Who is the female GOAT

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by gabybackhand, Nov 14, 2013.

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Best player ever- women

  1. Graf

    38 vote(s)
    45.8%
  2. Navratilova

    19 vote(s)
    22.9%
  3. Court

    5 vote(s)
    6.0%
  4. Serena

    13 vote(s)
    15.7%
  5. other

    8 vote(s)
    9.6%
  1. arrowbar

    arrowbar Banned

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    Serena is atleast at her best 50% of the time, unlike Safin who is like 0.5% of the time. Serena also atleast has numbers close to the other GOATS. 17 slams vs 18 for Chris and Martina, the real number of 18 for Court, the real number of 20 max for Graf.

    I think in a series of matches Serena would win over all those, and that takes into account her off days where she would lose some. The reason she has less slams is her career isn't over yet, tougher depth today, some bad luck with injuries and personal tragedy, and most of all that all these women at their best will win and so Serena having a few more off days misses out a couple more times. However if they were all together this when all at their best they win would only hold true still for Serena, not for the others.
     
    #51
  2. arrowbar

    arrowbar Banned

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    Martina Hingis I presume you mean. Hingis and Serena never shared a prime. Hingis was 97-2000, Serena was 2001-2003, 2007-today and continuing. However given that Serena was often beating Hingis even in 99 and 2000 when Hingis was prime and she wasn't, then destroying her badly once she was starting to come into her own (2001 U.S Open, 2002 Miami) I think Serena would have the clear advantage. Hingis is brilliant and I love watching her, but she has huge problems with power hitters. Just look at her record with Davenport, and Serena is like Davenport with more finesse and variety, 20 times more speed and athleticsm, a superior serve, and many times more mental toughness and hunger to win.
     
    #52
  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    But I see this is about the entire career, not just isolated peak matches or times. All those losses to far lesser talents get averaged in. But you are right, when she was in peak form, no one ever got higher even Navratilova or Graf. There are many times, when I don't think any human could have beaten her.
     
    #53
  4. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    Until a year ago, I would have said Graf. When I compare players, I look at their record versus their peers but I also ask myself, "who would win if they played during their peaks?" After watching Serena serve, her movement, her improved consistency in matches and throughout the season, as well as her mental toughness, I have to think she would beat Graf during her peak. They did play past Graf's peak and way before Serena's. It leads be to believe that Serena would win.
     
    #54
  5. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    What I like about your best player answer, is it does not ask only this one question and I presume you do not narrow it's to just their peak period victories, but you average in those odd losses of matches, sets and games. For example when you remember 'peak' Navratilova, you remember she lost to Kathy Horvath, Hana Mandlikova and Helena Sukova on bad days in peak times. Its not just 'in the zone', and at their peak, with everything cherry-picked out - unless you advertise that you are doing all that cherry-picking! we sometimes forget to do that. We just remember their golden tennis as though they never were out of the zone for matches or tournaments or even brief weeks, during their peak.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    #55
  6. Vcore89

    Vcore89 Hall of Fame

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    Graf, once she clinched the Golden Slam, no doubt was headed for GOAThood and she did. She remains my GOAT. Chrissy said Graf was -- I don't know if she'd change her statement and replaced it with S. Williams -- the Greatest Of All Time more than a decade ago.

    However, I'd say Court is the Best Of The Best.:)
     
    #56
  7. arrowbar

    arrowbar Banned

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    I agree, but I think the insinuation is that if Serena in any of her prime year (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, maybe 1999, 2001, 2007) played another all time great in their primes over a series of matches, spread over all surfaces, Serena would likely win the series. Some years it would be close but she would still come out ahead. This accounts for her vurnerability on clay, her off days, and all that other jazz.
     
    #57
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Any decent male junior would probably lose 1 or 2 games at most against her.

    But as far as current women, yes, she looks like that.

    Maybe because the rest are mental midgets ?
     
    #58
  9. MachiA.

    MachiA. Banned

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    I would also say Graf. Her slice is very underrated.
    And she could score also BH top spin winners. But mostly there was no need to use this option.
    She just nailed the other girl in the corner :-? with her mighty FH.

    Serena is one proof that doping controls are working as intended.

