Three superb matches, for different reasons!
The '81 loss to Tracy came after Martina defeated Chrissie in a classic semi (it was either 6-4 or 7-5 in the third, I think). After the first set of the final, it looked as if Martina would win for sure. She blew Tracy away with serve-and-volley power. But they had to continue the next day and Tracy was able to get her teeth into the match with some pinpoint lobs and better depth on her groundstrokes. Martina missed a key forehand volley (a stroke that cost her other matches, too) at 4-3 in the second, allowing Tracy to take the game and hang on for the tiebreak win.
The third was just as tight and went to another tiebreaker, in which Tracy hit two forehand winners down the line (she'd been going crosscourt all match) to catch Martine completely off guard. Tracy won the tiebreak 7-1 on a Navratilova double fault. During the ceremony, Martina broke down not so much for losing the match but for the crowd cheering her on as it was announced she had become (or had applied to be?) an American citizen. She was overcome by their support, too, of her as a person.
The '85 final was thrilling because Hana was simply brilliant when it counted. She roared to a 5-0 first-set lead, smacking winners from every part of the court. At one point, Martina held her arms up and shrugged 'what can I do?' as Hana hit a forehand return-of-serve winner down the line. But suddenly Hana made some errors and Martina got back to 6-6. Hana won it with more exciting gets and winners, not allowing Martina to dominate at the net.
In the second set, Martina charged forward and Hana did her own version of a walkabout - lots of misses and shaky play. Mostly, though, Martina really concentrated and played cleanly.
The third was a barn-burner, as Hana raced to a 5-3 lead and seemed on the verge of winning then and there. Martina sucked it in and leveled, then went ahead 6-5 (I think..it's been a while!). Hana held and won the tiebreak and the match on a superb angled backhand volley that Martina simply coudln't run down. In fact, Hana fell on her back as she hit the winner and, realising it was over, pumped her fists from that prone position as the crowd roared its' approval.
The Graf final of '89 was a thriller because it looked like Martina would win for sure. After attacking superbly to go 6-3, 4-2, Martina shouted to herself 'two more, just two more (games)!' Just then, she faltered a tiny bit, and Graf was able to get a hold of a few more passes. You could feel the slightest bit of doubt creep into Martina's confidence, maybe because she was SO close to winning. Graf's forehand started clicking, and Martina's approaches either hit the top of the net or floated just long. Graf won the set 7-5 on a brilliant lob that Martina couldn't quite reach as she tried to smash.
The final set was all Graf, hitting forehand winners at will and serving with accuracy and power. In fact, she served a second-serve ace on match point (at which a disgusted Martina tossed her racquet to her chair).
In all cases, Martina reacted with class and sportsmanship, despite what must have been - for differing reasons - devastating losses...
Great memories, though!