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  Topic Review (Newest First)
Today 12:39 AM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

When behaving like a mature, rational, responsible professional is impressive enough to get a nomination for "sainthood," that's a damning statement about everybody else. Steffi did what billions (no exaggeration) of other people on the planet did/do all the time. All the time. While the Seles camp might have sneeringly asked, "How can she just continue to play tennis, as if nothing were wrong and her father sits in jail back home. Why wasn't she at home helping him?" or been genuinely shocked that she did, the vast majority of humanity sees carrying on in the face of adversity and uncertainty as admirable, or at least necessary,

Saintly Graf wins points over rivals in more ways than one
South China Morning Post
Monday, November 27, 1995

IF ever there was a prima facie case for a sports star to be canonized, Steffi Graf presented it powerfully this season.

Saint Steffi has a good ring to it, don't you think?

She deserves an honorary sainthood at the very least after emerging with halo intact and reputation burnished from one of those annus horribilis that British Royals keep twittering on about.

What could be more horrible than seeing your father thrown in jail for alleged tax evasion (with your money) and having to hobble about with excruciatingly painful back and foot injuries?

Graf endured the pain and somehow managed to play the best tennis of her career.

She won all three Grands Slams she entered (injury kept her out of the Australian Open) and finished the season on a high by defeating fellow German Anke Huber in the WTA Tour Championship last week.

And, are you listening Australia, that was over five sets. Yes, mate, just like the guys.

This is how she summed up the last 12 months: "It's been an unbelievable year. I have definitely passed a few barriers that I did not think I could. I went in to the French and US Opens not very well prepared, not playing very many tournaments.

"Physically, because I have not been able to train, I have not been really ready."

Is that disarmingly modest, or what? The girl is, well, a real saint.

Let's just stand her alongside fellow professionals Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati for a moment.

When the physical pain from the stabbing incident had gone, Seles continued to stay away from the tennis circuit. Her will had been broken and it took almost two years before she started competing again.

Capriati, with all that teenage angst building inside her, quit the tour and hung out with her friends.

She experimented a bit with the stuff American presidents don't inhale but that just brought about grief with the cops. Being a pre-pubescent superstar, with all that money, just sucks, gee it does.

If anyone had a ready-made excuse to hibernate or space out it was Graf, but she did not hide or do anything dopey. While daddy Peter (whose dalliances in the past have caused her untold anguish) was being locked up and the tax authorities were cutting her wealth by hundreds of millions, Graf fronted for tournaments and faced the often wicked press.

There were the occasional sobs and sometimes she looked like a little girl lost when pressed for details about the tax investigation, but she carried on with her life and her tennis.

Hell, last week she even wore a one-piece tennis dress for the first time in her career, not an act of someone who is trying to escape from the spotlight.

What a gem, what an angel, what a saint.
Nov 24th, 2015 08:47 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Of course Shriver would rant the loudest. There were and are waaaaayyy too many players who think they deserve money because they hit the ball over the net a little bit, as if playing tennis were a job with any social utility beyond a your-mileage-will-vary entertainment value. The money comes from sponsors and spectators, who want something in return. And if they don't feel like they are getting a fair return, they can go elsewhere for their exposure and entertainment. The Sorority Sisters and their behind-the-scenes cronies from Back In The Day either could not see/understand that they really had come a long way from needing to get sponsorship and fans by playing on people's social conscience ("We know most of us stink, and you know most of us stink, but give us your money to show your support for women's lib!") or they believed women's tennis could never be a legitimate revenue generator as a competitive performance sport. The old need to pay above market value to the fill-in-the-draw players because the WTA had only 75 or so women with which to fill a draw was long gone. They should have thrown the rank-and-file and "top" players who never beat other top players under the bus and acknowledged the tour's real money-makers.

Market value now deciding pay scales
The Washington Times
Friday, November 24, 1995
Josh Young

Professional tennis has always operated like a quasi-welfare state, and it looks like there are going to be some cuts.

This was the subtle point Australian Open officials were making in their recent announcement that the total women's purse for the 1996 event will be $330,000 less than the men's, although the women's champion and runner-up still will earn the same amount as the men.

Australian Open officials were saying that the women's final is as valuable as the men's, but the early rounds aren't. Whether or not the two singles finals are of equal value, the fact is that early round women's matches at Grand Slam events generally are boring, straight-set affairs.

Grumbles from women's tour officials and players about the Australian Open's market-driven decision reverberated last week through the catacombs of Madison Square Garden, where the women were playing their year-end WTA Tour Championships. There was even talk of a boycott, but out of deference to the new tour sponsor, Corel, the women's players decided against it.

Pam Shriver, a past president of the WTA Tour, ranted the loudest.

"For me, this Australia thing has been the most hurtful and politically backward maneuver in all the time I've been around," she told The New York Times.

Of course, the women don't deserve equal pay as the men. They play best-of-three sets, not best-of-five, at the Grand Slams. The men receive more television time because their game is more popular than the women's and brings in a larger share of the revenue. But that's beside the point.

The women should be worried that their new sponsor might catch on to the welfare state that exists in tennis. The men should worry about it, too, because their ATP Tour probably supports twice as many players as the women's WTA Tour.

Basically, the top players support the rest of the tour. Corporate sponsors spend money on tennis to get attention for their products. The top players attract attention to an event through the print media. The more popular these players are, the more watched the sport is and the more money corporate sponsors will pour into it.

Consider that in men's tennis, the No. 100-ranked player this year will earn more than $200,000 in prize money. Although this is nowhere near the $5 million-plus that No. 1 Pete Sampras will make, most of the No. 100 player's money was put into the sport because of the Sampras-caliber players.

Promoter John Korff recognized this welfare state a long time ago. Its existence was one of the reasons he sold the franchise rights to his women's event in Mahwah, N.J., in the late 1980s and now runs an exhibition event.

Korff reportedly has paid players like Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Jennifer Capriati more than $300,000 to play in his exhibition. Meanwhile, the total prize money for his tournament is less than $150,000. He pays based on market forces.

