Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2 - Page 234 -
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post #3496 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2014, 06:31 PM
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Hamburg 1994. So many "Wow! For real?" moments, even though she didn't win the tournament.

Tennis: Graf reveals her doubts on Seles comeback
The Independent
London, England
Monday, April 25, 1994

STEFFI GRAF has expressed doubts that Monica Seles, still recovering from being stabbed by a spectator one year ago, can return to the top ranks of women's tennis. 'I think a comeback is more and more unlikely,' Graf told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in an interview published yesterday.

'I would actually think her capable; she's a super athlete. But it is very difficult to get back into the groove after a year,' said Graf, who has dominated women's tennis since Seles was stabbed.

Graf said she believed a Seles comeback 'would be better for women's tennis in general'. She has won four consecutive Grand Slam titles.

The 24-year-old German is ranked No 1 in this week's Hamburg Open - the same tournament in which Seles was attacked on 30 April last year. Seles's attacker, an obsessed Graf fan from eastern Germany, was given a suspended sentence in October. Guenter Parche, a lathe operator, stabbed her in the upper back during a changeover on the court, using a kitchen knife he had concealed in a plastic bag.

At the time of the attack, Seles had won seven of her previous eight Grand Slam tournaments. Just 11 days ago, Seles's agent announced that the player would not be entered in the French Open, which begins on 23 May.

Officials at the Hamburg Open, which starts today, have stepped up security to avoid any repeat of the incident. All players will be assigned bodyguards to accompany them from the dressing-rooms to the courts and will watch the crowd during changeovers, while undercover police will monitor the thousands who are expected to visit the German clay-court event.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario won her second title of the year with a crushing 6-0, 6-2 victory over the young Croat, Iva Majoli, in the Spanish Open in Barcelona. The Barcelona-born world No 2 brushed aside 16-year-old Majoli in 46 minutes. The Croat did not take a point off her opponent's service until the fifth game of the second set.
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post #3497 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:09 PM
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That's a lot of money spent on security.

The Return of the Queen
Steffi Graf: Comeback on Tuesday

Hamburger Abendblatt
April 25, 1994
Christian-A. Thiel

Hamburg - For five weeks, Steffi Graf only surfaced in advertisement spots for pasta al dente and 24-hour fresh deodorant. Now the athletic break of the German tennis queen is over. At the Citizen Cup at Hamburg's Rothenbaum club, her most productive tournament at six titles, she returns to the tennis circus.

After her fifth title of the season in Key Biscayne, the world ranked No. 1, "tired and over-played," announced her departure and nursed a pulled ligament. After hard and promising training, she will step onto Rothenbaum's Centre Court on Tuesday (1:00 p.m.) for ZDF's initial television broadcast - against Silke Frankl (Heidelberg). Her first step on the path to the $80,000 victory prize.

What Steffi Graf and the German Tennis Federation most prefer to leave unvoiced the eye picked up at the qualifying rounds on the weekend. An empty row of seats behind the players, a bodyguard who stood up during the changeovers - a year after the knife attack on Monica Seles, the security precautions were visibly strengthened, certainly in measure. The number of the protection force was increased to 150, the cost for the security service climbed up a third to 1.3 million Marks.

"We did everything conceivable," says DTB spokesman Jens-Peter Hecht. "But we cannot give the guarantee of absolute protection." Günter P., the 1993 attacker, is warned of by portrait. The photos of other persons who are considered unwelcome or have become otherwise conspicuous grace the entrances.

Meanwhile, Steffi Graf thought of the victim. She told "Welt am Sonntag": "I think a comeback is more and more unlikely." She definitely believes her capable of a comeback ("It would be better for women's tennis"), but also thought: "It is very difficult to get back into the groove after a year."

Arantxa Sanchez found her groove again. The Spaniard, who inflicted the only Rothenbaum defeat on a shocked Steffi Graf in last year's final, decisively won the dress rehearsal in Barcelona against the Croatian Iva Majoli. In the semifinal, she showed Munich resident Sabine Hack the door in only 53 minutes, 6-0, 6-1.

The second round of qualifying had just ended on Sunday afternoon when a thundershower announced itself at Rothenbaum: Keeping in contact with Hamburg's marine weather office during the week of the tournament is again necessary this year. The prospects for the first day of the women's Citizen Cup tournament are hit-or-miss: A low pressure system brings cooler and -- on the late afternoon -- probably also moister air to the Elbe.

The umbrella once again belongs to the classic Rothenbaum kit. And the admission ticket. Since, in the face of the hopeless lack of parking places, it counts as a pass for Hamburg's public transportation.
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post #3498 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:26 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Willard: Goddamn it! Don't you think it's a little risky for R&R?

Kilgore: If I say it's safe to surf this beach, Captain, it's safe to surf this beach! I mean, I'm not afraid to surf this place! I'll surf this whole fucking place!

Apocalypse Now, Paramount, 1979

Graf won't let threats deter her
Tuesday, April 26, 1994
Ranald Totten

BERLIN - Steffi Graf, the women's No. 1 tennis player, said anonymous death threats will not stop her from competing in the Citizen Cup this week at Hamburg, Germany.

"After 12 years on the tennis circuit, you don't take things so seriously," says Graf, who plays her first match today.

A handwritten threat from "friends of (Monica) Seles and opponents of Graf" was sent Friday to a Hamburg newspaper and published Monday. It read: "If Steffi plays in Hamburg, there will be another attack. But this time it is the slimy Graf who will be the target . . . and we are not playing with kitchen knives."

