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post #2866 of 6247 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I sometimes wish Steffi's opponents had been given more of a chance in the in the interview room -- many of the rank and file were/are not "requested," especially after a routine (for the higher ranked player) match.

Krickstein knocks off third-seeded Edberg Graf advances Chang reaches the round of 16
The San Diego Union
Tuesday, September 6, 1988
From Wire Reports, with staff writer Mark Zeigler contributing

The theme at this year's U.S. Open has been to expect the unexpected. To expect things like four straight seeds losing on the same court. To expect Boris Becker and John McEnroe losing on the same day.

The big excitement in the afternoon session yesterday was that Steffi Graf needed more than an hour (73 minutes) to win, so it was only fitting that something crazy happened after the sun set. And it did.

Aaron Krickstein, the one-time hope for American tennis who many so-called experts since gave up on, pulled off the upset of the $4.3 million tournament. He defeated Wimbledon champion and third-seeded Stefan Edberg of Sweden 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals at the National Tennis Center.

It overshadowed a day that saw 16-year-old Michael Chang reach the round of 16 and eight women, all seeded, advance to the quarterfinals.

Actually, once Krickstein and Edberg reached a fifth set in their 3-hour, 52-minute windblown battle, the advantage went to the 21-year-old from Grosse Pointe, Mich. He is now 6-0 in five-setters at the Open, including one in 1983 over a Swedish player named Stefan Edberg.

"If I get into a fifth set, I feel I can win it," said Krickstein, who upset 14th-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador in the third round. "It was a tight match, back and forth, and I love it when it gets down to that."

Krickstein got the key service break in the 11th game of the final set. Then he held serve at love, ending the match with a crisp backhand volley.

It was a breezy day at the Open, and three times in the final set points were stopped because the swirling winds blew debris on the Stadium Court.

"I have never played under these circumstances before," said Edberg, who had 41 unforced errors to Krickstein's 16. "It was quite bad."

Things weren't quite as bad for the top-seeded Graf, who stopped Patty Fendick 6-4, 6-2 to join No. 2 Martina Navratilova, No. 3 Chris Evert and No. 5 Gabriela Sabatini in the quarterfinals. But when your first three matches lasted an average of 46 minutes and you hadn't dropped more than one game in a set, 73 minutes and six lost games seem like a lot.

"I was glad to have the tougher first set," said the West German, who had to take extra practice after her first three matches. "I could say the first week was very easy for me. Now comes the work."

It began in the fifth game of the first set yesterday. Graf led 4-1 and Fendick was serving at 15-40.

Match over?

Hardly. Fendick held serve and eventually broke Graf. Fendick, in fact, was a point from tying the first set at 5. Then Graf, frustrated she had lost her serve for the first time in the tournament, figured enough was enough. Ever calm, she reeled off 13 straight points, many on winners by her ICBM of a forehand.

"I blinked and I was down 3-0 in the second set," Fendick said. "It just gives you an idea of what she can do. She's awesome ... I've seen her play matches where she makes the person look like she's never played tennis before."

Fendick, however, could take some consolation in the fact that she fared better than her three predecessors combined -- Elizabeth Minter (6-1, 6-1), Manon Bollegraf (6-1, 6-0) and Nathalie Herreman (6-0, 6-1).

Scott Davis doubtlessly could relate. Ivan Lendl, the men's top seed, beat him 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and next plays Switzerland's Jacob Hlasek, who stunned No. 15 Anders Jarryd of Sweden in straight sets.

Three-quarters of the Australian attack was dismantled yesterday. Only Darren Cahill, a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victor over Canada's Martin Laurendeau, advanced to the quarterfinals. Mark Woodforde lost to No. 2 Mats Wilander of Sweden in three sets, John Frawley to Spain's Emilio Sanchez in five and Jason Stoltenberg to Haiti's Ronald Agenor in five.

Chang continued to attract fans, particularly those admiring come-from-behind performances. The former La Costa resident won his second straight five-set match, eliminating 88th-ranked Tim Wilkison 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

And now Chang, ranked 48th, will realize his wish made public after he upset No. 13 Jonas Svensson of Sweden in the second round: "I want to play Andre (Agassi) in the round of 16."

The 17-year-old Agassi, seeded fourth, sent Johan Kriek packing yesterday 6-3, 6-1, 2-6, 6-0. Tonight's match against Chang pits the two young lads strapped with the dubious responsibility of saving American tennis. They have met once as professionals, Agassi winning 6-2, 6-4 on clay earlier this year.

Another player not expected to be among the final 16 is Mexico's Jorge Lozano, who stunned 12th-seeded Guillermo Perez-Roldan of Argentina 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2). His next opponent is No. 6 Jimmy Connors, who was the first of four seeds to break the seed-killing spell of the Grandstand Court with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Pieter Aldrich of South Africa.

In another third-round match, Derrick Rostagno of Brentwood upset ninth-seeded Tim Mayotte 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The highest seed to fall on the women's side was No. 7 Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia. She was buried by No. 14 Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-1, 6-3. Also making the quarterfinals were No. 6 Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, No. 11 Zina Garrison and No. 16 Larisa Savchenko of the Soviet Union.

Navratilova dropped the first four games to South Africa's Elna Reinach before winning 6-4, 6-1.

Sabatini, the only player to beat Graf this year, survived Stephanie Rehe 7-5, 6-4. Evert got past Austrian Judith Wiesner 6-2, 6-4.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

GRAF'S WIN RUNS PAST HOUR MARK FEARLESS FENDICK EXTENDS TOP SEED
Philadelphia Daily News
Tuesday, September 6, 1988
Bill Fleischman, Daily News Sports Writer

Steffi Graf finally encountered someone who could keep her on the court for more than an hour during her Grand Slam quest.

Patty Fendick, a two-time NCAA champion at Stanford, yesterday kept the top-seeded Graf busy for 1 hour and 14 minutes before bowing, 6-4, 6-2, in the U.S. Open's round of 16.

After the match, Fendick spoke the unspoken when she offered her opinion on the attitude of Graf's demoralized opponents.

"I think that 98 percent of the players who go against Steffi are scared to death," Fendick said. "They don't stick to any kind of game plan that makes sense.

"I tried to do something different. I didn't try to hit it everywhere everybody else does. I volleyed (and) kept coming in."

And?

"I still got my butt kicked," Fendick said.

Next up for Graf is No. 14 seed Katerina Maleeva in a quarterfinal tomorrow. The younger of the seeded Maleeva sisters upset No. 7 seed Helena Sukova, 6-1, 6-3.

No. 2 seed Martina Navratilova fell behind South African Elna Reinach, 4-0, but went on to win, 6-4, 6-1. Navratilova will try to hang her 22nd consecutive win on No. 11 Zina Garrison in a quarterfinal. Garrison defeated Spain's Arantxa Sanchez, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

No. 3 Chris Evert, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Austria's Judith Wiesner, meets No. 6 Manuela Maleeva in a quarterfinal. Maleeva (2-15 lifetime vs. Evert) defeated No. 12 Barbara Potter, 6-3, 6-2.

The Maleevas are the first sisters ever to appear in a U.S. Open quarterfinal.

In the other women's quarterfinal, No. 5 Gabriela Sabatini meets 16th- seeded Larisa Savchenko, of the Soviet Union. Sabatini struggled in the first set against Californian Stephanie Rehe, but prevailed, 7-5, 6-4. Savchenko beat Terry Phelps, 6-3, 6-1.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I have to laugh extra hard at the one journalist back at the Australian Open who asked Steffi if she wasn't missing out on normal teenager things. Steffi asked back, "What normal things do I miss?" And the guy said concerts. Steffi Graf went to so many more concerts than the average suburban teen that I'm surprised she can still hear.

KRICKSTEIN STUNS EDBERG TO SHARE OPEN SPOTLIGHT
The Miami Herald
Tuesday, September 6, 1988
JIM MARTZ, Herald Sports Writer

It was a tennis junkie's paradise.

