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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 12:28 AM   #1261
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Re: 1986

TENNIS; Shriver Just Misses In Navratilova Test
November 23, 1986
New York Times

The match was a test of wills as well as friendship. Pam Shriver had every intention of showing Martina Navratilova that her makeover was not a cosmetic change - six easy ways to improve your game - but a new found resolve to find her rightful place among the best players in the world.

Navratilova had offered her doubles partner encouragement until yesterday, that is, when the partnership was temporarily dissolved in the semifinals of the Virginia Slims championships at Madison Square Garden.

What ensued was easily the most exciting match of the tournament between two emotionally charged players who play their best under the most trying circumstances. Navratilova paced as if the boundaries of the court were a cage, angrily swinging her racquet in the air from time to time, or tossing it in disgust into her chair during the breaks between games. On the other side of the net, Shriver grit her teeth and clenched her fists, puffing like a steam engine between points in an effort to relieve the tension.

''I thought I was going to win the match,'' Shriver said. ''I've never felt so positive before. For the first time in my career, I feel I am playing up to No. 1 in the world.''
A Familiar Story

The result, however, was a familiar story as Navratilova overcame a brilliant performance by Shriver to win, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, advancing to the singles final where she will play Steffi Graf of West Germany, who defeated Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 7-6, 3-6, 6-1.

The victory was Navratilova's 52d in succession and bettered her match record this year to 88-3. ''I thought the streak was over today,'' she said, somewhat subdued after the match. ''But if I had to lose to anyone, I'd want Pam to be the one.''

Despite their friendship and enormous success as doubles partners, however, Navratilova has never bestowed any gifts on Shriver when they face each other. The victory raised her career record against Shriver to 30-3, and she has won the last 20 times they have met.

Navratilova sensed that Shriver was especially motivated yesterday, but what got her going, she said, was the unshakable belief she would prevail because she is simply a better player. It is the arrogance of a champion and it may have been the difference this time.

Moment of Controversy

''I was saying to myself, 'you're faster, you have more shots, what's going on here,' '' Navratilova said.

The focus of the championships has been on the officiating and yesterday provided another controversial moment, initiated by Navratilova, at the expense of Shriver. It caused what Shriver called ''a problem'' between them, one that had not been forgotten when the match ended and they rested their heads on each other's shoulder in a fatigue and relief.

Shriver's net game and the new-found spring in her feet, which enables her to track down shots she once would watch helplessly, had put her up a break at the start of the third set.

Trailing by 3-1, and serving at deuce in the final set, Navratilova hit a half-volley that hit the net and crawled over. She thought she had lost the point and began to babble, as she put it. Shriver, coming in to scoop the shot on her forehand, said she was distracted, and netted the ball.

Shriver Appeal Rejected

She felt Navratilova had interfered with the point and asked the chair umpire, Judy Popkin, for a replay. She requested the same of the tournament referee, Lee Jackson. But her appeal was rejected. Navratilova held her serve, then broke Shriver in the sixth game after Shriver held a 40-0 lead.

''I felt bad about it,'' Navratilova said. ''I stopped talking in mid-sentence but it threw Pam off. She is the only one who knows if it bothered her but I think she thought about it the rest of the match.''

Shriver said the lost point deprived her of an opportunity to go up by two breaks, the kind of margin that one needs against Navratilova. ''But the shot shouldn't be dwelled on,'' Shriver said. ''First off, I should have made it, then I was up 40-love on my next serve. I was determined not to let it bug me.''

Navratilova would slam the door, however. She was broken five times, but broke Shriver seven, the last time coming in the final game of the match.

----Graf Has Her Doubts

Graf, who has won 17 matches in a row but has struggled this week, said, ''I haven't played well enough to give Martina a good match tomorrow. But maybe it will help because she will be expected to win.'' . . . Navratilova and Shriver won the doubles final, 7-6, 6-3, from Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Sukova. . . . The attendance of 17,128 set a single session record for women's indoor tennis.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 12:29 AM   #1262
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Re: 1986

Navratilova rallies to defeat Shriver
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
Sunday, November 23, 1986
Associated Press

NEW YORK - Martina Navratilova rallied to beat a determined Pam Shriver 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 Saturday for her 52nd consecutive victory and a berth in the final of the $1 million Virginia Slims Championships tennis tournament.

The No. 1 seed will meet second-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany, who ousted No. 4 Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia 7-6, 1-6, 6-1, in Sunday's best-of-five-sets championship.

The winner will collect $125,000, the runner-up will get $60,000. Shriver played one of the best matches of her career, as she came close to repeating her upset over Navratilova in the quarterfinals of the 1982 U.S. Open.

``I thought it was over today," Navratilova said of her streak, the fourth-longest in modern tennis. Navratilova has strings of 74 and 54 matches, and Chris Evert Lloyd won 56 in a row. Navratilova was almost down two breaks in the decisive third set when, for the third straight day, a controversial point played a key role in a match.

"I've never felt so positive about a match in my life," Shriver said. "I thought I was going to win it."

She might have won, except for the controversial point that came after Navratilova had rallied from a love-40 deficit to pull to deuce in the fifth game of the third set. On the next point, Navratilova hit a shot that hit the net. Thinking she had missed the point, giving Shriver the advantage point, Navratilova began to berate herself. But the ball climbed over the net and dropped at Shriver's side. Shriver raced to the ball, but she couldn't lift it back over the net. Shriver complained to umpire Judy Popkin and tournament referee Lee Jackson, claiming Navratilova's vocal outburst interfered with her play. The ruling went against her, however.

"Pam's the only one who knows whether it affected her or not," Navratilova said. "I thought it was going into the net and so I started to say something. But then it hit the tape and I stopped. You can say that it was the turning point, but she was up 40-love in the next service game. . . . She probably thought about that point the whole match, but there were many turning points."

"The only time Martina and I ever had a problem was five years ago in Australia, and she did the same thing. I didn't win that point either, but once every five years isn't bad," said Shriver, who with Navratilova, form the world's top doubles team.

"It's obvious what happened," Shriver said. "The umpire's got to make the decision. It's an obstruction."

Shriver closed out the second set by holding serve at 15 and the match was even at one set apiece. Shriver grabbed the lead in the decisive third set, breaking Navratilova at 30 in the first game. They then traded service breaks in the next two games, setting up the tense and dramatic finish. Navratilova then held her next two service games, and when she broke Shriver in the 10th game at 30, she had wrapped up the victory.

In the Graf-Sukova match, Graf had a 5-2 lead in the first set and was serving for the set when she lost serve at 30 as her big forehand deserted her. She finally took the tiebreak 7-5 after Sukova saved three set points. Then it was Sukova's turn. She dominated, both the backcourt and at the net, to rush through the second set and tie the match.

But with Graf's 15-year-old brother, Micheal, who came to the United States on Friday for the first time, in the Madison Square Garden crowd of 17,128 watching, the 17-year-old West German found the range with her forehand. Pounding winner after winner, Graf easily brushed aside the tall Czechoslovak to reach the final.

The last time Navratilova and Graf met was in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, when Graf held three match points before Navratilova won in a third-set tie-break. Since that loss, Graf has won 17 straight matches. "Everyone is expecting me to have a close match with Martina again, but I don't know," Graf said. "I don't feel as comfortable at the moment as I usually do."

Navratilova and Shriver later teamed up to win the doubles crown, defeating Sukova and West Germany's Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, 7-6, 6-3.

