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post #451 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2013, 07:56 PM
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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post
Sunday, March 22, 1992

Gabriela Sabatini had lost the first set of the women's final in the Lipton International Players Championships Saturday and was trying to win a serve from Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.

With the score 30-30, Sabatini strode along the baseline when some Spaniards in the southwest corner of the stands sang out: "Don't cry for me, Argentina."

Sabatini shot an angry glance toward the group waving the Spanish flag -- "I didn't like that very much. That's my country. That hurts sometimes"-- but Sanchez Vicario heard it and smiled.

In just a few minutes, she would have Argentina weeping for one of its favorite daughters.

Sanchez Vicario played a strong baseline game and Sabatini came to the net too little and too late as the Spaniard won her seventh career singles title and first this year 6-1, 6-4 at the International Tennis Center.

"I was very patient," said Sanchez Vicario, 20, from Barcelona. "I did the right thing to wait for the opportunity to hit winners. I knew the kind of game she was going to play against me, and I was ready. I'm very happy, the way I played."

Sanchez Vicario did what Steffi Graf could not in the semifinals: Silence the Sabatini rooters who, in a Davis Cup atmosphere, had been chanting "Gaby! Gaby! Gaby!" throughout the match.

"I knew the crowd would be cheering for her," said Sanchez Vicario, ranked No. 5 and seeded No. 4. "I had my friends there also. It was a nice atmosphere. Maybe next year I will have more crowd with me."

The win was only Sanchez Vicario's second career title on hard court (the previous was the Virginia Slims of Washington last August), and the biggest in her career since the 1989 French Open, which is played on clay, her favorite surface.

But Sanchez Vicario said this win proves she can play on all surfaces, even though this hard court was a slow one.

"I think I am playing my best now," Sanchez Vicario said. "I'm not only a specialist on clay."

Sabatini, ranked and seeded No. 3, seemed bitterly disappointed at losing in the Lipton final for the second consecutive year (Monica Seles beat her a year ago). The tournament is played minutes from her Key Biscayne home.

"I thought I had a chance to win," Sabatini said. "It didn't happen. For me this tournament means a lot. It's like my home here. It's a very important tournament, not the same level as a Grand Slam, but inside it means a lot to me to win."

Sanchez Vicario played the same kind of smart match she played in beating Jennifer Capriati in the semifinals.

She took Sabatini's topspin early-- "I'm not very tall, so I have to"-- and didn't let Sabatini come to the net. When Sabatini did, Sanchez Vicario said she was ready.

"She had to hit a good shot," Sanchez Vicario said. "If she was at the net I would hit a good lob or a good passing shot."

Sabatini won only 55 percent of the points when she approached. In the first set, which took just 45 minutes, Sabatini came to the net only eight times.

"She really played well," Sabatini said. "I didn't have many chances to come to the net. In the second, I tried to do something different."

The points she won by approaching kept her close, but when Sabatini served to take the second set to a 5-5 tie, she let the match slip away after leading 40-15.

Sanchez Vicario hit a good volley-- she was very effective at the net, winning 11-of-14 points-- followed by a backhand lob for a winner. At deuce, Sabatini put a backhand into the net, then Sanchez Vicario hit a backhand winner to end the match.

"Sometimes I felt I wasn't very sure what to do on the court," said Sabatini, who had 37 errors compared to 16 winners. "I didn't feel I was playing good. It's tough. Arantxa, I thought, was beatable. I was probably more overconfident than I should have been."

"There was no pressure on me," Sanchez Vicario said. "People were not looking for me. I was doing the best I can, giving everything I could. It was not fair; they were talking about others. Next time maybe they'll change their mind, not do it like this. Now maybe people will talk about me."

Perhaps they should start now. Sanchez Vicario, who has been working with 1954 Australian Open doubles champion Mervyn Rose the past month, has been one of the most consistent players on tour the past few years. Since 1989, she's won seven tournaments, reached the finals of 12 more tournaments and the semifinals of 15 more.

"I have to be in there (with the top players)," Sanchez Vicario said. "I'm very consistent, and I think my name has to be there. Now people will talk about my name more than before.

"So that's good."

--Tomorrow's sellout ensures Lipton will set an attendance record. With 12,332 tickets sold, a total of 204,643 will have attended the tournament, bettering by 10,000 the record set last year.

Lipton 1992 had record attendance for 11 of its 18 sessions.
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post #452 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2013, 07:57 PM
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Re: 1992

To write that Sabatini could not play very well on clay is, I think, a nice little delusion to help him get through Gaby's loss.

The Palm Beach Post
Sunday, March 22, 1992
Dan Moffett
It took a week to get to the women's final of the Lipton International tennis tournament.

When the last match finally came the search for definitions and terms of engagement was still going on.

This tournament originally was conceived as a fast and nasty tropical event. It was supposed to be a test of power and endurance, played on speedy hard courts in the warm glow of Florida sunshine.

What the Lipton has become is the world's most deviously disguised clay tournament.

The hard courts are slow, synthetic illusions, spongy as flow-through tea bags. Cool Atlantic breezes keep temperatures low and rallies long as players sacrifice boldness for strategic wind compensation.

Forget appearances, Key Biscayne is really Roland Garros-by-the-Sea.

Saturday Arantxa Sanchez Vicario defeated Gabriela Sabatini in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 to win the Lipton soft hard court title.