    KR
     
    #59
  10. monfed

    monfed Guest

    I think it's Serena Williams. She's so great she doesn't even have to place the ball. :lol:
     
    #60
  11. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Hall of Fame

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    +Infinity for Evert being on the list. How can Serena be ahead of Evert? Evert was both significantly more dominant and significantly more consistent.
     
    #61
  12. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    I'd say it was Graf. She dominated her ERA like no other.

    Arguing who could beat who is like arguing apples and oranges. The standards of tennis constantly improve. All the mens players in the top 200 could probably destroy prime McEnroe and Borg 2 and 2. Can you tell me they are better candidates for GOAT?

    In the next few years we'll probably some prodigy emerge we'll hail as the new candidate for goat (bouchard/halep). This argument will start all over again.

    And as sands in the hour glass...so are the days of our lives...
     
    #62
  13. MachiA.

    MachiA. Banned

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    I agree. And your last sentence makes me feel you could be the real Marat.:)

    KR
     
    #63
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hingis was the only player ever to handle BOTH Williams pretty well, on even terms.
     
    #64
  15. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    you are not paying attention to when she 'handled' both pretty well. I think it is Wendy turnbull who has actually a winning record against the great Steffi Graf. She handled her pretty well too in 1984 and 1985.
     
    #65
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Martina´s balance against the two sisters is perfectly balanced.No other player in history can say so, or correct me if mistaken.
     
    #66
  17. Vanhool

    Vanhool Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure what "balance against the two sisters is perfectly balanced" means, but I think you're getting at head to head. If so...

    Venus leads head to head 5-2; Serena leads 4-3 with Serena winning the last 3 matches (serving a bagel in the last match). I believe the head to head would be much more lopsided in the WS's favor had Hingis not retired SIX years ago despite being only one year older than Serena (and being Venus's age). Think what the Evert/Nav head to head would look like if Chris gave up in 1978 or even 1979.

    Edit: Not trying to equate Hingis with Evert. MH is a fine player but not of Chrissy's caliber. She saw the writing on the wall and quit while she was ahead (or not too far behind anyway).
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
    #67
  18. degrease

    degrease Rookie

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    Steffi in my opinion
     
    #68
  19. degrease

    degrease Rookie

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    Agassi said it right in that each generation improves on the last so Serena would win if each in their prime went head to head with their fitness power levels combined with their contemporary equipment serena would win. But in goat arguement records speak for themselves as the goalposts have moved with time n technology so hard to put someone above steffi
     
    #69
  20. MachiA.

    MachiA. Banned

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    I think when there would be real tests she would have been forced to retire a long time ago.

    KR
     
    #70
  21. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    She dominated her era like no other, it's true. BUT (and it's a big one) she won many of her slams after she got rid of her major opponent. How many slams would Evert of Navratilova have won without the other one for example?
    Injuries are part of the game. Stabbing is not. Graf would have been in any goat discussion with or without Seles stabbing, but saying that she dominated like no other is too much after what happened. She had been dethroned, that's a fact.
     
    #71
  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Saying that Steffi ("she") got rid of her main opponent is a blatant, malicious, and prejudiced lie. Steffi had nothing to do with it. The motives were all in the mind of a demented fan. (Unless you wish to claim that Steffi sent him telepathic orders to stab Seles!?.)

    It distorts history and the truth. It also invalidates any point you attempted to make.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
    #72
  23. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    I never wanted to imply that Steffi had something to do with it. Obviously, it's not her fault. Please, keep in mind that not everybody here has english as their mother tongue.
    Anyway, I maintain that it's impossible to ignore Seles stabbing. With or without Seles, Graf would have been one of the coad candidates, I'm sure about that. Especially since she had already won that golden slam. But would she be above Navratilova for example? Her numbers would probably have been different.
     
    #73
  24. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    But things are ignored all the time. Is it impossible to ignore

    - Peter Graf's tax issues, and their effects on Graf's motivation. I don't often see Seles' fans saying they find it impossible to ignore
    - Court's pregnancies
    - BJK's distractions with organizing women's tennis
    - the death of the Williams' sisters sister, or their parents divorce. I don't see Henin's supporters saying that
    - Althea Gibson's problems with the social barriers of her time
    - Rosewall and Laver having to play while having to support young families
    - Sampras' health issues
    - a gazillion other factors that work both for and against players during a career
    ??

