How good was Virginia Wade

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by federerhoogenbandfan, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    How great a player was Virginia Wade? She did win 3 slams in a tough era but was constantly dominated by Court, King, Evert, Navratilova, and even Goolagong. She never came close to the #1 World ranking, and I dont know if she was ever really even considered the #2 player in the World or part of the main rivalry on top.
     
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  2. CEvertFan

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    Wade was a very good serve/volley player who just had the misfortune to be in the same era as Court, King, Goolagong, Evert, Navratilova and Austin to name a few. She'd probably have a couple of more majors if not for being in this really tough women's era.

    She won 55 singles titles and 3 majors plus she was ranked as high as #2 in the world in 1975. Also, that Wimbledon win in '77 came when she was already 32 years old and she beat Evert in the semis that year.

    She also won 4 doubles majors - all of them with Margaret Court.
     
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  3. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    It must have been frusterating for her to kind of be the worst great player of that era and basically be dominated by all those people you mentioned. It is funny to be a 3 slam winner who won Wimbledon and the U.S Open and only be the 6th best player in the World most of the time, and never get anywhere close to being ranked #1, and not even briefly being part of the game important rivalry. That doesnt happen often.
     
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  4. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I have seen Virginia a few times on tv at Wimbie. Was a classical volley player, good serve, but very nervous. For over 10 years, she made - in the eyes of the Brit commentators - the highlight of the first week at Wimbledon, with many anxious moments and upsets. I think, she was a bit lucky, to meet Betty Stoeve, who was anything but fast, and not Evonne or Martina in the final 1977. She had beaten Chrissie however in the semis.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
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  5. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    This is true; as others mentioned, she was a bit nervous too,which did not help. She had a very nice, clean S&V game. She accomplished a lot, but it kind of pales in comparison to the others who are contenders for GOAT.
     
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  6. Tina

    Tina Banned

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  7. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    She was a greta player. Just never one who should be included in a GOAT discussion. And Virginia would be the first to admit that.

    Wade did have a very long and successful career. She happened to play during a time when the top players were dominant, and Wade often came out on the losing end when she played them.

    However, Wade is one of only 3 players to compete in three major finals and win all three. She won the sport's two biggest tournaments - Wimbledon and the US Open. She beat reigning champ world #1 Billie Jean King to win the US Open in 1968, world #1 Evonne Goolagong to win the 1972 Australian Open, and on her way to her most famous win, she dethroned defending champ and world #1 Chris Evert at 1977 Wimbledon. That tournament was Virginia's to win. Evert was her main rival for the title. Goolagong just had a baby, and Martina was not yet ready to win the tournament.

    Wade was consistently ranked in the top 5 players throughout the 1970s. In 1975, she was officially ranked #2 by the WTA computer rankings (even if most experts ranked her #5 for the year). In 1977 she had an opportunity to end the year as the best player. She nearly toppled Evert in the Colgate Championships played in November. Had she won their RR match and gone on to win the tournament, Virginia would have had a legitimate claim to the #1 ranking, with a Wimbledon and major series playoff win to her credit (equaling Evert's take), plus besting Chris in two of the biggest tournaments. Alas, it was not meant to be for Miss Wade.

    Wade was hardly an also ran. She was a great player, and certainly one of the finest to ever hail from Britain.
     
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  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    What I remember of Virginia Wade is that she had all the shots to be #1. On a good day, she could beat anyone. But, she was an erratic player. I don't know if it was an issue of focus, nerves, lack of self confidence, but, she could beat a rival one day, and loose badly to that same rival the next day. She did win 3 major titles to my recollection which were examples of her keeping it together for 2 weeks. If she had been more consistent, I think she would have compiled several more major titles.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
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  9. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Looking up her bio I noticed she won 55 singles titles. Wow that is a huge # for a player who never even came close to being #1 (on the computer anyway) and was never really considered one of the big 2 or part of the biggest rivalry at any point in womens tennis. I never realized she had won that many.

    She had a couple especialy impressive runs to titles:


    1968 U.S Open:

    Quarters- defeated Judy Tegart 6-3, 6-2
    Semis- defeated Ann Jones 7-5, 6-1
    Final- defeated Billie Jean King 6-4, 6-2


    1975 Virginia Slims of Philadelphia:

    Quarters- defeated Evonne Goolagong 6-4, 6-0
    Semis- defeated Billie Jean King 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
    Final- defeated Chris Evert 7-5, 6-4
     
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  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "never came close to being #1." I don't know if there were official WTA rankings during her career. But, she was certainly a top 5 player and a top 10 player for many years.
     
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  11. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    There were official WTA rankings that began in 1973. She never came close to being ranked #1 on the computer even during the brief blips she did get to #2. Close as being anywhere close in points. And she was also never really considered a top 2 player or part of the main rivalry at the top of the womens game at any period. She also never ended a year ranked higher than #3. That is not a diss of Wade, just saying it is amazing someone who won 55 titles was never really close to being the best. Just shows how strong the womens field was in the 70s.
     
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  12. FiveO

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    The above is accurate. IMO very much the "Jana Novotna" of her generation.