Sanchez Vicario is the reputed clay court specialist, the baseline shotmaker who three years ago won the French Open. Sabatini is the athletic hard surface specialist who showed it when she won the U.S. Open two years ago; in seven appearances on French Open clay, however, Sabatini never has survived the semifinals.

In theory, Sanchez Vicario should have been no match for Sabatini here. In reality, the converse was true. Attribute this anomaly to the radical misrepresentation of conditions.

"The court was not very fast," said Sanchez Vicario. "It was very slow. It was similar to clay. You can play very good."

Sanchez Vicario's use of the rhetorical "you" is misleading. Not everybody can play well on a surface so similar to clay in critical characteristics. Sabatini is one who cannot.

"I was making too many errors," she said. "I was missing too many easy shots."

Sabatini missed too many easy shots because there were too many of them. Points that were supposed to have come hard and fast languished at the end of long rallies. And Sanchez Vicario won most of them, as Sabatini accumulated 37 unforced errors.


Sabatini became caught between tennis gears, somewhere within the tactical nether world between the attack zones at the net and baseline. Sanchez Vicario played as a clay court specialist who in occasional opportune moments would charge and volley. Sabatini searched for a strategic identity for the entire 100 minutes without finding one.

At her worst, which was the 1-6 first set, she was caught trying to defeat a clay player with a clay game on a de facto clay court. Anything else Sabatini might have tried would have served her better than allowing Sanchez Vicario to define the arena for herself.

There was a time, however, when the Spaniard was unable to accurately read the elements here.

For two years she stopped coming to the Lipton to concentrate instead on clay tournaments. Then it occurred to her she actually was missing one.

At the beginning of last week, Sanchez Vicario openly lamented the fact that reporters had not besieged her enough here. She believed too much attention had been paid Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Sabatini. Had it been widely accepted earlier that this was a tournament for specialists, Sanchez Vicario might have been celebrated in advance.

But any talk of specialization tends to rile last year's fifth-ranked player in the world.

"I'm not only a specialist now on clay," Sanchez Vicario says. "I can win sometimes on hard court."

Certainly on a soft hard court, she can. Nobody can dispute a qualification to that degree.


As if any more evidence was needed to refute Lipton 's prevalent misconceptions, today Michael Chang is to play Alberto Mancini to resolve the men's singles championship. Here are two more players who are more feared on clay than grass or legitimately hard courts.

Back in 1989 as a matter of fact, Chang made his breakthrough on the orange dirt at Roland Garros, becoming at 17 the youngest man ever to win the French Open. Also 17 was Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who won the women's French title and was at the time the youngest player to do so.

Sanchez Vicario was asked if, three years later and having grown through her teens, she finds nostalgia in the emergence of two French champions who shared nearly the same moments.

"Who knows, maybe he'll win tomorrow and there will be memories of the French Open," she said. "I think he's happy about what I'm doing. He's a nice kid."

Sanchez Vicario asks you to note, however, that she did not call Chang a "nice specialist."
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Re: 1992

Sanchez Vicario ignores crowd in beating Sabatini
The Tampa Tribune
Sunday, March 22, 1992

In her final magic act at Lipton, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario did something nobody thought was possible.

She silenced all those Gaby fans.

Sanchez Vicario capped an impressive week Saturday by stunning Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Lipton International Players Championships.

In winning the $120,000 top prize, Sanchez Vicario sent a message to the "Big Five'' of women's tennis. She served notice that there is more to the circuit than Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Sabatini, Martina Navratilova and Jennifer Capriati.

Despite being ranked No. 5, Sanchez Vicario said she was motivated by not being mentioned with the others.

"I'd say I belong up there with them,'' Sanchez Vicario said. "I'm more than just a semifinalist at the big tournaments. After today, maybe they'll talk more about me from now on.''

Sanchez Vicario, 20, won her seventh professional title. She said the Lipton championship was her biggest since the 1989 French Open, where she beat Graf in the final.

Sanchez Vicario, who beat Capriati in the semifinals, is shaping her game for the French this spring. Her clay-court preparation begins at this week's Light 'N' Lively doubles tournament at Saddlebrook. She will be paired with Natalia Zvereva.

The men's final is today at 4 p.m., with Michael Chang facing Alberto Mancini.

Chang aims for his third title of 1992, and he already has left his mark at Lipton . Chang beat Courier in the semifinals, costing the Dade City native the No. 1 ranking.

Sabatini won $60,000 as runner-up, but her reputation as queen of the courts in Florida might be in jeopardy. She beat Graf the last two years in the semifinals, but failed to follow it up. Last year, she lost to Seles in the final.

The crowd urged Sabatini on at every chance. Sabatini has a residence on Key Biscayne and is a favorite among Miami's Latin population.

"I thought I had a chance to win this tournament this year, but it just didn't happen,'' Sabatini said. "Naturally, this tournament means a lot to me. It's home. It's not on the same level as the Grand Slams, but it's right up there.''

In beating Graf in three sets in the semifinals, Sabatini was helped by a boisterous crowd. Graf complained about the fans afterward. But the crowd was no help for Sabatini against Sanchez Vicario.

Sanchez Vicario, a native of Spain, had support of her own. During a pause in the second set, a group of fans waved the Spanish flag and sang, "Don't cry for me, Argentina.''

Throughout the romp, there were shouts of "Viva Espan~a.''

