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post #106 of 1284 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2013, 06:01 PM
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Re: 1986

The Miami Herald
Wednesday, February 19, 1986

Envy or pity?

Here we have Kathy Rinaldi, age 18, playing the best tennis of her life, about to hit the half-million-dollar mark in career earnings, huge cardboard replicas of her pitching a potato chip brand at your local supermarket, and dating a University of Miami football recruit who inspires her from the top row of the bleachers.

She's the same player from Stuart who must now stand in the road and try to stop an oncoming Mack truck with a tennis racket.

That would be top-seeded Chris Evert Lloyd, Rinaldi's semifinal opponent in the $1.8 million Lipton International Players Championships at Boca West. Evert toyed with unseeded Terry Phelps in a 49-minute, 6-2, 6-0 quarterfinal snoozer Tuesday.

Rinaldi, seeded ninth, also continued to roll without losing a set in this tournament. She ousted 12th-seeded Carling Bassett, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. In the other quarterfinal matches, Steffi Graf (2) struggled past Zina Garrison (6), 6-2, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3, and Helena Sukova beat Barbara Potter (14), 6-1, 6-2.

Scheduled today are the men's quarterfinals, featuring Ivan Lendl (1) vs. Joakim Nystrom (10), Jimmy Connors (3) vs. Yannick Noah (6), Stefan Edgerg (5) vs. Milan Srejber and Guy Forget vs. Mats Wilander (2).

"I do look forward to playing Chris," said Rinaldi, whose 0-3 record against Evert includes a semifinal loss at the last Wimbledon. "The last few times, I haven't really been in the match. I felt confident before this tournament, but I know I'll have to raise my mental approach for her."

She had mental help Tuesday from Brad Stunkel, a defensive lineman from St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton who signed a letter-of-intent last week with UM. Rinaldi trailed Bassett, 6-5, and was serving in the first set. After missing a forehand and falling to deuce, Rinaldi looked up in the grandstand at Stunkel, who clinched his upraised fists and nodded a vote of confidence. Not so coincidentally, she won the next two points,
went on to win the tiebreaker and breezed from there.

"I push her (Rinaldi) like my coach tells me to do in football," said Stunkel, who had met her a year ago Tuesday and watched her play at Wimbledon. "It gets her psyched up. I'm really proud of her."

Despite Stunkel's inspiration, Rinaldi needed a little help from Bassett to keep the streak alive. On set point in the tiebreaker, Rinaldi hit a forehand long and led, 6-5. Bassett then served and had an automatic overhead smash at the net.

The ball went three inches past the baseline. Rinaldi offered a sympathetic smile as they walked off the court.

Rinaldi, who is finishing her senior year at Martin Downs High through correspondence classes, won her first major last year in Mahwah, N.J. She lost to Claudia Kohde-Kilsch last month in the semifinals of the Virginia Slims of New England.

"There's a good group of young girls -- Rinaldi, Bassett, Graf, (Stephanie) Rehe . . . " Evert said. "Really none of them has emerged from the pack. Kathy must be playing better in this tournament, though."

Evert played far better Tuesday than in her previous Lipton sparring sessions. She senses the end of what has become a long two-week tournament.

"I just felt a little more pumped up for some reason," Evert said. "It being the second week has something to do with it. The first week, even though I won, it was disappointing tennis for me. This is the best (match) of the tournament for me, but that's not saying much."

Like Evert and Rinaldi, Sukova hasn't lost a set in the tournament. Hoping to win her first tournament since Brisbane (Australia) in 1984, Sukova took away Potter's serve and "didn't really let her do anything."

Graf, a 16-year-old West German hoping for a rematch of last month's Virginia Slims of Florida at Key Biscayne with Evert, didn't have it nearly as easy with Garrison. Graf lost two match points in the second set, but Garrison was the one drained in the final set.

"The first two games of the third set, I had no energy," Garrison said.

Graf dropped from fourth to sixth in Tuesday's latest WTA rankings. Navratilova remains first, followed by Evert, Hana Mandlikova and Kohde-Kilsch. Pam Shriver moved from sixth to fifth and Manuela Maleeva remained seventh.

The new rankings mean the Lipton women's draw is without three of the top four players. Only John McEnroe, ranked No. 2, is among the top five men missing.

In men's doubles action Tuesday, second-seeded Edberg and Anders Jarryd defeated Noah and Sherwood Stewart, 6-3, 6-4. In mixed doubles, 14-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez of Miami and Mikael Pernfors blew a 4-1 lead in the last set and lost, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), to Anna Maria Fernandez and Tim Gullikson.
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post #107 of 1284 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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Re: 1986

Graf battles off rally by Garrison in Players
Houston Chronicle
Wednesday, February 19, 1986
Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Sixteen-year-old Steffi Graf of West Germany held off a determined rally by Zina Garrison to join Helena Sukova and Kathy Rinaldi in the semifinals of the $1.8 million Lipton International Players Championships tennis tournament.

Top-seeded Chris Evert Lloyd dominated unseeded Terry Phelps 6-2, 6-0 in just 50 minutes Tuesday night.

Evert Lloyd said she wanted to win impressively against Phelps because she felt she had played poorly in the first week of this tournament. Though she hasn't lost a set, several of her first eight sets were close. That wasn't the case Tuesday when Phelps lost the final 11 games.

"I just felt a little more pumped up for some reason," Lloyd said. "I moved her all over the court. Her game is to play steady, but I think she felt she had to go for some shots against me she wouldn't have against the other girls."

Phelps said she never had a chance because Lloyd was at her best.

"She was toying with me, hitting the ball all over the place," Phelps said.

The second-seeded Graf, who lost two match points in the 10th game of the second set, eventually wore down sixth-seeded Garrison and won 6-2, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3. Sukova, the seventh seed, ripped 14th-seeded Barbara Potter 6-1, 6-2. And the ninth-seeded Rinaldi won a battle of 18-year-olds, tripping 12th-seeded Carling Bassett of Canada 7-6, 6-2.

In Thursday's semifinals, Sukova plays Graf and Rinaldi plays Evert Lloyd.

The day matches, originally scheduled for 11 a.m., finally got started at just after 2 p.m. But after two games, the rain began to fall again.

When play resumed, Graf appeared to be on her way to an easy quarterfinal victory, romping to a 6-2, 5-3 lead against Garrison. But the spunky Garrison refused to quit.

In the tense 10th game of the second set, Graf had two match points, but lost them both when Garrison got to the net for volleys. Finally, on Garrison's third break point, Graf hit a forehand volley long to tie the game score at 5.

Both of them held serve to force a tiebreaker, which Garrison won 7-3 with four of her points coming on volley winners.

But that took a lot out of Garrison and it showed as she started having serving problems. She double faulted twice to lose her serve in the sixth game of the final set, and double faulted on break point in the eighth game to fall behind 5-3.

In a match that featured 12 service breaks, Graf held hers in the final game to win.

''I THINK I could've had it much easier," Graf said. "I'm really happy to win this match because it was a tough one. But I should have won much easier."

Garrison said two factors may have cost her the match. First, she got upset at a foot-fault call in the first set. "I got so frustrated I couldn't think anymore," she said.

Then, her body gave out at the end. "I put out so much in the second set and the first two games of the second set that I didn't have any energy," she said.

