Navratilova's dominance over Graf

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by ATPballkid, May 26, 2007.

  1. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    ALL-TIME RECORDS FOR NAVRATILOVA AT WIMBY AND WTA CHMPS

    Wimbledon ................ 9 for Navratilova* vs. only 7 for Graf.
    WTA Championships .. 8 for Navratilova* vs. only 5 for Graf.

    * all-time record number of singles titles at these events.


    MAJOR EVENTS THAT NAVRATILOVA SKIPPED 23 TIMES TOTAL

    Australian Open ....... 3 for Navratilova with 13 years skipped.
    Australian Open ....... 4 for Graf with 7 years skipped.

    French Open ............ 2 for Navratilova with 10 years skipped.
    French Open ............ 6 for Graf with 1 year skipped.


    U.S. OPEN

    U.S. Open ... Navratilova was 4-1 vs. Graf at the U.S. Open, but Navratilova won this event 4 times vs. 5 for Graf.
     
  2. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    Best Annual%

    1 Martina Navratilova 86-1 0.989 1983
    2 Steffi Graf 86-2 0.977 1989
    3 Martina Navratilova 78-2 0.975 1984
    4 Steffi Graf 75-2 0.974 1987
    5 Martina Navratilova 90-3 0.968 1982
    6 Martina Navratilova 89-3 0.967 1986
    7 Steffi Graf 72-3 0.960 1988
    8 Martina Navratilova 84-5 0.944 1985
     
  3. navratilovafan

    navratilovafan Banned

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    Thank you so much. Navratilova is head and shoulders above Graf. It annoys the heck out of me when Graf is even a name brought up as possibly being greater then Martina. Like I said I feel very strongly that Martina is the worthy GOAT, I do admit to bias, but I still feel very strongly even trying to be objective that she is the worthy recepient of tha title. However I still acknowledge that there are others you could reasonably argue, I dont agree with someone else, but I do acknowledge there are others you could make an argument for. Not Graf though, there is absolutely no way to even make an logicial argument of Graf being over Navratilova.

    Navratilova owns records at 2 of the 5 biggest events-Wimbledon and the year end Championships, while Graf does at none of the 5. Navratilova's record at Wimbledon and the year end Championships is far over Graf. At the U.S Open Graf has one more title, but that is hardly enough to overcome the embarassing stat of her 1-4 head to head vs Navratilova, when Navratilova played 4 of those 5 from a couple months before her 30th birthday to when she was 34, and Graf was between ages 17 and 22. So at the U.S Open an aging Navratilova, at the same ages Graf was retired, was dominating a prime Graf. Thank you for pointing out how many Australians and French Opens Navratilova missed. People that understand tennis know that those events were not played every year before 1981, and in fact other events like the Avon Championships or the Virginia Slims Championships were considered bigger then. The reason Graf has so many more is she played so many more. Plus Navratilova had a little someone named Evert stopping her from winning more French Opens, you know the 2nd greatest player of all time and the absolute greatest clay court player of all time.

    Oh yeah I would add Graf's competition became a joke after Seles was stabbed. Not only was the player dominating Graf removed by a knife but who the heck emerged to replace her? After Seles was stabbed the field totally sucked for awhile, until the new young players-Hingis, Williams, Davenport, emerged AFTER Graf went down with injuries anyways; so the field did not become tough again until Graf's dominance was already over. Hingis isnt even that great, but she only came into her own "after" Graf went down with injuries so she was never a real opponent to Graf during her dominance, just a 14 and 15 year old girl still coming into her own. Conchita Martinez spent parts of 2 of those years-1995 and 1996 ranked #2 in the World, CONCHITA MARTINEZ!!! Good grief. The chubby girl who played about 20 feet back behind the baseline, and had no serve, no net game, and hardly any weapons at all, yet she was ranked #2 for parts of 2 years in Graf's post Seles-stabbing dominance. What kind of competition is that. People say Navratilova only had Evert? I dont agree with that accessment, but lets say for arguments sake I accept that, fine Navratilova only had Evert then, but Graf had NOBODY after Seles was stabbed, nobody at all. Also if you say Sanchez, Mandlikova was as good or better then Sanchez. You never had the likes of Conchita Martinez spend significant time as World #2 when Navratilova dominated, her competition never disintegrated to that point.
     
  4. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps, you should wonder why Martina avoided so many meetings with Graf in the 80s, playing different tournaments.

    I think it's great and fitting that two great champions tied at 9-9 head to head.Martina is great as a player and for her accomplishments, no doubt about it. She is the greatest player concerning that for all her titles in singles and doubles.

    Steffi Graf on the other hand is the greater tennisplayer, for one simple reason: her mastery on all surfaces. Sure Chris has more clay titles, Martina more grass, but Steffi dominated on all four. But who cares, I thinks she is great and I respect the fact that you find Martina the greatest.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
  5. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    This Navratilova vs. Graf stuff is really silly. People should really break things down to the details, such as:

    Graf: Better slice backhand.
    Graf: Better topspin forehand.
    Graf: Better movement (faster)
    Graf: Better on clay.
    Graf: Driven and consistent when young.
    Nav: Better volleys.
    Nav: Better serve.
    Nav: Better approach shots.
    Nav: More longevity.
    Nav: Better in doubles.
    Nav: Better on grass.