"I heard it all,'' Sanchez Vicario said. "I found it kind of funny, because everybody had been shouting for her. So maybe that was how my fans got back.

"At first, I laughed, but then I really tried to block it out and concentrate on tennis.''

Sanchez Vicario steamrolled Sabatini in the first set, building a 5-0 lead. The second set stayed on serve until the 10th game. Sabatini led 40-15 and needed just one point to square the set at 5-5.

Sanchez Vicario won the last four points, finishing with a backhand winner.
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post #454 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Re: 1992

Sunday, March 22, 1992

KEY BISCAYNE -- One final time he will walk up the shaky grandstand today, and one final time Butch Buchholz, founder and chairman of the Lipton International Players Championships, will look over center court at his temporary foundation.

Only then will he begin to make it permanent by tearing it all down.

There may even be a jackhammer party after the men's final today. This certainly would cause a tennis first: fans covering their ears from the center-court noise.

The tool would be passed from tournament official to official, like scissors among basketball players to clip the nets.

A chunk of court would be cut out. Buchholz could even hold it over his head, like the winner's crystal trophy.

At least this is a fear how it would be perceived by the good and rich people of Key Biscayne, who have fought every point of this tournament since it roosted at their former trash dump in 1987.

''That's why we might not do it,'' Buchholz said. ''I wouldn't want people to think we're putting it in their face, because that wouldn't be the point at all.''

The point is that this tournament is moving on and up. It took eight years to build it to this prominence, will take eight days to tear it all down, and just over eight months and $16.5 million to construct a better, permanent House That Butch Built.

Of course, eight years do not a tradition make. So today won't be exactly like the last day of Comiskey Park for Lipton 's erector-set stadium.

But its passing marks something important to Buchholz. ''I've been waiting for this for a while,'' he said.

While waiting, every year his tournament has grown bigger. Every year, it has grown better. Every year, more players and more fans offer their attention.

John McEnroe came for the first time, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario came back after skipping two years.

Good thing for her, too. She blitzed hometown favorite Gabriela Sabatini in the final Saturday 6-1, 6-4, perhaps giving rise to a more prominent case of Arantxa-phobia on the women's tour.

And the fans? Attendance has increased from 8,987 that first year in 1985 in Delray Beach to more than 20,000. Already every box in the new stadium has been sold for next year's tournament.

This isn't so big a surprise. Time was when South Florida tennis fans waited to see who was playing, but both finals sold out this year before the first ball was hit.

Perhaps Bud Collins, the journalistic jack-of-all-backhands between his writing and announcing, exemplifies how far this tournament has come. Collins didn't just pass on this tournament for much of the previous seven years. He passed loudly.

''I thought we had enough tournaments already,'' he said. ''Butch was very disappointed when I wrote that, and we talked about it.

''Now, seeing the entries, seeing how they run it and seeing the fans' response to it, I've changed my mind.''

Collins came to his first full Lipton this year, doing radio work besides his writing. Now Collins puts this tournament right behind the U.S. Open for national impact.

''And this place is more fun than Flushing Meadow,'' he said, which even New Yorkers can't argue.

Just ask Boris Becker. He comes to the tournament early every year -- and he has made a habit of losing early. After his loss last year, he said he had too much fun here.

The fun becomes permanent next year when the 14,000-seat stadium is put to use.

So today marks the end of an era, one Buchholz has been anticipating for years.

Bring your jackhammer.
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post #455 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2013, 08:00 PM
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Re: 1992

The Miami Herald
Monday, March 23, 1992

An attendance record was set at the Lipton International Players Championships this year, with an average of 20,464 passing through the gates each day to attend the tournament's 18 sessions from March 13-22.

The 204,643 total is the highest since the event went from two weeks to 10 days in 1990.

The previous record was 194,730, set last year.

Sunday's men's final and Saturday's women's final were 12,332 sellouts.

The record presumably will fall next year, as a 14,000-capacity permanent stadium will be built.

Women's champ Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Larisa Savchenko- Neiland of Latvia won the doubles title with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Jill Hetherington of Canada and Kathy Rinaldi of Amelia Island, Fla.

* Final results of the Mitsubishi Electronics Wheelchair Invitational: men's singles -- Mick Connell of Australia (2) defeated Laurent Giammartini of France (1), 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; men's doubles -- Brad Parks of San Clemente, Calif./Rick Slaughter of Nashville, Tenn., (2) defeated Laurent Giammartini of France/ Abde Nali of France, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).
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Re: 1992

Monday, March 23, 1992

KEY BISCAYNE -- There will be no identity crisis for the Lipton International Players Championships.

Lipton , the title sponsor since the tournament's inception in 1985, renewed its commitment Sunday.

''We're thrilled at Lipton's decision,'' said Butch Buchholz, the tournament founder and chairman. ''This tournament should have no other name but the Lipton.''

Ten days ago, when the tournament began, it appeared unlikely that Lipton would continue as title sponsor. Lipton turned down two proposals from Buchholz, then went back this week and accepted the second one.

''We've evaluated the situation and decided that this is where we should spend our money,'' said Blaine Hess, president and chief executive officer of the Thomas J. Lipton Co.

''We could never gain the kind of name identification we get with this tournament.''

After producing and operating the tournament for four years, Lipton will solely be the title sponsor, its function during the first four years of the event.

''The tournament struggled and lost money for the first five years,'' said Gerry Boycks, president of Lipton Sports. ''We brought some discipline. The tournament is now on sound footing, and it will be up to Butch to carry that on.''

