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post #31 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 14th, 2012, 08:36 PM
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Re: 1992

Philadelphia Daily News
Tuesday, November 10, 1992
Author: Bill Fleischman

Playing her first pro tennis match in her hometown made Lisa Raymond understandably nervous. But she fooled the sparse crowd last night at the Civic Center. And to her opponent, Raymond was a swift sorceress.

Beverly Bowes, an eight-year tour veteran, won only two points in the first three games as Raymond swept their first-round Virginia Slims of Philadelphia match, 6-1, 6-3.

"I was very nervous going into the match," said Raymond, a Wayne resident and the reigning NCAA singles champion. "I wasn't too worried about winning or losing. I just wanted to play well.

"There were so many people out there that I hadn't seen in so long," the University of Florida sophomore continued. Raymond, 19, said friends from the Academy of Notre Dame were among the crowd of 1,965, greeting the wild-card entrant before the match with such casual greetings as "Hey, what's up?"

What's up for Raymond is a tennis career hovering close to full-fledged pro status. She intends to compete for Florida through the spring. Then, if she feels sufficiently improved, she will wave farewell to her Gators teammates and join the pro tour.

When Bowes, 27, ranked No. 109 in the world, began hitting moonball returns early in the match last night, Raymond knew her more experienced rival was in trouble. The first set lasted a mere 19 minutes.

"When she started hitting lobs," Raymond said, "I knew she was having problems with my aggressiveness and the hardness of the ball. It does signal to me that she can't stay out there and hit with me. She has to mix it up.

"I expected Beverly to play a little better," Raymond said. "I had never played her before, but I had seen her play."

After breaking Bowes's serve in the second and sixth games of the first set, Raymond broke again in the third game of the second set. With a 5-3 lead and Bowes dangling at double match point, Raymond hit a forehand long. But on the second match point, Raymond confidently stroked an unreturnable backhand passing shot to clinch the match.

Some of Raymond's confidence against pro like Bowes can be traced to her second-round U.S. Open match against top-ranked Monica Seles two months ago. Raymond lost, 7-5, 6-0, but she left New York encouraged by her performance in the first set.

"I wanted to go back to 5-all so bad," said Raymond, ranked No. 132. "I kept replaying that game. It gave me a lot of confidence, knowing I could play with the top player in the world, at least for a set."

Raymond's second-round outing here will be against the winner of tonight's match between seventh-seeded Amy Frazier and Caroline Kuhlman.


Four years on the pro tour has given Amanda Coetzer a reality check on several things.

One is, the climb up the rankings ladder toward the top 10 is difficult. Another is, when you're from South Africa, you get home very little.

After finishing last year at No. 67 in the world, Coetzer has moved up to No. 20 with victories over Gabriela Sabatini and Jennifer Capriati. But Coetzer knows the next few steps will be the toughest.

"It's a long way up there (to the top 10)," Coetzer said yesterday after winning her first-round match over Shaun Stafford. Stafford, a former NCAA singles champion from the University of Florida, retired with an ankle injury after Coetzer took the first set, 6-1.

"In the last few tournaments I played, I put too much pressure on myself," Coetzer said. "In Taiwan, I was the top seed. In Puerto Rico, I was the second seed. I'm not used to that. I have to learn to deal with that."

Coetzer, 21, hasn't made the 18-hour trip home since July. One of her stops was in Barcelona, Spain, for the Olympics. She defeated Zina Garrison in the first round, but then bowed to Spain's Conchita Martinez in the round of 16.

When Coetzer is in the United States, she plays out of the Dennis Van Der Meer's tennis center in Hilton Head, S.C.

While South Africa was banned from international competition for its apartheid policy, the Olympics weren't even shown in the country, except on the nightly news highlights.

"I didn't know what to expect," she said. "It was a great experience. It was nice to meet the other South African athletes.

"I've never had any animosity toward me because I'm from South Africa. But we've been so removed from the world, the young people are anxious to get out and travel."

Third-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is Coetzer's next opponent. Later yesterday, Coetzer and Californian Cammy MacGregor lost their first-round doubles match to Lori McNeil and Brenda Schultz, 6-4, 7-5.


Top-seeded Steffi Graf plays tonight's featured match at 7 o'clock vs. Elena Brioukhovets, a first-round winner yesterday over Jill Hetherington, 6-2, 6-0. Sixth-seeded Mary Pierce opens today's schedule at 10 a.m. vs. Kathy Rinaldi . . . No. 5 Conchita Martinez, the only seeded player in singles yesterday, defeated Nathalie Herreman, 6-4, 6-1 . . . As part of Arthur Ashe Night at the tournament, Ashe Foundation volunteers tonight will distribute AIDS educational information and collect donations. Ashe, a former U.S. and Wimbledon champion, announced last spring that he was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, during surgery several years ago.
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post #32 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Re: 1992

Mazda Classic, San Diego 1992:

Capriati gets key to the city
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Tuesday, August 25, 1992

A blue Led Zepplin tie-dyed shirt. Cutoff denim shorts. White Converse high-tops. Way cool. Rock on. Sweet 16 and looking the part.

Jennifer Capriati stuck around Lindbergh Field yesterday long enough to receive the key to the city and a whole lot of what she really doesn't like. Attention.

America's gold-medal winner opens her defense of the Mazda Tennis Classic tomorrow night at 7 at La Costa Resort & Spa against the winner of today's Judith Wiesner-Julie Halard match.

Not a problem, Capriati says, is motivating herself for this event. This, despite still beaming from her Olympic victory and it just being a week from playing her role as America's great hope at the U.S. Open.

