Is Navratilova Underrated? Why?

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
You still had to have wealthy parents, national patronage and investment from a highly developed country, or a hell of a lot of luck to afford to access decent coachy, afford the equipment and the travel expenses to be a part of the tour.
Does national patronage still play a large role?
 

byealmeens

Semi-Pro
Your argument about doubles is valid to a point. However when a player has consistent success in doubles with multiple partners across multiple decades and on different surfaces etc. then there is something there. McEnroe Navaratilova, Hingis and Paes all come to mind when I think of that. But yes. If she hadn’t been an utterly dominant sinlgles player we wouldn’t even be talking about her.
I agree but want to take this a bit further. I think doubles performance is absolutely an accurate measurement of versatility, and “completeness”. There are several ATGs that are not particularly good doubles players, despite amazing performance in singles. That, to me, makes it difficult to argue that they have more of an “all court” game compared to someone with similar singles performance AND excellent doubles performance. I also doubt Navratilova, McEnroe, etc. would be accused of a successful doubles career due to the strength of their partner. Most would tell you they could have won with almost anyone.

EDIT: And to add a few numbers to this point … Graf had 11 doubles titles, Seles had 4 doubles titles, and Evert had 32 doubles titles. Serena is still playing of course, but has 23 doubles titles despite having another ATG (and arguably a much better doubles player) as her partner.

As a reminder, Martina had 177 doubles titles. She also won 109 consecutive matches with Shriver, including all four major titles.
 
Last edited:

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Insofar as the USTA puts more investment capital into developing its next generation than Liechtenstein and the Marshall Islands does, I'd say definitely. How many Liechtensteiners got to the QFs of a major last year?
Are there any pros from Liechtenstein?
 

BTURNER

Hall of Fame
Are there any pros from Liechtenstein?
Actually yes there is at least one.
http://countrylicious.com/liechtenstein/famous-people
"
Stephanie Vogt

Tennis Player

Stephanie Vogt is a Liechtensteinerin professional tennis player. Vogt has won nine singles and six doubles titles on the ITF tour in her career. On 14 October 2013, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 140. On 21 October 2013, she peaked at world number 128 in the doubles rankings. Vogt made her debut for the Liechtenstein Fed Cup team in 2006, accumulating an overall record of 14-9.

My guess is that she being the star, the rest of the Fed cup team is not as highly ranked
 
Last edited:

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Actually yes there is at least one.
http://countrylicious.com/liechtenstein/famous-people
"
Stephanie Vogt

Tennis Player

Stephanie Vogt is a Liechtensteinerin professional tennis player. Vogt has won nine singles and six doubles titles on the ITF tour in her career. On 14 October 2013, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 140. On 21 October 2013, she peaked at world number 128 in the doubles rankings. Vogt made her debut for the Liechtenstein Fed Cup team in 2006, accumulating an overall record of 14-9.

My guess is that she being the star, the rest of the Fed cup team is not as highly ranked
Well dang!
 
  • Like
Reactions: PDJ

trailgraves

New User
I dont think she is underrated. Most have her as 3rd best all time behind Graf and Serena which is fair. I dont think she should be rated over either of those. If anything I think she might be a a tad bit overrated. There could be a possible case of ranking her 2nd or even 1st, but there is an even stronger case for possibly ranking her 4th and 5th behind Evert and/or Court. Court and Evert are the underrated ones if there are any amongst the Open Era greatest.

There really is no solid argument to putting her over Graf and Serena that I see. Not only is she far behind in slam titles (the most important stat) but she is behind Graf and only about equal with Serena in time at #1, has a far less balanced slam record than both, and is behind in Olympics and most other categories. The only areas she is ahead is doubles (debateable value) and tournament wins, the latter an almost completely meaningless stat when comparing players of the 70s to modern day champions. Serena even has her beat in longevity, although she tops Graf there.
 

trailgraves

New User
Here's another thing about Martina. Despite being past her peak, She played the best players quite tough.

Old woman Martina(ages 31-36) from 1988-1993 played peak Graf tough. Sure, Peak Graf got the better of Martina by going 5-2 vs Martina. But none of Graf's wins were won in straight sets, even during Graf's insane 1988 season.

Similarly, Seles from 1991-1993(ages 34-36 for Martina) was 7-4 vs Martina.