Lipton will move into a $16.5 million, 14,000-seat, tennis-only permanent stadium, owned by Dade County, for next year's tournament. Groundbreaking is April 1, with a completion date of Feb. 1, 1993.

Lipton also plans to enlarge the grandstand to 8,000 to 10,000 to accommodate the overflow crowds for the first weekend.

''We had to stop selling grounds passes this year because there was no more room,'' Buchholz said.

Buchholz hopes to improve the schedule so that there are more matches over the final four days. The women's and men's semifinals had been split into four sessions Thursday and Friday, with the women's final Saturday and the men's final Sunday.

''The schedule is a flaw,'' Buchholz said. ''We've spoken to referee Alan Mills how we need to improve the program.''

-- Arantxa Sanchez Vicario added the women's doubles title to go with the singles championship she earned Saturday. Sanchez and Larisa Savchenko- Neiland, the top-seeded team, defeated Jill Hetherington and Kathy Rinaldi 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

-- Mick Connell of Australia, the No. 2 seed, upset top-seeded Laurent Giammartini of France 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 for the men's wheelchair title.
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post #457 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 2013, 10:55 PM
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Re: 1992

Let us also remember that during the Lipton the letcord's future was debated, with the majority of the players expressing opinions akin to the two presented here.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sunday, March 22, 1992

A rule change proposed by the International Tennis Federation that would eliminate let calls on service has tennis players at the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla., unimpressed and wondering why bother?

Under the proposed change, a serve that clips the net but falls in would count as a good serve, and the ball would be in play.

"They what? Who decided that?" Steffi Graf said. "You think that's going to go through? It sounds stupid. I think it sounds silly. Why change it? The 'let' doesn't disturb anybody. Who ever complained about it, I wonder. Who thinks about changing a let call? There are far more important issues in the game than that."

Jimmy Connors, uttered an expletive, then said: "Let's do something that really has a concern for the game instead of nit-picking around here."
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post #458 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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Re: 1992

Let's tune in to the 1992 Australian Open...

TENNIS; New Season Will Probably Be a Spinoff of '91
January 13, 1992
New York Times

On the court and off, tennis took a tumultuous turn in 1991, where breakthroughs, break-ups and breakdowns were circuit staples.

Jimmy Connors, a United States Open semifinalist, and Henri Leconte, the ringer on France's championship Davis Cup team, were resurrected from tennis' terminal unit. Martina Navratilova tied Chris Evert's record of 157 career titles, but failed to defend her record ninth Wimbledon title and found herself on trial for real in Texas. Monica Seles made state-of-the-art money but made people mad with anti-establishment escapades. France stole away the United States' Davis Cup in a rollicking final. Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg were slowed to a standstill by injuries when the endless tennis season finally ended.

That means the 1992 season, which begins in earnest today with the Australian Open, will likely prove to be one of several after-shocks: The insurgent, resurgent Connors, who soared from 936th to 48th in the world, will start acting his age, 39, and make his splashiest statements this time around from the broadcast booth. Navratilova, the last of a dying breed of fearless serve-and-volleyers on either tour, will take a final crack at Wimbledon and then concentrate on resolving her palimony wrangle.

Seles, tired from counting the record $2,457,758 million she earned last year, will behave. Becker and Edberg, urged along by the emergence of Jim Courier and Pete Sampras, will play prime-of-life tennis or find themselves bypassed by the bandwagon of youth.

The Young and Restless

Power and money, the sport's two headliners in 1991, remain its clearest constants in 1992, and to the aggravation of those pensioners at the top who had banner years in the 80's, youth persists as the game's best friend. That many of the teen-agers wielding graphite racquets, those great equalizers of experience, are already millionaires is becoming the status quo. On the women's circuit, nearly half the tournaments on the 1991 Kraft Tour were won by teen-agers; this year, teen-agers will claim more than half.

Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy will likely spawn at least one winning teen-ager, perhaps ninth-grader Eva Majoli, a k a the second coming of Seles, who is on the cusp of turning pro. Anke Huber, just 17 years old, and Magdalena Maleeva, 16, Europe's other contributions to the next generation, are already pros. Two American amateurs, Chanda Rubin, 15 and rising from No. 157 to No. 81 since September, and 11-year-old Venus Williams, are also worth watching.

Seles, who won 10 events last year, including the Australian, French, and United States opens, turned 18 in December. Jennifer Capriati won't be 16 until March and is studiously adding a bang-up serve and bolder volley to her arsenal. Capriati can break into the top five before her birthday in March and is the next best United States hope for an enduring No. 1, provided she doesn't weary of the steady diet of tour tennis she's been fed since she was 13.

Capriati, whose $5 million yearly in endorsements indicates she's already regarded as an outright star, can be a charming spokeswoman for her industry for years to come. And her high visibility, along with the celebrity of Andre Agassi, may help tennis's profile and revenues remain afloat in this country and stem a trend that has seen the relocation of a half-dozen events from North America to Germany and Japan.

Political Games

The women's circuit has been particularly hard hit by such defections; a 1992 tour event at Denver was canceled, tournaments in Albuquerque and Phoenix are troubled, and a new event at Indian Wells, Calif., is without a title sponsor.