"I never came down from the (Olympics)," Capriati said. "Being that hyped up, I still think the momentum is going for me."

After receiving the gold key from City Manager Jack McGrory, Capriati volleyed back some answers:

On professionals playing in the Olympics: "We should send our best and win the gold. That's what it's about."

On the expectations that now -- after beating Steffi Graf in Barcelona -- she should consistently vie for Grand Slam titles: "That's what I expect of myself."

How'd she win?

Oceanside's Stephanie Rehe, who won this event in 1988, committed 29 double faults in her three-hour, 31-minute match against Argentina's Mercedes Paz. Good thing this sport isn't all serving.

Rehe won: 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

"Except for my serving, I thought things went pretty well," said Rehe, who still fights the effects of a bad back, the result of an car accident in 1989.

Want irony? Rehe saved a match point in the second set. Ace.

Et cetera

The evening's top match between seventh-seeded Zina Garrison and Escondido's Ros Fairbank-Nideffer was scheduled to begin at 7. Not possible -- the Sea World beach band was playing then. Next on was a pleasant yet drawn-out presentation of the colors. Then the players were introduced and began warming up. At 7:15, half the court lights went out. At 7:20, the other half went out. At 7:35, they came on. At 7:38, play began. Wow.

Yesterday's attendance: morning session 2,566; evening session 2,654.

Coronado's Angelica Gavaldon lost to sixth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of Central Africa 6-1, 6-3 in last night's second match.

Del Mar's Robin White was excused, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 by Ann Grossman, who can thank an effective first serve (64 percent) for advancing . . . Former UCLA standout Kimberly Po secured a date with top-seeded Gabriela Sabatini by beating San Diego's Gretchen Magers, 6-3, 6-4. Po-Sabatini play tonight at 7. The former should make the most of it -- she plans on returning to school after the U.S. Open . . . USD's Julie McKeon and Laura Richards continue their Summer of Experience when they meet fourth-seeded Garrison-White in a doubles match this morning at 11.
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post #33 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Re: 1992

Garrison tries to help others by helping self
The San Diego Union-Tribune
uesday, August 25, 1992

She remembers the times, all of them. Each meal. A secret, it was. Fighting it, she was. Days and weeks and years of fighting. Still does.

You don't get much more successful at a profession than Zina Garrison has. Not many in the tennis world are allowed a curtsy at a Centre Court Wimbledon final. Not many earn $3 million in career winnings. Not many ever reach a No. 4 ranking. The most fortunate do. The best do.

But life, at times, is very cruel, and even those who excel to elite levels aren't spared. Eating disorders like bulimia do not ask names before taking action. Garrison knows this. She lives it.

That was her last night, winning another match, dismissing another opponent, charging the net and volleying winner after winner. Garrison beat Escondido's Ros Fairbank-Nideffer, 6-3, 6-2, in a first-round match of the Mazda Tennis Classic at La Costa Resort & Spa.

The questions haven't changed the past few years. Over and over. What's going on? Why does the ranking keep slipping? Where are the days of 1990? Over and over.

"To some extent, you always want to be a perfectionist," said Garrison, 28. "You never want to admit this could happen to you."

Truth be told, it's incredible to think what Garrison accomplished while competing with her disease. The bulimic episodes began in 1983, the year her mother passed away.

Seems a relative suggested Garrison the athlete could stay fit and trim one easy way. Eat and purge. Eat and purge.

For six of the next seven years, Garrison remained among the world's top 10 players. She ended Chris Evert's Grand Slam career in 1989. And still purged.

She was married that year to Willard Jackson. Still, she ate, went off by herself and purged.

By reaching the Wimbledon final a year later -- she beat Steffi Graf and Monica Seles in consecutive matches -- she became the first black woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Althea Gibson in 1958.

Still. Meal after meal.

Her hair fell out. Her fingernails became soft. Her skin wasn't healthy.

"The thing about it is, you can't run from food," Garrison said. "It's going to be there."

Perhaps harder than dealing with the bulimia was keeping it a secret, something Garrison did until recently. Longtime friends and opponents never knew. Ditto her six siblings. She wouldn't let them.

But such is typical Garrison. She is a woman who cares deeply about others and their problems, about helping those less fortunate realize their dreams. Or just have a better life. A better week. A better day.

The homeless and children of inner-cities receive much of Garrison's free time and support. Tennis clinics for those in need are traditionally given.

There is the story about how Garrison once tripped over a homeless man in San Francisco, then woke up that night, her thoughts of him and his plight. That kind of passion, that kind of concern.

Now, there is another cause. Her own. If she can help one person, it's worth it to talk about. Denial, as with many such diseases, accompanies most of those who suffer from bulimia.

"I don't think I can be a savior," Garrison said. "But knowing someone like me has it, it may make them (admit) they do, too."

She is ranked 14th now, still very respectable. She didn't reach No. 1, probably never will. She lost in the first round of this year's Olympics. She has captured just one title in nearly two years.

But what may have seemed like the ultimate goals two years ago hardly compare to what she has learned since, the knowledge and strength she has gained. The fight is not over. She had a reoccurrence in January. Day by day, day by day.

"It was relief coming forward," Garrison said. "Realizing I'm a public figure, people would have talked about it anyway.

"The only thing holding me back now is Zina. At times, I'm too emotional. But I still believe I can be a contender and compete with the top 10 players. At least for a few more years."

Let's hope it's for much longer. There are few like her.
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post #34 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 12:51 PM
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Re: 1992

Sabatini better than advertised Top seed needs only 45 minutes to blank Po
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Wednesday, August 26, 1992

Po knows lights out.

