Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
You can feel the metaphorical tectonic plates of the German press and public and Steffi Graf are once more grinding against each other. Something seismic is bound to happen before the tournament is finished.
Sssuper! Steffi is here!
Tuesday, July 26, 1988
No. 172, Page 7
Steffi Graf is finally here. But her entrance into Hamburg was not akin to that of a gladiator. The undisclosed arrival date could lure no fans at all to the airport.
Even at 6:01 p.m., when she emerged from her contracted coach, make and model Opel Senator (her advertising agreement with the Rüsselsheim automobile company makes her around a million Marks richer each year), no hand stirred, not with applause nor to take out a pen for an autograph. In the morning it had been totally different. But standing for hours in front of the Ramada hotel had made the Steffi fans tired, and they put to flight.
And even in the hotel lobby, the Wimbledon champion received no applause. A camera crew, shooting an advertisement for Fielmann glasses, only briefly disturbed themselves from their work. The girlish models, with Fielmann products on their powdered noses, also proved themselves not especially sharp-eyed and asked: "You mean that's Steffi?"
The 19-year-old from Brühl, who wanted no fuss anyway, could only be fine with it. With mother Heidi as her only escort, she quickly disappeared into the elevator, reappearing ten minutes later as the easy-to-recognize tennis player: gray track pants, white polo shirt with inconspicuous advertising patches and conspicuous shoes with three stripes. And the likewise advertisement-adorned Opel raced to Rothenbaum.
There, things seemed somewhat different. The fans almost flung themselves on their blonde favorite. Steffi gave her scribbled autographs with no particular patience. Only when two "sweet lassies" from Wellingsbüttel, Mareike and Wiebke (both 8) fumbled after paper and pencils in their colorful backpacks, did she affectionately say: "Slowly now, you'll have your turn, too." But when Mareike was desirous of more autographs for brothers and sisters back home, Steffi's composure vanished. What she quickly put to paper then could have been from Jane Doe.
She then quickly went on the practice court. She had to employ the Chilean Ivan Camus, coach of Wiltrud Probst, as a one-off practice partner. Pavel Slozil, Steffi's Czechoslovakian coach, had been held up by traffic on the way from Brühl to Hamburg. Mother Heidi reprehended gently: "They took a long time." After an hour, even Steffi doesn't want to anymore. For her, today is a day off. Tomorrow, she must start against Regina Marsikova (Czechoslovakia) -- one of her easiest exercises.