Graf invincible by todays player or not?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by grafrules, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,180
    I dont know if this belongs in the Former Pro section or here. However I am curious to know some of opinons. Can any of todays best women players hang with the great Steffi Graf? Yes or no.
     
    #1
  2. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,099
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Henin I think could definitely hang with Graf....and Davenport proved she could several times....99 wimby anyone? other than that....I really don't know
     
    #2
  3. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,652
    Location:
    "Where Moth & Rust Destroy"
    Yes, Henin would kick her backhandless butt... oh and, btw, yes, it does belong in the former pros section, where else?
     
    #3
  4. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,180
    Henin vs Graf would be an interesting matchup. As for Davenport and 99 Wimbledon, remember I am talking about Graf in her prime vs any of todays players which Graf definitely wasnt in 99 so that match isnt the best example IMO, and even Davenport isnt in her prime anymore.
     
    #4
  5. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,363
    I would pick Graf over Henin because she got that powerful forehand and her serve was a lot better than Henin (imho). Henin got tremendous power for her size but Graf is a larger woman with even more power.
     
    #5
  6. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    697
    Steffi Graff was overrated. She was named by SI in 2001 as the most overrated tennis player (male or female) in history....
     
    #6
  7. rommil

    rommil Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7,764
    Location:
    CT
    Graf would have fits with an on form Venus, Serena and Justine among others and yes, this belongs to the other forum. Graf's body would break down faster too with today's pace and power. She had very unorthodox strokes and she hit the ball a bit later on the trajectory.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
    #7
  8. FedForGOAT

    FedForGOAT Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    921
    with today's equipment, Graf could take on anyone. and she had a very effective slice for a bh.
     
    #8
  9. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    697
    Her weak slice bh was considered a major weakness except on grass. This was one of the reasons why she was dethroned in 1991.....

    Girls nowadays ( who consistenly hit hard on both sides) would be too much for Graff.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
    #9
  10. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,035
    She rarely had to hit the backhand. Watch her 1987 French final against Navratilova - the court positioning. Graf came back from 2-5 down in the third against Sabatini (a topspin player), and did the same thing against Navratilova. She was a tough cookie. Graf had an effective crosscourt topspin backhand in 1987, too. It was only when she got old that her backhand became a liability. Her topspin backhand during her French open win against Hingis was wimpy, not the much bigger shot it had been.

    Henin can be an amazing player and she can have off days, too. Give Henin a Dunlop 200G and Graf would definitely have the edge.
     
    #10
  11. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,099
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Well I mentioned that match because Graf had just won the french. Henin vs graf on clay I think would be interesting if it were possible, but it would really come down to who was on. Henin's backhand would bury graf's....but it would come down to a battle of tactics...it would be fun, but I would give henin the edge, on grass....maybe graf, as she had the wimby success and henin struggles there...on hard courts...either or. but this is all in the what if category, and could be debated endlessly. as for the rest of the girls today...i don't think many others could hand with graf as many of the top ten have huge gaping holes in their games Graf would fine a way to take advantage of. Henin would test her. the onlyother girl who may have held her own against graf would be a fit clijsters, since she had the agility and speed to handle the longer rallies.
     
    #11
  12. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    533
    Graf is twice as fast. Doesn't make excuses. And that backhand is irritating to play against.

    Did you forget about her forehand? Nobody can read it.

    I'll pick Graf, by a landslide.
     
    #12
  13. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    697
    yes, vs. horrid competition.

    there's no doubt graff dominated the field of players she competed against far more than venus, serena, henin, etc. have. but that's because graff played ZILCHO competition.

    if Graff's career had started say in 1999, with the form she had in 1986 and then progressing onwards as it did, she'd have been lucky to have won more than 2 slams since then, and only when the top players of the past 5 years were INJURED.
     
    #13
  14. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,945
    watch Graf thump Venus in the 1999 wimbledon match. She had Venus on the run..thats 'today's player. And Graf was past her prime, after loads of surgerys and a few matches from retirement. Prime Graf would toy with todays field. Most of Henin's rivals were overweight: Clijsters, Serena, Davenport. Henin would be Grafs main rival, but Graf was fitter, faster, and a bigger hitter.
     
    #14
  15. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,603
    Agree with most you are saying.