Kimberly Po, a second-year pro, will leave the tennis tour this fall and return to UCLA, where she'll prepare for a career in law. She will read many books, take many tests, learn many lessons. None, however, as thoroughly as the one administered last night at La Costa Resort & Spa:

Seis-cero, seis-cero. 6-0, 6-0. Game, set, match, home in time for the movie of the week.

This is why Mazda Tennis Classic promoters jumped for joy upon learning Gabriela Sabatini had decided San Diego might not be too bad a place to hang out while preparing for next week's U.S. Open.

They promised a beautiful player, one with style and grace and every type of shot imaginable. She delivered. It took top-seeded Sabatini, the world's fourth-ranked player, 45 minutes to bid Po farewell.

It didn't seem that long. It was that convincing. The 4,294 who showed up barely had time to cross their legs, sit back and enjoy. At 5-0 in the second set, one fan wondered: "Is there anything (Sabatini) can't do?"

No, say those who have watched and studied the world's best. They'll tell you there isn't a better woman player when everything is clicking.

Click, click, click, click went the Argentinian.

"I was getting mad near the end of the first set," Po said. "Then I thought, 'What's the point?' "

Smart kid. Scary, but this was Sabatini's first tournament match since losing in the Wimbledon semifinals to Steffi Graf. That was nearly eight weeks ago. Still, this sharp. This flawless.

Que pasa, Gabby?

"I feel very good," she said. "I had a (knee) injury at Wimbledon and needed to do some physical therapy. I had never taken such a long break without playing. It's good to do once in a while. But now I'm back."

No kidding. Routs are supported by numbers and this was no different. Sabatini won 19 of 20 first-serve points. Po won 17 points. The entire match. She committed 31 unforced errors.

How inviting those thoughts of legal cases must be now.

"She doesn't have normal spin," Po said. "The ball jumps at you and it took me time to adjust. Still, there wasn't much I could do."

Typical point: Po booms a forehand down the line. Sure winner? Sabatini runs it down, lobs it back, ball lands just inside the baseline. Po approaches deep to the other side. Sure winner? Sabatini runs it down, lobs it back, ball lands just inside baseline. Po nets a forehand. Oh, sure.

It was the fourth time this year Sabatini has gone bagel, bagel to an opponent. She hopes times will get tougher here this week, needing more of a threat while preparing possibly to recapture the Open crown she won in 1990.

Sabatini says she loves San Diego and its beaches. She hopes to cruise the "city" on a motorcycle. But first things first. Next up is the winner of today's Kimiko Date-Leila Meskhi match.

"I have to keep up my concentration," Sabatini said. "It's easy to lose in matches like this. I played very well. I didn't know much about Kimberly."

Didn't need to. No scouting report necessary this night.
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post #35 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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Re: 1992

Capriati impresses, though challenged
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Thursday, August 27, 1992

Good as gold? No. Good enough? Of course.

The world's elite women's tennis players -- how many are there now, five? -- stand above the rest because they have something different. Something that raises their games at crucial times, something that makes them the automatic favorite during any third-set tiebreakers.

Graf and her forehand. Seles and her determination. Navratilova and her experience. Sabatini and her all-around game.

Jennifer Capriati?

"She's got the power!"

America's teen-age Olympic champion opened defense of her Mazda Tennis Classic title last night, dismissing Austria's Judith Wiesner 6-4, 6-1 before 4,032 at La Costa Resort & Spa.

This was no beat-her-easy, walk-in-the-park, first-round victory. This wasn't Tuesday night, when top-seeded Gabriela Sabatini took more time signing autographs then she did in beating Kimberly Po 6-0, 6-0.

This was 1 hour, 16 minutes. This was eight games reaching deuce. This was Wiesner serving at 4-5, 40-love in the first set.

This, like few first-rounders against the likes of a Capriati, was a match.

"I want the matches to get harder as the tournament goes on," Capriati said. "I like running around and being able to sweat during a match.

"(Wiesner) played well at certain points. She was aggressive. She can change things up."

Granted, Wiesner is an experienced player, one with enough winners in her racket to be ranked 22nd. But one of the reasons Capriati won the gold and will be among the favorites in this year's U.S. Open is her ability to answer at the best of times.

Example: That 10th game of the first set. A big serve away from catching Capriati at 5-all, Wiesner watched the second-seed hit a forehand winner, hit a forehand winner and ran down a fine Wiesner drop for -- what else? -- a forehand winner. Oh goodbye, three game points.

Fact is, each time Capriati needed a point -- or just wanted to end a long rally -- she'd go boom from either side. Want confidence? Serving at 3-1 in the first set, Capriati fired off a 100 mph ace. On a second serve.

"Really?" she asked. "I didn't notice."

It was Capriati's first tournament match since beating Steffi Graf in Barcelona on Aug. 8. That win was a statement that finally this talent was ready to stand among the great -- able and willing to compete for Grand Slam titles. Each one. Each time.

"I'm very motivated," Capriati said. "I don't think anyone expected me to win the gold, so there was no pressure there. There might be some more now. It really hasn't sunk in yet."

And what of her popularity since returning home? Do more people stop, take a second look and realize?

"Yeah, but it's not like I've been getting mobbed," she said. "Just a few more people at the mall."

She plays again tomorrow, against the winner of today's match between seventh-seeded Zina Garrison and former San Diego State star Monique Javer. Plans for young Capriati's day of rest?

"I heard they've got a good zoo here."
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post #36 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Re: 1992

The part about the tennis courts being gone on Key Biscayne is a reference to Hurricane Andrew.

Meskhi says adios to Sabatini No. 1 seed goes quietly against upstart Georgian
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Friday, August 28, 1992

Cry for her, Argentina.

