Evert - Sabatini

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by BTURNER, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    This rivalry included more interesting points,rallies and drama than the Evert Graf match-up where Graf simply overpowered Chris. In this rivalry Evert clearly had the edge aided by some matches before Gabriella gained her full strength and confidence. Evert was still winning her share through '88, inspired by the dread of Sabatini overtaking her in '88 and 89 rankings . Virtually all the matches from late 86 onward were on hard courts with wind and heat playing a role.

    One pattern lasted throughout most of the history . Gabriella played brilliant, bold tennis in the first set, using her heavy topspin and slice to drive Evert far back and on the defense. Evert had a hell of a time getting any rhythm or control. Eventually, as Evert got used to spin and pattern, her more economically efficient strokes and footwork gained the edge and Gabby normally petered out. In late 88 and 89, Sabatini got more stamina and Evert lost some of her mental edge. But the shot-making and variety were superb, with both willing to approach and both able to pass. Just fun tennis. Here is some clips of their matches. the earliest is when Gabby is 14. The best is the 88 LA event(#3) in which both play well. a vandal in the crowd stalls match point for twenty minutes. One of Evert's very last titles/ acceptance speeches.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGTVlQB5ww0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCOhNFwGG00
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CkoxfKz2Rg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCXWkSQBpac
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
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  2. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Gabby never did all that well against Chris....Gabby seemed to match up much better against Steffi, which I always found odd. Chris seemed able to figure out Gabby's game and counter nicely; as you mention she had more compact strokes and even at her advanced age, was fairly quick around the court (but not as fast as Steffi).
     
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  3. CEvertFan

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    #3
  4. BTURNER

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    Evertfan, while you were on sabbatical, I posted a thread on this very clip. I have both this match and the QF King played vs Austin. Everyone here agreed it showed how shrewd and, frankly, scarey BJK could be to anyone while playing on Centre Court or any other grass venue.

    jrepac - Graf and Sabatini basically grew up together on the tour. I think Graf suffered from having played doubles with Gabby. While Gabby was not not as fast as others she could anticipate Graf's patterns, and sense when Graf was tight or not. She could guess where that forehand would go better than most and run down more shots. Evert's shots were harder for Sabatini to read. Evert was more comfortable a few feet behind the baseline naturally, than Graf, and was less likely to force things on deep high bouncing balls than Graf was . Graf went for winners too far back or tried to hit through the spin. When Steffi's timing was good, the winners fell in regardless and Sabatini was at her mercy. But when that forehand was off just a hint, the work on Gabby's balls induced errors that made Graf's life mighty complicated. Evert's strokes were simple,pure with little that COULD go wrong, so once she got her timing, it rarely left.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
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  5. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I can't believe Sabatini never got the kinks in her serve worked out. That said, nice clips. Really fun tennis.
     
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  6. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I enjoyed watching the Evert-Sabatini matches as well as Gaby's matches against Graf. Gaby had some success against Steffi because of those things you mentioned plus she had a great backhand down the line to the Graf forehand and would often catch Steffi off guard by really going for that shot when most all of the other ladies tried to avoid hitting to the Graf forehand whenever possible.


    Watching that clip of the "88 match it struck me yet again just how accurate Evert was off the ground. She could aim for the lines (and hit them) better than anyone I've ever seen.
     
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  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Evertfan, I think there was a deliberate decision by Evert NOT to mention or recognize the vandalism on match point in any form publicly but instead to make the acceptance remarks as light as possible to relieve the tension. Good call by Evert. That damn bottle came a foot from hitting Gabby. Never seen anything like that before.
     
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  8. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Wow! I've watched all the clips now. Sabatini had SO much game, even at a young age. Not that she didn't have a great career, but it could have been so much more if not for her nerves.
     
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  9. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I remember Gabriella's critics saying her heavy topspin shots were to monotonous early in her career. Those early clips show a slice, and a capacity and willingness to volley, a lot more variety than I recalled. But that excessive topspin really won her matches,early on. She hit it with such power and boldness. Players just did not practice against that kind of work and as long as she kept her depth, they were bullied by it. Her real weakness was her serve. I remember Evert being FORCED to come in on one second serve, it was so shallow.
     
