Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2 - Page 63 - TennisForum.com

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post #931 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

A Special Evening with Andre Agassi

http://www.agassifoundation.org/a-sp...-andre-agassi/
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post #932 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by XTN View Post
What's just as surprising as ASV being out of this list is that Davenport is at #9! And even Venus being #8 actually. Clay is a clear worst surface for these two.

I think clay was Graf's worst surface coz a lot of players in her era were at their best or close to it on clay - Seles, ASV, Conchita Martinez, even Sabatini. (Although I think Conchita never beat Steffi on clay.) But when compared to players today, none of them apart from Justine seem to be all that good on clay. If the Steffi of 87-89 or 95-96 played tennis now, she'd be racking up French Open titles (or sharing them with Justine).
Objectively speaking I dont think Justine's game would trouble Graf much other than possibly on hard courts interestingly enough. I actually think what you say of Graf is true of Justine as well. Justine's best surface in another era could well be hard courts, the only reason it is clay now is the clay court field is weak enough to make it easier for her to win so much, but the hard court field is so deep she has won only 3 hard court slams even though she is an outstanding hard court player. She is an excellent clay courter too but I dont think she is better than on hard courts other than the competition.

The Graf era was the deepest clay court era ever. That is one reason I consider Graf the greatest clay courter ever and not Evert. The clay court field in the 70s was the biggest joke ever. In the early to mid 80s it improved a bit but still not great. If Evert faced the clay court field that Graf did with Seles, Sanchez, Pierce, Martinez, Capriati, Sabatini, Hingis, and others there is no way she would have been as dominant on clay as she was.

I do think Justine would still deny Graf a couple Frenchs. Probably if Graf of 86-96 played from 2000-2010 she would have won 8 of the 11 French Opens. 2 to Henin, 1 to someone else (no idea who but not Serena), and 8 to Graf.
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post #933 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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I do think Justine would still deny Graf a couple Frenchs. Probably if Graf of 86-96 played from 2000-2010 she would have won 8 of the 11 French Opens. 2 to Henin, 1 to someone else (no idea who but not Serena), and 8 to Graf.
That's an interesting thought. I personally think that if Graf's body held up for a few more years after 1999, she could've won at least 2 more French Opens - 2000 and 2001. I remember watching the 2000 final of the French Open between Mary Pierce and Conchita Martinez, and I felt the quality of tennis was quite poor. While Pierce at her best ranks up there with the best of them, she was very nervous and tentative in 2000 and was lucky to be facing an uninspired Conchita in the final. Graf playing at, or even just close to, her 1999 level would have beaten either of the 2000 finalists, or heck anyone else in the draw.

While the 2001 final featured a 12-10 third set, it was again one of those cases where both players were just getting the ball in and waiting for the other player to make a mistake. Graf and her gutsy tennis would've been able to take control of the final, in a way that neither Capriati nor Clijsters could do, and run away with possibly her 8th French Open title.

Of course these are all suppositions of a Graf fan lol and the 1999 Graf did lose on clay to Julie Halard-Decugis (ugh, there goes the perfect H2H record! lol). However, I do believe, and I'm sure a lot of other people think this too, that if Graf remained interested, she could've matched Margaret Court's record of 24 slams. Even if she would certainly be injured some of the time.
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post #934 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 05:45 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

XTN , i still angry on Graf for her retirement and if she love records like other legends,she may play some more years!

