Who beats Evert at W, if Martina doesn't?

BTURNER

Legend
Like all of these threads, there are way too many variables we simply cannot anticipate if Martina had decided to be a florist or a farmer instead of a tennis player. Obviously there is a vacuum where Martina is not taking another's players experience, confidence and opportunities away at the second week of majors. Just as obviously, Evert and other players do not have the Navratilova freight train to inspire them, and guide them towards the total athletic blueprint of success. The tour changes as does every top player and every draw.

Still its a fun game we try to play here

I have repeatedly said that Evert's clay game record is overemphasized, and her grass game/ record underappreciated as she played in a particularly strong grass era and was just as consistent in her major performances as she was anywhere else. Evert simply was always there in the last days of any grass major, and that was going to be true regardless of Martina. Other grass talents would still falter when Chris would not. But these other talents would have gotten more experience in finals and developed into contendesr. Those caveats stated. Here we go.

Evert beat Martina in 1976 and 1980 semis. Navratilova beat Evert at Wimbledon in finals in 1978, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1985, and in semifinals in 1987, and 1988.

1978 - the only threat to Evert that Martina took out was Goolagong seeded at number 3. They had at that point split meetings at Centre court with Goolagong being far more experienced on grass. ( in 1980, Evonne played heroically to take her down and win one final major) But Evonne was simply not getting in major finals very often at this point and having more and more trouble beating Chris in this rivalry. I think this is a flip of the coin.

1979 - Martina took out Austin and Fromholz, and while Austin just finished beating Evert at the Italian, and beat King this year at W, frankly I think Fromholz was the more dangerous opponent for Chris on grass. Evert's experience and near perfect groundies for grass, would have made her a clear favorite in baseline duels v Tracy, but Fromholz not only had 3 victories v Evert, she had several close 3 setters as well. Oddly it seems that Fromholz played better against Evert in early rounds or RR events than later rounds or major tournaments . If this match happens on Centre Court with late round pressure on, Evert will take this title.

1982 -the draws are full of interesting upsets leading to Martina only playing one seeded player, that being 11 seed Bunge. Navratilova got an unseeded QF and a WC in her 4th RD, while 12th seed King gets to the semis and takes a set from Chris. Evert does not look in peak form here either. She had lost a set to 15 seed Ruzici, of all players, in the fourth round and although she took a set from Martina in the final, she lost the last set 6-1. I think an inspired performance might have done Chris in, but Hana is still at that stage where she can barely keep her knees from quaking when the pressure is on Centre court, and a lot of the attacking players are too green. A healthy Austin or Jaeger was by now more experienced on grass and might have beaten Evert, so too might have Turnbull, or Jordan or even Shriver in a semifinal but you can't give any of them even money to do so.

1984 - Beginning in 1984, I think you can see real strides in Evert's grass game each year. She has found her graphite, developed her volley and serve, gotten stronger and quicker. ( the question becomes how much of this can she thank Martina for and whether she would have done this anyway under some other threat!) We are seeing a clear pattern now where all those tall aggressive gals in the top ten, who had never beat Evert because they simply are not mobile and agile enough from the backcourt. They each had beaten Martina and had closer scores vs Martina than Evert and grass is not helping them one whit. Evert played an underperforming Hana and killed her AGAIN, so the biggest battle was Nagelson in Rd 2. I see Jordan as the only threat for Chris in Navratilova's half. You really have to wonder which of these players would have blossomed by now in the sunshine, Martina denied them. Maybe Mandlikova gets mentally stronger and mature with more tournament wins. Maybe Jordan gets better coaching, and a new topspin backhand. Maybe Garrison becomes the beneficiary? Still this was Evert's tournament to lose again.

1985 - Clearly Evert was again the second best grass courter in the world and she is still getting better each year. Martina had the tougher draw , taking out Garrison, Shriver, Evert was not threatened at all. By now we have a mature, intelligent and complete Hana on the tour, who is more than dangerous to both champions -everywhere but Centre court! She lost in the third round. By now we are wondering if Evert's even playing tennis anymore with no Martina to drive her, or has she retired with enough hardware including five Wimbledons that playing patty-cake with a toddler holds more interest to her.