Graf said she also noticed her opponent slowing down and decided to just try to keep the ball in play in the final set. "I felt at the end she wasn't moving too good," Graf said.
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Re: 1986

Wednesday, February 19, 1986
Jim Sarni

Martina Navratilova made 64 women happy when she skipped the Lipton International Players Championships.

These are the 64 players in the bottom half of the draw who, with the mighty Navratilova out of the way, all had a chance to reach the final.

The No-vratilova survivor will be Steffi Graf or Helena Sukova, who both won quarterfinal matches Tuesday to set up a semifinal showdown Thursday night.

The other 64 women are not as fortunate. Chris Evert Lloyd, the other half of the two-headed monster that rules women`s tennis, blocks the way.

Kathy Rinaldi, who defeated Carling Bassett 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 Tuesday, has reached the point of no return. She faces Evert, who devoured Terry Phelps 6-2, 6-0 Tuesday night, in Thursday afternoon`s semifinal.

"When I looked at the draw, I knew that Chris was not in my half but I didn`t think about the final," said Sukova, the seventh seed, who ousted Barbara Potter 6-1, 6-2.

"I looked at my first round. Then when I won, I looked at my second round. You can`t look ahead because everyone is good."

Sukova was upset by Lillian Drescher in the second round of the LIPC last year. This year she has won five matches without losing a set. The Czech has lost 27 games, the fewest of any semifinalist.

Sukova is playing her best tennis in a major event since she reached the final in the 1984 Australian Open. Sukova ended Navratilova`s 74-match winning streak in the semifinals that year before losing to Evert.

Sukova has not played Evert since.

While Sukova has been overpowering her opponents, Graf has outlasted hers to gain the semifinals for the second consecutive year.

The 16-year-old West German, seeded second, defeated Zina Garrison 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3 Tuesday, Graf`s third three-set victory of the tournament.

"I could have had it much easier," said Graf, who squandered two match points serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

"I`m not playing as well as I did at Key Biscayne, but I`m not playing that terrible. I`m getting better."

"Graf started hitting the ball very hard at the end and I got tired," said Garrison, who broke for 3-2, then lost the last four games.

Sukova beat Graf 6-2, 6-3 in their only meeting, in Brisbane in 1983.

But Graf doesn`t remember it.

"I never played her," said Graf, who was 14 at the time and just starting out.

"That was a long time ago."

Rinaldi has lost 31 games in 10 winning sets. She won the tie-breaker Tuesday when Bassett blew an easy overhead on set point.

"I got lucky," said Rinaldi, the ninth seed, who was also lucky that third- seeded Pam Shriver and fifth-seeded Bonnie Gadusek were beaten before she had to meet them.

"The first set was tight, especially in the tie-breaker, and we were both nervous. The point before, I missed a forehand. It`s not easy losing a tie- breaker like that."

"It`s so frustrating," said Bassett, a semifinalist here a year ago. "I had so many chances in the first set. It would be deuce, then my ad and I couldn`t get the point.

"I felt I could do well here. But when I play a player seeded above me, I feel like I don`t have to win and that`s wrong."

Rinaldi and Evert last played in the semifinals at Wimbledon. Rinaldi is 0-3 against her South Florida idol.

"I try to block out who I`m playing but I have so much respect for Chris, that it`s hard," Rinaldi said.


Ivan Lendl (1) vs. Joakim Nystrom (10) (Stadium, 2nd match, day session): Nystrom lost 6-4, 7-6 to Lendl the last two years at the Masters.

Jimmy Connors (3) vs. Yannick Noah (6) (Stadium, 3rd match, day session): The adventure continues.

Stefan Edberg (5) vs. Milan Srejber (Grandstand, 2nd match, day session): How high can Milan go?

Mats Wilander (2) vs. Guy Forget (Stadium, 7 p.m.): Forget took a set off Wilander at the 1983 U.S. Open.
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Re: 1986

Wednesday, February 19, 1986
Jim Baker

You won`t find Carl Foster`s name on the Associated Tennis Player`s computerized rankings, but he has as much to do with the success of the Lipton International Players Championships as anyone on the court.

Players from the world over are participating in the tournament this week at Boca West, but Foster in his way has provided Boca Raton with its very own official representative.

Foster, a Boca Raton resident for the past two years, is the executive producer and host of the official highlight show of the tournament seen nightly at 11:30 on Channel 29. Through his efforts, all the day`s important matches and followup interviews are capsulized in a neatly packaged one-half hour format, allowing interested fans to keep fully abreast of the action whether they happen to be attending the tournament or not.

The amount of work involved in producing the show is no easy task. "During the tournament, my work day begins at nine o`clock in the morning and doesn`t end generally until well after midnight," said Foster. "The amount of detail that goes into the show is incredible, but it`s a labor of love so I don`t mind a bit."

Foster`s first chore of the day begins at the working press tent, assembling a list of the day`s matches. At that point he determines which matches figure to be the most interesting, and which players he most likely will want to interview on the evening show.

From that point on, Foster`s day is busily spent tracking matches that are going on simultaneously by communicating via walkie-talkie with his staff and watching four or five different matches at once on closed circuit television.

"The primary thing to keep an eye on is for any upsets or unusual circumstances going on," said Foster, concentrating on a match between John Lloyd of Great Britain and Thierry Tulasne of France.

"I may have an idea of who I want for my show in the morning, but upsets or extended matches late into the evening may force me to change the entire format. It`s really a match-to-match proposition."

Now in his second year producing and hosting the Lipton highlight show, Foster has found that his credibility with the players has been enhanced tremendously as a result of the exposure his show has generated.

"Most of the players have either seen or heard of the show now, so it`s not as difficult getting them on," said Foster. "Having Jeane Evert as a co-host doesn`t hurt either."

Evert, the younger sister of Chris Evert-Lloyd, has been assisting Foster with the women`s coverage, "which gives the program a more balanced perspective. Chris has even expressed some interest in doing some work on the show, especially after her playing days are over."

The interest that Foster`s show has aroused has not escaped the attention of Channel 29`s management, either.

"We`ve had some great feedback from tennis enthusiasts in the area," said Murray Green, general manager of the station. "The highlight program and Inside Florida Tennis are shows that naturally cater to a specific audience, but there are enough tennis buffs in South Florida to make each show a viable product. We have every intention of keeping them running."

Inside Florida Tennis is just one of many projects Foster has developed in the South Florida area. The show, which airs Sundays at 11:30 a.m., features in-depth coverage of amateur and professional tennis, and includes such on- going segments as Tennis Tip of the Week and close-ups on local players.

Foster, 33, has been in virtually every area of media production, having started his career in 1970 as a broadcaster for Armed Forces Radio and Television.

A native Ohioan, Foster returned home after his service stint to work as a sports anchorman for WKBN, a CBS affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio.

At WKBN Foster hosted his own weekly sports show and eventually worked for Ten/TV in Cleveland, a sports pay-TV channel that broadcast the National Basketball Association`s Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League and the Cleveland Indians baseball team.

Looking back on that experience as "a great learning tool," Foster`s association with Ten/TV disbanded after station owner Ted Sepien shut down the network for financial reasons.

"I`m not sure if the area was just not ready for regional pay programming or whether the teams were not attractive enough to keep fan interest," Foster said, "but the concept gave me a format to follow that I`m using now."

A tennis enthusiast for many years, Foster decided to move to Boca Raton two years ago and establish himself as an independent producer.

