The Austin-Evert rivalry

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, May 3, 2014.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, one of tennis people favourite issues in the late 70´s.

    Back then the question was NOT IF but rather WHEN the Californian was going to dethrone the Floridian.

    It began in 79 when Tracy won their Rome and US Open matches, and would continue all through the first half of 1980 (Austin won the Avon Championships which was equivalent of WCT Finals and beat Chris at the 79 Masters as well).Austin would win a last US crown in 81 but things had changed after Evert beat her at the 80 USO sf

    That match, and I don´t think I am exageratting a little bit, gave Chris 10 more years of career.Had she lost and Tracy remarked her dominance, maybe she had retired.Or that was what I heard around that time.So, it was one of the most dramatics and decisive women matches in history.Tracy, for the first time was the clear favourite and Chris the underdog.Pressure affected Austin and helped Evert a lot.The rest, as they say, is history.Austin, with a hard injuries case would never be the same after the end of 1981 and Evert would relaunch her career during the 1980´s.

    (BTW Tracy was even more " perfect girl" than Evert herself.Not only a perfect -boring-tennis metronome but a very bright Stanford student who had plenty of AAA and even skipped the FO that she was favoured to win in 79 to attend exams¡¡¡-...was that perfection the reason Evert couldn´t stand her? somebody FINALLY more perfect than herself woooww)
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
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  2. CEvertFan

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    Seems like you don't like Chris Evert very much but you are right about the rivalry - Austin got into Evert's head for a period of time and if Chrissie hadn't won that 1980 US Open semifinal then Evert's career might have ended sooner rather than later. I've seen the match and the last 2 sets (Austin won the first 6-4) were a master class performance from Evert.

    I don't think Austin liked Evert much either. She's been described as treating Evert with something close to disdain when they were both in the midst of their rivalry.
     
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  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t really personally like any of both, in spite of which I respected and admired Evert a lot.And Evert was always polite and correct.But I don´t see why writting a post about what really happened has much to see with liking or disliking somebody.
     
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  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Austin apparently idolised Evert as a kid, but when she met Evert in person, she was disappointed. Austin always said afterwards that Evonne Goolagong Cawley was her favourite player when asked. One can see why Austin got into Evert's head for a while, because Austin's play and mentality was like a more aggressive Evert. Austin still had some good wins over Evert even after the 1980 US Open Evert win, like the semi finals of the 1981 Toyota Championships.
     
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  5. BTURNER

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    My sense is that, periodically over the years, one or the other would try to bridge the gulf, with some positive comments, and an effort to offer due praise, but to no avail. They still really don't like each other. Grudging respect will have to do, with the accent on 'grudge'.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Austin was a very driven individual.But she was also a vocal teen, who never hid one inch of her ambition to dethrone Evert first and Navratilova next.She was ( along an in form Mandlikova) the only player by early 1980´s that both, Evert and Navratilova, really feared.Jaeger was an enigma, could happen anything, Goolagong was on retirement and Shriver was not a real threat to both.

    She was very tough as her great intelectual record proves.Hey, late 70´s women tour was very professional and very competitive, not like the 50´s for instance, yet Austin FOUND TIME to be a serious nº 1 challenger and a bright student in one of the top american colleges¡¡¡ that is something very very rarely seen at both men and women pro ranks and we are talking of the Golden Era here.

    (incidentally I´d like to know if there have been more cases like that )

    That said, Evert was always the best player and in the long run, if Chris could overcome the psychological thing, she was bound to dominate.

    The Austin vs Evert rivalry was basically played at the menthal level, more than anything else.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
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  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Austin was never really onto grass, still she made two consecutive W sf and it took the best Navratilova and the best Goolagong to beat her there.

    Let´s not forget that.
     
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  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Dan Maskell was certain that Tracy Austin was a future Wimbledon champion when he first saw her play there in 1977.
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Tracy Austin reached the QF at the 77 W tournament aged 15.
     
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  10. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Fact Check and Correction Report:

    Tracy Austin did NOT reach the QF of Wimbledon in 1977. The first time she reached the QF was in 1979, when she beat Billie Jean King 6-4,6-7,6-2 for the most significant grass court win of her career. Austin lost in the SF to Martina Navratilova.

    Austin reached the QF stage at Wimbledon from 1980-1982, only getting past the QF stage in 1980, when she fell in the semifinals to Evonne Goolagong.

    FWIW: Tracy Austin did reach the QF of Forest Hills in 1977, at age 14.
     
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  11. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Well, Dan Maskell was most certainly wrong.

