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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 07:33 PM   #3961
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
Jaden is gonna be taller than his dad before the end of next year. Just crazy how quickly time has passed. Steffi and Andre look nice and presentable.

Loving Steffi's latest Facebook photo. Too bad it wasn't 6-0, coulda cracked better jokes.
It took me a while to understand which one he (Jaden) was So tall (and so we are so old too)
And from where in the world do they know Carlo Ancelotti ?

Does someone have a recent pic of their daughter. I absolutly dont know how she's looking now ?

Last edited by djul14 : Jul 15th, 2014 at 12:54 AM.
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 04:57 PM   #3962
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
It took me a while to understand which one he (Jaden) was So tall (and so we are so old too)
If Jaden still has as much growing to do as Steffi did at that age, he'll have to duck his head to go through a standard doorway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
And from where in the world do they know Carlo Ancelotti ?
Maybe they were guests of the bride? Usually these types of things have a very boring explanation behind them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
Does someone have a recent pic of their daughter. I absolutly dont know how she's looking now ?
I would guess "tall."

BTW, there is an interview with Steffi in a German women's magazine called "Emotion" in which she says she says she her usual "mom sentence" to the kids is: "Read a book!" Laughing my ass off.
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 05:02 PM   #3963
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

You Work Hard, You Win, and What Does It Get You? Steffi
August 5, 1989
Dave Distel
Los Angles Times

Welcome to Steffi's Invitational Love-In and Tennis Bashing.

Hello, Bettina.

Your turn.

At 30 minutes past high noon today, there will be a showdown, to use the word loosely, in the center corral at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club. It'll be a showdown only in the sense that the Gunfight at the OK Corral would have been a showdown if one side had .357 magnums and the other had squirt guns.

That's the way it has gone this week in what is more formally known as the Great American Bank Tennis Classic.

Steffi Graf over Rene Simpson, 6-0, 6-0.

Steffi Graf over Betsy Nagelson, 6-1, 6-1.

Steffi Graf over Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, 6-0, 6-0.

Love, love, bash, bash, love, love.

What happened against Nagelson, Steffi? A step slow that day? Almost work up a sweat? Almost had to take a shower?

Who's next in today's semifinals?

Bettina Bunge, the one-person United Nations. Bunge, 26, was born in Switzerland, spent 14 years living in Peru, plays out of West Germany, graduated from high school in Florida and lives in Monte Carlo. She speaks English, German and Spanish . . . and she's learning French.

Right now, however, she is tied to a trestle, and Steffi Graf is a Mid-day Express coming down the tracks. Anyone trying to beat Graf these days, not just Bettina, is like a catamaran going against an aircraft carrier or a mo-ped going against a tank. It ain't a pretty sight.

Presumably, Great American has already converted the $40,000 first prize into Deutsch marks. If Graf, all of 20 years old, keeps going the way she's been going, they'll start printing the darn things with her picture on them.

About the only way she will lose here is if they make her play the doubles winners.

Bunge, coming off two years of struggles with knee and foot injuries, stepped into Graf's path with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Ann Grossman in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon. The match lasted two hours and 15 minutes, or nine minutes longer than Graf's first three matches combined.

Grossman, the farmer's daughter from Ohio who lost to Stephanie Rehe in the final last year as a amateur, brought a bulldog temperament and a greyhound body to this match. She was intense to the point of talking to herself and so focused I doubt she would have noticed if a 747 flew over at 200 feet.

In contrast, Bunge seemed loose and maybe distracted. She smiled and made faces at the crowd and, at one point, stopped her serve to look up at a small plane circling overhead.

Looks must have been deceiving.

"As I was going into the match," she said, "I was a little bit uptight. Suddenly, I was losing. I had won the first two matches so easily, I thought, 'How could I be losing?' I lost the first set, and I thought, 'Geez, don't get so uptight.' "

Needless to say, a thoughtless journalist would take that as a cue to ask her about today's match with Graf.

"I'm having a beer now," she said.

Toast!

But what about Saturday?

"It's a different story to play somebody like Steffi," she said. "She's by far the best player in the world. I haven't thought about that. I'm just enjoying this now. I'll think about that tomorrow."

But how will she prepare?

"I don't know," she said. "I'm not going to do anything different just because I'm playing her. I'll prepare like for anybody. I'll try and not think that it's her on the other side. I'll try to keep a good positive attitude. I'm not going to think, 'Geez, I hope I win a game.' "

Another West German, Kohde-Kilsch, did not win a game off her compatriot in a one-sided match Thursday that seemingly stunned Bunge.

"That was unbelievable," she said. "Claudia and I have been practicing all week, and she's a much better player than I am. That was incredible."

Graf, of course, is no stranger to Bunge, not that they have met that often. Graf has a 4-0 advantage professionally, but Bunge doesn't have to be reminded of that. She remembers the first time they met, at Wimbledon in 1984 when Graf was a 7-5, 6-3 winner in their closest match.

"I remember exactly," Bunge said, "and I remember before that. I remember training camp in Germany when Claudia and I were the big stars. (Steffi) was 12 years old, a skinny girl. She was so good. God, she was already so good. When I first lost to her, she was 13 or 14. I wasn't upset because I knew she was exceptional."

Friday was a nice day for Bunge. She had reached the semifinals in her first tournament back as a singles player in oh-so-long. It was a moment to savor.

So what if Steffi Graf was next? Didn't someone have to play her in the semifinals?

She leaned back in her chair . . . a winner's chair.

"Maybe," she smiled, "I'll be sitting here tomorrow. Then I'd really need a few beers."

Have 'em anyway, Bettina. I'm sure Steffi would buy. If she were old enough.
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 05:12 PM   #3964
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Like I've said many times, I'm not sure where this "tennis machine" stereotype came from. If anything, one of Steffi's nicknames should have been "The German Tourist." Also Steffi publicly chuckling at the an attempt at suspense is a little out of character.

Draws troubling Mandlikova - She says tournament pairings are helping to slow her comeback
The Orange County Register
Saturday, August 5, 1989
The Register Staff

When Hana Mandlikova heard she had been tossed into top-seeded Martina Navratilova's half of the draw for the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, she didn't throw a fit, but she did heave a tennis ball across the room.

"We are good friends," said Mandlikova, who conducted the 56-player draw Friday for the tournament that begins Monday at the Manhattan Country Club, "but in my last six tournaments, I have been in the same half of the draw as either Martina or Steffi Graf. It's a lot of fun."

