Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2 - Page 268 -
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post #4006 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jul 31st, 2014, 07:36 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

You also get the Steffi 'n' Arantxa comedy hour. "She hates me." -- "Don't take it personally."

TENNIS / WOMEN AT LA COSTA : Graf Ends Slump Talk, Routs Sanchez Vicario
August 8, 1994

CARLSBAD — Slump? What slump?

Even though Steffi Graf had reached the final of the $400,000 Toshiba Tennis Classic, her subpar play had been the talk of the tournament. She hadn't been at the top of her game since winning the German Open in her homeland three months ago.

But that was before Graf took the court Sunday at La Costa Resort & Spa for the championship match against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain. This was a showdown between the world's top-ranked women's players, and Graf turned it into a 6-2, 6-1 runaway for her 86th tour victory.

Graf needed only 1 hour 7 minutes to win the tournament for the fourth time, and the second time in a row. She also beat Sanchez Vicario in last year's final, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

During the awards ceremony, Sanchez Vicario told the sellout crowd of 5,800, "It was not a nice thing for me. I tried everything, but she was very hot today and showed why she's No. 1 in the world."

Graf holds a 24-6 edge over Sanchez Vicario, including 3-1 in 1994.

"Every time she plays me, she's so great," Sanchez Vicario said. "She's got something against me. I don't know what it is."

Said Graf: "I'm not mad at her. I just played some of my best tennis today."

Graf was asked later if she could play any better.

"I don't know," she said. "The best I ever played against Arantxa was in the Australian Open this year (Jan. 30). This one was probably the next best."

Asked about her so-called slump, Graf laughed and said, "I can't talk about slump today."

Slump or not, Graf had expressed concern during the week about her inability to put away seemingly overmatched opponents. She had no such problem Sunday.

"I knew what I had to do, and I didn't feel like she had anything to hurt me," she said. "I'm very happy now about the week I had here. Even the trouble I had earlier in the week, I fought my way out of it, and closing out this way helped me a lot to get ready for the U.S. Open (beginning Aug. 29)."

Graf was asked if her decisive victory was indicative of a vast difference between No. 1 and No. 2.

"No," she said. "Arantxa wasn't up to the level she can play."

That being the case, Graf said she had a feeling after four games that she would be in command.

"I broke her (service) in the second game," Graf said. "Even though she broke me back, I broke her again in the fourth game. Then I knew what I had to do, and I knew I could do it.

"I wanted to be more aggressive, go for my shots and go in behind them. It helps me very much to win this tournament, especially since everybody was talking about my two losses in a row -- wow!"

Graf was beaten by Mary Pierce in the semifinals of the French Open and by Lori McNeil in the first round at Wimbledon before coming here.

All that changed Sunday.

"Steffi didn't miss a ball," Sanchez Vicario said. "Normally she's not so consistent, but today her volleys, overheads, everything she hit was perfect."

Later, Sanchez Vicario derived a measure of consolation by teaming with Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic to beat Ginger Helgeson of Alpine, Calif., and Rachel McQuillan of Australia in the doubles final, 6-3, 6-3.

The doubles match was Sanchez Vicario's 29th in 25 days, and she said, "I'm not touching a racket or a tennis ball for two days. I deserve a vacation."
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post #4007 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jul 31st, 2014, 07:38 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

His hyperbole is hilarious, especially in comparison with Steffi's as-usual understatement.

Made-for-TV final was a short story, not a miniseries
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Monday, August 8, 1994
Tom Cushman

According to television listings, the scheduled starting time for yesterday's execution at La Costa was 11 a.m. Admission tickets indicated a 10:30 first serve, which was erroneous -- a misprint that turned out to be both intentional and convenient.

Familiar with arrival habits of ultra-cool Southern Californians, and not wanting the first sweep by a TV camera to show empty bleachers, officials of the Toshiba Tennis Classic authorized a ticket time that was a half-hour before the executioner and condemned actually would appear.

The ploy was a rousing success. By the hour Steffi Graf launched her opening serve, a standing-room-only crowd was in place and soon grateful for the inconvenience. Anyone late for yesterday's Toshiba final might as well have kept right on walking -- toward the exit. Beginning and end were about as close to being simultaneous as a tennis match can provide.

Misplaced, not lost

This was not a competition, it was capital punishment. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the feisty, good-natured senorita who'd been threatening to provide women's tennis with some much-needed balance, stepped onto La Costa's court second-ranked in the world. Off her performances in recent weeks, top-rated Steffi Graf seldom had seemed as vulnerable.

In a statement requiring little more than an hour to complete, Graf made the point that reports of her pending abdication are premature. Never, in fact, had the distance between No. 1 and No. 2 seemed more pronounced. If Sanchez Vicario symbolically represents Spain and Steffi Graf Germany, they're separated at this point by far more than just France.

"I tried very hard," Arantxa would say -- an articulation that seemed punctuated by a question mark. As in: "How could I leave that much of myself on the court and have nothing but a red face to show for it?"

Those who'd been speculating that Steffi Graf had "lost something" obviously confused the word lost with misplaced.

She began this season reaching toward a plateau of excellence even she hadn't visited. After thrashing Sanchez Vicario, 6-0, 6-2 in the Australian Open final, Graf sensed that she'd located the new frontier.

"I wanted desperately to keep playing at that level," she says. "I think I over-practiced to a point where it became counterproductive."

If the dip in what had been a long-running monotone of success created self-doubts, and Graf says it did, an obvious antidote would be a crushing victory over a highly ranked opponent.

And, yesterday, there one stood. Second-ranked Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, winner of the 1994 French Open, impressive conqueror of Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez during Saturday's semifinals.

Sanchez Vicario liked her chances against Graf and said so. Hers was the hot hand. Steffi seemed ambivalent, both on court and in an interview room. She admits there'd been concentration lapses -- several of them at La Costa.

When a coin was tossed to determine yesterday's first serve, it rolled off the court. Arantxa should have followed it, pocketed it and used it as down payment on taxi fare.

Graf instead claimed the honors and opened with an ace that had hair all over it. She couldn't have faxed a more direct message.

The rest was a clinical demonstration of how to reach inside an opponent and extract the spirit. Graf won the first six points. By midway through Game 2, Sanchez Vicario was talking to herself -- a procedure that would continue throughout. If those conversations included questions, there apparently were no answers.

Over the first 13 games, Arantxa held service only once and had to survive five deuces to manage that. When -- with Graf leading 5-0 in the second set -- Sanchez Vicario finally held serve, she raised both arms in mock triumph.

If that had been the governor phoning, it was with a stay, not a pardon. Graf delivered a 100-mph rocket to open the final game, then signed it with love.

"I don't think she likes me," Arantxa later would say. "Every time we play, it's like she has something against me."

That comment was made part in jest, part in awe. Sanchez Vicario is very talented, very motivated -- competitive to the last drop of perspiration. But, against the Steffi Graf of yesterday, she seemed ordinary, bewildered . . . If not unstrung, at least strands were beginning to unravel.

Graf served at autobahn speeds. She returned everything thrown at her with sizzle. She pinned Sanchez Vicario to the baseline as surely as if that line represented a second net.

She may be the best right-hand finisher since Mike Tyson, and yesterday's was an early knockout. Even fans who came at 10:30 weren't in their seats long enough to get a tan.

"When Steffi's playing like this, she's overwhelming -- No. 1 on the planet," commentator Bud Collins would say on the TV broadcast.

