A look at the best female players never to win the French Open

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Laurie, May 28, 2012.

  1. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Probably deserves to be on it's own as a thread


    We have taken a look at the best male players never to win the French Open and now it is time to look at the ladies to never win the tournament. Like the men, some of the best female players have failed to win the title, showing once again what a unique surface European clay has proven to be for the very best players in the Open era.

    http://burnstennis.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/look-at-best-female-players-never-to.html
     
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Alice Marble, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams are some choices.
     
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  3. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Most of the greatest women of the Open era have won the French, but Venus Wiliams is one of the best not to have. Virginia Wade was a champ elsewhere. Hingis definitely should have won. I would have figured Sabatini could have won there. Also Kim Clijsters and perhaps Sharapova could be mentioned. Maria has a chance to win this year.
     
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Always thought the Clijsters game was perfectly suited to win the French. It appears now that she may never win it. It's a shame.
     
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  5. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Given her era (and how she was the lapdog for Seles and Graf, and to a lesser extent Sanchez Vicario), I can't say that Conchita Martinez "should" have won the French Open, but that she has a Wimbledon and no French Open is odd. A great clay court player without a French title, but she did make the final.
     
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  6. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Conchita should have won the 1995 French. It was hers to lose that year and she blew it. Despite playing 45% as well as her other clay matches that year she barely lost to Graf in 3 sets in the semis, and Graf went on to win an easier final vs Sanchez Vicario who Martinez had beaten 6-3, 6-1 on clay in the Rome final. 1997, 1998, 2000, were all good chances for her to.
     
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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Gaby Sabatini was an excellent clay court player who never won the French but came close to beating Graf in the semi in 1987. Who knows what would have happened if she reached the final against Navratilova that year.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
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  8. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Poor Gaby, even the two years she barely lost in the semis after leading, to Graf in 87, and Seles in 92, she would have still probably lost the finals of both, to Navratilova in 87 and Graf in 92. Womens tennis was just so tough them and she was probably the biggest victim.
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Well Gaby can console herself at least by knowing she may have been the most popular female player in tennis at the time.
     
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  10. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I love that the thread title states "a look at the best female....". Fair makes my night.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Definitely Martina Hingis.5 times a GS champion but never at Paris...ask the french crowd, the referee and, maybe also Steffi Graf....
     
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  12. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I am always tough on Gaby for not winning the French. But I really pulled for her in so many years. I remember picking her to win it in 1989.

    I think NadalAgassi has a legit point about her competition on clay. She lost great SF matches in 1987 and 1992, but would have faced tough odds against two legends.

    Her real opportunity may have been 1988-1990. She would've beaten Zvereva in 1988 and the loss to Mary Joe in 1989 made no sense other than the fact that those two had a great rivalry. 1990 was more understandable given her poor start to that year.
     
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  13. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    1988- True but she was well beaten in her semifinal with Graf. It was fairly close, but she wasnt ever close to winning like the 87 and 92 semis, and she played well in the semifinal defeat.

    1989- Her loss to Mary Joe isnt that surprising when one looks at their history. Fernandez was her nemisis, especialy in slams. Largely since Gaby`s topspin was a blessing for Fernandez`s flat hitting, she could hit flatter more easily than vs almost anyone else. Even if she won that she would have had to beat both a red hot Sanchez who went on to upset Graf in the final, and peak Graf who would never underestimate Gaby like she probably did both young Seles and Sanchez in the semis and final.

    1990- Probably her best chance but her form wasnt any good at the time so not really.

    I think her best chance might have been 1991. She had beaten Seles 6-3, 6-2 in the Rome final and had a long win streak over Graf at the time. She played a poor tournament though, getting crushed by Novotna before an atypical Jana choke then playing an abysmal semifinal vs Seles. 1991 or 1988. Maybe even 1993 where despite that she was already past her prime a bit, if she had closed out Fernandez she would have had poor Sanchez and mediocre Graf in the semis and finals.
     
