Any love at all for Conchita Martinez?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by bluetrain4, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I always enjoyed watching her play. A nuanced, varied game of different speeds, spins, heights. Some great passing shots, and she could do a little damage off of her forehand if she chose to.

    A stellar career on paper - 33 titles on all surfaces, including 9 Tier 1.
    Wimbledon champion, of course, but also a finalist at the AO and French Open. Additionally, 9 more Slam SFs (including 2 more at Wimbledon) and 11 more Slam QFs. 22 Runner-ups, 11 doubles titles, Fed Cup titles.

    And, she did all of this in a very tough era. She was a "top" player of her generation if you just go by the rankings. But, clearly most people understand that she was a level below the very top players.

    So, she's never really talked about, and that's understandable. Some people begrudingly achnowledge her Wimbledon title, since the draw did really open up for her. But, she probably should have a French Open under her belt, so it sort of evens out.

    And, for all of her accomplishments, her record against Graf (1-13) and Seles (1-20) was awful, though she had some really good matches in all those losses. Nonetheless people rightfully don't take her as seriously as if she had a better record against those players (even something like 4-10 vs. Graf, for example).

    She was also 0-3 vs. Venus, 0-5 vs. Serena, and 0-7 vs. Henin. Not as problematic as most of those matches came after she was at her prime, but it sort of suggests that her game would not survive the generational shift.

    Regardless, I still like her and thought she was a great player.
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Second best forehand of her time , behind Graf.Great player, talented and, certainly, not someone who would train for hours.She was disciplient most of the time, but was a great player, very clean groundies and one of the best of the 90´s, arguable the msot competitive era for women´s tennis.

    She and Sanchez won tons of Fed Cups for Spain.More important than that, she and Arancha put tennis in spanish map for ladies, much like Santana and Gimeno did for men´s tennis 30 years before.
     
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  3. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    I liked Conchita too. She didn't adapt her game well enough to different opponents and surfaces though. I wish she used her topspin backhand more often - her slice while sometimes effective often landed short in the court and was very attackable. Her forehand was a terrific weapon on clay but it was too long of a backswing to be effective on hard court especially against the hard hitting baseline blasters. You never got the sense that she put in enough time off the court to really get fit or that she even wanted to get to #1. A lot of my criticisms of Conchita apply to Sabatini too. To me they were almost the same player although Sabatini was fitter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
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  4. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Though she primarily used a pretty loopy forehand, it seems like earlier in her career she mixed it up more and was more aggressive with her forehand, flattening the trajectory out a little bit and driving it a little bit more Not all the time, but enough to make a difference.

    Later in her career she seemed to shy away from doing so, and tried to frustrate everyone with her loopy forehands followed by slice backhands (which, admittedly, worked a lot over the years). She did his in a FO quarterfinal vs. Clijsters and got steamrolled. I kept on wondering why, if the loopy-slice strategy wasn't working to disrupt Clijsters rhythm, Conchita wasn't more aggresive on the forehand, as she could be.

    The Wimbledon final vs. Navratilova also showed that she could do damage on her backhand, since she was basically forced to come over it and hit it harder.
     
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  5. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

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    I liked her game a lot, but she lacked a couple of things and was misfortunate to be the number 2 in Spain (the more talented player though than ASV) and she lacked the charm and elegance of a Gabriela Sabatini and she lacked -no-mattr-what-the-odds-I-am-not-going-to-lose attitude of a Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. Her backhand was a thing of beauty, in those days the women were far better at the technical aspect of the game than now, and she was a stylish player.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.The 10 best players of the 90´s would eat up the 10 best players of 2000´s, except for Henin and Serena Williams.But the rest of the field is not at the same level (Hingis,Seles,Graf;Davenport)
     
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  7. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Talented player, but not really a standout. She was fun to watch and certainly had a lot of variety but also tended to lose her head sometimes and then try and moonball herself out of trouble, which never worked out for her. Her topspin forehand was a stellar shot though. She never really got the hang of flattening out and firing them deep and often left the ball short, players like Graf and Seles thus had a field day when she did this and used it to drive her around the court and overpower her.

