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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 02:56 PM   #3511
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Eh, I think it would have been more like a case of pity the kook who is stupid enough to try a copycat attack against Steffi while she is holding a racket. There is a great one from around the 1996 French Open when H.A. Branham, who, as attentive readers will recall, was not initially one of Steffi's biggest admirers in the press corps, lets us in on some behind-the-scenes banter regarding Steffi's toughness: "We figure if Steffi had been stabbed that time -- April 1993 -- she would have taken two weeks off, then entered the French Open. And won. And after the guy stabbed her, she probably would have turned around and punched him."

Repercussions of Seles attack linger
USA TODAY
Wednesday, April 27, 1994
Tom Weir

As much as anyone who took to the tennis court in recent years, Monica Seles was a fighter.

Sounding more like a defensive lineman at the snap of the ball, Seles accompanied her every stroke with a grunt. When she was really into it, that noise could carry beyond stadium walls.

She patrolled the baseline like a guard dog assigned to a specific territory. From there, she was content to whack away relentlessly, for as many returns as it took to wilt her opponent.

As athletes go, her arms were relatively waif-like. But there was no question she was as tough as they come.

Yet Saturday will mark a full year since Seles competed. It has been that long since a deranged spectator wedged a kitchen knife into Seles' back.

By all accounts, the physical scars have healed. But not the emotional ones.

Seles was expected to make her grand slam return in January at the Australian Open, then elected to take more time. Now, it would be a surprise if she played at Wimbledon in June.

And of course the Citizen Cup in Hamburg, Germany, where the attack occurred last April 30, is passing without her presence.

But even without Seles, there was a grim reminder this week that the nuts are still out there.

Despite a death threat in Hamburg, Steffi Graf decided to play on. If she was rattled by the threat, there was no sign of it in her 6-0, 6-0 victory Tuesday.

Germany's other tennis superstar, Boris Becker , also has had to endure recent threats that appear to be related to his political views and the fact his wife is black.

But this is hardly just a problem for Germans or tennis players.

Even in gun-free Japan, Katarina Witt not long ago had to have armed guards stationed outside her hotel room, because of fears she was being stalked.

And it's not all that far-fetched to anticipate the day when all major sports events - and not just the Olympics - will have the kind of security that accompanied President Clinton's visit to the Final Four.

Not only will you have to leave early to beat the traffic, but also to avoid the crush at metal detectors.

In the wake of Tonya Harding's legal saga, Nancy Kerrigan's initial reaction to the attack on her in Detroit has been forgotten.

"Is Ontario near here?" Kerrigan asked her coach, Evy Scotvold. That was because Kerrigan had received some particularly disturbing mail from that part of Canada, just across the border from Detroit.

While Kerrigan was a guest at the Academy Awards, an arrest also was made of a man believed to be stalking her.

Kerrigan, talking this month about the 10,000 pieces of mail she had received since the Winter Olympics, told USA TODAY's Steve Woodward that most were supportive.

"But there are some," she added delicately, "just a handful, you don't know exactly how to take them."

No doubt there are hundreds of other examples of weirdos threatening sports figures that we never hear about, for fear of encouraging them.

In Alabama, some people have wondered if the police really need to provide Michael Jordan with an escort after his baseball games for the Class AA Birmingham Barons.

Maybe it does appear excessive. But given Alabama's past, consider what would be said about lackadaisical security if the world's most prominent black athlete was hit with a random act of violence there.

In today's sports-obsessed world, the only scenario to consider is the worst. As cold-hearted as it would seem, you no longer can blame any athlete who elects not to face the crush of autograph-seekers.

In Hamburg, Graf this week said, "By playing here, I want to show that I am not worried about an attack."

Her courage should be applauded. But one hopes that, for her own sake, she also will stay at least a little worried.
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 03:00 PM   #3512
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Getting ahead in the timeline, but it fits better in the narrative here.

From Hamburg to Paris: Graf's Unrivaled Reign
Ian Thomsen
May 20, 1994
New York Times

PARIS— "To tell you the truth, I was hoping it was not that way," Steffi Graf says. "I was hoping so badly, because I had that idea."

She was hoping the stabbing had not been planned for her benefit.

"Then, when I heard the next news, that probably a Yugoslav was the one who did it to her, I was a little ... " Graf stops; she doesn't want to admit this. "Tiny bit relieved," she says.

Because how could she live with it otherwise? It has been more than a year since the nightmare in Hamburg, but Graf is much more than one year older.

The latest French Open premieres Monday with all the suspense of a movie made out of a best-seller. Graf is the female lead, likely to win her fifth consecutive Grand Slam event, the fifth since Hamburg. She figures to be challenged mainly by the 1989 champion, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, and the 37-year-old Martina Navratilova, a two-time winner making her farewell after a five-year absence from these clay courts, her least favorite surface.

But most of all, Graf will be dogged by her co-star, Monica Seles. Her attacker was not Yugoslav; somehow Graf realized he was German before the rest of us.

"I've met enough people to get the idea of what can happen," she says quietly.

She reclaimed Seles's No.1 ranking - Graf always said the ranking meant little but she has held onto it like an ideal. Perhaps it was inherited, but she has adopted it.

The difference means everything, for she is the first champion in generations to succeed without a rival. Chris Evert took over from Billie Jean King and her group, and then along came Martina, forever and ever; they both were overtaken by Steffi (though Martina remains near her shoulder), and then Monica.

Then Seles was removed, and only the man with the knife and the most cynical observers can believe he did Graf a favor.

