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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 03:26 AM   #16
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 06:38 AM   #17
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Vintage Monica

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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 06:51 AM   #18
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Monica Seles: Greatest Teen Phenom

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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 06:55 AM   #19
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Monica 2002

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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 07:16 AM   #20
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Candid Monica 2005

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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 11:32 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Mark38
I fell in love with Monica from the first time I saw her play at the Lipton in spring 1990. I had never seen anyone play as agressively as she did before and I knew we finally had a true rival to challenge Steffi Graf. I just didn't think she would rise so quickly! My favorite Monica match was the first French Open final aganst Graf a few months later. Monica simply amazed me in the first set tie breaker by coming back from a 2-6 deficit to take the first set. She boldly won 4 points in a row with clean winners (4 SET STRAIGHT POINTS SAVED against Graf in a slam final!!). It was simply unheard of. How could you not love this kid?
These were my feelings too, Mark38. Apologies to Arantxa and Gaby fans but to me it really did feel like Steffi was going to have it almost all her own way until Monica came along. As you say, it took only about 12 months from end 89 to end 90 for Monica to go from potential challenger to THE main rival of Steffi and set the scene for a new double act. I also hope that we'll get to see her play a little more before she officially retires and am keeping my fingers crossed that 2006 will be the year.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 12:13 PM   #22
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Seles' Grand Slam matches



1990 French Open
(excerpts from an archive article 06/18/90)


Winning the toss against Steffi Graf and boldly electing to receive, Monica Seles broke serve to open the match. She led 3-1 when rain forced a 55-minute stoppage in play. Graf rallied to take a 6-5 lead, but Seles forced a tiebreaker. When Graf won the next five points, Seles became introspective. "I told myself, 'Let's at least get a couple of points,' " she would say.

She did, but then whacked a return of serve into the net. Graf, now leading 6-2, had four set points. She failed to convert any of them, double-faulting on the last one. A minute later, following a loose Graf forehand and a Seles forehand pass down the line, Seles was strutting off the court, leading one set to none, heroine of an episode of The Perils of Pauline.

Graf never entirely righted herself after that. She continued carving out harmless slice backhands, as Seles let go with power from both sides. "What else can I do?" said Graf later.

In fact, Fräulein Forehand, undone by Seles's ability to hit winners fore and aft at the German Open, was espied at Roland Garros using a two-fisted backhand, presumably to keep up in the arms race. In the head war between the two young women, Seles may have won the final then and there, for she saw Graf practicing the unfamiliar stroke. "It was a little strange seeing her doing that," said Seles.

Seles overpowered Graf at her own game. Now a long-stemmed 5'9", with a short torso and a hairdo that defies gravity, Seles looks in action as if she has sprung from the imagination of her father, a cartoonist. Contorting her face at the moment of contact, sometimes ascending on one leg, stork-like, and always adding those grunts, Seles has risen from No. 88 in October 1988 to No. 3, behind Graf and Navratilova. Along the way she sprouted five inches in height, which forced her to almost relearn the game she started playing at age nine.

"The net seemed a different height, and the racket seemed lighter, like I was playing Ping-Pong," she says. But this lofty vantage point gave her new angles from which to sight her shots, which seemed to bamboozle Graf.

"There is something missing," said Steffi following her loss, although she was unable to specify what it was. "Seles isn't a nightmare yet. I hope she isn't going to become one."

Seles particularly appreciated her first Grand Slam title because, she said, "I didn't want to go into the history books 20 years from now and have people read, 'She was a great grunter, a great giggler and had a lot of hair.' "

It was left to Chang, wiser in the ways of the world than last year and feeling less world-weary after his elimination this year, to describe what Seles can expect as a child champion of the French Open. "There's an enormous amount of curiosity," he said. "Who is Michael Chang? What makes him laugh? What makes him smile? What makes him tick? Now that I'm out of the tournament I feel like an enormous weight's been taken off. It's a backpack-full-of-bricks type of thing."

Maybe Seles's father can simply leave the bricks out of the picture.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 01:59 PM   #23
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Does anyone have the 1990 tie-break digitized? I would love to see it again. I had forgot that Graf lead 5-0!!!
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 04:18 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark38
Does anyone have the 1990 tie-break digitized? I would love to see it again. I had forgot that Graf lead 5-0!!!
I have the dvd, it's not 100% crystal clear quality though. But from 90 we can't expect it to be right? I try to rip/upload the tiebreaker for you.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 04:43 PM   #25
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Thanks Athenaeum. A fuzzy video is fine with me!
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 06:54 PM   #26
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1993: Third year of the Monica Seles Era




Australian Open Preview
(excerpts from an archive article)
Monday, January 18, 1993


As the Australian Open opens here Monday, women's tennis is entering the third year of the Monica Seles era, which came fast on the heels of the Steffi Graf era, which came fast on the heels of the Martina Navratilova era.

