If you believe that Serena Williams ranks lower than Billie Jean King...

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Lionheart392, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    What are your reasons for that, and what must Serena do to overtake her?
     
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  2. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    1. Billie Jean King has twice as many Wimbledon titles. Even if you removed Venus (and the grass court field now would really be a joke for some of that time) she still has fewer than King.

    2. Billie Jean King has almost double the combined Wimbledon and U.S Open titles as Serena.

    3. King would probably have about 15 slams if she had played the Australian Open every year.

    4. King faced a great field. Serena faced a very strong field to win her first 6 slams and a joke field to win her last 5, especialy her last 3.

    5. King cared about the whole tour like most great players. Serena tanks most of the regular tour. She even has less tour titles than Kim Clijsters and Lindsay Davenport.

    6. King never had a huge hole in the middle of her prime where she won only 2 slams in a 5 year span (Serena from after 2003 Wimbledon until the 2008 U.S Open) and for a couple years like in 2005 and 2006 dropped off the radar altogether. Injuries alone are not an excuse if you are still able to play.

    7. Serena was even on the verge of being surpassed as the greatest player of her generation before Henins retirement. Who knows with Henins return it could still maybe happen, though it would be alot harder for Henin to catch up now than before. Henin though was a better player than Serena from mid 2003 until her retirement, that is almost 5 years, and Henin is not a top tier all time great at this moment herself.

    Given the terrible field Serena has won her last 5 slams against I would say she needs atleast 15 slams to rank over King, maybe more. With Henin and Clijsters returning her future slams would be more validated than her last 3 were. However I have a feeling with Henin and Clijsters returning, with Serenas lack of commitment these days, with Maria possibly returning to form, and with some of the up and comers soon to hit their stride, Serena wont reach 15 slams and thus will stay behind King.
     
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  3. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Thanks for that Flying, I sometimes feel like King's achievements off the court overshadow her career so I wanted to learn a bit more about her. I was thinking about a top 10 open era women list thread here not so long ago and I listed King as #5 and Serena #6 (after Graf, Navratilova, Evert and Court) but thought I should learn a bit more about King beyond just her wikipedia page. :)
     
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  4. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    billie jean king has a stadium named after her. as great as serena williams is, that is one tough act to follow.
     
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  5. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I believe the thread starter was referring to rankings based on on-court, not off-court, accomplishments.
     
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  6. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Was the Australian Open not part of the 'whole tour?'
    BJ King played it a grand total of 0 times in the 70s...
     
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  7. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    +1. There is still a remote possibility for her to pass King, but the odds are getting slimmer instead of better are we go along. I highly doubt Serena will get 15 slams at this point (something I would have said in 2002 was a very likely scenario for her to achieve). And even if she got that many slams her non-slams numbers really aren't fantastic and could still arguably hold her back.
     
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  8. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Personally I already rate Serena as a better player than Billie Jean (marginally).

    Maybe this is because I don't subscribe to total career achievement being the best baromoter of talent.

    Where do you people rank Mo Connolly or Monica Seles? Surely higher than their total career achievement.

    Tim
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Wuornos,

    Seles to me is one of the hardest players to rank. At her peak she was clearly overwhelming and dominant but due to the stabbing she did not have the great career she should have had. Seles won 32 of the first 63 tournaments she played in before the stabbing. That's over fifty percent.

    After the stabbing she won 21 of the next 105. That's twenty percent. Now obviously a lot of that had to do with the fact she was getting older but I think a good percentage of it, perhaps even most of it had to do with the injury and the psychological problems that came with it. There is no doubt for a while that Seles had the best record in Women's tennis, even over the Great Graf. Whether Seles would have kept the number one position is subject to debate.

    Connolly was virtually unbeatable in her day and I believe won nine straight majors that she entered plus the Grand Slam.

    My gut feeling and I haven't done a full analysis of the two players records side by side is that I would rank Connolly over Seles. Better record in the majors plus a Grand Slam. Seles won over fifty tournaments in her career. I think it was fifty-three. I'm not quite certain about how many Connolly won in total but I'm sure it was a good amount.

    I've been having an ongoing disagreement with Carlo over the last few months on the values of certain tournaments and the impact these tournaments would have in a player's career. A lot of it has to do with what we consider the strength of the field.

    I was thinking one of the logical ways to do it is by using the methods you use in ranking players. Unfortunately I don't see a totally 100% accurate way of doing it. The Rosewall below Emerson ranking is one of the major flaws for example but if we could do that it would be a wonderful way to look at a tennis player's career.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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  10. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Just counting the open era, I rank Seles #7, after Serena who is #6. Whether the two can be switched has been debated here recently but I personally believe Serena has surpassed Seles now. Ranking Seles any higher than #6 though is not justifiable IMO, the stabbing was a tragedy but 'what ifs' aren't strong enough to rank her over the likes of King and Court.
     