Translation: Mandlikova has yet to reach a tournament final this year.

But before Mandlikova, who is seeded seventh, meets Navratilova in a possible quarterfinal match-up, she must get through two early-round matches. Mandlikova has a first-round bye, then will play the winner of the Halle Cioffi-Pascale Paradis match.

"I think I have a good chance at winning, but I can't look ahead to playing Martina," said Mandlikova, who is still in the midst of a comeback after a six-month layoff. "I have to take it one match at a time, I know everybody says that, but it's true."

Navratilova, who is playing in her first tournament since reaching the Wimbledon final, also has a first-round bye and will play the winner of the Renee Simpson-Isabelle Demongeot match.

Second-seeded Gabriela Sabatini will meet either Jenny Byrne or a qualifier in her first match.

Zina Garrison is seeded third and will play either Gigi Fernandez or Isabel Cueto in her first match.

Pam Shriver, whose singles game has been shaky lately, is seeded fourth; French Open semifinalist Mary Joe Fernandez is fifth; Helen Kelesi of Canada is sixth; Mandlikova is seventh and Katarina Lindqvist eighth.

One of the first things Steffi Graf usually does when she arrives in a new city is check the local music scene. Graf, a well-known fan of rock music, has seen plenty of musicians over the past three years.

At home in West Germany, Graf saw the British group Simply Red. In London, it was George Michael; in New York, Tina Turner, and in Paris it was Was (Not Was).

She caught Kool and the Gang and Stevie Wonder in her homeland and Michael Jackson in Spain.

So when the world's No. 1-ranked player arrived in San Diego before this week's Great American Bank Classic, she quickly scanned the entertainment pages of the local newspaper. She was in luck -- Rod Stewart played a concert last Sunday at the San Diego Sports Arena.

Graf, who hasn't been in San Diego before, also planned a deep-sea fishing trip, a visit to Sea World and possibly one to the San Diego Zoo.

But first things first. Graf is seeded No. 1 in the weeklong tournament at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club. And she played Canadian Renee Simpson, ranked No. 77, in her first-round match on Monday.

"And the winner of that match will play at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday," said Jane Stratton, director of Promotion Sports, Inc., at a pretournament press conference.

The winner? Two-time Wimbledon champion Graf chuckled at Stratton's use of the words "the winner" -- as if the outcome isn't a foregone conclusion.

Graf won, 6-0, 6-0.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 06:36 PM   #3965
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The things Steffi would do to make a match last longer than an hour... In tomorrow's installment, she has a really great quote about her conflicting obligations. Also keep track of the consecutive aces to close out the match, it will make the 1994 Mahwah exhibition funnier.

Graf Pushed, but Not Very Far : She Beats Bunge, 6-1, 6-2, Will Meet Garrison in Final
August 6, 1989
CURT HOLBREICH
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — A glance at the score would seem to show that top-ranked Steffi Graf had an easy time Saturday against Bettina Bunge in their semifinal match of the Great American Bank tennis tournament at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club.

And maybe she did. The 6-1, 6-2 victory over her West German compatriot seems remarkably similar to Graf's first three victories in the tournament.

But something was different. Maybe it was that it lasted 62 minutes, 20 minutes more than her previous Graf's tournament match average. Or that Bunge was able to extend Graf to a 22-point fifth game in the second set before being broken. Or that Bunge won one more game than Graf's first three opponents combined.

Or maybe it was simply that Graf's dominance has made everyone change the standard for a competitive match.

It is to the point where Bunge merely winning a point against Graf had the sellout crowd of 4,400 cheering, and Bunge celebrating to herself.

"Every point you have to fight so hard, it tires you a little bit," Bunge said. "You're so happy when you win one."

Graf has lost just five games in four matches in advancing to the final today at 1 p.m. against second-seeded Zina Garrison, who defeated No. 6 Nathalie Tauziat of France, 6-1, 7-5, Saturday night.

Even by Graf standards, that is impressive. Never had she lost so few games in playing four matches to reach a tournament final.

The last time they held such a lopsided series in this city, a court declared it illegal and awarded New Zealand the America's Cup.

Graf put a signature touch on her latest conquest by closing the match with consecutive aces.

"She was serving like (Ivan) Lendl," Bunge said. "I am sure a lot of the men couldn't return them."

It was not the only time she froze Bunge. At least a half-dozen times, she did not take a step toward a Graf winner. Other times she came in for a volley only to watch Graf's return go fly past her before she got much past the service line.

"Some of them, the ball was so fast, you don't have a chance," Bunge said. "If you hit the ball a bit too short, a little bit defensive, you get punished right away. You are not going to get away with getting the ball in and hoping she will miss."

Despite the score, Bunge did take some consolation from her performance. The match was only her fourth in singles competition since November 1987. Knee and foot surgeries forced her to take a 20-month layoff. She began her comeback this week with Graf-like victories over No. 5 Lori McNeil (6-2, 6-0) and Jo Durie (6-1, 6-1) before a tough, three-set quarterfinal victory Friday over last year's San Diego runner-up, Ann Grossman (2-6, 7-5, 6-4).

Her comeback will continue this week at the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles tournament at the Manhattan Country Club.

"Before the match, my knee was really sore," Bunge said. "I was pretty worried about it, but in the match I didn't really feel it at all.

"Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased. . . . I hadn't played a (big) match like that in years, even before I stopped in 1987."

The layoff had Graf wondering how competitively Bunge would play.

"I really didn't know what to expect because I hadn't seen her play (in so long)," Graf said. "But I know she has the touch, and I know she knows how to do it."

Actually, both players are well acquainted with each other. Bunge, 26, recalls seeing Graf for first time in 1981 when she was ranked in the top 10 and Graf was a junior player.

"I remember a training camp in Germany when Claudia (Kohde-Kilsch) and I were big stars," Bunge said. "(Steffi) was 12 years old, a skinny girl. She was so good. God, she was already so good."

Three years later, Bunge lost to her at Wimbledon in their first meeting.

"She was 13 or 14 (actually just turned 15)," Bunge said. "I wasn't upset because I knew she was exceptional."

Their previous most recent match had been a 6-1, 6-1 Graf victory in Los Angeles in 1987. This was their fifth career meeting; Bunge has yet to win a set.

Graf allowed Bunge only two points off her serve in the first set. At one point over the first and second sets, Graf scored 16 consecutive points on serve.

