IF: Tracy Austin was healthy, what could she have achieved?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Gundam, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    I agree with your accessment of the situation completely. Graf is a great champion obviously, but you are entirely correct her record is padded by Seles's absence, and subsequent diminished state post-stabbing state. The biggest claims to her being the best ever, such as the only player to win each slam atleast 4 times, and most weeks at #1, are highly questionable as a result. Of course it is difficult to determine exact results, and exact future outcomes, but with only 4 years of truly healthy/challenging to win slams for Graf she would need to manage every one of- 2 out of 4 French Opens, 2 out of 4 U.S Opens, and 1 out of 1 Australian Opens(she missed 95 and 96),to get the "4 of each" record, despite Seles winning the last 8 combined Australian, French, and U.S Opens. She also was almost 3 years(141 weeks) of #1 ranking time away from the most weeks record at the time of the Seles stabbing, and had spent all of 4 weeks ranked #1 since March 11, 1991 when Seles first became ranked #1, and as I mentioned earlier had less then 4 years of truly healthy/top level tennis left so would have needed to be #1 almost 2/3rds of that time somehow. So it is not being overly presumptous to question to legitimacy of those records which are the principal arguments for any "best ever" consideration to Graf.

    I also agree it is not fair to assume anyone is ever the same after experiencing something like that, and it cant be dismissed as part of life like Graf's fathers problems and things like that, as it was a tennis-related crime that changed that interrupted and interfered with the course of events. One cant be accurately evaluated on what they do after something like that, and she should be admired for even returning at all. Even if I will concede,
    I had wished she had found the motivation and enthusiasm to get fitter and in top shape, as I still believe she had more slams in her possibly(not domination at that point but possible slams)if she did. Of course had Seles managed to have more success upon her return it would have further increased her record/greatness, but to evaluate her showings vs Graf with any legit bearing to them at that point is completely wrong IMO.

    It is also evaluating what Graf's competition without Seles was for me, and taking into consider who her competition was for 4 years of her 10 year period of winning 21 of her 22 slams, and that 4 year period of her winning 10 of those, the context of the competion of her overall career. Nobody turned up as anything close to filling Seles's shoes as the same degree of worthy opponent for Graf. Sanchez Vicario is a great player, and had some great matches with Graf, basically showing her phenomenal heard and fighting spirit to even be as competitive as she was as physically and talent-wise she was badly overmatched by Graf. Still to be fair, she comes nowhere near to being a replacement for the strength of competition that Seles was. Hingis did not go on to be the high end all-time great many predicted as a teenager(and clearly still wont IMO), and she started her run of biding for/winning slams, only after Graf's own run of winning slams all but ended with injuries, so you cant even really say she was a contempary rival except for Graf's final half year or so.

    So Seles's tragic experience, and subsequent diminished state when she did return, leaves Graf with only 2-4 years of a fellow all-time great in her prime in Seles(91-early 93, maybe 90 although I think that is iffy). I do not consider Navratilova in her prime by the late 80s(except maybe close to it in 87 although I even question that), nor Sanchez Vicario an all-time great. It also leaves Graf failing to achieve more then 1 slam per year in any of the years a fellow all-time great was/may have been in her prime. Even if you consider Navratilova in her prime in 1987, and Seles in 1990, which I am highly skeptical of, Graf did achieve the #1 ranking those 2 years with the best record consistency wise, but she did not achieve anymore then 1 slam title, and as far as winning the biggest events and head to head success was outdone by both those 2 years. Seles in 1991 and 1992 was more obviously in the start of her prime, and likewise Graf managed only 1 slam both years, and this time was a distant #2.
     
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  2. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    I was only born in 1979 so the tennis I started following in live time was around 1990. Tennis of the 80s and 70s I follow through watching tapes available from my relatives(I have lots of family members who are big tennis fans who tape almost every event like I do today who make copies for me)or sometimes ordering, and through reading history books on the game. It often makes me wish I was born earlier mind you as the tennis then seems to have been more enticing in a variety of ways then since I began following it in real time though. ;) As you were seem to be someone who obviously followed the game back then in real time, you would be much more qualifed to speak on that period of tennis then I would.

    The tapes I have seen of her in 1982 and 1983, she looked physical weaker and like she has lost something, maybe I am misjudging but it was my impression. Her results were certainly weaker those 2 years by a long ways, but it may have just been the game evolving as well. I did not see that particular final with Martina. Now that you describe it I will see if I can get it somewhere, since it sounds like an interesting match.
     
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  3. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I'm a few years older than you, but I did start watching tennis at an early age. No one in my family watched pro tennis and hardly anyone played. So I started hitting the ball up against the wall and immitating what I was seeing on tv. Took me a while to get the Lendl forehand down with a wood racquet. ;)

    I think I only saw Tracy play live 4 or 5 times. So I'm not much of an authority on her. Though I did buy her autobiography. And my love for the 70's era was something that was learned later as I only enjoyed several of those players through dvd's (like you).

    P.S. I'm not much an "authority" on anything. Just a tennis nut. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2007
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  4. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I do think that being thrust into the position of being Graf's "main rival" after Seles was stabbed made Sanchez-Vicario step up and max out her talent and ability and although she won 4 Slams and I do love her as a player, (for her ability to give fits to other players, Graf included, with her wonderful retrieving ability), as well as admire her for making a go of it, I agree with you and don't think she was anywhere in the same league as Seles was pre-stabbing. Seles owned ASV before she got stabbed, much as she owned pretty much everyone else, and a lot of the pre-stabbing matches between Seles and ASV were pretty lop-sided. Arantxa only beat Seles once in 1992 before the stabbing and then only beat her twice more once Seles came back. Their series stands at 20-3 for Seles.
     
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