Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2 - Page 264 -
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post #3946 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2014, 03:44 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

It was not really luck. This is a great example of how treating people with consideration should pay off. Stratton and Giscafre were fair and kind to Steffi when she was a "nothing" and now that she was a "something" she would return the favor. Likewise, Jerry Diamond, a pretty blatant Evert-Navratilova loyalist, tried to give Steffi the shaft at least once, so it was not surprising that Steffi took her business elsewhere. And she gave the WTA a well-deserved nyah-nyah for the skulduggery with the play-down rule from last year. And this tournament was not sponsored by the tobacco company. It's a brilliant piece of work.

Graf's visit a grand slam for promoters
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Monday, July 31, 1989
John Freeman, Tribune Sportswriter

BOTH Jane Stratton and Raquel Giscafre should be forgiven if they breathe a sigh of relief when two-time Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf is introduced at 6:30 tonight as the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic unveils its star attraction.

Past experience has taught Stratton and Giscafre to be wary of the unknown -- sudden injury or illness or a change of heart often causes players to withdraw at the last minute, leaving the promoters with some hasty explaining to do.

Last year, top-seeded Lori McNeil was forced to withdraw just a few days before the tournament began, joining a series of other pullouts and putting Stratton and Giscafre in a bind.

"It seemed like everybody pulled out, not only Lori but about five top players," said Stratton, a 37-year-old former tour player herself. "We had lots of people say, 'Hey, you said these players were coming and they didn't show up.' But there was nothing we could do."

Only the half-hearted return to action of Tracy Austin, who decided to compete only in doubles, made last year's draw the slightest bit noteworthy. "It worked out all right," said Stratton. "Once the public saw the high quality of tennis, they discovered that there are lots of talented players, even if the public can't spell their names."

So, now that a year has passed and Steffi Graf's name is plastered on billboards all over town and on every news release and promotional brochure imaginable, how were Stratton and Giscafre able to book Graf for what will be her only West Coast appearance?

A number of factors came into play.

Graf's week-on, week-off schedule meshed with the date earlier awarded to the Great American Bank Tennis Classic, formerly known as the Virginia Slims of San Diego.

She had a desire to see San Diego for the first time, and her father has had past feuds with promoters of the $300,000 Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, a larger (56-player draw), richer and more prestigious event that begins a week from today.

And, perhaps most importantly, "We got very lucky," said Stratton.

More technically, the points system utilized by the Women's International Tennis Association, the sport's ruling body, was a serious lure for Graf, even more so than the $40,000 first-prize check she's likely to be handed on Sunday.

"Because she's No. 1 in the world, Steffi cares more about how many points she gets much more than the prize money," said Stratton. "Our event offers less prize money than the L.A. Slims, but the points total is the same, so she decided to play here."

Last October, after the WITA designated the Great American Bank Tennis Classic as a "primary" event (with as many points as the L.A. Slims) and doubled its purse to $200,000, Stratton and Giscafre decided that the time had come to seek the impossible.

"We figured, what do we have to lose by asking," said Stratton. "So we asked Peter Graf (Steffi's father) at the U.S. Open last year if she would consider playing here. All he said was, 'I've heard good things about San Diego,' and that was about it. We've kept our fingers crossed that it would happen."

And it did.

It's only fitting that Stratton and Giscafre finally have attracted Graf and other top players here, because both were world-class players themselves in the 1970s, as well as frequent doubles partners.

Stratton, a two-time NCAA semifinalist in doubles while at the University of Utah, was ranked as high as 45th in the world and reached the quarterfinals of both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in doubles. She also was a frequent doubles partner of Joanne Russell, now an NBC tennis analyst.

As for Giscafre, 40, she was ranked as high as 14th (in '75) and has the distinction of claiming a victory over Martina Navratilova in the mid-1970s. Giscafre upset Martina in '75, in the quarterfinals of a Slims event in Florida.

"That was the peak of my career," said Giscafre, who turned to promoting tennis tournaments in 1979 in her native Argentina. "After that, I needed to find out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life." She first teamed with Stratton in '83, promoting pro women's tournaments in Tucson, Salt Lake City and eventually, San Diego.

"We've worked very hard to get this tournament to this point," said Giscafre. "We're super-happy to be able to bring top tennis to San Diego."

NOTES -- The week-long tournament is being held at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, located east of Interstate 5 on Tecolote Road. Take the Sea World Drive exit east.

The final two qualifiers in the 32-woman field were to be decided today. Two wild-card berths were awarded to Rosie Casals, a 40-year-old tour veteran and 15-year-old Angelica Gavaldon of Coronado.

Gavaldon, who already has competed in several pro events, faces eighth-seeded Ros Fairbank tonight. That match follows Graf-Rene Simpson. Originally, Graf was to begin play tomorrow, but her schedule was altered late last weekend.

Last year's champion, Stephanie Rehe, has been out of action for several months because of a serious back injury. Rehe, 19, underwent surgery a few weeks ago in Palo Alto. According to tour officials, her once-promising career is in jeopardy. At the end of last year, she was ranked 14th in the world.

Ann Grossman, who lost to Rehe in last year's finals, was to face West Germany's Eva Pfaff this afternoon. Grossman is the perky 19-year-old from Ohio who still has a photo in which she is being held in Martina Navratilova's arms. Grossman was then 2 years old.

Several players have strong local ties, including Fairbank, who lives in Rancho Bernardo; Gretchen Magers, who lives on a yacht in San Diego Bay; Pam Shriver, whose grandmother lives in Coronado; fifth-seeded Lori McNeil, whose father, Charlie, was a Chargers defensive back in the 1960s; and Robin White, a Del Mar resident. Shriver, who has been limiting her singles play lately, will only play doubles here, teamed with Betsy Nagelsen.

Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's finals are sellouts, but tickets remain for all other day and night sessions. Capacity at the SDTRC is about 4,400, nearly 2,000 more than last year, when the last three days were sold out.

Following is the chronology of the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic that begins tonight at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club:
Year Event Site Finals
1988 $100,000 Virginia Slims of San Diego San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club Stephanie Rehe def. Ann Grossman
1987 $100,000 Virginia Slims of San Diego San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club Raffaella Reggi def. Anne Minter
1986 $75,000 Virginia Slims of San Diego San Diego Hilton Melissa Gurney def. Stephanie Rehe
1985 $75,000 Virginia Slims of San Diego San Diego Hilton Annabel Croft def. Wendy Turnbull
1984 $50,000 Ginny of San Diego Morley Field Debbie Spence def. Betsy Nagelsen
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post #3947 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2014, 03:47 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf's presence is a plus for area tennis
The San Diego Union
Monday, July 31, 1989
Mark Zeigler, Staff Writer

Considering there are few areas with more tennis courts and players per capita than San Diego, it is at once exhilarating and embarrassing that the No. 1 women's player in the world will play a tournament match here tonight for the first time since 1980, when Tracy Austin competed.

Steffi Graf of West Germany is to take center court at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club at 6:30 for her first-round match of the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic. Graf, the top seed, plays Canadian Rene Simpson.

There are 26 others with automatic berths in the main singles draw, and 32 more are competing for four qualifier spots. But what makes -- and will not break -- this tournament is one player, one name: Steffi Graf.

She is 20, from Bruhl, West Germany, and has a forehand that goes boom. She has reached the finals of 10 straight Grand Slam events, and has won the last point in seven of the past eight. If her dominance in tennis is rivaled, it is perhaps by only Mike Tyson in boxing.

