Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
RKM, I think Steffi was quite disappointed in herself on not taking the opportunities she had in the 92 RG finals to win it. From things that she said herself.
Did she think she had let down her fans then, and had to return that support in winning 92 Wimbly, I would hope that she didn't feel that she had let down her fans when she lost and had to win 92W to give back to that support.
But I do think that perhaps one way Steffi did deal with the enormous support that she was shown, was to try always to show her best, give what she had to give, everytime she stepped on court, which coincided from a strong motivation from within herself to do just that.
In an interview in NY before the US open in the later part of her career, she was asked what still motivated her. This recount is not word for word but close. She said the challenge was to go out on court and try to show her best. It was that challenge that was fun for her. The interviewer was surprised, challenge? fun? Those words are far apart in my way of thinking. Steffi replied that in her mind they were close, very close.
I think she was always moved by the support that she had wherever she played but I think at least during a tourney that she never really allowed herself to take it in and fully feel that support and react to it at least during a match like she did in 99RG which is another reason that match is so remarkable.
She has acknowledged that support on more than one occasion that it was the care and support from so many people over the years that, as she saw it, made her life so special.
On another note when I watched 99RG there was a deja vu incident that occurred in that match that was similar to something that happened at the 89 U.S. open final against Martina N. Both left the court during the match. Steffi returned before Martina N. and was casually leaning against the side of the court patiently waiting for Martina N. When Navratilova came back on court she went to her chair for a drink and maybe a towel before returning to her court position. When Martina N. finally joined Steffi on court, she was greeted by a chorus of boos. I was there and fairly or not, people were actually upset that Navratilova was making Steffi wait.
I don't recall how commentators on TV explained the boos coming from the crowd. But it was loud and it was coming from a great number of people in the crowd.
I do recall later when watching a tape of it that the commentators said that the crowd was fairly evenly split as far as supporters go, but from my experience being there, really most of the crowd was actually firmly behind Steffi.