Davenport- how surprised were you that she won no slams after Australian Open 2000

#1
At the 2000 Australian Open Lindsay Davenport won her 3rd slam title, and 3rd in the last 6. She beat her chief rival Martina Hingis 6-1, 7-5 in the final, which only got that close in the 2nd set as she lost a 6-1, 5-1 lead. At this time she was only 23. The Williams sisters were on the rise and solidly in the top 4 along with Davenport/Hingis but had combined for only 1 slam, and both got off to very poor starts to 2000. Hingis was struggling to maintain even a semblance of her 97-early 98 dominance, and seemed to be behind in the head to head match up with Davenport. Who would have predicted this would be her last ever slam? I guessed at the time she had a 50/50 shot of reaching 10 slams and I would have guessed her absolute worst case scenario would be 6, with a best case scenario of 15.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
#2
Her last 2 Slam finals were in 2005 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Both went the distance and each was against a Williams sister and that probably says it all. At 2005 Wimbledon she actually held a championship point against Venus in the 2nd set tie-break (I think) and the decider went 9-7. She was that close to winning a 4th Slam and 2nd Wimbledon title.

Didn't she have a few fitness problems and injuries in the intervening years? After her 2005 run I guess she realised she could not compete with Serena and Venus. Not many could!
 
#4
Her last 2 Slam finals were in 2005 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Both went the distance and each was against a Williams sister and that probably says it all. At 2005 Wimbledon she actually held a championship point against Venus in the 2nd set tie-break (I think) and the decider went 9-7. She was that close to winning a 4th Slam and 2nd Wimbledon title.

Didn't she have a few fitness problems and injuries in the intervening years? After her 2005 run I guess she realised she could not compete with Serena and Venus. Not many could!
I don't like the black sisters. I like Chris Evert and Steffi Graf more.
 

BTURNER

Hall of Fame
#5
I don't like the black sisters. I like Chris Evert and Steffi Graf more.
If you replaced the name Steffi Graf with Jeanne you could have simply identified both sets of former doubles partners by melanin levels instead of just one. Not sure the Everts would be impressed being called the 'white sisters'. I wonder if that would have made you happy. Personally, I use the names of all players to identify them. In this case 'Williams' comes to mind. Its seems conventional I suppose, but convention can be civil, polite and decent.

To the OP. Yes I was surprised. Its so rare that players reaching number 1, fall off so fast.
 
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#6
Her last 2 Slam finals were in 2005 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Both went the distance and each was against a Williams sister and that probably says it all. At 2005 Wimbledon she actually held a championship point against Venus in the 2nd set tie-break (I think) and the decider went 9-7. She was that close to winning a 4th Slam and 2nd Wimbledon title.

Didn't she have a few fitness problems and injuries in the intervening years? After her 2005 run I guess she realised she could not compete with Serena and Venus. Not many could!
That is all true. However even someone like Capriati who Davenport was still owning even in Capriati's peaking second career, won 3 majors in the early 2000s. Things just never seemed to fall for Lindsay, she either choked, got outplayed, got injured, lost a winnable match, the list goes on.

Yes the Williams becoming so great was a huge destruction to Lindsay's career though. I think she probably wins about 12 majors without the Williams cummulatively (having both out of every hypothetical draw), which is more than anyone else would have won without them, including Sharapova who lost slams almost exclusively only due to Serena apart from only Wimbledon 2005.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
#7
I was very surprised that she never won any majors after the 2000 AO. I thought she could win all of the non-clay majors again at some point. I never saw her becoming an ultra-dominant force like Graf or Navratilova, but I thought she would pick up more major titles every now and again, especially with her remaining in title contention for the next 5 years and her consistency in reaching the latter stages of big tournaments.

According to Jon Wertheim (who i’m personally not a big fan of but he is well connected in the sport), ahead of that year’s US Open she was seriously considering retirement and was getting pretty sick of the sport, the grind, the travelling etc, at the age of 24. Her run to her final beating Serena in the quarter-finals (sandwiched in between defeats to her in 1999, 2001 and 2002), helped convince her to stick around. She then publicly contemplated retirement after her defeat to Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004, before going on a tear during the summer before injury cost her a US Open title.

She was excellent in the big 4 technical areas; the serve (the best of the rest after Serena and ahead of Venus in my opinion), the forehand, backhand and return (again better than everyone else apart from Serena in that department IMO). Plus she had good hands at the net.