Post-prime Martina still played peak heavyweights quite tough.
Yes very old Navratilova did well even against peak Seles, but Seles is not one of the GOATs. As for Graf sorry but no way in hell was early 90s Graf who not only lost the #1 ranking to Seles but lost 7 of 8 matches to Sabatini at one point, lost a slam semi to Sanchez 6-0, 6-2, lost 4 times to Jana Novotna, peak Graf. Old Navratilova did not even record a single win over the actual peak Graf (88-90, 95-96, late 93-early 94, etc...). Old Navratilova went 4 years without a win over peak Graf (87 U.S Open to 91 U.S Open) until finally recording her first win in a whopping 4 years over a badly straggling slumping Graf who was in the midst of her worst year since she was like 15. Still a good win at age 34 but lets not take it out of context of reality.

That aside though even if you were right that is hardly unusual. It should be expected any GOAT will score occasional wins past their prime over a fellow GOAT in their prime. Look at Federer and Djokovic. Mid 20s Navratilova herself took a 6-2, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-1 loss on grass and carpet, her two best surfaces, to a 36 and 37 year old King in 80 and 81. I still wouldnt say a prime King is better than a prime Navratilova despite that a million years past her prime handed prime Martina a couple severe ass whoopings, which is better than anything she did against Graf or even Seles. 33 year old semi retired Court beat 21 year old Navratilova a few times in 75, including at Wimbledon in straight sets. I am sure old Graf would score atleast a few wins over peak Martina, since even old Graf is much better than Sukova who scored a couple big wins over peak Martina. And if peak Martina played old Seles enough times on slower courts like rebound ace or clay, guarantee she takes a couple losses at some point too. 32 year old Wade beat peak Evert at Wimbledon, and nearly beat her in the WTC that year which would have given her the #1 ranking for the year IIRC, despite that prime Evert destroys even peak Wade the majority of the time. Your example hardly sets Martina apart in anyway from anyone else.

Lastly Martina is a super late bloomer so being in her 30s isnt even that big a deal or that past her prime for her. I would argue she was close to her very best in 88 and 89 when Graf still dominated her and easily took #1 over her. In 91-93 when she was scoring some big wins over Seles and Graf, yes she was now clearly past her prime, but nowhere near as much as a player that age typically would be.
 

AM75

Professional
<...> and is behind in Olympics and most other categories. The only areas she is ahead is doubles (debateable value) and tournament wins, the latter an almost completely meaningless stat when comparing players of the 70s to modern day champions. Serena even has her beat in longevity, although she tops Graf there.
Tennis became an Olympic sport again when Navratilova was in decline, so Olympics is not an argument. No one knows how Navratilova would do if tennis was an Olympic sport in the 1970.

Should doubles / mixed doubles count she would be undeniable Nr 1 with her 31 and 10 respective GS titles, and regarding longevity... She won her last mixed doubles GS title with 49. I doubt Serena will be able to repeat that.
 

trailgraves

New User
Tennis became an Olympic sport again when Navratilova was in decline, so Olympics is not an argument. No one knows how Navratilova would do if tennis was an Olympic sport in the 1970.

Should doubles / mixed doubles count she would be undeniable Nr 1 with her 31 and 10 respective GS titles, and regarding longevity... She won her last mixed doubles GS title with 49. I doubt Serena will be able to repeat that.
Mixed doubles today is an effing joke. I am sure if Serena wanted to she could easily win a big mixed doubles title at 50. She probably wont bother since her life doesnt revolve around tennis and nothing else to the extent Martina's always has. Look at a typical mixed doubles draw today though and seriously tell me Serena at 49 or 50 wouldnt be capable of winning a mixed doubles slam.

Serena has won singles slams over a 20 year period, and been ranked #1 15 years apart. She had 3 slam years a whopping 13 years apart, while Martina's first and last 2 slam year was a grand 5 years apart. She easily trumps Martina in longevity.

And Court has more singles/doubles/mixed combined slams than Martina.

Yes you are right on the Olympics, but if people are going to credit Martina for her greater title count when in the 70s many tournaments you only had to win 2 or 3 matches, and when EVERY great of the 60s and 70s wins more titles than greats of the 90s and 2000s (Federer is even still chasing Lendl in titles even though Lendl is barely half the player Federer is, ROTFL) then Serena and Graf have to get credit for their Olympic victories too. Or otherwise just exclude both entirely in the comparision (I would be fine with that) which still leaves Serena and Graf clearly above Martina in most respects. Lastly Martina was World #2 in 88 and World #3 in 92, and was eligible and able to play the Olympics and win medals if she wanted to, so even that excuse doesnt entirely hold weight.
 

trailgraves

New User
Let's not forget that she skipped the AO several times. The AO wasn't held in 1986, which was a peak year for her.
Just do remember had everyone played the Australian and French Opens back then Evert would have about 24 slams and Navratilova only about 19 (nearly the same as now) and nearly everyone would be ranking Evert higher than Navratilova in the GOAT race, not moving Navratilova up any, but instead dropping her another spot. Evert might now even be conidered the GOAT over Serena and Graf, and Navratilova would now be a firm #2 in her own era, even her 13 match win streak over Evert at one stage would not be enough to change that.