    Just watched the 1989 semi final Graf vs Seles. People tend to forget how hard both women (Graf and Seles) hit, with rackets today's players would have a lot of trouble with. In her first years as number one on the tour (1987-1990) Graf wasn't nearly as good as the player she was in 1995 -1996. Graf 1995/6 would have beaten Graf 1988. Do'n't agree that some posters said that backhand got a liability when she got older. You don't win the RG when you are past your prime, an aging tennisbody, against the top 3 of the world, for nothing. With her attitude and smartness she would be a tennisgreat in today's field, as would Monica Seles.

    I take Seles into the discussion, because both introduced the power game into today's tennis. Both have different followers in today's players. You have the all power shots (Seles) in todays players (Ivanovic, Sharapova, Williams2,) and the power finesse shots (Graf) in today's players (Henin). Yet what today's players lack is the strategy play and mental attitude both Steffi and Monica had. With them you felt safe if they played with your life on the line. Today's players don't have the angles Seles had, nor the footwork Graf had.

    The players today who can Graf fits, are the ones with a big serve and a good volley. Her forehand was the weapon, but the slice she could rally with all days. Look at Roger and Steffi had a better slice than he has.

    Nice thread. Hope it stays civil.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
    #15
  16. @Sweet Cleopatra@

    @Sweet Cleopatra@ New User

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    89
    I don't knoe her as I'm 15 , but SI said that cause she wasn't American ,
     
    #16
  17. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    533

    Finally someone with a brain!!

    Graf was a world class athlete, just like Secretariat was a world class thoroughbred.

    None of today's womens players are true athletic specimens. They are overtrained average to fat girls with power hoola hoop rackets. None of them can RUN. Henin is an exception, but Graf was much faster.
     
    #17
  18. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,945
    Hang with todays best?

    Chris -Evert is thinking about a comeback after watching the Chakvetadze-Kuznetsova U.S. Open semifinal. :mrgreen:
     
    #18
  19. ken1d

    ken1d Banned

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    403
    you know a match I want to see? Henn vs nadal on clay. Clay king vs clay queen of all time. As a feminist I would love to see this happen.
     
    #19
  20. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,099
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    That would be cool...but Evert is the all time queen of clay i think...not Henin
     
    #20
  21. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    697
    Steffi Graff beat arguably the weakest fields ever in 93, 95, and 96, when she racked up 10 of her slam titles.

    And back in 88-89 her top competition was two 33 year olds, MN and CE.

    The only time she faced great, young competition was between 90-93 (Seles) and during that time she won almost NOTHING...

    W sisters and Henin would surely beat peak-Graff more times than not on all surfaces.
     
    #21
  22. rogerfederer26

    rogerfederer26 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    125
    Agree about Seles. To me, she's still the most devastating force I've seen on a tennis court from a mental assault perspective. She had to be the greatest clutch player ever that I've seen. The bigger the point, the more she went for. Just absolutely NO FEAR whatsoever. She was just so relentless mentally, never gave you an inch, never a loose point, it was scary.

    She would eat up Venus' and Serena's inconsistency and mental lapses in her prime, in my opinion.

    Power-wise they are comparable except for the serve, but Seles took the ball on the rise more aggressively than any other player man or woman that I've seen. Seles also hit better power angles than any man or woman I've ever seen. Seles also NEVER EVER let her foot off the gas pedal, not even to blink an eye. She was like Evert in that way. No one focused like those two, never a loose point, never got down on themselves, always focused on every single point like their life was on the line or like they were dancing on hot coals. Seles in her prime was the most devastating female tennis specimen I've ever seen...and NOT because of her power, but rather because of her mental toughness. Serena and Venus are fighters too, but Seles was one better...she was pitbull, an enraged doberman, as assasin sent from the devil...you get the point.

    It's amazing to me that even far past her prime she could still be competitive with them. And to me, the fat Seles is simply a shadow of the trim Seles, both mentally and physically. Seles was out of shape, unfortunately, so we'll never know definitively how she would have done against the Williams sisters in her prime.

    As far as Graf goes, I think she would actually match up quite well with the Williams sisters. I give her the edge in mental toughness, raw foot speed would be similar (remember Graf was once the European junior champion in the 100m), but Graf's footwork was crisper, the crispest I've ever seen man or woman, so overall I give her a slight edge in movement, just a more precise and efficient mover in my opinion. Graf's serve was big, but not Williams sister big....big enough and effective like a sniper. Forehands would be a wash, because although I give the Williams sisters a slight edge in power, Graf was more consistent and her flatter hitting style isn't as common plus she used a more convenitional grip which would allow her to adjust more easily when on the defensive.

