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post #106 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:17 PM
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Re: 1992

Improprieties abound...

Wimbledon's 'white market' has tennis in black mood
The Toronto Star
Thursday, June 18, 1992

LONDON - Wimbledon's whiter-than-white image, carefully preserved over 115 years, has suddenly developed a dirty stain on its shirt pocket - the one where you keep your tickets.

For decades, Britain's tennis establishment has accused street touts of re-selling tickets for exorbitant prices and profits. It now turns out these indignant complaints were just a smoke screen for an official cartel market system that churned out huge profits for the All England Club.

Ironically, Wimbledon officials call this a 'white' market. Others in the sports promotion business regard it as a gross rip-off.

Sir Leon Brittan, of the European Commission, has ordered an urgent investigation by the London-based Office of Fair Trading into Wimbledon's ticket-selling practices.

While this action may not save the ordinary fan anything in his pocket this year, Wimbledon could be so embarrassed by the disclosures of their market methods that the tennis world's premier event will become more democratic and less elitist in 1993.

As it is, the system devised by the All England Tennis and Croquet Club effectively makes its managers the biggest up-market scalpers in the world. It all revolves around the selling of club debentures, which are currently going for $40,000. Each debenture lasts five years, is quoted on the London stock exchange and guarantees daily centre court seats, included in the price.

While Wimbledon bans the resale, or passing on, of the main allocations of tickets through public ballot or tennis clubs, it merrily goes a-touting itself. The face value of a centre court ticket is $100. The All England Club will offer debenture holders as much as $1,400 to buy a ticket back, and then resell it to a corporate client for as much as $1,800.

Wimbledon defends itself by saying that much of the profits go back into the game. Indeed, last year, in the midst of the worst recession in 60 years, the club proved it was not part of the real world, by pushing up profits from the two weeks of tennis by almost 25 per cent, to a few dollars short of $24 million.

Overall, prize money for the event has risen 10 per cent to $8.84 million.

But next year might not be quite so grand, depending on the general public's reaction to the exposure of the tournament's ticket touting system.

The whistle-blower is Mike Burton, a former English rugby union star who is in the sports promotion business himself, and was the marketing savior of the Rugby World Cup when the Keith Prowse ticket agency collapsed in bankruptcy weeks before that sporting event was due to begin.

Burton does not actually object to the re-selling of tickets because his company does that sort of thing very successfully. What he shouts long and loud about is Wimbledon's attempts to stop him offering tournament hospitality packages, keeping that market to itself by hijacking prices.

Last year, Burton sued All England Club, but lost in the High Court. Typically refusing to give in, he took his complaint to the European Commission - and it listened.

"In view of the furore I would expect Mr. John Curry, the chairman of the All England Club, and Mr. Chris Goringe, the chief executive, to do the honorable thing and resign," says Burton.

"When the OFT investigators go through the books, I expect them to find that $250,000 pounds ($550,000) is being made on the resales. It's laughable that the All England Club is calling it a white market, and not a black market. Either, there is a market or there isn't . . ."

Burton's case against the All England Club is based on the fact that a condition of sale of ordinary tickets is that the holders can't do what Wimbledon does so profitably. This forces sports marketing companies, like that one owned by Burton, into a restricted market in which Wimbledon has set the ticket prices artificially high.

Whether Burton's case is upheld, he has certainly given the ordinary fan something to think about, and the Wimbledon establishment something to be irritated about.
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post #107 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Re: 1992

Wednesday, June 17, 1992

Martina Navratilova marks time with Wimbledon. When she walks through the gates of the All-England Club next week, Navratilova will hear a clock strike midnight in her mind.

''Wimbledon represents the passing of time, moreso than New Year's Eve,'' Navratilova said. ''When I go to Wimbledon, I feel like another year has gone by.''

Navratilova, 35, will celebrate her 20th anniversary at Wimbledon this year, and the record nine-time champion hopes to toast a 10th title as well.

''I'm here and I'm healthy and I think I can win,'' she said. ''Or I wouldn't be playing.''

Navratilova was trying to be positive Tuesday, even though she had just lost to Linda Harvey-Wild, the 64th-ranked player, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6 in a second- round upset at Eastbourne, England. Navratilova had won 53 of her last 54 matches at Eastbourne, a tournament she has won 10 times.

''My confidence isn't shattered, but it needs a lift,'' said Navratilova, who is seeded fourth at Wimbledon behind Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini. ''Losing in the second round to Linda Harvey-Wild doesn't help. But overall, I would assess my chances as not nearly as good as they used to be, but the chance is still there. I see the odds on me winning are 8-1. Put your money on. It's a better return than you're going to get in the bank.''

Navratilova, who won her ninth title in 1990, was upset by Jennifer Capriati in last year's quarterfinals.

''The weather, the lawsuit and Jennifer played a great match,'' Navratilova said. ''It was a lethal combination.''

Navratilova has settled her lawsuit with Judy Nelson. Her mind is clear, but she has to watch out for the demons.

''When you lose a match at 15 or 25, you just go on,'' Navratilova said. ''When you are 35, there is the temptation to listen to the voices telling you you shouldn't be playing anymore. I try to keep it in perspective and not make it an age issue. I look at myself as Martina, the tennis player, not Martina, the 35-year-old woman. By all rights, I shouldn't be out there anymore.

''The doubts can creep into your mind. You hope you haven't used up all your emotional energy, that you still have some left. Sometimes, it's difficult to keep your mind on tennis (when) other emotions and thoughts creep into your head. I don't have any doubts. I'm doing the thing that I want to be doing. I want to be out there. But it's more fun when you win.''

Navratilova blamed her Wild defeat on the wind.

''There were gale-force winds and they did me in,'' said Navratilova, whose previous earliest tournament exit was to Claudia Kohde-Kilsch at the 1981 Virginia Slims of Oakland. ''I got tentative and that can be deadly when you're trying to adjust to the bounces on grass. I struggled with myself. Instead of hitting through the ball, I pulled back a little bit, and I was sunk.''

Navratilova has not played since the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head, S.C., two months ago. She did not play Birmingham, England, last week because she did not want to be tired for Wimbledon . And now, she will enter the tournament with only two grass-court matches behind her.

''If I had to prepare again, I would do it the same way,'' said Navratilova, who worked out in Hawaii and played golf while the rest of the women were playing the clay-court circuit in Europe. ''It's been a long time since I lost this early at Eastbourne, so I guess I'll just have to practice quite a bit here with the girls and pretend they are matches.''

Navratilova will face 17-year-old Magdalena Maleeva in her first-round match at Wimbledon . The youngest Maleeva sister wasn't born when Navratilova won the first of her 103 matches there in 1973.

''I remember when Billie Jean King played her 20th Wimbledon and thinking no one will ever do that again,'' Navratilova said. ''And now I'm doing it. This is where tennis players want to be, and I'm lucky to still be there.''
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post #108 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:19 PM
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Re: 1992

Rocky Mountain News
Sunday, June 21, 1992

There are moments, inevitable moments, when the demons of doubt invade Martina Navratilova's psyche.

The persistent little devils arrive without warning. There she will be, a living sports legend, standing in bewilderment on some tennis court, feeling all 35 of her advanced-tennis years, a winner having bounded past her off the racket of some girl with acne who is young enough to be her daughter.

And then the voices will come.

"Those doubts creep in," Navratilova said this past week as she began preparations for her 20th Wimbledon, which begins Monday. "You listen to all these reporters asking you about your age, and those doubts creep in. It's a struggle to keep those thoughts in the back of my mind, to not let them get into your conscious."

Navratilova has been in the forefront of the sports world's consciousness for two decades. There was her dominating run in the '80s, when she played perhaps the finest tennis of any woman in history. There was her tumultuous off-court life, her openness and honesty about her sexuality.

Now, two decades after she first stepped on the glorious green grass of the All England Tennis Club, she is back for more.

She is not the dominant presence, the overpowering athlete she once was. This she knows. But she still is good. Good enough to be ranked No. 4 in the world behind Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini.

Which leads to this perspective on time and age: In June 1973, when Navratilova played in her first Wimbledon, Graf was 4 years old. Sabatini was 3. Seles was in her mother's womb.

Navratilova dislikes the grand-old-woman theme that shadows her these days. But she doesn't run from it.

"By all rights, I should not be out there anymore competing," she said. ''That's the hard part to overcome when things get tight. I never question that I want to be here. It's just that these doubts creep into my mind. Whether I've used up all the emotional energy. Whether I have enough left."

Ah, yes. Those doubts. They were never a problem when Navratilova was in her 20s, when she was winning with almost laughable ease.

"When you're 15 or 25, you don't even think about that. You just go out and do it. I guess when you're 25 and you're losing, you simply try to figure out why you're losing. When you're losing when you're 35, you think, 'Maybe I shouldn't be playing anymore.'

