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Old Jan 8th, 2006, 08:56 PM   #31
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1996 Australian Open

'She's a tough cookie.'

S.L. Price.

She did everything she could. Stayed in the same room, at the same hotel. Practiced at the same time, said hello to the faces she remembered from before. Monica Seles came to Melbourne three weeks ago looking to reshape time and fact, hoping to erase more than two years of doubt and fear and pain. The key was not to think too hard. The key was to lie: Seles told herself she was gunning for her fourth straight Australian Open title, trying to sell herself on the notion that her most recent Grand Slam win here, in 1993, had come only a year ago. She almost fooled herself into believing that Gunther Parche had never happened and that the knife had never dug into her back. Of course, it couldn't last. Seles would walk the halls of the Flinders Park tennis complex and see photos of that teenager holding the championship trophy in '91, '92 or '93 and looking new and so happy. She would feel the truth like a mean wind, and not even winning again could change that. She is not that girl anymore.

"Even today, I almost felt like it was '93, that those years had never happened," Seles said last Saturday evening, hours after reclaiming her place in the sport with a 6-4, 6-1 blitz of Anke Huber in the final. Then she shook her head. "It's never going to be the same," she said. "That was hard, when I had to admit that to myself. Now I think: It's '96. Where did those years go?"
Seles's opponents are asking themselves the same question. Since Seles left the game in April 1993, after having been stabbed by Parche during a tournament in Germany, a new generation of talent has risen in women's tennis, secretly sure it had made the strides needed to handle Seles upon her return. But the likes of Huber, Chanda Rubin, Iva Majoli and Lindsay Davenport couldn't stay with Seles in Australia. And while defending champ Mary Pierce continued her curious fade from the top tier, no-show No. 1 Steffi Graf mulled her tax problems, and Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario pondered life as also-rans, the lefthanded Seles fought through a suddenly inflamed left shoulder, poor conditioning and a crisis of confidence to pocket the ninth Grand Slam title of her career. As she accepted her trophy in front of 14,879 cheering fans crowding Centre Court, Seles thought of last year, when she had watched the final on TV. "It's just great to be back," Seles said, her quavering voice filling the stadium. "I still can't believe I'm here."

When Graf withdrew from the Australian Open, the idea of Seles's marching easily toward the title took firm hold in Melbourne. And as the men's draw, which spent last year in cozy thrall to Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, melted down into a succession of upsets that left Boris Becker, of all people, to complete a remarkable renaissance with his first Grand Slam championship in five years, the '96 Open became Seles's to claim.

But the fact is, Seles herself had no hopes of winning in Australia in the months following her return to tennis last August. Certainly her dramatic and draining loss to Graf in the U.S. Open final was a perfect jump start to the second half of her career, but then the machine seized up. Tendinitis in her left knee and torn ankle ligaments forced Seles to withdraw from one event after another. The lack of action, especially after such a buildup, threw Seles for a loss. She found herself falling into the same state of depression that had consumed her during the winter after she was stabbed. "A lot of times, when I would be home, keeping to myself, I'd be very down and everything would start back again," Seles said a few days before the final.

In early December, Seles became afflicted with recurring dizziness that left her barely able to leave bed. No one could tell her what was wrong. Seles consulted various doctors, visiting the Mayo Clinic twice. Her condition was diagnosed as meningitis, then as severe flu. Her treatment included iron tablets and vitamin supplements.

Slowly Seles began feeling better, and by mid-December she was hitting. During the second week of January she played an Open tune-up in Sydney in which she came back to beat Davenport in a three-set final. But when she came to Melbourne the next day, "she was really miserable," says Becker, who has become one of Seles's few close friends on the men's tour. "She had a muscle problem in one of her legs, and she was tired. But she's a tough cookie."

She had to be. By the time she reached the Australian Open final, Seles's game was in woeful shape. Her ground strokes lacked their usual force; her shots weren't scraping the lines. Her hip ached, and she had pulled a tendon in her right ankle. Without daily heat treatment and massage therapy, she could barely lift her left arm above her shoulder. She huffed around the court, out of shape. It didn't matter. Seles possesses something more important than a gym-perfect body: She is a pure competitor, with athletic gifts that have nothing to do with muscle.

For example Seles held off Rubin in a superb semifinal. The 19-year-old Rubin, whose success in Melbourne will most likely propel her into the top 10 for the first time, had it all against Seles: A bigger game, more energy, the crowd--even a chance to go up 5-1 in the third set. Then Seles did what Seles does when things get tight: She began to attack. She cracked a backhand crosscourt. She broke back twice. Then she won. "If you don't take charge," Rubin said afterward, "she will."

The match against Huber was no different. In the first set Huber pushed Seles four feet behind the baseline with penetrating strokes and broke her to go up 3-2. Seles responded by refusing to give in during the sixth game, which produced nine deuces. Huber finally dumped a forehand into the net. It was the old story of Seles's ferocious will--except that Seles came to Melbourne not sure she had it anymore.

"I thought maybe I was missing that part," Seles said after the final. "It meant a lot to know it's still there, to know that I could pull it out."

At her postmatch press conference, Seles giggled over the win and spoke of her plans: the French Open again, the Olympics, perhaps a Wimbledon title at last. Someone asked about playing in Germany, and she grew angry and said it would be very hard to feel safe there. Someone asked again about Germany, and Seles said she didn't want to think about it and she stopped talking. She began to cry. She pulled her hat down over her eyes. One photographer's flash fired, and then they were all popping before her eyes like small bombs. "Don't take pictures of this," Seles said softly.

Instead of racing out of the room, Seles tried to push through. She wiped her eyes and asked for another question, an effort she would not have been capable of six months ago. It was progress, however small. Finally Seles mumbled, "There's no point in continuing this," and hurried out. She sat down in a chair in the locker room and cried.

"What she's achieving right now is one of the amazing comebacks of all time," said Becker after he capped five years of angst and work with an impressive 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over Michael Chang in the men's final on Sunday. Becker knows what Seles is fighting. Last September, after the U.S. Open, Becker and Seles ended up talking for hours in a New York restaurant, sharing views on stalkers and the media and out-of-control fans. "In tennis, I believe we're a big family," Becker says. The idea of family resonates strongly with Becker. It's one reason he so enjoyed having the millionaire Seles, who's now 22, babysit for his two-year-old son, Noah, during this Open. "We're all in the same boat," Becker says. "We're all going through the same problems sooner or later."

Becker has had his share of disappointments. Having a family, he is sure, is the main reason he stood on Centre Court on Sunday, holding his sixth Grand Slam trophy, a champion again after five years. "That has allowed me to continue," Becker says. Otherwise, he added, "I would not be playing anymore. Tennis is important, but after you've been so good for so long, there's got to be something else. Your feelings you don't find on a tennis court."

