Which female great had the toughest competition

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

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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. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Bueno and Seles is close
    The two worst luck cases I think of getting caught well at their peak by the worst
    Along Big Mo
    But Connolly secured already her place in GOAT discussions
    Bueno had Court and some King on her way while Seles had Graf and some Hingis or Navy
    But Bueno won 3 W and 4 US and that looks more impressive to me that non Wimbledon Seles
    Seles is surpassed by Maria, alas
     
    #51
  2. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Re Maria & the French- I'm told that the Italian was considered a much more prestigious title during Bueno's heyday: a title she won, I think, 4 times. I've also heard Virginia Wade say the same thing. For what it's worth.....
     
    #52
  3. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Ah OK, yes I see that Bueno's major titles are very impressive indeed.
     
    #53
  4. wrapitup

    wrapitup Banned

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    That might be true, but that only suggests you could even argue 16 of Court's 24 slams came at a weakish and sparsely attended venue. Granted Bueno was never a real threat to Court on clay anyway, even if she had played it regularly. Neither was Wade, and neither was King. The best clay courters of that era- Court, Turner, Richey, Jones, regularly did play RG, whether it was even viewed the most important clay event or not.
     
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  5. PDJ

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    Sorry, I'm wrong: Maria reached the Italian final 5 times, winning 3. Evert has the most wins with 5.
     
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  6. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Italian- maybe this is boring given the thread, but looking at winners from late 50's to early 70s it's quite interesting to see how the players you mentioned did: court won 3 in a row & lost a further final (of her 3 wins, only 1 went to 3 sets, against Bueno 6-4 in the 3rd). Ann Jones won 1 lost 1. Richey has just one final appearance, R/Up to Bueno. Turner won 2 beating Court & Bueno in successive finals. She was R/Up 3 times: twice to Court, once to Maria. Wade won in 1971.
     
    #56
  7. Vcore89

    Vcore89 Hall of Fame

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    Steffi had only one chokester in Novotna. How many did Chrissy have? uncountable as much as the great ones.:)
     
    #57
  8. wrapitup

    wrapitup Banned

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    Sabatini was mentally weak under pressure too. Martinez and Pierce were not clutch players. I dont think Chris played alot of chokers, just mostly players whose games were ineffective against her game or did match up well with hers- Shriver, Mima J., Ruzica, Hanika, Durie.
     
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  9. Vcore89

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    Chrissy's opponents did not choke, they panicked. Big difference.
     
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  10. wrapitup

    wrapitup Banned

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    I mostly agree with the poll. It is between Graf and Evert. Evert faced a good and diverse field from 75-81 and then had to face peak Navratilova for years. Graf faced a strong field most of her career, even after the Seles stabbing she faced Sanchez, Pierce, Martinez, and Seles in initially in her comeback all playing their best ever tennis.

    I find Serena and Seles are very underrated on this poll. Those two should be strongly considered for having the toughest competition too.

    Bueno, Hingis, and Goolagong should all be on this poll. It isnt best player, but best competition and those all atleast make the top 10.

    Navratilova with 3 votes is the biggest joke. She shouldnt even be on this poll. She was a great player but the competition from 82-86 was anything but strong. A slumping and old/past her prime Evert and a mostly slumping Hana, and that was it. Austin done, Jaeger already declining and soon to retire, Shriver never really much of a threat, and Graf and Sabatini something like 12-15 years old.
     
    #60
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
    #61
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Excelent post PDJ
    Bueno' s talent made her a big cc player even if grass was her true natural stuff
    I remember how fluent and natural she looked on the green
    A Bueno-Court match with both in good shape is one of the most delicious meals to have for a tennis true passionate
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
    #62
  13. BTURNER