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  10. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    I especially loved that clip of a 14 year old Gaby in the final vs. Evert at Hilton Head.

    She really had an imposing game for a 14 year old. That topspin one hander was quite amazing for such a youngster. The commentary was quite entertaining, Bud Collins seemed enamoured with her. They also mentioned the 15 year old Graf having made the semis at the same tournament.

    I do think for as much potential as she had at that age, she really did not progress the way she should have. Her groundies could have gotten heavier, should have developed her net game even further after the '90 USO and definitely should have worked on a better serve.
     
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  11. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    It is amazing a 14 year old girl could take a 6-1 set off Evert on clay in what some said was Evert's best year of tennis (due to being forced to raise her level late in her career in a determined effort to get back at Martina). It is interesting though you keep hearing she was as good or better as Graf at the same age, yet in head to head play she was already always losing to Graf when they played each other. I think Graf got the mental edge in their rivalry early on and it was hard to ever shake. And by the time she did shake it Seles had come along.

    She really did not develop her game as expected though. She really showed so much potential so young and it didnt pan out. It is amazing she turned out to be only a 1 slam winner.
     
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  12. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    It is hard to say Graf truly suffered in a way though. More like the other way around. Gaby gave her quite a few losses in smaller events, but poor Gaby only beat Graf once in twelve slam meetings. Gaby is one of the best of a collection of very good players whose career was ruined by Graf really.
     
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  13. reversef

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    I think it's more Sabatini who suffered having played doubles with Graf. One of the first things Kirmayr asked her to do was exactly this: stop playing doubles with Steffi.
    Gabriela could indeed trouble Steffi because of her high topspin. In the eighties, she troubled Graf with her huge topspin. Her problem was that she was exhausted from that game and used to run out of gas. Then, during Kirmayr's years, she started to rush to the net more and more. And that, added to her topspin groundstrokes, could really trouble Graf.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
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  14. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    Actually, her game was very versatile when she arrived. She became more stereotyped after that (especially 1988 and 1989), then changed her game again. During the years she spent with Angel Gimenez, she was more of a moonballer. Those were the years of weight lifting because she wanted to muscle her game and get more power in her topspin groundstrokes. But somehow, she forgot the rest of her game.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
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  15. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    The early clips posted, show how right you are! She had more variety in her 14-16 yr game than several clay courters much older!
     
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  16. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    This was always a great matchup. Two baseliners with contrasting styles. Gaby had more variety and was more creative. But Chris could probe and use court positioning so masterfully. Since Gaby's strength was never her footwork, that's important in this matchup. Chris outmanuevered Gaby most of the time.

    My favorite matchup between the two is the 1986 French 4R match. Chris started out flat as she was sometimes prone to do. But she Gaby's play brought out some fine tennis from Chris - which is a compliment to Gaby.

    I would like to see their 1985 Amelia QF that went 3 sets where Chris turned around to Mary Carillo at a change over and scoffed, "She's acting like this is the Wimbledon final!"

    Chris was sometimes very critical of Gaby personally. I don't think she meant anything malicious. But it was one of those rare moments when you could see a chink in her considerable armor. Chris sometimes gave in to needling players that she felt threatened by.
     
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  17. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    And that is why Sabatini won a staggering 3 of 21 matches against Graf until August 1990, yes?

    Say, don't you even TRY to think before you post in internet forums?
     
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  18. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Relative to the other players on tour at the time that was alot of trouble. Graf lost only 7 matches from January 1987 to April 1990 after all, and the only one other than Sabatini to beat her more than once was the great Navratilova who defeated her twice. And she often took Graf to 3 sets in slams which hardly anyone else did.
     
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  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    True enough. At least what Sabatini play Graf in those days that you got the impression Sabatini had a chance to beat Graf. There weren't that many you could say that about. In the 1987 French Open I believe Gaby led Graf 5-3 in the third set before Graf pulled it out. I could be wrong about that.