    While she did win the Mixed Doubles in 1980, Tracy Austin never reached a Wimbledon singles final. Chris Evert got to the finals 10 times.
     
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  12. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Um, Austin had already been ranked #1 by Wimbledon in 1980. In the 1979 semi, Navratilova easily handled her there. Evonne Goolagong always gave Tracy fits (career head to head stands 4-4, although in only one of their matches was Evonne the higher ranked player). Goolagong certainly played great tennis to beat Tracy in the semis in 1980. But it was still an upset.

    Tracy may have won 2 consecutive titles at Eastbourne on grass. But no matter how you dress it up, spin it, or color it, Austin's grass court results weren't really that impressive.

    Let's remember that!
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    First time I watched Seles it came to my mind that I had seen her a few years before...yeah¡ that´s it ...Tracy¡¡¡

    Austin was a Pre Seles in many ways, not in all but you could certainly tell.
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Please,raise hands who of you didn´t think at one point or the other that Austin was really going to overcome Evert.
     
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  15. BTURNER

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    What was impressive was Ol Lady King, at around 38 years, getting her revenge in 1982 vs Austin in three sets to reach the semis yet again.
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Any other top pro as successful at top college while being n1 in a very tough era?
    Well done Miss Austin
     
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  17. RUC

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    Austin was NOT a Stanford student........she was still in high school and had her high school exams.........she never was a collage student while she was on tour.
     
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  18. Brian11785

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    This is definitely a case of the personal dynamics of the rivalry being a LOT more compelling than the actual tennis.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT_OVo2FC0c

    Go to 1:54:00 - This is amazing cattiness by Evert and Austin.
     
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  19. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Did Austin get a degree from Stanford? Her Wiki page doesn't talk about Stanford. Lots of athletes don't finish their college education. So, just wondering if she did finish in 4 years or, alternatively, she left school and finished later. Someone upthread said she didn't even go to Stanford.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
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  20. RUC

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    Austin pretty much stayed home in Palos Verdes at her condo in the 80s - she was do TV already from 1984 - 1989 and after her first retirement she just hung out at home - she very keen in the mid 80s to keep her private life quiet.

    She was never on tour full time and going to Stanford - she has never lived outside the L.A. area and if she took any classes or did any studying it would have been in Westwood (UCLA) and not Palo Alto.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I may have been wrong on the Stanfd issue.Being a californian i just supossed she attended Stanford; I heard about that years ago.In any case, Austin seemed very commited to her studying.
     
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  22. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    They both enjoyed "tweaking" each other! But, it has always been good natured, IMHO. Sure, there was some tension when they were competitors, especially big time rivals from 1979-1981. However, many of their matches during that time frame weren't for the #1 spot. Their 1979 US Open final was the only time they played in a major final. Evert beat Austin at the 1978 US Open QF and 1980 US Open SF.

    As adults, I think they developed a nice friendship - not necessarily buddy-buddy they way Chris and Martina did - but a very mutually respectful relationship. I think the press overdid their relationship more than they did.
     
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  23. DMan

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    My hand is raised high, very high! Can't you see it :) :twisted:

    (And I don't think Austin was a precursor to Seles at all. Apart from a two handed backhand, and rather mediocre grass court results, and both getting destroyed by Graf during their careers, there's no similarity whatsoever!)

    The press (and remember this was pre-Internet, YouTube and all that stuff) harped on the "new Ice Maiden" story of Tracy Austin in the mid 1970s. Austin was on the cover of SI in 1976 as a 13 year old. Of course hailed as the 'next Chris Evert.' And Tracy clearly mimicked Chris' style of play, and mannerisms - down to shaking their bracelet-laden wrists while playing. Too bad Tracy was not able to take fashion advice (the mostly good fashion Chris evidenced throughout her career). Those God-awful, home made, pocketed pinafore dresses Tracy wore were an embarrassment!!!
    The press liked to get in Chris' face about 'what was it like playing a mirror image of yourself' nonsense. When Austin made her move up the ladder tot he top 3 in 1979, I think Chris unfortunately let that get to her. If they had played a few more times pre-1979, not only would have Chris racked up the wins, I think she would have realized that she was so much the better player. As it was, by the time Austin beat Evert for the first time in March 1979, at the Avon Championships, it was only their 4th match. Their last meeting prior to that was at the 1978 US Open. Since that Open match, Austin and Navratilova had played 4 times.
    Their 1980 US Open was a pivotal match in their career, and clearly displayed who was the superior player. After all, wasn't this "peak" Austin (that pesky term so many fanboys like to use)? Tracy was 17 and #1, so wasn't this the height of her career? And didn't she get thrashed by "poor, over the hill, washed up Mrs. Lloyd?" Yup, she did.