    Consider that a 30 year old Martina played a nearly 18 year old Graf in the final of Roland Garros and took her to three sets. She should have won the match, too. She had Graf down 15-40 in two service games in the third set and was up 5-2. Plus, in the first set, she let slip the opening game where she was up 30-0 and had other chances. Graf hung in there, but the match was Martina's. In the end, she beat herself. This was when Graf was in top physical shape and was continuing a 37 match streak. Yet, Martina was able to dominate, on clay, for most of the match, only letting nerves get the best of her. Certainly, Graf played very well, especially when she came to net and in some passes. But, it has to be said that Martina was able to raise her level of play throughout her career, despite her age, more than probably any other female player. The speed difference between that final and the 1986 final against Chris is immense. Martina played so much better against Graf, despite being older.

    Martina owns many "best female player of all time" distinctions, but it's the details that matter, not labeling a single player as the "best ever". I think that doing that is unfair to the other players, because tennis is a game of details. For instance, Martina cannot be called the greatest female tennis player ever when it comes to playing on clay.

    Graf was a fine player. I think Navratilova was more impressive, particularly given her amazing longevity, but Graf's talent and drive shouldn't be discounted. If Navratilova had been as driven as Graf was when she was young, she would have been something to see. Perhaps, though, she wouldn't have been as driven later on if that had been the case.

    The point of all this is... Martina is probably the greatest female grass court player of all time, the greatest female serve/volley player of all time, the greatest female doubles player of all time, and perhaps a few more. But, she is not the total package. No player is. She is not the greatest baseliner of all time, or clay courter, etc.
     
  6. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    It took a Graf fan in Germany and a knife from his hand into the back of Monica Seles for Graf to be able to win much of anything other than Wimbledon in the early 1990s after Monica Seles had settled into her dominance.

    The title of the Greatest Female Tennis Player in history belongs to Martina Navratilova.


    Navratilova have more Wimbledon titles and more WTA Championships.
    Navratilova have the all-time record at Wimbledon.
    Navratilova have the all-time record at the WTA Championships.
    Navratilova have won more singles titles than any player in tennis history.
    Navratilova have won more doubles titles than any player in tennis history.
    Navratilova have won more singles and doubles titles than any player in tennis history.
    Navratilova is the only player in women's tennis history to win Grand Slam titles in 4 consecutive decades -- 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.


    Martina Navratilova leads in several categories while Graf does NOT lead in any all-time categories.


    Court has the most Slam singles titles.
    Court has the most Slam titles total (including doubles).
    Navratilova has the most Wimbledon singles titles (9).
    Navratilova and King have the most Wimbledon total (20).
    Navratilova has the most Tour Championships (8 ).
    Wills Moody have the most Slams on grass courts (15).
    Wills Moody has the most Wimbledon and U.S. singles total.
    Wills Moody has the most years ranked #1 (9).
    Wills Moody has the most consecutive years ranked #1.
    Evert has the most Slams on clay (10).
    Evert has the most French Championships (7).
    Evert has the most consecutive years winning a Slam (13).
    Evert has the best winning percentage.
    Evert has the best record of reaching semis or better.
    Mallory has the record for most U.S. Championships.

    That doesn't leave a lot of room for Graf.


    Graf's records:

    Most weeks ranked #1 on the WTA computer since 1975.
    Most singles titles on hardcourts since 1978.
    Most U.S. Opens on hardcourts since 1978.
    Most Australian Opens on hardcourts since 1988.


    All within the last 30 years .. as opposed, of course, to the all-time records which go back 120 years.
     
  7. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    That is your opinion, Warriorroger ... and Graf's record was inflated by the stabbing of the #1 player in women's tennis who in April 1993 as a teenager, the #1 ranked Monica Seles (who had won 10 of the last 12 biggest events in women's tennis) was stabbed in the back by a Graf fan.

    Navratilova has a winning record vs. Graf in Grand Slam events and in WTA Tour Championships -- even though Navratilova was winning these matches when she was older than Graf was when Graf retired.
     
  8. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    How many of the all-time greatest 10 women players did Graf have to contend with after Gunther Parche had stabbed the teenage phenom and world #1 Monica Seles in the back with a knife in 1993?

    In her career, Navratilova had to play Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong, Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Maria Bueno ... really, every major player in women's tennis during the 36 years of the Open Era except for Martina Hingis, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams and Serena Williams.
     
  9. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    Some argue that there was more depth in women's tennis during Graf's career. After all, she had to face Martina, Seles, Capriati, Sanchez-Vicario, Sabatini, young Hingis, and others. The depth argument is really subjective, though, since players like Court and BJK mostly predated Martina and Martina had to face Evert and other players who managed to beat her in her prime.