The champions shared $45,000, while Sukova and Kohde-Kilsch split $23,000.

Davis upsets Teltscher

HOUSTON - Unseeded Scott Davis pressed Eliot Teltscher's serves mercilessly to beat Teltscher 7-5, 6-4 in Saturday's semifinal singles match and advance to the finals in the $279,000 WCT Houston Shootout.

Davis, who upset top-seeded Jimmy Connors in Friday night's quarterfinals, broke Teltscher's service in the 11th game, then held his own for the victory.

"I played well, but it probably should have been easier," said Davis of Bardmoor, Fla. "I didn't concentrate as well as I would have liked when I got up. Maybe last night's match took a little out of me."

In the second set, Davis broke Teltscher in games one and five to take the st raight set win.

"It's always been a strategy against Eliot to take advantage of his second serve," Davis said.

Teltscher of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., said his poor serves made the difference in the match.

"I had served well all week, but not today," he said. "Scott really puts the pressure on your serve.

Davis will meet the winner of Saturday's evening semifinal match between Slobodan Zivojinovic and Derrick Rostagno in Sunday's championship. Davis, 24, is ranked 43rd in the world, and is 2-0 against Connors, having won their only other previous meeting, 6-3, 6-4, in Tokyo in October, 1983. Connors, who has 105 career singles titles, has not won an event since November, 1984.

In doubles play, Richard Acuna and Brad Pearce defeated Kim Warwick and Blaine Willenborg 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 to advance to the doubles finals. In the second set, Warwick-Willenborg fought off a match point with the game score 5-4 and tied the set 5-5, then took the tie breaker 7-3. Acuna-Pearce broke serve in game eight of the deciding set. Acuna served the match game, which was won in four straight points. The game was won at love.

Acuna-Pearce will face the winners of tonight's semifinal match between Paul Annacone and Gary Donnelly, the No. 2 seed team, and Chip Hooper and Mike Leach, the third-seeded team.

Anger bests Kriek in S. Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Defending champion Matt Anger of the United States beat South African-born American Johan Kriek 7-6, 7-6 Saturday night to gain a berth in the final of the $375,000 Altech South African Open tennis tournament against Israel's Amos Mansdorf.

Mansdorf defeated South Africa's Eddie Edwards 6-0, 7-5 in the other semifinal. Anger, unseeded despite his victory in the event last year, won both tiebreakers against Kriek by scores of 7-4 to advance to Sunday's title match. The women's final Saturday was an all-South African contest, with top-seeded Dinky van Rensberg beating Rene Mentz 6-3, 6-1.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 12:29 AM   #1263
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Re: 1986

Sunday, November 23, 1986
BOB GREENE, Associated Press

NEW YORK - Having dominated women's tennis over the past five years, Martina Navratilova says the other players have narrowed the gap that once separated her from them.

"I've shown that you can become better,'' the world's top-ranked player said before playing her first-round match in the season-ending $1 million Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden.

At one time overweight and erratic, Navratilova began a program of diet, exercises and training that made her one of the all-time stars in the sport. Others have followed her example.

"The players are better than they were three or four years ago,'' she said. "They're just playing better tennis. They hit harder, they are faster, they are better athletes, they are in better shape.

"They used to be just serve-and-volleyers or just baseline players. The trend of the future is the all-around player.''

Chris Evert Lloyd, ranked second in the world but missing from the elite 16-woman field at the Garden because of an injured left knee, is an example. A baseliner who ruled women's tennis until Navratilova's dominance, the 31-year-old Lloyd has changed her game in recent years.

"Baseline players have a thing about coming in,'' West Germany's Bettina Bunge said after upsetting eighth-seeded Kathy Rinaldi, a baseliner, in their first-round match Monday night. "Even when I hit short and was expecting her to come in, she didn't. I guess they're a bit afraid.

"I think it makes things a lot easier if you do come in,'' Bunge said. "Chris is coming in more lately, and she's playing better.''

Lloyd and the others also have begun running and lifting weights, following Navratilova's example. And, Navratilova says, better athletes are taking up the sport.

"I did all the sports when I was little, playing soccer, skiing,'' Navratilova said. "That's why I'm not afraid to fall.

"Today, the players are doing more with their bodies. I've shown them you can become better.

"I'm not taking credit for them doing the work, but I am taking the credit for making them want to do the work.''

This year, Navratilova has won 13 tournaments and came into the Virginia Slims Championships with a 49-match winning streak. Her last loss was to Lloyd in the women's final of the French Open on June 7.

But she lost to 17-year-old Steffi Graf of West Germany in the final at Berlin and in a semifinal to Kathy Jordan earlier this year.

Still, she feels 1986 is her best year.

"I've had some things go against me,'' she said. "But I've pulled out some matches being down match point. I've come through and still won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

"I'm probably more proud of this year than any other.''

But she still has goals, albeit most of them are in the record book.

"I am playing for a place in history,'' she admits. "Two more Wimbledon titles and I'll have the record.''

Navratilova has won Wimbledon seven times, while another American, Helen Wills Moody, holds the record with eight singles titles.

"I guess it's pride,'' she said. "I hate to lose. I hate to perform at a level less than what I'm capable of. You get used to winning.''

And winning is what she has done with a metronome frequency. At Filderstadt, West Germany, she became only the second player in professional tennis to win 1,000 matches, joining her old rival Lloyd.

She holds the record for winning the most consecutive matches with 74.

And Navratilova teamed with Pam Shriver to capture 109 consecutive doubles matches.

"Someone asked me if I was tired of the pressure of being No. 1,'' she said.

"What's the alternative? I'll take the pressure.''
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:05 PM   #1264
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Re: 1986

November 24, 1986
New York Times

If the paper listing all her accomplishments were shredded, there would be enough scraps to give Martina Navratilova a ticker-tape parade. Victories are an obsession, records a means of insuring that people will never be able to talk about the best in women's tennis without mentioning her name. Navratilova's year ended on a winning note yesterday, and the closing credits might have read: To Be Continued.

She defeated Steffi Graf of West Germany, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2, winning the Virginia Slims championships for the fourth consecutive year. It was her seventh victory in a year-ending event, the championships having had other sponsors in the past. It was also the ninth consecutive time she has appeared in the final.

Streak Put on Hold

In one way, Navratilova is reluctant to see the year end. She needs the rest, she said, and will spend Christmas in Aspen, Colo., but it will put on hold for several weeks the winning streak that reached 53 consecutive matches yesterday, within range of the record 74 she won in 1984.

Navratilova finished with an 89-3 match record. She won 14 of 17 tournaments and earned $1,905,841. Her prize money yesterday alone was $428,657, including the bonus pool, doubles and singles winnings. Before reciting her achievements, one should always take a deep breath.

''I'm playing against tougher competition, and that's what makes it more gratifying,'' she said. ''I've had to play as good, if not better, than two years ago. After I won the 74, I didn't think I'd get to it again. You realize how long it is when you start over again.''

Navratilova equates her 74-match winning streak with Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, saying she believed it would never be equaled or surpassed. She has reached the point when thoughts of the current streak ending enter her mind in the midst of a tough match. ''But I can only break my own record and there is no pressure in that,'' she said.

Graf Uses Reliable Forehand

Graf gave every intention of providing more than a workout yesterday. Her game may still be relatively one-dimensional, relying on a topspin forehand, but that shot is so good it enabled the 17-year-old to move up to No. 3 in the world this year. Navratilova had hoped to neutralize that forehand with her assortment of shots, her court savvy and an accurate serve. She succeeded on all counts.

