The four fairies of tennis

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    At least since 1960 till now, there have been 4 great fairy ladies that dominated very shortly, just as the legend goes, the ranks of the women circuit.

    in the 60´s, ME Bueno, the Brazilian dancer got through the King/Court strenghold but injuries kept her record away from superior greatness.

    In the 70´s, the Australian aborigin nation produced the magic Evonne Goolagong.And she never seemed a real character, such as Evert or Navratilova.Her 1980 victory at Wimbledon, with a few months old child watching her win is just one of the greatest tales that sport has ever told.

    She never walked on court, she just floated and her backhand came from her fairy stick.Of course, you´d never expect her to dominate like the boring Evert...she wasn´t born for that.

    Her torch was taken by a very modern, but also very past laid and romantic women that had the body of an Olimpic Champion and the fool talent of an eastern glory such as Kafka or Dostoi.Nobody has ever been able to produce the unbelievable tennis Hanna Mandlikova, unfortunately too shortly produced.She was like a stellar comet, her light would last very shortly...but those of us who followed deeply the tennis game in the great 80`s..well, we´ll never be able to forget her.

    Martina Hingis, in the 90´s was the last romantic.of course, she was a spñicy, along her friend/rival Kournikova.we have never had such level of excitment, flair, class and grace ever since in the women rank.She was cold, sometimes cruel, arrogant...but she was composing some of the nicest melodies, certainly the last form of melody the tennis world has known ever since, at least as far as women are concerned...yes, BTW, they were women...

    was there another fairy to catch up this lot? for a while, Andrea Jaeger and, to a certain extent, sabatini and Kournikova could have gotten into this group.No matter if they were succesful or not, they really never got into.

    This is a very special group.In fact, you must believe in fairy tales to aknowledge it..
     
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  2. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    The thing with these fairies, is if they ran out of magic dust, it could be awful disappointing to those who came to see some. Damn good news to their opponents though..
     
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  3. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Of these women, I have only seen Hingis play, but she remains (and probably always will) my favourite female player of all-time. Such intelligence on the court. Such a cheeky style off it. :)
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You both are right.Their charm was their vulnerability, and the fact that they produced so much pain along joy.

    Martina is a special breed.There hasn´t been a character like her, even in the male ranks with such magnetism...she is the last truely great character of tennis.

    And, as much as I admire her game and her class...well, if you missed Evonne and Hana, you really missed a lot.

    Evonne, you never had the feeling to watch a tennis match but a colourful drama act, it seemed unreal sometimes.

    And Hana, well, Hana was Hana.
     
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  5. BTURNER

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    Hey Kiki, how much of Bueno have you actually seen, either live or tape? So few are old enough, and there is so little on yt?
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The first ladies match I recall had Bueno
     
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  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    LOL, I think this puts you in the 'no longer a spring chicken' category, but I am full of envy regardless!
     
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  8. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    As I've said before, I've never seen Bueno play competitively, but have hit with her many times when she's in London. Whilst her mobility is obviously not what it was- given all her injuries/operations its a miracle she can hold a racket let alone wield it as majestically as she does. Breathtakingly beautiful strokes with little margin for error but her exquisite timing is a joy to watch. And, whilst more than aware of her record as a player, she's great fun to be a round. To me, one of the great legends of the game.
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Bueno, like Connolly, we´ll never know how far, how high, how good they may have gotten.Like Hoad ( and in a lesser extent Roche,Orantes and Mayer), injuries destroyed their career...sometimes the Gods are extremely cruel with their most gifted sons...
     
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  10. tembolo1284

    tembolo1284 New User

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    Hingis was amazing in her time. A shame she got injured and kind of burned out so young.
     
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  11. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Did she/ does she hit with much spin? Did she have a topspin or flat backhand or was it just an underspin a la Court?
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ME Bueno had very classic, yet mighty and well timed groundies, and a great flair at the net.
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Who is the last woman to win 3 out of 4 slam titles and lose the final of the 4 th since she did in 97?
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I remember Bueno, King and Court.Court was terrific when she wa splaying with confidence.
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    What is "spñicy"?
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Spñicy is for Spicy

    Dostoi is used as a generic mixture for Tolstoi and Dostoievski
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It often came to my mind that, when watching those one woman shows Hana had sometimes the decency to show us, that is exactly what peak Hoad did.