While her mobility was a glaring weakness, it was often frustrating watching her often not bother to run for retrievable balls and her negative body language.
 
#8
She was excellent in the big 4 technical areas; the serve (the best of the rest after Serena and ahead of Venus in my opinion), the forehand, backhand and return (again better than everyone else apart from Serena in that department IMO). Plus she had good hands at the net.
Hmm you consider Serena to have better return of serve and groundstrokes? I am a huge fan of Serena, but I always thought Lindsay was atleast equal in those areas, probably a bit ahead in the return since Serena overhits a bit too often.

On the serve of course Serena is a chasm above every women in history. I would probably put Venus over Lindsay on the serve a bit just since her 1st serve is arguably the biggest ever, even if her 2nd serve can be iffy and her serve is technically not as sound as Lindsay's.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
#9
Hmm you consider Serena to have better return of serve and groundstrokes? I am a huge fan of Serena, but I always thought Lindsay was atleast equal in those areas, probably a bit ahead in the return since Serena overhits a bit too often.

On the serve of course Serena is a chasm above every women in history. I would probably put Venus over Lindsay on the serve a bit just since her 1st serve is arguably the biggest ever, even if her 2nd serve can be iffy and her serve is technically not as sound as Lindsay's.
I do think that Lindsay's return was better than Serena's. I meant to say that from her contemporaries only Serena really rivalled her in that department. In terms of groundstrokes I would give the overall advantage to Serena as I thought that her forehand was clearly better and more reliable than Lindsay's, although Lindsay's forehand still was excellent.

In terms of the serve, Venus said herself that her serve could either be her biggest strength or biggest weakness and her 2nd serve could be such a glaring weakness and could breakdown so often (with her giving away games with doubles faults), soI can't give her the edge over Lindsay there, whose serve was more accurate despite her 1st serve not being as fast. Even from 2000-2002 Venus still had issues with her serve and especially her 2nd serve, largely due to her overly complicated service motion with so many moving parts to it.

From those main 4 technical areas, from her contemporaries only Serena had a stronger overall arsenal than her in my opinion.
 
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Gizo

Hall of Fame
#10
I guess not many people could have imagined that Hingis would never win another major in singles after her 1999 AO title. Despite Davenport's rise and the likely future rise of Venus and Serena, most people would have expected her to win another major somewhere (obviously the 2002 AO was the biggest blown opportunity) although I did think at the time that she'd struggle to win another Wimbledon title (though I didn't expect her to lose in the 1st round twice in 3 years from 1999-2001). And who would have thought at the time that Venus wouldn't win another hard-court / non-grass major after her dominant and hugely impressive 2001 US Open title defence (capping after an excellent summer)? In 2000-2001 she was 46-1 on US hard courts (that one defeat coming against Shaughnessy at Stanford in 2001), and 57-2 on all outdoor hard courts.
 
#11
I guess not many people could have imagined that Hingis would never win another major in singles after her 1999 AO title. Despite Davenport's rise and the likely future rise of Venus and Serena, most people would have expected her to win another major somewhere (obviously the 2002 AO was the biggest blown opportunity) although I did think at the time that she'd struggle to win another Wimbledon title (though I didn't expect her to lose in the 1st round twice in 3 years from 1999-2001). And who would have thought at the time that Venus wouldn't win another hard-court / non-grass major after her dominant and hugely impressive 2001 US Open title defence (capping after an excellent summer)? In 2000-2001 she was 46-1 on US hard courts (that one defeat coming against Shaughnessy at Stanford in 2001), and 57-2 on all outdoor hard courts.
Yeah come to think of it, it feels amazing in retrospect Hingis, Davenport, and even Venus didnt end up winning more majors than they did. And who would have imagined Capriati stealing 3 majors when she did and cutting into everyones totals. I dont think the Belgians rise to superstardom was exactly expected either, although some kind of up and comer emerging was probably likely.
 
#12
Her and Capriati beating up on Hingis eh?