Backed up because of all-day rain Sunday, the U.S. Open jammed a virtual Who's Who of Tennis onto the courts in third- and fourth-round matches Monday at Flushing Meadow.

There also was a Who Was, Aaron Krickstein, and a Who Will Be, 16-year-old Californian Michael Chang.

Late Monday, Krickstein stunned Wimbledon champion and No. 3 seed Stefan Edberg, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 7-5. Ranked as high as seventh at the age of 18 in 1985, Krickstein had tumbled to 64th earlier this year, and many wrote him off as another burnout case.

But he has overcome a series of injuries, and his groundstrokes have returned to form, as Edberg learned. Edberg's loss leaves only four seeds in the men's draw -- Ivan Lendl (1), Mats Wilander (2), Andre Agassi (4) and Jimmy Connors (6).

"I let him into the match and played two poor tiebreakers," said Edberg, who blew three break points at 4-3 in the fifth set. "I should have won one of those break points. I was struggling from the baseline in the wind."

Krickstein, 6-0 in five-set matches in the U.S. Open, foiled Edberg with numerous lobs and passing shots. And he had the crowd on his side as he reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time.

"Over the years, I have been hurt so much, I've never gotten my game back until now," said Krickstein. "It's a great feeling when everybody is behind you."

Chang, the youngest player left in the tournament, beat Tim Wilkison in the day's other compelling match, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, to set up a fourth-round meeting tonight of two of America's great hopes, Chang and Agassi.

Seldom did so many of the marquee names play on the same day, or at the same time.

If you wanted to see Lendl, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Agassi, you just had to grab a seat at the Stadium Court. Wanted to check out Connors, Steffi Graf and Wilander? You just had to hustle to the Grandstand Court next door.

And what about Gabriela Sabatini or Chang? They were at windswept Court 16.

Among the men, Lendl breezed past Scott Davis, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3; Wilander easily derailed one of the giant-killers from Australia, Mark Woodforde, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Agassi, who will meet Connors in the quarterfinals if he gets past Chang, beat Johan Kriek, 6-3, 6-1, 2-6, 6-0; and Connors topped Pieter Aldrich, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

On the women's side, Graf lost as many games (four) in the first set as she had in the first three matches before defeating Patty Fendick, 6-4, 6-2; Navratilova beat Elna Reinach, 6-4, 6-1; Evert dumped Judith Wiesner, 6-2, 6-4; and Sabatini struggled past Stephanie Rehe, 7-5, 6-4.

Other upset victims: Seventh-seeded Helena Sukova, who would have played Graf next, lost to Katerina Maleeva, 6-1, 6-3; Tim Mayotte, the men's ninth seed and a member of the maligned U.S. Olympic team, bowed to Derrick Rostagno, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; No. 12 Guillermo Perez-Roldan lost to Jorge Lozano, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2); and No. 15 Anders Jarryd was beaten by Jakob Hlasek, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

In a tournament (and sport) starving for new American upstarts, attention at the day matches focused on Chang. Last year, at the age of 15 years and 6 months, he became the youngest male to win in the U.S. Open when he defeated Paul McNamee in the first round.

He played for the United States in the Sunshine Cup in Delray Beach, then turned pro. He has zoomed to 48th in the computer rankings. And his victory over Wilkison, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist two years ago, makes him the youngest (16 years, six months) to reach the Open round of 16 since Krickstein (16 years, one month) in 1983.

"How come all of a sudden there are so many reporters?"
Chang asked as the media interview room filled up as if Graf were holding court.

Chang, 5-8 and 131 pounds, overcame Wilkison with a tenacious baseline game. "I think he let up a little in the third set, and all of a sudden, I was up, 5-0," said Chang. "After that, I just fought and fought."

Nearly everyone who played on the Stadium Court and the outside courts grumbled about the swirling winds. "I'm just glad to get it over and be going home," Lendl said as he headed to the golf course. Evert added, "The wind is an equalizer. That helped the underdogs win a couple of games in their matches."

But the Grandstand Court, where eight of the 14 seeds who lost last week played, is protected from wind by the huge wall adjacent to the Stadium Court.

"Was it windy on the other courts?" Connors said with Cheshire cat grin after his Grandstand match.

Wilander survived both the Grandstand jinx and the Aussie jinx in defeating Woodforde, who sidelined John McEnroe in the second round.

"I was telling myself not to listen to all that stuff about the Grandstand Court and the upset court," said Wilander, seeking his third Grand Slam title of the year.

The Grandstand jinx didn't faze Graf either. But she did take more than hour (73 minutes) for the first time in the tournament to finish a match.

"She has that kind of game where you don't know where she is playing to," said Graf, whose magic number for winning the Grand Slam is three. "It was a tough match, especially in the first set. She played some good points."

Many thought that incessant talk about the Grand Slam would unnerve Graf, but it hasn't. Asked if this U.S. Open is any different, she said, "No, not really. The only thing is that I have had a little more relaxation this week than I had last year, trying to get out as fast as possible and to try to relax with some friends and do other things." Such as attending an Earth, Wind and Fire concert at Madison Square Garden.

Tracy Austin, the 1979 and '81 Open champion, is playing only doubles and mixed doubles in her first trip here in six years. She and Fernandez lost to Ann Henricksson and Anne Smith, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, but she's alive in mixed doubles with Ken Flach.

"I'm so happy to be playing," said Austin. "I guess it's a semi-comeback because I'm playing only doubles so far. I don't expect to play as well now as I used to, but I hope to in the future."

LENDL REBUFFED

Lendl lost a congressional bid for immediate U.S. citizenship so that he could play on the U.S. Olympic team. Czechoslovakian officials refused to provide waivers for their native son, who has lived in Greenwich, Conn., since 1981.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Love that tennis Aphrodite quip! But I take issue with Navratilova's idea that "Steffi is running away from everyone now because of all the confidence she has." Steffi is running away from everyone because she is simply faster. ("Give up, Martina! Steffi has you surrounded!" -- "How can one person have me surrounded?" -- "She is just that fast.") I also smile a little at Evert's assertion that "five years ago we would have been more capable of raising our game and training a little harder." Five years ago was 1983 and she was being trampled by Navratilova. While at the time Evert spoke of needing to improve her game and get more physical, she certainly didn't show it in 1984.

ADVANTAGE GRAF - A Grand Slam Awaits Her This Week; Will She Be Able to Follow Through?
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
Tuesday, September 6, 1988
GARY POMERANTZ

FLUSHING MEADOW, N.Y. - It is the curious nature of tennis that brings Steffi Graf to the brink of greatness and the brink of womanhood at the same time. She is 19, going on immortality.

On the court, she is a tennis Aphrodite - the goddess of 6-love. Yet off the court, she is shy, almost gangly, a devoted fan of singers Phil Collins and Bruce Springsteen. When she's asked to name the person she would most like to meet in a tennis match, she giggles and says, "I don't know. Ronald Reagan?"

This much seems nearly certain: Steffi Graf will win the final link of the cherished Grand Slam later this week and push her career earnings over the $3 million mark. She has lost only 10 games in four U.S. Open matches to reach the quarterfinals. The first set of her 6-4, 6-2 win Monday over American Patty Fendick, who is ranked 22nd in the world, showed that even when Graf becomes sloppy against a competent opponent, she can iron-will her way to victory on the big points. Her conc entration makes for domination.

Once the Slam is achieved, Graf will face much the same starry predicament as boxer Mike Tyson: no challenger at her side and no challenger out on the horizon.

Only two potential assassins will remain in Graf's shadows - injury and her own loss of interest in the game. These are among the enemies that have undone many other young players. Andrea Jaeger? You might find her at the Amelia Earhart Hilton. Tracy Austin? In 1980, the 17-year-old Austin held the No. 1 ranking for four months, the only break from 1975 to 1987 in which neither Chris Evert nor Martina Navratilova held the top spot. Now Austin has returned to tennis after a five-year lay off and, at the ripe old age of 25, says in all ancient sincerity, "I feel like I'm 14 again."