    A number of tough three set matches. Here's the WTA head to head between the two.
    29
    HEAD TO HEAD SERIES
    11
    RANK (SEED)YEAREVENTSURFACEROUNDWINNERSCORERANK (SEED)
    0 (5) 1985UNITED JERSEYHARDSS.GRAF4-6 6-0 6-30 (7)
    0 (3) 1986VS CHAMPIONSHIPSCARPETR16S.GRAF6-0 6-7 6-20
    0 (1) 1986US CLAY COURTSCLAYFS.GRAF2-6 7-6(5) 6-40 (3)
    0 (1) 1987HILTON HEADCLAYSS.GRAF6-3 2-6 7-6(5)0 (5)
    0 (1) 1987AMELIA ISLANDCLAYSS.GRAF6-2 6-20 (5)
    0 (2) 1987ITALIAN OPENCLAYFS.GRAF7-5 4-6 6-00 (4)
    0 (2) 1987FRENCH OPENCLAYSS.GRAF6-4 4-6 7-50 (7)
    0 (2) 1987WIMBLEDONGRASSQS.GRAF4-6 6-1 6-10 (6)
    0 1987FED CUPHARDR128S.GRAF6-4 6-40
    2 (2) 1987VS OF LOS ANGELESHARDSS.GRAF7-5 7-58 (7)
    1 (1) 1987VS CHAMPIONSHIPSCARPETFS.GRAF4-6 6-4 6-0 6-46 (6)
    1 (1) 1988VS OF FLORIDAHARDFG. SABATINI2-6 6-3 6-15 (4)
    1 (1) 1988AMELIA ISLANDCLAYSG. SABATINI6-3 4-6 7-55 (3)
    1 (1) 1988FRENCH OPENCLAYSS.GRAF6-3 7-6(3)5 (4)
    1 (1) 1988US OPENHARDFS.GRAF6-3 3-6 6-14 (5)
    0 (1) 1988OLYMPICS - SEOULHARDFS.GRAF6-3 6-30 (3)
    1 (1) 1989AUSTRALIAN OPENHARDSS.GRAF6-3 6-04 (3)
    1 (1) 1989AMELIA ISLANDCLAYFG. SABATINI3-6 6-3 7-53 (3)
    1 (1) 1989BERLIN-GERMAN OPENCLAYFS.GRAF6-3 6-13 (2)
    1 (1) 1989US OPENHARDSS.GRAF3-6 6-4 6-23 (3)
    0 (1) 1989VS CHAMPIONSHIPSCARPETSS.GRAF6-3 5-7 6-10 (3)
    1 (1) 1990US OPENHARDFG. SABATINI6-2 7-6(4)5 (5)
    1 (1) 1990EUROPEAN INDOORSCARPETFS.GRAF6-3 6-24 (2)
    1 (1) 1990VS OF NEW ENGLANDCARPETFS.GRAF7-6(5) 6-34 (3)
    1 (1) 1990VS CHAMPIONSHIPSCARPETSG. SABATINI6-4 6-45 (3)
    1 (1) 1991TOKYO (PAN PACIFIC)CARPETQG. SABATINI4-6 6-4 7-6(6)4 (5)
    1 (1) 1991VS OF FLORIDAHARDFG. SABATINI6-4 7-6(6)4 (2)
    2 (1) 1991MIAMIHARDSG. SABATINI0-6 7-6(6) 6-14 (3)
    2 (1) 1991AMELIA ISLANDCLAYFG. SABATINI7-5 7-6(3)4 (2)
    2 (1) 1991WIMBLEDONGRASSFS.GRAF6-4 3-6 8-63 (2)
    2 (2) 1992MIAMIHARDSG. SABATINI3-6 7-6(5) 6-13 (3)
    2 (1) 1992AMELIA ISLANDCLAYFG. SABATINI6-2 1-6 6-33 (2)
    2 (2) 1992WIMBLEDONGRASSSS.GRAF6-3 6-33 (3)
    2 (1) 1993MIAMIHARDSS.GRAF6-0 6-25 (3)
    2 (1) 1993HILTON HEADCLAYSS.GRAF6-0 7-6(3)5 (3)
    2 (1) 1993BERLIN-GERMAN OPENCLAYFS.GRAF7-6(3) 2-6 6-45 (2)
    1 (1) 1993US OPENHARDQS.GRAF6-2 5-7 6-16 (5)
    1 (1) 1994CANADIAN OPENHARDQS.GRAF7-5 6-010 (5)
    2 (2) 1995FRENCH OPENCLAYQS.GRAF6-1 6-08 (8)
    1 (1) 1995US OPENHARDSS.GRAF6-4 7-6(5)8 (9)
     