    One of those very rare players that you are certain you will never see touching their limits
     
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  18. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    'The four fairies of tennis'....kiki is a one-off genius on here, of course. :)

    kiki, folks, I never saw Bueno play, but every so often, around Wimbledon time, I've heard my mam say that she was a very good player in her day.
    I saw Evonne, Hana and Martina play plenty of times. I loved watching Goolagong and Mandlikova at their best and wanted them to win more often, but obviously Evert and Navratilova were pretty big hurdles.
    Hingis was a great phenom at a young age, very talented, really could have had a Grand Slam year in 1997. I didn't like her as much as Evonne or Hana. Martina was a bit dismissive of other players in her youth and a little arrogant. Her arrogance and then loss of focus cost her the French in 1999 and I don't think she was quite the same afterwards. She stopped winning at an early age. Still, it was a shame the way the French crowd turned on her at RG 99, but that was largely Martina's own doing. It is a pity she didn't maintain her career at the top for a bit longer.
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Thanks for this post, XavierG.

    I came to think that, as similar they could sometimes play, they were also very different in characters and life experience, atittude and vision.They also belonged to their time.You know, in fairy tales it is not just about their powers, but basically about their characters.

    My vision of them is to group them in two blocks.In one of them Bueno and Hingis.The other, Goolagong and Mandlikova.Why ?

    Basically, Bueno and Hingis were about class, distinction and somewhat arrogance.But Maria was a brazilian, very laid back and graceful to the others while Hingis was a late 90´s teenage, a spicy girl with just as much arrogance as class.The description of her as " Swiss Miss" really fits her.She looked like she was a truly different player to the rest.

    Evonne and Hana both shared a somewhat " anarchist" vision of live, with the australian aborigin putting the emphasis in joy of life and freedom of decision.Hana was an eastern european with a lot of personnal contradicitions and a will to proof her being different because of being raised in the suffocant stalinist regim of her country.She shared with Evonne that touch of foolness that made her adorable and unique.You know, she was a kafkian version of a female tennis professional.

    Evonne and Hana were not princesses with such a grace and innate class as Maria and Martina, but pure Free Spirits.Very much accordingly to the general trends of the 70´s and 80´s.Certainly the two biggest in the women´s rank.

    In conclusion, Maria and Martina are two distant princesses whom you dream of.Evonne and Hana were special characters with a huge emotional and sensual proximity to my views, at least back then.But the four are the ones I´d never get tired of watching.

    That is why I grouped them this way.But if we talk about their playing style and strengths, we would have a different line up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
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  20. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    I thought that would be Tolstoievsky.

    Anyway, a nice thread. There are another two that are king of similar, but a bit different - Connolly and Seles. They achieved a bit more but were both short lived as well. The difference they were both affected with the external tragedies that ruined their careers at the age of 19 after dominating the field for couple of years.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.Of all the women I never watched, I have a special interest in Lenglen and Big Mo.I think Connolly´s disgrace was even bigger in historical terms.

    Don´t forget that ME Bueno was also touched by destiny.Her career was broken by very serious illness.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
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  22. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Well kiki, I often like your way of looking at things.
    Evonne Goolagong seemed often just to be playing for the joy of playing tennis, not solely to win things, as I think she's said herself since, though she still did like to win.
    Hana Mandlikova was another 'free spirit' on the court if you like, mercurial.
    Martina Hingis back then was a curious mix of youthful talent, freedom of expression and arrogance. Not too diplomatic at times, but shone very brightly for a short time.
     
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  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wouldn´t it be just fine if Esther had hold on 1971 or 1972, the year Evonne won almost everything on sight? she´d be 32, still a year or two of competitive tennis if healthy.And what a beautiful match up¡¡¡

    Unfortunately, that was never to be.and for Hana play Martina, she´d be 33 or 34 by 1996 or 1997, too old and past prime.

    So we had to content ourselves with Hana vs Evonne.They provided a fantastic Wimbledon match in 1980, just before Hana´s peak and just before Evonne´s decline.happened to be one of the best matches of the year.
     