"I had the experience and the knowledge how to package the product. All I needed was the proper vehicle. I can`t think of a better place to promote the game of tennis than in the South Florida area, because the sport is booming and growing all the time."

As a businessman, Foster knows too that real estate developers in South Florida like to associate with tournaments of the kind being held at Boca West, and as long as realtors are building, tournaments will be held in this area.

"The developers use my program as an advertising tool to sell real estate, and I look to them as a source of advertising. It works out very well for everyone concerned."

Foster already has renegotiated his contract with Channel 29 to continue Inside Florida Tennis after the Lipton tournament is over, but he has a number of other projects in the making including putting together a television package with World Pro Team Tennis starting in July.

And then?

"The success that Inside Florida Tennis has shown is not as indicative of my efforts as it is a testimonial to the tremendous popularity of tennis in Florida," said Foster. "I really think there`s enough going on in the sport to cover it seven days a week. I plan on growing with it and hopefully work out a syndicated program on a statewide basis.

"Whatever I do, I love the game and making a living working with tennis is incredibly rewarding."

In the meantime, those in charge of running the Lipton International Player`s Challenge Tournament are thankful Foster is on hand to lend his expertise to the event.

"We feel that the nightly update is a huge benefit to the tournament," said Bob Ruf, Lipton`s tournament director. "The program not only extends the level of exposure, it lends tremendous credibility to the entire event."
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Re: 1986

Wednesday, February 19, 1986
Jim Sarni

Rumors on a rainy day:

The Lipton International Players Championships may be back at Boca West in 1987.

The LIPC had planned to move to its planned permanent home in Weston next year, but tournament officials are now considering remaining at Boca West for another year.

The Weston site - and the new roads going west - may not be ready in time.

The LIPC has run smoothly at Boca West and attendance has increased greatly from its first year at Laver`s International Resort in Delray Beach.

Comings and goings, part 2:

The Women`s Tennis Association is considering a move from PGA National to a new home in Miami. New WTA executive director Merrett Stierheim, the former Dade County manager, has his power base in Miami and has been negotiating with possible sites.

The WTA moved its Eastern office to PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens in 1982 from Deer Creek. The WTA recently closed its San Francisco office and merged its staff in Florida.

Off their recent performances, Brad Gilbert and Jimmy Arias are the favorites to play singles in the U.S.`s Davis Cup match March 7-9 in Ecuador.

New coach Tom Gorman selected Gilbert, Arias and Aaron Krickstein as his singles players with the doubles team of Ken Flach and Robert Seguso.

Arias, after his strong showing against top-seeded Ivan Lendl at the LIPC, could be the No. 1 player to challenge Ecuador`s Andres Gomez on clay.

The U.S. team may train in Miami before heading for Ecuador.

Stefan Edberg won the 1985 Australian Open and clinched the Davis Cup for Sweden, but the news travels slow.

The Swedish star could not get past the guard Thursday for his fourth match. Edberg snuck in and then showed Marty Davis the exit.

Steffi Graf dropped from No. 4 to No. 6 in the latest WTA computer rankings. Pam Shriver moved from No. 6 to No. 5, passing Graf.

How this is possible, when Graf is in the LIPC semifinals and Shriver lost in the first round, only the computer knows.

Better late than never: Jimmy Connors meets Yannick Noah today in a LIPC quarterfinal two years after they were seeded to play in the PaineWebber Classic at Boca West. Noah was upset by Johan Kriek, who lost to Connors in the final... A lucky fan will receive a $2,000 pair of Ray Ban 14-carat gold sunglasses today. Ivan Lendl will present the prize to the winner of a drawing being conducted in the International Shopping Arcade... Chris Evert Lloyd and Stan Smith have been named co-chairmen fo r National Tennis Week June 21-29.

The USPTA national championships begin today after rain postponed play Tuesday.

Rick Fagel of Miami is the top seed. Juan Nunez of Boca Raton is the second seed.
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Re: 1986

The Miami Herald
Friday, February 21, 1986

The $275,000 Ford Cup, a four-woman special tennis event held at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens last year, has been postponed to this October or April 1987, tournament director John Korff said Thursday.

The event was scheduled for this April.

Meanwhile, speculation is growing that the Women's Tennis Association will move from its headquarters at PGA National to Miami. And officials from the Lipton International Players Championships remain uncertain whether their event will remain at Boca West next year or move to Weston in Broward County as planned.

Korff said his tournament would have a new sponsor but would retain its four-player format and remain at PGA National.

"During the changeover in executive directors at the Women's Tennis Association (Jerry Diamond resigned and was replaced by former Dade County Manager Merrett Stierheim Jan. 2), nothing was done by the WTA to put the tournament on the schedule," said Korff. "It's probably too late to get on the schedule for this October."

If the tournament is in October, Korff said, it probably will follow a $150,000 tournament in South Florida Sept. 22-28 that's replacing the Lynda Carter/Maybelline Classic held the last two years at Bonaventure in Fort Lauderdale.

The WTA's lease at PGA National expired in December, with the group now being on a temporary one, and Stierheim has been exploring several South Florida sites to house the consolidated WTA offices now at PGA National and in San Francisco.

Asked whether it were true that the WTA already had decided to move to Miami, Stierheim said, "I didn't know it was. Miami is certainly a prime consideration, but so is the PGA complex."

At Boca West, the bulldozers may begin plowing up the Lipton tournament site as early as Monday, tournament chairman Butch Buchholz said. But he's hoping that the start of townhouse construction can be delayed a year so that the event can remain at Boca West before moving to Weston.

"We have no answer yet, although we had hoped to yesterday," Buchholz said. "We feel we'll have an answer before the tournament ends . . . For the tourney's sake, it would be better off here one more year."

Buchholz's dilemma: The clubhouse at Weston won't be completed in time, and the Sawgrass Expressway from Deerfield Beach to Weston won't be finished by then. Moreover, Arvida/Disney, developer of Weston and Boca West, has sold the 12-acre property of the Lipton tournament site at Boca West, and the townhouse construction is scheduled to start soon. Boca West residents, meanwhile, don't want the tournament in their back yards and have sued Arvida/Disney over control of the tennis and golf complexes.
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Re: 1986

The Miami Herald
Friday, February 21, 1986

Kathy Rinaldi had Chris Evert Lloyd on the run Thursday night, relentlessly chasing her from one corner of the baseline to the other with a barrage of deep groundstrokes. But in the end, Evert virtually ran Rinaldi back home to Stuart.

Rinaldi, an 18-year-old Evert lookalike who is seeded ninth, was on the brink of winning her first set in four matches against the player she most admires in women's tennis. She grabbed a 6-5 lead in a first-set tiebreaker and was serving for the set.

In the midst of a lengthy baseline rally, Rinaldi flicked a short ball to Evert's backhand. Evert had hit most of her backhands in the one-hour 20-minute set crosscourt, but this time, she smacked it down the line for a winner. A stunned Rinaldi never recovered as Evert went on to a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 victory in the semifinals of the $1.8 million Lipton International Players Championships at Boca West.

Thursday afternoon, Helena Sukova kept thinking that Steffi Graf eventually would miss a couple of passing shots that were leaving Sukova flatfooted at the net. But Graf, a 16-year-old West German, played nearly flawlessly in humbling the seventh-seeded player from Czechoslovakia, 6-2, 6-1.

