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Old Sep 7th, 2012, 08:15 PM   #2356
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I got the chance to hit a few balls with Patty on the courts of Golden Gate Park in SF back in the 80s. She was hitting with her father, who had the call of nature, and I just lucked out to be on the next court practicing serves and asked if she would mind hitting a few with me, as it was obvious she was a great player. I didn't find out until afterward when a friend asked me if I knew who that was I just hit with.
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Old Sep 8th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #2357
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Sampras and Graf Follow Grueling Paths to Greatness
By ROBIN FINN
September 10, 1996
New York Times

It was just four months ago that Pete Sampras could not bear to set foot on a tennis court: tennis reminded him of the death of his coach.

It was just four weeks ago that Steffi Graf could not keep her mind's eye on the ball long enough to keep her shots on the tennis court: tennis can seem like a pointless game when your father is in prison, accused of mishandling your prize money.

But on the stormy final Sunday of the United States Open, both Sampras and Graf played tennis of such convincing caliber that they not only won the Open and solidified their spots as the undisputed top players in the world, but they also left themselves open to charges of being the two greatest champions of their, or any, era.

Both are now a mere handful of Grand Slams away from becoming the most prolific champions in the history of their sport: Graf needs four Grand Slam victories to pass Margaret Court's record of 24, and Sampras needs five to nudge Roy Emerson's 12 Grand Slams from the top of the record book. Each is fully capable of achieving those numbers sooner rather than later.

"The reality of it is that I learned over the years that I hate to lose and I'll do whatever I can to win, and if it's ugly, it's ugly, just as long as I win the last point," said Sampras, who cried as he won a rough quarterfinal at the 1995 Australian Open and retched as he scrambled out of another five-set quarterfinal at this year's Open. "People don't remember who comes in second, and now that I've won a number of majors, the more I want to win them."

Not in 50 years had the Open had both its men's and women's champion elbow their way back into the finals to defend their titles. Never had two champions crossed such a minefield of complications to reach that round: Sampras had to forget that his late coach, Tim Gullikson, would have turned 45 on Sunday had he not died of brain cancer in May. Graf had to forget that her father, Peter, was in his 13th month of imprisonment and first week of trial on tax-evasion charges from which she has not yet been ruled not guilty.

Graf was jubilant, and impervious to a thunderstorm that raged around her, as she accepted her reward for defeating her archrival and co-No. 1, Monica Seles, 7-5, 6-4, on Sunday afternoon. By design, Graf forced Seles into a running game with a barrage of powerful serves and forehands; by design, Graf, the gazelle of the two, won the race. The result was a reprise of what happened here a year ago in their only other meeting since Seles returned to the Corel WTA Tour following a traumatic stabbing incident. Besides proving that Graf and not Seles is the best player in the world, it also left Graf a perfect 6 for 6 in her last half dozen Grand Slams.

"To have played the last six Grand Slams and won all six of them, it's an incredible achievement by itself; I ain't looking any further than that," said Graf, who geared herself up for Sunday's slugfest by telling herself she was a better player than Seles. "I said, 'I think I'm better than her; I think I can make it happen.' "

But two hours after the match, Graf's hands were still trembling.

"I hadn't been believing I could do it because I had so many things on my mind, and really, I was afraid to come here," said Graf, who had left all her assertiveness on the tennis court. "Between my worrying about my father and trying to keep in touch with the lawyers, and then hurting my leg the first day I tried to practice here, it all knocked me down, it really did."

Graf gave herself just one night to savor this victory before flying home to Germany to tackle the mountain of paperwork that holds the answers to her convoluted legal affairs.

"I need to know what's going on to have peace with myself," she said as she shakily picked at a plate of pasta. "I feel like it's my responsibility to be a part of this, and that's why it was so hard to put it aside and come here and play well this tournament."

Several hours after Graf earned the most gratifying Grand Slam of her career, Sampras followed suit and captured his with an uncompromising 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) performance against second-seeded Michael Chang, who could have stolen Sampras's No. 1 ranking along with this title, which would have been Chang's first and only Grand Slam since he won the 1989 French Open at 17.

"The ranking was up for grabs, but I wanted the title," Sampras said. "It's not the money. It's not the commercials. It's the titles. That's what I'll be remembered for, and I think about that a lot."

Both victors said that this was the most difficult Grand Slam they had ever undertaken, and both said that they saved their best for last, that they somehow knew that that strategy wouldn't backfire. Champions always assume the last round is the one designed especially for them.

