In 2001 Capriati won only 1 non slam singles title and after the French was not able to win a single title for the rest of the year. I find is funny that some people say she was deserving of the number 1 ranking in october when she finally got it despite the fact that Venus won exactly the same number of slams and more titles overall and was at the time clearly the best in world as Jenn hadn't won a singles title in roughly 5 months.I wonder why Capriati gets so little love here. In 2001 she was in charge of the game as arguably no other lady in the list ever was, and against strong competition: Hingis, Davenport, Serena, Venus, young Clijsters, young Henin. For me Davenport nicks this one but Capriati isn't far behind, in a pack with Haydon Jones and Sharapova, and ahead of Wade and the two-championship players. Austin is a bit the dark horse with her short but exciting career.
For starters, Capriati was in charge of the game in 2001? Hardly, Capriati won 2 slams like Venus, but won only 3 tournaments all year. Venus won the 2 biggest slams- Wimbledon and the U.S Open, won 6 out of 11 tournaments she played, won Miami- the biggest non slam event, and was 3-0 vs Capriati for the year, destroying her in the U.S Open semis. Venus was by far the true #1 of 2001 whether the deluded computer rankings showed it or not. Anyway the computer #1 wasnt even Jennifer either, it was Davenport. Jennifer also had losing head to heads with each of Venus, Davenport, and a way past her prime Seles for the year. She had tied head to heads for the year with Mauresmo and Henin but Henin won the only match both finished (Capriati's one win was a DNF in the 3rd set from injured Henin), and winning ones vs Serena, Hingis, Clijsters, and Dokic. What kind of a dominant player of the year has a losing head to head vs winning with half of the top 10.I wonder why Capriati gets so little love here. In 2001 she was in charge of the game as arguably no other lady in the list ever was, and against strong competition: Hingis, Davenport, Serena, Venus, young Clijsters, young Henin. For me Davenport nicks this one but Capriati isn't far behind, in a pack with Haydon Jones and Sharapova, and ahead of Wade and the two-championship players. Austin is a bit the dark horse with her short but exciting career.
In ONLY 2001 if you want to look at that way, which is basically conceding she had a 1 year prime only, she still had:True that Caprati's second half of 2001 wasn't as good as the first half (although semis at both Wimbeldon and the US Open is no mean feat), and true that her prime was short (which explains her poor head-to-head count against many players she beat in 2001).
And yet her run in the first half of 2001 was impressive. I remember Serena saying -- after losing the 2001 Wimbledon quarterfinal to Capriati -- that beating Capriati in this form would be a major achievement for any player. That Capriati was a notch behind a 7-slam champion like Venus over the entire course of 2001 is something I wouldn't hold against any player on this list.
Lots of good stuff, but I still have my quibbles. First, your stats are obviously rather one-sided -- what about Capriati's 3-0 score over Hingis in 2001, who had entered the year as the (clear) number 1? What about her 3-1 score over Serena, who began and ended 2001 as #6 and would dominate 2002?In ONLY 2001 if you want to look at that way, which is basically conceding she had a 1 year prime only, she still had:
- 0-3 head to head with Venus
- 1-2 head to head with Davenport who was merely playing at a level she played for atleast 10 years as opposed to 1 (actually 98-2000 and 2004-2005 Davenport was better)
- 1-2 head to head vs a way past her prime Seles, only win she was down 7-5, 4-1 too.
- 1-1 head to head with Henin, a loss in the Wimbledon semis to a pre-prime Henin on grass, Henin's worst surface by far, when Henin was about the half the player she would be from 2003-2007. Her win was not really a win, Henin retiring with injury on serve in a match on clay.
- 1-1 head to head vs a pre-prime Mauresmo
- won her only match with a pre-prime Clijsters 10-8 in the 3rd.
According to you this is tennis she only ever played for a year or even half a year her whole career, yet she was still owned by Venus, Davenport not playing as well as other years, and even a way past her prime Seles. She still only played about equal to a pre-prime Henin, Cljjsters, and Mauresmo, who were nowhere near the caliber of players they would be in a couple years time, so even 2001 Capriati would have regularly begun losing to these players in 2003 when they began hitting their stride.
