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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 01:58 PM   #2671
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I also think knowing the history is great fun. All the best jokes and moving stories are in the details. The more you know, the more you can appreciate, which is why I'm trying to liberate as much information as I can. I hope that 25 or 50 years from now, if we and our technology have survived, the people who are interested in the history of tennis (or maybe just in the Zeitgeist of the end of the 20th century) will find some of these articles.

Youtube is even more useful. In the brave early days of the internet, it used to take me like four long paragraphs just to describe the action happening in one point. Now I can just say, watch the point at 2-1, 30-15, second set, 1988 Wimbledon final, and it's much more effective. Youtube is why I'm not surprised Steffi is still so popular as a player. Her matches stand up as "entertainment," like a movie you can enjoy again and again, even though you know exactly what will happen next (although I must admit that every time I rewatch the 1986 U.S. Open semi, I think, "Oh, Steffi will win it this time for sure." But she never does...).
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 05:14 PM   #2672
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I'm the same age as Steffi. I don't think I missed much of her matches at the French Open in the late 80's and early 90's, as they were shown on the principal public channel in France (the more so as the French commentator Jean-Paul Loth was a fan). She was so dominating that the question of who would win wasn't what was captivating me (unless her opponents were Seles or Sanchez), but I could just watch her move on the court, it was beautiful. She was almost as graceful as a dancer.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 11:53 AM   #2673
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The team keeping Graf at the top - Coaching Steffi Graf
The Times
London, England
Tuesday, June 14, 1988
Rex Bellamy, Tennis Correspondent

Steffi Graf, who celebrates her nineteenth birthday today, has two men in her life. One is her father, Peter, who has coached the Australian and French champion throughout her career and, on the big occasions, still does. The other is a former Czechoslovak Davis Cup player, Pavel Slozil, who has been her surrogate coach and permanent practice partner for a year and a half.

This trio work as a closely knit team captained by Peter Graf. Two years ago he realized that Steffi needed full-time professional help and that, having other responsibilities back home in Germany, he could not always be with her on the road. He broached the subject with the popular, mild-mannered Slozil, then aged 30.

"I was finishing my career," Slozil told me recently. "I'd always played the major tournaments, but I began to lose in the early rounds and started to play qualifications. So I was looking for something new.

"I thought I should take care of somebody and for a year and a half I helped Horacio de la Pena and Jakob Hlasek. But I couldn't give them 100 per cent because I was still playing. Then Peter asked if I could help Steffi. My federation agreed and I started the job."

Slozil was surprised to find out how demanding yet satisfying his task was. "Peter had asked me if I could practise four hours a day. I thought, why is he asking? If I can play with the men, I can play with a woman. But in January, 1987, in Spain, I began to understand. We played four hours a day on hard courts. Every Saturday. Every Sunday. No break.

"When I played for myself I was not a real professional, 100 per cent for tennis. When I lost, I thought about my family and going home to Prague. Taking three days off. Playing soccer. I can't do that now. With Steffi, it's more intensive. Somebody worked out that we spent more than 40 weeks together last year.

"There was more playing, more travelling, than before. I can't go to discos, can't drink, because the next day I must be in shape. And I spend so little time mostly, it's two or three days with my wife and family." Slozil and his wife, Jana, who often travels with him, are lucky in that their daughter, aged four, can stay at home with young grandparents.

Slozil was not complaining. I had asked him to talk about both sides of his job as Graf-sharpener. As a final comment on the less glamorous aspects, he pointed out that in some ways, competing was easier than caring for others.

Of his early days with the Davis Cup team, he said: "I sat on the bench with the other kids, hoping that Smid or Lendl would win. It's easier to take care of yourself. On the bench, you can't help. You can't do anything."

A similar situation cropped up in January when Graf, having led Chris Evert by 6-1 and 5-1 in the final of the Australian championship, lost game after game before clinching the title. Slozil could only watch helplessly.

"All that is the hard part," Slozil said. "The job is very difficult. But I like it very much because I enjoy working on the court: and you can see the results. When Peter asked me if I could help, (Steffi was No.3 in the world rankings). She became No.2, then No.1. Now she is in a position where she is not supposed to lose a match, so there is a lot of pressure.

"Steffi is a self-critical person for whom everything has to be perfect and she likes the work. She enjoys every hour of practice, every day. That's very good. It makes my job much easier."