Gabriela Sabatini had hoped to use this week's $225,000 Mazda Tennis Classic as a tuneup for the U.S. Open title many pick her to win. She'll tune up, all right. On her courts in Key Biscayne, Fla.

Assuming they're still there. (Early reports aren't optimistic.)

The top-seeded Sabatini last night bid San Diego adios a few days earlier than expected, falling in the quarterfinals to unseeded Leila Meskhi 6-0, 6-3 at La Costa Resort & Spa.

"It's too bad I lost," said Sabatini, who was staying at a beachfront house in Del Mar and spent the afternoon cooking pasta, "because I wanted to stay here longer."

Think back to Sabatini's 45-minute, 6-0, 6-0 win Tuesday against Kimberly Po. Now forget it. Two different days, two different players. Gabby served bagels one evening, ate one another.

Before arriving here, the 22-year-old Argentine took 51 days off after losing to Steffi Graf in the Wimbledon semifinals. She looked like it. She had 40 unforced errors, her serve was broken five times and she was 0-for-4 on break points in the first set.

Spectators dodged bugs attracted by the La Costa lights . . . and tennis balls from errant Sabatini forehands.

For all those who know nothing of Meskhi, which is probably most people, she is from Georgia -- the one in the former Soviet Union. She is ranked 23rd in the world. She is 24 and speaks Georgian, Russian and English (sort of). Her hobbies include watching water polo. Favorite color: pink. Favorite singer: Madonna.

Meskhi last won a tournament in 1991 in Wellington, New Zealand. Upsets are part of her repertoire. She also has defeated Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navratilova.

"I play very good, and she play worse," said Meskhi, who meets the winner of today's Conchita Martinez-Ann Grossman quarterfinal. "She not feel comfortable with her serve. When I lead, 3-2 (in the second set), I think I will win."

The last time Sabatini lost a 6-0 set was to Graf last year, but she came back to win the match in three sets. This time, no dice.

Meskhi squandered two match points and put her first serve into the net on the third. Several of the 4,362 at La Costa cheered, probably the folks who had tickets for the sold-out semifinals and final and expected to see Sabatini play in them.

Meskhi landed her second serve and, after a long rally, won the game, set and match when Sabatini pushed a backhand wide.

"She played a very good match," Sabatini said. "I lost my concentration a little bit, sometimes. It's hard to be away a few weeks and then come back."

Now Sabatini enters the U.S. Open having played only two matches in more than two months.
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post #37 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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Re: 1992

Capriati battles her way to final
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Sunday, August 30, 1992

Sie konnte nichts machen.

Nothing she could do.

Take notice, recreational hackers. It happens to the best of them. The pros. The Anke Hubers of the tennis world. You fight and scratch and bang your way into a third and deciding set. Then your opponent finds it, reaches it, enters it.

Zone time.

The 17-year-old German yesterday watched helplessly as winner after winner sealed her fate in the $225,000 Mazda Tennis Classic. The crosscourt killers came off the racket of Jennifer Capriati, an Olympic champion who's making it a habit to tease opponents early before bidding adieu.

Capriati's 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-1 win before 5,200 at La Costa Resort & Spa returned the defending champion to this event's final, in which she'll meet third-seeded Conchita Martinez of Spain this morning at 11.

Martinez, a semifinal loser to Capriati here last year, reached the final by beating unseeded Leila Meskhi of the Republic of Georgia 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

Capriati, 16, was awesome in the third set. Another level. Ace after forehand winner after backhand pass after try-and-reach-this beautiful drop shot.

Huber, ranked 10th and seeded fourth, played quite well. And still lost, 6-1.

"I think she play unbelievable in third set," Huber said. "I can't say I play bad. She not miss even two shots, I think. She doesn't miss the whole set."

Also know the first-set tiebreaker. Specifically, the 10th point. That's when Huber, leading, 5-4, charged a Capriati short ball.

Back went the racket. Two-handed smash down the line. A sure winner, it definitely appeared to be. Until . . .


Huber squealed. She dropped her racket. She looked at the linesperson. She shook her head. She looked at the chair umpire. He looked back. No overrule. No 6-4 lead. No two set points. No nothing.

In tennis, fans whistle when they disagree with line calls. At that point, many in attendance puckered up and blew. It wasn't the first time. It wasn't the last.

Said Huber, very convincingly: "Ball was in for me. I can't say for sure I win the set, but it is very good chance I do. The (officials) were really bad, but for both sides."

Said Capriati, not so convincingly: "The (tiebreaker call) was close. I think it was out."

The two had met twice before, with Capriati a straight-sets winner in the first round of the 1990 U.S. Open and in the quarterfinals of last month's Olympics.

This time, as in Friday's quarterfinal win against Zina Garrison, Capriati spotted her opponent a 4-0 first-set lead.

This time, like last time, she rallied. Seems Capriati needs to be wiping away sweat before she shows up to play.

"The real top players would probably close me out," said Capriati, ranked sixth. "(Huber) was playing extremely well, hitting all her shots deep. It was hard to get into it.

"The only time I felt in control was at 3-0 in the third set."

Nor was the second semifinal spared controversial calls. Martinez had a break point to win the first game of the third set, but a Meskhi forehand long was called good.

Pucker and blow.

But then Martinez got mad. And aggressive. And it was over.

"Sometimes that happens after a bad call," Martinez said.

Meskhi said she was the same player that upset top-seeded Gabriela Sabatini in straight sets Thursday. Difference was, change of pace. Sabatini chose not to. Martinez always does.

