Evert highlights

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by BTURNER, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I have dodged posting these youtube for months because it is so obviously fan-driven. It is two hours of Evert playing at her best, in a variety of matches. It is best watched in snippets of 5-10 minutes rather than stretches. and definitely move that cursor if you get tired of watching her play Martina. I decided to post, after realizing that this stuff is 30 years old and there may be younger posters who really have not been exposed to much of her game beyond some Martina/ Evert clips.

    Caveats: The rackets and surfaces and tactics have changed. If you are used to Serena or even Seles power, Evert will look like a pusher. Trust me, she was not. She hit a hard, incredibly precise and steady ball throughout most of her career.

    Virtually all of this is late career (1984-1989), with very little of her wood racket tennis included but it does showcase her mature more varied game. There is no Evonne, Jaeger, Austin, Court and almost no King or Wade. You can draw no conclusions on whether she won or lost these matches.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvvoSI9isB0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcYbUdvno7M
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
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  2. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for posting. It's a pity the video quality isn't better (as usual, sadly) and there is a LOT of Navratilova, but

    - now those are passing shots!
    - the rally in the the first link at 30 minutes with Graf is well worth watching
    - interesting to see John Lloyd in her box

    They called Rosewall the Doomsday Stroking Machine, but I think he definitely has a companion.
     
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  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    We can debate whether there were better 'baseliners', but I don't think any woman in our sport who ever owed so much of her success, for so long, based on a capacity to cut a volleyer in half at the waist. From Court and Eisel, through Navratilova and Golarsa, Evert passed and lobbed through the final rounds of tournaments for 19 years. I don't think there was ever another woman who ever needed passing shots so much.

    I'd say she knew what to do with an opponent standing at net.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
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  4. struggle

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    she constructed points very well.
     
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg once said that the opponent he had more pleasure beating was Connors because " you knew he had tried so hard"

    Well, the same could be said about Miss Evert.No win can feel better.
     
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  6. CEvertFan

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    That's my girl...
     
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  7. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Why is it that some video clips look "slower" than actually occurred in real life? Navratilova and Evert did not hit as hard as the players of the power generations that came after them (Graf, Seles, Pierce, Davenport, S. and V. Williams, for example).

    But, i remember seeing Evert in an exo when I was young and she hit much harder than some of these video clips would lead you to believe.
     
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  8. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I think it is one of those tricks our brains play. Like the way the moon seems much bigger when it is low down. The reason (for the moon) is that objects on the skyline give a reference against which we can measure the size. When it is higher there is no reference.

    I think the same thing happens when we watch sport. I notice they all seem slower when seen on screen than in real life. I especially notice that with soccer, where the movement of players is much faster in real life than when watching on screen. That is because in real life we have lots of points of reference against which we can assess speed - the audience, the court surface, etc. On the screen those points of reference get pushed into the background, and all we see is eg a ball move from top of the screen to the bottom in 0.X seconds. In real life we see it move 78 feet in the same time. The same with the player's movement.

    The other factor, I think, is that the poorer the quality of the picture, the slower everything seems. Another trick of the brain. Sharp pictures suggest sharp movement.

    That is why the only real way to judge the true speed is to watch the highest quality colour film, played at true speed, and preferably with the camera at ground level. Or use a stopwatch to measure speed (making sure it is also being replayed at the correct speed).

    It is also why those posters who think they can judge play from the past on the basis of usually quite poor quality scraps of video from the past, don't really have any feel for the actual speed of play.
     
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  9. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    A couple of other thoughts, not particularly new, from watching the videos

    - the single-handed backhand has really gone from the women's game. I think Vinci at #14 is the highest ranked and there are only 3 in the top 50
    - movement was much more forward and back than now, where it is mostly side to side
    - Evert moves better than I remember. I never thought of her as being one of the very best movers, but she would certainly compare well with current players. I guess that comes from the trade-off between power and speed that has happened over the years.
     
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  10. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Evert, IMO, was a decent enough athlete, and had very good movement by way of incredible anticipation.

