Best number 1 & 2 Combo in WTA history?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by boredone3456, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    Ok...we give the current women a lot of flack and knock them around for their bount of weaknesses. I'll be the first to admit that the current one two combo is probably one of the worst quality wise that womens tennis has ever seen...

    but...to try and discuss something positive...which is getting hard around here...

    If you could go back and grab any #1 & 2 from a point of history on the rankings, what #1 & 2 would you consider the strongest combo to hold the spots? I know there are some obvious choices....

    Navratilova/Evert
    Seles/Graf

    But any others that were strong or stand out for a reason, whatever that reason may be? like contrasting styles, approaches, their rivalry?

    I say this grasping at straws for something good to say about womens tennis...haha...
     
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Is it just WTA history or in the history of Women's tennis? If it's the history of Women's tennis we could argue a number of others like Court/King, Lenglen/Wills etc.
     
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  3. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    I would have no problem taking it through womens tennis history. Obviously Court/King is a powerful combo and the domination of Lenglen/Wills is enough to make them a threat if you hand them modern technology and time to play with it. Even a Combo like Connolly/Hart would probably be very formidable. I just thought of WTA history first because there is a lot more ranking data to go on from the time of its inception. But someone like you who is very versed in the history, feel free to use all of Womens Tennis History to draw on.
     
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  4. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Easily Graf/Navratilova summer 1989.
     
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  5. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    Yes Graf/Nav 1987-89 is amazing. Probably the 2 greatest players ever in women tennis history.
     
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  6. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    Not a bad choice, but I wouldn't say its easily that combination. Some choices of mine that aren'ts really terrible either...

    Navratilova/Evert- Strong, consistent, and 2 very different styles of tennis, mentally strong, fit...a powerful one two punch

    Seles/Graf- Seles was a fighter, she never gave in, Graf was athletic, graceful, all around threat...not a bad duo.

    King/Court- Relentless S&V tennis, ability to read a court, great weapons, and a fierce one on one rivalry.

    Lenglen/Wills- I really don't feel the need to explain this.

    Connolly/Hart- Probably underplayed, Hart was a finalist at 18 majors and only won 6, but during Connolly's career the last one to fall was usually Hart. Both were strong deep tournament finishers.

    Mauresmo/Henin- probably the last truly strong 1/2 combo. I don't think they stack that highly in comparison to others that the rankings have seen but they were both great all around players...to bad Mauresmo was mentally flakey.
     
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  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Well guys, Lenglen and Wills were contemparies. another thought, When Bueno was healthy and Court was right behind.
     
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  8. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    are you kidding me?

    it's wozniacki and zvonareva!

    lol
     
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  9. TENNISism

    TENNISism New User

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    Graf/seles
     
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  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Some other excellent 1s and 2s---BJ King/Goolagong, Evert/BJ King, Evert/Austin.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Push comes to shove I would go with Graf/Navratilova and I think the best year would be 1988. Navratilova won nine tournaments that year and I believe she was 70-7. I think Graf was 72-3 off the top of my head so the two were a combined 142-10 I think. Graf of course won the Golden Slam that year. Navratilova just the previous year won two majors and dominated tennis prior to 1987 for a number of years. Not that it means anything but in 1988 the Graf backhand returns against Navratilova during the Wimbledon final were so good that you would have thought they were hit by her husband Andre in his prime. I never saw her hit backhand returns so well.

    At first I thought for pure dominance in their time that Lenglen and Wills would be the choice. Problem is that Lenglen and Wills weren't dominant at the same times. Both these women at their peaks didn't lose for years and their match in 1927 was legendary. They were one and two for only one year in the 1920's.
     
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  12. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    Thats a very solid Choice. Graf that year was truly superb. The only one really able to touch her that year was Navratilova, which made her a fitting number 2. Evert by that time was really done with her career, she made the Australian Final that year but it was obvious her time at the top was really coming to an end after over a decade of domination of either the number 1 or 2 ranking.

    And yes....Grafs Backhand then was truly amazing, it was more then just a little slicer that she would develop later. She could definitely hit the thing with topspin and I never got why, in later years, she stopped doing so because it was such a good weapon and she certainly was good at it.

    My personal choice...I honestly don't know. This combination though it definitely on the shortlist.

    My top 5 would probably be in some order...

    Graf/Nav
    Nav/Evert
    Court/King
    Connolly/Hart
    Court/Bueno

    Another interesting pairing that comes to mind is Gibson/Fry...although I am not saying they were a combo up there with others. Gibson was definitely a talented player.
     