The crowd of 16,175 did not have to wait long for a turning point. Each player held serve fairly easily throughout the opening set, finally deciding matters in a tiebreaker. Navratilova held a 6-4 lead in the tiebreaker and was serving for the set when Graf made a rare approach, punching a forehand volley that Navratilova returned wide.

At 6-5, and holding a second set point, Navratilova tried to chip a backhand. It floated over the baseline. The score was tied, and Graf was serving for the advantage. That time, she smacked a forehand wide and faced her third set point.

Navratilova did not waste the chance, serving an ace to close out the set. Then she broke Graf for the first time in the second game of the second set, forcing three errors. When she won that set, too, the crowd sensed the third would be the last in this, the only three-of-five-sets match the women play.

''Once I was up by two sets, I felt comfortable,'' Navratilova said. ''I played a solid match, nothing spectacular, but no letdowns. This win was fantastic.''

At 30 years of age, the question is how long Navratilova can keep up with the standard she has set. ''People have a hang-up about 30,'' she said. ''To me, it's a number. I think 40 is young. Thirty doesn't bother me.''

There is no comparison, Navratilova said, to the player she was only two or three years ago. ''I would have beaten that Martina in straight sets,'' she said.

ANGER IS UPSET JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 23 (AP) -Unseeded Amos Mansdorf of Israel defeated Matt Anger, the defending champion from the United States, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, today to win the South African Open tennis tournament.

Mansdorf earned $43,000 - his biggest payday ever.

Mansdorf defeated the top-seeded player, Andres Gomez of Ecuador, in the quarterfinals, and beat Eddie Edwards of South Africa in straight sets in the semifinals.

ZIVOJINOVIC WINS HOUSTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) - Slobodan Zivojinovic capitalized on consecutive double faults by Scott Davis to post a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory today in the final of the W.C.T. Houston Shootout for his first Grand Prix title.

The Yugoslav seized control when Davis faltered in the sixth game of the third set. Trailing, 3-2, but even on serve, Davis led, 30-15, in the sixth game when he committed the consecutive double faults.

Zivojinovic increased his lead to 5-2 and 40-love, but it took 4 match points before he captured the first prize of $44,000.

''That one game was the turnaround,'' Davis said. ''I haven't double faulted twice in a row all week.''
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:06 PM   #1265
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Re: 1986

November 24, 1986
New York Times

The paradox surrounding Steffi Graf's year was that the better she played, the less opponents feared her. She began 1986 with modest goals, hoping to win her first tournament and break into the top-10 ranking. She ended it yesterday, No. 3 in the world and an eight-time winner, making a shambles of her own timetable.

''A year ago,'' Graf said, ''opponents were scared of me because I was young and had nothing to lose. Now, they play as if they have nothing to lose. They are not scared.''

Losing to Martina Navratilova in yesterday's final of the Virginia Slims championships did not diminish Graf's accomplishments this year at the age of 17. She defeated Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd for the first time, which she said lifted her confidence, immeasurably.

''It was a difficult thing to do and that made it an unbelievable season,'' she said. ''This year, I wanted to just improve my serve and backhand, but now, I have no time to improve. I don't have the life I had two years ago and it is very important not to think about what people expect of me.''

It is a life, though, she said she would not trade. She will return to West Germany, play an exhibition match or two, perhaps also in the German championships, then put down her racquet until February. She will stay in shape by playing basketball and she is also planning a ski vacation.

'I Get Crazy'

''My father makes sure I do not play too much tennis,'' Graf said. ''It's tough keeping my hands off a racquet. During my time off, there will be three and a half hours every day when I will have nothing to do. After a week, I get crazy.'' The emergence of Graf coincided with Boris Becker's rise to prominence on the men's tour. They were child prodigies, the best hopes of the West German Federation. They have succeeded in making tennis a national craze, although Becker's two Wimbledon championships has earned him more attention.

''When Boris came along, I had some quiet,'' Graf said. ''There was no pressure.''
Pressure Will Mount

Now, the pressure will mount. Graf has the potential to be No. 1 someday, but her most difficult task next year will be trying to equal this year's harvest. She is a baseliner who relies on a topspin forehand that many of the women say is the best on the tour. But it is also a Linus blanket, which can impede the development of her overall game. One of the things she will work on during the holiday season, is coming to the net.

''I can play the net,'' Graf said. ''The trouble is getting there.'' She has more than enough time, however. When Navratilova was asked how much longer she can continue to dominate the tour, she said: ''It depends on how much better Steffi gets.''
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:07 PM   #1266
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Re: 1986

Lexington Herald-Leader
Monday, November 24, 1986
Associated Press

For Martina Navratilova, 1986 was a very good year.

She capped it yesterday with a 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over West Germany's Steffi Graf to capture the $1 million Virginia Slims Championships tennis tournament.

"The whole year's been great," Navratilova said. "I've won the Slims twice and Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and going to Czechoslovakia and winning there and just being there, and finding my dog when he got lost. That's probably the happiest I've been all year."

Her latest victory increased her consecutive match winning streak to 53 - the fourth-longest streak in history behind her own record of 74, Chris Evert Lloyd's 56 and another Navratilova streak of 54.

"This was 53 and I'll probably break Chris' record again, so I'll have the top two spots," she said. "I really didn't think I'd be able to do it again because it's hard. But I can only break my own record now, so there's really no pressure on me."

It was Navratilova's fourth straight title in the Madison Square Garden tournament, as she halted Graf's match-winning string at 17.

It was a rematch of the thrilling semifinal in the U.S. Open, in which Navratilova fought off three match points before beating Graf.

But yesterday, even though Graf was magnificent in defeat, Navratilova let her young opponent know who was No. 1. Not once did the winner lose her serve and Graf never reached break point against the 30-year-old Navratilova. Navratilova converted the only three break points of the match.

"When we played in the U.S. Open I was very close to Martina," Graf said. "Today she was a little bit better. It was hard to stay in the match.

"She just smacked it all over me," Graf said. "She really played a good match. She served very well. It was really a close first set, and maybe if I would have won it, it would have gotten closer." Following the match, Graf presented her conqueror with a bouquet of roses.

Said Navratilova: "Steffi played a little better at the Open and I played a little better today."

Navratilova needed all of the weapons in her arsenal to combat Graf's powerful forehand. And she did it by changing pace and spins, never giving Graf the same shot twice.

Navratilova had to hold on in the opening set as Graf breezed through her service games, with Navratilova never winning more than two points.

In the fifth game, Navratilova won three straight points to hold serve after being down 15-30. And in the 10th game, she fought through three deuces before pulling even at 5-5.

Two games later, the two moved into a tiebreaker.

Navratilova took a 3-0 lead before Graf won the next three points. Graf saved two set points before Navratilova took a 7-6 lead when Graf sailed a forehand long. Then, Navratilova closed out the first set with her third ace of the match.

For all practical purposes, the match was over. Navratilova was pumped up and, after fighting through three deuces again to hold serve to begin the second set, she broke Graf at love for a 2-0 lead.

It was the only break of the set. Navratilova got two more breaks in the third set as she ran off with the final four games of the match.

Navratilova had solved the young phenom, who has won eight tournaments in the past eight months. She did it by hitting kick serves on her second serves and by giving Graf low, soft, wide shots to her backhand.

Graf often sent the ball into the net, enough times to give Navratilova the 125th title of her career.