Evert and Graf will meet in the final at 1 p.m. Saturday in a rematch of their final in the Virginia Slims of Florida that Evert won, 6-3, 6-1, Feb. 1 at Key Biscayne. While they're playing, Rinaldi may still be trying to get over botching her first set against Evert.

"When I had her on the ropes, I didn't put her away," said Rinaldi. "Against Chris, you've got to make it happen.

"After losing set point, it was a little hard to get myself going. She was moving me around quite a bit, and I was slower getting to the ball. She came through on it; she's a great champion."

Rinaldi's stellar first-set play surprised Evert, who had expected more inconsistency.

"I thought Kathy played unbelievable the first set," said Evert, who had squandered a 5-3 lead in the tiebreaker with three unforced groundstroke errors. "She just got every ball back. She gave me no cheap points, and I gave her a few cheap ones.

"On the set point, she was so patient, and I didn't want to wait for her to make an error and knew I had to go for a shot. The backhand (down the line) was sort of a surprise element."

Graf, seeded second in this tournament that lacks Martina Navratilova and Hana Mandlikova, surprised herself in how well she played against Sukova. In their only other meeting, Sukova had won, 6-2, 6-3, in 1983 at Brisbane, Australia, on grass.

"I felt I couldn't miss, especially after the first set," said Graf. "I felt I couldn't lose the match. No, that had not happened to me against a good player."

Sukova, who is 6-2, played her usual serve-and-volley game. But most of the time she came to the net, Graf blasted away with hard groundstrokes and passed her with seeming ease.

"She was really going for it," said Sukova. "I was a little surprised that she went for it so much, but I was more surprised that all of them were going in."

As for Graf's chances in the final, Sukova said, "If she plays like this, for sure she can win. But I would be surprised if she can continue like this.'

Asked if having played Evert at Key Biscayne would help in Saturday's final, Graf said, "It's almost impossible to say before the match. I just have to get into the match and see how it goes. Everything she does, she does well. You can't go after one thing."

Women's singles

Semifinals -- Chris Evert Loyd d. Kathy Rinaldi, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1; Steffi Graf d. Helena Sukova, 6-2, 6-1.

Thursday's results

Men's doubles

Semifinals -- Brad Gilbert-Vince Van Patten d. Peter Fleming-Guy Forget, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; Stefan Edberg-Anders Jarryd d. Slobodon Zivojinovic-Boris Becker, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.

Mixed doubles

Quarterfinals -- Ken Flach-Kathy Jordan d. Sammy Giammalva- Zina Garrison, 6-4, 6-4; Emilio Sanchez-Steffi Graf d. Sherwood Stewart-Pam Shriver, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

Semifinals -- John Fitzgerald-Elizabeth Smylie d. Michael Fancutt-Dianne Balestrat, 6-2, 6-2.

Today's matches

Men's singles

Stadium court -- Semifinals: Ivan Lendl vs. Jimmy Connors; 1 p.m.; Stefan Edberg vs. Mats Wilander, 7 p.m.

Women's doubles

Stadium court -- Semifinals: Gigi Fernandez-Robin White vs. Wendy Turnbull-Chris Evert Lloyd; 1 p.m.; Helena Sukova-Pam Shriver vs. Zina Garrison-Kathy Rinaldi, 7 p.m.

Mixed doubles

Grandstand court -- Final: Emilio Sanchez-Steffi Graf vs. John Fitzgerald-Elizabeth Smylie, 11 a.m.
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Re: 1986

Evert Lloyd, Graf gain Lipton final
Houston Chronicle
Friday, February 21, 1986
Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Veteran Chris Evert Lloyd, patiently waiting until her mirror image cracked, outlasted Kathy Rinaldi 7-6, 6-1 in the $1.8 million Lipton International Players Championships tennis tournament to set up a title match against 16-year-old Steffi Graf of West Germany.

The second-seeded Graf, firing winners from both sides while her opponent shot blanks with her usually powerful serve, ripped Czechoslovakia's Helena Sukova 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes Thursday afternoon in the other semifinal.

The two-hour, one-minute Evert-Rinaldi night match was a baseline battle between two consistent players with weak serves and two-handed backhands. It turned into a war of nerves, with points frequently lasting 20 or more shots.

Evert Lloyd, the top seed, won one of the longest and the most important point when she was trailing 6-5 in the tiebreaker. After the two baseliners traded 41 shots, Evert Lloyd stepped into a short shot by Rinaldi and fired a passing shot down the line.

After saving that set point, Evert Lloyd went on to win the next two points as Rinaldi made unforced errors after long rallies.

Rinaldi, seeded ninth, broke Evert Lloyd in the first game of the second set, but Evert Lloyd broke back in the next game and never lost another.

"I've never played her when she's played that well," Evert Lloyd said. "She just got every ball back in the first set. She didn't give me any cheap points. She didn't make any errors."

The 18-year-old Rinaldi said she felt good about the way she played, despite her second-set collapse.

"I definitely had chances in the first set," she said. "And when you have those chances, you have to make things happen against Chrissie. She's not going to make mistakes."

Saturday's championship battle will be a rematch of the Virginia Slims of Florida final three weeks ago, when Evert Lloyd rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory to claim her 143rd professional title. Graf, the gold medal winner at the 1984 Olympics, has yet to win a professional tour event.

Graf was unbeatable Thursday, hitting 16 outright winners with her powerful top-spin forehand. She even had four winners with her usually defensive backhand.

"I really felt I couldn't miss, especially after the first set," Graf said. "I just played great.

"I can't remember when I've ever felt like that, especially against (someone like) her. She's a really good player."

Sukova, the seventh seed, showed only brief flashes of the brilliance that brought her to the semifinals without losing a set. She broke Graf's serve in the first game, but things started to fall apart when Graf broke right back.

"The important thing was for me to break her in the second game," Graf said. "Her serve is her strength.

"She didn't serve too good. She didn't get many first serves in, which she has to do against me."

Sukova was too stunned to be devastated.

"She went so much for her shots and all of them were going in," the 19-year-old Czech said. "This doesn't happen every day.

"She was returning well, so the pressure was on my first serve. That's why my first serve wasn't as good as my other matches."

Sukova hit only 55 percent of her first serves and double-faulted five times.

In the men's semifinals Friday, top-seeded Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia takes on third-seeded Jimmy Connors and second-seeded Mats Wilander takes on fifth-seeded Stefan Edberg in a battle of young Swedes.

Connors is one of the few players Lendl trails in head-to-head matchups, but he has pulled within 13-12 by winning their past seven matches. The 33-year-old Connors should be slightly drained, having played three three-set matches and one four-set match in this tournament. Lendl has lost only one set, in his first-round victory over John Sadri.

Wilander, 21, has won four of six matches against Edberg, 20. But in their last encounter, Edberg won, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, in the final of the Australian Open to claim his first Grand Slam championship. Wilander has won four Grand Slam titles.

Wilander has lost only one set in five matches at the Boca West resort, while Edberg has yet to drop a set.
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Re: 1986

Friday, February 21, 1986
Jim Sarni

Kathy Rinaldi figured to be little more than a snack for Chris Evert Lloyd Thursday night at the Lipton International Players Championships.

But the 18-year-old from Stuart who pushes potato chips turned the semifinals into a main course.

Rinaldi crumbled 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, but not before she battled Evert through a tense first-set tiebreaker.

Evert advances to Saturday`s 1 p.m. final where she meets second-seeded Steffi Graf, who crushed Helena Sukova 6-2, 6-1 in the afternoon semifinal.