    As I've said, though, the real issue is not who is the greatest ever, since no player did/does everything the best. Instead, it's "who is the best at this or that", specific parts of the game.
     
  10. backhander

    backhander Rookie

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    Good point, I agree :) , especially when comparing Graf to Navratilova.
     
  11. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

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    martina has more titles, played longer, has a tied record with graff in head to head matches (unbelievable, considering the age difference), but has less GS titles and less weeks at number 1....then again, graff's career clearly, and quite immediately, benefitted from the KNIFING of seles. graff's GS count and her total weeks at number one were clearly aided by the stabbing....in terms of weeks at number one, in particular, graff almosty immediately gained from the knifing of Seles without even playing very much....
     
  12. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

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    sports illustrated (august issue 2001) named steffi graff as the most overrated tennis player ( male or female) in history. it was mentioned in the article on how the german enormously benefitted from weak competition all throughout her career (seles stabbing and aging tennis greats navratilova and evert as rivals in her glory years 87-89). and that the stabbing of the best player in women's tennis also made it much easier for graff to win 22 slams ( half of it were won after the stabbing).
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
  13. FedSampras

    FedSampras Semi-Pro

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    No one ever won more slams vs. basket-case level competition than graff did. she faced no one tougher than asv and martinez after seles was stabbed. in case you forgot, seles was the top ranked dominant player and the 3 time defending champ at the Aussie, French, WTA tour champs, 2 time defending champ at US open and finalist at wimbledon at the time of the stabbing.
     
  14. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Slams: Graf 22 - Navratilova 18
    Years as #1: Graf 8 - Navratilova 7
    Golden Grand Slams: Graf 1 - Navratilova: zero

    Navratilova has a lot more mixed doubles titles, though.
     
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Two names not yet mentioned in this thread: Tracy Austin and Andrea Jaeger.

    Obviously, Graf benefited from the fact that Seles was stabbed. But I think it's just as obvious that Martina and Chris dominated the field so thoroughly in the mid 1980s because their younger rivals, the two women who were touted as their successors, were essentially taken out of the game by injuries. Seles, of course, was taken out by a brutal act, and was taken out more immediately, more dramatically. With Tracy and Andrea it was a slow slide out of the game. But they each had huge potential, particularly Austin. She was already struggling with injuries in 1981 when she beat Martina in the USO final -- and this was already after Martina had started training. We would have had a great rivalry if Austin had remained healthy.

    So if Graf had 22 Slams partly due to Seles's absence, that does not mean that Navratilova had 18 Slams against her own best competition. Both women benefited from their chief younger competitor(s) dropping out of the game.

    I don't think that Graf's 22 Slams automatically make her greater than Navratilova. But I think her edge in the Slams over Martina, if it's going to be boiled down to one thing, is due to Graf's greater proficiency over all surfaces. Martina won only two French Opens, while Graf won all the Slams at least four times, with 7 wins on Wimbledon grass (a surface on which she beat both Navratilova and Seles decisively) and 6 wins on slow Paris clay.

    I don't think that Martina particularly suffered from being 30 in that match, due to her great conditioning. She defeated Graf the next month with as fine a performance at Wimbledon as she ever gave (IMO). Something was wrong with her in early 1987, but it was not age. As for Steffi, yes, she was young and essentially already in her prime, but not yet at her peak: she clearly got better in 1988. Also, that 1987 final was the first Slam final of her life, when she had still not gotten the better of Martina (having lost their only two Slam meetings); she was getting outplayed at times during the Paris final by a smart veteran with experience. But how well would Martina, even at her best, have done against Graf on red clay in 1988, 1992, or 1996?

    Martina never did very well on Rebound Ace, where Graf excelled. As for grass and USO hard court, I think that these two women were, for all practical purposes, equal on those two surfaces. IMO the best example we have of a contest in which each woman was at her best, is the 1991 USO semi. That was extremely close: 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 for Martina. It was a very well played match, one of their best. Martina was indeed getting older then, but by the same token, Graf was playing one of her poorer seasons and did not look at mentally strong (to me) as she did, for example, in 1988 or 1995. She came to the net fewer times than in their 1989 USO final, and looked less confident in general.

    The third set, which Martina won 6-4, was full of service breaks: five out of 10 games. It's the first two sets where they were really playing at their best, with two service breaks in the first set and two in the second. And they were even.

    So it was not a perfect example of Graf's best against Navratilova's best, but I think it's the best we have.
     
  16. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Your not seriously going to put Graf winning a gold medal at the Olympics as being as important as winning a major?!?!? Not all the top players participate in the Olympics, which puts it on par with a Tier 2 event in women's tennis, not the same as a major. If you look on Wikipedia they list the draw for the '88 Olympics and it's clear that she was the ONLY truly premier player in her prime to play that year so her winning the event was a foregone conclusion. The only other truly premier player was Evert, who was by then clearly past her prime and lost early to Rafaella Reggi of Italy.