A Graf victory here will skip across the Rhine and echo through the German Black Forest. A large West German press corps is here to record Graf's reach for history. Says Christel Vollmer of the Springer newspaper chain in West Germany, "If she wins, Steffi will return home and probably meet the chancellor, then go from politician to politician."

Some will say that the Graf Era officially began when she first attained her No. 1 ranking in August 1987. Yet the scepter wasn't truly passed until the Wimbledon final several months ago. That's when Navratilova, who craves affection like few others, led Graf 7-5, 2-0 and was about to slam the door. Graf then won 12 of the next 13 games to win the title. Her performance was breathtaking. She had out-Martina'd Martina. Not one to boast, Graf said after the match, "I have a good volley and I never used it."

Don Budge, now 73, was the first Grand Slammer 50 years ago, and he's so certain Graf will win the Grand Slam this week that, he recalled, when he spoke to her at the Wimbledon dinner, he told her, "Steffi, when you win the Grand Slam, I hope they let me present you with the trophy."

Graf has already won the first three legs of the Slam - the French and Australian Opens and Wimbledon. Only four other players have ever won the Grand Slam: Budge in 1938, Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly in 1953, Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 and Margaret Court in 1970. Graf's match record over the past two years is 124-4; she lost twice in 1987 Grand Slam finals to Navratilova and two matches early this year to Argentine Gabriela Sabatini.

She said her losses to the topspin wizardry of Sabatini "made me see I wasn't working as hard as I should. There was something missing, the motivation or something. The losses helped me." Her father, Peter, is her coach and her protector and has helped smooth out his daughter's backhand and her net game, once considered Graf's only windows of vulnerability. The windows now have been boarded shut.

Graf has won 32 consecutive matches, and if we were talking baseball hitting streaks, Joe Dimaggio and his 56 ought to be trembling. Graf is 5-foot-8 and 130 pounds of power and grace. Hers is the perfect tennis physique. Her matches often last about as long as a Lifesaver takes to dissolve in your mouth. When Graf won a match in straight sets earlier this year in Germany, one fan was so angered by the speed in which her victory was accomplished that he asked for his money back.

The male players admit they enjoy watching Graf's game, no small confession from the Land of Egos. The women figure pulling Graf's name in the pairings is akin to having your birthday selected first in a military draft lottery: no way out. Australian Elizabeth Minter lost to Graf 6-1, 6-1 in the first round here and was downright ecstatic. "Got two games," she said. "Show it to the grandkids on the video, you know?"

There are three groups of female players nowadays: there is Group 1, which contains only Steffi, who sits like the sun high above the tennis world. There is a second group comprised of Navratilova, Evert and Sabatini; and there is a third group, affectionately known as The Rest of Them.

"About the only thing you can bet on with Steffi," said Navratilova, "is that Lendl would beat her."

Graf's recent dominance has shown Navratilova and Evert, the most recent queens of the court, to be prideful, willful and, at times, even doleful about their current lot in tennis life.

Evert, 33, has lost six consecutive matches to Graf, yet said, "Whenever a player dominates, you think, 'Gosh, what does it take to beat her?' The bottom line is that everyone is human, and Steffi can be beaten. It will take a player playing 5 percent to 10 percent over her head, but it certainly is possible."

Navratilova has been in a royal funk all week. She admits feeling slighted by the media. She is the defending champion here - an eight-time U.S. Open winner after all - and after hearing and reading the media reports, she said, "It's like I don't even exist."

Mighty Martina is miffed, it seems, that her six consecutive Grand Slam victories in 1983-84 no longer are recognized as a "Grand Slam" accomplishment since they weren't recorded in the proper order and because she did not win all four in the same calendar year. Navratilova points out that she was awarded a $1 million bonus at the time of her `Grand Slam' victories.

"And there was a parade in Australia for Grand Slam champions, and I was there, along with Margaret and Don and Rod," she said. "It was nice.

"Now I get here and people say, `The last Grand Slam was 18 years ago.' "

Navratilova, 31, insists her best tennis is yet to come. Clearly, she is swimming upstream. Navratilova has even reunited with Nancy Lieberman, the former woman's basketball player who serves as her trainer and adviser. Lieberman trained Navratilova all summer and is under contract with her through 1989. Navratilova ran in 110-degree heat in Fort Worth, Texas, this summer and even strapped herself into a harness and pulled the 155-pound Lieberman against resistance. More than focused, she is hell-bent.

"There had to be something at the other end of the rainbow," said Navratilova, who is 5-7, 145 pounds, "and it was Steffi. That was the motivator for me."

Lieberman said she has clipped newspaper stories that regale Graf's greatness as well as Navratilova's yield to advancing age. She has taped the stories to Navratilova's mirror. A target at which to spit toothpaste, perhaps?

"M is a sensitive lady," Lieberman said. "She cares what people write about her. She's human. M put herself on the line for so many years, and then everyone goes ga-ga over the new kid."

Navratilova said, "Steffi is running away from everyone now because of all the confidence she has. She misses two forehands in a row and she goes for the third. That comes from confidence and not worrying about losing. . . . Even her average is better than most people's best."

Nevertheless, the finicky M Butterfly added, "But everybody's beatable. I know I can beat her, let's put it that way."

So now historians try to lock on to Graf's place in history. Ted Tinling, the British tennis historian and tennis apparel designer who has witnessed the past 55 Wimbledons, said, "There's no doubt Steffi has the potential to be the greatest player of all time, but we don't know yet for sure. You illuminate her name with a question mark in neon right at the top, right alongside Suzanne Lenglen in 1925, when Suzanne lost only five games at Wimbledon, and alongside Martina Navratilova of 1982-84. In terms of inventiveness and marvelous stroke repertoire, no one will ever equal Martina of 1982-84."

Some wonder whether Graf would have enjoyed such overwhelming success if she had turned 19 five years ago, when Navratilova and Evert were in their primes and owned the sport. Steffi has arrived, they say, at just the right time. Evert said, "I think five years ago we would have been more capable of raising our game and training a little harder."

There is also the unavoidable matter of fate. The twists of fate became downright demonic for Connolly. She had turned 19 the week before she won the Grand Slam in 1953 and, at the time, she held the tennis world in her palm. Less than one year later, however, she suffered a tragic accident while horseback riding. Her leg was crushed, and Connolly's tennis game was ruined forevermore. Sadly, the hex continued: Little Mo died of cancer in 1969 at the age of 35.

Budge, who lives in Pennsylvania and still plays tennis on occasion, said, Connolly "didn't have any weaknesses. She would've given Steffi the toughest match she ever faced."

Tinling added, "I doubt Steffi is as good at 19 as Maureen was at 19. . . . I just hope that Steffi's destiny is not injury-studded."

Navratilova defeated Graf in the U.S Open the past two years, although she has lost three of their last five head-to-head matches. Navratilova outlasted three match points from the 17-year-old Graf to win the Open semifinals in 1986 and won in straight sets in last year's final when Graf was bothered by the flu.

Now, it seems, Steffi Graf's time has come. The little girl who first surfaced on the computer ranking at No. 124 at age 13 - and who skyrocketed to No. 22 just two years later - appears ready to crack through the tennis ozone.