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  13. tennis-kid

    tennis-kid Rookie

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    YOu silly boy. Wozniacki doesn't deserve to be #1.
     
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  14. tennis-kid

    tennis-kid Rookie

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    How about Hennin vs. Clister vs. Serena Any combination of these 3. I don't remember if they were actually #1 and #2 any period. If clister is not injured she can beat up any current top rankings so does Hennin.
     
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  15. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Clister, Hennin and Serrana - the best!!
     
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  16. tennis-kid

    tennis-kid Rookie

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    yes. I am glad someone is agreeing with me:mrgreen:
     
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  17. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    It would have to be a period you have two all time great players playing their best at once.

    Evert and Navratilova in 1985

    Graf and Navratilova in 1989

    Graf and Seles in 1992

    To a lesser extent:

    Evert and Navratilova in 1984
    Evert and Navratilova in 1986
    Graf and Navratilova in 1987
    Evert and Navratilova in 1978

    Court and King were never really at their best together. Court shone brightest from 62-65, 69-70, and 73. King was at her best from 66-68 and 71-72.

    One of those would have to be the winner IMO. Of the last 20 years the choices would have to come down to:

    Venus and Serena 2002

    Serena and Henin 2003



    Overall my choice would be Navratilova and Evert 1985.
     
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  18. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Delete, I completely misread.
     
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  19. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    In 1992 Steffi had only her 9th-best (!) winning percentage.

    In 1989 Navratilova had her 6th-best.
    And in 1985 Navratilova and Evert had their 5th best year ever.

    So Steffi most certainly was not "playing her best" in 1992.
    Nevertheless she was perhaps the best #2 ever that year. So you might be right after all.
     
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  20. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    And if we then consider that a 16-year-old Graf beat Evert in March 1986 easily in two sets and never lost again to her ...
     
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  21. Coach Carter

    Coach Carter Rookie

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    I'm sure there was time when Navratilova and Graf were in some way 1 & 2...that would have been a salty pair!

     
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  22. Steffi-forever

    Steffi-forever Semi-Pro

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    I know that they have only won 8 slams, but Hingis and Davenport have been on top together for a long time.
    Here are the GS draws where there were #1 and #2 seeds : AO 98, FO 98, W 98, USO 98, AO 99, FO 99, W 99, USO 99, AO 00, FO 00, W 00, USO 00, AO 01.

    BTW Serena Williams and Justine Henin have never been #1 and #2 at the same time.

    My choice would be Graf and Navratilova (87-90).
     
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  23. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Well it sure can't be Graf - Navratilova in 89. Martina was already loosing ground very quickly. Comparing her with the '85 Evert #2 is not a good plan. Evert won 10 tournaments, Martina won 8. In majors, Evert reached F in Australia, won RG over the best in the world, F at Wimbledon, and semis at the Open to Hana another multiple slam winner. Martina lost a QF in Australia to Sukova, did not play RG, and lost F of Wimbledon & the Open to #1 Graf.

    EVert failed to reach the finals of only two events all year, the aforementioned loss to Hana and one 1st RD loss in a round robin Slims championship event to Jordan. She had two victories or more over all of the top ten including Martina during the course of the year. And ranked number 1 a huge part of the year. It was one of her most consistant seasons ever.

    Martina had a good year but she failed to reach the finals in 5 events including the aforementioned QF loss to Sukova, another QF loss to Savchenko, a semi loss to Savchenko, a Semi loss to Zvereva, and a Semi loss to Sabatini. Martina did not have a single victory over the Number 1 player, Graf. Martina had lost a lot of that invincibility factor and confidence long before beginning with '87 when she lost every event she played but Wimbledon and the Open. She never threatened to gain her ground back. Top ten women below, had a good shot at her and knew it.

    For Martina, moving from number 1 and total invincibility was a big shock. Evert had been there, done that already when Martina took over in 78, and Austin in 81. She adjusted and handled it much better by 84-85. Hell, she came back from both stronger, physically and mentally.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
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  24. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Navratilova from 89-early 90 went on a stretch at one point where she won 67 of 70 matches. The streak began around May I believe, after some of the early losses you mention. Her 3 losses were all to Graf. Navratilova 89 would probably still beat Evert of 85 on grass, fast hard courts, or carpet/indoors, although all would be fairly close, so she most certainly could be compared to her.

    Tennis also had no depth back in 85, not until Hana began playing well again (she had been in a lengthy slump since 81 until her U.S Open title), and Graf, Sukova, and Sabatini began to emerge as consistent threats. So of course a top player will have fewer losses. One reason Martina began having more losses was both the inevitable decline with age beginning, and that the top 10 was not mostly incapable scrubs who couldnt break an egg like the mid 80s. The fact Shriver could be the perennial #3 or #4 for so long says enough.
     
