed from the court to put the ball past the big hitters or the lightning fast retrievers. In addition Martina H.'s ability to take the ball so early which she needed vs the bigger hitters wasnt as effective on clay. Against each other though such factors would not be as relevant, and it could just be wonderfully creative and constructed tennis points.

120mphBodyServe
05-02-2009, 04:39 AM
Graf.. The End.

grafselesfan
05-04-2009, 03:44 PM
I voted for Graf. If she had stayed healthy after 1996 she would have beaten Martina's record of 9 Wimbledons by winning atleast 10. It was only injury that kept her from claiming this record from Martina. I also think she wins 6 out of 10 with both in their primes in grass, although it would be an extremely close matchup.

jimbo333
05-04-2009, 04:07 PM
I voted for Graf. If she had stayed healthy after 1996 she would have beaten Martina's record of 9 Wimbledons by winning atleast 10. It was only injury that kept her from claiming this record from Martina. I also think she wins 6 out of 10 with both in their primes in grass, although it would be an extremely close matchup.

IF mate, if!!!

But she didn't. Martina is the GOAT on grass, and for once the TW voting public agree:):)