Which female great had the toughest competition

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by poofytail, Mar 5, 2014.

?

Who had toughest competition

  1. Graf

    24.4%
  2. Seles

    7.3%
  3. Navratilova

    17.1%
  4. Evert

    36.6%
  5. Court

    2.4%
  6. King

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Henin

    4.9%
  8. Venus

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Serena

    7.3%
  1. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    Which of the GOATs of the Open Era had the toughest competition. Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles, Serena, Venus, Henin, Court, or King.
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I was gonna say Hingis because she interplayed with the Graf and Seles generation and the Williams generation as well as her coetaneous like Capriati and Davenport
    But then I recalled the amazing number of all time greats ALL at their prime Evert had to get through
    Court,King,Richey,Goolagong,Wade,Navratilova,Austin,Mandlikova,Graf,Seles,Sabatini and Sànchez
    That is just unbelievable and is a proof of her own greatness
     
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  3. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    I guess I should have included Hingis as the 10th option on my poll given that she is the youngest ever #1 and her "greatness" probably surpasses the remaining I didnt include like Bueno, Goolagong, Mandilikova, despite having less slams than Bueno and Goolagong but everyone knows that Evonne's 7 is not a real 7 due to the Aussie thing and Bueno was never a long standing #1 and record breaker like Hingis.

    Despite that her competition today is mocked I actually think Serena might be the best choice of those I included, and probably would have been Hingis had I included her. The field Serena faced and lorded over from 1999-2007 was undoubtably the best ever.
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Not at all, Williams competition was not, by far, as good and as consistent as Evert´s.Or as varied for all her opponents, excepting Hingis and maybe Davenport play the same stuff.
     
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  5. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    Evert faced a strong field but they werent really in their primes when she played them. She began winning slams in 1974. King was already 31 and Court was 32 and taking a year off, returning in 1975 now aged 33 and a shadow of even her 31 year old self in 73. Navratilova was nowhere near her prime level of play in the period Evert won most of her slams from 74-81. Her biggest competitors were Goolagong and Wade, both great players, but not first tier all time greats. Yes Goolagong talent wise might have been, but not what she actually became.

    Serena faced peak Venus, peak Henin, prime Hingis, prime/peak Davenport, peak Sharapova, and other multi slam winners- Mauresmo, Kuznetsova, Pierce, at or near their best. Not players in their 30s or who had yet to come of age.

    You can say the same thing about Steffi Graf. Yes she faced a strong field of names but were they really in their primes. I guess some could argue Navratilova was still in her prime in the late 80s (maybe) as she was a late bloomer. However Evert was not in her prime when Graf began winning slams. Mandilikova probably wasnt either. Seles was stabbed. Hingis and Davenport were not in their primes in 95-96, Hingis was too young and Davenport was going through the fat and not born yet stage Martina was in the mid 70s.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well,all greats endured tough competition, that is a fact.But some endured longer, wider and harder competition.Chris Evert played prime Court and prime King, not to mention the likes of Navy,Hana,Evonne,Wade,Austin,Graf and Seles.I don´t think there is any possible comparison for that if we talk about open era.And not counting other excellent players such as Richey,Casals,Barker,Ruzici,Reid,Turnbull,Jausovec,Hanika,Jaeger,Shriver,Sabatini and Sanchez.

    You left aside Bueno.She belongs more to the inmediate pre open era for she was not competitive when 69 or 70 arrived ( so unfortunately due to sever illness).But she was a true number one and an all time great.Her record was much better than 90% of your list, not to mention she had to play lasses from Fry and Hart to King and, of course, Margaret Court.I watched Margaret during her prime and she was just as scary and intimidating as Graf,Navratilova or currently Williams, which are the three most intimidating tennis characters since 1970 ( and I´d include Evert and, for a while, Seles in those ranks).

    But I also happened to watch Esther beat that australian " monster" because, you know, Esther was a truly exceptional player, and I remark the word exceptional.
     
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  7. Mr.Lob

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    Navratilova probably had it the toughest.
     