For the longest time Becker found everything he dreamed of on the court, winning Wimbledon three times in the 1980s, becoming No. 1 when he won his last Grand Slam event, in Australia in '91. He had no idea that having everything would destroy his desire. By the end of '93 he was out of the top 10. "I just didn't have the fire anymore," he says.

Earlier in 1993, Becker had met his future wife, Barbara Feltus. "She said, 'Please do it one more time for me because I have never seen you as a Grand Slam winner,'" Becker says. "I told her: I'm trying my heart out, but it's not that easy." After they married later that year and had Noah in January 1994, he heard experts writing him off not only because he was past tennis's mythical burnout age of 25 but also because he was married and had a child.
"I find it quite ridiculous," Becker says. "An athlete is also a human being, and there comes a time in your life when you're ready for marriage and ready for fatherhood, and for a majority of cases, it only gives you more drive, more energy."

Just as important, Becker realized that even more drive wouldn't make up for a one-dimensional serve-and-volley attack. He needed better ground strokes, a more strategic approach to match play and improved conditioning. At the end of 1993 he enlisted coach and tennis academy king Nick Bollettieri, the one-man promotion machine who--depending on whom you talk to--is either miracle worker or con man. In Melbourne, Bollettieri criticized one pupil, Pierce, for her attitude and weight, and their relationship dissolved. He pumped up 19-year-old Mark Philippoussis to the point where the Aussie fireballer produced the highest level of tennis of the fortnight, blitzing Sampras in straight sets in the third round. Becker split with Bollettieri last summer, but only to work with Bollettieri disciple Mike DePalmer. "Nick gets all the credit," Becker said. "Everything went better each year. And at that academy, I found DePalmer."

Becker never thought this tournament would mark his return to the top. He has had a woeful record at the Australian since he last won it, losing in the first round twice and skipping it in 1994. Sampras and Agassi rolled into Melbourne after a year as the No. 1 and 1A, respectively, of tennis, and Becker harbored no dream that their dominance would crumble now. It took Chang, another one-time phenom who has succeeded in pumping up his game, to see what was coming. Before the tournament was two days old, Chang, 23, announced coyly, "My game is continuing to improve, and I think that Pete and Andre have kind of reached the peak of their tennis careers."
Meanwhile, the No. 5 Chang creeps ever closer, with appearances in two Grand Slam finals in the last six months. He had a nearly flawless performance in Melbourne, steaming into the semifinal with Agassi without dropping a set. When Agassi stirred the pot by chiding Chang for not having played Davis Cup last year, Chang hammered him in three straight. Agassi had plenty of excuses: the wind, his weariness, his long layoff this fall due to a pulled chest muscle. "I don't know anybody who comes right back," said Agassi's coach Brad Gilbert. "Unless you're Monica Seles."

The locker room door swings open, and here comes Seles, walking slowly down the gray hallway, surrounded by her friends, her mother, her handlers. Her father, Karolj, hugs her, and she begins to smile. She starts to make her way out of the stadium, sees tournament director Paul McNamee and his wife, Lesley, and their baby, Rowan, and stops to talk. Soon Seles is swinging Rowan in her arms, laughing and spinning around in a tight circle. One second the baby gurgles happily, the next he begins to squall. Seles spins around again.

"You're happy one second, the next thing you're crying," she says in a singsong to the baby. He stares, he squirms. He doesn't understand a word she has said.
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Old Jan 8th, 2006, 08:59 PM   #32
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Grand Dame

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Carlos Moya reigned for Spain, but the story of the French Open was Monica Seles's run to the final, three weeks after her father's death

by Alexander Wolff

Posted: Wed June 10, 1998



In a gesture of pre-World Cup hospitality, the French handed their Open over to the Spanish. As a way of showing respect for women of a certain age, they carded each of tennis's teen queens at the door, reserving spots in the final at Roland Garros for a couple of dowagers, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Monica Seles. But le plus beau geste of all was provided by Sánchez Vicario, who after her 7-6, 0-6, 6-2 victory turned to her opponent on the podium and said, "I'm so sorry I beat you."



So was everyone else. On May 14, just 11 days before the French Open began, Seles's cartoonist father, Karolj, died after a five-year fight with stomach cancer. Back in prewar Yugoslavia, Karolj had jury-rigged a net in a parking lot, drawn portraits of Tom and Jerry on a couple of tennis balls and beguiled his daughter into giving chase. With his guidance, Monica won eight Grand Slam titles and held the No. 1 ranking almost continuously from March 1991 until April '93, when a deranged Steffi Graf fan plunged a knife into Monica's back during a changeover in Hamburg, forever turning the phrase "unemployed German lathe operator" into one of those Headline News save-and-pastes, like "Libyan strongman" or "war-torn Chechnya."

Karolj would comfort Monica when she awoke at night screaming during the 27 months off the WTA Tour that followed. After extensive therapy for both mind and body, Monica made a promising comeback, only to be sidetracked again, first by injuries and then by Karolj's illness. This year she took off the first 10 weeks of the tour, including the Australian Open, so she could be with him, and a month ago she hurried back from the Italian Open to join her mother, Esther, and brother, Zoltan, at the family's home in Sarasota, Fla., for the final days of Karolj's life.

"There will be other French Opens," her coach, Gavin Hopper, told her. Yet Seles decided that the prospect of staying in Sarasota—staying among the artifacts of her father's life and the friends making condolence calls—would be more difficult than playing. Arriving in Paris on May 23, only two days before the tournament began, she took up the challenge of shearing away the future and the past, of paring time down to the moment at hand. If she were to worry about life without Karolj, or about the impudent teenage talent that has been shaking up the tour, or about shots two or three ahead of the ball now on her racket, she might be overwhelmed; if she were to dwell on the mistrust that followed that episode in Hamburg five years ago, or her father's final days of suffering, or the fact that she had won only nine singles titles since being stabbed, things wouldn't be much easier.

In Hopper, a fitness-first Aussie she hooked up with in late March, Seles had the perfect coach for her state of mind. "I stress working in the here and now," he says. "On focusing on the ball you're going to hit, how you're going to hit it and the intensity you're going to hit it with, right here, right now."

In Paris, Seles had no more ambivalence about the right here, the right now. At home with Karolj in his final months, she had felt the pull of the tour; on the tour she had wished she were home with him. "In a weird way, I have peace of mind," she said last week. "In Rome I felt like I played well, but my mind wasn't really on the court. After deciding I'd play here, I felt really content with my decision. And the last years I've never really been content with any decision."

