Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Tenny, Apr 6, 2004.
If no stabbing, do you think she could have dominated WTA (over Graf and others)?
Definitely for at least another three or four years. That Graf-loving, neo-**** should have been crucified.
She would've won 8-12 more Grand Slams-no one was even close to her at the time. What a shame.
Won the Aus, French, and US Open in 1991 and 1992, Aus Open in 93 and Wimby Finalist in 92, yes she would be proclaimed the BOAT and dominated the 90s.
Shame it is...
Yeah, I agree. And she was so young and fearless. Hi Ronaldo, what's the meaning of 'The boat'?
Seles was gritty, fearless, and a winner. I have never seen raw determination like that. The Seles of the early 90's would have beaten any player in the history of women's tennis, and that includes Serena Williams. She was so good in the clutch it was unreal. It was a sad day for tennis when she got stabbed. It was an even sadder day for the world, when the nut who did it was set free without any jail time or consequences for his actions. Monica has never stepped foot in Germany again, and I wouldn't have either.
Best Of All Time, even Venus says she is the hardest-hitting player she met, including her sis.
Venus did say that she played tennis in her earlier years idolizing Seles.. Although a lot of people will argue how much more titles she would have won without the incident, it is not arguable that Seles raised the bar in women's tennis. She played with equal ferocity on both sides. Add her intensity, focus and concentration which made her a very gritty player. I remembered, when she would get into a trouble in a match, she did not hesitate. She even hit harder and would make the shot.Too bad she was not the same after the incident.
Yep, she was great and probably would have dominated but nowadays she can't keep away from the food table. She's a chubster who will probably retire.
Ok...I've always wanted to know this....was this televised when she was stabbed? I mean was she sitting in the chair on a changeover and boom there goes the nutcase who did it jab a knife right in her shoulder??!? Please inform me, because I remember the incident, but I was rather young....
With a Kevlar vest, there might have been not one iota of difference. What people forget is that the major damage was psychological, the wound itself was very superficial. It was healed in a couple of months. What we don't know is if she would've peaked, soon, anyway. The only female player I kind think of that would match up well with early 90's Graf is Venus Williams of the summers of 2000 and 2001. I'd guess she would have maybe won 3 - 4 more Majors.
Correction: Make that early 90's Seles.
Undoubtedly, Seles would have won more French Open titles.
Before the stabbing, 3 of Seles' 4 victories over Graf were on clay.
But, Graf was clearly the superior player over Monica on faster courts before and after the stabbing, just look up their head to head records. Most likely, Seles would not have ever won Wimbledon unless someone else took out Graf for her.
Seles would have also won more Australian Opens. Maybe also 1 or 2 more US Opens. In retrospect, it seems her best chance at winning Wimbledon probably would have come in 1994, when Conchita Martinez won. That year, Graf lost in the first round.
Hypothetically, if Monica's career hadn't been interrupted, She would be at around 15 slams. Graf would have probably 19 or so. The player who would have lost the most is Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. ASV won 4 slams including 2 without Seles. She probably would be just a double FO winner if Seles were contiuously around. Mary Pierce and Conchita Martinez also won slams in the absence of Seles. They too, would probably not do so if Seles were there.
all the evidence suggests that monica had not yet realised her full potential when she was stabbed - she was getting better and better. Her serve was improving and she was even being more and more aggressive (in the final of the 03 oz open she served and volleyed a couple of times!!) so we never saw the full might of monica.
as far as the graf-seles superiority issue one thing is for sure, monica was the one who was getting to the finals and winning most of them. she was the dominant player of the moment, she was 19, younger than henin, serena and venus are now. She was the one who had major potential. Graf was struggling with her game and monica being taken out of the equation could only be a good thing for her (in terms of players who posed major threats).
Monica was dominating Graf before the stabbing. Would Steffi had won additional majors if Monica wasn't stabbed? Of course she would, but Monica would have won the lion's share. Monica was unbeatable on the red clay of Roland Garros, so she would have dominated Graf on the clay for many years. Monica was unbeatable on the rebound ace of Australia. She was undefeated in Australia before the injury, and Monica won her first major back after the stabbing in Australia as well. Monica would have owned Graf on the rebound ace. Steffi's best chances against Monica would have come on the green grass of Wimbledon, and the fast hard-courts of the U.S. Open. On grass, Steffi would be the favorite. At the U.S. Open it would be a coin toss. Even after the stabbing, Monica made it back to the U.S. Open finals twice where she fell to Graf both times in the final. Monica clearly was not the same player that she was before in terms of speed and fearlessness, yet she still managed to take Graf to the limit.