Thought she had a kid in 2002 and really only Clijsters and recently Serena have come back to compete seriously. I think ultimately that cost her. In 05 the Aussie draw was weak and she just wasn't beating Williams sisters on grass.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
#13
Yeah come to think of it, it feels amazing in retrospect Hingis, Davenport, and even Venus didnt end up winning more majors than they did. And who would have imagined Capriati stealing 3 majors when she did and cutting into everyones totals. I dont think the Belgians rise to superstardom was exactly expected either, although some kind of up and comer emerging was probably likely.
Yeah Venus 'only' winning 2 hard court majors, and never winning the Australian Open, just feels wrong. Of course the Australian Open isn't just a test of how strong a player is on hard courts, but also how effective their off-season training regime is and how well they handle the heat. But still a player who had the ability to win 88 out of 93 hard court matches in 3 years from 2000-2002, failing to win one of the hard court majors is just crazy. I don't think hard courts vs. slow hard courts is such a big deal on the women's side, but anyway she won the 2000 Olympics on rebound ace and won 3 Miami titles, so that is a big historical anomoly.

Regarding Hingis, after she won her 1999 AO title, if you'd asked me whether it was more likely that she 1) would win a RG title at some point (not necessarily that year) to complete her set, or 2) would never win any more majors in singles at all, I definitely would have said that option 1) was more likely.
 
#17
It is too bad Davenport did not hit her peak much earlier. I have a feeling she could have really cleaned up in the 94-97 period had she gotten her fitness and confidence together sooner, while probably having the same or even more success in 98-2000 (she would have an intimidation factor about her now she in reality never really had against people the Williams, even when she #1 and winning slams). Her only real competition in the 94-97 period would have been Graf in 95-96, who would have for sure beaten Davenport at RG and probably at Wimbledon, but Davenport would have a good shot on hard courts, and Graf didnt even play the Australian in 95 and 96 anyway. Davenport in general did very well against Graf and Seles, especialy Seles, even taking account both players being past their primes for atleast half their matches against her. 94 and 97 there would have been no real obstacles that I see, Graf out of form in 94 and winning only 1 slam, Sanchez should beat Davenport on clay but should be pounded by a fit an confident Davenport elsewhere, Hingis in 97 would be a threat but she always did well against Hingis in her own peak years.

Davenport did blow many chances at slams in 2004-2005. She in fact blew 4 good ones- Wimbledon 2004 where in the semis she led Sharapova by a set and break and had break points and got tenative and let Maria back into the match. Probably would have beaten a mediocre Serena in the final, although Maria played amazingly well in the finals, much better than the semis or any other match that tournament, and was probably part of making Serena look worse than she was that day, so still not neccessarily a sure win for Davenport but a good chance. U.S Open 2004 where she was unlucky to be injured yes, but she still could have toughed out a win over Kuznetsova after winning the first set 6-1 and being up 3-0 in the 3rd. She then would have played a tired and also injured Demenetieva in the final. Australian 2005 for sure. And Wimbledon 2005, hard to fault her much as she lost that amazing classic to Venus, but still had numerous chances to win. Pam Shriver says French 2005 but she is an idiot, Davenport beating peak Henin on clay, ROTFL, foolish old prune.

late 2000-2003 not so much, was a combination of great competition, injuries, the Williams being awful match ups for her when the Williams are at their best, Clijsters being another awful match up for her once Kim really matured, and a bit of burnout/decline/stagnation by her which most players go through at some point. She was super unlucky to miss 2 slams Capriati won, especialy the 2002 australian which in decent form she probably wins easily, and to play one of her worst slam matches ever in the 2001 Australian Open vs Capriati, much worse than even some of the so so/mediocre efforts she gave against Venus in some others. It is what it is though, in the end the way things played out there werent a ton of chances for her those years, but 2004-2005 there was.
 
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#18
From those main 4 technical areas, from her contemporaries only Serena had a stronger overall arsenal than her in my opinion.
What about Henin and Clijsters? I agree with over Venus being behind only for that forehand, which could be awesome, but could also be an error machine and a big liability against Serena and the other big hitters. Plus her 2nd serve, even if the 1st serve was devastating.

Clijsters has excellent grounstrokes. Maybe not devastatingly overpowering, but very clean, consistent, crisp, with still very good power. Return excellent too. Serve solid, but nothing special, definitely way Serena or Davenport on the serve.

Henin at her best also had excellent groundstrokes, although she was more prone to errors than Clijsters was, but she was also usually going for more. Serve more a weapon than Clijsters, but still not as strong as the Williams or Davenport, and could break down easily. Return of serve not the best either really.

Then there is Sharapova. Before her shoulder problems caused her serve decline I think she could be up there close with Davenport and even Serena in the Big 4 shot areas. Her biggest problem is she lacked any diversity or adaptability on her shots and game in general, she had only 1 speed or tactic during her true peak physical years.
 
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