    5
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, but Wade was steadier than Novotna.
    Wade was a classical S&V player and her forehand was good but unconsistent at times.Had good feel and good reach at the net.She had a jinx against Evert and I was glad she could overcome it at the 1977 Wimbledon.It was the centennial Wimbledon and no better winner than a britton.
     
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  14. BTURNER

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    I think there was a time when she may have had the best serve in the game, after Court left and before Martina came on. It was bigger than King's but King was more intelligent and had more variety. Very good vollies. Other than Martina, Wade played Evert more often than anyone but despite that Wimbly semi, she had a horrible time with her. Including Wightman cup and fed cup, they met 46 times. Virginia won exactly 6. Considering her abilities and ranking, that must have been very frustrating.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, In between Court and Navratilova, she was considered the best server.
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    wasn´t Virginia the daughter of a Presbiterian preacher? it seems there is an analogy with Margaret Thatcher here...Wade was very pro tories.
     
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  17. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

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    Virginia's father became the Anglican Archdeacon of Durban and she and the rest of her family moved with him to South Africa where she spent her early years and first started to play tennis. She returned to England when she was in her early teens.

    She won 3 GS titles, all on grass, at 1968 US Open (beating Billie Jean King), 1972 Australian Open (beating Evonne Goolagong) and, of course, 1977 Wimbledon (beating Betty Stove after beating defending champion, Chris Evert, in the semi-final).

    It's always been a bit of a puzzle to me that she only ever made the 1 Wimbledon final! The other 2 British women to win Wimbledon in the post-war era, Angela Mortimer and Ann Jones, each managed to make 2!

    Wade, Jones, Mortimer and now Andy Murray are the only 4 living British players to have won Wimbledon as well as other Majors.

    Virginia now commentates at the Slams for British Eurosport along with Greg Rusedski.
     
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  18. PDJ

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    Virginia Wade is, and will always remain, a national treasure. Personally I think what held her back from reaching the heights of her more illustrious peers was her brain. Frankly she was too intelligent to have that single-mindeness that the Evert/king/court etc possessed (Goolagong of course had a killer instinct but also extraordinary natural talent). I think Wade's brain, at times, was her enemy and could twist her in knots. I wonder if she's the last slam champion to obtain a university degree whilst playing- she sat her finals whilst also playing a Wightman Cup tie, a room was set aside for her. I think the degree is in chemistry or maths.
     
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  19. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    I was surprised she couldnt win more. She seemed to have an overpowering serve, very big forehand, excellent volleys, decent movement. She should have won more than she did. I am surprised she couldnt have done better vs the mentally fragile and inconsistent Goolagong or King and her shortage in power and groundstroking strength than she did.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    lack variety in he rgame.Her serve and volley rank very high but that was not enough against players of the caliber of King,Court,Goolagong and Evert.Or Bueno and Navratilova who played during her first and last years as well.
     
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  21. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Court/King and Evert/Navratilova/Austin were different eras.
    Court/King never played Navratilova or Austin in a slam final. Only 18-year-old baby Evert in 1973.
     
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  22. BTURNER

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    Okay she had the misfortune to straddle the two eras as everyone does because there is no specific 'era' start date and end date, thus by strict definition, no two players share the same era. I think Evert would be flattered by your characterization, but otherwise what was the point? it's got to be a small one, if this is the lead-in.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
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  23. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I think in her autobiography she said that for her, and a couple of other players who played the same time as her, it was not winning that mattered as much as hitting 'wow' shots. She played for the fun of the 'wow' moments.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, that is certainly a big difference regarding current tennis.Maybe Serena and for some years Henin showed some enthusiasm for playing but it is not common.No more the likes of Goolagong,King,Navratilova,Mandlikova,Hingis who basically played for fun or at least, fun was essential to their games.And there were a few more.
     
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  25. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Virginia is such an intelligent person and thoughtful player ..... perhaps too thoughtful. She psyched herself out often, especially against Evonne. She was a great volleyer, had a solid ground game, and one of the hardest first serves of the wood era. She'll always be a fave of mine.
     
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  26. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    The point is - quite obviously - that Wade didn't have to play more than two greats at the same time.

    And that Court and Austin were not in the same era.
     
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  27. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    The quote from Francoise Durr in this article reinforces what Wade said

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/where-are-they-now-francoise-durr-1438189.html

    'When I played we did so because we loved the game, but the pressure is such now that some players do not enjoy it at all, which is sad.'
     
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  28. nashthevash

    nashthevash Banned

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    World Tennis Magazine which was a British Magazine back then stated about the 75 Wimbledon quarters with Goolagong Wade played her absolute best, Goolagong was up and down and far below her best, and Goolagong still won 9-7 in the 3rd. Yet Goolagong even at her best was weaker than Evert, Court, and King. So it seems there was nothing Wade could do to get better results.
     
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  29. BTURNER

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    LOL, you need to read up more on Evonne Goolagong. You don't know how funny your post is, until you do.
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What is truth is that Ginny had one of the steadiest and classiest S&V motions and patterns, men or women, in an era full loaded with great S&V.She rassembled Newk on that.
     
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