Seles's absence has put more pressure upon Graf than any series of grunting, two-handed rallies. Graf was chasing Seles, drafting from behind, catching up, when suddenly, under the worst circumstances, the leader fell out. And the surroundings changed artificially. She no longer heard the crowd cheering for her against Seles. Her strengths - the underdog's strengths - are as the ruin of the women's game. Even Graf says so. When asked about the problems in women's tennis, she says: "I think it starts with my domination at the moment. The main thing, after that, are just little things." A strong administrative leader, better public relations.

These days, you cannot be paying to watch an opponent compete against her. Instead, you watch to see how she handles herself. You watch for the first sign that she is taking it easy, as most others would. Along those lines, she discloses very little.

"My performance is most important for me," she says. "The other day I won, 6-2, 6-2, and I wasn't very happy. I felt I made a lot of unforced errors. That's why I don't show much emotion. I know I would get myself out of rhythm. I know because I do it in practice a lot."

The obvious point has to be made: If her dominance is a dull incrimination of women's tennis, then it is not her fault. A graver symptom of the game's problems is the perception of players - men and women - as spoiled and greedy, taking advantage without giving their best efforts. If you want to support that argument, then there isn't much room to turn around and criticize the best player for trying her best, regardless of the opponent.

She thinks she has become more emotional in recent years. (Can't be.) This surfaced last year, after her surprisingly difficult 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 final victory over Mary Joe Fernandez - when Graf was so caught up that she neglected, regrettably, to announce her best wishes to Seles. But then Wimbledon was 15 days away, and Graf was wondering whether this victory - her first after three straight French Opens had been taken by Seles - might keep her from winning her favorite tournament. She had won in spite of a stress fracture in her right foot.

"It wasn't easy to make the decision to play at Wimbledon," she says. "From day to day I was saying, 'If it's going to hurt like this the next day, I'm not going to play.' I stopped practicing in the middle of it. Then I put my head down and thought about it, and it was the right decision." Thanks, in great part, to the third-set collapse of Jana Novotna.

After surgery last October to remove bone fragments from her foot, Graf began a regimen of workouts that has made her better than ever, she believes.

"I have to do it because I've had a lot of injuries, and the only way to get rid of them is to work more on the physical part," she says. "Before, I have been kind of lazy off of the court. I had never really done a lot of weights or running outside of tennis. I keep working because there is still so much left to accomplish."

If she is working harder than she did last year, when Seles was above her, then what does that say? So solitary and stubborn is Graf that in the days after the stabbing, she pleaded that the players not be closeted from the fans. Even now she refuses to be guarded.

"I think, being in Germany, I know some things that maybe a few people don't know," she adds. "There are a lot of crazy people around, and I've met a lot of crazy people. I've lived with the risk that something can happen to me. I just know something can happen, and I can't do anything about it. Even if you have five people around you, there will always be moments where you will be vulnerable. I have learned to live with that."

And so, ultimately, she seems sad. She has always looked that way. There has always been joy in the variety of shots, the aggressive play, but it rarely appears from the person. And now the world watches only her, recalling, just as she must, that she really doesn't have anyone to play against.

The pain rises in her voice as she talks about Hamburg. The knife cut her rival in a less obvious way. You say it's a scar, that it must have healed, and she says, "It heals, but you always can see it."
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 03:06 PM   #3513
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi Graf extends winning streak
San Antonio Express-News
Thursday, April 28, 1994
Compiled from Wire Reports

Steffi Graf ran her winning streak to 34 matches by sweeping to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Linda Ferrando of Italy on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Citizen Cup at Hamburg, Germany.

Graf has dropped only one set in 1994.

Graf slammed a topspin backhand past Ferrando at the net to claim the first game, then routed her in 52 minutes.

"There were a few bad serves, but all-in-all I'm satisfied," said Graf.

Third-seeded Jana Novotna of Czech Republic reached the quarterfinals by breezing past Russia's Elena Makarova 6-1, 6-1, while eighth-seeded Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria won her first-round match against Britain's Clare Wood, 6-2, 6-0.

Also reaching the quarterfinals were the winners of two all-German duels. Barbara Rittner edged Petra Begerow, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 and sixth-seeded Sabine Hack ousted Meike Babel 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 03:11 PM   #3514
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Stansfield: It's when you start to become really afraid of death that you learn to appreciate life. Do you like life, sweetheart?

Mathilda: Yes.

Stansfield: That's good [smiles and caresses her head] ... because I take no pleasure in taking a life if it's from a person who doesn't care about it.

The Professional (a.k.a. Léon: The Professional), Gaumont Film Company/Columbia Pictures, 1994


Graf has another stroll - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Thursday, April 28, 1994

Steffi Graf, of Germany, strolled to a second easy victory in the Citizen Cup in Hamburg yesterday, reaching the quarter-finals with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Linda Ferrando. Ferrando, who beat Monica Seles, the former world No. 1 at the 1990 US Open, made no such impression on the near-perfect top seed. Though the holder of 14 grand slam titles had problems with her first service, she quickly dispatched her Italian opponent. "There isn't much to say about the match," Graf said. "I really don't get much satisfaction from a match like that."
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 03:27 PM   #3515
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Safety in tennis is number one ... well, that's not true, but it is in the Top Five.

Threats to safety not new to sport
USA TODAY
Thursday, April 28, 1994
Cindy Shmerler

While the stabbing of Monica Seles a year ago Saturday certainly was an anomaly in sports, it is no rarity for a tennis player to receive death threats or to be stalked.

Most athletes prefer not to talk about such incidents.

"Of course there are copycats who do this kind of thing to get in the newspapers," Steffi Graf says. "I'm not afraid at all, and I'm not taking it that seriously. It is the price of being in the public eye."

Graf ought to know. She has received death threats over the years and been stalked.

Earlier this week, "friends of Seles and opponents of Graf" sent a letter to a German newspaper threatening to attack Graf if she played in Hamburg.