As usual, the top-seeded women will not have to cope with similar depth.

Only the fifth-ranked Navratilova and 11th-ranked Helena Sukova are missing from the top 30, but Seles, the two-time defending champion, still appears to have a smooth path to the semifinals as she begins her quest for the Grand Slam that narrowly eluded her in 1991 and 1992.

Steffi Graf, the second seed who missed last year's Australian Open because of illness, should not meet much resistance until the quarterfinals, where she should face Jennifer Capriati, the resurgent American teenager who was the surprise winner of the New South Wales Open.

What could prove difficult for both sexes at the National Tennis Center is the searing summer heat. Temperatures reached 104 degrees (40 degrees centigrade) in Melbourne on Thursday and (this is not a typo) 140 degrees (60 centigrade) during practice sessions on center court. A lineswoman and three ballboys fainted during qualifying matches on the outside courts. Though cooler temperatures are forecast for Monday and Tuesday, the competitors harbor no illusions.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 07:36 PM   #27
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Thanks a lot,guys for these articles and photos you are posting.I'll contribute posting some on weekend when I have more time.Keep them coming!!! I enjoy reading and remembering those years.One thing is sure for me:there will never be another Monica,such a special person!!! No other player has made me live the game of tennis with such passion,intensity and excitement.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 07:57 PM   #28
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:36 AM   #29
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I posted these on R&J's forums. Would like to share it with all the fans here as well. An article from Wimbledon 2002.

Seles remains sentimental favorite

By GARY SHELTON, Times Sports Columnist
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 30, 2002

WIMBLEDON, England -- The noise was the same as ever, raw and loud, primal and triumphant. It started from somewhere deep inside of her, then emerged like a force of nature to crease the perfect English afternoon, carrying across the courts and across the calendar.

Ah, yes, you thought upon hearing it.

Monica has won.

She has spent half her life as a professional tennis player now, and the sight of Monica Seles has changed. She is older, heavier. The look of innocence, of course, disappeared from her eyes long ago.

The sound of her remains the same, however. Seles still has that trademark grunt, that glass-shattering, siren-like bleat that sounds part anguish and part achievement, part shriek and part battle cry. It is sharp, and it is shrill, and the truth of it is it used to annoy the heck out of many of us.

As the winning point blew past Japan's Ai Sugiyama on Saturday, it sounded very much like music.

The tennis world has heard from Monica Seles again. Turns out, she might have more to say. Turns out, there are a few grunts left in the old girl after all.

Wouldn't it be grand to see? Wouldn't it be fabulous to see Seles charge after one final moment before she says farewell? Wouldn't it be great to see her capture Wimbledon, the one major that has eluded her, before her light fades completely?

Wouldn't it seem, somehow, like justice?

People forget. Everyone agrees what a horrible thing it was on April 30, 1993, when deranged Steffi Graf fan Guenter Parche shoved a knife into the left shoulder of Seles, the blade a millimeter away from leaving her paralyzed. But not enough people seem to remember how dominant Seles was at the time.

She was Tiger Woods. She was Michael Jordan. In the spring of '93, Seles had taken over the game. She had ripped it out of the hands of Martina Navratilova and Graf, and she was on her way to being compared with anyone who had ever played.

From 1991-93, Seles won seven Grand Slam titles out of eight she entered, finishing second in the other. She was only 19 years old, and she seemed to be getting better. Who could guess how good she would become, how often she would win?

Then there was the tournament in Hamburg, and a fan rushing behind her. There was pain, and there was blood.

And Seles would never be the same.

It was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of sport, one of the cruelest moments in the history of humanity. It was as if Parche cut into her shoulder blade and cut away all the greatness that seemed promised to her. Seles was absent from the tour for 27 months. The player she had become was gone forever.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be Seles, to lie in the dark and try to count the titles, the money, the moments that were taken from you? Can you imagine the anger that most of us would feel? The bitterness?

Ask Seles to compare herself to the old days, and she is lost for an answer. She doesn't watch what she was, she said. You don't ask her why. It would be too painful to see. Ask her if she ever thinks of what was lost during those 27 months, and she corrects you.

