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-   -   Statistical oddity Martina-Evert Grass. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=448304)

BTURNER 12-15-2012 10:47 PM

Statistical oddity Martina-Evert Grass.
 
Barely worthy of its own thread but, if I count correctly, they played 15 times I think. Evert won 5 of them, but only two of all of those matches were straight setters and 13 went three. That has to be a numerically very unusual percentage to go to a final set, considering the sample size. In contrast, of 11 clay meetings, 7 were straight setters including all three of Martina's clay victories . Of their 80 matches, 53 were straight setters. Why couldn't Navratilova keep things as simple on grass as every other surface? Its not as though that serve was likely to be less consistently effective there than on hard, indoor or clay. Yet every Australian meeting, including one in Sydney, went three; the Eastbornes went three, and of their Wimbledon meetings, 6 went three and two did not. Another way to see this, of the last 10 times they met on grass, only the '84 wimbledon was straights. Strange.

PDJ 01-14-2013 12:45 PM

Does this not point to Evert being stronger on navratilova's favoured surface than the latter's on Evert's favoured clay?
Made for interesting reading. Thanks

BTURNER 01-14-2013 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PDJ (Post 7119929)
Does this not point to Evert being stronger on navratilova's favoured surface than the latter's on Evert's favoured clay?
Made for interesting reading. Thanks

Kinda sorta I guess. Martina did not get her first of three wins on clay until '84 at her absolute peak of dominance. It was the only year she had a winning record on clay vs Chris winning two of two meetings . Evert got her last of 5 victories on grass in '82 before Martina got so devastating. The peculiarity was that while the disparity between the two was greatest on clay of all four surfaces, each of the three times Martina did win, it was a route.

suwanee4712 01-16-2013 06:33 AM

Evert is underated on grass. Several of her strengths lend themselves beautifully on grass. Combine her strengths with hard flat strokes and you have a big problem on your hands.

Her game was extremely efficient and grass rewards efficiency. Her strokes were economical - no big backswings, nothing excessive. Her movement was efficient - each step purposeful and rarely caught out of position.

Her anticipation partially diluted the speed of the court. Evert wasn't as fast as Graf but no one was quicket to recognize where the ball was going.

And then there was her mental toughness that counteracted the bad bounces. If she's getting bad bounces then so is her opponent. Evert didn't like it, but she refused to show it. Her body language suggests to her opponent "I can deal with this, Can you?"

Australian grass set Evert up beautifully with its higher bounces. Remember, she never once failed to reach a final there.

The one true weakness Chris had on grass was an attackable serve. But so few could actually make her pay.

BTURNER 01-16-2013 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by suwanee4712 (Post 7125534)
Evert is underated on grass. Several of her strengths lend themselves beautifully on grass. Combine her strengths with hard flat strokes and you have a big problem on your hands.

Her game was extremely efficient and grass rewards efficiency. Her strokes were economical - no big backswings, nothing excessive. Her movement was efficient - each step purposeful and rarely caught out of position.

Her anticipation partially diluted the speed of the court. Evert wasn't as fast as Graf but no one was quicket to recognize where the ball was going.

And then there was her mental toughness that counteracted the bad bounces. If she's getting bad bounces then so is her opponent. Evert didn't like it, but she refused to show it. Her body language suggests to her opponent "I can deal with this, Can you?"

Australian grass set Evert up beautifully with its higher bounces. Remember, she never once failed to reach a final there.

The one true weakness Chris had on grass was an attackable serve. But so few could actually make her pay.

Don't put me in a hospital for saying this, but I think this is the one surface on which her game continued to improve through the late stages of her career, say '84- 88. After that 83' loss to Jordan, she was not really upset on grass courts at all until the day she retired. She lost two semis to someone lower seeded. One to Mandlikova in Wimbledon 86, and to Sukova in Eastborne in '88. Neither is properly viewed as an upset on grass. If you view it that way, she did better on grass than hard courts, carpet or clay!

Physically she got faster and stronger. She got more pop on her serve and any net shyness from her early and mid career wore off. Her relative lack of patience for long rallies with younger baseliners, made her more bold off the ground. It did not necessarily show itself in results, because she kept meeting that damn Czeck girl. but really, her game fit grass better and better until 88-89 than it did when she was winning Wimbledon.

krosero 01-16-2013 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BTURNER (Post 7120068)
The peculiarity was that while the disparity between the two was greatest on clay of all four surfaces, each of the three times Martina did win, it was a route.

To put it another way -- in their clay meetings, if Chris could get her teeth in the match she always won.

Some of Evert's wins on clay started as routs for Martina. In the RG finals in '75 and '86, Martina took the first set 6-2 each time.

PDJ 01-17-2013 01:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BTURNER (Post 7127300)
Don't put me in a hospital for saying this, but I think this is the one surface on which her game continued to improve through the late stages of her career, say '84- 88. After that 83' loss to Jordan, she was not really upset on grass courts at all until the day she retired. She lost two semis to someone lower seeded. One to Mandlikova in Wimbledon 86, and to Sukova in Eastborne in '88. Neither is properly viewed as an upset on grass. If you view it that way, she did better on grass than hard courts, carpet or clay!