Rest assured, if she wins the Grand Slam, Graf will not pull a fist-pumping, mug-for-the-crowd Andre Agassi act. "That wouldn't be my way," she said. But Budge says it would be his way to tell Grand Slam Graf, "I'm not surprised you've won the Grand Slam. You're very young, and you'll win several more Grand Slams in the future, too."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

How wonderfully coincidental that they would schedule a vote like this right in the middle of the final stage of Steffi's Slam bid! The Sorority Sisters are trying anything to get under Steffi's skin; this is even lower than Hanika's stalling. Of course Steffi didn't attend the meeting -- the vote was a total fait accompli. She could have attended and asked why is this such a problem now that she is number one since this rule had been in effect for years. She could have attended and argued that if the WTA's rules compel her to play a tournament, either as a "hard assign" (like Mahwah) or to meet the field commitments, doing so should not hurt her average. She could have attended and thrown it back in everyone's face that last year Navratilova was saying the Slams should outweigh everything else in the rankings, but now that Graf, and not Navratilova, is winning them, it's time to decrease points for the Slams and increase the points at the regular tour events. But the vote would have turned out 111-1 instead of 111-0. The WTA's version of democracy in action.

This was not about making the system more fair. They are not sincere about wanting these changes. Wait until you see the "compromise" they come up with after Steffi wins the true Slam. They try to put things back the way they were while trying not to be totally obvious that this was all about trying to derail Steffi and trying to get Navratilova "her" number one ranking back.

Unfortunately for Shriver, the pigeons Peter would have lined for Steffi could not have been any worse than the pigeons the WTA lined up for her. Maybe even better, because Steffi could have played just about any 5.0 or equivalent male club level player and put on a more entertaining show than she did against 99.8% of the WTA. If Steffi wins this USO, she is holding the four Slams, the year-end tour championships from 1987, and the Lipton -- and has done so in such a naturally annihilating manner as to make everyone else look hopeless. This is dangerously close to one person holding the credibility of the entire women's game in her hands, but the Graf camp is not the party abusing its power. Steffi and the rest of the Graf camp were not making system-changing demands. Peter Graf was not threatening a rival tour just out of nowhere. They don't want to destroy the system. But how much unfairness should a player endure? If this situation were reversed, with Shriver or Evert or Navratilova on the receiving end, can you imagine what they would be saying? Can you imagine the outcry from the American tennis media? Do you think they would be criticized for causing a scene, or do you think the Grafs would be pilloried for their hypocrisy and spitefulness and underhanded tactics? Even that little dirty dig that insinuates the Grafs were mean to make Zvereva go last at the WTA awards, is baseless. There is a big difference between "Steffi doesn't want to go last and have to stay late" and "Make someone who has a match the next day stay late." That was some person or persons in the WTA hierarchy making that choice, and then telling the "right" person in the media that their hands were forced --just forced!-- by those unreasonable Grafs to make poor little Natasha the Navratilova-Beater miss an appropriate bedtime. Who the bleep scheduled the awards dinner to run late with the US Open going on anyway? Oh, there's just no other way to do it.

What bothers "a lot" of the players is not that Steffi is not involved with or interested in WTA politics. What bothers "a lot" of the players is that Steffi is a better tennis player than they are. The Sorority Sisters have been harrassing Steffi and Gaby since 1985, and they complain that Steffi and Gaby don't want to "learn" the organizational side from them? More than a few WTA officials are high school friends or even lovers of the Sorority Sisters, and the sponsors, promoters, and agents are an unnecessary web of conflicts of interest, cronyism, political glad-handing, and assorted creepiness, and they don't understand why the new kids don't want to be in the same room with them? They will continue to take potshots at Steffi to this very year, and they wonder why she doesn't go to their WTA "celebrations?"

Graf's Father Criticizes New Ranking System
September 7, 1988
LISA DILLMAN
The Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK Steffi Graf wins matches. Her father Peter issues ultimatums. They don't happen with the same frequency--winning and whining--but her father is managing to keep pace at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow.

The latest: Peter Graf is threatening to form a separate women's tour in 1990.

What happened to cause this new problem, according to Peter Graf, developed due to an imminent change in the Women's International Tennis Assn. (WITA) computer ranking system. Last week, the players--111 were present at a meeting, but not Steffi Graf--voted unanimously to make adjustments in the current system. Points for regular series events were increased and points for Grand Slam events were decreased.

Essentially, the move creates the possibility that top-ranked players could lose points when competing in $200,000 or smaller-prize money events. Graf, the world's No. 1 ranked female player, would be hurt the most because she has the highest point average, 307. No longer would she be assured of reaching her average--as she is now--by winning a smaller event in 1989. For example, she met her average in a tournament of Mahwah, N.J., beating a lesser player, Nathalie Tauziat, in the final.

Now Graf would need to beat players ranked in the top 10 to even reach her average at smaller events. So, under the new system, Graf would lose points even by winning. And it would be easier for someone like Martina Navratilova to catch Graf because her average, 232, is much lower. Navratilova or Chris Evert wouldn't be forced to rack up the big points in just Grand Slam events.

"I will not in the future speak to (WITA officials) because they have lied to me," Peter Graf told USA Today. "It is very unfair."

Merrett Stierheim, WITA executive director, held a news conference Tuesday at the National Tennis Center and told a different story.

"I hope when it's all over, he'll reconsider," Stierheim said. "We knew this was coming for quite some time. When I went to Hamburg and I had more meetings with Steffi and Peter."

Peter Graf says he won't let Steffi sign for a commitment to play in 1989, which is due Sunday, unless the WITA changes the system to his liking. On Sunday, players give the WITA a list of the tournaments they want to play.

On the prospect of the Grafs starting a rival tour, Stierheim said:

"I think that would be a major mistake. One obviously we'd resist. I think the sport is a lot bigger than one person."

Pam Shriver, who is ranked No. 4, openly scoffed at Peter Graf's notion of a second tour.

"He can start lining up pigeons for Steffi," Shriver told the Baltimore Sun.

If anything, Peter Graf's timing was anything but good, coming on the brink of a possible Grand Slam here by his 19-year-old daughter. Look back one year, however, and his timing at a tournament in Los Angeles was equally as bad. There, Peter Graf threatened to pull Steffi from the event if she was forced to play a night singles semifinal match.

He won that one. Graf became the new No. 1 player two days later after her father's threat. Fearing that the media will throw off Graf's concentration on the eve of a Grand Slam, her agent, Phil dePicciotto asked that the large international contingent of reporters refrain from asking Steffi about the matter. Good luck on that one.

Shriver doesn't see what the fuss is about, anyway. Graf has lost two matches in 1988 and just one set in the first three Grand Slam events of the year.

Shriver said, "What bothers a lot of the players is that she doesn't even have the time to be involved in the organization. If she makes an effort, it is a half-baked one."

Already, the WITA has caved in to one of Peter Graf's demands here at the Open. At the WITA awards dinner at the start of the Open, Graf received her award as Player of the Year first, instead of last, departing from tradition. Peter Graf said if Steffi went last she wouldn't show. Instead, Soviet Natalia Zvereva received her award as Rookie of the Year last in the program even though she had a match the next day.

Zvereva promptly lost to a qualifier in the first round and her coach Olga Morozova mentioned the late evening tired the 17-year-old. Meanwhile, Graf was idle.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

As you can see, even though "the sport is a lot bigger than one person," the Graf camp has the WTA more over a barrel than vice versa.

GRAF'S FATHER THREATENING TO PUT TOGETHER NEW TOUR
The Columbus Dispatch
Wednesday, September 7, 1988
Zan Hale

Peter Graf runs his daughter's career and is making noises about running the rest of women's tennis as well.

Steffi's father and coach is upset about a recent change in the way the Women's International Tennis Association will program its computer for rankings. Last week the players approved a change that will give Grand Slam tournaments fewer points and raise the level of points for lesser tournaments. They also voted to remove a play down rule that helped keep the top players' point average up when they played small tournaments.

Peter Graf, who has had a long-running feud with the WITA, has threatened to start his own tour beginning in 1990 and said Steffi would not sign a player commitment for next year unless there is a change.

Graf, for example, has an average of 307 points. Even if she wins a tournament offering a lower amount of prize money, she would win 190 points and therefore lower her average.

WITA executive director Merrett Stierheim said the top players were the ones affected by the change as it would bring them back to the pack.

"Clearly Mr. Graf was not happy about the change and I understand why," Stierheim said.