"(Martinez) is very difficult to play for me," Meskhi said. "It is very tough. I was little tired in third set, but she play very well."

Martinez, citing an injured thigh, didn't put up much of a fight against Capriati here last year, losing 6-4, 6-0.

The thigh is strong, but now she's suffering from an injured right arm. Hurts to hit a forehand. Hurts to serve. At times, it hurts to lift that hunk of graphite she makes a living with.

To stay in the final, she'll have to feed Capriati 's powerful ground strokes many a high ball, hoping such a big forehand sprays error after error.

"I think it will be very difficult for Jennifer," Meskhi said. "High balls give her much trouble."

Maybe so, but her play over the past month makes Capriati a definite favorite. Today's winner receives $45,000 and a yellow Mazda Miata. Capriati got a green one last year. She also owns a Volkswagen Cabriolet. Convertible Kid had to buy that one, though.

"(Capriati) is playing just like she did in Barcelona," Huber said. "Very well."

Indeed, cheered most of the pro-Jennifer fans yesterday. Read a sign hanging from the upper bleachers: "Nobody beats Capriati ."

Not this day. Not Huber, not the pressure of repeating, and certainly not those linesmen.


The top-seeded team of Jana Novotna and Larisa Savchenko-Neiland beat second-seeded Martinez-Mercedes Paz 6-1, 6-4 in the doubles final . . . NBC showed the Capriati match live, but had to switch programming at 3-0 in the third set. Men's pro beach volleyball called. Today's final will be shown on a one-hour tape delay . . . Today is the first time Capriati will defend a tournament title . . . Yesterday's semifinal win was No. 200 in Martinez's career.
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post #38 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2012, 01:06 PM
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Re: 1992

A real choice quote from Jenny near the end of the article...

Capriati's repeat in Mazda serves notice to Open field
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Monday, August 31, 1992

Little Miss Giggles has become Little Miss Confident. And that, say those who follow women's professional tennis, may spell Grand Slam for America's best hope of winning one of the four biggies any time soon.

Much has changed in a year for Jennifer Capriati. Much hasn't. Notice the cool sunglasses. The decisive answers. The flip of the hair. The roll of the eyes. Giddy and shy no more, to be sure.

But whatever changes in style Capriati has developed off the court, those on it remain her style on it remains consistent. Solid. Tough. She stands on the baseline, sizes up her next ground stroke and crushes the P right off Penn.

And, at least while visiting this city, she wins.

Capriati yesterday successfully defended her Mazda Tennis Classic title, hardly being challenged in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Spain's Conchita Martinez before 5,200 at La Costa Resort & Spa.

So, for the second time in a little more than 12 months, Capriati stepped forward at La Costa, smiled, thanked all for coming and gladly accepted a check for $45,000 and the keys to a Mazda Miata.

Green one last year, yellow this year. An hour after meeting with the media, the 16-year-old Capriati, her mother, Denise, and a few of their friends stood around discussing what they could do about all of Jennifer's spare cars.

Tough choices, some kids have.

"I'm playing very well right now," Capriati said. "I came here to get some good matches, good practice and get ready for the U.S. Open. It all worked out really well."

She plays her first match in New York tomorrow, one of five players given a chance to walk away champ as champion nearly two weeks and plenty of intense forehand volleys from now.

The Big Apple should prepare itself for a new Capriati, one who walks on onto a court expecting to win. Always. Matters not if the likes of Graf or Seles or Sabatini walks with her.

You could see that in the past week, especially yesterday. Martinez at 100 percent has a tough enough time with Capriati's power. Martinez with tendinitis throughout her right arm and shoulder hadn't a chance.

The ailment started at the Australian Open in January and hasn't subsided, save for a few days at the Olympics last month. It hurts Martinez to serve, to dip and spin her topspin forehand. Not enough to quit, to retire from a final. Just nag, nag, nag all the way through.

"Sure, it's frustrating," said Martinez, who asked for the trainer in the first set and received treatment during each changeover. "I might be playing my best tennis right now, but it always hurts. Very disappointing."

As was the case the previous six days, the linesmen made several controversial calls, eliciting more whistles than Christie Brinkley on a hot day. The sad truth: Capriati said the chair umpire told her he would change officials on the baseline at game's end.

Sure, changes often are made. But for an umpire to actually tell a player of it beforehand . . .

Feeling was, Martinez needed to change pace often, while offering Capriati high ball after high ball. One way to beat power is by not feeding the source. Hint: Capriati was fed well. And pigged out.

Boom. Winner. Boom. Winner. Boom. Winner. You get the idea.

"I would have liked to give her more high balls, but it was difficult with the wind," said Martinez, who received $22,500 for finishing second. "But she played very well. Winning the (Olympic gold medal) gave her much confidence. That's what it takes. Big wins like that."

Capriati, ever the media's main attraction here, can expect much more scrutiny in New York. Fans are awaiting the Olympic champion's arrival, hoping her good fortunes of late will make for a Yank winning this country's premier tennis event.

Pressure, however, will not play with Capriati's mind. She refuses to let it.

"I don't need to put any pressure on myself, because other people already do that for me," she said. "I want to serve well because that's a big part of my game. Hopefully, I'll be able to peak."

At that, she bid San Diego farewell until next year. Twelve more months to a Miata three-peat?
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Re: 1992

Monica wins Roland Garros.


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Re: 1992

Steffi wins Wimbledon. Curry Kirkpatrick discusses Seles' troubles during the tournament at length.


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post #41 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 01:51 PM
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Re: 1992

Some articles about the 1992 VS of Florida, perhaps one of the best examples of the old "the rich and spoiled performing for the rich and self-indulgent" country club tournaments.