"The most important thing for me is to keep it in perspective and not get into this age issue too much and just concentrate on Martina the tennis player and Martina the competitor rather than Martina the 35-year-old woman who shouldn't be playing anymore."

Navratilova said one of her game's biggest problems these days is over-analysis. When she was young, she hit the ball. It was instinct, athleticism. Now her mind races, computer-like, as she plays.

"Sometimes I think too much out there," she said. "The younger players don't do that. They just hit it and it goes in, and they don't worry about why. I guess the arrogance of youth is never to be underestimated."

Martina's arrogance of youth is gone. But she is still capable, still dangerous, still feared. With last year's palimony lawsuit involving former companion Judy Nelson over, her mind is clear. She is too realistic and intelligent to think she is as good as she once was. But she also knows if things fall just right, if she gets hot on grass, her favorite surface, a 10th Wimbledon singles crown is not out of the realm of possibility.

"I'm here, I'm healthy, and I think I can win. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here," she said. "I don't have as good a chance as I used to, but the chance is still there."

No matter how Navratilova performs this Wimbledon fortnight, she and Wimbledon will forever be intertwined. She always will be a major chapter in the lore of the place. She knows that. She views Wimbledon the way some people view birthdays or holidays. She regards it as an annual landmark in time.

"Every year, it's like the passing of the time for me, moreso than New Year's. New Year's is another number. But every year when I come to Wimbledon, I really feel another year has gone by.

"I mean, 20th Wimbledon. My God. I remember when Billie Jean King played her 20th, and I thought, 'Wow, that's impossible.' And here I am, right up there with her. I just feel very lucky I can still compete, and I can't wait to see Centre Court again."

Now she comes as the underdog. She likes it that way.

"The pressure is tremendous when you feel like you should win it and that if you don't win it, you're a failure. It's like, you can't win. If you win, it's because you should. You've vindicated yourself, but you don't get the pure joy of winning that you do when you're an underdog."

Navratilova spoke last Tuesday, an hour after her second-round upset loss to 64th-ranked Linda Harvey-Wild in the Wimbledon tuneup at Eastbourne, England.

Many athletes of her fame and fortune would have blown off the media teleconference in the aftermath of such a disappointing performance. Not Martina. This is Martina: When the moderator said time was up for the session, Martina piped up.

"We still have three minutes by my watch. I'm in no hurry."

That's Navratilova. Ever willing to share herself with the public. To shoot straight. To be honest and up front.

It is easy to root for Martina. And against the demons of doubt.
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post #109 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:20 PM
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Re: 1992

Wimbledon has strange side
St. Petersburg Times
Sunday, June 21, 1992

It's hard to imagine that Spencer Gore and William Marshall knew in 1877 while scurrying about Centre Court at the All England Club that their match would be the birth of the world's most prestigious tennis event.

Yet, since that inaugural Wimbledon final (Gore won in straight sets), the tournament simply called The Championships, beginning a two-week run Monday, has become the pinnacle of professional tennis.

Now 115 years old, Wimbledon has provided countless memories: John McEnroe tirades, rain, a tearful Martina Navratilova holding her record ninth Wimbledon trophy, more rain, tennis gossip from the British tabloids and rain.

Here are some unusual happenings from Wimbledon worth reliving.

Geez, all she did was miss one volley: Vere Thomas St. Leger Gould might have made a great chair umpire today. The 1879 singles finalist was found guilty of murdering a Danish woman and shipping her dismembered body in two suitcases from France to England in 1907. He died a few years later at Devil's Island where he was serving a life sentence.

Don't let these guys go anywhere alone again: Wimbledon, it seems, can be a tricky place to find. One year, King George V missed part of a final when he locked himself in a bathroom. A female attendant finally freed him after hearing his screams for help, crashing through the door with her shoulder.

Another year, top-seeded Dinny Pails of Australia got lost on the London subway system on his way to his quarterfinal match. He arrived 20 minutes late only to discover Queen Mary was in the impatient crowd.

Reportedly unnerved by his royal faux pas, Pails lost the match in four quick sets.

Getting a leg up on the competition: When Yvon Petra won the 1946 singles title, his greatest thanks didn't go to his coach or his parents, but rather to an unknown German doctor.

His career put on hold by World War II, Petra went into active duty and sustained a severe leg wound. In a Nazi prison camp, Petra was told his leg would be amputated.

However, another doctor at the prison camp saved his leg during an operation. A year after the war ended, Petra won Wimbledon, beating Geoff Brown 6-2, 6-4, 7-9, 5-7, 6-4 in the final.

Maybe she should have tried serving underhanded: The tradition and mystique of the All England Club can be intimidating for a first-timer.

In 1957, Maria De Amorin, a young Brazilian pro in her first-round match, double-faulted 17 times to start the match. "I was very nervous,'' she said.

She lost the match.

Agassi never would have made it past the front gate: If you think the All England Club is too stuffy with its all-white dress code, you should have been around at the turn of the century.

The Doherty brothers were considered remarkably gutsy to play a match with their sleeves unbuttoned. Although it was a no-no at the time, they were allowed to play.

But May Sutton apparently went too far. In 1905, she caused a stir when she took the court with (gasp!) her sleeves rolled up. Not only were the stodgy officials outraged, but the fans were offended.

Sutton won the title anyway.

Even Borg-McEnroe can't touch this: The greatest Wimbledon match? You could argue for days about that one.

The 1980 epic between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg may be the best Wimbledon final, but the best Wimbledon match might be Pancho Gonzales' five-set win over Charlie Pasarell in 1969.

After more than 4 hours, Gonzales prevailed 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9.

Yeah, but can they do it again? If there was a Wimbledon that didn't need to be played, it was the 1984 tournament. Geez, what a surprise: John McEnroe won the men's singles title, Martina Navratilova won the women's singles crown, McEnroe teamed with Peter Fleming for the men's doubles championship and Navratilova hooked up with Pam Shriver to take the women's doubles.

Those players had won the same events the year before.

See what happens when you're born in the wrong era? The 1969 Wimbledon was the first in the Open era, and apparently tennis hasn't stopped opening since. To wit: For winning that '69 Wimbledon, Rod Laver took home about $3,000 in prize money, and Billie Jean King pocketed about $1,100.

This year, any player can walk onto the court for his or her first match, politely inform the chair umpire they would rather go watch paint dry and still win more money (about $5,700 for the men and $5,410 for the women) than Laver and King. Combined.

Why not go ahead and make her president? Perhaps no one knows how to toast a Wimbledon title better than a Brazilian. Take Maria Bueno's 1959 Wimbledon victory.

When the "Brazilian Bombshell,'' as Bueno was known, became Brazil's first Wimbledon winner, the following happened:

Impromptu carnivals broke out in the streets of major Brazilian cities.

More than 100 official receptions were held in her honor.

A million people turned out for a motorcade in Rio.

Bueno's likeness was used on a commemorative stamp.

An estimated 1,000 Brazilian baby girls were named Maria in the month she won Wimbledon.

City officials voted to rename a street after her. When it was discovered that such an act would be against the law, city officials erected a 60-foot statue of Bueno instead.

And if you thought the Brazilians were spoiled by Bueno's success that year, in 1960 and 1964, when she repeated her triumph, the street carnivals broke out again.

Wimbledon's best bets


Steffi Graf: Last year, Graf had all the incentive in the world to win the title after enduring numerous problems on and off the court. There are no such inducements for her this time. Still, she has to be the pick after reaching the French Open final two weeks ago.

Gabriela Sabatini: Although she isn't known as a grass-court player, winning this tourney is no stretch for her. She was a Wimbledon finalist a year ago and has been a semifinalist two other times. This, however, doesn't look to be the year she makes that final step.

Jennifer Capriati: Our little Jenny may not be a happy camper off the court, but her banker is grinning from ear to ear. Capriati was a semifinalist a year ago. If she can get by an expected quarterfinal clash with Sabatini, anything's possible.

Brenda Schultz: This imposing Dutch pro probably doesn't have a real shot at winning this year, but she is the most dangerous dark horse in the field. She'll take out some big-name players before someone kicks her out.

Monica Seles: She needs this one to keep her Grand Slam quest alive. Though not thought of as a grass-court player, she'll get deep in the draw before her string of five straight Grand Slam titles is ended.

Best of the rest: Jana Novotna, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Mary Joe Fernandez, Amanda Coetzer, Zina Garrison, Anke Huber, Judith Wiesner.


Boris Becker: On the surface, it looks as if this three-time Wimbledon champion will be lucky to reach the third round, what with his ailing hamstring, the recent firing of his coach and his lackluster showing at a recent Wimbledon tuneup. Regardless, he's still the class of the tour's grass-court players. And even though he may not win, he'll have a say in who does.

Stefan Edberg: He's the obvious choice, but the competition is much steeper this time. An anticipated semifinal clash with Goran Ivanisevic ought to tell us everything we need to know about his chances.

