Biggest overachiever ever in womens tennis

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by thalivest, Aug 1, 2010.

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Biggest overachiever ever amongst the women

  1. Davenport

    7.7%
  2. Sanchez Vicario

    25.6%
  3. Capriati

    2.6%
  4. Billie Jean King

    5.1%
  5. Evert

    7.7%
  6. Shriver

    15.4%
  7. Date

    2.6%
  8. Safina

    10.3%
  9. Henin

    10.3%
  10. other

    12.8%
  1. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Who do you think is the biggest female tennis player overachiever ever. Here would be my candidates:

    Lindsay Davenport- while I do believe she missed out on possibly winning quite a few more slams than her current 3, she in the grand scheme of things still was probably a major underachiever. A massive women without much athletic ability, few believed she would go on to win every slam outside the French Open, hold #1 for a significant period of time (altogether), win well over 40 tournaments, and be a threat to win every event she was in for about 8 years.

    Justine Henin- I dont think when she emerged on the scene anyone thought she was someone who would win 7 slams, be the dominant clay courter of her era along with winning alot on hard courts, and be arguably the games best player for about 4 or 5 years. She was recognized young as a great talent but I think the feeling was she was just too small for this current era of tennis. While she actually isnt now where she looked like she might end up being at the end of 2007 when she was on the verge of surpassing Serena as the greatest player of this generation (and now is laps behind Serena), she still far surpassed all early expectations I believe.

    Dinara Safina- she gets alot of heat for folding mentally under pressure but really she isnt that talented at all when we are talking about the top level of the game. It is a miracle she ever managed to achieve the things she did, and she deserves alot of credit for being a huge overachiever to reach 3 slam finals and reach #1, even during the really weak time period she managed it.

    Aranxta Sanchez Vicario- she was probably less talented than all of Sabatini, Novotna, Pierce, maybe even Martinez, yet she achieved far more than any of them. Definitely a player who made the most out of incredible fighting qualities, determination, a never say die approach, willingess to give more than her all for every point, and willingess to throw the kitchen sink at her opponents if need be to try and scrape out a win.

    Jennifer Capriati- she is both an overachiever and underachiever. Considering all the promise she burst on the scene with she in a way is a big underachiever. She may have been able to be a 8-10 slam winner if she had been managed properly with the right support system around him coming up. However given the player she actually did become after losing out on so many of her developmental years she really overachieved in another sense to win 3 slams. She was owned by almost every top player she ever faced in both her phases as a top player in early 90s and early 2000s, yet somehow managed 3 slam wins while only managing 14 tour titles.

    Pam Shriver- considering her obvious lack of agility, non existent ground game, her movement, and her other glaring limitations she really made a very fine career for herself. One of the all time great doubles players, and a very good singles player.

    Chris Evert- given that in many ways she lacked alot of the physical and athletic gifts that certainly Navratilova, Court, Goolagong, Mandlikova, possessed she did incredibly well to be the dominant women player many years, and to be considered one of the very greatest women players ever alongside Martina.

    Kimiko Date- she has one of the most homemade games I have ever seen on the pro tour, let alone for a regular top 10 player (in her prime). I dont think a coach anywhere other than possibly Japan would ever tell someone to emulate anything about her strokes. It is really amazing she was able to be as much a contender in the mid 90s as she was and achieve the things she did. Also including her due to her amazing unlikely comeback to pro tennis.

    Billie Jean King- She wasnt the biggest or strongest player, and she wasnt the strongest technical. She was extremely tactical, shrewd, clever, a great fighter, and really made the most out of what she did well.

    I also think Manuela Maleeva who I consider the least talented of the 3 Maleeva sisters yet achieved the most. Her sisters were actually underachievers somewhat, atleast compared to her.
     
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  2. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Ever? Françoise Durr!
     
    #2
  3. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    Navratilova.

    Only she was able to do what no other tennis player (or maybe even any other athlete) ever managed to do in terms of overachieving: she become a GOAT contender cuz somebody ended up "cooking the books".