1987 - The Evert we got, as seeded 3, played the best and most inspired tennis of her year at Centre Court and produced some of her finest grass tennis, barely losing to a full-throttle Martina in a semi and manhandling Kohde Kilch. Her groundstrokes were near perfect, her speed in tack, and her sense of opportunism honed and evident. By now her 'slow starts' are a nagging problem everywhere though. Mandlikova was more than ready to take Evert and Wimbledon, but she was injured this year. One question is would Chris have beaten a still grass -green but scary upsurgent Graf ( Steffi had never won a grass court tournament) with that huge forehand, dangerous serve and phenomenal footspeed. Another is was Graf mentally ready to take the citadel? I definitely see Evert losing that first set trying to adjust to the power but Graf was tactically immature and predictable though, and Evert was, if nothing else , brilliant at finding and exploiting those hidden flaws and inducing inexplicable errors in her opponents. Its an open question if she could have found her rhythm and adjusted, in time to use her grass court experience, those tactical advantages and strategic mind to stop Graf or whether Graf would have gotten nervous or tentative in the biggest match of any players career. I think both of the above have to happen for Evert to win and I am giving Graf edge here with a 60- 65% chance of blasting her way through any nerves here .

1988 - By now Evert's grass game is in decline and her 'slow starts' are likely to do her in against several players . While she did beat Sukova in her quarter, I think Chris was actually lucky to get Martina in the semis. She played free of any pressure, and played herself into form but Graf would have killed her and she might well have lost to Shriver, Garrison, or McNeil all of whom had victories elsewhere.

Without Martina, I think Evert would have won five or six Wimbledons until burn-out hit, or someone else filled that void.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
she should've won in 1985, IMHO...and in that '87 match. w/out Martina, she easily would have had 6 wimbledon titles
 

BTURNER

Legend
she should've won in 1985, IMHO...and in that '87 match. w/out Martina, she easily would have had 6 wimbledon titles
Those two matches has something in common. Evert had the slightest letdown in intensity in her first service game in the final sets. That was all it took ...! You just cannot give in- form Navratilova an early service break lead in a big match on Centre court no matter how good your return is!

Its like offering your throat to a pitbull!
 
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D

Deleted member 735320

Guest
Those two matches has something in common. Evert had the slightest letdown in intensity in her first service game in the final sets. That was all it took ...! You just cannot give in- form Navratilova an early service break lead in a big match on Centre court no matter how good your return is!

Its like offering your throat to a pitbull!
Yes holding serve would always post a problem for Evert.
 
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Deleted member 735320

Guest
she should've won in 1985, IMHO...and in that '87 match. w/out Martina, she easily would have had 6 wimbledon titles
In '87 Graf would have throttled Evert. Evert by that point had nothing to threaten Graf with esp. on grass. Graf could stay with her long enough to force the issue with the forehand and it was lights out for the two handed backhand brigade, even the queen bee.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
In '87 Graf would have throttled Evert. Evert by that point had nothing to threaten Graf with esp. on grass. Graf could stay with her long enough to force the issue with the forehand and it was lights out for the two handed backhand brigade, even the queen bee.
Unfortunately for Evert, she was not as lucky as Graf to have her top opponent stabbed and out of the game for a few years. If there was not Navratilova, Evert would have 25-30 slams.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Unfortunately for Evert, she was not as lucky as Graf to have her top opponent stabbed and out of the game for a few years. If there was not Navratilova, Evert would have 25-30 slams.
If Evert played the French and Australia more often she may have been around the 20 plus range in Majors anyway. Evert did play the French from 76 to 78. It’s not unreasonable to think she would have won at least two and I would think possibly three French Opens. She missed the Australia from 1975 to 1980 so you figure she may have won a few.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
If Evert played the French and Australia more often she may have been around the 20 plus range in Majors anyway. Evert did play the French from 76 to 78. It’s not unreasonable to think she would have won at least two and I would think possibly three French Opens. She missed the Australia from 1975 to 1980 so you figure she may have won a few.
Chris, most likely, would have won the 3 FO she missed and probably 2 AO titles which were on grass at that time which would bring her total up to 23-24 slams. Court missed all of 67 due to retirement and parts of 71-72 due to pregnancy, so chances are she would have won another 2-4 slams.
 