Bunge toughened as the match continued. Her persistence showed, but was not rewarded, in fifth game of the second set, when she played Graf 22 points before being broken. Bunge won 10 points in the game, as many as she won in the entire first set.

"In the beginning, I was little too careful, and I got punished with some blistering returns," Bunge said. "I was trying to at least prove to her that I could give her a good match, that (every match) is not totally boring for her."

Graf might expect an even better match from Garrison, who actually owns a three-set victory over her, although it was four years ago in their first meeting. The last time they played, in the final of an indoor tournament in Washington in February, Graf won 6-1, 7-5. It was her fourth consecutive victory over the world's sixth-ranked player.

The close second set followed a first set in which Graf won the first 20 points to lead, 5-0.

The final will be Garrison's fifth in 12 tournaments this year. She is coming off her second title of the year--a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Pam Shriver in Newport, R.I., two weeks ago.

Garrison said her strategy today will be simple, the risks high.

"I have got to get more first serves in, a lot more than I've been getting in," Garrison said. "And on her second serve, I'll have to attack, no matter what. If I get passed 99 times, I've got to let her pass me.

"The thing about Steffi is you have to go out there and say, 'I'm going to be aggressive.' You know she is going to be aggressive. You're not going to be given many opportunities, and when you do you have to take advantage of it."
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 06:50 PM   #3966
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

It is amazing how seemingly well Steffi endured the constant "You won, you're God! You lost once, you're garbage! You're killing tennis! You're our only hope!" switching from the media and the "fans" and the tour/tournament management. And they all wonder why so many tennis players shatter at some point or another.

Graf tops Bunge 6-1, 6-2, gets Garrison in final
The San Diego Union
Sunday, August 6, 1989
Mark Zeigler, Staff Writer

At 1:42 p.m. yesterday, in her fourth match and eighth set of the tournament, it happened.

Someone won two games in the same set from Steffi Graf.

Bettina Bunge did this in the second set of their semifinal singles match at the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic. Bunge lost 6-1, 6-2, but then the trivial becomes noteworthy when Graf and a tennis ball are involved.

Another amazing statistic: The match lasted longer than an hour -- two minutes longer.

It is a testament to Graf's greatness that she wins a semifinal match 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes, and people wonder why she struggled. Even she admitted, "It was definitely my hardest match of the tournament."

The world's No. 1-ranked player now will play Zina Garrison, the second seed, who eliminated France's Nathalie Tauziat 6-1, 7-5 last night. The sold-out final is scheduled for 1 p.m. today at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club.

The doubles final, which follows the singles, will have a local flavor. The unseeded local pair of Robin White and Gretchen Magers plays Rosalyn Fairbank of Rancho Bernardo and Elise Burgin.

Still, the focus, as it has all week, remains on Graf.

"I don't know if I could handle it," Bunge said when asked if she would like to trade places with her West German countrywoman. "To always have to perform, not only just win, but she's got to win easily ... Putting her up in this way, like she's God, it's hard for her even to step on the court."

But Graf continues to step on the court, continues to win, continues to win easily, continues to astound.

Bunge held her first service game yesterday to even it at 1-1. Then Graf won 20 of the next 22 points and took the set, 6-1.

Just so Bunge didn't get any ideas.

It was small consolation, but in the second set Bunge did what Graf's first three opponents couldn't -- win two games in one set.

Bunge got help, though. Her first serve at deuce in the seventh game was initially called out by the linesman. Graf saw it in and graciously gave the point to Bunge, who quickly won the next point to make it 5-2.

But that's where the free lunch ended. Trailing love-30, Graf won four straight points to seal the match. The final two came on aces that, Bunge said, "a lot of men wouldn't have returned."

Yet Bunge, making her singles comeback after injuries sidelined her for nearly two years, was far from distraught. "I thought I played quite well under the circumstances," she said. "I hadn't been in a big match like that in a long time. I could have won a few more big points, won a few more games. But overall, I was quite pleased."

Indeed, though the score hardly indicates it, this match was infinitely more competitive than Graf's previous three here. Four games went to deuce -- one even lasted 22 points.

"We had some close games," Graf said. "It was much better for the spectators."

Perhaps the biggest irony of this tournament is that the closest matches have drawn the smallest crowds. Of the six 3,000-plus crowds so far, four have witnessed Graf and tennis' version of the blowout.

Last night's Garrison-Tauziat semifinal was sold out (4,400), too, but a few hundred fans stayed home. They missed a match that easily could have gone the distance -- Tauziat, seeded sixth, was serving at 5-3, 40-15 in the second set.

Her first serve was called wide by the far linesman (the linesman on Garrison's end signaled it good). Tauziat, who questioned the call, insisted it did not rattle her, but she was never the same.

"I think," Garrison said, "she got a little frustrated."

Garrison won the next four points for the game, then held serve, broke, and held again for the match. Like Graf, she fired an ace on match point.

Garrison attributed her success to "being aggressive" to the point of relentless. It's a strategy she'll adopt again soon.

Like today.

"The thing about Steffi is you have to go out there and say, 'I'm going to be aggressive,' " Garrison explained. "I have to get more first serves in -- a lot more than I have in this tournament. On her second serve, I'll have to attack no matter what. If I get passed 99 times, I've got to let her pass me."

Garrison, ranked sixth in the world, knows what she's talking about. She's one of the few who has a career victory over Graf. Granted, Graf was a mere 15 and it was on clay.

In their four matches since, Graf has dropped only one set. The most recent was a 6-1, 7-5 decision in February in Washington, D.C. Graf won the first 20 points of the match, but Garrison was a point from sending the second set to a tiebreaker.

"Zina has to go to the net and play really, really aggressive," Tauziat assessed. "If Zina doesn't make a mistake, she has a chance."

In other words, she has to play perfect tennis?

Tauziat didn't blink an eye. "Yes."

o o o

White, of Del Mar, and Magers, who lives on a sailboat off Harbor Island, are making a rather auspicious tour debut as a doubles team. Yesterday afternoon they beat third-seeded Lori McNeil and Gigi Fernandez 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 ... In last night's late doubles match, the unseeded Fairbank-Burgin defeated No. 4 Tauziat-Isabel Demongeot of France 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-1...The Graf-Bunge match was televised in West Germany.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 07:04 PM   #3967
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf, Garrison to meet in San Diego tournament final
Houston Chronicle
Sunday, AUGUST 6, 1989
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Zina Garrison hasn't been watching Steffi Graf's matches at the Great American Bank Tennis Classic this week, but she is sure of one thing.

