Steffi the great!!! -
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post #1 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Steffi the great!!!

Steffi was so incredible that even the haters love her.


"Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated" - George Bernard Shaw

"And for the best of the teen-agers who followed her, and who occasionally referred to her as over the hill, Graf had a ready answer: against top-ranked Martina Hingis, Graf wound up 7-2. Graf's stirring 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 throttling of Hingis at the French Open final this June was perhaps the most emphatic parting shot the game has ever seen. "

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post #2 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 07:42 PM
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were are definitely in the off season of tennis!!!!!
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post #3 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 09:43 PM
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blah blah blah blah..

Gunther has joined the messageboards!!

or is it Calimero's 4th username??

Of even more significance, there's this little gap in Graf's resume the size of the hole in the ozone layer: It's called Monica Seles. Was Graf the best female player of all time? She wasn't even the best in the heart of her career.
- Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated 27/8/01
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post #4 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 09:46 PM
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Actually daforehand has been annoying us with this bollocks way before calimero. graf fans seriously are obsessed.

Good Luck In 2005:
[Martina Hingis] [Justine Henin-Hardenne]
[Cara Black] [Nadia Petrova] [Eugenia Linetskaya] [Patty Schnyder]
[Svetlana Kuznetsova] [Ai Sugiyama] [Su-Wei Hsieh] [Gisela Dulko]

[Maja Matezvic] [Karolina Sprem] [Eleni Daniilidou] [Maria Kirilenko] [Jelena Jankovic]
[Tathiana Garbin] [Timea Bacsinszky] [Kaia Kanepi] [Na Li] [Vera Douchevina]

The Pompous Member Of The Justine Philistines' Society™
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post #5 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 11:15 PM
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post #6 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 11:41 PM
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the best way to get the attention of seles fans is start a thread saying how great steffi is.
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post #7 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 05:15 AM
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post #8 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 06:40 AM
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post #9 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 07:07 AM
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Gunther Parche is the Greatest
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post #10 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Hail to Queen Steffi!
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post #11 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Alley
Hail to Queen Steffi!
Hail to King Gunther
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post #12 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DA FOREHAND
Steffi was so incredible that even the haters love her.

Her BIG NOSE was so incredible Bow down to the GIANT BOOGERS

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post #13 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tennislover
And that moron said Steffi was the most beautiful in 95' against other finalists Arantxa and Conchita still can't figure out what's the fuss over the BIG NOSE player

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post #14 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 09:52 AM
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A matter of body over mind

By Nirmal Shekar

CHENNAI, AUG. 13. Finally, it was her body that sent the message, her body that helped her make up her mind. Ah, what a cruel irony, this! But, then, in the capricious business of sport, it is always thus - even when it comes to the greatest of 'em all.

And, to think that the complaining body belonged to one of the greatest athletes sport has known this century, and inarguably the greatest women's tennis has seen!

For some time now, Steffi Graf has been in two minds when it came to the question of retirement. After her historic French Open triumph, she seemed sure in her mind that it was her last visit to Paris and after her loss to Lindsay Davenport in the Wimbledon final, the great lady again seemed certain when she said she wouldn't be back at Wimbledon.

But, in the recent weeks, there were conflicting reports about what she really wanted to do - quit at the end of the season, or perhaps carry on into the new millennium.

On Friday, rather inappropriately on Friday the 13th, Graf's mind was finally made up, thanks to the signals sent out by the finest pair of legs the game has seen.

That's the curse that every sportsperson, the not-so- good, the good, the great and the greatest, have to live with. When the legs and the arms complain, they have to leave the centre stage.

A great painter doesn't have to give up his brush and his canvas on turning 30 or 40. A V.S. Naipaul can carry on writing marvellous prose well past what ordinary mortals come to think of as retirement age. A Ravi Shankar doesn't have to part with his sitar or the centre stage simply because he's turned 70.

But, in the world of sport, even the most extraordinary champions such as Graf have to bow sooner rather than later to Father Time. Even the most resilient of champions do not enjoy a career span of more than 15 years.

A pity, this. But, it goes with the territory, so to say. An athlete is an athlete - which, of course, means ultimately the body rules the mind.

Well, now that the great lady has quit, where does she stand in the pantheon of greats? Where does she rank in the company of such great players as Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, not to speak of such legends of the pre-War days as Helen Wills Moody and Suzanne Lenglen?

If you went by statistics, Grand Slam statistics, only Margaret Court (24) has won more singles titles than Graf (22). But there is more to greatness than mere statistics. Of course, Court will have her supporters. So will Evert and Navratilova. In fact, for sheer natural ability, I believe Navratilova is possibly the greatest player of all time. And in terms of resilience and will power, Evert has no equals.