Physically she got faster and stronger. She got more pop on her serve and any net shyness from her early and mid career wore off. Her relative lack of patience for long rallies with younger baseliners, made her more bold off the ground. It did not necessarily show itself in results, because she kept meeting that damn Czeck girl. but really, her game fit grass better and better until 88-89 than it did when she was winning Wimbledon.

I not only agree with you but recall an article pre wimbledon 1989 which said exactly that (it may have been the wimbledon programme - i have it somewhere & will dig it out) Evert 's best chances were on grass in a grand slam as she handled the surface so much better than most other players & for all the reasons you've listed.

CEvertFan 01-18-2013 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BTURNER (Post 7127300)
Don't put me in a hospital for saying this, but I think this is the one surface on which her game continued to improve through the late stages of her career, say '84- 88. After that 83' loss to Jordan, she was not really upset on grass courts at all until the day she retired. She lost two semis to someone lower seeded. One to Mandlikova in Wimbledon 86, and to Sukova in Eastborne in '88. Neither is properly viewed as an upset on grass. If you view it that way, she did better on grass than hard courts, carpet or clay!

Physically she got faster and stronger. She got more pop on her serve and any net shyness from her early and mid career wore off. Her relative lack of patience for long rallies with younger baseliners, made her more bold off the ground. It did not necessarily show itself in results, because she kept meeting that damn Czeck girl. but really, her game fit grass better and better until 88-89 than it did when she was winning Wimbledon.

Even in '88 she played a hell of a semi against Navratilova finally losing 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 on a questionable line call when match point down. I always wondered, just for the heck of it, if they could use modern tech to figure out whether or not that forehand crosscourt pass on the run by Evert that hit the tape was indeed out or did it just catch the line - on slow-mo replay I could see a bit of chalk fly up.

CEvertFan 01-18-2013 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BTURNER (Post 7120068)
Kinda sorta I guess. Martina did not get her first of three wins on clay until '84 at her absolute peak of dominance. It was the only year she had a winning record on clay vs Chris winning two of two meetings . Evert got her last of 5 victories on grass in '82 before Martina got so devastating. The peculiarity was that while the disparity between the two was greatest on clay of all four surfaces, each of the three times Martina did win, it was a route.

You also have to take into account that Evert finally switched from wood to graphite around that time and had a few bad losses as a result since it took a little while for her to really start to feel comfortable with the new racquet.

Also playing absolute peak Navratilova, playing with graphite, with Evert still using her beloved wood racquet before she switched was a factor in a few losses too.

PDJ 01-18-2013 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CEvertFan (Post 7133217)
Even in '88 she played a hell of a semi against Navratilova finally losing 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 on a questionable line call when match point down. I always wondered, just for the heck of it, if they could use modern tech to figure out whether or not that forehand crosscourt pass on the run by Evert that hit the tape was indeed out or did it just catch the line - on slow-mo replay I could see a bit of chalk fly up.

I've thought the same thing- it would be really good to finally know. Although the players might prefer otherwise given their friendship.

It's the only time I've seen:
1) Evert not shake hands with the umpire
2) Evert throw her racket down
3) a wimbledon crowd boo the result
In my mind she was robbed
But it is what it is.........

BTURNER 01-18-2013 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CEvertFan (Post 7133230)
You also have to take into account that Evert finally switched from wood to graphite around that time and had a few bad losses as a result since it took a little while for her to really start to feel comfortable with the new racquet.

Also playing absolute peak Navratilova, playing with graphite, with Evert still using her beloved wood racquet before she switched was a factor in a few losses too.

It's not the losses on clay in '84, and '87 but the scores that kill me. In none of those three matches, did Evert get 3 games in any set. Evert did not have much trouble 'adjusting' on her way to Martina. More telling: She did not do any better in the second sets than the first. She's got the feel of that racket by then. Evertfan, I absolutely think this was mental in '84. Evert was looking for rock bottom vs Martina, before she could climb back up.. To get down there, her supremacy on clay had to be crushed like everything else was. Each match she played thereafter built back some of the confidence, she had thrown away or Martina took away.

CEvertFan 01-18-2013 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BTURNER (Post 7133502)
It's not the losses on clay in '84, and '87 but the scores that kill me. In none of those three matches, did Evert get 3 games in any set. Evert did not have much trouble 'adjusting' on her way to Martina. More telling: She did not do any better in the second sets than the first. She's got the feel of that racket by then. Evertfan, I absolutely think this was mental in '84. Evert was looking for rock bottom vs Martina, before she could climb back up.. To get down there, her supremacy on clay had to be crushed like everything else was. Each match she played thereafter built back some of the confidence, she had thrown away or Martina took away.