    And so, NO, I never thought Austin was going to overcome Evert. At ALL! And, except for a very brief period in their careers, she didn't. Plain and simple. Yup, it's a FACT!
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, I think Evert´s fanatics were having their balls shrugged when Tracy owned her in 79-81.Sorry to use such a vulgar term right now...but I just can´t think of any better as a graphic explanation¡¡¡

    Not only Martina was beating Chris often but next came Austin...and Goolagong still beat her at the Wimbledon final¡¡¡ and Jaeger and Mandlikova looming out¡¡¡

    Geez, must have been very bad times for Evert´s unconditionals back then.The worst of times during Chris Evert´s long and great career
     
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  25. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Austin still had another big victory over Evert after that, the 6-1, 6-2 semi final win at the 1981 Toyota Championships. Regarding the 1980 US Open match, Evert put everything she had into that match because Evert was spooked by Austin's recent wins over her.
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yeah, Evertians were about to panick then but Navratilovers were keeping their calm for Martina had always a safer security margin against Austin herself.
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Thanks for the link-.

    Funny video.I enjoyed some parts of it.

    Austin is clearly the best looking ( at least in relation to her age), and she holds very well her words even if she was a bit shy when she was playing tennis.

    Evonne, as usual, is the party soul.Outspsoken as always.

    Hingis seem a bit more introvert ( yet natural as she always was) than she was when she was playing.

    Margaret, OTOH, is still a class act.I like when she points out that everybody was willing to see a "Court-King final" and that she played the left side when teaming up with Newcombe " and had the pressure on her".That brought memories that, even for their well known chauvinism, top australian players saw Court as their equal.And they wouldn´t let any other girl play the left side...except her.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
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  28. BTURNER

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    read that differently. I saw Court as seemingly a little insecure about her place in history and maybe isolated by politics, as everyone lauded almost ad nauseum accolades on BJK for organising the tour, so she latched on to the tennis skirts of her former rival for a little sunshine by mentioning fans wanted to see her play King. Seemed awkward, odd.

    There was someone that REAllY showed what class was, at that photo shoot. Navratilova made an obvious point of showing all deference by singling out both King AND Court equally as roll models for her personally coming up. Considering the tension Court's comments towards homosexuals as roll models, had caused the tour not too long prior, an olive branch was the last thing I would have expected. While undoubtedly true back then as a girl, Martina refused to turn a blind eye to Court's contributions to the sport because of politics or pettiness now. Pure Class move, that. And the rest of the tour should take note. Margaret was - and is - a champion of complexity, not just a caricature of a religious bigot, anymore than King and Martina are cut out of dolls of lesbian champions. We can condemn bigotry, without rewriting history to deny anyone due honor as champions or people.

    It was also nice that King mentioned that Maria Bueno was an honored guest in the crowd, even if she could not take the stage proper as a champion during the pro tour years of the WTA.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
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  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t have any ideological problem with Court.

    Neither I do have with Navratilova or King sexual orientation.
     
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  30. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Wrong, as usual. Sigh ! :(

    Tracy owned Chris 79-81? Me thinketh not! Oh sure, she "owned" her, from Sept 1979-Jan 1980, And if Chris had to be "owned" during her nearly 20 year career by another player, she could gladly give up those 4 months to Tracy.

    Quick FACT Check:
    # of majors won by Evert: 18
    # of majors by Austin: 2

    Oh, and Goolagong "still" beat Chris in the 1980 Wimbledon final? Well, heck yeah she did. (And she also slaughtered Austin in the semis, but I won't tell!) Jaeger and Mandlikova looming out? Don't know what that means, other than Evert played a lot longer than Jaeger did. In fact, Evert played more pro matches than Austin and Jaeger COMBINED!!!

    The worst of times during Evert's career was better than 99.9% of the women who ever played. That includes Ms. Tracy Austin!
     
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  31. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Here's the record up for debate.