    Players have issues going on all the time. Sometimes they are ignored, sometimes they are not. It seems to me that you can choose to ignore everything other than results, or to include everything (which is what I like to do), but selectively choosing what to include seems to me to indicate an agenda of some sort.
     
    #74
  25. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    reversef, I agree with you.
     
    #75
  26. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    All the players have their issues (health problems, family problems,...). Some have more than other ones, some are more lucky, ... But it's not comparable to what happened with Seles stabbing.
    Just imagine what Chris Evert' numbers could have been if one of her deranged fans had stabbed Martina Navratilova pretty early in her career so that Evert could be number one.
    I'm not a Seles fan, so it's not that I want to prove that Seles was the better player or anything like that, but I really find it nauseating that so many people in Graf's fanbase don't want to admit that simple fact: what happened is so abnormal that you can't put it in the same category as the other issues and simply say "Well, that's the game". That's indecent for me.
    Fortunately, nothing like that has happened in tennis since then. Imagine just for a minute:
    - 2004: a deranged american fan stabs Federer so that Roddick can go back to number one. What would Roddick's numbers be? How much would Federer win after that?
    - 2008: a Federer fan stabs Nadal before the French Open so that his player can finally win it. What would Federer's records be now? 22 Majors like Graf?
    - 2011: a Nadal fan stabs Djokovic during the Madrid final. What would Nadal's numbers be now? And Djokovic's?

    I'm sorry, but there was a big rivalry between Graf and Seles. That rivalry was interrupted ARTIFICIALLY by a Graf's fan, who actually obtained what he wanted: his idol quickly went back to number one and started winning almost everything again.

    Once again, Graf would be one of the GOATS anyway. But it's really indecent to pretend that her numbers have not been enhanced by Seles stabbing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    #76
  27. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    OK. I accept your repudiation.
     
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  28. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I fundamentally disagree. I think you are conflating two things. The event (stabbing) and the impact on how another player's career should be evaluated. The event was shocking, though not necessarily unique in being shocking (e.g the threats to Von Cramm from the Nazis). And that is the point - how many other truly shocking things have happened to affect players but we know nothing about them because somehow they were kept quiet? The thing about the stabbing was that it was a public event. The Von Cramm threats were kept private. In the past there was less intrusion into people's lives. So there could well be shocking events that profoundly affect what players achieved, and we know nothing about it.

    Now consider the case of e.g. Serena Williams. She had two important rivals from Belgium who both suddenly stopped competing when in the prime of their competitive lives. Didn't that make life easier for her? Yet do we consider we should make an important qualification on her achievements? I certainly think we should not. Similarly on the other side she suffered from the way her sister was killed and the injury she herself had on the glass. Do we somehow compensate her for what she might have had? No, we do not, or IMO should not. There was speculation at the time about why Henin in particular stopped playing. How do we know she was not stabbed by one of her relatives and the family agreed to keep everything quiet so as not to cause any family trauma? We don't know.

    So both the Seles incident and the Henin/Clijsters retirements amount to exactly the same thing - important rivals departed the scene while apparently posing a real and serious threat. I say both are exactly the same in assessing a player's career achievements.

    Returning again to Seles. If instead of being stabbed she had accidentally trodden on a glass bottle in the changing room and severely cut a tendon which kept her out of the game for many months, and scarred her mentally so she never really came back. Would you also think it absolutely had to be considered? Or suppose she had a Bartholi moment and just decided that she didn't want to play tennis any more? At what point do you decide an event over which one player has absolutely no control, but results in an important opponent not playing them any further, has an important bearing on how that players career is evaluated?

    Is Sampras career less because Agassi ran away? Is McEnroe's because Borg had had enough?

    If you go down that route you are on very questionable territory in my view.

    So I think those who keep bringing up the Seles stabbing when discussing Graf's career are on very unsolid territory (and probably have an agenda).

    Yes, it was a shocking event, with important implications for the women's game. In regard to Graf's career it was no more or less significant than important events in other players' careers, and should be considered in exactly the same way - as part of the ups and downs of any long career.

    The two things are separate.
     