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pc1

G.O.A.T.
Chris, most likely, would have won the 3 FO she missed and probably 2 AO titles which were on grass at that time which would bring her total up to 23-24 slams. Court missed all of 67 due to retirement and parts of 71-72 due to pregnancy, so chances are she would have won another 2-4 slams.
By the way I meant Evert did NOT play the French from 1976 to 1978.

And yes I agree Court would have probably won a few more majors.
 

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
Unfortunately for Evert, she was not as lucky as Graf to have her top opponent stabbed and out of the game for a few years. If there was not Navratilova, Evert would have 25-30 slams.
I believe Evert has said herself that if not for the rise of Martina to challenge her she would have retired in like 1982 or something because she wasn't feeling challenged. Martina gave her the motivation to keep playing and a challenge to strive to beat. If there was not a Martina Evert probably would have retired sooner and therefore probably ended up with less majors than she right now has. However she would be seen as a lot more invincible without the H2H against Martina factored into her career statistics.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
By the way I meant Evert did NOT play the French from 1976 to 1978.

And yes I agree Court would have probably won a few more majors.
Chris not playing the French 76-78, is the same as Chris would have won the 3 FO she missed?
 
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thrust

Hall of Fame
By the way I meant Evert did NOT play the French from 1976 to 1978.

And yes I agree Court would have probably won a few more majors.
Chris not playing the French 76-78, is the same as Chris would have won the 3 FO she missed?
 

BTURNER

Legend
I believe Evert has said herself that if not for the rise of Martina to challenge her she would have retired in like 1982 or something because she wasn't feeling challenged. Martina gave her the motivation to keep playing and a challenge to strive to beat. If there was not a Martina Evert probably would have retired sooner and therefore probably ended up with less majors than she right now has. However she would be seen as a lot more invincible without the H2H against Martina factored into her career statistics.
I really doubt she would ever have left before winning a couple more Wimbledons and a second Aussie, if they were sitting there for the taking, but she would have retired with less RG titles.
 
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BTURNER

Legend
I believe Evert has said herself that if not for the rise of Martina to challenge her she would have retired in like 1982 or something because she wasn't feeling challenged. Martina gave her the motivation to keep playing and a challenge to strive to beat. If there was not a Martina Evert probably would have retired sooner and therefore probably ended up with less majors than she right now has. However she would be seen as a lot more invincible without the H2H against Martina factored into her career statistics.
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pat200

Semi-Pro
in 1987 Steffi would have smoked her at Wimbledon, this is not Roland Garros where maybe Evert would have had a chance in 87. Let us get real here.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
In '87 Graf would have throttled Evert. Evert by that point had nothing to threaten Graf with esp. on grass. Graf could stay with her long enough to force the issue with the forehand and it was lights out for the two handed backhand brigade, even the queen bee.
I don't think that is a given in '87...not yet...
 

