Conchita Martinez, a Wimbly champ¡¡¡

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yeah, I always liked her classy style on clay and hard, with those perfectly executed Bh and Fh ( after Graf, the second best one handed FH on tour those early 90´s), but we never expected her to beat, on a grass she seemed to so much dislike, the old queen Martina Navratilova, to win her only slam...but what a sensational and unexpected win¡¡

    she was shy and a bit distant, but she had talent, and won Rome and the main cc events as well in an era loaded with great cc players...she usually destroyed Sabatini when they played against each other.

    I never understood why Conchita,who was also runner up at the AO and semifinalist at the FO twice, is so underrated, when she was clearly more talented than many players more talked about...I know, she was never a good PR for herself¡¡¡

    Spain´s best female era, of course, is Conchita and Arancha, who had a pretty tough rivalry even if being friends in real life.Both won the female´s DC trophy four times in a row¡¡¡
     
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  2. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I remember watching Martinez win 1994 Wimbledon in a room at the Tonga hotel in Ca'n Picafort, Mallorca, while I was on holiday. We were going to fly back to Britain that night, but the flight was delayed for hours. We got back home about 7:30am the next morning, didn't bother going to bed, and watched that incredibly dull men's final between Sampras and Ivanisevic (7-6, 7-6, 6-0). I remember hearing that Lew Hoad had died at that time as well. There were a lot of tragic deaths in tennis in the mid-1990s (like Ashe, Hoad, Gerulaitis, Gonzales, Tim Gullikson).

    Martinez winning over Navratilova was a surprise. I think nearly everyone expected Navratilova to win her 10th Wimbledon singles title. It's ironic that Martinez won Wimbledon and never managed to win the French Open.
     
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  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    It was a great win for a woman so untested on grass courts. You can see she had spent a lot of time preparing for the lower bounces and was well coached for the tournament. Her execution was on the money considering how hard it is to dig passes out of Martinas lefty spins and beautiful penetrating slice.

    But this sure wasn't the Martina of old here. The serve was less effective and the second a real liability. She was slower getting into the net position and not as quick defending from the back. She definitely not mentally confident/ tough on big points.
     
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  4. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Conchita played a great final to win it
     
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    IMo, she and Sabatini were the two most naturally talented groundstrokers of the early 90´s if we leave aside Graf.Of course, ASV and Seles were far more succesful but it was on their minds , not on ther stroke production.Fernandez was never as solid menthally as Monica and Arantxa or as good technically as Gabriela and Conchita.

    Graf had it both, that is why she destroyed anybody except for a few matches.Rememeber, I am talking from 1990-1996
     
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  6. Djokovic2011

    Djokovic2011 G.O.A.T.

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    I'll always remember watching that final and so wanting Martina to win. I was only 13 at the time and I don't think I've ever wanted any player to win a tennis match as much as I wanted Martina to win that day. Martinez' BH passing shots will haunt me forever.
     
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  7. conway

    conway Banned

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    I like Conchita but her Wimbledon win was one of the biggest flukes of the modern era. How can a clay court specialist who wasn't even good enough to reach a French Open final until near the end of her career (a final she still lost in straight sets) win Wimbledon? First off it was an incredibly weak grass court field around that point in time. Graf's odds to win Wimbledon were the lowest in history, despite already starting a mini slump a few months earlier. Secondly even considering the weak field she ended up with a dream draw. Anyone of Graf, Novotna, Sanchez Vicario, would have beaten her if she played them, but fortunately she avoided all of them. There are others she didn't play who would have had a decent chance too. Seles and Pierce didnt play and despite their relative grass ineptitude, given their matchups with her, either one could have beaten her had they played too. She ended up playing only opponents she had good records against- Davenport, McNeil, Navratilova.

    I wish her lone slam title had come at the 95, 98, or 2000 French Opens instead. She would have made a great champion of any of those, especialy 1995 where she owned clay all that year but played by far her poorest match vs Graf in the French Open semis, still barely losing in 3 sets. Her legacy as a player IMO would be way higher with that as her only slam rather than her flukish Wimbledon.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Conchita was just a bad match up
    She owned also Sabatini.
    Of the early 90 players,other than Graf,she was the only to make Hingis swear her shirt
     
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  9. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Big Martinez fan. Most people who know tennis know how good she was. Wimby champ. Slam finals on 3 different surfaces (3 finals with one win overall). 9 other SF and 11 QFs at Slams (including all 4 SFs in 1995). Nice all around game. 33 overall titles, including many Tier 1, on all surfaces. Fed Cup titles, Olympic medals.