Navratilova, who teamed with Pam Shriver to win the doubles title Saturday, moved closer to the $12 million career earnings mark after getting $428,657 in winnings and bonus money in the tournament. Her singles victory was worth $125,000; Graf received $60,000.

Fleming scores upset

BERGEN, Norway - Unseeded Peter Fleming of the United States beat second- seeded Jan Gunnarsson of Sweden 6-4, 6-1 to win the $50,000 Bergen Open ATP tennis tournament.

Mansdorf beats Anger

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Unseeded Amos Mansdorf of Israel defeated defending champion Matt Anger of the United States 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to win the $375,000 Altech South African Open Tennis Tournament.

Rosewall triumphs

MIAMI - Ken Rosewall defeated Mal Anderson 6-2, 6-1 to win the $40,000 Mutual Benefit Co. Grand Masters Tennis Tournament on Williams Island.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:07 PM   #1267
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Re: 1986

Tennis: Navratilova ends fine season on a high note
The Times
London, England
Monday, November 24, 1986

Martina Navratilova defeated Steffi Graf in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2, to win the season-ending Virginia Slims championships. Her prize money, plus bonus, amounted to pounds 285,000.

Miss Navratilova never looked like losing the match, although the 17-year-old German did provide stiff competition in the early stages. In 29 games there were just three service breaks, all to Miss Navratilova.

The opening set was decided by a tie-breaker after Miss Graf refused to allow nerves or the reputation of her opponent to distract her. However, having lost the first set it was important that she start well in the second, and in that she was disappointed.

Miss Navratilova broke her to love in the second game and that was enough to clinch the set. After that Miss Graf faced a monumental task of claiming three sets to win the match. She knew it was impossible, and after Miss Navratilova broke in the fifth game of the final set the contest was well and truly over.

'My return didn't work as well as usual and I couldn't get a break,' Miss Graf admitted. 'It was very important for me to make a good start to the second set and the early break let me down. Maybe I'm a little tired after the long season and it will be nice to have a rest now.'

Miss Navratilova was happy to end on a high note. 'Now I can enjoy the holidays. I'll be doing a lot of skiing,' she revealed.

She was also happy with her performance. 'I played good solid tennis, nothing spectacular. I had no let-down, no bad games on my serve. I was never down a break point on my service, and I took advantage of her mistakes - which weren't many. '

'She hit some good passing shots but didn't string them together, and that was the key,' she said.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:08 PM   #1268
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Re: 1986

Tennis: Slims final brings a fat purse for the world champion
The Times
London, England
Tuesday, November 25, 1986

Martina Navratilova goes into a six-week winter recess following her 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Steffi Graf in the final of the Virginia Slims championships knowing that she is pounds 1.3 million richer than one year ago.

'It's definitely been a year to remember,' said the 30-year-old American after being crowned official world champion for the fourth successive year. 'It's been great, winning the Slims championships twice in one year, winning Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year.

'There have been some memorable matches - one that I lost against Chris Lloyd in the French and one against Steffi at the Open that I won. Of course, going to Czechoslovakia and winning there and just being there, that was a very emotional time. '

But the highlight had nothing to do with tennis. She was playing a tournament in Los Angeles in August when one of her dogs - she often travels with five, including a miniature called KD (Killer Dog) - went missing. Distressed, Miss Navratilova made appeals on TV and in newspapers for its return, and even toured the streets calling for him.

'Finding him again was probably the happiest I'd been all year,' she admitted.

Miss Navratilova believes she has been playing better this year than ever before. 'I think I have to play better because everybody else is playing a lot better. It's difficult to tell maybe in any given match, but overall this streak of 53 straight wins has been more difficult than anything I've done before. Players are tougher to beat now.'

The break she will now take is a time for relaxation, but for Miss Navratilova that does not mean sitting in front of a television or reading a book. 'I'll be going to Aspen, Colorado, and doing a lot of skiing,' she announced.

For her defeated opponent, the next two months will present a desperately needed opportunity to recharge the batteries after an eight month period that has seen her claim eight tournament titles. During that time Miss Graf has defeated ever top name in tennis, including Miss Navratilova in Berlin and Chris Lloyd in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Just last month she won the Pretty Polly Classic in Brighton by beating Catarina Lindqvist.

But her success has taken its toll. Throughout the week in New York 17-year-old Miss Graf looked a pale reflection of her usual self and she admitted after her defeat that she was tired.

'It's been a long season. Playing singles and doubles' (in which she has formed a successful partnership with Gabriela Sabatini)' and winning so many matches is difficult. I don't feel I've played too many tournaments, but I haven't had time to work on my game because I've been playing so much.'

Now she plans to play an exhibition with Hana Mandlikova, practise a little with her coach Pavil Slozil and then take two weeks off without picking up a racket.

'That two weeks will be hard, I'll be getting bored,' she grinned. 'I will also do some conditioning and play some basketball or a little soccer or hockey just for fun.'

VIRGINIA SLIMS CHAMPIONSHIP: Singles final: M Navratilova (US) bt S Graf (WG), 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:09 PM   #1269
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Re: 1986

November 25, 1986
New York Times

For the first time since its inception in December 1970, the Masters will not have an American in the field. Gene Scott, the tournament director, is hoping tennis fans will not use this as an excuse to stay home in record numbers when this year's Nabisco Masters begins at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3. He might argue that although there are no Americans, there are a few local heroes in the event.

Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, for example, makes his home in Greenwich, Conn., Yannick Noah of France lives in Manhattan, as does Mats Wilander's fiancee. Thus, Wilander, who recently returned from a two-month sabbatical, spends a considerable amount of time here, too.

No Americans really means the absence of Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, colorful personalities who are both naughty and nice for men's tennis. Naughty is how they sometimes behave on the court; nice is what tournament officials think of their ability to draw fans.

''McEnroe is a movie star creature,'' Scott said yesterday at the Masters draw. ''There is a cult demeanor to him. It's sad no Americans will be there, but in reality, tennis is an international sport now.''

Still, Madison Square Garden officials are wondering what kind of impact a non-American Masters will have on a tournament that has had declining attendance in recent years. The Masters has returned to an eight-player, round-robin format, to give fans the opportunity to see the best players more than once.

The field includes, Lendl, the No. 1 player in the world; Noah; Wilander and his countrymen, Stefan Edberg and Joakim Nystrom; Boris Becker of West Germany; Henri Leconte of France, and Andres Gomez of Ecuador. McEnroe and Connors did not qualify.

The tournament's round-robin format was abandoned for a straight elimination a few years ago because players were playing half-heartedly or purposely losing some matches that were meaningless. The Men's International Professional Tennis Council decided the way to appeal to the players' pride was through their wallets. The incentive to win every match this year is $20,000 for each victory. Winning semifinalists receive $40,000 and the champion $100,000 more. An undefeated champion will earn $210,000.

The Masters will begin on a Wednesday night, another departure, and conclude with an 8 P.M. final on Monday, Dec. 8. That suits the wishes of ESPN, which is televising the tournament, but it remains to be seen whether it will affect the live gate.

The Masters has been a fixture at the Garden since 1977, but there is talk of possibly rotating it among European cities, which was done in the early 1970's, when it was played in Japan, France, Spain, Sweden and Australia.

''Tennis is played everywhere so moving it around is a good argument,'' Scott said. ''But also, we have to consider what is good for the tournament. New York is the media capital and the sponsorship contracts and television money is here.''

Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia made a frantic last-minute telephone call to his agent's office before the start of a tournament in Houston, trying to get a wild-card berth in the singles draw. He was already entered in doubles. The call was made a half-hour before the draw, and when Zivojinovic arrived in Houston a week ago, he learned he had been granted his wish, because of several late withdrawals.

So on Sunday, Zivojinovic defeated Scott Davis in the final for his first tournament victory. He is probably wondering whether the Masters accepts wild cards.

After winning the Virginia Slims championships, also on Sunday, Martina Navratilova said it had been a memorable year, counting her United States Open final victory against Steffi Graf, her loss to Chris Evert Lloyd in the final of the French Open and her return to her native Czechoslovakia among the highlights.

But her happiest moment she said, was finding her dog, Yoney, when he was lost. ''That was probably the happiest I was all year,'' she said.

A few months ago, Graf appeared on a West German television game show and was a loser. She had to think of her own penalty and she decided she would give a bouquet of flowers to the next player to defeat her in a tournament. Seventeen consecutive victories later, Graf lost to Navratilova in the championships final. During the awards ceremony, she anted up, presenting a surprised Navratilova with a victory bouquet.

''That was nice,'' Navratilova said. ''She didn't have to do that in public.''
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:09 PM   #1270
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Re: 1986

From Navratilova to Sukova? : At 21, No. 6-Ranked Czech May Someday Be Battling for No. 1
November 24, 1986
Los Angeles Times

The sports world loves to put people into neat categories. Giving them labels has always been a popular, on-going national pastime.

And, professional tennis stands as one of the guilty parties. Why else would we see headlines like this:

Pigtailed Teen-aged Baseliner Wins Tournament.

Boom-Boom Becker Defeats Bobo.

Joakim Nystrom: The Silent But Deadly Swede.

But the tennis world has had difficulty categorizing Helena Sukova. Every time a label is placed on her, it falls off.

At 21, the 6-foot-2 Sukova has been on the tour since 1981, but is 10 years younger than Chris Evert Lloyd and nine years younger than Martina Navratilova.

You can't group her with the latest wave of newcomers, either. Sukova is four years older than Steffi Graf and five years older than Gabriela Sabatini.

She is Czechoslovakian, but unlike Ivan Lendl and Hana Mandlikova, Sukova actually spends some time in her native country.

Sukova plays an attacking, serve-and-volley game like Mandlikova and Navratilova. Unlike Mandlikova, though, she isn't prone to bursts of erratic shot-making. And these days, Sukova very rarely loses to someone she shouldn't lose to.

Although her game has matured a great deal in the last two years, she doesn't have Navratilova's all-around game. Then again, who does? As far as on-court temperament is concerned, Sukova won't unravel from a few bad calls. However, don't call her an ice-woman.

"I'm not real cool like (Bjorn) Borg was," she said in a telephone interview from New York. "I think I'm something middle in the road."

That about sums it up. Helena Sukova, ranked No. 6 in the world, is a middle-of-the-road tennis star.

At the Virginia Slims Championships in New York, which concluded Sunday, Sukova beat the players she was expected to beat--Sabatini and her own doubles partner Claudia Kohde-Kilsch. And while most thought Graf would beat her in the semifinals, Sukova put up a tough fight, losing, 7-6, 3-6, 6-1.

Some observers overlook Sukova when trying to make predictions about the future of women's tennis after Navratilova and Lloyd retire. They prefer to look at the promise of Graf, Sabatini and 15-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez rather than the reality of an established player such as Sukova.

Reality 101:

Sukova, who will meet Carling Bassett tonight in an exhibition at the Forum before Lendl plays Miloslav Mecir, has reached two Grand Slam finals. Graf and Sabatini haven't reached a single Grand Slam final yet.

The Czech right-hander stopped Navratilova's winning streak of 74 matches before losing to Lloyd in the 1984 Australian Open. In the 1986 U.S. Open, Sukova beat Lloyd in straight sets in the semifinals and fell to Navratilova, 6-2, 6-3, in the final.

Sukova views the second Grand Slam final as much more important.

"I was playing well this time, much more consistently," she said.

"I was more ready to win this match than two years ago. After all that time, I finally beat her (Lloyd). This year was more important because it was now. I'm more ready for it now."

The victory over Navratilova in 1984 basically solidified Sukova's position in the top 10. She was ranked No. 25 in 1982, No. 17 in 1983 and reached No. 7 by the end of 1984.

Her easy victory against Lloyd last September established Sukova as a viable contender for No. 1. It also signaled, to some, the beginning of the end for Lloyd. One writer even went so far to call the 31-year-old Lloyd, Chris Evert L'Old.

"I was playing well," Sukova said of the match, her first victory over Lloyd. "There is always something you can do. You can put more pressure on her, come in more. But I felt I was playing well all over."

After Graf beat Lloyd for the first time last spring, she used her new-found confidence to win three more tournaments before the French Open. That streak included a victory against Navratilova in the final of the German Open.

Although Sukova didn't have a hot streak as Graf did, she continued to play solid, consistent singles and doubles.

"It helped me a little bit to get more confidence because every player knows they have a good chance to go forth after that," Sukova said. "You think, 'I can be there too.' "

With the nearing retirement of the Big Two--Navratilova and Lloyd--Sukova expects a tough fight for No. 1. At this time, Graf, Mandlikova and Sukova would appear to have the best shot.

However, in women's tennis you have to put heavy emphasis on the word would.

While there have been many possible contenders--Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger and Kathy Rinaldi, to name a few--none have ever stayed at the top spot for any length of time.

Sukova is aware of this.

"If you look at the top 10, the top 15, there are so many players who could make it," she said. "It is so hard to predict. Someone can look good for a while but then six months later it's different. It can change every half year. "
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:12 PM   #1271
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Re: 1986

1986 Virginia Slims Championships
John Parsons
1987 ITF Yearbook

When Martina Navratilova completed the modern Grand Slam in Paris in 1984, there were those with long memories and an acute sense of tennis history who were convinced she had lifted women's tennis to standards which surpassed even those of the legendary Suzanne Lenglen. When, last November, at Madison Square Garden, the still supremely dominant Miss Navratilova won her fourth successive Virginia Slims Championships title and her seventh circuit title in nine years, her own verdict was: 'The way I'm playing now, I'd have beaten the Martina of two years ago in straight sets.' While ending 1986 with nine consecutive titles and an unbeaten run of 53 matches since the Paris final, not to mention her emotional Federation Cup triumph in between, Miss Navratilova looked more than ever the best player in the world.

She arrived in New York under considerable pressure - and in urgent need of dentistry after losing a filling the day before. Certainly she did not have to worry about Chris Evert Lloyd, for the last of the three opponents who had beaten Miss Navratilova during 1986 was still nursing a knee injury. There was, however, the uncomfortable prospect of a first-round tussle against Catarina Lindqvist, the Swedish girl against whom she had been forced to fend off four match-points in Stuttgart a few weeks earlier. In addition there was the knowledge that everyone was willing a showdown for her in the final against Steffi Graf, by common consent the lady-in-waiting for top honours, who had held three match-points against the World Champion at Flushing Meadow in September.

The only stage at which Miss Navratilova appeared remotely vulnerable was in the semi-final against her doubles partner, Pam Shriver. Trailing 1-3 in the final set, she became the beneficiary of yet another in a long line of controversial decisions that marred the week. She then went on to win by far the most exciting match of the tournament and one of the best of the year.