BTURNER

Legend
I don't think that is a given in '87...not yet...
Graf did not play all that great in the '87 final. I saw evidence of nerves and some bad shot election. I really am not sure Steffi was ready to go after that title and play with the same abandon and purpose that she did to get there and Evert was moving beautifully and hitting out confidently. That would have given Evert some openings.. but it was definitely Graf's match to lose or win. Chris still had not figured out useful patterns to exploit like she finally did in early 1989. Somehow Evert has to keep things close enough that some errors can be costly
 
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pat200

Semi-Pro
Graf did not play all that great in the '87 final. I saw evidence of nerves and some bad shot election. I really am not sure Steffi was ready to go after that title and play with the same abandon and purpose that she did to get there and Evert was moving beautifully and hitting out confidently. That would have given Evert some openings.. but it was definitely Graf's match to lose or win. Chris still had not figured out useful patterns to exploit like she finally did in early 1989. Somehow Evert has to keep things close enough that some errors can be costly
i think graf playing her idol martina in that final is what made her nervous: her idol and queen of grass at the biggest stage of the tennis world. if she were playing evert, it would have been less stressful for her.
 

BTURNER

Legend
i think graf playing her idol martina in that final is what made her nervous: her idol and queen of grass at the biggest stage of the tennis world. if she were playing evert, it would have been less stressful for her.
Its not like she had not played Martina and beaten her before. She did it in the finals of the French a month before. Not buying that. What was different was Wimbledon, not Martina or Evert. The 'stage' is the same size regardless of who is on the other side of the net.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
Its not like she had not played Martina and beaten her before. She did it in the finals of the French a month before. Not buying that. What was different was Wimbledon, not Martina or Evert. The 'stage' is the same size regardless of who is on the other side of the net.
I think you are right about that...'87 Graf was not yet in full bloom, so to speak. Facing off against Martina or Chris as Wimbledon was going to be little more stressful than usual.
 

pat200

Semi-Pro
Its not like she had not played Martina and beaten her before. She did it in the finals of the French a month before. Not buying that. What was different was Wimbledon, not Martina or Evert. The 'stage' is the same size regardless of who is on the other side of the net.
the french is different, it isn't martina's playground.
 

BTURNER

Legend
the french is different, it isn't martina's playground.
So that reduces pressure and expectations . She can swing freely knowing nobody expects her to beat 7 champion and #1 seed Martina on her 'playground'. The something different was Centre Court Wimbledon final. Not a player she has already beaten several times in finals and once in a major final.

You can claim that a Wimbledon final on Centre court with all that prestige, history etc is the same as Hilton Head, or the Lipton or RG or an Aussie, and it is Martina that makes her nervous, all you want...
 
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Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
I think you are right about that...'87 Graf was not yet in full bloom, so to speak. Facing off against Martina or Chris as Wimbledon was going to be little more stressful than usual.
Graf was undefeated for the year going into the Wimbledon final. She would have been a huge favorite over Chris in that final. Most were picking her over Martina, but Martina played one of the best matches of her career in the final, her lefty serve to grafs bh in the ad court was insane(that's something that's not really in evert's bag). Served at 73%, was unbroken and faced only one break point. Those sort of serving numbers are incredibly rare in women's tennis, esp in the 80s(outside of Serena I can't see any other player in history doing that in a major final)
Both players had very few ue's, it was considered a high quality match by most observers at the time.

Here are stats I took
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1987-w-final-navratilova-graf.201786/

About as close as a straight sets match can be statistically.
 
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BTURNER

Legend
Graf was undefeated for the year going into the Wimbledon final. She would have been a huge favorite over Chris in that final. Most were picking her over Martina, but Martina played one of the best matches of her career in the final, her lefty serve to grafs bh in the ad court was insane(that's something that's not really in evert's bag). Served at 73%, was unbroken and faced only one break point. Those sort of serving numbers are incredibly rare in women's tennis, esp in the 80s(outside of Serena I can't see any other player in history doing that in a major final)
Both players had very few ue's, it was considered a high quality match by most observers at the time.