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  24. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I really like this thread.
    Kiki, as you may recall, I know maria bueno quite well, but am too young to have seen her playing professionally, but have hit with her many times. She is an absolute joy to watch still. However, I wdnt say she was ever laid back in her play but would give that impression, some including her peers and best friends would say that she was imperious, indeed quite haughty on court! It was part of her mystic and contributed to making her a truly gt champion.
    I find the four players you've selected really interesting as I can, to a point, see a connection with the history of tennis- I cant bring myself to say progression because women's tennis today, imo, generally lacks grace.
    I'll elaborate:
    Bueno- I would say is the only legitimate heir to Lenglen. The only champion to play as if set to a beautiful classical concerto. The movement plus brain sets them apart. Their downfall, if it is one, was that tennis was too easy and they could play to the crowds. However, their records speak for themselves.
    And you're absolutely right that serious illness, and a series of unfortunate injuries robbed her of achieving more.
    Side note- my grandfather saw Lenglen as a child and took a very serious interest in tennis until his death last decade, said that he never saw, male or female, such an elegant player as Bueno. He said she didn't wield a racket, she waved a wand. It's from him I get my love of tennis history.
    Cawley- the closest to Bueno in terms of sheer beauty of tennis. Where I think they are different is that Cawley didn't possess the steel trap mind that Bueno and other top flight champions did. Not to say that she didn't have a killer instinct - you don't contest all those major finals on talent alone- but it wasn't as evident or developed. That said, I think (just my impression) that when she left the professional game, she left happy.
    Mandlikova- without a doubt the world was on her racket for the taking. But her mind rarely was. Like Cawley, to some degree, she met her match to a stronger brain/mental ability. One Chris Evert. In some respects I would say that mandlikova was similar to bueno & cawley in the range of shots and the incredible talent for hitting the impossible. She was similar to bueno in that she could appear disdainful of her opponents. But differed in that, unlike bueno, she didn't always stick to the job in hand i.e. winning! And unlike Cawley, she was not especially gracious in victory or defeat.
    Hingis- slightly different to the above in that her actual (generally speaking) her construction of a point was more similar to Evert. However, I can see the similarity to the other women of this thread in that she had quick hands, ability to hit amazing shots etc. But her downfall (?) was similar to mandlikova in that she didn't always appear sufficiently interested to work hard enough, that talent alone would suffice. Which of course, it wasn't.
    Still, the game of tennis is far far richer for all of them. Even if the downside is that it makes me mourn the game today. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good views, PDJ

    I think Hingis is somewaht undervalued as a net player but she was one of the best there, with great touch and positioning.In an era of power, her team with Anna was a joy to watch, for they relied upon compenetration, touch and movement and that made that team unique and certainly the best over the last 15 years.

    The four fairies, my poker of magic girls had no real weakness or, in case they had, they could overcome it with their unusual talent and shotmaking.

    Bueno, as you mentioned, had everything.Power, footwork,timing,grace and was as good as anybody else at the net.Evonne felt at the net like at her own backyard.Hana was just an amazing volleyer; she was better than most top 10-15 men at the net in an era loaded with great S&V players, as you may recall.

    It was clearly another era.in fact, it was when you couldn´t wait to watch them because you knew that it was fun at its best.

    I wish Andrea and Anna could have become what their raw talent showed at times; however, compared to those 4, their weakness were obvious.Bad luck.

    Curious enough that Hana´s best friend in the tour was Andrea and Martina´s only real friend was Anna
     
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  26. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I would absolutely concur that Hingis had a beautiful volley and touch at the net. Where she differed from Bueno, Cawley & Mandlikova, was that her foreward movement wasn't as natural to her. Where Mandlikova differed from Bueno & Cawley, that whilst she approached often, it wasn't always on the most sensible ball or whilst at the net, her choice of volley wasn't always the wisest. The more time she had, the less instinctive she appeared.
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, she was very flashy at the net; Cawley was a bit more a classical volleyer in the mold of Bueno or Court.Hingis was all about positioning and touch.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As a conclusion one can affirm that Bueno&Goolagong were natural volleyers who enjoyed baselining whereas Hingis&Mandlikova were baseliners who loved coming in
     
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