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Mad-About-Venus
Apr 2nd, 2003, 10:05 PM
A champion in life

Frank Deford, SI.com



She ventures how strange it is that it should have happened to her. After all, nothing like it had ever happened to anyone else in sports. She remembers the strangeness of it, the sudden pain -- or, even more, the curiosity: what exactly is going on? And then, reflexively, she turned and in the instant before he was subdued, she saw his face just as he began to raise the dagger again.

Monica Seles was only 19 when she was stabbed 10 years ago this month in Hamburg, Germany.

Were it not for that terrible, awful, crazy horror, Seles might well have become the greatest female tennis player ever. In the three years leading up to the assault, she had absolutely dominated Steffi Graf, winning eight Grand Slams to her rival's two. That, of course, is why the German lunatic named Gunther Parche stabbed her. He wanted to restore his countrywoman to preeminence.

And, in point of fact, he not only succeeded, but the German courts took more pity on his insanity than on Seles' suffering. Der Spiegel even compared Parche to Samuel of The Old Testament: "The poor man owned nothing sweeter than a lamb. Gunther Parche is even poorer than the man in the bible." Parche never served a day behind bars.

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Seles, meanwhile, took months to recuperate physically, and also suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome. And what might have been the cruelest cut of all? Her fellow players almost unanimously voted down a proposal to let her keep her No. 1 ranking. Only Gabriela Sabatini chose humanity over business. "Gabby is a human being," Monica says. "The rest -- they treated it like it was a sprained ankle or something."

When Seles finally did come back after 27 months, she was not the same great player. She struggled with her weight, which dulled her uncanny anticipation and shot-making ability. Worse, her father, her coach, whom she adored, lingered with cancer for years before he died in 1998. And yet Seles has stayed in the game, content to be an opponent, a quarterfinalist, a ghost of what might have been.

But why not, she asks. She simply loves playing. Tennis is a joy to her. That's all. I've never met a champion who is less competitive. Her trophies are in the garage, boxed up. Once -- imagine this -- she told me that her fondest recollections were of exhibitions because "everybody is on their best behavior there." Oh, sure, of course she wants to win. But she does not envision herself jumping the net. What is your tennis dream? I asked her once.

Shyly, laughing at herself, she said: "My dream is to be Suzanne Lenglen" -- the glamorous, graceful French star of the 1920s -- "to be like Suzanne, flying through the air, hitting a volley, both feet off the ground, flying."

Seles never complains, never argues, never alibis. Grace attends her. She is a bright figure of humility among foggy egos. She speaks to the new kids on tour, never forgetting that she too was once a silly, giggly little thing whom older players spurned. There is no one who does not like her a lot. No, she did not need to almost be killed, she did not need to lose her greatness to a madman's knife, to become the full, fine person that she is. But we can say that 10 years removed from hell, Monica Seles has won with a good, brave heart far more than she ever did with a tennis racket.

In her own simple words of praise, she's a human being.

Sports Illustrated senior contributing writer Frank Deford is a regular contributor to SI.com and appears each Wednesday on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. He is a longtime correspondent for HBO's Real Sports and his new novel, An American Summer (Sourcebooks Trade), is available at bookstores everywhere.

CondiLicious
Apr 2nd, 2003, 11:24 PM
"Gabby is a human being," Monica says. "The rest -- they treated it like it was a sprained ankle or something."

:eek:

selesfan
Apr 2nd, 2003, 11:25 PM
Nice article, it actually brought tears to my eyes.

Fortis
Apr 2nd, 2003, 11:30 PM
Nice article, it actually brought tears to my eyes.


Here, we go again.. a REGURGITATIOn of a ten year old incident which has really been blown out of portion.

Enough already!!! Seles and Deford...what a shame.

Time to move on people.... I am getting nauseous at the twists and turns of this story. How long do they want us to weep..forever..Forgetaboutit!!!!

joaco
Apr 3rd, 2003, 12:36 AM
:sad: nice artcile, though it's sad.