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  8. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    Chris may have "played" prime Court and prime King, and she may have beat them, but she did not not win anything of consequence over prime Court or prime King. Probably she could have, I believe both are decent matchups for her even in their primes, but that has nothing to do with the topic which is the competition she actually had. Evert did not win her first slam until 1974, Court and King were definitely not in their primes by that point, and in fact Court wasnt even playing (and light years from her prime by 75 in her brief return to tennis before completely retiring). Even if you wanted to make a major stretch and say 31-32 year old King on her last knee was close to her prime in 74-75 (and if we are going to do that we have to give Graf credit for facing a super strong Navratilova in 86-89 who was way stronger than King by 74-75 was, heck I believe 33 year old Evert in 87-88 with her improved fitness and strength regime was stronger and closer to her best than King in 74-75) Evert really only sort of won over her in Wimbledon 74 which Evert won, and King went out in the quarters to Morozova playing probably her worst match ever at Wimbledon. The other 2 slams Evert won those years were on clay, where King didnt even play, and never would have been tough opposition on that surface even if she had (someone like say Conchita Martinez or Andrea Jaeger is even a better clay courter and tougher opponent for someone on clay than King is, let alone old King).

    Yes she did win slams even when prime Navratilova finally began to emerge in 82, but usually only picking out her few chances Martina left her, either when Martina went out in a big upset (Shriver 82 U.S Open, Horvath 83 French, Sukova 84 Australian) or the occasional win on clay. Prime Martina basically left her with only the scraps left on the table.
     
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  9. PDJ

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    I agree. And voted accordingly
     
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  10. BTURNER

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    Evert. If you are winning majors, you are by definition still in your prime, if not your peak. She played Court 7 times before meeting her in Court's last major victory at the Open. She played Court in 3 0f four majors in '73, two of them in semifinals on grass and once in the final on clay. Court was such a shadow of herself that she won 3 majors that year. I call that competition. As for King, Evert had already played her 15 times before King won her last major title. Again if King can still play well enough to win Wimbledon, we do not sneer about her knees or age. We call that tough competition. Wade started winning majors before Evert joined the tour wasn't done winning majors until 1977. I call that competition during those years

    Martina had already won 2 wimbledons, and been a finalist in Paris by 1980. I call that tough competition, and it stayed tough competition all the way through her retirement. Graf won her first major in 1987. that was three years, she was tough competition for Evert. Hana won her first major in 80 and her last in 87. Austin was a problem for a couple in the middle there.

    Players like King, Court , Wade, Mandlikova and Martina are tougher longer, earlier and later, if 3 or 2 of 4 majors are played on fast grass throughout your peak years.

    poofy-tail, you have a peculiar way of defining competition. You discount any meeting that is not in a final of a major including semifinals. You even discount losses to competition, as competition. So for example if Evert loses to court in a final of a major. It is not competition. If Evert beats her a month later in a semifinal of a major it is still not competition. If Court beats her 3 months later on her way to winning the US open, its still not competition. Wow.
     
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  11. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    No I dont. Before the 1977 U.S Open when Evert beat 34 year old King on CLAY in the U.S Open semis (basically amounts to a walkover), Evert never played King or Court en route to a slam title. In fact the only slams Evert won before the 1977 U.S Open with King or Court even in the draw was King at Wimbledon 1974 and 33 year old Court in her final ever slam at the 1975 U.S Open. Had she beaten either in a semifinal or quarterfinal and gone on to win the event, I would have very much noted it. Heck had they actually been in some draws of slams she won (apart from a 30 something King on clay which would be crazy to consider as formidable opposition, but moot anyway as King didnt even play RG 74, 75, or U.S Open 75 or 76 on clay) I would have noted it, but apart from King at Wimbledon 74 even this wasnt the case.
     
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  12. BTURNER

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    You don't get it. When Court takes her down, it is competition. Court stopped her. She met court, lost to court, who was her competition. but for court, she might have won the tournament. She met court 3 times in majors, who won 3 majors that year. She had that competition.
     
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  13. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    By that logic I guess Graf had the most amazing competition. She faced Evert and Navratilova at the height of their powers from 82-86 as she joined the WTA tour in 1982, met Hingis at her peak, Davenport at her peak, and young Williams as she didnt exit the tour until 1999, and faced peak Seles from 90-93. No matter she didnt win squat all until 1987, barely won anything while peak Seles was around, and barely won anything when the super new generation emerged. She was around and losing to them, that is all that matters. :lol:


    My order of toughest competition:

    1. Seles- come to think of it 1990 to 1993 was probably the best womens field and she owned it so Seles #1.
    2. Serena- 1999 to 2007. Nuff said
    3. Court- faced prime King, prime Bueno, and for awhile prime Goolagong, and behind those prime Wade, prime Jones, prime Richey, prime Hard for years.
    4. Venus- 1999 to 2007, although her success was more limited to mostly grass (although still won and achieved alot on medium to fast hard courts) in an era of many great hard court players.
    5. King- same as Court, but benefited form periods of Court being absent which is why she ranks lower in competition quality.
    6. Graf- did face a very strong Navratilova in the late 80s, a very strong Seles for awhile, and came back to conquer a new and very deep generation before retiring.
    7. Evert- pretty balanced and good overall field in the 70s/early 80s but apart from Goolagong faced no prime all time great, and clay field where she won 10 of her 18 career majors was absolutely terrible through her career, especialy before prime Martina.
    8. Henin- mostly won clay slams in really weak clay era. Didnt win her big hard court titles while good Williams were around, apart from U.S Open 2007.
    9. Navratilova- no depth in 82-86 period at all. Only competition was resurgent Chris in 85-86 and resurgent Hana also in 85-86.
     