I'd guess her dominion as this is written might extend to Mars, Saturn and a few other galaxies.

"Being out there wasn't a nice feeling," said Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

When Steffi's playing as she did yesterday, to any opponent Graf definitely is a four-letter word.
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Graf stops slump, tops Sanchez Vicario - TOSHIBA CLASSIC: World's top-ranked player never lets up in 6-2, 6-1 victory for tournament title.
The Orange County Register
Monday, August 8, 1994

For so long now, Steffi Graf has been the ultimate portrait of a champion.

Five Wimbledon championships. A Grand Slam sweep in 1988. Three more major titles in '89 and again in '93. Five times named tennis' undisputed world champion.

But lately the picture had blurred, the lines become fuzzy. Was that really Graf losing in the first round of Wimbledon?

Graf, who won her first six events of the year, suddenly lost in three of four tournaments since the begining of April -- in the final at Hamburg, Germany, in the semifinals of the French Open and at Wimbledon.

Then she dropped sets this week at the Toshiba Classic to players such as Lisa Raymond and Julie Halard and had trouble putting away the No. 84 player in the world. This was a champion?

Critics began to paint her in a different light, using words like struggling and uninspired. She just didn't look the same.

But in Sunday's Toshiba Classic final, Graf looked -- and played -- like her old self. Like a winner.

She whipped Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, 6-2, 6-1, in front of a nationally televised audience and sellout crowd of 5,800 at the La Costa Resort & Spa.

"I'm happy about the week I had even though I had some tough matches," said Graf, who picked up $80,000. "To be able to play that kind of final and whole week going into the U.S. Open is very satisfying."

From her match-opening ace to her match-winning overhead slam, Graf never let up on Sanchez Vicario. The German, in fact, seemed so determined to win, Sanchez Vicario was left feeling a little unliked.

"It's not a nice feeling I can tell you that," said Sanchez Vicario, who earned $32,000. "Every time she plays me it's like she has something against me. I don't think she likes me."

Graf said that wasn't true. She just didn't like the self-doubt and constant innuendos that had been drifting her way.

"It was important for me to win this tournament," she said, "especially after how everyone was talking about all the losing."

Unlike her previous matches, where she stayed back and let her opponent make the mistakes, Graf dictated play by consistent forays to the net. She won 17 of 21 points at the net, nine of them winners.

"I took control of a lot of the points," Graf said, "I didn't miss many shots.

"I went into the match knowing what I had to do, so I felt calmer for some reason."

Graf rolled to a 5-1 lead before Sanchez Vicario had another chance to hold serve in the first set. In the second, Sanchez Vicario barely had time to adjust her ball-holder before Graf ran away to a 5-0 lead.

"She played really well," Sanchez Vicario said. "She didn't make many mistakes. Like she said, this was the best she played all tournament."

Until Sunday, Sanchez Vicario had played fairly convincing tennis herself, beating her opponents with Graf-like precision. But against the No. 1-ranked player, she found herself unable to get any rhythm going. If she wasn't hitting her forehands long, she was popping her volleys wide. She had 26 forced errors and 19 unforced.

Graf had just seven forced errors, but 18 unforced.

NOTE: Sanchez Vicario and Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, the top seeds, won the doubles title by defeating the No. 8 seed team of Ginger Helgeson of Alpine and Rachel McQuillan of Australia, 6-3, 6-3.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

TENNIS - Graf Whips Sanchez Vicario - Top-ranked woman breaks 3-month title drought
Monday, August 8, 1994
Associated Press

Steffi Graf, playing her best tennis in months, routed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, 6-2, 6-1, yesterday to win the $400,000 Toshiba Classic in Carlsbad (San Diego County), her first tournament victory since May.

Graf, who failed to play up to her standards all week, finally had all elements of her game working in beating the world's No. 2 player in 67 minutes.

"I think I was in control of the points," said Graf, the top- ranked woman. "I felt I was playing all the right shots when I needed to. I felt she couldn't hurt me."

The victory broke a three-month drought for Graf, who last won at the German Open in May. Since then, Graf lost in the semifinals of the French Open to Mary Pierce and was beaten in the first round by Lori McNeil at Wimbledon. The consecutive defeats were the first in nine years for the world's top-ranked player. Also, the length between winning tournaments -- two months, 23 days -- was the fourth-longest of her career.

"I think it helps me very much to have won this tournament," said Graf, who won $80,000. "Especially after everybody has been talking about (me) losing two matches in a row -- wow! I've proven a little bit, even though I wasn't too worried about it.

"The whole week gave me a lot to be ready for the U.S. Open. I think I'm on the right track."

Sanchez Vicario, who took home $32,000, fell behind early in the match and could never recover under Graf's relentless pressure. The 22-year-old Spaniard committed 26 forced errors to only seven for Graf.

"She didn't make many mistakes," said Sanchez Vicario. "I didn't have many chances to do very much."

The win was Graf's third over Sanchez Vicario in four meetings this year, including the finals of the Australian Open, and ran her career record to 24-6 over Sanchez Vicario. Yesterday's win was also the second straight year that Graf beat Sanchez Vicario in the Carlsbad final, winning last year, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Graf wasted little time taking control. She hit a perfectly placed drop shot to close the first game at love. Graf then broke Sanchez Vicario on her first service game to go up, 2-0.

Sanchez Vicario, the French Open champion, broke back in the third game, but Graf wasn't worried.

"Even though she broke me back," Graf said. "I was playing good. After 3-1, 4-1, that's when I had the feeling that this would be my match."

Graf converted break points in the fourth and eighth games to close out the set, 6-2.

In the second set, Graf rolled to a 5-0 lead, and sealed the win when Sanchez Vicario hit a forehand long.

"She wasn't up to her level that she can play," Graf said.

Said Sanchez Vicario: "Sometimes it's hard because she's playing so well. It makes it hard because you're having to try different things that you're not used to."

During the week, Graf dropped two sets. That was not about to happen Sunday.

"In a way I'm surprised I played that well," Graf said, "because I haven't played that well the other days."


Boris Becker trounced Mark Woodforde of Australia, 6-2, 6-2, to win the $400,000 Los Angeles Open.

Becker, the No. 2 seed making his first appearance in Los Angeles, won in less than an hour, losing just eight points on his serve the entire match. It was his second title this year and 40th of his career.

Woodforde, a left-hander, was playing his first singles final of the year and was no match for Becker's power game. Woodforde repeatedly missed first serves and committed numerous unforced errors.

Becker earned $42,000.

-- Martina Navratilova led the New Jersey Stars to a 28-25 overtime victory over the Idaho Sneakers in the finals of the World TeamTennis championships in Sacramento.

Navratilova and Mariaan De Swardt defeated Amy Frazier and Manon Bollegraf, 6-5, in women's doubles and beat Amy Frazier, 6-3, in singles.

-- Top-seeded Sergi Bruguera of Spain defeated Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine, 6-3, 6-4, in the final of the Czech Open clay-court tournament in Prague, Czech Republic.

"It was like playing against a wall and you very often lose in such cases," Medvedev said of Bruguera, who is regarded as the world's top clay-court player.

-- Goran Ivanisevic rallied to defeat unseeded Fabrice Santoro, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in the final of the EA Generali tournament in Kitzbuehel, Austria.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Poor Ginger Helgeson(-Nielsen) not only gets laughed at by Steffi and Conchita, but also gets her name misspelled. The rank-and-file and doubles specialists were getting too uppity. Laughing at Steffi winning lunch money at the race track.