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  20. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Sabatini had a ton of weapons in her game, apart from her serve and her inconsistant mental fortitude she was a player would could give anyone on the tour a really rough time if she was in a zone. The fact that she is the only one apart from Martina to beat Graf more then once during Graf's first reign of dominance speaks to this very well. Also when Graf was in her horrid slump, Sabatini was one of only a handful of players able to beat her multiple times in a row (and had the most wins over Graf during this time I believe), and apart from Evert, I think is the only player to beat Graf 4 or more times in a row (something even Martina didn't do), and between the 1990 VS Championships and Amelia island of 1992, beat her 7 of the 8 times they played...Graf was in a slump, but no one else really came close to that. Sure Sabatini had a lot of problems and in some ways was an underchiever, she was still a phenominal threat and a solid player.
     
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  21. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Thanks guys, When I read Pike's post last night , I decided to sleep on a reply. While I was sure my factual basis was solid, and fairly sure my analysis of possible reasons, was a decent if incomplete stab, I was unsure of maintaining a respectful tone. There is no valid purpose served to my degrading or belittling fellow members in a tennis forum. Its always about insecurity or small-mindedness. This place is about learning with an open mind from the exchange of diverse views. Glad I waited. You two did a better job than I.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
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  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Great attitude. :)

    On a different note. When Sabatini first came up, didn't some of you or perhaps most of you get the idea that everyone thought she (Sabatini) was the future of Women's tennis and this Graf kid wasn't as good. That was incorrect of course but considering that Gaby reached the final against Evert at age 14 it wasn't an unreasonable thought.

    Noting that Sabatini was only 14 and so good, did she underperform or did we overrated her?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
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  23. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Sabatini both was very overrated yet also underachieved alot IMHO. Even though her results at one point were comparable to Graf she was never going to be as great and win as many slams as Graf. Graf was just too much more powerful, athletic, and mentally tough. However she also should have won alot more than just 1 slam.

    Also were she and Graf entering any of the same draws with Sabatini still doing better. I could be mistaken but I am pretty sure any of the 85 events Sabatini did better in they would lose to the same player, often Evert, and young Graf was just unlucky to draw Chris sooner in events than Gaby.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
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  24. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    They didn't.
    You suggested that Graf suffered from playing doubles with Sabatini, allowing Sabatini to figure out Steffi.
    The facts say otherwise.

    Steffi played her last doubles with Gaby at Wimbledon 90.
    Until then she was 21-3 against Gaby in singles.
    After that Sabatini won 8 of the next 10 matches against Steffi.
    So we can say Graf suffered from STOPPING to play doubles with Sabatini!

    Your post was indeed not very intelligent, don't you see that?
     
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  25. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Well according to you every match Graf lost for next 3 years from May 1990 or so onwards was due to her fathers problems or some other silly excuses so by your logic since all of Sabatini`s wins these 3 years dont count she has more real wins while playing doubles with Graf then while not any longer.
     
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  26. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    According to you all losses of a certain player from 1995 to 2003 were due to a minor stab wound in 1993.
    So please don't use the term "silly excuses" in connection with Graf.

    The point was whether Graf "suffered" from playing doubles with Sabatini.
    Which is an absolutely idiotic thing to say
     
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  27. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    LOL I am not a Seles backer so now you are the one who has no clue what you are talking about. I have said many times in fact I am one of those who think that the Seles career other than the possibly first 6 months of her comeback (which turned out to be her most fruitful despite playing only 4 events) followed its natural course and have explained why I feel that way many times. It is however true that you have many times tried to unfairly discredit the success Seles, Sabatini, and others had in the early 90s due to the problems of Graf. So why would beating Graf more often mean anything when you never give her credit for those early 90s wins anyway.
     