"They were pretty quick, huh?'' said second-seeded Garrison, who will meet the top-seeded Graf today in the final of the $200,000 tournament.

Graf defeated Bettina Bunge 6-1, 6-2 and Garrison rallied from a 1-4 deficit in the second set to eliminate Nathalie Tauziat 6-1, 7-5 in semifinal matches Saturday.

The meeting between Garrison and Graf will be their second this year. Garrison fell 6-1, 7-5 in a February indoor match. She defeated Graf in 1985 but has lost the last four.

After spending two years out of tennis recovering from injuries, Bettina Bunge got a firsthand look at just how good Graf has become.

"I haven't had a match like that in years,'' Bunge said.

Managing just six points off the serve of the world's top woman player, Bunge realized she had been away too long.

"I think she's improved all around - her serve, her forehand, she's bigger, she's stronger,'' said Bunge, a West German native who saw Graf play as a young teen-ager.

And like most of Graf's opponents, Bunge was pleased to win even three games against the Wimbledon champion, against whom she is now 0-5.

"I thought I played quite well under the circumstances, playing Steffi in a big match,'' she said. "I hadn't been in a big match in a long time.''

Making her first singles appearance since 1987, Bunge gave Graf her biggest challenge of the tourney thus far in a 62-minute match.

Graf's previous longest match in the tournament lasted only 43 minutes. No opponent had managed to win more than 22 points and two games off her in her first tournament since winning at Wimbledon last month.

"I didn't know what to expect,'' said Graf. "I knew she has the touch."

But she left no doubt about her own touch, winning the match on two consecutive aces.

"She's serving like (Ivan) Lendl, really hard,'' Bunge said. "Once that first serve comes in it's hard to return.''

Graf surrendered just two points in the last five games of the first set, hitting precise placement shots and using an improved backhand.

"It was always my weakness more or less,'' she said. "Now I'm being more aggressive.''

Down two games to none in the second set, Bunge mounted a challenge in the third game, overcoming a double fault on an ad point in to win the next two points off Graf.

In the fifth game, Graf needed five break points to win on Bunge's serve. Bunge made a series of unforced errors to lose the game.

Down 5-1 in the final set, Bunge mounted her last challenge, serving her third ace of the match to win the seventh game.

But Graf came back in the next game to finish off the match with a pair of aces at 30-all.

"If I hit the ball too short I got punished,'' said Bunge, whose ranking peaked at No. 6 in 1983. "If I would get tentative, I was dead.''

In the first set, both players held serve to start the match, with Bunge fending off two break points to win the second game after scoring three consecutive service winners.

But Graf came back strong, using whizzing forehand shots and capitalizing on Bunge's errors, winning the last five games, losing only five points in the process.
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 07:43 PM   #3968
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The inner conflict was becoming noticeable. On one side, she has a duty to play her best; on the other side, she has a duty to entertain the spectators. The athletic competition is (rightly) the basis of the entertainment. But what happens if reasonable approximations of your "best" are seriously detrimental to the entertainment value of the competition? It's clear that Steffi often genuinely felt sorry for the spectators at her blowout matches.

It's also clear that Pavel Slozil can see the big problem looming with the demands of perfectionism. At this stage, I don't think Steffi understood the full implications -- even in early 1990, she would casually answer "Does that sound so awful?" to the charge of being a full-time perfectionist. But it wouldn't be long before she had her Sorcerer's Apprentice moment and she was asking "How do I turn this off? What do you mean I can't?"

Steffi gets the title, but it's just 'OK'
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Monday, August 7, 1989
John Freeman, Tribune Sportswriter

SURE enough, the world's best woman tennis player won yesterday's final of the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic.

That came as no surprise ---- not for Steffi Graf and not for the capacity crowd of 4,400 which made a point of arriving early at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club.

Graf beat second-seeded Zina Garrison 6-4, 7-5, but she hardly was pleased with the substandard quality of her play.

"It's OK if you win," said Graf, not exactly flushed with the thrill of victory that earned her $40,000. "I didn't play too badly, but it's not what I wanted to do."

By that she meant she didn't feel comfortable having her serve broken seven times, and making four -- count 'em, four -- mis-hits, one of which sailed wildly into the crowd as if she were some hacker who had no business playing on center court.

But when it was over about 90 minutes later -- another surprise, because she had breezed through her previous four matches -- Graf had emerged with a convincing win over Garrison.

But, just imagine:

Steffi Graf actually lost a few games -- not only in the entire match, but in each set.

Steffi Graf actually fell behind in each set.

Steffi Graf actually looked, well, beatable, or at least vulnerable to being beaten.

"She's definitely a great player,'' Garrison conceded after the match, "but like I've been saying the whole week, I'm not afraid of her. You have to challenge her. She's good at what she does, but she's beatable."

Some advice Garrison received just before the match may have helped her cause.

Angel Lopez, head teaching pro at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, had been hitting with Garrison for 2 1/2 hours every day of the week-long tournament. Before Garrison took the court yesterday, she asked Lopez what he would recommend.

"I said, 'Everyone plays her to the corners; hit it right to her; make her create the angle,' " said Lopez. Afterward, he was asked by Garrison to accompany her this week to the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles.

"I'm so pumped," said Lopez, a 34-year-old former University of Arizona player and Chula Vista native who still competes in local events. "She said I really helped her game."

Garrison found herself in position to win each of the match's two sets, tied 4-4 in the first set and, miraculously enough, up 5-3, 30-love in the second.

But in each case, Graf turned on the pressure and showed why she has become the undisputed, virtually unthreatened champion of women's tennis.

"When I'm down, I'm not afraid of hitting," said Graf. "At that moment, I wasn't afraid of losing."

Graf leaves town with an incredible 1989 match record of 59-2, with 10 titles to her credit, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Graf was upset in the French Open finals by the 17-year-old Spaniard, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Graf said she was victimized by food poisoning and menstrual cramps.

"All I can say is, nobody can beat Steffi unless she's ill or injured," said Ted Tinling, the 79-year-old doyen-historian of the women's game who made the GABTC prematch introductions with his usual flourish.

Yesterday, Graf was neither ill nor injured, but she hardly was on top of her game, which usually hovers somewhere near ultra-perfection.