But that's not to imply that the 25-year-old Sampras, who now owns four Open titles, and the 27-year-old Graf, a five-time Open champion, took it for granted that Sunday would be their day. According to them, it has become precisely the opposite scenario: as they have gotten older, the acquisition of Grand Slam titles has become less of an exhilarating dream and more of an internal imperative.

Whether they prevailed out of sheer greatness, they left for others to say: neither Sampras, who protests that he is just coming into his prime, nor Graf, whose prime seems to be getting primer, is comfortable with that word, particularly when applied to them.

"When you're already a champion, a small part of it is habit," said Heinz Gunthardt, Graf's coach, of the finales. "The other part is wanting it and needing it."
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Old Sep 9th, 2012, 03:06 PM   #2358
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

From the days when Hingis was just a kid...


Graf powers way to Seles rematch Defending champion uses experience to tire, then oust Swiss teen-ager
September 08, 1996 | By Sandra McKee | BALTIMORE SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- When Steffi Graf clinched her fist and pounded it against her hip after fighting off four set points in the 10th game of her semifinal match yesterday, it was a sure sign that teen-age sensation Martina Hingis was on her way out of the U.S. Open.

And Graf, with her 7-5, 6-3 victory, was on her way into today's women's final and a rematch with Monica Seles.

"Even though the way I have started my six matches here so far is not too well, the way I always come back, it is pretty amazing," said Graf, the No. 1 seed. "Being down 5-4, 40-love in this match, that was even more difficult than the others because of the way she was playing. . . . But I saw the momentum swing."

It took two days to get this semifinal match over, because rain washed out Friday's late afternoon and evening matches. By the time Graf had finished yesterday, Seles already had beaten No. 4 seed Conchita Martinez on Friday to get a head start on preparing for today's final.

This is the match everyone hoped for coming in, though neither Graf nor Seles seemed at all sure that they could make it here.

Graf is distracted by her father's trial on tax evasion charges, and Seles has been bothered all season by a muscle tear near her rotator cuff.

"It's difficult to say how this match will go," said Graf. "I haven't seen her play a lot, but obviously, with her shoulder, if she wouldn't serve as hard, it will probably be an advantage to me. So I just have to see how it is going to go."

Graf has won her past five Grand Slam tournaments and has a 41-match winning streak going into the final. The four-time Open champion is looking to be a back-to-back winner here for the first time since 1988 and 1989.

Seles won the Australian Open this year, but had not reached another Grand Slam final until this tournament. She won back-to-back here in 1991 and 1992.

Graf holds a 7-4 career edge against Seles, including last year here, where Seles was playing in her first Grand Slam final against Graf since returning to the tour after a 2 1/2 -year absence.

This time, most of Seles' post-stabbing trauma and excitement over her return has dissipated. But Graf said she cannot afford to start against Seles the way she has been starting.

"I think I am really going to have to put my mind on the court," Graf said.

Yesterday, it was Hingis who had her mind on the court early.

"Martina was really playing great out there," Graf said. "She didn't give me many easy points. I really had to play them. I worked her around the court a lot, and, obviously, whenever I was trying to be aggressive, I was making a lot of mistakes. But on the other hand, she didn't really give me anything, and she made some incredible shots down the lines.

"I was really amazed that she was able to keep that high intensity for almost the whole match."

Hingis, 15, wowed fans with back-to-back victories over Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Jana Novotna to make it into the semifinals. Seeded 16th, she started yesterday as if she fully intended to win.

The only things to get in Hingis' way were Graf and her own temper. Graf tired her out, and Hingis' irritation at herself flared after missing what would have been easy shots if she could have gotten her breath. The combination cost her four games, the same way it had cost her four games in an angry fit against Sanchez Vicario in the fourth round.

Against Sanchez Vicario, she was able to rally for a three-set victory. Yesterday, there was no reprieve.

"It was a Graf-Seles final last year, and I tried to change it," Hingis said. "But it doesn't work. I had so many set points. You are a little upset when you don't get any of them.

"I had chances, but Steffi, she made me move a lot. She made me so tired, I had nothing left. But I made it to the semifinals, and I am happy. Maybe next year I will be stronger, and I can play even better."

Until then, it will be up to Graf and Seles, who share the No. 1 world ranking, to determine another Open championship.
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Old Sep 10th, 2012, 01:27 PM   #2359
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Wish she had felt more comfortable with the role of deadpan snarker™. Then, instead of saying "I can't say until afterward" whenever people asked if she was going to win the Slam, she could have said: "No, I fully intend to lose in the quarterfinals, just to shut everyone up."