The only years Martina would have been a real shot of winning the Australian had everyone played is 78 and 79. She was never as dominant at the Australian Open as Wimbledon, and this was before she was dominant period, so I will give her 1 of those 2. She didnt even make a slam final in 76 and 77, not even at her beloved Wimbledon, so those years seem out. Even had she played it with the actual field forgetting a projected full field she very likely doesnt beat Goolagong either year (76 and 77), although she might win a default title in late 77 over Melville, but at this stage of her career good chance Martina even chokes that one away.

She played every year from 80-89. 90 and beyond was now very slow high bouncing hard courts in years dominated by Graf and Seles, and Martina now 33+, so forget those.

Yes there was no Australian Open in 86 technically but there was 1 in December 85 and January 87, so basically the 1 year gap continued all along. Had the 81 Australian Open been in January 81 instead of December 81 Navratilova would not likely have won a 81 Australian Open either. The 81, 82, 83, 84, 85 winners were basically all the 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 winners anyhow as the event ended in early January each year.
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
Incorrect.
(y)
Massive ego and unattractive personality off court.
True, and her ego was never justified by her achievements on court. As a result, she--as you know--spent years attacking Graf, and then Serena for the "crime" of being undeniably superior to Navratilova.


I agree with you on your last point.

On court, probably one of the best. I don't think she's underrated; people give her enough credit. But off court, it's a different story.

I was at USO when she was there filming a short segment for Tennis Channel on one of the indoor court that's normally used for demoing racquets, free instructions, etc. Adoring fans were plenty, cheering and clapping for her before and after she walked into the court. She didn't seem to acknowledge these fans nor stopped to sign any autograph for many near the court entrance - she just finished the filming and walked briskly off the court.

Maybe she had interview lining up, but it just didn't give a good impression.

IMO, you described her off court personality well.
..but that's not the first time that's been observed about Navratilova.

Overall, her record is not that of the GOAT, and of course that applies to Evert as well. With Court before them and Graf in their then-future, Navarailove and Evert's shortcomings are far too obvious and place them in a category far away from the GOAT, as they have never displayed that concentrated dominance in the calendar year.
 
D

Deleted member 293577

Guest
I always thought it was so weird how easily she bulked up, then went on to dominate the tour. Weird as in maybe she had some help.
 

Greatgatsby

Semi-Pro
I always thought it was so weird how easily she bulked up, then went on to dominate the tour. Weird as in maybe she had some help.
I don't think she bulked up as much as she got very vascular. I also wonder how much of her success in 1982 and 1983 was due to her using a graphite midsize with a much bigger sweet spot for reducing her unforced errors.
 
Here's another thing about Martina. Despite being past her peak, She played the best players quite tough.

Old woman Martina(ages 31-36) from 1988-1993 played peak Graf tough. Sure, Peak Graf got the better of Martina by going 5-2 vs Martina. But none of Graf's wins were won in straight sets, even during Graf's insane 1988 season.

Similarly, Seles from 1991-1993(ages 34-36 for Martina) was 7-4 vs Martina.

Post-prime Martina still played peak heavyweights quite tough.
The reverse is true. Absolute peak Martina was destroyed 6-2, 6-2 by a baby nowhere near prime Graf in 86, and was down 3 match points to her at the U.S Open. Again 6-3, 6-2 by non prime Graf in early 87.

 
On the thread topic though it seems the OP is asking is she underrated since most dont feel she is the GOAT. And the simple answer to that is no. There is very good reason most consider Navratilova as one of the best ever, but not the best ever. At 18 singles slams she is not even close to the leader in that, there are 3 women with 22 or more. No it is not only about singles slams but that is by far the most important stat like it or not, and she not only does not lead in that, but she isnt even in range of several people. Based on that alone it would be surprising if most people regarded her as the GOAT.

And for those who want to use the "well not everyone played Australian and French back then" argument, I mentioned this just now in another thread, but this hardly applies to Martina at all. Had everyone played those 2 slams in the 70s she would still have only 18 or 19 slams, her only potential ones would be one of the Australian Opens in the late 70s, which she might have won 1 at most considering she won only 2 Wimbledons that period, and that is a far better slam for her historically. Chris would gain a ton of slams, so Martina would not rise up most peoples all time rankings in that propopsed hypothetical, but instead drop another spot, behind Chris as well. So even if that argument were valid it is not in Martina's favor.
 

scootad.