    What does that mean? Well, line her up in a 40 yard dash and her flat-line speed may not be as good as some other noted good movers. But, her footwork, her anticpation, and her ability to change direction - it all adds up to a superior movement package. Maybe not the best, but very good.

    Not to change the subject, but some of those passing shots - wow! She hit some decent spin on some of those, but particularly on the backhand she wasn't hitting anywhere near "modern" dipping spin like Rafa, and to be able to pass Martina without such spin, she had to have the angle and speed of the shot absolutley perfect.
     
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  11. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    Cheers, Always great to see Martina and Chrissie.
     
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  12. BTURNER

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    One of the common misconceptions is that S/vers had better success vs Evert than baseliners. Navratilova is the only s/ver with a winning record over Evert. Most of them, even in the top ten, were lucky as hell to get two victories in 12 or 18 or 25 meetings. that is Turnbull, Casals, Sukova, Shriver, Garrison etc , If you stayed in the top five in the world for any length of time and were capable of winning majors, you had some better success (usually thanks to indoor carpet/ grass). That is the group Court, King, Wade,Mandlikova, and Goolagong fall into. That stat did not change appreciably if you were a baseliner.

    She barely stifled yawns, when these folks charged forward.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
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  13. NameNumber

    NameNumber New User

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    Remarkably clever player. It's amazing that a woman so wickedly insightful on court provides some of the worst commentary.
     
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  14. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    that would be an understatement :)
     
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  15. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    These video clips don't always do justice to the players...some folks watch old clips of Connors and don't think he hit the ball very hard.....quite far from the truth. Watching in person, you can really appreciate the power and depth that an Evert could achieve. Oddly, I could say the same about figure skating..when you see it up close and in person, it's almost terrifying when you realize how fast these people are moving across the ice and leaping into the air. You just don't get the same sense watching it on TV/video cllips.
     
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  16. hawk eye

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    In the footage from the mid eighties Evert actually has a David Hasselhoff haircut.. a hughe permed mullet combined with short sides.
    I have to say this style didn't exaclty do her justice also.
     
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  17. CEvertFan

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    No one ever lobbed better or more effectively than Evert did. Offensive lobs, defensive lobs, desperation lobs and the very difficult lob volley were all superbly timed and placed.

    Another aspect of her game that I noticed while watching these clips is how well Evert could hit on the run.

    The part that shows the 87 Wimbledon semi was a real treat to revisit for me - both ladies were playing superbly through the whole match and the shotmaking was incredible. I miss the old fast Wimbledon grass...
     
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  18. BTURNER

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    That lob volley was her go - to reply in the 80's, if her opponent happened to reach her forehand drop shot and it was far more effective than the lob or a pass because it robbed the opponent of recovery time, it did not have to be close to the sidelines, and it allowed her better court position to counter short or angled replies. She rarely lost points on her dropper once she started following it forward.
     
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  19. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    John Lloyd was just one of many who have been in Chrissie's box :p
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    That is what I like about her:
    A classical 70's woman;-)
     
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  21. PDJ

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    Dan Maskell oft repeated that the lob volley was the most difficult shot in the book. And who am I to argue. I think the lob is a really under-rated shot ie you see polls on this forum for forehand, volley etc but never the lob. Possibly because Graf, Seles et al weren't that good at them....yes, they had so much power they didn't need to...he says second guessing the obvious responses...;)
     
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  22. BTURNER

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    Steffi used her slice backhand lob with some frequency, mostly because everyone attacked that wing if they had the coconuts to come forward at all. She did eventually gain a forehand topspin lob ( or was mature enough to learn to use, what was there all along) Seles hardly ever lobbed. it just wasn't called for much by then. Other than Novatna, Sabatini, Hingis and aging Garrison and Sukova no one came forward. Evert was definitely the best of the lobbers.
     
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  23. BTURNER

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    Odd, I got the distinct impression, you just weren't partial to Evert. Her style wasn't your cup of tea or something.
     
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  24. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    Novotna had the ovaries (not 'coconuts' please) to approach on Graf's forehand. She did with a lot of success in the 1991 Australian Open.
     
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  25. PDJ

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    I think Kiki was referring to Evert's ummmm 'liberation'!
     