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    you really can't get this concept? there is a difference between saying Court had no tough competition in 13 tournaments she played, which we call the Australian Championships, and saying she had no tough competition in her career. You can't do a simple subtraction problem and take those events off the table and as yourself about who she met in all the other majors, all those other titles in a 15 year period? Wow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
    #63
  14. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Justine Henin had so much tough competition in Grand Slam champions like Venus and Serena, Sharapova, Hingis, Stosur, Li Na, Kuznetsova, Mauresmo,Davenport, Pierce, Clijsters, Ivanovic, Bartoli, Schiavone.. Tough outs like Dementieva, Jankovic, Safina,Petrova, Cibulkova, Wozniacki, Hunchakova .. I can't see any other era with better competition.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
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  15. PDJ

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    Agree that Henin had some tough competition (you cd say the same for quite a few you listed). The only drawback is that a few of the players you named either shone brightly briefly (in terms of more than a few years) or were uneven in their results. They could win in spectacular style or have an epic fail, or would fall at the final hurdle. It did, however, make for interesting tennis.
     
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  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I said Navratilova, because she had Court, Goolagong, and Evert on one side and Graf, Sabatini, and Seles on the other.

    But then, one could say the same about Evert who faced Martina on the way up and Steffi on the way down.

    I still remember the first time I saw Graf: it was in 1986 at Hilton Head on green clay. I thought Evert would trounce her on her favorite surface.

    Graf made her look old and, tired, and weak. I thought Wow! who is this brash but quiet youngster, beating Evert on her "own" surface?

    (Evert had beaten her the first six times they met but after HH, Evert never beat her again.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
    #66
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I guess Osborne, Betz,Hart,Fry,Brough and maybe Gibson all played during Big Mo heyday
    Weak competition?
     
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  18. Phoenix1983

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    ^ I don't think Connolly's competition was that great tbh. Gibson hadn't come into her prime when Little Mo was dominating.
     
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  19. nat75

    nat75 Rookie

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    That is probably because she's the most underrated tennis great.
     
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  20. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    With only 2 votes separating Evert from Navratilova & Graf it would appear you are, sadly, right. Very depressing.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I´ll concede this to you.Because of their superior dominacy, people tend to project both Navratilova and Graf to where they still haven´t been.Evert when through them but also through more top players.She deserves to lead this poll.
     
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  22. struggle

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    Chrissie gets my vote.
     
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  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Somebody mentioned Martina Hingis.She played from Graf and Seles to the two sisters...how is she is left off the poll?
     
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  24. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    The problem with all of them, is that Europe and its talent was pretty much sidelined during and post WW2 for It allowed Americans to shine much brighter, but the vacuum created, was one of politics and war, not talent alone.
     
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  25. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    A lot of folks will claim she was the most fortunate of champions, because the Graf she met was compromised by injury and lay-offs, and the Seles was the post stab version. I sort of split the difference. I think that Seles would inevitably have real trouble with Hingis regardless. It was a bad match-up for the Yugoslav. As deceptive as the Seles strokes were, Hingis could read and anticipate them, and her innate sense of tactics was such that she could find and exploit every little missing plate in the Seles armour. And woman with two hands on both wings and a lack of good ,forecourt instincts was in a mess of trouble with Martina no matter the power of her groundies or how mentally tough. I see a lot of three setters for seles without that stabbing at the end of the young Hingis racket. I see growing confidence soon enough as a result.

    Graf is a different story. As apparently simple as the Graf game was, no one found a consistent tactical hold to pin her with. It seemed tailored to frustrate to two-handed backhand. For the most part, if you can't overwhelm Graf with power off both wings, you are not going to have a happy life in semis/ finals on anything other than clay a la Sanchez and Sabatini.

    I readily concede that her competition later was very tough with so many big babes with big guns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
    #75
  26. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Thank you! Worryingly, I'm beginning to take this poll personally!
     
    #76
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If Hingis had appeared by 91 or 92 and basically agreeing in the main trend of your opinion I can see this pattern:
    Graf beats Hingis who beats Seles who beats Graf
    The only player peak Martina didn't handle was Steffi
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
    #77
  28. Vcore89

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    Hingis' successes put in context is relatively weak but she did awesome with her craftiness and court smarts, way better than her competition.
     