Several years ago, a man who had written her love letters walked onto a court where she was practicing and slit his wrists in front of her. More recently, a man drove his car through the gate of her home in Germany, left his luggage by the front door and began professing his love.

Chris Evert once got on an airplane, only to be greeted by two security agents who informed her a threat had been phoned in against "someone famous traveling on that flight."

"We used to think tennis was a nice little insular world," Evert said earlier this year, "and to a certain extent it still is. But what happened to Monica could just as easily have happened to any other athlete, especially in smaller European countries where the athlete is considered bigger than life."
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Old Apr 28th, 2014, 12:36 PM   #3516
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Even after a five week break, the media and Steffi are, unfortunately, right back where they left off at the Lipton: Getting on each other's last nerves. Steffi's criticism of the German press from back in 1988 echoes: "All they write about is the minutes or the money." We note Arantxa is the first beneficiary of this newfangled MRI gadget.

An hourly wage of $5865 - Steffi Graf wins her second match at the Citizen Cup
Hamburger Abendblatt
April 28, 1994
Stefan Reckziegel and Christian-A. Thiel report from Rothenbaum

Hamburg - "What should I do then? Please make suggestions." Steffi Graf can no longer stand the constant questions about how she can contribute to greater attractiveness in the face of her oppressive dominance in women's tennis. Because even the Italian Linda Ferrando was no more than a sparring partner, at 6-1, 6-1 in her second match at the Citizen Cup.

Steffi Graf bravely received even such silly ideas as the payment of an hourly wage instead of prize money: "It depends on how high the sum." Currently, she is working in Hamburg ($9000 for the quarterfinals) for $5868 per hour. And counting.

The 85 places in the world rankings that separate Linda Ferrando (No. 37) from Graf's first opponent, Silke Frankl (122), amounted to just 2 games and 22 minutes. The 6-1, 6-1 result was decided after 57 minutes.

The Italian chose the formula with which she had beaten Monica Seles at the 1990 U.S. Open: Serve and volley. "But clay is maybe not the right surface for that," Steffi Graf exposed her opponent's style of play as a mistake. "You just have a lot more time to react." At the end, her supremacy was so sweeping that Steffi Graf "had difficulty keeping my concentration." 2500 spectators were thankful when she finally lost a game to go 5-1 after a Rothenbaum hour.

In the quarterfinal against Magdalena Maleeva (No. 14), the anticipated resistance might finally emerge. However, the No. 1 is confident: "I must fear no one here."

Maybe she was already glad to hear that Monica Seles still aspires to come back. A year after the attack in Hamburg, she told the magazine "Sports Life": "Of course I will play tennis again. I don't want to be remembered just as someone who grunted and giggled." The time frame is undetermined.

Two other German players joined Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals. But the ladies who arrived had more trouble than expected. Sabine Hack (24) required 2 hours and 13 minutes to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 against Meike Babel (19).

And Barbara Rittner (20) made her life unnecessarily difficult against Petra Begerow (19). Only after more than two and a half hours did she win 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 -- because her young opponent beat herself. She lost the decisive service game with a double fault. "She still needs time," said the women's team coach Klaus Hofsäss of Petra Begerow.

Meanwhile, Barbara Rittner sought a reason for her indifferent performance. "I put myself under too much pressure." In the quarterfinal, she won't need this worry. Against the fifth-ranked Jana Novotna, the German is a gross outsider.

* * *

High Tech: After the launch of the ultrasound scanner in 1987, the medical center at Rothenbaum is celebrating a new world premiere. For the first time, the physicians have a portable MRI at their disposal. The DM500,000 piece of equipment was resourced from the company Esaote Biomedica from Pisa. Orthopedist Bernd Kabelka: "Before her next singles match, Arantxa Sanchez will have her knee in the tube for a half hour." Unlike X-rays, the picture shows ligaments and tendons and is totally harmless.

Glitch: Steffi Graf had bad luck. The radar gun, which measures the fastest serves on Centre Court, malfunctioned -- of all the times -- during her match against Linda Ferrando. So she didn't know if she had finally reached her goal: "I would like to finally reach the 170 (km/h) mark." Her record: 169 km/h, in Hamburg 167.

Return: Boris Becker is playing again -- at least in doubles. At the tournament in Munich, he won at the side of Czech Petr Korda against the South Africans Haygarth and Kruger 6-3, 7-5. Becker's start in Hamburg has become more likely. 16 bodyguards will be deployed for his protection. Michael Stich has reached the quarterfinals in Munich after a 6-4, 6-3 win against Slava Dosedel.
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Old Apr 29th, 2014, 08:03 PM   #3517
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Why they continued to dither about a special ranking/seeding consideration for someone who had just made it clear that she wasn't coming back any time soon is strange -- and they are pretty much going to close the subject soon.

Tennis: Women's game split on Seles seeding: If the former world No 1 comes back, she may have to start again at the bottom.
The Independent
London, England
Friday, April 29, 1994
JOHN ROBERTS

A year after the stabbing of Monica Seles during a match in Hamburg, a dispute over the conditions of her comeback - assuming she ever makes one - threatens to divide women's tennis.

The 20-year-old Seles, who was the reigning world No 1 when attacked by an obsessive Steffi Graf supporter, will have neither a ranking nor a privileged seeding if Gerry Smith, the chief executive of the Women's Tennis Association, gets his way.

'My feeling,' Smith said yesterday, 'is that when Monica returns to the tour she'll have to fight her way back and perform to the point where she is able to work her ranking back, which I have no doubt she'll be able to do.

'I think there should be no special seeding consideration. I think she's been out too long, and it would be unfair and inappropriate to the tour and to the rest of the players. That's the position I will take when we discuss this at our next board meeting.'

It is likely to be Smith's last stand. He is due to step down as the WTA's chief executive and take a consultative position.

