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View Full Version : SI. com: Seles reflects on her HOF career


azinna
Apr 17th, 2009, 03:45 PM
Thought this would be of interest to many...
Link: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/tennis/04/15/monica.seles/index.html?eref=T1

(Jon Wertheim is on vacation this week but we have an esteemed fill-in on the mailbag: Monica Seles. If you think she's thoughtful and candid in this space, you'll want to check out her new book, Getting A Grip (http://www.monicaseles.com/).)

Of all your wins, which one meant the most to you? And conversely, which loss was the toughest to swallow?
-- Tom Quicksell, Philadelphia

The win that meant the most to me was the first Grand Slam (http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1136772/index.htm?eref=sisf), in 1990 at the French Open. Until that match [against Steffi Graf], I knew I had the possibility of maybe winning a Grand Slam but I never expected to win at such a young age [16]. The most difficult loss was the 1992 Wimbledon final [against Graf]. That was the only time I got to the finals of Wimbledon. And even though I never played my best tennis on grass, I very much enjoyed playing there despite the loss.


What do you consider to be your greatest wins? I vote for your 1990 defeat of Martina Navratilova in Rome, 6-1, 6-1, and your 1993 defeat of Steffi Graf in Australia. With the level of your game in 1991, '92 and early '93, did you feel invincible?
-- Omar Gonzalez, West Covina, Calif.

I did play some of my best tennis when I beat Martina in Rome and Steffi in the 1993 Australian Open final. When I look back at the level of tennis I was playing in the early '90s, sometimes it amazes even me!


Serena Williams, after winning the Australian Open in 2007, said she holds you in extremely high regard. What do you feel about the Williams sisters and their mentality on the court? Over their careers, they seem to attack tennis balls with a similar kind of ferocity and mental toughness that you showed when you played on the tour. (Thank you!)
-- Andrew Miller, Cambridge, Mass.

Since I retired, I very much enjoy watching Serena Williams play. While I was playing, she was one of the toughest players I ever faced. Her ground strokes are so solid, her serve is one of the most powerful in women's tennis, and mentally she is just so strong. As you will read in my book, I played her when she was 16. When I lost to her, I had the feeling that the new generation was coming and she is going to be one of the best of it.


As a fellow two-hands-off-both-sides player who has been so influenced and inspired by your career, I would like to know if you have any plans to coach? Perhaps through the Monica Seles Tennis Academy? What are your plans post-Hall of Fame induction?
-- Ron G., New York, N.Y.

I am very happy that I have inspired another two-hander on both sides! As you know, playing two hands on both sides allows you to create some incredible angles that definitely paid off during my tennis career! At the moment, I have no plans to open a tennis academy, but I am very excited about my Hall of Fame induction. It is a great honor for me.


When looking back at your milestone matches, where do you place your five-set victory over Gabriela Sabatini in the 1990 Virginia Slims Championships final?
-- Stephen Males, Bermuda

That was the only five-set match I ever played in my career and I remember that I loved it. Playing Gabi always brought out the best in my game.


Do you watch tennis on TV just for fun? Which players do you like to watch?
-- Bobby, Chicago

Yes, I do. I very much enjoy watching Serena, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Amelie Mauresmo. I also enjoy watching men's tennis. Like everyone (I hope!), I thought last year's Wimbledon final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer was the best tennis I have ever seen.


Which match makes you smile the most from pride of winning, smile the most from giving it your all but coming up short, and which match makes you burn wishing you could play it over?
-- Mike Moore, Wilton Manors, Fla.

I think the match I look back on with a smile, even though I lost, was my 1998 French Open final, since just two weeks before my dad passed away and I had a lot of emotions going on inside of me. I would like to play my 1992 Wimbledon final versus Steffi Graf again. There was so much media attention over my grunting (I stopped grunting for this match only) instead of my playing and I got caught up in it. If I could play that match over again, I would have kept true to my style and played the way I was used to playing.


What did your father teach you about angles?
-- Kathy, Michigan

As I was writing my book, I realized what a unique relationship my father and I had. He always made sure that tennis was fun for me. He taught me by drawing Jerry (from Tom and Jerry) on the tennis ball and I had to be Tom, and in order to catch him I had to hit the ball on the rise, which created those great angles.

LeRoy.
Apr 17th, 2009, 03:48 PM
Thank you Azinna :worship:

mckyle.
Apr 17th, 2009, 03:52 PM
What did your father teach you about angles?
-- Kathy, Michigan

As I was writing my book, I realized what a unique relationship my father and I had. He always made sure that tennis was fun for me. He taught me by drawing Jerry (from Tom and Jerry) on the tennis ball and I had to be Tom, and in order to catch him I had to hit the ball on the rise, which created those great angles.

Oh my god, how Genius! :hearts:

Great interview!

The Witch-king
Apr 17th, 2009, 03:56 PM
Fascinating!