"I didn't play very well," she said. "The forehand (they don't call her Fraulein Forehand for nothing) didn't work really too well. She kept coming to the net, and she didn't let me get into a rhythm, so it wasn't easy."

But in each set, Graf rose to the challenge, forcing Garrison into mistakes at critical times.

"The good part about it was that whenever I was down, I played much better," said Graf, who made her first appearance in San Diego. "But I can do much better than I did this time."

Her coach, former Czech pro Pavel Slozil, said Graf's fans around the world have become too accustomed to easy wins.

"People want more and more," said Slozil, "and she is never satisfied with herself. That's a problem, for me and for her. We want more and more, but she is only a human being. She can lose sometimes, too, you know."

Not for at least another week, she won't. And probably not the rest of the year.

After Steffi's win, she traveled with Slozil and her father, Peter Graf, to Florida. Steffi, the pride of West Germany -- one of the tournament sponsors was the West German Tourist Board -- recently bought a home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Based on her week-on, week-off schedule, Graf will rest this week, then compete in a $200,000 event in the garden spot of Mahwah, N.J., preparing to defend her U.S. Open title in New York.

Garrison, too, is looking forward to the U.S. Open, in hopes of a possible rematch.

"I'm disappointed, but I know that I have the Open ahead and if I play well, I'll get another chance," she said.

Graf said she was unperturbed by the crowd, which seemed to cheer loudest for Garrison, a 25-year-old right-hander from Houston who is ranked No. 5 in the world.

Actually, that crowd's reaction likely was a desire to see a competitive match, one longer and more worth watching than Graf's prelim wins over Rene Simpson, Betsy Nagelsen, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Bettina Bunge.

"It's all right," said Graf. "It's like everybody is saying, 'We like you very much, that's why we want to see you play longer. That's why we cheer for the other one.'

"They want to see something different. They don't want fast matches, or lopsided matches. They want competition."

And what do you want, Steffi?

"I want to see my best tennis and see what comes out."

As for Garrison, she was pleased to have the crowd's support, pointing out that it would have been different had the match been held on West German soil.

"I'd love to be in that situation," said Garrison. "That means you're No. 1."

NOTES -- The tournament doubles title was won by the team of Elise Burgin and Ros Fairbank, with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Robin White and Gretchen Magers. The match featured three players -- Fairbank, White and Magers -- who live in San Diego.

Garrison's fiance, Willard Jackson, a 25-year-old from Houston who owns a hazardous waste company, watched the match. He will marry Garrison on Sept. 23. Garrison, who won $18,000 yesterday, grew up in Houston.

Graf said she plans to return to San Diego next year, saying, "Everyone really welcomed me here. They did everything they could for me, especially the club. You have such a great city. There's no reason not to come back."
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 07:48 PM   #3969
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf has to fight to win Great American title Top seed defeats Garrison 6-4, 7-5
The San Diego Union
Monday, August 7, 1989
Mark Zeigler, Staff Writer

For 96 minutes yesterday afternoon, in the final of the $200,000 Great American Tennis Classic, the invincible Steffi Graf looked, well, quite vincible.

She didn't serve "like Lendl," as one player described it earlier in the week. Her forehand was flat, her backhand bashful. She sent routine ground strokes zooming past the baseline. She hit balls -- horror of horrors -- off the frame of her racket.

Most of the time, she mumbled self-criticisms in German. But after falling behind, 4-1, in the second set, she scolded herself in flawless English: "What the hell is going on with me?"

Graf won, of course. She almost always does.

The tournament's top seed and the world's No. 1 player claimed her ninth singles title of the year by defeating second-seeded Zina Garrison 6-4, 7-5 before 4,400 at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club. The victory carried a prize of $40,000.

In a doubles final of local interest, Elise Burgin and Rosalyn Fairbank defeated Robin White and Gretchen Magers 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Fairbank lives in Rancho Bernardo, White in Del Mar, and Magers on a sailboat docked at Harbor Island.

Graf's match was unlike any of her previous four in this tournament. It was close.

Though Graf spent a good deal of the post-match interview session lamenting how she played "a little less than OK," give a healthy portion of credit to the sixth-ranked Garrison of Houston. She had the right game plan -- charge the net at every opportunity -- and the athleticism to execute it.

Should she have won?

"Yeah," Garrison said, quietly. "The chances were there. I didn't take advantage of them ... I have to be a little meaner. I have to have that killer instinct."

You want chances?

In the first set, Garrison had double break-point in the eighth game and triple-break point in the 10th. Both times, Graf raised her game a level or six, Garrison turned passive, and the West German prevailed.

In the second set, Garrison led, 4-1. Three games later, she was serving for the set at 5-3, 30-0.

Garrison hit two forehands long, Graf painted the sideline with two precise backhand passing shots, and it was 5-4. Graf calmly won 12 of the next 15 points -- and, hence, the match.

That Garrison was able to stay with Graf, sub-par or not, was something of an accomplishment. In 21 hardcourt matches this year, Graf, 20, had dropped one set -- to Chris Evert in March in the final of the Virigina Slims of Florida.

Yesterday, she easily could have lost either set.

"The main thing about playing Steffi is that I'm not afraid of her," said Garrison, 25, who won $18,000. "Some people, I think, fear her ... I'm very quick at the net. I can run down anything anybody hits me. That puts a little fear in a person like Steffi, because she's used to hitting so many winners."

Example: Graf hadn't had her serve broken in the tournament, but yesterday it was broken six times.

Example: Graf, who had played 10 deuce games in her first four matches, faced 10 yesterday.

Example: After winning her previous matches in an average of 47 minutes, Graf needed 96.

Graf will have a week at her Florida digs to sort this out on the practice court before the United Jersey Bank Classic at Mahwah, N.J., her only other tune-up before the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 28.

"I hope she is not so defensive as today," said Peter Graf, her father. "She won just to win. She didn't assert herself. I told her just to start slow, and she played the whole match slow."

Steffi, when asked to rate her performance on a scale of 1-10, gave it a four.

To her credit, though, she got going when she needed to. She was at her best when she was coming from behind.

"I just went for it," she explained. "That's the best part about my game. When I'm down, I'm not afraid of hitting it. I'm not afraid of losing."

What irked Graf most was the second game of the second set. She had won the final four games of the first set and broken Garrison in the opening game of the second. She was serving at 40-30...