Tournament directors are aghast at the thought of Seles being drawn against top seeds in opening rounds. 'It's a nightmare scenario,' said George Hendon, who runs the women's events at Eastbourne and Brighton. 'We could have Monica Seles playing Steffi Graf on a wet Tuesday afternoon in Brighton.'

Seles has lost all her computer ranking points but as a past Grand Slam champion, she would be provided with wild cards for the main draw of tournaments. Initially, it was suggested that she be given a joint No 1 ranking with Graf. This was rejected in favour of a special seeding consideration.

'That thinking,' Smith said, 'was in anticipation that she might return before the end of last year. I feel now that she should be treated the same way we would treat any other player when they have been out for an extended period of time.

'Look at Tracy Austin. She is a former No 1 in the world. She has been given some wild cards and has got a ranking back and she's continuing to make a comeback.'

This hardly seems a fair comparison. Austin, aged 31, had been out of the game for nine years, long enough to be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, and the injuries which interrupted her career were not inflicted by a knifeman.

Seles, according to Smith, considers his proposal to be the best option open to her. 'From what I understand of her views from Stephanie Tolleson (her agent with International Management Group), Monica has taken the point of view that if we gave her a special seeding consideration, such as a co-No 1, she wanted to receive a co-ranking of No 1. We very much separated those two issues a little less than a year ago and decided that co-ranking her No 1 was inappropriate.

'Ironically, I think Monica would prefer not to be given a special seeding consideration. I think when she returns she wants the advantage of having to play some top players earlier in the tournament.'

The higher the ranking of her opponent, the more bonus points Seles can accumulate - but, in Hendon's opinion, Graf would virtually have to leave the game for Seles to overtake her from a standing start. 'I believe if Seles came back with zero points it would be impossible for her to take the No 1 spot,' Hendon said. 'Before the Hamburg tournament last year, when Seles was the top player, her average points were 270. Graf's average points now are 440.

'In fairness to Seles, in the first place, and certainly for the good of the sport, she must be allowed a reasonable opportunity to challenge for the No 1 spot. This can only happen if she is given enough points to start with.

'I think it would be wrong to put Seles back to where she was a year ago. That would be unfair to Graf, who has improved so much and achieved so much. But perhaps Seles could start with enough points to allow her to be seeded No 4, giving her an opportunity in the following 12 or 15 months, depending on how long she is out. She has got to be able to see that the sport is there to support her.'

Tournaments are desperate for Seles to make a comeback. While the loss a player of her calibre and personality would be a serious blow to the sport at any time, it could hardly have happened at a worse moment.

The women's game already lacked a sufficient depth of talent, and Graf has discovered that even those challengers capable of producing the right shots can be found wanting when it comes to nerve. Whether Seles still has the nerve to walk on a court, let alone challenge for honours, remains to be seen. Unlike her assailant, Gunther Parche, who was given a suspended prison sentence, she has not returned to work.
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Old Apr 30th, 2014, 04:35 PM   #3518
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Hilarious. The first competitive match of the tournament for Steffi gets much less coverage from the locals than the first two routs. Steffi's quote from the front page is a very sarcastic "Maybe it at least pleased the spectators."

Revenge for Wimbledon?
Semifinals of the Citizen Cup: Graf vs. Novotna and Sanchez vs. Hack

Hamburger Abendblatt
April 30, 1994
cat/rg

Hamburg -- As in 1987 and 1992, two German players have reached the semifinal of the Citizen Cup at Rothenbaum. Steffi Graf reports at 2:00 p.m. (live on ZDF) for the Wimbledon revenge match against Jana Novotna. After that, Sabine Hack challenges the defending champion Arantxa Sanchez.

In the quarterfinal against Magdalena Maleeva, Steffi Graf finally had an opponent. The Bulgarian defended herself for one hour and 44 minutes, 7-5, 3-6, 6-0. "That was no fun, because I played so badly," said Steffi Graf, who gave up only her second set of 1994. Sabine Hack won the duel for prestige against Anke Huber.
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Old Apr 30th, 2014, 04:46 PM   #3519
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Wonder how tight security was that day. Graf plays Magdalena Maleeva in the quarterfinal in Hamburg very near the one-year anniversary of Monica's attack. Wonder what Maggie was thinking.

Graf loses a set for second time this year, then rallies
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Saturday, April 30, 1994
Associated Press

Steffi Graf lost a set for only the second time this year and struggled to defeat Magdalena Maleeva 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 yesterday in the quarterfinals of the Citizen Cup in Hamburg, Germany.

Graf, who ran her winning streak to 35 matches, seemed in danger of losing a match for the first time this year after being beaten in the second set. But she rallied in the third set, winning all but one of the first 12 points.

Graf's semifinal opponent will be Jana Novotna, who ousted Barbara Rittner 6-2, 6-2. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario advanced via a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Leila Meskhi and Sabine Hack beat Anke Huber 6-3, 6-3.

Graf's other loss of a set this year came March 20 against Natalia Zvereva.

More tennis

Peru's Jaime Yzaga beat top-seeded Stefan Edberg 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open, ending the Swede's string of 15 consecutive set victories over the last two years in the tournament.

Michael Stich, the world's second-ranked player, reached the semifinals of the BMW Open by battling past South Africa's Wayne Ferreira 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-1) in Munich.

MaliVai Washington beat Andre Agassi 6-4, 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the AT&T Challenge in Duluth, Ga.

Marcel Bernard, who won the French Open men's singles title in 1946, died Friday at a Paris hospital of a heart attack. He was 89.