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  28. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    The real problem was that Graf suffered from stopping to play doubles with Sabatini.
     
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  29. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Here's the problem with your thought process. You assumed that the results of my theory would have to be immediate and thus correspond chronologically with the doubles play. I did not say or even imply that. What if before 1990 she could in fact read the Graf stroke, and yes, anticipate Graf's game and patterns better than other players, but did not have the physical stamina, strength and speed to consistently execute a strategy DESPITE the advantage the doubles play offered her Well that might explain earlier success in sets and erratic swings but also the later blossoming toward final results. What if the great success Gabby had compared to others depended on BOTH. Kinda in line with other's views on some of Gabby's weaknesses but expanding beyond them . Do you get it yet?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
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  30. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Because she played 25 doubles tournaments in 1986-90 with Graf?
    You think she watched Graf's "pattern" in those doubles matches and that helped her when she had Graf on the other side of the net in singles matches in 1990-93 ... ?

    OMG ...


    Say, did you ever play tennis?
     
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  31. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Well I was born in 1987 so I really can't comment on the actual feeling at the time, but in the matches from their younger days that I have seen I think it was even at an early age, quickly obvious that Graf was likely to be the better player. Both had a variety of shots and weapons, but in their matches, Graf just carried herself differently, she even then had a lot of self confidence and poise that in the Gabby matches, I don't think was there as much. Maybe there was an attitude that Gabby would take the world by storm, I cannot affirm or deny it, but from my own perspective looking back, I think it was always going to be Graf. That being said, given Gabby's amazing level of talent so young, it is a little surprising the gap between Gaby and Graf is so enormous achievement wise given their young promise. I personally would say Gabby was an underachiever, She had more talent and ability then some players both before and after her who won more slams than she did , but she was not mentally solid so that would explain some of it.
     
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  32. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    As it was written above, Sabatini suffered from bad coaching. She had enough flexibilty and improvisation in her racket work, to do well in the forecourt with volleys and half-volleys and a solid overhead (unlike the fragile serve). But since Gimenez, they wanted to model her into the second Vilas, with emphasis on the heavy and monotonous topspin. She made the same error, Vilas made: They neclegted their fine backhand and ran around the backhand to play a weak topsoin forehand. In 1990, Kirmayr did the right thing, to give her more room for imagination and net play. Her early matches with Graf had often the same pattern: they were close, but lack of stamina saw lose Sabatini out at the end in 3. She had deficits in stamina and on the mental side: i remember a USO semi in 1989, when Graf got cramps, and Sabatini didn't exploit the situation, but played all the balls into her racket. And i never forget the point at 30-30 with 6-5 final set in the Wim final 1991. Gaby was serving powder puff serves, but had the match in her hand, when she didn't let go a Graf forehand pass, which would have been out, but stabbed a weak backhand volley to Graf's backhand, who made the pass.
     
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  33. nat75

    nat75 Rookie

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    Well. According Carlos Kirmayr himself and John Loehr (the sport psychologist) it was Gaby's game which was affected while playing doubles with Steffi so they made Gaby break the partnership.
    They allegedly said that Gaby's respect towards Steffi was way to high.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
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  34. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Of course.
    21-3 H2H says it all.
     
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  35. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Joe, Of course we have already established how little your stat actually said except that Sabatini did better than anyone else on the tour vs Graf during those exact years and thereafter. See posts # 18 and 19 and reread

    Nat, thank you for your input. The doubles part of my theory as to why she did better, is now compromised. What you add makes sense and is consistent with Sabatini's even better resutls after they stopped playing doubles.

    Everytime I watched those matches, I was amazed at how many of Graf's forehands, Sabatini, not known for her on-court footspeed, managed to get back, when others could no and how she had a sense of when to be more agreesive. I put it to better anticipation, for want of any other conclusion, and theorized that like so many doubles teams in history, who often practiced singles with each other, spent social time together, planned their schedules together, talked strategy, and eventually broke up as their singles rivalry heated, Sabatini got benefit. And that still may be true. But Graf may have gotten a better bargain.
     