She strung a necklace through her father's wedding ring and wore it with dark-colored tennis outfits, but there would be no maudlin dedication of this event that she had won three times. "My dad just really wanted me to do what I wanted to do," she said. "Whenever I stepped on the court, it was for me."

Indeed, there was no noise more joyful than Seles's familiar high-pitched grunts during her matches and giggles after them. And this French Open reverberated with many other sounds: from the wails of Anna Kournikova in the gloaming of her round-of-16 elimination, when the chair umpire refused her request that the match with Jana Novotna be suspended on account of darkness ("The first time a guy has ever said no to her," huffed one witness); to the rattle of Venus Williams's beads, audible as she rushed the net after one of her 120-mph serves (faster than any unleashed in Paris by Andre Agassi, Jim Courier or Marcelo Rios); to the gasp of the crowd when Venus's younger sister, Serena, peeled off her warmup jacket to reveal her rippling deltoids; to the haughty protestations of Martina Hingis, who dismissed the idea that she was party to any rivalry because "if you look at the rankings, I'm, like, almost 3,000 points up."

Before, after, even during their matches these teenage arrivistes engaged in all kinds of woofing and adolescent gamesmanship, taking advantage of any allowable bathroom break, opportunity for a dress change or excuse to appeal to the umpire to descend from the chair to hunt down some mark in the clay and overrule a line call. The French Open: Not just tennis, it's archaeology!

Seles, 24, couldn't be bothered with such trivia. "I just don't have the strength and intensity anymore," she had said in Paris a year ago, after losing in a semifinal to Hingis. This time in the semis she had both, beating Hingis, the 17-year-old world No. 1, for the first time in six tries, 6-3, 6-2, by playing what the loser would call tennis at a different level.

In the final Seles won more games than Sánchez Vicario. More points, too. Alas, winning the popular vote doesn't count, for tennis matches are decided by the electoral college—although the heavens seemed to interject their commentary on the result when, minutes after the end of the match, rain began to fall.

To be fair, Sánchez Vicario, 26 and the victor at Roland Garros in 1989 and '94, has scaled obstacles of her own. For two years she had looked in vain for her form, struggling with the first serious physical ills of her career, among them wrist and thigh injuries suffered after winning the first tournament of this season, in Sydney. The attention that has turned the teens' way "can help me," said Sánchez Vicario, whom trophy presenter Ilie Nastase called Vieja (Old Lady) during the awards ceremony. "You don't have any pressure, you know. You can sneak around." Losing the second set of the final at love, constantly being pressed against the baseline by Seles's flat, angled ground strokes, she kept points in play with sliced retrievals, humpbacked saves and other conjurings, forcing Seles to rip many more responses than she would have liked and ultimately tuckering her out.

Sánchez Vicario is from Barcelona, which deserves credit for the ascent of the Spanish men. Too many computer points and too much prize money were going elsewhere as a result of Spain's emphasis on clay court play, so in recent years the country's tennis federation established a hard-court training center in the Catalonian capital and installed a nationwide feeder system to identify and develop promising prospects. The French Open champion of 1993 and '94, Sergi Bruguera, might be dismissed as "a Spanish clay courter," but neither Carlos Moya nor Alex Corretja, whom Moya beat 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in a final on Sunday that had all the tension of a practice session back in Barcelona, can be so easily clay-pigeonholed. Moya reached the '97 Australian Open final and beat four of the Top 5 either indoors or on hard courts last year; Corretja nearly beat world No. 1 Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals of the '96 U.S. Open and reached the semis in Key Biscayne, Fla., in March.

For all their newfound versatility, Spanish men haven't forgotten how to win on clay: Of the 19 Spaniards who qualified for the draw in Paris, six made the round of 16 and three reached the semis. "I'm surprised that we're not four in the semifinals," said Corretja, referring to Alberto Berasategui, who got knocked out in the fourth round. Semifinalist Felix Mantilla says he dyed his hair blond on a dare from Argentina's Luis Lobo, but he could hardly be blamed if he took the bottle simply to distinguish himself from his many dark-haired compatriots. So thoroughly were Spanish men dominating every category at the French that a 20-year-old righthander from Barcelona, Julian Alonso, has become Hingis's steady. (Alonso is 1-10 since the two started seeing each other in March, encouraging speculation that "Julian Alonso" is Spanish for "John Lloyd.")

There's an old-school gentility and camaraderie among the Spanish men. After Corretja, Mantilla and Moya had qualified for the semis, a paparazzo caught them at a cafe on the Champs-Elysees, sharing the same dish of ice cream, and each of the countrymen freely swaps tips with any of the others who's about to play a non-Spaniard. "We didn't need the umpire or the linesmen today," Corretja said after the final. "Every time we were giving the call to each other. I just trust him. I never check the mark, and neither does he."

In her own earthy charitability, Seles too is something of a throwback. During her quarterfinal loss to Hingis, Venus left to change her skirt as Hingis was preparing to serve for the match. "I was dirty," she sniffed later. "I can't appear that way." Compare and contrast: In beating Novotna in the quarterfinals, Seles got sullied while lunging for a ball. She took a moment to towel off her shirt, her hands and her racket handle and turned to resume her position on court. "Derriere!" cried a helpful voice in the stands. Seles smiled and then dusted off her hindquarters. There'd be no rushing off to wardrobe by this woman, who knows calamities much worse than a soiled skirt.

Compare and contrast again: Four times in her match with Williams, Hingis appealed a line call, and three times she got her way. But when Hingis and Seles hooked up a round later and the chair ump stood ready to make a critical reversal to her benefit, Seles conceded the point. "It's better to be honest and move on," she said later. She wasn't going to risk the snare of a guilty conscience when she had finally found the security of the here and now.

Early in the tournament, as her courtesy car turned into the grounds of Roland Garros, Seles saw Arantxa's mother, Marisa, through the window. She was cradling Roland, the Yorkshire terrier that Arantxa had acquired nine years ago after winning the French for the first time. (Garros, her other pooch, is too big to travel, so he stays home.) Seles asked the driver to stop, rolled down her window and got in some quality chitchatting with Marisa and petting with Roland. The scene illustrated how at odds Seles's instincts are with the imprisonment that has been an abiding part of her life.

With Seles savoring each stroke of her racket as she hadn't since she herself was an on-the-make teenager, that chapter ended in Paris with a kind of serenity. Consider the evidence: When her effort fell just short of a Grand Slam title, she didn't seem nearly as disappointed as everyone else.