Dave.
Apr 17th, 2009, 03:58 PM
Thank you, I loved it!

Monica likes watching Ana :hearts:

bad_angel_109
Apr 17th, 2009, 03:58 PM
interesting :)

Marshmallow
Apr 17th, 2009, 04:48 PM
Oh Azinna, thank you thank you thank you. I absoutely adore Monica, I got goosebumps just reading that :lol:. Interesting stuff about best of 5 set matches, and also about Wimbledon 1992 final. Shame she didn't get a shot in 1993 :sad:.

Monica absolute legend :worship:.

Just Do It
Apr 17th, 2009, 05:03 PM
Great read :yeah:

LightWarrior
Apr 17th, 2009, 09:42 PM
That 1992 Wimbledon final must be the biggest regret in her career. She was on her way to win all 4 GS that year. Not only the British press was horrible, but Navratilova and Tauziat were horrible as well toward her, bad losers. She was almost forced to shut up during the final, and losing her ability to play her usual tennis in the process.

Pristine
Apr 17th, 2009, 09:46 PM
What a legend this Seles.

jamesuk
Apr 17th, 2009, 10:39 PM
WOW!

I had been bitter about that 98 French Final loss, but seeing that Monica counts that day as one of her great memories changes everything! Good for her good memories from tennis are not all about the losses. She is probably happy at being Hingis convincingly and losing to someone she was on good terms with

CJ07
Apr 17th, 2009, 10:44 PM
That 1992 Wimbledon final must be the biggest regret in her career. She was on her way to win all 4 GS that year. Not only the British press was horrible, but Navratilova and Tauziat were horrible as well toward her, bad losers. She was almost forced to shut up during the final, and losing her ability to play her usual tennis in the process.
To be fair, she would almost certainly have lost against Graf on grass.

But its obviously too bad she went down the way she did.

Helen Lawson
Apr 17th, 2009, 10:46 PM
That 1992 Wimbledon final must be the biggest regret in her career. She was on her way to win all 4 GS that year. Not only the British press was horrible, but Navratilova and Tauziat were horrible as well toward her, bad losers. She was almost forced to shut up during the final, and losing her ability to play her usual tennis in the process.

It's tough to tell, I think Steffi would have crapped on her grunt or no grunt. The way my uneducated eyes saw the match, Monica had a terrible time keeping her concentration with the rain delays. She'd get into a groove after 2-3 games and then it would start to get even (usually with a break against her) and then rain delay. Repeat several times, and then all of a sudden she's down so bad it's hopeless. Steffi came out focused on the first point after each delay, did not need a couple of games to get her mind together. It was Monica unable to focus after the rain delays fast enough that potentially cost her that match, not grunting imo. But, yeah, that has to be the biggest regret of her career, but I think it's too convenient to blame the grunt issue when I think it was an an uncharacteristic inability to concentrate.

azinna
Apr 18th, 2009, 02:11 AM
You're welcome everyone! Big admirer of both Graf and Seles here. Lovely to read Monica confirm for us how intertwined their careers were, how her own highs and regrets are marked by matches with Steffi. Incidentally, Graf is on record saying she wished she had the 1992 French Open final to play over. Just makes me wish they (and we) were allowed to enjoy a fleshed-out rivalry.

I'm with Helen in not feeling that the grunt alone could account for the 1992 defeat at Wimbledon. Monica was her most uncertain on grass. And there was Venus-like clarity to Graf's play that day. Still, it is something to hear Monica admit the media affected her game.

And jamesuk: I'm still bitter about that French '98 final. All ASV did was bunt her backhand deep into Monica's forehand corner. For the entire 3rd set. I would've torn my hair out if it wasn't already a low fade.

CrossCourt~Rally
Apr 18th, 2009, 02:13 AM
Nice article :). Monica will be on 20/20 tonight at 10pm on ABC :bounce:

Steffica Greles
Apr 18th, 2009, 02:29 AM
The stabbing will never take away what she brought to the game, nor what she achieved in her glory years. And her fans will never forget.

azinna
Apr 18th, 2009, 02:29 AM
Nice article :). Monica will be on 20/20 tonight at 10pm on ABC :bounce:


Thanks for the heads-up Cross-Court!

Kart
Apr 18th, 2009, 02:50 AM
I don't think Monica has ever said she thought she would win against Steffi in 1992, just that she wished she'd done herself justice which is fair enough IMHO.

Thanks for the article - I :hearts: Monica loads.

spiritedenergy
Apr 18th, 2009, 03:33 AM
Wimbledon 1993 and Roland Garros 1998:sad: Monica you should have won both:worship:

Steff_forever
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:13 AM
You're welcome everyone! Big admirer of both Graf and Seles here. Lovely to read Monica confirm for us how intertwined their careers were, how her own highs and regrets are marked by matches with Steffi. Incidentally, Graf is on record saying she wished she had the 1992 French Open final to play over. Just makes me wish they (and we) were allowed to enjoy a fleshed-out rivalry.