NOT SAFE AT HOME - TENNIS NOTEBOOK: By being forced to hit the road, Medvedeva avoided the worst of Chernobyl.
The Orange County Register
Monday, August 8, 1994

More than titles, Natalia Medvedeva longed to be at home in Kiev, Ukraine.

But in 1986 her family didn't want her there. They sent her to far away junior tournaments and clinics. Her mother set her up with lessons in a different part of the world. Any place was better for her than home.

It was not that they didn't love Medvedeva. It was because Chernobyl, with its death and destruction, sat 62 miles from Kiev.

Only now, eight years after the Chernobyl meltdown, can Medvedeva talk about watching children with no hair walk down the street, about her mother being tested for radiation and the results showing 50 percent above the dangerous level.

She can now discuss watching her teen-age friends drop dead of heart attacks, having to shower numerous times daily and about women giving birth to babies with two heads.

All because of the radiation leaks from Chernobyl.

"It is very hard," she said this week at the Toshiba Classic. "People didn't die overnight. It was gradual. You had to watch them die. It was a tragedy for everyone. It was unbelievable.

"If you weren't there, you couldn't see it..."

Which is why her family tried to keep her away.

"I kept calling, crying to come home," Medvedeva, 22, said. "I just wanted to be with my family."

The tragedy took a toll on Medvedeva, who now lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her mother. Winning tennis matches seemed insignificant. Her confidence evaporated as well as her results.

It wasn't until three years later that Medvedeva began to show progress on the Women's Tennis Association professional tour. Ranked 305th in 1988, Medvedeva shot to No. 66 by the end of the following year and No. 56 by 1990.

A broken foot in 1991, however, caused her ranking to slip to No. 82 when she was unable to play for seven months.

Then in 1993, a blood infection forced her off the tour for the first five months.

This year hasn't been any easier. Injuries and coaching problems have dropped her from No. 23 to 33. She lost five times in the first round of the past seven tournaments, but said she is ready to turn around her career.

"It has been a long time since I can talk about the tragedy," Medvedeva said. "I am happy now, I am working hard, I am hungry again.

"But I remember."

For the week, Steffi Graf earned $80,038.

The majority of the money was for winning the Toshiba Classic. The other $38 she won at Del Mar race track.

"Just enough for lunch," she said.

Most people wouldn't put Ginger Helegson in the same category as Graf. The former Pepperdine star never has won a WTA tournament, much less a Grand Slam event.

But there does seem to be one similarity -- that only Helegson sees.

Their forehands. Helegson actually said she "hits the ball as hard if not harder than Graf off the forehand side."

When informed of this, Graf sneered then said, "Well, there's no way to prove it."

Conchita Martinez, who had just routed Helegson in the third round, couldn't believe her ears.

"Who said that?"

Helegson did.

"I wouldn't say that," Martinez said.

Gigi Fernandez has won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, but hasn't received the same recognition as she did when she reached the Wimbledon semifinals in singles.

Suddenly, her name was in headlines around the world. Everyone made a fuss about her. She was invited into the crowded interview room to explain her secrets of winning.

But rarely does Fernandez get asked about doubles. At Grand Slam events, tournament officials will bring in doubles winners and maybe 10 reporters might show up.

"Doubles gets no respect," Fernandez said. "There are no stars in doubles. For instance, Mary Pierce reaches one Grand Slam final (French Open) and she's a star. Natalia (Zvereva) and I have 12 Grand Slams and we're not."

Fernandez stepped off her soapbox once she thought about the money she has made from playing mainly doubles -- more than $2.5 million.

A World TeamTennis Jr. Tournament, for players ages 19 and under, will be held next weekend at the Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach.

The event will feature two boys and two girls on each team that will compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles against another four-member team. The team with the most total games won is declared the winner and will advance.

For more information call 842-1376.
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post #4011 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2014, 06:29 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Ah, the Summer of Unlove. Everyone was surprised that Andre of all people hated the music at changeovers, but he was totally right. If people want music, they will go to a concert. Trying to be a half-assed amalgamation of many different entertainment gimmicks will only succeed in driving everyone away.

For the record, Steffi also fended off another gimmick: The Australian Open's push for a best-of-five-set women's final. She got everyone to agree that it was too arbitrary (why just the final?) and more or less just a knee-jerk reaction to one blow-out, nor did it really guarantee what the fans really want: a well-played, competitive match. Chalk up another "leadership moment" for someone who is criticized by Pam "Worst WTA President Ever" Shriver for being unconcerned with the game's governance.

The Star-Ledger
Newark, NJ
Wednesday, August 17, 1994
Associated Press

Top-ranked Steffi Graf of Germany easily rolled through her first match in the $1 million Matinee International tennis tournament yesterday, requiring only an hour to beat Sandra Cacic, 6-1, 6-2.

Graf is seeded No. 1 in the women's Canadian Open, ahead of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, Japan's Kimiko Date and Mary Pierce of France, who was born in Montreal to a French mother and an American father.

After her easy victory, Graf hinted she might not be back for the next Matinee International in two years.

"I'm 25 years old and I've been playing on the tennis circuit for 12 years," Graf said. "Tennis is my top priority right now but perhaps for not that much longer."

Asked if she is considering retirement, Graf answered: "I don't want to talk about that now. It would put too much pressure on myself and others."

Graf did say she wants to get involved in other pursuits.

"When I was young, all I wanted to do was play tennis and listen to music," she said. "Now, after my matches are over, I just want to get away from the tennis court and think about other things."

She admitted she wasn't happy with her performances earlier this year in the French Open, in which she lost in the semifinals, and at Wimbledon, where she was blown out in the first round.

She said she took almost three weeks off after Wimbledon and did more fishing than playing tennis.

Graf knocked off Sanchez, 6-2, 6-1, at San Diego two weeks ago and said she feels fresh and relaxed in Montreal.

"So I lost a couple of tournaments earlier this year; give me a break," she jokingly told reporters. "But I feel really good now and I'm ready to play again."

Sanchez Vicario turned aside Asa Carlsson of Sweden, 6-4, 6-2, while Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini, seeded fifth, cruised past Sandrine Testud of France, 6-1, 6-3.

The turning point in the Carlsson-Sanchez Vicario match came in the ninth game of the opening set, when the Spanish player broke her opponent at love with a crisp forehand down the baseline to move into a 5-4 lead.

The other top names in the field, such as the fourth-seeded Pierce and ninth-seeded American Lori McNeil, begin play today.

In matches in which seeded players were beaten, Indonesia's Yayuk Basuki beat No. 10 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands defeated No. 8 Anka Huber of Germany, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, and Judith Weisner of Austria eliminated No. 15 Meredith McGrath, 6-2, 6-2.

Basuki seemed surprised by her performance.

"I didn't think I would play this well here but I guess I am," the world's 34th-ranked player said with a smile.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Courier said yesterday he is taking a break from tennis until he is properly motivated to return to the sport.

After losing to Alex Corretja of Spain 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the RCA Championships, Courier said he put his rackets in his bag indefinitely.

"They are going to stay there until my heart tells me to pick them up again -- and I don't know if that is going to be one day, one week, one month, one year, 10 years. I don't know," he said.

In the first set, Courier needed just 28 minutes to blister Corretja. But 42 unforced errors later, the fifth-seeded defending champion had been ousted from the tournament by Corretja, 20, the youngest player in the field.