Michael Stich: Returning as the defending champion will be a trip filled with media pressure, fans' expectations and personal anxiety - things that tend to overwhelm a young, fast-rising pro. He'll tell the Duchess of Kent all about how he overcame all of it to repeat as champion.

Goran Ivanisevic: How can a guy who was bounced from this tournament in the second round last year be a contender? Easy. This big-serving Croatian was a semifinalist in 1990 and has won more tournaments this year than Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Edberg.

Jim Courier: Like Seles, he's chasing the third jewel in tennis' Grand Slam. And like Seles, his game is not thought to be suited for the slick grass of Wimbledon . Maybe he and Seles can console each other when it's over.

Best of the rest: MaliVai Washington, Sampras, Richard Krajicek, David Wheaton, Derrick Rostagno, Marc Rosset.
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post #110 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:21 PM
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Re: 1992

Shriver now another All England wanna-be - Lutherville pro adjusts to long-shot status
The Sun
Baltimore, MD
Sunday, June 21, 1992
Richard Finn

WIMBLEDON , England -- The days of strolling onto the All England Club grounds assured of being a Wimbledon title contender are long gone for Pam Shriver.

Since making her second consecutive semifinal in 1988, Shriver has lost twice in the third round and missed the 1990 tournament because of shoulder surgery.

"I don't go in with any preconceived ideas anymore,'' said Shriver, of Lutherville, who also reached the 1981 semifinals and the quarterfinals in '84 and '85. "I can no longer say that I want to fulfill my seeding because I'm not seeded or I want to get to the semis.

"It is not like I'm one of the top four and will win my first couple of rounds comfortably. I go in as an underdog and as a dangerous floater a seed doesn't want to play. I just want to get my teeth into the tournament and get on a wave and ride it.''

To open her 14th Wimbledon, Shriver has been provided with a decent first-round matchup against Elena Brioukhovets of Ukraine.

Brioukhovets has dropped out of the world's top 100 this year, but did match Shriver last year by getting to the third round. It was the second Wimbledon of Brioukhovets career.

Shriver's task would immediately get much tougher if she defeats Brioukhovets. Shriver likely would face sixth-seeded Jennifer Capriati in the second round.

Shriver though has done her homework well, and the soon-to-be 30-year-old is approaching Wimbledon with an upbeat attitude.

"I've done what I want to do, and that was play a lot of matches,'' said Shriver, who made the semifinals in consecutive weeks at Beckenham and Birmingham before going out last week in the third round at Eastbourne. "That is enough matches to make you feel like you have done some work.

"Now I just want to take my game to a little bit higher level and, if I do that, I know I will win and play good matches.''

Shriver was especially encouraged by her 7-5, 6-3 victory over Zina Garrison, the world's 13th-ranked player, in the Birmingham quarterfinals. Down 4-2 in the first set, Shriver took command to dominate the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up.

"That was as a complete match as I have done against a quality opponent since my shoulder surgery [in 1990],'' said Shriver.

In handicapping the field, Shriver figures that top-seeded Monica Seles, defending champion and second-seeded Steffi Graf and her longtime doubles partner, fourth-seeded Martina Navratilova, whom she will play with again this week, are the ones who should be favored.

However, Shriver does have hesitations about Navratilova's form after her second-round loss at Eastbourne in her only pre- Wimbledon appearance.

"She is going into Wimbledon way, way underdone,'' she said. "There is no way in a tight situation she is going to feel good about that.''

Shriver's career at Wimbledon

Pam Shriver's career singles record at Wimbledon, with round reached and opponent who eliminated her: @Year.. Rd. ..Opponent 1978.. 3rd.. Sue Barker 1979.. 2nd.. Withdrew* 1980.. 4th.. Billie Jean King 1981.. SF.. .Chris Evert 1982.. 4th.. Barbara Potter 1983.. 2nd.. Iva Budarova 1984.. QF.. .Kathy Jordan 1985.. QF.. .Martina Navratilova 1986.. 1st.. Betsy Nagelsen 1987.. SF.. .Steffi Graf 1988.. SF.. .Steffi Graf 1989.. 3rd.. Gretchen Magers 1990.. DNP.. Injured 1991.. 3rd.. Mary Joe Fernandez * Forced to withdraw with shoulder injury after first-round victory and before second-round match.
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post #111 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:22 PM
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Re: 1992

Taxman stalks the Season for undeclared hospitality
The Sunday Times
London, England
Sunday, June 21, 1992
Maurice Chittenden and Christopher Lloyd

A SECRETIVE figure is stalking the green lawns and white marquees that distinguish the social calendar. Under the blue skies of summer, the taxman is coming in search of the black economy.

The Inland Revenue has targeted the English Season, one of our greatest national treasures. Up to 1,000 tax officers, in squads nicknamed "the ghostbusters", have been sent to hunt for undeclared earnings amid the strawberries and cream.

It spells trouble for hundreds of families who rent out their homes to visitors, charge them to park in their drives or allow corporate hospitality firms to pitch champagne tents in their gardens. So well established is the practice that it is colloquially referred to as "The Wimbledon Racket".

Last week Royal Ascot was under surveillance; tomorrow it is the turn of Wimbledon. Host families at Henley Regatta and Cowes Week can also expect to be in the taxman's sights.

"These people are not doing anything wrong so long as they declare their earnings," said one tax officer. "If I could rent out my drive for Pounds 50 a week I would, but I would put it on my tax return. What we are looking for is people making money on the side and not telling us."

The Wimbledon squad has been poring over advertisements in The Times and local newspapers for house-lets within a one-mile radius of the All England Tennis and Croquet Club. Squad members have studied the small ads in newsagents' windows and visited estate agents who can let houses to the top stars for up to Pounds 20,000 during the championship fortnight.

Some houseowners have signed five-year deals with the same player and the money they make will virtually pay off their mortgage.

As he arrived yesterday at his temporary home, a three-storey detached house in Raymond Road, Wimbledon, the German player Boris Becker, three times Wimbledon champion, was surprised that the Inland Revnue had a special unit investigating rental agreements. "What I pay is a confidential matter between myself and the owner of the house," he said. It is the third time he has stayed there, and there is no suggestion that the owners have not declared the income.

In tree-lined Oakfield Road, Steffi Graf, the defending women's champion, has moved into a white-walled cottage backing on to the practice courts. Its owner, Tessa Wyatt, the actress best known for her role in Robin's Nest, the television situation comedy, has used the Pounds 1,000-a-day rent to pay for a holiday in Portugal once the tax has been deducted.

Many of the locals take advantage of the Wimbledon fortnight and time their holidays both to let their homes and to avoid the traffic and 28,000-strong crowds.

Lawson Hewett, 25, an estate agent with Hawes and Co in Wimbledon High Street, said prices started at Pounds 1,000 for a basic two-bedroom flat for the fortnight. "Our advice to owners is to pay the tax, but whether they declare it or not is up to them," he said. "Most people advertise in newspapers because they don't want to pay an agent's commission. If the authorities are clamping down because people are not declaring their income, these people might not let their houses at all."

Tomorrow tax officers will cruise the streets of Wimbledon to look for signs hastily erected in front drives to offer car parking for Pounds 10 a day.

St Mary's church's stall selling home-made jam will be exempt because the proceeds go to charity, but the tax officers will also be watching for people who set up strawberry stalls and tea gardens on their front lawns.

Ivor Lucas, a retired diplomat who lives close to where Martina Navratilova has stayed for 10 years, said: "We let our friends come and park in our drive but we don't take money for it. I should deplore utterly if people were making money by letting out their houses without declaring it. If we've reached that stage then certainly it's right that the authorities should clamp down. The tournament is now such a money-spinner, with corporate entertainment and people throwing parties in their gardens just to make a packet out of it."

There were even richer pickings to be made at Royal Ascot where corporate hospitality firms pay up to Pounds 90,000 for the use of a three-acre premium site. The owners of five flats in a converted mansion rent out their lawns and, as well as a cash settlement, are rewarded with newly-gravelled pathways and a resurfaced drive.

The rest of the Season is not exempt from the taxman. In August the officials will mingle with yachtsmen on the Isle of Wight during Cowes Week. Families charge up to Pounds 2,000 to rent out their cottages.

Next month at the Henley Regatta householders will be charging the record number of 500 crews up to Pounds 25 a bed each night. "Many families adopt an overseas crew who come back year after year. It is all very friendly. I am sure the taxman won't be getting in our way," said Angus Robertson, a member of the management committee and a tax commissioner.
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Re: 1992

A word from their sponsors - Sponsorship
The Sunday Times
London, England
Sunday, June 21, 1992
Fiona Matthias

Wimbledon 1992: two weeks of end-to-end media exposure. Close-ups, long shots, action shots and the photographers' stills of the heroes of the courts combine to produce one of the largest shop windows in the world. The corporate insignia jostle for pride of place on players' clothing. Camera angles dictate where brand names appear: chests, and left arms of right-handed players are premium slots. Sponsors flaunt their products in front of the camera at any opportunity. Because sport sells.