Rinaldi, who lost to Evert 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals at Wimbledon the last time they played, rallied from 3-5 down in the tiebreaker and had a set point at 6-5.

But Evert saved it with a backhand approach shot down the line that ended a long rally.

At 6-all, Rinaldi lobbed a moonball over the baseline to give Evert a set point. Evert won the 1-hour, 22-minute set when Rinaldi hit a nervous forehand wide.

"I should have gone for a little bit more on the set point," Rinaldi said. "Against Chris, you have to make things happen. I didn`t do that."

"Kathy played an unbelievable first set," said Evert, who played her 1,200th match. "She could have beaten a lot of players the way she was playing. She got every ball back."

At 5-3 in the tiebreaker, Evert was hoping that Rinaldi would miss one.

"I was a little bit drained at that point," Evert said. "I had worked hard and I was hoping for an error. I thought I could win the easy way.

"Then, sure enough, I made a couple of errors and it was 5-6."

Down set point, Evert slugged it out until she found her opening and hit the winner.

"I didn`t want to wait and wait and wait for her to miss because she wasn`t missing," said Evert, who is 72-42 lifetime in tiebreakers to Rinaldi`s 21-21. "I think I surprised her with the backhand down the line. I had been hitting cross court then I stepped in and went down the line. It was a real good shot."

"The pressure was on Chris," Rinaldi said. "I hit a short ball and she made a great shot off it. She came through like a champion."

Rinaldi broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set. She had 40-30 for 4-1 but Evert caught her off guard with a forehand. Rinaldi had another game point but Evert again held her off with a passing shot.

Evert missed one break point but hit a sensational volley to earn another and then won the game when Rinaldi hit a backhand long.

Evert struggled to hold her serve in the first set, saving a break point at 3-4, but managed to keep pace into the tiebreaker.

The second set was a snack.

"It was hard to get pumped up after I lost the first set," Rinaldi said. "I hung in for a few games but then she got a lead and moved me around quite a bit."

Evert is in for another baseline battle with Graf, the 16-year-old West German who is the youngest finalist at a major, 128-draw event since Pam Shriver reached the 1978 U.S. Open at 16.

Graf struggled through some earlier rounds but strangled Sukova with her Stef-and-fetch-it tennis.

"She ran so much for her shots and all of them were going in," said Sukova, the seventh seed, who had not lost a set in the tournament.

"I don`t think she plays like this all the time. I would be surprised if she played like this in the final."

Graf rushed to a 4-1 lead and had a break point for 5-1. Sukova held and then extended Graf into a long deuce game.

Graf had five game points before she finally won the 10-minute game.

"This was one of my best matches," said Graf, who lost to Evert in last year`s LIPC semifinals.

"I thought I couldn`t miss the ball, especially after the first set. I hope I can go out and play my best tennis against Chris."

Thursday`s sessions drew a combined attendance of 12,159, raising the total to 156,383 with four sessions remaining. Tickets left for the final four session: today, 2,086; tonight, 3,400; Saturday, 2,061; Sunday, 541.

Thursday`s sessions drew a combined attendance of 12,159, raising the total to 156,383 with four sessions remaining. Tickets left for the final four session: today, 2,086; tonight, 3,400; Saturday, 2,061; Sunday, 541.

Steffi Graf (2) d. Helena Sukova (7) 6-2, 6-1.

Chris Evert Lloyd (1) d. Kathy Rinaldi (9) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.

Today`s men`s semifinals

1 p.m. -- Ivan Lendl (1) vs. Jimmy Connors (3). Lendl has won the last seven meetings.

7 p.m. -- Mats Wilander (2) vs. Stefan Edberg (5). Edberg upset Wilander in the Australian Open final.
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post #115 of 1284 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2013, 08:23 PM
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Re: 1986

Also hilarious: "She [Graf] went so much for her shots, and they were all going in. That doesn't happen every day." Actually, Helena, in less than two months it will happen just about every day. And by this tournament next year, after Stefanie Maria Graf asks the Grail Question of Tennis, out loud and in public, the entire tennis generation between Evert/Navratilova and Graf will be flattened by the shockwave and a new era of tennis will commence...

Friday, February 21, 1986
Melissa Isaacson

Taking two different routes to the final, top-seeded Chris Evert Lloyd will meet second-seeded Steffi Graf for the Lipton International Players Championship Saturday at Boca West Resort and Club.

Graf, 16, a three-year veteran on the women's professional tennis circuit, played in a zone of her own Thursday afternoon, disposing of seventh-seeded Helena Sukova, 6-2, 6-1, in one semifinal.

In the evening semifinal, Lloyd outlasted Stuart's Kathy Rinaldi, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, in a 2-hour, 1-minute rallython.

Indicative of that match was set point in the first-set tiebreaker, a 41-stroke rally that ended with a Lloyd backhand winner down the line. The first set alone took 1 hour and 21 minutes.

''I definitely had my chances,'' Rinaldi, 18, said, ''and I think when you have those chances against Chrissie, you have to make it happen. You can't sit there.''

Rinaldi came back from a 5-3 deficit in the tiebreaker to lead, 6-5. But Lloyd won the next two points for the set.

''I don't even want to tell you what I was thinking at that point,'' Lloyd said. ''I was starting to get a little drained at that point because I had to work so hard for every point.

''I've never played Kathy when she was playing that well. She was a standard better than the other girls I've played in the tournament. She just did not give me any cheap points.''

Rinaldi said the second set was inevitably a letdown. ''After losing that first set, it was hard to get pumped up for the second set. She was moving me all over, and I started getting mentally sloppy. When I had her on the ropes, I didn't put her away . . . I hope I learn from this.''

However, she did accomplish one goal.

''The most important thing for me was to play the ball instead of going out there and saying, 'Wow, Chris Evert,' '' she said. ''I've always looked up to her and have a lot of respect for her. But no, I wasn't intimidated.''

Lloyd defeated Graf, 6-3, 6-1, three weeks ago in the Virginia Slims of Florida Championship at Key Biscayne.

''I think this match will help me a lot,'' Lloyd said. ''Steffi's probably not as steady as Kathy, but she probably makes more winners.''

She had plenty of those against Sukova.

Graf used a blistering forehand and steady baseline game to completely baffle the serve-and-volley attack of Sukova, who had not lost a set in five previous matches.

''She [Graf] went so much for her shots, and they were all going in,'' Sukova said. ''That doesn't happen every day.''

Graf, grinning broadly, said she even surprised herself with her performance in the 50-minute match.

''I felt really good with my forehand and felt great with my passing shots,'' she said. ''I was hitting really hard, and especially after the first set I didn't feel like I could lose.''

Sukova, continually handcuffed at the net by Graf's sharply hit forehands, was eliminated in a 15-minute second set.

She was angered when asked if she gave up and said it was doubtful Graf could keep up her level of play.

''If she plays like this, for sure she should win the tournament,'' Sukova said. ''But I would be very surprised if she could play this way in the finals.''
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Re: 1986

Again, the hand-wringing is kinda hilarious. Yes, the fans in tour stops such as Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Mahwah, N.J., WILL make advance reservations to see foreign players.

Philadelphia Daily News
Friday, February 21, 1986

For years, Billie Jean King and others in women's tennis fought for prize money equal to what the men were getting in Grand Slam tournaments. The good news is, the women have succeeded on that issue.

