the most complete woman player of the open era

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Feb 1, 2014.

?

The most complete is?

Poll closed Mar 3, 2014.
  1. Court

    5 vote(s)
    7.6%
  2. Navratilova

    19 vote(s)
    28.8%
  3. Goolagong

    2 vote(s)
    3.0%
  4. Mandlikova

    1 vote(s)
    1.5%
  5. Graf

    25 vote(s)
    37.9%
  6. Davenport

    1 vote(s)
    1.5%
  7. Hingis

    6 vote(s)
    9.1%
  8. Williams

    7 vote(s)
    10.6%
  1. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    If you're going by "who had all the shots", you gotta go with Hingis.

    That second serve is the only thing keeping her from getting an unqualified vote from me.
     
    #51
  2. Chip 'n Charge

    Chip 'n Charge New User

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    I chose Martina Navratilova, but (as others have said) would have liked to have seen Justine Henin included as well. BTurner makes a compelling case on her behalf.
     
    #52
  3. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    double post
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    #53
  4. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I LOVE watching Chris play doubles. She serve and volleyed beautifully. You could tell she tried hard to "do the right things " mechanically and tactically. Plus her return and lob were equally as dangerous as they were in singles.

    Have you ever read "Passing Shots" by Pam Shriver? I love reading about their locker room bets. One was for Chris to serve and volley on the first point of a match. The other was for Pam to go into the mens locker room. Pam won her bet and Chris wrote her a check! Her first "victory" over Chris Evert.
     
    #54
  5. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Why are people voting for Graf? That would be like stating fernando gonzalez is the most complete ATP player:). Graf is most likely the GOAT but she is not what I would call a complete player. She had the best FH ever, a good serve and great footwork but to be a complete player you need to be able to to hit topspin of both wings. she also did not have the greatest net game (not terrible but not great).

    the most complete modern player is probably henin, hingis was also very complete although she lacked a bit of power. I can't judge pre 80s players.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    #55
  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    To me, you see a true serve and volleyer the way he/she leans forwards, throwing his body into the ball after the toss.Not a high toss but a toss where you place the ball well in front.That,I never saw in Evert; her service motion, didn´t allow her to do it.It is not so much if the serve is potent or weak but the whole process.

    Sabatini, curiously, won the 1990 US Open by doing S&V.She rassembled a bit Vilas.When youw atched her for long you would never expect to do that so well or at least so consistent.Of course, unless you were Seles, there was no other possible way to beat Graf on fast turf than doing what gabriela did later on.And IMO, better than Vilas.She also learned that even her top spin Bh is one of the all time greats, her huge and deep slice shot would help her a lot more against Steffi´s relative weak BH passing shot.In her first years, you only saw that big looping top spin Bh from her, but as she progressed on, almost 60% was that slice.She could have won Wimbledon, more than Mseles.
     
    #56
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Martina won a lot of doubs with different mates such as Davenport and Kournikova.when you do that, the first sign is adaptability and the first step into adaptability is having a pretty well rounded game.With Davenport, she finished the plot that Lindsay started while with anna it was the opposite.

    Martina had a weapon that is often underrated more even than her perfect shotmaking: her amazing inteligence on court.
     
    #57
  8. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Watch Graf hit topspin BH after topspin BH against Navratilova in Wimbledon 1988, Wimbledon 1988, FO 1987, USO 1989 and YEC 1989.
     
    #58
  9. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Just ask Navratilova whether Graf had a "relatively weak BH passing shot".
    :)
     
    #59
  10. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    While her topspin backhand pass was powerful and accurate, Graf needed time good position, and confidence to pull that one off and as Evert said, it was predictable, almost always going crosscourt, and with no topspin lob off that wing, you could have a decent shot at anticipating it once you saw
    Graf was coming over the ball. Mostly Graf ran around her backhand entirely to blister a forehand pass, or used her slice backhand to maneuver you into hitting your volley up and then that forehand did the rest. Her slice lob was effective as well. What was important was to get depth on whatever you hit into the backhand wing, so her weight was going backward.
     