The latter predicament is linked to corporate unrest caused by friction between the Women's Tennis Association, the player union headed by reform-minded Gerry Smith, and the umbrella group that has administered women's tennis for 20 years, the Women's International Professional Tennis Council. A division of Kraft, the tour's $6 million title sponsor, reneged on plans for a multiyear sponsorship of the Indian Wells event last November while an as-yet unresolved squabble between the W.T.A., which proposed an alternative tour starting in 1993, and the W.I.P.T.C. was at its height.

As the women's circuit fends off a civil war, the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour claims to be repairing its rift with the International Tennis Federation, fallout from the men's declaration of tour independence four years ago. For the last two years, the two groups have held separate year-end championship events in Germany, with the A.T.P.'s finale upstaged by the I.T.F.'s $6 million Grand Slam Cup. Unfortunately, nothing will change this year.

Nothing will change, either, in the game of musical coaches. For 1992, Graf has selected Heinz Gunthardt, Capriati has snapped up Graf's former coach, Pavel Slozil, and Sampras, unable to reach full-time terms with Capriati's former coach, Tom Gullikson, hired his twin brother, Tim. Mary Joe Fernandez, still lacking panache and creativity, chose Harold Solomon.

Linking Agassi and McEnroe

The hire-a-coach and add-a-stroke philosophy is popular, and the trend toward finding younger mentors, some of them just off the tour, persists: Becker discarded Bob Brett for Tomas Smid, and Agassi, ever in the vanguard, has reserved his coach in advance. Quite serious about acquiring the mental fortitude and strategic canniness needed to take command in a grand slam final, he has asked John McEnroe to tutor him in 1993 if, should best-laid plans hold up, McEnroe retires after 1992.

McEnroe and Agassi can test their compatibility all year on the Davis Cup team, where they'll be joined by Sampras and Rick Leach. And if the United States Tennis Association finds him a wild card, McEnroe's 1992 swan song will continue at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, where he'd like to be considered for singles as well as doubles. But with heavy hitters like Sampras and Courier penciled in for singles, McEnroe may have to confine his touch to doubles.

Power tennis remains an inexorable trend: Seles, who went to the final of every event she entered, plays it, Graf perfected it, Capriati thrives on it, and Agassi has put it on billboards and into even Michael Chang's training regimen. Some statistics lie, but last year on the men's tour, despite the unwarranted hubbub over big-servers dealing the game a knockout punch, the 10 men who dealt the most aces in the game were, with the exception of rising star Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands, all were in the top 20, an echelon that demands a big game along with the big serve.

All of which portends a big, fast race toward the megabucks at the top by the youngest and fittest in 1992.
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Re: 1992

Top players discover Australia's benefits
The Toronto Star
Saturday, January 4, 1992
Nora McCabe

If the Australian Open is an accurate indicator, competition on both the men's and women's tours will be cutthroat in 1992.

In recent years, the Australian has been the weak link in the Grand Slam quartet. Despite having the most high-tech facility in the tennis world - centre court at the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne has a retractable roof - the tournament has suffered from markedly weak fields.

There were several reasons given to explain why many of the marquee players shunned the event: its timing (too early in the season), its location (too far away so early in the year) and its weather (too hot - temperatures often reach 40C).

But suddenly this year, those longstanding reasons have evaporated like mist in the blazing Melbourne sun.

Of the top women, only veteran Martina Navatilova will be missing when play begins on Jan. 13. And only two of the top 20 men - the flamboyant Las Vegan Andre Agassi and Spaniard Sergi Bruguera - are taking a pass.

What's caused the change is that both tours are genuinely more competitive.

For the men, in each of the past two years, four different players have won the four Slams. While Stefan Edberg, the elegant Swedish serve and volleyer who is the U.S. Open titleholder, has ended both years ranked No. 1, he has no stranglehold on the top spot. Breathing down his neck are No. 2-ranked French Open champion Jim Courier and defending Australian Open champion Boris Becker, who is third-ranked.

Becker's No. 4-ranked countryman Michael Stich, the surprise Wimbledon champion, is also a legitimate contender.

On the women's side, appearances are deceiving. Undeniably world champion Monica Seles was the dominant player winning the Australian, French and U.S. opens as well as the year-ending Virginia Slims championship. But the women's game in general has improved - thanks to new racquet technology that has added power and variety to their once deadly dull baseline game.

One of the things that has insiders buzzing is that two of Seles' major rivals have changed coaches recently.

No. 2-ranked Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf has ditched Czechoslovak Pavel Slozil and for the time being will replace him with Swiss Heinz Gunthardt, who will be more of a hitting partner than bona fide coach. Graf, 22, also is said to have told Papa Peter she's a big girl now and doesn't need him trailing her around every minute.

Meanwhile, the No. 6-ranked Canadian Open champion Jennifer Capriati, who was hands down the most improved player on the women's tour, has snatched up Slozil as her coach.

But Seles, who just turned 18, could discover her toughest opposition comes not from other players but from her own tendency to gain weight through the hips.

In her new Fila togs - wide legged shorts - that she sashayed forth in at the Virginia, ahem, Slims, Seles looked positively plump and definitely out of shape. She admits to pigging out on sweets. But the word on tour is that she's never liked proper exercise, has never been all that fit. And if she doesn't watch it, she'll be Thunder Thighs, Inc., long before her 21st birthday.

Can Seles be dethroned this year? Will Becker defend his Australian title and, more importantly, will he regain the No. 1 ranking he held for barely more than an eyeblink last year?