Players who have been prominent for longer than Graf need a perceptive and reassuring practice partner more than they need a coach. Mike Estep, who worked with Martina Navratilova in her prime, has observed: "Every player, even the No. 1, has a confidence problem."

Warren Jacques, director of the British men's international squad, has been playing and coaching since he was a teenager. Jacques worked with juniors in Australia and Texas in turn before he became the mentor of Kevin Curren, Steve Denton, Bill Scanlon, Anne Smith and Kathy Jordan.

"I'd watched all these players," Jacques says, "and they lacked what I'd lacked - the support and knowledge of somebody giving them guidance on the road. I wish I'd had it: I would have been a damn sight better player."

Jacques says a coach can provide technical help, organize training and practice, "scout" opponents in order to devise strategy, and analyse a player's game after a series of losses ("You can't do it on your own"). A coach, he added, should "know the real pressures of match-play".

Boris Becker, like Graf, is still young enough to benefit from full-time help: that of Bob Brett. But the celebrities mostly need coaches only when preparing for and competing in the grand slam tournaments. And many coaches cannot spare the time to be on the road all the year.

Dennis Ralston and Tony Roche join Chris Evert and Ivan Lendl only for the big occasions. Roche was originally approached when John McEnroe was at his peak and Lendl needed the help of a left-handed specialist on grass.

At this level, coaches come expensive. Those sporadically engaged on the international tour have to hire somebody to look after the shop while they are away. Those travelling full-time expect more than they would make in a more secure job.

The terms of engagement vary, but full-time help can cost a player anything from Pounds 300 to Pounds 1,250 a week, plus expenses and a coach's travelling and hotel costs for 25 weeks in a year can amount to about Pounds 15,000.

Finally, coach and player have to get on well. One of the least predictable teams is that of the quiet and dreamy Stefan Edberg and that genial, garrulous extrovert, Tony Pickard, a former British Davis Cup player (who discusses Edberg as some American boxing managers discuss their charges in the first person plural).

Not a lot of Swedes have Nottingham coaches. This partnership happened by accident. Pickard had some early coaching experience with British Galea Cup and Davis Cup teams but later became international professional tennis director for Wilson, the Chicago-based sporting goods company.

Seven years ago, Pickard secured Edberg's signature on an endorsement contract. The chemistry between them was perfect. To be glib about it, Edberg had the talent and Pickard the confidence. If challenged about Edberg's Wimbledon chances, Pickard would doubtless suggest that "we" could beat everybody.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 12:03 PM   #2674
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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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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 12:24 PM   #2675
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4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice 4times is just really nice
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Happy Birthday, Steffi!
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 03:17 PM   #2676
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4times View Post
Happy Birthday, Steffi!
this !!!!

from the deepest of my heart !!!!

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Aga_DanI HaNTuCHoVa_VEra ZvONareVa_Jelena

Angelique Kerber | Ana Ivanovic | Annika Beck

forgive, you will never reach the level of my loyalty for the best that has ever played:
__Steffi forever__

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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 08:14 PM   #2677
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Happy birthday and thank you for being my childhood and youth superstar.


Danke. Die Beste aller Zeiten.


Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 44. Geburtstag. (shit i'm old myself )
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and a reminiscence to the past:
HELEN KELESI FOREVER
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:25 AM   #2678
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Ok I am late, and I won't need to write something, because a Magicman said it all perfectly
Happy birthday.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 12:18 PM   #2679
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I would pay money for the audio/video of the quote below in bold. There are a lot of ways she could have said that, and the tone would make all the difference in the interpretation. It could have been said in a matter-of-fact manner, or sarcastically, or (as journalist Dave Kindred once described the way she said something at the previous year's Wimbledon) "casually but not without subtlety," or it could have been an imperious roar of a promise.

WIMBLEDON DRAW GOOD TO MCENROE
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Wednesday, June 15, 1988
Rick Warner, Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - Wimbledon doesn't begin until next week, but John McEnroe already is off to a good start.

McEnroe, who is returning to the famed grass courts for the first time in three years, fared well in Tuesday's draw.

The three-time champion opens against Horst Skoff, 19, of Austria. Then McEnroe is not scheduled to face a true grass-court player until the fourth round, when his opponent could be hard-serving Kevin Curren, who beat McEnroe in the 1985 quarterfinals.