And lost the game.

Graf sent a forehand way long, and Garrison hit two volley winners to even it at 1-1. That started a Graf tailspin that didn't stop until she trailed, 4-1.

"To lose that game was unnecessary," Graf said, shaking her head. "I lost my concentration. I shouldn't lose those games."

Still, the fact is, she won again. Graf is 57-2 in singles matches this year, 204-7 over the past three years. She has reached the final of all 11 tournaments she has entered this year, winning nine.

Garrison, who didn't enter this tournament until last month, continued what promises to be her best year on the tour. This was her fifth final of '89 (she has won two). After hovering around 10th the past six years, her ranking has improved to as high as fifth.

"It disappointed me," Garrison said of losing so many chances and, ultimately, the match. "But I'll get another chance ... No one's invincible."
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 07:48 PM   #3970
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf Wins but It's Not Easy : Top-Ranked Player Comes Back to Beat Garrison in Final
August 7, 1989
CURT HOLBREICH
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — Top-ranked Steffi Graf knew she was in a match Sunday against Zina Garrison.

She argued line calls. She shouted to the heavens in anger. She mumbled to herself between points. Twice she trailed by two games or more in a set.

Of course, she came back to win. Anything else would have been unthinkable after the way she swept through the rest of the tournament. But at least she had to work for her 6-4, 7-5 victory in the championship of the $200,000 Great American Bank tennis tournament at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club.

The sixth-ranked Garrison made sure of that. The first three times Graf served, she lost--the first time the West German's serve had been broken in the tournament.

"When you win the first game off of Steffi," Garrison said, "you have a chance because when she is in tune in her game, you know you won't get a chance to touch her serve, or a lot of the balls she hits.

"The main thing about me is, I am not afraid of her. A lot of people fear her, fear the shots she hits. She is a great player, but it is a game, and you have to challenge."

Garrison's challenge was a calculated risk, booming her first serve and coming to the net after Graf's second serve. The frequent charges unsettled Graf.

"She kept coming to the net and didn't let me get into rhythm," Graf said. "When somebody comes in, it is hard to make the point."

After losing only five games in four matches to advance to the final, Graf lost almost twice that many in the 1-hour 36-minute match.

Garrison had her down, 4-2, in the first set, but Graf won the last four games to take the set, twice fighting off a series of break points. She held after a double break point in the eighth game and a triple break point in the deciding 10th game.

"That was horrible," said Garrison, who had an even better opportunity in the second set. She led, 4-1, but Graf won six of the last seven games to take the match. Graf said the key was breaking Garrison after Garrison led, 5-3, 30-0, in the second set.

"(At that point) you do not think about losing, but usually the set is over," Graf said. "Then, some great passing backhand shots came out of me. That is the best point about my game, when I am down I am not afraid to hit them. I went for the shots; I am not afraid of losing."

That is something she has done only twice in 59 matches this year and only once in six career matches against Garrison. The title, for which she earned $40,000, was her ninth of the year.

Graf will take a week off before entering a $200,000 tournament in Mahwah, N.J., her last tuneup before the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 28. But while she left San Diego with her 38th career singles title, she was not entirely pleased.

"It is OK if you win, still you want to always do well," she said. "I didn't play bad, but not (as well as) I wanted to play."

Her perfectionist nature aside, the only real downside for Graf might have been the crowd. They were sellouts of 4,400 for her semifinal and final matches, but most of the encouragement was for her opponents.

"Everyone was saying afterward, 'We like you that much; that is why we want to see you (play) longer; that is why we cheer for the other one,' " Graf said.

Just another part of being No. 1.

Tournament Notes

Ros Fairbank of Rancho Bernardo and Elise Burgin of Baltimore won the doubles championship over Gretchen Magers of San Diego and Robin White of Del Mar, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. It was the first victory in three finals this year for Fairbank and Burgin, who have been regular partners since 1986. It was the first tournament for Magers and White as a team in several years. "Elise made some great shots on some key points, and that was the difference," Magers said.. . . The presence of top-ranked Steffi Graf helped push attendance to a record 37,269 for 13 sessions, more than three times last year's total of 12,000. Graf said she planned to return next year.
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 07:56 PM   #3971
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

If you're going to be stuck with a dominant player, you could do far worse than Steffi. They will all come to realize this in 1991.

No headline available
The San Diego Union
Monday, August 7, 1989
Barry Lorge

In the glitzy, glamorous, jet-set world of pro tennis, Steffi Graf is amazingly down-to-earth. Only on the court is she above the crowd. Otherwise, her feet are firmly on the ground, her head and heart in the right place. She is not at home in large groups and formal occasions, but if you sat down and chatted with her about music, pets, cooking dumplings and how beautiful she found San Diego's beaches, you would like her.

She is not particularly popular because fans always cheer for the underdog, not a ponytailed assassin of 20 who has lost only seven times since 1986. Being German surely has not warmed her reception internationally. In matches, she is all business -- ruthless, relentless, and so much better than the rank-and-file that most of her matches last less than an hour and are about as dramatic as executions.

Even when she is considerably below her best form, she usually wins comfortably. Such was the case yesterday, when she beat Zina Garrison, 6-4, 7-5, to win the $200,000 Great American Bank Tennis Classic. Most of the audience at San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club was rooting for Garrison, who led 4-1 and 5-3 in the second set, to at least force a third. "That's normal," said Graf, who understands group psychology.

The only upset was that her father, the incredibly intense Peter Graf, is encouraging his daughter to be more outgoing and communicative, the better to become the people's choice. Last year, when she won the Grand Slam -- a sweep of the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open singles in one season that had not been achieved since Margaret Court did it in 1970 -- stoic Steffi was criticized for being so unemotional. The public has not discovered the pleasant personality beneath the icy competitor.

"Sometimes I have to tell her to give more from inside herself, because she is really nice," Peter Graf said. "Perhaps you think I only say this because I am her father, but it is important that she shows this sometimes to the people, so they can identify with her."

He told a revealing little story. After Steffi had beaten countrywoman Claudia Kohde-Kilsch in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-0, he asked her why she didn't smile and wave to the crowd. She told him she felt for a former bitter rival, once ranked No. 4 in the world and No. 1 in Germany, who had never been beaten that badly and was crying at courtside.