If you want to restrict it even further into just the first half of 2001, which is basically conceding she only had a half year prime (LOL) then:
-Capriati's only 2 titles in that half year were the 2 slams
-Capriati still was down 7-5, 4-1 in her only slam meeting with a way past her prime Seles, then lost their next meeting
-Capriati still had to go to 10-8 in the 3rd to beat a pre-prime baby Clijsters in her first slam final
-Capriati still lost her one meeting with Mauresmo
Even prime Venus was a mediocrity on slow surfaces who was outstanding on fast surfaces. Of course Capriati in 2001 was nowhere near Venus on any medium to fast surface which 100% of Venus's greatness as a player is based upon anyway, and her being seen as anywhere near was based solely on her winning the 2 slow court slams where Venus is next to irrelevant and crashed out as usual. So if the draws and course of events on the 2 slow surface slams just happen to be such that you could win both than anyone could be just a notch behind Venus for the year on the basis of that alone. Heck even 2004 Myskina with the same draws and performances from opponents at the 2001 Australian and 2001 French Opens as Capriati (and Myskina is one of the worst 1 slam winners in history IMO) probably could have done the same thing.
Anyway you are entitled your opinion on Capriati. If you find her that impressive based upon what you said, then so be it. I and boredone are just explaining why we and many others arent that impressed by her, especialy compared to other 3 and even 2 slam winners.
Watching peak Capriati hit only 2 winners a set vs Venus in all their matches on hard courts, be completely overpowered by Davenport and Seles in her twilight years when they didnt mentally self comubst, and having a hard time trying to beat baby Clijsters and Henin, hardly amazes people to how great peak Capriati must have been.
Fair enough.Lots of good stuff, but I still have my quibbles.
I absolutely did NOT consider Hingis entering 2001 as the clear #1. I considered Hingis ending 2000 as the distant #3 who happened to finish #1 on the computer in the similarily flawed ranking system that makes Safina and Jankovic recent #1s today. Venus won the Olympics, Wimbledon, and U.S Open in 2000, she in my mind and almost everyone elses mind entered 2001 as the clear #1. Davenport had won the Australian Open and been in 2 other slam finals in 2000. She likewise entered the year as the clear #2. Even before 2001 began I considered Venus, Davenport, and maybe Serena as superior to Hingis.First, your stats are obviously rather one-sided -- what about Capriati's 3-0 score over Hingis in 2001, who had entered the year as the (clear) number 1?
Serena was not even close to the same in 2001 as 2002 or 2003, but yes Capriati has always been a tough opponent or matchup for Serena. Even while Serena dominated they had alot of 3 setters, although Jennifer lost them all during that stretch. I did consider Serena one of the best even in 2001, so yes like the Hingis head to head Capriati's very good 2001 head to head with Serena was both impressive and surprising. Having watched all their matches that year I have a similar feeling to the Hingis-Capriati matches, it was more about Serena underperforming than anything, but that is just my opinion.What about her 3-1 score over Serena, who began and ended 2001 as #6 and would dominate 2002?
Did you actually see their Australian Open match? Davenport played absolutely awful that day, gave the match away pretty much with a bazillion double faults, missed returns off mediocre serves, unforced errors. It had nothing to do with Capriati outplaying her really, other than that she was more consistent by default of the two that day. Davenport is still 8-3 vs Capriati lifetime, and won their other 2 matches that year even if they did go 3 sets, Capriati's only prime year according to you. If you have watched them play over the years will see Davenport pretty much always badly overpowered Capriati in their matches, Jen could do nothing except hope Davenport just had a really off day. Jen cant really hurt her with anything it seems. That is why I said it was such bad luck for Davenport to miss the other 2 slams Jen won. Lindsay not winning a slam after the 2000 Australian Open was a crying shame really, and Jennifer' Australian Open semifinal win over a badly off form Lindsay was really a fluke, a completely deserved still win but in the big picture of what happens when the two play a flukish result . I highly doubt it would have happened at the other 2 slams Capriati won as Lindsay playing as bad as she did in that semifinal is 1 in 100 basically and those probably would have been 2 additional and fully deserved slams for Lindsay instead.Also, it's not that Carpriati was blasted off the court by Davenport or Seles("owned" and "totally overpowered", as you write, is plain misleading). Capriati beat Davenport clearly when it mattered most -- at the Australian Open --- then lost hard-fougt three-setters at smaller tournaments later in the year.