    Returns, definitely go to the Williams sisters, due to Graf's slice backhand...a nice shot, but not a kill shot. The Williams sisters can kill off either side.

    Passing shots, no question Williams sisters.

    Overall, in their respective primes, I'd give Graf the edge on grass (skidding slice, flatter forehand, more conventional grips for quicker, eaiser adjustments) and clay (superior footwork)...the Williams sisters would get the edge on hard. Indoors would be very interesting indeed.

    Seles, on the other hand, is a different animal. At her best, I believe she would still be the clear number one even today. Just no one was tougher mentally. When you consider her lack of fitness and deterioration of her once never matched killer instinct; it's hard to imagine that she could still be competitve...yet she was. Just imagine the lean pre stabbing Seles who never let up for a second and never wasted an opportunity. In my opinion, she would waste no time jumping all over any Venus and Serena lapses in concentration.
     
    #22
  23. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,059
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Evert was more mentally tough than Seles, if that's possible. Prime Monica is very close to the bar Evert set though.
     
    #23
  24. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    697
    I'm not so sure about that. Seles was just as tough as Chrissie but a lot more powerful.... Mons mental toughness is very similiar to Connolly's........
     
    #24
  25. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    697
    Graff's feet moved as fast, but because she was shorter (legs) and her arms were shorter, she didn't have the court-range that W sisters had. The W sisters could cover more ground than Graff could, and they could do more with the ball when they got to it...
     
    #25
  26. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,877
    Location:
    In a tent, along the Silk Road
    There's some truth to this, but like Federer, another great player playing among hacks, Graf was enough of a talent to hang with anyone. Only, not QUITE like Federer.

    I could already see, in the late 90's, that she was having trouble with the big hitters. The Williams and Davenport were starting to hurt her, and of course, so was Seles.

    I don't think her slice b/h would cut it today...it would be ripped to shreds by the likes of Henin and the other big hitters, while, back in the early 90's, most of the players didn't have the firepower to exploit it.
     
    #26
  27. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,059
    Location:
    NJ, USA

    Being powerful has absolutely NOTHING to do with being mentally tough. Evert's lack of major firepower (compared to today's standards) made it all that much more important that she be extremely mentally tough, which she was.

    Evert has the highest winning percentage in Open tennis history precisely because she was supremely mentally tough. IMO prime Seles, and perhaps Connolly from what I've read about her, do come closest to Evert in the mental toughness department though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
    #27
  28. GOD_BLESS_RAFA

    GOD_BLESS_RAFA Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    600
    YES I am a great fan of Graff she is the best in WTA up to now!! She is the GOAT in WTA!
     
    #28
  29. caulcano

    caulcano Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,637
    Nadal would apply so much topspin that it will bounce over her head!
     
    #29
  30. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,153
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Good post. I think (when she was healthy), you could also maybe include Tracy Austin in that category as well.
     
    #30
  31. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,603

    Are you sure Phil. I am a 35 year old and play against many powerfull two fisted teenagers and twenty year olds, they hate the attacking slice, because it gets them out of the comfort zon. Graf loved the power coming from the other side of the net, she had more trouble with a Navratilova kind of player, and there was only of those. Graf was severly injured in 1997 (knee surgery) and after that her mobility was never the same again. It's no excuse, but to me that is the reason she started losing more. She lost to players like Serna, Appelmans, Schnyder.

    Having said that, if you look at the Wimbledon quarter final against Venus, Miriana, she outmanouvred, outsmarted them. They were in balance, Venus not in her prime, Graf past her prime. I think that was some of the best tennis I have ever seen Graf played. I think many players hated that slice. I remember an interview with Monica Seles saying that she thought many players underestimated that slice. It wasn't a defensive shot when executed by Graf, it was an agressive shot.

    To trouble Graf, you need to have a big serve, a good netgame. Navratilova, Mariaan de Swardt.
     
    #31
  32. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,059
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Austin could be included in that category. When she was healthy she was one of the very few players that could intimidate both Evert and Navratilova, which was an extremely difficult task.
     