Last April 30, Seles was stabbed by obsessed Graf fan Guenter Parche during a changeover. Seles, No. 1 at the time, has not played since.

Jens-Peter Hecht of the German Tennis Federation said security has not been increased. "There are no significant changes. . . . We already had good security last year."
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post #3499 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:30 PM
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Court security changes are net gain for Graf
Tuesday, April 26, 1994
Sal Ruibal and Ranald Totten

Steffi Graf should be safe during her walk to center court today at Hamburg's Citizens Cup as she plays her first-round match. Jens-Peter Hecht, German Tennis Federation spokesman, said no one sees Graf from the time she leaves the players lounge to the walk onto the court.

Graf, subject of recent death threats, will play on center court this week. Former No. 1 Monica Seles was courtside when she was stabbed in the back by obsessed Graf fan Guenter Parche during this tournament last year.

Hecht said security was not beefed up, but 150 bodyguards have been assigned and undercover police are on the grounds. "We did change the seatings for the players on the court so they are closer to the umpire's chair and farther from the fans," Hecht said. Fans may not walk in the row behind players. As many as four security guards can be requested by players for their walk to surrounding courts, which provide up-close-and-personal opportunities for fans.

"Being close to the spectators is part of it all," Graf said. "It is better to come here and show that I am not worried about any attack against me."

Jana Novotna - the only seeded player in action Monday - beat Elena Likhovtseva of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

And the "forbidden" appearance fee is right out in the open, in both the English- and German-language press.

Threat doesn't scare Graf - She will compete in Hamburg despite receiving a threatening letter.
The Tampa Tribune
Tuesday, April 26, 1994
Associated press

HAMBURG, Germany - Steffi Graf, facing threats of an attack, insists she is not worried about playing in the same tennis tournament where Monica Seles was stabbed last year.

"I am not afraid," Graf said after practice Monday for the Citizen Cup. "By playing here I want to show that I am not worried about an attack. And I realize that the spotlight is on tournaments in Germany and especially in Hamburg, after last year's attack against Monica Seles."

Graf is scheduled to open play today against Silke Frankl.

Police received an anonymous letter Friday, which threatened that the German star will be attacked if she plays in the tournament.

"If Steffi plays in Hamburg, there will be another attack," said the handwritten letter, a copy of which was published by the Hamburg newspaper Morgenpost. "But this time the slimy Graf will be the target ... and we are not playing with kitchen knives. Graf was the beneficiary after the attack on Monica Seles, but she was also the background figure for this attack."

Police spokesman Hartmut Kapp said police found the threatening letter to contain "little substance."

He said security at the tournament already had been beefed up, but no new security measures were planned after the letter was disclosed.

Seles was stabbed in the back by an obsessed Graf fan last April 30, and has not played since. Graf has retaken the No. 1 ranking from Seles.

The German sports agency SID said Graf reportedly was offered appearance money of $295,000 to play, and Graf acknowledged her presence is important to tournaments in her homeland.

"Tournaments in Germany are certainly strongly dependent on me," Graf said.

Jens-Peter Hecht, spokesman for the German Tennis Federation, said security at the tournament was sufficient, and more police protection was available if necessary.

Players in Hamburg have been assigned 150 bodyguards, and undercover police have been deployed at the Rothenbaum tennis club.

In addition, benches used by players during changeovers have been moved further from the stands, and only accredited photographers will be allowed to use the first row.

Seles was stabbed during a changeover when a man leaned from the stands and plunged a kitchen knife into her back. The assailant, Guenther Parche, received a suspended sentence in October.

Graf is the second German tennis star to be threatened recently. Police said last week that an extortionist had threatened to kill Boris Becker, his wife and baby son, his manager and his manager's family.

The extortionist never specified his demands and has not made any new threats since March.

Becker pulled out of last week's Monte Carlo tournament with a wrist injury. He signed up for this week's BMW Open in Munich, but later told organizers he would play only doubles.

During Monday's action, Jana Novota beat Elena Likhovtseva of Kazakhstan 6-3,6-3 in a fist-round match.

Novotna, the third seed from the Czech Republic, was the only seed to play.

Novotna, the 1993 Wimbledon finalist, took advantage of Likhovtseva's erratic play to break her serve at 2-2 in the first set and take control.

Russia's Elena Makarova needed 2 hours, 6 minutes to outlast American Ann Grossman, 6-7,(7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, Italy's Linda Ferrando routed German Heike Rausch, 6-3, 6-0, and Meike Babel beat fellow German Silke Meier, 6-4, 6-1.

* World No. 5 Goran Ivanisevic was ousted yesterday in the first round of the Madrid Open tennis tournament, falling to Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6).

* Seventh-seeded Cedric Pioline of France rallied to beat Martin Damm of the Czech Republic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 yesterday in an opening-round match of the BMW Open in Munich.

Most of the tournament's top players, including top-seeded Michael Stich of Germany and Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev, will begin play today.

* Twelve of the world's top 15 women tennis players, including No. 1 Steffi Graf, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Conchita Martinez and Gabriela Sabatini, have committed to represent their countries in the 1994 Federation Cup. The tournament will be held July 18-24 at Frankfurt, Germany.
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post #3501 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:42 PM
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And Steffi is/was so right that the media's knee-jerk sensationalism just feeds the fire. LOLing at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open covering their own butts.