Incidently, in the one Wimbledon final that Monica did reach the finals, she lost to Graf in reality before the match even began. The London press was making a huge deal about Monica's grunting. They were calling it unsportsman-like conduct, and they came down heavy on Monica for no apparent reason. Martina Navratilova added fuel to the fire after Monica beat her by saying that the grunting distracted her. It was just sour grapes at the time. Monica felt very hurt by the whole ordeal, so she decided that she was not going to grunt in the finals against Graf. Monica had been playing the same way since she was a child and throughout her career. Asking her to stop for one match, the biggest match at Wimbledon, was absurd. Monica did not make one grunt in that final against Graf, and unfortunately she played very poorly and lost easily in straight sets. If Monica would have been left alone and allowed to play her game, I believe she would have won that match based on her form throughout the entire fortnight. It was a crying shame that Monica was hounded the way she was, especially since so many of the top players grunt today.
I saw an interview with Monica in which she recounted how she started grunting. She was playing in the juniors and her opponent made loud grunts that annoyed her. To get even Monica began grunting. It would seem that Martina got even again. I think it's more gamesmanship than anything else.
I agree that Monica would have been the dominant player in at least half of the Grand Slams played, and would've owned the claycourt tournaments. I still remember watching her play in the finals of a claycourt tournament (I think it was in Houston) way back in 89 against Chris Evert. If I remember correctly, she beat Chrissie in 3 sets. Evert was dumbfounded, Seles was 16(?) and hit the ball harder than Evert had ever seen. That match may have convinced Chris that the time had come.
Monica Seles had the potential to win a Grand Slam, and the promise of a rivalry with Graf was great. It's a shame that it was taken from her.
Ballmachine - You say Monica was "dominating" Steffi before the stabbing - but how do you figure since she was 4-6 head to head?
Okay, let's take away Graf's first 3 victories and start with Monica's first victory, so before the stabbing the head to head record is then 4-3, that's dominating? 3 of those 4 victories came on clay with the last being the French Open final (10-8 in the 3rd set, pretty close wouldn't you say?) and 1 victory at the Aus Open final (6-2 in the 3rd). Steffi's 3 victories came on hardcourt (6-4, 6-3) clay (6-3 in the 3rd) and grass (6-2, 6-1). Between clay and a medium speed Rebound Ace, Monica never beat Steffi on any other surface before (or after) the stabbing - hardly dominating. To say she would have beaten Steffi at Wimbledon if she chose to grunt is absurd IMO. The only place Monica "dominated" Steffi before the stabbing was on clay - period.
Nice elucidation, alfa.
But Monica was getting better and Graf was basically in a rut.
Monica had won 8 of the last 9 slams, beating steffi in 2 of them losing to her in one of them. Where was graf in the other finals? Not there. She was not even beatiing players to get to the finals to meet monica.
Monica was dominating the tour. Period.
Scorch - was Monica getting better or already tapped out? It's all speculative. Does everyone's game necessarily improve as they get older? Is Venus a better player as she has aged? Without developing a volley and net game how much better was Monica going to get? Maybe she could have gotten a few more free points by developing a bigger serve, but would she have done that? Speculative. She certainly hasn't shown a desire to improve her fitness, volley, etc. for the majority of her career except for the brief stint with the fitness guru a couple of years back. Would Monica have altered her game to improve on faster surfaces or just kept up her groundstroke attack? Since we are speculating, we can speculate how well Steffi would have played had she not had the distractions of her father's affair(s) and tax issues. Would she have lost to Sanchez-Vicario as many times as she did during that stint with full focus? Maybe, maybe not. Should we pull out the Petr Graf years from Steffi's resume?Once again, speculative (kinda like the grunting arguement for Monica). But yeah, Monica was the dominant player on the tour those 2 years in a similar way that Sampras was dominant without winning the French Open or without dominating on slower surfaces. He was the man on grass and hardcourts and she was it on clay and rebound ace, but put either one of them on other surfaces, and neither one was dominant.