Then again, there are primarily two reasons why Graf will rank ahead of everybody else in my book. The first has to do with her consistency and success at the Slams. Following the Golden Grand Slam in 1988, when she swept the majors and also won the Olympic gold, Graf has won three of the four majors four times - in 1989, 1993, 1995 and 1996.

In 1988, if not for a brief illness during the final against a gutsy young Arantxa Sanchez- Vicario in the French Open final, Graf might well have won a second successive Grand Slam. And, in 1995 and 1996, if she had not been forced to skip the Australian Open, she would have certainly won all the four majors.

All-time great ????????????

But the more important reason for my choice of Graf as the greatest women's champion of all time has nothing to with the number of titles she's won or the number of weeks she's been No. 1.

What has appealed to me most about the great German is her ability to shut out everything else when she goes out on court. For someone who has seen more ups and downs in her private life than most great champions, Graf achieved what she did simply because of her extraordinary ability to concentrate on her tennis to the exclusion of everything else when she was on a court in a major championship.

All great champions have the ability to concentrate, some more than others. But Graf was one step above almost everybody else in her generation. There was an almost other- worldly intensity to her concentration on the court. At the best of times, one could get an idea of Friedrich Nietzsche's ``Pure will without the troubles of intellect'' when Graf played.

What Graf came up with when everything went well for her on the court was the very definition of pure joy, or ultimate freedom. Supreme happiness and unqualified freedom are not things that lead on to something else. They are their own meaning. They exist by themselves, of themselves, independent of anything else.

And Graf's tennis, at her best, had nothing to do with the scoreline that it caused or the titles that it led the author to. It would seem to be a sacrilege to say that they were connected.

Did Van Gogh wonder how valuable posterity would deem his masterpieces when he painted his classic pieces? How ridiculous to even so much as wonder that he might have done that! If, as Johannes Brahms said, ``A symphony is no joke,'' then it would be a joke to imagine that the author of a great symphony was motivated by the applause that his composition might get.

What Graf did on the tennis court time and again was to strive for her own athletic nirvana. That is what she risked everything - her suspect back, her knees, her misbehaving ankles - for. That is the only condition of life that she ever aspired to - a moment when she could play the kind of tennis that is a perfect expression of the language of her soul.

When a player achieves such an exalted condition, she soars above not only the ordinary but event the great ones. This is why Graf is ahead of Court, Navratilova, Evert and every other woman who ever unsheathed a racquet.

There are times when sport transcends itself, moments when it aspires to a condition that is mostly beyond its reach even in the best of times. In such a state, in such moments, sport sheds its familiar skin, rashes and all, and becomes something that it seldom is - a kind of super- sport.

It is during these exalted moments that sport takes on the heavenly glow of the great arts - of music, dance, painting and writing - and the athlete who authors those moments of transcendental brilliance experiences the kind of fullness of life, of superabundance of life, that a Nijinsky or a Mozart would have felt during great moments of creative intensity.

In the last 15 years, in the sports arena, a place where it is a great privilege simply to be able to tune into a super-athlete's private wavelength when he or she takes on wings and carries sport beyond its defined boundaries, few have achieved the ``exalted condition'' as often as Steffi Graf.

Those of us who have seen her from the time she was an up-and- coming pimply-faced adolescent know, for sure, that we'll never see anyone quite like her again.

Yes, the greatest is gone.
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post #15 of 85 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 09:55 AM
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The Sportstar - 28th August, 1999

In the world of tennis, Steffi Graf was a pure one-off. She never played for records or for a place in history. Driven by a force that lesser mortals were not aware of, she played for something else, writes NIRMAL SHEKAR.

"Everyone's life is a road to himself, to self-realisation" - Herman Hesse Somehow, it didn't seem right. Something was wrong somewhere. It just didn't jell. It was like watching a staging of Hamlet without hearing one of English literature's most quoted lines: To be or not to be.

It was a bit like witnessing a five-setter starring John McEnroe and not getting to see a single line-call being questioned, or, watching Gundappa Visvanath make a century without once lovingly caressing the ball square of the wicket with the kindest blade ever put to ball.

There we were, on Sunday, July 4, on the centre court at Wimbledon, watching the women's singles final. And nothing could have been more out of character. It was at once strange and bizarre. It was difficult to believe that this was Steffi Graf in a Grand Slam final.

Not that Graf has not lost before. It is not as if she's never been outhit before in a Grand Slam final. To be sure, we have seen her lose early in the fortnight too. And we have seen her end up with a more unflattering scoreline than what she managed against Lindsay Davenport on that day.