Without Graf, San Diego is another tournament on a tour cluttered with Fernleaf Classics and Virginia Slims of Nashvilles. With her, the eyes of the tennis world turn to San Diego for a week. People assume, always, that she will win, but they look nonetheless -- just in case.

"Everything's going great," co-promoter Jane Stratton said the other day. "Steffi's here."

Graf and a doubled purse has brought Stratton and Raquel Giscafre closer to a dream that a year ago must have seemed like a dark tunnel with no light at the end. Their mutual vision is to bring a "first-class event" to San Diego -- annually.

Last year, it was, well, not that. The purse was $100,000. The original top seed, Lori McNeil, injured her left knee before the tournament and withdrew. So Patty Fendick, then ranked 24th in the world, was seeded first. A set into her first-round match, she retired because of a pulled left calf muscle.

Then came the semifinals. Two 17-year-old amateurs reached them.

A year later, Stratton and Giscafre have, thanks to a new major sponsor and a West German wunderkind, an honest-to-goodness big-time tournament.

"Having Steffi," Stratton explained, "really says, 'Hey, we are really a bigger tournament,' not, 'We're kind of a bigger tournament.' "

But, really, why is Graf here in the first place?

She plays only a select number of events outside the Grand Slams, and rarely does she venture west of her second home in southern Florida. Indeed, this is her lone West Coast appearance this year and only her third tournament (out of 11) with a purse under $300,000.

"At the U.S. Open last year," Stratton recounted, "we told Mr. Graf very casually, 'We'd love Steffi to come to the tournament.' He said, 'I've heard very good things about San Diego.' "

If only it were that easy.

The big hitch was a pending rule change by the Women's International Tennis Association concerning computer rankings points. In the past, it was possible for a top-ranked player such as Graf to enter an event such as this one, win it, and actually have her ranking points average fall.

Graf and her ever-present father, Peter, were rather vocal at the Open to have it changed.

And lo, shortly after the Open, the WITA did just that. Now, all "primary" tournaments (one-week events with purses $200,000 or more) offer the same ranking points.

In more concrete terms, that meant Stratton's tournament, which had been elevated to primary status with its doubled purse, offered the same ranking points as next week's $300,000 Virgina Slims of Los Angeles.

Several sources have said that the Grafs, particularly Peter, vowed to avoid Jerry Diamond-promoted events after a run-in at the L.A. Slims two years ago.

Diamond, the story goes, wanted Graf to play her semifinal match at night, when light and court conditions supposedly are less favorable. Peter Graf said no, and threatened to pull Steffi from the tournament.

Making the marriage with San Diego that much happier was the scheduling. To prepare for the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 28, Graf likes to play two hard-court tournaments in the States.

"It's always good to play a tournament and have one week off," she said at a news conference Friday. "I play here, then go to Florida for a week, play at Mahwah (New Jersey), then go to Florida to train for a week, then go to the Open. I think that's the best preparation for me."

Graf's considerable presence already has been felt at the box office. Sunday's finals in the 5,000-seat makeshift stadium are sold out. Saturday's semifinals, divided into afternoon and evening sessions, are close to a sellout. So is tomorrow's night session, when the Graf-Simpson winner is to play her second-round match.

Tonight's night session should be well-attended, too. Following Graf's match against Simpson (which should be sometime around 7:15) will be a singles battle between local veteran Rosalyn Fairbank and local phenom Angelica Gavaldon, 15.

o o o

In qualifying play yesterday: San Diegan Ginger Helgeson defeated Stacey Martin of Lago, Md. 7-5, 6-4; Linda Harvey-Wild of Chicago defeated local Kate Gompert of Rancho Mirage 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Five more qualifying matches are scheduled for this morning, beginning at 10:30.
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post #3948 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2014, 05:38 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

"I've done you before, haven't I?" --- Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged to Arthur Dent, Life, the Universe, and Everything, Douglas Adams, 1982

Poor Rene. This is a really bad case of Getting Graffed, Type II and Type III. Of course, her travel blunder could not have helped. And still not sure if there was anything else going on behind the scenes between Steffi and the Canadian contingent, because Bassett, Kelesi, and Simpson were all awed before, during, and after playing Steffi in 1989. Then again, maybe Steffi just had an extracurricular activity planned for the rest of the evening. Or maybe Steffi was just that exhilarated by Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Years later, Simpson would reproach this article as an unfair misrepresentation of her attitude.

Graf's foe was aced by Queen
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Tuesday, August 1, 1989
nick canepa

TO THE "It's Over Before You Know It" chapter in world history, please add the name of Rene Simpson. Place her right there with Michael Spinks and Carl "The Truth" Williams. France in '40. Hungary in '56. Mondale in '84.

The Rene Simpsons of the athletic world are fascinating creatures.

For some reason, Rene flew seven hours from her home in Toronto yesterday to "play" a tennis match against Steffi Graf at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club. That's like walking over hot coals for seven hours to get a soda pop.

The end doesn't justify the means.

Steffi Graf doesn't "play" you. She athletically humiliates you. She knifes you with her skill. She's so good, I don't even think she could dump a game if she tried. She couldn't take a dive.

Rene Simpson, who is ranked No. 77 in the world, didn't need a lesson in tennis history to realize any of this. So the 6-0, 6-0 concert Graf played for her last night in the first round of the Great American Bank Tennis Classic -- while surely not music to Rene's ears -- hardly was ear-splitting. It came as no shock to the loser. It was women against girls.

It was expected. Certainly, just about everyone alive expected Steffi, the recent Wimbledon champion, to win. Graf thought so. And so did Rene. Really.

I don't know how many sporting events of all types I've been to, I don't know how many coaches and players and athletes I've interviewed, but last night, Rene Simpson became a first.

She sat there in the postmatch news conference and admitted that she entered the match fully expecting to lose. The way she spoke, she had a better chance of splitting an atom.

And I can't say that I've ever heard that before. Sure, I've heard coaches moan before a big game, but that's all show. Rene Simpson did not put on a show last night.

Maybe Cumberland felt that way before it played Georgia Tech; I don't know. And I'm sure athletes and teams feel that somewhere, deep down, they have no chance against a particular opponent. But I've never heard anyone actually say it.

And Rene didn't stumble into it. She repeated it more than once.

"I honestly don't know how people beat her," the 23-year-old Simpson said of Graf, who, by the way, is not undefeated for her career. "I really think it's hard for a player in this draw to realistically believe they can win. People come up to you and say, 'Too bad,' and you haven't even played the match. I don't know how you should try to approach the match."

Well, approaching it with some confidence might be one way.

Rene said maybe if she had a coach with her, someone to pump her up, she might believe otherwise, but then she dismissed that idea, too. Saying you can do it is one thing, and defeating the West German seemed as remote to her as Pluto.

"I find it hard to believe that a player really feels that way inside," she added. "Maybe that's the first step, saying it, but I haven't believed I could beat her both times I've played her."

Obviously. Rene met Graf in the Australian Open earlier this year and Steffi pitched a shutout then, too. Last night, Graf did away with Rene in 41 minutes -- officially, it was put at 51 minutes, but I think that included some of Simpson's flight time -- with Rene managing to win just 15 points. She got to deuce once.

"I wasn't, like, terrified," Rene said. "I felt pretty good tonight, not like last time, when I couldn't even get the ball on the court. But she just totally overpowers me and completely abuses my second serve."