The Australian Open should provide some clues to the answers to these questions.

What's most interesting about the depth of the field is that it appears the players believe Grand Slam titles are important to their financial success.

The once devalued Australian title has come to outweigh any title on either the men's ATP Tour or the Women's Tennis Association tour.

Perhaps 1992 will mark the beginning of the end of the internecine warfare between tour officials and the International Tennis Federation, which runs the Grand Slam events. That would indeed be good for the game over-all.

Cup win: Switzerland rode wins by Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere and Jakob Hlasek to victory over Czechoslovakia and its first title in the Hopman Cup team tennis tournament yesterday in Perth, Australia. Maleeva-Fragniere took the women's singles, beating Helena Sukova 6-2, 6-4, then Hlasek won the men's singles, defeating Karel Novacek 6-4, 6-4.

Russian move: Top-seeded Alexander Volkov of Russia defeated qualifier Libor Nemecek of Czechoslovakia 6-3, 6-4 yesterday to advance to the semifinals of the BP Nationals in Wellington, New Zealand.

Volkov will face fourth-seeded Malivai Washington of the United States today. American Jeff Tarango will face Lars Koslowski of Germany in the other semifinal.
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post #460 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:48 PM
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Re: 1992

The Miami Herald
Thursday, January 9, 1992

Try to find fault with Jennifer Capriati. Bet you can't. Consider her assets:

She whacks the ball.

She doesn't grunt.

She beats superstars. And smiles a lot.

She enters all the Grand Slams, including next week's Australian Open.

She . . . hasn't won a Grand Slam yet.

There's a defect, right?

Think again. Capriati's only apparent shortcoming, in fact, might be the best thing she has going. Without the pressure of already having won a Grand Slam, Capriati can go out on the court and just be Capriati -- an exuberant, fun-loving teen-ager -- and leave the grimacing and grouching to the veterans.

"If she wants to laugh or wear a Simpson's T-shirt or one earring, that's OK," said Andrea Jaeger, a young star in the early '80s whose sudden collapse was attributed to injuries and burnout. "It's accepted."

It's accepted because it's cute, callow, 15-year-old Capriati.

Her manager, John Evert, said Capriati wasn't even aiming to win a Grand Slam last year. Instead, Capriati, a U.S. Open and Wimbledon semifinalist, worked on adjusting to different surfaces and placing balls to round out her game. "If she would have been content to just pound away from the backcourt she could have won a Grand Slam," he said.

There will be a time, however, perhaps in the upcoming one- sixteenth of her life, when it won't be enough for the hard- swinging Capriati merely to improve. After last year, when she jumped two spots in the rankings to No. 6, most figured Capriati had passed the big test. Not quite. The real strain will come after she wins her first Grand Slam.

Then, winning will matter for Capriati like it matters for everyone else.

And Capriati will need a mind-set as strong as her 100 mph serve to stay near the top.

* No. 10 Andre Agassi and No. 11 Sergi Bruguera will be the only two no-shows among the top 20 men at the Australian Open next week.

Agassi will practice and weight-train at his home in Las Vegas in preparation for the first round of the Davis Cup, said Bill Shelton, Agassi's manager. Agassi, Pete Sampras and the doubles team of John McEnroe and Rick Leach will play Argentina in Mauna Lani, Hawaii, at the end of January.

"He has his own time frame," Shelton said. "He's not trying to respond to what the tennis public feels he should do."

* In the women's draw, No. 4 Martina Navratilova and No. 13 Nathalie Tauziat are the only top 20 players not making the trip to Melbourne.

* Defending men's champion Boris Becker traveled to Australia Dec. 25 to get acclimated to the hot Australian temperatures, which have hit 120 degrees during past tournaments. Becker teamed with Steffi Graf in the Hopman Cup in Perth. The pair lost to Helena Sukova and Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia in the semifinals.

"The heat for (Becker) is an issue," Becker's manager, Heather MacLachlan said. "He's very light-skinned, very fair and very sun-sensitive. He's certainly not accustomed to playing in heat."

* Seles and No. 2 Jim Courier will return to defend their titles during the $2.8 million Lipton International Players Championships March 13-22 at the International Tennis Center in Key Biscayne. For information call 305-361-5252 from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.
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post #461 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:52 PM
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Re: 1992

And down at the very bottom a name that's still playing and winning!

Seles starts recovery from injury to neck
Houston Chronicle
Friday, JANUARY 10, 1992
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Monica Seles said her neck injury, which had been hampering her preparation to defend her title in the Australian Open, is beginning to heal.

"It's getting better and better," Seles said Thursday. "It still causes some discomfort and on some shots it still hurts."

Seles believes she pulled a muscle last weekend during a flight from the United States and later aggravated it in practice.

"I practiced in the afternoon after the flight and I had no problems," she said. "The next day, I was into my practice for about an hour and I just served for about 20 minutes and it just cracked a little bit so the doctor gave me a brace, just as a precaution."

She wore a neck brace for a day, but said she removed it because of embarrassment. She is now wearing a scarf to keep her neck warm.

Seles decided not to play in a tournament before the Australian Open, which starts Monday at the National Tennis Center and continues through Jan. 26.

Sampras downs McEnroe

ADELAIDE, Australia -- American Pete Sampras survived a match point and defeated an angry John McEnroe 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in the Rio Challenge round robin.

McEnroe had several confrontations with chair umpire Steve Foreman in the second set.