Andre Agassi, ranked 20th, said he'll skip U.S. Davis Cup quarterfinal play against the Netherlands in July so he can focus on boosting his ranking into the top 10.
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Old Apr 30th, 2014, 05:00 PM   #3520
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Glory hallelujah, a WTA official says something a little bit laudatory about Steffi. And for the record, a more full version of Smith's statement about freezing Monica's ranking: "I would hope it would not be a factor in her staying away, but at this stage no one rules out anything," said Smith, who hasn't spoken to Seles since the days after the attack. "We did what we thought was best for women's tennis and for the tour. We tried to evaluate our decision with regard to her request for a co-ranking at No. 1 in the context of how it would affect everyone. We came to the conclusion that providing her with a co-ranking for an unlimited amount of time would be inappropriate. And if anything the length of time she's been out suggests that decision was correct." So who can blame people for voting "no" to freeze Seles' ranking for an indefinite period? Maybe if the Seles camp had asked for only three or four months, they would have said yes. But to give a proven, unreliable drama queen a share of the top ranking for an unlimited length of time?

ON TENNIS; One-Year Anniversary That Can't Be Ignored
Robin Finn
April 30, 1994
New York Times

It has been a year since Monica Seles, then the undisputed and too often unchallenged champion of women's tennis, was stabbed in the back at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, by an insensible fan of Germany's Steffi Graf. An unprecedented act of violence that sent shock waves through the tennis community and beyond, the attack has continued to have significant repercussions, not the least of which is Seles' refusal to make the speediest possible return to the WTA Tour.

Paranoia has not only become justified, it has also become protocol. This week in Hamburg, it was Graf who received, and defied, a death threat -- but was never urged not to compete by her sport's governing body.

"Steffi is the object of a lot of attention, some of it unseemly, and we all worry for her," said Gerard Smith, head of the WTA Tour, "but the decision to play in Hamburg was a personal decision by her. Steffi's been very, very stoic about situations like this: she will not be threatened into changing the way she wants to live."

Life has gone on for the professionals who travel the women's tour, and Graf, just as Seles' attacker planned, has usurped Seles at her sport's pinnacle and captured four consecutive Grand Slam crowns.

But memories of an attack staged in broad daylight and in midmatch, and memories of the unconvincing strain of compassion sent Seles' way by her peers, remain a blight on the sport. Just as the Oct. 13, 1993, decision to sentence Gunther Parche, Seles' assailant, to a mere two years' probation remains a blight on the German judicial system and a source of fear for athletes on the tour.

"I don't think you can ever provide a 100 percent guarantee of safety," said Smith, who was en route to Hamburg yesterday. "But security has been enhanced, particularly for Steffi, and we've done some things that deal specifically with people lunging out of a crowd the way Parche did."

Smith said he planned to meet Monday with Hajo Wandschneider, a Hamburg attorney retained by the tour to press for a prison sentence for Parche.

"It's my understanding that the prosecutor has filed an appeal of the verdict, but beyond that I don't know too much yet," said Smith.

The sentencing judge in the case, Elke Bosse, said she believed the defendant's contention that he meant only to maim Seles, not kill her. Parche's nonsentence is being appealed, but there is no court date set, and it is Seles, whose career has been abruptly canceled, and not Parche, who has experienced a form of incarceration. The 20-year-old Seles has not played a match in a year, and if she does return to a tour that has been a downright sham without her, there is a new wound awaiting.

According to Smith, Seles will probably no longer receive any special seeding or ranking consideration when she returns to competition. The WTA Tour board favored a co-seeding of Seles alongside Graf as recently as January, when Seles was expected to combine her comeback with her quest for a fourth straight Australian Open title. But Seles' prolonged absence has altered their willingness to provide her with that comforting a welcome mat when she does return.

"The council agreed not to deal with this issue until Monica actually does come back," said Smith, "but it's my feeling that due to the length of time she's been off the tour, no special consideration in terms of rank or seeding should be given. She'll have to play her way back as would anyone else who'd been away this length of time. It's not fair to the other players to handle it differently."

The WTA Tour is already contending with complaints that the Graf-dominated tour is a dull tour -- complaints that have been issued even by Graf herself -- and that undue pressure from the business side of tennis has actually driven Jennifer Capriati out of the sport and contributed to Seles' decision to stay away. With all this, it seems the WTA Tour has begun to lose patience with Seles.

Since February, when she admitted that her mental renewal had not kept pace with her physical rehabilitation, the date of Seles' return has been little more than a guessing game. Last month, she became a United States citizen, as did her mother, Esther, but lately there are rumors that the ill health of her father and coach, Karolyi, is the main reason she isn't ready to compete.

There is also a suspicion that Seles, whose agents originally requested that she be co-ranked and co-seeded No. 1 with Graf upon her initial return, is staying away to punish the WTA Tour for not granting the request.

"I would hope it would not be a factor in her staying away, but at this stage no one rules out anything," Smith said. "We did what we thought was best for women's tennis and for the tour. And if anything, the length of time she's been out suggests that decision was correct."

But Smith added that he expected that Seles would prefer to play her way back onto the tour, and the player herself indicated last December that she would prefer not to be top-seeded if she was not also top-ranked.

"I have to beat the best players sooner or later anyway if I want to get back to the top," she said. "I don't know if I'll ever be the same player I was before the incident, but I love the game too much not to try."
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Old May 1st, 2014, 06:25 PM   #3521
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

GRAF, SANCHEZ VICARIO IN FINAL
Press-Telegram
Long Beach, CA
Sunday, May 1, 1994
Associated Press

HAMBURG, Germany - Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario won in straight sets at the Citizen Cup Saturday to set up a rematch of last year's final that was overshadowed by the stabbing of Monica Seles.

Graf ousted Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-3, while Sanchez Vicario routed Germany's Sabine Hack, 6-1, 6-1.