    That was done by wiping out Margaret Court's tour record of 197 career singles titles out of the proverbial record books and snookering everyone into believing that Navra's 167 career singles is actually the highest number ever achieved by a female tennis player

    That is quite an overachievement, especially in light of the fact that on the men's side there is no such a thing and Rod Laver and other's record number of men's singles titles is never under threat of being "cooked" by eager overachieving rivals
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
    #3
  4. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

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    *** I'm gonna get flamed for this ***

    Andrew Murray.
     
    #4
  5. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    You should.
     
    #5
  6. vortex1

    vortex1 Banned

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    Henin was always UNDERachiever with her talent she should have won more slams. Biggest problems with her even when she was very young is that she often lacked stamina for punishing back to back matches and was always injury prone.

    I remember I was always scared when watching her matches even back in 2004 that went to 3 sets, because she would always run out of gas later on unless she won easily. It sucked. She lost matches she had no business of losing because of that.

    Edit: And the biggest overachiever is Kuznetsova. Noway a headcase like that should have won 2 slams. Safina comes close second.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
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  7. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    It is amazing to think Sanchez Vicario ended up with 4 slams and Sabatini only 1. Nobody would have ever predicted that when both were coming up.
     
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  8. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    Sanchez. Hingis really exposed both hers and Seles' limitations.
     
    #8
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Everyone at the time was ranking Sabatini's talent on the same level as Graf's, and perhaps higher than Graf's so who would think Sanchez-Vicario would win more slams.
     
    #9
  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Evert had high praise for Sanchez. Perhaps because that had a similar approach to the game - grind your opponent in to dust.

    But, seriously, how can anyone be a bigger overachiever than Françoise Durr, the biggest pusher in tennis?
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Someone told me (not sure if it's true) that Durr's second serve was so slow it wouldn't register on the speed measuring device. I'm not sure if they used a radar gun. lol.
     
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  12. JZImmer123

    JZImmer123 Rookie

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    If Jankovic was on here she'd get my vote. She's been in the top 5 for the past 3 years (even #1 for a bit), but only because she accumulates a lot of points from playing so many tournaments. I mean sure she made it to the finals of the US Open in 08, but that's about it.
     
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  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Jankovic doesn't have the power of a lot of players but she's extremely mobile and she does have excellent overall groundies so I'm not sure if she overrated.
     
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  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Here she is winning the FO final over Leslie Turner in 1967. Just . . . I can't describe it. But, the odd's are 50/50 that this is our very own Chopin in his/her prime.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpjJtv7XaPk
     
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  15. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    I second this nomination.
     
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  16. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    So y'all basically interpreting "overachiever" as a substitute word for defensive player? I'm not sure that's the meaning.

    ASV beat Graf, Pierce and Seles to win her 4 slams. That doesn't translate to me as overachieving. She fulfilled her potential. Nothing over or under.

    Sabatini was overhyped because she was "cute". She was basically the only internationally renowned tennis-babe during those "pre Kournikova" times. Unfortunately that got into her and made her a bit less focused/competitive and more easily satisfied than she otherwise would have been. Ergo: only one slam. So not really surprising for those who lived thru that era.

    The same thing with this ridiculous hype that's happening now with Laura Robson, who's a good player but not more than that.

    I find it utterly ridiculous that Laura Robson's Wikipedia page is more extensive than a women whose unparalleled greatness resulted in a grand slam tennis court getting named after her. So by that measure I'm supposed to expect Laura to win more than 62 Grand Slam titles :rolleyes:
     
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  17. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Sabatini wasn't just pretty. She also hit the crap out of the ball with more top than anyone before her. Her serve was another matter. She was also a dogged competitor as evidenced by her record and tough matches against all time great, Graf. But, she wasn't as consitent or tenatious as Sanchez.
     
