I can respect that SpencerCarlos-but I also have to respect posters (and there have been more than one) who want the admiration thread to remain just that-a place to celebrate Steffi.
Actually though this thread is overdue-while Graf may have "dominated" the rivalry-she WAS CHALLENGED by Sabatini. How many women beat Graf more tha 10 times after all?
No other woman than Sabatini beat Graf more than 9 times (which was Navratilova) and Gaby finished up with 11 wins over Graf.
Gaby lacked the balls and really smarter coachs in her earlier carreer that have taught her to play agressive tennis and come to the net much more in her earlier years.
Angel Gimenez her coach from 1987-1989 simply did a stupid job of working her "alto-alto" balls (higher-higher).
And her decrease in from was very evident while in 1987 she was losing matches because of fitness, she improved this aspect of her game in 1988.
In fact beats Graf twice, one of them Amelia Island which i always remmember her looking tired, down and out 3-6 6-4 3-0 for Graf and break point for 4-0, Gaby decides that its time to play short points, plays agressive, comes to the net a lot, and finishes 7-5 in the third.
1988 Usopen Final, she wins the second set by playing some attacking tennis, and finishing some points at the net, although she was not chipping and charging. The plays the whole third set in the back of the court (Graf comfort zone) and she is dead tired Graf destroys her 6-1.
The funny part is that the first point of the third set features a very long rally which ends up with Graf hitting a drop shot, Gaby slices to Graf´s backhand and receives an easy ball to volley.. that was Gaby´s consistent pattern between 1990-1992 against Graf (and some other players as well).
By 1989 Gaby was a consumate moonballer, this Angel Gimenez had the job welldone by then, she manages to moonball Graf on her way to a 7-5 third set win in Amelia Island but honestly the quality of this match is very poor in comparisson to the great match played the year before.
Gaby barely scapes at the French Open against Bratke and then is straight setted by Mary Joe, and Nideffer did the same at Wimbledon that year.
Lost for the first time against Arantxa after leading 6-3 5-2.
Definetly this period between 1989 and the middle part of 1990 before Wimbledon and before joining forces with Kirmair were terrible for her.
Still after all of this is very difficult to understand how come a winning tacting is being abandoned so ridiculously by a player and her coachs as well. Oh Gaby it was not mean to be..