Graf, unbeaten in 1994, won her 36th straight match and reached the finals of a WTA Tour event for the 19th consecutive time. The last time she failed to do so was February 1993, when she was beaten by Martina Navratilova in the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open.

Sanchez Vicario beat Graf in last year's final, 6-3, 6-3, ending the German's streak of six straight tournament titles. But the 1993 Citizen Cup had already gone into history for the attack that took Seles, then the No. 1 player, out of competition.

In a quarterfinal match, an obsessed Graf fan had stabbed Seles in the back while she was changing sides. The stabbing -- and death threats against Graf -- led to elaborate security measures at this year's tournament. Seles, though her wound has healed, has not played since, and Graf has dominated women's tennis.

Graf said she wasn't looking for revenge for last year's loss against Sanchez Vicario in today's match, which features the world's two top-ranked players.

"I'm not thinking about that. I just want to show my best tennis,'' Graf said.

The world's No.1 dominated against Novotna Saturday, ending a short-lived rally by the Czech by breaking her serve to take a 4-3 lead in the second set. Novotna had won three straight games to climb back into the match.

"I didn't have a chance today,'' Novotna said. "She played very well.''

*

MICHAEL CHANG, the top seed, notched a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 5 MaliVai Washington on Saturday night and advanced to the finals of the $300,000 AT&T Challenge.

Chang will face second-seeded Todd Martin, who overcame a lull in the second set earlier Saturday to defeat qualifier Wade McGuire 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

Chang, ranked No. 7 in the world, executed a typical game plan of controlled aggression in the match with Washington, which lasted an hour and 10 minutes.

He took a 5-0 lead in the first set with service breaks in the second and fourth games. Washington held in the sixth game, but then did as well.

*

MICHAEL STICH of Germany earned a repeat trip to the finals of the BMW Open Saturday with a see-saw 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 win over Russia's Andrei Chesnokov in Munich, Germany.

Stich, who lost to Ivan Lendl in last year's final, played his power game to perfection in the first and third sets on the clay surface.

The world No. 2 will face Petr Korda of the Czech Republic, who won a one-sided, 6-2, 6-3 match against surprise semifinalist Bernd Karbacher of Germany.
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Old May 1st, 2014, 07:05 PM   #3522
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

And of course, cue the start of Arantxa's bruising 1994 battles with Steffi.

To me, the part where Litke says: "Graf brings to tennis any number of admirable qualities - courage, intelligence and efficiency come to mind immediately. But without the counterbalance of Seles' funky game and her funkier personality, Graf comes off as the terminator," demonstrates that the problem was caused more by the ineptness of the media than by anything Steffi was or was not doing.

First, I would change the word "efficiency" to "proficiency." Second, when you have a character with "any number of admirable qualities," but don't know what to do with her unless you have some kind of a glaringly obvious foil, you're a pretty bad writer -- especially if your admirable character also possesses a few traits, faults, and weaknesses to keep things interesting.

And third, why don't they see that Monica is showing more signs of being burned out on tennis than of being irreparably traumatized from being attacked? And that they are probably not helping by creating more pressure on her with their "Come back and save the WTA from Grafzilla, Monica!" drumbeat? She's not playing because it's not "fun" and she doesn't "love" it. When compared with the treatment Jennifer Capriati would get from the media just a few weeks from now in 1994, it's almost unbelievable.

TENNIS HAS NO REPLACEMENT FOR MONICA SELES
THE SEATTLE TIMES
Sunday, May 1, 1994
JIM LITKE, Associated Press

Someone in a recent movie defined the point of no return as that place from which it was harder to go back to the way things were than it was to go ahead to the way they might be. From some of the things she said recently, Monica Seles sounds like she's already on the other side. Good for her. But bad, maybe, for the rest of us.

A year ago, a lunatic fan climbed out of the stands at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, and stabbed her in the back during a changeover. She hasn't played a competitive set since, and when that may happen next is anyone's guess.

This much, though, is certain: No sport misses a single performer the way women's tennis misses Seles. And with each passing day - Seles' own words to the contrary - her return seems less and less likely. If that's the case, she ought to at least say so and get on to something else. Baseball, perhaps.

When Michael Jordan turned his back on the NBA last fall, the response of those he left behind was decidedly mixed. Some were dismayed, some disappointed, some suspicious, and still others were cheered that an athlete knew enough to get out on top, with both wallet and health intact, and more good years ahead than behind.

In Seles' case, that last emotion is a luxury no one who still cares about her sport can afford. Big as Jordan was - or Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, for that matter - the NBA was still big enough to fill the void he left and move on. It's hard to say the same thing about Seles and women's tennis with any conviction.

At this year's event in Hamburg, Steffi Graf continued to mow down all the usual suspects in the usual straight sets, and get off the court and out of the interview room, usually, in an hour or less. She has yet to lose a match this year, or any match in a Grand Slam event since Seles knocked her out of the Australian Open in 1993.

Graf brings to tennis any number of admirable qualities - courage, intelligence and efficiency come to mind immediately. But without the counterbalance of Seles' funky game and her funkier personality, Graf comes off as the terminator. And she is making women's tennis a terminal bore.

Of course, it's not just Seles who is absent at the moment, or who has made vague promises about a return.

Four short years ago, Jennifer Capriati was the future of the game. Today she's a sullen high school student who just turned 18 and can't decide if she wants to squander her summer back on the pro tour. Martina Navratilova has said she is through after this year, but concerted pleas are being made behind the scenes to convince her to linger a little longer. Gabriela Sabatini isn't absent, but for as well as she's played recently, she might as well be.

When all this gloom and doom is brought up to Women's Tennis Association executive director Gerard Smith, he rightly notes that the sport has quite a few promising young players in the pipeline - Lindsey Davenport, Chanda Rubin and Iva Majoli, most prominent among them. But it's also worth noting that Seles was a champion several times over at similar stages in her career.

