Recall the first time Tennis caught your attention -
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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Recall the first time Tennis caught your attention

I was born in 1982, and my earliest tennis memory is of my mother asking my father "Did Martina win again?". He said "Yes, but it was close and she's getting on now". Then some time later, the same question. This time he replied "No, she lost," to which my mother said "Ah, she's had her day, then". I presume those years were 1987-88, and they were, of course, referring to Wimbledon.

So, when I saw Martina Navratilova on the TV for the first time in 1992, I naturally wanted her to win. She was the only player of whom I had any vague knowledge, playing an eager-looking youngster who was the talk of tennis: Seles Seles Seles. At just 10, I'd no idea she was my elder by only 8 years.

I watched the match on the evening highlights, and my over all impression, judging by the commentary and who received the most clapping (not knowing the rules or court dimensions), was that Seles was too good. Martina seemed dejected between points, pouting and cursing. I immediately took a disliking to Seles, because it didn't seem fair. I always supported the aging legend Davis against his usurper, Hendry, in snooker, so once again it was the elder player who won my allegiance. I recall a fan shouting "You're still the best, Martina", a reassurance obviously lightening the reality, as she left the grounds with her entourage.

In the other semi-final, my attention was instantly caught by a woman with long, black curly hair and latin Eldorado-type looks. She seemed familiar to the commentators, and I knew that to reach the semi-finals she must have been a decent player. Yet she was finding it hard going against a tall, severe-looking German woman. I have an indelible image of the latin beauty groaning as she lunged for a lob, only for her dominator to dismissively signal the ball boys for the next ball even before the shot had bounced long. It was a comfortable win for Graf over Sabatini. The following day in the Newsagents I saw a magazine with "Gabi" across its cover: "Is this her year?". I hadn't followed tennis for more than a day, but already I knew the magazine was old.

In the final, I wanted Graf to win because Seles had beaten my favourite. My dad told me that was unlikely because Graf had won Wimbledon several times before, but Seles was the best in the game and had beaten Graf. But I couldn't understand why. In the snippets of the final I saw, between the rain delays, Graf was clearly overwhelming Seles. My dad kept telling me Seles would come back, but it never happened and Graf was the champion. Seles wasn't as good as people believed and I didn't know what all the fuss had been about. In the interview she said "I didn't play my best, but also Steffi didn't allow me to play my best," which I thought was quite gracious.

The following spring she was stabbed, and Graf won Wimbledon over Novotna. I truly didn't realise what the game was missing. In 1994 I became a fan of Sanchez-Vicario, and I remember sitting watching the teletext scores when she defeated Graf in the '94 US Open final.

It wasn't until I read an article about Monica in 1995, shortly before her return, that I was enlightened. I had more knowledge of the other major tournaments by that time, so I understood just how prodigous Seles had been. I was sick of Graf winning slams, having regained her dominance over Sanchez-Vicario, and here was a woman who, at just 19, had already beaten Steffi in 3 slam finals. From then on I followed Seles avidly, buying videos of all her triumphs. Her style of play was electrifying, and I always hoped that she'd regain her dominance, until it became clear in the late 90s that it wasn't to be.

Those are my earliest memories. How about yours?

Last edited by Steffica Greles; Sep 15th, 2004 at 01:07 PM.
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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Monica's sensual grunts

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post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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1986 - i was 8 years old

and it was the match as Steffi beat Navratilova for the first time
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post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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i am 15 so i am kinda new to tennis..the first time that i really actually watch tennis was when hingis getiing to AUS finals and venus winning the us and wimbledon..but i like lenaD since olympics 2000

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post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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I started watching in 1996 for no real reason when i was 7. I didn't really know what was going on or what the scoring was or anything.


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post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Venus- serena at wimbledon 2000....was when i wtached a tennis match from start to end and understood the scoring... and thats when i became a tennis. Prior to that i would always have a look at henman when he was hyped up and then just be bored after a few minutes......

Jen- Venus match in 2001 at miami was when tennis became unmissable- the excitement and adrenalin that i got from that match made me bacame the obsessive that i am!

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post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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The first match I ever saw was the McEnroe v. Borg Wimbledon final in 1981. I didn't know the rules of the game, and my dad was pretty annoyed that I kept asking questions like "Why do they call it 'Deuce'?" and "Why do they call it a break of serve?" while the points were being played A year later, I saw my first women's match between Navratilova and Evert in the Wimbledon final. This was when Evert looked absolutely smashing, and I was hooked. Though I was pretty young at the time, I still remember watching Andrea Jaeger and Chris Lewis being demolished in the 1983 finals. I've followed the sport regularly since around 1983 or so.