Now some may find Simpson's attitude refreshing and honest, and I suppose it is. But it seems to me that if you enter any athletic endeavor believing you have no chance, it's time to look for another line of work. You're wasting your time. You may as well walk away, Rene.

In a way, her attitude sums up the world of women's tennis, a world that is flat, not round. Once you get past Steffi, you fall off.

Sure, there's Martina, who, in her prime, could have given Graf a great go, although Steffi is a superior talent. And there's Gabby Sabatini, who, as Graf's doubles partner, is better off on the same side of the net. It has to tell you something when Chris Evert, at 34, still can club 99 percent of the top women players in the world. Chris could play until she's 60 and still be in the top 10.

So, in tennis now, it isn't so much, "Can anybody out here beat Steffi?" but, "Does anybody out here even think they can beat Steffi?"

And that is not competition. That's getting a paycheck.

It's too bad this isn't another time, because it would be nice to see Graf face some real competition. But that isn't going to happen now. And forget about the future. Steffi's only 20.

And simply a marvelous player. She isn't Maria-Bueno smooth, but it's a pleasure to watch such a great athlete at work. She hits terrific winners off-balance. And have we ever seen anything like her leaping forehand? Certainly, no woman ever has served with such force.

"If she isn't the best ever, she's very close," says Ben Press, the longtime local tennis pro. "I'm partial, you know, toward Maureen (Connolly). Maureen had better footwork and impeccable timing -- she never mis-hit a ball. And she hit the ball hard. But Maureen couldn't serve like Steffi."

And, if you believe success and riches -- Graf's already third all-time in women's earnings -- may slow her down, guess again. She loves what she's doing. She loves to play, be it against Martina or Rene.

"I'm not bored," Steffi said. Her way is to be consistent, to play the best she can -- as close to perfection as she can -- every time she steps on the court. Obviously, she competes against herself.

"Never," she said, when asked if it's tough to get fired up for matches such as last night's. "I always look forward to a tournament. If it's the U.S. Open or any tournament. I take it just as serious as any tournament."

She obviously didn't have much to worry about last night. "Didn't seem like it," Steffi said when asked if she had any problems with Rene.

"I understand she loves to play against me," Rene said. "Maybe that's why I don't win a game against her."

Just a guess, but maybe part of the reason why Rene Simpson can't win a game against such a great talent is because she doesn't think she can.

She's the little tennis player who couldn't.
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post #3949 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2014, 05:47 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Something fundamentally wrong with people not staying for the second match of the evening session, especially since Steffi's match was a shutout. As Mitch Albom will write in 1994, the problem isn't the players or even the management; it's the "fans."

Graf dismisses Simpson in 41 minutes Coronado teen tops Fairbank
The San Diego Union
Tuesday, August 1, 1989
Mark Zeigler, Staff Writer

They watched in hushed reverence as she warmed up. They aahed when she won her first point with -- what else? -- a ferocious forehand. They clapped politely when she won the match.

Steffi Graf had come, seen and conquered.

Quickly, too.

It took the world's No. 1-ranked women's player all of 41 minutes last night to dismiss Canadian left-hander Rene Simpson 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the $200,000 Great American Bank Classic. The crowd of 3,452 at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club got what it expected from Graf in her San Diego debut: grace, power, speed and efficiency.

Only a few hundred, however, stuck around for the big surprise of the tournament's first day, which came in the evening's second match. Angelica Gavaldon, 15, of Coronado, stunned eighth-seeded Rosalyn Fairbank of Rancho Bernardo 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Another seed to bite the dust was No. 3 Susan Sloane of Lexington, Ky. She fell to Robin White of Del Mar 7-5, 6-3 in the afternoon session.

"I think this proved something," said the soft-spoken Gavaldon, who was born in El Centro and lived 11 years in Mexico. "It proved that I can really play with the pros. It just gives me a lot of confidence."

Gavaldon won her first-round match here last year, but that was against Japan's Masako Yanagi, who currently is ranked No. 190. Gavaldon laughed when asked if last night's victory was her best. Fairbank is No. 27.

Yet Gavaldon, who received a wild-card berth in the 32-player main draw, said she is not ready to turn pro. "It's just one match," she cautioned.

Fairbank appeared in control after winning the first set and the opening game of the second. Then she unraveled.

"The willingness to win wasn't quite what it needed to be," Fairbank admitted. "I didn't knuckle down and push to win. I just coasted."

In effect, so did the top-seeded Graf. Simpson is now 0-2 against Graf in matches, 0-4 in sets, 0-24 in games.

"People come up to you before your match and say, 'Oh, too bad,' " said Simpson, who at 23 is three years Graf's elder. "But there's really nothing to be embarrassed about. She's such a good player.

"I think it's very hard for someone at my level to realistically think that they can beat her. My mother told me to try to get one game in each set."

It was all Simpson could do to win 17 points in the entire match (Graf won 50). Simpson did have a game point -- once.

Graf had little to say about her victory, but, really, what could she have said?

Someone asked if, in her first match since winning Wimbledon, she detected any problems with her game.

"It didn't seem like it," Graf said, smiling. "I feel perfect."

Tonight at 6:30, Graf is to meet Betsy Nagelson, who eliminated Australia's Elizabeth Smylie 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Simpson didn't learn when she would play Graf until a phone call yesterday afternoon. She was in the Pittsburgh airport on a layover from Toronto, thinking all along that the match was tonight. "A miscommunication," Simpson explained.

She arrived at Lindbergh Field at 4:30 p.m., drove to the courts, hit with Halle Cioffi and took on Steffi.

"I consider myself a fairly fast player," said the 80th-ranked Simpson, "and I couldn't even reach half her balls ... I honestly don't know how people beat her."

White was just happy to beat someone, anyone. She entered this tournament 3-8 in singles this year and admitted having second (and third and fourth) thoughts about a career in tennis.

"It's a nice feeling -- I don't care who I beat -- to play well again," said White, 25, who was born in San Diego and moved back here 15 months ago. "This is probably the best match I've played since February. This will help my confidence, not to be out on Monday. I will actually wake up and not be out of the tournament."

Also advancing was No. 7 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany, a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 victor over Elise Burgin. Ann Grossman, a finalist last year as a 17-year-old qualifier, beat West Germany's Eva Pfaff 6-3, 6-1. And France's Isabelle Demongeot downed England's Sara Gomer 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.
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post #3950 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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Youth Is Served as Gavaldon Upsets Fairbank in 3 Sets
August 1, 1989
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — Angelica Gavaldon was all giggles. What else to expect from a 15-year-old high school junior-to-be from Coronado who had just upset a Wimbledon quarterfinalist?

So there Gavaldon comfortably sat Monday night after her 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over eighth-seeded Ros Fairbank in the first round of the Great American Bank Tennis tournament in front of 3,452 at the La Jolla Tennis and Racquet Club.

"I was a little shaky at the beginning," said Gavaldon, a student at Our Lady of Peace. "But I just concentrated really hard and I started to get more balls in."

Gavaldon's victory supplied all the suspense that had been lacking from an evening session that began with No. 1 Steffi Graf's 6-0, 6-0 victory over Rene Simpson.

It was the second year that Gavaldon, an amateur who was allowed into the 32-player field as a wild-card player, had won her first-round match. Last year she defeated Masako Yanagi of Japan, now ranked 190th.

