Originally Posted by tennis_pro
Tougher competition? Henin, Venus weren't exactly mugs but not close to peak Graf who Seles beat in slams in 1990-1993.
Venus in 2002-2003 was definitely better than Graf of 1991-1992. Venus made the finals of 5 of the 6 slams she played at one point those 2 years vs Graf making only 3 of 8. Graf in 91-92 lost in slams to Novotna (on slow hard courts which she sucks on), 35 year old Navratilova, Sanchez twice including a 6-2, 6-0, Sabatini. Also 1991-1992 was most definitely not peak Graf, in addition to what I already pointed out, she even lost 7 of 8 matches to Sabatini at one point. It is a shame we never ended up seeing peak Seles and peak Graf together at once, but I doubt either would have won 3 or 4 slams every year if they had. Neither is great enough to do that vs a real opponent also playing at their top, the way people like Navratilova, Court, and Serena are, hence why in 1993-1995 when both would have been prime together, we probably would have seen them split evenly, with a few slams going to other places, and both ending up with roughly 15, exactly where Serena is now but in Serena's case with alot more to come probably. Then the rest of the field of 91-92 was really old Navratilova, Sabatini, and 15 year old Capriati vs Henin, Clijsters, adult Capriati, Mauresmo, Davenport all at or near their best. Again no comparision. 1990-1993 was an ok field, 1999-2003 was the toughest field in womens tennis history, and 2004-2008 wasnt far behind.
Lets compare who Serena actually beat to win her 5 slams in 2002-2003 vs who Seles beat to win her 6 slams in 1991-1992:
Seles 91 Australian- Novotna
Seles 91 French- Sanchez
Seles 91 U.S Open- 35 year old Navratilova
Seles 92 Australian- Mary Joe Fernandez
Seles 92 French- Graf
Seles 92 U.S Open- Sanchez
Serena beat Venus in the finals to win all 5 of her slams in 2002-2003, a way tougher opponent than anyone Seles beat in the finals in 91-92 except for Graf in the finals of the 92 French (which was followed up by losing to Graf 6-2, 6-1 in the Wimbledon final). Comparing semifinal and quarterfinal opponents Serena's competition just pulls way further ahead.