Semi-Pro
Thanks for posting those videos of Graf-Navratilova circa 1986-87. That was just before I started following tennis - I started watching tennis at the very tail end of Navratilova’s career. Those videos really strike me in terms of much she declined in skill and strength from 1986 to 1990 and beyond. Age really caught up with her, as it does with everyone. Watching her reach the 94 Wimbledon final, she seemed like a shadow of her former self compared to the videos posted above. Amazed she even got there at that point.

I find the late 80s and early 90s an interesting era for tennis - with the changing of the guard. Would have been some great battles if Graf and Navi’s peaks occurred at same time.
 
Thanks for posting those videos of Graf-Navratilova circa 1986-87. That was just before I started following tennis - I started watching tennis at the very tail end of Navratilova’s career. Those videos really strike me in terms of much she declined in skill and strength from 1986 to 1990 and beyond. Age really caught up with her, as it does with everyone. Watching her reach the 94 Wimbledon final, she seemed like a shadow of her former self compared to the videos posted above. Amazed she even got there at that point.

I find the late 80s and early 90s an interesting era for tennis - with the changing of the guard. Would have been some great battles if Graf and Navi’s peaks occurred at same time.
94 the womens field was terrible. Graf struggling with form and injuries after her hot start to 94; and maybe struggling with motivation and starting to miss Seles. Pierce unbelievable at times but erratic as heck like always. Sanchez and Martinez strong, but other than that pretty much terrible. Novotna slumping a bit, Fernandez always injured and on decline, Sabatini on massive decline, Capriati out. Davenport with huge potential but still far too fat at that point to make any impact; she made post stabbing Seles look anorexic at that point. That largely explains Navratilova's Wimbledon final in 94 so far past it (still a great achievement nonetheless). Graf losing 1st round of that Wimbledon also changed the whole event entirely for everyone.
 
Dont most have her #3 all time behind Serena and Graf, many even #2 all time behind Serena. I dont see how she is underrated, unless you are arguing she should be regarded as the GOAT which some do anyway, but not most people anymore. And being only tied for 5th in singles slams, the answer she isnt most peoples GOAT pick anymore is fairly obvious, if anything maybe she is a bit overrated considering she is only tied for 5th in singles slams, which is the most important stat yet is generally regarded a lot higher than that. And it is not like she is the only great who excelled in both singles and doubles (eg- Court, Serena, Lenglen, Wills).
 

KG1965

Legend
Dont most have her #3 all time behind Serena and Graf, many even #2 all time behind Serena. I dont see how she is underrated, unless you are arguing she should be regarded as the GOAT which some do anyway, but not most people anymore. And being only tied for 5th in singles slams, the answer she isnt most peoples GOAT pick anymore is fairly obvious, if anything maybe she is a bit overrated considering she is only tied for 5th in singles slams, which is the most important stat yet is generally regarded a lot higher than that. And it is not like she is the only great who excelled in both singles and doubles (eg- Court, Serena, Lenglen, Wills).
Serena ? Is #5 all time
 

Cashman

Professional
I think Navratilova is a pretty good example of why the GOAT debate is so futile. The game has changed so much, in so many ways. Trying to compare her to someone like Serena is almost like trying to compare two athletes from different sports.

I do think the reason she doesn't get talked about much has a lot to do with the fact that an increasing number of tennis fans never saw her play.
 

Sander001

Hall of Fame
In the modern era, Navratilova is statistically the best and most complete tennis player by a very large margin. You're absolutely not getting the complete picture if you're only looking at singles.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
I dont think she is underrated. Most have her as 3rd best all time behind Graf and Serena which is fair. I dont think she should be rated over either of those. If anything I think she might be a a tad bit overrated. There could be a possible case of ranking her 2nd or even 1st, but there is an even stronger case for possibly ranking her 4th and 5th behind Evert and/or Court. Court and Evert are the underrated ones if there are any amongst the Open Era greatest.

There really is no solid argument to putting her over Graf and Serena that I see. Not only is she far behind in slam titles (the most important stat) but she is behind Graf and only about equal with Serena in time at #1, has a far less balanced slam record than both, and is behind in Olympics and most other categories. The only areas she is ahead is doubles (debateable value) and tournament wins, the latter an almost completely meaningless stat when comparing players of the 70s to modern day champions. Serena even has her beat in longevity, although she tops Graf there.
Serena has absolutely had a longer career in terms of years played, but a limited schedule more often than not.