Other memorable moments:
Chris Evert was my favourite for about a year or so, but I switched loyalties to Martina Navratilova because I felt really sorry for her that no one seemed to be rooting for her. My parents were more anti-Martina than pro-Chris, and based on the overwhelmingly pro-Chris crowds at most tournaments in those days, I was convinced that I was Martina's one and only fan And this was back when liking Martina was definitely not "cool". This continued until that memorable evening in 1986 when I switched loyalties again, this time for good. It was the second US Open semifinal match, and I had my first glimpse of "the future of tennis" -- Navratilova playing a skinny, fearless West German kid named Graf. I was mesmerised by Graf's footwork more than anything else (to this day, I can tell if a Graf match is being played simply by looking at the feet of the two players ), and I've been a fan ever since. But yes, no one else has ever come close to being the sort of favourites Graf and Navratilova have been over the years. (And I do feel very very old compared to all you kids in General Messages

Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)

Last edited by samn; Sep 15th, 2004 at 12:03 PM.
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post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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All I knew about tennis before 94 was the Slams, some names and I watched eventually one match on French telly during Roland Garros. In 94, Mary Pierce went to the finals, so it was a big deal in France, we herad a lot of tennis during FO94 , so I was more attentive, and when i heard of Wimbledon in a slmall resume , I learnt that n°1 Graf had lost to McNeil, a wonderful black woman (I saw a few points) and was happy with that result.Then, Conchi won the tournament and made me a big fan of her even if I hadn't seen her play.
The 1st magazine of tennis I bought was in december 94 with Mary Pierce on the cover of French Tennis Magazine.I got an "abonnement" 2months later , and since then I love following the Tour and am still a fan of Conchi!

Conchita MARTINEZ-Mary PIERCE-Lindsay DAVENPORT-Martina HINGIS-Serena WILLIAMS- and new legend Monica PUIG
Kata Srebotnik - Anabel Medina-Garrigues - Arantxa Parra-Santonja
Garbiñe Muguruza- Caroline Garcia- Polona Hercog- Kimiko DK - Eleni Daniilidou ...

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post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 12:19 PM
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I had never been interested in tennis until some day in the spring of 1989,in one of my mother's gossip magazine,I saw an article about Gabriela Sabatini,including some very beautiful photos of her in swim suit I might say ,I was at this beautiful woman so I decided I'd follow tennis to catch her in action.The first tournament I really followed was RG 89.I remember watching the Conchita-Graf match without knowing anything about the rules.Of course I was disappointed my compatriot lost to Graf,so when Graf faced another compatriot on final,Arantxa S.Vicario,I wanted Arantxa to win her badly.I think all the country was cheering for Arantxa that day.
I didn't see Sabatini play until Wimbledon,some weeks later.When I saw her I was completely hooked and a new fan of lovely miss Sabatini.Sabatini lost early in that tournament and I stopped following it as I was merely interested in Gaby,and only Gaby.I wanted her to win every match and was sad and disappointed when someone "dared" to beat my darling Gaby lol.At the same time my sister started supporting Graf so you can imagine the atmosphere home when they faced.

In the end of 1989,while watching some indoor tournament on tv,I saw for the first time a very thin girl,grunting after every stroke,and playing with some power I had not seen in any other player.She was like a little hurricane.Because she was the youngest player and her game I found it so exciting I cheered for her everytime I saw her play since that day.Even when she faced Sabatini.Of course that girl was Monica Seles.

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post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Beautiful post, Veronika. I especially loved the way you described Seles. Sabatini was unforgettable.
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post #11 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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The 1997 Wimbledon Final.

I couldn't believe that anyone so young could win Wimbledon.

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post #12 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Wimbledon 2002.

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post #13 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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I know, and Hingis was never quite the same player afterwards. She won the '97 U.S Open almost by default, but Wimbledon '97 was the last time she hit with quite the same aggression against stiff opposition.

People tend to assume that Hingis was overwhelmed by throngs of power-hitters, but that wasn't entirely the case. Hingis stopped taking the ball as early, leaning into her shots, from 1998 onwards; she tended to impart more topspin from deeper positions to keep her length and allow more time to retrieve. Little did she know she was compromising her strengths.

Watch any of her early videos and you'll see that. She responded in a self-destructive way to the deadly power of Davenport and the Williams sisters initially, followed by Capriati, Mauresmo, Pierce, sometimes Seles and eventually Hantuchova. But anyway, I digress.

Hingis, along with Seles, was easily the most phenomenal 16 year-old the world has ever seen.
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post #14 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:24 PM
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The first time I got interested in tennis was when I was abut 14. We'd just gotten a second tv, and my brother and I could share it. We each have it in our rooms for a week. I happened to have the tv in the first week of the AO that year, and I heard one of the commentators say about a 14 year old girl who was already playing in the main draw at the AO. I thought "oh wow! She's actually younger than me and she's playing at the AO!" That was of course, Martina Hingis! Then I started to watch to see how she would do, and it got me interested.

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post #15 of 73 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2004, 02:34 PM
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Dokic - Hingis 2000 Wimbledon truly caught my eye. I fell in love with the girl

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