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Where does Serena rank?

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Where does Serena rank?

by gorv.garg » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:42 am

Some are calling her the greatest female player of all-time after the latest triumph. This came as a big surprise to me as in my time that honour easily goes to Steffi Graf. Andre's missus has won seven more grand slam titles and from memory had much tougher competition challenging her. Plus, she is a far more likeable person which has to count for something. Thoughts?
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Where does Serena rank?

by abhimanyunagpal » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:10 am

The thing about Graf though is she won 11 of her 22 Grand Slams after Monica Seles was stabbed. How many would she have won if that never happened? Because at that time Seles definitely had her measure so would she really have won anything close to 20? Obviously we can only speculate but Seles only ever won one more after the incident.

For me though, Serena at the peak of her powers is better than anyone I've seen. Obviously she's not everyone's cup of tea but I've always enjoyed watching her play. Can't stand her sister Venus though. I definitely think she can win another few Grand Slams as well before retiring. She's shown when her head is focused on her game there is no one better.
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Where does Serena rank?

by VictoriaWilliam » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:11 am

For me it'll be Steffi, but that's probably as much because you romantacise your own era. Serena would definately be up there, but I don't think she was as far ahead of the rest of the players of her era as Graf was. Seles was obviously close, but Graf dominated someone like Navratalova, who is also one of the all-time greats. No doubt the depth in women's tennis is much greater now, but I don't think there are too many others at the moment who will be talked about as all-time greats at the end of their career, whereas Martina and Seles definately were.

Never saw Margaret Court play.

Graf vs Sabbatini was a great match up for a teenage boy in the late 80's. Don't necessarily remember much of the tennis though.
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Where does Serena rank?

by davidtuffy » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:13 am

I admit I haven't checked through the records, but I simply looked at the dates of birth. Navratilova is 13 years the elder, which surely suggests she wasn't in her prime when Graf was playing her.

Serena Williams may be the greatest player of all time, but I will never watch her matches, on principle. After that outburst in New York when the threatened the line judge, she should never have been allowed on a tennis court again. Some will say "Ah, but it's exciting to watch her play". I'm quite prepared to miss that excitement.

Oh, and Sabatini. She was certainly a handsome girl, but she walked like Robert Mitchum - a sort of masculine swagger.
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Where does Serena rank?

by RickyTan » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:14 am

Don't watch much of this charade that they call womens 'tennis' but the fact that a player who doesn't really care about the sport 3/4 of the year can be regarded as one of the all time greats says enough about the state of the game. Don't get me wrong as a junior she probably trained the house down but so do hundreds of other juniors. Yes Marat Safin had success and Martin Verkerk managed to make a French Open final after gallivanting around the world off his own money/daddy's money but you would never have seen them making slam finals with the preparation that Serena has into some of her slams.
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Where does Serena rank?

by michaelthorpe » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:16 am

The Martina Navratilova age thing carries no weight for me. She was still making Wimbledon finals up until 1993 from memory - Graf started winning grand slams five years before that.
The most obvious difference is not the talent of the opposition, but the mental incompetence of their relative opposition.
Graf was taking on and beating Navratilova, Evert, Seles, Sanchez-Vicario, Moonball Martinez, Mary-Joe Fernandez, Helena Sukova, Amanda Coetzer, Davenport, Pierce and Hingis later on - these were mentally tough players used to the big occasion.
She also beat her fair share of talented players who maybe weren't that mentally strong but had the weapons - Novotna, Sabbatini etc.

Really, who has Williams beaten that you could describe as mentally strong? Hingis, Henin-Hardenne and Davenport are the only ones who spring to mind. Even Venus, take her away from Wimbledon and she's not that great herself, and in the case of Hingis their careers only overlapped for a couple of years.

Of Williams' 15 grand slams, three of her finals wins have been against Hingis, Davenport and Henin.
The other 12 have been against Radwanska, Safina, Jankovic, Azarenka, Sharapova, Jankovic, Zovonareva.
Of those players only Sharapova is anything remotely close to mentally strong, and she's hot and cold herself.

It seems like every other grand slam has involved some talented but mentally retarded European taking a 6-2 4-1 lead in a fourth round or quarter final match against Williams only to fall apart and serve three double faults and fail thereafter to win a point in the entirety of the match.
Obviously she herself is a fighter and is mentally strong but there is no comparison IMO between what she has done and what Graf achieved
Last edited by michaelthorpe on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Where does Serena rank?

by ChunLee » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:18 am

Difference is Williams is virtually a part time player these days yet can still win Grand Slam Singles and Doubles tournaments at the same time such as Wimbledon this year without having played a competitive match for over a month beforehand and then turns around and does the same again 2 weeks later at the Olympics.

I don't know any other player than can/has done that.
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Where does Serena rank?

by MatthewJohnson » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:22 am

You can't just say because some of those players on the list aren't mentally strong that it automatically disqualifies her from being the best. She's still beaten her sister Venus in five of those 15 Grand Slams Finals.

Also, how about looking at Roger Federer and who he has beaten in Grand Slam Finals. Philippoussis, Safin, Roddick, Baghdatis, Gonzalez and Soderling. Yes Safin won two Grand Slams and Roddick one, but you'd hardly call either mentally strong (both for different reasons though). Point is, no-one discredits those Grand Slams.

And I still go back to my man point, Seles had the wood over Graf in the early-90's like Nadal does Federer in Grand Slam Finals. Yes you can't just assume Seles would have kept her edge over Graf as their careers went on, but it's the one sticking point in what was still an amazing career.
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Where does Serena rank?

by VictoriaWilliam » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:24 am

Serena ranks as having the biggest butt in tennis history and playing in the most over rated, overpaid and pointless sport of female tennis

To give female tennis players such a large amount of money is waste and they should have totally separate tournaments to men to reveal how the sponsors will gradually leave
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Where does Serena rank?

by davidtuffy » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:25 am

@Matthew:
I don't know where this perceived 'wood' is coming from.

Pre-stabbing, they played 10 times.
Graf led 6-4.
They played in four GS finals, Seles winning three, only one of them in straight sets.
In two other GS meetings in that time, Graf won. A fourth round match at Wimbledon and a semi at Roland Garros.

Hanging your entire argument on one four match block in which Seles wasn't even that dominant isn't exactly a foolproof argument.

In addition to the average players Federer has beaten, he's also beaten three other out and out stars in the majority of them.

You can't help who you play, Serena is not at fault there at all.
But the fact that she has an inferior record to Graf and achieved it against unquestionably inferior opposition tells you all you need to know.
Venus is toilet away from Wimbledon anyway.

As for the point about Serena's ability to rock up to any grand slam and compete regardless of time off as made earlier in the thread, granted, she does have a great knack for doing it.
But I would argue it is just as hard to be playing all year round, consistently playing 4-5 matches per tournament as Graf did her entire career, and still be at your best when it matters most.
Last edited by davidtuffy on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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