"Steffi said 'Papa, I cannot do this. I cannot stop and tell everybody hello, hello when the other one is in tears,' " Peter Graf said. "She understands. She has feelings. Always people think she is a machine, but she is more human than most. She thinks a lot about her family and other things that are important, not only tennis."

She also has the right stuff that distinguishes champions. She hits out when behind, fearlessly. Always has.

"The most important thing is, you can never become No. 1 in the world if somebody is behind you, always making pressure," said Peter Graf, her first coach and still primary adviser. "If you are afraid to lose, you cannot win. I have seen this so many times -- boys or girls at a young age, when the match is close, they are afraid that if they lose, their parents will be bad to them. It is not possible to succeed this way, and with Steffi it was not necessary to make pressure. That must come only from inside, and Steffi is a winner. If she lost, I said, 'It's OK. There is a next time. Let it be.' "

This surprises some folks who think of Peter as the pushiest of tennis parents.

Once a top teenage sprinter and soccer player who drove himself with such furious internal combustion that he regularly ripped muscles and fractured his leg three times between 16 and 18, he took up tennis at age 27, and quickly became a ranked player. Moody, strong-willed, fiercely protective of his daughter, he never forgets a slight or backs off a fight.

He can be charming and cooperative one moment, contentious and rude the next. He has bruised many egos and left a number of players, promoters and tennis officials feeling as if they had been attacked by a pit bull. On balance, though, he has done a remarkable job of shielding his daughter from the sharks of big-time tennis and cultivating her career.

Steffi speaks lovingly of the days when she was not yet old enough for kindergarten and waited by the door for him to come home from work, pleading, "Please, Papa, play with me." Peter tied a string between chairs to simulate a net, turned on a music box, gave her ice cream and hot raspberries or other treats when she kept the ball in play for 50 shots or more.

"But there are so many stories that are wrong," Papa Graf protested. "If you have a child who is very good, people think you pushed. Steffi only wanted to play tennis, and I just made it easy for her ... I said, 'If you make a record today, then we have a party.' Anyway, she knew exactly what she wanted and said, 'I will do it.' She was concentrating very hard, from 3 years old. You cannot give this to someone. It comes only from within."

Steffi remains disciplined, dedicated, exceptionally professional for her age, but she does enjoy some of the trappings of celebrity. Last year, she played mixed doubles in London with the Princess of Wales, hitting it off so splendidly with Diana that she offered this summer to give lessons to 7-year-old Prince William, who is keen on tennis.

"We had a lot of fun. Princess Di wants to play again, and bring William along, and I told her I would coach him," Graf said, giggling ingenuously, without a hint of pomposity. "I like her a lot. She's very nice, very easy to talk to, person to person, without a lot of other people around."

So is Steffi, who would like to return to San Diego next year. She nodded as her father said, "Definitely. The tournament is not so big, but everyone was very nice. We had a wonderful time here. I understand now why people say this is the best city in America."
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 07:57 PM   #3972
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Win over Garrison leaves Graf down
Houston Chronicle
Monday, AUGUST 7, 1989
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Steffi Graf came down hard on herself Sunday following her straight-sets victory over Zina Garrison of Houston.

It didn't matter that she won her 10th tournament of the year or that she rallied to win 6-4, 7-5 after being down in both sets in the Great American Bank Tennis Classic final.

She shouldn't have gotten behind in the first place, she chided herself.

"About a four, I think,'' she answered when asked to rate her play on a scale from one to 10.

"I didn't play well at all,'' said Graf, who committed 31 unforced errors. "My forehand wasn't working too well, as well as the return, and I didn't serve well either.''

Graf said a sub-par performance subtracts from any championship.

"You feel disappointed afterwards,'' she said. "It's OK if you win, but still you always want to do well. I didn't play bad, but it was not what I wanted.''

Graf registered three consecutive service breaks to rally from a 1-4 deficit in the second set. She won the next two games before being broken in the eighth game, giving Garrison a 5-3 lead.

That really made Graf mad, although she showed it in her characteristically quiet way.

"To lose that game is so unnecessary,'' she said.

The world's top-ranked women's player then fought back to win four games in a row and the $40,000 winner's share, boosting her 1989 winnings to $979,905. Second-seeded Garrison won $18,000, bringing her yearly total to $287,453.

"The good part was that when I was down, I played good tennis,'' Graf said. "When I was down in the second set, 5-3, 30-0, I never counted me out - I just went for it, and had some great backhands come out of me. That's one thing about me. When I'm down, I'm not afraid to go for it."

Garrison broke Graf's serve six times in the match but lost her own serve eight times. In the second set, Garrison forced three service breaks to Graf's four.

Playing in her first tournament since winning her second consecutive Wimbledon championship, Graf struggled in the first set, getting behind 2-4 in surrendering three service breaks.

She won the final four games of that set.

After Graf won the first game of the second set, Garrison took the next four and served three winners to lead, 4-1. Graf held in the next game, then capitalized on four errors by Garrison, including two double-faults, to build her comeback.

Garrison said those kinds of missed opportunities doomed her chances.

"The chances were there, and I didn't take advantage of them,'' she said. "I really should have won the second set, because I had a chance to serve it out.''

With Graf leading the next game 40-15, she faltered on a mis-hit backhand and couldn't reach Garrison's forehand volley at the net. Graf's errors on the next two points gave Garrison a 5-3 lead and a chance to win the set.

Garrison's serve had Graf down 30-love, but the West German came back four points later with a zinging backhand to the baseline. Garrison couldn't control it, and Graf took the game.

"I hit great approach shots, but I didn't cover the line like I should have,'' said Garrison.

Garrison, ranked No. 6 in the world, now has just a 1-5 record against Graf, winning their first meeting in 1985.

Their meeting was the second of the year following a February match in the finals of the Virginia Slims of Washington. Graf won that match 6-1, 7-5.
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 07:58 PM   #3973
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf struggles against Garrison
Houston Chronicle
Monday, AUGUST 7, 1989
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Zina Garrison knows what she has to do to beat Steffi Graf and knows she's getting closer.

"When you win the first game off Steffi, you have a chance,'' Garrison said. "When she's really in her game, you don't even have a chance to touch her serve or a lot of the balls she has.''

But that wasn't the case Sunday in the championship final of the Great American Bank Tennis Classic.

Garrison had Graf down 4-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second before falling 6-4, 7-5. She broke the West German's serve six times.

"I'm getting a little better,'' Garrison said, "so I really can't get down. I had chances in the match, and I've got to keep sticking to my game plan.''