Now the women are sharing a dilemma with the men. For several years people have been wondering when the great young American players will show up to succeed Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. In addition, people are searching for American women to replace Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd.

Until last year, when Hana Mandlikova won the U.S. Open, Navratilova and Lloyd had collected 15 consecutive Grand Slam titles.

"Whenever we're entered in a tournament," Lloyd said, "chances are 95 percent that one of us is going to win it."

If Navratilova enters a tournament and Lloyd does not, or vice versa, you can bet the wine cellar that the one who is playing will win the event. If neither enters a tournament, the event is Oshkosh and the promoter is being restrained from doing a Greg Louganis off the nearest bridge.

Pam Shriver, who finished last year ranked No. 4 in the world, is a good player and a delightful personality. She can be a top five player for several more years. But her presence will not cause promoters to hire extra ticket sellers.

Zina Garrison, No. 8 in 1985, also is a good player who, at 22, is still developing. But she never looks as if she is having any fun in the sport.

Other American women in the top 20 are No. 10 Bonnie Gadusek, No. 17 Barbara Potter, No. 18 Stephanie Rehe, No. 19 Kathy Jordan and No. 20 Anne White. White looked terrific in that bodysuit she wore at Wimbledon, but from this group, only the 16-year-old Rehe has a top five future.

Injuries have prematurely taken Tracy Austin, a U.S. Open champion at 17 and 19, and Andrea Jaeger, who rose as high as No. 3 in the world, from the Americans' world class group.

If Kathy Rinaldi could play most matches the way she did against Lloyd in the first set of last night's Lipton International Players Championship semifinal, she would be a top five candidate.

Rinaldi took Lloyd to a tiebreaker in the first set, which lasted an hour and 21 minutes. But the tourney's top seed fought off set point, won the set, 7-6 (8-6), then swept through the second set, 6-1.

Tennis will survive without Americans as the No. 1 players - for a while, at least. Shortsighted promoters will tell you that as long as they have sellouts from the quarterfinals on, it does not matter if Minnie Mouse is playing Donald Duck.

But one glance at the women's top 10 beyond Navratiolva and Lloyd suggests that these promoters someday soon may have to hire Minnie, Donald and the San Diego Chicken to hype ticket sales.

Mandlikova (No. 3) is a wonderful player, but she rates zero on the personality scale. Claudia Kohde-Kilsch (No. 5 last year) also is a talented player, but can she carry a tournament? Unlikely.

The next great women's players are second-seeded Steffi Graf (No. 6 in the world last year), a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Helena Sukova (No. 9) in a semifinal yesterday; No. 7 Manuela Maleeva; and No. 12 Gabriela Sabatini. Graf is from West Germany, Maleeva from Bulgaria and Sabatini from Argentia. Do you think the fans in tour stops such as Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Mahwah, N.J., are making advance reservations just to see these players?

"Hana, Sabatini and Graf are the three toughest," Lloyd said last night. ''But there are a lot of young American girls out there - Kathy, Stephanie Rehe, (14-year-old) Mary Joe Fernandez and Zina Garrison, but no one's made their big move yet. No one has emerged from the pack.

"Kathy could have beaten a lot of players the way she played in that first set. But Kathy needs to play that way more consistently. She had a great Wimbledon (semifinalist) last year, but she still loses to players that she shouldn't lose to."

Rinaldi's game is complete enough that, with devotion to duty, she could climb into the top five. Last year she won her first major tournament, the Mahwah stop that precedes the U.S. Open. Maybe after she graduates from high school this spring Rinaldi can concentrate full time on tennis.

Rinaldi, who is from Stuart, Fla., about 60 miles up the coast from Boca Raton, gave Lloyd a major league workout in the first set. Trailing, 3-5, in the tiebreaker, Rinaldi held serve, then broke Lloyd twice to lead, 6-5.

Confronted with Rinaldi serving at set point, Lloyd drilled a backhand down the line to survive. Then the six-time Open champion broke Rinaldi and held
serve to win the set.

"Kathy played better than I expected," Lloyd said. "I've never played her when she played that well. She got every ball back in that first set. She was a standard better than the girls I've been playing."

"After having set point in the first set it was a little hard to get myself going," said Rinaldi, now 0-4 against Lloyd. "At the beginning of the second set I was in there (she broke Chris in the first game), but then she got the lead."

"When you have chances against Chris, you have to make 'em happen. You can't sit there and wait for her to make a mistake. Still, that was a great learning experience for me."

Learning is fine, but in the next few years American tennis fans will be expecting Kathy Rinaldi and the other young American women to put their learning to use.

NET NOTES: In today's men's semifinals, top-seeded Ivan Lendl tries to even his lifetime record at 13-13 against No. 3 Jimmy Connors. Lendl has won their last seven meetings. In the all-Swedish evening semi, No. 2 Mats Wilander faces No. 5 Stefan Edberg. Wilander holds a 4-2 lifetime advantage over Edberg.
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Re: 1986

"We're just trying to find out how it happened." I'll tell you how it happened: Telling a 2-year-old to "stay right there" and then looking away...

Friday, February 21, 1986
Peter Aronson, (David Enscoe contributed to this report)

A 2-year-old girl apparently escaped serious injury Thursday afternoon after she slid through a gap in the bleachers at the Lipton International tennis tournament and fell 30 feet to the ground.

Jenna Albert of Hamden, Conn., was admitted to the pediatrics unit at Boca Raton Community Hospital for observation, a hospital spokesman said. She was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday night.

"In my opinion she is extremely lucky because she apparently avoided any support beams on the way down and (then avoided serious injury) when she struck the hard dirt," said District Fire Chief David Horowitz, of the Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Service, whose men were on the scene when the incident occurred.

Jenna fell from the 10,500-seat main stadium at the Boca West country club at about 4:10 p.m., just after she and family and friends had taken their seats. Boris Becker was playing in a doubles match at the time.

"We sat down and said, `These stands are not safe, and someone could fall through,` " said Charles Epstein, a friend of Jenna`s mother, Debbie.

"(Debbie) said to Jenna, `Stay right here.` Debbie turned to me and said something and then turned towards Jenna and she was gone.

"She was there and then she wasn`t there."

A loud scream by Debbie Albert apparently alerted paramedics, who were the first to get to Jenna. They rushed her to a nearby medic tent.

Tournament director Cliff Buccholz said officials are very concerned about what happened. He emphasized, however, that the temporary stadium built for the tournament has been inspected by a structural engineer, Palm Beach County building officials, and meets all building code regulations.

"Right now we`re just trying to find out how it happened," he said.

District Fire Chief Horowitz added that he surveyed the stadium before and after the incident and found it to be safe.
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Friday, February 21, 1986
Sharon Robb

It`s break point for Arvida and the Lipton International Players Championships.

LIPC tournament chairman Butch Buchholz said Thursday that a decision on whether the tournament will stay at Boca West or move to Weston in 1987 must be reached Sunday.

The 12-acre property on which the LIPC site is located at Boca West has been sold. Buchholz said Arvida, Weston`s parent company and in the midst of a homeowners suit, is getting a "reading" from homeowners because "we don`t want 12,000 people booing us or getting up in arms and barricading us out."

The 10,000-acre Weston development is to be the permanent home for the LIPC. Fifty-five acres have been allocated for the LIPC site. A temporary facility could be built at Weston and used until the permanent site is completed in 1990, but Buchholz said he would rather see the tournament return to Boca West.