"You mean that one day," she says simply. "Definitely. There would be a different standing in the history books. But that wasn't my choice."

What might women's tennis have become if not for that day? In '93, Seles beat Graf in a stirring Australian final. At that point, Graf had 11 Grand Slam wins and Seles eight. Since then, Graf won 11 Grand Slams and Seles one.

Who knows how different those numbers might be? Who knows if Graf would have raised her game to create a wondrous rivalry? Consider this: In 1999, a poll in Tennis Magazine ranked Graf the best player of all time. Seles was ranked second.

Since returning from her injury, Seles' only Grand Slam victory was in the '96 Australian Open. She can flash the old skill at times, but she has never been able to remuster the focus that being No. 1 demands. She did not keep up as athletes became stronger, better conditioned. Who can blame her? When you are haunted by what might be behind you, how can you look to the future?

Oh, Seles has had a fine career. She has been in the top 10 most of the time, and she has made a lot of money. But when one has been a legend, when one has had greatness snatched away, how can life as a quarterfinalist be enough?

Somewhere along the way, Seles got old. She is 28 years, six months old now, exactly twice the 14 years, three months she was when she turned pro. The most common question she hears is about retirement.

"I don't know," Seles said. "I don't want to have that pressure on me to say, "Okay, I'm going to definitely retire by a certain date or the year.' There is no need to do that. I'm not a person who is going to have a farewell tour or that stuff."

Still, she dreams. One more Grand Slam. One more moment.

"That's the one thing that really drives you," she said. "You want to win any Grand Slam. That's one of the reasons I'm playing."

Can Seles make a run? Probably not. As she once said, "life isn't a storybook." Seles lacks her old quickness, not to mention that air of confidence. There are times she seems to be swimming upstream, times when she has to scrap to stay alive. She would have to win four more matches, two of them probably against the Williams sisters. It's a lot to ask.

But who knows? Seles beat Venus in the Australian this year. Maybe she could do it again. Maybe she can get a bounce or two, a call or two, a break or two. After all, if life owes anyone a moment at the end, it owes Seles.

So watch her. Pull for her. Turn her into your favorite player.

And, sometime along the way, if it so moves you, grunt.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:42 AM   #30
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Seles still going as strong as she can
By Curry Kirkpatrick
ESPN The Magazine




PARIS -- It was 10 years ago when she won Paris for the third time in a row; won it in the magical midst of winning seven of the eight Grand Slam championships she entered; won it laughing and grunting and clothes-modeling and diva drama-queening it all over the premises as one of 25 tournaments she would win by the end of 1992. Monica Seles was barely 18 years old and she was going to win and win and win until there was nothing left in women's tennis to win.

Nearly a year later, April 30, 1993, a German maniac named Guenter Parche (who happened to be a fan of her older rival Steffi Graf) figured this out and during a court change in Hamburg stabbed Seles in the back. The pictures linger still: absent Munich '72, the most horrid sports-related image of our time.

Seles never got to try for that fourth straight French.

But as tennis' old champs keep champing at whatever bits remain of their legacies over this cold, wet Paris spring -- Pete Sampras and Michael Chang (both first round losers) already gone, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario all but forgotten -- Seles soldiers on, as well. The difference is she's still grinding away in the top 10, still lingering among possible majors winners, still brusquely knocking off pretenders like Angeles (no relation to Los) Montolio, who roared to a 5-0 lead on Seles on Tuesday before Monica upped the stroke production and the decibels to win in three dark and dreary sets, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0.

No matter how far Seles progresses here, though -- Sissy Spacek cameoing back onto the screen to show the youngsters how to cop an Oscar -- the tragedies (her knifing, her beloved father, Karolj, ravaged by cancer) and the ailments and the world weariness etched across her face make it sadly difficult to recall just how dynamic and dominant and sheer wonderful fun Seles was back then.

As a teenager, she vamped her way across the tennis capitols of the globe -- changing her hair and look and outfits as often as she visited different designer boutiques, paying as much homage to her idol, Madonna, as she paid attention to ripping up the tour. "Closest thing to Suzanne there ever will be," said tennis' ancient couturier to the stars, the late Ted Tinling, who had grown up with the legendary Lenglen.