The Word On Graf: Having A Grand Time
By Melissa Isaacson of The Sentinel Staff
August 28, 1988

One year and three months ago, Steffi Graf won the French Open, her first major title. She had yet to advance past the fourth round of Wimbledon, the third round of the Australian or the semifinals of the U.S. Open. The word potential still was being used to describe her talents, and Martina Navratilova was still the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

Today, Graf, 19, stands on the brink of tennis immortality.

With a title at the U.S. Open, which opens Monday in Flushing Meadow, N.Y., Graf, of West Germany, will join only four other players -- American Don Budge, Australian Rod Laver, American Maureen Connolly and Australian Margaret Court -- who have won the Grand Slam Australian and French Opens, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in a calendar year.

Perhaps because it has come upon Graf so rapidly, or maybe because she is so young, the magnitude of the achievement seems to escape her for the moment. "Everybody is thinking and talking about it," Graf said last week. "It seems that I have a chance, but if I'm going to do it I can't say until afterward."

After breaking Navratilova's string of consecutive Wimbledon singles titles at six in July, Graf has taken it relatively easy. Aside from an exhibition in Tokyo, a clay-court tournament in Hamburg, West Germany, and accelerated practice the past few weeks, Graf has played very little since Wimbledon. Part of that was because of a dog bite by one of her beloved pets.

She spent part of her off-time recovering from the bite, relaxing at Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach, where she is the touring pro. Her family is building a home there. It will be more of a retreat for Steffi, who still returns to her birthplace in Bruhl, West Germany, whenever possible.

"You always need time to get away, to do something different," Graf said. "It was a lot of pressure. Not pressure on court, but there were things outside tennis and after Wimbledon. There were a lot of interviews and a lot of other things, and you really feel like getting away from all the people.

"Playing tennis and everything is much easier than what's all around it. Like in Germany, my matches didn't last as long as I was giving autographs or interviews afterward."

Graf has been lauded for her ability to brush aside opponents in as much time as it takes some people to brush their teeth. She has also, however, been criticized for it. And it has bothered her to the point of making her consider changing her game.

"It did cross my mind, like when I was in Berlin in May and winning very easily and playing very, very fast," Graf said. "At the end of a match, I always try to do different shots or play a long rally or come in. I've lost a few games doing that, and nobody was very happy about it.

"Then in Paris, I was beating Natalia Zvereva, 6-0, 6-0, and they were saying, 'Why didn't you give her a game?' Again, what the hell? What can you do? Now I'm just playing as well as I can."

As well as she can is almost scary. Graf's forehand is widely acknowledged as the best in the women's game and is often compared with some of the best men's. Her backhand, once a liability, has caught up, if not in power then certainly in control.

With her athletic ability, she is capable of coming to the net and, in fact, demonstrated a lethal volley at Wimbledon, but she rarely needs to use that skill. And with a powerful serve to top it off, Graf has it all.

At Wimbledon against Navratilova, Graf was relentless, prompting the eight-time champion to offer a heartfelt concession after the match. "I didn't succumb to emotions today," Navratilova said. "I succumbed to a better player. . . . But this is how it should have happened. If you have to lose, you might as well lose to the better player on the final day and pass the torch, if you can call it that."

You definitely can call it that. But though Navratilova was willing to concede that Graf was the better player, she might have a harder time with the whole business of the Grand Slam.

Navratilova won six Grand Slam tournaments in a row in 1983 and 1984, but traditionalists say she did not earn the Grand Slam because the victories did not come in one calendar year. The International Tennis Federation awarded Navratilova $1 million for the feat, and the Women's International Tennis Association, of which Navratilova serves on the board of directors, concurs that it was indeed a Grand Slam. At the very least, put an asterisk beside it. Graf, who will travel to Seoul, South Korea, for the Summer Olympics almost immediately after the U.S. Open, could end up winning the Grand Slam and copping a gold medal all in the same year. "That's going to be really tough, going to Seoul so soon after," Graf said, "but still I'm really looking forward to it."

Graf, who is extremely close to her father -- who taught her the game -- and to her mother and younger brother, is often asked about her lack of friends on tour. It is not that Graf is unfriendly, but rather very competitive and also very private. Besides, how many other players are still around when she is finished with a tournament -- almost always the day after the final?