Defiant Graf unruffled by death threats
The Times
London, England
Tuesday, April 26, 1994
John Goodbody

STEFFI Graf will today defy a death threat and take part in the Hamburg Open tennis tournament. At the same event last year, Monica Seles, then the leading player in the world, was stabbed in the back by an obsessed admirer of Graf.

Agents for Seles announced yesterday that the former world No. 1 would sue the Hamburg organisers for failing to protect her and for lost earnings. The German authorities have already tightened security arrangements to try to prevent any repetition of that attack, from which Seles has still not recovered psychologically. She has not played competitively since the assault.

In Hamburg this week, all the players will be accompanied by two bodyguards when they walk from the dressing-rooms to the court. The bodyguards will stand near the players' seats with their backs to court watching the crowd during change-overs. There will also be undercover security men watching the crowd.

Graf, the favourite for this tournament and every other one since Seles withdrew, was last year bothered at Wimbledon by a German supporter, who had a long history of following her and was described by German police as "mentally disturbed." A handwritten letter sent yesterday to a local Hamburg newspaper said: "If Steffi plays at Hamburg, there will be another attack. However, this time it will be the slimy Graf who will be the target. And we are not playing with kitchen knives." It was signed by "friends of Seles and opponents of Graf".

On April 30 last year, Gunter Parche took a kitchen knife into the Hamburg clay court complex in a plastic bag and stabbed Seles while she was sitting on a chair during a changeover between games. Seles said recently: "The only right time for me to play again is when I can see myself and think only this: 'Gosh I am happy again: this is fun'."

Graf, who had a routine training session yesterday, said she was not worried by the threat and had received similar letters in the past. She said: "Of course, there are copycats who do this kind of thing to get in the newspapers. I am not afraid at all and I am not taking it seriously. It is the price of being in the public eye."

Graf added that she did not think that security needed to be tighter. "Being close to the spectators is part of it all," she said. "That should not be ruined. It is better to come here and show that I am not worried about any attack against me."

Tournament organisers said they could not be certain that a similar attack would not happen again. Gunter Sanders, the director, said: "If someone wants to shoot, then you cannot stop that."

Graf is the second German player to have been threatened recently. Police disclosed last week that an extortionist had said he would kill Boris Becker, three-times Wimbledon champion, his wife and baby son, his manager and his manager's family unless he received money. The extortionist never specified his demands and has not made any new threats.

Becker pulled out of the Monte Carlo tournament last week with a wrist injury and this week is playing only in the doubles in the BMW Open in Munich.

An official of the International Management Group (IMG), which represents Seles, said yesterday in Cleveland, Ohio, that legal action against the Hamburg tournament was pending. Most important tennis tournaments in the world, including the present one in Hamburg, have an insurance policy against incidents like these occurring.

In Britain, tournaments like Eastbourne and Brighton have a public liability insurance. George Hendon, the tournament director, said: "In 1993, as a result of what happened in Hamburg, we doubled our insurance cover. We also follow the guidelines issued by the Women's Tennis Council, which has consulted Control Risks, a United Kingdom security company."

However, at two grand slam events, Wimbledon and the United States Open championships, players sign on their forms, as a condition of entry, a waiver of any claims against the tournament "sustained in travelling to or from or participating in the championships".
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Rocky Mountain News
Tuesday, April 26, 1994

No. 1-ranked women's tennis player Steffi Graf said Monday she reversed her original decision and will play at a Hamburg tennis tournament after all in order show she is "not afraid" after last year's knife attack against Monica Seles.

At a news conference as the $400,000 tournament got under way, Graf also blamed the media for giving so much attention to blackmail attempts and other threats to top stars, saying this in turn encouraged imitators.

"I want to show that I'm not afraid," she said. "And I realize that the spotlight is on tournaments in Germany and especially in Hamburg, after last year's attack against Monica Seles."

At the start of the year, Graf said she had decided not to play in Hamburg in order to avoid all the publicity and "prepare in peace and quiet" for the Italian Open tournament in Rome.

But "precisely because of the incident last year," she said, referring to the knife attack against Seles by a mentally disturbed man, she had decided she should play in Hamburg after all.

Graf said she accepts the presence of bodyguards at the courts but had rejected an offer of additional police escorts.
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Tennis: Graf death threat: No 1 plays on in Hamburg
The Independent
London, England
Tuesday, April 26, 1994
ADRIAN BRIDGE reports from Berlin

Steffi Graf yesterday brushed aside news of a death threat against her, saying it would have no bearing on her decision to take part in this year's Hamburg Open.

Speaking as the first day's play got under way, Graf, who is due on court today, said she wanted to make it clear to would-be attackers that she would not be scared off.

The threat came in a handwritten letter sent to a Hamburg newspaper. It was signed by 'friends of Seles and opponents of Graf'. 'If Steffi plays in Hamburg there will be another attack. But this time it is the slimy Graf who will be the target,' it read. 'And we are not playing with kitchen knives.'

It comes exactly a year after Monica Seles was stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife by an obsessive fan of Graf while playing in Hamburg. Seles has not played since.

'I want to show that I have no fear,' Graf said. 'Given what happened here last year, the eyes of the world will be upon this tournament. And it will stand or fall with me.'

Hamburg police yesterday said they were not taking the threat seriously. Tournament organisers similarly tried to play down its significance, but said that security would be very tight. 'We do not expect another attack, but unfortunately you never know,' Jens-Peter Hecht, of the German Tennis Association, said.

