Graf & Navratilova - The Never Ending Debate
I sure hate to ask this question but I found myself watching a Martina Navratilova. story on TTC where one of the principle spokes persons was Billy Jean King, who made reference that in her opinion, there was no question, Martina is the Greatest Female Tennis Player to date. Well I seem to recall and thus researched just to make certain, the same Billy Jean had made quite another statement which was recorded in Tennis Mag. at the time Steffi Graf officially retired, Billie Jean King commenting to Peter Bodo in 1999, "Steffi is definitely the greatest women's tennis player of all time.". Well there you have it, I guess we can consider the case closed if you feel Billy Jean King's opinion is the end all of debate on any topic regarding Tennis. Quite frankly I would agree but others who share an opposing opinion argue that Martina's record of achievements thoroughly overshadow Steffi's and should without question be considered the best of all times.
I've personally debated this issue to the point of exhaustion and one time in Huntington Beach, Calif. just before myself and three others were geared up to play a few sets of Hit the Yellow Ball. we got into the back-n-forth so passionately that it turned into a full blown argument resulting in two of the players packing up their gear and leaving before we even started playing tennis.
Yeah it never ends but you are a fresh crop of ideas and I'd like to calmly ask which do you feel was the Greatest Female Player? Please spare me the, "Well if Monica hadn't of ... blah blah blah" because we can not talk about what if's we can only discuss what is.
Martina Navratilova amounted (18) Grand Slam Singles Titles (167) Titles in all
Steffi Graf banked (22) Grand Slam Singles Titles (107) Titles in all
Margret Court gained (24) Grand Slam Singles Titles * (92) Titles in Open Era
Chris Evert collected (18) Grand Slam Singles Titles (157) Titles in all
Billy Jean King won (12) Grand Slam Singles Titles (84) Titles total in open era
This is just to give a perspective of their incredible achievements which there's much more actually. Interestingly enough, all of the above have won a Slam Title on all four Grand Slam Events whereas in contrast, on the Men's Tour (in the open era) only Rod Laver & Andre Agassi have yet to achieve that honor.
So the point is, one can argue achievements and Steffi Graf should win that argument given she's won more Singles Titles but Martina has won more titles which include her Doubles Titles. Also it should be noted that Steffi Graf won Grand Slam Titles in three generations of Players. She won Grand Slam Titles at the time Martina & Chris were at the top of the Women's Game. Then she of course won more Slam Titles while Players like Arantxa Sanchez, Monica Seles, Gabriel Sabatini, etc. were the top ranked players and then she won in 1999 against Martina Hingis, following that up with wins over the William's Sisters subsequently losing the Wimbledon Final to Lyndsay Davenport.
Whereas Martina Navratilova, although attempted to compete with the afore mentioned, couldn't amount notable wins over the top raked players in Steffi's Age group and thereafter players like Serena & Venus.
So my vote is for Steffi Graf