Graf contends that she has not missed anything by not leading the typical life of a teen-ager. "I've had a chance to do everything I wanted to do; I'm not playing tennis all day," said Graf, who counts Bruce Springsteen among her heroes. "Most of the time, I'm playing four hours a day, so I have enough time to do everything else. I'm not constantly thinking about tennis."

Although 100 percent of the people responding to a recent poll in Germany know who Graf is, Graf said she still doesn't always feel appreciated. "In Germany, it's hard to be good at something," she said. "People get bored I guess. . . . I don't know what they want anymore, but I'm learning to ignore them."

For Graf to keep up her dominance into the '90s (she has said she won't play past her late 20s), Margaret Court, the last person to win the Grand Slam (in 1970), said it will depend not so much on Graf's competition as her motivation.

"There seems to be one or two there with Steffi at the moment, but if no one is there in the future to push her too much, it will depend on her morale," Court said.

Already this year Graf has earned $1 million in prize money alone. In her career she has earned nearly $3 million and countless more on endorsements. Though she is not materialistic -- her hobbies still include collecting T- shirts and shorts -- Graf is no dummy either.

"I feel very secure," she said. "It's a good feeling when you know that you don't have to worry about money anymore. . . . The tennis life is not such a bad life."
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Old Sep 10th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #2360
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
I got the chance to hit a few balls with Patty on the courts of Golden Gate Park in SF back in the 80s. She was hitting with her father, who had the call of nature, and I just lucked out to be on the next court practicing serves and asked if she would mind hitting a few with me, as it was obvious she was a great player. I didn't find out until afterward when a friend asked me if I knew who that was I just hit with.
Last time I checked, she was the head coach for the University of Texas. Probably not a bad gig.
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #2361
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf, 16, Can Handle Pressure
June 08, 1986 | JOHN FEINSTEIN | The Washington Post

PARIS — Steffi Graf was sitting in the players lounge at Roland Garros Stadium, fidgeting slightly as she answered questions. "All the time I am asked the same ones," she said without a trace of rancor. "I try to think of different answers."

Looking up, Graf saw the hairdresser for the women's tennis tour approaching. "Today, you cut your hair, Steffi?" Graf was solemn now. "I don't think I have time," she said, politely. Her layered, shoulder-length blond hair looks just fine. But the woman was persistent. "Please, please," she implored.

"I'll try," Graf finally said. The hairdresser left, delighted.

"In juniors," Graf said, "I always had fun. Everything was fun. Now most of the fun is on the tennis court. It's not as much fun outside the court now."

Steffi Graf will be 17 in two weeks. She is the No. 3-ranked women's tennis player in the world. She should succeed Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd as the best.

And now everyone wants some of Steffi Graf. Her father, who taught her the game. Her agent, who is helping make her rich. The media. Hairdressers. All of West Germany.

Graf thinks she can handle the pressure.

"I have a great life," she said. Her face lit up again. She seemed to mean it.

How good is Graf? In the last decade, challengers to Lloyd and Navratilova have come and gone. Tracy Austin. Andrea Jaeger. Pam Shriver. Manuela Maleeva. Hana Mandlikova.

All have had moments. A victory here and there. But none have ascended the throne. Injuries, burnout or lost motivation, along with the toughness of Navratilova and Lloyd, have prevented them from overtaking the monarchs.

Barring catastrophic injury, Graf should finally do that. She is here at the right time. She has the talent, the mental attitude and--it seems--the protection from burnout so many teen sensations have lacked in the past.

"She's so mature, that's what you notice about her first," Navratilova said. "She's really a fighter on the court. When she gets down, she doesn't pout or give up. She tries to adjust, to find a way. I think that says a lot about her. She's got the shots and she's tough mentally."

Ever since her father, Peter Graf, sawed off the handle of a racket when Graf was 4 so she could hold it, Graf has been a star. She dominated her age groups and turned pro at 13. Unlike Gabriela Sabatini, 11 months her junior, Graf did not burst onto the tour overnight. She has been out for four years now, rising steadily.

Certainly, she has been pushed. Peter Graf is a short, stern man who wants big things for his daughter. He has been given a penalty point once this year in a tournament for coaching from the stands and is never far away when his daughter is playing, practicing, talking or endorsing.

Graf's amazing 23-match winning streak was broken just last week by Mandlikova. Earlier, she had won four straight tournaments.

In April, she beat Lloyd for the first time in the final at Hilton Head, S.C. Two weeks ago, she beat Navratilova for the first time, in the final at West Berlin. Both victories were in straight sets.