With golf, athletics, motor racing and soccer, tennis provides a lot of exposure for any businessman. The double-edged investment in sport is just one of the ingredients in the complicated marketing and advertising strategy of any multi-national manufacturer. Ever since the basketball player Michael Jordan endorsed Nike's Air Jordan range in the late 1980s and helped generate sales of $110m, sponsorship and product endorsement have rocketed sky high.

Sponsorship is there primarily to shift packages from shelves, whether they are bottles of Oil of Ulay (Jennifer Capriati holds a three-year deal with the company worth $1.1m), Mizuno clothing (Ivan Lendl has an estimated $13m deal stretching over the next six years) or Matrix Essentials Hair Care products (who demanded of Monica Seles a special haircut as part of her endorsement of their products in a $250,000 deal).

The sponsorship game is about sophisticated targeting. And the messengers carrying the corporate brand name are selected carefully. Steady, trustworthy and articulate Boris Becker, at the height of his career, and ranking third in the sponsorship earning stakes behind Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, held deals with the Deutsche Bank, Coca-Cola, BASF, Fila Clothes and Puma. (Sales of Puma rackets were estimated to have risen to $50m following Becker's first Wimbledon win in 1985.)

But the big bucks are not just the preserve of those who have already made it. Even an unknown could be paid six figures to pull a can of Coke, rather than a more appropriate glucose drink, from the refrigerator at the end of a game but only, of course, if he or she has reached a quarter- or semi-final.

Last year Reebok was rightly rewarded with publicity following a 1987 "investment" in the then unknown Michael Stich; shoe manufacturer Diadora signed up Capriati when she was a mere 13-year-old. Competition to control the names early in the game is fierce. Mark McCormack's International Management Group (IMG) recently signed up the 10-year-old Russian player Anna Kournikova.

IMG acts for an estimated 50 of the top-ranking male players. Clients include Lendl last year dubbed the "six-million-dollar man" on account of his off-court earnings; Agassi, whose Nike deal last year has spawned an aggressive ad campaign in the run-up to this year's event; Pat Cash, whose off-court earnings are estimated at Pounds 12m; and Martina Navratilova. Another 50 or so of the top male players, including Stefan Edberg, are with Donald Dell's ProServe. Gabriela Sabatini, also with ProServe, is already estimated to have earned Pounds 12m in her three years as a professional.

The sophistication of the Nike and Agassi deal has come a long way from the first examples of player endorsement. This type of marketing strategy saw its origins in a shrewd move by Adidas's Horst Dassler, who handed out free shoes to athletes at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Despite protests from the establishment, the free gifts did Dassler no harm. Adidas shoes now adorn the feet of more than 80 per cent of the world's professional athletes.

However, establishment protests at such blatant marketing have continued. In 1983, with the UK Committee of Inquiry into Sports Sponsorship, and in 1985, with a joint International Tennis Federation and Men's Tennis Council lawsuit in the US, agents were accused of possessing too much power across a whole range of sports, tennis included. (Many of the agents also control and produce the sporting events and their subsequent television transmission rights.)

IMG, the biggest of these groups, has an income of more than Pounds 400m a year and Wimbledon is just one of the events in which it has many interests.

Whoever wins the finals, it will be game, set and cash to the grey suits behind the on-court stars.

Additional reporting by Nicola Davidson.
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Re: 1992

Please discard all funny shirts and one pair of shorts - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Monday, June 22, 1992
Simon Barnes at Wimbledon

Here are a few pious hopes for Wimbledon 1992. While it would be a great step forward for humankind were a single one of these hopes to be realised, I confidently expect to score zero by the time the fortnight is over.

1. That the players stop all that grunting, squealing and shrieking. Wimbledon sometimes makes me feel like the aesthete at the Somme: "My dear, the noise! And the people!"

2. That spectators stop emitting the Pavlovian giggle when the ball gets stuck in the net. Every single time it happens, a titter runs through the court. Why?

3. That an umpire would turn to John McEnroe and say: "Actually, Mac, on thinking things through, I have decided that you were right all along." I would just like to see Mac's reaction, that's all.

4. That nobody goes on about "the money in tennis is obscene". A handful of top tennis players delight billions of people: that seems quite good value to me. Show me the city type who does the same. There are better places to look for financial obscenity than sport.

5. That clothing manufacturers stop dressing their players in unwearably hilarious shirts. I am not surprised that players demand a fortune for wearing them: anyone would.

6. Jo Durie to play on into the second week. Durie is the most courageous person in British sport. It would be splendid to see her revivalist frenzy continue for a few more days.

7. No empty places on centre court. I would like to instigate a rule under which corporate hospitality types who fail to make their seats before start of play automatically forfeit their tickets, these to be given to the nearest Thermos-clutching refugee from the overnight queue.

8. No sunglasses. Andre Agassi has made a fortune by dressing like, to borrow his own memorable word, a bozo. Good luck to him: but watching cricket has become tiring since Ian Botham took up Agassi as a role model.

9. That the women's singles is full of drama and upset from the first round, and that there is not a single 6-0, 6-0 scoreline in the fortnight. Tennis is the highest profile women's sport in the world. I wish it did not provide ammunition for anti-feminist boors.

10. That nobody writes about the bad behaviour of tennis players and compares them unfavourably with golfers. The temperamental demands of the two games are light years apart: tennis is the most emotional game in the world, golf the least.

11. A return of the groundlings. Britain may not be a nation of tennis fans, but it is unquestionably full of Wimbledon nuts. This blind passion has given Wimbledon its special vibe for years: something expressed in the mad queues for standing places and the delight in the intimate drama that is tennis's eternal attraction.

12. That nobody writes a piece on the possibility of placing a sliding roof over centre court. For a start, it would mean that we have a fortnight without rain.

Other non-subjects for writing include the price of strawberries, statistics on the consumption of champagne and hot dogs, and anything to do with Monica Seles's gynaecology.

13. That someone would explain why it is useful and/or necessary to wear two pairs of shorts at once. I have no particular objection to the fad: I am just curious.

14. That Martina will win the singles. Has there been a more ferociously honest person in the history of sport? How much money would she have made in endorsements had she preferred hypocrisy to honesty?

Her commitment to well, anything she gets committed to is legendary. Commitment, she says, not mere involvement. Asked to define the difference, she spoke of ham and eggs: "The chicken is involved. The pig is committed."
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Re: 1992

Sunday, June 21, 1992

WIMBLEDON , England -- Monica Seles missed Wimbledon last year because:

A. She was injured.

B. She was pregnant.

C. She was stressed out.

D. She was hanging out with Donald Trump in Florida.

Steffi Graf won Wimbledon last year, but Seles got more attention for missing the tournament under mysterious circumstances. Those British tabloids love a spicy controversy.

Seles returns to Wimbledon this week, and she hopes that the local media concentrates on her tennis and not her private life.

''Last year was really the first time that I had to read stories that were kind of untrue,'' Seles said after she won the French Open two weeks ago.

''It was difficult. I hope I wouldn't have to go through that ever again and I will do it differently. I just hope that people who read those stories never believe them, that they know my personality.

''I never got this much attention in all the years I played Wimbledon as last year, and I don't think that's good. I believe you should get attention for the game, how you're playing, not for anything outside.''

For the record, Seles missed Wimbledon last year because of shin splints that she originally feared might be a career-threatening injury. Her withdrawal marked the first time in 11 years that the top-ranked women's player did not compete in a Grand Slam event, and it also may have cost Seles the Grand Slam since she won the other three major championships.

Seles is back on the Grand Slam track again, having started the year with titles at the Australian and French Opens. Seles has won the last five Grand Slams she's entered.

Wimbledon is the missing link. Seles has played the tournament twice, losing in the fourth round in 1989 and getting to the quarterfinals in 1990, before losing to Zina Garrison. The defeat ended a six-tournament, 36-match winning streak.

Seles rallied from 1-4 in the final set and had a match point at 7-6, but Garrison ripped a forehand down the line to save it, then went on to a 3-6, 6-3, 9-7 victory.

''The loss to Zina is going to stay in my mind,'' Seles said. ''Her forehand. I will never be able to erase that one.''

Seles is the undisputed queen of women's tennis, but Graf is the bookmakers' pre-tournament choice to win Wimbledon again.

Graf has a big serve for grass and the shots to back it up. Seles, though, should not be too impaired on grass. She prefers a higher bounce and more time to set up for her shots, but she has a powerful serve and knows how to take advantage of the court.

Seles likely will have to beat nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in the semifinals and Graf or Gabriela Sabatini in the final to win Wimbledon . Navratilova could be vulnerable after losing to Linda Harvey-Wild at Eastbourne. If Seles gets to the final, don't bet against her. She is 6-0 in Grand Slam finals.