But this victory was more shocking. It was just a month ago that Fairbank of Rancho Bernardo was in the Wimbledon quarterfinal against eventual finalist Martina Navratilova. Minutes after the victory, the achievement was just sinking in with Gavaldon.

"I was concentrating on the court," Gavaldon said. "I didn't think about it. But now I'm really happy. I realize this is great."

Fairbank, 28, said her biggest problems against Gavaldon were own making.

"I was just tired," Fairbank said. "I have been working on transferring my grass-court game onto hard courts and I haven't been able to do that."

Fairbank, ranked 29th in the world, was the second seeded player to lose in the first round. No. 3 Susan Sloane lost to Del Mar's Robin White, 7-5, 6-3, in an afternoon match.

As for Simpson, it was a short end to a long day.

Simpson was in the Pittsburgh airport on her way from her Toronto home Monday afternoon when she heard the worst news. The bad news she already knew: Her first-round match was against Graf.

Then came the kicker. The match was Monday night, not tonight as she said she had been told originally.

It might have been understandable if Simpson turned around right there. But Simpson, the 80th ranked women's player in the world, is not one to run away from Graf.

The last time they played, Simpson ventured halfway around the world to meet her in the first round of the Australian Open. This time, all it took was a seven-hour, 3,000-mile trip.

But, as even Simpson herself admitted, the results were predictably the same, a whitewash in a match that took 41 minutes.

"It is hard when you play Steffi to realistically believe you can win," Simpson said. "When players hear you are going to play her, it's, 'Oh, too bad.' And you haven't even played your match.

"I have played other top players like Chris Evert. When I played her, I felt like I was in the match. I had some long rallies with her. I won a couple of games."

But, Simpson said, Graf is different.

"She just abuses me," Simpson said.

Graf used her powerful forehand to hurtle baseline winner after winner past Simpson. The shots were so strong and so accurate that many times Simpson could not even get herself in position to make the next shot before Graf sent a return whistling past.

"The way she hits the ball makes it easier for me," Graf said. "She doesn't try to slow it down. I can use my power more."

And it wasn't as if Simpson did not know she was playing to Graf's strength. When Graf opened the fourth game of the second set by returning Simpson's serve for a winner, Simpson shouted to no one and everyone: "I wonder if I can serve it any more perfect for her?"

Probably not on this night. Graf, playing for the first time since her Wimbledon victory July 9, was no worse for the layoff.

"It didn't seem like it," Graf said. "There wasn't much I could do wrong."

Graf allowed Simpson only seven points off her serve and only once was in danger of losing a game. That came with Simpson serving for the fourth game, but Graf ran off the next three points to take the game.

The match ended when Simpson double-faulted for the only time.

The tournament is the first of two on hard courts that Graf will play in preparation for the U.S. Open. Graf is hoping to use the tournament as an opportunity to work on her volley game. But she did not have much of a chance for that against Simpson.

"It was difficult to get to the net because the points were over so quickly," Graf said.

Maybe she will have better opportunity in her second-round match tonight at 6:30. The opponent will be Betsy Nagelsen of Kapalua Bay, Hawaii. Nagelsen, the 55th-ranked player, advanced with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Liz Smylie of Australia.

Sloane was the first seeded player to lose one of the seven first-round matches played Monday.
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post #3951 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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This teen steams by Fairbank
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Tuesday, August 1, 1989
John Freeman, Tribune Sportswriter

ANGELICA GAVALDON was all giggles and smiles last night after her rousing 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Ros Fairbank in the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic.

But Gavaldon, a 15-year-old from Coronado who will be a junior at Our Lady of Peace Academy this fall, won't lose her head just because she won a first-round match against a woman nearly twice her age. Nor is she likely to lose the amateur status that has allowed her to win two straight San Diego CIF tennis titles.

"Just because I win a match doesn't mean I'm going to go turn pro tomorrow," Gavaldon said last night. "Even if I would do, like, really good here, I wouldn't turn pro because I'm just not ready."

Her coach of five years, Lee Merry, agrees with that surprisingly mature outlook, even though he couldn't help but be all smiles himself after watching the match at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club.

"She's getting closer; I'll say that," said Merry, co-operator of Tennis Escondido, the North County tennis academy that has attracted many of the region's top young players. "Her serve was a little better tonight and her movement was better. But she needs to be lighter on her feet."

For Gavaldon, daughter of a wealthy Tijuana businessman who moved his family to Coronado several years ago so Angelica could compete in junior events here, the first-round win matched her showing at the tournament last year.

Last night, Gavaldon, who holds a world ranking of 343, upset Fairbank, No. 33 in the world, the highest-ranked player Gavaldon ever has beaten.

"I'll tell her when the time to turn pro comes around," said Merry, who carefully has followed Gavaldon's play in pro events this past year in Chicago, Puerto Rico, Florida and last week in upstate New York -- all first-round losses. "I don't think that will be anytime soon. We'll continue to play pro tournaments and see how things go and make sure we're ready to go."

Gavaldon's two-handed style of repeated groundstrokes, hit deep and side to side, gave Fairbank fits in the final two sets. But the match's turning point came when Gavaldon broke serve to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.

During the lengthy rally that later decided set point, a voice from a fan seated among a dozen or so of Gavaldon's supporters yelled "Out!" when one of Gavaldon's shots landed clearly in and Fairbank returned it cleanly. As the point continued, Fairbank glanced over at the offender and angrily blurted, "Keep quiet, please!"

Two strokes later, her too-facile powers of concentration disrupted, she plowed a forehand into the net, losing the set.

In the third set, Gavaldon used a series of similar unforced errors by her overly tentative opponent to win key points.

"I think I'm just tired," said Fairbank, who earlier last month reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. "I've had a lot of matches lately and I haven't really had a chance to relax. There's been a lot of pressure."

But the culprit was more than tired muscles, she ruefully admitted after the match.

"The willingness to win wasn't there," said Fairbank, who married her psychologist-coach Bob Nideffer a few months ago. The couple lives in Rancho Bernardo, where she is touring pro for the Rancho Bernardo Inn.

"She played well; don't take that away from her," said Fairbank, "but I was too tired to win, and that made it really difficult for me to say to myself, 'C'mon, knuckle down and win this match.' "

Fairbank, a 30-year-old South African native, said she was most bothered by that lack of "a willingness to win."

"I'd like to be ranked in the top 20," she said. "I have the talent. Maybe I don't have the killer instinct."

For that reason, Fairbank said, she regarded her loss less as a disappointment than a relief. "I know tomorrow, I'm gonna look back and say, 'Oh, gee, how awful, I lost in the first round.' But I just didn't have the energy. I had to struggle all night."

NOTES -- Top-seeded Steffi Graf, the world's best woman player, had little trouble with unseeded Canadian left-hander Rene Simpson, winning 6-0, 6-0.

The 77th-ranked Simpson arrived in San Diego just hours before her match after a long flight from Toronto. She had called the tournament desk after changing planes in Pittsburgh, at which time she was advised she would need to hurry up: Her showdown with Graf would be last night -- not tonight as originally scheduled.

For Simpson, the match was a case of being hopelessly outclassed, so much so that she once burst into a self-conscious smile when she happened to win a long rally, whizzing a shot past Graf.

"She just totally overpowered me and completely abused my second serve," said Simpson, who took the loss in a "What, me worry?" spirit. "Leaving the court, I felt like the crowd liked me because they wanted me to win a game or something."