In the other match, Goran Ivanisevic beat Michael Chang 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Forget rolls on

SYDNEY, Australia -- Defending champion Guy Forget defeated Aaron Krickstein 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals of the New South Wales Open.

Forget, at No. 3 the highest remaining seed in the men's draw, used a blend of power and spin to beat Krickstein.

He will face eighth-seeded David Wheaton, who rallied to beat Jakob Hlasek 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

The other semifinal today will match No. 7 Emilio Sanchez, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Thomas Muster, against either Christian Bergstrom or Omar Camporese. Their match was halted by darkness after Camporese won the first set 7-6 (7-3).

On the women's side, the top four seeds advanced to the quarterfinals.

No. 1 Gabriela Sabatini, ranked third in the world, led the charge with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over unseeded Sabine Hack. The Argentine star will play 15th-seeded Gigi Fernandez, who beat Houston's Zina Garrison, the seventh seed, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3.

No. 2 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario got off to a slow start before defeating Barbara Rittner 7-5, 6-0. She meets fifth-seeded Conchita Martinez, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over unseeded Amy Frazier.

No. 3 Jana Novotna, the defending champion, downed No. 13 Julie Halard 6-2, 7-5 and is matched against No. 8 Anke Huber. Huber ousted unseeded 6-3, 6-4.

No. 4 seed Mary Joe Fernandez won two matches and will face No. 9 Leila Meskhi, who needed three sets to beat Kimiko Date 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
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post #462 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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Re: 1992

Courier Suited To Power Game
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sunday, January 12, 1992
Steve Wilstein, Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia - He's baaack, in all his devilish glory, cursing umpires as venomously as ever, scorching linesmen with his burning eyes, picking up where he left off when last they banished him.

But on the eve of the Australian Open , John McEnroe returns as a relic of a tennis age gone by, his rantings now more pathetic than obnoxious as he seeks for perhaps the last time to retrieve his lost genius.

Never was it clearer than this week when McEnroe, after all his work over the past two years to revive his game with these new-fangled rocket rackets, stared in amazement as Jim Courier's shots soared past him.

''His idea is to hit hard enough to give you no time,'' a frustrated McEnroe said after his 6-3, 6-4 loss in a tune-up tournament in Adelaide. ''The cycle now in tennis is the power game. This is the type of game that will be played from now on.''

Courier's new age game crackles with power from both sides and on his serves. But he comes into the Australian with a superb chance of winning because of three other strengths that McEnroe can no longer muster - poise, confidence and fitness.

The events of two years ago, when McEnroe became the first player in history to be thrown out of the Australian Open , haunted him in Adelaide when he cursed officials in his losses to Pete Sampras and Courier. Ever the mad artist, investing himself so fully in each shot that he can't help but lose control eventually, McEnroe - who skipped Australia last year with an injured shoulder - still possesses in his moments of grandeur those soft, sweet drop volleys and sweeping wide-angle serves that marked his style in seven Grand Slam victories.

Yet each year those moments become fewer. The real reason McEnroe is seriously considering retirement after this season at age 33 has nothing to do with his temper. It is the simple fact that he can only rarely beat any of the top players anymore.

Courier, seeded No. 2 after an amazing rise from the No. 25 ranking a year ago, has to be considered the favorite over the next two weeks - even against top-seeded Stefan Edberg, who is rusty and sore-muscled after a long layoff.

At 21, Courier has the verve and a better serve than a young Jimmy Connors, but without any of the vulgar theatrics.

Courier reached only the fourth round here last year. His big improvement, though, came later when he won the French, made the quarters at Wimbledon and the finals at the U.S. Open, where he stopped Connors' incredible run in the semis. Connors decided to pass up this tournament.

Two of Courier's most dangerous rivals here - Edberg and Goran Ivanisevic - are coming in with aches after also playing in Adelaide. Edberg, who sat out the past two months because of knee and wrist injuries, is bothered by a sore arm. Ivanisevic quit his match against Edberg on Friday because of a blister on his right foot, and is also suffering a sprained left ankle.

Defending champion Boris Becker, who could meet McEnroe in the third round, is likely Courier's toughest challenger, along with Sampras, who lost to Courier in Adelaide.

Monica Seles, the defending women's champion and top seed, hasn't played since winning the Virginia Slims Championship in November. The 18-year-old spent Christmas at home for the first time in three years, worked on a new wrinkle in her game - serve-and-volley - and tested out her new Jaguar. Her biggest problem was deciding which color the car should be - she settled on red - then she took off for Australia and ran into a more serious problem.

It seems she slept kind of scrunched up on the plane and developed a kink in her neck, which resulted in a pulled muscle when she practiced serving a few days later. She says that's healing fine, but she points to the bump on her left shin that won't go away.

The shin splints that she blamed for missing Wimbledon - the only Grand Slam event she didn't win last year - apparently have left her with a permanent reminder. Special soles on her tennis shoes help protect her legs, especially when playing on hard courts like the ones at the Australian.

Gabriela Sabatini, the No. 3 seed, has been playing well at a tune-up event in Sydney and thinks the time is right to make a charge on Seles.

''Monica is beatable,'' Sabatini said. ''I have worked on a strategy with my coach Carlos Kirmyer.''

That strategy is the same one Sabatini used so successfully in winning the U.S. Open in 1990 - rushing the net when she has the opportunity instead of playing only from the baseline.