    #60
  11. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    I agree wholeheartedly, Henin was the complete package with lots of competition in her era. She left a void in womens' tennis that has yet and probably never be filled again, She was a female Fed/Laver who could hit every shot in the book. I never saw Hoad but from what i've read Henin played like him AT A GRAND SLAM LEVEL. She would beat most women now and have a great rivalry with Serena....2nd for me is Martina who was great but did not have great competition and a suspect backhand pass..Billy Jean King/Margaret Court tied for 3rd IMHO for all around complete women players. Mauresmo gets honorable mention.
     
    #61
  12. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    LOL, Kiki you are outvoted on your poll. Folks ( including me) want Henin in the line-up real bad. You have made them very sad and confused. They can't envision a definition of 'complete player' that Justine does not fulfill better than about half of the selections you have in there. Is there nothing to be done?
     
    #62
  13. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    You can't be the most complete player of the open era with zero Wimbledon titles. Simply not possible.
     
    #63
  14. Chip 'n Charge

    Chip 'n Charge New User

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    Why is Wimbledon the litmus test? Wouldn't lacking any one of the majors be a deal breaker then? In which case, we eliminate half the field.
     
    #64
  15. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    To me the answer is rather obvious. :)
     
    #65
  16. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    You are looking at it the wrong way. It's not about surfaces. Yes, Steffi Graf was an awesome player but rather one dimensional no matter the surface - you always knew how she was going to play because it worked for her - she rarely ever had to adapt and "try something different" or go to "Plan B" because her "A" game was usually enough.

    Steffi would play exactly the same style no matter the surface - everything in her game revolved around her running around the backhand to hit her forehand, which is still my pick for best ever in the women's game. I've never seen anyone else run around their backhand as much as Graf did and I was there watching for almost the entirety of her career and the main reason she was able to do it so well was her footspeed and footwork also among the best I've ever seen. But, she hardly ever lobbed, hit topspin backhands, dropshots, or even came to the net unless she was forced to come in. Her weapons were strong enough that she didn't have to improve her weaknesses or add more variety to her game.
     
    #66
  17. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Only players with no real strengths need that kind of variety ...

    Graf could hit perfect dropshots, had one of the best lobs of her era, an excellent topspin BH passing shot. But she needed those weapons less than others because she had the best forehand of all time, the best footwork of all time, the best BH slice of all time.

    She had one true weakness - she didn't know when to advance to the net and when not and in case where exactly to position herself (she would very often stay one step too far away from the net).
     
    #67
  18. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Yes, but still she has only a narrow lead in this poll so far!
     
    #68
  19. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    You aren't going to get this concept, because you don't want to. Its all been covered over and over.
     
    #69
  20. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    There's always got to be someone who complicates a thread.
     
    #70
  21. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    I know, your "concept" is a solace for fans of players who won no Wimbledons, right?
    :)
     
    #71
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    hahahaha.I will agree with you on that.Well, one can make an exception with Hana, isn´t it?
     
    #72
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ooohhhh¡ Henin was comparable to Hoad???

    I guess lobsters have become very expensive right now
     
    #73
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    well, I guess I should enclose the other lobster, Cjisters?
     
    #74
  25. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    I think it's a fair comparison..Both were short in stature but flashy WORLD CLASS offensive shotmakers who dominated for a relatively short period of time..ie: like Sandy Koufax in baseball.
     
    #75
  26. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    You keep confusing their resume, with their game. Their resume as champions is incomplete if they haven't

    won Wimbledon. Certainly having won majors on all the surfaces, leads credence to the notion your complete game is successful and effective on each surface and Wimbledon is by far the best way to show mastery of grass.