The Australian Open appears to have caught on to the real economics of tennis. Because of this, women's tennis needs to be careful where it picks its fights.

MAKING A RACKET - The ATP Tour Board of Directors has endorsed a rule change that would outlaw the use of rackets more than 29 inches long, down from the current maximum of 32 inches.

The catalyst for this proposed ban, which will now be taken up with the International Tennis Federation, was Michael Chang. When he switched to a 29-inch racket, he become the first pro to play with a racket longer than 28. Tour officials fear things might get out of hand, as they did in the early 1970s with the "spaghetti" string rackets.

This picayune measure is sure to spark debate over the real racket issue: fiber. The arrival of graphite and boron rackets in the early 1980s was the advent of three-shot-rally power tennis. Many traditionalists have called for a return to wood rackets in the pros, similar to Major League Baseball's rule banning metal bats.

NO LAUGHING MATTER - Steffi Graf 's tax problems with the German government are so serious that people are making jokes about it now.

On ESPN SportsCenter last Sunday night, Keith Olbermann did a segment on the final of WTA Tour Championships, won by Graf in five sets over Anke Huber. He announced that Huber had won $250,000 as the runner-up. Then he said, "We won't tell you how much Steffi won in case you work for the German tax authorities."

Neither will we.
Nov 24th, 2015 08:45 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The acknowledgements that Steffi was/is "real world" tough begin to trickle in.


The Star-Ledger
Newark, NJ
Friday, November 24, 1995

At the time of the year when we say thanks and head for the shopping malls, here are some sports figures for whom I am especially thankful:

* John Lucas. Not Luke the 76ers coach, who is by turns funny and furious and frustrated, but Luke the persistent and indefatigable, the recovering drunk and druggie who never meets a soul he doesn't consider worthy of salvation. For him, no cause is ever too hopeless, and even if he is betrayed or let down, he does not waver in his reaching out. His is an example truly worth emulating.

* Cal Ripken Jr. Not just for the dignity he brings, not just for being the durable epitome of what is known as keep on keepin' on, but for the victory lap he was shoved into taking the night of No. 2,131. What struck me was that he stopped to shake the hands of groundskeepers and obviously knew them, most by name. The essence of a man is revealed in such moments, and Ripken demonstrated an uncommon common touch.

* Don Mattingly. Donnie Baseball, The Last Yankee Hero, apparently is retiring. Once he was the best all-round player in the bigs. No ring for him, but sing no sad songs. Like Ripken and Eisenreich and Lucas, Mattingly understands what matters. "My father was a mailman," he said, "and he worked hard and did the best he could. To me, that's a hero, that's a role model." Amen.

* Lou Tepper. He is the football coach at the University of Illinois, and his wins barely outnumber his losses, but he insists that black players room with white players, and vice versa, and once a week there is Unity Night and his players, of both colors, say they are much the better for the experience. Oh yes, going into this year, 62 of Tepper's 63 seniors have graduated. Hmmmm, racial understanding and obliterating stereotypes and an education. Kind of makes the Rose Bowl seem a little irrelevant, doesn't it?

* Jim Eisenreich. Not for his level batting stroke, but for his level approach to life. He brings children in by the busload every month during the Phillies season and tells them that the Tourette's syndrome that makes them emit strange noises and convulses their bodies in uncontrollable tics and twitches can be what they make of it. Eisenreich initially prayed that the nervous disorder would be lifted from him. It was not, and he learned to make it work for him, and now he tells them that some of our greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

* Steffi Graf. The impression is that of a poor little rich girl. She's made $100 million and is the best in the world at what she does, but her life is a mess. Her father is in jail, the government hounds her even though, unlike many tennis stars, she didn't desert her country and take up residence in a tax-free municipality. She has broken down and cried in public and looks terribly alone and vulnerable at 26. Yet she gathers herself and plays on with inspired fury. She got to the finals of nine tournaments this year and won them all. Nine-for-nine through a veil of tears - now that's one tough athlete.

* Julie Krone. She rode her 3,000th winner this month, and that's pretty close to 3,000 base hits. Hall of Fame stuff. She is 32. She is in her 15th year of riding. A generation ago, there were no female jockeys. About half the bones in her body have been broken. Usually, they are still healing when she's being boosted back on another mount. People ask who's the toughest athlete and I always nominate her. She can make them run faster than they thought they could. We genuflect before coaches for less.

* Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. The Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of their sport. Gretzky is an appealing mixture of elegance and humility. He has been the very best but never acted it. Lemieux is a recurring example of the indomitability of the human spirit.

* Joshua William Lyon, born six days ago. His grandfather's indulgent fantasy is that he follow his older brother, Evan Michael Lyon, 2, as winner of, first, the Heisman Trophy, and then the Nobel Peace Prize. Other than that, guys, no pressure on you at all.
Nov 23rd, 2015 12:40 AM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Just not enough time off between the end of the season and the beginning of the next.

Graf adds name to Open field
November 22, 1995
The Age

With the threat of a women's boycott having officially subsided, Steffi Graf yesterday added her name to the field for the Ford Australian Open at Flinders Park in January.

While Graf was always expected to play, she was one of several signatories to a letter to Tennis Australia objecting to the loss of parity with men's prize money. The matter was settled in New York last week following a meeting between the WTA and Tennis Australia president, Geoff Pollard.

Graf's 1995 campaign included three grand slam titles and the WTA championship. She is a four-time Australian champion.

''I think I'll be stronger next year," Graf said in New York on Monday after clinching the WTA title with a five-set win over Anke Huber.

If as expected, Monica Seles enters the Open in the next few days, tournament organisers can keenly anticipate a Graf-Seles final, which will be only their second meeting since Seles' comeback to the sport.

Huber, Mary Joe Fernandez and Iva Majoli have also formally entered the Open. Fernandez is a dual finalist at Flinders Park, while Croat Majoli, at 16, is already the ninth-ranked player in the world.
Nov 22nd, 2015 12:44 AM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Sampras, Graf keep spots atop rankings for third year in row
Tuesday, November 21, 1995
Doug Smith

Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf each overcame sobering, emotional challenges to be ranked No. 1 in the world on their respective tours for a third consecutive year.