Ironically, Steffi Graf was on the WITA ranking committee, which proposed the change. Graf dissented and did not attend the players meeting, although 111 other pros did.

If Steffi does not sign a player commitment, she would still be eligible to play in any tournament she enters at least six weeks in advance. She would still be eligible for rankings. If she earns enough series points, she could play in the Virginia Slims Championships. The only thing she would not receive is a share of the bonus pool and incentive fund. Graf has earned over $1 million this year.

The women's tour is what would be hurt if Graf does not commit by the Sunday deadline. The WITA would lose its power to designate her to a tournament she would rather not play. It also loses the ability to market her presence at a tournament in advance.

"I think the sport is a lot bigger than one person," Stierheim said.

But think about it. Who would join the Graf group so they could get pounded by Steffi every week?

And doesn't Steffi have a say about her career? After all she's 19.

Steffi Graf left immediately after she and Gabriela Sabatini won a doubles match yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

Considering Graf is going for the Grand Slam, doesn't it seem odd her father would start a row that would possibly divert her attention from the important job at hand?

Ann Grossman of Grove City won her first-round match in the girls 18s, defeating Sofie Albinus of Australia 6-3, 6-1. Grossman is seeded third.

Darren Cahill of Australia, who faces Aaron Krickstein in the quarterfinals today, is the only male player who hasn't lost a set in the tournament.

Cahill, 22 and ranked 33rd, upset Boris Becker in the second round. He benefited from a walkover in the third round when Marcelo Ingaramo went home to Argentina when his wife had a baby.

This is the first Grand Slam quarterfinal for Cahill and Krickstein, 21, ranked 20th, who upset third-seeded Stefan Edberg in five sets in a 3-hour, 52-minute match Monday night.

Emilio Sanchez of Spain and Mats Wilander of Sweden meet in the quarterfinals for the second Grand Slam tournament this year. Wilander defeated Sanchez, ranked No. 23, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 en route to the French Open title.

Jakob Hlasek, who won a set against Ivan Lendl before losing in the round of 16 yesterday, is lucky to be playing at all.

After raising his ranking to 23 at the end of 1987, Hlasek was in a car accident in January and the wrist on his racket hand was broken. He couldn't play tennis for four months.

Reaching the round of 16 was his best result in five years at the Open.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Rest assured, further adjustments will be made. It will be hilarious!

Last volley not fired yet in Graf protest
USA TODAY
Wednesday, September 7, 1988
Doug Smith

NEW YORK - Merrett Stierheim, executive director of the Women's International Tennis Association, said No. 1 Steffi Graf would not share in bonus pool money or be eligible to receive wild-card entries at any tour events if she does not commit to next year's schedule.

Graf's father, Peter, said Monday that his daughter would not commit to play 11 tournaments plus the grand slams because of a computer ranking change that takes effect next January.

Under the change, Graf could lose more than 100 points for winning any tournament in which she played other than a grand slam.

Peter Graf contends the change was made to allow No. 2 Martina Navratilova a chance to replace his daughter as the No. 1 player.

Graf's computer average is 307; Navratilova's is 232.

"I understand Peter Graf's concern,'' said Stierheim. "We are going to continue to examine this question. There may be further adjustments made.''

Connors sees change

Jimmy Connors reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open for the 15th time Tuesday, defeating Mexico's Jorge Lozano 6-1, 6-2, 6-0. Connors, 36, has won the U.S. Open five times in 19 appearances.

Said Connors: "I didn't (turn pro) until I was 19 and maybe that was a little bit too young for me. But these kids are coming out at 15 or 16.

"It was different 15, 20 years ago than it is now. Now they are going, going, going, because of the money, money, money. Then you went out because you wanted to be the best player in the world because that is all there was.''

Connors has won more than $7.5 million since he joined the tour in the early 1970s.

Will Connors encourage his son, Brett, 9, to be a pro?

"If he came to me and said I want to be the best in the world, like you were ... I would take him on. But if he were to come out here just to play, I would say, 'Son, let's sit down and talk about this.' ''
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

LOL at the new rankings systemvoted they , seriously ???

How in the world were they 110 to vote for, not a single person had a brain at this meeting ? Just one ?!

And after such things like this one, and many others, comments, and so on, you could read some months ago, complaints about why she wasn't there at the 40years anniversary thing of the WTA. No surprise. Thank god she wasn't there.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

OUT TO SINK THE GRAF SPREE
September 8, 1988
Sydney Morning Herald

NEW YORK, Thursday: Chris Evert and Gabriela Sabatini are united in one cause - to deny Steffi Graf the grand slam. But they admit it will be tough to stop the West German teenager.

The "Stop Steffi" campaign began in earnest with the start of the US Open in New York, but in the weeks in advance of the final grand slam tournament Graf's rivals polished their games.

Evert (who plays Graf in one semi-final of the US Open) and Sabatini (who meets Zina Garrison in the other) both took five weeks off after Wimbledon.

They made the finals of the Los Angeles women's tournament, where Evert beat Sabatini 2-6 6-1 6-1 in the final.

"I'm pleased I won a tournament but to beat Graf the way she's playing I'll have to raise my game a lot," Evert said.

Graf has won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon and needs only the US Open to complete her sweep of the four majors.

The only other women to complete the grand slam in a calendar year were American Maureen Connolly (1952) and Australia's Margaret Court (1970).

Sabatini went home to Buenos Aires after Wimbledon and put down her racquet to work on her physical conditioning.

"I think I'm getting better than last year, but to beat Steffi I think I have to be in good shape," she said. "The points are very hard with her. I'm going to be much better in the future."

Sabatini is one of only three [sic] players to have beaten Graf this year. She beat her on hard courts - the US Open surface - in the Florida women's championship and again on clay in the Amelia Island tournament.

Margaret Court, who has watched all the grand slam events this year, says that even though Martina Navratilova, Evert and Sabatini have fine-tuned their games Graf is still a step ahead of them.

"Steffi is playing well and her preparation and confidence are flawless,"she said. "I think Martina is the only one who can stop her."

That possibility evaporated yesterday when Navratilova, who had not played since losing to Graf in the Wimbledon final, was tipped out of the Open by Garrison.

As for the West German, the tension could be getting to her.

Graf looked unusually irritable early in her 6-3 6-0 quarter-final win over Bulgarian Katerina Maleeva, questioning a couple of line calls and swishing her racquet angrily against the court.

It seems she is losing her patience with reporters who ask her continually about her grand slam chances.

When one reporter questioned her on her "place in history" she replied: "You always ask me these questions. If I achieve it it will be easier to talk about it. I don't think it will settle in right away. Let me get there first."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Once again, when Steffi suggested Navratilova should retire, it had everything to do with the way Navratilova was handling being No. 2. And this whole change to the ranking system business, along with a few other remarks from Navratilova over the summer, is more evidence in Steffi's favor that Martina was not handling it well. Some members of the media are finally starting to pick up on it and criticize Navratilova; others are pleased just to have a "juicy" rivalry with verbal sparring, even though one side is a lot more vocal than the other.

I love Steffi's response to the whole ranking vote. She absolutely correct that now is not the right time to talk about it. The right time to talk about it is when she has all the trophies.

GRAND SLAM FEVER ISN'T GETTING TO GRAF
Philadelphia Daily News
Thursday, September 8, 1988
Bill Fleischman, Daily News Sports Writer

41, 52, 44, 72, 58.

These are not lottery-ticket numbers. These are the rush and crush times - mere minutes - of Steffi Graf 's matches in the U.S. Open.

Only Patty Fendick was able to keep the top-seeded Graf on the stadium court at the National Tennis Center for more than an hour. And when Fendick finally lost, 6-4, 6-2, the former NCAA champion from Stanford stated what many have suspected: that "98 percent" of the women players are "scared to death" when they have to play the 19-year-old West German.