Joaco

CJ07
Apr 3rd, 2003, 12:45 AM
nice article

Martian Stacey
Apr 3rd, 2003, 04:33 AM
Thanks for the article. Its really nice, but its so sad :sad:

moby
Apr 3rd, 2003, 08:18 AM
:eek:

yeah, i read monica's autobiography and apparently of the top twenty five players, gaby was the only who abstained

CondiLicious
Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:17 AM
yeah, i read monica's autobiography and apparently of the top twenty five players, gaby was the only who abstained

I knew that but I'd never seen a quote from Monica saying it in such a way...

CondiLicious
Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:20 AM
Here, we go again.. a REGURGITATIOn of a ten year old incident which has really been blown out of portion.

Enough already!!! Seles and Deford...what a shame.

Time to move on people.... I am getting nauseous at the twists and turns of this story. How long do they want us to weep..forever..Forgetaboutit!!!!


Are you a closet obsessive Monica fan or something? Cos out of all your 108 posts almost every one of them is about Monica. And the stabbing. It's like you lurk until you see some mention on it. You need a life!

irma
Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:29 AM
I knew that but I'd never seen a quote from Monica saying it in such a way...

I think it are two quotes in one (never heard the human being thing either)
oh well she might have said it anyway. I had said even worse things (if I had been monica)

moby
Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:33 AM
anyway i think the wta made the right decision in the end
they let someone else be no. 1 during that period
and when monica came backed she was allowed to be co-ranked no. 1

Jakub
Apr 3rd, 2003, 12:56 PM
Great article , but so sad :sad:

azinna
Apr 3rd, 2003, 04:43 PM
anyway i think the wta made the right decision in the end
they let someone else be no. 1 during that period
and when monica came backed she was allowed to be co-ranked no. 1

Excellent point. The vote was to allow Monica remain the 1st-ranked player even while she was away for an indefinite period (which ended up being 27 months). Even the old Monica (actually, especially the old Monica) would have voted No. Don't know what Gaby was thinking, but figuring her out is like making sense of Marat.

Still, I'm :sad: about Seles' story. I have no idea how many more trophies she would have won, because this sport has so often caught us out in our speculations (Austin, McEnroe, Courier, Hingis, etc....). But watching her edges dull over this past decade has been sobering. These players are indeed humans, with so much going on underneath. I just hope she's as happy as she says.

Spirit
Apr 3rd, 2003, 05:31 PM
Excellent point. The vote was to allow Monica remain the 1st-ranked player even while she was away for an indefinite period (which ended up being 27 months). Even the old Monica (actually, especially the old Monica) would have voted No. Don't know what Gaby was thinking, but figuring her out is like making sense of Marat.

FWIW, Gaby voted neither for nor against that motion. She simply abstained; there's no telling what thoughts and emotions led her to do that, but since this is Gaby we're talking about, I can't imagine her doing anything else.

Also FWIW, the vote was taken by 17 players who were present. I don't know who was present, but it's worth noting that someone else might have voted otherwise had she been there.

Fortis
Apr 3rd, 2003, 05:50 PM
In my OPINION, Seles is a joker!!! She and Deford make a formidable looney team.


Why regurgitate a ten year old incident over and over again????

She came back and was in winning form until her father died. Then injuries and poor eating habits turned her into less than a contender. Instead of blaming herself she points at a ten year old incident. THat's Sad, sad, sad, sad. :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

Seles knows that the 1993 incident is her only stake on fame in the tennis world which has clearly bypassed her. The williams, Clijsters, Henin and kournikova and Capriati are the "it" people not Seles. So how does IMG continue to keep her current in the tennis world....well through a monthly refresher on a ten year old incident..written by none other than the "Objective" ( yeah right) Frank Deford.

Seles is a joke..She should improve her game and maybe she can beat players like Henin instead of choking. Then , maybe then, I will take her and her fans seriously. Until then....Pshawwwww....get a life. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN.