"I am hitting the ball fine," Courier said. "There is a problem inside, and I am really not sure what it is, and the only way to figure it out is to just take a step away."

Courier was one of four seeded players to lose yesterday. Richey Reneberg defeated eight-seeded Cedric Pioline of France, 6-2, 6-2.

The 13th seed, Alexander Volkov of Russia, also lost in second-round action, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to Jonathan Stark; and Germany's Bernd Karbacher outlasted 15th-seed Javier Sanchez of Spain in a 1-hour, 50-minute match, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The rock star of tennis says that if the music doesn't stop, he will.

Calling a new music tie-in "an embarrassment to the sport," Andre Agassi said yesterday he won't enter any event where songs are blared on loudspeakers between games, as they were at the Volvo International.

"To turn the tournament into a concert like that is an absolute joke," Agassi said after losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Jan Siemerink in a second-round match.

"If any other tournament does this I would quit before I would go out there. If the game doesn't hold its own, then it's over."

Playing songs loudly during changeovers is a new idea that ATP Tour officials are premiering at this tournament as part of an effort to add excitement to the sport and get fans more involved.

Music also is played when players enter the stadium court. After matches, fans are allowed to question players.

J. Wayne Richmond, a vice president for the ATP Tour, said the music would be played between games for the rest of the tournament before it is determined whether the format will be used again.

After his loss, Agassi ripped those responsible for turning the tournament into "a circus."

"People come out here to watch tennis. I can't even believe it," he said. "I was not under the impression we had to listen to music on the changeovers. It scars the game."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

By now, I wouldn't be surprised if Steffi felt like she was all alone when it came to defending women's tennis, or tennis in general, against the media; not much help was forthcoming from the officialdom. When you're up against a Sally Jenkins or a Peter Bodo with an agenda, or against a Neil Harman who just copies and pastes other people's writing without attribution, or against all the other journalists who really don't know and/or care about tennis, so they resort to a more insidious form of plagiarism by just repeating the fashionable party ideology without any concern for its accuracy, it must be overwhelming. "Freedom of the press" can obviously be misused and abused.

Graf hints career could soon be over: 'I want to be young when I start new life'
The Toronto Star
Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, August 17, 1994
Mary Ormsby

MONTREAL - Steffi Graf clambered into her seat on the interview podium, looked at the two empty chairs beside her and then shrank in a brief, but visible, panic.

"What am I doing up here alone?" she asked, worried and wide-eyed, glancing at the tour official who usually meets with the athlete after a match.

Such is the enigma of Steffi Graf, who dropped a rather broad hint that her tennis playing days may reach an end sooner than some may think, saying that as she's gotten older, "some things become more important in your life."

"When I was 17, 18, even 19-20, I would practice and play tennis, I didn't have many hobbies other than music and reading," she said.

"Tennis has been such a big part of my life. I'm 25, I've been playing for 20 years and I've been on the tour for 12 - that's a long time. If I want to have a different life away from tennis, I want to start thinking about it soon.

"I still want to be young when I start something new in my life."

Something new, like a family? A university education? When will tennis be over for Steffi Graf now that she's dropped this enormous hint?

No answer. Just a wide, shy smile, a shake of her head and nothing more.

The woman who has rolled over $14 million worth of opponents in her career with such cold, cruel efficiency can also be so painfully shy off the court that it hurts to witness it.

On this day, however, Graf, the defending tournament champion, recovered her confidence just slightly faster than it took her to dump outclassed Sandra Cacic of the U.S., 6-1, 6-2, at the Canadian Open tennis championship.

In a later match, fifth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina defeated Sandrine Testud of France 6-1, 6-3, while second seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain eliminated Sweden's Asa Carlsson 6-4, 6-2.

Earlier yesterday, Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands upset eighth-seed Anka Huber of Germany 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, while Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia ousted Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, seeded 10th, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Graf, the world's top-ranked player, begins to relax when discussing yesterday's easy second-round match in the $750,000 (U.S.) tournament at Jarry Tennis Stadium, also known as the Matinee Ltd. International.

But when one of the first questions fired at her concerns her loss to Mary Pierce at the French Open, and her stunning first-round ouster at Wimbledon by Lori McNeil, her guard is up again.

"I don't know why people keep talking about those two losses," said the German, who won six of seven tournaments leading up to the French Open and finished runner-up in the seventh to Sanchez Vicario.

"I lost against players whose level was pretty high," Graf continued, "and yes, I did lose two matches, so give me a break."

She laughs but it's obviously the end of subject. It's not the abrupt, rude end that her male counterparts might volley at assembled scribes, but from Graf, it's almost a plea. As in, don't ask me to explain my personal thoughts.

Graf says her natural shyness has prevented her from enjoying the international fame that her tennis success has bred. And that discomfort has been exacerbated over the years by a voracious media that can't get enough of Graf's life.

The lowest point occurred a few years ago during the all-out coverage of a failed but scandalous extortion attempt on Graf's father by a former mistress. The messy situation took its toll on Graf as a daughter and by extension, on her game.

Then there is the usual stuff of celebrity stalking; the constant speculation about Graf's romances and the aggressive intrusion into her private life when journalists stake out her house.

"I don't even talk to the German (tabloid) media any more," said Graf prior to this event. "I feel much more comfortable talking with journalists over here (Canada and the United States)."

Still, she was particularly hurt by a recent Sports Illustrated feature article on her. Graf was painted as a bleak, sinister creature who liked to hide in darkened rooms with the curtains drawn - afraid to let the sunlight touch her face.

"Let me tell you, I wasn't very happy," she said with a sad laugh. "I don't have much time and when I do give my time for an interview and see that, well . . . I'm not like that."

Graf would surprise many who have fixed ideas about her.

For instance, she has gotten in touch with Jennifer Capriati, now undergoing drug rehabilitation, but is protective of the troubled teen.

"She's doing good," she said, smiling. "That's all I want to say."

She and German boyfriend Michael Bartels, who competes on the F3 race car circuit, are still going strong - but no more details than that.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Jerry Diamond, honorary WTA Sorority Sister. As per the Los Angeles Times, "Both Graf and Martina Navratilova, the top-seeded player, were asked to play night matches." As per the Evening Tribune of San Diego, CA: "In the original schedule, Graf would have played tonight." So, the primary sources say Diamond was not being truthful about never intending a night semifinal, or at least the communication failure was Diamond's.

Of course, nobody wanted to play the night semi. The split semi sessions potentially give an advantage to the winner of the day session. Plus, the VS of LA's lights were notoriously bad, even into 1993. Navratilova: "Definitely not high enough. Did you see me put away an overhead after it got dark? High balls are a disaster. They need to do something." Seles: "I really had a hard time seeing the ball. I don't know if it's because of my eyesight or if it's just the lights." Alycia Moulton, in 1984 (she won the match, so it's not an excuse for
losing): "Usually, I'd play more aggressive than I did today. But I was having a hard time seeing because of the lights." In 1989, there was even an 18-minute blackout during the Sabatini-Shriver night semi. In 1994, Diamond stated his company finally installed new lights on the stadium court. Gee, Jerry, when did it dawn on you that the lights were bad and the players weren't just complaining for no reason? "Just shut up and play, girls. It's only one week."

(It also annoys the paying customers. If you want to see both semis, you have to buy two tickets and either find a way to kill a lot of time at or near the tourney site between sessions or drive home and then drive back in the evening. It's the kind of thing that leaves the fans feeling over-exploited.)