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  25. BTURNER

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    Not one of those women that Navratilova lost to, before the semis losses, had won a single major. Only Gabby ever did - two years hence. Of those women Evert lost to in any round in '85. Only one woman ever did not - Jordan. Do not assert greater general depth. Prove it applied in the women Navratilova lost to like Savchenko twice and Zvereva etc.

    Its interesting that Evert's comparatively better record vs the one person better ranked( including taking her spot for almost half the year), and her better record vs the rest of the world are meaningless. Navratilova's worse record vs the one person better ranked, Graf( not one victory) and worse record the rest of the world. Either up or down, Evert was more competitive than Martina was as number 2. Pick your poison.

    Martina was not competiitve with Graf for #1 at all, did not beat the #1 in the world to win a major in'85. She did not beat the number #1 in the world in straight sets. She did not beat her at all. She did not win a major. And she had more trouble with those below and won fewer tournaments than Evert who did all of the above AND took the top spot from June through most of November. Other than that, Martina was hot stuff.

    Come on, guys Evert and Navratilova were more like co number 1's in 85, who happened to have 17 and 13 majors before the year ended. There was as much distance between Steffi and Martina as there was distance between Martina and the rest of the top ten, maybe more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
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  26. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    Obviously, Graf/Navratilova is incredible.
    Even Evert/Navrailova. And Graf/Seles.

    what about Serena & Venus? I don't know if they've ever been #1 & #2. But they've been kicking everyone's butt the past 10 years.
    Serena has 13 Slams.
    Venus has 7 Slams.
     
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  27. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    Venus's lack of will to really compete and win over Serena during their matches in major finals makes the combination less impressive. Venus has big mental block in these matches. She didn't really convince herself she want to beat Serena and win. On the other side Serena has no such mental issue when facing Venus.
    She always want to win no matter who the opponent is.
     
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  28. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Maybe Evert and Navratilova were on the same level in 1985.
    And Navratilova of 1989 slightly worse.

    But as Graf of 1989 was far superior to all of them the Graf/Navratilova 1989 combo was "the best number 1 & 2 combo in WTA history".
     
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  29. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Venus made her last non-Wimbledon slam final almost 9 (!) years ago.
    That is hardly "butt-kicking the past 10 years" ...
     
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  30. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    it's interesting because early on, it was serena who seemed to have a mental block against venus. looking back, it seems that venus gave away the french open final in 2002 just to be the good big sister. big mistake on her part. it enabled serena to play freely the next time and dominate her sister in the next few slam finals. when venus really decides to play, serena still has trouble against her, like in the 2008 wimbledon final. but serena doesn't have the mental issues anymore.

    i think that as a 1-2 combo, the sisters from 2002-early 03 were pretty impressive but it would have been even better if venus had been able to win at least one of those grand slam finals. i think the sisters during that time might be comparable to graf-navratilova in 88 and 89.

    i thought about another good 1-2 punch: graf and sanchez vicario in 1994. the point against them would be their result at wimbledon where steff was shocked in the first round and arantxa lost in the fourth.
     
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  31. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    One last comment on Navratilova - Evert in '85. In my opinion Evert played her best tennis day in, day out that year of her whole career. The ying and yang between the old steady ice-maiden wood racket consistent Chris and the new, harder hitting, bolder Chris, was at its best balance. That Navratilova still came out on top, is one of the reasons I put her ahead of Evert on my GOAT list. But remembering how close Chris was to Martina, makes the gap mighty small. But there is no gap in this category. this is the best 1-2 combo in women's history, in part because most of the year you could not tell 1 from 2 or 2 from 1, and for the second consecutive year, of the 8 finalist positions of the majors played, those two represented 7.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
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  32. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    well, Venus still has the 2nd most Slams of any current female player in the game today.
     
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  33. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    Helped in large part by a weak Grass field that other than Serena had about 5 threatening people in it: Sharapova for about 2 years, Davenport, Mentally inconsistent Mauresmo, Henin and Clijsters. Clijsters was never great on grass...Henin was good in her best years but still never won Wimbledon...Sharapova was a threat for only really 2005, and even then she got mandhandled..Davenport was a threat in 2005, had a championship point even..but couldn't win. That leaves Serena.