Fortis
Apr 3rd, 2003, 05:51 PM
:wavey: :wavey:

Spirit
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:14 PM
Instead of blaming herself she points at a ten year old incident.

Completely untrue. Monica Seles has never done any such thing. In fact, one of the things for which she is renowned is her aversion to excuses.

I refuted this once before (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?postid=1490295#post1490295), but you weren't interested in listening. Other people who don't like Monica simply express an opinion. You, Fortis, make things up.

I don't give a fig whether you hate or love Monica, but posting lies about her because you're too lazy to do any real research on her is really, really low. And don't excuse your poor research by posting cool or wavey icons, either, as if to imply that other people have some kind of a problem when they don't agree with your "facts."

G-Ha
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:14 PM
Fortis, how is Seles a "joker"? Never once have I heard her point to 1993 as an excuse for losses or loss in form. I think you're mixing her up with statements by some of her fans.

I've read several articles by Frank Deford and I find him ill-informed and unabashedly biased, but his opinions have no bearing on Monica and are not necessarily a reflection of her opinions.

And if you think Monica's only claim to fame is the 1993 attack, then you simply haven't followed tennis over the past decade or so.

Spirit
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:16 PM
And if you think Monica's only claim to fame is the 1993 attack, then you simply haven't followed tennis over the past decade or so.

Either that, or he's a troll.

irma
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:31 PM
Fortis, how is Seles a "joker"? Never once have I heard her point to 1993 as an excuse for losses or loss in form. I think you're mixing her up with statements by some of her fans.

I've read several articles by Frank Deford and I find him ill-informed and unabashedly biased, but his opinions have no bearing on Monica and are not necessarily a reflection of her opinions.

And if you think Monica's only claim to fame is the 1993 attack, then you simply haven't followed tennis over the past decade or so.

the bias is only against non americans. that's why he can say that steffi has slams now without bashing them
he starts to love now since she apparently has an american accent now;)

Fortis
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:41 PM
I don't make things up. I state the facts and you don't like it.

Irma, et al. get a life. Ask the Average PErson who Monica Seles is and they could careless...seriously.
There are far more important things in world than to be regurgitating a ten year old incident. Too bad, too sad for those who don't like what I have said...but it isn't fictitious.


I am really sorry for Seles that in order to maintain a presence in the tennis world she has to support the trotting out a ten year old story that's as stale as ten day old bread....

irma
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:46 PM
what did I do this time?;)

deford is a racist. he said so himself in an article about spanish tennisplayers!

Spirit
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:49 PM
I don't make things up. I state the facts and you don't like it.

Very well, then. Please trot out all your quotes and other documentation you have amassed to back up your assertions that Monica uses the stabbing as an excuse. Or answer the arguments I made to you, in the other post to which I linked, directly.

Whenever you're ready, Fortis.

G-Ha
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:52 PM
what did I do this time?;)

deford is a racist. he said so himself in an article about spanish tennisplayers!

irma, I think we all made the mistake of bringing up some valid points...that's where we went wrong...

btw, I had no idea Deford lightened up on Steffi...what is this world coming to if Frank Deford no longer hates Steffi?! ;)

CondiLicious
Apr 3rd, 2003, 06:58 PM
Very well, then. Please trot out all your quotes and other documentation you have amassed to back up your assertions that Monica uses the stabbing as an excuse. Or answer the arguments I made to you, in the other post to which I linked, directly.

Whenever you're ready, Fortis.

He's a twat. He only ever posts to diss Monica... call her bitter... call her a loony... tell us all how poor and unfortunate Steffi was cos of what happened to Monica. Tell us Monica should get over it and so should her fans. He is a Grade A twat. Wouldn't surprise me if he didn't admire Gunther Parche for what he did. Wouldn't surprise me if he WAS Gunther Parche.

Fortin YOU are the one who needs to get over it. YOU are the one who only comes here to spill your hate. Fuck off... And that's swearing!