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  18. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes Jankovic's backhand, mobility and return of serve are among the best on the tour. She is a far more talented player than Safina, who I didn't think was talented enough to break into the top 5, let alone reach world no. 1.
     
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  19. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I agree Sabatini was overrated in hindsight. Even if she was an underachiever she never had as much potential as people wished she had. She was certainly not equal or superior in talent to Graf. And even now she is overrated. People talk about her career as if it is head and shoulders above other 1 slam winners like Novotna and Martinez when it really isnt at all.

    However Sanchez Vicario was definitely an overachiever. She wasnt more talented than Sabatini, Novotna, Pierce, possibly even Martinez, yet achieved more than all of them. Nobody is disputing how successful she was, just that she really achieved beyond what her natural talent level should have, and that is a huge compliment.
     
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  20. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I agree Safina doesnt even have the talent of a top 5 player which is why I included her in a biggest overachiever poll considering she somehow made #1. Jankovic is by far a more talented and better player than Safina on average.
     
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  21. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    I hope my previous post didn't give you that impression. It was pretty clear that she was very good.

    By the way if tennis players are only pretty (but not talented) they wouldn't be famous tennis players in the first place. Even Anna Kournikova was an excellent tennis player, though you wouldn't believe it if you only read the hyperbolic "unjournalistic" stuff that is always written about her.

    My word was "overhyped". Sounds similar at a quick glance, but there is a difference: I was trying to point out that Gaby was very talented but was expected to achieve much more than what she finally ended up with. And that, without a doubt, had a lot to do with her getting preoccupied less and less with tennis, and more and more with the 'extracurricular' activities that came her way as a result of her stardom: i.e. getting those "million dollar legs" on even more commercials, playing football, singing, perfume flogging... etc etc
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
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  22. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Shriver's record in doubles has to be the biggest overachievement, for obvious reasons.
     
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  23. Polaris

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    It is quite amusing that, since the banning of davey25, thalivest has suddenly become hyperactive in starting threads about women's tennis.
     
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  24. vortex1

    vortex1 Banned

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    What's really amusing is that he put Henin into overachiever list and not Venus Williams.
     
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  25. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Venus was earmarked for huge success since she first arrived on the scene. She actually did less than was expected of her if anything.

    The Williams were both expected alot more out of than Henin since they are huge and extremely athletic women in this power age of womens tennis. Henin is also very athletic but alot smaller, and few believed she would achieve what she did at this power based time in womens tennis.
     
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  26. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    It's really between Safina and Sanchez-Vicario. Looking at what ASV achieved makes me feel ashamed for some other players. And how the hell is it possible that Safina's name belongs to the list of number ones? :oops:
     
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  27. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    ASV hands down.
     
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  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    From my view, Safina is one of the biggest underachievers in the past few years.
     
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  29. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Safina an underachiever. With what, her B-level power game which isnt even at the level of a prime Huber with a crummy serve and no other dimensions. I think it is amazing she has achieved what she has. The only reason I didnt vote her as the biggest overachiever is she hasnt really won anything.
     
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  30. fedhingis515

    fedhingis515 Semi-Pro

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    Sanchez Vicario. Thalivest I would like to see a list of "biggest underachievers in womens tennis". Please!! :)
     
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  31. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I do agree that overall ASV was an overachiever, and benefitted greatly from Seles's stabbing (it can't be stressed just how terrible a match-up Seles was for her). However on the flipside she had the misfortune of playing in the strongest clay court era in the history of women's tennis IMO.

    Imagine how formidable she would have been at the French Open in the current weak clay court era. I think she would have been a veryproblematic match-up for Henin, who is the only active player who has been in her league on clay.
     
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  32. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Davenport is a very interesting case. Certainly when she tipped the scales at over 200 lbs, most coaches and pundits predicted that she would never win a grand slam title.