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  14. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Virginia Wade was a fave of mine. Even though she won the Italian I think she would've been over her head in Paris with Court, Evert, or Evonne in the field.

    Its still hard to believe that Hingis lost the 1997 final. That match is a reminder that nothing is a given.

    I haven't watched much women's tennis since 2000, but Venus might be the best to have never won it.
     
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  15. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    The surprise to me in 1989 was that Mary Joe had not quite come into her own yet. Plus Gaby was serving so big the last time I had seen her at Amelia beating Graf.

    I think Mary Joe and Gaby had one of the more underated rivalries. I always enjoyed their matches. Do you think Mary Joe's height helped her with Gaby's topspin?
     
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  16. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Marble for sure. She was the heir to Moody that never got the chance to fully take the throne due to WWII. She never even played it did she? Off the top of my head I do not know that she did.

    Kim for sure. Despite her saying she did not like clay she was deadly.when focused on it. 2001 was a giant blown oppurtunity, she should have won that final, she gagged epically after a dominating first set. She had chances in the third and blew them all. Had she won that match I think her entire career would have gone.different. That match set her back and started a 4 year period of being a headcase in big matches or just allowing herself to be steamrolled. Had she won....I think 2003 at the least would have been different

    Venus...well..I like.Venus but she is no where close to the best to never win the French. She only made a final because of a lucky path that apart from Seles had nobody. She never has been suited to clay.and would struggle against even much lower ranked opponents on it. The only year apart from 2002 she was close to a contender was 2004 and she lost their as well. She lost in the first round in 2001 after her breakout 2000. She is not great on clay.and would not even the top 5 people...maybe not even top 10 tp never win the French.
     
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  17. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Just saw the article lists Davenport?! Again, like Venus I love Davenport but in terms of her clay court Prowess she does not deserve to be mentioned as the best to have never won the French. Clijsters (although she beat her there), Hingis, Gabby, MJ, Conchita...even Safina, Dementieva, and Petrova are arguably better to argue than Lindsay. I understand that it is the one that got away for her and that is why she is mentioned...but that really is not much to base the argument on.
     
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  18. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Gabby was even money or better with any player on clay in Amelia Island (completely owned poor Graf here) , Hilton Head and Rome. Matter of fact the only surface she ever beat Seles on was clay 2 or 3 times. She never won a single big match at RG, no matter who she beat in Rome weeks earlier. It was definitely mental IMHO. Year after year she won or was a finalist on green clay in the States, got to the finals in Italy and somehow managed to loose in the semis to the same people: Sanchez, Graf, Seles or Martinez. Not a single victory against any of them in Paris.
     
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  19. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    But the topic wasn't the best clay court players amongst the women to never win the French, it was just simply the best women players to never win the French.

    If the topic had been the 1st I could see your point but since it's the 2nd I'd definitely put her on the list - Davenport has 4 year end #1 rankings and she won more singles titles than most players (55) and more than any of the current active women, including Serena and Venus.

    Granted, she probably would never have won the French but she IS indeed one of the best women to never have won it.
     
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  20. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Like I said, I know was mentioned because she won all the other majors. I Know Venus was mentioned because of all she won. My point is that looking at it from that point of view is one thing, but if you look at their actual clay court ability and achievement, they shouldnt be mentioned in the same sentence alongside people like Conchita and Gabby, who despite acheiving less in their overall careers were WAY better clay.court players. In terms of what she acheived in her career you could say its a shame she never figured out how to win it, but she never had the.skills, movement, or fitness to win the thing and even with her whole career, that does.not really merit a mention because in terms of her claycourt ability she honestly.never had a prayer. At least you.could loom at Gabby and.go " with the right circumstances..." Lindsay...you couldn't even do that. Venus either really. I would have based a list on clay.ability...which apart from the inclusion of those 2 they actually sort.of did.
     
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  21. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    To me, there's a big difference in beating a Graf, King, etc. in Rome, Eastbourne, or Mahwah and beating them in a slam. Those are the tournaments for which every player (except maybe a Brad Gilbert or Bonnie Gadusek) tries to peak. So at least in theory that's why I think its a much bigger deal to beat the greats at a slam. I agree that its mental.