Overall, the perception is that Seles was beating Graf left and right during that run, and that's the point of my posts - she wasn't, she was only having success against Steffi on slower surfaces. All you have to do is look at the records. And as far as that goes, if Steffi had won the French Open 10-8 in the 3rd, then they would be 2-2 on clay before the stabbing (IF you don't count Steffi's first 3 victories against a young Monica on clay, hardcourts, and grass), and Monica's only surface of dominance would be rebound ace (1-0)!
Alfa, you make some good points, but don't forget that Monica did win the U.S. Open in 1991 and 1992. She beat Martina Navratilova and then Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in those finals. Steffi lost in the semis in 91 and the quarters in 92. In truth, we never know what would have happened if things were different, but you can't discount the fact that Monica dominated in 91 and 92. Monica won the AO in 91, 92, 93. She won RG 90, 91, 92. She won the U.S. Open 91, 92. She made the Wimbledon quarters in 1990, but she did not play Wimbledon in 91 and 93. In 92, she lost to Graf in the finals. You have to admit that those are impressive results on all surfaces, fast and slow.
One thing that we haven't discussed is that while Monica was away from the game after the stabbing, she did hit a huge growth spurt. I believe that Monica was less than 5 feet 5 inches tall when she left the game, and was 5 feet 10 inches tall when she came back. We really can't speculate as to whether such a tremendous growth spurt would have helped or hindered her game. True the height would give her added leverage on the serve, but it could have also slowed her down around the court. We don't how this would have affected her if it happend while she was training and playing. You have to remember that for the whole time Monica was out of the game, she didn't go anywhere near a tennis court. She didn't practice or train at all. When she did decide to come back she only hit for a month or so and then came back. It really is difficult to determine all the "if's and what's" scenarios. All we do know, is that Monica was on top of the game before the stabbing and sadly, she never returned to form after the incident.
I think you have your Monica's mixed up. Monica was 5"5 in '89 then had a growth spurt. When she won the French in '90 she was 5"9. When she returned after the stabbing, she was 5"10. Not too much of a difference.
normally I would agree that fans play the 'what would've been game' too much. Hell, I'm one of the few that thinks the Bulls wouldn't have definitely won the championship in '94 & '95 if Jordan hadn't played baseball.
But, I think you're wrong on this point. Monica was absolutely dominating the tour in '91 & 92 winning 7 out of the 8 slams she played. She only lost a handful of matches in each of those years.
She played a full schedule both those years & never had a serious injury. When she was stabbed she was only 19(!) How can you have any doubt that she wouldn't have won many more titles? The way she played her 1st two tournaments back in '95 showed how little the game had changed in her absence. Monica was overweight & nearly beat Graf to win the US Open on a "fast surface." In fact, she was only an overrule away from doing so(Monica hit an ace on set point in the 1st set tiebreak, only to have the umpire overrule. Graf won the set, than Monica won the 2nd set 6-0(!)
Graf is a great player, but was losing her nerve in the big tourneys in '91 & '92. When Monica was stabbed, her game was rejuvenated. She won 11 more slams after the stabbing. Monica
seemed to lose her nerve when she returned(in addition to injuries & a weight problem that she didn't have in her teens)
Also, Sanchez, Martinez, & Pierce won slams in Monica's abscence. She may not have 'dominated' Graf pre-stabbing, but she sure as hell dominated the Spaniards.
And lastly, we are talking about women's tennis. There has always been a very big gap between the few at the top & the rest of the tour. Evert won at least 1 slam for 12 straight years. Navratilova was still ranked in top 5 & a Wimbledon finalist in '94 at the age of 37. Graf won her first slam in '87 & her last in '99. Special players are always winners. There is no doubt in my mind that Monica was on her way to becoming the most prolific winner in the history of women's tennis.
In my mind, Seles is the best female player ever. What happened to her in Germany was one of saddest stories ever in all sports. I admire her for making a comeback and for continuing to play even after her best has gone by her. Before the incident, Graf was my favorite player and I did not like Seles, but after that, Seles has become my favorite and I don't respect Graf as much as a player and person.