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  26. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Thanks for the Evert thread BTURNER. The clips are fun to watch. I remember watching Evert during those tournaments back then. I always admired her form and consistency, yet also her demeanor and court awareness. She was by far my favorite player.
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    She got my respect as far as a tennis champion, which she so well represented.
     
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  28. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    The lob volley might be the toughest shot. You have little depth to lob into and that's a problem especially against a tall opponent. I know that it's a shot that gives me a lot of personal satisfaction when I manage to pull it off.

    I appreciate Chris' consistent ability to make that shot. It was a great volley up to another pet shot of hers, the forehand drop shot.

    Perhaps someone should do a lob poll. I think Evert should win, but there were some great lobbers who might not be thought of right away like Shriver, King, and Turnbull.
     
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  29. BTURNER

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    Its just such a doubles shot, that lob volley. But even players who played a lot of doubles and have it in their arsenol, did not utilize it in singles as much as Evert - excepting King. I really think it allowed Chris to put more net margin on her forehand dropper, than Navratilova or even Graf had on their backhand droppers. Those looked gorgeous slithering over the net cord, but often they did not quite make it over the net.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
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  30. BTURNER

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    I suspect that barring those Borg fans that just could not get into women's tennis, Evert is the closest female equivalent, they will find. I see Borg as a comparatively greater athlete but with the same mind and style. He was blessed to be quickest sprint in the sport, while Evert kept running into the quickest sprint in the sport . So he has the Wimbledon trophies year after year, while she got the runner-up bouquet. Meanwhile, while Evert was winning her 46 consecutive sets at the Open(75-79), this guy could not catch a break.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
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  31. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Yes. Evert and Borg were also great on clay. Evert, like Borg, could also play great indoors. I also see a lot of Graf in Borg in the way they move especially and Graf could be pretty stoic yet intimidating in a quiet way, much like Borg. With Borg, I revered him as the player I looked up to as a junior player. Meanwhile, I didn't want any player to dare beat sweet, pretty Chris Evert with the perfect form and deceptive skill. Take her backhand for example. She could seemingly the same backhand five times, yet she could disguise and change direction like a wizard with each of those shots.
     
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  32. BTURNER

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    while there are plenty of examples of great indoor play in her history, indoor carpet was Evert's worst surface, I am still not sure exactly why. though both grass and carpet played fast, I think grass played into some of her mental strengths and physical attributes that indoor tennis did not. She was not ruffled by bad bounces or , where her early preparation served her well. Rain delays could not impair her steely concentration. Wind and heat were allies in her quest, more often than her opponent's quest and distractions like planes or sirens did nothing to her. Indoors on carpet she had more bad upsets than any other surface. she just seemed to fade but maybe everyone else just played better.... Odd.
     
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  33. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Yes, I think that's true. She could deal with the elements very well. Her form was so repeatable. That's such skill she perfected over so many hours on the court with beginning as a youngster with her tennis family. Her dad was such a great coach for her. Perhaps that advantage with the elements, as a function of her form on strokes, was diminished a bit indoors. She was a bit more prone to an upset if a player could pull off a lot of winners against her and that tends to be a bit easier indoors. Meanwhile, she could also play great indoors, as she did make multiple finals on carpet at year end championships. If she was zoning even more than usual, she could take out anyone.
     
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  34. Kirijax

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    There has never been nor will there ever a player more consistent than Evert. What she did over the course of her career is just incredible. She did win 18 Grand slams, but even more amazing to me is that she made at least the semifinals 52 out of 56 times. One of the best players ever.
     
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  35. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I don't remember who, either King or Steve Flink, theorized that Evert needed the sun and other natural conditions. She needed to sweat to loosen her body up and command it the way that she needed to play her brand of tennis.

    She also relished adverse conditions until late in her career when things became nore difficult for her. She loved humidity and wind BECAUSE her opponents were more likely to hate that. She loved the grit and nastiness of a clay court because as much as she liked being clean, she knew that dirt kicking up in her opponents' faces would bother them more than it woukd bother her.