Graf had her hardest time against Garrison, No. 6 in the world, since a 1986 match that went to three sets. In their three meetings since then, Garrison had fared no better than 6-1, 7-5 against the No. 1-ranked women's player.

The two have met six times, with Garrison's lone victory coming in their first meeting in 1985.

"She has a difficult game to play,'' Graf said. "You just always have to hang in there. She can play some great ones and some weak ones, but this year, she has been playing well. She's never easy to beat.''

Graf said Garrison's net play and problems with her own normally powerful forehand caused her problems.

The tourney's top seed rallied in the second set after trailing 4-1 and broke the second-seeded Garrison's serve three times in a row to win the match.

After holding serve in the sixth game for the first time in the set, Graf broke Garrison in the seventh. She keyed on four Garrison errors, including two double-faults, to pull to within 4-3.

But in the next game, Graf squandered a 40-15 lead by committing errors and gave Garrison a chance to win the set.

Graf said she had to get angry at herself to turns things around.

"Then, some great backhand shots came out of me,'' Graf said. "I just went for it, and that's the best part about my game.

"I went for the shots and wasn't afraid of losing.''
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Old Jul 18th, 2014, 04:16 PM   #3974
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Jumping to 1994. Attentive readers will recall that Steffi had already withdrawn from Fed Cup before Wimbledon started because she knew she needed a break -- but her early loss gave her an unexpected head start on her vacation. There was some feuding with the German Tennis Federation and other parties going on behind the scenes, so reentering Fed Cup was likely out of the question.

TOP-RANKED GRAF COMING TO MAHWAH
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, June 29, 1994
By KEN DAVIDOFF, Correspondent

The 1994 Pathmark Tennis Classic landed the big one Tuesday.

Steffi Graf, the world's top-ranked women's tennis player, announced that she will play in the Mahwah tournament July 18-24 at the Crossroads Corporate Center. Graf, who lost in the first round of Wimbledon last week, is a four-time Pathmark champion.

"I am looking forward to returning to Mahwah," Graf said. "It has always been like a second home for me. I think this tournament will be a good preparation for the U.S. Open because it is the same type of hard court, and it should be an exciting tournament."

"Happy days are here again," tournament director John Korff said. "We're really psyched. You can't do better than No. 1."

The prospects for Graf's appearance in Mahwah initially seemed slim. The Federation Cup takes place the same week in Frankfurt, Germany, Graf's native country.

"When we first called her at the outset [almost four months ago], her agent said, `What are you, crazy?'"

Korff said. "We laid a lot of cards that a lot of tennis players wouldn't respond to."

Graf said that the tournament's support of The Safe Passage Foundation had a lot to do with her decision. A benefit match for the organization established by the late Arthur Ashe in 1990 will be held July 16 at the Crossroads Corporate Center. John McEnroe and Andre Agassi headline the event.

"Money isn't an issue for her," said Korff, who spoke of Graf's great respect for Ashe. "She's passing up the Federation Cup in Germany and all the pressures that come along with that to play here."

Korff said that corporate sponsorship played a role in Graf's announcement, however. Adidas is a Pathmark sponsor, and the company has been involved with Graf for many years.

Graf has not played Pathmark in its 17th year since 1990, when she defeated Jennifer Capriati in the final. Her other championships came in 1986, 1988, and 1989. She was a finalist in 1985.

Graf will join 1993 Wimbledon finalist Jana Novotna, Helena Sukova, Amanda Coetzer, Pam Shriver, and Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere in the tournament.

"This gives us a pretty solid field," Korff said. He ranked Graf's announcement among the tourney's greatest coups. In 1990, Capriati entered it in her first year as a professional. In 1991, Monica Seles played it after mysteriously skipping Wimbledon.
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Old Jul 18th, 2014, 04:22 PM   #3975
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

GRAF SET TO PLAY AFTER REST
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, July 20, 1994
By BILL SULLIVAN, Staff Writer

Steffi Graf discovered at the same time as the rest of the world that her fuel gauge was on empty.

It was in the first round at Wimbledon last month when Graf, the world's No. 1-ranked player and defending champion, suffered a stunning defeat to American Lori McNeil.

Coupled with her earlier loss in the French Open semifinals to Mary Pierce, Graf realized that even the most driven player in women's tennis occasionally needs to take a breather.

That's exactly what Graf gave herself after Wimbledon: a three-week layoff.

"I realized I had to take time off, and it really wasn't that hard to take the time off," said Graf, who resumes competing Thursday as the No. 1 seed in the Pathmark Tennis Classic at Crossroads Corporate Center. "I needed to get a break from everything."

Graf will face Nicole Provis in the second round at Mahwah, where she is making her first appearance in three years. Graf is a four-time winner of this tournament, always a favorite stop on her schedule.

"I came to Mahwah [in 1983] for the first time. I always stayed with a family there and I have very good memories," said Graf. "It has always been a friendly tournament."

Finding friendly confines hasn't been easy for Graf since she turned pro at age 13. She is recognized virtually everywhere she goes, and is aggressively stalked by the German media.

She treasures the infrequent moments of normalcy in her life as much as any trophy. A player who has won more than $14 million in her career, Graf speaks fondly of a driving trip she took to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and other Western locations. She savors the days she gets to spend in her New York City apartment. Alone.

At 25, she has attained all there is to gain from professional tennis, including a Grand Slam in 1988, and, in her opinion, has taken her game to its highest mechanical level, give or take a few tips from coach Heinz Gunhardt.

"There wouldn't be a lot left to learn," said Graf. "Heinz still sees a lot of things we can work on. I haven't really served well the last couple of tournaments."

There's also an absence of rivalry in women's tennis. With players such as Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati missing from the tour and Martina Navratilova set to retire, Graf lacks consistent competition for the No. 1 ranking.

"I've missed the competition," said Graf. "I like to be pushed and, in a way, forced to play good tennis."

But Graf says she isn't forcing herself to play tennis.

"If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be here," she said.

"I just try to play as hard as I can. My goal maybe isn't winning any specific tournament; I'm out there to get better."

* * *

Alix Creek of Tucson, Ariz., was a 6-0, 6-3 winner over Ridgewood's Terri O'Reilly in Tuesday's afternoon session.

Marketa Kochta of Germany and Ai Sugiyama of Japan had similar paths to victories in the afternoon, both with three-set triumphs.
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