Wow the forgotten classic!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by BTURNER, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I was always curious about this match, the longest and one of the very best matches in their rivalry. If this clip is any indication, it was! Enjoy!

    " Chris Evert Lloyd d. Martina Navratilova, 7-5, 5-7, 13-11, final of the 1979 Eastbourne tournament.

    This is something of a forgotten classic. It is not mentioned in Johnette Howard's great book, The Rivals.

    But it left a great impression on those who saw it. Two weeks after it was played, Mike Williamson mentioned on Australian TV that "A lot of people thought it was the greatest womens match of all time." Wendy Turnbull added, "That was everyone's opinion."

    This broadcast was by the BBC, and the commentator speaking is John Barrett. "

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfkm6dk1AMQ
     
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  2. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Just watching the first two minutes -- great stuff.
     
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  3. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    Those Chrissy droppers are one of my all time fave shots. Other than SoCo Limes.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

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    Looking at the accuracy of their strokes, it makes you wonder how good they would be with today's rackets. The tennistalent in her strokes of Martina and the mental strenght of Chris Evert.
     
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  5. muddlehead

    muddlehead Rookie

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    awesome vid thanks
     
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  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Just some fun stats I put together about this match:

    - at 48 games, it’s longer than the five-set finals that Graf won at the WTA Tour Championships over Huber in 1995 and Hingis in 1996 (each of those was 41 games)

    - it was two games longer than the 1970 Wimbledon marathon between Margaret Court and Billie Jean King

    - it had as many service games as Agassi and Sampras played to force their four tiebreaks at the 2001 USO

    - longest match Chris and Martina ever played

    As far as I know, it may be the longest match that Chris or Martina ever played against anyone.
     
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  7. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    Beautiful tennis.
     
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  8. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    It's true that it was the longest singles match in their career or both Evert and Navratilova.

    One of the longest of the Open era.

    Amazing symmetry in the scores, in light of the fact that the previous year at Eastbourne, Navratilova beat Evert 6-4,4-6,9-7 - which is the second longest match in their rivalry.

    Two consecutive finals, two consecutive extended three set matches after two sets played with each winning sets by the same score. I don't believe Evert saved match points in the 1979 final (I could be wrong) but she came very close to losing. Martina saved match points to win in 1978. And both years the two met in the Wimbledon finals, with Martina winning both times.

    Although many consider the 1985 French final their most dramatic match (because it was a major final, and Evert winning in a big final after a long drought), the 1979 Eastbourne match was probably more classic.
     
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  9. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Seriously (irrevocably for me) dents the credibility of that book.
     
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  10. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    this clip shows some great examples of Evert's footspeed. While she was never the fastest player on the courts, she was in the top four- five throughout her career. Inevitably the number one player overtaking her was faster whether it was Martina, Steffi, or Austin.

    There were several whose legendary bursts of foot-speed bested her as well, Goolagong, Turnbull, Mandlikova, Garrison or at the end Sanchez each of whom was quicker in the narrow sense but who either lacked the anticipation to consistently get that extra step start, or who did not have the racket preparation. reliable stroke production or court sense to take routine advantage of the innate athletic gift. That being said, in any specific year from 1975 through 1988, she was one of the four - five fastest women both horizontally or laterally in the sport. she is not given enough credit for her quickness about the court.
     
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  11. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Agreed, Evert's footspeed and grass court prowess are both underrated.

    This was one of those matches where they were both playing their best tennis at the same time and when that happened the matches were always going to be close, long and hard fought. Brilliant tennis from both ladies, and a classic for sure.
     
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  12. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Have you actually seen the match Evertfan? I wish had had more of it than this ten minutes. There is a bag of potato chips I am smelling and the crumbs aren't cutting it!
     
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  13. Steffi-forever

    Steffi-forever Semi-Pro

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    You can buy the match at tennis dvd . co . uk :)
     
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  14. Martina has a Nadal like arm there around the 1 minute mark. Crazy.
     
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  15. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    The rallies are very slow when compared to today. It's still enjoyable to watch but it does lack some of the thrill that I'm used to seeing. It's a lot different than what I'm used to.:neutral:
     
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  16. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Low attention span?
     
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  17. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Woody's on 79 Eastbourne grass !
    You would be very surprised to see any of todays lady players attempting to play against either of those two all time greats in the same settings. Todays players would probably look slow in comparison.
     
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  18. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    I don't see how that's possible. The players today hit the balls much harder than most of the previous generations in the wood era. Even if they were forced to use wood racquets they would probably still hit with more power.

    Players in the past would often serve and volley as a way to keep the pressure on their opponent. They compensated for the Wood racquets lack of power by taking the time away from their opponents, forcing them to come up with a great passing shot which wasn't easy to do.Today, players can pretty much do the same thing from the baseline, by hitting huge ground strokes. They have the power needed to keep their opponents on guard and they can do it from the baseline. Conditioning, if anything is more emphasized today because the average court speed has slowed down considerably.
     
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  19. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    You pretend to know a lot. For someone who's 12.
     
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  20. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Josh, the problem with your theory is the sweet spot is much smaller with those woodies. Sure Serena and Sharapova would hit it hard alright. and Martina and Evert would just eat up those unforced errors until they learned their lesson.
     
