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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 12:03 PM   #2674
country flag Ms. Anthropic
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

In honor of a certain person's birthday, here are some more wry drolleries and smart-ass wisecracks.

***

At Philadelphia in 1995, Steffi's semifinal match coincided with a fundraising parade of 25,000 motorcycles (no exaggeration) circling around the local children's hospital, which happened to be directly across the street from the tennis venue. The traffic jam was of epic proportions. They asked Steffi for her thoughts about it after the match:

"I love motorcycles," said Graf. "I was excited to see them here. I've tried to ride them on a couple occasions without a lot of success."

Graf then went on to tell a couple of motorcycle horror stories from the 26-year-old's "younger days," including one where she slid on gravel in Spain and missed a tournament because of abrasions to her hand, and another incident where whe lost her balance going over a bridge and nearly ended up in the water.

"I only ride on the back since then," Graf said.

***

From 1995 Lipton, quite irate and setting the record straight about her back support: "It's not a corset."

***

While double-bageling Pascale Paradis in Los Angeles in 1987, "Someone in the crowd asked me to play a drop shot," Graf said. "So I did. It wasn't even a good drop shot, but she couldn't even do anything with that. I felt so bad for her."

***

At the 1986 US Open, while discussing the language barrier between Sabatini, who understood no German and little English, and herself, whose knowledge of Spanish was limited to "only the bad words, because I hear them so often" (ahem!), she described this moment from one of their first tournaments as a doubles team: "One time I said, 'Go!' and she did not know what it meant. So she said, 'What?' and we end up running into each other."

***

After Zvereva received not one but two standing ovations after losing the 1994 Lipton final, Graf quipped to the crowd: "I wonder what it would've been like if she had won."

***

Gently making fun of a convoluted question:

Q. Given your present feeling about over tennis, if you had not committed to Hilton Head, would you not play it then coming up?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes.

Q. Yes, you would not play it?

***

Playing against goof-ball Patricia Tarabini at the 1987 US Open, she revealed her true biggest weakness on court: "Sometimes during the match I had to tell myself to stop laughing because of the way she was looking at me."

***

In Indian Wells 1994 during a changeover after winning the seventh game of the second set, Gigi Fernandez remained in her seat and read a newspaper, to Graf's amusement, while Graf stood at the baseline, waiting to serve. "She was reading the money section," Graf said, "so I was thinking, she's thinking about how she's going to use the prize money she's going to get for losing in the first round."

***

After defeating Sabatini on her birthday in Berlin 1993: "Maybe it wasn't the right birthday gift."

***

Boris was quite tardy for the 1989 Champions Dinner, and Steffi couldn't resist the old joke: "I'm happy to be next to the men's champion, the late Boris Becker.''

He got even, jibing: "I think I should give my speech in German so that she can understand better.''

***

More from Wimbledon 1989, quickly seizing the opportunity for a good brick joke: Following her victory Sunday, Graf acknowledged a stranger in the crowd below the family box, pointing at him and shouting, "Who is that guy?" Explained Graf: "The guy was just screaming all the time, 'Come on,' after every single point. You could hear him from one end to the other. And that's why I wanted to know who it was." Later, a reporter asked Graf who it was that she waved to while she was crying after the match. "Was it your father?" the reporter asked. "No, it was that guy," Graf said.

***

After seeing off Claudia Kohde-Kilsch in just 42 minutes at San Diego in 1989: "Was it that fast again? Oh no."

***

And the really comical thing is that Steffi was one of the few women that high ranking ATP players publicly respected back in the day...

Graf was asked where she would be ranked if she played on the men's tour. Her answer, said with a smile: "Oh, about 3,910th."

***

AO 1997:

Q. Have you got writer's cramp after the end of the match?

STEFFI GRAF: No, but both my ears were pretty closed. I mean they were screaming like hell.

***

Resigned to her fate as a magnet for painful subjects...

Q. Steffi, this is an old and painful subject, I know; but there is --

STEFFI GRAF: I'm sure. I was waiting for that one. I thought, hey, wait a minute, nobody is coming up with it. Go ahead.