    Way too much has always been made of Graf winning that gold medal.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  17. CEvertFan

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    I would say in all honesty that both Martina and Chris benefitted from the early retirement of Jaeger and most especially of Austin, but Graf clearly benefitted even more from the stabbing of Seles because Martina and Chris still had one another to contend with even after injuries drove Austin and Jaeger out of the game. I seriously doubt that Graf would have 4+ titles at each major if the stabbing of Seles had never occured. Seles was clearly dominating every major except for Wimbledon before she was stabbed and I really believe she would have kept it going for at least a few more years which would have left Graf with considerably less Slam titles than the 22 she owns today. A prime example for Seles' continued domination is their '93 AO final clash, which was the last time they played in a major final before the stabbing, and even though Graf played some of her finest tennis she still lost the match.

    There is no denying that Graf is one of the all time great players to have played the game and I've never stated otherwise, but her inflated record is the main reason I don't put Graf 1st in any GOAT list. Yes there were some aspects of Graf's game that were better than either Evert's or Navratilova's (the forehand and footspeed come to mind first), but Navratilova and Evert had their own strengths as well, and also have better records overall than Graf does which is why I consider Martina and Chris to be the top two on the GOAT list.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  18. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Sabatini?

    Even if we ignore the 88 gold medal:
    Graf has one grand slam and Navratilova zero.

    Add to that Graf leading Navratilova in
    a) slams won
    b) year end #1s
    c) weeks as #1
    d) prize money won
    and you begin to realise why the vast majority of fans and experts world-wide call Graf the GOAT.
     
  19. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Dominating the majors for 2 or 3 years doesn't mean a lot.
    Have a look at the women who had successful runs comparable to Seles's in 91-93:

    Connolly:
    Won 8 of 9 slams between July 1952 and July 1954.
    Never won a slam after that.

    Court:
    Won 8 of 9 slams between January 69 and January 71.
    Won only 1 slam in the next 2.25 years.

    BJ King:
    Won 5 of 8 slams between September 71 and July 73.
    Won 2 slams in the next 2.25 years.

    Navratilova:
    Won 7 of 9 slams between July 83 and July 85.
    Won 5 slams in the next 2.25 years.

    Graf:
    Won 8 of 9 slams between January 1988 and January 1990.
    Won 1 slam in the next 2.25 years.

    S. Williams:
    Won 5 of 6 slams between June 2002 and July 2003.
    Won 1 slam in the next 2.25 years.

    Hingis:
    Won 5 of 9 slams between January 1997 and January 1999.
    Never won a slam again.


    7 really great runs.
    But in the next 2.25 years (time Seles was out due to stabbing) they won only 1.4 slams on average.

    1.4 ....
    Why do you think Seles would have been better?
     
  20. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    First off Graf won way more than 1.4 Slams once Seles was out of the game and Seles was clearly never the same player again once she returned to the game. There was every indication that Seles was going to continue to dominate like she had the past 3 years and the only Slam she probably wouldn't have won would have been Wimbledon (although I think she would have had an excellent shot to win even that in 1994 considering who the two finalists were).

    Connolly had a career ending injury from a horseback riding accident and never played again, so that doesn't figure into your criteria. There's every indication that Connolly would have continued to dominate if not for that horrible tragedy. Much the same as Seles would have continued to dominate if not for the knife in her back.

    All the other players on your list had to face some serious world class competition throughout their careers and didn't have their primary rival purposely taken out of the game so they could regain the #1 ranking and win more majors. In the case of Serena, the reason she doesn't dominate any longer is not for lack of competition, it's because she is out of shape, constantly injured (lack of proper training will do that to one's body) and hasn't commited herself fully to tennis for a while now and her results reflect that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  21. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    You consider Sabatini, the one Slam wonder, to be an all time great? I think not.


    Connolly and Court also won the Grand Slam, but I don't see anyone putting their name forward as the GOAT.

    Put Seles back in the game from the FO of '93 on and Graf wouldn't have half the few records she does own.

    No serious tennis historian would use prize money as a criteria for greatness, as it's a completely inaccurate measure of how successful a player was, given the fact that players make way more money now then even Graf did when in her prime, and as Graf made more than both Evert and Navratilova when they were in their primes and as Evert made way more than Court and King when they were in their primes.
     
  22. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    It is about how many slams SELES would have won in the next 2.25 years, woman!
     
  23. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Correct that to man and you have it right. No woman here. ;)


    Seles was clearly the better player at the AO, French and US Open than Graf was before the stabbing.
     
  24. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    I never said that.


    There were seven (7) players post-WW2 who had successful runs comparable to Seles's in 1991-92. Only one of them (Navratilova, 5) managed to win more than two (2) slams in the next 2.25 years (the time Seles was out due to the stabbing).

    What makes you think Seles would have won more than 2 slams?
    Pure Graf hate ... ?
     
  25. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Sorry, I confused you with WTAWorld's "Chrisse-fan".

    Seles was not clearly better at FO. She won 10-8 in the third set.
    Seles was not clearly better at USO. She never beat a top 4 player pre-stabbing in Flushing Meadows. Graf beat Seles easily in their only match on a comparable surface pre-stabbing (San Antonio 1991).
    Seles was not clearly better at AO. The 1993 final was a very good match that was decided in the last 5 minutes of the match.
     