    TRACY AUSTIN (USA) 8:9

    1977 Wimbledon 3R W 6-1, 6-1
    1978 Hilton Head, SC SF W 6-3, 6-1
    1978 U.S. Open QF W 7-5, 6-1
    1979 Avon Chanpionships RR L 6-3, 6-1
    1979 La Costa, CA SF W 6-1, 7-5
    1979 Italian Open SF L 6-4, 2-6, 7-6
    1979 Mahwah, NJ F W 6-7, 6-4, 6-1
    1979 U.S. Open F L 6-4, 6-3
    1979 Filderstadt, Germany SF L 6-3, 7-5
    1980 Avon Championships RR L 6-1, 6-3
    1980 Avon Championships SF L 6-3, 6-0
    1980 Cincinnati, OH F L 6-2, 6-1
    1980 U.S. Open SF W 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
    1981 Toronto, Ontario F L 6-1, 6-4
    1981 Toyota Championships RR W 4-6, 6-4, 7-6
    1981 Toyota Championships SF L 6-1, 6-2
    1982 Toyota Championships SF W 6-0, 6-0
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  32. BTURNER

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    Kiki, what you've done, is pulled almost every loss Evert had during the time into this list. Evert remained floating between #1 and #2 throughout those years never dropping below despite a break she took for burn-out, just as solid in ranking as she had been from 1974-1986. She continued to win majors and had yet to lose even once before her semifinal date at major championships. In 1978 she won 7 titles, 79 it was 8 titles, 80 it was 8, 1981 it was 9, 82 it was 10, in 83 it was 6, and 1984 it was 6 titles. I can create just as 'scary, a list from '83-85 only the names are often less illustrious. This can be done with any player in large chunks of their career. Austin seemed a scary threat for Evert back then, but the cumulative losses of the time frame, do not represent anything unusual in her career. During that time frame, Martina was drifting more than Evert, so the name of the major threat changed as navratilova dropped in the rankings a little.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Goolagong vs Austin semi at W check score please
    Facts from 79 to 81
    Austin bested her at the IO,Masters and Flushing
    Martina at Masters and Wimbledon as well as the AO
    Evonne at Wimbledon
    Hana at RG
    Martina,Tracy,Andrea and Hana also at other TMS equivalents
    Not any shame about
    But lets be true
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Stevens,Turnbull,Reid,Fromholtz join my list
    The ones whom she trashed were Ruzici,Wade,Jausovec,Shriver
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    74-86 is a long time, you know.I just focused on 79-81.To me, the pivotal period of time in her career.

    Evert was the overall best in 74-78, in spite of King,Goolagong,Navratilova and Wade winning some major titles against her.Anything prior to 74 was Evert being the underdog and taking advantage of the pressure being on the other player, or just getting messed around with her relative unexperience

    79-81 is probably the most interestingEvert period, for she was feeling really threaten by Navratilova but also the new generation (Austin,Mandlikova,Jaeger) and she went through personnal changes in her private life as well.

    She recovered back from 1982 till 1986, to be co leader with the best Martina, behind her but clearly above the rest ( except when Hana graced us here and there)...but she was definitely helped a bit here by Jaeger and Mandlikova personnal problems and Austin´s injuries...right before Graf became the player we all know she became by 1987.
     
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  36. BTURNER

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    She did not 'recover' because she did not really fall. Her ranking stayed precisely in the same range 1-2 in the world, as it has throughout her prime ( as opposed to peak) years. Austin and Navratilova and Jaeger each took their turns at the 3-4 rankings, not Evert! She won 8-10 tournaments regardless of those 'added threats' and continued to perform by objective standards much as she did in 1978- before Austin and Jaeger- and 1983-1984 after those two threats were basically gone. Maybe what we need to ask is why she won fewer events, or participated in fewer, after they left the scene (only 6 tournament wins in 1983 and 1984 and 2 losses to Jordan, one each to Garrison, Maleeva , Lisa Bonder, Sharon Walsh) and of course tons of losses to Martina, because it is that period may demand more concern from us Evert fans. Some of those are a little harder to explain. It wasn't until Graf won the RF in 1987 that she fell to #3.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    No shame in losing to an on fire Kathy Jordan.No need to belittle her comparing her to the Maleevas or Garrison.Much less the others you mentioned.

    In 79-81 Evert could take the lead for some slots of time, but she could also look like the fourth best.maybe the rankings said other wise, but tennis is not just rankings.
     
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  38. BTURNER

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    You keep trying to sell your story despite the objective data. No one ever 'looked' more like a number 1-2, other than either Austin or navratilova and never both at the same time. And Evert never 'looked' like number 3 or 4. She played some matches where others played better at this tournament or another, but nobody but a fool thinks that a little inspiration in a tournament or a brief few weeks, or lack of that inspiration, looks like more than that. We all know that rankings reflect a year or season. Factually Evert was rock solid only dropping from 1 to 2 and back up, while everyone else fluctuated amongst themselves over 1978-1982. kathy Jordan was in the same league as Garrison or Maleeva in my opinion.
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Kathy had a real game, the others were consistent but didn´t have half the fire Jordan could spit out on a day.