Bероника
Apr 3rd, 2003, 07:23 PM
I don't make things up. I state the facts and you don't like it.

Irma, et al. get a life. Ask the Average PErson who Monica Seles is and they could careless...seriously.
There are far more important things in world than to be regurgitating a ten year old incident. Too bad, too sad for those who don't like what I have said...but it isn't fictitious.


I am really sorry for Seles that in order to maintain a presence in the tennis world she has to support the trotting out a ten year old story that's as stale as ten day old bread....

And the average wtaword posters couldn't care less what a nobody,with no life at all has to tell about one of the greatest players of the game.

oggie
Apr 3rd, 2003, 07:29 PM
Hi Fortis,
I am doing a study for my psychology class on obsessive compulsive behaviours, and can I use you as an example of that? It seems that almost every one of your posts revolves around this theme. Let me know.

AjdeNate!
Apr 3rd, 2003, 07:29 PM
It's such a shame that this very nice article has been completely washed away under all the stupidity and ignorance. I don't care if you do/don't like Monica.... but if you don't have any constructive to say and actually add to a conversation intellectually, just shut up and don't say anything.

propi
Apr 3rd, 2003, 07:36 PM
Who said "ten years old story"???? it is not a stoyr is a real Drama, I do not like Monica as player but I respect her a lot for being over the awful tragedy she suffered.
Being realistic, she was 19 and has all the future with her playing all the 90s who knows what would she had achieved???? I guess only very good things and titles
PD I tell it again I can be considered neutral as I do not like her as player (because she use to win Conchi so badly...;) )
Nice article BTW

tennis4life
Apr 3rd, 2003, 08:09 PM
Either that, or he's a troll.


I vote, PRICK troll :o

t4l

earthcrystal
Apr 4th, 2003, 06:00 AM
Seles never complains, never argues, never alibis. Grace attends her. She is a bright figure of humility among foggy egos. She speaks to the new kids on tour, never forgetting that she too was once a silly, giggly little thing whom older players spurned. There is no one who does not like her a lot.

My favorite part.

(For once, not only did Deford get something right, he managed to say it well. Color me stunned!)

Yu-lun Wang
Apr 4th, 2003, 07:40 AM
Does anyone know who are those other 16 players except Gaby ?

And in 1992 Wimbledon, except Navratilova and Tauziat, did Graf also ask about Seles stopping her grunts ?

vancouverite
Apr 4th, 2003, 09:17 AM
Hi Yu-lun Wang :wavey:

I've never once heard or read that Graf had anything to do with the 'grunting' nonsense, at 1992 Wimbledon or anywhere else. Monica suppressed the grunt in the '92 final thanks to adverse publicity that followed complaints from the two players mentioned (and officials' ridiculous responses to those complaints), but Steffi wasn't a party to that balderdash (at least, not that I've ever been aware of....).

Spirit
Apr 4th, 2003, 04:16 PM
I've never once heard or read that Graf had anything to do with the 'grunting' nonsense, at 1992 Wimbledon or anywhere else.

I don't know of any instance in which Steffi raised a fuss. She's not that sort of player. However, when asked her opinion by the media, she did say something like, "She does it consciously, so she can make a conscious effort to stop it."

On another occasion, Steffi (I think it was her) said the grunt gives her an advantage because Monica's opponent might hear the grunt and think she was hitting a powerful shot, when she was really hitting a drop shot. Again, I don't have the exact quote.

All in all, I don't think Steffi ever let it bother her.

irma
Apr 4th, 2003, 04:22 PM
it was nav who said that

steffi said I concentrate on myself and don't hear it
this is what she said in wimbledon 92!

G-Ha
Apr 4th, 2003, 04:43 PM
irma's right...it was actually Navratilova that said the grunts gave Monica an advantage because it masked the sound of the ball coming off her racquet, thus her opponents could not hear how hard or cleanly the ball was struck.