Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
"Peter had asked me if I could practise four hours a day. I thought, why is he asking? If I can play with the men, I can play with a woman. But in January, 1987, in Spain, I began to understand. We played four hours a day on hard courts. Every Saturday. Every Sunday. No break.
"When I played for myself I was not a real professional, 100 per cent for tennis. When I lost, I thought about my family and going home to Prague. Taking three days off. Playing soccer. I can't do that now. With Steffi, it's more intensive. Somebody worked out that we spent more than 40 weeks together last year.
"There was more playing, more travelling, than before. I can't go to discos, can't drink, because the next day I must be in shape. And I spend so little time mostly, it's two or three days with my wife and family."
It's interesting to read how tough it was to keep up with Steffi's training. Not that I am surprised. Kimiko Date mentioned that in the days of old, people won by having better technique but now it's about being physically strong. While I will agree with that to some degree, I do feel that the reason why Steffi and Martina were dominant for the most part during their respective eras was because of their elevated levels of fitness and athleticism.
(It's also interesting to note that while Kimiko at 42 is still very fit, I feel she actually uses technique and placement rather than power and fitness to beat her opponents.)