She said she was unable to follow her mother's advice. "She said, 'Try to win at least one game each set.' My father just said, 'Make her beat you.' "

Graf did. As Graf later said of her game, "I feel perfect."

Often during the match, Graf's rippling forehand winners drew gasps from the opening-night crowd, most of whom had bought tickets to witness that very stroke which has helped Graf win seven of the last eight Grand Slam events.

Tonight at 6:30, Graf takes on unseeded Betsy Nagelsen, who yesterday scored a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Australia's Liz Smylie. Following that match, Andrea Temesvari and Terry Phelps play.

Second-seed Zina Garrison was scheduled to play Australia's Jenny Byrne today in a first-round match.

Fairbank's loss made her the second seeeded player to depart earlier than expected. In an afternoon match, No. 3 Susan Sloan was upset by Del Mar resident Robin White 7-5, 6-3.

Bettina Bunge's match this afternoon against fifth-ranked Lori McNeil was her first tournament singles match since 1987. Bunge, a 26-year-old Swiss, was sidelined all last year and the first seven months of this year with foot and knee injuries.

Yesterday's first-round attendance was 3,452.
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post #3952 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2014, 03:31 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Bunge's comeback is for real
The San Diego Union
Wednesday, August 2, 1989
Mark Zeigler, Staff Writer

Bettina Bunge, the comeback kid, walked off the court yesterday and said, "I've still got a very long way to go."

We should all be so modest.

Bunge hadn't played a tournament singles match in nearly two years when she took on fifth-seeded Lori McNeil yesterday in the first round of the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic. It looked a whole lot closer to two days.

Bunge didn't just beat Lori McNeil. She blew away McNeil. Score: 6-2, 6-0. Time: 51 minutes.

When one tour veteran saw the result, she gasped: "Bunge beat McNeil, two and oh? After two years away? That's incredible. That's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. I mean it."

And this result by the same 26-year-old West German who, as recently as Saturday, questioned her chances to come back at all from the knee and foot injuries. Her most recent singles match was in December 1987.

Bunge's stunning return gave this tournament a decidedly Deutschland flavor. Countrywoman Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, the seventh seed, advanced to the second round Monday.

And then there's this West German gal with the industrial-strength forehand.

Steffi Graf, No. 1 in this tournament and the world, waxed Betsy Nagelsen 6-1, 6-1 last night before a near-capacity crowd of 4,359 at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club. Graf became the first player to reach the quarterfinals, where she will meet either Kohde-Kilsch or France's Isabelle Demongeot tomorrow.

At least Nagelsen won two games, which is two more than first-round victim Rene Simpson could boast. Otherwise, Nagelsen's serve-and-volley tactics were no more effective than Simpson's baseline futility. Simpson lasted 41 minutes against Graf on Monday, Nagelsen 43.

Can someone win a set from her, let alone beat her?

"If Martina (Navratilova) is playing at her absolute best, maybe she has a chance," Nagelsen said. "I don't think clay is her best surface, so I think there are a few players who can beat her on it. But probably no one can beat her on hard court or another fast surface."

Graf's toughest competition from someone from another country figures to come from Zina Garrison, seeded second here and ranked sixth in the world. Garrison looked sharp in her first-round match yesterday, downing Australian Jenny Byrne 6-1, 7-5.

"I'm not afraid of anyone. I never have and never will be," Garrison said of a potential encounter with Graf in the final. "I'm strong, too. It's extremely hard for someone to overpower me."

The two San Diegans who played yesterday had mixed results. Gretchen Magers, who lives on the sailboat Gypsy Lady in San Diego Bay, advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 decision against France's Pascale Paradis. But Ginger Helgeson, a 20-year-old qualifier, fell to No. 6 Nathalie Tauziat of France 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).

The day, however, belonged to Bunge. Good thing she only contemplated retirement.

"I tried not to be surprised on the court," said Bunge, ranked No. 6 for a spell in 1983. "I've been playing well in practice for a long time, but I didn't think I would do this in my first match back. To play matches is a lot different than practice, especially after you haven't played in a long time.

"Look at Chris (Evert). I read in the paper that she pulled out of Los Angeles next week because she is not match tough. She just played a few weeks ago. Not to play for more than a year and a half, that's beyond not being match tough."

Today, Bunge plays England's Jo Durie, a 6-4, 6-2 victor over 40-year-old wild-card Rosie Casals. But at this rate, her stiffest opponent might be the stiffness in her left knee.

Though it was surgically repaired last summer, the knee is paining Bunge again. It hurts to squat, often ruling out low volleys. Bunge went so far as to say she will seek a second medical opinion soon.

McNeil's problem was not physical. "My confidence is not there," she lamented. "It's not what it was."

The San Diego-born McNeil was ranked as high as ninth last September. She's 24th now -- and falling.

Bunge does not have a ranking, because the computer drops you if you have played fewer than three tournaments in the past 52 weeks. If yesterday was any indication, though, she should be back in the top 20 before long.

Bunge wasn't convinced yesterday was any indication.

"It's certainly a nice surprise," she said. "But one match isn't going to tell you yes or no. It's a period of tests. I would be naive to say, 'Yup, I'm OK.' "

Or just plain modest.

o o o

With Graf's being the most notable exception, the singles matches have been close so far. Seven of the 16 first-rounders went three sets.

Advancing in straight sets was Patty Fendick, seeded No. 1 last year before retiring midway through her opening match with a pulled calf muscle. Yesterday, she eliminated qualifier Linda Harvey-Wild 6-4, 6-1. In last night's late match, Terry Phelps defeated Andrea Temesvari 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in a battle of tall baseliners.
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post #3953 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2014, 03:33 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

After Long Layoff, Bunge Hits the Ground Winning
August 2, 1989
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — Not that long ago, in the days before Steffi Graf and Boris Becker, Bettina Bunge's name stood for tennis in West Germany.

A perennial top-20 women's player, Bunge rose as high as sixth in the world in the spring of 1983. That was before knee and ankle surgery knocked her off the tour and almost out of tennis.

Tuesday in the first round of the Great American Bank tennis tournament at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club, Bunge began her comeback after a 20-month absence from singles play with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over No. 5-seeded Lori McNeil of Houston.

"I was out so long, I was wondering if I could do it," said Bunge, 26. "Playing a match was something strange, where before it was something I did all the time."

The match lasted only 51 minutes and was the only upset on a day when everything else played to form, including another easy victory for Bunge's top-ranked compatriot. Graf became the first player to reach the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Betsy Nagelsen of Kapalua Bay, Hawaii, in front of a night-time crowd of 4,359.

That brief glimpse of Graf was her last scheduled appearance until the early session Thursday, when she plays the winner of today's second-round match between Isabelle Demongeot of France and No. 7-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany.

Graf's match against Nagelsen, ranked 55th in the world, lasted 43 minutes--two minutes and two games longer than her first-round victory Monday over Rene Simpson of Toronto. She allowed Nagelsen only nine points off her serve and ran off the first game in 70 seconds.

Nagelsen did not hit a return service winner until the fourth game of the second set. And she made Graf's task that much easier by double-faulting nine times.

But the real cheering among the West German contingent was saved for Bunge. It was her first singles match since November 1987 and marked the lastest phase of an oft-delayed comeback.

"To pull it off is great for her," Graf said. "The result is incredible."