    She's not so much underrated as maybe under appreciated which is , of course, debatable. She was overshadowed, for good reason, by the best of her generation - Graf, Seles, and to a lesser extent ASV.

    To me, the glaring weakness in her resume isn't having only one Slam title, but her utterly miserable record against the best of her generation: 1-13 v. Graf, 1-20 vs. Seles, 4-14 vs. ASV. Look, she was a level below Graf and Seles (and ASV too but less so), so of course we'd expect a losing record. But, one win vs. each is pretty bad. IMO, her career looks much better if she has similar records vs. Graf and Seles that she had against ASV. Yeah, something like 4-10, even 3-11 vs. Graf and even just 5-16 vs. Seles, with a win against each in the later rounds of at least one Slam, would be so much better and illuminate her as a true "factor" in the generation, even if she was clearly second tier. 3-11 vs Hingis also doesn't look great, but 3 wins (including 2 Tier 1 finals and another Tier 1 SF years later) at least speaks to more than just a one-off victory that can be dismissed. She did have some really competitive matches with Graf and Seles aside from her lone victory, but she really needed to win a few of those.

    She also has losing records vs. Sabatini (6-9) and Pierce (6-12), but those are less bothersome as she has a significant amount of wins AND she beat those players at least a couple of times on the biggest stages (Slams, Tier 1).

    So, I get why she's not talked about too much, even if I personally really like her and even though she's very accomplished. There's 6 major contemporaries (Graf, Seles, Hingis, ASV, Sabatini, Pierce) with winning records against her and generally better overall careers. [Note: You could argue that though Pierce has two Slams, Martinez had the better career in a broader sense if you're the sort of person who can look past Slams as the only thing that matters. On the other hand, not only does Pierce have 2 Slam titles vs. 1 for Martinez, she has 6 total Slam finals vs. 3 for Martinez. Most other stats are in Martinez's favor.]

    [Note 2: I previously stated that you could make an argument that Martinez's career was better than Sabatini's overall, but that was based on poor research, where I used Wikipedia to find Sabatini's total number of titles and looked at her doubles total (14) rather than her singles total (27).]
     
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  10. conway

    conway Banned

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    Actually considering Martinez spent the vast majority of their mutual time as top players ranked much higher than Pierce, and Pierce is inconsistent as heck, even if Pierce is the one who ended up with 2 slams, a 6-12 record against Pierce is quite poor too.

    As for her 3-11 record against Hingis, everyone knows Hingis was 14 and 15 at the time of the first two losses. So really she is every bit as much Hingis's pigeon as she is Graf and Seles's.

    Her record against Sanchez Vicario is quite bad in the sense, as a previous poster said, many consider her more naturally talented than Sanchez, especialy in Spain. The lopsided head to head is yet another glaring reminder how little she made of herself compared to the chronic overachiever Sanchez.

    There are more players besides the 6 you mentioned she has losing records against though. Kimiko Date and Anke Huber, two far less successful top players of her era, both own her badly in head to head as well. Jana Novotna, a player of similar achievement, owns her badly in head to head. I believe Iva Majoli has a winning record, but not as bad of one as the others.

    She performs very poorly against top players in general, even ones who are supposed to be weaker than her. The only one she did well against really is someone like Amanda Coetzer.

    And yes the memory of her generally pathetic performances vs Graf, Seles, and Hingis ring loud and clear in the perception of her. Standing way beyond the baseline, playing only defense (despite that unlike Sanchez Vicario she didn't even have the fitness or footspeed to do so), wasting away her big forehand and the potential weapons of her game, and making herself an utter pushover and walking bye for those players. Pretty pathetic for a longtime top 3 player in the rankings. Watch a tape of the 95 U.S Open semifinal vs Seles where Carillo and Navratilova rip her a new one for her abysmal performance, and her insistence on playing 10 feet beyond the baseline. Also watch the 95 French Open semifinal vs Graf where Tracy Austin rips into her constantly for her hangdog attitude, and her lack of even caring at times. She even calls her lazy, and points out a few times she doesn't even bother moving her feet for a very gettable ball. These are the memories people have of her at the absolute peak of her career. It is little wonder she isn't that respected today.

    PS- no you cant really argue Martinez having a better career than Sabatini. Gaby has 2 WTA Championship titles which push her well beyond fellow 1 slam winner and 3 time finalist Martinez. Gaby btw has 27 titles, not 14 (you probably confused her with Capriati who has only 14). She has 19 titles of tier 2 caliber or higher vs 17 for Martinez, and 9 of tier 1 caliber or higher vs 10 for Martinez, so really no edge for Conchita as the remaining piddly tounaments are meaningless for slam champions. Pierce also must be ahead not only with an extra slam but twice the slam finals (6 to 3), and two WTA Championship finals (vs 0 for Conchita), despite Conchita having almost double the # of titles.
     