Issue date: June 15, 1998
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Old Jan 8th, 2006, 09:05 PM   #33
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1999 US Open - Bits and Pieces

Everything's breaking right for Venus Williams. After beating talented Anne-Gaelle Sidot Wednesday night, Venus got a free pass to the fourth round Thursday. Her next scheduled opponent, Nagyova of Slovakia, pulled out with a wrist sprain. The prospect of facing either Fernandez or No. 13 seed Dominique Van Roost in her next match won't exactly keep her up at night. ... Told that Hingis accused her family of having big mouths, Serena Williams responded: "I guess it has a little bit to do with [Hingis] not having a formal education. I personally don't think my mouth is big if you're looking at it." ... Wednesday night, Catalina Cristea and Ruxandra Dragomir beat Jennifer Capriati and Mirjana Lucic 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. It was the first time since 1992 that a women's doubles match ended in a third-set tiebreaker. ... Funny how Davenport is the defending champ and she still is overlooked. ... How's this for a sign of the times: American Express is sponsoring a bag check for those fans who don't want to tote around all the gear they've purchased here. ... Want to know from sensitive men? After Hicham Arazi beat countryman Karim Alami in four wonderfully entertaining sets Wednesday, the two friends not only shook hands but exchanged pecks on the cheeks. ... Another great post-handshake moment: After Lleyton Hewitt beat fellow Aussie Wayne Arthurs in four sets Thursday, a fan stood up and bellowed the following after spotting someone in the crowd: "Ladies and gentleman, a moment of your time. Please put your possessions down and take a minute to join me in acknowledging the great Rod Laver." In unison, the stands erupted in applause. Gotta love this event.

Kim Clijsters, the youngest player in the women's draw, nearly ended Richard Williams' dream of a family affair in the finals. The 16-year-old Belgian extended Serena Williams to three sets, leading 5-3 and serving for the match in the third before falling 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. The match drew the interest of a number of WTA players, including Anke Huber, Irina Spirlea, Nathalie Tauziat, Cara Black, Rennae Stubbs, Mary Pierce and Lindsay Davenport, all of whom watched the third set. "I'm getting close," says Clijsters, who will move up from her current No. 98 ranking next week. "I feel like I'm close to Serena. It was a good lesson for me." The match drew overflow crowds to Louis Armstrong Stadium (yours truly, naturally, was trapped watching Vince Spadea and Laurence Tieleman in Stadium 3). Fellow countrywoman Sabine Appelmans says Clijsters will be one of the hardest hitters on tour. "I've seen it in practice all the time. Sometimes she hits so hard, it was just a matter of time before it came out in a match. ... The fastest serves of the tournament so far belong to the Williams sisters. Venus clocked in at 121 mph, Serena at 117 mph. ... From the department of choice bites: Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario and Pierce dined this week at Nobu, the hip restaurant of the moment, while Davenport and Mary Joe Fernandez checked out Asia de Cuba. ... Looking ahead to the finals: Davenport and Hingis are 7-7 against each other in 14 meetings. The Williams sisters have played three times -- all dreary finals -- with older sister Venus holding a 3-0 advantage. The most interesting matchup pits Davenport and Venus Williams. The D-Train currently holds an 8-3 lead, but Venus has been rising of late. She's won the last two meetings, including last month at San Diego and New Haven. ... Caught up with not-so-funnyman Jon Lovitz roaming around outside the players lounge on Monday. He was searching, futilely, for Spadea prior to his match with Richard Krajicek. "I taught him his serve," cracked Lovitz. He better not quit his day job. Spadea was smoked in a straight-sets blitz by the big Dutchman later that night.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #34
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

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Originally Posted by hingis-seles View Post
Grand Dame

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Carlos Moya reigned for Spain, but the story of the French Open was Monica Seles's run to the final, three weeks after her father's death

by Alexander Wolff

Posted: Wed June 10, 1998



In a gesture of pre-World Cup hospitality, the French handed their Open over to the Spanish. As a way of showing respect for women of a certain age, they carded each of tennis's teen queens at the door, reserving spots in the final at Roland Garros for a couple of dowagers, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Monica Seles. But le plus beau geste of all was provided by Sánchez Vicario, who after her 7-6, 0-6, 6-2 victory turned to her opponent on the podium and said, "I'm so sorry I beat you."



Issue date: June 15, 1998
Arantxa

What a great thread. I thought it deserved a bumipty bump! My favourite era of tennis.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #35
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Anyone have a describtion/memories of the 1995 Wimbledon final? That's one recent classic I've never seen and, considering it's quality, rarely gets mentioned.
Oh Rollo, this match broke my heart! It was a fantastic final, most remembered for the 13-deuce game at 5-5 in the third set. Although I liked Graf, I wanted Arantxa to win SO much. It was such a great match, I was on tenterhooks all the way through.

This match means a lot to me. My Nan died on the night of that final after a terribly long illness, and the Wimbledon tennis that fortnight in 1995 was the most wonderful release and escape a 12 year old could have from the pain of my Nan deteriorating. It was an incredibly hot day, and during change-overs I remember running out into my Nan's garden to hit a tennis ball against the wall for a minute before scampering back inside to catch the action.

Arantxa clowned around the whole final. I thought she was hilarious When Steffi won, I cried. But when Arantxa grabbed the plate off Steffi and hugged it dancing around centre court, she made me laugh so much, I forgot about everything and just enjoyed the moment. That final helped me get through what was happening all around me.

Thanks Arantxa
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #36
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Anyone have a describtion/memories of the 1995 Wimbledon final? That's one recent classic I've never seen and, considering it's quality, rarely gets mentioned.
Here's David Higdon's article on the eleventh game of the third set of the 1995 final...

The Glorious Game
- by David Higdon
TENNIS, July 96

Point by point, Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario watch, analyze and relive their pivotal game from last year's final

Since 1980, when Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe played their 22-minute fourth-set tie-break (won by McEnroe 18-16), tennis fans have had a transcendent moment to savor over and over on TV during Wimbledon rain delays. Now the women have a glorious game to match: last year's 20-minute game at 5-all in the third set of the Wimbledon final between Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. The 32 points featured nearly everything: clutch shots, close calls, screams of "Vamos!", fist pumps, netcords, even Borg-like mis-hits.

On separate occasions, Graf and Sanchez Vicario sat down with TENNIS to review and analyze the videotape of the game. It was the first time either player had watched it, and, while intrigued, they both seemed reluctant at first to relive the emotion, perhaps because, for different reasons, this Wimbledon meant more to the finalists than past tournaments.

