Which all time great had the toughest competition (women)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by illusions30, Oct 16, 2013.

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Which female GOAT candidate had the toughest competition overall

  1. Evert

    52.6%
  2. Navratilova

    10.5%
  3. Graf

    31.6%
  4. Court

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Connolly

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Serena Williams

    5.3%
  1. illusions30

    illusions30 Banned

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    Of all the female GOAT candidates, who do you believe had the toughest competition. I didnt even include Lenglen and Wills in the poll for obvious reasons.
     
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  2. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Good poll. I dont know enough about connolly's era,altho I think it was pretty strong. With the exception of Bueno, evert faced far more candidates for amOng the best ever, in my opinion, than anyone who came later.
     
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  3. illusions30

    illusions30 Banned

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    I am unsure who to pick. I almost picked Evert, but I consider her era to be a very weak clay era, and clay is where she ultimately won 10 of her 18 slams. Had the U.S Open been on hard courts all along and she still won 2 or 3 of the 3 U.S Opens on hard courts from 75-77 she would probably have been my pick.

    Navratilova is definitely out. 82-84 especialy was a very weak time for the game.

    I believe Steffi had strong competition from 87-92, and 96-99 but less so from 93-95.

    Connolly is out. She faced some great players but nobody close to her level, or that would be a top 15 all time.

    Serena I almost picked as well. However the field the last 5 years has really tailed off. 99-2005 or so was probably the toughest womens field overall ever.

    Court faced a strong field overall, but the Australian Open situation means no way I would pick her.

    So it would be between Chris, Serena, and Steffi for me. Not sure which of those I would pick which is why I didnt vote yet.
     
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  4. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    My choice of evert was based on a very simple thought process- who faced more GOAT contenders as opposed to merely great. Graf had Evert, Navralilova & to a point, s.Williams. I don't include Seles, purely because her career was sadly interrupted thus not allowing her to add to her slam titles. Williams only had Graf, she has faced many great players but not GOAT contenders. Evert had King, Court, Navratilova & Graf. Each one with an incredible record and true contenders.
     
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  5. illusions30

    illusions30 Banned

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    With all due respect it seems silly to exclude Seles as competition altogether. Steffi had peak Seles for atleast 3 years, which is still more than others had their so called GOAT competition, was denied atleast 3 slams by Seles which is probably about as many as Evert denied Navratilova in their long career (Navratilova only lost to Evert in 4 slam finals and 2 of those she was beatable by someone else). She also beat Seles in 3 slam finals and 2 other slam semis, in events Seles would have otherwise won. Graf only missed Seles for 2.5 years while out, and the first 2 years she was winning slams, and if we want to nitpick to when Seles was her best, we could also do that for all the others you named. By logic of facing each other at or near their best as only mattering, Navratilova and Graf hardly had each other as competition, Graf had Navratilova moreso (MN was very strong in 87-90 when Steffi was on top and winning most of the slams, not really so Graf in 82-86 when MN was) than Navratilova had Graf, but neither a huge amount. They are 13 years apart in age, and Seles was more competition to Graf even with what happened than either Navratilova or Graf were to each other due to the age gap.

    I do think Evert is a good choice though. As I mentioned had it not been for 10 of her 18 majors being on clay and the strong belief of most that was a weak clay court period, she would have been my choice hands down. I probably did not factor enough though the many slams Evert lost to strong grass courters, and a GOATing Navratilova on hard courts though. I was reminded of this in a Federer vs Nadal competitition debate in the main forum, that is it not just about who you beat to win titles, but who you lose to. With that said I wish I could edit my vote and change it to Evert, but it is too late now.

    My order would probably be:

    1. Evert (despite weak clay competition)
    2. Steffi
    3. Serena (best womens field ever from 99-2005, so so the next few years, and very weak since 2009)
    4. Court and Connolly (outside of the Australian Open Court >>>>>>> Connolly in competition, but the Australian Open where 11 of Court's 24 slams came from is hard to ignore)
    6. Navratilova
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
    #5
  6. illusions30

    illusions30 Banned

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    Sorry I didn't notice you said GOAT contenders. My bad. In that respect you would be right Steffi didn't face Seles as a GOAT contender, as Seles never became that ultimately (whether she would have ever or not is purely a hypothetical guess as well).
     
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  7. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    If I answered by strength of competition I wouldstill pick Evert: if for Navratilova alone. During the early-mid 80s they were just head & shoulders above everyone else (yes there was Hana, Austin, Jaeger, even past peak King). They were just both so good that everyone paled in comparison. That Evert stuck it out and also added to her title collection is testament to how she faced what was thrown at her.
    I wish you could change your vote to:)
     
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  8. illusions30

    illusions30 Banned

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    Navratilova denied Evert so many slams, without her Chris would have almost 30.

    So Evert had a super deep field, outside of clay which was weak, from 74-81, and while the 82-86 field was super weak overall she did face a GOATing Navratilova who denied her so many slams.

