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post #2409 of (permalink) Old Oct 29th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Originally Posted by Stef-fan View Post
Comparing the year to a menu card, yum.......
Still bummed of how she was described by many as a one dimensional tennis machine and nothing more.
In a way, glad that the press got her wrong
Oh, she could be very droll and sarcastic. Just a brief survey of some of my favorite humorous Steffi quotes/stories:

From the 1985 US Open:

At Wimbledon, when they asked Boris Becker why he wore a watch during his matches, he said: "I have a contract with the watch company."

Steffi Graf, also from West Germany, likewise wears a watch, and John Feinstein of the Washington Post asked her at the U.S. Open if she, too, had a contract.

"No," she said.

They why does she wear it?

"I wear it, because if I didn't, I would lose it," she said.


After thumping Claudia Porwick in 34 minutes in Berlin in 1987, she joked: "It was icy cold when we started the match, so I thought I'd better get it over with quickly."


After playing Sabatini in front of a capacity crowd of about 8,000 at the Italian Open in 1987, she was asked if the crowd's very vocal support of Gaby bothered her: "It wasn't that bad," she said. "There were eight or nine guys in one corner who kept yelling, 'Steffi.' "


After she won the 1987 French Open, Bud Collins interviewed her court-side and asked, "What won it for you?"

And the 17-year-old smart-ass laughingly replied: "The double faults." (If the NBC broadcast is on Youtube, check it out.)


On meeting Michael Jackson in 1988, in the middle of the Slam hysteria: "He was very nice. He didn't ask me about the Grand Slam."


From the 1990 VS of New England: A reporter asked, "Why did you use your forehand so much?" Steffi replied with a grin, "Because it works."


From 1994 Delray Beach: "I'm happy to give you this check for $80,000," said Ed Sherman, who represents Infiniti motor cars, the sponsor.

"How can it be a pleasure to give away $80,000?" Graf cracked.


Also from 1994 Delray: When they asked her about her winning streak, she countered with: "It's better than a losing streak."


From Wimbledon 1995, some poor journalistic soul had the temerity to ask: "Tell us something we don't know about you, something you've wanted to tell us that we've never asked you. You know, something that you've been waiting for us to ask you."

The answer was a rather arch: "I haven't been waiting for anything."

The reporter pressed on and Steffi talked a little bit about her dogs and then said, "You are really writing that down, huh?"


More dogs, from Wimbledon 1992: "My dogs?" she said. "Oh, yes, I talk to them every day. I must, every day and night. I call and they tell me: `We miss you.' "


Making fun of her yearly allergies at the 1996 French Open: Q. You sound like you have a cold. Have you? Is it serious?

STEFFI GRAF: I'm in Paris.


Playing with the press at the 1996 French Open: Q. Anything specific you're going to be doing for fun during the next week?

STEFFI GRAF: I have nothing really on my mind, unless you've got something to tell me.

Q. What an opening. A young guy from San Francisco.


After winning the 1999 French Open, she showed up early the next morning for the customary trophy photo and interview sessions, despite being perhaps still a bit worse for wear from celebrating. When asked about the party by a German reporter, she said: "Wir haben bis halb vier auf den Tšnzen getischt." Which translates to "We tabled on the dances until 3:30." Par-tay!


Being perhaps too arithmetically subtle during her interview for breaking the record of weeks at Number One:

Q: My question is related to just the idea of thinking about records like this, it just seems to me that you probably either don't care about them or are not going to dwell on them that much, but it is kind of one that should be pretty historical. It should last a long time.

STEFFI GRAF: Definitely another couple of six, seven years.


Somebody once asked Heinz if she was dour in private, and he told this story:

He recalled a match that Graf won easily without once lobbing a ball, despite circumstances that dictated a lob.

They talked after the match, and Gunthardt pressed her on the need to hit balls up top on occasion.

Gunthardt, who has been with Graf 2 1/2 years, says he always tries to guide Steffi into his way of thinking, never ordering her.

So, the next day during practice, he crowded the net so closely in their practice session that Graf had no way to get by him but to go over him.

Stubbornly, she refused to lob again. Not one lob the entire practice session.

"Next match, she hit a lob for a winner on a really crucial point," said Gunthardt. "And then she turned and smiled at me. That's her sense of humor."


My own personal favorite, the moment when I became a fan for life, at Wimbledon 1988 during the final. It's the famous point in the second set with Navratilova leading 2-1, and Steffi serving at 30-15. The point is glorious, but Steffi's response is just as awesome, but it takes a close-up on the NBC replay to see it (I don't know if other sources have it). The replay shows that as she is braking her forward motion after hitting the winner, the hem of her skirt flips up. Steffi quickly flips her hem back down, and there is just the
subtlest motion around her mouth as if to say with mock self-consciousness, "How unladylike of me!" and downcasts her eyes as if to say tongue-in-cheekly, "How immodest of me!" And then keeps her eyes oh-so-humbly downcast on the way back to the baseline, but strides with a carefully restrained swagger as she dribbles the ball with her racquet. It's perfect! The director/producer did a great job of picking her reaction up.


And this is just priceless, on so many levels; I'm sure the details are a cherished story told at many NBC behind-the-scenes-crew parties. This happened in December 1990, reported in January 1991:

On a whim, tennis star Steffi Graf ended up at the Mike Tyson-Alex Stewart heavyweight fight in Atlantic City, N.J., last month.

While in Detroit for an exhibition, Graf was interviewed by a crew for "George Michael's Sports Machine" on NBC. Afterward, the crew members said their next assignment was the fight, and they jokingly asked Graf whether she wanted to go. So Graf rented a jet and flew the crew and herself to the fight. It was barely worth it, because Tyson won with a knockout at 2:27 of the first round.


And I haven't scratched the surface. I mean, sometimes her humor is the off-kilter variety, or playing the bumbling fool variety, or the "brick joke" variety, so a lot of people won't/don't appreciate it, but it's there.
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