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  11. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I'm not disagreeing that Hingis generally dominated her, but I'm not willing to dismiss the two early wins. Hingis was a great player early and her career trajectory only affirmed that. Are they the "best" Martinez could possibly have over Hingis. No. But, I won't dismiss them just because they were early in Hingis' career.

    Yeah, losing records against many of her contemporaries, like I noted earlier, but, as I argued earlier, a losing h2h against another player doesn't bother me when there are (1) a significant amount of wins, and (2) important wins on big stages. It shows that the player with the losing record is anything but another player's pigeon.

    And finally, yeah the 1994 Wimbledon draw opened up to her advantage, but I don't see why people begrudge her that victory. It happens. It's not like she never had any success on grass. She made the Wimby semi finals the year before and after her victory. And, she won grass court tourneys away from Wimbledon. Clay was probably her best and most preferred surface, but I think she proved more than enough that was more than a clay court specialist. Though I do understand that people are mystified that is she was going to win one Slam, she has a Wimbledon trophy rather than a French Open title.

    Like I said before, she has real holes in her resume, but, yet, she was a great player with a stellar career for the most part.

    My mistake about Sabatini. I was doing quick Wiki research to put my reply together and must looked at Sabatini's doubles, rather than, singles title number. So, agreed, there isn't an argument for Martinez having a better career than Sabatini.

    As for what I highlighted in your post. I'd generally agree with that assessment. The most frustrating thing is that Conchita really could play more offensively, but often opted not to, to her detriment. Interesting that you point out the 1995 FO SF vs. Graf. She lost in 3 sets and many people thought she had a good chance. She was having a great year. She lost in 3 sets and showed flashes of great play. But, her attitude may have done her in. Once she wrestled that second set tiebreak away, she should have been inspired, and said "screw it, i'm going for this. But she got hang-dog and too passive.
     
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  12. conway

    conway Banned

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    Had Martinez had her 2 early wins over Hingis in late 1996 (U.S Open and beyond) I wouldn't totally dismiss them, despite that it wasn't 1997 and beyond yet. However those wins were in 1995 and early 1996 which are pretty much a joke. Hingis was plateaued for a good 18 month period as roughly a world #15-#20, making no progress at all, until after the 96 Olympics where she went from no progress to rapid progress for the next 6 months. So wins over her in this period are meaningless, and the scorelines also dismiss any idea Hingis was a tough opponent for the top 5 at that stage (6-1, 6-0 and 6-3, 6-0). With all due respect nobody who is really "good" ever loses to Conchita, especialy with her playing style, and general lack of intensity mentally as well, by those type of scores. If 1994-1996 Conchita played 89 Seles a couple times she probably would have the couple extra wins she has over Hingis, so why should those meaningless wins mean she is a tougher opponent for Hingis than Graf and Seles just because she got lucky to play 14 year old Hingis as a middling top 20 player during her absolute peak a couple times.

    And yes Conchita totally blew that 95 French semi with Graf, and even worse after her miraculous comeback to take the 2nd, she found a way to blow it in the 3rd set somehow. 1995 was her best year of tennis ever, and yet the year that pretty much established she was never going to take the next level, losing in 4 slam semis that year.

    I agree her Wimbledon title shouldn't be dismissed, but because people know she was kind of lucky, and because she will never be regarded as a great grass court player, it will never bring her the same respect as winning a Roland Garros title would have. Especialy in a year like 1995 or 2000 where it would have capped of a great clay court season. There wouldn't be anything remotedly flukey about her title had she won something like that, and a title in 1995 would have capped off one of the greatest clay seasons in history. Her 94 Wimbledon title with an easy draw, on her worst surface, and no really tough opponents (sorry but 37 year old Navratilova doesn't even really qualify, just as I refuse to credit beating 35 year old Navratilova as some major triumph for Seles) will never bring her the same level of respect.
     
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  13. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    The first time I saw Conchita was the 88 US Open first round grandstand court vs. Evert. I was mesmerized by her backhand and her touch. She gave Chris a tough set that day before losing confidence.

    When I saw her take a set from Graf in the 92 Boca Raton final, I thought she was on the verge of a break through. That didn't really happen, but when she got to tge 93 Wimbledon semis, I was impressed. She played really well vs. Graf that day and showed some grass court skill. Then she started that nice run of Italian titles.

    But after she won Wimbledon, she really didn't take full advantage of that. I remember Martina almost sounding bitter about losing to her as she called that 4R match vs. Date two years later. But some of what Martina said about her was true.