Bunge's troubles began in January 1988 when she injured her knee playing doubles in a tournament in Australia. She underwent surgery in July to correct bone spur and tendon damage. She returned to play circuit doubles a few months later but in November tore ligaments in her right foot in practice and underwent surgery again.

She decided the time was right to make her comeback in San Diego, but because she had not played for so long, she had no ranking and needed an injured-player rule to allow her a spot in the 32-player field.

Once in the tournament, Bunge said she could not have asked for a better opponent than McNeil.

"For me, maybe, she was an ideal match under the circumstances," Bunge said. "She is kind of inconsistent. . . . Sometimes she can be very good, and sometimes she can make a lot of errors."

There was little question as to which way McNeil played this time. The loss was the latest setback for McNeil, whose ranking has dropped 15 spots to 24th in the past year. Last month she dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since 1986.

"I never was able to play the way I wanted," McNeil said. "She was rushing me, and I was rushing myself. I never settled down."

McNeil and Bunge agreed that the lopsidedness of the match prevented them from making a fair assessment on Bunge's recovery.

"One match isn't going to tell you yes or no," Bunge said. "It will take take a period of tests. It would be naive to say, 'OK. Yes. That's it. No problem.' It will be a long, long way."

Allow Bunge her cautious approach. Her troublesome left knee continues to give her problems. She said a new tenderness has developed in the same tendon but higher on the knee than before.

"I am concerned about the knee," Bunge said. "It doesn't bother me in the match . . . But before the match, when you wake up or at night or you get up from the dinner table, it's there."

Bunge will play Jo Durie of Great Britain in the second round Thursday. Durie advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over wild-card entry Rosie Casals of Sausalito.

Among those also advancing to the second round were No. 4-seeded Patty Fendick of Sacramento over qualifier Linda Harvey-Wild of Chicago, 6-4, 6-1; No. 6 Nathalie Tauziat of France over qualifier Ginger Helgeson of San Diego, 6-2, 7-6, and Gretchen Magers of San Diego over Pascale Paradis of France, 6-1, 7-5.

Magers will play 15-year-old Angelica Gavaldon of Coronado Thursday in the second round. Gavaldon, a two-time San Diego section champion from Our Lady of Peace High School, advanced Monday with a three-set victory over No. 8 Ros Fairbank of Rancho Bernardo.

Magers and her partner, Robin White of Del Mar, also advanced in the doubles, defeating Lea Antonopolis of Los Angeles and Barbara Gerken of Thousand Oaks, 6-1, 6-2.

Magers and White will play No. 1 Fendick and Jill Hetherington of Canada in the quarterfinals today.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Uphill struggle for tour's blacks McNeil, Garrison face some longstanding foes
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Wednesday, August 2, 1989
John Freeman, Tribune Sportswriter

FOR someone who's the world's fifth-best woman tennis player, it might seem Zina Garrison has been short-changed in her endorsements. She has only one, from Wilson. She appears in ads for Wilson rackets. That's it.

A year ago, she didn't have any contracts, not for shoes, clothing, rackets or anything else. Neither did her longtime friend, Lori McNeil.

Both the second-seeded Garrison and fifth-seeded McNeil competed in their first-round matches yesterday in the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club.

Garrison won easily, 6-1, 7-5 over Australia's Jenny Byrne. McNeil lost badly, 6-2, 6-0 to Bettina Bunge.

Together, Garrison and McNeil are the most notable black players on the tour.

"The story I hear is that I have to reach a Grand Slam final (to gain endorsements)," said Garrison.

Does she really believe that?

"I'd rather not say," said Garrison, who then added, "I do know that you can raise all the hell you want about it and it's still not going to happen until you prove yourself."

Willis Thomas, her sometime coach, has a different view.

"Endorsements don't mean a thing," he said. "That's the way I look at it. Hey, we (blacks) are used to being overlooked; it's nothing all that special. There's enough money to be made by winning a few tournaments."

Thomas, who describes himself as "once an up-and-coming black with lots of potential who couldn't think straight," knows the realities of life.

"Hey, if I owned a company and only black people bought my products, I sure ain't gonna hire no white person to push my product," said Thomas. "It won't sell. The reverse is true. That's human nature."

Yesterday, Thomas had more pressing matters to attend to, like talking McNeil out of quitting tennis.

"She wanted to quit the game, right now, but I told her that her match was the greatest thing I've ever seen," Thomas said after McNeil's lackluster loss. "If she had won that match, we wouldn't know what was wrong with her game. Now we know exactly what has to be done."

McNeil's mental game most bothers Thomas, an upbeat 47-year-old who realizes all too well that McNeil's world ranking, once as high as 11th (in 1987), has frittered away to somewhere in the 30s.

She's playing in a funk, says Thomas, and it's affected how she feels about herself.

"When you fall out of the limelight, you realize that people only judge you by your deeds," said Thomas. "Most of this stuff out here is fake. They don't like you, they like you because you're a star. It's a fear of losing a match because you'll lose your friends and fans who say they just looove you. But they don't. It's a harsh lesson of life to learn.

"Lori was tight as a drum (against Bunge)," said Thomas, who has served as off-and-on coach and father figure to both McNeil and Garrison since they came off a Houston playground together as the only dominant blacks on the pro tour. "She couldn't do anything."

A few months ago, Thomas parted ways with Garrison -- to work only with McNeil. John Wilkerson, the playground pro who discovered and groomed Garrison and McNeil, is back in Houston.

"John brought me to a certain level, then it became like a father-daughter relationship where I wasn't learning anything," said Garrison. "The communication between us stopped. I wasn't learning anything; nothing he said to me made sense. We both felt we should quit."

Since then, Garrison has moved steadily upward. Thomas has devoted most of his efforts toward McNeil, but without much success.

"It's all about taking charge of your life," said Thomas. "When you're winning big, you've got so many people to run your life for you."

So instead of staying with both players, Thomas decided it was time to branch out as a coach for two lesser-known black players, Katrina Adams and Jeri Ingram.

"My feeling was that, as a black coach, I have a few more duties out there other than to one person," said Thomas, who as a player was schooled by Dr. Walter Johnson, guiding light for Arthur Ashe in the 1960s.

"In order for one of us to make it to the top, we need more of us here. It's so easy for us to settle for just being the best black, to be satisfied with just that. That's too easy."

NOTES -- Top-seed Steffi Graf slipped slightly in her quest for zip-zip perfection, losing a couple of games in a tidy 6-1, 6-1 win over Betsy Nagelsen. Graf earned tonight off. She returns to action tomorrow night.

Graf's match drew a sellout crowd of more than 4,400, including Nagelsen's husband, Mark McCormack, founder of IMG, the world's largest sports talent agency. McCormack's firm, launched some 30 years ago with Jack Nicklaus as its only client, holds marketing rights to Wimbledon and the men's tour, starting next year.

Despite her easy win over McNeil, Bunge, a former top-10 player, said she didn't feel "as healthy as I would like to be after such a long time off." Bunge, 26, had not competed in singles since late 1987 because of repeated knee and leg injuries. Graf called Bunge's comeback effort "incredible."

Other results last night: Britain's Joe Durie defeated veteran Rosie Casals 6-4, 6-2; Gigi Fernandez defeated Halle Cioffi 5-7, 6-1, 6-2; France's Nathalie Tauziat (No. 6) ousted San Diego qualifier Ginger Helgeson 6-2, 7-6; San Diego resident Gretchen Magers defeated France's Pascale Paradis 6-1, 7-5; and Terry Phelps defeated Andrea Temesvari 6-2, 7-6.