    One interesting thing about the Evert vs Navratilova debates that is never considered is how Evert had so much stronger competition than Navratilova had (even in 82-86, Navratilova faced Evert who much of that time was so much weaker than Navratilova those particular years, while Evert had to face all time peak Navratilova) and yet Evert still has many slams, and would have a lot more than Martina had everyone played all 4 majors in the 70s. One could say had Chris played the Australian and French every year and not faced Navratilova she would have 35 slams. One could say had Chris not existed and Navratilova played the Australian and French in the 70s, Navratilova would still have only about 23 slams. That is despite the 70s and start of 80s where Evert won so many slams was so strong on grass and hard courts, while the 82-86 field where Navratilova won so many slams was dire, especialy 82-84, apart from Martina and Chris (and even Chris became no competition for Martina for awhile, and Hana, Sukova, and Shriver were more competition for Martina than Chris was for a period).

    Yet people just quickly assume Navratilova > Evert since peak Navratilova was so much stronger, which is true, but perhaps looking at the big picture of things that isn't fair.
     
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  9. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I wonder have differently their match-up and majors would have looked if Martina had been right -handed. it may sound silly, but that lefty hook serve was responsible for Martina getting out of trouble so often in those grass meetings with the ball sliding rather than bouncing off the turf). There were times ( example:1988 Wimbledon) when Evert went streaks without winning a vital return breakpoints from that ad court . Navratilova's lefty hook pulled her too far wide and low on her backhand.


    Wimbledon meeting were so often three set affairs with a smooth first set for Navratilova while Chris got her rhythm on Martina's serve , and comeback in the second set and with one early break haunting Evert through the final set. Martina as a righty can't kick or slide anything that far away from the double hander. Evert definitely wins some of those close grass matches.
     
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  10. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I picked Evert because if nothing else she had to face Navratilova (my pick for GOAT) for a very large part of her career. When you add on King, Court and Graf well then there is no contest - Evert faced the toughest competition hands down.

    I would also have to agree that if Martina hadn't been there and if Chris had played all four majors consistently throughout her career then she would have far more majors than even Court or Graf managed to win.

    I always thought it was very interesting that both Evert and Navratilova both ended their careers with 18 singles majors apiece. A fitting end to the greatest rivalry in tennis.
     
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  11. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    I voted Evert. She had to face so many greats and often, including my greatest woman player ever pick, Martina Nav.
     
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  12. illusions30

    illusions30 Banned

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    Chris with most of the votes so far, as expected.
     
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  13. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I think even with martina, had evert played the AO more than 6 times (6 times finalist or better, not too shabby) & the 3 French she missed when she was cdnt be touched on clay, she would possibly, at the very least equal Graf's tally. However, maybe Team Tennis brought new strengths to her game?

    I also think Evert would have added to her Wimbledon titles if the courts were as today. Hey, ho. But it what it is :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
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  14. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    Martina Navratilova
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Evert faced from Court to Graf and Seles with Goolagong,Navratilova,King and later Austin and Mandlikova at their prime.

    Graf faced old Evert and quite strong Navratilova but also some other all timers like Seles,Hingis...who in turn also faced the Williams, Henin and Clijsters...hard to say, the three had to face constant all timers but for longevity Evert clearly surpasses the rest.

    If Bueno had stayed healthier longer, Court would also be one of the list.
     
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  16. robertharris

    robertharris Banned

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    1. Graf
    2. Court (ignoring the Australian Open which she isn't credited for fully by people anyway)
    3. Evert
    4. Serena (super early career field, weak late one)
    5. Connolly
    6. Navratilova

    That is just a toughest competition order, not an all time best. My all time best order is:

    1. Graf
    2. Serena or Navratilova
    4. Court
    5. Evert
     
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  17. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    Evert had the toughest competition. She had to play both Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graff in their prime. She probably missed the best of Billie Jean King though...
     
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  18. Vanhool

    Vanhool Hall of Fame

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    I picked Evert for all the reasons already mentioned. Almost picked Serena just to spite Graf fans :) I think overall, Serena's competition was stronger than Graf's...both had strong and weak periods of competition. Graf had to face some all time greats, but Serena had a period with a field so deep that making a final or a semi was not a gimme. I think in Serena's time (even now) the journey level players are higher quality (or maybe the technology makes it seem that way), though inconsistant. There are more players capable of putting together a spectacular match and causing an upset (then getting knocked out in the next round). Just my opinion... I could see the case for Graf over Serena, but not Graf over Evert. No way.
     
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  19. robertharris

    robertharris Banned

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    Evert did not face prime Graf until the last 2 years of her own career, when she was long done winning slams. Saying she played prime Graf is like saying Graf played prime Evert since she was playing her in 1984 and 1985 even though she was a pre pubescent girl who wasnt a contender for big titles yet.
     
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  20. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    She did not face her often, but she lost a major final to her in 1988 (golden slam year for Steffi) after beating Martina. No one else was stopping Evert from winning her third Aussie. And there were couple of other tournament finals in '88. Evert was still the third greatest player on the globe but she was beginning to have problems showing up in her habitual semi, and Martina was in her draw more often than not, so the impact of Graf was minimal.

    I think Billie Jean very close to her prime still in '72,73, 74 especially while three of four of those majors were still on grass. 30 -33 year old BJK drank grass smoothies each morning to stay competitve - and it worked as long as the grass was freshly clipped from a tennis court.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  21. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Serena had it pretty tough in the early-mid2000's. WTA field was stacked with great players all around. ITs been pretty pathetic the last 5-6 years however
     
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