The death threat against Graf is the latest in a series against German sports stars. Last week police revealed that Boris Becker was being targeted by somebody threatening a 'massacre' of the player's family unless he agreed to make substantial payments.
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post #3504 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 10:06 PM
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Good heavens, have I really been on the internet for over 20 years? Sob! How many computers and file formats and back-up storage devices has this one seen in order to get back to its native habitat?

"The tournament organizers have more fear"
Steffi Graf on the threat of an attack at the Hamburg tennis tournament
April 26, 1994
Andreas Bellinger und Oliver Hartmann, dpa

With her start at the scene of the attack at Hamburg's Rothenbaum club, Steffi Graf wants to send a signal against the increasing threat to top athletes and for Germany as a tournament location.

"I want to show that I have no fear. And I know the tournaments in Germany, and especially the one in Hamburg, stand particularly under scrutiny after the attack on Monica Seles last year. And they stand and fall with me," said the world's top-ranked player yesterday in a press conference in which she expressed herself with unusual openness.

In her tournament schedule at the beginning of the year, Steffi Graf had decided against an appearance in the Hanseatic city, "in order to get out of the way of all this and instead to be able to play in peace in Rome." But then she had decided to compete "precisely because of the incidents in the past year."

"You cannot go out on the street and be afraid of such a thing," said the six-time Hamburg champion, who had collected her first loss in the Hanseatic city in last year's final against the Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Steffi Graf gives the media a share of the blame for the fact that, in recent times, top athletes have become victims of attacks, extortion attempts, and threats more and more frequently. "Because the newspapers report about it so much, many feel animated to mimic it," believes the Brühl resident, who has been confronted with threats frequently in the past and even now in Hamburg. On the first day of the tournament yesterday, a Hamburg daily newspaper published a hand-written attack threat against the 24-year-old. Steffi Graf had not been informed about it and said: "Nor does it interest me."

Her plan for handling the potential danger consists of, in her own words, "not thinking about it." However, when she stepped onto the court yesterday morning for a practice session, her "thoughts briefly went back" to the career of Monica Seles, which was interrupted and probably ended by the stroke of the knife by a fanatical "Graf fan." On the basis of increased security precautions, the Brühl resident is constantly surrounded by bodyguards at the tournament site, but she declined additional police protection. "The tournament organizers have more fear than the players," declared Steffi Graf and at the same time demanded the security precautions not be overdone: "Being close to the spectators must not be lost."

After a five week break from tournament play, the five-time Wimbledon winner starts today against Heidelberg resident Silke Frankl in the $400,000 tournament in Hamburg.

"Turnierveranstalter haben mehr Angst"
Steffi Graf zu den Attentats-Drohungen beim gestern begonnenen Hamburger Tennisturnier
Andreas Bellinger und Oliver Hartmann, dpa

Steffi Graf will mit ihrem Start am Attentats-Schauplatz Hamburger Rothenbaum ein Signal gegen die zunehmende Bedrohung von Spitzensportlern und für den Turnierstandort Deutschland setzen.

"Ich will zeigen, daß ich keine Angst habe. Und ich weiß, daß die Turniere in Deutschland und speziell das in Hamburg nach dem Anschlag auf Monica Seles im Vorjahr besonders im Blickpunkt stehen. Und sie stehen und fallen mit mir", sagte die Weltranglisten-Erste gestern in einem Pressegespräch, in dem sie sich ungewohnt offen äußerte.

Noch bei ihrer Turnierplanung zu Jahresbeginn hatte sich Steffi Graf gegen einen Start in der Hansestadt entschieden, "um all dem aus dem Weg zu gehen und statt dessen in Ruhe in Rom spielen zu können". Dann aber habe sie sich dazu entschlossen, "gerade wegen der Vorfälle im letzten Jahr" anzutreten. "Man kann nicht auf die Straße gehen und Angst vor so etwas haben", so die sechsfache Hamburg-Siegerin, die im Vorjahr im Endspiel gegen die Spanierin Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario ihre erste Niederlage in der Hansestadt kassiert hatte.

Eine Mitschuld an dem Umstand, daß Spitzensportler in letzter Zeit immer häufiger Opfer von Anschlägen, Erpressungsversuchen und Bedrohungen geworden sind, gibt Steffi Graf den Medien. "Dadurch, daß die Zeitungen so groß darüber berichten, fühlen sich viele animiert, es nachzumachen", glaubt die Brühlerin, die in der Vergangenheit häufig und auch jetzt in Hamburg mit Bedrohungen konfrontiert wurde. Eine Hamburger Tageszeitung veröffentlichte am gestrigen ersten Turniertag eine handschriftliche Attentats-Drohung gegen die 24jährige. Steffi Graf war darüber nicht unterrichtet worden und sagte: "Es interessiert mich auch nicht."

Ihr Konzept, mit der latenten Gefahr umzugehen, besteht nach eigenen Angaben darin, "nicht darüber nachzudenken". Als sie jedoch gestern morgen beim Trainingsauftakt den Platz betrat, an dem die Karriere von Monica Seles durch den Messerstich eines fanatischen "Graf-Fans" abgebrochen und wohl beendet wurde, seien "die Gedanken kurz zurückgekehrt". Aufgrund der erhöhten Sicherheitsvorkehrungen ist die Brühlerin auf der Anlage ständig von Bodyguards umringt, zusätzlichen Polizeischutz aber hat sie abgelehnt. "Die Turnierveranstalter haben mehr Angst als die Spielerinnen", meinte Steffi Graf, die zugleich dazu aufforderte, die Sicherheitsvorkehrungen nicht zu übertreiben: "Die Nähe zu den Zuschauern darf nicht verloren gehen."