"It just goes to show you with a little hard work and dedication, things work out pretty well at the end," Sampras said.

Said Graf, "I definitely passed a few barriers that I didn't think I could."

Sampras, 24, a semifinalist at the IBM/ATP Tour World

Championship, finished 77 points ahead of Andre Agassi on the ATP computer.

Sampras became the fourth men's pro to be ranked No. 1 at least three years in a row. The others: Jimmy Connors (1974-78), John McEnroe (1981-84) and Ivan Lendl (1985-87).

"To be put on the same page is certainly something I will appreciate later on when my career is over," Sampras said.

Graf completed her bittersweet year Sunday by defeating compatriot Anke Huber 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 at the Corel WTA TOUR Championships in New York. Chris Evert (1975-77) and Martina Navratilova (1982-86) are the other women's pros to be ranked No. 1 at least three consecutive years.

Though hobbled by back and foot injuries, Graf won nine titles, including Wimbledon and the French and U.S. opens, and finished with a remarkable 47-2 record. She lost her first match in August, weeks after her father was jailed for in connection with a tax evasion case.

Graf will share No. 1 with Monica Seles, who returned to the tour in August after a two-year absence. Seles, impressive in a stirring three-set U.S. Open final loss to Graf, skipped the season finale because of tendinitis in her left knee.

Graf, who became No. 1 in 1987, slipped to No. 2 in 1991 when Seles dominated the tour for two years.

Graf reclaimed the top spot after a fan stabbed Seles April 30, 1993, during an event in Hamburg, Germany.

"I think Monica is the main competitor to look forward to," Graf said. "There are a lot of other good players that can challenge you, but on a steady basis, . . . she's the one."

Sampras began the year at No. 1, fell behind Agassi in the spring, then regained the top spot after Agassi bowed out of the Paris Open last month with a strained chest muscle. Agassi also missed the ATP finale because of the injury.

Sampras won five titles, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He cried during an Australian Open match after his coach, Tim Gullikson, was diagnosed with brain tumors. Sampras dedicated his U.S. Open title to Gullikson.

Final Top 10


1. Pete Sampras, USA

2. Andre Agassi, USA

3. Thomas Muster, Austria

4. Boris Becker, Germany

5. Michael Chang, USA

6. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Russia

7. Thomas Enqvist, Sweden

8. Jim Courier, USA

9. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa

10. Goran Ivanisevic, Croatia


1. Steffi Graf, Germany

1. Monica Seles, USA

2. Conchita Martinez, Spain

3. A. Sanchez Vicario, Spain

4. Kimiko Date, Japan

5. Mary Pierce, France

6. Magdalena Maleeva, Bulg.

7. Gabriela Sabatini, Argentina

8. Mary Joe Fernandez, USA

9. Iva Majoli, Croatia

10. Anke Huber, Germany
Nov 22nd, 2015 12:43 AM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Star-Ledger
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 21, 1995

The only five-set singles final on the circuit for women tennis players is at the WTA Tour Championships in Madison Square Garden.

If the fans had a vote, it would be landslide in favor of having five-set wrapups at the Grand Slams, too.

Sunday's title match between Steffi Graf and Anke Huber might have had a pedestrian conclusion to the biggest women's competition outside of the Grand Slam events. It didn't, thanks to its unique five-set format.

Just imagine if Graf had won in three sets, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1. The second set would have been considered only an aberration, that Huber had just caught Graf off guard and that the first and third sets were really the difference between the players.

Instead, the Garden crowd was treated to an exciting five-set battle with the conclusion in doubt until the final two games. Graf was unexpectedly taken through the wringer by an opponent playing the match of her career before the world champion emerged with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory.

In 1988, Graf stormed through the French Open final in 32 minutes, crushing Natasha Zvereva, 6-0, 6-0. The WTA Tour Championships is a nationally televised showcase event, and when Graf had a triple-break situation for a 6-0 first set after 21 minutes there was serious concern that a rout would be an embarrassment for the women players.

As it turned out, Huber had time to regroup and make it a match that fans will remember for a long time, outdistancing the only other five-set final to go the full distance. That was when Monica Seles, a relative newcomer, rallied from a 1-2 deficit in sets to beat Gabriela Sabatini for the 1990 crown.

MAYBE IT'S TIME FOR the women to reconsider their constant rebuff of overtures to add best-of-five-set finals at the majors. The Australian Open tried to drop the traditional best-of-three sets match for its 1995 tournament in Melbourne and the women rejected the change.

Huber, as expected, was wholeheartedly in favor of such a change away from the traditional setup.

"I think it would be great if they make it (five sets) in all the Grand Slam tournaments ... the finals, at least," said the 20-year-old Huber, flush from extending Graf to the limit two days ago. No one is asking for more than the final round. "For women's tennis it would great... great for the spectators. I think they should do it."

While Huber gave an enthusiastic affirmation, Graf was in favor, but had her reservations.

"It all depends on the surface," said Graf, the world's No. 1-ranked woman player. "I think that it would be tough for us to play on a clay court best of five (referring to the French Open). Or even in Australia where it's pretty hot. Going five sets there, going the distance would be pretty difficult. But it's possible."

Graf has obviously given some thought to the subject. She's right about the French and Australian Opens. The clay in Paris' Stade Roland Garros is the red stuff, the slow surface. A long, drawn out encounter between baseliners could go on for hours. The rallies could be boring beyond description. A three or four hour title match would hurt a game trying to show off its best side to courtside fans and to millions of TV viewers.

Add in the possibility of rain delays and one could even envision two-day finals.

The Australian Open's Flinders Park has a retractable stadium roof so rain wouldn't be a problem, but the heat is another matter. The summer heat Down Under has seen the court thermometer soar to 130 degrees.

But consideration should be given to making the creative move at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Heat is no factor at Wimbledon and the grass courts are fast enough so that matches would not be interminably long.

Tradition might hold back change for a while at the All-England Club, home for Wimbledon. But that would not be any trouble for the American Grand Slam in Flushing Meadow, N.Y. Innovations are nothing new at the U.S. Open, which was the first to incorporate tie-breakers and night tennis.