    Still despite her weaknesses she won Wimbledon (with some luck) and had 3 very decent shots at the French in '95, '96 and '00. However in 2 of them she got beaten by Steffi would she never had a great game plan against and thus always got pushed around because Steffi pummeled her spin. Then in 2000 against Pierce she was well past her prime and her once amazing shots were lackluster and had no oomph.

    Good player but she never had the confidence or total knowhow to fully use what she had to be better then just good. She never cashed in on her chances at the majors except Wimbledon in 94. Even if you want to say she had more talent then Vicario...Vicario was tougher mentally and had more self confidence in big matches then Conchita did.
     
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  8. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I agree about the ASV comparison. I think some people think Martinez is more talented simply because he shots are more fluid and better looking. But, ASV really knew what she was doing, could frustrate with variety like Martinez, but also had bulldog tenacity.

    I thought the 1995 French Open, Martinez had a great chance to beat Steffi in a slam. That's the year she made all 4 Slam semis and after losing the first set to Graf in the semis, she won the second and I thought she may win the match, but she lost 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.

    I'll repeat my point about the forehand. She never hit it "flat", but she could certainly increase the pace and decrease the trajectory and mix it up with the loopy moonballs. But, she just didn't do it enough at the right times, especially later in her career. And, watch that Wimbledon final against Navratilova and all of the driving backhand passing shots she hit at every angle. She could have tried to purposely bring players in more and then attempt the pass or the lob. Of course, not all the time, but to disrupt rhythm, to mix it up.

    She had a heck of a "second tier" career just below the greats of her era.

    That she has a Wimbledon title and no French Open title is sort of mind boggling, but she really was no slouch on grass. That win wasn't her only good Wimbledon performance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
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  9. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I think Conchita could have done much more in her career if she had the brain and guts of Vicario for sure. I am not sure she had more overall talent, but I will say I think some things came more naturally to her and she looked nicer in certain areas of her game. She however was not good at using her weapons to the best of her ability. Vicario took what she had and maximized it, Conchita took what she had and sort of got confused with it.

    She was overeliant on topspin in rallies and in some cases she became predictable. She could drive the ball deep but she wouldn't mix up her placements very well and I think adding more slice to her repetoire would have been very helpful. She sometimes made really bad decisions and in some of her matches with Steffi she tried to beat her forehand...which well...usually not smart. She has variety but she just never seemed to know how and when to best use it. I wish she had won a French because she was a natural on dirt and her spins really could click. But Graf was just better then her in big matches and overall tactics. Had she been fitter and younger in 2000 she might have won that one...I honestly thought she had a chance...till the match started and it was quickly clear she was past her best and was going to lose.

    I enjoyed her...but she also was annoying to watch because she was both gifted and gaffe prone.
     
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  10. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

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    Well to summ the two up, ASV made the best of what she got and Conchita did the opposite.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In a way, she reminded me a lot of Hanna Mandlikova, the czech star of the 80´s...tons of wasted talent...but, of coruse, Hanna was

    Much more talented
    Much more athletic
     
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  12. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    Martinez has a 4-1 lead against Martina Navratilova.
    Of course it was a past her prime Martina. But still her record against Martina is impressive.

    Martina is still quite competitive in early 90's before retirement.She beat Graf(suffering from family troubles) and peak Seles several times. So it is still impressive a young Martinez can dominate an old Martina.

    Is there anything special Martinez have to bother Martina?
    If both were in their prime, how would the h2h be?

    It looks to me a prime Martinez would not be dominated by a prime Martina. They can be even on h2h as Martinez has the topspin to trouble Martina sometimes.
     
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  13. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    The h2h between Conchita and Navratilova is pretty impressive. But at the same time all of Conchitas wins were on clay, in fact all of them were at the same clay court tournament(Rome). Martinas lone win was a total beatdown of Conchita and the most 1 sided match in the h2h and was also on clay.

    While it is impressive its not to surprising that Conchita with her loopy topsin centered game combined with that fact that most of their matches were on Conchitas best surface would favor her. Martina avoided clay like the plague in her later career before retirement and after 1988 only once played at the French Open (not including her attempt there in 2004).

