The unusual 2 match rivalry between Austin and Graf

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by grafselesfan, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Austin and Graf played only 2 matches ever. The first was in late 1982 was when Tracy was 19 and Graf was only 13. It was Steffi's first ever professional match. Austin won 6-4, 6-0. The other was in early 1994 when Steffi was 24 and the sports reigning queen while Tracy was 30 and attempting a brief failed comeback attempt. Graf won 6-0, 6-0.
     
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  2. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    was it Austin who said Graf was nothing special? I remember someone saying she is just like every other little girl trying to play tennis.
     
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  3. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Austin has since stated that she was wrong about Graf on the air and I give her full credit for doing so. She's human and can make a mistake just like anyone else.


    As for their '94 match, it was no surprise that Austin lost so easily. She was just a pale shadow of her former self. It would have been interesting to see them play against one another had Austin's career never declined due to injuries. A completely healthy mid 20's Austin against a prime Graf would be a heck of a battle IMO. Austin is VERY underrated IMO.
     
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  4. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Here is an article following the 1994 match:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...29,5145767&dq=tracy-austin+graf+6-0+evert-cup

     
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  5. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Austin said a lot of very smart, wise things over the years. Unfortunately that is the quote that will be remembered. She has not just eaten crow, she was force fed the feathers too.
     
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  6. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I agree. Austin is hugely underrated and most people don't realize just how much she accomplished in her short career when she was healthy. She was the only woman not name Evert or Martina to be number one during a near 8(?) year period between the late 70's and early to mid 80's. She also had the second highest number of wins over Navratilova in history in her career I believe with 13 (more wins than either Seles or Graf got), and 2nd only to Evert. Tracy was a sad case of injury killing a promising career and the 80's would have turned out vastly different had she not been forced out the way she was, and anyone who doesn't believe that to me needs to relook at things. Tracy was only going to get better in my opinion and she would have just given everyone else more trouble.

    As for her and Graf, they ever played in their primes, when Tracy won. Graf was just an up and comer, and when Graf won Tracy by that point was done and gone career wise. Had they played and been in their primes in the late 80's (the time of Graf's golden slam), I feel it would have been a battle, Tracy would have probably been Graf's cheif rival in the late 80's had she evolved and not been injured. But sadly that is just opinion and we will never really know.
     
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  7. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    Now, that is eating crow, the turkey, the chicken, and everything else...

    (In honor of the late Bea Arthur, utter this phrase in a deep baritone with a hint of sarcasm and a hint of weariness or exasperation at life's vagaries.)
     
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  8. navratilovafan

    navratilovafan Banned

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    With Martina and Chris being older, although Martina was still playing quite well, Tracy probably would have been Graf's biggest rival in the late 80s had she stayed healthy. She would only be mid 20s by then so still young enough. Maybe even still young enough to be a second major Seles rival in the early 90s too.
     
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  9. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Thanks. LOL!!
     
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  10. CycloneJosh

    CycloneJosh New User

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    OK, I'm going to say something unpopular: I much preferred Austin to Evert and feel that Austin was a better player at her peak.

    I agree with the common criticisms about Austin-- that her game had a peculiarly mechanical and unimaginative quality to it-- but I think her stroke production off both sides was unparalleled in that era. Both her backhand and forehand were clean, simple, and perfectly produced-- just pure technical perfection. She and Evert had the same style-- they hit the ball essentially flat, with the follow-through out in front, etc.-- but I really feel Austin's strokes were cleaner and more compact. Add to this that she hit the ball harder and was more aggressive than Evert.

    Evert may have invented that style of playing, but I feel Austin perfected it.
     
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  11. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I think during Austin's prime was 79-81 they were evenly matched on hard courts and carpet both with Austin arguably just as good or better in fact. However I think Evert was the better all around player as far as all surfaces still at that point. Austin would have had to improve on both clay and grass to overtake Evert as the better player. She was young enough she may well have done so though had she stayed healthy after 1980.
     
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  12. CycloneJosh

    CycloneJosh New User

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    Well, it's subjective of course, and perhaps you're right. Austin was not a versatile or creative player, and that held her back on clay and grass. But I do think her strokes were better than Evert's-- especially that backhand. Of course they both had superb backhands, so I'm splitting hairs here, but I feel Evert had an occasional tendency to turn prematurely when hitting off that wing, whereas Austin's was perfect-- all of the energy went into the ball-- and she hit with more force.
     
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  13. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    I was watching some youtube videos of Austin and was struck by how similar her stroke production is to Davenport. If I recall, they both learned the same mechanics from Robert Lansdorp. They both have the cleanest groundies I've seen.

    To me, Austin was the first true power baseliner.
     
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  14. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    While Evert certainly had some weight behind her strokes as well, what set her apart from Austin and the other players was her ability to anticipate and change the direction of the ball, always keeping her opponent guessing about where exactly her groundie was headed.
     
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  15. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    Of course the fact that Evert never missed helped her
     
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  16. goober

    goober Legend

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  17. obanaghan

    obanaghan New User

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    Clearly, Graf WAS like 100s of girls back in 1982. She did not become #1 until 1987. Eileen Tell had match point against Graf and defaulted so she could go play the US Clay Courts. Graf like any other potential star had to stay focused and healthy. She went on to win that small tourney in NJ but if she had quit playing or if she was outplayed by someone else Austin would not be maligned.

    Austin played doubles in Mahwah in 1989 or and looked great. However, she had a car wreck and was sidelined until this last ditch effort.

    She may be mechanical but does anyone think the Williams' are pretty to watch and non-mechanical? I love Serena but she just hits the hell out of the ball and if it goes in she wins, if not she loses.
     
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  18. goober

    goober Legend

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    Really? How many 13 year old girls back then were playing in $400,000 professional tournaments? Certainly not 100s.
     
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  19. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    I think Tracy was very talented but she would have needed to improve her serve a great deal after 81 to keep winning majors with Martina's vast improvement as a player. Tracy's serve wasnt even up to the same sort of level as Chris Evert's serve. Martina of 82-87 would been all over that serve, probably even coming in off Tracy's first serve, unless she improved it bigtime. If you want to look down to the 86-89 period while Graf probably wouldnt have been attacking the net off the return often like Martina she would have been creaming that serve for winners if Tracy hadnt improved it by then. Then dont even get me started what Seles of the early 90s, the greatest and most offensive womens return of server in history, would do to that kind of serve. Ouch. An improved serve would have been a must for her as her career progressed.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
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  20. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Tracy was kidding about that. But I do think Steffi had a certain amount of motivation for wanting to beat her 60,60 in their 1994 match.

    It is indeed a most unusual rivalry - just two matches 12 years apart.

    I bet there probably isn't another situation like it.

    13 year old Steffi winning 4 games versus a world #4 in 1982 was pretty darn good though!
     
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  21. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    I think Tracy's comments were probably part in being miffed a 13 year old girl was at 4-4 in the first set with her. :twisted: Poor Tracy was already a shadow of her old self at only 19 though, as her double bagel to Chris shortly after would again demonstrate.
     
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