Seles is a much greater champion than Capriati ever was, so that would seem to apply to Seles much more than Capriati. If anything Capriati would have much more chance vs the much greater champion Seles in those smaller tourament matches by that logic. In fairness to Capriati that makes it impressive on her behalf she somehow managed that come from behind upset over the far greater champion Seles in Australia that year. If you saw their San Diego match Capriati was not happy about losing to Seles, she was b1tching and moaning up a storm in that match. She hated being outslugged and outsteadied in a 6-3, 6-3 loss by a now clearly past her prime Seles but it is what happened.Similarly, Capriati's losses to Seles came at Tier II or Tier III tournaments in San Diego and Okahoma City. It's a trademark of champions that they play their best tennis when it truly matters.
Roger Federer has had many years of dominating slams and the other tournaments. In 2003 he dominated Wimbledon, the year end Masters, and many other tournaments for 7 tour titles. In 2004-2007 he dominated the whole year, and in 2005 and 2006 posted unreal W/L marks. At this point it is more ok for him to cruise in the non slam events since he has already more than proven himself on the overall tour. Plus he is a 15 slam winner, not a 3 slam winner who won his only ever 3 slams over just a 13 month stretch while winning only 4 total tournaments over a 30 month stretch at the same time. So sorry there is just no comparision here.As for 2 slams getting devalued by winning "only" one other tournament -- isn't this exactly what Roger Federer has done thus far this year?
My main argument against Capriati is not that she did not "dominate". I like most do not expect 3 slam champions to typically have dominated at any point in time. It is that she won all 3 of her slams over a 13 month stretch where she was barely .500 vs the rest of the whole top 10, won only 1 other tournament, and was aided by key absences or injuries at the 2 of those 3 slams by multiple players favored over her, which shows an incredible amount of luck I dont think you can say any of the others got to the same degree. It is that other than that 13 month stretch she was never any better than around the 7th best player in the World in any of her other 6 or 7 "good" years of tennis. It is the enormous hole in the middle of those 6 or 7 "good" years she had where she reached embarassing lows, probably worse and longer than anyone on this list (though Pierce had a few doozies too). It is that most good 1 or 2 slam winners have winning head to heads vs a 3 slam winner like herself. It is her lack of extremely impressive wins in winning slams or reaching slam finals compared to almost all of these others. It is that she has won only 14 tournaments in her career (pitiful for a 3 slam winner), only ended 2 years ranked in the top 5 ever, that she has never won Wimbledon or the U.S Open (still considered the 2 biggest events by most people even today), and that those 3 slam wins are her only slam finals (I would be more impressed with the undefeated in finals if even one of them was a prime Serena or Graf for example).But the more general point is that I feel you measure Capriati against another yardstick than the other players on that list. Your main argument against her, if I understand you correctly, is that she did not dominate the game, not even at her very peak. But none of these players did. Ann Haydon was very strong in the late 60s, but even at her very best entered slams typically as #3 seed behind Court and King (and sometimes Richey and Durr). Wade was famously inconsitent, not once in her slam career did she put back-to-back semifinals together (compared to 6 subsequent semis by Capriati in 2001/02). Mary Pierce is a similar case.
The only way only Sharpova, Austin, and Davenport are comparable to Capriati in terms of peak performance is if the sole determining factor is majors won in a short time. However there is more to that than what determines peak performance for me, and there is far more I consider to who is better than peak performance as well.In terms of peak performance, it seems to me only Davenport, Austin and Sharapova are comparable to Capriati; incidentally, they are also 4 of the 5 players from that list who made it to #1 (Mauresmo is the fifth, but in a transitional phase marked by absences of many top players). Now Davenport stands out, given that she was world #1 for some 100 weeks and top 3 material for almost a decade. And Austin and Sharaporva had arguably greater potential than Carpriati, unfortunately their time at the top was cut short by injuries. Against this must be held that Capriati lost much of the years when others have their primes (20-25) struggling with drugs.
Personally I rank
2 Haydon Jones
Many close calls, the only ranks I'm reasonably sure about is #1 and #10.
Thanks for many more good arguments. For the most part we can leave there. There are a few minor points where we're still reading from different pages (for example, it's true that the Williams sisters moved in and out of contention repeatedly -- but it matters that there were IN when Capriati had her best run and OUT when Mauresmo had hers). But these are, as said, minor.The only way only Sharpova, Austin, and Davenport are comparable to Capriati in terms of peak performance is if the sole determining factor is majors won in a short time. However there is more to that than what determines peak performance for me, and there is far more I consider to who is better than peak performance as well.