No matter how you frame the picture, the game needs Seles more than she needs the game. And judging by her remarks in a recent issue of Tennis magazine - her only public pronouncement of any length in some time - she needs tennis less than ever. Her time is now taken up with the varied pursuits that her single-mindedness about tennis would not allow: books, painting and seeing the world without a tennis ball forever bouncing in the foreground.

". . . I want to live the rest of my life happy with what I'm doing," Seles said in Tennis. "So when I play tennis again, I have to play it for the right reason. I don't want to play to get my No. 1 ranking back. I don't want to play for the attention, or to earn more. I don't even want to play because the world wants to see me do it, even though it's nice to know that the world is interested. I only want to play because I love the game, which is the reason I began to play at age 7 in the first place."

Although she is only now 20 years old, it's already too late in Seles' professional life to make a hard decision based on something so fragile.

By all indications, she has healed completely from both her psychic and physical wounds. If Seles genuinely intends to come back, she had better return sooner, rather than later. Otherwise, there won't be much to come back to.
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Old May 2nd, 2014, 09:25 PM   #3523
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

On the one hand, Steffi said Arantxa "played unbelievable tennis." On the other hand, she criticized herself for "playing too defensively, just getting the ball back." This was an ugly match.

Tennis: Sanchez brings Graf run to an end
The Independent
London, England
Monday, May 2, 1994

STEFFI GRAF, the world No 1, was beaten for the first time since last November when in Hamburg yesterday she lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the final of the Citizen's Cup, a tournament overshadowed by death threats and last year's stabbing of Monica Seles.

The Spaniard recovered from a set down to win 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 to end Graf's 36-match winning streak. 'That was not bad. Because today is Mother's Day in Spain, I dedicate my victory to my mother Marisa,' said Sanchez Vicario, who slumped to the court in delight after the three-hour marathon.

This was Graf's 19th consecutive WTA Tour final stretching back to March, 1993, at Delray Beach, Florida, during which time she had one defeat, to Spain's Conchita Martinez in Philadelphia last November.

The match was littered with errors, typified by the fourth game of the second set which stretched to 30 points, contained 12 deuces and six break points before Sanchez Vicario held serve with her eighth game point.

After losing one tie-break 7-3, Graf had another chance to win at 5-4 in the final set but the Spaniard came off the baseline to scramble back to 5-5.

The German broke back again to go 6-5 up but Sanchez Vicario refused to wilt and forced another shoot-out which she won 8-6.

Sergi Bruguera, could not emulate his Spanish compatriot, losing 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Austria's Thomas Muster in the final of the Madrid Open. Muster's win gave him the record of 16 clay court victories since the beginning of the ATP Tour in 1990. Bruguera, the French Open champion, is second with 10.

Michael Stich, of Germany, won the 14th title of his career with a 6-2 2-6, 6-3 win over Petr Korda, of the Czech Republic, in the final of the Bavarian Open yesterday.
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Old May 2nd, 2014, 09:29 PM   #3524
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Give Arantxa a lot of credit for hanging in there -- and seemingly refusing to get caught up in the extra dramas.

SANCHEZ VICARIO HANDS GRAF HER FIRST LOSS THIS YEAR \ CITIZEN CUP WIN ENDS GERMAN'S STREAK AT 36 MATCHES
Akron Beacon Journal
Monday, May 2, 1994
Associated Press

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario ended Steffi Graf's 36-match winning streak with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6) victory on Sunday in the Citizen Cup, a tournament overshadowed by death threats and last year's stabbing of Monica Seles.

It was Graf's first loss this year, and was a repeat of the final last year in which Sanchez Vicario defeated Graf in straight sets.

Graf, No. 1 in the world, fought off three match points before an overhead by No. 2 Sanchez Vicario overhead ended the match after three hours and three minutes.

"This is my biggest win since the French Open five years ago," a jubilant Sanchez Vicario said. "It's even better because Steffi had so many chances. I'm not going to give up on any point."

Sanchez Vicario's triumph at the 1989 French Open also came at the expense of Graf in the final.

Graf was 32-0 in 1994 and had lost only two sets before Sunday. She had won 36 matches since being beaten by Conchita Martinez in November at Philadelphia.

"I'm disappointed beyond measure at the way I lost the match. I just can't allow myself to give away a match like that," Graf said, fighting back tears.

Sanchez Vicario fought off a match point at 5-2 in the second set, then ran off three straight games to climb back into the match as the German made several errors with her usually reliable forehand.

The 24-year-old Graf also battled back, coming back from 1-5 and 3-6 deficits in the third-set tiebreaker.

But at 6-6, Sanchez Vicario set up the final match point when her shot nicked the baseline and led Graf to hit a weak forehand that sailed long.

The two players traded spectacular rallies, causing the 10,000 spectators to roar during the middle of some points. Most games featured numerous break chances by both players.

Sanchez Vicario held serve in the second set during one game in which the two players battled to deuce 12 times. Afterward, she thrust her arms into the air as though she had just won Wimbledon.

For Sanchez Vicario, it was her first victory this year against Graf after two losses, including a rout at the Australian Open.

Graf won the Citizen Cup six straight times before losing last year to Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 6-3.

Last year an obsessed Graf fan stabbed Seles in the back while she was changing sides during a changeover in a quarter-final match.

Seles, then the world's top-ranked player, has not played since, while Graf has gone on to dominate women's tennis.

Graf appeared to have shrugged off a anonymous letter sent to a Hamburg newspaper threatening her with bodily harm if she played in this tournament.

The winner received $80,000 for the title, while Graf took home $36,000.

*

Top-seeded Michael Chang came back after losing the first set to defeat No. 2 Todd Martin, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, and win the AT&T Challenge at Duluth, Ga.

