Originally Posted by BTURNER
All true, but lets not leave the wrong impression. Hana won exactly 4 tournaments on clay. She beat someone named Strachonová in Barcelona, and Sabina Simmonds in Milan both in 1978 for two of them in her first year as a pro. In '79 she won Kitzbuhel over Hanika. Not exactly matches or events of stature. She won RG two years later and then nothing. I mean nothing for the rest of her career.
She got to 6 other finals on clay. She won precisely one set total in those 6 finals and that was to Martina. Hana retired vs Rucizi after loosing the first. She got blown completely off the court vs Evert in 2 finals, routined in one by Evert 3&3, blown off by Jaeger in another, and got her best score in 6 years in a final, loosing to Graf 3 & 4 in '87. She had serious problems clinching the deal on dirt in her prime. The list of her earlier rd losses is legion but I won't go there. As I said, She was capable of producing great clay court tennis, but she was far from a great clay courter. Your best wager was always that Hana would not win a clay title, or get within a set of it, no matter who else was in the draw, or how nondescript the venue.
All true. And while Hana was playing I agreed with you, and interestingly enough with Hana who herself called clay her worst surface.
But about 15 years ago I started collecting her matches and studying her career from a hindsight perspective. I don't know if that lends any credibility to my opinions or if it discredits them.
I came to the conclusion that Hana wasn't particularly good on green clay. I can't think of any great victory that she had on that surface even though she did reach several finals. Green clay should've been a good surface for her as its faster than red clay and less heavy. But with Hana, nothing is that simple.
I know that the red clay season of 1981 was the beginning of her back problems, specifically Berlin. It was cold, damp, and heavy there and she started experiencing pain. I think that's why she curtailed her red clay schedule. She only played Berlin twice more when the WTA asked her to. She did play the Italian a little more which was usually hot and sunny. Her record there is good losing twice to Chris, but once was in 3 sets.
Obviously, her Paris record is what I base my opinion largely on. The inconsistent Hana was remarkably consistent there through 1986 suffering only one upset loss to Khode in the 85 QF. She has the wins over Chris and Steffi and the marvelous 3 set loss to Martina in 84.
I think she should've played more on red clay especially in southetn Europe. Had the Spanish clay events been as big as they are today they would've been perfect. I don't think she would've dominated them but likely would've done well.
I also believe had she beaten Chris in 83 that she would've won a second French title. Its more of a stretch to suggest she could've won the 84 French had she beaten Martina. But my point is she was quite good in Paris.