    However if you look at the 'big 4' technical attributes, the serve, the return, the forehand and the backhand, only really Serena has had a better combination of those 4 shots than Davenport over the past 10 years or so. Most of the other top players have been weak in at least one of those 4 areas. I would argue that Lindsay is actually a more talented player than Venus (again from a technical point of view). If we compare their games:

    1st Serve - Advantage Lindsay. Venus may clock a few more kmph on her 1st serves, but Lindsay's was more reliable and accurate. Venus's flawed motion had too many parts to it making it prone to breaking down.

    2nd Serve - Advantage Lindsay. Venus's 2nd serve has always been a big liability. After Serena, Davenport had one of the best 2nd serves on the tour.

    Return - Advantage Lindsay. She was the best returner of her generation bar none IMO. Venus’s return is good, but Lindsay’s was better.

    Forehand - Advantage Lindsay. Along with Henin and Serena, Lindsay's forehand was one of the top 3 on the tour in her heyday. Venus's was a weakness in her prime from 2000-2002, although it did improve as she got older, and it was arguably her best shot when she won Wimbledon 2008.

    Backhand - Very close to call. Maybe a tie. Venus's backhand was her best shot in her prime. It was absolutely devastating then, and better than Lindsay's. However while her forehand improved, her backhand deteriorated as she got older. I would say that it is a weakness now. Lindsay's backhand was consistently good throughout her career.

    Volleying - I'm going to be controversial here maybe, but I actually think that Lindsay was a slightly better volleyer. Venus has had the best drive volleys on the tour, but I've never understood the fuss over her regular volleys, which have been reasonably good at best. At the net she's not in the same class as players like Mauresmo, Hingis and Kuznetsova. Venus. When Lindsay improved her mobility, she came to the net more often. She showed that she was a good volleyer with better hands and a better technique than Venus.

    Of course Venus is clearly ahead in the mobility, mental strength and fighting spirit departments.
     
    #32
  33. pjonesy

    pjonesy Professional

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    You make some good points, but I think it depends on the way you look at things. Jankovic seems like a female version of Djokovic, as far as talent and athletic ability are concerned. She has good height, an athletic build and seems to be well conditioned. Basically she is the modern female professional tennis player prototype, based on her structure. Jankovic is a well rounded athlete who can hit the ball with conviction. Her combination of size, movement, consistency and power would justify the envy of other WTA players who don't possess her attributes. Mentally, she seems to lose focus at times (but what player doesn't in this day and age). With all the advantages she has, it seems like she could be seen as an underachiever.
     
    #33
  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Can´t tell for the overachiever but, certainly, the biggest underachiever was Andrea Jaeger.Tons of talent and little results.
     
    #34
  35. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario, without a doubt.
     
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  36. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    :lol:

    Yeah, I hear Navratilova was involved in the assassination of Princess Diana too.
     
    #36
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Relative to talent, at least since the inception of open era it is like this:

    1/Hana Mandlikova ( 4 majors ONLY)
    2/Andrea Jaeger ( 3 major finals but no win)
    3/Anna Kournikova ( in spite of her great doubles record)

    The next big underachiever would fall miles from their talent ( Open era and no abnormal circumstances such as a big injury or so)
     
    #37
  38. BTURNER

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    I am fascinated with how narrowly we appear to define talent in this thread.
     
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  39. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    I think a case could be made for Conchita Martinez. Winning Wimby and beating Martina in the final, with the style of game she had - that was certainly unexpected.
     
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  40. AngieB

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    I think its telling that Pam Shriver got six votes as being the biggest overachiever, yet never won a grand slam singles title.

    AngieB
     
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  41. PDJ

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    I'm probably being dim but I don't really understand if the poll means someone who won more than generally expected or lost more than generally expected? The various answers don't really help me as they seem to cover both of my questions. If its the latter, I'd agree with kiki that jaeger didn't live up to her potential. The former is more difficult as I think ASV deserved all her victories, indeed maximised her talent to the full. I do agree with the general consensus re Safina.
     
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  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, I do agree.
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    True for ASV, a great maximizer.
     
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