Graf had skipped the grass-court warm-up events prior to the 1995 Wimbledon to rest her ailing back. Two days before the tournament, she sprained her wrist, requiring her to return to Germany for treatment. In pain, she struggled early in the tournament, then rolled into the final feeling better but lacking her usual high level of fitness. Meanwhile, Sanchez Vicario was determined to make people forget her past words, when she openly complained that grass was meant for cows, not tennis players. After beating Zina Garrison in the third round and serve-and-volley specialist Brenda Schultz-McCarthy in the quarterfinals, her expectations soared. "I knew then that I had a chance to win Wimbledon," she says.

Sanchez Vicario won the first set 6-4, while Graf captured the second 6-1. In the ninth game of the third set, a point ended with Sanchez Vicario, who had run down several apparent winners, sprawled face-down on the grass after slipping in an attempt to change directions. As she stepped up to the baseline to serve at 5-5, the crowd still buzzed with excitement. Already, it seemed clear to them, they were witnessing something special.

Point 1
After a short rally, Sanchez Vicario shanked an easy forehand wide and deep. Most of her mistakes up to this point had been of the aggressive, high-risk quality, a rarity for the usually steady, counterpunching Spaniard. "Every time I saw an open court, I went for the shot," Sanchez Vicario explains. "I knew I had to take risks, and I knew I was going to miss much more than normal, but that's the way I have to play if I want to beat Steffi."

Point 2: 0-15
Graf, pouncing on a second serve hit to her formidable forehand, tried to sneak a return down the line. Sanchez Vicario, anticipating Graf's usual inside-out crosscourt return, was caught leaning the other way, but Graf's shot hooked wide.

Point 3: 15-All
An unforced forehand error by Graf landed in the net. "Ooh," says Graf, "that was a nervous forehand. I was hitting it late." Fatigue was becoming a bigger factor. "I knew at this point that it was going to be difficult for me, because I physically felt real tired," she says. "On these last two forehands I hit the ball late because I was tired. I didn't have that much energy."

Point 4: 30-15
A nice crosscourt rally ended when Sanchez Vicario's forehand went long. She grimaced, then took a hard look at the baseline, suggesting that she thought it was a bad call. "No," she says, "the linespeople were calling the shots late. When you're on the run, you don't hear them very well."

When playing Sanchez Vicario, Graf tries to hit to her opponent's forehand for two reasons. "Obviously, it's her weaker side," Graf explains. Second, hitting there plays to Graf's strength. "When I hit to her forehand, she usually plays it back crosscourt to my forehand, so I have more chances to hit my best shot." Graf's ability to analyze and exploit her opponent's tendencies in order to draw more shots to her forehand side has been the much-underappreciated cornerstone of her success.

Point 5: 30-All
A rally ends when Sanchez Vicario hit an improbable, high-risk crosscourt forehand drop shot from her position just inside the baseline. After the winner, Sanchez Vicario let out a long breath, chuckled and mumbled Spanish praise to the heavens. "Gutsy shot," Graf says. "The guts of a burglar," says commentator Dick Enberg on the NBC broadcast.

The shot was nearly identical to one Sanchez Vicario pulled out of her bag of tricks during a Wimbledon match against Raffaela Reggi six years earlier. When she hit the drop shot in 1989, however, she was facing match point against her. Reggi, in a state of near shock, faltered from that point on, letting the match slip away. "It's a shot that I know that I have," says Sanchez Vicario, explaining her use of it at such a pivotal point in this match. "I felt very comfortable. I was having a lot of confidence."

Point 6: 40-30
Game point No. 1 for Sanchez Vicario Sanchez Vicario floated a ball down the middle of the court, enabling Graf to run around her backhand and hit an inside-out forehand, her favorite stroke. The shot didn't have its usual zing, but it still clipped the line, and Graf pumped her fist. "Every time in this game," says Sanchez Vicario, "when one of us was behind, we hit a winner. It's not like either of us lost this match. We both played our shots on the lines."

Caught a bit off-balance, Graf snapped the wrist just enough to provide the topspin necessary to keep the ball in play. "I covered the court poorly there," she adds.

Point 7: Deuce No. 1
After Sanchez Vicario hit a short, but low, shot to the middle of the court, Graf advanced to the net with a backhand approach shot to Sanchez Vicario's forehand. Because she needed to dig the low ball off the grass, Graf had to hit the shot with topspin rather than her preferred underspin. Her shot sat up and Sanchez Vicario easily blasted a forehand down the line for a winner while Graf stood rooted to the center of the court. "I didn't move to any side," Graf says. "I just stayed there hoping she would miss it. I played it too safe." It was the only time in this game that Sanchez Vicario deviated from hitting her forehand passing shot crosscourt--a pattern that eventually would cost her.

Point 8: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 2 for Sanchez Vicario
As she prepared to serve, Sanchez Vicario took an inordinate amount of time. Already, she says when reviewing the match, she sensed the growing significance of the game. A deep, penetrating serve clipped the line. Graf shanked a forehand off the frame, but the ball stayed in the court. After a few shots, Sanchez Vicario hit an awkward crosscourt backhand that floated wide. "I changed my mind there," Sanchez Vicario says. "I was going to hit down the line, then I waited and hit back again crosscourt. So I hit it a little too close. That's why I say I have to take risks. My idea was to go for it there, but I played it too close to the line."

Point 9: Deuce No. 2
"Great serve!" Graf exclaims after watching Sanchez Vicario's wide serve spin past her for the Spaniard's sixth ace of the match. Chris Evert, analyzing the match for NBC, says: "Boy, she's won so many points with that serve. But there's been such a pattern with that serve I'm surprised Steffi still doesn't read it."

Point 10: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 3 for Sanchez Vicario
Sanchez Vicario, feeling confident with her serve, opted to serve-and-volley, a rarity for her. The serve went deep to Graf's backhand, but Graf punched it crisply crosscourt and, once again, her shot clipped the line. "I thought I would go in there and surprise her, but she hit a very good low crosscourt shot and it was very hard to reach," says Sanchez Vicario, who had been successful coming to the net after hitting to Graf's backhand earlier in the match. Graf was amazed, however, at how easily her opponent handled Graf's underspin backhand shots on this day. "It didn't really affect her," she says. "She was really well prepared. She didn't have a lot of unforced errors."

"Sometimes she hits it late," Sanchez Vicario says, "and you have more of a chance. Here, she hits the line."

Point 11: Deuce No. 3
Sanchez Vicario hit a relatively easy backhand into the net.

Point 12: Advantage, Graf
Game point No. 1 for Graf
Sanchez Vicario's deep serve elicited two seldom-seen events: a missed forehand return from Graf and a trip by her to the sideline for a towel. "I was sweating and tired," says Graf, who is known for playing quickly. "I needed time."