Anyway, Navratilova will never be underrated- ask Martina :)

And that's fair enough - she was a great champion. And probably in better physical shape right now than Williams currently is.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
In the modern era, Navratilova is statistically the best and most complete tennis player by a very large margin. You're absolutely not getting the complete picture if you're only looking at singles.
There is no doubt that Martina was one of the greatest singles and doubles of all time. However, fact is, that in her era very few of the top players competed in doubles. In the Court/King era, they and other top players competed, which made winning more difficult. Before them, there was du Pont/Brough, Hart/Fry and other top players competing in doubles and mixed. As I have said before: Court, Evert, Martina, Serena and Graf are equal all time great players or at least very close.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
There is no doubt that Martina was one of the greatest singles and doubles of all time. However, fact is, that in her era very few of the top players competed in doubles. In the Court/King era, they and other top players competed, which made winning more difficult. Before them, there was du Pont/Brough, Hart/Fry and other top players competing in doubles and mixed. As I have said before: Court, Evert, Martina, Serena and Graf are equal all time great players or at least very close.
I 100% agree with your last sentence.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
(y)


True, and her ego was never justified by her achievements on court. As a result, she--as you know--spent years attacking Graf, and then Serena for the "crime" of being undeniably superior to Navratilova.




..but that's not the first time that's been observed about Navratilova.

Overall, her record is not that of the GOAT, and of course that applies to Evert as well. With Court before them and Graf in their then-future, Navarailove and Evert's shortcomings are far too obvious and place them in a category far away from the GOAT, as they have never displayed that concentrated dominance in the calendar year.
This makes NO sense to me. Evert ended 5 years at #1, Martina-7 and Graf-8. Graf had her first few years a #1 vs past prime Evert and Martina, then Seles was #1 for 2 years, then Graf had several more years at #1 after the Seles stabbing against very weak competition. So to say that Evert or Martina had no years of dominance seems wrong to me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PDJ

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
I think Navratilova is a pretty good example of why the GOAT debate is so futile. The game has changed so much, in so many ways. Trying to compare her to someone like Serena is almost like trying to compare two athletes from different sports.

I do think the reason she doesn't get talked about much has a lot to do with the fact that an increasing number of tennis fans never saw her play.
True. And, an ever decreasing public have less interest in women's tennis than they did in Navratilova's day.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
(y)


True, and her ego was never justified by her achievements on court. As a result, she--as you know--spent years attacking Graf, and then Serena for the "crime" of being undeniably superior to Navratilova.




..but that's not the first time that's been observed about Navratilova.

Overall, her record is not that of the GOAT, and of course that applies to Evert as well. With Court before them and Graf in their then-future, Navarailove and Evert's shortcomings are far too obvious and place them in a category far away from the GOAT, as they have never displayed that concentrated dominance in the calendar year.
Tosh. Absolute tosh.
You can not compare the era of Evert (and to a point, Navratilova) when the AO and for a limited period, the French were simply not the priorities they are now. Evert missed (along with practically all the top women) the French for Team Tennis in the mid 70s when she was ridiculously dominant on clay and only played the AO 6 times (and only once on a hard court) in a near 20 year career.
And who knows how many Wimbledon titles she'd have if the grass was as it is now.
Graf's rise coincided with the AO becoming a legitimate major on a par with the others.
Court being an Australian had the advantage that she lived there, plus her own Association would have frowned had she missed it.
This is not to denigrate the achievements of Court and Graf, but to put it in to perspective.

Worth noting that both Evert and Navratilova gave far more back to tennis than any other woman mentioned in the conversation.
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
This makes NO sense to me. Evert ended 5 years at #1, Martina-7 and Graf-8. Graf had her first few years a #1 vs past prime Evert and Martina, then Seles was #1 for 2 years, then Graf had several more years at #1 after the Seles stabbing against very weak competition. So to say that Evert or Martina had no years of dominance seems wrong to me.
You're talking about a ranking. Dominance is what Graf achieved in majors titles and to top it all off, winning the Grand Slam (concentrated dominance), which was far beyond the skills of Evert and Navratilova, hence Martina spending years attacking Graf. That was centered on what mattered--majors titles and the Grand Slam, which Navratilova failed to reach.

Regarding other members, the only rubbish around here is anyone thinking Evert or Graf is "equally" great with Graf. That is utter nonsense, and unsupported by history.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DSH

thrust

Hall of Fame
You're talking about a ranking. Dominance is what Graf achieved in majors titles and to top it all off, winning the Grand Slam (concentrated dominance), which was far beyond the skills of Evert and Navratilova, hence Martina spending years attacking Graf. That was centered on what mattered--majors titles and the Grand Slam, which Navratilova failed to reach.

