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Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:04 AM
July 13, 2005, 1:00AM

Animated Graf delights hardy crowd

Rain holds off long enough for former star to play in rare pro match
By SARAH HORNADAY
Houston Chronicle

It wasn't a fairy-tale return to tennis for 22-time Grand Slam singles champ Steffi Graf, but you couldn't tell that to the fans at Westside Tennis Club.

Graf, in her first pro appearance since retiring in 1999, helped the Houston Wranglers rally against the Sacramento Capitals Tuesday in a World Team Tennis match. Sacramento needed overtime to beat Houston 20-18.

"It was a lot of fun," Graf said. "It was not as I expected it to be."

Graf was noticeably nervous before Tuesday's match. One of only three women to win all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments in the same year (1988), she started the night playing doubles with Ansley Cargill and also played mixed doubles with Mardy Fish.

Graf had even more time to think about her "one-time only" Team Tennis appearance when play was delayed one hour and eight minutes during the opening singles set between Fish and Sacramento's Mark Knowles.

"She feels a lot of responsibility to do well," Team Tennis co-founder Billie Jean King said. "I think it's great for the public to see her at all. She's not making a comeback."

Graf wasn't confident about playing singles against Elena Likhovtseva, who currently holds a No. 16 WTA ranking, since she has only practiced the last two weeks. But her teammates talked her into the match.

"They said just go out and enjoy it," Graf said.

The addition to singles pleased the Westside crowd. And Graf.

Graf's appearance, along with Sacramento's Anna Kournikova, attracted a paid attendance of 4,862 to Westside. The rain kept some fans from showing up, but those who attended received a treat in Graf's singles appearance.

"She put up a fight," Likhovteseva said. "She's the greatest player."

Graf lost 5-4 in a tiebreaker but played the night's closest set. After teaming with Cargill and losing 5-2 to Kournikova and Likhovtseva, Graf definitely appeared more at ease in singles.

After tying the set at 2-2 (each set is played to 5, before moving to the next set), she raised her racket to the crowd for cheers — and received plenty. She raised her arms in victory when a challenged call went her way. And she was all smiles — for most of the set.

Though not victorious, it was a triumphant return to tennis.

"Obviously she hasn't missed a beat," Fish said. "She showed how really good she is."


:worship:

Martian KC
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:10 AM
She lost.

Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:11 AM
She lost.


But not to Weingärtner ...

:lol:

tennisIlove09
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:14 AM
To lose in a tiebreak against the current #16 and current SF slam player is an amazingly accomplishment for a woman who hasnt played at this event since 1999 :) thanks.

Go Steffi :worship: You rock

abayen
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:15 AM
well at least Hingis won the first set... can't say the same about Graf..


But not to Weingärtner ...

:lol:

Martian KC
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:16 AM
But not to Weingärtner ...

:lol:

She mind as well. :tape:

Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:17 AM
well at least Hingis won the first set... can't say the same about Graf..


Graf sometimes loses first sets.
Hingis sometimes wins first sets.
Remember FO 99 final.

abayen
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:20 AM
woulda coulda...
talk facts

btw, elena l. is 8-7 on hardcourts this year. to lose to such a player hmmm..


Graf sometimes loses first sets.
Hingis sometimes wins first sets.
Remember FO 99 final.

Martian KC
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:20 AM
Graf sometimes loses first sets.
Hingis sometimes wins first sets.
Remember FO 99 final.

You know when they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that dog is smarter than you.

VeeReeDavJCap81
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:36 AM
You know when they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that dog is smarter than you.

Hey you're kind of funny when you're attacking an enemy of mine ;)

The Last Unicorn
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:43 AM
Now, honestly, how scary would it be, if Graf came back and won against Likhowtsewa after giving birth to two children and so many years gone by with only weeks of training. What would it say about women's tennis? I find it pretty astonishing that she made it to a tie break. She's 36 already.

Paneru
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:48 AM
"If" Steffi Graf is the "greatest player" then why is
their a need to continually reinerate that "fact"?