  26. CEvertFan

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    How is it Seles' fault that Graf (the #2 seed) couldn't even make it to most of those finals because she was struggling so much with her game at that time? The same scenario could be said for Graf and Navratilova, is it Graf's fault that Navratilova (the #2 seed) couldn't make it to most of the finals that Graf won in '88 and '89? The answer to both would be no. Actually winning the titles makes you better and if you so happen to beat your major rival while doing it then all the better.
     
  27. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I don't hate Graf, unlike some other people on this forum. As a matter of fact I grew to admire Graf very much as the years went on and rooted like crazy for her to come back and win that FO final against Hingis, and was positively thrilled when she did.
     
  28. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    It was about whether Seles would have beaten Graf in FO 93, Wim 93, USO 93 and AO 94 without the stabbing. My answer is no.
    I don't think Graf would have been able to make 66 UEs again in a FO final.
    I don't think Seles was a decent grass court player.
    I don't think Seles was able to beat Graf on fast hard-courts.
    I don't think Seles would have been able to beat a clearly improved Graf at AO.

    The facts are on my side.
     
  29. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Then why do you INSIST that Seles would have fared far better than those othe 7 greats who had similar successful slam runs?
    My only explanation is hate.
     
  30. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    We'll just have to agree to disagree then because I say Seles would have kept her dominance going as she clearly had the mental upper hand in their rivalry, especially after the '93 AO final.

    I agree that Seles' grass court game wasn't the very best but I think she would have had an excellent shot to beat Martinez (who she owned) or a 37 year old past her prime Navratilova, who Seles had already beaten on grass in the '92 semis.

    I think Seles would have been able to beat anyone on hard courts, whether slow or fast.

    Graf might never have regained her form or "improved" as you say (which I disagree with) if she had continued to lose to Seles in major finals. A large part of any player's game is confidence and after the '93 AO Graf's confidence against Seles was in short supply.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  31. CEvertFan

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    Here's a rhetorical question for you. How many more majors would Evert have won if Navratilova had suddenly been removed from the picture in '83 a la Seles, and wasn't emotionally or mentally able to play for 2 1/2 years? Same scenario applies to Graf/Seles as they were the only two really great players in the early 90's, much like Evert/Navratilova were the only two truly great players in the mid 80's, and if one is suddenly removed then the other has a tremendous advantage.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  32. Warriorroger

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    Can you tell me why you keep on posting like this. Does it make your own player a better player? I am really interested. I am a Graf fan and I found what happened almost 15 years ago a horror for Seles and for tennis. But why do you keep on attacking (I know you're not the only one) Graf. Would you have wanted her to stop playing, would you be as harsh on Sabatini, Navratilova et all if they won the slams? What is it you guys want to hear. You know Graf showed to me what kind of players she is by winning the French Open in 1999, beating the top three with a body that has been worn out tennis wise. You use the word advantage, all women have had advantages when Monica was out of the game.
     
  33. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    All the women on the tour at the time didn't have an honest shot at winning multiple majors like Graf and Seles did and Graf's chances were greatly improved by not having Seles in the field and you know this to be true. I don't hate Graf nor do I think that overall Seles is a better player then Graf the way things stand now, but she had the potential to be at least as great as Steffi until she was stabbed in the back and Gunther Parche got his wish because Graf regained the #1 ranking and went on to win many more majors than she probably should have and we all missed out on a potentially great rivalry. I just don't see why it is so hard for people who think Graf is the greatest player ever to acknowledge that she clearly benefitted by not having Seles there as her main rival. Yes Steffi should by all means have continued playing because it wasn't personally her fault that Seles was stabbed. However, Graf was a firm #2 and only winning Wimbledon until Seles was stabbed and removed from the picture.

    Unlike some people that have only read about the incident, I had already been watching tennis avidly for years when Seles was stabbed and not only did I see how horrified Steffi was by the whole thing, but I also saw that she had a much easier time winning majors as well as a result.

    Finally, I am well aware that this is all conjecture, because Seles did indeed not play for those 2 1/2 years and once she finally did return she wasn't the same, so both Seles' and Graf's records are what they are and no one can change them.
     
  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Martina still had Chris and Hana, and Graf still had rivals like Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Mary Pierce. After Tracy won her last Slam and Martina started her dominating run, Chris defeated Martina at three Slams (82 A, 85 F, 86 F). Graf lost the French and USO to Pierce and Sanchez Vicario, respectively, in 1994. And just like Martina won close matches against Chris, Steffi won some very close finals from Arantxa at Wimbledon and the French.

    Simply put, Navratilova lost two rivals (Austin, Jaeger), and kept her old rivals (of which two, Chris and Hana, were Slam champions who cost Martina some Slam titles). Graf lost one rival (Seles), and kept her old rivals (of which two, Arantxa and Mary, were Slam champions who cost Steffi some Slams).