    But it is still impressive that she straight setted her in all but one of her victories. I think though in their primes that clay would be the only surface on which Martinez would have a chance on. She needed 3 sets to beat Martina in 1994 at Wimbledon and she was in her prime while Martina had not won a major in like 6-7 years. Martina of the 1980s would not have lost to Conchita on grass and if she did if would be a rare thing. Same on hardcourts although I think Conchita would fare slightly better there. Conchita never looked totally comfortable on a slick hardcourt and her variety never came out at its best there. I think Martina would have the overall edge but on clay in their primes it would be competitive, but seeing as Conchita was never an amazing big match player I do not know how well she would really do. She did well outside the majors but had massive trouble cashing in at them.
     
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  14. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Conchita was fun to watch, nice different game, tough competitor, loved seeing her beat Martina in the Wimbledon final, huge win for her over the old dragon. Conchita had a lot of trouble with Graf and Seles and was kind of in the second tier behind them, kind of like Murray now, but she was able to eke out that one big major win. I liked her rhythm and demeanor on court, sometimes she got whiny, didn't mind that at all. Great player who has kind of been forgotten.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t think we will have as much variety and class all together as in the 90´s ( talking about girls).Evert,Court,King,Goolagong,Navratilova,Austin,Mandlikova and wade were great players that developed the pro tour and put it into the big audiences, equalling with men´s golden era.For ladies, I´d say golden era includes Martina Hingis,Monica Seles,Steffi Graf,Jana Novotna,Venus and Serena Williams,Justine Henin,Kim Clijsters,Anna Kournikova,Gabriela Sabatini,Mary Pierce, Arancha Sanchez,Lindsay Davenport,Conchita Martinez and Jennifer Capriati.maybe MJ Fernandez, too.It is much more boring and no charachters right now, even if some of the russian and eastern european countries have a few great players.
     
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  16. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Graf had a 4-1 2nd set lead & served for it at 5-4, made a bunch of errors to get broken. She lost that set more than Conchita won it. Match was pretty much always on her racquet.

    unforced errors
    Graf - 67
    Martinez - 49
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
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  17. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    Not really, no.
     
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  18. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Really enjoyed her style - which frame(s) did she - was her last frame a Head?
     
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  19. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Agreed - bored me to tears.......meh
     
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  20. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    Why Martinez has a bad h2h record against Sanchez?

    I can understand she can't compete with Graf or Seles as their power is a bit too much for her. But Sanchez basically is a similar player as Martinez and Martinez has a little more variety. Why she has a terrible h2h against Sanchez as well?

    It is really boring to watch a match between these 2 players. When they meet on court, they tend to moonball to death, and usually it is Sanchez survives the moonballing war at the end. And I always already go to bed before the end of their match because their matches always make me feel like to sleep.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sanchez was menthally stronger and their rivalry had been intense since both were extremely young.It is a jinx, like it happens so often when two players have been playing one against the other since very young.Look at Hingis and Kournikova or Hoad vs Rosewall...
     
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  22. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I think there is no better way to say it. I still liked Conchita 10 times more than Arantxa though. When she believed in herself, she was really a great player to watch. Sometimes, I could even enjoy watching her moonball her opponents to death. It could be a lot of fun to watch.
    Sanchez, though, was just incredibly boring to watch for me. I could never understand why people always had to compare those two.
     
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  23. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Graf was incapable of avoiding a high number of unforced errors in a highly comeptitive long match with a top clay courter ever. In the 92 French Open final she had 66 unforced errors to 33 for Seles and still nearly won, would you say that match was always on her racquet as well. She had 69 unforced errors in the epic 96 French final with Sanchez Vicario. Something like 50 even vs her pigeon Mary Joe Fernandez in the 93 French Open final.

    Martinez in the second half of the 2nd set and the first half of the 3rd set was better than Graf at any point of the match that particular day. She ended the 2nd set with the same # of winners as Graf, most of those in the final 8 games of the set (including the tiebreaker). Given Martinez's form and momentum going into the French and the semifinal round, and that neither Sanchez or Graf were at their best, I definitely think the French was hers to lose that year. Not that it was surprising she managed to blow it at the end. Her semifinal with Graf was by far her worst match of the whole spring and she still came from way behind and had chances to win in 3.
     
