Is Mary Joe Fernandez Kidding?!

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Petra Martinnen, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. Petra Martinnen

    Petra Martinnen Rookie

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    Mary Joe Fernandez noted during banter from Charleston that a WTA gal hits her peak at age 28. Drysdale asked her about this while yapping about Serena.

    Let’s Go To The Record (way back 20 years!!)

    Yes Navratilova was at her zenith at age 27 to 30 as were big names of ancient times like Billy Jean Moffat King and Margaret Smith Court. But they didn’t play mostly on grueling hard courts.

    Graf was invincible from age 18 to 26. By age 27, Steffi was decimated by many knee injuries and won only 1 of her 22 slams after age 27.

    Seles won her 9th and last slam at age 21 and was dominant from 17 to 19.

    Sanchez Vicario was at her peak at age 19 to 26.

    Gabriella Sabatini was at her best ages 17 to 24 and retired at age 26.

    Conchita Martinez won her sole Slam at age 22 and was at her best at age 19 - 24.

    Hingis won her 5 slams from age 16-19.

    Davenport won her slams by age 23.

    Serena and Venus were at their peaks at age 19 to 23

    Capriati won her slams by age 25 and was a phenom at 15.

    Pierce was at her peak from 18 to 24.

    Sharapova has been a superstar and the top paid female athlete on earth from age 17 to 21 (now). True, she may peak in 7 years, though I wouldn’t bank on her body holding out.

    Clijsters retired at age 24.

    Myskina retired at age 25

    Henin is 26 and looks nearly finished

    Mauresmo, a “late bloomer” peaked at age 23-26.

    Kuznetsova won her only slam at age 18 and is now 22. Will she also peak in 6 years?

    Dementieva has been at the same level from age 18 to 24. She likely will not be better at age 28.

    And how about Mary Joe Fernandez herself? Well she was at her best at age 19 and made her only slam final at age 22. MJ’s top years were from age 19-26.


    Which top players of the past 20 years am I missing? Who was at a peak at age 28?
     
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  2. flyer

    flyer Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I def disagree with her, your evidence is hard to argue
     
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  3. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I don't think its coincidence that that is somewhere near the ages of the williams sisters who we all know MJ thinks are the greatest...she is jus trying to make it seem like there will be a second coming of Williams dominance as far as i am concerned
     
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  4. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I believe you are misrepresenting what she said. MJF said that it depended completely on the person in question, and that Chris Evert said that 28 was HER peak. MJF went on to talk abut the various teen phenoms, inluding Hingis, who she said had her best year at 16.
     
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  5. sapient007

    sapient007 Semi-Pro

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    science will be a big part of maintaining their excellent condition for the current pool of athletes. just look at how quickly NFL players heal and how long the career of an NBA player is now days to see the distance we've stretched the human body with science. i would expect a lot of this science translate over to tennis as well.
     
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  6. IvanYentl

    IvanYentl Rookie

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    turning to science to prolong an athletic career may work for tennis players, but at the moment the NBA and NFL are bad examples to cite if you're looking for professional athletes who are enjoying long careers.

    According to the NFLPA the average NFL career is 4 years. Average NBA career is something like 4.7 years. NFL players get the stuffing knocked out of them early and often. NBA players also break down quickly as they endure 82-game schedules and year-round pounding.

    check this link:

    http://www.rpiratings.com/NBA.html

    * interesting thought: I wonder how big a part proper nutrition and training plays in the lives of NBA and NFL players.
     
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  7. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Indeed. I read the book by Michael Mewshaw called "Ladies of the Court - Grace and Disgrace on the WTA tour" which was a documentation of the WTA tour in 1991 which he followed. He wanted to expose the scandals of teenagers been controlled by fathers and male coaches, and coaches who hit and or even rape their players - he followed Jim Pierce helped to expose his behaviour and the fact that he was hitting Mary. Michael claims the WTA initially banned his book from all stalls at all tournaments intially and denied the claims he was making.

    After the many scandals that took place in the 1990s involving Sles, Graf, Capriati, Pierce etc and then teenagers burning out like Hingis, the WTA were forced to come up wth some new measures.

    One of these measures that I completely agree with, is that players under 18 cannot play a ful schedule anymore. So despite the fact that Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova won slams as teenagers in 2004, you will find that teenagers winning slams has vastly declined compared to the past.

    Players now are more likely to peak in their early to mid 20s - like Henin, Mauresmo etc. Players like Ivanovic, Jankovic and Szavay are also coming through in their early 20s. Both Sharapova and Kuznetsova had a dip in form for a year after winning big titles and regrouped in 2006 to become contenders.

    In women's Tennis, I don't see players been at their best much beyond the age of 27 but I think it's a good thing that players under 18 are no longer allowed to play full schedules - because as Michael Mewshaw pointed out - it was the families wanting money and sponsors cashing in who were the victors, and the teenage phenoms often risked physical and psychological burnout - there are many examples of that including Austin and Jaegger etc. Michael Mewshaw also lamented the lack of education of so many of the WTA players.