    Whatever you want.Just ask any fan who lived those 3 years and will tell you that, in 1979 and 1980 Martina and Tracy were the dominant ones and Chris was the challenger.Until the 1980 US Open, followed by the 1981 Wimbledon, to be more explicit to you
     
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  40. Ramon

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    Seles getting destroyed by Graf? Wasn't it the other way around? I think that's why Seles got stabbed!
     
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  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hanika destroyed Graf.But german people seems to forbide any mention of this.

    Sylvia uber alles¡¡¡
     
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  42. BTURNER

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    here is the facts on their singles records, rather than your 'impressions'.

    Garrison reached a career high of # 4, with 14 titles. 2 semifinals + once a finalist at wimbledon at majors for best showings

    Maleeva reached a career high of #3, with 19 titles. 2 semifinals at majors (both US Opens) for best showings.

    Jordan reached a career high of #6, with only 3 titles. She got to the semis of Wimbledon once, she reached the finals of the aussie on grass in 1983.

    They are all in the same league except I'd prefer their records over Jordan in singles. While it would be no shame to lose to any, its certainly a bad day for a champion of Evert's caliber.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I stand corrected.But I also keep thinking Kathy was much much more dangerous to the real big girls than any of those you mentioned.She is on par with Helena Sukova, who also had a big game.Pam Shriver, Claudia Kohde, Kathy Jordan and Helena Sukova. the real good ones at S&V

    Anne Smith had the talent but focused exclusively on doubles.A bit like Casals ten years before her.
     
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  44. BTURNER

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    Jordan was more dangerous to Evert, not so much the others and she really had to stay on grass or carpet to make a real dent. Garrison and Maleeva were a little more solid on the other surfaces.
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, I also recall Pam Shriver had a real jinx against Tracy Austin.She didn´t overcome it until their 1981 QF at Wimbledon.
     
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  46. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    NO. And this isn't a thread about Seles or Graf. But just for you:

    1989 Wimbledon
    Steffi GRAF def. Monica Seles 6-0,6-1

    1992 Wimbledon
    Steffi GRAF def. #1 ranked Monica Seles 6-1,6-2

    Ms. Seles beat Graf a grand total of 5 times.....in her entire career. Were any of them "thrashings"? Um, No!
     
    #46
  47. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Goolagong def. Austin 6-4,0-6,6-3. A devastating and horrible loss for a player so "dominant". And higher ranked.


    FACT:

    The 1979-1981 H2H between Austin and Evert was this:

    1979 Avon Ch. AUSTIN
    1979 Clairol Crown: EVERT
    1979 Italian: AUSTIN
    1979 Mahwah: EVERT
    1979 US Open: AUSTIN
    1979 Stuttgart: AUSTIN

    1979 year end rank: Evert #2, Austin #3

    1980 Colgate Championships (Round Robin): AUSTIN
    1980 Colgate Championships (Semis): AUSTIN
    1980 Avon Cincinnati: AUSTIN
    1980 US Open: EVERT

    1980 year end rank: Evert #1, Austin #2

    1981 Canadian Open: AUSTIN
    1981 Toyota Championships (Round Robin): EVERT
    1981 Toyota Championships (Semis): AUSTIN

    1981 year end rank: Evert #1, Austin #2

    Overall H2H from 1979-1981
    AUSTIN 9-4


    OK, so you are listing some of Chris Evert's losses from 1979-1981. What they have to do with her rivalry with Austin, who knows?!?!

    But I give you this: take Chris Evert's record for 1979-1981 and compare it with any other player's record for 3 consecutive years (of my choosing). And I GUARANTEE Chris comes out on top against EVERYONE! Hands down!
     
    #47
  48. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    You're right, this is isn't about Seles vs Graf, but the reason Seles got stabbed in the first place was because she was dominating Graf at the time, and everyone knew it (including the stabber, unfortunately).

    Back to Austin, I do think Graf was clearly better than Austin (and Evert too for that matter). She would have thrashed both of them regardless of age. Part of the reason was she was more athletic, but it was also testament to the women's game changing.
     
    #48
  49. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I just can't let this slide. NO Seles was not stabbed because she was dominating. She was stabbed because a mental wack-job found a bizarre raison d'etre, a knife and easy access. The raison d'etre could not matter less than when mental illness is involved. it could just as easily have been because he thought she was Satan's daughter or she looked like his mother.
     
    #49
  50. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    But Seles was stabbed because she had taken away the #1 ranking from Steffi. That wack-job even said so.
     
    #50

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