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  24. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Sanchez was a better retriever, was faster, was much fitter, and was much mentally tougher. Martinez had more variety from the baseline, but Sanchez was much better at the net.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sanchez would never beat Navratilova on grass.Conchita did it.On the other hand, conchita would never beat Steffi on clay.Arancha did it.
     
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  26. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    I was and still am a big fan of Conchita Martinez. Got her autograpgh a couple of years ago at Wimbledon.

    A video I uploaded two years ago, enjoy this sick stop volley.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f2_ePnMX3A
     
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  27. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I respectfully disagree.

    Conchita only played Steffi 2 times on clay after 1990. She nearly won 1 of the 2. I am sure if she played Steffi nearly as many times on clay as Sanchez did she would have beaten her. She probably would have at Rome 96 if Steffi didnt lose to a 15 year old Hingis (who then went on to lose 6-0, 6-3 in the final to Martinez).

    Beating a 37 year old Navratilova on grass is no superhuman feat. In the previous 3 years at that point 15 year old Capriati, Linda Harvey Wild, grass court demon Monica Seles, and Martina's pigeon Jana Novotna had all managed it, and then Conchita. Sanchez Vicario probably would have beaten Martina at Wimbledon 94 if they played in fact.

    However if you feel so strongly about what you said, what do you think are the differences in their games that would make that so.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sanchez never had a shot like Conchita´s forehand.Her shots were at max. decent.She had legs ( which Conchita didn´t have), a great tactical sense ( second only to Hingis IMO) and great fighting atittude, which Martinez never had.A combination of Sanchez&Martinez, with all their strengths and none of their many weakness would make a fine tennis player.
     
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  29. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    True, but only one of those aspects really counts IMO: she was a pitbull on the court. Mental toughness and killer instinct was the big difference. Sanchez' better fitness and speed wouldn't have been enough to compensate all the shortcomings of her game (compared to Martinez).
    Martinez, like Sabatini, had one big problem: lack of self-belief and lack of killer instinct. Unfortunately, with that kind of problem, you always underachieve. Sanchez, on the opposite, had those things more than anyone else. I think that she overachieved big time, and it still makes me sad to see her as a former number one and a 4 slams winner, while Martinez (and even more Sabatini) are in the category of the one Slam wonders, but that's how it works.
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agreed.Very much agreed.In fact, the Sanchez family never had talent (Arantxa,Emilio and Javier) but were fit and great fighting spirit, with Arantxa as the epythome.

    Well, her parents were extremely talented for abusing of Arantxa´s incomes...and Emilio certainly had talent for business since his school of tennis is probably the best in Spain.
     
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  31. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    Is Sanchez tactical sense that great?

    If she has the tactical sense second only to Hingis, why she was dominated by one-dimensional powerful attacker Seles while Hingis can dominate Seles?
    I think Hingis has better ability to hit the ball to unusual positions or drop shot it. Sanchez game is more predicable and Seles can prepare for it.
     
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  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Completely agreed.No comparative possible between both.
     
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  33. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    LOL.
    Seriously, I'm not even sure that they abused Arantxa's money. She has 3 siblings, and none of them is on her side. I would be inclined to think that in her eagerness to get married, she fell in the arms of a man who particularly loves her money.
     
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  34. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Remember though Hingis was at her best as Seles was on decline and past her prime. Sanchez and Seles both began to decline at the same time, mid 1996 or so, so there was no opportunity for a peak Sanchez to face a fading Seles.
     
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  35. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    I think even in her prime Seles would still have big trouble facing Hingis. Their first match is in early 1996, when Hingis was just 15 and Seles just won the Aus.
    But Seles was completely dominated and defeated by a pre-prime Hingis by 6-2,6-0. Seles hit hard in that match but somehow her pattern is well predicted and handled by Hingis. Hingis used her smart game to make Seles' power become useless.
    You feel like Seles was just toyed by a young Hingis on court and cannot do anything but surrender to Hingis' smart game.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky2f_JU1H5Q
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb7PdwIcvLo&feature=relmfu
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hingis always had that wonderful smile while crushing you...
     
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