Seles should just play her game and not read the papers.

''I'm going there to play tennis, it doesn't matter what anybody is going to write,'' said Seles. ''I know the truth and I know how I feel inside. That is the most important thing.''

-- Wimbledon referee Alan Mills said the tournament had been told Seles changed her mind about a request to be listed from Sarasota rather than her native Yugoslavia.

''We have now heard she wants to be listed as Yugoslavian, so that's it,'' Mills said.

Georgina Clark, senior tour director of the Women's Tennis Association, said earlier this week that Seles asked for the Florida listing in order to avoid political controversy.

---- Sun-Sentinel wires contributed to this report.
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Re: 1992

I must urge everyone not to drink or eat anything while reading this. Yes, really. The British media is about to declare war on Monica as only the British media can, and it's not going to be pretty.

Ace without grace - Monica Seles
The Sunday Times
London, England
Sunday, June 21, 1992
Nick Pitt

Monica Seles is a phenomenon. She is battle-hardened at 18, a multi-millionairess, the winner of the last five Grand Slam tournaments in which she has competed, the winner of three consecutive French championships, the undisputed best women's player in the world.

But she has something of an image problem. At Wimbledon, after her celebrated no-show last year (when seeded No1), her name was mud. Among Yugoslavs who believe that sportsmen should nail their colours to the mast while their country is torn apart, her silence on the issue is lamentable. And for lovers of tennis, her game, incredible and brutally effective as it is, is horrible.

The images she conjures on court are certainly unattractive: a figure scuttling along the baseline like a crab; a face screwed up like a rodent's; a racket wielded like a hag with a frying pan; each blow, forehand or backhand, a grotesque double-handed mirror of the other, punctuated by an exclamation from the torture chamber.

To think that tennis, and especially women's tennis, was once as much an art form as a test of strength and efficiency, an expression of grace as well as power, joy as well as pain. And to think that the evolution of women's tennis, stretching from Suzanne Lenglen through such doyennes as Helen Wills, Alice Marble, Maureen Connolly, Maria Bueno, Evonne Goolagong, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, should have arrived at this.

In Paris, where Seles recently won her third consecutive French title, the legacy of Lenglen goes beyond the name of the trophy awarded to the Ladies champion. Tennis as Lenglen played it between the wars was balletic, emotional and daring. She attempted perfection, could never resist the flourish, and was prepared to risk ludicrous failure.

Something of her spirit remains in the preferences of the Paris crowd, whose affection in this era for such players as Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte (once he had won them over), has had as much to do with the exuberance of their play as their nationality.

Perhaps it is fanciful, but in this year's dramatic final beween Seles and Steffi Graf one sensed that the crowd's passionate support for Graf was not merely sympathy for the underdog, but sprang as well from an understanding that what was before them was as much a battle for the aesthetics of the game as for personal superiority.

Graf, once monolithic herself, could be appreciated in a new light. Her strokes, never the prettiest, were pleasing. Her movement around the court was wonderful under the severest pressure, proving that she remains by far the best athlete in the women's game.

But brave, almost regal, though the attempt was to beat the machine, it was not quite enough.

"What do you have to do to win a point against this she-devil?" (diablesse was the word used), asked one incredulous French television commentator, and indeed Seles was remorseless, amazing in her elimination of unnecessary error and her ability to retrieve: the ultimate hacker.

For however unsightly and discordant her game, her virtues deserve to be recorded: will to win; tactical intelligence; the ability, thanks to her double-handed groundstrokes, to find unlikely and unpredictable angles from the baseline; excellent footwork; great power; and prodigious concentration.

The gaining of these attributes has been her life since the age of nine, and the means of escape of her family from the rigidity and comparative poverty of Eastern Europe.

Of Hungarian extraction, Seles was brought up in a small apartment in the centre of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. Her mother Esther was a computer operator, and her father Karolj worked as a newspaper cartoonist and graphic artist. He was also a former triple jumper, with his own ideas on sports coaching and motivation. After failing to persuade his son Zoltan to become a champion, either as an athlete or a tennis player, he found his daughter Monica a more willing pupil.

The early years were the familiar story (Lendl and Navratilova spring to mind) of hitting tennis balls for countless hours, of a parent's constant attendance, and of the sacrifice of a normal adolescence for the great objective.

When Monica's attention slipped, Karolj resorted to painting cartoon characters on the balls to keep her interested. One was a mouse. "That's Jerry," he would say. "You be Tom, and chase the mouse."

By the age of 11, Seles had begun to grunt ("because one of my opponents kept doing it. She stopped, but I continued"), was world junior champion for her age, and had come to the attention of Nick Bolletieri, the former American marine, who runs a tennis academy in Florida.

For four years, from the age of 12, she submitted herself to the rigours of Bolletieri's training regimen. Bolletieri's pupils include Jimmy Arias, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier, and his methods are harsh and simple: teach youngsters to hit the ball from the baseline harder and more often than their opponents.

Who should be credited, if that is the word, with the making of Seles's game, is a matter of dispute. She and her father claim that he was always the main influence. It has to be said, however, that Karolj is by all accounts a warm and fun-loving man, and generous enough to have jumped to his feet to applaud a shot by Graf during the French final, and that precious little of his joie de vivre has been transmitted to his daughter's tennis.

Bolletieri, who helped to bring Seles and her family to the United States, claims that "for four years I was her trainer. She and her family ate every meal at my place".

What is not in doubt is that Seles's emergence on to the senior women's circuit at the age of just 15 was extraordinary. In her second tournament, the Houston Open, she became the youngest player to win a tour event, defeating the inimitable Chris Evert in three sets in the final.

In that year, 1989, she reached the semi-final of the French Open. Having served notice in her first year, she all but took over in her second, thrashing Martina Navratilova 6-1, 6-1 in the final of the Italian Open, and beating Steffi Graf, the world No1, in the finals of the German and French Opens. That year, the Seles family had dispensed with Bolletieri, which produced a bout of public acrimony, and her father resumed as her coach.

Since, her rise has been inexorable. She has replaced Graf as the world No 1, adding the US and Australian Opens to the French title. Only Wimbledon remains.

Last year she failed to turn up, returning to her home in Florida after winning the French Open. Four days before Wimbledon was due to begin, she sent word that she would not be playing. A belated explanation, thin as it was, was supplied last week as part of her attempt to win over the Wimbledon faithful. She claimed she hadn't realised what a fuss there would be, that she had simply suffered a stress fracture of the leg. "I couldn't have climbed up the steps to the Centre Court," she said, "let alone play a tennis match."

If she did have a stress fracture, she made a remarkable recovery, for 10 days after the Wimbledon championships Seles played in a minor tournament in the US, for appearing in which she was paid Pounds 200,000.

Her record at Wimbledon is hardly remarkable. On her visit in 1989, seeded 11, she was beaten 6-0, 6-1 in the fourth round by Graf. In 1990, seeded third, she was beaten by Zina Garrison in the quarter-finals.

This year, such is her dominance, one suspects that Seles will start the Wimbledon championships as favourite. Only perhaps Graf can deliver us from the unappealing prospect of her winning the title at her third attempt.

The French Open final showed that Graf, having recovered from the shock of being consistently beaten and overtaken in the rankings by Seles, has found the determination to make a real challenge.

Graf's best chance of beating Seles must be on grass. The speed of the surface, which has done so much to reduce rallies and promote boredom in the men's game, has worked beneficially for women's tennis by reducing the metronome effect of interminable baseline rallies.

While Seles thrives on attrition, Graf, with superior movement, a respectable volley and a much better service, as well as a vastly superior grass-court record, may have enough advantage to overcome the remarkable machine that is Monica Seles.
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post #116 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:36 PM
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Re: 1992

A nicer one, but I guess "The Times" will at least try to be fair and balanced...

Seles needs Wimbledon crown to complete her grand wardrobe - Wimbledon Championships
The Times
London, England
Monday, June 22, 1992
Andrew Longmore

Andrew Longmore examines the strengths and weaknesses of the women's No.1, who seeks to extend her dominance to grass.

Over the next fortnight, Wimbledon will find out what all the fuss was about. Little Miss Monica Seles is back in town, anxious to make up for her indiscretions last year and to complete the third leg of the grand slam.

She returns to the scene of the crime a more dominant and more mature figure than when she last appeared at Wimbledon two years ago. The pigtails, the giggles and the freshness of youth have been replaced by a severe black hairstyle and by the wariness of advancing years, all 18 1/2 of them. She is also five inches taller, at 5ft 9 1/2in, and a little heavier.

Life is still fun, but not as much fun as it was when she first went to the Nick Bollettieri Academy at the age of 12, or first came on to the circuit three years ago. The age of innocence has gone. Responsibilities are heavier, expectations higher, the money greater, the pitfalls deeper. She was genuinely frightened by the hysteria which accompanied her withdrawal from Wimbledon just three days before the start of the championships 12 months ago, and her response to the coverage is still part hurt, part sorrow.