Would it not simply speak for itself?
"It" being her accomplishments.

23TwentyThree23
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:49 AM
I think this is an amazing performance by steffi, to push elena (who is no bad player!) to 5-4 after such a long absence away from tennis....she is a truly remarkable lady!

lukehingis
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:58 AM
I think she did well... she's 36 and a mother of 2 for crying out loud! To have a close match against a top 20 player, that's a good showing!

Prizeidiot
Jul 13th, 2005, 08:05 AM
Now, honestly, how scary would it be, if Graf came back and won against Likhowtsewa after giving birth to two children and so many years gone by with only weeks of training. What would it say about women's tennis? I find it pretty astonishing that she made it to a tie break. She's 36 already.
You're telling me... that would be a kick in the groin for fans of womens tennis, and would seriously damage the credibility that this year's Wimbledon restored to the women's game.

And even worse, it would make Calimero377 EXACTLY right in his rants about how far the women's game has fallen.

Andy T
Jul 13th, 2005, 08:20 AM
Well done Steffi. I'm glad she had a good time and hope she plays some more.

Philbo
Jul 13th, 2005, 09:02 AM
Not a bad effort by Graf, then again Martina was still making grand slam finals when she was older than Graf.. so in that sense its pretty pathetic from the tennis godess that only ever lost 12 matches in her career (according to our resident Graf expert)..

@m@nd@
Jul 13th, 2005, 09:22 AM
she most definetely is one of the greatest players :worship:

hingis-seles
Jul 13th, 2005, 09:37 AM
Cali, didn't you use Likhovtseva as evidence of the lack of depth in women's tennis and how Graf would destroy her, if she ever re-joined the tour? That crow must taste real good right now.

FaceyFacem
Jul 13th, 2005, 10:12 AM
likhovtseva has been playing well recently, and steffi doesn't play anymore, she did quite well, although it certainly could've been a different story if she faced anna, another player far removed from tennis, but, nice work steffi and elena and i look forward to watching it on ESPN soon

rjd1111
Jul 13th, 2005, 01:07 PM
July 13, 2005, 1:00AM

Animated Graf delights hardy crowd

Rain holds off long enough for former star to play in rare pro match
By SARAH HORNADAY
Houston Chronicle

It wasn't a fairy-tale return to tennis for 22-time Grand Slam singles champ Steffi Graf, but you couldn't tell that to the fans at Westside Tennis Club.

Graf, in her first pro appearance since retiring in 1999, helped the Houston Wranglers rally against the Sacramento Capitals Tuesday in a World Team Tennis match. Sacramento needed overtime to beat Houston 20-18.

"It was a lot of fun," Graf said. "It was not as I expected it to be."

Graf was noticeably nervous before Tuesday's match. One of only three women to win all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments in the same year (1988), she started the night playing doubles with Ansley Cargill and also played mixed doubles with Mardy Fish.

Graf had even more time to think about her "one-time only" Team Tennis appearance when play was delayed one hour and eight minutes during the opening singles set between Fish and Sacramento's Mark Knowles.

"She feels a lot of responsibility to do well," Team Tennis co-founder Billie Jean King said. "I think it's great for the public to see her at all. She's not making a comeback."

Graf wasn't confident about playing singles against Elena Likhovtseva, who currently holds a No. 16 WTA ranking, since she has only practiced the last two weeks. But her teammates talked her into the match.

"They said just go out and enjoy it," Graf said.

The addition to singles pleased the Westside crowd. And Graf.

Graf's appearance, along with Sacramento's Anna Kournikova, attracted a paid attendance of 4,862 to Westside. The rain kept some fans from showing up, but those who attended received a treat in Graf's singles appearance.

"She put up a fight," Likhovteseva said. "She's the greatest player."

Graf lost 5-4 in a tiebreaker but played the night's closest set. After teaming with Cargill and losing 5-2 to Kournikova and Likhovtseva, Graf definitely appeared more at ease in singles.

