Most competitive women´s era

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    While much has been posted about male´s tennis eras, a lot less has been discussed about women´s era.

    Not all time great players, but just comparing the competitive level of the, say, top 15-20 players of a given time.

    My list starts in 1970´s, since I couldn´t see, for age reasons, the 1920´s,30´s,40´s,50´s.However, I think the early to middle 50´s, were great with players like Louise Brough,Alice Marble, Mo Connolly,Gibson,Fry,Hart and some others.again, in terms of depth at the top level.

    While 1970 to 1975 had a cast that included Court,King,Evert,Goolagong,Wade,Casals and young Navratilova, I´d say the first great and densely competitive era would go from 1979 to 1982 or 1983.King and Evonne ( and Wade) were ending their playing years but did it so convincingly (King reached the 1982 W semis and, of course,Evonne took the 1980 title).Plus Evert,Navratilova, young stars like Hana Mandlikova and Tracy Austin and a support cast that includes Turnbull,Barker,Ruzici,Hanika,Fromholtz,Bunge,Kohde,Stevens,Potter,Jordan,Shriver,Stove,Jausovec in no particular order.It was the first truly Golden Era for women and the TV and media coverage were huge.

    The second half of the 80´s had that big showdown between Navy and Steffi, but there was no depth, since Evert was clearly declining,Hanna unmotivated most of time, and Sukova,young Sabatini,Shriver,Garrison,Mc Neill were cannon fodder.

    Then we have the 90´s.That is the second Golden Era and IMo, the toughest and probably the most interesting ever, quality wise and character wise.Graf,Seles,Arantxa and Conchita martinez,Pierce,Fernandez,Novotna,Sabatini and later on, young Venus and Serena,Clijsters,Davenport,Capriati,Hingis,Kournikova ( while the rest of the above mentioned kept very very competitive) gave us a lot of enjoyment.

    from 2003 or so till now, 10 years of declining competitive levels.except for Sharapova,Clijsters,Henin, the 2 Williams and, for a while, Kuznetsova, no tough competition and poor depth.
     
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  2. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    I vote for the 90s but I think saying women's tennis post 2003 has been poor, while mainly accurate, is overlooking some good years. Circa 2005 you had players like Davenport, Henin, Mauresmo, Clijsters, Venus, Serena (admittedly not playing consistently well), Myskina, Pierce, Sharapova etc. That wasn't bad at all.
     
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  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Kiki, this question on the womens side is about surface, surface, surface. There weren't bad eras/ good eras. There were great slow court eras or great fast court eras. Late 60's to 78' was incredibly deep grass court era, but the mid 80's through mid 90's was incredibly deep clay court era. Thereafter it was all hard court dominance until it didn't matter because venues went for sameness.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Indoors was even bigger than grass in the 1975-1985 slot.Not just the Virginia Slims ran a lot of indoor events topped with the Masters but the Avon Tour was almost exclusively indoors, including, of course, the Avon Finals.
     
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  5. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Alice Marble played from 1936-40 then turned pro, she was long retired by the 50s. What Marble is famous for in the 50s was writing an editorial on behalf of Althea Gibson (who was not allowed to play because she was African-American), which IMHO was a very cool thing for her to do considering the time.

    From Wikipedia:
    Marble greatly contributed to the desegregation of American tennis by writing an editorial in support of Althea Gibson for the July 1, 1950, issue of American Lawn Tennis Magazine. The article read, in part, "Miss Gibson is over a very cunningly wrought barrel, and I can only hope to loosen a few of its staves with one lone opinion. If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it's also time we acted a little more like gentle-people and less like sanctimonious hypocrites.... If Althea Gibson represents a challenge to the present crop of women players, it's only fair that they should meet that challenge on the courts." Marble said that, if Gibson were not given the opportunity to compete, "then there is an ineradicable mark against a game to which I have devoted most of my life, and I would be bitterly ashamed." Gibson, age 23, was given entry into the 1950 U.S. Championships, becoming the first African-American player, man or woman, to compete in a Grand Slam event.

    And she was a spy during WWII, how cool is that! Anyone who hasn't read her autobiography, Courting Danger, should read it. It was a very good read.


    As for strong eras in women's tennis I pick the 50s, 70s and 90s in no particular order.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    wasn´t Marble the first real S&V woman player?
     
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  7. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    She was the first real Serve and Volleyer to be multiple slam winner...but the woman who most usually credit as the first serve and volleyer was Elizabeth Ryan
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wasn´t Ryan the Wimbledon record holder till King broke that in 1979, when she and Martina won the doubles?

    I´d like to know more about her.Another great was Dupont, who had an amazing singles and doubles combined record.
     
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