"For the first time, I had to read stories which were way out of context and I don't think it is fair that anyone should have had to go through what I did," she said. "It still hits me hard, but if I'd have known what was going to come out of it, I would have handled it differently."

To this day, nobody has explained why a simple shin injury, the official reason for her withdrawal, should be called a "minor accident" in the announcement put out by her management company. But Seles is determined to forget the events of last year and concentrate on winning the tournament which, remarkably after only three full years in the profession, is the only grand slam title which eludes her. The French (three times), Australian (twice) and US Opens have all fallen to the pulverising force of her ground strokes and to the sound of her frenetic braying. The Yugoslav is unbeaten in grand slam tournaments since she lost in the third round of the US Open in 1990.

Yet a brief analysis of Seles's game reveals a lot more weaknesses than strengths. By her own admission, she does not have a powerful service, does not deign to volley, and rarely resorts to a lob. She is nowhere near as good an athlete as either Steffi Graf or Martina Navratilova. So what makes her so difficult to beat?

"First, she is so mentally tough," Tom Gullikson, who, as the former coach of Jennifer Capriati, had plenty of opportunity to watch the world No.1, said. "She never plays a loose point, mentally. Some players will give up if they think they can't get a ball, Seles will never do that. She will try to get everything and that, in turn, puts pressure on the opponent the whole time.

"Second, her footwork is very disciplined. She has not got the natural grace of Steffi, but she works very hard to get her feet in the right place. Then, she hits the ball so early, she takes time away from her opponent. She attacks the second service better than anyone in the game, and once she has got the advantage, she never lets you off the hook."

Psychologically, Seles has developed an aura of invincibility, which means that, like Graf and Navratilova in the past, her opponents are often beaten before they step on to court. "She has certainly created a lot of locker-room wins," Gullikson said. "Some girls are just concerned to get a certain number of games or to last more than an hour. Connors and Lendl enjoyed the same thing when they were No.1."

Mary Joe Fernandez, one of Seles's more persistent foes, knows what needs to be done to win, but has not yet managed to do it. "You need to slice the ball a lot, mix it up, drop-shot her, keep her moving," she said. "But it's hard to drop shot when the ball is coming at you at 100mph. She is one of the few players where every point counts. I've played her many times and you can be up 40-0 and it makes no difference. She plays every point with the same intensity.

"If you don't return well, you are running around straight away. You think there is no way she can keep this up, but she does. Five millimetres from this line, seven millimetres from that line. You can see it when you walk on court. She's jumping up and down dying to hit the ball as hard as she can right now."

Seles does not know where that determination comes from. She is not the hungry backstreet kid of sporting mythology. "I never worked on it. I think it's just natural," Seles said. "I'm pretty strong. I had a lot of friends who practised much as I did, but they never became that good and I don't know why."

Seles's father is a part-time cartoonist and physical education teacher who knew talent when he saw it and had the good sense not to change his daughter's double-handed ground strokes. Unorthodoxy has served Seles well because she can disguise her strokes more easily with two hands. But neither her background in Novi Sad, in the Hungarian-speaking region of Vojvodina in Yugoslavia, nor the stories of hitting tennis balls over a net tied between the bumpers of two cars, can explain the source of Seles's tenacity, which amounts to more than a love of winning. Like Chris Evert, she has an utter abhorrence of defeat. "She is a little Jimmy Connors," Klaus Hofsaess, captain of the Germany Federation Cup team, said. "She is so unbelievably tough."

In these post-Madonna days, Seles would prefer a comparison with a more elegant player from a very different generation. Suzanne Lenglen is no more than a balletic figure on a video to Seles, but the great French champion, the first real glamour girl of tennis, seems to have captured her imagination, and there are more than a few similarities of character, if not style, between the two. Lenglen, too, was coached by her father, though he was a more draconian figure than the genial Karoly Seles, and she constantly sought the centre of the stage.

Film footage of Lenglen in action shows a lady quite at ease with the cameras, quite prepared to exaggerate a leap or a backswing for extra effect. Lenglen, the dominant player of the Twenties, also cast much the same spell over opponents as Seles does now.

"When you were playing against her, you always felt she was the better player and was going to win," Kitty Godfree, twice Wimbledon champion, said. Godfree was beaten by Lenglen in the final of Wimbledon in 1923 and cannot recall ever beating her French rival. "I played against her for five years and I thought at times I should have beaten her. At times I even thought I might, but she was very determined. At her best, she was the best."

Lenglen won six Wimbledon titles, but her relationship with the championships ended sourly in 1926 when, due to a misunderstanding, she did not turn up for a match on the centre court. Worst of all, she kept Queen Mary waiting. Lenglen never returned.

Seles is returning, hair blackened a la Lenglen, hoping to blow away her own dark cloud over the next fortnight. "The two years I have played, I was satisfied with reaching the quarter-finals," she said. "This time, I must believe I can do well enough to win it."
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Re: 1992

Top seeds try to avoid crumbling on lawn - But Courier, Seles not only shows in town
Daily Breeze
Torrance, CA
Sunday, June 21, 1992
Steve Wilstein, AP

WIMBLEDON, England -- Scandal and intrigue, drama and politics, a bid for history and a forecast of rain: It's time for Wimbledon again.

A first-ever double Grand Slam by top seeds Jim Courier and Monica Seles, winners of the Australian and French Opens, could die on the fickle, merciless lawns of the All England Club, where neither has ever gone beyond the quarterfinals.

They can't expect much help from the weather. A year after the wettest Wimbledon in 114 years, the off-and-on showers expected this week could mean low, skidding balls that don't favor their swing-from-the-hip styles.

Yet, even the tantalizing prospect of those two young baseline bashers beating grass-court naturals Stefan Edberg and Michael Stich or Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova would serve as a mere sideshow to other shenanigans on the minds of Wimbledon's blue-blazered and blue-blooded patrons.

All eyes will be on the Royal Box at Centre Court to see whether tennis buff Princess Diana, embroiled in reports of suicide attempts and marital discord, will appear as usual sans Charles, who prefers his polo ponies.

While the gossip-mongers whisper and the tabloids shout, there no doubt will be plenty to say about the hubbub over an alleged Wimbledon-run ticket black market that led to a formal complaint to the European Community Commission.

The complaint by the head of a sports marketing group claims the All England Club routinely buys back Centre Court tickets from some longtime owners for up to 15 times face value, then sells them to corporate clients at 19 times face value -- about $1,700 a seat for the men's final.

Wimbledon officials, of course, deny any wrongdoing, calling the practice a "white market" that protects ordinary tennis fans and their access to tickets, at the same time raising money for British tennis by selling some tickets to those willing to pay more.

If rumors and innuendos don't enliven The Championships, as they are called with an air of succinctness and snobbery, a lusty political protest might.

Seles is engulfed in no less a controversy this year than last, when she skipped Wimbledon, claiming belatedly and, to some, suspiciously, that she had painful shin splints. Seles, 18, now faces demands from Croats that she take a stand on the civil war in Yugoslavia.

The top-ranked woman player and No. 1 seed at Wimbledon, Seles is an ethnic Hungarian from Novi Sad in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia but has refused to discuss the civil war.

She has lived in the United States since 1986, and is believed to be seeking U.S. citizenship. Seles had asked to be listed from Florida during Wimbledon, but then changed her mind and will be listed as a Yugoslav during the tournament.

Goran Ivanisevic, an outspoken Croat and the No. 8 men's seed, criticized Seles during the French Open for refusing to disassociate herself from Serbia.

There is little evidence that Seles feels strongly about anything other than winning, changing her hair color and style from time to time, and being her own woman in the fashion of Madonna and 1920s tennis star Suzanne Lenglen.

Winner of the Australian, French and U.S. Opens last year, plus the first two Grand Slam events this year, Seles has made no secret of her desire to add Wimbledon 's championship trophy to her collection.

"I am going to go in differently this year to Wimbledon and not just be satisfied with a quarterfinal loss," she said. "I'm thinking, hey, I can go till the end."

Seles, as gritty a player as any in history, seems to win simply because she refuses to lose. She doesn't have the chip-and-charge style or the volleying ability usually associated with grass-court play, but her drive and psychological dominance of the other players is indisputable.

Graf -- No. 2 seed, defending women's champion and the last Grand Slammer in 1988 -- is the most likely to stop Seles. Graf's preference for low balls, her slice backhand, superior approach shots and confidence on grass after three Wimbledon victories, one runner-up and one semifinal all combine to make her a formidable challenger.

The two dueled brilliantly a few weeks ago in the French, where the clay courts and longer rallies are more suited to Seles' style. Seles finally prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, a score that hinted at her vulnerability as much as her endurance.