Because of the publicized burnout cases of Austin and Jaeger, everyone worries about keeping the pressure off young phenoms. Graf is no exception. Peter Graf has been compared by some to Roland Jaeger, whose temperament, some people believe, drove his daughter out of tennis. But it was Graf who made his daughter take three months off at the end of last year after she had reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open.

Graf has managed so far to play tennis like a woman and still find some time to play off the court like a girl. After she beat Navratilova, Graf went home to Bruehl, a small town in southern Germany for a couple of days. What did she do?

"Played basketball," she said laughing. On her first off day here, what did she do? "It was hot and beautiful so I went for a swim." Tennis prodigies aren't supposed to risk their bodies playing basketball. Graf once broke her left pinky playing the game, but she still plays.

Graf has an extraordinary forehand, the kind that pins people in the corners of the court. Her backhand is improving. If she learns to volley, she will be unbeatable.

"It's all confidence," said JoAnne Russell, who has been on tour throughout the Lloyd-Navratilova era. "Right now, she thinks she can hit any shot. When someone who is good to start with is feeling that way, they're almost impossible to beat. She's ready for anyone."

Graf says she feels differently about Lloyd-Navratilova now. "Last year, I just wanted a chance to play them," she said. "Now, when I play them, I think I have a chance. It's a good feeling. It just surprises me. It's all come so fast."

Remarkably fast. When Graf beat Navratilova, she drubbed her, 6-2, 6-3, in 64 minutes. During the awards ceremony, Navratilova cried. She said later it was because she was unhappy that her family could not be in West Berlin that day. Everyone else thought she was crying because of the magnitude of the defeat.

"I felt so bad about it but I didn't know what to do," Graf said. "When we walked off I said to her, 'The next time will be your turn.' "

Graf's arrival as a star is perfectly timed. Not only is it inevitable that Navratilova-Lloyd will finally begin to fade as they head into their 30s, but Boris Becker exists.

If there was no Becker, Graf would be West Germany's reigning tennis idol right now. But because Becker won Wimbledon last year, he is the German hero. Graf has been able to work her way up through the women's rankings with a minimum of fanfare.

"I think I've been lucky," Graf said. "Because of Boris there's not been so much attention on me and I like that. I don't mind doing the things I'm asked to but I wouldn't want too much. Right now, I still have my free time and my fun."

"What's amazing about Steffi is her consistency," said Phil dePicciotto, her agent. "When we were looking at her age group a couple years ago we made a conscious decision to try to sign her over Sabatini, not because we didn't think Sabatini was very good but because we thought Steffi was going to be the one. I think we were right."

Interestingly, Graf and Sabatini have been playing doubles together recently. They spend a lot of time with their families and their agents and there is some resentment among the other women because Graf and Sabatini are so good.

Graf seems unbothered, at least for now, by all this. She is just playing tennis and having fun. She didn't expect to be so good so soon. "When I played Chris at Hilton Head, I never thought I could win," she said. "I was playing badly before the match, even when I warmed up. But then when we started I think Chris was a little nervous. I won the first set and I was so excited I lost my concentration."

While Graf was celebrating, Lloyd jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second set, but Graf started blasting winners all over the court and came back to win the set, 7-5, and the match.

Lloyd said she learned a lesson from her loss. Navratilova said the same thing after Graf beat her. Time will tell. But her time is coming.

"I don't think I've realized that I'm No. 3 yet," Graf said. "I'm just out playing. I don't worry about those things. I have lots of time to play tennis."

Sometime soon--days, weeks, months at most--Steffi Graf will play tennis better than any woman in the world. "I don't think about that," she said. "You can get hurt, you can lose your confidence, you can get tired of tennis. It's happened to people before."

Could it happen to Steffi Graf? The smile faded. The answer was firm: "No. Not me."
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Old Sep 13th, 2012, 02:49 PM   #2362
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4OV_NCNjQc
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 05:25 PM   #2363
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Such a cute picture of Steffi and how come I haven't seen this before!!!
http://www.repubblica.it/persone/201...graf-42573145/
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 12:00 AM   #2364
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Having only got into tennis in 2005, I missed Steffi's playing days - and coming from Britain, the only player from the past I ever really got told much about was Navratilova who my mother spoke about as the greatest Wimbledon champion when we were watching Venus win her fourth and fifth titles and being called the queen of the all england club.