"My instincts are that they are really trying to have it here next year," Buchholz said. "We do not have an answer yet. We are looking at all possibilities and exploring everything to have the tournament back here next year. We think that`s the best thing for the tournament. We feel we will have an answer before the end of the tournament."

Another factor is the Sawgrass Freeway leading to Weston has not been completed. In addition, Buchholz said Weston`s large clubhouse would not be completed by next year.

"We were going to stay here for one year," Buchholz said. "Realistically, if we play here in `87, we`d like to have two years under our belt at Weston before we start putting $15 million to $20 million in the ground. We have to make sure we`re in the right spot. For the tournament`s sake, I think we`re better off staying here one more year. I think we can do a better job if we stay in one place and work on it for a whole year.

"If we go to Weston next year and it`s a big success, it`s going to take a year or two years to build it (permanent site)."

Buchholz said having a permanent stadium for the LIPC is the "last hurdle that we have to overcome. We just need to continue to reinforce to the players that in some point and time this can be a major revenue source for them. It`s just going to take some time."
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Re: 1986

Tennis: Lloyd reacts like champion
The Times
London, England
Saturday, February 22, 1986

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA - Tennis players always talk about the 'big points'. Big points are the ones that champions win. They can pop up at any time during a match and the champions not only recognize them but their eyes narrow and their resolve hardens into steel.

Chris Lloyd, a champion if ever there was one, gave a classic demonstration of what the big point is all about in the semi-final of the Lipton International Players championships here at Boca West when Kathy Rinaldi reached set point at 6-5 in the first set tie-break.

Mrs. Lloyd was furious with herself because she had been leading by 5-3 and had played a couple of loose shots.

'I don't even want to tell you what I was thinking just then' Mrs. Lloyd said. Her inner thoughts tend to belie her cool, ladylike image. She didn't need to tell us. The way she played that point has said it all.

Miss Rinaldi, last year's 18-year-old Wimbledom semi-finalist, had been hitting the ball as well as she has ever done and running like a stag to retrieve everything Mrs. Lloyd slung at her. But now on set point, the pace became hotter, the angles more acute, the drives deeper. Miss Rinaldi ran from left to right and back again. The ball crossed the net 10 times and then 10 more. Miss Rinaldi stuck with it, giving back almost as good as she got.

On about the 24th stroke of the rally with Mrs. Lloyd's eyes like slits, the younger woman scrambled for another return and hit it short. Not very short but the margin was fatal. Mrs. Lloyd stepped in and hit a stunning backhand up the line. Miss Rinaldi, whose legs had taken her everywhere, was suddenly nowhere near it. She could only stand and watch.

That was the big point. The rest were a formality. Mrs. Lloyd won the tie-break by 8-6 and the match 7-6, 6-1.

Miss Rinaldi was pleased with the way she had played in the first set but she has been on the tour long enough now to know the facts of life.

'When you have your chances against someone like Chris you can't just sit there and wait for her to make a mistake', she said.

As Mrs. Lloyd was the first to admit, Miss Rinaldi didn't exactly sit around but she did allow the No. 1 seed to dictate the one point that mattered. And that is why she and not Miss Rinaldi will be out there today facing West Germany's 16-year-old Steffi Graf in the final.

Meanwhile, there is news of Pat Cash, the Australian teenager who burst onto the world's stage in 1984 by reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open and then spent much of the following year nursing a bad back.

After many conflicting rumours and a period of rehabilitation while staying at his new flat in Chelsea, Cash has been spending the last three weeks at the camp of the late Harry Hopman just to the south west of here at Bardmoor.

New doubts about Cash's willingness to test himself in a Grand Prix event were raised when his name was withdrawn from the singles entry list for the Pilot Pen Classic at La Quinta next week. But his coach Ian Barclay assures me that Cash will be playing doubles there in partnership with Tim Wilkison and is now fully fit and prepared for a serious comeback. Australian tennis needs him.

Women's Singles:Semi-finals: S Graf (WG) bt H Sukova (Cz) 6-2, 6-1; C Lloyd (US) bt K Rinaldi (US) 7-6, 6-1.
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Re: 1986

The Miami Herald
Sunday, February 23, 1986

The announcement begins with the words "A Volvo," and half the room snaps to attention. The upscale folks at Boca West cannot know that this Volvo, the one with its headlights still on, is Merrett Stierheim's aging hand-me-down from his daughter.

In a flash, Stierheim's meeting is suspended. He's out the door. Flash. He's back. Forgot the keys. Flash. Back again, just in time to recover the misplaced pen an aide found for him.

"I'm a little preoccupied," Stierheim says. "Lots on my mind."

Welcome to the new but familiar world of Merrett Stierheim, the man who left behind the Dade County manager's office and a 26-year career of often obsessive public service to find a more relaxed pace in, of all things, professional sports.

Now, after seven weeks as executive director of the Women's Tennis Association, Stierheim does seem somewhat more relaxed, more at peace with himself. The media no longer dissect his every move; he can walk into a supermarket without being accosted by a dissatisfied citizen; he is learning what it is like to have a private existence.

But the habits of a lifetime are hard to break at age 52, and the new WTA executive director is no less obsessed, no less driven than the erstwhile county manager.

The WTA is essentially a union that represents female tennis pros in a variety of interests, most prominently their participation in dozens of tournaments. There is a new world out here, a fascinating new world for Stierheim to dominate and conquer.

"It's a natural," he says. "It's a transition, quasi-public, yet private. It's fun, it's travel, it's exciting."

Indeed, the conversational points of reference are now London, Paris and Zurich instead of Miami, Perrine and Pennsuco; there are 300 tennis pros to nurture, most of them half Stierheim's age and some already millionaires; there are agents to deal with, promoters, high-octane corporate sponsors, hustlers. Stierheim is ready for them all.

"He is a much more relaxed person, but there's something you have to remember about Merrett," says Bill Colson, a prominent Miami attorney who advised Stierheim to take the new job. "He's got one speed, and it's full-speed ahead."

So Stierheim's schedule remains hectic, and it harbors no respect for weekends, holidays or other artificial barriers. He lugs home a heavy briefcase. He carries a portable telephone
from room to room.

He says he does not miss the old days at Metro. He seems to be enjoying himself.

A few weeks ago, Judy Stierheim, a management consultant, ordered a call-waiting line so a few of her phone calls might break through her husband's blockade. It was futile.

Now, Merrett Stierheim works the two lines like an AT&T pro. Judy Stierheim's calls remain in never-never land.

"I don't think his intensity has changed at all," she says. "If anything, at this time, he is more into everything because he's learning about the new job. Maybe once he's overcome the learning curve he can be more laid back. Maybe."

'So far I like it'

Gone is the four-door, county-issue Oldsmobile, complete with mobile telephone. In its place is the 10-year-old Volvo on loan from his daughter.

Decisions about a new car and possibly a move from Dade are on hold pending resolution of one of Stierheim's new problems -- where in South Florida to consolidate the WTA's offices. Dade and Palm Beach counties are the leading candidates; Broward is a possibility.

Also gone are about eight pounds, with more on the way, Stierheim says. Now surrounded by athletes and former athletes, Stierheim is determined to get in shape.

His tennis game, a longtime passion and more than a coincidental factor in his career move, is also being overhauled, but more about this later. Otherwise, little seems different about Stierheim, at least on the surface.