Gabriela Sabatini, No. 3, isn't likely to intrude on their party unless she can reach back to the serve-and-volley style she adopted so surprisingly in her 1990 U.S. Open victory. Oddly, she lost either her nerve or verve to keep up that strategy, and hasn't won a Grand Slam event since.

None of the other top women can seriously be considered a threat, though the beauty of sport is always the possibility of an upset. Martina Navratilova, the No. 4 seed and nine-time Wimbledon champion, is 35 years old, rusty from lack of play and coming off a shocking second-round loss to 64th-ranked Linda Harvey-Wild in a grass-court tune-up Navratilova had won 10 times.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (5) and Jennifer Capriati (6) and Mary Joe Fernandez (7), all have had erratic years.

Courier, similar to Seles in preferring to whack shots from the baseline and approach the net only on short balls, has a great opportunity in terms of timing - his own and his opponents.

Courier, attempting to become the first men's Grand Slammer since Rod Laver in 1969, is at a peak in confidence.

In Courier's half of the draw, three-time champion and three-time runner-up Boris Becker looms as only a minor threat. Becker, seeded No. 4, has had thigh and hamstring injuries that have plagued him since last year and kept him out of the French Open.

In the other half of the draw, two-time winner and No. 2 seed Edberg last week suffered a defeat much more surprising than Navratilova's when he was beaten 1-6, 7-6, 10-8 by Japan's Shuzo Matsuoka, ranked No. 81.
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post #118 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:40 PM
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Re: 1992

Guess what? The Fleet Street rags will make something out of the grunting issue.

Monica Seles returned Monday to the scene of the grime - the mud she splashed all over her image a year ago - and tried to make some amends.
Monday, June 22, 1992
MIKE DAVIS, Gannett News Service

Monica Seles returned Monday to the scene of the grime - the mud she splashed all over her image a year ago - and tried to make some amends.

Playing her first Wimbledon match in nearly two years, the world's No. 1 female player disposed of Australia's Jenny Byrne 6-2, 6-2, then attempted to finally dispose of the furor her last-moment withdrawal caused on both sides of the Atlantic in 1991.

When she finished doing that, she addressed anew The Controversy That Won't Die - her celebrated grunting.

"Because of everything that happened, I had not too many good memories about '91," Seles said about her absence. "I was really eager to get back here and play some tennis."

Halfway to a sweep of the four grand-slam events (as she is again this year), Seles pulled out three days before the tournament began, then went into seclusion without providing the Women's Tennis Association with a satisfactory explanation of the injury she was claiming.

That left the press to speculate, which it did for many weeks.

"I never expected that not playing Wimbledon would create such a controversy," she said. "It was the first time that on a big scale I had to read stories that were untrue - the one about me being pregnant, or that I was playing for bonuses (skipping Wimbledon to assure she'd keep her No. 1 ranking and earn a bonus from an endorsement contract), or that my mother had cancer."

Even now, Seles won't reveal where she went during and after Wimbledon. "I was with a friend who I like very much, and if I say who she is, I don't think that's fair."

Meanwhile, the British media remains skeptical of her claim that she was injured with shin splints and a stress fracture in her leg, noting that she played in an exhibition (for a sizeable guarantee) less than two weeks after Wimbledon .

"Even now when I do interviews and read them later on, it still says `mystery illness,' " Seles said. "That's ridiculous. It's no mystery. It was shin splints and a stress fracture."

The "grunting" tempest flared again when several British papers reported that opponents were complaining about a supposed increase in its volume.

WTA president Pam Shriver was quoted as saying the noise was "becoming an issue," and tournament referee Alan Mills said umpires would have discretion to penalize Seles if they felt the grunting was too loud.

Seles responded by saying it was another example of the notorious Fleet Street rags making something out of nothing.

"The comments in today's paper, I talked to the players who made them and they said it was totally put out of (context) - differently put together, and the comments were made, like, 10 days ago," she said.

"Always when there's some comments some player said, I ask them about it directly, and they say it's put totally out of context. The papers put together sentences of many interviews and take some (sentences) out, and it comes out like there's something between the players, like we don't like each other. It's totally not true."

As for the grunting itself, Seles said the media criticism "isn't fair."

"It's part of my game, and a lot of other players do it," she said. "I don't know why they picked on me - I guess because I'm the No. 1 player. I'm not doing it on purpose, and I don't think it's a problem (for opponents). When you're into a match, I don't think you can really even hear it.

"I would like to get rid of it because I don't like it either. Hopefully I can change it. But it's hard because I've been doing it so many years, since I was 11. It's part of my game."
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post #119 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:42 PM
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Re: 1992

Slamming The Curse - Courier, Seles try winning next stage
Sunday, JUNE 21, 1992

WIMBLEDON, England - The curse of the Grand Slam - that rarely turned tennis trick of winning Wimbledon, the Australian, French and U.S. opens in the same calendar year - has been inflicted on some of the greatest players in tennis history.

Jim Courier, 21, and Monica Seles, 18, both arrive at Wimbledon halfway to a Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open in January and the French Open in May. The question surrounding the biggest event in tennis, which begins tomorrow, is, can the two No. 1 players take the next and most critical step to breaking the Grand Slam curse?

Chasing a Grand Slam across four continents and what are now four different playing surfaces requires skill, tenacity, patience, nerves of steel and luck. Only five belong to the elite Grand Slam club: Don Budge (1938), Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Smith Court (1969), Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) and Steffi Graf (1988).

"No matter what anyone says, you need some luck," Graf said. "There are too many great players, like Chris Evert, Helen Wills, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, so many, who have not won a Grand Slam."

Said Laver: "You don't always play your best tennis when you're playing matches, so you need some luck. I had a match point against me in 1962 at the French Open, and I was down service breaks in several fifth sets in 1969."

The footnote to the list of Grand Slam winners is Martina Navratilova's 1983-84 accomplishment. She won four consecutive Grand Slam events but not in a calender year. Although it was a grand achievement, tennis purists do not consider it a Grand Slam.

Navratilova's situation is part of a long line of evidence of the Grand Slam curse; she won six consecutive Grand Slam events but not a true Grand Slam. In 1983 and again in 1984, Navratilova won three of the four Grand Slam events.

The last men's player to reach the halfway point was Sweden's Mats Wilander in 1988. It is somewhat ironic that Wilander lost in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon but went on to win the U.S. Open.

On the women's side, Seles reached this stage last year, but she withdrew from Wimbledon. Like Wilander, she, too, won the U.S. Open.

Although Courier and Seles have taken different roads to this intersection, they share the same dilemma: Neither has had good results on the grass courts at Wimbledon . In fact, neither has reached the semifinals; they've reached the quarterfinals just once between them.

This is the crux of the modern-day Grand Slam curse. Each player has one surface on which he or she is uncomfortable or vulnerable. For McEnroe, it was clay. For Borg, it was hard courts. For Wilander, it was grass.

In the 1950s and '60s, three of the four Grand Slam events were on grass. Over the decades, both the Australian and U.S. Opens have switched surfaces. The Australian Open has gone from grass to hard courts to the synthetic rubber surface it uses today. The U.S. Open went from grass to clay to hard courts.


Rod Laver, 53, is the only player to win the Grand Slam twice. Perhaps his most remarkable feat was not winning two slams, but winning them seven years apart. The Australian lefty explained that being in Courier's and Seles' position is more a joy than a burden.

"It doesn't really come into your mind that often when you have two legs [of the Grand Slam] or even three," Laver said. "Most people don't understand; it's a thrill and a challenge to be in this position. You are just so proud of your performance to get in this situation.

"Sure the pressure is there to perform, but you have to accept the pressure to be able to compete at your highest level. You play each match one point at a time and try not to get rattled. The big picture, the Grand Slam, is too much to comprehend at any stage."

Courier adopted Laver's philosophy long before he heard it. "It's all about preparation," he said. "And you take it point by point, match by match."

In a way, the passage of time has made the curse grow stronger and Laver's achievement all the more lofty.

Tennis grew incrementally in the 1970s and '80s with the emergence of personalities such as Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Evert and Navratilova. Even as these players became stars and money began pouring in to the sport, the fact that no one won the Grand Slam between 1969 and 1988 made the myth bigger and fueled the curse.

"The game wasn't as big as it is today," Laver said. "When I first won it in 1962, all the best players were amateurs. When I won in 1969, the game was open to professionals and the sport had found a bigger stage, but nowhere near what it is today."


Performing on the stage with all the world watching might have gotten to Seles last year at this time when she withdrew and went into hiding. She created a frenzy in the media, only to resurface and explain that she was injured and intimidated by all the media coverage she received.

It was logically suggested that Seles missed Wimbledon last year so she would not lose her No. 1 ranking, which could have happened had she lost before the semifinals. Her contract year ended the week after Wimbledon . By not playing Wimbledon , she was assured that her ranking would not drop regardless of how anyone else fared at Wimbledon .