British bookies were so impressed by McEnroe's draw that they shortened his odds to 5-1 from 7-1, making him the third choice behind co-favorites Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker.

Lendl, the top seed and No. 1 player in the world, meets Britain's David Felgate in the opening round. Becker, the sixth seed and two-time champion, faces John Frawley of Australia.

Felgate, ranked 360th in the world, said he would not be intimidated by Lendl.

"I am the best man at a friend's wedding on Saturday and have to make a speech," he said. "The prospect of having to do that frightens me more at the moment than playing the world's No. 1 player."

Lendl, Becker, defending champion Pat Cash and French Open runner-up Henri Leconte are in the same half of the draw. Barring upsets, the quarterfinal pairings would be Lendl-Leconte and Cash-Becker.

If the seedings hold up in the other half of the draw, second-seeded Mats Wilander would meet No. 8 McEnroe and third-seeded Stefan Edberg would play No. 5 Jimmy Connors in the other quarterfinals.

Wilander won the first two Grand Slam events of the year, the Australian Open on hardcourts and the French Open on clay. But he has never made it past the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, which requires an aggressive serve-and-volley game.

In women's singles, top-seeded Steffi Graf opens against Hu Na of the United States. No. 2 Martina Navratilova, who is seeking her seventh successive Wimbledon singles title and record ninth overall, meets Sabrina Goles of Yugoslovavia in the first round.

Like Wilander, Graf is halfway to the Grand Slam after winning the Australian and French Opens. But she is more concerned about winning her first Wimbledon than completing the Slam.

"This is the most famous tournament in the world," said Graf, who lost to Navratilova in last year's final. "This is the one everyone wants to win."

Graf, who is skipping this week's warm-up tournament in Eastbourne to practice privately in London, turned 19 Tuesday. At the draw, she was presented with flowers, gold earrings and a birthday cake decorated with candles arranged to form the No. 1.

Asked how she was celebrating her birthday, Graf said, "I practiced this morning. And I'm going to practice again this afternoon. Then I'm going home for the night. I will have my party after Wimbledon."

Navratilova seemed pleased with her first-round pairing against Goles, ranked 48th in the world.

"I guess I'd rather play her than McEnroe," she said after winning her second-round match at Eastbourne.

Navratilova and fourth-seeded Chris Evert may have a chance to avenge their upset defeats at the French Open.

Navratilova, who was beaten in Paris by 17-year-old Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union, could meet her in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Evert, who lost to 16-year-old Arantxa Sanchez of Spain at the French Open, is seeded to meet Sanchez in the third round.

Evert, still bothered by a heel injury that hindered her at the French Open, plays Alexia Dechaume of France in the opening round.

Sanchez's brothers, Emilio and Javier, will play each other in the opening round of the men's singles. It will be the first brother matchup at Wimbledon since before World War I.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 04:47 PM   #2680
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

These Steffi's double-bagel records were taken from the ATP forum...
1983 Wimbledon, Q1, Steffi Graf bt. Ms. Narbarough 6-0 6-0
1984 Hilton Head, Q1, Steffi Graf bt. Yvona Brzakova 6-0 6-0
1987 Boca Raton, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Sara Gomer 6-0 6-0
1987 Wimbledon, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Tine Scheuer-Larsen 6-0 6-0
1987 Los Angeles, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Pascale Paradis-Mangon 6-0 6-0
1988 French Open, F, Steffi Graf bt. Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0
1988 Wimbledon, R128, Steffi Graf bt. Hu Na 6-0 6-0
1988 Hamburg, QF, Steffi Graf bt. Raffaella Reggi-Concato 6-0 6-0
1989 Australian Open, R64, Steffi Graf bt. Rene Simpson 6-0 6-0
1989 Washington, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Carling Bassett-Sequso 6-0 6-0
1989 Berlin, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Neige Dias 6-0 6-0
1989 San Diego, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Rene Simpson 6-0 6-0
1989 San Diego, QF, Steffi Graf bt. Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-0 6-0
1989 Wahwah, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Kimberly Kessaris 6-0 6-0
1989 Brighton, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Laura Garrone 6-0 6-0
1991, US Open, R64, Steffi Graf bt. Catherine Mothes 6-0 6-0
1992 Chicago, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Rika Hiraki 6-0 6-0
1992 Fed Cup, QF, Steffi Graf bt. Katarzyna Nowak 6-0 6-0
1993 Wimbledon, R128, Steffi Graf bt. Kirrily Sharpe 6-0 6-0
1993 Wimbledon, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Helen Kelesi 6-0 6-0
1994 Indian Wells, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Tracy Austin 6-0 6-0
1994 Hamburg, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Silke Frankl 6-0 6-0