Point 13: Deuce No. 4
After Graf toweled off and Sanchez Vicario missed her first serve, Graf decided it was the perfect chance to attack. She drilled a forehand return to Sanchez Vicario's backhand and followed it to the net. Sanchez Vicario lunged and ripped a passing shot crosscourt and out of Graf's reach. "I should have known better," Graf says. "She usually passes crosscourt."

Point 14: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 4 for Sanchez Vicario
Graf crushed a return down the line to Sanchez Vicario's forehand, just as she had during the second point. This time, however, the ball stayed in and Sanchez Vicario had to use all her speed just to get a racquet on it. She sent the ball high into the air. Rather than let it bounce, Graf hit it on the fly for a winner. "She doesn't miss many overheads, but that was not as easy as it looked," Sanchez Vicario says. "Plus, it was game point."

Point 15: Deuce No. 5
Sanchez Vicario spun her serve wide again, but Graf was able not only to return it but also to send it whistling crosscourt. Sanchez Vicario, having sensed an opportunity, hit a slice forehand approach shot, but it floated to the center of the court, allowing Graf to run around it to hit her inside-out forehand. She waited until the last second before sliding the passing shot past Sanchez Vicario's backhand side.

"She wasn't really prepared to approach very well," says Graf. Adds Sanchez Vicario: "I should have waited a little longer so I could hit the ball more to the side rather than down the middle. It was a little too short, so she took advantage."

Point 16: Advantage, Graf
Game point No. 2 for Graf
After hitting a forehand deep to Graf's backhand, Sanchez Vicario sneaked up to the net, only to be greeted by a soft, dying backhand from Graf. Using perfect hacker form, Sanchez Vicario dropped her racquet head and popped a drop volley over the net. Commentator Evert exclaims: "She's coming up with shots that she's never hit in her career!"

After the shot, Sanchez Vicario kissed the frame of her racquet, which appeared to deserve more credit than the strings for delivering her winning shot. "No, no," she says, disputing such a theory. "I hit it." Sanchez Vicario also says she timed her approach perfectly. "If I had waited a little longer, she would have gotten the ball to my feet. If I had gone in earlier, I could have missed it into the net. No, I waited until the right moment."

Even if Sanchez Vicario hadn't hit the drop volley perfectly, there was a good chance Graf would not have been able to run it down, because she was perched behind the baseline. "On grass," Sanchez Vicario explains, "short balls don't bounce. People forget that grass isn't always fast."

Point 17: Deuce No. 6
A sloppy mistake: Sanchez Vicario hit an easy forehand ground stroke into the net.

Point 18: Advantage, Graf
Game point No. 3 for Graf
With 17 points and six deuces behind her, did Graf suspect that this game was taking on legendary qualities? "No," she claims, "because you're always looking at the next point. The only thing is that you should try to come in, or try to force the other person to do something, and a few times I didn't do that. Like here: Come in!" Graf admonishes herself on this break opportunity for failing to approach following a couple of soft ground strokes from Sanchez Vicario. Eventually, after she clipped the sideline with one shot, Sanchez Vicario sent an impressive crosscourt forehand that hit just inside the service box sideline. Graf, forced to move forward unexpectedly, hit her forehand long.

"You have to move Steffi," Sanchez Vicario says. "If she's standing, she can hit the ball well. When she's running, she makes more errors."

"I should have come in," Graf says. "I don't know what I was thinking then, probably just to get the ball in play and maybe see if she was going to miss it."

Point 19: Deuce No. 7
"Come in!" Graf shouts again when reviewing the match. "Oh, no--too late again!"

Graf failed to follow in one powerful forehand hit to Sanchez Vicario's backhand, which Sanchez Vicario sliced back with one hand, then made her assault on the net behind a less impressive inside-out forehand hit to her opponent's forehand. The result? A patented Sanchez Vicario forehand crosscourt passing shot just out of Graf's reach.

Says Evert: "Arantxa Sanchez Vicario loves a target."

Point 20: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 5 for Sanchez Vicario
Sanchez Vicario's worst nightmare: Her serve caught the service line, but Graf's return clipped the top of the net and popped over. Sanchez Vicario scrambled to the net, then wisely hit a conservative underspin approach shot deep to Graf's backhand. It produced the result Sanchez Vicario wanted: A weak lob to her forehand side for a potential put-away overhead for the game. But Sanchez Vicario failed to take a full overhead swing and hit the shot back like a high forehand, bringing it right to where Graf was rooted to the ground. "Ayyhhhh! No!!!" Sanchez Vicario shouts when watching the shot.

Graf pushed back another backhand and Sanchez Vicario hit a weak backhand drop volley. Graf quickly shuffled toward the net and calmly hit a topspin backhand down the line to win the point.

"I changed my mind," Sanchez Vicario says. "I was going to hit the [high forehand] crosscourt, but I saw her move a little bit so I thought..." Her voices trails off. "I made a mistake," she admits.

Still, Sanchez Vicario claims the shot wasn't as easy as it looked. "If it were a little bit higher, I would have hit an overhead. But it came right between an overhead and a volley. I thought she was going to run crosscourt because normally she likes to run to her forehand side, so that's why I played it down the line. When I hit the ball, I knew she was there, so it was hard to continue because I had the open side again. I mean, she also was a little bit lucky to be in that spot. She was only covering the backhand side. But you should never hit in the same area two times."

Did Graf feel lucky? "Yes," she says, pointing to the screen, which shows her bursting into a grin after the point concludes. "You can see it here on my face. It was a really good approach by Arantxa to come in on a shot deep to my backhand. I had nowhere to go except down the line."

Point 21: Deuce No. 8
Sanchez Vicario bounced right back. She hit a hard, deep backhand crosscourt that Graf barely got a racquet on. Sanchez Vicario demonstrated no signs of disappointment, nor did she look the least bit tired. Graf, on the other hand, appeared exhausted. "You don't have a lot of short points against Arantxa," she explains.

The prospect of losing this game and having to hold her serve at 5-6 began to weigh on Graf's mind. "I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of energy left for the coming games. I wasn't really serving particularly well in the third set, not like in the second set, so I didn't feel too safe holding my serve in the next game."

Point 22: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 6 for Sanchez Vicario
Graf attacked on a short shot hit to her backhand, slicing the ball back crosscourt, generally a risky strategy. Though Graf had left her forehand side vulnerable, Sanchez Vicario couldn't capitalize: Her backhand passing shot down the line just missed wide. She let out a yelp upon heating the linesperson's "out" call.

Watching the point on videotape, frustration finally creeps into Sanchez Vicario's voice. "You see my ball? She hit two times before that right on the lines. And I went for the same shot and mine was just inches out. She was more lucky."