This stigma has followed Seles for the past 12 months. No question and no answer will make it go away anytime soon.

When pressed on the issue in Indian Wells, Calif., last spring, Seles candidly said, "I definitely want to get Wimbledon this year, especially after what happened last year. And that's the only big tournament I haven't won."


The curse itself probably began when the term "Grand Slam" was applied to tennis by New York Times writer Allison Danzig.

In 1933, Danzig adopted the phrase from the card game bridge to describe what Australian Jack Crawford was angling for in the U.S. Open (then the U.S. Championships) final. Crawford had won the first three major international championships. He led Fred Perry two sets to one in the U.S. Championships final but won just one more game.

Five years later, Danzig positively applied it to Don Budge's accomplishment of winning all four majors in the same calendar year. The curse, however, was already in place.


If Courier and Seles are going to break the curse of the Grand Slam, it is likely that Wimbledon will be their determining factor.

From a technical standpoint, Wimbledon is a crucible for Courier and Seles. If either of the two wins Wimbledon , the odds of their completing the Grand Slam increase dramatically. Seles has won the U.S. Open, and Courier has reached the finals there.

Courier must rely on his first serve to win points and to get through the rough patches. Confidence on the big points is paramount for Courier because one or two points usually decide a match among top players. Last year, Courier had a set point on eventual-champion Michael Stich in the first set of their quarterfinal match. This year, he needs to be confident enough to convert in those situations.

Seles' primary strategy will be to end points as soon as possible with her blistering, two-handed groundstrokes. Assuming she handles the early rounds well, Seles will try to ride her confidence in the semifinals and finals.

So can Courier and Seles win Wimbledon? And if they win Wimbledon, can they complete the Grand Slam at the U.S. Open?

"The odds are way, way against it," Laver deadpanned. "There are seven matches per Grand Slam tournament. You have to peak on the big occasions, and you have to make sure someone beats you and not beat yourself. And you have to be very fortunate."
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post #120 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Re: 1992

When bubbly flowed like barley water - Wimbledon
The Times
London, England
Saturday, June 20, 1992
Rex Bellamy

CHRIS Evert was between marriages and approaching the end of her shelf life as a contender for major championships. Perhaps feeling her age, she left a poolside dinner party at Eastbourne as the jollities were winding down or, for those players and camp followers with a taste for boisterous excess, winding up.

She was not the first to leave. Dan Maskell and The Times were already in the hotel foyer, talking of this and that. Evert joined us and began to explore Maskell's memory of such former champions as Helen Wills Moody and Alice Marble.

Maskell was ever a man for detail, and any exploration of his long and retentive memory tends to be rewarding if time-consuming. Playing gooseberry, I thought at first that Evert was merely being sociable. About half an hour later, no fault of the affably garrulous Maskell, it had become evident that her curiosity was genuine and deep. This prompted the further thought that all of us become more interested in history as we consciously come closer to being a part of it.

That chance meeting jumps to the front of the mind because, after 43 years at the microphone, 84-year-old Maskell has retired. "I'll be there, but not in the course of duty," he says. "I haven't missed a single day's play since 1929 and I'm not about to start now." He has no doubts about his personal favourite players. "Rod Laver a truly great champion and Martina Navratilova."

His familiar tones will no longer be heard at just the moment when, in biblical terms, Wimbledon's allotted span has expired. It is precisely 70 years since the championships moved from Worple Road in southwest London to Wimbledon Park Road (now Church Road), and the challenge rounds were abolished.

To take the second point first, until 1922 the holders of three championships both singles, plus the men's doubles were asked to play only one match, against the winners of all-comers' tournaments. The women's and mixed doubles did not become official championships until 1913, and never used the challenge round system.

So 1922 was important for two reasons: the shift to new premises and the abolition of challenge rounds. These innovations were almost drowned at birth and certainly had a good dunking, because those 1922 championships were the wettest on record. It rained every day and the tournament finished on a Wednesday, having lasted 15 days instead of the scheduled 12.

Even the venerable Maskell was not broadcasting in those days. Indeed, it was not until a year later that, at the age of 15, he was taken on the Queen's Club staff as a ball-boy. But 1922 did introduce the medium at which he was to excel, because that was the year of the first sports commentary on British radio (a fight between Georges Carpentier and Ted "Kid" Lewis at Olympia).

Born in 1877, the Wimbledon championships eventually became so popular that they outgrew the Worple Road grounds. The crux came in 1919 when the crowds overtaxed the resources of the police and the tolerance of local residents. The decision to move to a larger site was taken in 1920, but it took two years for today's premises to be selected, purchased and prepared. The cost, about Pounds 140,000, was met by the issue of Pounds 50 debenture shares (good for five years) which guaranteed tickets for every day of the championships.

What is now Church Road was formerly a cart track between a lakeside golf course and a cattle farm, destined to accommodate the prime stock of tennis. Somerset Road was just a footpath, and the entire area was an old private park in the process of piecemeal dissolution.

In 1922 the new All England Club was a bleak, concrete structure unadorned by today's omnipresent Virginia creeper. In deference to the traditions of Worple Road, where the main court was the centre court in fact as well as name, the appellation was retained at the new grounds although it had little logical claim to central status until the four new courts of "North Wimbledon " were used for the first time in 1980. In 1922 the complex consisted of the centre court and 12 others, numbered from 3 to 13. Court 2 was opened in 1923 and Court 1 in 1924.

The first singles champions at the tournament's new home were Australian and French: Gerald Patterson and Suzanne Lenglen. Patterson was the favourite nephew of an operatic soprano, Dame Nellie Melba, whose professional name (later applied to a dessert, a sauce, and a thin variety of toast) commemorated the fact that she had been born in Melbourne. Patterson hit the ball uncommonly hard and few opponents could ride the storm well enough to exploit his comparatively dodgy backhand.

Lenglen's box office appeal was such that queues outside the grounds whiled away the waiting hours by singing a pun: "There's a Lenglen trail a-winding." In 1922 she won the singles and shared both the available doubles titles, without conceding a set in any event. Her enduring renown is based partly on her supreme status as a match-winner, partly on the balletic images raised by her tennis, and partly on the revolutionary, liberalising influence of her personality and sartorial innovations colourful bandeaux and elegant but unfashionably short dresses. Unfashionably short, that is, until she made such deviations from the norm fashionable. Her entourage included Ted Tinling, high society couturier and man-about-tennis, who wrote that "she developed her star status to the point of transforming herself, physically and dresswise, from the ugly duckling of her beginnings to the bird of paradise she became".

Lenglen had an engaging habit of taking an occasional nip from a flask of cognac (or absorbing lumps of cognac-soaked sugar) during changeovers. Which brings us to that unsung hero of British tennis, Randolph Lycett, who was Patterson's ultimate victim in the men's singles. Lycett was a high-stepper who did not always regard drinking champagne as incompatible with playing tennis at Wimbledon .

There is a misconception that British players were eminent in Wimbledon men's singles between the wars. In fact only three reached the final: Lycett (the 1922 runner-up), "Bunny" Austin (runner-up in 1932 and 1938), and Fred Perry, champion in 1934, 1935 and 1936. Moreover Lycett, although he was born in Birmingham and died in Jersey, was an Anglo-Australian who honed his tennis in Australia and, in 1911, declined an invitation to play for what was then an "Australasian" Davis Cup team.

Lycett shared the Wimbledon men's doubles title in three consecutive years, with as many different partners, and also won the mixed doubles three times, always with Elizabeth Ryan. In 1922 he contested all three finals. But for better or worse his reputation is partly founded on his extraordinary, resilient self-indulgence during a 1921 quarter-final with Zenzo Shimidzu of Japan in the all-comers' singles.

The records tell us merely that Shimidzu won 6-3, 9-11, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8. They do not tell us that the match was played on an unusually hot day and that Lycett, having previously fortified himself with gin, went on court with a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket and imbibed with such regularity that eventually, when not reeling about the court, he took to resting languidly on the grass between shots and slurps.

Shimidzu, who observed all this with inscrutable courtesy, was no mug. He had been runner-up to Bill Tilden in the 1920 all-comers' singles. Lycett did well to finish such a match and come so close to winning it, though he may have been unaware of the result until he read the papers next morning. Today we would be thankful for small mercies if a British player, drunk or sober, could play the kind of match Lycett played in the last championships contested at Worple Road.

Come Wimbledon 1992, we should remember all that from 70 years ago: the first championships on their present site, the first year without challenge rounds, the tournament that lasted 15 days, Lenglen and Lycett and Dame Nellie Melba's nephew and cognac and champagne. These days tennis players drink water, in various guises. And it shows.

Rex Bellamy was tennis correspondent for The Times from 1960 to 1989, received nine international awards, and has written eight books.

Don't miss Monday's 16-page colour pull-out guide to Wimbledon 1992, with profiles of the top players, and a close look at the five master-strokes of the modern game.
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