To some degree, his new job is much like the old. Only the venue, the cast of characters and the scale are different.

He is still responsible for negotiating complex contracts, this time with corporate sponsors and tournament promoters instead of public-employee unions and public-works builders. Currently on the table is a 50-page, half-inch-thick proposal by Virginia Slims, the primary sponsor of women's tennis. He is responsible for a staff, this time 25 people instead of the 22,000 at Metro. Instead of the $1.3 billion county budget, he watches over a WTA administrative budget of $1.4 million.

And there are many problems for Stierheim to solve, as there always must be.

"He's a driver," says Ron Fraser, the University of Miami baseball coach who is Stierheim's frequent tennis foil and a close friend. "A guy like that always needs a mountain."

The problems: To some extent, women's professional tennis has peaked in popularity. Virginia Slims, the prime sponsor, produces cigarettes, and many of the players are discomforted by that. Stierheim's predecessor was a lame duck for a year, and sensitive personnel and political matters stacked up.

While noting that the WTA faces a host of difficulties, Stierheim acknowledges that, in the greater scheme of things, these problems do not carry the same importance as his problems of years past.

"I've got 300 people to worry about, and it is still an extremely popular sport with the public," Stierheim says. "At least for me, I've been able to identify a sense of purpose in it.

"But it certainly isn't anything like Jackson Memorial Hospital or the race-conscious ordinance in terms of the community's public welfare. No, it isn't the same in that respect."

Then, he catches himself, and he remembers something that is important to add.

"I feel like my conscience is very, very clear," Stierheim says. "I have paid my dues and I think I've done it well. I was ready for a change, and this one is exciting. It has purpose, and it's fun, and so far I like it."

Watching, listening

He calls it "The Fever," that adrenaline-fueled surge of intensity and resolve he can no more control than the very act of breathing.

Much of it comes from his early years at St. Johns Military School in Ossining, N.Y., where an 8-year-old Merrett Stierheim was the youngest and smallest student. "It was survival, to a certain extent," he says. "It was a dog-eat-dog environment."

That intensity characterized Stierheim's later career and particularly marked his nine years as Dade County manager. It was a facet of his personality that drove him and others to great accomplishments and sometimes to despair.

His temper tantrums, while less frequent than generally believed, were legendary. He took on his bosses and subordinates, union leaders and big-deal contractors, newspaper reporters and editors.

In The Herald's newsroom, Stierheim's flare-ups were known -- without particular affection -- as "Hulk-Outs," after the fierce transformation of TV's Incredible Hulk.

Now, Stierheim's new aides say they have yet to see this side of him. And the county manager who supposedly would allow few of his employees to call him "Merrett" now takes pleasure in saying that he is on a first-name basis with nearly everyone.

Movers and shakers

The Lipton International Players Championship at Boca West is a major tournament -- not yet a grand-slam event but close. Played during the past two weeks and scheduled to end today, the LIPC is also an opportunity for the movers and shakers of tennis to do business under the Florida sun.

For Stierheim, it is something of an inaugural. He meets agents, promoters and officials of other tennis associations. He cements relations with some of the female pros and introduces himself to others.

It's a movable feast of business meetings, conducted in grandstands, at cocktail parties, in the players' lounge. Almost all of the participants have the lean, well-scrubbed, affluent look of the current or recent professional athlete.

And all of the time, Stierheim watches and listens and learns. Early in the tournament, Virginia Wade, one of the most respected of the WTA veterans, took a look at Stierheim and called him aside. Loosen up, she said.

"It's good that you're wearing a business suit," she told him. "But also wear a tennis outfit or a pair of slacks and a sport shirt. Let them see you relaxed and comfortable."

Stierheim's reaction? "Good advice," he says.

The tournament also provides Stierheim with an opportunity for strategy sessions with his new associates at the WTA.

One day last week, he held a three-hour meeting with Peachy Kellmeyer and Trish Faulkner, two former pros who have been associated with the WTA almost from its start in 1973. He calls them "two of my three right arms," the third being William Talbert, Stierheim's executive assistant at Metro and now director of administration at the WTA.

During the meeting, Stierheim depended heavily on the experience of Kellmeyer and Faulkner, probing them for ideas and solutions. He touched their arms to draw more out of them, but when he spoke, his hands rose into the air and then fell heavily on the table for emphasis.

Later, he is asked about his management technique.

"That's always been my style," he says. "I always surround myself with good people . . .

"You know, there's a myth out there. Some people see me as a very strong person and would think of me as being autocratic, when that is the antithesis of my management style.

"I am strong. I mean I'm capable of leadership and taking strong positions, and I've never been shy about speaking my mind about what I think is right.

"But my management style is teamwork, creating the climate of participating, healthy egos. I like having healthy egos around me."

No one has ever accused Stierheim of subordinating his own ego, particularly on the tennis court.

Stierheim's friends tend to fall into two categories: Those who lose to him in tennis and those who won't play with him.

Now, to his tennis partners' dismay, Stierheim is positioned to get pointers from the pros.

Fraser says Stierheim swore just a few days ago that he was not getting such help. "I made him cut his wrist and do a blood-brother thing," Fraser says.

Maybe, but Stierheim buffaloed him anyway. The truth is that Stierheim has played with several of the female pros, and flaws in his backhand are being corrected by his new friends.

Told this, Fraser bursts into laughter. "That son of a gun," Fraser says. "I knew it."

JoAnn Russell, a 10-year pro and a WTA board member, says Stierheim was a more-than-respectable doubles partner a few weeks ago. He also has made a good start as executive director, she adds.

"I'm a big fan of his," Russell says. "I like the guy, and nobody's come up to me and said, 'God, I don't like him.'

"But I have one complaint. I had to run a lot when we played together," she says. "If you see Merrett, tell him to chase his own lobs from now on."

'So far, I don't miss it'

In addition to rubbing tennis elbows with the pros, Stierheim is looking forward to the foreign travel inherent in his job. He expects about six foreign trips this year, including stops in England for Wimbledon and Paris for the French Open. He smiles broadly while contemplating that.

And there is the money. His county salary was $111,188. Now, he gets about $150,000 plus extensive benefits. He agrees that he could be making more in the executive suite of a major corporation, but he says he has all he needs -- financially and professionally.

Still, one wonders if Stierheim ever gazes with envy or wistfulness at the new Dade administration building, one of his final monuments, as he heads toward his new friends in his new world.

For the record, Stierheim refuses to share his opinion of either Dade County government or County Manager Sergio Pereira, the only times during many hours of conversation that he retreats into "no comment."

Stierheim's wife says he has had little time thus far to form firm opinions, but . . .

"He may, down the road, sit back and see something happening and say, 'Damn it, if I was there that wouldn't have happened,' " she says. "I can see that happening down the road."

For now, asked the deeper question -- does he miss the sound and the fury and the attention -- Merrett Stierheim turns unusually introspective, and he mentions his predecessor at Metro, Ray Goode, now a prominent businessman.

"You know, I used to call Ray and I would ask him, 'Ray, do you miss it?' " Stierheim says. "I always wanted to know if they missed it, 'cause, you know, if you got The Fever and it's in your blood, there's always that element.

"I was concerned about that. And so far, it's only seven weeks, but so far, I really don't miss it. I'm really enjoying myself. I'm actually having fun."
Ms. Anthropic is offline  

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