STICH STILL RECALLS HIS "ACE"
The Times Union
Sunday, August 23, 1992
Of all the aces produced by Michael Stich around the world, his nearest and dearest remains here. And it just might be one of the key reasons the German returned this summer for the OTB Open tennis tournament.
Stich's easy smile slipped across his face even quicker when reminded Saturday morning of the memorable shot he unloaded here last August. Only it didn't come on the court. Instead, he drove the ball with a club from the 15th tee at nearby Mohawk Country Club. It sailed smartly into the cup for a hole-in-one.
"Would you believe I almost did it again the other day on the same hole," Stich said after finishing his (tennis) practice session at Central Park as two days of qualifiers began in this $255,000 event.
The defending men's champion and top seed is definitely here to play tennis, but won't deny he loves this game of golf with the long sticks, too.
"I try to relax when I'm not playing tennis," said Stich, No. 10 in the world and recent gold-medal winner with doubles partner Boris Becker at the Barcelona Olympics.
By some standards, Stich would be having an off year, but only in comparison to his remarkable run in 1991 when he won Wimbledon and three other championships, all on different surfaces. He participated in 149 singles and doubles matches, most on the IBM/ATP tour and rose to No. 3 in the world.
"I'm not playing bad. In the last six Grand Slams, I've advanced to at least the quarterfinals," Stich said. "Now it's important for me to get ready for the U.S. Open (Aug. 31)."
Stich had little trouble winning last year's OTB Open, breezing to the title without dropping a set. Since the U.S. Open is played on the same kind of hardcourt surface, Schenectady provides an ideal tuneup for the 6-foot-4 right-hander.
While he didn't repeat his Wimbledon singles championship, he did capture the doubles crown with new and unlikely partner John McEnroe.
"We plan to play together again at the U.S. Open and maybe two other tournaments," Stich said of his doubles alliance with McEnroe. "I hope we'll be able to defend our Wimbledon title next year."
Stich said he asked McEnroe to team up at Wimbledon after the two had played together a few weeks earlier.
"It was fun," Stich said of the partnership with his often volatile teammate. "John is one of the best doubles players around and seems to like playing with somebody who serves fast."
Stich certainly fits that classification. His 130 mph rockets at Wimbledon were among the fastest clocked on radar.
Asked to compare his singles championships with the gold medal he won in Barcelona with Becker, Stich said "It's entirely different. There (Olympics) you're with somebody else for somebody else (Germany). It was a great honor, one of the highlights of my career."
Stich will focus on singles in Schenectady. While he was practicing Saturday, 64 qualifiers were struggling to reach the main draw. One of them will face Stich in the first round.
Travis Boyd, the only area player in the qualifying tournament, was beaten in his first-round match Saturday morning. Marten Renstrom of Sweden posted a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 decision over Boyd. Both players had been awarded wild cards into the qualifiers.
Boyd, from Castleton, earned his entry by winning the Bolton Open last weekend. He appeared to have gained the edge on Renstrom with a break for a 3-2 lead in the decisive third set, but it proved to be the last game Boyd would win. Renstrom broke back to tie the set at 3 and then climbed out of an 0-40 hole on his own serve to move ahead 4-3.
Boyd, favoring a sore wrist, never recovered. The Castleton resident was broken again on his next serve and then blown away at love in Renstrom's final service game.
In the women's qualifiers, Andrea Temesvari-Trunkos, at one time No. 4 in the world, was promoted to the eighth seed in qualifiers when Noell Van Lottum pulled out of the tournament with a stomach virus. Teri Whitlinger, who slipped into the qualifying field with Van Lottum's withdrawal, posted a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) upset over No. 2 Audra Keller.
Meanwhile, Tessa Price raised some eyebrows with her 6-0, 6-0 cruise over wild card Divya Merchant, and 1987 OTB champion Camille Benjamin stopped Sarah Loosemore, 6-1, 6-3.
Elna Reinach, who was scheduled to meet Victoria Milvidskaia in a first-round qualifying match, was granted an extension until today. Reinach is still competing in a tournament in Montreal, where she was to face Gigi Fernandez Saturday night. Reinach, who didn't expect to win that duel, plans to arrive in Schenectady in time for her quarterfinal match today.
First round - Richard Fromberg def. Ivan Baron 4- 6, 6-2, 6-3; Keith Evans def. Derek Farren 6-1, 6-4; Juan Albert Viloca def. Otis Smith 6-1, 3-6, 6-4; Grant Doyle def. Mark Petchey 6-1, 2-6, 6-3; Mikael Stadling def. Jordi Burillo 6-4, 6-3; Marten Renstrom def. Travis Boyd 6-1, 4-6, 6-3; Yevgeny Kafelnikov def. Doug Eisenman 6-3, 6-2; Leander Paes def. Ryuso Tsujino 7-5, 6-3; Jamie Morgan def. P.J. Bosse 6-2, 7-5; Paolo Pambianco def. Paul Kilderry 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Paul Koscielski def. Lou Gloria 6-2, 6-2; Martin Blackman def. Chris Bailey 6-2, 6-4; Lionel Roux def. Ctislav Dosedel 7-5, 6-3; David Nainkin def. Devin Werwie 3-6, 6-1, 6-4; Sergio Casal def. Marius Barnard 6-3, 7-6 (7- 4); Stephane Sansoni def. Shige Kanroji 6-4, 6-3.
Second round - Fromberg def. Evans 6-3, 6-1; Doyle def. Viloca 6-2, 0-6, 6-1; Stadling def. Renstrom 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Blackman def. Koscielski 6-1, 6-2; Kafelnikov def. Paes 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); Morgan def. Pambianco 6-3, 6-3; Casal def. Sansoni 6-2, 3-1 (ret.).
First round - Bettina Fulco-Villella def. Nathalie Herreman 6-3, 6-4; Miki Yokobori def. Tammy Whittington 7-6 (8-6), 6-2; Clare Wood def. Jodi Yin 6-3, 6-2; Stephane Rottier def. Ilana Berger 6-1, 6-0; Andrea Temesvari-Trunkos def. Ann Henricksson 7-5, 6-4; Miriam Oremans def. Irina Spirlea 6-2, 6-1; Camille Benjamin def. Sarah Loosemore 6-1, 6-3; Kristie Boogert 6-0, 6-1; Fan Li def. Anna Smashnova 6-0, 6-3; Tessa Price def. Divya Merchant 6-0, 6-0; Lindsay Davenport def. Yone Kamio 6-4, 2-6, 6-0; Shi-ting Wang def. Elena Brioukhovets 6-2, 6-1; Nicole Arendt def. Laxmi Poruri 6-4, 7-5; Teri Whitlinger def. Audra Keller 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Ginger Helgeson def. Shannon McCarthy 6-1, 6-3.