Unfortunately the Graf - Seles rivalry was cut short in a similar vein to the Borg - McEnroe rivalry, although for entirely different reasons. It certainly seemed like McEnroe was beginning to get the upper hand on Borg before he retired as was Seles on Graf before the stabbing. But those later victories were coming on Seles' and McEnroe's surfaces. Would McEnroe have eventually overtaken Borg on clay? Would Seles have overtaken Graf on grass? Even though McEnroe did have a nice run in the French the year he lost to Lendl in the finals, I don't think he would have ever gotten the upperhand with Borg on clay or Seles with Graf on grass, IMO. Your thoughts?
I don't know alfa,
I don't see any similarity between the Borg-Mac rivalry & the Graf-Seles rivalry in terms of surface. Monica was just beginning her career when she was stabbed, she had only played Wimbledon 3 times & put forth some good showings, losing to Zina Garrison in '90(after having match points) & beating Navratilova in a great match in the '92 semis(seemed to have no trouble with Martina's slice)
Do you really think that surface makes that great a difference in women's tennis? Graf & Seles are both baseliners who play the same way on any surface. Borg played so differenty on clay as opposed to grass. Of course Mac wouldn't have been able to beat him on clay, but Wilander or Lendl might have.
Also, I think you have to factor in the way everyone(media/players/fans) were on Seles' case during the '92 Wimbledon because of her grunting. Before the match Graf hinted in the press that she might complain to the umpire if Seles' grunts were too loud. Consequently, Monica was not the same player at all during that final. I'm sure Monica would have played much differently had they played again at Wimbledon & the problems she gave Graf on other surfaces would do so there as well.
I do think surface can make a difference in women's tennis.
Does JHH have an equal chance against Serena on clay vs. grass? (I think JHH's chance on clay is much better)
Did Chris Evert have a better chance against Martina on clay? (yes)
Did Novotna have a better chance against Hingis on grass? (yes)
I do agree that for the majority of women it doesn't matter, since they play the exact same game regardless of surface and most of them don't have a big enough serve to take advantage of the bounce grass affords.
But Steffi did have a big first serve (more effective on grass) and her low skidding backhand slice was especially effective on the already slick sliding low-bouncing grass. I think that is the big difference with her on grass. Her weakest shot, the backhand is actually very difficult on grass even without hitting outright winners with it, whereas on clay it is more of a defensive shot which didn't really hurt Seles at all. The grass and low bounces also exposed Seles' limited reach with two hands on both sides.
So, yes the surface did and still does matter in certain circumstances and it can make a big difference. Have you played on both clay and grass?
Kevin, fan of Hakeem the Dream, eh. IMO, you are dead on about Da Bulls.
Yeah I'm a pretty big Hakeem fan. To me, he's the anti-Shaq(who I really dislike) Also, on another "what if" scenario, I don't think Tyson would have regained his 80s form had he not gone to prison.
I haven't played on grass(have you?), but I do realize the drastic difference between it & clay. Yes, Steffi's slice would cause Monica more problems on grass, but I think she would be able to deal with(Navratilova sliced the heck out of the ball in the '92 semi, but Monica was able to adjust. Plus she had to deal with Martina frequently charging the net behind the slice, something she would never have to worry about against Graf)
If Sanchez was able to push Graf to the limits in their '95 final, I have no doubt Monica would be able to do even better since she hit so much harder & took the ball so early. Also, Steffi did have a big 1st Serve, but Monica was the best returner in the game. I just think you're making too much of a deal about Graf being so clearly superior on grass. We'll never know what might have been, but Graf has an asterisk next to her records, in my mind.
I guess the one thing we can agree on is we will never know what would have happened in the future. But we do know what happened in the past at Wimbledon and it was 6-0, 6-1 in 1989 and 6-2, 6-1 in 1992 (to go along with 7 titles for Steffi). As good as Monica's service return was (and is), her service games conversely have always been a struggle to hold against the top players, especially on faster surfaces. It is certainly a shame what happened to her (and on the German judicial system) and a loss to the game and tennis history not to see what she could have accomplished.
Sure...she was awesome.
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