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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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"She is the greatest player."

July 13, 2005, 1:00AM

Animated Graf delights hardy crowd

Rain holds off long enough for former star to play in rare pro match
By SARAH HORNADAY
Houston Chronicle

It wasn't a fairy-tale return to tennis for 22-time Grand Slam singles champ Steffi Graf, but you couldn't tell that to the fans at Westside Tennis Club.

Graf, in her first pro appearance since retiring in 1999, helped the Houston Wranglers rally against the Sacramento Capitals Tuesday in a World Team Tennis match. Sacramento needed overtime to beat Houston 20-18.

"It was a lot of fun," Graf said. "It was not as I expected it to be."

Graf was noticeably nervous before Tuesday's match. One of only three women to win all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments in the same year (1988), she started the night playing doubles with Ansley Cargill and also played mixed doubles with Mardy Fish.

Graf had even more time to think about her "one-time only" Team Tennis appearance when play was delayed one hour and eight minutes during the opening singles set between Fish and Sacramento's Mark Knowles.

"She feels a lot of responsibility to do well," Team Tennis co-founder Billie Jean King said. "I think it's great for the public to see her at all. She's not making a comeback."

Graf wasn't confident about playing singles against Elena Likhovtseva, who currently holds a No. 16 WTA ranking, since she has only practiced the last two weeks. But her teammates talked her into the match.

"They said just go out and enjoy it," Graf said.

The addition to singles pleased the Westside crowd. And Graf.

Graf's appearance, along with Sacramento's Anna Kournikova, attracted a paid attendance of 4,862 to Westside. The rain kept some fans from showing up, but those who attended received a treat in Graf's singles appearance.

"She put up a fight," Likhovteseva said. "She's the greatest player."

Graf lost 5-4 in a tiebreaker but played the night's closest set. After teaming with Cargill and losing 5-2 to Kournikova and Likhovtseva, Graf definitely appeared more at ease in singles.

After tying the set at 2-2 (each set is played to 5, before moving to the next set), she raised her racket to the crowd for cheers — and received plenty. She raised her arms in victory when a challenged call went her way. And she was all smiles — for most of the set.

Though not victorious, it was a triumphant return to tennis.

"Obviously she hasn't missed a beat," Fish said. "She showed how really good she is."


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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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She lost.

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]

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian KC
She lost.

But not to Weingärtner ...

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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To lose in a tiebreak against the current #16 and current SF slam player is an amazingly accomplishment for a woman who hasnt played at this event since 1999 thanks.

Go Steffi You rock
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:15 AM
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well at least Hingis won the first set... can't say the same about Graf..


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Originally Posted by Calimero377
But not to Weingärtner ...

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calimero377
But not to Weingärtner ...

She mind as well.

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]

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abayen
well at least Hingis won the first set... can't say the same about Graf..

Graf sometimes loses first sets.
Hingis sometimes wins first sets.
Remember FO 99 final.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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woulda coulda...
talk facts

btw, elena l. is 8-7 on hardcourts this year. to lose to such a player hmmm..


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Originally Posted by Calimero377
Graf sometimes loses first sets.
Hingis sometimes wins first sets.
Remember FO 99 final.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calimero377
Graf sometimes loses first sets.
Hingis sometimes wins first sets.
Remember FO 99 final.
You know when they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that dog is smarter than you.

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 #10 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian KC
You know when they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that dog is smarter than you.
Hey you're kind of funny when you're attacking an enemy of mine

Really, don't even look at me...
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Now, honestly, how scary would it be, if Graf came back and won against Likhowtsewa after giving birth to two children and so many years gone by with only weeks of training. What would it say about women's tennis? I find it pretty astonishing that she made it to a tie break. She's 36 already.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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"If" Steffi Graf is the "greatest player" then why is
their a need to continually reinerate that "fact"?

Would it not simply speak for itself?
"It" being her accomplishments.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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I think this is an amazing performance by steffi, to push elena (who is no bad player!) to 5-4 after such a long absence away from tennis....she is a truly remarkable lady!

Tout est bien qui finit bien...
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:58 AM
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I think she did well... she's 36 and a mother of 2 for crying out loud! To have a close match against a top 20 player, that's a good showing!

-MARTINA HINGIS-
Unconditional Love & Support, Always and Forever, Genius, Legend, Star
All the Best, Elena Dementieva, Anna Chakvetadze, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Zheng Jie, Vera Zvonareva
Keep Fighting, Keep Believing

Novak "Nole" Djokovic
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Last Unicorn
Now, honestly, how scary would it be, if Graf came back and won against Likhowtsewa after giving birth to two children and so many years gone by with only weeks of training. What would it say about women's tennis? I find it pretty astonishing that she made it to a tie break. She's 36 already.
You're telling me... that would be a kick in the groin for fans of womens tennis, and would seriously damage the credibility that this year's Wimbledon restored to the women's game.

And even worse, it would make Calimero377 EXACTLY right in his rants about how far the women's game has fallen.
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