Zina Garrison really messed with the GOAT debate

Hammett41

New User
If Zina Garrison had not beaten Navratilova in the 1988 US Open Quarterfinals in a wild match that she should have won in straight straights but eventually won in three, then Martina could have had a fairly decent chance to end Graf's Golden Slam. But if Zina hadn't beaten Steffi in the 1990 Wimbledon Semifinals, Navratilova would most likely not have become the 9-time Wimbledon Champion.

Zina was instrumental in clearing the path for both Graf and Navratilova to each claim their signature tennis achievement and, thus, Zina had a huge hand in creating the great debate: Who was better? Graf or Navratilova? The Golden Grand Slam or 9 Wimbledon Singles Titles.

Serena, on the other hand, does not seem to have a signature tennis achivement that she can call her own.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
That was Garrison's one and only victory over Navratilova in 34 attempts. Navratilova lead their h2h 21-0 going into that 1988 US Open QF, with Garrison only winning 6 games during their 2 previous matches in Oakland and Washington. At least that solitary win came on the big stage, and Garrison can say that she beat Graf, Navratilova, Evert, Seles, ASV and Sabatini in majors.

After Navratilova came from 0-5 down to win the 2nd set in a tiebreaker, it was expected that she'd roll through the final set, but Garrison had another ideas, not getting downhearted when she failed to serve out the match at the first opportunity.

Navratilova had only played in one tournament, in Montreal, during the build up to the US Open, where she lost to Zvereva in the quarter-finals, due to a hip flexor injury. After being dethroned by Graf at Wimbledon, losing 12 out of the last 13 games and being broken 7 times in a row, she was desperate to set-up a rematch in the US Open final and for an opportunity to spoil Graf's grand slam bid, and to avoid ending the season empty handed at the majors (for the first time since 1980).

After she won her 4th consecutive major at RG in 1984, the ITF, numerous commentators including Dan Maskell and sponsors declared that she had completed the grand slam, and she received a $ 1 million bonus (clearly a huge amount of money at the time). She was understandably not best pleased, when only a few years after being welcomed into the 'grand slam club', she was booted out of it during and especially after Graf's quest in 1988. She cared a lot more than most about her legacy and where other people ranked her in comparison to other greats, and so stopping Graf's in her tracks at the final hurdle, preventing her from overshadowing her own (amazing) achievements from 1983-1984, was a big motivation for her.

I personally would have fully expected Graf to beat Navratilova in a hypothetical 1988 US Open final and secure the grand slam, especially taking a lot of confidence from the Wimbledon final result. To be honest going into the tournament, I considered it to be a foregone conclusion that Graf would win it and thus the grand slam (I definitely wasn't alone), and so there was little to no suspense there.
 
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buscemi

Hall of Fame
If Zina Garrison had not beaten Navratilova in the 1988 US Open Quarterfinals in a wild match that she should have won in straight straights but eventually won in three, then Martina could have had a fairly decent chance to end Graf's Golden Slam. But if Zina hadn't beaten Steffi in the 1990 Wimbledon Semifinals, Navratilova would most likely not have become the 9-time Wimbledon Champion.

Zina was instrumental in clearing the path for both Graf and Navratilova to each claim their signature tennis achievement and, thus, Zina had a huge hand in creating the great debate: Who was better? Graf or Navratilova? The Golden Grand Slam or 9 Wimbledon Singles Titles.

Serena, on the other hand, does not seem to have a signature tennis achivement that she can call her own.
Signature (Open Era) achievements:

Majors on Hard Courts: #1 Serena: 13; #2 Graf: 9​
Wimbledon Titles: #1 Navratilova: 9: #2 Graf & Serena: 7​
CYGS: #1 Graf: CYGS + Olympics; #2 Court: CYGS; no Olympic tennis held during that Era​
 
D

Dwell

Guest
Why couldn't any of them reach 24 slams?
The Taopatch had not yet been developed.

TaoPatch_copertina-1024x1024.jpg
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
The first part isn't where Garrison had any impact on the GOAT debate. Navratilova was never beating Graf at the 88 US Open. She couldn't do it in 89 when she was in MUCH better form than at the time of the 88 US Open, and where Graf was playing poorly in the final. And she had 0 wins over Graf between the 87 and 91 US Opens, so 4 entire years between wins. I honestly think Navratilova probably loses to Sabatini in the semis that year.