Steffi Graf - My Best: "Steffi is the goddess of Tennis" : John McEnroe
"She let her racket do the talking. I've always looked up to her and the way she approached the game" : Pete Sampras
"In my opinion she 's the best lady that has ever played" : Andre Agassi
"She's one of the greatest players, maybe even greatest" : Richard Krajicek
"Steffi is the best all around player of all-time, regardless of surfaces" : Martina Navratilova
"Steffi is definitely the greatest singles player ever" : Billie Jean King
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post #935 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 07:10 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

How can you be angry ?
She never played to break records. She played for the love of the game (she reminds me of Nadal (or Nadal of her) who quite never speaks (only when asked) about records and numbers, but who prefers to speak about improving his game, fighting on court, etc...).
You can find itw in wich she said she d like to be remembered as a player who loved the game (not as the best or something else).
Moreover she stopped when she felt the will was gone, even if she could have break the record, but I still don't see what's wrong with it, on the contrary I feel proud. As she could have, but she simply didn't wanted to (play anymore)
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post #936 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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That's an interesting thought. I personally think that if Graf's body held up for a few more years after 1999, she could've won at least 2 more French Opens - 2000 and 2001. I remember watching the 2000 final of the French Open between Mary Pierce and Conchita Martinez, and I felt the quality of tennis was quite poor. While Pierce at her best ranks up there with the best of them, she was very nervous and tentative in 2000 and was lucky to be facing an uninspired Conchita in the final. Graf playing at, or even just close to, her 1999 level would have beaten either of the 2000 finalists, or heck anyone else in the draw.

While the 2001 final featured a 12-10 third set, it was again one of those cases where both players were just getting the ball in and waiting for the other player to make a mistake. Graf and her gutsy tennis would've been able to take control of the final, in a way that neither Capriati nor Clijsters could do, and run away with possibly her 8th French Open title.

Of course these are all suppositions of a Graf fan lol and the 1999 Graf did lose on clay to Julie Halard-Decugis (ugh, there goes the perfect H2H record! lol). However, I do believe, and I'm sure a lot of other people think this too, that if Graf remained interested, she could've matched Margaret Court's record of 24 slams. Even if she would certainly be injured some of the time.
Yeah the 2000 and 2001 finals were not great at all. There were some great tennis played in 2000 but none of it was by Martinez or Pierce in the final. Both wanted to win that French so badly that day, it was always the most important slam for both of these players. And neither Capriati or Kim are that great of clay courters and Kim was just a rookie back then.
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post #937 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 08:27 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Well she didn't play because she loved the game although for sure she said many times she didn't play for records - Agassi clearly reports that she did not love the game and he's in a far better position to know than we are and in their Vogue interview last winter she chose the word "excruciating."

RKM - the tone of this board has been very collegial. You seem very angry - with Graf, the moderators (who I think do an excellent job), and with posters on the board who don't post to your liking. This isn't a board like that (although there are plenty of message boards where you can go to vent if that's what you prefer...).

I am not so in favor of the counterfactuals - what ifs... there's no way she could have played on and if she has it would have been a disaster. She didn't have the mental or physical resources to continue (as shown by the fact she defaulted mid match in her last two matches, the exo aganst Capriati in NJ and vs Frazier in San Diego - I don't know if she had ever defaulted mid match at all before that).
I think it's an unusual ability in great athletes of any kind actually that she could:
a) recognize that herself in a timely manner before a swift decline
b) act on her recognition.
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post #938 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 08:33 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Didn't Agassi say that she loved playing tennis but hated certain aspects of the game (which I thought had to do with dealing with the media and public frenzy since she is a private person)? Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that is what he said in the German interview he gave when the book came out.
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post #939 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 08:57 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Actually, I don't exactly remember if it was a German interview but I am pretty sure I read it somewhere. Will try to dig the interview up if I can.
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post #940 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:12 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Didn't Agassi say that she loved playing tennis but hated certain aspects of the game (which I thought had to do with dealing with the media and public frenzy since she is a private person)? Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that is what he said in the German interview he gave when the book came out.
Yes that's what he said, actually no, not "aspects of the game", but more about life as a pro I think.
Once again julie you're quoting the same sentence to say she doesn't love tennis, "excruciating" is about life on tour = travels, hotels,...One reason more to not keep on playing "only" to break the record.
You can find so many itw throughout her career in which she said she loves tennis.