Here are stats I took
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1987-w-final-navratilova-graf.201786/

About as close as a straight sets match can be statistically.
. Martina had just 'routined' her at RG and those 'retirement rumors' got swirling everytime Chris got a bad score.. But this was a very different Evert
Fascinating stat comparison here with the earlier very high quality Semi..https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...r-navratilova-evert-1987-wimbledon-sf.278149/ Martina's first serve percentage was very high in both the semi and the final but it was higher in the semifinal. That hook serve of Martina's was destructive against both but as Steffi discovered, If you cannot return the hook, you can't break serve. Evert's return was key to breaking twice. Evert killed Martina on second serve return points, and both opponents hit more winners in the match than Martina! but Steffi did much better serving to Martina than Evert which kept the pressure off her and set up that forehand. I am astonished that Steffi did not use her lob more, when it was effective in the semi on several crucial points. Steffi was much less predictable the next year and clearly more effective on return.

Unless I am reading wrong, the semifinal was actually the cleaner of the two matches as well with even fewer UF per set.
 
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Gizo

Hall of Fame
I would heavily favour Graf over Evert in a hypothetical Wimbledon 1987 match. Even though she wasn't at her 1988-1989 level yet, and I still think she was more than good enough by that stage to put away a past her prime Evert in a grass court final.

She had won their last 2 matches in straight sets and crushed her the Lipton final earlier that year so she certainly had no fear of Evert more and was enjoying the match-up, and Navratilova was just a far worse-match her with her big lefty serve (unrivalled in the women's game at that stage) to Graf's backhand drawing sliced returns and her being there at the net to put away the volley. Navratilova on her weakest surface certainly had her chances to win their 1987 RG final, and on grass at Wimbledon a month later the cards were firmly stacked in her favour.

Evert of course was a better match-up for her, and would have had significantly less to hurt her with on grass, or probably on any surface at that point in time.

Graf ended 1987 with a 75-2 record, and both of those 2 defeats coming against Navratilova in the Wimbledon and the US Open finals. So she was stomping on everyone else not-named Navratilova, and it's certainly fair to say that she would have beaten any other possible opponent from that field in a Wimbledon final.

Also Navratilova was just a far more daunting opponent to face in her first Wimbledon final (having won the last 5 titles and 7 out of the last 9) than Evert was, similar to how Evert would be a far more daunting opponent to face in a firstRoland Garros final than Navratilova. Sometimes the opponent on the other side of the net can be as scary as the occasion itself. Henin publicly spoke how about how she was scared about facing the queen of grass at the time Venus in a hypothetical 2007 Wimbledon final, but of course she didn't get that far as she unravalled against Bartoli in the semi-final, and Baghdatis spoke about how he was scared to face Federer in the 2006 AO final.
 

BTURNER

Legend
I would heavily favour Graf over Evert in a hypothetical Wimbledon 1987 match. Even though she wasn't at her 1988-1989 level yet, and I still think she was more than good enough by that stage to put away a past her prime Evert in a grass court final.

She had won their last 2 matches in straight sets and crushed her the Lipton final earlier that year so she certainly had no fear of Evert more and was enjoying the match-up, and Navratilova was just a far worse-match her with her big lefty serve (unrivalled in the women's game at that stage) to Graf's backhand drawing sliced returns and her being there at the net to put away the volley. Navratilova on her weakest surface certainly had her chances to win their 1987 RG final, and on grass at Wimbledon a month later the cards were firmly stacked in her favour.

Evert of course was a better match-up for her, and would have had significantly less to hurt her with on grass, or probably on any surface at that point in time.

Graf ended 1987 with a 75-2 record, and both of those 2 defeats coming against Navratilova in the Wimbledon and the US Open finals. So she was stomping on everyone else not-named Navratilova, and it's certainly fair to say that she would have beaten any other possible opponent from that field in a Wimbledon final.