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  14. BTURNER

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    Yes if they were the folks that stopped her, they were her competition. She wasn't much competition for them when she was 13 years old. Evert was not much competition in 1989, but she was good enough to reach the finals at the Aussie in 1988 beat the #2 player in the world several times, so yes Graf had Evert for competition in that major. I think it is ludicrous to say different.

    i think it is normally true that if you meet someone in the final or semifinal of a major, they are your competition.
     
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  15. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    I am much more interested in who is your competition when you are winning then when you are losing. Anyone can lose to someone really good, Steve Darcis could draw Djokovic in an early round of every slam this year and lose in each and it wouldnt matter, but only that he beat Nadal at Wimbledon last year. Even if he lost to Djokovic in the semis of each I wouldnt think much if his draw to get there was nothing to note. I guess you see it differently, that is fine.
     
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  16. BTURNER

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    wow. Competition is only real if you win the match, but irrelevant if you lose it. I think the competition is likely one of the reasons, you lost it!
     
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  17. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    It is more relevant, lets put it that way, when you are winning when evaluating how tough your competition was. People will always look at who you beat to win your big titles before who you lost to when you didnt. I didnt realize this was a new revelation.
     
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  18. BTURNER

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    that is not very bright of those people, now is it. they are ignoring the folks that were, by the most obvious definition, the toughest opponents faced in that major in that circumstance. Losses are as relevant as victories in assessing a career. Players are normally bracketed by the matches they won, and the one they lost. You don't ignore half of the pair of brackets and understand the context of anything in sport. You sure can't understand squat about a players toughest competition, and stop your search after each win because you won't find what you purport to look for. HINT - it probably, not always, but probably came round later! Seeding often does that.
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Prime Martina started much earlier than 82
    Big misconceptions repeated over and over
     
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  20. Phoenix1983

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    I'm not a Serena fan, but I understand what Poofytail meant by this poll.

    It should probably have been phrased "which female great beat the toughest competition?" (when winning their slams).

    I agree that 1999-2006 was the toughest overall field the women's game has ever had (Serena, Venus, Hingis, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, throw in Graf for the first year of this period). Serena won 7 slams in this period - 8 if you extend it to the AO 2007 - and held all four slams simultaneously in 2002/03. This against a field of probably 8-10 multiple major winners all at or near prime. Think about some of the great matches, all involving different players, during tha period (Henin-Capriati USO 2003 SF, Venus-Davenport W 2005 F, Capriati-Clijsters FO 2001 F, Sharapova's demolition of Serena in W 2004 F, various Hingis vs. Williams sisters matches)

    So although I don't like her, I have to vote Serena in this poll because that era of women's tennis was simply the best - and when she showed up, she usually still won.
     
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  21. BTURNER

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    I am not quibbling with any specific choice per se, but his interpretation of the assigned question.
     
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  22. Rosewall

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    And Evert didn't have anything to do with that?
     
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  23. Rosewall

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    The talent was there. The problem I have with this era is the wild inconsistency. The Williams sisters taking turns letting the other one win, the injuries, the race to #1 followed by free-falling through the rankings. It was a really tragic era for women's tennis IMO.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lets not forget Austin as a major rival for Chris
    Stunning her Rome and USO win
    Short lived but intense and very mediatic
     
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  25. PDJ

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    Spot on: Goolagong was one of the few truly gifted tennis players. However, Evert was a true Champion. There is a difference. And tennis was far richer for both of them.
     
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  26. Phoenix1983

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    If you consider that era tragic, I dread to think what you consider about womens' tennis since 2007!
     
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  27. PDJ

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    Women's tennis: Williams, sharapova, azarenza..... He has a point! Only Li Na has a personality. Only Radwanska has any court craft (of top players) but she can't get past the power players sufficiently to take a slam. Yup, he has a point. IMHO. :)
     
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  28. Vensai

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    Chris Evert maybe.
     