I'm with Helen in not feeling that the grunt alone could account for the 1992 defeat at Wimbledon. Monica was her most uncertain on grass. And there was Venus-like clarity to Graf's play that day. Still, it is something to hear Monica admit the media affected her game.

And jamesuk: I'm still bitter about that French '98 final. All ASV did was bunt her backhand deep into Monica's forehand corner. For the entire 3rd set. I would've torn my hair out if it wasn't already a low fade.
:yeah:
nothing to add

~Cherry*Blossom~
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:41 AM
Thanks for positing the article/interview. It was a great read and nice to get an insight in what one of the legends of the game thought about the highs and lows of her career. It was great to read what she said about Serena :hug:

A true champion and a true legend - Monica Seles :worship: :hearts:

WhatTheDeuce
Apr 18th, 2009, 07:05 AM
Love Monica. :hearts: Legend.

tennisbear7
Apr 18th, 2009, 07:43 AM
So sad. :(

But, she'll forever be a legend of the sport.

galadriel
Apr 18th, 2009, 08:46 AM
Monica :hug:

Sam L
Apr 18th, 2009, 09:31 AM
That 1992 Wimbledon final must be the biggest regret in her career. She was on her way to win all 4 GS that year. Not only the British press was horrible, but Navratilova and Tauziat were horrible as well toward her, bad losers. She was almost forced to shut up during the final, and losing her ability to play her usual tennis in the process.

She was robbed. I will never forgive stupid Tauziat for that and to a lesser extent Navratilova. :rolleyes:

It's like asking a double-handed player to play one-handed. She was handicapped.

VivalaSeles
Apr 18th, 2009, 12:46 PM
She was robbed. I will never forgive stupid Tauziat for that and to a lesser extent Navratilova. :rolleyes:

It's like asking a double-handed player to play one-handed. She was handicapped.
Well, Navratilova later apologized. Tauziat never did.

VivalaSeles
Apr 18th, 2009, 12:46 PM
I don't think Monica has ever said she thought she would win against Steffi in 1992, just that she wished she'd done herself justice which is fair enough IMHO.

Thanks for the article - I :hearts: Monica loads.

My sentiments exactly! :worship:

The Dawntreader
Apr 18th, 2009, 01:21 PM
When you think about it, Seles's father was a coaching genius.

moon
Apr 18th, 2009, 02:55 PM
:hearts: thanks
I was inspired to play tennis because of her. This book definitely looks to be worth buying.

LightWarrior
Apr 18th, 2009, 10:41 PM
I wonder why she fails to mention her 1995 US Open loss to Graf as one of her biggest disappointments. Similar scoreline as her 1998 FO final defeat btw. She had set point in the tie-break, but an ace was overruled by the chait umpire. In her first book she mentioned she still believed it was an ace. She should have won 76 60 and not lose 76 06 63 that day.

tonybotz
Apr 19th, 2009, 01:23 AM
i don't think seles regards the 95 open final as disappointing because it was only her second tournament back and first slam, and she reached the final, pushing the great Graf to 3 tight sets. by all accounts it was a huge success. more disappointing were her losses to hingis and capriati in australia, where she had a real chance to win the event a few more times.

LightWarrior
Apr 19th, 2009, 01:35 AM
i don't think seles regards the 95 open final as disappointing because it was only her second tournament back and first slam, and she reached the final, pushing the great Graf to 3 tight sets. by all accounts it was a huge success. more disappointing were her losses to hingis and capriati in australia, where she had a real chance to win the event a few more times.

No because in hindsight, that set point she held against Graf at the US Open turned out to be a match point. She was nowhere near that in Australia against Hingis and Capriati, even tough the matches were close. May I remind you that she won all her matches like 61 60 for her comeback tournament in Toronto.

Sammm
Apr 19th, 2009, 02:09 AM
No because in hindsight, that set point she held against Graf at the US Open turned out to be a match point. She was nowhere near that in Australia against Hingis and Capriati, even tough the matches were close. May I remind you that she won all her matches like 61 60 for her comeback tournament in Toronto.


If Steffi had lost the first set we can't believe she would have let herself be bagelled in the second. Outcome could have been totally different.

LDVTennis
Apr 19th, 2009, 03:30 AM
If Steffi had lost the first set we can't believe she would have let herself be bagelled in the second. Outcome could have been totally different.

Any time you change one variable in the initial conditions of a system (i.e., the match), there is no way of knowing what the real outcome would have been of that change, no matter how simple the change appears. It's NOT simply what happened, plus whatever follows from the one change you make to the system. In science (chaos theory), this is known as the "butterfly effect."

See the wiki article for more of an explanation --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect. You'll even find a short section there which explains how the butterfly effect makes the hopes of time travel (which is really what any "what if" statement is) questionable at its very core.