Oh no doubt about that. Evert had never before been in the position of being beaten so many times in a row (it went to 13 before she broke through again - the next closest was Tracy Austin with 5 in a row) so that had to play a big part in where her head and game were at during that time period. Evert was the one used to doing that to other players, not having it done to her.

I think once she came to terms with the fact that Martina could beat her on any surface then she was she was able to face Martina without so much "baggage". Finally deciding to get more fit and strong by going into the gym also helped her a lot too and it made her career last longer than I think it would have.

They both have always said that the other made them a better player and I agree with that - they each pushed the other to get better.

suwanee4712 01-19-2013 05:48 PM

In Martina's 3 clay court wins I thought Martina really just played her off the court in the first two and took advantage of a bad Evert day in the third. Chris struck the ball well in the 84 French final. She began that match playing much better than she did the beginning of the 85 and 86 finals that she won. In the 87 French SF I don't think Chris was psyched up to play. Martina's start wasn't good yet Chris couldn't take advantage. After the first set Martina relaxed and cruised even when Chris started to hit the ball better.

I always agreed with Joanne Russell's take and Shriver's take on the difference between Martina's play in 84 and the two subsequent finals. In 84 Martina didn't play around. Once she got her nose in front she did what she did best by increasing the pressure. But Martina suffered from the same kind of cockiness that Boris showed on clay. They each felt they could win the French from the baseline like a true clay courter.

In 85 Martina didn't play well. Her serve was off and her approach shots were way off. Shriver said she was lucky that she wasn't playing a serve and volleyer that day or she would've lost even easier. And if you watch her SF vs. Kohde she played the same way and struggled vs. a player she always destroyed on clay. It had drama and it was a great break through for Chris. But I don't regard this as their best match in terms of quality. Neither did Mary Carillo.


I found 86 shocking. Chris had a horrid start and instead of pressuring Chris, Martina hung back in the second. She played like she thought she could beat the greatest clay courter ever on red clay from the back of the court. As Russell said, she grooved Chris' strokes for her. Once warmed up Martina could no longer attack. She got passed left and right. The last set and a half was an Evert clinic. But I still believe Martina could've/should've won that match in an hour.

BTURNER 01-19-2013 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by suwanee4712 (Post 7136887)
In Martina's 3 clay court wins I thought Martina really just played her off the court in the first two and took advantage of a bad Evert day in the third. Chris struck the ball well in the 84 French final. She began that match playing much better than she did the beginning of the 85 and 86 finals that she won. In the 87 French SF I don't think Chris was psyched up to play. Martina's start wasn't good yet Chris couldn't take advantage. After the first set Martina relaxed and cruised even when Chris started to hit the ball better.

I always agreed with Joanne Russell's take and Shriver's take on the difference between Martina's play in 84 and the two subsequent finals. In 84 Martina didn't play around. Once she got her nose in front she did what she did best by increasing the pressure. But Martina suffered from the same kind of cockiness that Boris showed on clay. They each felt they could win the French from the baseline like a true clay courter.

In 85 Martina didn't play well. Her serve was off and her approach shots were way off. Shriver said she was lucky that she wasn't playing a serve and volleyer that day or she would've lost even easier. And if you watch her SF vs. Kohde she played the same way and struggled vs. a player she always destroyed on clay. It had drama and it was a great break through for Chris. But I don't regard this as their best match in terms of quality. Neither did Mary Carillo.


I found 86 shocking. Chris had a horrid start and instead of pressuring Chris, Martina hung back in the second. She played like she thought she could beat the greatest clay courter ever on red clay from the back of the court. As Russell said, she grooved Chris' strokes for her. Once warmed up Martina could no longer attack. She got passed left and right. The last set and a half was an Evert clinic. But I still believe Martina could've/should've won that match in an hour.

You are on the money on '87

In '85 Evert was more confident with her one win a few months earlier, but not fully mentally recovered. She had two things going for her. Martina was actually a bit nervous in that first set and Evert's BFF was on court: WIND! Evert grew up in windy clay conditions and Martina could not gauge the wind nearly as well. It affected her serve, her volleys and overhead while Evert used it.

In '86 I think your equation is off. Martina did not change much whatever the commentator's said. She pretty much played great clay tennis all the way through very similar to '84. Evert brought her worst clay tennis in Set One, then worked toward her best clay tennis at 3-3 in the last two. As Martina replied after the match, when Bud started with his usual spiel which he said after every Evert Victory - "you can't come in on just anything on clay" Evert denied a lot of opportunities by hitting harder than she did in '84, standing further in and taking the net away countless times. I think if Martina had attacked more she would have been passed more. I think those last sets are a complete answer to anyone who wants to know what happens when the best s/ver in the world plays Evert on clay. Martina was very unlikely to win with a confident, grooved Evert no matter what tactics she employed. After Evert broke the spell with her Key Biscayne victory, they played 5 times on clay. Martina won once. '84 was the fluke, not the rest of the matches before and after.


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