It was Chang's fourth title this year, but his first championship on clay since winning the French Open in 1989, when he became the youngest Grand Slam champion at the age of 17 years 3 months.

*

Second-ranked Michael Stich, despite a heavily bandaged ankle, defeated Petr Korda, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, in the BMW Open final in Munich, Germany. Stich, who had twisted the ankle during a semifinal victory over Andrei Chesnokov, broke Korda's serve in the third game of both sets he won. The last German to win the tournament was Rolf Gehring in 1980.

*

Austria's Thomas Muster, again showing his prowess on clay, defeated Sergi Bruguera of Spain, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, in the final of the Madrid Open. The victory gives Muster 16 titles on clay since the beginning of the ATP Tour in 1990.
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Old May 2nd, 2014, 09:39 PM   #3525
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Anton Chigurh: What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?

Gas Station Proprietor: Sir?

Anton Chigurh: The most. You ever lost. On a coin toss.

Gas Station Proprietor: I don't know. I couldn't say.

[Chigurh flips a quarter and covers it with his hand.]

Anton Chigurh: Call it.

Gas Station Proprietor: Call it?

Anton Chigurh: Yes.

Gas Station Proprietor: For what?

Anton Chigurh: Just call it.

Gas Station Proprietor: Well, we need to know what we're calling it for here.

Anton Chigurh: You need to call it. I can't call it for you. It wouldn't be fair.

Gas Station Proprietor: I didn't put nothin' up.

Anton Chigurh: Yes, you did. You've been putting it up your whole life. You just didn't know it. You know what date is on this coin?

Gas Station Proprietor: No.

Anton Chigurh: 1958. It's been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it's here. And it's either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it.

Gas Station Proprietor: Look, I need to know what I stand to win.

Anton Chigurh: Everything.

Gas Station Proprietor: How's that?

Anton Chigurh: You stand to win everything. Call it.

Gas Station Proprietor: All right. Heads then.

[Chigurh removes his hand, revealing the coin is heads.]

Anton Chigurh: Well done.

[Chigurh pushes the quarter toward the Gas Station Proprietor, who then moves to put it in his pocket.]

Anton Chigurh: Don't put it in your pocket, sir. Don't put it in your pocket. It's your lucky quarter.

Gas Station Proprietor: Where do you want me to put it?

Anton Chigurh: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it'll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.

No Country for Old Men, Miramax Films, 2007

Three hour final drama
Match point fought off -- Sanchez caught up from 4-6, 2-5 down

Hamburger Abendblatt
May 2, 1994
Hans Aßmann, Rainer Grünberg, and Christian-A. Thiel report from Rothenbaum

Hamburg -- Her strength was just enough for a small leap into the air. However, her inner joy was "gigantic." Spaniard Aranxta Sanchez Vicario had defended her title at the Citizen Cup in a memorable match, the best women's duel at Rothenbaum, against world-ranked No. 1 Steffi Graf, in 3 hours and 3 minutes. She converted her fourth match point with an overhead for the 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6) victory. The 9400 spectators cheered the two strongest women in tennis with several minutes of applause.

Later on, Arantxa Sanchez also won the doubles final on the side of Czech Jana Novotna. Her earnings this week: $92,000.

And so Steffi Graf had lost a match for the first time this year (1994 balance: 32-1). But she was not depressed by these "statistically unimportant facts," but rather "I am kind of disappointed by how it happened. I thought I would be further in my clay court preparation for Paris."

The tournament organizers had just made efforts to prepare for the championship ceremony, bouquets and trophy were already brought out to the Centre Court, when the 70-minute long, relatively one-sided match suddenly took a turn. Leading 3-0 in the second set, the German could not exploit six break chances; Sanchez finally utilized the 30th point of the game to get on the board in the second passage.

"After that I believed in myself again and seized new courage. I was finally in the match again," the Spaniard analyzed afterward what was, for her, the decisive phase. However, she still had to withstand several more critical moments.

With the score standing at 5-2 in the second set, Steffi Graf even had match point on Sanchez's serve, but she once more lacked patience, and according to her self-critique, "the necessary aggressiveness at the right moment" to win the last point.

And at the end of the third set, Graf, repeatedly disadvantaged by linesmens' calls, twice lay a break ahead, at 5-4 and 6-5, but twice lost her subsequent services at 15-40. It helped her little that she was able to fight off three match points in the tiebreak. Arantxa Sanchez secured the last two points.

"The best and most important win for a long time, this gives me a lot of self-confidence for Paris," said the Spaniard, who had her new coach of six weeks, Gabriel Urpi, to thank. "He wants me to go to the net more. I did that today, and that finally brought me success." This subjective impression was also endorsed by Steffi Graf ("She volleyed very well at the net"), but the statistics betrayed that it was the number of unforced errors (Graf 40, Sanchez 21) that decided the match in the favor of the world's No. 2.

In the semifinals, Graf (6-3, 6-3 against Novotna) and Sanchez (6-1, 6-1 against Sabine Hack) won through quickly and surely.

The German Tennis Federation felt itself to be the final winner yesterday evening. With 54,780 spectators, last year's record of 52,800 was surpassed.

Arantxa Sanchez -- Steffi Graf
2 Aces 1
2 Double faults 1
31 Winners 41
7 From forehand 22
14 Backhand 7
6 Volleys 3
2 Dropshots 4
0 Lobs 0
3 Overheads 9
89 Errors 102
39 From forehand 57
46 Backhand 41
6 Volleys 2
0 Lobs 3
2 Overheads 0
66 First Serve Percentage 81
12/6 Break chances/Breaks 21/7
141 Total Points 139
150 km/h Fastest Serve 161 km/h
Duration: 3:03; Actual playing time: 52 minutes
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