Nach fünfwöchiger Turnierpause startet die fünfmalige Wimbledon-Gewinnerin heute gegen die Heidelbergerin Silke Frankl in das mit 400 000 Dollar dotierte Turnier von Hamburg.
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post #3505 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 10:09 PM
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Poor Silke Frankl had the misfortune to be the person on the other side of the net on a day when Steffi Graf had a message to send.

Steffi Graf: I play the load-bearing role
The world's No. 1 before her first match at the Citizen Cup

Hamburger Abendblatt
April 26, 1994
Rainer Grünberg and Christian-A. Thiel report from Rothenbaum

Hamburg - On the short trip from the Opel courtesy car to practice on the Centre Court at Rothenbaum, her thoughts wandered back to a year ago. "I thought about it a little." Steffi Graf returned to Hamburg twelve months after the attack on her rival Monica Seles. Her first match against Silke Frankl will be carried on ZDF today, live at 1:00 p.m.

Steffi Graf has a special relationship with the Citizen Cup and Hamburg. Not only are there six consecutive victories and one final-round defeat, which came about last year under excusable attendant circumstances. Not only is there the photo exhibition which she absolutely wanted to visit.

"There are some reasons for Hamburg, we considered and discussed it for a long time. The tournaments in Germany stand and fall with me." She didn't mention the argumentation aid of the German Tennis Federation in the form of an appearance fee of reportedly 500,000 Marks.

And finally, she wanted to deal with the past, or at least suppress it. "I deliver myself," went the confession, which at the same time should demonstrate: "I am not afraid." And yet extensive telephone conversations with Monica Seles about "that which happened" were admittedly ruled out.

"I have no problems. Because that is the price that one must pay when one is in the public eye," says Steffi Graf.

And she grows with her task. The world's No. 1, 24 years old, has become the symbolic figure of tennis -- and she knows it. Aggressive, by now no longer so tense and uptight as she was still a year ago, she represents her opinion on the crisis in women's tennis. "The accusations are partially justified. But Pete Sampras dominates the men no differently than I. That is surely not good for tennis, and I would wish that I would be more challenged, but I can do very little about it."

Steffi Graf assumes responsibility: "That is also why I'm playing here. Because with the two missing names in tennis (Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati, the editors) and a third name with Martina (Navratilova) retiring next year, the organizers want me to play as often as possible. I am playing more or less the load-bearing role now. But I feel at ease in this task."

The consequences: "At the beginning of the season, I played five tournaments in a short interval. That was too much."

The eternal torture of the body demands its tribute. In her five week break from tennis after Key Biscayne, she cured up an unending tale of woe: "The last weeks were not easy. It started with the knee, then I pulled a ligament in my wrist. I stopped for eight or nine days and had back problems. Then it got better, I started weight training -- then my shoulder started again."

Pain-free periods are rare. "Once," she recalls, "it held off for four months. That was a nice time."

The eternal injuries are also why the best female tennis player in the world yet lets herself think of quitting. "I've been around for twelve years now, that's a rather long time. My physical well-being will influence the decision."

Today, Silke Frankl will be barely more than a practice partner. And yet the world's No. 122 from Mannheim is linked quite a bit with her famous opponent.

Steffi Graf mentions: "We practice at the same club, we come from the same city. She lives close by us, and we usually played in the same league."
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William Wallace: I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You've come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?

Scottish Soldiers: No! No! No!

Veteran Soldier: Fight? Against that? No! We will run. And we will live.

William Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live ... at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance --just one chance-- to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they'll never take our FREEDOM?

Braveheart, Paramount, 1995

The Wichita Eagle
Wednesday, April 27, 1994
Associated Press

HAMBURG, Germany - Steffi Graf, her play unaffected by recent death threats, returned to the court where Monica Seles was stabbed last year and routed Silke Frankl 6-0, 6-0 Tuesday in the Citizen Cup.

Graf looked thoroughly relaxed in rolling past her fellow German in 35 minutes.

A Hamburg newspaper received an anonymous letter last week threatening an attack on Graf if she played in Hamburg. Graf said Monday she wasn't worried and had no plans to drop out of the $400,000 clay-court tournament.

Graf, the world's top-ranked player, remained unbeaten in 1994, dropping only one set.

"She's a nice person," Frankl said. "Too bad she's so ruthless on the court."

Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the defending champion, overcame a knee injury to struggle past qualifier Elena Wagner of Bulgaria 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in 2 hours, 40 minutes. She may have to withdraw from the tournament.

No. 4 seed Anke Huber of Germany also advanced by downing Russia's Eugenia Maniokova 6-1, 6-2, while No. 5 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria routed Italy's Laura Golarsa, 6-0, 6-1.

Germany's Petra Begerow pulled the tournament's first upset, dropping No. 7 Natalia Medvedeva of Ukraine, 7-5, 7-5.

Sanchez Vicario had trouble with the exaggerated top spin of Wagner, but led 4-1 in the third set before the Bulgarian rallied to break her serve twice.

Afterward, the world's second-ranked player was treated for a strained knee muscle sustained in practice Monday. Her next match is scheduled for today against Argentina's Bettina Fulco-Villella.

"If I feel as bad Wednesday as I did after this match, I'll think about withdrawing," Sanchez Vicario said.