The one disappointing feature of an otherwise successful week, which drew a record total attendance for a women's event of 90,576, was the quality of officiating. The fact that for the opening days there was not a full complement of linesmen (surely unforgivable for an event of this stature with only one court being used) was partly responsible, but tournament referee Lee Jackson also blamed the light blue colour of the court for some of the mistakes which she described as 'terrible'. 'The trouble is that the colour becomes glary under the lights, highly reflective, and it makes one drowsy. It makes me drowsy on the sideline so you can imagine how it affects the umpire and linespersons.'

There were no such problems in the first match when Manuela Maleeva advanced 6-4 6-1 over the American, Melissa Gurney, who has been guided by the same coach (Robert Lansdorp) and emerged from the same baselining mould as Tracy Austin, right down to that rather stooped two-handed backhand so characteristic of the former winner of the women's circuit. Miss Gurney led 3-1 before Miss Maleeva started to take charge, mainly through her greater consistency; but in these days when the all-court players are coming so much more into their own, it was distressing to hear her say that, at 19, she feels it is too late for her to start developing a serve-and-volley game.

Bettina Bunge, continuing her impressive second half of the year, was too consistently aggressive for Kathy Rinaldi and won 7-5 6-4. In the second session, Pam Shriver demonstrated the extra freedom, control and topspin she had developed on the backhand by dismissing the erratic Raffaella Reggi, 6-3 6-1. Continuing the first round, Miss Navratilova immediately showed her powerful command by overwhelming Miss Lindqvist 6-3 6-0. 'I wanted to show her how well I could play', she said later, with Stuttgart in mind. After she had broken for 3-2 in the first set, she performed with great authority, especially at the net and overhead. And as if that was not enough Miss Lindqvist, who admittedly did not play well, was further dismayed when she was broken to 0-2 in the second set by a backhand so deep over the baseline that she made no attempt to play the ball, which was called good. The pleasant, always friendly girl from Malmo accepted it philosophically: 'Maybe the umpire and linesmen didn't have a good day either.'

Also in the first round, Hana Mandlikova ousted Terri Phelps, who was playing in the Championships for the first time, 6-2 6-4, after holding points for 5-1 in the second set. Helena Sukova collected a 6-4 6-4 win over a nervous, predictable Gabriela Sabatini who overhit too often; Claudia Kohde-Kilsch beat Zina Garrison 6-3 7-5, after the Houston girl had served for the second set at 5-4; and Miss Graf wobbled quite alarmingly for a time before her gritty determination carried her through 7-5 4-6 6-2 against Miss Garrison's fellow-product of John Wilkerson's Houston public parks programme, Lori McNeil.

Miss McNeil, whose ranking had soared during 1986, made an exciting start, more than matching Miss Graf's forehand and cleverly chipping service returns with a care and thought which tested the West German's patience, as well as her resolve. Yet when leading 5-3 in the first set, she momentarily lost her nerve. Miss Graf seized upon the opportunity to break back and dropped only six more points in the set. Then in the third, when it was most needed, Miss Graf struck quickly with just enough of her finest returns to give her two match-winning breaks in the first and third games.

The quarter-finals began on both an exciting and explosive note. For a set and a half, through to 6-4 4-1, Miss Mandlikova produced her most inspired, exhilarating and extravagant tennis against Miss Shriver. She was magical to watch, with perfectly controlled low volleys, wonderful wristy winners on both flanks and serving which at times was quite awesome, as she headed towards 15 aces. Amazingly she was also heading for defeat.

One overrule which cost her what would have been a 5-2 lead in the second set, followed by what seemed another glaring baseline mistake which enabled Miss Shriver to break back to 4-5, was more than Miss Mandlikova, with her still-brittle temper, could stomach. At various times she smashed her racket against the base of the umpire's chair, lashed the net, uttered an obscenity and generally lost her self-control. Not surprisingly she also lost the match, 4-6 7-5 6-1. When the players met at the net at the end, Pam told Hana, 'I'm sorry', but clarified that by saying 'I wasn't sorry I won ... just sorry that after getting a bad call she didn't put up an effort'. For the record, despite serving two aces to win the first game of the final set, Miss Mandlikova won only six more points before storming off saying: 'I was cheated.'

Perhaps it was as well that after so much drama, Miss Navratilova's 6-2 6-4 win in 51 minutes over Bettina Bunge was a routine affair, with the top seed holding her serve throughout and making hardly any unforced errors. The second pair of quarter-finals followed a similar pattern. One, in which Miss Sukova simply out-hit Miss Kohde-Kilsch 6-3 7-6 was suitably competitive and straightforward. The other, in which Miss Graf again struggled to find her best form before accounting for Manuela Maleeva, was turbulent and tearful, Miss Maleeva also distraught by the poor line-calls.

Two in particular were infinitely more significant than the vast majority which players should be able to shrug off. Having broken for 5-3 on the way to taking the opening set, with Miss Graf's backhand all adrift, the Bulgarian would have broken for 2-1 in the second but for a linesman's extraordinary failure to see a shot more than six inches deep on break-point. Yet the real 'killer' for Miss Maleeva, who was working frantically hard to capitalise upon Miss Graf's continued unforced errors, came when she barely played a return, knowing the previous shot to have been out. It cost her a break to 5-6, just after she had rallied from 2-4 to 4-4 and held again for 5-5.

It was somewhat ironic that, having been serenely in control while reaching the semi-finals, Miss Navratilova should find it much more difficult than the steadily improving Miss Graf to clear the last hurdle before the final. Although the first set against her doubles partner lasted only 29 minutes, with the top seed taking it 6-2, Miss Shriver, returning well, moving smartly and not afraid to go for her shots, was playing splendidly too. This impression was borne out when she broke for 5-4 in the second set with a rasping forehand drive-volley on her fifth break-point. With the set safely tucked away at 6-4, Miss Shriver was exultant. She broke in the first game of the final set, and although Miss Navratilova broke back immediately by twice finding the lines with elegant passes of her own, her poise started to falter. Miss Shriver broke again and held for 3-1. Then at deuce in the fifth game, after Miss Navratilova had done the unthinkable by double-faulting twice from 40-15, there was a freak incident which proved to be the turning point of the match. Lunging for a low volley, Miss Navratilova involuntarily called out 'higher' to herself as the ball just cleared the net, and Miss Shriver, claiming she was distracted, failed with her next return.

Miss Shriver's appeal for the point to be re-played, which almost everybody, including Miss Navratilova and her coach Mike Estep said later would have been the right decision, was refused by both the umpire and referee. Hard though she tried to put the incident out of her mind, Miss Shriver was then broken in the sixth game from 40-15 and the set ran away from her 6-4. It was a disappointing end to a magnificent match, well worthy of the occasion, during which Miss Navratilova must often have questioned her wisdom in persuading her doubles partner to revitalise her game. It almost cost her the Virginia Slims crown.

Although once more dropping a set, Miss Graf played her best tennis of the week in defeating Miss Sukova 7-6 3-6 6-1. Not only did her forehand start to look rampant once more, but also her backhand passes were now flowing effectively - so much so that one wondered if she might not be bluffing when she looked forward to the final and said: 'I'm not playing well enough to give Martina a good match.'