In Steffi's case, the Graf camp had obviously made it clear from the beginning that she would only take the wildcard on the condition that she did not play the night semi. If Diamond was put off by the demand, he should have said "No scheduling guarantees, take the wildcard or leave it." Maybe he was used to getting away with bait-and-switch tactics, maybe it was a one-time-only scheme to try to delay/derail the palace coup, but he didn't have much basis for complaint when Papa Graf threatened a walk-out.

His recount of the "1987" player commitment dust-up seems to be a blend of the 1988 player commitment "play down rule" dust-up and his 1987 reaction to Papa Graf's walk-out threat.

Attentive readers will recall the rather low attempt during the 1988 USO to psych Steffi out of the Grand Slam and make it easier for Navratilova to get "her" No. 1 ranking back. Attentive readers will also recall that it was Merrett Stierheim who publicly said the bit about the sport being bigger than one person, but we allow the possibility that Diamond said it first at the private meeting. At any rate, it was not the mere comment that angered the Graf camp, nor even the idea that Steffi was not bigger than the sport, but the underhanded ploy by the very organization that is supposed to safeguard the equity and integrity of the competition. "But why would anyone get upset about that?"

Diamond's response to the 1987 walk-out threat: "I guarantee you, if he would have pulled her out of this tournament, I would have asked action to ban her from U.S. competition and probably got it. You can't capriciously pull out of anything." He obviously did not understand the way the modern game works, even though he himself helped create the "star system." A player can capriciously pull out of anything. A player, especially a star player, would never be banned "from U.S. competition" for a capricious withdrawal. Jerry Diamond did not have the clout to achieve such a ban, even when he was the head honcho of the WTA.

And, after this public display of gross, self-serving inaccuracies/omissions and the public insinuation that the Grafs are the ones with the attitude problem, he has the nerve to say "I'd love to have [Steffi] play here." Maybe he even expected the Graf camp to have no problem with this compounded antagonism.

This is a great example of what was, and still is, wrong with pro tennis. "Why don't these younger players enter my tournaments? I only lie about them and try to screw them over every chance I get. And then, if they stand up for themselves, I only have small tantrums of delusional power trips and revenge fantasies, nothing that should make them want to avoid me for years or anything. And there's only a couple dozen other tour stops that would be truly happy to have them in the field and treat them with at least a modicum of fairness. You can't work with these kids. What am I going to do now that Navratilova is retiring?" And this person was involved in making tour policy for 20 years and was considered to have solutions to the then-current problems. That someone like this was not immediately identified as "part of the problem" and marginalized accordingly was/is one of tennis' true problems.

Steffi played the Los Angeles tour stop again, in a clear attempt to mend things between them before Diamond died, which says a lot about Steffi as a human being. She might not forget, but she does try to forgive. Rest in peace, Jerry.

Graf and her father never forget a slight
The Washington Times
Wednesday, August 17, 1994
Josh Young

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. - Steffi Graf never forgets.

There is no better example of Graf's stubborn memory than the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles. Graf took over the No. 1 ranking for the first time here in 1987, but she hasn't been back - thereby keeping an angry promise made by her father.

Here's the checkered history between Graf and tournament owner Jerry Diamond, as told that year by the late Ted Tinling, who often was assigned to pacify Graf's testy father, Peter. Diamond filled in the details last week.

The first verbal volleys were thrown during the 1987 tournament. Before it began, Diamond promised Graf's father that Steffi could play her semifinal match during the day on Saturday.

On Friday, Peter Graf learned that Diamond had told Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova that their semifinal would be during Saturday's day session. Assuming that Diamond was breaking his promise, Peter began yelling at Diamond's wife, Jan, who is the tournament director.

But Diamond had no such intention. He scheduled both semifinal singles matches for the afternoon, a move that forced him to refund money to disgruntled evening ticket-holders.

The stakes were as high as the tempers, because Graf was closing in on the No. 1 ranking that Navratilova held. Graf could pass Navratilova by winning the tournament, provided that Evert beat Navratilova in the semifinals - a scenario that ultimately played itself out.

The second round of Papa Graf vs. Diamond came during the 1987 [sic] U.S. Open. Steffi was balking at signing the player commitment for the following year, and Diamond spoke out.

"I said that no one player is bigger than women's tennis and that the game could survive without Steffi Graf," recalled Diamond, who was a very competent head of the Women's Tennis Association before he became a promoter.

Though Diamond would have said the same thing about any other player, Peter Graf took it personally. The angry father announced to Tinling, "My daughter will never play one of Jerry Diamond's tournaments again."

And she hasn't.

Graf's agent, Phil de Picciotto, and Diamond both say that the feud doesn't really exist, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Since 1987, Graf hasn't played in any tournament wholly owned by Diamond.

"I think that's been blown out of proportion," Diamond said. "I don't know if those two incidents are the reason she has never come here. I think Steffi's a neat lady, and I'd love to have her play here."

De Picciotto, the smartest person in women's tennis, explained that there has been a scheduling conflict each year, but that remark seems to be damage control. It's true that Graf usually plays the tournament in San Diego the week before L.A. and the Canadian Open the week after, but it seems a pretty strong coincidence that Graf has managed to avoid all other Diamond events.

Diamond owned the tour events in Oakland until 1991 and in Chicago until 1990, and Graf never played them during that time. She did play Chicago in 1992, well after Diamond had sold that event to International Management Group.

The L.A. Slims has been supported by the continued presence of Navratilova, who played here for the final time last week, and Monica Seles, whose status for any future tournament is in serious doubt.

So what will Diamond do for players?

He is proposing to the leaders of women's tennis that the top players be required to choose three new tournaments each year, which means that Graf probably would play here before she retires.

Unfortunately for Diamond, he probably is going to lose his sponsor. This is the final year for Slims' contract with this event, and given the cigarette company's reduced involvement in tennis, renewal seems doubtful.

While we're on this subject of Graf's stubborn memory, it's worth noting that she also doesn't forget those who doubted her ability when she was an up-and-comer.

Earlier this year in Indian Wells, Calif., she was scheduled to play Tracy Austin.

Coincidentally, Austin had beaten Graf in the German's first big pro match, when she was 14. So the day before the 1994 Austin-Graf match, I asked Graf if she remembered the first time she had played Austin.

"I remember she was not too nice," Graf replied. "She said afterward that there are hundreds of players like me back in the States. There aren't now."

The next day Graf beat Austin 6-0, 6-0.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Rusedski posts upset - Pierce on course to meet Graf in Matinee
The Hamilton Spectator
Ontario, Canada
Thursday, August 18, 1994

Greg Rusedski of Pointe Claire, Que., stayed calm and cool yesterday to upset Thomas Muster, the world's No. 12 player, at the RCA Championships tennis tournament.

Rusedski, ranked 59th in the world, defeated the Austrian 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a match he called his best of the year.

"I was really relaxed out there," said Rusedski. "I went out there and made him play a lot of balls. I played very well and that was the difference today."

Rusedski will next take on Frenchman Olivier Delaitre tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals.

"Greg played like a top tenner today," said Keith Diepraam, Rusedski's coach. "He kept in control of his emotions, I was very proud of his effort.

"If he can keep it up, he'll be difficult to beat from now on."

In another upset yesterday, top-seeded Goran Ivanisevic, the world's No. 2 player, was beaten 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 by doubles specialist Mark Woodforde of Australia.