Seles was stabbed in the back by an obsessed Graf fan last April 30, and has not played since. Graf has meanwhile dominated the women's game and has retaken the No. 1 ranking from Seles.

Players have been given bodyguards and undercover agents have been deployed at the Rothenbaum club to prevent a similiar attack.

Seles was stabbed during a changeover when a man leaned from the stands and plunged a kitchen knife into her back. The assailant, Guenther Parche, received a two-year suspended sentence in October and was released from custody.

BMW Open: Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev failed to cash in on three match points and he was upset in the opening round by South African Marcos Ondruska 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8) in the BMW Open at Munich.

Altogether, the two players shared five match points during the tiebreak before the match was settled when a Medvedev forehand sailed long.

After the match, the world's eighth-ranked player complained about having to compete at noon Tuesday. He beat Spain's Sergi Bruguera on Sunday to capture the Monte Carlo title.

"It wasn't fair of the tournament to schedule me as the first match," Medvedev said.

Medvedev said he didn't arrive in Munich until Monday evening and wasn't able to practice on the courts before Tuesday's match for more than five minutes because of rain.

Top-seeded Michael Stich of Germany also struggled to reach the second round, needing two hours and four minutes to outlast Russian Andrei Cherkasov, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

Fourth-seeded Magnus Gustafsson of Sweden ousted Germany's Jens Knippschild 7-5, 6-1, sixth-seeded Swiss Marc Rosset edged Karel Novacek of Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4, and Germany's Karsten Braasch upset Spain's Emilio Sanchez, 6-2, 6-3.

Madrid Open: Jaime Yzaga of Peru defeated No. 7-seeded Alexander Volkov of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the opening round of the Madrid Open.

Other seeded players got through the round.

No. 1 seed Stefan Edberg defeated Xavier Daufresne of Belgium, 6-2, 7-5; No. 4 Thomas Muster of Austria defeated Frederic Fontang of France, 6-0, 6-3; No. 6 seed Ivan Lendl advanced against Juan Luis Rascon of Spain 6-3, 6-1, and No. 3 Sergi Bruguera of Spain swamped German Lopez of Spain, 6-0, 6-1.

In other first-round matches Javier Sanchez of Spain defeated Richard Fromberg of Australia 6-4, 6-4; France's Guillaume Raoux defeated Jordi Burillo of Spain 6-3, 6-4; Gabriel Markus of Argentina advanced over Ronald Agenor of Haiti 2-6, 6-3, 6-1; Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy defeated Francisco Roig of Spain, 6-2, 6-3.

AT&T Challenge: Michael Chang, Andre Agassi and MaliVai Washington all won easily Tuesday in first-round play at the AT&T Challenge in suburban Atlanta.

The top-seeded Chang, playing in his first clay court event this year, beat qualifier Robbie Weiss 6-4, 6-1, while No. 3 Agassi, a four-time champion at the event, defeated Francisco Clavet 6-3, 6-3. Washington, the fifth seed, beat Alex O'Brien 6-1, 6-4.

Elsewhere: Monica Seles, who remains sidelined indefinitely nearly a year after she was stabbed in the back during a tournament in Hamburg, said in a magazine interview that she plans to return to competition.

"Of course I will play tennis again," Sports Life magazine quoted Seles as saying in its issue released today. "I don't want to be remembered just as someone who grunted and giggled. I'd hate to be remembered only for that.

"I also don't want to 'the one with knife in the back.' There's still a lot I can accomplish."

Seles, 20, held the No. 1 ranking when she stabbed during a changeover last April 30 when an obsessed fan of Steffi Graf leaned from the stands and plunged a kitchen knife into her back. The assailant, Guenther Parche, received a two-year suspended sentence in October.

Stephanie Tolleson of International Management Group issued a statement this week "in response to inaccurate reports internationally over the weekend" that Seles would not return.

"Monica has made no decision as to when she will return to competitive play," Tolleson said.
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post #3507 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 10:16 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf gains easy win at Citizen Cup
Wednesday, April 27, 1994
Ranald Totten

HAMBURG, Germany - Steffi Graf returned to the site of last year's stabbing of former No. 1 tennis player Monica Seles, showing no fear or mercy. Graf defeated fellow German Silke Frankl 6-0, 6-0 Tuesday in her first-round match of the Citizen Cup.

Seles has not played since the attack, while Graf has won the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.

Dispatching Frankl in 35 minutes, Graf improved to 29-0 this year. After a five-week hiatus during which she nursed injuries, Graf said there are no memories of the attack. "No memories at all, since I wasn't here when it happened. Maybe a few thoughts, but no pictures," Graf said.

Graf downplayed recent death threats. "There is no fear for me. I don't think about this."

Undercover police are on the grounds, but "we cannot monitor every fan," says Jens-Peter Hecht, German Tennis Federation spokesman.
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post #3508 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2014, 02:43 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Sympathy for the opponent
Steffi Graf administered the maximum punishment

Hamburger Abendblatt
April 27, 1994
Rainer Grünberg and Christian-A. Thiel report from Rothenbaum

Hamburg - These days, Steffi Graf is stuck in a dilemma. On one hand, the best tennis player in the world wants to attend to her job as well as possible. But not allowing her dominance to break everything down so badly is also a part of her position as ambassador of her sport.

Between Steffi Graf (24) and Silke Frankl (23), both of whom grew up in the vicinity of Mannheim and know each other from their youthful days in Heidelberg, lie 121 places on the world rankings computer. The result of the match report of umpire Harry Schäffer read 6-0, 6-0.