As it happened, she was right. Clearly jaded at the end of a year in which she had won eight singles and five doubles titles, Miss Graf none the less pressed the champion superbly through the first set. Neither player allowed the other to reach break-point and the teenager reached 6-6 with only six points against the serve, compared with 11 lost by her opponent. However, a net-cord winner for Miss Navratilova to 7-6 in the tie-break against the serve was the breaking point for Miss Graf. She had already saved two set-points, but Miss Navratilova produced an ace on the third. From then on it was largely a formality as the holder went on to win 7-6 6-3 6-2, without dropping her serve or being stretched to break-point in any game.

In the doubles final, Miss Navratilova and Miss Shriver, who had long since reconciled their differences over the dispute in their singles semi-final, were too powerfully consistent for Miss Kohde-Kilsch and Miss Sukova. The favourites won 7-6 6-3, having earlier taken revenge in the semi-finals over Miss Mandlikova and Wendy Turnbull for their rare defeat in the March finals.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 05:14 PM   #1272
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Re: 1986

1986 Virginia Slims Championship
January 1987
Australian "Tennis"
Craig Gabriel

Martina Navratilova stamped her ownership on the court at Madison Square Garden. The world's No. 1 woman player cruised to her fourth straight Virginia Slims Championship by dominating Steffi Graf in the best-of-five-sets final and collected a staggering $US428,657 for a week's work out of a total purse of $US 1 million.

"This title was very satisfying in the light of the rest of the year," said Martina. "I've come through some tough matches and to cap it off with this ... I'm thrilled. It's fantastic."

The final was a repeat of the US Open semi-final clash only two months before. Graf and Navratilova had played five times previously, with Martina holding a 4-1 lead in victories. But at the Open, Steffi held three match points, while in their match before that, at Berlin, she beat Navratilova comfortably.

The first set this time was close. Both women turned on a display of their serving ability, with only one game going to deuce. Steffi was playing her groundstrokes freely, but Martina always came up with a putaway volley
to keep things on an even keel.

They went to a tiebreak, in which Navratilova led 3-0 before Graf levelled. Then it was a seesaw struggle - until a service ace from the top seed sealed the set by 8 points to 6. Martina raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set. She had moved into another gear and once that happens it is almost impossible to stop her. Errors were creeping into Graf's game and her backhand was letting her down at crucial stages.

"All the match, my return didn't work so well," said Steffi. "I hit some shots in the first set I should have made and didn't. Maybe if I'd won the first set it could have been closer, but Martina was playing good tennis."

Being a lefty, Navratilova used her slice serve to advantage, making it swing away from Graf, who became confused with her opponent's tactics of mixing up deliveries and sometimes staying back on the second serve. Soon, the second set was over 6-3 and Martina began to feel more relaxed.

"I think it would have been tight if I'd lost the first set," she said. "But having won it, it became the most important set. I came through on the big points, and I knew now was the time to win it."

Graf had begun to tire mentally and physically. It had been "too good and too long" a year. She has played a lot of tennis, winning eight singles and five doubles titles, and this took its toll. She was not on top of her game.

Occasionally, you can still see the school girl in her vying with the professional. She lives for tennis - and to win. But though she kept on trying, her efforts were of no avail as Martina pounded every return back into play. Not once did the champion face a break point on her own serve.

After the close matches they had played, it was important for Martina to show who was still boss. This she did by breaking serve twice in the third set to wrap up the final 6-2, and extend her match-winning streak to 53. (She is unbeaten since the French Open.) As often is the case, the semi-finals provided most of the drama, with the clash between Navratilova and her close friend and doubles partner, Pam Shriver, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Navratilova took the first set 6-2, but Shriver shook off her tenseness and levelled the match 6-4 before breaking serve for 3-1 in the final set. The "Clown Princess of Tennis" was playing her best tennis for years. Ironically, her improvement followed comments by Navratilova at the US Open about Pam and her potential.

These have given Pam a new outlook. She was playing with authority, and concern was etched on Navratilova's face. Then an incident on court changed the atmosphere. Martina went for a shot and mistakenly called "out" at the same time. This disturbed Shriver, who had a tense discussion with umpire Judy Popkin. The umpire was adamant the call had not been a distraction, and Navratilova promptly broke serve and won the third set 6-4.

Pam had played brilliantly to upset the third seed, Hana Mandlikova, again after a slow start. A controversial line-call in the second set put Hana into a raging temper and she all but gave up the fight, allowing Shriver victory 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. At the end, Hana was still so livid she flicked a piece of paper at the umpire.

Meanwhile, Graf had accounted for Sukova in their semi-final, 7-6, 3-6, 6-1, by powering her forehand past the 6 feet Czech, who was left in a daze.

In the quarter-finals, Steffi played Manuela Maleeva. Once again a contested line-call left a bitter taste and once again Popkin was in the chair. It was a poor match and this was the only point that brought the crowd to life. They loudly booed the decision that went against Maleeva as the tearful Bulgarian stormed off the court after losing 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. At the post-match press conference, she emotionally claimed: "I have been cheated. It's difficult realising they are cheating you."

Wendy Turnbull was disappointed at not making the singles draw, but with Mandlikova she reached the doubles semi-finals, where Navratilova and Shriver beat them 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 before going on to take the title with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Sukova.

So Martina Navratilova ended the year supreme once more. "It's been a great year," she said, "winning the Slims twice and Wimbledon and the US Open. I have played some memorable matches. Going back to Czechoslovakia and going through an emotional time there. Finding my dog when he was lost.

"It's been a year to remember."
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 04:53 PM   #1273
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Re: 1986

The seed of "Hard Courts" is planted here.

They are rich, famous and are worshipped Tennis players are considered most spoiled group of athletes
The Washington Post
Tuesday, December 9, 1986
John Feinstein

Boris Becker, child multi-millionaire, walked off the dusty clay court at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills that hot Sunday afternoon in a sour mood. He had just lost a doubles match that he had not been that eager to play. His wrist ached slightly. And, as he walked through the metal gate leading from the court to the path that would take him to the locker room, he was met by a human swarm.

Some wanted autographs. Others wanted his picture. A few had notebooks and wanted to fill them with Becker's wisdom. Several had microphones. Becker had seen all this before. Most of the time he is gracious with autograph seekers, patient with the media. Not this time.

"No, no, not now," he said, pushing his way through the crowd. "I have to go."

Could he sign just a few? Could he talk for just a minute?

"NO!" he thundered and charged off.

Fly first class

It was not the lost match or the aching wrist that was making Becker uptight. He was late for a plane. The last New York to Rome flight was leaving in less than an hour and if Becker didn't catch it he would have to wait 16 hours for the next one. Since he had a match in Rome in 36 hours losing 16 was not an appealing thought. Most people would not have even thought about catching an international flight in so short a time. Couldn't be done. But Becker had a limousine waiting for him at the locker-room door and airline officials waiting to whisk him through the airport. Airlines take care of celebrities - especially celebrities who always fly first class.

And so he pushed his way through the crowd, unable to understand why people couldn't understand his problem. And the people being pushed had trouble understanding why an 18-year-old millionaire with the world at his beck-and-call, should be in such a lousy mood on a gorgeous spring afternoon.

It is almost impossible for most mortals who cannot wield a tennis racket as if it were a magic wand, to comprehend the lifestyles of the rich and famous people who own this game. Last year when Ivan Lendl lost the Wimbledon final to Becker he went directly from the All-England Club to Heathrow Airport, boarded The Concorde and was home in his Greenwich, Conn., mansion six hours after accepting the runner-up trophy from the Duke of Kent. Most of the reporters covering the tournament were still on the grounds at Wimbledon when Lendl drove through the gates of the estate known in the tennis world as Fort Lendl because it is so heavily guarded.