It was the second major upset in the RCA Championships tennis tournament. A day earlier, unseeded Alex Corretja of Spain beat fifth-seed and defending champion Jim Courier at the Indianapolis Tennis Center.

Graf advances in Montreal

MONTREAL -- Top-seeded Steffi Graf became the first player to advance to the quarterfinals of the Matinee International tennis tournament when she defeated 14th-seed Naoko Sawamatsu of Japan, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 last night.

Sawamatsu, 26th in the Women's Tennis Association rankings, offered plenty of resistance. She was overpowered by Graf in the first set but broke Graf at love in the opening game of the second set.

Playing superbly at the net, Sawamatsu returned virtually everything and sometimes was helped by Graf's unforced errors.

But in the third set, Graf returned to the form that has helped her win seven tournaments this year and compile a 49-3 record in matches.

Graf prevailed despite having a strained lower back muscle that twice forced her to stretch out on the sidelines in the decisive set.

Third-seeded Kimiko Date of Japan was a winner in the afternoon draw, beating Leila Meshki of the Georgia Republic, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5 in a second-round match.

France's Mary Pierce, in her first match of the tournament, beat Australian Rachel McQuillan 6-3, 6-3. Pierce, seeded fourth, is appearing in her first tournament since reaching the final of the French Open in early June.

Amanda Coetzer of South Africa, the seventh seed, moved on by outlasting unseeded Barbara Rittner of Germany, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

The tall, blond Pierce was born in Montreal to a French mother and an American father 19 years ago. The family left Montreal when she was only five months old.

Pierce now divides her time between the United States and France -- the country she plays for -- although she still carries a Canadian passport.

"This is the first time I've been back since I left as a child," a relaxed, smiling Pierce said after her match.

"Maybe I'll stay for a couple of days after the games are over because I don't have another tournament to go to right away."

Pierce is on a path in the Canadian Open draw where she would again face Graf.

She seemed to relish the thought. "Yes, we played really well together in Paris and it should be an exciting match to watch for the spectators. But we have to make sure we get there together."

Becker gets a break

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Boris Becker got the break he needed just in time to beat Roger Smith 6-3, 6-4 before the rain came at the Volvo International yesterday.

Actually, Becker, the third seed, broke Smith three times, the last coming in the ninth game of the second set for a 5-4 advantage just as the rain began to fall. Becker was one of seven players to advance before play was stopped.

Play resumed about five hours later for the contest between top seed Michael Stich and Marcelo Rios. But the second-round match was suspended at 9:52 p.m. with Stich leading 6-3, 2-2.

Second seed Andrei Medvedev's match against Grant Stafford was postponed until today.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Pierce back winnin' and grinnin'
'I was nervous because I hadn't played in so long'

The Toronto Star
Thursday, August 18, 1994
Mary Ormsby

MONTREAL - The new face of women's tennis belongs to the fair visage of Mary Pierce.

And the once-troubled 19-year-old is wearing it with a wide, sunny smile.

"I try not to read everything or to look at all the magazines and papers," Pierce said after winning her second-round match at the Canadian Open yesterday. "But I know I did something really special at Roland Garros."

The "really special" something she did at Roland Garros was in her stunning run through this year's French Open.

The Montreal-born Pierce, who was raised in the United States but who now calls France home, sent French fans into a frenzy when she pulled off a staggering upset of world's top player, Steffi Graf, in the Grand Slam semifinal. She then bowed 6-4, 6-4 to Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the final, but that failed to hurt her status as instant national hero.

Pierce's inspired charge in Paris also kick-started a near dormant interest in women's tennis that, indirectly, is also due to her father.

Pierce commanded international attention last year when the women's tour banned Jim Pierce from attending its events because of uncontrollable rages at his daughter and others. She later sought a restraining order against her father and thereafter went public with her account of his violent verbal and sometimes physical abuse.

Indeed, she confirmed yesterday at Jarry Tennis Stadium that her unexplained withdrawal from Wimbledon was because of her father. She refused to elaborate, but hinted that she feared he would disrupt the Grand Slam for her in some way and felt it was wiser to pull out.

Still, the women's tour, desperate for fresh young stars to help woo an over-all title sponsor to replace the gaping hole Kraft left this season, has pinned its marketing hopes on the interest the 5-foot-11 blonde baseliner could attract.

And Pierce doesn't mind stepping into the spotlight.

"I try not to think about all those things too much because they can kind of get to you," said Pierce, who eliminated Australian Rachel McQuillan 6-3, 6-3 at the $750,000 (U.S.) event, also known as the Matinee Ltd. International.

"But when I do think about them, which is (only) human, it does make me feel good. But there is pressure, too. You know people are going to expect you to win, so there's good things and bad things about it."

There were mostly good things about Pierce's Canadian debut yesterday, although the fourth seed was a bit rusty from not having played tournament tennis since a grass-court event prior to Wimbledon.

"In the first set, I was a little nervous because I hadn't played a tournament in so long - and it showed," she said.

But she picked up her game in the second set and the crowd, definitely in Pierce's corner, cheered her on.

Pierce left Montreal at the age of 5 months (her mother is French, her father an American) and didn't return until this past April for a news conference to promote this tournament.

She carries three passports - Canadian, U.S. and French - and uses them all, depending on the country she's entering.

And as for her nationality, she says she's a blend.

"I feel both French and American, a mixture of both," said Pierce, who plans to stay a few days after this tournament to visit Montreal.

Meanwhile, defending champion and top seed Graf suffered a flareup of chronic back problems last night and had trouble disposing of Japan's Naoko Sawamatsu, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in a third-round match.

"The longer the match went on, the more it bothered me," said Graf, adding the pain resurfaced when she began training on hard courts a few weeks ago. Last night, it tweaked her at the end of the second set.

"I don't think I can say it will totally be (healed by tomorrow)," Graf continued, referring to her quarterfinal match. The German has today off. "But I hope it will be better. I will do my best (today) to take care of it with stretching and rest."

The problem centres on a disk. Graf had to call a trainer to courtside during the match.

In other action, No. 9 Lori McNeil of the United States - who reached the Wimbledon semifinals - got a break when Alexia Dechaume-Balleret of France pulled up lame at 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 to retire with a left hip spasm.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Star-Ledger
Newark, NJ
Friday, August 19, 1994
Associated Press

MONTREAL -- Steffi Graf, bothered by a recurring back problem, declared herself fit for today's quarterfinal match in the Matinee International with Gabriela Sabatini after a short practice session on a back court yesterday.

The top-seeded German, who sought medical attention on the sidelines twice during Wednesday night's third-round victory over Japan's Naoko Sawamatsu, said she had "some lower back strain but no big problems."

The world's top-ranked women's tennis player enjoyed a day off before the quarterfinals. Her rivals, however, had to sweat it out on center court.

Sabatini, seeded fifth, beat Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia, 6-1, 6-4, in a third-round match yesterday.

"I'm going to have to be very aggressive and hit the ball as hard as I can against Steffi," the Argentinian star said. "Playing against the No. 1 player in the world is exactly what I need to get ready for the U.S. Open."

No. 2 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain and No. 4 Mary Pierce of France also advanced, along with Judith Wiesner of Austria and Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria.

Sanchez Vicario, who will face Maleeva in the quarterfinals, beat Elena Likhotseva of Kazakhstan, 6-0, 6-4. Maleeva upset No. 7 Amanda Coetzer of South Africa, 7-5, 6-3.