And then there was Seles' tennis -- a blood-curdling, vicious kind of attacking game, particularly stunning in that she unleashed it solely from the baseline. Seles never could go up and back very well or fast. But side-to-side, lord! Winning daggers from out of court. Quick-striking angles heretofore unknown from women. Sheer, unmitigated power balls. Everybody thinks the Sisters Sledge, Venus and Serena, absolutely cold cock the ball today? On form, in prime, at full cry -- and sometimes you had to cover your ears, it was such a shriek -- Seles hit the ball as hard as even any Williams might dream possible.

From the '91 Australian through the '93 Australian, Monica was an animal (okay, a Tigress) -- amassing seven titles in nine majors. About the other two: she missed one Wimbledon due to shin splints and lost badly in the finals of the other Wimby to Graf -- mostly because she lamely acquiesced when everybody (yeah, you, Martina Navratilova) told her to shut the grunting up, actually fell into a self-imposed silence and realized she couldn't really perform without the grunting.

That knife in the back robbed Seles of 27 months in the heart of her career, the better part of three tennis seasons and attempts at 10 major championships. Surely she would have won at least half of those, giving her a career total of 14 now. Witness how when Seles returned in the late summer of '95, she quickly won right away, the Canadian Open, and then went all the way to the U.S. Open final again where she faced her great rival, Graf, once more. Monica had won their last meeting in the Australian, 6-2 in the third, in one of the most brilliant women's matches ever. But the '95 Open stretched the drama further -- Seles squandering a set point to lose a tiebreak in the first, swamping Graf 6-0 in the second, then losing 6-3 in the third. The two women would wind up playing 15 times -- 11 of the matches either in Grand Slams or the season-ending tour championships -- with Graf winning 10, four of five after the stabbing.

Since her return, Seles has won one more Slam (her ninth, the '96 Aussie) -- Graf ended her career with 22, Evert and Navratilova 18 apiece -- while reaching the finals of two others. But she has never been the player she was before she was so cruelly attacked and damaged.

Still only 28, Seles pounds the ball with the same fierce countenance, competes with the same clenched intensity -- no woman has ever out-fought the expatriate Yugoslavian left-hander -- and makes those same outrageous noises that forced the London tabloids to whup out the "Grunt-O-Meter" all over her bewildered head. And at times, she produces remarkable upsets, taking out the best young gunnettes as if she were still wearing all that silk and chiffon and flipping all those roses into the Roland Garros crowds as she did upon her debut here at 15. She almost beat a shocked Graf in the semifinals back then -- just as she almost beat current No. 1 Jennifer Capriati at Miami and erstwhile No. 1 Martina Hingis at Indian Wells in semifinal battles this winter.

Of course last summer Seles did knock off both those women back-to-back in San Diego -- the worst beatings any two top-ranked players in the world had suffered since Tracy Austin beat Chris and Martina in successive rounds in Los Angeles 22 years before. And Mo-Sels also owns titanic victories over Serena Williams (in August she saved six match points in L.A. to beat the only woman who comes close to her primal roaring) as well as her sister, Venus, whom she upset in this year's Australian Open.

Alas. "I made a lot less unforced errors (then) than I do now," Monica says. "Even in those times I had tough matches. But it's hard to go back. At this point, I don't want to go back. I just think about improving for the next match."

The game is still fun for Seles, though she doesn't smile much any more. Getting' Old is a real bitch, but it's more than those aches and pains. A year ago, a serious foot injury kept her out of the French and Wimbledon. This season's been a see-saw. Wins over Venus Williams and Justin Henin. Reaching those semis at the big events in Miami and Indian Wells. A tournament victory in Doha, Qatar. But then there were losses to Stephanie Foretz, whoever she is, in Charleston, S.C., and to Austria's Barbara Schwartz in the Fed Cup. ("They asked me not to talk about it," she says of that event where Billie Jean King infamously threw Jennifer Capriati off the American team, "When? Right after I talked about it.")

A stomach virus forced Seles to withdraw from the Italian Open a few weeks ago, and she really doubted she'd even show up for the French. But then she tried playing a tournament in Madrid as another warm-up and she wound up winning the thing -- career title number 53. So here she is in Paris -- while youngsters like Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis are laid up following serious surgeries.

"It's a very grueling schedule. The number of tournaments that you have to play to qualify for the rankings is really tough year in and year out," Seles says. "I have younger players coming up to me, and they've been a few years on tour, and they're really dead tired. Gosh, they should have at least another good five to seven years in them."

Gosh. Would that Monica Seles had those three years back when she wasn't merely good but one of the great -- and most fun -- players of all time.



Curry Kirkpatrick is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at curry.kirkpatrick@espnmag.com.
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