***

Versus Basuki, first round at the 1996 US Open. They say memory is the first thing to go.

Q. Can you remember the last time you were so jubilant over winning a first round match?

STEFFI GRAF: Was I?

Q. You were.

***

Versus Kschwendt, second round of the 1996 US Open. Or maybe it's just selective memory loss.

Q. At Love-1, 15-30, what goes through your mind at that point today?

STEFFI GRAF: Today?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: Love-1, 15-30?

Q. You were serving.

STEFFI GRAF: Today?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: First set?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: I think it was actually 15-40.

***

And sometimes being totally oblivious helps. Wimbledon 1993 quarterfinal:

Q. You had a set point against you. Were you worried at all?

Graf: When did I have a set point against me?

Q. The first set.

Graf: Did I?

Q. You were down 3-5, 30-40.

Graf: Oh. I didn't even know. I was just playing point by point.

***

Archly explaining to the guys why young Kournikova dressed the way she dressed:

Q. Steffi, she's only just turned 15. You see what she's wearing on the court, what she wears in the players' lounge, her demeanor. Do you think for someone who has only just turned 15, is there anything slightly disquieting about it?

STEFFI GRAF: Don't you like it? [Laughter] I know you just got married, but. I know exactly where you're trying to lead to, don't worry.

***

An honest (and probably mind-blowing to most of the people in the room) response to the tired "greatest ever" and "achievement comparison" games:

Q. Is there any achievement that you think qualifies somebody for that, like, to you, would it be "if I did win the most Wimbledons or the most" -- is there anything that you haven't done that you think would make you be eligible?

STEFFI GRAF: The thing is I don't care enough about it that I have to think about it.

***

Young Steffi on her other talents: "I'm good at eating."

***

Describing the fans in New Haven: "The people really got into the match. Sometimes a little bit too much today -- at least the one guy (laughter). In the middle of the set I was like close to saying: 'Gee, just calm down for a couple of games, I will give you a beer afterwards.' "

***

Describing the 1994 Canadian Open final: "We both choked. We both played terrible. We served, like you say, like a woman. We served like kids."

***

Steffi and Patty Fendick share a moment of warm camaraderie at the 1993 Lipton: "We drove in about the same time," Graf said. "When I came in, I saw her in front of me, so after the match I said to her, 'You should have hit me with the car.' She said she was thinking about it."

***

During her speech at the 1996 Wimbledon champions' dinner, when the All England Club's chairman did not arrive promptly she said she thought he might have been "arranging a male streaker for me."

***

On how she first knew something was wrong during her bout with rubella: "There were eight bumps, so I knew I couldn't have banged my head that many times and not known it."

***

Describing playing through a chilly, drizzling day at Wimbledon: "If it would have been cricket, they would have called tea time."

***

Reaching the duct tape and baling wire stage:

Q. Steffi, what did that little bandage do for you today, the bandage on your knee?

A. It keeps my knee a little bit better together.

***

"You did not tell us the truth on Tuesday," a reporter charged during one German interview. "So how can we believe what you say about your back?"

Graf's retort: "Well, you're always lying about me."

***

The pitfalls of rain delays: "I watched 'Beverly Hills Cop II,' and I had to miss the last 10 minutes."

***

Although I think Steffi often used the "Did I say something funny?" routine just to make everyone laugh harder:

Graf and Sabatini are very quiet individuals and sometimes are amazed how their innocence draws reactions from other people. Graf revealed that in the past they haven't talked when they were playing doubles.

"We're getting along better," she said. "Now we speak on the court."

After a round of laughter, she inquired, "Why is everyone laughing?"

***

While addressing the crowd after the 1994 Delray Beach final, Arantxa playfully asserted that: "Next week is my week."

But then Steffi teased her right back: "I don't know what tournament you're talking about. There is no tournament next week."

***

During her victory speech at the 1986 German Open, while thanking the sponsors, she lists Fila, Martini, and then jokingly draws a blank ("Lufthansa" is very prominently displayed on the courtside signage), looking over at the men in suits for help. The public address announcer supplies the name in a mock-chiding tone, and Steffi laughs and feigns an oh-yeah-I'm-an-idiot moment.
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