They are scared because they fear public humiliation from Graf's terrorizing forehand. To lighten the load of sitting in the dentist's chair for a drilling by "Dr." Graf, Fendick said players chip in on a "time pool." The winner is the player closest to the time Graf's victim lasts on the court.

Katerina Maleeva was the latest to experience Graf-ic grief yesterday. Maleeva, the No. 14 seed, lost, 6-3, 6-0, in a 58-minute quarterfinal that extended the Bulgarian's 0-fer career streak against Graf. The 17-year-old Maleeva, the younger of the two Maleeva sisters in the quarterfinals, never has won a set from Graf in their six meetings.

Next up for the top-seeded Graf in her quest to be the first player since Margaret Court 18 years ago to win the Grand Slam is a semifinal match with Chris Evert tomorrow. Their series is tied, 6-6, but Graf has won their last six matches in straight sets. If Graf wins tomorrow, she will face either Zina Garrison or Gabriela Sabatini for the title Saturday. No. 2 seed Martina Navratilova was upset by Zina Garrison in a dramatic match yesterday, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5.

Throughout the Open, Graf has insisted she is not thinking about becoming only the fifth player in history - along with Don Budge (1938), the late Maureen Connolly ('53), Court ('70) and Rod Laver ('62 and '69) - to win Wimbledon and the French, Australian and U.S. opens the same year. Since Graf is reminded after every match of her likely imminent elevation to racket royalty, her statements that the Slam is not on her mind borders on her talking simply to deflect pressure.

But on the court, Graf has shown no signs of Slam fever. And her reputation as an all-business, totally focused player possessing a champion's unique determination makes her more believable.

Some Graf facts:

* She has won 32 matches in succession, is 58-2 this year and has lost only to Sabatini, twice in Florida. Her record last year was 75-2.

* She has been ranked No. 1 on the Women's International Tennis Association computer since August of last year.

* She already has won $1,009,961 this year, following a million-dollar ($1,063,785) year in 1987. Her first U.S. Open championship would add $275,000 to her bank account.

* She enjoys playing with Max and Enzo, her German shepherds (you expected French poodles?). Three weeks before the Open, Graf was bitten on her right hand by Max while breaking up his fight with another dog. When Graf returned home from the hospital with a cast on her hand, Max, evidently thinking the cast was a training device, went after her again.

* Bruce Springsteen and Phil Collins are among her favorite singers.

* Her family tries to treat her like a normal, young woman by having her perform routine chores, such as cleaning up the dishes.

* She has virtually no friends on the women's tour. This lack of companionship does not seem to bother Graf or her father, Peter, who manages her career in a Svengali manner. Steffi believes you can't travel together and share burgers and fries, then try to beat each other on the tennis court.

Peter Graf has said he will not block any relationship that Steffi develops with a man. But the lucky guy must understand that he will be No. 2 in Steffi's life. Tennis is unequivocally No. 1.

This restriction has not deterred a few daring, young men from trying to climb the walls that surround the Graf home in Bruehl, West Germany. The few who have gone over the wall have not succeeded in holding hands with Steffi. Instead, they have been met by the snarling Max and Enzo, who serve sharp teeth.

During interviews, Graf smiles a lot, but proceeds her brief answers with
sighs. She seems like a nice person, but she has a way of aggravating her rivals.

For example, after Graf beat Navratilova in this year's Wimbledon final, Navratilova presented her with a miniature gold tennis racket. Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard had given the good-luck charm to Navratilova.

Graf was touched by the gesture, but later suggested that Navratilova should retire.

Graf plays her matches as if she is hurrying to catch the last bus from Flushing Meadow back to Manhattan. She has no patience when overmatched opponents stall in an attempt to catch their breath.

Graf's run at the Grand Slam has evoked interesting reactions from Navratilova and Evert, her main rivals on the women's tour.

In 1983, Navratilova won Wimbledon, the U.S. and Australian opens, then added the French, Wimbledon and U.S. in '84. But she is not recognized as a member of the Grand Slam club since she did not win all the tournaments in one calendar year. And she is annoyed that her feat is often overlooked.

Despite the occasional squirming over Graf's remarks, Evert likes Graf's professionalism.

"I think she is handling it (No. 1 ranking) great," Evert said. "Steffi is very gracious. The only time she has not been gracious is when Martina has said she is No. 1. Sometimes Martina gets on that subject too much."

One subject Evert gets on is Graf lacking contemporaries to push her the way Evert and Navratilova have inspired each other in their 15-year, 78-match rivalry.

"She (Graf) is coming along at the end of mine and Martina's careers," Evert said. "She's a wonderful athlete, but you have to wonder if she will have just a couple great years, or longevity."

Graf dismisses Evert's assessment, and lists fellow teens Sabatini (the No. 5 seed) and Natalia Zvereva (the No. 8 seed, who lost in the first round of the Open) as serious challengers to her No. 1 status.

During the Open, Graf has managed to handle distractions as easily as she sweeps aside opponents. The timing of the latest intrusion - her father's threat to start a European tour because he is unhappy with a planned change in the WITA's computer ranking system - could disrupt the Grand Slam plans of a lesser player.

"It's not really the right time for me to talk about it," Graf said yesterday.

Nor is it time for her to talk about the Grand Slam. That can wait until after her next two matches. After beating Maleeva, she said her only excitement is being in the semifinals.

Super Saturday ordinarily is a men's show at the Open. The women's final, played between the men's semifinals, has been secondary.

Not this year. The Open has been Graf's show, and on Saturday, she will be the grand attraction.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi even trash talks better! I don't know why they thought trying to make her upset was a good idea. Evert, the president of the WTA and undoubtedly one of the 111 players who voted to change the ranking system -- indeed one of the top people "pushing" for the change, is up next. Yeah, the tournament is just starting.

Plain to see an end to Martina's reign
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Thursday, September 8, 1988
John Freeman, Tribune Sportswriter

Just because Martina Navratilova lost one measly match last night at the U.S. Open doesn't mean her career is over. Not necessarily.

But, clearly, Martina has lost the stranglehold she once enjoyed over the women's game, for this year anyway, and maybe forever.

That much was apparent last night as Zina Garrison, nothing more than an 11th seed here, overcame obvious shaky nerves to eliminate Navratilova 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 and advance to tomorrow's semifinal showdown against No. 5 Gabriela Sabatini.

That Martina lost wasn't as surprising as the way she lost.

Martina simply was not her old self.

Though Navratilova denied any nervousness, her style was awkward; her play was tentative. Except for her second-set comeback, when she was down 5-0 -- she was downright ordinary. She deserved to lose.

"She was really tight, very nervous," said Garrison, who scored her first win over Martina in 22 career matches. "There were some balls she usually hits and she couldn't get her body in position to hit them."

Even Martina had to admit she was vulnerable to an upset -- not only last night but all year long.

"If this year were a fish, I would throw it back in," said Martina, who will go without winning a Grand Slam event in 1988, the first time in eight years.

"Today I just played badly," she said, as if resigned to her fate. "She played really well."

No longer do Martina and Chris Evert rule the roost in women's tennis. Only Steffi Graf can make that claim. All others are merely also-rans.

Based on her dominance so far, Graf should go on to win the Open, thus clinching the first full-year Grand Slam since Margaret Court in 1970.

To purists, Martina's feat of winning the Australian Open in late '83 and then the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1984 does not count.

Not even to Graf, who yesterday said somewhat caustically: "I consider the Grand Slam in one year, from the beginning of the year to the end."

Take that, Martina.

As for Graf's breeze to the semis against Evert -- Graf has yet to lose a set or be the slightest bit challenged -- she blithely said: "For me it's more like the tournament is just starting."

Take that, everyone else.

Like Martina and Chris in years past, Graf has been Her Holiness -- unbeatable, untouchable, unbelievable.

Looking for faults in Graf's game? Katerina Maleeva, who was dismissed by Graf 6-3, 6-0 in only 58 minutes, was asked if she thought "Fraulein Forehand" had a weakness.

"Yes," said Maleeva. "She is a human being."