REMEMBER THE BOYCOTT the women were planning to make at the 1996 Australian Open?

The U.S. Open and the Australian Open had been offering equal prize monies to the men and women, while the French Open and Wimbledon were paying the men slightly more.

Revolt talk came about when the Aussies decided on a new pay scale, offering the men a total of $330,000 more because it was felt that the men played longer matches and the public found their matches more interesting. The difference wouldn't be in the top prize but would have been parceled out in the earlier rounds.

WTA Tour officials and Tennis Australia, sponsor of the Australian Open, have decided to compromise, making the differences in payoffs right down the line, top to bottom. The women have wisely backtracked on this issue this time around with the Grand Slam event only two months away, and plans are already afoot that would make amends in the future.

The players have agreed that a boycott was not the solution, that $330,000 shouldn't knock a Grand Slam event from the schedule. A major consideration was that the tour had a new sponsor (Corel Corp., an international leader in computer graphics and CD-ROM technology) coming aboard, investing some $12 million for the next three years.

"We're not happy with what happened," observed Billie Jean King, a leader of the women's revolt for equal pay 25 years ago. "It's too late to organize a boycott and the players will go with the package. But it was important for them to show their displeasure."

Pam Shriver felt that it was "taking a step backwards after 10 years of equality. It's disheartening. But the adjustment that we have now agreed to gives us about 90 per cent of the men's prizes. What's disappointing is that we have to continually prove ourselves."

The five-set final between Graf and Huber certainly goes a long way in proving the interest and competitiveness in the women's ranks. And when Seles returns fulltime, there should be a real fight for No. 1.

"There are a lot of good players who will challenge me," offered Graf, the top-ranked player in seven of the last nine years. "But on a steady basis, she (Seles) is the one."
Nov 22nd, 2015 12:41 AM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf shows world what it means to be a true champion
South China Morning Post
Tuesday, November 21, 1995

IF you ask Steffi Graf how she is holding up, her response speaks volumes - "That's for other people to judge but I think I am holding up all right."

Few sporting identities have been through what this world number one has experienced in 1995 and it is a testament to her strength that she has been able to put to one side such distractions. Her recent life has been like a soap opera.

For the past 18 months Graf has been suffering chronic back problems and they became so bad that she was forced to withdraw from the 1995 Australian Open. Then the off-court dramas involving her father, Peter, hit the headlines and he was arrested and imprisoned for tax evasion. There was a time when it seemed that even the 26-year-old star was going to be indicted, but after a three-hour session of gruelling questions it was felt that she had no part to play in the tax scandal.

The irony of it all is that Graf was the one German tennis player who elected never to drop her German residency. Boris Becker set up a tax base in Monte Carlo, but since getting married and becoming a father he has moved back to Munich, and Michael Stich is living in Salzburg, Austria, with its liberal tax laws.

Naturally she refuses to talk about what has happened, but it certainly appears that when this whole case goes to court there will be a lot of dirty laundry aired.

Herr Graf is reportedly not a well man, but is expected to remain incarcerated in Mannheim "for a long time". It is alleged one person that could be named is the German finance minister Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder who was a close friend of Peter Graf, but is now denying any such association. Peter Graf has made it clear that deals were made with important authorities for privileged treatment. As an example; reports have been confirmed that in 1993 Peter Graf and tax authorities in their particular region agreed that Steffi's taxable income was US$2.5 million when in fact it was US$16 million. Also, no tax returns were filed from 1989 to 1992.

Through all this Steffi has had to put on a brave face and play tennis at the highest level. It just goes to show what a remarkable athlete and champion she is. Coming into this week's season-ending tournament for the women, the WTA Tour Championships at Madison Square Garden, she had lost just two matches - to Amanda Coetzer at the Canadian Open in August and to Mariaan de Swardt at Brighton in October.

Amazingly, this is the year she refers to as her best ever for tennis which is saying something when you consider her record that includes the only "Golden Slam" ever recorded in tennis history. In 1988 she won the Grand Slam (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) and then added the Olympic Gold Medal to the tally.

"I have had in my career incredible wins, but this is my best year by far," said Graf. "This was a year that I toughed out. I unexpectedly won the French, I unexpectedly won Wimbledon and I very unexpectedly won the US Open. Even though I have many other Grand Slams that mean a lot for a lot of different reasons, by far the US Open this year was the most difficult and I had to overcome a lot of difficult obstacles to win it and of all, it means the most to me."

However, she did concede there were times when getting motivated was difficult.

Graf said: "It is rare that I feel that I am bored on court, but it might happen when I have other things on my mind. Maybe I should put it this way, it doesn't really mean that I am bored, it just means that may be I am not 100 per cent on the court for different reasons.

"I'm sure that everybody finds times in their lives when it is difficult to always remain focused. Certain things off court will distract you and there are other things you feel that are more important."

Looking at her walk on court this week to accept her award as Player of the Year, one would never have believed so much turmoil was churning up her private life.

"Tennis allows me to get away from a lot of things," she said.

"I've got something that I love doing and so to be able to do it is just a pleasure . . . that's how I look at it."

When she is away from the courts her attention goes to interior decorating and art. Fashion is another hobby for her. She launched the Steffi Graf Collection soon after Wimbledon, but unfortunately it appears this too has been caught up in the tax problems and she is reluctant to talk about it.

Her ultimate goal is to play perfect tennis, but ask what perfect tennis is for her and you will see those blue eyes searching for the right answer.

"It's a feeling you have got once you're on the court, you feel that things are are going the way that you really want them to and shots have incredible placement or certain speed and you can do almost anything on court. Once you get to that zone, it's that feeling, a feeling that you can't really describe," she said.

All she wants to do, and ever wanted to do, is play tennis and because of that she did not want to be bothered with the financial aspects of her business.

Steffi Graf has admitted making a mistake in not being more attentive with her financial affairs and "rather blindly trusted that everything was in order". She has now appointed Price Waterhouse to oversee things, and has promised to pay whatever taxes are owed.