"I felt pretty good in the first set, obviously, because I won 6-0," Sanchez Vicario said. "But the second set was tougher and she started to win some games. I finally got focused again and went on to win the match."

Pierce routed Elna Reinach of South Africa, 6-2, 6-1, to set up a match with Wiesner, who beat Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Ninth-seed Lori McNeil was beaten, 6-7 (7-1), 6-2, 6-4, by unseeded Nathaline Baudone of Italy, who will meet Japan's Kimiko Date, the third seed, in the other quarterfinal. Date outlasted unseeded Anna Smashnova of Israel, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Another one of those meta-cognition moments: Steffi knows what Gaby is thinking; Gaby knows what Steffi is thinking; each knows that the other knows what she she is thinking.

Graf, Pierce meet again to settle score from Paris Semifinal match recalls big upset at French Open
The Toronto Star
Saturday, August 20, 1994
Mary Ormsby

MONTREAL - Mary Pierce did it once. Steffi Graf doesn't want it to happen twice.

In a repeat semifinal matchup of the French Open - where Pierce upset the German star 6-2, 6-2 in Paris - the two meet again today at the Canadian Open.

"I'm looking forward - very much, actually - to playing her," Graf said, with a wry smile. "That match last time in Paris, I've said it many times before, that she played great. But I wasn't at my normal standard.

"I hope to change that and hopefully, have a better performance."

In today's other semifinal, second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, a 6-2, 6-1 victor over Bulgaria's Katerina Maleeva, will play Japan's Kimiko Date, the third seed in the $750,000 (U.S.) tournament at Jarry Tennis Stadium. Date beat Italian qualifier Nathalie Baudone, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Even as defending champion, Graf - who has never lost a match in Canada, including 1987 Federation Cup play in Vancouver - will have her hands full against the hard-hitting Pierce.

First, both women are playing very well, but Graf is still worried about her back.

A chronic disk and muscle problem flared during her match Wednesday but it didn't bother her in eliminating Gabriela Sabatini 7-5, 6-0 in yesterday's quarterfinals.

Second, the crowd will be firmly behind the Montreal-born Pierce.

Even though the 19-year-old player, who left Montreal at age 5 months with her French mother and American father, hadn't returned here until this year, she has captivated the city with her sunny blonde looks, aggressive play and fluent French.

And instead of shrinking from a match that could either deem the French Open upset as a fluke, Pierce is anxious for a second shot at Graf.

"I'm definitely excited to play Steffi again," said Pierce, who destroyed Austrian Judith Wiesner 6-1, 6-1 in 59 minutes last night. "I got mad at myself a few times out there (when she made errors) because I really wanted to play Steffi Graf.

"I definitely want to win but it will be very difficult - and people will want to see if Mary can do it again."

But the world's No. 1 player will be just as determined to even the score against the fourth-seeded Pierce. And judging by the way Graf rallied from being down 5-2 to win 11 straight games and humiliate Sabatini, it's a sound bet that Graf will come out red hot today.

Graf was considerate in analysing Sabatini's collapse.

"If you are up 5-2 and you lose 7-5, you get a little frustrated and you think a lot about losing that first set in the second, you can't help it," Graf said.

Sabatini has never lived up to her great potential, even back when she and Graf could go toe-to-toe in matches. She has not won a tournament since 1992 nor a key match.

The world's 10th-ranked player hopes a new coaching alliance with Juan Nunez will help regain some of her old spark. They began working together after a disappointing Wimbledon where Sabatini lost in the round of 16 and will remain a tandem at least through the U.S. Open.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf starts slow, rallies to humble Sabatini
The Washington Times
Saturday, August 20, 1994

MONTREAL - Steffi Graf shrugged off a poor start and won the final 11 games to beat Gabriela Sabatini 7-5, 6-0 last night in the Canadian Open.

The top-seeded Graf, whose sore back caused her to stop play twice for treatment on Wednesday, started slowly against Sabatini, trailing 5-2 at one point with Sabatini serving at 30-love.

Then, in a lesson in tennis tenacity, Graf won the next five games to win the set and leave her opponent dispirited.

In the second set, Graf continued her onslaught, smashing powerful forehands at will to clinch her sixth consecutive victory over Sabatini.

"I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match and Sabatini was playing very well," Graf said. "I thought I could get back into it if I just kept the ball in play and waited for the right moment to attack. Then, it finally came in the eighth game."

Sabatini was amazed at how quickly the bottom fell out.

"I played so well at the beginning," said the tall Argentinian. "I was attacking and doing exactly what I wanted. Then, she started to come back and I guess my mind just went off somewhere."

Graf's opponent in Saturday's semifinals will be Mary Pierce, who eliminated Graf from the semifinals of the French Open two months ago. Pierce won the first 13 points today in beating Judith Wiesner of Austria, 6-1, 6-1.

"I'm very excited about playing Steffi," said a jubilant Pierce after the match.

"I got mad at myself a couple of times tonight because I really wanted to win."

No. 2 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario defeated Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-1 in another quarterfinal. She will play in the semifinals against Japan's Kimiko Date, who beat Nathalie Baudone of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Baudone played a tough attacking game for the first set and a half. But the patient, consistent Japanese player simply wore her down and went on to take over.

"I've been playing in the early matches all week because maybe people think the other matches are more interesting," said Sanchez Vicario, who is in the second half of the draw and has had an easy time this week.

"But I don't mind if Sabatini, Graf and Pierce fight it out at the top half of the draw. I'll just wait and play the winner."


NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 1 seed Michael Stich dropped a set for the first time in the Volvo International but still beat No. 8 Patrick Rafter 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 yesterday in a tournament disrupted by rain a third straight day.

Stich was leading Rafter 6-2, 5-4 when the match, which started 90 minutes late because of the first rain-delay of the day, was stopped after it started to rain again.

After a 15-minute delay, Stich lost his service and the set. But he broke Rafter early in the third and went on to become the first player to advance to the semifinals before play was suspended a third time about 4 p.m.

Play resumed about 5:30 p.m. for the start of the match between No. 3 seed Boris Becker and No. 11 MaliVai Washington.

Becker held a 3-0 lead when play was suspended a fourth time about 6 p.m. After a final delay of nearly 2 1/2 hours, he won 6-2, 6-4.

Becker will face his countryman Stich in one of today's semifinal matches.

In the only upset of the day, No. 7 Marc Rosset beat Andrei Medvedev, the No. 2 seed and defending Volvo champion, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), in a match that didn't end until 11:35 p.m. because of the disrupted schedule.


INDIANAPOLIS - Third-seeded Stefan Edberg, describing his play as lethargic, was upset by unseeded Alex Corretja of Spain at the RCA Championships, leaving only one seeded player left for the semifinals.

Edberg lost 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, leaving seventh-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa the only seed left at the Indianapolis Tennis Center.

The victory over Edberg, currently No. 4 in the world, continued a dream week for the 20-year-old Corretja in his first hardcourt tourney of the year. He earlier beat fifth-seeded Jim Courier and 12th-seeded Andrea Gaudenzi.


COMMACK, N.Y. - Pete Sampras, who will be top-seeded in men's singles when the U.S. Open begins later this month, still hasn't fully recovered from tendinitis in his left ankle.

The world's top-ranked player was a last-minute entry in the Hamlet Cup tennis tournament, where he will compete only in doubles with Richey Reneberg.