Sabatini might be thinking about Seles, but she'd be wise not to overlook a 15-year-old who looms as a potential quarterfinal opponent - No. 5 Jennifer Capriati, playing her first Australian Open.
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post #463 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 06:00 PM
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Re: 1992

Wilder range of stars livens yawning predictability
The Dallas Morning News
Sunday, January 12, 1992
Debbie Fetterman

As the Australian Open gets under way this week, there is no clear-cut favorite to win the men's draw, and the women have more challengers than a few years ago. Tennis officials say the absence of predictability in professional tennis seems to be helping the sport thrive.

Last year, there were no Ivan Lendls or John McEnroes favored to win every men's event. While Stefan Edberg held on to the No. 1 ranking through most of 1991, the serve-and-volleyer won only one Grand Slam, his first career U.S. Open title.

"Last year was a unique year in that so many different players came out of nowhere to win (Grand Slams)," said Dennis Ralston, SMU's director of tennis and a former touring pro and coach. "No one would have picked (Michael) Stich to win Wimbledon or (Jim) Courier to win the French. I think that's a healthy sign for the game."

The women's side offered intrigue last year as well, at least in the race for No. 1. Steffi Graf held the top spot through March 10, 1991, before Monica Seles overtook her. Graf had been No. 1 since Aug. 17, 1987, 186 consecutive weeks, longer than any man or woman in pro tennis.

The lead alternated five times before Seles secured the top spot for the year in September. While Seles dominated the women's scene, capturing the three Grand Slams she entered, Graf, the Wimbledon champion, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Jennifer Capriati, 1991 Australian Open finalist Jana Novotna, and Anke Huber challenged along the way.

"As (tennis Hall of Famer) Ted Tinling said before he died, 'This is the golden age for women's tennis,' " said Ana Leaird, director of public relations for the Women's Tennis Association. "You can no longer name the top women on one hand. You need two."

Geoff Pollard, president of Tennis Australia, expects the trend to continue in 1992. The Australian Open, the first of tennis' four Grand Slams, begins Monday in Melbourne with 18 of the world's top 20 players in the men's and women's fields. Navratilova, Nathalie Tauziat, Andre Agassi and Sergi Bruguera are the four Top 20 players who elected not to compete.

"This is one of the best fields we've ever had as long as anyone can remember," Pollard said. "You have to go back to the old days, and even then, I don't think we ever had a better entry."

The 256 Australian Open participants are converging on Flinders Park for various reasons: the event's Grand Slam status, its increased prize money ($1 million each of the last two years) and its attractive Rebound Ace surface, not to mention the popular venue that now has a logical place on the tennis calendar.

Just as Tennis Australian has worked hard to build a strong Australian Open, tennis officials worldwide have been working to strengthen the game. Pollard said tennis has expanded to more and more countries. For example, seven countries are represented by the top 16 men's seeds, 11 by the women.

But Pollard attributes the depth in both circuits to a worldwide effort to break the class barriers tennis once had. He said tennis once was played only by the elite but said that is changing rapidly. Tennis Australia, like the USTA and European tennis bodies, has created programs for public parks and schools to bring tennis to everyone.

Better equipment, better instruction and better physical training have helped elevate the level of play, added Ana Leaird of the WTA. That in turn, has led to more superstars. The superstars still generate most of the fan appeal, she said. The depth now ensures that fans get to see their stars play closer, more challenging matches, added Pollard.

On the men's tour, more top players are participating in more tournaments, said Mark Miles, the chief executive officer of the ATP Tour. The increased player participation has ensured strong fields, which helped raise tournament attendance almost 10 percent last year.

In addition, interest in hosting events has increased, creating waiting lists for calendar dates, Leaird said. Promoters in Europe, Asia and the United States have expressed interest, she said. The WTA added five tournaments to its schedule for 1992 along with an increase in prize money from $24.6 million to $25.5 million. The women's prize money has almost tripled since 1982, increasing from $8.9 million in 1982 to $15 million in 1989 to its present level.

Attendance figures were not available, but Leaird said popularity has increased, citing ticket scalpers at the 1991 Virginia Slims Championships, held in November at Madison Square Garden.

"When you have scalpers at Madison Square Garden, you know you have arrived," she said. "That didn't happen five and 10 years ago."

The Australian Open

WHEN/WHERE: Monday-Jan. 26, Flinders Park, Melbourne, Australia.

*DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Boris Becker, Monica Seles.

*THE WORD: The 1992 Australian field is the strongest ever. The players in the best physical condition will survive the brutal Australian summer heat. The men's champion is a tossup between Stefan Edberg if he is healthy, Ivan Lendl, like Edberg a two-time champion, or defending champion Boris Becker. Monica Seles will continue where she left off unless Jana Novotna, the 1991 finalist, can slip by her.
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post #464 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 10:05 PM
agradecería con alegría que me comierais la ñocla.
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Re: 1992

Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
No. 3 Jana Novotna, the defending champion, downed No. 13 Julie Halard 6-2, 7-5 and is matched against No. 8 Anke Huber. Huber ousted unseeded 6-3, 6-4.
Poor unseeded didn't have a chance

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post #465 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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Re: 1992

Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
And down at the very bottom a name that's still playing and winning!
I forgot about Kimiko Date for a moment, so I have to admit that my first thought on reading this was, "Who? Martina? Wait, did she make another comeback and beat an active player again?"

Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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