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  29. Vcore89

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    Oops, double post.
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes she was the Blackmore of women tennis:-D
     
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  31. naslamchamp

    naslamchamp Banned

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    The votes for Navratilova must be an attempt of comedy. I would put her almost last of the people on the poll in that. Navratilova had way weaker competition than Chris, the 83-86 field she was on top in doesnt even compare to the 74-81 Chris was on top in. Even when Navratilova was at her most dominant and impressive best, when it comes to competition you would have to say Chris far trumped her since Chris faced this scary version of Martina who was better than even peak Chris, which was way tougher than facing than old declining Evert.

    The votes for Graf are also a joke (I voted for her by accident i see, I meant Seles). Someone who won half their slams after their toughest rival was stabbed. Yeah right. I would put her down near the bottom too, just barely over Martina.

    People must think this is a GOAT poll and not the toughest competition ever one. There is no other explanation for Martina and Graf getting so many inexplicable votes.
     
    #81
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    one can trace back Evert and Connors paralels.How fitting they were the Couple of America in 1974 and 1975.

    Evert played 60´s greats like Court,King,Richey and went through 70´s greats like Wade,Goolagong and Navratilova, then picking up the best of the 1980´s (Mandlikova.Graf,Seles,Austin)

    Connors played the last great aussie generation with Rosewall and Newcombe, then went through the stars of the 70´s, such as Smith,Nastase,Kodes,Ashe,Vilas,Borg,Orantes and Panatta and still had plenty of 80´s and even 90´s players to face off (Mac,Becker,Lendl,Wilander,Edberg,Agassi,Courier)

    Who can dispute that?
     
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  33. naslamchamp

    naslamchamp Banned

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    How likely is the best of all time (someone like Graf or Navratilova) would have faced the toughest competition anyway. They cant play themselves so that is already one really tough opponent they never face. Someone of their era faced all the same people plus Graf or Navratilova themselves, unlike Graf and Navratilova, so already the players of their eras had tougher competition than them.
     
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  34. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I agree with both your posts. I try to steer clear of the Seles stabbing because it's such an emotive subject for many posters, however, it did rob Graf, and tennis, of her most serious competition during her prime.
     
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  35. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    How could she? She wasn't of age when Court and King were "prime".....of course in *your* definition of "prime". Like all those discussions of "prime" Seles" and m"prime Graf" (Nauseated!!!)

    Oh, and beating Court immediately after Maggie completed her Grand Slam was a pretty 'prime" win of consequence, if you ask me. And slap Chrissie for not beating "prime" BJ King circa 1968. The nerve of Chris not to have beaten her then. And let's just forget about the whoopings Chris delivered to an "unprime" Billie in 1972 or 1973.

    Oh that Martina was just so generous, "gifting" Chrissie those major wins, because she "left" the tournament. :confused: I'm curious, was Chrissie as "generous" 'gifting' Martina those wins when she "left:" the tournament, such as the '82 French, '83 Wimbledon, or didn't even show up '83 Australian?! Is Martina's record so fabulous because she beat "prime" Kathy Jordan or "prime" Andrea Jaeger (2x) ??
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    While I fully agree on first half of your post no need to belittle great Jaeger&Jordan
    Or shall me bring in Morozova and Turnbull?
     
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  37. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I Don't really understand the argument that Evert picked up the scraps when Navratilova lost to others? Surely that only backs up the competition Evert faced? and the fact Evert did invariably win titles when Navratilova was at her most dominant just points to what a great champion Evert was. Or am I missing something?
     
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  38. BTURNER

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    Well to me it showcases Evert's greatest strength. Evert's fame rests largely on how rarely she missed an opportunity to get 'scraps' from 1971-1986 while others in the top ten or top five floundered here and there. That is the well earned, but oft not honored prize that consistency gets you. We might say that Evert got done as number 2 in the world in '73 '81,'84, and 85, what Martina just could not manage as well in 87, and 88 and 89 as number 2 when sometimes for months she had real trouble even getting to Graf.