    #78
  29. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    We'll have to disagree then. For me, it's really a matter of decency. I'm not confusing anything. And you can go back to Von Cramm, it won't change anything. It's a completely different situation. So is the Serena Williams' case. Henin and Clijsters chose to end their career at a young age for whatever reason (burn out, lack of motivation, injuries, desire to have a child,... ). That's their own story. Just like it would have been Seles own story if she had injured herself.
    On the opposite, Seles was removed from the game so that Graf could dominate once again. And it worked. In 1991 and 1992, Seles had won 3 of the 4 Slams + the YEC. In 1993, before the stabbing, she won the first slam of the year. The next three slams (+ the YEC) were won by Graf. What happened in between? Seles got stabbed. What was the motive for the stabbing? Make Graf's success easier. Did it work? Oh yes, it worked.

    Seriously, I'm not a Graf fan, I'm not a Seles fan, I'm not a Serena Williams fan, I'm not a fan of any female player who has a remote chance to figure in a GOAT discussion. But I can't understand how so many Graf fans refuse to admit that you can't talk about Graf's numbers (or Seles numbers for that matter) without mentioning that the numbers have been impacted (to which extend? I don't know) by something scandalous: Seles getting stabbed by a deranged Graf fan who wanted to remove from the game the player who had dethroned Graf. He did that in order to help his idol to dominate again. It worked.

    Once again, it's a matter of decency. Denying the importance of the stabbing on both players' resume almost sounds like an encouragement: let's copy Günter Parche and let's remove from the game the most difficult opponent of our favourite player.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
    #79
  30. DMP

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    I think we will have to agree to disagree. I also have no axe to grind in this matter. I just don't think the reasons for an opponent being removed, or removing themselves, are relevant. Or if they are relevant, then ALL reasons are relevant.

    Anything else becomes also an argument or discussion about morality and hierarchies of moral imperatives. Now those may be interesting and important discussions, but they should be indicated when discussing players careers. Otherwise the discussions become bogged down in an endless loop, which goes nowhere.

    Which is what I see with the Graf/Seles discussions. Pointless dialogues of the deaf, to be honest.
     
    #80
  31. rockandroll

    rockandroll Banned

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    Graf-Seles and the never ending stabbing implications? That is really up to the individual and there will never be a good or easy answer how to judge that. Alot of how an individual will evaluate it will come down to:

    1. Whether said individual even believes factoring in subjective what ifs such as that is even worthwhile or viable.

    2. If that person even believes Graf benefited that much from the Seles situation (aka if said individual believes Seles was destined for long term dominance, something many dont believe she was).

    3. If said individual even believes that factoring in the Seles situation makes Graf's career not the best anymore, or if it is even worse than the various what ifs you could present for other players.


    In my case I get bored with the whole thing so dont even bother. I dont consider Graf the best ever like many people do mostly since I dont think she is the best actual player, and I prefer a career that combines singles and doubles.
     
    #81
  32. PDJ

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    Similarly don't have an axe to grind re Graf/Seles & likewise don't think Graf the greatest ever but I think it's fair to say that Seles would have achieved more but possibly over a limited period given how much her game must have taken out of her, plus the game changing. The irrational views of deranged 'fans' do both women a disservice.
     
    #82
  33. rockandroll

    rockandroll Banned

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    Yes, I agree. I think Seles would have continued to achieve things mostly in 93-95. People are entitled their opinions but I do wonder what those who see long term dominance are smoking as it is clear she did not have the athleticsm and was never destined to have the longevity to be dominating long term. Even in 93-95 I see her significantly less dominant than before, 1 or 2 slams per year type thing. Now Graf had most of her future achievements from 93-96, so how this would have impacted her career and her standing in the GOAT picture is a matter of conjecture.

    All I know though is for me it makes no difference. I dont view Graf as GOAT, with or without the stabbing, simply as I dont think she is the best and from my viewing perspective of her career (singles and doubles both being very important) I dont think even her career is better than say Court or perhaps Navratilova. Graf being the best player of the Graf-Seles era is also undisputed. All Seles has is alot on unproveable what ifs from her fans, which is nowhere near enough.
     
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  34. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    GOAT: Steffi
    Best ever with racket from own era: Serena
    Best ever with wood racket: Evert
    Best ever if all played with current racket equipment (with 12 months time to adapt): Steffi
     
    #84
  35. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Hingis is of same age as the Williams sisters, Turnbull was far older when she handled 14/15-year-old Steffi.
     
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