Regarding other members, the only rubbish around here is anyone thinking Evert or Graf is "equally" great with Graf. That is utter nonsense, and unsupported by history.
Except for the couple of years before the stabbing, in which Seles beat Graf in three of their four slam finals, Graf had less than great competition except for old Evert and past peak Navratilova. Martina, who I was never a fan of, had to deal with peak Evert throughout her whole career.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PDJ

thrust

Hall of Fame
You're talking about a ranking. Dominance is what Graf achieved in majors titles and to top it all off, winning the Grand Slam (concentrated dominance), which was far beyond the skills of Evert and Navratilova, hence Martina spending years attacking Graf. That was centered on what mattered--majors titles and the Grand Slam, which Navratilova failed to reach.

Regarding other members, the only rubbish around here is anyone thinking Evert or Graf is "equally" great with Graf. That is utter nonsense, and unsupported by history.
Except for the couple of years before the stabbing, in which Seles beat Graf in three of their four slam finals, Graf had less than great competition except for old Evert and past peak Navratilova. Martina, who I was never a fan of, had to deal with peak Evert throughout her whole career. Quality of competition does matter
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
Except for the couple of years before the stabbing, in which Seles beat Graf in three of their four slam finals, Graf had less than great competition except for old Evert and past peak Navratilova. Martina, who I was never a fan of, had to deal with peak Evert throughout her whole career. Quality of competition does matter
Seles was never going to defeat Graf at Wimbledon. She never had the game for it no matter what she tried (much like Justine Henn), so the tables were going to be turned on her not only there, but in the sport in general, as Graf was simply a superior talent to her (and the generation before her--namely Evert and Navratilova's).
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
Seles was never going to defeat Graf at Wimbledon. She never had the game for it no matter what she tried (much like Justine Henn), so the tables were going to be turned on her not only there, but in the sport in general, as Graf was simply a superior talent to her (and the generation before her--namely Evert and Navratilova's).
You may be right, but as I recall Graf and Seles only played once at Wimbledon. Also during that Wimbledon Seles's home country was involved in a civil war and she was getting death threats from anti Serbs. Then there was Navratilova leading campaign against her grunting during that Wimbledon. Seles stopped grunting but I think the combination of those happenings affected her game, especially against Graf. Having said that, no doubt Graf would have won anyway, but perhaps not as easily, as she was more experienced on grass courts than Seles was. As for Henin, she did reach two Wimbledon finals, losing to a much bigger and more experienced Venus in the first one and then Mauresmo also an outstanding grass court player. Graf was, indeed, one of the greatest players of all time but not superior to peak: Evert, Navratilova, Serena, Venus on grass, or Seles before the stabbing. Again, competition does matter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PDJ

pat200

Rookie
You may be right, but as I recall Graf and Seles only played once at Wimbledon. Also during that Wimbledon Seles's home country was involved in a civil war and she was getting death threats from anti Serbs. Then there was Navratilova leading campaign against her grunting during that Wimbledon. Seles stopped grunting but I think the combination of those happenings affected her game, especially against Graf. Having said that, no doubt Graf would have won anyway, but perhaps not as easily, as she was more experienced on grass courts than Seles was. As for Henin, she did reach two Wimbledon finals, losing to a much bigger and more experienced Venus in the first one and then Mauresmo also an outstanding grass court player. Graf was, indeed, one of the greatest players of all time but not superior to peak: Evert, Navratilova, Serena, Venus on grass, or Seles before the stabbing. Again, competition does matter.
first off giving seles all those excuses why she lost, but then graf doesn't get the benefit of the doubt for the slump she was going and the family scandal she had that shook her.

the bold part: almost every historian has admitted that Graf at her peak would beat anyone at their peak. that was before Serena, who probably at her peak, she would beat anyone else at their peak mainly because of that stellar serve of hers.

also Seles and Graf played at Wimbledon twice, once in 1989 though where she was thrashed 6-0, 6-1
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
As for Henin, she did reach two Wimbledon finals, losing to a much bigger and more experienced Venus in the first one and then Mauresmo also an outstanding grass court player. Graf was, indeed, one of the greatest players of all time but not superior to peak: Evert, Navratilova, Serena, Venus on grass, or Seles before the stabbing. Again, competition does matter.
The point was that there was no form of Henin that was ever going to win the Wimbledon title; it was beyond her abilities, and even with players as different from each other as Venus and Mauresmo, Henin had no answers for them. No game tweaking, no strategy that would result in victory.


