Might be of use for the encyclopedia/biography entry for Gadusek...
GADUSEK FIGHTS HER WAY TO TOP BOTH COURAGE AND CONTROVERSY FLOW FROM HER SENSE OF DESIRE
San Jose Mercury News
Sunday, February 23, 1986
THE ACCIDENT occurred more than 10 years ago, but Sylvia Gadusek remembers it as if it were yesterday.
Her daughter, Bonnie, was resting in a hospital bed, sandbags keeping her broken neck in place.
"I said, 'When things happen, they happen for the best. I don't know why this happened, but there is a reason, and it will turn out for the best,' " Sylvia said. "And that's what happened."
Bonnie, then 12, was an aspiring gymnast, with dreams of the Olympics, training at the Eva Szabo Gymnastics Club in Pittsburgh. Her Olympic hopes ended when she fell while performing a simple move on the uneven parallel bars. She fell on her neck, breaking the second and third vertebrae.
''In an accident like that, she should not have survived," said Sylvia, a nurse.
Bonnie Gadusek has more than survived. She is the eighth- ranked women's tennis player in the world -- thanks to a tennis racket purchased by her sister, Darlene, and an overwhelming desire that has created bitter feelings in at least one camp.
She is bringing that desire to a $150,000 tournament in Oakland that will be played Monday through next Sunday.
After Gadusek was released from the hospital, she wore a neck-and-body brace for 6 1/2 months. The brace extended below her navel, and two bars pressing against her neck prevented her from looking anywhere but straight ahead.
Gymnastics was out of the question. Doctors said another fall might be fatal. ''The doctor told me the injury was severe enough that I should choose another sport," Bonnie said. "It was a difficult thing for me to accept. I didn't want to (quit gymnastics); I wanted to go back into the gym. But I came to conclude it was a dangerous sport, and my life was more important."
But there was little else to do. The brace prevented her from going to school; yet she had too much energy to sit still. Much of her time was spent in tears. ''She was very depressed," Sylvia said. "She was used to working five to six hours a day."
Then Darlene introduced the tennis racket. Despite the inhibiting brace, Bonnie went to a local court and hit balls against a backboard. The brace forced her to develop a two- handed backhand, a la Chris Evert Lloyd, and she needed a stomp-and-grab technique just to pick up balls.
''At first she didn't like it," Sylvia said. "She said, 'I'm frustrated. I can't hit the ball.' Then one day it came together.
''She would practice every single day, morning and night, because she couldn't go to school. Her tutors would usually find her at the courts."
After five months in the brace, Bonnie learned of a junior tennis tournament in Pittsburgh. She not only wanted to enter, she wanted to win.
''She entered with three weeks to go," Sylvia said. "She went to a Y, and she said, 'You have to help me win this tournament.' "
An instructor, Dutch Hoffman, was impressed by her spunk and offered to give her lessons. "He didn't know she'd be there from 8 in the morning to 9 at night," Sylvia said.
Bonnie did not win the tournament, but she turned heads by reaching the final before losing 6-1, 7-5 to Laura Gray.
Gadusek's older sisters, Annette and Darlene, were dancers. They left home at ages 9 and 13 to accept scholarships from a dance school in Toronto.
Annette, now a well-known model in Denver, performed for a dance troupe in Europe and Pittsburgh. Darlene performed for the American Dance Ensemble before retiring.
Bonnie was influenced by her older sisters, but she had a mind of her own.
''I thought ballet was too slow for me," she said. "Gymnastics is sort of a form of dancing, only it was more active, more me."
Szabo said, "She was very industrious, a very determined girl. You can admire that, someone who says she wants to be the best at her sport.
''She had potential (as a gymnast), but not Olympic potential at all. She achieved much more in tennis than she ever would have in gymnastics."
As her mother said, things happen for the best.
''I think the injury motivated her to where she feels she's at the threshold of where she can be first, second or third in the world," said Bonnie's boyfriend and manager, Dave Boydell of Brisbane.
''Deep down, she probably feels she could have made the Olympics, but in tennis the rewards are probably more than she could have made in gymnastics." And Sylvia said: "There's no money in gymnastics, unless you're Mary Lou Retton."
And yet, gymnastics remains a part of Bonnie.
''She recently told a reporter that gymnastics is the love of her life," Sylvia said. "But when there's gymnastics on television, she doesn't even watch."
Is it too tough to watch?
''I think so," Sylvia said. "But I don't even know, and I'm her mother."
Soon after reaching the final of her first junior tennis tournament, Gadusek put away her brace. She hung it on a chain-link fence and said she would never wear it again.
Then she went looking for a more experienced coach. She went to a library, looked through magazines for addresses of tennis camps and sent 50 letters asking for help.
''She said, 'I had the best gymnastics coach; now I need the best tennis coach,' " Sylvia said.
Harry Hopman, a world-renowned coach with a camp in Bardmore, Fla., was the only person to respond. Hopman, who died last year, offered her a one-year scholarship, and Gadusek and her mother soon moved there, with her late father, Frank, joining them a year later.
''When she first came here, she really wasn't very good for a 12-year-old," says Tommy Thompson, who has been an instructor at Harry Hopman's International Tennis for the last 10 years. "She was a determined little girl. She didn't have excellent talent, but she was very determined.
''One day, Harry told her that her scholarship was over because the year was up, and she completely broke down," Thompson said. "He said, 'No, that's it,' and he was very adamant about it, that he wanted to give the scholarship to someone else.
''The next day she was out hitting, and I knew she couldn't afford what it costs to stay here. I asked Harry, and he said, 'Well, I couldn't turn her down.' "
That ability to get her way is what could lift her among the top five players in the world, Thompson said. It also has caused some problems in Hopman's school.
''She knows exactly what she wants, and she's not afraid to use people to get it," Thompson said. "She's milked this school for all she could get. I'm not saying that negatively. She just knows what she wants and how to get it."
For one thing, Gadusek recently switched coaches, disregarding personnel from the Hopman school to choose Billy Stearns, a professional at a country club near Hopman's.
Her past relationship with Hopman was never strained, say those close to her. She has told several newspapers that Hopman was like "a second father" to her. ''Everything I have, I owe to him," she told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. Her closest friends agree that Gadusek will do whatever it takes to win, although they see her ambition in a different light.
Boydell and Gadusek met last November in Tampa, Fla., where Boydell was helping promote a tournament for Golden Gater Productions. She played in the Pan Pacific in Tokyo on Dec. 9-15, and since then he has been traveling with her to help her train and manage business affairs.
''Bonnie is two different people," Boydell said. "A lot of people see her as, 'Gosh, she's a hot-tempered tennis player.' But Bonnie is a delight off the court. She's got a real shy side, which people probably don't expect from her." Anna Ivan of Palo Alto, who defeated Gadusek in a recent tournament in Boca Raton, Fla., has seen both sides of Gadusek. Ivan has practiced with her and played doubles with her a couple of years ago.
''She's mentally tough, and it shows," Ivan said. "Not to the point where she never smiles, but she's intense and determined. I knew that before I got on the court with her and found out even more when I got on the court with her. I was intimidated at first."
Many observers think Gadusek will be ready to make a charge when tennis' summit eventually is vacated by 29-year-old Martina Navratilova and 31-year-old Evert. To this point, Gadusek is 0-2 against Navratilova, 0-11 against Evert and 1-4 against Hana Mandlikova, all of whom will be playing at Oakland.
Gadusek has shown hints of future success. Last year, she won tournaments at Marco Island, Fla., Chicago and Indianapolis and the Swiss Open and earned $170,700.
''I think she'll surprise some people," Stearns said.
That won't surprise anyone who knows her.