The second part is where you are right that Garrison likely had some impact on the GOAT debate is beating Graf in the 90 Wimbledon semis. As you said Graf likely beats Navratilova in the final there, and is atleast tied with Navratilova in Wimbledon titles now (8 to 8), if Graf doesn't even quite possibly win an additional future Wimbledon now which is very possible given the effects of momentum and confidence. Many consider Graf even the grass and Wimbledon GOAT now, and Martina would be almost completely out of the GOAT debate now. Also except for the biggest of nutters, Graf's Wimbledon record is a record that would never be tainted by the Seles stabbing since well, LOL! Speaking of Seles, even moreso the forehand she made down match point to Seles in the quarters was the shot that changed the GOAT debate. Graf smokes Seles in the semis, likely beats Navratilova in the final, and the same scenario I just listed exists. It is very possible Graf holds a share of the slam record now, as winning there quite possibly leads to atleast 1 future slam, which further changes the GOAT debate.
 
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Mustard

Bionic Poster
Speaking of Seles, even moreso the forehand she made down match point to Seles in the quarters was the shot that changed the GOAT debate. Graf smokes Seles in the semis
A confident statement with the bolded. Seles was on a 36 match winning streak going into the 1990 Wimbledon quarter final against Garrison, a career best winning streak for Seles. That included two wins over Graf in Berlin and Paris in Graf's two previous tournaments, when Graf was seen as unbeatable.

The 1992 Wimbledon final was far too stop-start with rain delays to mean much in terms of just looking at the end scoreline.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
A confident statement with the bolded. Seles was on a 36 match winning streak going into the 1990 Wimbledon quarter final against Garrison, a career best winning streak for Seles. That included two wins over Graf in Berlin and Paris in Graf's two previous tournaments, when Graf was seen as unbeatable.

The 1992 Wimbledon final was far too stop-start with rain delays to mean much in terms of just looking at the end scoreline.
:-D :-D :-D Seles won a total of 4 games in 4 career sets with Graf on grass. Yes I am confident and certain of Graf smoking Seles in the semis. And won't bother getting into a pointless discussion with a well known TW Seles fanatical troll.

BTW Chris Evert who is almost as huge a Seles fanatic as yourself said "Seles has no chance of winning Wimbledon" in her preview of the 1990 Wimbledon event. Seles mega superfan (and tennis legend) Chris Evert. Nuff said.
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
:-D :-D :-D Seles won a total of 4 games in 4 career sets with Graf on grass.
Very simplistic, I'm afraid. The 1992 Wimbledon final was full of rain delays, especially in the second set. What on paper was a crushing scoreline certainly didn't feel that way in terms of the match momentum because it was too stop-start. Even Des Lynam, the presenter, said it on the BBC after yet another rain delay during the second set "A load of rubbish, really".

Yes I am confident and certain of Graf smoking Seles in the semis. And won't bother getting into a pointless discussion with a well known TW Seles fanatical troll.
LOL. The fact is, we don't know how that hypothetical semi final would have gone.
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
The most ridiculous thing about this thread is it somehow in the Current Player section. When it is literally all former Players. I guess noting Serena was the token to try and get it included here, LOL! But even Serena is technically former now.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
Garrison stopping / contributing to stopping 2 Graf-Navratilova finals at majors was pretty good going.

I'd think Graf would definitely have had a far better chance of beating Navratilova in a hypothetical Wimbledon final in 1990, than Navratilova would have beating her in a hypothetical US Open final in 1988. Navratilova was clearly on the wane in 1988, and only played 3 summer hard court matches between Wimbledon and the US Open due to a hip flexor strain. Navratilova was desperate to win that record breaking 9th Wimbledon title in 1990.

I didn’t think anyone in the draw had a chance of stopping Graf from sealing the grand slam in 1988, and that included Navratilova.

Navratilova admitted that she was relieved after Zvereva, who had beaten her at RG and Montreal that year, was knocked out in the 1st round - according to seeding they were projected to face each other in the quarter-finals, though Garrison (only seeded 3 places lower than Zvereva) got there and eliminated her at that stage anyway.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
If Zina Garrison had not beaten Navratilova in the 1988 US Open Quarterfinals in a wild match that she should have won in straight straights but eventually won in three, then Martina could have had a fairly decent chance to end Graf's Golden Slam. But if Zina hadn't beaten Steffi in the 1990 Wimbledon Semifinals, Navratilova would most likely not have become the 9-time Wimbledon Champion.

Zina was instrumental in clearing the path for both Graf and Navratilova to each claim their signature tennis achievement and, thus, Zina had a huge hand in creating the great debate: Who was better? Graf or Navratilova? The Golden Grand Slam or 9 Wimbledon Singles Titles.