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  29. PDJ

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    Please vote for Evert then: I don't think I've ever seen a poll on here where evert has come out on top!
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    She is killing the pool now
     
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  31. PDJ

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    And deservedly so- as I think we both agree- but it would be great to see Evert get in to double figures :)
     
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  32. Rosewall

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    To quote Pam Shriver: "the worst era in the history of women's tennis."
     
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  33. Vensai

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    Alright, there you go.
     
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  34. PDJ

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    On behalf of all Evert fans, thank you :)
     
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  35. kiki

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    I was never a hard core Evertian but she is unspendable and completely necessary to trace back women's tennis history
     
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  36. PDJ

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    I guess I'm a little hard-core re Evert, but not to the point where rationale goes out the window. But, IMHO, Evert did face a wealth of truly legendary players over the course of her career. But, she also rarely lost to lesser lights. Her constancy is to be marvelled at.
     
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  37. wrapitup

    wrapitup Banned

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    It is hard to say.

    Graf- had tough competition from 86-92, in 94, and 98-99. Not so much in 93, 95, and 96 though.

    Evert- had to face peak Navratilova from 82-86 and tough competition overall from 79-81. Not so tough from 74-78 though.

    Navratilova- not even a factor here. 82-84 was one of the worst fields ever, although 85-87, 78-81, she faced decent competition.

    Court- Australian Open takes her out of the running.

    King- benefited greatly from Court`s retirements, Bueno`s health problems, and not facing a more mature Evert sooner.

    Serena- perhaps the best choice here.

    Venus- the strongest field today is on hard courts and most of her achievement is on grass so wouldnt pick her.

    Seles- early 90s was a very strong field so she would be a candidate. Although she benefited from Graf`s slump and Navratilova`s age too.

    Henin, Hingis, and Goolagong should also be on the poll. I would bump out Court, King, and Navratilova from the poll entirely.
     
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  38. BTURNER

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    I guess Court sat in her PJ's knitting booties between Aussie Opens. We might as well just call Court a tier 2 player on par with Virginia Rucizi, and Helena sukova and and Mary Jo Fernandez and be done with her, because she played the Aussie in addition to winning everything else and having winning head to heads for an entire generation including Darlene Hard, Bueno at one end, King, Wade, Casals, Richey etc in the middle, and Evert and Goolagong at the end.

    Navratilova and Evert for the most part had the same competition. Evert got more of Court, Wade, King and Goolagong. Martina got more of Graf, Seles and Sanchez.the reason I put Evert above is because the surfaces that the majors were played on benefited their games, more than hers, magnifying them as competition.

    One of our errors is deciding that competition is not relevant if it wasn't in a major and it wasn't relevent at the dawn and twilight of these careers. its silly to think that Court , King did not stop Evert from winning important titles (and she stopped them) , or that Graf and Seles did not stop Martina. the bookends matter if they stop one from acquiring and holding books.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
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  39. kiki

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    Yes, I disagree downgrading Court.

    Serena´s competition is overrated.It was pretty tough with a prime Sharapova,Venus,Henin and Clijsters but it´s been a long ago, and for the last years, it is pretty much of a big joke.If she was so great, with that kind of competition, she should win a GS every two years.

    Evert had the heaviest competition at the top level.The more I think about it, the bigger the gap against any other female, at least from the Open Era.
     
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  40. wrapitup

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    Sorry but when half of your slams came against a field that is the equivalent of a tier 3 event that already takes you out of the running for toughest competition ever. I didnt say it took her out of the running for best ever as many others do anyway, so toughest competition which is the topic of this poll.
     
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  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I guess this will be the most one sided poll ever on this forum, at least with more than 3 or 4 contenders on it.Chris will end up about 70% or so.
     
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  42. BTURNER

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    Lets ditch those 11 Aussies. That is exactly 11 tournaments in a career from 1960-1973. The winning head to head tells us that she was the greatest player of that generation.

    Now we are going to include Goolagong ( has a total of 3 majors outside of her 5 tier 3 Aussies),Hingis and Henin, none of whom won 3 wimbledons, matter of fact their cumulative total is 3 ( that is her weakest), 5 RG titles, and 5 US titles and throw out Court who did the above, are we? Let's be even meaner to Court. We'll tossed out every single one her RG titles out as less competitive - except they show her as more surface neutral than Henin or Hingis. Gotta throw out Evonne's in 71 as well, then. Court still has 8 majors,more than any of these 'candidates' Now you have to demean her US national and Wimbledons as 'non-competitive, as though no one of merit played those either.

    You are screwing her because she won the Aussie, more than you would if she had never showed up.
     