"Whew, that was close," Graf says. "But it was definitely wide." She did not make a move, however, to try to cut the ball off and volley it back. Was she confident it was going wide? "No," she says, "I didn't have the energy to go for it."

Point 23: Deuce No. 9
As she does prior to each point, Sanchez Vicario blew on her right hand, peered across the net at her opponent and tugged at the shoulders of her perspiration-drenched top. She peeked up at the players' box, which contained her manager, mother, coach, brother, sister and boyfriend. Sweat curled the hair under her drenched headband. She waited for the long applause to subside. "This audience of over 13,000 at Centre Court has to applaud because they're not breathing!" says Enberg. "They have to have some excuse to let out emotion. They're just literally holding their breath on every point."

Sanchez Vicario finally got an easy point. Graf shanked a backhand return long.

Point 24: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 7 for Sanchez Vicario
Sanchez Vicario hit a serve down the middle that produced a puff of white chalk and loud cheers from the crowd. Unfortunately for her, it was called out. Sanchez Vicario peered in the direction of the shot and up at the umpire, but the serve clearly was wide, the chalk coming from the service line in the deuce court.

A Graf forehand skidded off the baseline, and Sanchez Vicario couldn't get it back. "There wasn't much grass near the line, so the bounces were pretty different," Sanchez Vicario says. "That shot was real deep and bounced real low, so I was late. And I went for it down the line. I needed to get low."

In the booth, Evert says she senses Sanchez Vicario is playing a bit too tentative on her game points.

Point 25: Deuce No. 10
A 13-point rally from sideline to sideline, baseline to baseline, ended when Graf, following a down-the-line backhand approach shot to the net, failed to get enough racquet on Sanchez Vicario's crosscourt forehand passing shot. Sanchez Vicario's favorite shot almost always drops low over the net, landing within the service box. That's her target on passing shots, rather than the baseline, where some players mistakenly aim. "It was tight at her feet," Sanchez Vicario says. "If you hit your passing shots deep, she has more of a chance of cutting it off."

While Graf blames another "late" approach for costing her the point, she doesn't fault her strategy: "Slice it low to her forehand." Sanchez Vicario's backhand passing shot generally is more potent.

Point 26: Advantage, Sanchez Vicario
Game point No. 8 for Sanchez Vicario
Another 13-stroke rally which included three shots (two from Graf, one from Sanchez Vicario) that hit the baseline. On the last one, Sanchez Vicario couldn't return it, and she directed a pointed stare at the umpire.

"She always tries," says Graf. "They were good umpires." It wasn't the last shot that bothered Sanchez Vicario, though. "I thought the earlier shot was long, the one I hit late."

While Sanchez Vicario may have played tentatively on her game points, Graf counteracted her by doing the opposite. "I went for more of my shots when I was game point down," she says.

Point 27: Deuce No. 11
Graf again went to her sideline chair to towel off and gulp some water. She got a more satisfying break on this point: Sanchez Vicario misdirected a forehand wide. "An easy mistake from her," says Graf.

"There weren't really many easy mistakes."

Point 28: Advantage, Graf
Game point No. 4 for Graf
A brilliantly played point by Sanchez Vicario. Graf hit a forehand return deep into the corner to begin a scrambling, retreating point for Sanchez Vicario. Her own worst critic, Graf continues to chastise herself for not attacking more. "Come in! On this one," she implores herself on the TV screen. "I'm still not coming in! On this one--it was the wrong one to come in on. And there's the crosscourt."

Indeed, Sanchez Vicario again hit a winning crosscourt forehand out of Graf's reach. It was Sanchez Vicario's third successful crosscourt forehand passing shot in the game, even though crosscourt passes are considered riskier than passing down the line. The crosscourt shot gives the player at the net more time to react and volley the ball into the open court.

Point 29: Deuce No. 12
Graf stayed aggressive, this time approaching to Sanchez Vicario's backhand. Again, Sanchez Vicario didn't hit the down-the-line passing shot as much as try to direct it to a spot. The spot it hit, though, was inches out. When the chair umpire announced the score in Graf's favor, Sanchez Vicario again looked at her in disbelief.

"I thought it was good, because they didn't call it until it was late," she says. There was no argument, however. Explains Graf: "At this point, you hope a lot."

Point 30: Advantage, Graf
Game point No. 5 for Graf
A seemingly casual Sanchez Vicario hit a drop shot, then advanced only a few steps into No Man's Land, where she volleyed away Graf's reply to the open court. It was as if both players felt invincible when facing game point.

Point 31: Deuce No. 13
The point that broke Sanchez Vicario's back. In the middle of a long rally, Graf got caught out of position on the baseline and actually returned a backhand with two hands. The shot floated back to the center of Sanchez Vicario's court, and she hit a drop shot. Graf hustled forward and directed a slice backhand deep into the forehand corner. And Sanchez Vicario ripped another crosscourt forehand passing shot. Only this time, Graf was ready. She cut it off and hit a forehand volley winner.

"I waited too long," Sanchez Vicario explains. "I was going to go crosscourt, but when I went to hit the ball, I wanted to go down the line, but it was too late. That's why I hit the ball up." Graf says her approach shot had something to do with that. "It was difficult for her to get it down the line because my shot was deep," she says.

"[Sanchez Vicario] hit that shot one time too many," says Evert on the NBC broadcast. "Steffi was waiting for it."

Point 32: Advantage, Graf
Game point No. 6 for Graf
A deep shot to Sanchez Vicario's backhand ("C'mon," Graf screams while watching the rally, "take it already!") finally, almost anticlimactically elicited a shot into the net to end the game.

As one would expect, Graf wasted no time putting her opponent away in the next game. She needed less than three minutes to hold serve at love to capture her sixth Wimbledon title and her 17th Grand Slam title overall. During the awards ceremony, Sanchez Vicario jokingly snatched the winner's plate out of Graf's hands.

While watching the videotape of the post-match proceedings, Sanchez Vicario's eyes start to water, and she says that goosebumps are forming all over her body. "I'm getting a little emotional," she admits, fighting back her tears. As she leaves, she puts her cloak of confidence back on. "Next time we watch," she says over her shoulder, "I will be winning."
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:06 PM   #37
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

Thanks for that Samn. Brilliant. I'd rep you but apparently I need to spread it around first!

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While watching the videotape of the post-match proceedings, Sanchez Vicario's eyes start to water, and she says that goosebumps are forming all over her body. "I'm getting a little emotional," she admits, fighting back her tears. As she leaves, she puts her cloak of confidence back on. "Next time we watch," she says over her shoulder, "I will be winning."
She's not the only one whose eyes are watering...
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 04:25 PM   #38
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

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I dearly wanted Jana to win too Her victory in 1998 was so much like Virginia Wade's, another Wimby choker queen. Both had the sternest test in the semis vs. world #1's, then won finals over women playing their only slam final.