Sometimes, said the superior winner, she felt sympathy: "It is no very pleasant feeling. I even briefly considered playing somewhat worse." But then the fair athlete won through. "I don't want to win 6-0, 6-0, but I also can't just give away points."

Silke Frankl calmly took the "maximum punishment" in front of 2,000 spectators. "Too bad that Steffi is so merciless on the court," she said and tried to put her difference from No. 1 into words. "She is unbelievably fit, quick on her feet, and hits enormously hard. It is difficult to find a rhythm." What a comparison: "In the United States, I played against Martina Navratilova, we had nice rallies, that was fun." That was the most successful female player of all time.

Steffi Graf would gladly have more competition. "I had expected clear improvements from some players in the last few years." At least her next opponent, Linda Ferrando, promises more resistance: "She feels comfortable on clay, plays with more variety."

"That I feel very at ease again in my first match after a five week break" remains as the upshot. She has no concerns about security. On the contrary, she voiced the request "not to force the subject anymore."

Anke Huber also celebrated a comeback after a three month long injury break. "The match certainly wasn't especially good," was her assessment of the 6-2, 6-1 result against the Russian Eugenia Maniokova. But more importantly: "At the moment, I don't have any pain."

Pain was something the defending champion had to endure. Arantxa Sanchez, who in 1993 had inflicted Steffi Graf's sole defeat at Rothenbaum, suffered from the consequences of a irritation to her patella tendon in her left knee. Against the Bulgarian qualifier Elena Wagner, who was known as Pampoulova before her marriage to the German Axel Wagner, she fought for 2 hours and 40 minutes for the 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory: "I won amid pain."

Before her match against Bettina Fulco she will be treated "with ice, ultrasound, bandaging, and stretching," according to tournament doctor Bernd Kabelka. The prognosis: "We should get it right for the match."

Graf Frankl
0 Aces 0
0 Double Faults 0
22 Winners 3
12 From Forehand 0
1 Backhand 1
3 Volleys 2
1 Drop Shots 0
5 Overheads 0
9 Unforced Errors 26
49 First Serve Percentage 61
8/6 Break chances/Breaks 0/0
167 km/h Fastest Serve 143 km/h
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post #3509 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Eh, I think it would have been more like a case of pity the kook who is stupid enough to try a copycat attack against Steffi while she is holding a racket. There is a great one from around the 1996 French Open when H.A. Branham, who, as attentive readers will recall, was not initially one of Steffi's biggest admirers in the press corps, lets us in on some behind-the-scenes banter regarding Steffi's toughness: "We figure if Steffi had been stabbed that time -- April 1993 -- she would have taken two weeks off, then entered the French Open. And won. And after the guy stabbed her, she probably would have turned around and punched him."

Repercussions of Seles attack linger
Wednesday, April 27, 1994
Tom Weir

As much as anyone who took to the tennis court in recent years, Monica Seles was a fighter.

Sounding more like a defensive lineman at the snap of the ball, Seles accompanied her every stroke with a grunt. When she was really into it, that noise could carry beyond stadium walls.

She patrolled the baseline like a guard dog assigned to a specific territory. From there, she was content to whack away relentlessly, for as many returns as it took to wilt her opponent.

As athletes go, her arms were relatively waif-like. But there was no question she was as tough as they come.

Yet Saturday will mark a full year since Seles competed. It has been that long since a deranged spectator wedged a kitchen knife into Seles' back.

By all accounts, the physical scars have healed. But not the emotional ones.

Seles was expected to make her grand slam return in January at the Australian Open, then elected to take more time. Now, it would be a surprise if she played at Wimbledon in June.

And of course the Citizen Cup in Hamburg, Germany, where the attack occurred last April 30, is passing without her presence.

But even without Seles, there was a grim reminder this week that the nuts are still out there.

Despite a death threat in Hamburg, Steffi Graf decided to play on. If she was rattled by the threat, there was no sign of it in her 6-0, 6-0 victory Tuesday.

Germany's other tennis superstar, Boris Becker , also has had to endure recent threats that appear to be related to his political views and the fact his wife is black.

But this is hardly just a problem for Germans or tennis players.

Even in gun-free Japan, Katarina Witt not long ago had to have armed guards stationed outside her hotel room, because of fears she was being stalked.

And it's not all that far-fetched to anticipate the day when all major sports events - and not just the Olympics - will have the kind of security that accompanied President Clinton's visit to the Final Four.

Not only will you have to leave early to beat the traffic, but also to avoid the crush at metal detectors.

In the wake of Tonya Harding's legal saga, Nancy Kerrigan's initial reaction to the attack on her in Detroit has been forgotten.

"Is Ontario near here?" Kerrigan asked her coach, Evy Scotvold. That was because Kerrigan had received some particularly disturbing mail from that part of Canada, just across the border from Detroit.

While Kerrigan was a guest at the Academy Awards, an arrest also was made of a man believed to be stalking her.

Kerrigan, talking this month about the 10,000 pieces of mail she had received since the Winter Olympics, told USA TODAY's Steve Woodward that most were supportive.

"But there are some," she added delicately, "just a handful, you don't know exactly how to take them."

No doubt there are hundreds of other examples of weirdos threatening sports figures that we never hear about, for fear of encouraging them.

In Alabama, some people have wondered if the police really need to provide Michael Jordan with an escort after his baseball games for the Class AA Birmingham Barons.

Maybe it does appear excessive. But given Alabama's past, consider what would be said about lackadaisical security if the world's most prominent black athlete was hit with a random act of violence there.