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  43. wrapitup

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    Blah blah, Court has a mere 1 vote on this poll so far so I guess most agree with me. The slams are what people will look at first since they are you know the biggest tournaments. When the slam you won roughly half your slams at is an event that maybe 3 of the top 15 showed up at on average you already didnt have the toughest ever competition, since even if you had godly competition at the other half of slams you won and every other tournament surely there is someone in history who can overcome the deficit of half your slams coming at the equivalent of a tier 3 event. Sorry that this offends you so much.
     
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  44. BTURNER

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    No, the poll shows that Evert had tougher competition than any of the others according to this demographic. Does not speak to who everyone feels is second, or third if you take her name out. Sure doesn't show who should or should not be included in this poll.

    you are arguing on one hand, how everyone looks to 'slams' first, as compared to other events which you dismiss, while you simultaneously dismiss one of the 'slams as a tier 3 tournament, because the players themselves apparently did not seeit as you claim everyone does. That begs the question what events did players (and you see) as more important than the aussie in the 60's and 70's and then we'll find out how Court did there. where was court amassing those head to head stats?

    Basically, youu have proven that Court did not have tough competition at the Aussies. She had it elsewhere. You can't demean every major Court won or every tournament she won, by demeaning her Aussies. You can only throw away the Aussies. they did not 'infect' her other major accomplishments like some virus.
     
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  45. kiki

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    The key factor here was María Esther Bueno
    If she hadn' t been a dramàtic case of injuries or worse from 66 she would have continued her all time great rivalry with Court at least until 1971 or 1972 ( as well as vs BJK)
    Now that may have deprived Maggie' s 1970 Gran Slam or maybe not
    But with those three all timers, all of them top ten ever plus up and coming Goolagong ( who won 2 slams as soon as 71) and Evert...What would you say about that?
     
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  46. Phoenix1983

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    I don't think Bueno is among the top ten ever (or maybe you meant that she would have been, if she'd been able to fully continue her career into the early 70s).

    Who among the following is she greater than?

    Lenglen
    Wills Moody
    Connolly
    Court
    King
    Evert
    Navratilova
    Graf
    Seles
    S. Williams
     
    #46
  47. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I think Kiki meant, without a series of illnesses and injuries, Bueno absolutely would have been in most discussions for greatest ever. In fact she was seriously ill with hepatitis at the height of her career. In terms of whom she played most like: probably Lenglen in terms of grace. I guess she was a combination of Goolagong and Evert in that she was such a beautiful fluid player but also with a steel trap of a mind and a fierce competitor. Still is!
     
    #47
  48. PDJ

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    I don't wish to be rude, but I'm not entirely clear who are the 'most' you refer to?
     
    #48
  49. wrapitup

    wrapitup Banned

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    1. Look at the poll results. See many votes for Court. Yeah exactly.

    2. Ex players of the Court time- King, Navratilova, Evert, talk about the Australian Open factor all the time. This is a typical line by Tracy Austin- "but I find Graf's 21 slams (what she had for a period of almost 3 years) far more impressive than Court's 24 since 11 of Court's were Australian Opens which hardly anyone played then, not even a real slam." Doesnt sound like there is strong support even among her own peers for her having the toughest competition.

    It is ridiculous I even have to explain this to anyone. I didnt even say Court was definitely not the best ever due to the Australian Open either (I dont think she is the best ever either, but I have no problem with others who want to arguing that and think she could be) which many would. Obviously best ever is not the same as toughest competition ever, I said I think Hingis had much tougher competition than Navratilova, but obviously Navratilova is many leagues above as a greater player and champion. Just that it is plainly obvious already by the Australian Open factor she cant have the toughest competition ever. Even if her competition for her other 13 slams and most of the tour was the toughest ever (which it probably wasnt but anyway) the highest she could go in toughest competition would be top 5 all time.
     
    #49
  50. wrapitup

    wrapitup Banned

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    I agree somewhat on Bueno but Bueno even when healthy hardly ever played the Australian Open or even the French Open, so even she wouldnt have changed the main issue with anyone arguing Court as toughest competition ever (the Australian Open). Overall though a healthy Bueno would have added greatly to Court's overall competition, along with King not having horrendous knee problems from 69-71 where she went on a 11 slam slamless stretch.

    That is another thing to remember to about the Court era and her competition. She and King were almost never playing their best in a single year. In fact the only years both were even playing well were 1973 and 1971, and Court didnt even finish 1971. King's best years were 66, 67, 68, 71, 72, 73. Court's were 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 70, 71, 73.
     
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