WTA Australian Open Final 1988 (Graf vs Evert)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Bud, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I was watching a clip of this match on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO1kYcftLCY

    A number of interesting observations...
    • It was Graf's first AO title (and the first jewel in her 1988 Golden Slam crown)
    • It was the first AO played on a Hard court (previously a grass court tournament)
    • It was the first AO played at Melbourne Park (formerly played at Kooyong)
    • It was a passing of an era in womens' tennis (woodies to graphite) - I don't believe Graf ever used a wood racquet in professional competition whereas Evert (and every previous winner) learned tennis using wood and primarily used wood in their career(s)
    • Two cool racquets battled it out (it appears Evert is using the Wilson PS 85 while Graf is using the Dunlop Max 200G)
    • Graf was hitting many more topspin BH's than she did in later competition. She has such an excellent TS BH (as evidenced by this match)... why did she more or less abandon it for the slice?
    Anything else?

    Does anyone have the full match in clear resolution?
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
    #1
  2. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,512
    It was Evert's last slam final (34th -- still a record), and the last slam where she beat Navratilova.

    Graf's 4th straight slam final, having lost the previous two.
     
    #2
  3. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for the extra tidbits :)
     
    #3
  4. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,534
    Location:
    OREGON
    It represented one heck of an almost-comeback for Evert. She was down like 1-5 in the second set after being annihilated in the first and took it to a tiebreaker I think, winning an amazing number of games. Graf just does not have that happen to her often.
     
    #4
  5. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,594
    What do you think changed. Was it Evert playing alot better, Steffi dropping her phenomenal level of the whole match up until then somewhat, or a tactical change in the match.
     
    #5
  6. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    672
    Now that was fun to watch. I would love to see the whole match. Evert was almost 35 I think, what an amazing career she had.
     
    #6
  7. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    She'd just turned 34 in December 87 :)
     
    #7
  8. sheets

    sheets Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    150
    Evert had such a contrast between forehand and backhand from what i can see from this and other videos. her backhand looks practically modern and very powerful while her forehand is very classical.
    A question thta i would appreciate being answered is why did Stephi really abandon the topspin backhand?
     
    #8
  9. Warriorroger

    Warriorroger Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,603
    More than one reason I think. Only Steffi knows, but because my own game is similar (style) to hers, I''ll try to anwser it.

    She started out at around 86/87 of being more of a versatile player than the player she was when she dominated. Like a female Federer she had all the shots. She played from the baseline and she frequently attacked with that flat backhand and came to the net. Many people, former pros (commentating her matches) forget how many shots she had. Watch the 86/7 matches and you'll see what I mean.

    Her serve then wasn't the weapon it was starting in 1988.

    From a tactical point of view, her slice (not an average slow slice) set up the point (opponents hitting up) for her to finish with that laserforehand. Many people have belittled that slice, but there's no generation who could dominate her or her style of playing.

    Tecnically it's a safer and easier shot (for her) to hit than the topspin backhand.

    Also, she loved playing elegant powerful tennis and that slice fit in there so beautifully. The shot was bad (IMO) during those 90/91 years, but when Heinz Gunthard took over from Pavil Slozil, he made it a better shot fo her.

    Hitting the slice more often than the topspin made her less comfortable with the latter (add everyone talking about it) and it dissappeared from her repetoire.

    It's shame, because it was a good shot. Would she have won more with it? I doubt it, that slice was so good. I do believe that this power generation would have had more (even more than her own) trouble with her style of playing. Yes, power hitter Monica Seles (maybe less power than today's players) could at times beat the slice (not often), but no one of today's players hit those kind of angles, had that kind of anticipation and mental drive Seles had.

    Steffi only knows the real reason, these were my thoughts about the topspinbackhand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
    #9
  10. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Her style of play in this final is definitely different than later Graf. She's not bouncing around like a jackrabbit... running around her FH's in this match either... as she did later on.
     
    #10
  11. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,058
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I've seen the match and Evert finally started to play much better when she was 6-1, 5-1 down - she started hitting harder and she started moving much better as well and she started moving Graf around the court much more by hitting wide to the Graf forehand so that she could attack the backhand or hitting wide to the Graf backhand so she could open up the Graf forehand side of the court - Steffi did get a bit nervous and started making some errors too which only spurred Chris on even more. The roof had to be closed because of rain after only 3 games and it really threw Evert off her game - she so hated playing indoors.

    They were engaging in really long strenuous rallies throughout the match and by the end Evert looked a bit tired (she was 33 (her birthday is in December) and past her prime) and Steffi still looked fresh and she was able to turn things around in the tiebreaker and win it.


    Good almost comeback for Evert - if she had pulled out that 2nd set things would have gotten very interesting because although by that time Evert was tired, she was completely in the match mentally which was always her greatest strength. Would Evert have pulled off the win if she had won the 2nd set? Iffy, but she definitely would have given herself a legitimate chance to do so.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
    #11
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    In retrospect Steffi may have been at her peak at this time.

    Looking at the way Chris played in this match at the end, you wonder how she would have played with the rackets of today. That was some almost comeback.
     
    #12
  13. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I've seen this match a couple of times and it took a really big effort from Evert to get back into it, and it took a little help from Steffi in that she needed to get a little tight/complacent trying to close it out in the end. if Evert was a few years younger the first set probably would have been a lot closer, this was really the match where you could see how much Evert really had aged over the years, something she was able to hide even in 1986 and 1987, but which was becoming harder by 1988 and then in 1989 it was quite clear that despite being able to still hang at the top that she just wasn't as the level she used to be anymore, despite being in the top 5.

    If Evert had taken the second set, I think she probably still would have lost, mentally she was in but it was such a monumental physical effort for her to battle her way back in in the second that would have been tough to maintain in the third set. It would have come down to a battle of physical ability vs. mental Ability. Graf was no pushover mentally even in 1988 when she was still fairly young and she would have the physical advantage. I honestly think Steffi made one of her few tactical errors and got a little complacent with Chris being that she was up 6-1 5-1....I think she thought she had it...something you never assume when your playing someone like Evert, and that along with Evert raising her level let her back in. Steffi probably would have reasserted herself in the 3rd and finished it off if it had gone that far.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
    #13
  14. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    5,208
    Location:
    L. Island, NY
    Strictly on memory she could rip her one handed backhand cross court but like all one handers it was much more difficult for her to hit it with topspin up the line. She had a big windup on it and I'm sure that 200G didn't make it any easier for her not to shank it.

    I think I read somewhere on here where she marveled on how much easier it is for her to hit topspin bh's with her current frame.

    Plus after Martina faded she didn't have to pass too many people anymore.
     
    #14
  15. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    She was playing with a PS85... not some woodie :)
     
    #15

Share This Page