Re: How was Steffi Graf career in early 90s,if she had no dad scandal in 1990 ?
From New York Times,
Graf's Toughest Foe
By FERDINAND PROTZMAN, Special to The New York Times
Published: July 13, 1990
BONN, July 12— In past years she has left Wimbledon as a proud champion and been celebrated as a role model at home in West Germany. But last week Steffi Graf departed from London a deeply troubled young woman.
The personal life of the world's No. 1 female tennis player has been in turmoil since late May, when Graf's 66-match winning streak ended with a first-ever loss to Monica Seles, in the final of the Berlin Open. That was followed by another loss to Seles in the French Open final and a semifinal defeat at the hands of Zina Garrison last Thursday at Wimbledon.
Graf has placed blame for the slump on the West German news media, which for two months has regularly made front-page news of her family's personal problems. The chief culprit in her eyes is the tabloid Bild, the nation's largest-circulation newspaper, which began running a story during the Berlin Open about her father's involvement with a woman who has modeled in the nude.
In a two-part interview with Stern, a West German weekly magazine, which was published during Wimbledon, Graf said the news media had hurt her so deeply that ''I could not fight as usual.''
''Tennis is won with the head, but my head was often not with the game,'' she said.
Since Wimbledon, Graf has been in seclusion. Bild reported today that Graf had a secret operation Monday in Heidelberg to cure a persistent sinus problem and was recovering at her home in Bruhl. Neither she nor her father could be reached for comment.
Behind the headlines and the Stern interview is the story of a young woman with exceptional athletic skills and above-average intelligence whose life and career have been completely dominated by her father since she was a child. Now, at age 21, she is beginning to pursue other interests and develop her independence. It remains to be seen whether recent events accelerate that process, although at Wimbledon Graf said she had no intention of severing her business relationship with her father.
Model, Baby and Money
Graf's problems began in late May when Bild began regularly adorning its front page with the lurid tale of Nicole Meissner, a 22-year-old model, who said Peter Graf - a 52-year-old former used-car salesman - was the father of her baby daughter. Headlines like ''Sex, Baby, Nude Model - Why did Father Graf simply pay?'' were always accompanied by a photo of Meissner sans apparel.
Bild, boasting daily circulation of 5.3 million copies, is a national institution providing Germans with a fluffy blend of sensationalism, sports, sleaziness and prurience. It is like a hybrid publication produced by crossing The National Enquirer and Playboy.
It has no qualms about paying for stories and, as a result, has had some spectacular scoops and flops. Bild reportedly paid Meissner and her manager, Eberhard Thust, the equivalent of $91,000 for exclusive rights to Meissner's story.
Her story and photos were quickly picked up by other European newspapers and magazines, and seemed to follow Graf wherever she went. Her famed ability to concentrate under pressure began crumbling and the corner-seeking forehand rockets that are her trademark began to go astray.
The normally stoic Graf also began to show emotions in public, crying after her Paris loss and smashing a hole in the locker-room wall with her racquet after the Berlin final.
''In Paris and Berlin, I indeed did not just lose against Monica Seles; I was defeated by an opponent that wasn't even on the court,'' Graf told Stern. ''Yes, I also lost the two finals against the German press.''
Saying she couldn't take much more, Graf threatened to leave West Germany and move to the United States if the newspapers ''hurt me and my family in the future with their headlines.''
Big News in London, Too
At Wimbledon, reporters were prohibited from asking questions about the subject during Graf's news conferences, but the London tabloids nevertheless seized on the subject with vigor. The distractions drew sympathy from other players.
''I just hope that Steffi gets herself together and that she is able to overcome the incredible pressures that she's feeling and that she had nothing to do with,'' Martina Navratilova told reporters during Wimbledon. ''I feel sorry for that happening to her. She did nothing to deserve it and it's a real shame. I just hope she gets through it and can concentrate on tennis again 100 percent.''
The story itself has become increasingly convoluted over the weeks. Testifying in court, Meissner recanted her contention that Peter Graf was the father of her child and denied that she had had intimate relations with him. But his name is on the birth certificate, although that is not legally binding proof of paternity in West Germany.
One of the few incontestable facts, said the Frankfurt Prosecutor's Office, is that Peter Graf paid Meissner $424,000. The key question is whether it was extorted or not. Meissner and Thust, a 43-year-old former bar owner and sometime boxing promoter, are being held in a Frankfurt jail on suspicion of having blackmailed Graf. They have not been formally charged and, under West German law, can be held almost indefinitely if a judge rules that there is sufficient reason to suspect they committed a crime. A spokesman for the Frankfurt Prosecutor's Office said the investigation is continuing.
Parents Are Silent
Peter Graf, meanwhile, has said nothing publicly on the case. Steffi's mother, Heidi, has also been silent, and, in public at least, the family appears to be holding together.
What may prove even more difficult for Peter Graf than his current problems is facing up to the fact that his daughter is no longer a child, but an adult who is beginning to see more to life than tennis.
By all accounts, he did an exceptional job of recognizing and developing his daughter's tennis talent. When Steffi was 12, he quit his job to devote full attention to training her. She turned pro two years later.
''He was conscientious, cautious and effective,'' one tennis expert said. ''Peter Graf passed up quick money from a heavy tournament schedule because he knew she was not ready. Think of Andrea Jaeger, Tracy Austin and all the junior teen tennis stars who burned out physically or mentally before they were 20. Peter Graf succeeded in avoiding that, which is an accomplishment.''
But once Steffi attained the No. 1 ranking in August 1987, the drive and determination that made Peter Graf so effective as a mentor became increasingly irksome to the tennis world, manifesting themselves as a penchant for meddling and a constant striving to control every facet of his daughter's image. That was typified by his decision earlier this year to create a ''more womanly'' image for Steffi, which led to her posing for a series of sophisticated fashion photographs for Vogue.
Comparison With Becker
That image-shaping was also prompted in part by a desire to make his daughter as popular as Boris Becker, West Germany's male tennis idol. The cool, unemotional Steffi was somewhat unfairly compared with the fist-waving, shouting Becker and found lacking. As part of that image-shaping, Steffi often wrote articles for Bild at her father's request and reportedly for pay.
He also intervened with the press, including Bild, in an attempt to stop the recent stories, and has clearly put blame the entire matter on the news media, a view his daughter shares.
Referring to journalists, she told Stern: ''I hate these people. I will never stop hating these people, who wanted to destroy my family only because of the circulation of their newspapers.''
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