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  36. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I still cant believe Sabatini won 1 slam and Sanchez Vicario won 4. Sanchez Vicario ended up being the much better player, despite that she seems to have far less natural talent and certainly was predicted to achieve far less when both were coming up. Imagine in the mid to late 80s saying this little Spanish girl with this funky forehand would win quadruple the slams as Sabatini who took a 6-1 set off a prime Evert at age 14 and was hailed (maybe along with Graf) as the future of tennis. Yet that is what happened.
     
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  37. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    During those exact years Sabatini was 3-21 against Graf.
    That is not better than Navratilova with 2-6.

    And we have established that Gaby's coaches wanted her to stop playing doubles with Graf because she, Gaby, suffered from it.
     
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  38. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I hate the way we use the term "peak" so much around here. Because too often when we do it seems that we're dissecting people's accomplishments to fit an agenda.

    But to me, the difference in ASV and Sabatini is that they "peaked' at different times. Gaby was an emerging slam threat in 1987 when she barely missed the French final that year. So I would say her peak was from 1987-1992. That's a period where Martina and to a lesser extent Chris are still around at the top, Steffi was collecting slams like some people collect stamps, and then soon Seles started doing the same.

    ASV's "peak" didn't come until a couple of obstacles had been removed from her path around 1993 and lasted through 1996. There's no top 10 great in this period except for a continually injured and seemingly bored Graf. If Gaby's peak had come when ASV's did she likely would've been more successful. But it didn't.

    And I can't argue with anyone who says that Gaby had her chances just like ASV did in this period. ASV took advantage and Gaby didn't. But it was clear by 1993 that Sabatini had lost a lot of steam and in some cases was just going through the motions. Had ASV's peak come when Gaby's did, I don't think ASV would've done any better than Sabatini.

    Lots of hypotheticals and opinions there.....
     
    #38
  39. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Was the mid 90s really that much weaker than the early 90s? Graf was way better in the mid 90s, she was actually in a major slump in the early 90s. Seles was obviously gone which is a big minus. Sanchez was much better in the mid 90s. Sabatini was much worse in the mid 90s. Novotna and Pierce were much better in the mid 90s. Capriati was gone but she wasnt a huge contender anyway then. Navratilova was weaker or gone in the mid 90s vs the early 90s. Martinez was much better in the mid 90s. Fernandez was worse in the mid 90s than the early 90s.

    I wouldnt say there is a huge difference overall. The early 90s was maybe a bit stronger but not much. The early 90s had a top 5 of a peak Seles, badly slumping Graf, peak Sabatini, aging and clearly past her prime Navratilova, and still developing Sanchez Vicario with a supporting cast of pre puberty Capriati, pre prime Novotna, and Fernandez. The mid 90s had a top 5 of Graf, peak Sanchez, Novotna, Pierce, peak Martinez, post stabbing Seles, and a supporting cast of Date, past her prime Sabatini, and Huber, and an even older Martina.

    The big thing for Sanchez Vicario is Graf was a much easier matchup for her than Seles was, despite that Graf is better than Seles. So Seles being gone was the biggest possible plus for her.

    Comparing her to Sabatini though Sanchez Vicario beat Graf 4 times in slams. Sabatini did only once. Sanchez Vicario beat Seles in a slam final. Sabatini never beat Seles in a slam.

    We also know Sanchez Vicario not even in her prime won 1 slam in that period of Sabatini's prime which was the same # Sabatini won and she beat a much stronger Graf than the version Sabatini beat to win hers. So I wouldnt be so sure had Sanchez hit her prime then she wouldnt have done better than Sabatini still, though I agree she probably wouldnt have done as well as she did.

    Sanchez Vicario just became a better player than Sabatini through very hard work, recognition of what she needed to improve, better prioritization, often better court smarts, superior determination, and much bigger fighting qualities.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
    #39
  40. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Did anyone catch the comments about how this match with Evert was Sabatini's third match of the day?! Mention was around 4:20 of the first clip...1985 Family Circle Cup. I was a bit unsure if it was also Evert's third...at about 8:30 they seem to indicate this was only Evert's second match of the day. Evert was to play doubles later in the day however. Sabatini definitely seemed to be dragging a bit late in the match vs. earlier.
     
    #40
  41. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    Great post suwanee. Agreed 100%.
     
