ultimate dominance - most slams in 10-year period (women)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Joe Pike, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    There is a lot of talk in tennis forums about who was really the most dominant player in the history of tennis. IMO, a great way to measure this is having a look at how many slams a player won in a 10-year time frame (as 10 years is the equivalent of a decade).
    Among female tennis player we get this list:

    1. Steffi Graf (GER) - 21 slams (1987-96)
    2. Margaret Court (AUS) - 17 slams (1964-73)
    2. Martina Navratilova (USA) - 17 slams (1978-87)
    4. Helen Wills-Moody (USA) - 16 slams (1923-32)
    5. Chris Evert (USA) - 15 slams (1974-83)
    6. Serena Williams (USA) - 12 slams (2002-11)
    7. Billie Jean King (USA) - 11 slams (1966-75)
     
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  2. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    i would hardly consider the Australian open a "slam" at that time so that would eliminate the majority of Court's wins. It was more of a national tournament. Pretty much only Australians would enter the Australian open.
     
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  3. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    The number of majors won over a decade is not a very accurate measure of dominance. No player in the Open era has been dominant for such a period. In fact, the only player, male or female, with four consecutive great (as opposed to good) years is Roger Federer (2004-2007). Navratilova was great from 1982 to 1984 but merely very good in 1981 and 1985. Graf was great in 1987 to 1989 and again in 1993, 1995 and 1996, but not for any consecutive four year period.

    For this reason it seems preferable to use a three year period to measure a player's peak performance. If you use a decade you are measuring longevity or lifetime performance rather than dominance or peak performance. Since the Open era players in question won all their majors over a 12 or 13 year span, performance over a decade is already fairly close to a lifetime achievement measure.

    There is also the additional issue of whether the number of majors won is the sole or even the best indicator of dominance. Wilander won three majors in 1987, while McEnroe won only two in 1984. Most observers, however, believe that McEnroe had a far more dominant season.
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I gotta agree that Graf´s shown the longest dominating period.If we span it to 15 years, she´d still fit in, just as would Evert,Navratilova and King.Court,too.

    For the rest, we´ll have to wait and see
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    'merely very good' in '85? she had a 94.4 winning % that year (84-5)
    won 12 events, 2 majors(made finals in the other 2)

    was Federer's '05 that much better?

    And Navratilova was 90-3 in '86, so I would say had 5 straight great years.

    her win % over that 4 & 5 year period is probably higher than any other player.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I believe Navratilova won 70 out of 84 tournaments entered from 1982 to 1986.
     
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  7. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    Moose:

    I yield to no one in my admiration for Martina Navratilova, but I don't think that her 1985 season was as great as Federer's 2005. It's MUCH more difficult for a male player to go 81-4 over a year than it is for a female one to post an 84-5 record. Many observers believe that Federer played his best tennis ever in 2005, although his record was not as statistically impressive as in some other years. I have never seen anyone make the same claim about 1985 Navratilova.

    Having said that, I reviewed Martina's stats for that year and I now think that you are correct in regarding it as a great year. At the time I believed that the season was a let down for her, and that she regained her true form in 1986, which was another outstanding year. That was true, but only because I was comparing Navratilova's 1985 to her incredible run from 1982 to 1984, when she went 254-6. By any less exalted standards 1985 was a great year for the reasons you cited. Martina's AVERAGE seasonal record from 1982 to 1986 was 86-3.

    So I'll have to amend my original post as follows. Martina is the only player to have posted FIVE consecutive great years in the Open era. No other woman can claim more than three consecutive great years. Food for thought when measuring dominance or peak performance.
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Steve132,

    You can't just say it's tougher for a guy to have a great won-lost than a woman because relatively speaking, it's about equal. Martina Navratilova is not as good a player as Federer and her competition is not as tough.

    Guys like Tilden, the Dohertys, Kramer, Sedgman, Trabert, Rosewall, Laver, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Vilas, Budge, Perry, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have had fantastic season records. There are probably a lot I didn't mention among the men. And a lot of the women also. If it was that much tougher for the men we wouldn't have so many players with great season records.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
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  9. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Relax folks, ...
    It's harder for the men. More men play tennis, the talent pool is deeper and there's no getting away from this really. OK, I don't have stats to back this but I can't imagine this not being the case.

    I think there are good reasons why in the Open era those who lead the Major count among the women have tallied up plenty more victories than the men and also simply just cross comparing the skill sets, male players are much more likely to reveal a more visionary game with numerous weapons, almost as if they thought about the sport more. The top women ever though are ueber mega.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
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  10. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    well, you are the one who initially compared men & women's records, not me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
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  11. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    The top women in the history of tennis are legendary but there's just not enough of them at the same time for intense rivalry and competition. Women’s tennis was seriously robbed of a decade long Graf / Seles rivalry.
     
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  12. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    My comments referred only to male and female tennis players having great years, not to the criteria to be used for determining such. I think that most observers would agree that both male and female tennis players may (and may not) have great or dominant years.
     
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  13. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    You can't use Slams as the sole measure of dominance without putting it in context. For instance, from 76-78, in her prime, when she was unbeatable on clay, Chris Evert skipped the French Open to play World Team Tennis. She didn't play her first Australian Open until 1981. In her entire career, she only played the AO in 74, 81, 82, 84, 85, and 88. She made the final every time, and won two of them. The Slams as the only measure really didn't start to come around until the 90s, which of course benefits Graf.

    I'm not saying that Graf wasn't a great player; I fully believe she was, and probably would have turned her rivalry with Seles around anyway, but to just pick a period when everybody played all four Slams and use that as the sole measure is sophistry.
     
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  14. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Don't forget that in the 70s more than 60 % of the top 50 were US Americans. Meaning that back then women's professional tennis was not exactly an international sport. Graf faced world-wide competition, not mostly countrywomen.
     
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