Also Navratilova was just a far more daunting opponent to face in her first Wimbledon final (having won the last 5 titles and 7 out of the last 9) than Evert was, similar to how Evert would be a far more daunting opponent to face in a firstRoland Garros final than Navratilova. Sometimes the opponent on the other side of the net can be as scary as the occasion itself. Henin publicly spoke how about how she was scared about facing the queen of grass at the time Venus in a hypothetical 2007 Wimbledon final, but of course she didn't get that far as she unravalled against Bartoli in the semi-final, and Baghdatis spoke about how he was scared to face Federer in the 2006 AO final.
I give Graf about a 60-65% chance in this hypothetical final because what you say is all true. As I say above, Graf has to get tight in her first Wimbledon final , and Evert has to be able to learn to anticipate that forehand and adapt to that power and move very very well. I am not talking out of my ass here. This notion is coming from their only major final they played only 7 months later. Dynamic before this final is the same. Evert is playing very well in the semi, and beats Martina. Take a gander at the second set of the Graf-Evert Aussie final to see how the normal dynamic can change if Graf gets just a little off her game She was Murdering her, and looking at a 6-1, 5-1 score with Evert completely overpowered and overwhelmed. But Chris relaxed with all the pressure off, and began one of those comebacks for which she is famous and as for Steffi, she got tight made more errors, and the rallies got longer and Chris began to dictate. Evert was coming into net far more often than Graf and winning those net points as well. Somehow this same Steffi, we are all lauding as a bad match-up, cannot win a game against Evert. Not at 5-1, or 5-2, or 5-3, or 5-4. Steffi finally strings enough points after 5-5 to once again win a game, but she still did not close it out. This easy smeasy set ends up in a tie-breaker which Steffi wins to take the match.

Don't tell me that Graf doesn't get tight playing Evert in a major final and that it won't have consequences. We watched it happen. Now lets take this dynamic, this pattern and move it back 7 months earlier with Evert 7 months younger, and Graf 7 months less experienced in major finals and move it to Centre Court on grass in the most important venue of the Calender year and the biggest match of Graf's career.

There is one little piece of trivia on Chris Evert to keep in mind. For one reason or another ( luck ,coincidence ,skill or all 3), Evert simply does not lose on grass to baseliners. From 1972-1988 Chris Evert did not lose a single match on grass in a tournament to someone who did not come in routinely either on their own first serve, or chip and charge on Evert's second. The same baseliners players who might beat her on clay or might beat her on hard courts, or might beat her indoors, could not beat her groundstroke game on grass. Some of them had two hand backhands, some had one handers, but they all lost until Graf took her down at the age of 34 years old two years later than this theoretical meeting is happening. My point is that Evert's groundstrokes and tactics v baseline games, are more effective on grass than other surfaces, and what you expect Steffi to do in her first final, is not easy to accomplish.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
I give Graf about a 60-65% chance in this hypothetical final because what you say is all true. As I say above, Graf has to get tight in her first Wimbledon final , and Evert has to be able to learn to anticipate that forehand and adapt to that power and move very very well. I am not talking out of my ass here. This notion is coming from their only major final they played only 7 months later. Dynamic before this final is the same. Evert is playing very well in the semi, and beats Martina. Take a gander at the second set of the Graf-Evert Aussie final to see how the normal dynamic can change if Graf gets just a little off her game She was Murdering her, and looking at a 6-1, 5-1 score with Evert completely overpowered and overwhelmed. But Chris relaxed with all the pressure off, and began one of those comebacks for which she is famous and as for Steffi, she got tight made more errors, and the rallies got longer and Chris began to dictate. Evert was coming into net far more often than Graf and winning those net points as well. Somehow this same Steffi, we are all lauding as a bad match-up, cannot win a game against Evert. Not at 5-1, or 5-2, or 5-3, or 5-4. Steffi finally strings enough points after 5-5 to once again win a game, but she still did not close it out. This easy smeasy set ends up in a tie-breaker which Steffi wins to take the match.
.
The '88 AO Final crossed my mind as well...Steffi had problems closing that one out. Evert is no longer in her prime, but capable of elevating her game in certain situations. So, sure, Steffi is favored in a hypothetical W Final, but not a lock. Shoot, Evert likely would have been thrilled not to see Martina on the other side of the net.
 