Spoiled group

What makes Lendl's journey so remarkable is that in the world of tennis it is quite unremarkable. Lendl, Becker, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd lead rock-star lives. Not only are they so rich that they can travel in any style they choose, they are so famous that they are given white-glove treatment wherever they go.

Last night, when the tennis season officially ended with the final of The Nabisco Masters Tournament, Lendl walked away with a top prize of $210,000 for six days' work. That doesn't include bonus money and is typical of the extraordinary prize money the top players take home. The prize money figure ( Navratilova won almost $2 million this year) doesn't even begin to touch the money these people make for endorsements, exhibitions, clinics and appearances. The figures are staggering. But so are the lives The Names lead. Theirs is a world of Ask and Ye Shall Always Receive.

Tennis players are the most spoiled group of athletes in the world. Baseball, football and basketball players ride buses as teenagers; tennis players take the Concorde. In no other sport do the athletes train by traveling to Paris, London, Sydney, Athens, Tokyo and New York. In no other sport do the athletes look up and see the Queen of England, the Duke of Kent, the Princess of Wales, all of them decked out in their flowery summer-best, breathlessly watching their every move. Or, if they're in New York rather than London, they settle for vice-president George Bush, King of Comedy Johnny Carson, Queen of Soaps Linda Evans or Sultan of Splat Chevy Chase.

Lendl panicked

That's not to mention the groupies. At Wimbledon, there is something called, "The Viewing Lane," outside the locker room. Quite literally, it is an area set up for people to stand and gawk as the players come and go. In no sport do the groupies dress like tennis groupies. If a woman - or teen-age girl - doesn't look like she just stepped out of a fashion magazine, she isn't going to get a second look. Many of them do step out of fashion magazines panting for a date with a tennis player. McEnroe married an actress; Connors a Playmate; Wilander a model. Evert dated a president's son and Burt Reynolds, and admitted to an extra-marital affair with a rock star in the second autobiography she wrote before age 31. Does any of this sound real?

Last fall, Connors and Lendl were both scheduled to play in a tournament in Sydney, Australia. Both asked for - and received - 24-hour postponements in their first-round matches. This is routinely done for top players. Connors was scheduled to arrive in Sydney on a Tuesday morning flight. A horde of media awaited him since he had not played in Sydney for several years. But at the last minute, Connors delayed his arrival saying that his wife was ill. But it was too late to get word to the waiting media.

In the meantime, Lendl had boarded the flight Connors had been booked on. When he learned about the Connors welcoming committee, Lendl panicked. An unscheduled press conference? No, no, no. Get me out of here, Lendl told the airline. Naturally, he was accommodated, letting him avoid the press by going through a back door on the jetway.

For most top players, this kind of treatment begins at a very early age. These days, agents and coaches blanket promising talent by the time a player is 14 or 15. They wine and dine the teenager and his or her family and tell them in detail all the wonderful things they will do for them. Tennis parents are like stage parents. They see stars and they see dollar signs. They see their own blunted dreams coming true through their children. They live through their children.

Young millionaires

Often the agents who come calling on the star-struck parents deliver what they promise. Jimmy Arias and Aaron Krickstein, neither of whom has ever won a title more prestigious than the U.S. Clay Courts (Arias, once) were millionaires long before their 20th birthday. Krickstein hasn't even reached his yet.

At 16, Krickstein reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open. He immediately became the subject of an intense fight to sign him between the sport's two major management groups. Krickstein signed with one, then was wooed away by the other when his contract expired. Krickstein has never reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament, his ranking has dropped steadily for the last two years and now, at 19, people wonder if he will crack the Top Ten again. But his agent sees almost every match he plays and Krickstein, who does not have a high school diploma, is wealthier than 99 per cent of the world's college graduates will ever be.

The top players' agents become virtual babysitters for their stars. For many years, Gerry Solomon, Lendl's long-time agent, actually carried Lendl's racquets to and from the locker room for him at major events. He was snidely referred to by some as the world's best-paid valet. Evert used to walk the grounds at the U.S. Open with Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter trailing in her wake. No one can remember Carter's being asked for an autograph. Next to Evert, one of the most glamorous stars in television was suddenly invisible.

Because tennis players are so wealthy they can routinely afford to have traveling entourages as large as they want. Navratilova travels with her coach, Mike Estep and his wife, Barbara; her friend Judy Nelson and, often, Nelson's two children and her parents. Navratilova has made almost $12 million in prize money alone; why not have as many people with her as she chooses? At the U.S. Open each year, Evert flies in her chef from London to cook for her family and friends. McEnroe has never been one for entourages, but last fall when he and Bjorn Borg played a seven-city exhibition tour, he and Borg each had a Lear jet that flew them from site to site.

They are worshipped

They are rich, they are famous and they are worshipped. What people often fail to understand is that even below the rock-star level, tennis players are welcomed to each city they play in like MacArthur returning to the Philippines. They are greeted at the airport by courtesy drivers (often doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers or the like taking a week off from work) who carry their bags to their courtesy car (usually a corporate sponsor of the tournament) and are driven either to their hotel or a private home where they are spending the week.

People line up for the privilege of turning their houses over to tennis players for a week. Not just to the superstars. Tennis is very much a sport for the wealthy; a recent survey done by one men's tournament revealed that the median annual income of the fans in attendance was $89,000 - and those who hack away at the game like nothing more than to brag to their friends about having some tennis player stay in their house for a few days. You want my house? Take it. My pool? It's yours. Anything else? You got it.

During the Association of Tennis Professional's annual tournament in Cincinnati each player in the draw is provided with the free use of a car, free lodging (that is not uncommon around the world), free golf and a week of entertainment. A story about this year's tournament carried in the players weekly newspaper, while noting that the tournament was well run, suggested several ways to improve conditions next year - perhaps limousines, for example.

The rock stars don't have to bother staying in other people's houses - they stay at home. Evert stays at her own house in London during Wimbledon; Navratilova stayed in her Trump Tower condo during the U.S. Open in New York. Both settle for suites at the Plaza D'Athene in Paris. That hotel is so upper crust that morning joggers are instructed to come and go through a side door so as not to ruin the atmosphere of the Just-So lobby with their running outfits - even if the running outfits were bought at Gucci.

They are exceptions

Tennis players become comfortable in this unreal world, accustomed to being told by Greats how great they are. No wonder they posture and whine when a call goes against them on the court. Wait a minute, don't you know who I am? I could buy and sell you. And they could.

To lump all the players together is unfair. The women, as a rule, are much less enamored of themselves than the men. And among the men, people like Becker (when not running for a plane), Henri Leconte, Tim Wilkison, Paul Annacone, Bud Schultz and a number of others are gracious, warm people. But they are exceptions.

Most tennis players come a lot closer to being like Lendl, who complained so bitterly about the interview room's being 100 yards away from the locker room at a tournament last year that the interview room was moved to accommodate him.

But why shouldn't tennis players expect that kind of treatment? It has been given to them almost as a birthright. At an age when most kids are trying to work up the nerve to ask a girl to the senior prom, Becker stood on centre court at Wimbledon and traded jokes with the Duchess of Kent. Becker, the Duke and the Duchess had a lovely chuckle together.

And why not? Royalty, after all, understands royalty.
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