Only last year did I take to Wikipedia to find out more about Navratilova, and then of other past greats. I was reading about this Steffi Graf - and why hadn't I heard about her before. So then to youtube, and I have fell in love with Steffi's game. Her slice backhand is perhaps my favourite shot ever played by a tennis player, male or female.

So I guess her legend does transcend generations. I continue to spend some spare time watching back her matches on youtube now - if only I could have seen her play live.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 03:19 PM   #2365
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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So I guess her legend does transcend generations. I continue to spend some spare time watching back her matches on youtube now - if only I could have seen her play live.
From all the taped matches I have seen, the NBC feed of the 1993 San Diego semifinal (vs. Martinez) and final (vs. ASV) are two of the best at conveying the "live at the match" feel. Even though both are edited for time, there are some great camera angles and really great sound (at least if it came from a good primary source). It probably won't turn out so well on Youtube, especially not the sound, but maybe there's a high quality torrent floating around.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 11:29 AM   #2366
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I have to disagree with you on TV coverage of San Diego. I remember watching both those 93 matches, and camera was too low down at court level, and they used a lens that gave the court an unnatural lengthy feel. I can't believe I'm saying a camera was too far down close to the court, because camera angles at tennis matches are normally way too high. I also never understood why San Diego didn't do something about those lights- they're virtually right on court, and you see square shadows on court at any time of day but high noon. They're not huge shadows, but they are annoying to look at. But I'm being picky.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 02:23 PM   #2367
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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I got the chance to hit a few balls with Patty on the courts of Golden Gate Park in SF back in the 80s. She was hitting with her father, who had the call of nature, and I just lucked out to be on the next court practicing serves and asked if she would mind hitting a few with me, as it was obvious she was a great player. I didn't find out until afterward when a friend asked me if I knew who that was I just hit with.
you must be an awesome tennis player to be asked to hit balls with Patty Fendick.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 02:25 PM   #2368
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiehardSince05 View Post
Having only got into tennis in 2005, I missed Steffi's playing days - and coming from Britain, the only player from the past I ever really got told much about was Navratilova who my mother spoke about as the greatest Wimbledon champion when we were watching Venus win her fourth and fifth titles and being called the queen of the all england club.

Only last year did I take to Wikipedia to find out more about Navratilova, and then of other past greats. I was reading about this Steffi Graf - and why hadn't I heard about her before. So then to youtube, and I have fell in love with Steffi's game. Her slice backhand is perhaps my favourite shot ever played by a tennis player, male or female.

So I guess her legend does transcend generations. I continue to spend some spare time watching back her matches on youtube now - if only I could have seen her play live.
Nice to see that even now, more than a decade after her last professional match, Steffi's fanbase still grows. So of the matches on youtube you have seen, which one is your favorite so far?
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #2369
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
I have to disagree with you on TV coverage of San Diego. I remember watching both those 93 matches, and camera was too low down at court level, and they used a lens that gave the court an unnatural lengthy feel. I can't believe I'm saying a camera was too far down close to the court, because camera angles at tennis matches are normally way too high. I also never understood why San Diego didn't do something about those lights- they're virtually right on court, and you see square shadows on court at any time of day but high noon. They're not huge shadows, but they are annoying to look at. But I'm being picky.
Well, no one TV camera angle is ever going to be perfect. But I was thinking of the game when Steffi was serving at 0-4 in the first set ("Now I've got her right where I want her..."). If the slice backhand is Diehard's pleasure, that game really showcased that side in all its various guises. Net-skimming, court-biting, curve-balling, and hard-driven. There's one point (I think it's at 15-30) that is totally sick. And then there are the games with Steffi serving at 2-4 (I think), and Arantxa serving at 4-5 first set, that give a feel for the front row baseline bleacher seats vantage point. Maybe as you say a little too far down (or not down enough), but it does give an idea of just how low her shots, forehand and backhand, stayed.
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Old Sep 20th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #2370
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Ms. Anthropic, your point about Graf's shots staying low is interesting. I rarely read or heard about that fact, but I witnessed it firsthand when I finally caught Graf playing live at Wimbledon in 1999. I expected to be blown away by Graf's serve and forehand, but Graf's barely-clearing-the-net groundstrokes and so-fast-they-are-a-blur feet were my big takeaways. What impeccable footwork! And what a scare I got when I realized, live, how little net clearance Graf's groundstrokes got. I kept fearing that so many of her shots would go into the net, but I should have trusted her to win the match without too many problems (and she did).
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