    Evert will always be undervalued and underestimated. Because she didn't just have a stinging backhand or a neutralizing lob. Everything around her became a weapon to use against her opponents. I suppose that means that playing indoors took away some of her best weapons.
     
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  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I always thought she had a good lob.?!
     
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  37. PDJ

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    As wrote earlier, I think Evert's lob was amazing, and with more variety than any player since.
     
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  38. BTURNER

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    You missed this word, 'just'. "Because she didn't just have a stinging backhand or a neutralizing lob..."

    By the way I think that forehand is way underrated. If it was almost as good as her backhand, that leaves it in elite company. It was much improved from the mid seventies, one of the best ranking right up there. Only Graf's and Serena's was clearly better. Others traded dangerous and powerful for steady, accurate and deep, but they lost something which evert kept.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
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  39. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    My favorite Evert forehand was the sidespin down the line. It tailed away from a right handers BH and forced them an extra step wide. One of her more underated weapons in her deadly web of court positioning.
     
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  40. PDJ

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    I recall most commentators would say it was 'comparatively' her weaker wing. Given she has, arguably, the best double-handed backhand ever, this just points to how good her forehand actually was. Nothing flashy, but spectacular all the same.
     
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  41. BTURNER

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    Its not just the 52 of 56, its which 52 of 56. Those 34 consecutive major semifinals reached were the first 34 majors she played. So were those 48 of the first 49 majors she reached. From a slightly different angle, it works like this. She reached the semis of the first 6 wimbledons, the first 6 US OPens, the first 6 Frenches, and the first six Aussies she ever played.

    So where is the learning curve? You know, those inevitable screw-ups all young champions endure when they are young, inexperienced, and learning how NOT to train, NOT to eat, NOT to stay up too late, NOT to be too overconfident, NOT to play with a hangover, NOT to ignore their coach, NOT to let a fight with mother or boyfriend distract, NOT to be impatient/ impetuous, NOT to be cautious/ tentative.

    Doesn't that happen at the start of your professional career? She played and thought like an old pro, before she finished her sophomore year of high school.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
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  42. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Seriously, Ms Evert should hire you for her PR! You never, not that I've read, written anything ridiculous, particularly biased- just sensible viewpoints and in this case, backed up with facts. That is an incredible record, rarely mentioned when it should be shouted from the rooftops. An amazing achievement. Beyond comprehension.
     
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  43. BTURNER

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    thank-you. I have a bias as many do, but it does not need to corrode the quality of my posting if I don't want it to. Too many 'fans' around here forget that their credibility here, is as important as any attribute or position they might try to sell. It is stupid when you write, to marginalize or belittle, exaggerate or glorify, if you aren't able to take your audience with you. Its your reputation as a reasonable poster, that makes this audience want to follow. If your agenda is so transparent and style so abrasive that colleagues here are laughing or sneering at you, you can't possibly find enough facts to persuade.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    From Court/BJK to Graf/Seles she played them all at the biggies...but did she play Bueno (even at a minor tournament)?
     
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  45. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    That's very true: I find myself having less interest in Graf, and Seles to some degree, because of irrational (obsessive) points of view by their barking 'fans'. It's so tiresome, and does their rational admirers a disservice.
     
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  46. PDJ

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    I'm trying to find out: I do know they have a mutual respect.
     
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  47. BTURNER

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    Chris Evert never played Bueno in a tournament or Fed cup , but I recall her saying that she saw Maria play doubles and singles in the mid 70's, and she was " fun to watch", probably at wimbledon or the Open . Bueno attempted a comeback in 76-77 and played the majors.
     
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  48. BTURNER

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    Yeah, I don't envision Seles or Graf sitting in their living rooms or on the phone, bad-mouthing or demeaning other champions or their accomplishments so they can look better. All these champions are decent people who know exactly what it takes, to get to the top, and respect the hard work and talent of anyone who gets there. I think they'd laugh themselves silly if they saw some of these 'fans' so desperate to belittle the 'competition'.
     
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  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Ok thanks I figured so
    Bueno was 37 or 38 by 77/78
     
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  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It is good to know
    The younger generation had lots of respect for their elder pro fellows
    Do you recall how Navratilova used to worship Billie Jean King?
     
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