With the women's tennis season for 1995 at a close, she might have time to do it in between playing some money exhibitions in Mexico and South America.
Nov 22nd, 2015 12:40 AM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Scripps Howard News Service
Tuesday, November 21, 1995

Pavel Slozil calls, but Steffi Graf doesn't answer.

Despite winning three of this year's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the season-final WTA Tour Championships, Graf's life is currently in an emotional and physical tailspin that Slozil wishes he could help her straighten out.

After all, Slozil's responsibility was to take care of Graf's emotional and physical bouts as her coach for five years until 1991.

But instead of feeling Graf's emotions or hearing her thoughts directly as he once did, Slozil has been reduced to reading and watching the news just like the rest of us.

"Contact is very minimized ... I don't know. I think very good friends at least call each other, but we don't have such a relationship anymore. She's busy. There's other things going on in the world than to call me. It's difficult to reach her. I tried to reach her through the agency to try to help her or talk to her. But, that's probably normal," Slozil said.

Slozil, 39, reflected on his relationship with Graf upon a recent visit to the World Tennis Center as part of a German group of players visiting Naples.

But Graf is not far from his thoughts, and he continues to keep a close eye on her career both on and off the court.

Particularly troubling to him is the investigation Graf is going under for suspected tax evasion. Already her father, Peter Graf, has been in jail for months for those same suspicions. Slozil was shocked when he heard the news.

"All I can say is she is a nice girl, very quiet, very fair. She would never do something wrong. But somebody made a mistake. Somebody is responsible for those tax problems. I cannot say. I had nothing to do with the money at the time, and it's already been four years," Slozil said.

Slozil was intimate with the Graf family for some time and developed his own take on the family's patriarch, Peter.

"Everyone says he's a bad guy. But he's the one who made her. She was born a champion. He made her like tennis every day and train it. I credit him for what she is.

"At 16 to 16 1/2, I started coaching her, and tried to be around as much as possible. He slowed down and started to trust me. Our relationship was good. That's how we stayed together for five years."

There have been times when Steffi Graf and Slozil have run across each other at Wimbledon and occasionally in Germany, but Slozil describes the conversations as rather short and perfunctory.

But perhaps their strongest contact came at one of the most notorious incidents in tennis history when tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed by a deranged fan on April 30, 1993 in Hamburg, Germany.

Slozil who was then coaching Magdalena Maleeva, was among the spectators.

"I saw it. We spoke about it. It was terrible. Monica was on the ground for a while and she was screaming and yelling. It was a shock. I was nervous. I had to hide myself away for a while." Slozil said.

From the stabbing to the present time, Graf has dominated women's tennis, winning six of the last 10 Grand Slam tournaments. Graf lost her No. 1 position to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at the beginning of 1995, but regained it after defeating Sanchez Vicario in the French Open.

Graf has since maintained her No. 1 ranking winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open where she defeated Seles in the final after Seles' two-and-a-half year layoff.

Slozil, like the rest of women's tennis, is glad to see Seles back, but Slozil believes Graf needed her more than anyone.

"(Seles) was younger and more eager. She had the will to win," Slozil said of the time Seles dominated the game before the tragedy. "(Graf) had a lot of her success behind her, and she had won everything. Now she enjoys the challenge of Monica."

But before Seles' subsequent challenges, Graf took over women's tennis from Martina Navratilova and produced one of the greatest runs in sports history that is fondly dubbed the "Golden Grand Slam," where Graf won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open all in 1988.

What made it sparkle even more was a shimmering Gold medal dangling around her neck at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

So why did they split if things were rolling along so smoothly? It was just time to let go and for Graf to get new ideas. Shortly after the split, Heinz Gunthardt became her coach and is still her coach today.

"Five years is a lot of years. I was with her 32 to 35 weeks a year. It's not easy. It's like a tennis marriage without the sex," Slozil said.

After Graf, Slozil coached Jennifer Capriati for five months at the beginning of 1992 and then switched to Maleeva, whom he coached until May 1994.

He has not coached anyone on the major pro circuit since. Slozil now lives in Austria with his wife and daughter and has opened his own tennis academy.

"I'm trying to give (Nick) Boliterri a little competition."

And competition was part of Slozil's life for a while as he played seven years on the tour and won two singles titles including the 1985 Austrian Open. His highest rank was 34th.

Slozil was better in doubles where he won 34 tournaments and several of them with Davis Cup teammate Thomas Smid. In fact, Slozil is a one-time Grand Slam champion himself winning the 1978 French Open mixes doubles crown with Renata Tomanova.

Slozil also helped Czechoslovakia win the 1980 Davis Cup with a team that included Ivan Lendl.

But Slozil will most likely be remembered for his years with Graf, whom many cite as perhaps the game's greatest player ever.

"It's a close call to say who is the best ever. She's won 18 slams titles. There's so many (great ones), but to me she's the best ever."

(Gregory B. Richards writes for the Naples Daily News in Naples, Fla.)
Nov 20th, 2015 09:40 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Monday, November 20, 1995
Associated Press

NEW YORK - Steffi Graf said it best: "It's an incredible end to an unbelievable year."

It's been a year in which she has been investigated and her father jailed for alleged tax evasion, a year in which she's been hobbled with back and foot injuries.

It's also been a year in which she's won nearly everything she's played - including all three Grand Slam tournaments she entered - and lost only twice.

"I've definitely passed a few barriers that I didn't think I could," she said. "I've played, I think, 11 tournaments this year, which is not really much to my normal standards. And I went to the French and U.S. Opens not very well prepared, not playing very many tournaments.

"Physically, because I haven't been able to train, I haven't been really ready."

Try telling that to her 47 victims, the latest being fellow German Anke Huber, who fought her evenly before tumbling 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 yesterday in the final of the WTA Tour Championships.

Try telling that to her 47 victims, the latest being fellow German Anke Huber, who fought her evenly before tumbling 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the WTA Tour Championships in New York. It was only the second time since 1901 that a women's tour match has gone five sets.

"Knowing it could go either way . . . probably excitement-wise the fifth set was special," Graf said.