But, somehow, it appeared that it wasn't the Graf we were familiar with - in victory or in defeat. For all the world to see, the great German did try to turn things around.

It seemed like she still had the energy and the skills to fight back but not the desire. Strangely, the hunger was gone.

Was this the woman who, time after time in the face of adversity, withdrew deep into herself, gathered her energies in a tight coil and unleashed them on the court to demolish stunned opponents? Was this the woman whose aggressive movements on the court were sheer poetry in motion as she went about her business with feline grace, her body drunk with the heady brew of its own vitality?

So you wondered on that day which, in hindsight, turned out to be the great lady's last appearance in a major tournament. And it was obvious that Graf had, in terms that are vital to her, come to the end of a road.

Essentially, what it meant was that the seven-time Wimbledon champion's life in tennis was not what it used to be anymore - it wasn't as Hesse wrote, "a road to herself" anymore.

And to a virtuoso conductor of the orchestra who, for a decade and a half at the top, has been used to performing at an exalted level, this just wasn't good enough. Something had snapped - the appetite was suddenly gone.

Most other champions, afraid of venturing into the hazardous terrain that life-after-sport can be, would have simply slogged on and on until critics and fans began to question their motives and wonder why they should choose to punish themselves like lesser mortals after achieving so much.

But not Graf, not the great German champion who has, for a good part of 15 years, been a dazzling dynamo of energy and willpower on tennis courts around the world. To her, even 99 per cent could never be good enough. It was 100 per cent or nothing.

Little wonder, then, the 30-year old winner of 22 Grand Slam titles should have chosen to leave the game after enjoying the sort of summer- winning in Paris and making the final at Wimbledon- that many top players dream of, but only a handful get to realise.

The greatest champions compete not so much with their opponents, but with themselves. And, to Graf, on the second Sunday of Wimbledon, it was perhaps obvious that she wasn't able to compete well enough with herself, she wasn't able to dig deep enough to bring out her best.

In the event, it was a question of time before she reconciled herself to the inevitable, to that fact that she'd be better off quitting the game now than at some time in the unforseeable future.

To understand what tennis meant to Graf - which, of course, is to understand what Graf meant to tennis - one had to see her on a practice court.

But why a practice court? Hasn't the world watched the great lady play and win epic matches on a famous stage such as Wimbledon or the U.S.Open or the Australian Open?

The point is, on a big stage, with so much at stake, and with the whole world watching, it would hardly be a surprise to see a great champion raise his/her game to stratospheric levels. Pushed by a great opponent, by a Martina Navratilova or a Monica Seles, it was only to be expected that Graf would have soared to great heights.

But the key to a great champion's love for the game, the true pointer to her endless striving for perfection, is the attitude that the player displays on a practice court with nobody - except perhaps the coach and a few hangers-on - watching, and with little at stake.

Over 15 years, this writer has watched the great lady practise many, many times. And every single time it was a matter of great pleasure to see Graf perform on her own private stage-away-from-stage.

It is because of this that one believes that her millions of fans never got to see the very best Graf could produce with a tennis racquet. For, believe it or not, there were times when Graf played much, much better in practice than she ever managed to at a famous venue such as Wimbledon or the French Open.

This, of course, is a sure pointer to what tennis meant to her. And to see her dart about like a dervish on a practice court, experiencing the sort of ecstasy that only saints might be aware of, is to realise that the game was a sort of self-realisation for the great lady.

If Graf attained her own nirvana in a tennis court - quite often away from the glare on a practice court - then that is what she lived for, that is what she played for. That is what she risked her back, her knees and her hurting ankles for. That is the only condition of life she ever aspired to - a moment when she could play the kind of tennis that was, essentially, a perfect expression of the language of her soul.

There have been any number of great players who have aspired to a state of perfection. But, almost always, there was a certain something else they aspired to simultaneously. Maybe a record. Maybe a place in history. Perhaps even the joy of victory.

Martina Navratilova, a woman with a keen sense of history, always played for a place in history. For Jimmy Connors, nothing matched the pleasure he derived from seeing the disappointment on the opponent's face after he had beaten the poor bloke.

But there have been very few sportspersons - not just tennis players- who can be compared to Graf in terms of what a perfect performance meant to them, irrespective of whether they were playing in front of a big crowd on a big stage or on an obscure practice court.

In that sense, in the world of tennis, Graf was a pure one-off. She never really competed with her contemporaries or for a place in history. She played for something else, driven by a force that lesser mortals did not even begin to suspect existed.

To watch Graf on a tennis court in her most exalted of moments was to watch a Buddha in meditation. She was one with her work, and together they were one with the world.
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