Some weakness.

NOTES -- Evert, a six-time U.S. Open winner, gained the semifinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win yesterday over Manuela Maleeva, the older of the two sisters from Bulgaria.

Chris' semis berth marks familiar territory for her. That's where she has been halted the past four years. Tomorrow, she faces Graf.

"I'll be psyched up for this match," said Evert, 32, who admitted she has some difficulty psyching up these days.

"Sometimes in the first round, I don't want to get up and play a match, but I can still get through it," she said. "Every day, your whole life, you don't necessarily want to be out there."

Also yesterday, No. 2 Mats Wilander struggled early but then cruised to a 3-6, 7-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over Spain's Emilio Sanchez, who was unseeded.

Apart from his win, the blase Wilander was asked if he were looking forward to the Seoul Olympics. Apparently not.

"It's going to be interesting to watch the other sports," said Wilander, who along with Stefan Edberg will compete for Sweden. "But apart from that it's just another visa on my passport."

Also yesterday, Sabatini eased past Larisa Savchenko, an unseeded Soviet, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

The Savchenko match, played in the grandstand court, was marred by a cluster of rude fans who hooted when Savchenko double-faulted at a crucial point in the match.

Savchenko speaks limited English, but her coach, Olga Morozova, had this chiding remark: "I think people are supposed to be educated. In England I don't think you will ever hear the applause for the double fault."

Welcome to New York, Olga.

In tonight's featured match, No. 4 Andre Agassi goes against No. 6 Jimmy Connors. It could be the best match of the tournament, including the finals, no matter who makes it to Sunday.

Tracy Austin's U.S. Open "comeback" ended yesterday, as she and mixed doubles partner Ken Flach lost 6-2, 6-1 to Liz Smylie and Patrick McEnroe in a semifinal match. Austin won the Open singles title in '79 and '81, but has been out of competitive tennis for five years.

In last night's featured men's match, Australia's Darren Cahill fought off a challenge from Aaron Krickstein, winning 6-2, 5-7, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3. Cahill, one of the new Aussie wave, was unseeded, as was Krickstein.

The last unseeded player to reach the U.S. Open semifinals was Johan Kriek in 1980.

For clarity's sake, these are the remaining singles matchups: In men's quarterfinals singles, No. 1 Lendl vs. unseeded Derrick Rostagno and Connors vs. Agassi. In semifinals: Wilander vs. Cahill. In women's singles: Graf vs. Evert and Sabatini vs. Garrison.

Fashion plates watching Lendl's match tomorrow will notice that he has traded his trademark Adidas shirt with the squiggly lines for the firm, bold new look. A colorful boxed logo worn on the front and back of Lendl's shirt, and on his shorts.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

You are Chris Evert. You are president of the WTA and a Sorority Sister charter member. You are soon to be 34 years old. You have a sore heel. You have just struggled past Manuela Maleeva, coming back from a set and a break down in over two hours. You are perhaps beginning to realize that a recent concerted effort to mess with a rival's head has produced the opposite of its intended effect. You hear 19-year-old Steffi Graf say she is looking forward to a tough match against you. It is time to poop your pants.

Two To Go
USA TODAY
Thursday, September 8, 1988
BILL HALLS, Gannett News Service

NEW YORK - Steffi Graf needs to take only two more matches to win the U.S. Open tennis championship and the sport's first Grand Slam in 18 years.

Standing in the way are six-time champion Chris Evert, whom she meets Friday, and the winner of the other semifinal match between Gabriela Sabatini and Zina Garrison.

Evert and Graf has played 12 career matches since 1985. Evert won the first six and Graf has won the last six.

"Steffi is a class above the players I've played so far," said Evert, now a 33-year-old veteran.

"I'll have to play a lot better than I've played in this tournament to beat her. Against Steffi, it's important to keep the ball away from the middle of the court because she'll run around the backhand and really crank up that forehand."

Graf has downplayed her quest for the first Grand Slam since Australia's Margaret Court accomplished the feat in 1970 - winning the Australian and French opens, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, all in the same calendar year.

She said she's spoken to Court about the possibility.

"We've spoken a few times about how it was when she won the Grand Slam," the West German said. "I've seen her play on TV, but not live.

"I'm excited to be in the semis and playing Chris. I'm looking forward to a tough match. I'm happy at this stage. For me, it's like the tournament is just starting."

Graf has won five straight matches jere without the loss of a set and four of those were accomplished in less than an hour. Only Patty Fendick of Sacramento, Calif., has extended her, and that match took only one hour and 14 minutes.

In the other semifinal, Sabatini holds a 5-2 edge in career matches with Garrison, who pulled off the upset of the tournament by beating No. 2 seed Martina Navratilova in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Garrison beat Sabatini at Wimbledon this year but has lost two other matches to the Argintine star, both on cement, since then.

---

Tracy Austin, who won the U.S. Open in 1979 and 1981 before a back injury appeared to end her career in 1983, is planning a comeback next season. Austin, now 25, played mixed doubles with Ken Flach in the Open and reached the semifinals.

Flach and Robert Seguso, the No. 1 seed in men's doubles, were upset in the semifinals by fifth-seeded Rick Leach and Jim Pugh, who won 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

Pugh of Palos Verdes, Calif., and Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia won the first Open championship in mixed doubles. They defeated Australian Elizabeth Smylie and Patrick McEnroe, John's younger brother, of Oyster Bay, N.Y. 7-5, 6-3.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

This fellow, a fairly open Chris-and-Martina fan, asks the wrong question. The question should not be: What's to be done with Steffi Graf? The question should be: What's to be done with the rest of them? There is nothing wrong with Steffi Graf. Athleticism, skill, and eagerness are essential to sports. It's the other players who are causing the problem. After losing, Katerina Maleeva said, "It will be hard for anyone to beat her because she has so much confidence and she's going for the Grand Slam. I don't think she thinks she can lose." Whether Steffi thinks she can't lose or not should be of no importance to the opponent, because they both have to, you know, physically play the match, not think it.

STEFFI'S IN A CLASS BY HERSELF
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Thursday, September 8, 1988
Buzz Gray

As this year's rendition of the U.S. Open draws to an end, a problem looms larger with every round: What's to be done with Steffi Graf?

She's too good for her own good. Her total dominance is not only impolite, it might even be bad for tennis.

Consider how ridiculously easy she has made it to the doorstep of a Grand Slam sweep in a single year. In winning the first three jewels at Australia, France and England, she dropped a total of one set. Her waltz to the semifinals here has been even easier. None of her opponents have come close to even taking a set from her.

"For me, it's more like the tournament is just starting," Graf said after eliminating Katerina Maleeva in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

But for everyone else, it ended before it began. The rest of the women's field is merely mortal. This is like a horse race with Secretariat against $10,000 claimers.

Perhaps it's also time to begin handicapping tennis matches. Graf should be forced to carry extra weight, say about 50 pounds of lead around her waist.

Some thought Martina Navratilova might be the only legitimate threat. But Navratilova has lost a step, and Wednesday she showed it by making her earliest exist here since 1982. By losing to Zina Garrison, it marked the first time since 1980 Navratilova has not won at least one Grand Slam title.

Remember when Navratilova and Chris Evert dominated the game? Those days are gone. Both have slipped back into the pack.

"I have nothing to lose," Evert said with a shrug when asked about her semifinal showdown with Graf. "I've lost to her five times in a row. Steffi's in a different class from the players I've met this week."

Actually, Graf is in a different hemisphere. Only two players have beaten her in the last two years. One was Navratilova. The other is Gabriela Sabatini, Garrison's opponent in today's other semi.

"I'm playing very well now," Sabatini said after defeating Larisa Savchenko in the quarters. But she hardly looked overpowering, having to rally back from what looked like a certain defeat at the hands of the young Soviet.

So it might be easier and more equal if they skipped the semis and simply staged one big final. Graf could face all three other semifinalists at once, kind of like tag team tennis.

