Originally Posted by suwanee4712
NadalAgassi, its fun to think of hypotheticals and I am admittedly being hopeful towards Hana. A series of matches with Seles would've included more Brighton-like results too often for my tastes. Just like with Steffi she would've struggled to hold serve perhaps even more so with Seles mostly because at least with Steffi she could spin the ball in to the backhand.
I wonder what BTurner would think about this but I always felt that it was not a coincidence that Chris and Hana left the game at the same time. They both hit such a nice clean and uncomplicated ball. Players like Gaby were coming onto the scene hitting these snarling heavy strokes that took more to counteract. When players began to adapt to that facing a classical stroker like Chris or Hana probably became a relief. Thats just a theory though because Mary Joe hit a similarly flat ball.
I do think the game was changing right before the eyes of the old guard. The players were generally falling into two categories. Huge ball bashers who hit big servers and very hard and flat off the ground like Graf. Basically the top 30 was atleast half made up of Graf and Seles wannabees, inferior clones to their power oriented games, but even they producing something the likes of wasnt common thoughout most of the 80s. Or heavy topspiners with tons of violent action on the ball like Sabatini, Sanchez Vicario, Martinez. The power players were most difficulty for an attacker like Naratilova to face. The heavy spinners were more difficult for a classic baseliner or all courter like Evert or Mandlikova to face.
I think the change was equally hard on alot of different types of players. The serve and volleyers except Martina and the newcomer Jana Novotna (but in her case moreso after the womens game declined after the Seles stabbing) ceased to be a major factor. Sukova made a slam final in 93 taking advantage of the hold left by the Seles stabbing, but never that big a factor after 89/early 1990. Shriver wasnt a threat again after 88. Hana went into an obvious decline on her own, it is hard to tell how much of her rapid decline and early retirement was the change in the game to the new belting levels of power and the heavy spin, and how much of that was her own decline in form. Probably a good combination of both.
Had these players been born in this era I am sure they were talented enough to adapt and still be top players. As it was making the changes either midway or late in your career was too hard for the majority. Personally I find the players of the 80s more enjoyable to watch. I prefer watching tapes of them play. The 90s produced some great tennis and great matches, but the styles were all too predictable and the game played either through the one dimensional scope of a pure slugfest (Graf, Seles, Capriati, Pierce), or a grindfest last women standing type of attrition war (Sabatini, Sanchez, Fernandez, Martinez). Unique players with their own style, who were in some ways a throwback to the old days of point construction and nuances like a Novotna or Zvereva were rare, and these players were not successful enough to encourage it amongst the young juniors coming up.
Of course the 90s were still godly compared to now. We now have players without the talent to reach the incredible ball bashing heights of Graf, Seles, or the Williams, but attempt in vain to anyway and hit every second shot out, pushers who do nothing but try and be the last women standing on court like Wozniacki, Radwanska, players who hick with so much spin and such obsctructive technique they are an eyesore to watch and shank almost every third shot they hit (sometimes landing in) like Stosur and Schiavone, injuries galore. It would be nice to see a return to more old school tennis on the womens tour. Hingis and Henin were by far the most unique and interesting players to emerge in the 2000s, perhaps by neccessity being so small, but both were pushed out of the game very young either by the power game (Hingis) or the wear and tear on the body and mind of the extreme physical effort and years of work it took to ramp up their own power and fitness to almost inhuman heights for someone so small (Henin).