Goolagong gets No. 1 ranking, 30 years late

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by grafrules, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,180
    http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_y...slug=ap-goolagong-topranked&prov=ap&type=lgns

    For the record Goolagong was probably the obvious #1 in 1971 when she won the French Open and Wimbledon titles. However there was no computer ranking back then, so with this she gets her only period, belated, as having been ranked #1 since computer rankings came out.
     
    #1
  2. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,374
    Nice to hear, but a bit late. Her backhand was a dream, i have never again seen such a smooth movement, not even by Mandlikova.
     
    #2
  3. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,180
    I always think of her and Mandlikova together for some reason. Both outrageously talented, both had incredible careers with 7 and 4 slams respectably, but both are still considered underachievers by some people, despite their success amidst very bad luck to be in the incredible eras of first Court-King and then Navratilova-Evert. Both considered mentally fragile and inconsistent to a certain degree, which is believed to have led to their presumed underachieving. Both comfortable playing on all surfaces, both comfortable playing from the baseline or the net, both incredibly fluid in their movement and shotmaking. Both capable of "in the zone" type performance were it is hard for even one of the aforementioned greats to contain them.
     
    #3
  4. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    840
    Excellent comparison. Goolagong and Mandlikova had a lot in common. Mandlikova had a MUCH better serve (especially second serve) but Goolagong performed more consistently in big matches.
     
    #4
  5. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Messages:
    923
    Evonne's even temper also helped her whereas Hana's sometimes bad temper worked against her. Evonne was like a willowy little girl floating around the court not as concerned about whether or not she won as she was with the pure joy of hitting the ball and doing with it what she wanted. Hana was more like the mad artist that often times was her own worst enemy. She also carried unrealistic expectations from herself and from the press that Evonne didn't seem to be burdened with.

    But they both could move, that's for sure. I agree with the poster that ranked Evonne ahead of Hana in this category. Although I think the period of Hana's career that included graphite racquets creates some of that margin of difference. I'm not sure that there was much difference in the grace and fluidity of strokes and movement between the two when they both played with a wood racquet.

    I do think I would give Hana a slight edge as a shotmaker though. These are probably the two best female players to watch when they were on their game.
     
    #5
  6. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,058
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Goolagong was a very graceful player with beautiful strokes but her lack of mental toughness was her weakness. Imagine what she would have accomplished if she had the mental toughness of a player like Evert. Nice to see that she did indeed attain the #1 ranking even if it was brought to light many years after the fact.

    IMO, Evonne was one of the most enjoyable players to watch when she was on.
     
    #6
  7. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,832
    Location:
    New York City
    Hell, maybe they'll tell me I was number one at some point.
     
    #7
  8. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Messages:
    3,046
    The interesting thing is Evonne had her best year ever as a 19 year old in 1971. That was the only year she won two slams. It was the only year she beat King and Court back-to-back in slams. It was the only year she was #1 for the overall year(well the unofficial non-computer #1 anyway). I think when she had that year so young alot of people were predicting her to win many more slams then she did, and to possibly be the heir apparent as the top women player over the next decade. Then when Evert became a bit more known I think people were predicting a cliose rivalry between them at the top for many years to come. Although she would have a great career neither of these predictions came to pass. She did never have quite the career and live up to the expectations people had for her at that point.
     
    #8
  9. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,832
    Location:
    New York City
    I thought she was hot in her heyday. She had the best name on tour as well.
     
    #9
  10. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,023
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Although I am to young to have her actually play, I have seen tapes of her matches and always though she was such a great mover and shot technician, hitting great shots from everywhere. the mental toughness thing was also an issue, but also her shots, especially as she progressed in her career, seemed to hang loose and not have the bite they should have or could, and that hurt her ball control and power...but thats just my interpretation. Obviously being in the era she was didnt help either, and the fact she could always hold her own against players that had so much more grit than she did was amazing. I am glad she finally got recognized because lord knows she derserves it
     
    #10
  11. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,576
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    Goolagong always reminded me of Nastase from strictly an athletic standpoint. She had it all, great movement, great strokes, great anticipation. And, like Nastase, the big weakness in her game was her mental toughness. The difference between she and Nastase being of course that she would just kinda look aimless and as though she wasn't paying attention to anything. Nastase would pay attention to everything except his own situation.
     