"The fact is I haven't practiced in a few weeks," said Sampras, who will be playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon in July, which he won for the second straight year. "In the doubles I'll be able to start moving more, covering half a court. I feel I need to start moving."
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post #4019 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2014, 06:39 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Interesting that Steffi very much fancied her chances versus Mary ("I'm looking forward to playing her..." and said with a smile ) and expected a more difficult match versus Arantxa.

Graf strikes a Piercing blow -- German 'happy' to avenge defeat at Paris Open
The Toronto Star
Sunday, August 21, 1994
Mary Ormsby

MONTREAL - Steffi Graf said revenge had nothing to do with it.

She lied.

Graf was so delighted with her defeat of Mary Pierce in the Canadian Open semifinals, the normally reserved German actually skipped to the net (just two steps, though) to shake hands with the woman who had shocked her at the French Open.

"For a lot of reasons, I was happy that I won (yesterday)," said a thoroughly pleased Graf, who eliminated Pierce 6-3, 6-4 and faces Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in today's championship final.

"But this doesn't really have a lot to do with looking back at Paris. I'm really happy with the way I'm playing. I thought we had a really good match. We were really going for it and it was tough to hang in."

In the other semifinal, the second-seeded Sanchez Vicario rallied after an hour-long rain delay between the first and second sets to defeat Japan's Kimiko Date, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Graf, the defending champion, and Sanchez Vicario, the 1992 winner, begin play at 1 p.m. in the $750,000 (U.S.) event, which is also known as the Matinee Ltd. International. The victor collects $150,000 while the runner-up earns $60,000.

The Graf-Pierce showdown was the day's highlight as the eagerly anticipated rematch of the French Open semifinal did not disappoint the nearly 8,000 gathered at Jarry Tennis Stadium.

Everyone was well aware that Graf wanted to remind the 19-year-old French woman who the world's No. 1 ranked player is. Meanwhile, Pierce, born in Montreal and the crowd darling this week, was determined to prove her victory in Paris was no fluke.

It was an intriguing match from the start when the two strong women traded blasts from the baseline in a series of extended and aggressive rallies.

Pierce dipped deep into the same bag of tricks that helped her oust Graf 6-2, 6-2 at Roland Garros and mixed the heavy, deep hitting with moonballs, drop shots and touch volleys to keep Graf off balance.

Pierce had better success with her strategy at the beginning of the second set when she jumped to a 3-0 lead. But Graf, who works the court better than anyone, began pressuring Pierce and broke her in the key fifth game to close the gap to 3-2 after going to deuce seven times.

Pierce began to make her own unforced errors and, saying later that she was "tired," she requested a five-minute bathroom break before the sixth game. Graf was unhappy at the break, since she was to serve next, and trotted off to the locker room as well to change her shirt.

"I had to serve and I wasn't sure how I was going to do after the break. I was a little nervous but it worked out well," said Graf, who won 12 of 13 points immediately after.

Pierce, ranked fifth in the world, said she had no regrets at not repeating a victory over Graf.

"It's lots of fun for me to play against Steffi," Pierce said. "I know we'll both go out there and attack and be aggressive.

"But this time, I tried to do everything I could against her. I just got a little bit tired and it's awfully tough to beat Steffi on hard courts."'

Still, she said she'll leave Montreal with a fond memory. Pierce left Montreal as a 5-month-old with her French mother and American father.

"My best memory is of having the crowd cheering for me just like I was a hometown girl," Pierce said.

Against Sanchez, Graf said she expects a more difficult match today than in the 6-2, 6-1 drubbing she gave her in the San Diego final two weeks ago.

"We've had lots of matches, lots of close ones," said Graf, who leads 24-6 in head-to-head career matches.


The CTV color crew of Don Fontana and Virginia Wade received a scare a few minutes to airtime yesterday. Part of the ceiling fell on the pair and the production crew in the TV booth. Everyone was shaken up for a few seconds but no one was hurt.
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post #4020 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2014, 06:43 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I have two words for players like Boris, Mary, Arantxa, and Alex: Shot clock. It will come one day.

Sunday, August 21, 1994
The Associated Press

Top-seeded Steffi Graf took care of two pieces of business at the Matinee International Canadian Open Saturday.

Graf moved into today's final at the $1 million tournament by defeating fourth-seeded Mary Pierce 6-3, 6-4. She also avenged a straight-set loss against Pierce at the semifinals of the French Open early in June.

Graf will face second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the title match. Sanchez Vicario defeated third-seeded Kimiko Date of Japan 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

"I didn't feel I needed to avenge anything," said Graf. "Today was just another match. I just played better and I won."

Pierce, a sentimental favorite in Montreal because she spent the first few months of her life there and has a French background, trailed 4-1 in the opening set. But she closed within 4-3 by breaking Graf in the seventh game, which went to deuce four times.

Graf never lost her poise, however, and won the next two games.

The fifth game was the turning point in the second set.

Pierce, who had taken the first three games, was leading 3-1. She lost the fifth game, despite holding a 40-15 lead. The game went to deuce six times, with Graf prevailing. Graf then won the next four games.

After the fifth game, Pierce requested a timeout to go to the washroom.

"At 3-2, I got tired and I also had to go to the bathroom," said Pierce. "I was still tired when I came back."

Date, ranked ninth in the world, was dominant in the first set, playing methodically and with pinpoint precision.

But, following a rain delay of almost an hour two points into the second set, Sanchez Vicario came out refreshed. She immediately broke Date in the first game and was up 3-0 before Date won a game. Trailing 2-1 in the third set, Date was broken at love in the fourth game. Sanchez Vicario made it 12 consecutive winning points in building a 4-1 lead.

"I thought the rain delay helped me," Sanchez Vicario said. "She was not missing one ball in that first set, and I was making a lot of unforced errors."

Date was frequently bent over after a point was decided, sometimes clutching her stomach.

After the match, Date said she pulled a stomach muscle during her quarterfinal Friday night and it still bothered her Saturday.

"It became more painful and harder to concentrate as the match progressed," Date said.

Becker upets Stich

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Third-seeded Boris Becker staged an impressive second-set comeback to upset top-seeded Michael Stich 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals of the Volvo International.

Becker will meet No. 7 seed Marc Rosset, who beat sixth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in a night match.

Stich was up 3-0 in the second set, but Becker broke him in the ninth game to cut the deficit to 5-4. After Becker held serve, Stich was broken again after complaining to the chair umpire that Becker was delaying the game.

"I said you have to play the pace of the server, and he's not been ready," Stich repeated to the umpire after the game.

Becker then held service for the match.

"Too bad it had to end like that. The whole game is not only played in your arms, but also in your head," Becker said. "You know which plays are important at the special times. You do everything you can within the rules to win the tennis match."

Stich declined to comment on Becker not being ready, but said "he blew" the second set.

Rosset held service the entire match and broke Kafelnikov once in the second game of the second set. Kafelnikov, who earlier beat Marc Goellner 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-4 in a match that started Friday, put up a good fight.

Kafelnikov saved four match points in the ninth game of the final set before Rosset got the service winner for the match.

Ferreira wins soggy semi

INDIANAPOLIS - Wayne Ferreira, the only seeded player to survive a week of upsets, defeated Alex Corretja 6-1, 6-2 in a rain-interrupted semifinal match in the RCA Championships. The match was delayed more than seven hours. Olivier Delaitre defeated Bernd Karbacher 7-5, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
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