The Palm Beach Post - Thursday, February 27, 1992

Louise Allen's professional tennis existence depends on how many qualifying matches she wins.

Yet she presses on.

"I just enjoy playing," Allen said as she prepared for Saturday's qualifying round of the Virginia Slims of Florida at the Polo Club Boca Raton.

Peanut Harper's ranking is No. 88, and though she doesn't often have to play qualifying rounds, she's won just one of the four matches she's played this year.

"It does get frustrating sometimes," Harper said.

Harper and Allen represent the other side of the WTA Tour, the players who don't make headlines, yet plug away week after week to make a tournament and then advance.

"Every year it's like a roller coaster," said Harper (formerly Peanut Louie).

Harper, 32, started on the Tour in 1978. Her highest ranking came in 1985, when she reached No. 19, but the past three years the highest she's been ranked is 71st. Her last singles title was in 1985, and she's never advanced beyond the third round of a Grand Slam.

Allen, 30, turned pro in 1984. She has won two USTA tournaments the last two years, but never a Virginia Slims event. Her highest ranking was 84. (She's now No. 133.) Sports fans know the 133rd best football or baseball player. They don't know Louise Allen.

"It's very frustrating," Allen said. "I really kind of blame our association for that because they only promote the top three or four people. It's unfortunate the public perceives that also. . . . It's like if you're not in the top five by the time you're 15 you can't play. You have to admire a (Jennifer) Capriati for how good she is so young, but that's not the criteria for everyone. A lot of us can make a decent living and travel and have a great life."

In an era when top players make millions just from endorsements, Allen earned $25,200 playing tennis in 1991.

"I'm not scraping, though," Allen said. "I live very comfortably."

Harper had more success, earning $79,601 ($608,629 for her career).

"I've never been in the red," Harper said. ' ' Some players, I wonder how they stay out here."

"If it was week to week, there's no way I could do this," Allen said. "That's too much pressure. I have to put food on the table."

For players like Allen and Harper, the Kraft Tour represents a pursuit for points, which they earn at each tournament depending on how far they advance and whom they defeat. The point total then is averaged for a calendar year to determine a ranking.

Maintaining a ranking means defending points. To a top player, maintaining is important. But to a player ranked closer to 100, regaining lost points is vital.

`You try not to worry about it," Harper said. "The points are coming off whether you worry or not."

But Harper admitted she does worry.

"(Losing points) could drop you right out of main draws," she said.

And into qualifying, which means just to reach a main draw a woman has to win three qualifying matches.

"If I had to qualify on a regular basis, I'd probably be finished," Harper said. "I've done it too long to go through that grind again."

Allen often does go through it. On Feb. 15 and 16, she won three matches just to reach the first round of the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma. She was eliminated in her second match.

"It is tough," Allen said. "But if you can make it through I look at it as an advantage. You've played three tough matches. The more I play the better."

Allen tries to look on the qualifying as a positive, even if it means playing a Gabriela Sabatini or Monica Seles in the first round of the main draw.

"That's just the chances you take," Allen said. "I look at it that they have all the pressure. I've played a couple of matches and I'm used to the surroundings. If you're going to beat one of those players, getting them early is the best time."

"I still want to see how I can do out here," Harper said. "I still can improve on a lot of things."

"I enjoy it because I'm still getting better," Allen said. "If I felt I was at a stalemate, I can't imagine continuing to play."
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Re: 1992

Miami Herald, The (FL) - Sunday, March 1, 1992

With next Sunday's final already sold out, this year's $550,000 Virginia Slims of Florida tennis event is smelling like a rose, and naming one, too.

The tournament at the Polo Club Boca Raton begins Monday and will honor defending champion Gabriela Sabatini by unveiling the "Gabriela Sabatini Rose," a new hybrid rose.

Steffi Graf, Sabatini and Miami's Mary Joe Fernandez are the top three seeds.

"The event has become an extremely popular social outing in the Boca Raton area," said Sharon O'Connor, tournament director. "The tournament seems to attract just as many spectators who come to socialize and 'people watch' as it does tennis aficionados who come to watch the sport."

A total of 59,793 -- an outdoor women's event record -- attended last year's tournament, which takes place in the 6,200-seat Polo Club stadium. The tournament is in its ninth year.

Defending champion and three-time winner Sabatini is thought to be the first athlete to have a rose named in their honor. The orange-red Gabriela Sabatini Roses will adorn the premises.

Andrea Mueller of Germany upset No. 2 seed Catherine Suire of France, 6-2, 6-2, in the Slims qualifying round Saturday at Boca Raton.

Nathalie Herreman of France, the No. 4 seed, was defeated, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, by Nicole Arendt of New Jersey. Top seed Donna Faber of South Carolina advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Agnes Zugasti of France.

Today's schedule

Center Court: 10 a.m. -- Faber vs. Christina Salui; Shaun Stafford (Gainesville) or Tammy Whittington (Gainesville) vs. Luanne Spadea (Boca Raton).

Court 23: 10 a.m. -- Sophie Amiach (France) vs. Renata Baranski (S.C.); Clare Wood (England) vs. Stephanie Rottier (Holland); Cammy MacGregor (Ca.) vs. Kristie Boogert; Jessica Emmons (Az.) vs. Amiach or Baranski.

Court 24: 10 a.m. -- Lisa Pugliese vs. Arendt; Meike Babel (Germany) vs. Amanda Grunfeld (England); Natalia Baudone (Italy) vs. Mueller.
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Re: 1992

The Miami Herald - Sunday, March 1, 1992

You've seen them at your favorite tennis tournament -- that army of adults clad in polo shirts and shorts and wearing sun visors just so as they scurry around the grounds of the Virginia Slims of Florida at the Polo Club Boca Raton and the Lipton on Key Biscayne.