It didn't seem that way at first, however, as Graf zipped through the first four games in just 11 minutes. But it was another 2 hours, 36 minutes before she dropped her racket on the Madison Square Garden blue carpet and wept tears of joy.

The victory in the season-ending tournament also made Graf $500,000 richer, raising her 1995 take to $2,539,120 and her career earnings to $17.3 million.

It wasn't a bad day for the loser. Huber earned $ 250,000, boosting her 1995 earnings to $ 621,059.

The last five-set final was in 1990, when Monica Seles defeated Gabriela Sabatini in the Championships. The previous time a women's match went five sets was in 1901.
Nov 20th, 2015 09:39 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

When you don't know if you're numb or not, you're numb.

Graf, running 'New York Marathon,' ends triumphantly at WTA finish line
The Times
Trenton, NJ
Monday, November 20, 1995
Bob Greene, Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Known for how quickly she ends matches, Steffi Graf also does pretty well in marathons.

Graf, despite having to treat blisters on her right foot several times, prevailed in only the second women's five-set final in 94 years yesterday, beating Anke Huber to win the WTA Tour Championships.

"It's an incredible end to an unbelievable year," Graf said after outlasting her German compatriot 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

The baseline battle on Madison Square Garden's blue carpet lasted 2:47.

"Knowing it could go either way and the serve was so important, probably excitement-wise, the fifth set was special," Graf said.

ONLY WHEN Huber's backhand was intercepted by the net to cap a long rally, giving her opponent a service break in the eighth game of the fifth set, was Graf close to winning the title and the $500,000 prize in this season-ending tournament.

Even then she had to hold serve to close the match. On the first point, when she cracked a winning forehand down the line, she let out a half-word, half-hiss, "Yes." It was the first emotional display on the court all week.

She followed with her 10th ace. Two points later, she cried tears of joy.

The last five-set final was in 1990, when Monica Seles defeated Gabriela Sabatini. The previous time a women's match went five sets was in 1901. After that, women were limited to best-of-three sets matches, with the Championships adopting a best-of-five sets final in 1984.

"I'm not sure if I'm numb or not," Graf said. "Obviously, I'm extemely happy to get through this one."

Huber earned $250,000, her biggest payday, and now has a 0-10 lifetime record against Graf.

Ranked No. 1 in the world and top-seeded in this elite 16-player tournament, Graf was expected to have an easy time winning her fourth Championships crown.

Graf started as if it were going to be a quick day, needing only 11 minutes to take a 4-0 lead. Huber, however, had other ideas.

The first glimmer that this wasn't going to be a blowout came in the first set when Graf needed five minutes to hold serve and go up 5-0. At the time, though, it seemed an aberration, a flurry of unforced errors and loss of concentration by Graf rather than Huber exerting her game on the world's top player.

"I was thinking I hope it doesn't go on like this for three sets," Huber said. "I was really, really nervous. I think everybody saw it. ... I didn't know how to hold my racket in my hand."

The two slugged it out. And, at the end, not much separated the two.

Graf won 149 points, 26 more than Huber. But most of the differential came in the two 6-1 sets.

Graf's feared forehand was not only matched by Huber, but was negated by the quickness of the third unseeded player to reach the final. Time and again, Graf found her usually winning forehands being returned. And when she played to Huber's two-handed backhand, Huber returned even harder.

"I just tried to play my game aggressively and tried to let her move," Huber said. "And I think it worked pretty well."

FOLLOWING THE fifth game of the first set, Graf took a three-minute injury timeout to tend to her blisters. The trainer twice more came on the court during changeovers to assist, but Graf's foot never appeared to bother her during play.

"I've had the last two weeks problems with my foot," Graf said. "That's why I changed to orthotics, and that's why I got some nasty blisters on my foot. It's been troubling me a lot. Then the problem that I had with the left foot, with the bone spurs, happened to come up again. So it was like my feet were kind of killing me at times."

Huber fought from love-40 to hold serve in the sixth game, then Graf closed the opening set with a love game.

Again Huber had trouble holding serve, going to deuce five times before taking a 1-0 lead in the second set. Then she took Graf to five deuces in the next game as the crowd began to sense a tough match.

Teeing off on Graf's serves and chasing down every ball, Huber broke in the sixth game of the second set. That came in the midst of a four-game run by Huber, who broke in the eighth game to even the match at one set apiece.

The next two sets went the same way - Graf imposing her will in the third set, Huber using the entire court to fight back in the fourth.

Graf opened the fifth set with a love game; Huber matched it by holding at 30. Then Graf staved off break point before taking a 2-1 lead.

By now, Huber was holding easily and Graf was struggling on her serve. That changed in the eighth game, a 12-point marathon in which both players sparkled, bringing the crowd to its feet.

But when Huber's backhand plowed into the net, Graf had her break and Huber tossed her racket to the floor. Four points later, Graf was the champion.
Nov 20th, 2015 09:37 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

WTA title sweetens Graf's No. 1 year
Monday, November 20, 1995
Doug Smith

NEW YORK - Though her year was marked by physical and emotional pain, Steffi Graf prevailed.

"I think I showed a few times that I can focus when I need to, and I showed that tennis means a lot to me," said Graf, ranked No. 1. "I've been able to put a lot of things on the side and just play and enjoy it."

Graf claimed her ninth title of the year Sunday by surviving a 2-hour, 46-minute struggle against compatriot Anke Huber in the Corel WTA TOUR Championships. Graf won 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. She smiled, raised her arms triumphantly, then wept.

"You win this tournament at the end of the year and it obviously makes it a lot sweeter," said Graf, whose 1995 titles included Wimbledon and the French and U.S. Opens. "It was difficult to make the year even sweeter, but obviously it did."

Blisters bothered her throughout the match, and the Madison Square Garden crowd rooted for the upset. Huber, who hasn't beaten Graf in 10 tries, played with surprising skill and passion. It wasn't enough.

Graf reached inside, found whatever it is that makes a true champion tick, then took control.