    Venus's major count is due to her dominance of Wimbledon, something that she was never able to come close to at any other majors after 2001. She never made a non Wimbledon final after that year, she couldn't even consistently make quarterfinals at the other majors outside of Wimbledon. Part of that is due to various health and injury issues, but if the rest of the tour that she struggled against wasn't so inept on grass she might not even have so many majors. There were a couple of years where she almost lost in the 1st or 2nd round of Wimbledon.

    Serena and Venus, though both great players of this generation especially in comparison to the rest of the inconsistent, low quality players of today, are really no where near the strongest 1/2 ever. Serena on her own could stand up there, but the sisters combined overall struggles on clay, along with Venus's on slower hardcourts and even their on/off form on indoors in their time together holds them back.

    You could make the case that their 2002/2003 string of Major final clashes puts them up there..but Venus could insanely lucky at the French, and Serena was almost breadsticked by Clijsters in the 3rd set of the Australian Open. They are a strong combo...but not the greatest one/two punch.
     
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  34. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    She is only tied for second of 1980-1983 players with Henin, and Henin basically retired from tennis at 25. I hate Henin and yet one still has to admit Henin was able to render the Williams almost irrelevant for the whole 2004-2007 period, or to some extent the Williams themselves did which is even worse for them in an argument for strongest 1-2 punch in history. From 2003-2007, the bulk of the main decade of play of the sisters, Henin won 7 slams, which is more than the Williams combined (6 combined, 4 for Serena, only 2 for Venus). Dont get me wrong, I still dont consider Henin greater overall than Serena, or probably even Venus (tellingly though I am actually in the minority here) but still it illustrates my point. I am a big Serena fan and also like Venus, but they are not the strongest 1-2 combo in history. Together they are minimal or non factors at the French (where Henin is light years ahead, and to a lesser extent Ivanovic, Kuznetsova, Capriati also ahead, and where they have a combined 1 title, 2 finals, and 3 semis), only a 1 headed threat at the Australian (where Venus has 0 titles, 1 final, and 1 other semifinal she lost 6-1, 6-1), not totally dominant at the U.S Open (there have been four different 2 or 3 time winners there including the Williams since 1999, in addition to several other 1 time winners), not dominant at the WTA Championships (where Henin, Clijsters, and Hingis all have records atleast equal to Serena and superior to Venus), and play sporadically on tour. The only places they jointly dominate over the whole field is Wimbledon, Miami, and to some degree the Olympics considering singles and doubles success.

    Not to mention how long were they even the defacto #1 and #2 on tour, forgetting the often suspect official rankings where their time spent there was evne less. For a year and half in 2002-2003 maybe, then possibly for another year plus that stretched from a point in 2008 to well into 2009. Then that was it. Venus was the defacto #1 in late 2000-early 2002, and Serena the defacto #1 many other times, but not together.

    One thing I will say though is Serena of 2002-2003 played the highest level of tennis by a women in history IMO, atleast on grass or hard courts. I dont care about the stats in this case, it is just my opinion, and many experts have said the same thing. Venus of 2000-2001 would beat any women in history on grass or dectoruf as well I feel. Their talent and ability stand out in history, but the career and any semblance of consistent dominance of Venus imparticular does not.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2011
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  35. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Any Non-US "expert"?

    No?
    Thought so ...
     
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  36. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    You seems to contradict yourself.On the one hand you claim Serena 2002 played the highest level in history. Then you also claim Venus 2001 would beat any women in history. Then what if Serena 2002 meets Venus 2001? Who will win?

    And Serena 2002-3 definitely is not the highest level of tennis. Many second-tier players are able to conquer her such as Rubin, Shaughnusse,Patty,pre-prime Henin and Kim. 2002-3 Serena is not in as great level as 83-84 Martina or 88-89 , 95-96 Graf. The period of the highest level of tennis ever played is either Graf's or Martina's.
     
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  37. Steffi-forever

    Steffi-forever Semi-Pro

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    I will always prefer stats over your opinion. So again :

    Serena Williams on hard court and grass in 2002-2003: 57-3 95 % (lost to Shaughnessy, Rubin and Clijsters)

    Steffi Graf on hard court and grass in 1988-1989 : 89-1 99 % (lost to Sabatini)

    Martina Navratilova on hard court and grass in 1983-1984 : 88-1 99 % (lost to Sukova)
     
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  38. Steffi-forever

    Steffi-forever Semi-Pro

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    I totally agree. :)
     
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  39. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    So do I, they reached unbeleiveable heights when at number 1.
    But Martina was a rather shaky number 2. She lost lots of confidence. She did not have as much practice as Chris did, under King, briefly Goolagong, then Martina twice, and Austin as well.
     
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