They're everywhere. Taking tickets. Selling programs. Running errands for players. Feeding information to reporters. Even handing out towels in the locker rooms.

When the Slims is played this week, the 162 tournament volunteers will be there again. But if you think it's a sense of altruism that gets these people to spend a week out in the hot sun showing spectators where the restrooms are, think again.

"I think it's fun to be as involved and as close to the pros as I have been able to be," said Diane Leininger, a volunteer who, after five years at the tournament, is in charge of all the volunteers. "You get to meet their families and you get to see more of what makes them work on the circuit."

Among Leininger's favorite memories: talking daily with members of Steffi Graf's entourage, even after their charge lost in the finals; and giving baseball player Gary Carter and his daughter a tour of the tournament.

So many people applied to volunteer at the tournament this year -- despite the mandatory 40-hour work week -- that tournament director Sharon O'Connor had to turn people away. Most of the volunteers who will work the grounds this year worked last year -- and probably the year before that, too. Their pay: a tournament T-shirt and sweat shirt, a sun visor, meal tickets and tournament tickets.

"Most of the volunteers we've had for a long time. They come back year after year, and we don't even have to tell them what to do anymore," O'Connor said. "They do everything. They're vital to this tournament."

Most of the volunteers are retirees from Boca Raton and Delray Beach. Some live at the Polo Club itself, despite residents' complaints last year that the tournament brought too much traffic to the private community. They're people who play tennis and like being around the courts and the players.

But then there's John Cannella, 44, a volunteer extraordinaire. He takes a week off from his job in IBM's software support department to run the press tent. By anyone else's standards, this would not qualify as vacation. He gets to the Polo Club at 7:30 a.m. and spends the day escorting players from the courts to the interview room and fielding calls from all over the world. He doesn't go home until 10 p.m.

He's got the mementos to show for his work: a picture with defending champion Gabriela Sabatini; four years of draw sheets hanging on the living room wall; and the tale of the time two years ago when Jennifer Capriati plotted to sneak away to have pizza with her friends.

"It's something I couldn't buy on vacation," Cannella said. "All the action . . . You hear the interviews, see players react to questions. You can look at them and remember different things. You never really know how they are out of the limelight. But most are really nice.

"You walk out at the end of the day and you think it went so fast."

The best job to have? Ushering, say the volunteers, who get to stand just off the courts to show people to their seats and make sure crowds stay still during play.

"You will see some of the players around or occasionally have conversations with them. You get to view matches. We've gotten autographs for our children and grandchildren," said Stan Rassler, a Polo Club resident who along with his wife Ellie will volunteer for the third time at the Slims. "It is nice to be part of the action that takes place. It puts you right on the scene."


* What: The Virginia Slims of Florida tennis tournament, with a draw of 56 women in the singles tournament and 28 doubles teams.

* Where: Polo Club Boca Raton, 5400 Champion Blvd. (Military Trail just north of Clint Moore Road).

* When: Monday through next Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, the day session will begin at 9 a.m. and the evening session at 6 p.m; Wednesday-Friday, day session will begin at 10 a.m., evening session at 6 p.m. Saturday's early session will begin at 2 p.m., and evening session at 7 p.m. Next Sunday's finals will begin at 2 p.m.

* Tickets: Next Sunday's finals are sold out; tickets for individual sessions Monday through Saturday cost $10 to $20. To order, call (305) 491-7115, (407) 395-8512 or Ticketmaster at (407) 839-3900 or (305) 358-5885. * Parking: There is no parking at Polo Club Boca Raton. All parking is at Royal Palm Polo, adjacent to the west entrance of the Polo Club on Jog Road between Linton Boulevard and Yamato Road. Shuttle service to the tennis facility will run continuously during the event. Parking costs $3 per day.

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Re: 1992

Sun-Sentinel - Sunday, March 1, 1992

BOCA RATON -- The woman in the black leather jacket gets down from the seat of her Honda 600 motorcyle and removes her helmet. She shakes out the most famous raven hair in tennis.

Gabriela Sabatini, the flower child of the Virginia Slims of Florida, is a rebel at heart.

"My friends have motorcycles, my brother has one, so why not me?" Sabatini said with a wink.

At 21, Sabatini has discovered that there is more to life than a topspin backhand. She bought her new toy last week in Key Biscayne.

"I'm looking for a balance between tennis and other things," Sabatini said. "I am feeling more mature."

"Gaby has reached an age where she sees more things," said Carlos Kirmayr, her coach. "She's growing up, and different interests get her mind out of the pressure of tennis. She's learned how to take a break and rest without feeling guilty that she is not doing something for her tennis."

The break is about over. Sabatini is getting ready to rev it up on the court.

March in South Florida: It's one of Gaby's favorite times. She loves the place, and she loves the tournaments. For four years, Sabatini has ridden off with either the Virginia Slims (1988, 1990, 1991) or Lipton (1989) titles.

This week at The Polo Club, Sabatini will try to become the first woman to win the tournament four times, breaking a tie with Chris Evert, who won the first three.

Steffi Graf is the top seed, but that's because the seeds are based on the rankings. Look at the numbers: Sabatini has beaten Graf the last six times they've played in Florida, including last year at Slims and Lipton.

Graf lives at The Polo Club, but she wishes Boca Raton would secede from the state. (Come to think of it, Boca Raton seems to believe it's a separate world.)