    By the way, didn't Mary Joe play in 3 slam finals? At least 2, she had a chance to beat Graf in the 1993 French Open final which was an epic by all accounts and she lost to Seles in the 1992 Australian Open final.
     
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  8. gj011

    gj011 Banned

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    You should not use Seles and Graf for such arguments since their career were affected by other things. Also sentences "Graf was invincible from age 18 to 26" and "Seles was dominant from 17 to 19" contradict each other. I.E first is simply not true.
     
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  9. el sergento

    el sergento Hall of Fame

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    What's truly amazing is that in the NHL it's not uncommon for players to retire around 40 and some players reach career highs at 35+. I always find this fascinating especially when compared to the relatively short career tennis players have. You'd imagine that physically hockey would take a greater toll on the body than tennis.
     
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  10. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Yeah that's what I heard. I was suprised to read the OP because I didn't hear Mary Joe say any of that. Maybe I just missed it.
     
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  11. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    That's interesting. I don't really follow hockey so that's the first time this has ever been brought to my attention. It must have to do with the low-impact aspect of skating. Not alot of joint trauma because they're gliding rather then running.
     
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  12. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    So many players say its the mental aspect of tennis that causes them to retire young, not the physical. It is a year round sport, so you need to be sorta insane not to get burned out that by a certain age(& I do think Connors & Navratilova are sorta nuts, don't you?) And you can't really have a normal family life in this sport, while you can in team sports(like getting to actually live somewhere for an extended period of time)

    I think getting slammed into the boards repeatedly year after year would cause a hell of a lot more joint trauma than running around on a tennis court. Those guys just spend more time in the gym than tennis players, I don't think the majority of the tour is really maximizing the strength & conditioning peaks they are capable of. Its partly because they don't have the time to do so, there is no offseason.

    having an off-season is a major reason as to why so many in team sports last longer. Also they have guaranteed salaries, & their spot on the team when they get injured will be there when they return. When you get injured in tennis, you lose income immediately, & you lose your ranking spot. Ancic is a great example, is it really fair that he is unseeded in so many events this year since his ranking dropped only due to inactivity? he was top 10 not too long ago.

    The way the pro tour is structured is not favorable to having a long career. Nor is it favorable to older players(there are an absurd amount of required events, a 35 year old could still play top 10 calibur tennis, but not if he is forced to play every other week)

    I think that's debatable, how many majors did Evert win after turning 28?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
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  13. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    4 I believe. In fairness there was a little problem called Martina Navratilova that kept from winning a ton more majors in 84-85.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
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  14. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    Regardless how Graf did vs Seles from 93-96 she still would have been at worst the dominant #2 who won some slams. So 1997 still is the point she would have crashed out and been "past her prime". So regardless at 27 she was now clearly past it. Whether you accept it or not Seles's increasingly weak post-stabbing efforts make it very clear her prime was long gone well before 30. So both are valid examples.
     
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  15. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    That's not the point. The OP said MJF stated 28 was the peak age for women players. My point is that is NOT what she said at all, the OP wasn't paying attention, and that Chris Evert was the one who said her own peak age was 28. I don't really care if Chris Evert was right about her own peak age or not. This whole thread is based upon a false statement of what MJF said.
     
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  16. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    Have you ever watched a hockey game? There is tremendous joint trauma due to getting hammered in to the boards every shift, getting hit with a puck at 90 mph at least a few times a game (believe me, the padding only helps a little bit), and the sudden twists and turns on skates while you are being slashed by another players stick. The only games out there that are more brutal are football, aussie rules football (which is the most brutal in my opinion), and rugby.
     
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  17. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    Having read this, I can only conclude you have no idea what joint trauma is.

    Hockey is physically brutal, and generates a ton of tissue damage, and a ton of muscular trauma. These things suck a lot, and hurt, but can be trained to resist, and will heal over time with rest and PT.

    Joint trauma is pretty much permanent.

    Your average hockey player will suffer more pain and trauma in one period than a tennis player will in a career, but unfortunately for tennis players, the kind of trauma they suffer is among the most limiting from a career longevity standpoint.

    The only thing comparable in hockey is the significant risk of concussion.
     
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  18. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Mary Joe Fernandez didn't make one Slam final, she made 3 Slam finals, the '90 and '92 Australian Opens (losing to Seles and Graf respectively) and the '93 French Open where she lost in 3 sets to Graf.
     
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  19. WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis

    WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis Hall of Fame

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    Depends totally on the player and they play style, as well as their mental and physical abilities.

    And yeah, regarding hockey, if you've ever been checked to the boards, or blind-sided to the boards, even cross-checked centre ice, you feel it for a long LONG time. Adrenaline may keep you going during the game, but afterwards...yeah, you know.
     
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