    But clearly Wimbledon isn't a prerequisite in this poll or topic and winning Wimbledon is no proof that it was their use of a 'complete' game, that got it won, otherwise Mandlikova wouldn't be listed.
     
    #76
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hana´s game was so complete that I was recalling her FH and suddenly Bturner just affirmed that her BH was even better.When a player has different strokes that different viewers rate as their best shot, then you know it is very special specimen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
    #77
  28. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Well, as of now Hana had one vote and Steffi leads with 15 votes.
     
    #78
  29. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I'll include Henin and rank them. Remember this is about painting each canvas, using all the colors on the pallet, in effective,intelligent and successful ways, as an integral part of your style and success.

    1.Navratilova
    2. Henin
    3. Hingis
    4. mandlikova
    5 Goolagong
    6 Court ( had no variety of spin at all on the backhand wing!It was all underspin)
    7 Graf ( too dependent on three or four patterns and shots in high percentage of her winning play)
    8. Williams ( too dependent on that serve and blasting in high percentage of her winning play)
    9 Davenport

    If the artist could have painted just as well without ever using orange or maroon , and just threw in some orange or maroon , because it was there once in a while in a few of her paintings, then orange is basically irrelevant to her artistic success. (this is Graf and Williams)If the artist used all the colors all over the place, all the time but the result distracts from the focal point of the peice or sometimes overpowers the room rather than accents the space ( this is Goolagong and Mandlikova) . If the artist while mixing blue and red, never quite gets the right hue in her purple, before using it, then it would be better if she didn't try for purple at all. If the artist can't get his art out of his studio, then it doesn't matter how many colors are on the pallet or paintings>

    the artist has to need all those colors to paint his vision, has to use all those colors intelligently, and know how to mix them well whether he is stuck with oil paint, water based paint or crayons. that describes the top three on my list.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
    #79
  30. Jessekershaw

    Jessekershaw New User

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    Is there a reason Evert was left off?
     
    #80
  31. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    My guess, she never added even an occasional Serve/ volley combo into her singles tactics even on fast grass or carpet, but I did not pick the options, Kiki did.
     
    #81
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Enough for women...let´s go to men...or to doubles.

    which is the most complimentary doubles team...King/Casals? Navratilova/Shriver? Hingis/Kournikova? Serena and Venus? Turnbull and Stove? Court and Melville?

    I liked how Hingis and Davenport mixed things up as well.

    of course, the strongest one must be Navratilova and Shriver.

    Oh, and one of the best that me recalls is Jordan and Smith.Superb volleyers.
     
    #82
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1/Navratilova and Shriver
    2/King and Casals
    3/Jordan and Smith
    4/Hingis and Davenport or Kournikova
    5/The Williams
    6/Court and Wade
    7/Stove and Turnbull
    8/Sanchez and Novotna or Zverveva
    9/Graf and Sabatini
    10/Khode and Sukova

    probably missed one or two.
    7/
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
    #83
  34. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    1. Navratilova - Every shot in the book, played across several era's.
    2. Williams - She has all the shots but erratic. Movement & mental issues.
    3. Hingis - More complete and consistent than Williams but not enough power.
     
    #84
  35. HRB

    HRB Professional

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    If you like complete keep you eye on rising star Simona Halep...7 titles in the last 11 months on all surfaces, both indoor and outdoor! Variety, pace, defense, baseline, complete! Guess her breast where really holding her back after all!
     
    #85
  36. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    It has to be Graf.
     
    #86
  37. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I think if the poll had used the word 'multi-dimensional' or' multi-faceted' instead of 'complete' , folks would not think in terms of having a complete record, but rather than a style of play.
     
    #87
  38. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    A few people - you among them - confuse "complete player" with "player with no particular strengths".
    Thankfully most people don't do it.
     
    #88
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Now, this would be true but the case is that none of the players of my list have a real weakness.Some shots are better and some are not but most of them are excelent.if we talk, of course, from the mere technical standpoint.or have you seen any weakness in Hana´s game ( again quality of play) ?.Because I certainly have not.