I cant help but laugh (and feel sorry) for Rene Simpson who was double-bageled twice in one year - gosh...
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 11:03 PM   #2681
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

THANK YOU Ms Anthropic for the funny birthday post, I laughed so badly at every sentence

This one killed me the most :

Quote:
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."
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 06:53 AM   #2682
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisfan2808 View Post
1993 Wimbledon, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Helen Kelesi 6-0 6-0
Darn, Helen "I always bomb out @ Wimbledon in the 1st round" Kelesi was on a run to reach R32 and then faced Steffi on No. 1 court and got SO close to winning a game but was betrayed by the umpire. (at least that wouldve been her version)

She was so frustrated after the match that she crushed her Oakley Sun Glasses after the match with a foot. (I don't think a sponsor would love that too much).

Never gracious in defeat. I love her.
__________________
Greta Arn - Yanina Wickmayer

and a reminiscence to the past:
HELEN KELESI FOREVER
Hater of Ratwanska & Wozniacki
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 07:00 PM   #2683
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Magicman View Post
Darn, Helen "I always bomb out @ Wimbledon in the 1st round" Kelesi was on a run to reach R32 and then faced Steffi on No. 1 court and got SO close to winning a game but was betrayed by the umpire. (at least that wouldve been her version)

She was so frustrated after the match that she crushed her Oakley Sun Glasses after the match with a foot. (I don't think a sponsor would love that too much).

Never gracious in defeat. I love her.
For all of Hurricane Helen's tantrums, she seemed to go into that match resigned to defeat. I think her quote was something like: "I hope I last longer than 39 minutes."

For the record, she didn't. Only took 35 minutes. No free pizza for you, Helen!

Steffi was like, There was nothing I could do about it, I don't mean to double bagel people, but I can't give them a game, either.
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 12:33 PM   #2684
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Of course, many of the pundits thought Steffi would falter on grass, "her worst surface" and Navratilova's best one. In fact, even after the final there are still a few pundits who marvel that Steffi could play like that "on her worst surface." Needless to say (but I will anyway), some of these pundits are not perceptive or are very rigid, even fossilized, in their thinking.

Meanwhile, Steffi knows what round she's going to reach, and let's just say her practices have been purposeful: "Last year, I was surprised to make the final," said Graf, who skipped the main warm-up tournament in Eastbourne to practice privately in London. "This year, I know I can do it. That makes a big difference."

Her reaction to the constant Grand Slam questioning, apart from being somewhat annoyed, is very rational and sensible, probably too rational and sensible for a sport like tennis: "It would be a very special achievement," Graf said. "It's something very few players have done. But I'm more concerned with winning Wimbledon than winning the Grand Slam."

SLAM WASN'T SO GRAND DURING BUDGE'S CAREER
Sun-Sentinel
Sunday, June 19, 1988
JIM SARNI

Grand Slam.

The words rang through the interview room at Roland Garros moments after Steffi Graf won the French Open.

Do you think you can win the Grand Slam?

Graf had won the Australian Open and the French Open. She was halfway there.

''Are you going to ask Mats the same question?'' Graf responded.

You bet.

The media pounced on Mats Wilander as soon as he won the French Open the next day. The Australian Open champion, now the French Open champion, Wilander was halfway there too.

Can you win the Grand Slam?

Graf and Wilander will hear the chorus again this week at Wimbledon, the third leg of the Grand Slam. The better they do, the louder it will get.

Grand Slam, Grand Slam, Grand Slam.

Fifty years ago, when Don Budge accomplished tennis' first Grand Slam, nobody cared.

In 1937, Budge won the Sullivan Award, pronouncing him the United States' best amateur athlete, after his victories at Wimbledon and Forest Hills. Budge added the Australian and French Opens the following year, and the Sullivan Award went to someone else.

''Things of this sort tend to be accepted only with time and publicity,'' Budge wrote years later.

Budge chased his dream without the pressure that covers Graf and Wilander.

The only pressure Budge felt was self-imposed. After his strong year in 1937, he privately decided to go after the Grand Slam.