You call Mauresmo reaching #1 in a transitional era is kind of funny if it in comparision to Capriati. Mauresmo reached #1 in 2006, and was the true #1 for the year in the minds of many, when someone named Justine Henin was in her absolute prime, and when Sharapova was at her 2004-2006 peak. Not bad competition for a transitional era. Not that it matters much but Mauresmo is 7-4 lifetime vs Capriati as well, and 1-1 vs her even in 2001. Womens tennis ever since 1996 has been a transitional era. The Williams sisters fade in and out constantly, Hingis was a relative flash in the pan as far as greatness and retired first time at 21 I think, Henin had a great 5 year peak then retired at 25, Davenport had trouble staying healthy the last 8 years of her career. 2001-early 2002 was a transitional era of sorts too. It was before prime Serena and prime Henin took over the game, with Hingis and Davenport already past their peaks and suffering from either confidence (Hingis) or injury (Davenport), after the days of Graf and Seles were done for good. Venus reigned but with even prime Venus weaknesses on slower surfaces the Australian and French Open were an open feast for all the women to try for. Of course once prime Serena and prime Henin arrived, Capriatis chances of winning more slams went out the window.
How is Capriati missing out on years in the game due to becoming a pothead something you use in her defense. That isnt bad luck of any kind, that is foolish life decisions. I dont see how in anyway that be compared with people who have some seriously bad luck with injuries. Anyway I doubt those years would have been particularly fruitful for her anyway as far as any additional slam titles go. She was 1-10 lifetime vs Graf, didnt fare well vs Sanchez Vicario even in the early 90s and Sanchez was much tougher in the mid 90s, she never played Pierce from 94-2000 when Pierce was fit and a true threat, she has a 0-4 lifetime head t head vs Novotna, and she never played peak Hingis of 97-2000 at her own peak (although when she did play this Hingis she lost all 5 matches), and of course fared poorly overall vs Davenport or Venus at all points in her career. She also had stagnated in any improvements until her temporary depature from the game at the end of 1993 ever since late 1991 when she was still only 15. In fact I would argue her best tennis ever was still the second half of 1991 and 1992, she just had tougher competition back then.
Anyway my rankings:
1. Lindsay Davenport- extremely unlucky to not win more than 3 majors, possibly many more. In 2004-2005 alone she was denied 3 or 4 additional slams by the most unforseen circumstances.
2. Tracy Austin- poor girl only really got to play 7 slams at her peak from 79-81. Before that was 15 or younger, and after that she was never healthy until her imminent retirement. Even in such limited opportunity she won 2 U.S Opens by beating giants such as Chris and Martina a total 3 times to do it.
3. Ann Haydon Jones- one of the best clay courters of the 60s who still was good enough to challenge and beat prime Court and prime King on grass. Retired from full time and slam play when she seemingly was hitting her all time prime.
4. Mary Pierce- this is best, not just most achieved. On her best day she could blow absolutely anyone off the court, even if that player wasnt having an off day. You cant say that for many on this list.
5. Virginia Wade- impressive longevity, much better consistency than credited for by many, and when she was on she was capable of taking down anyone as she did to win her 3 slams, despite that she seemingly was consistantly in the shadows of other greater player in her own era.
6. Maria Sharapova- she will probably end up another what might have been.
Still extremely consistent from 2004-2006, and won her 3 slams taking down some big scalps, including the great Justine Henin in her prime twice, and the great Serena Williams in a Wimbledon final.
7. Nancy Richey- she owned teen phenom Chris until Chris was 18 and Nancy was 31 which speaks pretty well to her ability considering Chris was already spanking Margaret and Billie Jean a few times (especialy on clay) at only 16. Great and highly winning clay courter who reached a couple U.S Open finals with big wins on grass.
8. Amelie Mauresmo- blew opportunity after opportunity for years until finally putting it together by winnng 2 slams in 2006, impressive wins over Henin in the final both times (even if Henin quit with fake tummy ache in 1 of them). Was very consistent and posted many quality results and tier 1 titles, slam semis, etc...from 2002-2006, while being a dark horse contender from 99-2001 as well.
9. Jennifer Capriati- ok better than Kuznetsova for now atleast.
10. Svetlana Kuznetsova- just as much luck as Capriati, and 1 less slam. meh to both. Atleast thanks to the very lucky Kuzy for still preventing a far past her clay court prime Serena from winning this years French which would have been kind of embarassing. Too bad she choked vs Serena in Australia this year though.