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  11. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Yes that summarises what I was trying to say pc1.

    You have to rate a player at their best not their total career achievement

    I put Seles at #3 on my list but to be honest their is nothing between the top 3.

    Connolly is lower down not because her record was inferior but because the women's game was less competitive in the years she was playing and therefore the distance in the quality of her results from the standard of the #50 player in the world, which I use as my benchmark, was not as great. Personally I would rank her 7th.

    The point is though, as you have quite rightly identified, to judge either of these players purely on total career achievement without taking into account their personal tragedies would be wrong. Therefore a system that adopts total career achievement as the main barometer of player talent must be flawed to a greater or lesser extent depending on the player being rated.

    Thanks

    Take care

    Tim

    PS I think the Rosewll below Emerson ranking isn't so much a flaw in the system but because I cannot find away to include the matches played within the pros, which are of course outside the main playing population, within the calculations. This means that Rosewalls best years are excluded and only the years propir to turning pro and after the open era included. Of course the pro era isn't so much of a problem in the ladies game.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    For all intents and purposes that is my basic thinking when I analyze players also. Great post Tim.
     
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  13. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    I can't agree with ranking Seles as low as #6. I agree if you are dealing only in total career achievement then we would have to deal in what if's and I agree that that is not possible. But we can calculate Seles peak quality of results as being far higher in the player distribution than that of many players who achieved more than her. For this reason I think we can rate Seles higher without dealing in what if's.
     
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  14. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    All time Seles for me is number 9 or 10 at a near deadlock with Serena at this point. Connolly is number 7. No matter how good you are at your peak...I can't see rating a player higher than someone else if the person you are rating them higher than achieved two or 3 times more than they did. Even with what happened, Seles could have come back and been just as dominant but she wasn't able to...the Connolly case is sad, but I cannot rate her a lot higher based on an alternate history that could have happened, if I did that I would then have to rate Austin higher (prime cut short due to injuries), Court higher (all the times off for giving birth to her children)...etc.
     
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  15. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    How you could do that despite the fact that she didn't win Wimbledon in that time frame makes one wonder.
     
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  16. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Just a difference of opinion you believe no matter how good a player is if their career is cut short and they achieve less as a result they should be valued lower as their is insufficient evidence.

    I believe there is sufficient evidence and a player should be rated on their peak playing standard rather than their aggregate level of achievement.

    What I an not doing is rating on an 'alternative history'. This is implying that I am rating players on aggregate achievement which I am not. Please try to understand that not everyone evaluates in aggregate terms.

    I feel a little offended that you think I am simple enough to rate on 'alternative history' rather than facts, but maybe I am just tired. After all many people rate Laver as GOAT. They may not consciously be doing it but this is not an aggregate assesment but a quality assesment.

    Regards

    Tim
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
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  17. ZhengJieisagoddess

    ZhengJieisagoddess Semi-Pro

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    Ditto.
    Billie Jean is tennis personified. Serena got into it because her pop thought she could make a lot of money doing it.
    Billie Jean wanted to be the best tennis player that ever lived. I do not know what motinated Serena.
    But I admire Billie Jean King more than I do many many other people. I hope I have the honor of meeting her someday. I cannot say enough good things about her.
     
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  18. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    Do not be offended, the alternate history comment was a more general statement that is not directed at you. Many rate players partially based on what-ifs...and Seles gets a lot of benefit from many in that category. I understand your system and know that it is based on much more than that even though I may not agree with its results, but that is just my opinion.

    There is no way to concretely determine the GOAT or to rank players...I just personally feel taking the level of play for 3-4 years out of a career that may last 10-15 years is not a good way to judge overall greatness. In my opinion by doing that you shortchange players who acheived copious amounts throughout there entire career like Chris Evert did. But that is just my opinion and should not in any way stop you from offering yours, because it does offer a very different perspective. I think your numbers could be used as a factor in determining greatness...but I would not use them to singularly determine it. I think they could be used very well with overall achievement...but not in place of it. Again...all my opinion.
     
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  19. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Thanks boredone. I understand your points about my system. In a way I see my system as being purely my opinion as well. It's just the way I think leans towards numerical analysis and therefore my opinion puts a number value on things.

    I have often thought if I just said in my opinion Navratilova was a better player than Evert and never mentioned the numbers people wouldn't be half as concerned with what I say.