Serena, on the other hand, does not seem to have a signature tennis achivement that she can call her own.
Please move to Former Pro section
 

martinezownsclay

Hall of Fame
Garrison stopping / contributing to stopping 2 Graf-Navratilova finals at majors was pretty good going.

I'd think Graf would definitely have had a far better chance of beating Navratilova in a hypothetical Wimbledon final in 1990, than Navratilova would have beating her in a hypothetical US Open final in 1988. Navratilova was clearly on the wane in 1988, and only played 3 summer hard court matches between Wimbledon and the US Open due to a hip flexor strain. Navratilova was desperate to win that record breaking 9th Wimbledon title in 1990.

I didn’t think anyone in the draw had a chance of stopping Graf from sealing the grand slam in 1988, and that included Navratilova.

Navratilova admitted that she was relieved after Zvereva, who had beaten her at RG and Montreal that year, was knocked out in the 1st round - according to seeding they were projected to face each other in the quarter-finals, though Garrison (only seeded 3 places lower than Zvereva) got there and eliminated her at that stage anyway.

I do wonder if Zvereva could have gotten herself to the final there had she gotten past Garrison, by beating Navratilova (who she was doing well against around that period )and Sabatini. And then making a better showing vs Graf than her 88 RG final showing, although obviously still losing. And if that might have given her more confidence for the future.

I do think the Graf vs Navratilova 1990 Wimbledon final which happens for sure if a)Graf beats Garrison, b)Seles converts match point vs Garrison in the quarters, leading to a guaranteed loss to Graf in the semis and a Graf vs Navratilova final, is still close to 50-50. Graf was in much weaker form than 88 and 89, and Navratilova sharper than she had been at Wimbledon since 87. Would still probably pick Graf if held at gunpoint and forced to pick, but a tough call. I do wonder if they are tied at 8 Wimbledons now, or if Graf wins an additional future one and is even ahead. Garrison might have saved Navratilova's status as Wimbledon and/or grass GOAT.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
I do wonder if Zvereva could have gotten herself to the final there had she gotten past Garrison, by beating Navratilova (who she was doing well against around that period )and Sabatini. And then making a better showing vs Graf than her 88 RG final showing, although obviously still losing. And if that might have given her more confidence for the future.

I do think the Graf vs Navratilova 1990 Wimbledon final which happens for sure if a)Graf beats Garrison, b)Seles converts match point vs Garrison in the quarters, leading to a guaranteed loss to Graf in the semis and a Graf vs Navratilova final, is still close to 50-50. Graf was in much weaker form than 88 and 89, and Navratilova sharper than she had been at Wimbledon since 87. Would still probably pick Graf if held at gunpoint and forced to pick, but a tough call. I do wonder if they are tied at 8 Wimbledons now, or if Graf wins an additional future one and is even ahead. Garrison might have saved Navratilova's status as Wimbledon and/or grass GOAT.

I agree with that. I think that Graf-Navratilova in a Wimbledon final in 1990 is a 50-50 battle - while Graf still won a load of titles in 1990 she seemed distracted at times that year and there was her dad's blackmail scandal. Even during her Australian Open title run, she didn't reach the same standards compared to 1989 IMO and Shriver commentated that she thought that 'she wasn't all there'. Part of me thinks that Navratilova would make it 3rd time lucky after 1988 and 1989 and 'finally' break the Wimbledon singles title tie with Helen Wills Moody, but then again Graf would take confidence from the fact that she had won their last 4 matches, all big finals.

I think that Graf-Navratilova in a US Open final in 1988 is at most, being generous to Navratilova, something like 80-20 in Graf's favour. I can actually envisage Navratilova's determination to spoil Graf's grand slam becoming too much of an obsession, and actually hindering her. And despite Graf facing the huge pressure of trying to secure that grand slam and tennis immortality and was relieved when it was all over (and didn't even celebrate), I tend to think that her young age and relative inexperience at that stage (thought that was already her 7th straight major final), was actually an asset. Maybe if she'd she gone for the grand slam in her mid 20s or something, she'd have felt the pressure more.
 

Martin J

Hall of Fame
Very simplistic, I'm afraid. The 1992 Wimbledon final was full of rain delays, especially in the second set. What on paper was a crushing scoreline certainly didn't feel that way in terms of the match momentum because it was too stop-start. Even Des Lynam, the presenter, said it on the BBC after yet another rain delay during the second set "A load of rubbish, really".