    Had Seles not been stabbed, I think Graf would still have won her Wimbledon titles of 1993, 1995, and 1996. I see no sign that Seles worked on her grass-court game (the way that Lendl or Borg did, for example, by retooling their strokes and game plans) either before or after her comeback. And on grass, she had to hit skidding balls with two hands, while Graf had grass-court weapons: a big serve and excellent slice.

    The 1992 FO final suggests to me that any of Steffi's four French Open victories after the stabbing can be questioned; but I would not say that all of them would have gone to Seles. Steffi lost decisively to Seles at RG in 1990, when Seles was still just maturing as a player; but when Graf brought her best tennis to the 1992 final, she took a fully mature Seles to 10-8 in the third. That suggests that they would have shared French Open titles in later years.

    Graf was very close to Seles on red clay, IMO, because of her better conditioning; she was a better athlete than Seles (or anyone else). Seles was clearly tiring in the third set of the 1992 final.

    Graf won just one Australian Open after the stabbing, so there's not much to discuss there. And I do think that Seles was better than her on Rebound Ace, so long as stamina did not come into play. The ball sat up for Seles at the height that she liked, but came at her with more of the pace that she liked than it did on red clay.

    As for the U.S. Open, its surface is closest in speed to that of Wimbledon, where Graf had the advantage. So it makes some sense that Seles lost to Graf there after her comeback (though I don't think that those finals in 1995-96 can really tell us much about who was the better player). And someone else mentioned that Graf was already beating her on a similar surface, in San Antonio, even in 1991.

    So I'm not sure how much we should doubt Graf's USO titles of 1993 and 1995-96. Maybe one would have gone to a fully healthy Seles, possibly two.

    Finally, we have to realize that Seles left the game before we got to see any of her vulnerabilities. As of May 1993, she was still in the first youthful stage of her career, and feeling invulnerable -- just like Steffi Graf in 1988-89. But looked what happened to Steffi. Starting in 1990 she looked vulnerable, and as time went on, players started figuring out how to beat her. It happens to everybody, including Martina. The invulnerable, dominant years don't stretch on that long. Seles was on a torrid pace when she was stabbed, with three great years behind her. How many years did even Martina have without a great rival defeating her? About two or three. So how long could Seles keep up that pace? How long before she had a bad season and the others starting figuring out how to beat her?

    You say that Seles would have gone on winning at the 1991-92 pace because she had the mental edge over Graf. Yes, she certainly had the edge, as Martina did over Chris. But Chris broke that spell (even if she never caught up to Martina). And what Chris had to do was harder, because Martina was a better athlete than Chris. And Chris was already approaching old age, for tennis, when she made her run at Martina. Graf was still young in 1993, and a better athlete than Seles. You can see her in the 1992 FO final, running around tirelessly and playing Seles without fear.

    All in all, perhaps Graf loses 2 FO, 2 USO and 1 AO, if Seles had not been attacked. I have no idea how many titles Martina would have lost if Austin and Jaeger had remained healthy, but wouldn't the count be similar, in your opinion?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  35. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    Court has the all-time record for most Slams - no stabbings.
    Wills Moody has the record for most years ranked #1 -- no stabbings.
    Navratilova has the all-time record for most singles titles - no stabbings.
    Mallory has the all-time record for most U.S. titles - no stabbings.
    Evert has the all-time record for most French Opens - no stabbings.
    Court has the all-time record for most Australian titles - no stabbings.
    Wills Moody has the record for most from the Big Two - no stabbings.
    Navratilova has the all-time record for most Wimbledons - no stabbings.

    These are the major records in women's tennis that date back decades and decades to 1925 and earlier.

    No stabbings of the top players by any of these 5 players or their fans.

    Graf has a couple of records, but they are tied to much more recent developments in the 1970s -- things like most weeks ranked #1 since the WTA began in the early 1970s and most hardcourt Slams.

    Pretty sad to not be the best at anything dating back to before the Open Era in tennis began in 1968 -- especially since Graf and her career will always have the stabbing incident.

    That is one reason Steffi Graf should never be considered the best of all-time --- she would not have even been the best of any specific decade without the Seles stabbing --- but even moreso because her career will always be tarnished by the stabbing of the undiputed top player in women's tennis in 1993, Monica Seles.
     
  36. ATPballkid

    ATPballkid Professional

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    OH ... I thought Seles had beaten Graf in the 1993 Australian Open final and I thought Monica Seles had also won the 1992 U.S. Open AND the 1992 Tour Championships (these happen to be the only 3 major events in women's tennis that were played within the 8 months leading up to the stabbing of Seles).

    Gunther must have FORGOTTEN about these results.

    For the record --- that was the THIRD CONSECUTIVE Australian Open Seles had won (1991-1992-1993) ...

    it was the THIRD CONSECUTIVE WTA Tour Championship Seles had won (1990-1991-1992) ...

    and, it was the SECOND CONSECUTIVE U.S. Open Championship Seles had won (1991-1992) ...

    to go with a THIRD CONSECUTIVE French Open Championship for Seles (1990-1991-1992).