    #32
  33. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,099
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I agree...Austin at her prime scared both Evert and Martina and Graf because she was so consistent and could go toe to toe with them
     
    #33
  34. ShiroRm

    ShiroRm Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Messages:
    289
    Location:
    Caput mundi
    Steffi has always been my favorite female player.
    But I wouldn't include her among the smartest ones: absolutely not.
    And I don't think she could win playing against Henin, because her game has never been as complete and consequently effective as Justine's one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
    #34
  35. rod99

    rod99 Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,197
    you're incorrect. graf is the same height as serena and has longer legs than serena. venus is obviously taller but graf was faster than either of them. graf had world class track speed.
     
    #35
  36. rod99

    rod99 Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,197
    you're wrong again. if you look at graf/seles head to head between 1990 and 1993 then it was 4-3 seles. evidently in your book that is "almost NOTHING." and you're last sentence is laughable.
     
    #36
  37. rommil

    rommil Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7,764
    Location:
    CT
    Not entirely true. Davenport beat Steffi in Wimby 99 from the baseline for one. She also had problems with Coetzer's baseline game. To trouble Graf you need to be consistently strong from both sides. That's why Graf's game wouldn't hold as well in todays game because there are more players than can hit big on both sides and Graf running around her forehand would give too much of an opening. That's calling it as it is.
     
    #37
  38. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    4,486
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Are you Monica Seles's mom or bother or something. :lol:

    Also post-stabbing Seles was not competitive with the Williams much at all so your idea of well she was challenging them even out of shape and not her best anymore is a huge stretch of a statement. She was 1-9, the only win a 3 set win when Venus had an obvious stomach injury, and was killed in over half of those 9 losses, and it is not like matches in 1998 or 1999 were Venus at her peak either. Serena she was more competitive with, 1-4 losing record but some 3 setters, but that Serena she played was also a shadow of the 2002-2003 Serena who dominated the game who she never had to play. Agassi was challenging Federer in his mid 30s with a bad back as much as the Williams were by late career Seles.

    Also to say Venus or Serena's forehands are equal to Graf in her prime is a complete joke. Especialy Venus who is not even considered to have one of the best womens forehand of her own time, vs Graf who many consider to have the best women forehand of all time.

    I found your whole post funny, it was outlandish and stupid, which make it real funny.
     
    #38
  39. rommil

    rommil Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7,764
    Location:
    CT
    Great here we go again. This thread should be moved to Former Pros section.
     
    #39
  40. Jon Rudy

    Jon Rudy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Ohio
    I don't know that she would completely dominate, but let's not forget that we are talking about today's WTA, and head-wise she would walk on the court with a big advantage. It seems rare to watch a women's match where both players are playing well, and though an "on" player might give her fits, I think her slice backhand would draw quite a few errors. Afterall, how many WTA players really ever see an aggressive backhand slice?

    I don't think she would be invincible, but I think she would still post impressive results, especially if she was in her prime, i.e. at top speed.
     
    #40
  41. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,877
    Location:
    In a tent, along the Silk Road
    I'm not POSITIVE-but no one is when making these comparisons of players from different eras. I know that younger, more inexperienced women players (like the ones you play) don't know what to do with a good slice, and Graf's slice was one of the best (among women AND men). But...it wasn't what I would call a big weapon. It was a set-up shot, for her big forehand. But it won her some easy points, too-netted balls, etc.

    But in today's WTA, the top players have weapons on both wings, and I don't think Graf would be able to win major after major without a backhand weapon. I am not saying that today's WTA is "better" than it was during Graf's time-only, different, and probably more able to adapt to her slice.
     
    #41
  42. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    931
    Location:
    England
    Invincible is asking rather a lot.

    I think perhaps any player in the top 100 on an outstanding day could with a bit of luck beat the top players on a very bad day.

    Graf was great, but I doubt she was that great!

    All the best

    Tim
     
    #42
  43. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Messages:
    878
    How many players would have to be stabbed for Graf to rank within the top 5 of women's tennis today?

    I don't think anyone could know how high Graf would in women's tennis today without the necessary stabbings.

    She just needs to thank her lucky stars that she was able to have an inflated record without having anything to give up for it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2007
    #43
  44. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Messages:
    878
    THE VICTIM: Monica Seles.
    THE INTENDED BENEFICIARY: Steffi Graf.

    No matter how long it is since April 1993, those in tennis and in sports should know that Graf's record is inflated and Seles' record is deflated by one of Graf's fans.
     
    #44

Share This Page