LOL. The fact is, we don't know how that hypothetical semi final would have gone.
It would be extremely difficult for Monika to overcome Graf at Wimbledon and I think it's a fair assumption that she would've lost that match. Steffi's forehand is probably the best weapon to exploit Seles's movement on a surface like grass and her slice is particularly challenging as the balls stay quite low and out of Monika's hitting zone.

Her best chance would be the 1994 edition imo as she was phenomenal at putting pressure on S&V players (her win over Martina in 1992 was very impressive imo) left in the draw by returning their serves early and aggressively.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
Before the fateful stabbing incident, I remember really looking forward to the RG-Wimbledon double header in 1993. Seles's serve and also volleying ability were clearly improving with Wimbledon in mind (it was talked about a lot during the Australian Open). Graf had narrowly lost their RG final the previous year after fighting back and turning the match into a gruelling war, her 3rd final defeat in Paris within 4 years.

Now I certainly don't think that Seles was going to transform into an out and out serve-volleyer at Wimbledon (like Lendl), but sharpening her volleys to add another important string and weapon to her bow, and the ability to come to the net to finish off points at the right time, keep opponents off balance and guessing more etc., would have been invaluable. Plus I tend to think that the grass court field was sort of hollowing out in the 90s, presenting her with opportunities to strike gold at Wimbledon. Maybe she could have done it in 1993. I personally thought pre-stabbing it was only a matter of time until she did win Wimbledon. At that time, in women's tennis I fully expected all the greatest / legendary players to win all of the majors, while in men's tennis with far greater depth, considerably more dangerous surface specialists / lower ranked players to worry about in early rounds before even setting up appointments against fellow big guns etc., it was a very different story.

However it could be argued that going into that double-header, Graf was still closer to winning a 3rd RG title than Seles was to winning a 1st Wimbledon title, but it would have been fascinating to see how that would have unfolded.

On the subject of Zvereva, a projected 4th round match at the US Open 1988 against Garrison, for the right to play Navratilova in the quarter-finals, could have been interesting if Zvereva had been able to make it that far. Zvereva was higher ranked at the time but Garrison was of course far more experienced with a 7 and a half year age difference. They didn't play each other until early 1989, with Garrison winning their first 3 and 5 out of their first 8 matches, before Zvereva won their last 4 matches (2 at Wimbledon and 1 at the US Open), to end up with a 7-5 h2h lead.
 
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Milanez82

Hall of Fame
Before the fateful stabbing incident, I remember really looking forward to the RG-Wimbledon double header in 1993. Seles's serve and also volleying ability were clearly improving with Wimbledon in mind (it was talked about a lot during the Australian Open). Graf had narrowly lost their RG final the previous year after fighting back and turning the match into a gruelling war, her 3rd final defeat in Paris within 4 years.

Now I certainly don't think that Seles was going to transform into an out and out serve-volleyer at Wimbledon (like Lendl), but sharpening her volleys to add another important string and weapon to her bow, and the ability to come to the net to finish off points at the right time, keep opponents off balance and guessing more etc., would have been invaluable. Plus I tend to think that the grass court field was sort of hollowing out in the 90s, presenting her with opportunities to strike gold at Wimbledon. Maybe she could have done it in 1993. I personally thought pre-stabbing it was only a matter of time until she did win Wimbledon. At that time, in women's tennis I fully expected all the greatest / legendary players to win all of the majors, while in men's tennis with far greater depth, considerably more dangerous surface specialists / lower ranked players to worry about in early rounds before even setting up appointments against fellow big guns etc., it was a very different story.

However it could be argued that going into that double-header, Graf was still closer to winning a 3rd RG title than Seles was to winning a 1st Wimbledon title, but it would have been fascinating to see how that would have unfolded.

On the subject of Zvereva, a projected 4th round match at the US Open 1988 against Garrison, for the right to play Navratilova in the quarter-finals, could have been interesting if Zvereva had been able to make it that far. Zvereva was higher ranked at the time but Garrison was of course far more experienced with a 7 and a half year age difference. They didn't play each other until early 1989, with Garrison winning their first 3 and 5 out of their first 8 matches, before Zvereva won their last 4 matches (2 at Wimbledon and 1 at the US Open), to end up with a 7-5 h2h lead.
Considering clay court bore Arrantcha took Graf to 5-7 in the 3rd set of a Wimbledon final(fortunately Graf prevented moonballer winning it), Seles was certainly going to have a realistic chance if stabbing never happened.
 
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