Kuznetsova was helped in her 2 slams by quite a bit of luck. At the 2004 US Open her semifinal opponent, Lindsay Davenport, came into the match with a 22 match winning streak and was the favorite to win the tournament after winning the US Open series. Davenport was up a break (4-2) in the 3rd set before aggravating an injury that in the end cost her the match as it made her movement and serving go down the tube, allowing Kuznetsova to roll off the last 4 games of the match. Than in the final she played Dementieva, who herself was hampered by an injury and in the 2nd set did her usual serving herself into defeat after a rather tight first set loss. Not to mention the fact that she got a little lucky that Wimbledon Champ Maria Sharapova, who was her slated 4th rd opponent, somehow lost to Mary Pierce...who tanked horribly against Kuznetsova after losing a tight first set.Goodness, I'm the first to give Kuznetsova the nod? It was tuff list to choose from. But based on versatility and the way she constructs points, the fact that she isn't uncomfortable at net and to the fact that I don't remember seeing matches and/or footage from the first 3 ladies in the poll, I chose Kuznetsova.
boredone has already explained it beautifully but anyway Kuznetsova's 2 slam wins had Capriati esque like luck almost, particularly the 2004 U.S Open:Goodness, I'm the first to give Kuznetsova the nod? It was tuff list to choose from. But based on versatility and the way she constructs points, the fact that she isn't uncomfortable at net and to the fact that I don't remember seeing matches and/or footage from the first 3 ladies in the poll, I chose Kuznetsova.
Pierce higher than Clijsters? I am not sure if I agree there. Clijsters overall achievements as far as tier 1 titles, overall titles, being ranked #1 or #2 quite a bit of time, slam semis and quarters, are all well beyond Pierce. Both have 6 slam finals and 2 slams. Clijsters has won the WTA Championships twice too, Pierce has lost in the finals twice there. Despite winning only 2 slams so far Kim seemed to be much stronger a contender to win each slam she was in, and to contend for the #1 ranking, than Pierce ever was. Then again Pierce probably played in a tougher era, and her very best tennis was probably still a bit more devastating.I am not sure where Clijsters would stand here now either. Personally I would rate Davenport, Austin, Jones, and maybe still even Pierce Higher than Clijsters, but she would definitely now be above Capriati, Kuznetsova, and Mauresmo.
Well thats why I said Maybe, both in terms of slams are close, and both really could have (well yeah in Kim's case probably should have), won more. Kim did get to number 1, Pierce even on fire was held back from getting higher by the overall more consistant Vicario and Graf...so it really could go either way. I would probably if pressed give it to Kim, but I could see it either way. I would at this point put Davenport, Austin, Jones, Wade, Pierce...and ok maybe Sharapova...all right up there with Kim..with everyone else a pretty big notch below.Pierce higher than Clijsters? I am not sure if I agree there. Clijsters overall achievements as far as tier 1 titles, overall titles, being ranked #1 or #2 quite a bit of time, slam semis and quarters, are all well beyond Pierce. Both have 6 slam finals and 2 slams. Clijsters has won the WTA Championships twice too, Pierce has lost in the finals twice there. Despite winning only 2 slams so far Kim seemed to be much stronger a contender to win each slam she was in, and to contend for the #1 ranking, than Pierce ever was. Then again Pierce probably played in a tougher era, and her very best tennis was probably still a bit more devastating.
Yeah Pierce in 94-95 could have maybe been #1 in another field, even in 2000-2005 which was a strong field but Serena limits her schedule enough to give others a chance (outside of 2002), and Venus struggles enough on slow surfaces and limits her schedule enough to do likewise. Henin was healthy and rock solid the whole year only in 2003, 2006, and 2007. Honestly it will probably be moot though as Kim will probably be out of the 2-3 slam winners list eventually anyway. At least joining the 4-5 slam winners list. She like everyone else will reap the benefits of the weak womens field today, and it was a very smart decision of her to come back against this particular field to bolster her previously underachieving career.Well thats why I said Maybe, both in terms of slams are close, and both really could have (well yeah in Kim's case probably should have), won more. Kim did get to number 1, Pierce even on fire was held back from getting higher by the overall more consistant Vicario and Graf...so it really could go either way. I would probably if pressed give it to Kim, but I could see it either way. I would at this point put Davenport, Austin, Jones, Wade, Pierce...and ok maybe Sharapova...all right up there with Kim..with everyone else a pretty big notch below.