    But it appears Gunther Parche would rather forget about all of this.
     
  37. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I don't know why you would reduce all of tennis history to stabbings, except unless the event just stands out in your mind because of its morbidity, and its immediate impact compared to other things that can remove rivals, like injuries, accidents, and sabbaticals. Tell me, can anything happen to remove a champion's rivals, temporarily or permanently, other than a stabbing? Did anything happen to Martina's younger rivals, apart from a stabbing? Or would you like to reduce all these questions to a question of stabbing?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  38. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Oh, and apart from the question of what can remove a champion's rivals, let me ask you another question. Can anything other than stabbing affect a player like Seles? I mean, do players come down off their top years of dominance, and start experiencing losses, for any reasons other than getting stabbed?
     
  39. CEvertFan

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    I believe what he's trying to say is that Seles' stabbing was a calculated attempt to take her out of the game and it succeeded for 2 1/2 years. Injuries, like those of Austin and Jaeger as well as many other players, is something that every tennis player has to, at one time or another go through, and it's a completely different scenario than what happened to Seles. Who knows, Seles herself might have even started to face serious injuries by '94 or '95 even w/o the stabbing having happened, because once she came back she was very injury prone. Incidentally, an overweight, out of shape Seles who had lost her edge wound up never really being a consistent major threat again once she returned to the game unlike the much fitter (mentally and physically) pre-stabbing Seles.

    Whether Seles' many injuries upon her return were the result of her long layoff and being in terrible shape, or was it because she was just naturally prone to injuries is something I leave for everyone to judge for themselves.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  40. krosero

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    Certainly, it's different. It has nothing in common with ordinary scenarios. The question is, how do the results of this extraordinary event, in the Seles era, compare with the results of ordinary events like injury, in the Navratilova era? Merely because a stabbing is an extraordinary means for a player to fall out of the game does not mean that the results were extraordinary. It does have some effects on the results: it meant that Seles dropped out immediately and left a certain trauma in the game. But though injuries took Austin out of the game gradually, she never played a role in the final weekend of a major after her victory at the 1981 USO Open. At the top, all you have to do is struggle a little with injury, and the result can be just as severe as Seles' withdrawal. Austin lingered in the game, but her time at the top was essentially over just as quickly after the 1981 USO as Seles' time at the top was over after the 1993 AO.

    Technically, anything can remove a player from the very top level of the game just as quickly as a stabbing: any moderate but significant injury can do it; so can a sabbatical, or maternity leave, or retirement.

    Focusing on the means of withdrawal obscures a discussion of all this. The post I was responding to wanted aggressively to make all these questions about the means -- about the stabbing.

    If some case is going to be made that Graf lost more of her competition with Seles than Navratilova did with Austin and Jaeger, then the case should be made; but repeating the dramatic word "stabbing" as if doing so takes care of the case is a substitute for an argument, not an argument.
     
  41. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Why this???
    Graf had won the match before that with 6-2 6-1 in Wimbledon, had lost the FO only with 8-10 in the third set AND had won both matches in 1991!!
    She had won 3 of the last 5 matches, 8 of the last 13 sets they played!!!
    You seem to be extremey biased.
    Sorry, for me that is the obvious Graf-hate that sadly is so commonplace in some tennis forums.
     
  42. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    Navratilova beat Evert in 5 slam finals in the next 2.25 years.
    So Evert most probably would have had 3 or 4 slams more.

    But here is my question to you:
    Navratilova had her most successful run after 1983. How do you know that Seles would have had the same run after 1993???

    You base that only on her success in 1991-93. But I have shown that having success for 2 or 3 years doesn't mean a lot for the next 2.25 years.
    There were SEVEN players with comparable runs post-WW2. Only ONE of them won more than 3 slams in the next 2.25 years.

    To any neutral observer that is a quite convincing argument.
    The problem is, you are not neutral. You hate Graf because she relegated Evert to #3 or #4 in the GOAT race.
     
  43. llama

    llama Rookie

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    Why does everyone fall for these threads by ATPBallKid and FedSampras? - they're as bad as Condi in reverse and both of them should be banned.

    Why respond to trolls?
     
  44. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    they have both been out of the game for 10-15 years and this is still keeping you up nights. man you must have hated steffi for taking her place as the top player in the game.
     
  45. CEvertFan

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    You seem to forget that the last time they played before the stabbing that it was a pretty convincing win for Seles even though Graf was playing at her peak and the score was 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, not 10-8 in the 3rd which just means that Seles was truly starting to dominate Graf. I don't think that Seles had even reached her peak yet in '91 or '92 as she was still young and growing. As for Seles' loss to Graf in the Wimbledon final, I have stated before that I don't think that Seles would have been able to beat Graf on grass, but she had an excellent chance on any other surface.

    I don't hate Graf or overestimate Evert's place in history. If you choose to believe that I feel that way then so be it, but I have presented legitimate arguments. If you feel that without Navratilova's presence that Evert would have won at least 4 more Slam titles (which would have given Evert 22 majors, a telling number don't you think?) then why can't you feel that Steffi benefitted as much by Seles' absence over the nest 2.25 years??? Maybe you have an unreasonable Steffi bias.
     