    I know that she was close to Gigi Fernandez, another talented player not exactly known for her work ethic, during this time. King actually kept Gigi off the Fed Cup team because she was close to Conchita.

    But I was glad to see Conchita have a late resurgence of sorts with the Aussie and French finals. And I'm glad that she made a nice career for herself within tennis.

    But I am glad that Conchita
     
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  14. conway

    conway Banned

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    She sure seemed poised for the breakthrough when she went 25-0 on clay in 1995. Then that terrible French Open match vs Graf which she still barely lost with by far her poorest clay match of the year.

    There were high expectations for her going into Wimbledon where Lloyd, King, and Navratilova all called her Graf's biggest and only real threat. She looked good in the early rounds, but then played a lackluster quarterfinal vs Sabatini, and lost to Sanchez Vicario who previously owned a paltry Wimbledon record.

    She showed promise going into the U.S Open with a very strong summer hard court season. Once again looked good in the early rounds, but looked awful in her quarterfinal win vs Brenda Schultz, and sleepwalked through a pathetic performance vs Seles in the semis.

    That year was the watershed of her career. After that you never really sensed she was close to a big breakthrough in her career ever again.
     
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  15. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I'd have to agree with that. After 1995 she certainly still had her moments, but you got the feeling that her chance to actually go up another level and establish herself on another tier was over. Not that she slipped into oblivion or anything, and she still made two more Slam finals. But, yeah, the notion that she was going to be a true force (even if still below the top of her generation) was over.

    The more you talk about the 1995 clay season, the more depressing it is to me as Conchita fan. She really should have a Roland Garros title rather than a Wimbledon.
     
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  16. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I remember her way back in 1989 in the French QFs as a teenager, the first of 5 straight Roland Garros QFs, followed by 3 SFs, 2 4th Rnd, and then another QF followed by her only final -- so, 12 years of at least a 4th Rnd appearance and 10 QFs or better in 12 years. Back then she had clay-court specialist written all over her, but she obviously became more.

    I remember before Davenport became Davenport the champion, Martinez used to drive her insane with the high-low treatment (moon balls then low slices) and generally play that wouldn't allow Lindsay a rhythm. Davenport got better and did better against her, including some dominating performances during the latter part of their rivalry.
     
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  17. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I remember watching that final and Martinez kept passing Navratilova crosscourt off her heavy dipping topspin backhand and it seemed as if Martina was having tons of trouble reading it. Perhaps it was because she was at least a step slower by that time and wasn't closing enough at the net. Plus as BTurner said, the Navratilova serve had lost much of it's potency by that time. It was inconsistent and the 2nd serve was starting to look like more like a Tracy Austin puff ball serve.

    Martinez made it there and pulled it out at the end. You have to give her all due credit. You can only play who was there.
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    One of her problems, in addition to her lazy nature, was the pressure put by the success of countrywoman, friend and rival, ASV

    Spain ( other than the old memory of Miss Alvarez in the 20´s),had never had one, figure out two top women ( and haven´t had since both retired), so imagine the hype and press pressure when both began to contend for slams and so forth¡¡¡
     
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  19. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Remember the French Open that Conchita knocked Capriati out of (1991 I think)? Back in those days, some of the slams had a policy that every player, even the stars, had to play a match on the outside courts. Stefano Capriati blew a gasket whe he found out that Jen had to play Conchi out on Court 10.

    Conchi moonballed Jen to death on a smaller court, pushing her into the backstop much like Sanchez did to Evert in 88. It's probably the only way she could win, and Stefano could do nothing but curse as Conchi won game after game.
     
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  20. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    What I remember is Chris in the NBC booth saying that she wanted to open the window and yell out to Martina, "Anticipate the down the line!" :)

    That's one match that on court coaching might have changed the result if it had been allowed.
     
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  21. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    LOL, Yes! I remember that. Evert also said: She should just hit the serve and run over there, and make Conchita hit crosscourt. Clearly chris was frustrated for her friend. Martina could have total blindspots to patterns like that. She was no BJK, was she?
     
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  22. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Martina began her Wimbledon commentary the next year and when Jim Lampley would bring it up, you could tell that she felt silly. It was obvious to everyone BUT Martina.

    That one you can't blame on age.
     
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  23. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    I know it sounds ridiculous, but every time Martinez's Wimbledon win comes to mind, I am reminded of when the camera zoomed over to her parents right after she won and her mother was giving her dad a huge sloppy wet kiss and then her dad wiping his mouth before applauding again. That scene is etched into my brain forever when I think of Martinez's Wimbledon. lol
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    oH¡¡

    Chrissie being frustrated by her friend¡¡¡ how tender¡¡
     
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