    #11
  12. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    In terms of recordkeeping tennis is at the very bottom of all the top sports.
     
    #12
  13. Seacoast Stringer

    Seacoast Stringer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    410
    Yeah, growing up she was was definitely one of, or the, most graceful, classy and fun players to watch.
     
    #13
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Absolutely.Add two more players: Bueno and Hingis.But Esther is basically a preopen era and Martina a post modern times era.

    I think you had to be basically a unique specimen to distinguish themselves, like they did, in an era that went from Court till early graf and with great champions such as King,Evert,Navratilova and Austin in the field.
     
    #14
  15. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    Mataderos
    We wil have pretty similar news about Guillermo Vilas soon.
     
    #15
  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Vilas
    Vilas
    Vilas
     
    #16
  17. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    Mataderos
    What are you meaning?
     
    #17
  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    That I hope something similar will happen to Vilas, also.
     
    #18
  19. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    787
    It would be a great thing. For justice.
     
    #19
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    #20
  21. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    516
    Just looking at Goolagong's stats for 1976 again and she had a pretty good year. Won the AO and even more impressively back then, winning the VS Champs over Chris Evert, plus a host of other titles, and of course runner-up finishes to Chrissie at both Wimby and the US Open. The W Final went to 8-6 in the final set. Ice cool Chris was just too focused and determined in the end.
     
    #21
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    This is close, the 76 year is thrilling because we also had the Borg-Connors affair.

    IMo, Borg had a better season overall than Connors and I´d still place Evert ahead because a W&FH double is better than an AO&VS double.Sadly enough, because Evonne deserved another season like 71 ...
     
    #22
  23. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    Mataderos
    Interviewed by dpa in Australia, Goolagong made public her support to Vilas. "I wish him the best of luck, I think he is a player who really has deserved the number one. I hope this is confirmed "said the Australian, winner of seven Grand Slam titles between 1971 and 1980.
     
    #23
  24. spencerjudd

    spencerjudd Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Messages:
    94
    Vilas was clearly the #1 of 1977. Terrible not only was he not honored with the official ranking to Connors, but most of the POY choices went to Borg too. He was robbed all around.
     
    #24
  25. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    787
    Maybe he will be soon recognized as the number one by the ATP. It would be great ans fair.
     
    #25
  26. DMan

    DMan Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    922
    I love Evonne Goolagong. Probably the only player in pro tennis history that no one ever said an unkind thing about her. She was just so likeable.

    And when she was motivated and on her game, she would play the most sublime, creative, awe inspiring tennis you will ever see. Her movement around the court was more a combination of dancing and sprinting. She was just a joy to watch. (Unless she was having one of those walkabout days.)

    I think she may have played some of her finest tennis in 1976. She reached the final of every Virginia Slims event she played, losing only twice, to nemesis Chris Evert. She gained revenge by beating Chris in the finals of the very last regular V.S. event in Philadelphia. And 2 weeks later Evonne upset Chris in 3 thrilling sets in the finals of the Virginia Slims Championships.

    Evonne was certainly the top player on the Virginia Slims circuit no doubt.

    Now about that #1 ranking on the WTA computer. Yes, it was new back then. And yes, this was the WTA, so accuracy comes with a grain of salt. And yes, if they were only calculating rankings fromt he start of the year, well then Evonne should have been #1 after the V.S. Championships in April.

    BUT, if they were using a 12 month system, well then there is no way Evonne could have been #1 in April. While the V.S. tournaments were heavily weighted compared to other events, #2 Chris Evert didn't do that shabbily in 1976. Remember, Chris beat Evonne in the finals of the L'Eggs World Series 4 woman event in January 1976. This counted towards the computer rankings. Evonne's Australian Open win was nice. But it was not comparable to today's Australian Open in terms of prestige, prize money, or strength of draw. It would be the equivalent of a Tier III event as far as computer points. Tournament results from late April 1975 end of the year heavily favored Chris Evert, who only lost once in that time period. So even with Evert's 1R loss at VS Boston event in March 1976, it's hard to fathom that a fair computer system using all results from the prior 12 months could rank Evonne (who had a losing H2H vs Chris in the 12 months from April 1975-April 1976) ahead of Chris.

    That being said, I don't begrudge Evonne the #1 ranking the WTA has accorded her. She should have gotten #1 on style points alone!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
    #26

Share This Page