first off giving seles all those excuses why she lost, but then graf doesn't get the benefit of the doubt for the slump she was going and the family scandal she had that shook her.
Agreed--its a longstanding, disrespectful ploy for some to "lift" the Seles "boat" while lowering Graf's, not only due to fantasies that Seles was ever going to dominate the era or surpass Graf, but for another group of "tennis fans," they see a benefit in hyping/fantasizing about Seles, because in tearing down Graf, it makes players such as Evert and Navratilova seem better than they were, or rather, real world history--where Graf completely surpassed them in nearly every way one can consider--can be erased so their status can make a Herculean leap to a peak they did not earn. Transparent game on the part of some desperate Evert and Navratilova fans.

the bold part: almost every historian has admitted that Graf at her peak would beat anyone at their peak.
Most likely, especially in the case of Navratilova and Evert.

also Seles and Graf played at Wimbledon twice, once in 1989 though where she was thrashed 6-0, 6-1
Yes, Seles had no game at Wimbledon, and if she was not going to defeat Graf there, it was going to be rather difficult becoming the "greatest" player as argued by Seles fans.
 

Max G.

Legend
A good reason why she is underrated is because people have forgotten about everything except singles.

Martina's won, what, 59 Grand Slams? 18 singles 31 doubles, 10 mixed? But nowadays nothing but singles counts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PDJ
Taking a broad view, I don't really see her as underrated. People ask the underrated/overrated question all the time about players, and sometimes I wonder why. In this day you can always find something to support your suspicion/claim that a player is under/overrated if you so choose. Surely, somewhere on the internet there's forums or comments where Navratilova has been diminished. Surely, some commentator on some broadcast has espoused a comparative view of Martina that doesn't jibe with someone else's view of her. But, if you step back and look at the big picture, the bulk of commentary, I don't think she's underrated. The majority opinion is that she's among the very top of the all-time great list. And, really, what more can you ask for? There will always be differences of opinions about ranking the greatest players of all time (as evidenced by TT); there is no official tribunal that will ever make GOAT determinations and rankings a cold hard fact.
 
Last edited:

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
The only way you could say she is underrated is that you think most people should think she is the best ever which most dont anymore. I personally dont think she should be picked as the best ever either, so I dont think she is underrated. Even if you think she should be, I dont think that is neccessarily good enough to qualify as being underrated. Just being in the GOAT discussion alone, should be sufficient to disqualify from ever being underrated, whether your consensus spot is as high as certain individuals believe it should be or not.
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
You may be right, but as I recall Graf and Seles only played once at Wimbledon. Also during that Wimbledon Seles's home country was involved in a civil war and she was getting death threats from anti Serbs. Then there was Navratilova leading campaign against her grunting during that Wimbledon. Seles stopped grunting but I think the combination of those happenings affected her game, especially against Graf. Having said that, no doubt Graf would have won anyway, but perhaps not as easily, as she was more experienced on grass courts than Seles was. As for Henin, she did reach two Wimbledon finals, losing to a much bigger and more experienced Venus in the first one and then Mauresmo also an outstanding grass court player. Graf was, indeed, one of the greatest players of all time but not superior to peak: Evert, Navratilova, Serena, Venus on grass, or Seles before the stabbing. Again, competition does matter.
Seles never had a year on par with any of Graf (88, 89, 95, 96) or Navratilova (83, 84, 86) best years. She does not even approach the consistency or longevity of Evert, and even if she did not get stabbed I guarantee her not winning 10 clay slams or reaching 10 Wimbledon finals as Evert did, nor even winning 6 U.S Opens. No she is not on par with those players, or Serena.

Just singling out Venus on grass is kind of silly and pointless. You might as well say Henin on clay. Being comparable to some of the greats on one surface, does not neccessarily put you there overall.
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
This makes NO sense to me. Evert ended 5 years at #1, Martina-7 and Graf-8. Graf had her first few years a #1 vs past prime Evert and Martina, then Seles was #1 for 2 years, then Graf had several more years at #1 after the Seles stabbing against very weak competition. So to say that Evert or Martina had no years of dominance seems wrong to me.
Comparing Graf's competition to Navratilova's it certainly was no weaker. Navratilova of 86-90 vs Evert of 82-86, who is better? Navratilova of 86-90 definitely is better on grass, fast hard courts, indoor, or carpet, with the Evert of 82-86 only better on slow to medium hard courts (maybe) and of course clay. So overall the Navratilova that Graf faced is atleast as strong as the Evert that Navratilova faced, and only on average 2 years older being a super late bloomer which Evert isnt.

And the supporting cast- Sanchez, Sabatini, young Seles, Sukova, old Evert overall probably slightly eclipses the supporting cast of the prior period- Mandlikova, baby Graf, Durie, old Turnbull, Shriver, Sukova.