    Of course she could hit shots that she invented but that is not a weakness.That is a God given talent that I very much appreciate as a honest and engaged fan of the sport.

    since this day only one women outforehanded prime Graf: Mandlikova did it at the 86 FO.maybe Seles did it later, but that would make two at maximum,Not even the best Lindsay or Jennifer could do that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
    #89
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    And the most amazing was that, not too often but most often than many have seen, she could out serve and volley prime Martina and outbaseline prime Chris.
     
    #90
  41. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Now you are confusing "player with no particular strengths" with "player with a real weakness".
     
    #91
  42. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    1. Navratilova-Shriver
    2. King-Navratilova
    3. King-Casals
    4. Jordan-Smith
    5. Novotna-Sukova
    6. Hingis-Kournikova
    7. Kohde-Sukova
    8. Sanchez-Novotna
    9. Wiliams
    10. Graf-Sabatini
     
    #92
  43. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    It was Martina who said the backhand always went crosscourt; Evert said it always went dtl. Shriver was the one who said Steffi did not have a topspin pass at all. As late as 99, BJK's was still saying that Steffi was practicing her topspin backhand. The detractors had all the angles covered.

    Here is a better angle: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAE9CF809EA3F4E0F
     
    #93
  44. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    LOL you tube?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
    #94
  45. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    Hmm I never realized all the contradicting claims until now. Did those women not like Steffi for some reason or are they just genuinely bad announcers who cant help themselves.
     
    #95
  46. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    anybody read my post on using youtube clips to assert a faulty premise? To show that a shot was in the bag of tricks, is rarely informative on this debate. I can show clips of Evert serve/volleying too. I even have one with Martina hitting a backhand volley shot with two hands on the racket, and another with Evert hitting a one handed slice. I can show you Hana hitting a winner after she fell, and Sabatini doing the same with the 'Sabatweeni'

    I have seen Graf hit them all before. We all know its there, but we can't tell much if it it used so rarely as to deny us much data.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
    #96
  47. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Graf was a shock wave for the US-dominated tennis establishment that reverberates until today.

    There was a girl who matched Navratilova in athleticism AND was more elegant than Evert. Who won the Golden Grand Slam and amassed by far the most slams in professional tennis. And she was no American ...

    The attempts to rewrite her history and thereby the history of modern women's tennis are numerous. But they will ultimately fail.
     
    #97
  48. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Graf's topspin backhand was there when she needed it.
    Have a look at her Wimbledon finals against Navratilova. Or the YEC 1989 (also against Navratilova). Those decisive moments against Sabatini in Wimbledon 1991 and Novotna in Wimbledon 1993. And Hingis in the legendary 1999 FO final.
     
    #98
  49. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    But that isn't the only question. We have to ask about those times when at decisive moments, she sliced that backhand pass that was intercepted, because she lacked confidence in her ability to rip it. That will inevitably involve many of the same players and include both matches she won or lost, and tournaments that are not majors.

    Another question involves missed opportunities with other big baseliners where ripping that backhand DTL,would have provided opportunities to force weak replies or gain winners off that wing. Baseline Opponents have little to fear over there except the occasional dropper.

    These questions are like asking if Evert would have won more, if she had thrown in an occasional s/v or an aggressive return of second serve and following it in, rather than playing it safe and deep vs baseliners like Sabatini, Austin, or jaeger who themselves, could get aggressive later.

    Good questions in analysing any champions game.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
    #99
  50. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    I don't agree at all.
    Graf had the best forehand of all time. The best BH slice of all time. The best footwork of all time.
    She would have been an idiot if she had tried to use the topspin BH more than in the few occasions mentioned. Meaning when her opponent rushed the net and she had to pass them. Ask Navratilova and Shriver how they experienced Graf in Wimbledon. And her passing shots. Shriver had tears in her eyes ...
     

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