"I think maybe I had a little edge at 4-3 (of the fifth set)," Graf said. "I had an attitude after the changeover that I wanted to win this game. I don't know if it's experience or just your character. I relaxed a little more at that moment than she did."

Huber, ranked No. 12, agreed. "I wasn't tired; I was getting very, very tight, like worried, tense," she said.

Graf's year began in doubt mainly because of a sore back that forced her out of several events, including the Australian Open.

"I went to the French and U.S. Open not very well-prepared physically because I haven't been able to train on it (back)," she said. "I've been surprised by what I've been able to achieve."

Her problems were compounded in August when her father, Peter, was arrested and jailed on tax evasion charges. With her father still in jail, Graf was forced to become more involved with her finances. She plans to continue her career despite this year's off-the-court setbacks.

"I think I'll be stronger," she said. "I'm probably more relaxed than I've been, just in what happened all year long. It will probably make things a little easier next year."

Longer matches: Sunday's match is the second five-set final for women since 1901. The WTA TOUR Championships is the only event in which women play best-of-five singles matches. "It would be great if they make it (best of five) in all the grand slam tournaments in the finals," said Huber.

Drought ends: Boris Becker's three-set victory against Michael Chang for the ATP Championship Sunday was his first major title since winning the '92 ATP Championship.

Becker exchanged places with Chang in the rankings, moving up to No. 4, and earned $1.225 million.
Nov 20th, 2015 09:36 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi had definitely mastered the art of bringing out the best in an opponent who was willing to meet her half way while still maintaining her own high level. And that is what tennis really needs/needed.

Headline unavailable
Sunday, November 19, 1995
CECIL HARRIS, Gannett News Service

Anke Huber played the match of her life Sunday in the final of the Women's Tennis Association Tour Championships.

She did everything but win.

Her top-seeded opponent, fellow German Steffi Graf, capitalized on the only service break in the fifth set and won her fourth WTA title 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

Huber ignored an 0-9 record against Graf going into the match. She refused to wilt against Graf's indomitable forehand and serve. The 20-year-old captivated a crowd of 15,137 at Madison Square Garden with grit, hustle and a series of remarkable winning volleys off shots on which Graf usually finishes points.

She pushed Graf into territory previously uncharted by either player: a fifth set.

Facing her fourth break point in the eighth game of the deciding set, Huber's backhand caught the tape and fell back on her side, giving Graf the game.

"I think maybe I had a little edge at 4-3," Graf said. "I had an attitude during the changeover that I wanted to win this game. Maybe I relaxed a little more than she did."

Graf's father has been in a German jail since August on tax-evasion charges. Yet she overcame the mental anguish and went 47-2 in 1995.

"It's just an incredible end to an unbelievable year," she said after the two-hour, 45-minute match.

Graf, 26, won every major tournament this year except the Australian Open, which she missed because of a sore back.

She won nine of the 11 tournaments she entered including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, French Open, the Lipton Championships and the WTA Championships. Overcoming blisters on her right foot and soreness from bone spurs in her right foot, Graf earned $500,000 for the triumph. But Huber, who received $250,000, stole the show.

"I showed myself something but I still didn't win, so it's still missing," said Huber, whose only WTA Tour title in 1995 - at Leipzig, Germany, in September - came when Magdalena Maleeva defaulted in the final. Before the season-ending tournament for the top 16 players, Huber, ranked 12th and unseeded, had so little confidence that she planned to take a Caribbean vacation this weekend.

"I was supposed to be there already but I didn't know that I would be playing until Sunday," said Huber, a first-time finalist in the Championships.

What most thought would be an easy win for Graf - especially with co-No. 1 ranked Monica Seles absent because of knee and ankle injuries - became only the second five-set match in WTA Championships history.

Since going to a best-of-five set final in 1984, the only other WTA match to go five sets was Seles' win over Gabriela Sabatini in 1990.

Nobody could have envisioned a five-set match after Graf won the first four games in 11 minutes and took the set in 26 minutes.

"I was really nervous," Huber said. "I was just hoping it wouldn't go on like this for three sets."

Huber settled down in the second set, particularly after breaking Graf in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead.

"I just tried not to think about what I was doing and just play my game, be aggressive," Huber said.

Yet Graf regained control in the third set with service breaks in the first, fifth and seventh games. She used her vaunted forehand to create passing shots and elicit errors from Huber.

Huber kept fighting, however. A service break gave her a 3-2 lead in the fourth, which she protected with startling shots such as a running forehand down the line on the first point of the 10th game.

"I wasn't surprised by how she played," Graf said. "She really goes for her shots. She's running around, trying for everything and showing a lot of guts."

A brilliant effort left Huber on the brink of a major upset. Though she fell short, she may have given Graf and Seles another foe to reckon with in 1996.
Nov 20th, 2015 09:35 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2


The Philadelphia Inquirer
Monday, November 20, 1995

At the end, after 2 hours, 46 minutes, the tears mixed with the giggles, and Steffi Graf put her arm around Anke Huber, and Huber put her arm around Graf, but you couldn't tell - who was holding up whom?

In only the seventh five-set women's final in tennis history, Graf had beaten Huber, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, in the WTA Championships at Madison Square Garden.

The 15,137 fans had been drawn to their feet dozens of times, mostly by heroics by Huber, and they had been gasping for breath more often than either of the women, who had been swinging from their heels.

Huber, 20, a German, had been cursed for her entire career by being called the next Steffi Graf. As if there could be another one. The top-seeded Graf, 26 and also a German, had won 18 Grand Slam titles, including three this year.

All Huber had ever wanted, she said, was to be allowed to be Anke Huber, a pugnacious player who would howl with delight or with anguish and who could hit as hard as anybody around.

Huber had not beaten Graf in their nine previous meetings. She hadn't even won a set [sic]. Why?

"I am not as good a player as Steffi," she said.

Yesterday, Huber was - almost. She kept Graf off-balance and on the run with elemental pounding of the ball, nicking the lines and hitting the corners. And she was smart, too. She hit the ball to Graf's backhand whenever possible. In each of the sets Graf lost, she seldom had a chance to leap into her master stroke, the crosscourt forehand.