    #41
  42. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Gaby's run on that Sunday was amazing. To finish off Shriver, outrally Maleeva, and then still come out and play her first big final vs. Evert was really something. Chris' QF vs. Ruzici was short and easy before the rain started. But she did have to play Graf and Sabatini in the same day. While Gaby was beating Maleeva on an outside court, Chris was beating Steffi.

    On NBC's coverage, there's little mention of Steffi. It was much later that people covering the tennis world caught on to Steffi, though Billie Jean King had already pegged her as a future all time great back in 1983.

    Something that received far less attention was the 1984 Italian Open where I believe Maleeva had to win 3 complete matches in one day vs. Ruzici, Bassett, and finally Evert. Maleeva actually cruised past Evert 6-3, 6-3. You never ever hear about that. But that's something that should've been more celebrated than it was.
     
    #42
  43. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Very interesting. what was your source for tennis scores/info back in '84? no internet, no espn news. Italian Open wasn't televised in US I believe.
    I remember looking at scores in the paper, but don't think they had scores for all events/rounds.

    I liked M Maleeva, some of her matches with Martina were pretty entertaining (esp '90 & '91 USO - I watched some of their '91 match in the Grandstand, but once Connors-Krickstein started, the Grandstand got empty real quick!)
     
    #43
  44. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I found it here, Moose

    http://www.visittobulgaria.com/sport/dir.asp?d=0-3-Tennis-Manuela_Maleeva

    "Manuela Maleeva is the first tennis player in history to win three matches in one day. At the Italian Open 1984, she defeated the Roland Garos'78 Champion Virginie Ruzici (Rom), after that the Canadian star Carling Basset in straight sets and finally Chris Evert in the final 6-3 6-3. With the win over Evert, she became the only seventh player in the world to beat Evert on clay. The above photo is from this tournament. "
     
    #44
  45. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Oh the Dark Ages of 1984! Tennis magazine, World Tennis, and the newspaper were my main sources. Which meant that I got whatever scant coverage the Albany (GA) Herald and Tallahassee Democrat provided to tennis and then weeks later I would become a little more informed through the mags.

    Probably the first I ever heard of Maleeva's Italian feat was during NBC's coverage of the French when she and Evert staged that long 3 set duel in the 4th round. But once Chris relieved herself of that threat, I don't I ever heard anyone talk about it ever again. Whereas, the Sabatini story lived on and on seemingly forever.

    Although pretty and petite, Maleeva was never a media sensation like Sabatini. Understandably so since her game wasn't as dynamic and Gaby's run came at 14 instead of 16, which I think Maleeva was at the Italian. But even think back to how Temesvari got so much publicity out of merely taking Martina to 3 sets at the 1983 Hilton Head tournament, she was talked about by the American media more than Maleeva was despite Maleeva's actual win over Evert.

    Tennis Magazine was so American-oriented that they all but ignored Maleeva's win in Rome altogether. It was hard to notice back then because its mostly all we knew. But now that I have access to European, Australian, and Japanese magazines, its easy to see how terrible sports journalism Tennis Magazine was.
     
    #45
  46. Terre Battu

    Terre Battu Rookie

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    Good point. I think Jimenez set Gaby's career back. Her early tactics were aggressive all court tennis, then there was the boring 'moonball' period. After that was the all-court approach again under Kiramyr which proved very successful.
     
    #46
  47. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Definitely...Moonballing for Gaby was a bad idea. She never really had the mental stamina to wear down her opponents with Moonballing and she was never that great and hitting those kind of shots anyway. Her topspin based shots and all court attack approach were definitely better because she could keep the points shorter and keep her head in them. Playing longer points was not Gabby's strongsuit really.
     
    #47
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    But Gabriela finally beat Graf by playing S&V...how taught her so? she really was brilliant and I admire her courage to play an arguable GOAT with a completely new game...and still being able to beat her.

    I also think both got along very well, and Graf wasn´t as hungry against sabatini than against Seles or Navratilova.

    She also had some menthal doubts when facing Sanchez, specially on clay ( Arancha was the first to beat her in a memorable FO final)
     
    #48

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