Garrison takes on Phelps in tonight's feature match at 6:30. A doubles match follows.

Today, No. 4 Patty Fendick was scheduled to play Ann Grossman, who reached the finals last year here before losing to Stephanie Rehe.
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post #3955 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2014, 04:01 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Ah, vintage Shriver the Unbelievable. Shriver was very likely on a reconnaissance/sabotage/psychological warfare mission either at the behest of Team Navratilova or on Pammy's own initiative to get back into Team Navratilova's good graces. (She was freshly dumped as Martina's doubles partner and didn't even get the news from Martina. Oh, my!) Or maybe Pam really was trying to apply for the job of Steffi's sidekick and doubles partner, despite the fact that Steffi didn't care much about doubles and didn't care much about having a sidekick. I am sure Steffi knew this wasn't exactly a straightforward olive branch, and probably used it for her own reconnaissance/sabotage/psychological warfare purposes, although the experience would make her quite grumpy (just wait until Mahwah).

The Record
New Jersey
Thursday, August 3, 1989
By John Brennan, Record Staff Writer

Reports of a Pam Shriver-Steffi Graf feud are greatly exaggerated, says Shriver.

As if to prove it, Shriver announced Wednesday that she hopes to play doubles with Graf at the United Jersey Bank Tennis Classic Aug. 12-20 at Ramapo College in Mahwah. They never have played doubles together in a tournament.

"We talked about playing together at Mahwah months ago, and it comes down to the two of us sitting down together and deciding if it's worth it," Shriver said from San Diego, where she and Graf each are playing singles.

"Steffi usually concentrates on singles, and it can be difficult to do both. Sometimes you regret it if you're still playing a doubles match at 11:30 at night and you know you have a tough [singles] opponent the next day who already has been asleep for an hour."

Shriver was even more eager to talk about a recent Sports Illustrated article that stated that there is an ongoing feud between Graf and Shriver because Shriver in the past has made uncomplimentary remarks about Graf's father, Peter. The elder Graf is well-known for playing a major role in shaping Graf's career.

"We had some problems three or four years ago, and sometimes there can be miscommunication when two people really don't understand each other," said Shriver. "The next thing you know it's a public thing. But it happened so long ago, and the person writing the article didn't even take the time to find out what the more recent relationship is between us. We're competitors, but we're not nasty to each other."

Graf, the world's top-ranked player, will be the singles top seed at the UJB Classic, and Shriver tentatively is the second seed. She is ranked ninth in the world, with Conchita Martinez of Spain, another UJB participant, ranked 10th.

Shriver is returning to Mahwah for the first time since 1986, when she lost an early-round match to a then 16-year-old Gabriela Sabatini.

"I remember that clearly because it was the first time I ever lost to someone born in the 1970s," said Shriver, 27.

Shriver, a U.S. Open finalist in 1978, reached the final at Mahwah in 1984 before losing, 7-5, in the third set to Martina Navratilova in what is considered the most exciting final of the Mahwah tournament.

Other UJB entrants include Catarina Lindqvist of Sweden, Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria, and American Kathy Rinaldi. Tickets for the Aug. 20 final sold out Wednesday, the earliest that has happened in tournament history. For more information, call 825-9100.
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post #3956 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2014, 04:11 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I tend to think that Steffi's assessment of how well Claudia played (i.e., not very) is more accurate and that this was not an intentional walloping, and her dismay at the match duration might even be genuine even though it is hilarious. Kinda like the reaction some dogs have after they destroy a beloved toy.

Kohde-Kilsch Finds She Can Do Nothing Against Dominant Graf
August 4, 1989
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — The shock was not that top-ranked Steffi Graf won another match, 6-0, 6-0. The shock was who she did it against.

This was not a first-round sacrifice, an opponent drawn at random. This time the loser was Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, once ranked as high as fourth in the world and, until Graf came along, the leading women's tennis player in West Germany.

The victory, before 3,656 in an afternoon quarterfinal Thursday of the Great American Bank tournament at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club, was quick and overwhelming.

Kohde-Kilsch could not hide her disbelief. Never in her 10-year career, she said, had she been held without a game.

"It's not embarrassing," she said. "People who saw the match know how unbelievably she played. It's just hard for myself. It is not possible.

"I had a good feeling about the match. I had two good matches (in the tournament). I had practiced very well. It's not that I am off or something. I tried until the last ball. I really never thought I would lose 6-love, 6-love. But she played without any mistakes and so powerful."

Gretchen Magers of San Diego had a tougher time with 15-year-old Angelica Gavaldon of Coronado in front of 2,756 in the final match of the day, winning, 6-2, 7-5, in the round of 16.

Magers led, 5-2, in the second set. But Gavaldon, who will be a junior at Our Lady of Peace, won the next three games--including two services breaks--to make it 5-5. She double-faulted away the next game, however, and Magers held service for the victory.

Graf had no such trouble with seventh-seeded Kohde-Kilsch, whose ranking dropped to No. 30 after she took 2 1/2 months off this spring for a rest. Even Graf was taken aback by the ease of her victory.

"She is a very good serve-and-volley player and also is someone who can play from the back," Graf said. "She has been in the top 10 for a long time. She always has had a very good ranking. I expected a much more difficult match."

It lasted 42 minutes. Graf allowed Kohde-Kilsch just 22 points, eight in a first set that took 17 minutes.

In winning three matches to advance to the semifinal Saturday against the winner of today's quarterfinal between Ann Grossman and Bettina Bunge, Graf has lost two games (to Betsy Nagelsen in the second round) and her matches have averaged 42 minutes.

"Was it fast again?" Graf said after being told of the match time Thursday. "Oh, no."

It was Graf's 10th match victory in a row over Kohde-Kilsch. She lost their first two meetings in 1984 when Graf was 14-year-old, second-year professional, and Kohde-Kilsch was 20-year-old ranked in the top 10.

The last time they played, in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January, Graf surrendered five games in a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

"I had more chances to come in and do something that time," Kohde-Kilsch said. "I got her to miss a few forehands. (This time) she was just so confident. She didn't miss anything.

"I don't know what else I could have done. Maybe hit two or three more volleys, but she is so quick. I was hitting my balls well. I was moving well. Maybe I could have served better. But there was nothing much else I could do."

The feeling of helplessness is something many Graf opponents sense. Graf's first-round opponent, Rene Simpson of Toronto, said after her 6-0, 6-0 loss Monday that she entered the match never believing she could win. But Simpson is ranked 80th in the world; Kohde-Kilsch has won $1.9 million as a pro.

"You can see she was nervous," Graf said. "I know she can play much better. She is making double faults, sometimes at inappropriate points. You don't want to win, 6-0, 6-0, against someone you know so well. It is difficult to know how to react afterward."

Imagine how Kohde-Kilsch felt.

"If you think about it yourself, you don't know what you did wrong and what you did right," Kohde-Kilsch said. "But my family is here, and they told me, 'You couldn't do more. She played unbelievable. You are still a good player. If she plays this great, just forget about it. Think of the next match.' "

The tournament is Graf's first since her Wimbledon victory July 9. It is part of her hard-court warmup for the U.S. Open at the end of the month. She is skipping the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles next week and will play in Mahwah, N.J., the following week.

But her first three matches in San Diego have given her little chance to test her skills.