As for Graf's post stabbing competition it was not the best true. However Sanchez is a very tough match up for Graf, and considering the match ups the Sanchez of 93-96 likely gave Graf more trouble than a past her prime Evert would have given either Navratilova or Graf from 83-86, even if she probably isnt better. Seles returned, and while not at her pre stabbing level was still a formidable opponent who beat the crap out of everyone but Graf most of the time for the first year and half back, and there is all the titles she took from Graf from 90-93 too. Adding in Novotna, Sabatini, Fernandez, Majoli, Date (who returned at 40 to beat many of todays top players, including nearly beating Venus at Wimbledon), Martinez, Pierce, and overall it is probably a stronger field than what Navratilova faced too.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
Mixed doubles today is an effing joke. I am sure if Serena wanted to she could easily win a big mixed doubles title at 50. She probably wont bother since her life doesnt revolve around tennis and nothing else to the extent Martina's always has. Look at a typical mixed doubles draw today though and seriously tell me Serena at 49 or 50 wouldnt be capable of winning a mixed doubles slam.

Serena has won singles slams over a 20 year period, and been ranked #1 15 years apart. She had 3 slam years a whopping 13 years apart, while Martina's first and last 2 slam year was a grand 5 years apart. She easily trumps Martina in longevity.

And Court has more singles/doubles/mixed combined slams than Martina.

Yes you are right on the Olympics, but if people are going to credit Martina for her greater title count when in the 70s many tournaments you only had to win 2 or 3 matches, and when EVERY great of the 60s and 70s wins more titles than greats of the 90s and 2000s (Federer is even still chasing Lendl in titles even though Lendl is barely half the player Federer is, ROTFL) then Serena and Graf have to get credit for their Olympic victories too. Or otherwise just exclude both entirely in the comparision (I would be fine with that) which still leaves Serena and Graf clearly above Martina in most respects. Lastly Martina was World #2 in 88 and World #3 in 92, and was eligible and able to play the Olympics and win medals if she wanted to, so even that excuse doesnt entirely hold weight.
I absolutely agree with your third sentence: Serena Williams life absolutely doesn't revolve around tennis. Just as well given she rarely plays, and hasn't won a tournament since lord knows when?
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
Serena has never been the most dedicated to the tour, but it is a new level since having the baby. In fairness I think physically she might be burnt out by now, keep in mind she is already the same age as Navratilova was when she retired, and much older than Graf, Court, Evert were when they did. Add to that not being able to get back fully in shape and fit after the pregnancy, and she is struggling to even find the energy and physical capacity to do this anymore.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
Serena has never been the most dedicated to the tour, but it is a new level since having the baby. In fairness I think physically she might be burnt out by now, keep in mind she is already the same age as Navratilova was when she retired, and much older than Graf, Court, Evert were when they did. Add to that not being able to get back fully in shape and fit after the pregnancy, and she is struggling to even find the energy and physical capacity to do this anymore.
SW may be older than the bulk of her fellow greats than when they retired, and yes the game is more physical, but I doubt she comes close to matches played by any one of the women you mentioned.
The only figure I know absolutely is that Evert was the first professional, of either gender, to record 1000 match wins in the Open Era. And l don't think she accomplished this at the end of her career- I'd have to check.

Edit: From Wikipedia
1971–1984 First player to reach 1000 career match wins.

So Evert had another 5 years before she retired compiling a singles win/loss of 1309-146.
 
Last edited:

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
Serena has never been the most dedicated to the tour, but it is a new level since having the baby. In fairness I think physically she might be burnt out by now, keep in mind she is already the same age as Navratilova was when she retired, and much older than Graf, Court, Evert were when they did. Add to that not being able to get back fully in shape and fit after the pregnancy, and she is struggling to even find the energy and physical capacity to do this anymore.
...and for Serena--at the point she won her most recent major--still achieved that at her age, (35 at the time, as opposed to Evert at 32 when she won her final major) easily elevates her over the likes of a Evert, who ran out of gas even before the next generation asserted themselves, indicating that Evert was never as versatile as Serena in facing changing players/new challenges.
 

Greatgatsby

Semi-Pro
...and for Serena--at the point she won her most recent major--still achieved that at her age, (35 at the time, as opposed to Evert at 32 when she won her final major) easily elevates her over the likes of a Evert, who ran out of gas even before the next generation asserted themselves, indicating that Evert was never as versatile as Serena in facing changing players/new challenges.
Actually Evert was only 31 when she won the 86 French in June and turned 32 in Dec
 
Last edited:
Top