    As much as I love Amelia Island as a destination and a tournament, I would be very willing to never win there or Rome or Berlin as long as I could win Roland Garros. But, of course, I'd rather win them all.

    Martina never won Rome or Berlin - and she spent a lot of energy late in her career trying to win Rome out of respect for that tournament. But she has two French titles (so close to being 5) to back up her clay court prowess with.
     
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  22. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    This is what is so complicated about these topics. Do you go with best overall players to not win something even if on the surface they were hardly worthy, best on the surface, or a combination of both. I agree it does seem comical to refer to Davenport as one of the best to not win the French, even though in theory that is correct, but as a clay courter she isnt worth a French title, in fact it would be a shame in a way if she won one.
     
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  23. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Sabatini beat Navratilova 7-6, 6-1 in Rome in '87
     
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  24. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Martinez, Sabatini, Hingis and Clijsters to me are the most talented players never to have won the French Open.

    Clijsters's attitude on clay has been annoying. I still think that she should have been the second best player of her generation on clay after Henin. I believe she was a more talented player on the surface than the likes of Serena and Kuznetsova.

    Venus has won quite a lot of clay court titles but I still I've never really rated her that highly on clay. She only made it beyond the quarter-finals at the French Open once in 2002, when she played Clarisa Fernandez in the semi-finals.
     
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  25. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Pretty much means nothing with her though. She beat Seles 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4, 7-5 at Rome in 91 and 92 and lost at the French both times. She beat Graf twice on clay in 88 but lost to her in straight sets in the French Open semis. In big matches Navratilova, Graf, Seles, and even Sanchez made Gaby their poodle.
     
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  26. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis, Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Martinez come to mind.
     
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  27. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    :-?
    I recently saw that match and it was a great win and milestone for Gaby. But one thing I noticed is that Rome was the first tournament where Martina used the disguised Dunlop which was a vastly different weighted racquet than her old light Yonex. It took Martina until midway through the French to get used to it on her volley. It clearly helped her groundstrokes though which were too light and wispy under heavier clay conditions with the Yonex.

    Also Martina may have played so well vs. Steffi because she was so motivated to avenge the Lipton loss. So I am not sure how Martina would've played vs. Gaby in Paris. We'll never know but I still tabor Martina in this situation.

    Think about this though: What might have been altered had Gaby won a slam before Steffi? I suspect it would have had a minimal effect on Steffi who would've still achieved so much. But what would that shot of confidence have done for Gaby's career 1987-1989?

    I dunno ....
     
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  28. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ^have you seen this match? sounds like an exciting match.

    1990 Rome Italian Open SF - Martina Navratilova d. Gabriela Sabatini 76 75
     
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  29. nat75

    nat75 Rookie

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    Just look at the boost of confidence she got after the Us Open. Although would just have been happy if she had won Wimbledon.
     
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  30. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    Just out of curiosity because I'm too lazy to look it up.

    I've heard many times that Navratilova stopped playing the FO in her later years to focus on Wimbledon. But as referenced in the above posts she played in Rome in the late 80s and early 90s. One would think if she played the Italian Open she would wind up playing the FO too. But were there years she only played Rome and skipped Paris? If so that would be very odd. Why wouldn't she just skip the whole red clay season in that case?
     
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  31. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I have seen that match. Gaby had a bad start to 1990 but did put her best foot forward in Rome. Martina said herself that she possibly played her best clay court match in years. It took something out of her though as she showed up for the final completely flat.
     
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  32. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    She did play several green clay events as well as Rome and a couple of Spanish tournaments 1989-1993. I think she partially did this to have some match play before the grass court events. Also I think her Lotto clothing contract may have required her to play Rome.

    I remember some Aussies in the 70s and 80s that would play a clay tournament before Wimbledon believing it would sharpen their groundies.
     
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  33. srinrajesh

    srinrajesh Guest

    Hingis, Clijsters, Sabatini, Davenport, Venus
     
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