Don't laugh. It would be more entertaining than back-to-back routs, which is surely what will be inflicted upon Evert today and either Sabatini or Garrison Saturday.

Another suggestion for more parity is to ask Graf to sign up for the men's draw. They do it in high school when strong girls players join boys teams.

Imagine Graf and Andre Agassi swapping ferocious forehands.

"Steffi is not like the rest of us," Maleeva said after Wednesday's loss. "She is moving better than anybody else and nobody hits so hard."

When asked if Graf had a weakness, Maleeva said, "Yes. She is a human being."

Considering Graf's apparent invulnerability, some have raised doubts whether she really is of the same species.

"Well, I mean, she killed (Pam) Shriver at Wimbledon, and she almost killed Martina," Maleeva said.

For a while, Graf's lone failing was thought to be grass, Wimbledon's surface and the one best suited for Navratilova's and Shriver's games.

When Graf, 19, clinches the coveted Slam Saturday, she'll be the first person to do so since 1970 when Margaret Court of Australia accomplished this hallowed achievement.

Navratilova once won the four majors in a row, but not in a single year. Now she's lost the final chance to personally stop Graf from reaching that pinnacle she herself wanted so badly.

"Any one of those three (Evert, Sabatini, Garrison) have an even chance," Navratilova said unconvincingly, "but they have to play the match of their life."

Even if one of them did, it would probably not be good enough.

"I am very confident right now," Graf said. "It's just that I haven't lost for a long time now."

As spectacular as Graf's emergence into Wonder Woman has been, it's also left a residue of sadness. The era of Evert and Navratilova has unmistakingly come to an end. In their place is this relentless German machine, rumbling over every obstacle like stick toys.

But there's something missing. Her invincibility and perfection fail to generate excitement. Instead, the name Graf has become synonymous with mismatch.

If only somebody, anybody, was able to give her a run for her money.

It would have been better that way.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
LOL at the new rankings systemvoted they , seriously ???

How in the world were they 110 to vote for, not a single person had a brain at this meeting ? Just one ?!

And after such things like this one, and many others, comments, and so on, you could read some months ago, complaints about why she wasn't there at the 40years anniversary thing of the WTA. No surprise. Thank god she wasn't there.
They did not seriously want to change the system, at least not the top players. It was just an attempt at psychological warfare. The rank and file players, if they believed the changes would actually go through, probably saw it as a chance to get revenge on Steffi or thought the changes would benefit themselves (you would be surprised how many lower ranked players believed the ranking system was thing that kept them down). But most of them were probably just voting as "instructed."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

A rare doubles report.

Canadian in doubles final Hetherington and American partner eliminate second seeds
The Toronto Star
Friday, September 9, 1988
CP

NEW YORK (CP) - Steffi Graf of West Germany and Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina have lost very few matches this year, but Jill Hetherington of Peterborough, Ont., defeated both of them at once yesterday at the U.S. Open tennis championships.

Hetherington and Patty Fendick of Sacramento, Calif, clinched a berth in the women's doubles final by overcoming a 1-3 first-set disadvantage and posting a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) upset victory over second-seeded Graf and Sabatini.

"We played very good tennis between 6-4 and 5-2 but then we started to think about where we were and how close we were to the finals," said Hetherington, a 24-year-old righthander who holds six Canadian women's doubles titles. "We were pretty nervous and it began to show a bit."

Graf and Sabatini rallied to win three consecutive games before Fendick held and the two teams went into a second-set tiebreaker.

"The moment we knew we were going into a tiebreaker, we felt better," said Hetherington. "We thought we owned them at that point."

Hetherington pointed to the fifth game of the opening set as the turning point of the match.

"We were down 1-3 and I went up to serve determined that I was not going to be intimidated," said Hetherington, who aced Graf in that fifth game.

The 12th-seeds won five of the final six games in the first set.

"They were trying to outhit us," said the four-time All-American from the University of Florida. "As the match went on, it seemed they were trying to hit the ball harder and harder to intimidate us. But it didn't work."

Hetherington, the first Canadian to reach the finals of a Grand Slam event, and Fendick will meet the fifth-seeded Gigi Fernandez and Robin White of the U.S. in the women's doubles final on Sunday.

Major upset

Fernandez and White created another major stir less than two hours after Graf and Sabatini were eliminated by upsetting top-seeded Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver of the U.S., 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

"I can't believe we're playing Gigi and Robin in the final," said Hetherington. "If I were going to win the U.S. Open, there would be no better team to beat than Martina and Pam, but confidence-wise going in, there's no question it's good to be playing Gigi and Robin."

Hetherington and Fendick, who have won 20 of their last 22 matches together, improved upon their previous Grand Slam personal bests. In 1986, they teamed to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon.

The pair won back-to-back Virginia Slims events in San Diego and Los Angeles last month before reaching the quarterfinals of the $425,000 Player's Challenge at Montreal's Jarry Tennis Stadium.

Hetherington and Fendick began the U.S. Open with a victory over Americans Anne Marie Fernandez and Louise Allen. They then beat Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria and Barbara Potter of the U.S. before upsetting seventh-seeded Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia and Catherine Suire of France.

On Wednesday, Hetherington and Fendick beat 10th-seeded Chris Evert of the U.S. and Wendy Turnbull of Australia, 6-1, 6-4.

Hetherington and Fendick went into the U.S. Open ranked fourth on the Virginia Slims tour doubles standings.

The 12th-seeds won five of the final six games in the first set.

"They were trying to outhit us," said the four-time All-American from the University of Florida. "As the match went on, it seemed they were trying to hit the ball harder and harder to intimidate us. But it didn't work."

Hetherington, the first Canadian to reach the finals of a Grand Slam event, and Fendick will meet the fifth-seeded Gigi Fernandez and Robin White of the U.S. in the women's doubles final on Sunday.

Future Meets Past

Meanwhile Andre Agassi, who was born the year Jimmy Connors played his first U.S. Open tennis tournament, trounced the five-time champion 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 last night to become the youngest male semifinalist in Open history.

Agassi, who at 18 is half Connors's age, overpowered the sixth seed before an overflow crowd of 20,767.

The fourth-ranked Agassi will meet top-seeded Ivan Lendl tomorrow. Lendl, who is seeking a record fourth straight Open title, downed Derrick Rostagno 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 earlier in the day to reach the semifinals for the seventh straight year.

The Connors-Agassi match was billed as a battle between America's tennis past and its tennis future.

The future looked bright.

Agassi's booming groundstrokes kept Connors constantly on the move and struggling to hold serve. Meanwhile, Agassi breezed through most of his own service games, winning 16 points in a row on serve in the second set.

After dropping the first set, Connors had a chance to get back in the match in the tense second-set tiebreaker.

But after they battled to 6-6, Connors netted an easy forehand and sailed a backhand return long to fall two sets behind.

Agassi then broke Connors twice in the final set to win his 23rd match in a row, the longest streak on the men's tour this year.

Both players usually banter with the crowd and show their emotions on the court. But they were unusually serious last night, with the exception of a few pumping fists on key points and Connors hitting two balls into the stands near the end of the match.

Lendl, who struggled in the early rounds, was nearly faultless against Rostagno.

Beat the odds

The world's top-ranked player made only 10 unforced errors, held serve every time and had one double fault. Lendl only came to the net twice in the entire match, but he won both those points, too.

"He's a great player," said Rostagno.

Lendl said he was pleased with his "intensity and concentration" against the former Stanford star.

Rostagno, 22, a Californian who travels the U.S. circuit in an old Volkswagen bus, couldn't beat Lendl but he did beat the odds by reaching the quarterfinals.

"I played some great tennis here, although maybe not today," he said. "I'm proud of myself.

The other semifinal pits second-seeded Mats Wilander against Australian Darren Cahill. At No. 33, Cahill is the lowest-ranked man to reach the Open semis since the computer ranking system was established in 1973.
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