BTURNER

Legend
The '88 AO Final crossed my mind as well...Steffi had problems closing that one out. Evert is no longer in her prime, but capable of elevating her game in certain situations. So, sure, Steffi is favored in a hypothetical W Final, but not a lock. Shoot, Evert likely would have been thrilled not to see Martina on the other side of the net.
Not sure about that, but by this point, Evert is sort of the Billie Jean King of baseline tennis, and nobody was better at inducing errors from the backcourt on grass than Chris or approach and she had just the right strokes and patterns to accomplish it. Her problem, of course is that Graf's power off that forehand and serve are so overwhelming and that slice stays so low that it is very difficult to sustain rallies long enough for any of her 'tricks' to work or to create a good approach situation. Steffi has to tighten up and Evert has to begin to read and anticipate that forehand or she can't afford to hit into it and a lot of those patterns/ tactics are gone.
 
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Deleted member 735320

Guest
I give Graf about a 60-65% chance in this hypothetical final because what you say is all true. As I say above, Graf has to get tight in her first Wimbledon final , and Evert has to be able to learn to anticipate that forehand and adapt to that power and move very very well. I am not talking out of my ass here. This notion is coming from their only major final they played only 7 months later. Dynamic before this final is the same. Evert is playing very well in the semi, and beats Martina. Take a gander at the second set of the Graf-Evert Aussie final to see how the normal dynamic can change if Graf gets just a little off her game She was Murdering her, and looking at a 6-1, 5-1 score with Evert completely overpowered and overwhelmed. But Chris relaxed with all the pressure off, and began one of those comebacks for which she is famous and as for Steffi, she got tight made more errors, and the rallies got longer and Chris began to dictate. Evert was coming into net far more often than Graf and winning those net points as well. Somehow this same Steffi, we are all lauding as a bad match-up, cannot win a game against Evert. Not at 5-1, or 5-2, or 5-3, or 5-4. Steffi finally strings enough points after 5-5 to once again win a game, but she still did not close it out. This easy smeasy set ends up in a tie-breaker which Steffi wins to take the match.

Don't tell me that Graf doesn't get tight playing Evert in a major final and that it won't have consequences. We watched it happen. Now lets take this dynamic, this pattern and move it back 7 months earlier with Evert 7 months younger, and Graf 7 months less experienced in major finals and move it to Centre Court on grass in the most important venue of the Calender year and the biggest match of Graf's career.

There is one little piece of trivia on Chris Evert to keep in mind. For one reason or another ( luck ,coincidence ,skill or all 3), Evert simply does not lose on grass to baseliners. From 1972-1988 Chris Evert did not lose a single match on grass in a tournament to someone who did not come in routinely either on their own first serve, or chip and charge on Evert's second. The same baseliners players who might beat her on clay or might beat her on hard courts, or might beat her indoors, could not beat her groundstroke game on grass. Some of them had two hand backhands, some had one handers, but they all lost until Graf took her down at the age of 34 years old two years later than this theoretical meeting is happening. My point is that Evert's groundstrokes and tactics v baseline games, are more effective on grass than other surfaces, and what you expect Steffi to do in her first final, is not easy to accomplish.

Very well stated.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Not sure about that, but by this point, Evert is sort of the Billie Jean King of baseline tennis, and nobody was better at inducing errors from the backcourt on grass than Chris or approach and she had just the right strokes and patterns to accomplish it. Her problem, of course is that Graf's power off that forehand and serve are so overwhelming and that slice stays so low that it is very difficult to sustain rallies long enough for any of her 'tricks' to work or to create a good approach situation. Steffi has to tighten up and Evert has to begin to read and anticipate that forehand or she can't afford to hit into it and a lot of those patterns/ tactics are gone.
I tend to agree...graf's slice on grass is harder to deal with. But, it's not like in 1987 Chris is "washed up"...just that Steffi is passing her by. I mean, she is only a year off an RG win.....but yes, her very best is behind her. Steffi would have to gag, just a bit, to create that opening.
 
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