"You enjoy it more if it is a tougher match, if you are pushed a little bit," Graf said. "The last couple of weeks I have become stronger in the way I am playing. I am going into the ball. I have had chances to go into the net, and I know I can win the points from there. I have more strength in my game."

That can come as little comfort around the circuit. Graf has lost only twice in 57 matches this year--to Gabriela Sabatini in March in the finals at Amelia Island. Fla., and to Arantxa Sanchez of Spain in the French Open final in June.

In other singles matches, sixth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France defeated Gigi Fernandez of Miami, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, and Bunge of West Germany defeated Jo Durie of Great Britain, 6-1, 6-1.
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post #3957 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2014, 04:13 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf rolls over Kohde-Kilsch
Houston Chronicle
Friday, AUGUST 4, 1989
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Top-ranked Steffi Graf needed her usual 42 minutes to sweep past Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-0, 6-0 and earn a trip to the semifinals of the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic.

Graf proved unyielding in long rallies and otherwise capitalized on Kohde-Kilsch's errors to beat the world's 30th-ranked player in a match of West Germans.

Graf has lost only two games over three matches in the tournament, her first since winning Wimbledon last month. Her average time for victory has been 42 minutes.

"It has never been difficult for me to come off a big tournament and do well in the next," Graf said. "Over the last couple of weeks, I've become stronger. Here, I'm getting the chance to come to the net, and so I know I can win points there."

"It's not embarrassing, but disappointing. I never thought I would lose 6-0, 6-0,'' said Kohde-Kilsch, rated fourth in 1985. "But she played without mistakes and was so powerful that it was unbelievable. This is the best that I've seen her play. I only hope she's the only one who can beat me this way. I can't imagine playing like this and losing 6-0, 6-0."

Kohde-Kilsch, who preceded Graf as the top-ranked player in West Germany, lost in straight games for the first time in her nine-year career.

In other second-round play, No. 6 seed Nathalie Tauziat of France beat Gigi Fernandez of Miami, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 and Bettina Bunge of Monaco continued her comeback from two years of nagging injuries with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jo Durie of England.

*Bruno Oresar rallied to upset No. 4 seed Jonas Svensson 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the $305,000 Swedish Open at Bastad. Nicklas Kulti joined Oresar in the quarterfinals by eliminating defending champion Marcelo Filippini 6-4, 6-2.

*Two-time U.S. Open singles champion Tracy Austin was hospitalized in satisfactory condition after the car she was driving in Millburn, N.J., hit another vehicle, police officials said.
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post #3958 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2014, 04:14 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf tosses 2nd shutout, makes semis
The San Diego Union
Friday, August 4, 1989
Chris Clarey, Staff Writer

Her match with Steffi Graf was over, and Claudia Kohde-Kilsch wore the befuddled, helpless expression of someone who had just witnessed a higher force.

Graf, the world's top-ranked player and a fellow West German, had needed a mere 42 minutes to beat her 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the Great American Bank Tennis Classic yesterday at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club.

That Kohde-Kilsch lost wasn't surprising. She hasn't beaten Graf since 1984 -- when Graf was a gangly 14-year-old.

The surprise yesterday was how Kohde-Kilsch lost. In her nearly 10 years on the women's professional tour, nobody had ever held her without a game. And what made this defeat even more difficult to accept was her sense that she had played respectably.

"I had a good feeling in the match," she said. "I had two good matches before this one. I'd been practicing really well. I was playing OK, and I tried -- really tried -- until the last ball ... But Steffi played without any mistakes and so powerful. It was unbelievable."

Graf's performance was the highlight of the day's play, in which three women -- Gretchen Magers of San Diego, No. 6 seed Nathalie Tauziat of France and Bettina Bunge of West Germany -- advanced to the quarterfinals. Magers beat 15-year-old amateur Angelica Gavaldon of Coronado 6-2, 7-5.

There was a time when Graf might have relished her lopsided victory over Kohde-Kilsch. Three years ago, when Graf first supplanted Kohde-Kilsch as West Germany's No. 1, the parents of both players took turns exchanging unpleasantries in the national press.

"It was something difficult at the time," Graf said.

But the wounds have long since healed, and yesterday, with the annihilation complete, Graf sounded almost apologetic. She admitted there were moments when she found herself pulling for Kohde-Kilsch to extend rallies.

"Especially at the end," Graf said. "You don't want to win 6-0, 6-0 against somebody you know well. It's difficult to know how to react afterwards."

But such is the burden Graf must bear these days. She has won 55 matches this year and lost two -- a three-setter to Gabriela Sabatini at Amelia Island, Fla., in April and another three-setter to Arantxa Sanchez in June in the French Open final.

The loss to Sanchez appears to have brought out the best in Graf. Last month she swept through Wimbledon, losing only one set. This week she's hardly broken a sweat, losing two games in three matches.

"It's never been very difficult for me to come back and play after big tournaments, because I enjoy it so much," Graf said. "I think the last couple weeks, I have become stronger in the way I'm playing."

Kohde-Kilsch, 25, can sense the difference in Graf's game as well. She last played her in January at the Australian Open, losing what she termed "a good match," 6-2, 6-3.

"When we played in Australia, Steffi served awfully well," Kohde-Kilsch said. "But I had a few chances to come in and do something. I got her to miss a few forehands. Today, she was so confident."

Kohde-Kilsch, seeded seventh here and ranked 30th in the world, won just eight points in the first set and 14 in the second. She held two game points on her serve in the second game of the second set and two break points on Graf's serve in the fifth game. She didn't come close to winning any of them.

"It's not embarrassing," Kohde-Kilsch said. "It's just disappointing. But I hope she's the only one who can beat me 6-0. 6-0.

o o o

Gavaldon nearly forced a third set against Magers, breaking her serve twice to overcome a 5-2 deficit and make it 5-all in the second set. But Gavaldon double-faulted to lose the 11th game, and Magers closed out the match on her serve...Bunge continued her successful comeback from knee and foot injuries, beating Jo Durie of Great Britain 6-1, 6-1...Play begins at 12:30 p.m. today with a quarterfinal match between Tauziat and Robin White of Del Mar. Tauziat defeated Gigi Fernandez 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 yesterday.
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post #3959 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2014, 07:33 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
Jaden is gonna be taller than his dad before the end of next year. Just crazy how quickly time has passed. Steffi and Andre look nice and presentable.

Loving Steffi's latest Facebook photo. Too bad it wasn't 6-0, coulda cracked better jokes.
It took me a while to understand which one he (Jaden) was So tall (and so we are so old too)
And from where in the world do they know Carlo Ancelotti ?

Does someone have a recent pic of their daughter. I absolutly dont know how she's looking now ?

Last edited by djul14; Jul 15th, 2014 at 12:54 AM.
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post #3960 of 5766 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 2014, 04:57 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
It took me a while to understand which one he (Jaden) was So tall (and so we are so old too)
If Jaden still has as much growing to do as Steffi did at that age, he'll have to duck his head to go through a standard doorway.

Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
And from where in the world do they know Carlo Ancelotti ?
Maybe they were guests of the bride? Usually these types of things have a very boring explanation behind them.

Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
Does someone have a recent pic of their daughter. I absolutly dont know how she's looking now ?
I would guess "tall."

BTW, there is an interview with Steffi in a German women's magazine called "Emotion" in which she says she says she her usual "mom sentence" to the kids is: "Read a book!" Laughing my ass off.
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