Funny how Graf grew to respect Martina more by 1993. It was different in the 80s!
I don't think that's true.
Graf always respected Navratilova a lot. At least that is what she said in interviews. Even in the eighties.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 12:55 PM   #39
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

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Thanks for that Samn. Brilliant. I'd rep you but apparently I need to spread it around first!
She's not the only one whose eyes are watering...

Did anyone happen to catch the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony over the weekend? Apart from my total admiration for Pete Sampras getting through what was probably the most difficult speech he's ever made (yes, alfa was boo-hooing for a solid 20 minutes), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario's speech was both poetic and gut-wrenching, and the tears continued when she paid just homage to the single most important influence on her life and career- her obviously strong family unit. If you haven't seen the replay on the TennisChannel, by all means do- it was very good. Oh, and be sure to have a box of tissues handy!
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 05:46 PM   #40
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

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Did anyone happen to catch the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony over the weekend? Apart from my total admiration for Pete Sampras getting through what was probably the most difficult speech he's ever made (yes, alfa was boo-hooing for a solid 20 minutes), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario's speech was both poetic and gut-wrenching, and the tears continued when she paid just homage to the single most important influence on her life and career- her obviously strong family unit. If you haven't seen the replay on the TennisChannel, by all means do- it was very good. Oh, and be sure to have a box of tissues handy!
Aw I know, it was such a lovely induction with some beautiful speeches. Arantxa looked great and her speech was wonderful. I was impressed with her manager's speech too, she hit the nail on the head about Arantxa's legacy being emotional rather than necessarily statistical.

Having met Arantxa on numerous occasions over the years, I can honestly say she is as genuine and lovely as she is on tv. She has the biggest heart and the warmest charm.
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"Her enduring legacy is far more emotional, instead of statistical..."

"To watch Arantxa Sanchez Vicario play tennis was to rediscover the reason why we fell in love with the game in the first place."
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 09:21 PM   #41
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s



Martina winning Wimbledon in 1990. It was her last singles slam-though she came ooh so close to winning it again in 1994.
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 09:21 PM   #42
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s



Breezy blouses and short tennis skorts were all the rage in the 1990s ... and of course, no tennis outfit was complete without the coordinating headband, as seen here on Steffi Graf.

Note the backswing on her forehand. Experts liked to talk about her "late" conteact point on her non textbook forhand, yet it was this very shot that was her favorite putaway and earned her the nickname "Fraulein Forehand" from Bud Collins.
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 09:25 PM   #43
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s



Venus and Serena Williams, 1998

On their way to becoming style icons, Venus and Serena Williams made sure they stood out by rocking youthful beads in their hair at the Australia Open in 1998. One thing that hasn't changed? Their mega-watt smiles!
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 09:22 AM   #44
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post


Breezy blouses and short tennis skorts were all the rage in the 1990s ... and of course, no tennis outfit was complete without the coordinating headband, as seen here on Steffi Graf.

Note the backswing on her forehand. Experts liked to talk about her "late" conteact point on her non textbook forhand, yet it was this very shot that was her favorite putaway and earned her the nickname "Fraulein Forehand" from Bud Collins.
That's a nice dress. I remember Steffi's '93 USO outfit. That black/white outfit is one of my favourite outfits of all-time.

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Venus and Serena Williams, 1998

On their way to becoming style icons, Venus and Serena Williams made sure they stood out by rocking youthful beads in their hair at the Australia Open in 1998. One thing that hasn't changed? Their mega-watt smiles!
God I remember this match so well. I can't believe it's been almost 15 years.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 04:31 PM   #45
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Re: Leaving the 1900s with a roar-The 90s

Images of Chernobyl still haunt Medvedeva
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Tuesday, August 2, 1994
ED GRANEY, Staff Writer

The train pulled into the station in Kiev, Ukraine and Natalia Medvedeva's grandmother watched as she descended the steps. Tears welled in their eyes. The tennis player had called from a junior tournament in Italy and they had begged her to stay away.

The destruction. The disaster. The deaths.

Chernobyl, 1986.

Medvedeva played a tennis match yesterday, a speck in the big picture that has been her life these first 22 years.

For the record, Medvedeva beat Nathalie Herreman of France, 6-0, 6-2 in the first round of the $400,000 Toshiba Tennis Classic at La Costa Resort & Spa.

For the record, this doesn't mean a whole lot.

She is just now able to talk about it, about watching her teen-age friends drop dead of heart attacks after the nuclear disaster that occured about 62 miles from her hometown of Kiev. About children waking in the morning with no hair, about her mother's body being tested for radiation and the results showing 50 percent above the dangerous level, about having to bury all their clothes, about having to shower countless times per day, about chunks of skin literally peeling away.

About women giving birth to babies with two heads.

"It is very hard," said Medvedeva. "People didn't die overnight. It was gradual. You had to watch them die. It was a tragedy for everyone. It was unbelievable.

"If you weren't there, if you couldn't see it ... "

Tennis kept her away during the initial impact. Her mother, who lives in Germany with Natalia and her brother, implored coaches to keep her daughter playing. There were tournaments and clinics and lessons. Anything. Any excuse.

"I kept calling, crying to come home," said Medvedeva. "I just wanted to be with my family."

She lasted three days before being shipped off again.

She couldn't regain her hunger for winning. She couldn't concentrate. She had zero confidence. Down a break in the third set? Forget it. Not worth it.

Injuries and coaching problems have led to her ranking slipping from No. 23 to 33 in recent months. She has lost in the first round five of her last six tournaments before yesterday. A new coach, Marko Gulic of Yugoslavia, has been on board for three weeks.

Eight years after that fateful moment, when clouds of radiation sifted above her hometown, she can finally see the light, albeit a dim one.

"I am dedicated again," said Medvedeva. "There is still much work to be done. Your game is never good enough -- you can always get better.

"It has been long time since I can talk about the tragedy. I am happy now, I am working hard, I am hungry again.

"But I remember."

Tragically, she always will.

Raymond wins

Good things were expected from Lisa Raymond when she broke on the scene last year. The former two-time NCAA singles champion from Florida hasn't disappointed. The 16th seed here won last night's featured match against Australian Rennae Stubbs, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). A combined morning-evening session crowd of 4,904 was announced.

Raymond reached the final of an exhibition tournament two weeks ago in Mahwah, N.J., losing to Steffi Graf in three sets. Raymond next plays Andrea Strnadova of the Czech Republic today.
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