    Take care

    Tim
     
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  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I had a disagreement with another poster who was annoyed that I ranked another player higher than another player (that people have called a GOAT candidate) because I did some research and found the former (in my opinion) was far superior during the relative peak periods of both. Now I also told him that the former was also superior for career value but the other poster didn't want to accept that and I suppose that's okay.

    However because of the dominance of the former during his peak, I ranked him up there with Laver, Rosewall and Tilden as a GOAT candidate because I felt he was every bit as dominant as they were during their peaks except he didn't have as long a career. The other poster strongly disagreed with me and again that is his right.

    To shorten a long statement, I largely agree with you Tim on peak playing level, not totally but I agree on a good portion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
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  21. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Thanks pc1. It's nice to know that I am no alone in my thought processes on this.

    Regards

    Tim
     
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  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I like the way you try to objectively evaluate the situation and the players. I've see experts rank players because they were fantastic FOR ONE MATCH or a few matches but over even a short period of time they were never even close to the best. It's not how a player looks but the results that count.

    Brad Gilbert had some the ugliest strokes but the man was in the top ten in the world. I think he may have reached the top five.

    Henri Leconte was considered to have beautiful strokes. Yet I believe Gilbert won far more titles and had a better career.

    If people judged both players but their strokes, Leconte would be thought of as being a far better player than Gilbert but it wasn't the case.

    Trust me it's hard for me to write that since I was a Leconte fan.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
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  23. ZhengJieisagoddess

    ZhengJieisagoddess Semi-Pro

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    One more thing:
    Billie Jean lives and breathes tennis. She helped to develop the sport professionally in a way that Serena never had the opportunity to, because she was a beneficiary of that work.
    But Serena could have chosen to focus on tennis in the same way. She didn't. Her tennis has suffered because of that choice, although her bank account has not.
    Both are driven women. But I think what motivates them is what makes one so much greater than the other.
     
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  24. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    It has.
    Had she stayed fit she would have won more slam titles and her tennis would have been more attractive. She could have been a world-wide star and made far more money with commercials etc.
     
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  25. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    I think Serena would have been an even bigger worldwide star if Venus didn't exist
     
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  26. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    I think you have it the wrong way around, Venus would have been a huge star if Serena didn't exist. Venus has only denied Serena a handful of things, Whereas Serena has denied Venus possibly 4 additional slams (2008 US Open, 2009 Wimbledon, possibly the 2002 US Open and 2003 Australian as well) and quite a lot more. When people think of the Williams Serena is the first one I think most people think of, Venus has had to live in Serena's shadow most everywhere except at Wimbledon where she outshines her sister still. Serena has done quite well for herself considering injuries, and at times a seeming lack of dedication. Venus has had to live in Serena's shadow for about 7 years now.
     
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  27. lambielspins

    lambielspins Banned

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    Serena is actually MORE famous because of her sister, and MORE successful too. In fact in every respect Serena is very lucky her sister did exist. First of all I doubt she would be as great a player if she didnt have an older sister to chase after growing up. Given that she was 1 or 2 points from losing 5 or 6 of her slam titles even if it was a bit of difference only it would already be enough to lose half her current slams, more than the 2 or 3 she would gain with Venus out. It is also a dream to have one of your main rivals be someone who has trouble finding the hunger to go out and beat you, which everyone knows is the case with Venus to Serena more than vice versa, and if Venus takes out another main threat and plays Serena instead that is actually a preferable situation for Serena. Serena gains a huge amount of fame by the whole sister thing, the "Williams sisters" cliche and storyline. Being the better of the two great sisters only adds to her fame that much more, but no way would she get as much attention without the whole sister story attached to her from a young age. In every respect Serena is flat out lucky that Venus exists period. Heck I bet even she would admit that.

    I sort of agree with boredone that Venus has suffered if anyone has. She has lost out on alot of slams to her sister. Given that Henin has actually done better vs Serena in big matches than Venus, and Henin has lost out on alot less to Serena than Venus, Venus would probably for now be the greatest player of her generation without Serena (right now she is definitely 3rd behind both Serena and Henin). She is overshadowed now as the less great of the two great Williams sisters. I also think it took some wind out of her sails losing all those slam finals to Serena in 2002-2003 and she wasnt the same emotionally and mentally for awhile. On the other hand she too has benefited from the fame and hype attached in large part to the sisters story, and even with alot more slams and a higher place in history without Serena, would also not have the same fame, huge money offers, and recognition if Serena didnt exist. That isnt to say she wouldnt still have alot, she definitely would, but even her less without the whole sisters story which only the blind would deny gave the Williams extra attention and interest since they were in their pre-teens.
     
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