Sabatini has owned the Virginia Slims of Florida for two years, although the event has also belonged to Jennifer Capriati, who made her extraordinary pro debut in 1990 and returned for a successful encore last year. Capriati is staying home in Saddlebrook this time, and the tournament is finally the Slims of Sabatini. The tournament even named a rose after her.

"That was very nice," Sabatini said. "I love roses."

Sabatini said she did not feel slighted by the Capriati-mania.

"You don't feel as much pressure when the attention is on the other players," Sabatini said. "The recognition doesn't matter. I have plenty of fans."

Noisy ones. Sabatini may have the most vocal rooting section in tennis. From Boca to Rome, Sabatini fans are legendary. They sing, they wave banners and flags; they'll probably throw roses onto the court at The Polo Club.

"My fans make a lot of noise," she said. "I like it that way."

The Sabatini-ites liked the way their heroine started the season last year. She won five titles in her first seven tournaments, took over the lead in the Kraft point standings and challenged for the No. 1 ranking.

But after a 34-2 start, Sabatini slipped. She did not win another tournament after the Italian Open. She was beaten badly by Monica Seles in the French Open semifinals, failed to put Graf away in her first Wimbledon final and was dethroned by Capriati at the U.S. Open.

"I started thinking about being No. 1 last year and that wasn't good," said Sabatini, who finished No. 3. "I should have just tried to play good tennis, match after match. This year I want to concentrate on the Grand Slams. It was a great feeling when I won the U.S. Open, but I have not won a Grand Slam since. I want to get that feeling back again."

Heading down the highway, looking for adventure.

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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post - Sunday, March 1, 1992

Popularity for the Virginia Slims of Florida continues to soar.

The tournament set an attendance record last year, and it appears that records will be broken this year. The women's final sold out Wednesday.

"I'm thrilled," tournament director Sharon O'Connor said. "We work toward this year-round."

Last year's seven-day tournament drew 59,783, a record for an outdoor women's event.

It could be that the Slims is outgrowing the 6,021-seat stadium at the Polo Club Boca Raton. This year's tournament, with box seats and series tickets sold out along with day and evening sessions for Saturday's semifinals, surely will top last year's record.

"It's almost scary," said O'Connor, who comes up with an annual "theme" for the tournament. Last year, it was Oleg Cassini picking out the best-dressed woman in the crowd daily.

This year, it's the Gabriela Sabatini rose, the brainchild of Tamera Herrod, tournament public relations director.

"It was Tamera's idea to have a rose named after the tournament or someone associated with the tournament," O'Connor said. "It was our idea to have the grounds covered with roses."

Rose bushes featuring the Sabatini rose-- she said she was honored by the rose idea-- will cover the grounds. In addition, Sabatini rose bushes will be sold.

Dining and merchandising areas have been upgraded, and sponsor tents had to be turned away because of a lack of space.

Last fall, Ion Tiriac made a seven-figure offer to buy the tournament (he wanted to move it to Germany), but O'Connor and tournament promoter George Liddy of Liddun International turned down Tiriac.

"We want to have some more fun with this," O'Connor said.

* At least 10 air-conditioned buses will shuttle fans from the Royal Palm Polo parking area to the Polo Club grounds for the tournament. Polo Club homeowners were angered last year by the number of cars coming and going at the tournament. O'Connor promises, with the constant buses, that spectators will have minimal inconvenience.

* Not everybody was thrilled with the Slims. Pam Casale, who was ranked No. 15 in the world in 1984, was not happy she was not given a wild card into the doubles draw.

"I'm fed up," said Casale, who lives in Boca Raton. "It's not fair to me. . . . Being professional I feel I deserve to play in my hometown. I feel I've gotten shafted by this. . . . You get to a point in your career where something like this should never happen."

O'Connor said she did not want to get into an argument with Casale, but said Casale had received a wild card at least three other times and the other doubles players given wild cards were deserving.

* Monica Seles on Jennifer Capriati, who cried at the Australian Open after losing to Seles: "I think Jennifer will realize that she's going to have to get the fun back into the game. It's the first year she's had to defend a lot of points. She's done very well, and she's No. 6 and everyone now expects her to get into the top five. That's a lot of pressure when you're not even 16. It's tough at that age. It's not easy for anybody."

* Pete Sampras moved up to No. 3 after winning the U.S. Pro Indoor, his highest ranking ever. Can he reach No. 1? "It is something obtainable, definitely within reach," Sampras said. "I'm getting closer. If I play to my capability, there may be no stopping me.". . . Sampras had 21 aces when he beat Amos Mansdorf, and Goran Ivanisevic had 32 when he beat Stefan Edberg in the finals of the Eurocard Classic in Stuttgart. . . . Andre Agassi's ranking is down to No. 14. . . . Lipton will have 426 media members from 24 countries covering the 10-day tournament.

* It took Seles just 38 minutes to beat Gigi Fernandez 6-0, 6-0 in Indian Wells on Friday. . . . Martina Navratilova on the tournament being named after Chris Evert: "I think she's not old enough to have a tournament named after her." . . . Navratilova was not happy about not being selected to the 1992 U.S. Olympic team: "I think the selection system stinks. The rule is self- serving and very unfair." The rule is the ITF rule that required players who wanted to play in the Olympics to play in the Federation Cup. . . . Zina Garrison won the Family Circle "Player Who Makes a Difference Award" and she plans to donate the $20,000 prize to an inner-city tennis academy in her hometown of Houston. . . . Mary Pierce has improved her ranking to No. 17. She ended 1990 at No. 106. . . . Steffi Graf on whether she can break Navratilova's record of 158 tournament championships: "Let's not be crazy. These days, I think, it's not possible to do anything like that."
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