    If you play in the final, the lass at the other end, is presumably the one playing the strongest tennis. You beat her, then you are.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
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  39. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Love the last 2 sentences!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
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  40. conway

    conway Banned

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    As much as I love womens tennis does anyone ever really have tough competition. Not to say there aren't a lot of very good players, but the gap between the dominant players of history and their generational competition, other than 1 or 2 exceptions that tend to be brief, tends to be extremely large. Mens tennis is pretty much where you find tough competition for a GOAT candidate, womens it is practically a foreign term.
     
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  41. conway

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    As much as I love womens tennis does anyone ever really have tough competition. Not to say there aren't a lot of very good players, but the gap between the dominant players of history and their generational competition, other than 1 or 2 exceptions that tend to be brief, tends to be extremely large. Mens tennis is pretty much where you find tough competition for a GOAT candidate, womens it is practically a foreign term.

    Lets just look at each for the heck of it though:

    Graf- dominated late 80s with Navratilova as strong competition still on medium fast courts, and Sabatini as legitimate competition perhaps (and even that is questionable at best). Had real tough competition in the early 90s with peak Seles, a peaking Sabatini, and a now past her prime but still formidable Navratilova, especialy going through a slump period where her own tennis was below par for her. Competition in the mid 90s was quite weak with only Sanchez Vicario as real competition (and more due to the matchup than actual ability).

    Seles- During early 90s where she won nearly all her slams had limited competition with a poorly playing Graf who she only had to play 7 times in 3.5 years, and didn't even have to play to win 9 of her 12 biggest titles. Sabatini and Sanchez were easy matchups for Seles, so not tough competition as they were for Graf.

    Navratilova- lol, next

    Evert- dominated 75-77 with a very old Court and King who were semi retired, and Navratilova not that good a player yet. Had one really tough opponent in Goolagong, but nobody else really. Had quite tough competition in 78-81 with an improved Navratilova, peak Austin, and an emerging Mandilikova at perhaps what would be her career peak in 80-81. Then as incredibly weak as 82-86 was, had it tough in the sense she had a GOATing Martina denying her so many titles, and considering her own slump and poor form in 82-84, and being old by 84-86 did very well to keep winning majors. She would probably be my choice if I had to pick someone in the irrelevant question of "competition" for GOATs in womens tennis.

    Court- she and King rarely had any years they were healthy, active, playing regularly, and in top form at once. Their best years of tennis kept alternating and pretty much never coinciding, and often one dominated with the other barely playing (or off tour awhle entirely). 1966 and 1971 would have been the closest but Court didn't even finish the years, and was already dealing with pregnancy/illness by Wimbledon. 1973 is the only full year that comes close I guess, but they didn't even play in a slam that year. Bueno had serious healthy problems, but is probably the closest thing Court had to a consistent rival. Had decent competition with Ann Jones who was good on both clay and grass, and I guess Nancy Richey mostly on just clay. Then there is the whole Australian Open joke of that era, where half her slams came.

    Lenglen- lol, next.

    Wills Moody- had tougher competition than Lenglen but still nothing that even merits an analysis on.

    Connolly- With Brough and Du Pont old and well past their best, and Gibson a long way from matured, only real competition was Hart.

    Serena- never had to face any of Hingis, Davenport, Henin, Clijsters, or Venus in top form the years she was dominating and winning multiple majors, except for maybe Venus in 2002.

    Venus- During her best career period (2000-2002) where she won over half her slams, Capriati won 3 slams in 13 months.

    As you can see there really isn't a good choice for this. I guess Serena, Evert, or Graf if one had to choose, but really there isn't anyone that is a good winner of this.

    And how the hell does Navratilova have 7 votes. Are some of you drunk. Just for starters Evert crushes her in this question as Evert was on top over a way tougher field from 74-77 and 80-81 than Navratilova from 82-87, and even in 82-87 Evert had it way tougher having to face Martina who was a nightmare opponent for her most of that time (and denied her so many additional slams), unlike Martina who only had to face Evert who was her pigeon by then.
     
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