The Grand Slam required more preparation in those days. A player couldn't call Qantas and get a seat in first class to Australia.

The ticket to Melbourne 50 years ago was on a three-week sea cruise.

Australia was a long way to go for nothing, and Budge won the first Grand Slam tournament easily.

Budge next took the French Open with some help from the Nazis, who arrested and imprisoned Baron Gottfried von Cramm, Budge's main rival.

Two-for-two, but no questions in the interview room. Budge won Wimbledon without losing a set, and went to Forest Hills for the final act.

Budge was stalled by a hurricane that postponed the U.S. Open final for a week. But when the rains finally stopped, Budge conquered his doubles partner, Gene Mako. The unseeded Mako took a set, but Budge prevailed and the original Grand Slam was his.

Maureen Connolly achieved the next Grand Slam in 1953 when she was 18. Rod Laver did it in 1962 as an amateur and in 1969 as a pro. Margaret Court completed the last real Grand Slam (with apologies to Martina Navratilova) in 1970.

Now Graf and Wilander are on the hot seat. Bjorn Borg was the last player to get this close, in 1980. Borg kept winning the French and Wimbledon but always tripped at the U.S. Open.

Can you win the Grand Slam, Steffi? How about you, Mats?

The ambush is set up for Graf and Wilander on the lawns of Wimbledon. Navratilova waits behind one bush for the young West German; Boris Becker, Pat Cash, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and every man with a hard serve and a good day block the Swede's path.

Grand Slam... Grand... Gra...

Two weeks from now, it should be just an echo.

-- Happy Father's Day to John Lloyd, who will be a new Dad in December.

Lloyd, the player-coach of the Los Angeles Strings, will be at Deer Creek next month for the TeamTennis match with the South Florida Breakers.
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Old Jun 20th, 2013, 04:39 AM   #2685
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisfan2808 View Post
These Steffi's double-bagel records were taken from the ATP forum...
1983 Wimbledon, Q1, Steffi Graf bt. Ms. Narbarough 6-0 6-0
1984 Hilton Head, Q1, Steffi Graf bt. Yvona Brzakova 6-0 6-0
1987 Boca Raton, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Sara Gomer 6-0 6-0
1987 Wimbledon, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Tine Scheuer-Larsen 6-0 6-0
1987 Los Angeles, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Pascale Paradis-Mangon 6-0 6-0
1988 French Open, F, Steffi Graf bt. Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0
1988 Wimbledon, R128, Steffi Graf bt. Hu Na 6-0 6-0
1988 Hamburg, QF, Steffi Graf bt. Raffaella Reggi-Concato 6-0 6-0
1989 Australian Open, R64, Steffi Graf bt. Rene Simpson 6-0 6-0
1989 Washington, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Carling Bassett-Sequso 6-0 6-0
1989 Berlin, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Neige Dias 6-0 6-0
1989 San Diego, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Rene Simpson 6-0 6-0
1989 San Diego, QF, Steffi Graf bt. Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-0 6-0
1989 Wahwah, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Kimberly Kessaris 6-0 6-0
1989 Brighton, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Laura Garrone 6-0 6-0
1991, US Open, R64, Steffi Graf bt. Catherine Mothes 6-0 6-0
1992 Chicago, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Rika Hiraki 6-0 6-0
1992 Fed Cup, QF, Steffi Graf bt. Katarzyna Nowak 6-0 6-0
1993 Wimbledon, R128, Steffi Graf bt. Kirrily Sharpe 6-0 6-0
1993 Wimbledon, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Helen Kelesi 6-0 6-0
1994 Indian Wells, R16, Steffi Graf bt. Tracy Austin 6-0 6-0
1994 Hamburg, R32, Steffi Graf bt. Silke Frankl 6-0 6-0

I cant help but laugh (and feel sorry) for Rene Simpson who was double-bageled twice in one year - gosh...
Tennisfan, there is a link to your post in John Wertheim's Tennis Mailbag on CNN SI! Second time I've seen the mailbag provide a link to this thread. Cool! (And yes, Rene Simpson must have felt horrible having to face Steffi twice that year and not winning a single game in 4 sets!

ETA: here's the link (look for the line in page 2 of the article that says "In praise of Steffi Graf, who won the Grand Slam 25 years ago.") http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ten...?sct=tn_t11_a4
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