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  21. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Correct. Its extremely difficult to use modern strokes and western grips with wood rackets. Serena and Sharapova would have trouble keeping the balls in the court. They would not have an alternate to base line blasting. Venus can S/V but with her strokes and grips, she would have trouble making good approach hits. Given the conditions, Martina and Chris played one of the great matches for that era. Too bad the modern fans can not appreciate the level of skill that was demonstrated, especially when compared to the modern game.
     
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  22. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    It's kind of neat watching that match, but it seems like they're playing a different game.The movement and athleticism seen in the modern tennis just aren't there IMO.

    Martina was kind sporting some freaky big guns in that clip
     
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  23. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    very great quality considering it is much harder to play with wood. I love naviratilova at the net. It nice to see the angles with the volleys.
     
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  24. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    Don't agree. Watch the video at 2:52 and you'll notice that Martina hits a backhand deep and with some pace to Evert. Evert, is slightly out of position but she's still completely unable to deal with the pace and she nets the ball. Now can you imagine what Serena and Venus would do to Evert? They can serve in the 110 mile per hour range. Both sisters would over power Evert, with ease.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp18gxl-Udk
     
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  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Josh, that's a bad bounce. The ball hits the baseline and takes an unexpected skip. That's why Evert tries to cut under it at the last second.

    It looks superficially like an overpowering play and I was wondering what the reaction to it might be, when I included it in the clip, because on TV (and after watching the point a bizillion times in the editing) I could see what happened to the ball. On the YouTube screen, I think, it's just harder to see really small things like bad bounces (even when they're noticed it's hard to see exactly what the ball is doing and how bad a bounce might be).

    Anyway another thing going on is that Martina rarely hit over her BH in that match. At times she caught Chris off guard by doing it. It was a change of pace (a tactic less common today).

    If Martina had been hitting over the ball with consistent power (like today's tennis, on better-kept lawn courts), and that particular one had not landed on the line, you wouldn't see Chris having any trouble with it. In the clip itself there are other shots just as powerful as that one, that do not overpower her.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
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  26. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Krosero,

    Very good explanation to Josh.
    That is exactly why in my first response to Josh, I stated:
    "Woody's on 79 Eastbourne grass !"

    Many modern fans do not realize how fast and unpredictable the older grass courts played. This is the reason that slice stokes and eastern grips were popular and necessary tennis weapons. A player almost needs to be able to half-volley any hit since it may take a bad bounce. The modern big looping strokes would really look like mistimes and strikeouts, or over powers like Josh deducted.

    Keep up the great classic match editing.

    Best regards,
    Joe
     
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  27. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Its got to be a little easier to handle a bad bounce with a racket face the size of Texas and a sweet spot the size of Dallas.
     
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  28. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    yea Krosero, I caught that point right away. Evert is known for her early preparation for just such groundies. and the chop stroke she tries is the clue. The ball took a weird hop. She was there for it.
     
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  29. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Well these are little things, and sometimes I wonder how well they translate to YouTube. It's a general problem with old tennis, not just little things like bad bounces, but everything. The YouTube window is small, so what plays best is what's bold, powerful and loud. And that would be true even if the tapes of the old tennis were just as good quality as what you can get today, which is obviously not the case: so both the slower pace of the tennis and the poorer quality of the tapes puts older tennis at a disadvantage.

    Not that there's no way around it; I've seen plenty of great clips of older tennis. These are just some things I'm thinking about, while making these clips.
     
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  30. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Another thing about this match: the third set began with breaks in 8 of the first 10 games. The last of those breaks was at 5-4, Chris serving for the match: she put out a relatively simple FH pass at 30-all and then lost the game on an unforced error.

    That made it 5-all, and from there they held serve 12 consecutive times (not sure I've ever seen them do that). Martina, who had so much trouble holding up through 5-all, suddenly started holding easily, much easier than Chris who had to serve second and had to face three match points. It was as if Martina felt reprieved at 5-4 and made the most of it, almost winning the match.

    But then Martina made some errors at 11-all, and Chris served out the match at love, with three straight winners.
     
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  31. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Damn It sounds delicious, Krosero. Not so hard to believe Martina can hold on that grass fairly easily. Once her serve gets going, it stays going! but Evert just does not hold well on grass. It always feels like triumph if she can get through a service game with Martina charging at every moment . I did notice in the clip that Martina was staying back more than I am used to. Was that true throughout the match?. I'll bet that is the correction that won her Wimbledon a month later.
     
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  32. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I'm not sure there was a difference, because when I did those few stats for the 79W a little while ago I counted Martina coming in directly behind second serves only three times. In the Eastbourne clip when you see her serving and staying back it's on second serves. She may well have decided to be more aggressive after losing at Eastbourne (she's always thinking along those lines), but I think part of what happened is that Chris got off to a slow start and never really got into that match.

    I saw the Eastbourne match from start to finish a couple of years ago and what really struck me was Chris' sharp and strong backhands into Martina's FH corner; Martina had enough speed to run them down (barely) but often couldn't lift the ball back over the net. Those two-handers reminded me a bit of Seles, actually.

    With these two sometimes it just came down to match dynamics. Martina could steamroll you if you weren't ready (or her confidence was up), but if you could make it close then Martina might start getting a little more tense or frustrated at times (you can see a little bit of that in the clip).

    But overall Martina held up well in that Eastbourne match, mentally. They both did.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
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