This did not start out to be a classic match.

Huber said she had been so nervous that "I didn't even know how to hold my racket in the first set."

Graf won the first four games in 10 minutes and the first set in 26 minutes. And three of those minutes were consumed by an injury time-out during which Graf had to have her right foot retaped. The problem was the same one she'd had before winning the final in Philadelphia a week earlier, and the bone spur in the foot clearly was no better.

Still, Huber said: "I was just hoping I could get a little better in three sets."

In other words, she saw herself becoming a straight-set loser.

Only this season-ending tournament for the top 16 women allows for five-set matches, and those only come in the final. Since these championships, which used to be called the Virginia Slims Championships, went to five-set finals in 1984, only one had been played. In 1990, Monica Seles defeated Gabriela Sabatini, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, in a 3-hour, 47-minute marathon.

Yesterday's match was much better, though. It had better shot-making, more highlight-reel retrieves, more running, lunging, growling, howling winners off overheads or drop shots.

Huber gave the first hint of how she would make this match memorable in the sixth game of the second set, when she broke Graf's serve for a 4-2 lead. She forced Graf into hitting three desperate forehands weakly into the net.

These weren't unforced errors. Huber was attacking the ball and hitting it to spots that Graf couldn't quite reach comfortably.

Huber broke serve again in the eighth game to take the second set. But, she said, her nerves kicked up again in the third. In the fourth, she began swinging freely again, playing fearless tennis, for what did she have to lose?

"I'd won a set already," she said. "That was great."

By the time these two reached the fifth set, no one knew what to expect. Neither had ever played five sets before.

It was tiredness that finally took away Huber's power. In the eighth game of the final set, trying to hold serve and get to 4-4, Huber hit four tired backhands smack into the net. Graf finally broke her on the fourth break point, with Huber putting another backhand into the net. Graf smiled as widely as she'd ever smiled in her life, then served out the match.

"This has been the best year in my career," said Graf, whose record for the year rose to 47-2. "To end it this way and in this city, I'm pretty happy right now."
Nov 20th, 2015 09:33 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Huber stretches Graf to the limit - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Monday, November 20, 1995
Alix Ramsay in New York

AT THE start of this final week of the tennis season, nobody would have imagined that it would be Anke Huber who would give Steffi Graf her sternest test of the WTA Tour championship here. But, last night, her German compatriot pushed her to the limit for two and three-quarter hours before Graf could take the title 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

It was, in Graf's tearful words afterwords, ''an incredible end to an incredible year". Certainly it was an incredible performance from Huber. She had only taken one set from Graf in nine matches and, as she began their tenth encounter, she seemed to be struggling to take a game.

But, once the stage fright had passed and Huber began to get into her stride, she matched Graf shot for shot. Graf's previously impregnable service was in constant danger of being broken as Huber fired a series of double-fisted backhand returns past her.

To make matters worse she had to have the trainer on court three times during the first two sets to treat blisters on her feet. The stronger Huber became the more she had her opponent on the run, and several times Graf was obviously in pain as she tried to chase around the baseline.

But, having taken the second set by dint of refusing to give up Huber chased, and retrieved, more lost causes than seemed possible she appeared to run out of steam. It looked as if normal service would be resumed as Graf cruised into the lead. But this was the biggest match of Huber's career and she was going to make the most of it.

Forcing Graf into a fifth set, she harried and hustled and kept Graf guessing. Wherever Graf tried to put the ball, Huber was there with a racket tip to scramble the ball back. There was nothing Graf could do and, as she missed a handful of chances to put away clear winners, the odds on Huber were shortening.

You do not get to be the leading player in the world without having nerves of steel and, when it came to the crunch, it was experience that counted. Looking safe until 3-4 in the final set, Huber's nerve gave out. A few tentative shots and Graf saw her chance. She needed two break points to move into the lead and, from there, it was a simple case of serving for the $500,000 (about Pounds 320,000) winner's cheque.
Nov 20th, 2015 09:32 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Fine finale for Becker and Graf
The Independent
London, England
Monday, November 20, 1995

Boris Becker won the ATP Tour World Championship for the third time after a 7-6, 6-0, 7-6 victory over the American Michael Chang in Frankfurt yesterday, while his compatriot, Steffi Graf, emulated his feat by beating Anke Huber 6- 1, 2-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 at Madison Square Garden in New York to win the WTA Tour Championship.

The Festhalle arena, just a short drive from his home town of Leimen, has become Becker's favourite indoor court. The capacity 9,000 crowd, which included Becker's parents and wife Barbara, roared on every shot from the German.

"You're the best fans I have in Germany, I mean that," Becker told the crowd. "It was tough getting back to take the first set but I played on another planet for half an hour in the second and then it was close again."

Chang said: "Boris served unbelievable today. I have never seen anybody serve like that. But it has still been a great week for me."

In New York, Graf was tearful after winning the season's finale for a fourth time and her ninth title of the year. "It was an unbelievable end to an unbelievable year," she said after collecting her pounds 333,000 winner's cheque. "It's kind of cruel to let you play all year and then make you finish with best-of-five sets. It's the first time I've played a five-setter and Anke really pushed me to the limit."

After starting well Chang, who had upset the American world No 1, Pete Sampras, in Saturday's semi-finals, could not live with the power of Becker, who also won the event in 1988 and 1992.

It was Becker's first triumph at a major event since Frankfurt in 1992. The win earned him $1.2m (pounds 800,000) and he also replaces Chang as world No 4.

The American started well when he broke Becker's serve in the second game. But once Becker took the first set on a tie-break, Chang rarely threatened. Becker won the second set 6-0 and although the third set was tight, Becker produced his best under pressure, finishing off the match with an ace after two hours and 16 minutes.

[] Tim Henman, the British No 2, maintained his rise up the world rankings with his third title in four weeks at the ATP Challenger event on Reunion Island, Mauritius. The 21-year-old from Oxford overcame a poor start to beat Germany's Patrick Baur 1-6, 6-3, 7-6, adding to his wins at the Challenger in Seoul and the Nationals in Telford.
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