JAEGER DOGGEDLY CHASING NO. 1 NAVRATILOVA
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday, April 6, 1983
Andrea Jaeger is having trouble getting her villa cleaned during this week's Family Circle Cup tennis tournament. One look at her 18-month-old Doberman pinscher, Striker, and visitors leave in a hurry.
"He's just a small Doberman," Jaeger said in defense of the fearsome-looking animal. In fact, her parents are planning to take Striker along when Jaeger starts the European segment of the women's tennis tour.
"They don't want him to stay away from me long," Jaeger said, "because he's really sensitive."
Is it true that people choose pets that reflect their own personalities? No one has ever accused Jaeger of not being ferocious enough on the tennis court, but perhaps Striker serves as a not-so-subtle reminder to the 17-year-old from Lincolnshire, Ill., that tenacity is one of her most important assets.
And tenacity is what Jaeger will need this week if she hopes to stop Martina Navratilova from turning women's tennis into woman's tennis.
In the absence of clay-court specialist Chris Evert Lloyd, the second- seeded Jaeger is one of the few players in this $200,000 tournament with a chance to derail the Navratilova express. The Har-Tru surface at the Sea Pines Racquet Club is similar to clay and hardly Navratilova's favorite, but she liked it well enough in beating Jaeger, 6-4, 6-2, in last year's final.
There are others here who could prevnt a rematch. Navratilova has Bettina Bunge, Barbara Potter and Sylvia Hanika in her half of the draw, while Jaeger has to contend with Hana Mandlikova and Tracy Austin. But Jaeger is not intimidated by Navratilova, as some others are.
Jaeger, too, knows what went wrong in 1982 and hopes she gets another chance in Sunday's final, though she would be happy to play almost anyone else.
"I think I have to be a little more patient," she said yesterday after ousting Kerry Reid, 6-2, 6-1, to advance to the third round. "Last year I was really excited that I beat Chris in the semis and I went in the finals thinking, 'I beat Chris in the semis.' She (Navratilova) played well, and I didn't play my usual game."
Jaeger's usual game is to lob you to death, if the surface is slow, or bludgeon you with crisp groundstrokes. She has always been an opportunistic player, as she showed last year in moonballing the usually patient Evert Lloyd and forcing her into countless unforced errors.
Jaeger has rested the sprained ankle that forced her to withdraw from a tournament in Boston three weeks ago and may have contributed to a first-round loss to Billie Jean King in New York the following week.
"Clay's a lot easier on my legs," Jaeger said. "I went to see a doctor, and he said it would take a while for it to get better, but I could keep on playing if I wanted to. He said six to eight weeks, and I'm not going to sit around for six to eight weeks. If it hurts a little on the clay, that's still a lot better than on the carpet (indoors)."
Very little can force Jaeger to sit still. She has played a rigorous schedule since turning pro in 1980 and has moved steadily up the rankings to a firm position as No. 3 in the world.
But she also has not played an entire year without injury, and the toll tennis was taking on her body was one reason she recently considered dropping off the tour and enrolling in college. Jaeger was lured by the prospect of joining her older sister, Suzie, at Stanford. But Jaeger was worried about not liking college and not being able to play varsity tennis while there because she is a pro.
"I can always go back to college," she said, indicating that her family strongly influenced her decision to keep playing. "Once I stop playing tennis, I don't want to go back to playing.
"Besides," she said, "if I'm getting injured while I'm playing full time, what's going to happen when I take off and come back? I'll play one long match and probably be lame for the rest of my life.
"I want to play a year straight when I'm healthy."