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post #941 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:15 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Yeah the 2000 and 2001 finals were not great at all. There were some great tennis played in 2000 but none of it was by Martinez or Pierce in the final. Both wanted to win that French so badly that day, it was always the most important slam for both of these players. And neither Capriati or Kim are that great of clay courters and Kim was just a rookie back then.
As far as I remember the 2000 Final was so boring But it was pretty cool to see Mary winning it
The 2001 had a poor level, but at least there was some drama.
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post #942 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:21 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

No Agassi did not say she hated only certain aspects of the game. (In fact he didn't say she hated it at all - he said she agreed that everyone hates it when he said he did - and in the book anyone she was the first person he ever said that to who accepted it as the truth.) I don't recall her saying repeatedly she loved tennis - I can recall her saying she loved winning (they all love winning in that moment, even Agassi) but even then a couple of days later no time to enjoy it but on immediately to pressure about the next tournament. Plus it's clear the media aren't interested in hearing any other story - I do recall a presser where the media where on and on at her to tell them what she really thought because she was always so reserved and she finally said "I'm sick of tennis." Long silence. No follow up. On to the next inane question (That might have been Miami in 1994.) So I don't think she felt any need to explain how she really felt about tennis in interviews. I don't recall her saying a single positive thing along the lines of it was "excruciating but I loved it anyway" in Vogue. LoL. Rather she elaborated quite clearly on what there is not to like. I don't know why people are so invested in the players loving what they do. Plenty of people don't like their jobs and do them very well ...
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post #943 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:32 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

@julie : I understand why you think this way

But i am still convinced (sorry lol) she loved the game, only the game, itself (!)
She stopped while she could have break THE record, because she felt she wouldn't be 100% comitted (no more will) to it, isn't it a sort of proof.
So the "sick of tennis" things, to me are more about what tennis brings negative to her, you know journalists etc...

By the way...I, myself, hate my job (and i am not kidding at all)
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post #944 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Djul - well I hope you're right that she loved the game, only the game, even if nothing else to do with it Seems pretty clear to me that she felt instantly liberated after she retired (although of course may have felt liberated from the apparatus of the game) - plus of course the whole unexpectedly falling madly in love improves anyone's mood

What I would reconstruct from various interviews is a trajectory something like this - quite different to Agassi if ending up at a similar point. She loved tennis as a kid and as a teenager ie moved up between the ranks very smoothly, everything came very easily etc.
1989 on - seachange. She definitely said this ie had loved it and ceased to love it as this time. Why? Already on the tour for years and fed up, probably burned out, feeling a lot of pressure, thinking of abandoning tennis for track (kind of wish she would have done that - would have been epic), growing up and starting to realize there might be more to life (in tandem with NY photographer boyfriend who was older, more a person of the world, lots of new adventures with him no doubt including the since lifelong interest in photography), lots of conflict with Slozil in part apparently over control issues re her offcourt life/boyfriend & fed no doubt by some on court losses. This was the phase of painting her bedroom black and spending days there if I recall. (Agassi also did this....) I would say she was probably actually depressed at this time. (And the parental drama on top of all that..)
1992ish - got her act together. Slozil out and Heinz in and much more accepting of her as a grown up with other interests as well as a better tennis coach (imho - I think he did a great job with her); steady boyfriend in Bartels who was more compatible with tennis than the NY guy; refocused on tennis as a fixed term commitment after which she could get on and have the life she wanted - that is she could see the end at the light of the tunnel and identify it as a short term deal worth doing as well as she possibly could; more secure about herself, appearance etc.
Heidi said later she really only grew up 1998 or so - long adolescence as Agassi again pointed out being common to many players due to nature of their existence.
1999 - a lot of rapid fire grown up decisions about what she wanted to do with her life. Bartels and tennis out; Agassi in. Off to the races....
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post #945 of 6247 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2010, 10:08 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I love your summary (the end lol).
I like it even more, as you're sayin she loved it (tennis), and get to dislike it, mostly because of off court's reasons. And probably that's what she meant, while sayin "don't we hate it all" (us tennis pro, for those (off court) reasons).
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