  46. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    One match on Seles's best surface and most probably Graf's worst one?
    A match where Graf had break-point at 2-4 in the last set which Seles fended off with an ace to go on to win the next 6 points? Graf making 78 points and Seles 86? Graf hitting more winners even in the last set (but making 15 UEs)?

    Graf had won 3 of the 4 matches before that AO 93 match and you say this Seles win indicated Seles was set to dominate Graf???

    You are a true Graf hater. Most probably has something to do with her being German (world-war 2 etc.).
    Sad.
     
  47. CEvertFan

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    Discussion with you is like discussion with Condoleeza. That person is currently banned from the forums but you could ask around to find out who that was. You won't be flattered.

    I am done with pointless arguing about this matter if one isn't going to be even half way reasonable.
     
  48. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    any bets on how long before borat gets banned? he/she/it isn't even trying to pretend to be someone else anymore(lol at the americans vs germans thing, that didn't take long to come out)

    graf has some very scary fans, wonder if there's a restraining order on this guy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  49. Borat72

    Borat72 Banned

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    This "Americans vs. German thing" was (and is) a common topic in German sports media. It is well-known which difficulties Graf had in the beginning to get recognition in the U.S. and by the (then) US-dominated WTA. Navratilova and Evert were the darlings and this German girl DARES to topple them!

    They had a report in German TV recently where they made fun of a "top 100 greatest sports persons" article by an American sports magazine (Sports Illustrated?). 79 of the top 100 were American .... :D :D :D
     
  50. krosero

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    I think I understand this analogy, but I have a couple of problems with it.

    One problem is that the stabbing of Navratilova is purely hypothetical. Adding it to the discussion seems to be a way to get the Navratilova era to match up with the Seles era, so that we can compare Chris Evert against Steffi Graf as if all things were equal (to use the common saying).

    Well, this thread began as a comparison of Navratilova against Graf, which is why I thought it would be better to compare Navratilova’s rivals (Austin, Jaeger) against Graf’s rival (Seles).

    I also prefer that way of doing things because it sticks to what actually happened. That is already complex enough without adding hypotheticals, IMO.

    If I understand correctly, it seems useful to hypothesize that Navratilova was stabbed because the stabbing of Seles just seems like a unique event that changed that era in a way that no era had ever been changed. Well, no one can deny that the stabbing was unique in tennis history, and that it had unique effects on the sport. But every era has a mix of ordinary and extraordinary events that remove or hobble champions. All those events, not just one, have to be accounted for. If Graf’s 22 Slam titles are going to be reduced, the next step is to ask if the same can be done for whomever she’s being compared against.

    Bringing Graf’s 22 titles down to 18 or lower, and leaving Martina at 18, is what I don’t find valid. It seems to me, rather, that in the Open Era we’ve had a lot of girls and young women fail to make it through the pitfalls of stardom and have a safe, healthy, long career. Chris Evert and Steffi Graf stand out as two women who did manage it. But we have a lot of casualties along the way, including Austin, Jaeger, Jennifer Capriati – and the most conspicuous example, the most brutal instance of one of the dangers of fame, Seles.

    Austin and Jaeger represent a significant loss of talent that can't be left out of any comparison of Graf's career with Navratilova's. If we’re actually trying to make all things equal, that loss has to be taken into account, because it had such a weighty impact in its time. The Navratilova-Evert rivalry of the mid-80s, when these two women basically had the field to themselves even a full decade after first coming onto the scene themselves, was pretty unique, and it could not have happened if their successors had had full, healthy careers.

    I think if Austin stands in roughly for Seles, then Jaeger can stand in for Capriati. Navratilova lost Austin and Jaeger as rivals, while Graf lost Seles and Capriati. It's a rough comparison and there will be differences -- but let the differences be discussed. That's the whole point -- to discuss these things and not just the stabbing.

    What I’m saying is that the stabbing, while the most “unique” and certainly the most brutal loss of talent, is not the only thing that can or should be discussed when comparing the Navratilova and Seles eras.

    If Graf’s Slam total is going to be cut down and compared to the total of a player who began playing a decade earlier – and this is an exercise I’m not in favor of, but let’s allow it for the sake of argument – then the other player’s total has to be examined as well. Leaving Martina at 18 titles while bringing Graf down to 18 or lower makes little sense.

    I understand the sense that Graf has an "inflated" collection of titles. But virtually everyone does, because everyone has had some luck. How would certain Slam champions have fared if, say, Borg had stuck around? What if Austin, Jaeger, and Capriati had had healthy careers? What if Court hadn’t taken any time off to have babies? What if Court had faced greater competition in her run to 11 Australian Championships? What if pro players had been able to compete for Slams before 1968? What if the bans and boycotts of the early 70s had not occurred? All of these events represent some kind of loss or diminishment of talent at Slam events. So does the stabbing. It should be discussed – but not apart from all those other events.
     

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