In today's sports-obsessed world, the only scenario to consider is the worst. As cold-hearted as it would seem, you no longer can blame any athlete who elects not to face the crush of autograph-seekers.

In Hamburg, Graf this week said, "By playing here, I want to show that I am not worried about an attack."

Her courage should be applauded. But one hopes that, for her own sake, she also will stay at least a little worried.
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post #3510 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 2014, 03:00 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Getting ahead in the timeline, but it fits better in the narrative here.

From Hamburg to Paris: Graf's Unrivaled Reign
Ian Thomsen
May 20, 1994
New York Times

PARIS— "To tell you the truth, I was hoping it was not that way," Steffi Graf says. "I was hoping so badly, because I had that idea."

She was hoping the stabbing had not been planned for her benefit.

"Then, when I heard the next news, that probably a Yugoslav was the one who did it to her, I was a little ... " Graf stops; she doesn't want to admit this. "Tiny bit relieved," she says.

Because how could she live with it otherwise? It has been more than a year since the nightmare in Hamburg, but Graf is much more than one year older.

The latest French Open premieres Monday with all the suspense of a movie made out of a best-seller. Graf is the female lead, likely to win her fifth consecutive Grand Slam event, the fifth since Hamburg. She figures to be challenged mainly by the 1989 champion, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, and the 37-year-old Martina Navratilova, a two-time winner making her farewell after a five-year absence from these clay courts, her least favorite surface.

But most of all, Graf will be dogged by her co-star, Monica Seles. Her attacker was not Yugoslav; somehow Graf realized he was German before the rest of us.

"I've met enough people to get the idea of what can happen," she says quietly.

She reclaimed Seles's No.1 ranking - Graf always said the ranking meant little but she has held onto it like an ideal. Perhaps it was inherited, but she has adopted it.

The difference means everything, for she is the first champion in generations to succeed without a rival. Chris Evert took over from Billie Jean King and her group, and then along came Martina, forever and ever; they both were overtaken by Steffi (though Martina remains near her shoulder), and then Monica.

Then Seles was removed, and only the man with the knife and the most cynical observers can believe he did Graf a favor.

Seles's absence has put more pressure upon Graf than any series of grunting, two-handed rallies. Graf was chasing Seles, drafting from behind, catching up, when suddenly, under the worst circumstances, the leader fell out. And the surroundings changed artificially. She no longer heard the crowd cheering for her against Seles. Her strengths - the underdog's strengths - are as the ruin of the women's game. Even Graf says so. When asked about the problems in women's tennis, she says: "I think it starts with my domination at the moment. The main thing, after that, are just little things." A strong administrative leader, better public relations.

These days, you cannot be paying to watch an opponent compete against her. Instead, you watch to see how she handles herself. You watch for the first sign that she is taking it easy, as most others would. Along those lines, she discloses very little.

"My performance is most important for me," she says. "The other day I won, 6-2, 6-2, and I wasn't very happy. I felt I made a lot of unforced errors. That's why I don't show much emotion. I know I would get myself out of rhythm. I know because I do it in practice a lot."

The obvious point has to be made: If her dominance is a dull incrimination of women's tennis, then it is not her fault. A graver symptom of the game's problems is the perception of players - men and women - as spoiled and greedy, taking advantage without giving their best efforts. If you want to support that argument, then there isn't much room to turn around and criticize the best player for trying her best, regardless of the opponent.

She thinks she has become more emotional in recent years. (Can't be.) This surfaced last year, after her surprisingly difficult 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 final victory over Mary Joe Fernandez - when Graf was so caught up that she neglected, regrettably, to announce her best wishes to Seles. But then Wimbledon was 15 days away, and Graf was wondering whether this victory - her first after three straight French Opens had been taken by Seles - might keep her from winning her favorite tournament. She had won in spite of a stress fracture in her right foot.

"It wasn't easy to make the decision to play at Wimbledon," she says. "From day to day I was saying, 'If it's going to hurt like this the next day, I'm not going to play.' I stopped practicing in the middle of it. Then I put my head down and thought about it, and it was the right decision." Thanks, in great part, to the third-set collapse of Jana Novotna.

After surgery last October to remove bone fragments from her foot, Graf began a regimen of workouts that has made her better than ever, she believes.

"I have to do it because I've had a lot of injuries, and the only way to get rid of them is to work more on the physical part," she says. "Before, I have been kind of lazy off of the court. I had never really done a lot of weights or running outside of tennis. I keep working because there is still so much left to accomplish."

If she is working harder than she did last year, when Seles was above her, then what does that say? So solitary and stubborn is Graf that in the days after the stabbing, she pleaded that the players not be closeted from the fans. Even now she refuses to be guarded.

"I think, being in Germany, I know some things that maybe a few people don't know," she adds. "There are a lot of crazy people around, and I've met a lot of crazy people. I've lived with the risk that something can happen to me. I just know something can happen, and I can't do anything about it. Even if you have five people around you, there will always be moments where you will be vulnerable. I have learned to live with that."

And so, ultimately, she seems sad. She has always looked that way. There has always been joy in the variety of shots, the aggressive play, but it rarely appears from the person. And now the world watches only her, recalling, just as she must, that she really doesn't have anyone to play against.

The pain rises in her voice as she talks about Hamburg. The knife cut her rival in a less obvious way. You say it's a scar, that it must have healed, and she says, "It heals, but you always can see it."
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