After tying the set at 2-2 (each set is played to 5, before moving to the next set), she raised her racket to the crowd for cheers — and received plenty. She raised her arms in victory when a challenged call went her way. And she was all smiles — for most of the set.

Though not victorious, it was a triumphant return to tennis.

"Obviously she hasn't missed a beat," Fish said. "She showed how really good she is."


:worship:


Graf will probably drop back into seclusion knowing she made the right
decision to get out of tennis when she did before the big Babes ran her out.

Cybelle Darkholme
Jul 13th, 2005, 01:10 PM
It was nice of her to give the old lady some games.:kiss: That elena is such a sweety!

hingis-seles
Jul 13th, 2005, 01:17 PM
It was nice of her to give the old lady some games.:kiss: That elena is such a sweety!

*giggle* :devil:

faboozadoo15
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:04 PM
Now, honestly, how scary would it be, if Graf came back and won against Likhowtsewa after giving birth to two children and so many years gone by with only weeks of training. What would it say about women's tennis? I find it pretty astonishing that she made it to a tie break. She's 36 already.
we don't really know what kind of condition elena is in. the woman played a TON of tennis this year and could have been exhausted.

also the scoring is crazy-- no ad, games to 5, 5 point tiebreak at 4-4... it's weird.

RenaSlam.
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:49 PM
Steffi- a champion.
Elena L.- a decent top 20 player

Steffi would win in her prime.

Black Mamba.
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:58 PM
We all know Steffi was great, but why do you feel the need to remind us?

ys
Jul 13th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Steffi- a champion.
Elena L.- a decent top 20 player

Steffi would win in her prime.

Steffi would win against anyone in her prime.

G1Player2
Jul 13th, 2005, 03:08 PM
Steffi would win against anyone in her prime.

except for a PEAK Serena maybe...

Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:45 PM
"If" Steffi Graf is the "greatest player" then why is
their a need to continually reinerate that "fact"?

Would it not simply speak for itself?
"It" being her accomplishments.


Why do Moslems always reiterate "Allahuakbar" ... ?

Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:46 PM
You're telling me... that would be a kick in the groin for fans of womens tennis, and would seriously damage the credibility that this year's Wimbledon restored to the women's game.

And even worse, it would make Calimero377 EXACTLY right in his rants about how far the women's game has fallen.


Great post!

Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:49 PM
Cali, didn't you use Likhovtseva as evidence of the lack of depth in women's tennis and how Graf would destroy her, if she ever re-joined the tour? That crow must taste real good right now.


IF - if ... - Graf returned to the tour she most probably would exercise a little bit more than 3 hours a week before that, don't you think .... ?

Calimero377
Jul 13th, 2005, 06:53 PM
We all know Steffi was great, but why do you feel the need to remind us?


Not ALL do know it.
Well, no all do admit it. Annoying them is pure fun .... :)

abayen
Jul 13th, 2005, 08:14 PM
Most do know and those that don't will merely get annoyed by your , at times, irrational statements. And consequently may not even develop respect for Graf. It goes without saying that there are very few Graf fans on this board and if any of them acts as childishly as you do, then she is not going to earn any new fans either...So if your purpose is to propagate her greatness, you aint helping your cause.

I, personally, think Graf was great in her own way.

Not ALL do know it.
Well, no all do admit it. Annoying them is pure fun .... :)

tennislover
Jul 14th, 2005, 09:28 AM
Not a bad effort by Graf, then again Martina was still making grand slam finals when she was older than Graf.. so in that sense its pretty pathetic from the tennis godess that only ever lost 12 matches in her career (according to our resident Graf expert)..
:worship:

bandabou
Jul 14th, 2005, 04:50 PM
Not a bad effort by Graf, then again Martina was still making grand slam finals when she was older than Graf.. so in that sense its pretty pathetic from the tennis godess that only ever lost 12 matches in her career (according to our resident Graf expert)..

Interesting.....Cali...

honeyke
Jul 14th, 2005, 05:38 PM
it would be fun to watch martina navratilova and steffi graf together in a doubles competition. maybe they would have a chance to win some tournaments!both are still good players