Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
Laughing out loud at how the Hamburger Abendblatt is trying to spin this that Steffi's anger was "unnecessary." As per the write-up below in the Sydney Morning Herald, the crowd was booing before Pohmann asked the question (I really need to watch the match to see which in fact came first) -- but even if they weren't, there would be some justification for being angry. Especially in light of the ninth paragraph down... The Los Angeles Times reports that a container of eggs was thrown. Not sure if that was in addition to the stuff mentioned here, or whether that is more spin control. "So, what did that guy throw at Steffi?" -- "Oh, uh, just, um, uh, eggs. Yeah, eggs. That's right, just eggs. Just a simple case of hooliganism. No deranged people here."
Look Back in Anger - The Nerves Lay Bare: "Man, What Do You People Want?"
Monday, August 1, 1988
No. 177, Page 11
Hamburg - The Hamburg appearance by the world's best tennis player ended on a dissonant note. A legitimate question by ARD commentator Hans-Jürgen Pohmann and whistles from the 8,000 spectators on the center court at Rothenbaum threw Steffi Graf off balance: "Man, what do you people want then?"
Immediately after her 6-4, 6-2 victory against the Bulgarian Katerina Maleeva, Pohmann asked Steffi Graf about the "excessive expectations of the public" over the court microphone. The Rothenbaum visitors felt themselves misjudged and booed. Steffi Graf thought the whistles were directed at her. Her nerves lay bare.
"I was still too preoccupied with myself," Steffi Graf tried to explain her feelings a half hour later. She did not permit further questions about it: "I don't want to say anything about it anymore." Her final statement: "In the future, I will not think about what pleases the people anymore. I prefer to concentrate on my game."
It also didn't help that tournament director Heinz Brenner took the Hamburg crowd's side and put the blame on the TV man: "We have now heard enough from Hans-Jürgen Pohmann..."
Shall Steffi Graf return in 1989? Speaking into the microphone, she was certainly well-behaved: "I hope to be here again next year." Later, she hinted, "The tournament must fit in my schedule. It is not yet decided."
For Germany's most popular athlete, Hamburg remained a cold, unfriendly city. "We had to consider the bad experiences from the past year to come again at all," said father Peter Graf.
At the beginning of the week, Steffi Graf collected more bonus points when she impressed everyone with her charm and maturity. Later, she felt herself misunderstood ("When I win 6-0, 6-0, it doesn't please the people, either"). What she offered as a sacrifice: "I don't like slow courts and really need to prepare for the US Open." Moreover, the middle finger of her right hand, bitten by her shepherd dog Max, was actually healed, but was still painful.
Steffi Graf's unnecessary anger on the final day made the unfortunate women's tournament at Rothenbaum a definitive disappointment. The athletic standard was never in the discussion; even Katerina Maleeva was, despite bold quotes ("When I go on the court, I want to win, too"), no more than staffage for Steffi Graf. Long baseline duels raised only the appearance of equality. "On a hard court," said the champion, "it would have been over considerably quicker."
A Letter to Steffi Graf
At the championship ceremony, welfare recipient Veit E. (25) threw a bag on center court. Contents: A love letter for Steffi Graf with explicitly erotic comments and two books of sex tips "for girls." Court security gave the man, who gave a deranged impression, over to the police, who handed him back his letter and books.
The women players, accustomed to warmth, avoided the club's swimming pool, except for Silke Meier. The Kaiserslauter resident even showed off an impeccable head-first dive from the three meter board.
The Australian Pat Whytcross, women's tennis tour director and third ranked player in her country just a few years ago, challenged tournament official Uli Boes to a match and lost 3-6, 1-6. In return, she tipped Steffi Graf's final score correctly and won a watch.
A Tournament Week in Numbers
After one hour and 26 minutes, Jürgen Würzner, center court umpire for the final at Hamburger's Rothenbaum club between Steffi Graf and Katerina Maleeva, shut his play ledger. 6-4, 6-2 -- so read the sober score, with which the world's number one from Brühl collected $40,000 prize money for her 26th tournament title.
Steffi Graf contested five matches at Rothenbaum on route to the champion's check. The balance of a tournament week:
In 5 hours and 3 minutes (averaging an hour and 36 seconds per match), she won 60 games, gave up only 20. Hourly wage: $7920 or DM14,866. She managed to break serve 28 times and lost her own serve nine times. The umpires noted 318-222 points in favor of Steffi Graf, 16 aces, and 18 double faults. That her opponents won just 24 points on their own merit spoke for her superiority. In contrast, Steffi Graf directly won 116 points, 58 of which with her forehand, her best weapon. Her first serve was at 64.7% -- a below average quota.