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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 01:27 AM   #2221
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
Interesting that you say this. I'm one of those Americans who's not afraid to confront issues or afraid of hurting any particular group. Arthur Ashe was all about race- from his playing in South Africa, to his raised black fist after beating Connors at Wimbledon. Though his campaign will never admit it, Barack Obama was elected to the White House because he was black, not because of his credentials. Technically, he's not even black, he's a mulatto (his mother was white). He has no experience with being president of a business or governing anything. He wasn't qualified, but was elected because of race. Arthur eventually became so full of himself when all the attention was heaped on his battle with AIDS, that he let it get to him. The USTA (formerly USLTA) had a monkey on its back in that it was always an organization steeped in blue-blooded white private club members, and so the natural choice was to name the new stadium after him. I realize this post will upset some people, but they'll get over it. Arthur Ashe was one of the better tennis players of his era, and had a great game, but he most certainly was no where near the best. Controversial at times, but never the best player.
I supposed it was not about his stature as a tennis player only. I absolutely have no issues regarding race, especially black (well, Afro-American but is too much an American expression to keep it in mind constantly), as black people is quite scarce in my country, but re Obama, I really never got impressed by him and I consider him a pretty irrelevant president in the big picture, of course a resident of a distant county could perceive, but being the president of USA makes you important in the whole world. And I really believe his move about gay marriage is all about electoral convenience, I don't know if he ever was pro or against gays generally speaking, but the timing (oh so close to elections) makes me suspicious about the candour of his position.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 01:32 AM   #2222
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Of course, there are prejudices in Argentina too, not about black people maybe, but about people from Bolivia or with evident indigenous descent. Or of the lower classes, and in that way tennis has always been as a sport for middle or upper classes. Paola Suárez for instance, as she was not "poor" but she was the daughter of the guy who took care of the tennis courts in a club, had some troubles as some people from more well-off families sometimes looked down on her, if that's the expression.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #2223
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Of course, there are prejudices in Argentina too, not about black people maybe, but about people from Bolivia or with evident indigenous descent. Or of the lower classes, and in that way tennis has always been as a sport for middle or upper classes. Paola Suárez for instance, as she was not "poor" but she was the daughter of the guy who took care of the tennis courts in a club, had some troubles as some people from more well-off families sometimes looked down on her, if that's the expression.
Obama is not from a poor background, though his campaign comes across that way for the black / Latino vote (I hate the word Hispanic). He was raised middle class, and eventually secured funding for college at both Columbia and Harvard. A gifted speaker, no doubt, but no credentials to be able to run a business, let alone a country, and we're suffering because of this. Okay, enough politics- back to tennis.

I saw Paola at the French Open 5-6 years ago. I forget who her partner was, but do remember one of her opponents was Patty Schnyder (I sat right next to Patty's sister in the crowd). She was a great doubles player- always thinking. Whatever happened to Steffi's friend Inez Gorrechatuegi (spelling?) There was a minute there when I thought she might be the next Sabatini. Should've known, there is only one Gaby.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 01:09 PM   #2224
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
Obama is not from a poor background, though his campaign comes across that way for the black / Latino vote (I hate the word Hispanic). He was raised middle class, and eventually secured funding for college at both Columbia and Harvard. A gifted speaker, no doubt, but no credentials to be able to run a business, let alone a country, and we're suffering because of this. Okay, enough politics- back to tennis.

I saw Paola at the French Open 5-6 years ago. I forget who her partner was, but do remember one of her opponents was Patty Schnyder (I sat right next to Patty's sister in the crowd). She was a great doubles player- always thinking. Whatever happened to Steffi's friend Inez Gorrechatuegi (spelling?) There was a minute there when I thought she might be the next Sabatini. Should've known, there is only one Gaby.
Ines had to retire due to injuries.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 01:14 PM   #2225
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Bet Steffi knows better than us.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 05:10 PM   #2226
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Longines Charity event at Roland Garros - Steffi looks stunning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Wgsc9eAKwQ
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 07:56 PM   #2227
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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I hate the word Hispanic...
It's my turn to ask, what is wrong with the term Hispanic? Sorry as I am not from the US and I always thought Hispanic was acceptable but clearly I am missing some implications or connotations it may carry with it.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 08:54 PM   #2228
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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It's my turn to ask, what is wrong with the term Hispanic? Sorry as I am not from the US and I always thought Hispanic was acceptable but clearly I am missing some implications or connotations it may carry with it.
What does the word really mean- every latino is from the island of Hispanola? Is everyone of Spanish decent from Spain? No. The word is a blanket to make it easier for media and government to use to not leave anyone out. It also makes polls and lists much easier to manage if you simply throw everyone into the same pot. I live in a small city with over 50% latinos, and most I've run into and talked at length with dislike the descriptive very much. It trivializes so many different and divers latino cultures into one convenient word. It's like saying all black people in the US are African-American. Barack Obama isn't African-American. His father was black college drifter Kenyan and his white mother was just one of many women all over the globe he got pregnant. It's a mis-statement to say fathered, because he was never a father to any of them, our mulatto President included. Oh, stop me, I'm making sense and straying from what's supposed to be a Steffi Graf thread. My apologies- back to tennis.
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 10:55 PM   #2229
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I see your point about the word in the US, yet in Latin America it simply evokes the Spanish cultural inheritance which is prevalent in many countries, and it doesn't have any other implication, well, at least in Argentina, which is not the average Latin American county as indigenous culture influence is much less significant and population is over 90% of White European descent.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 07:14 PM   #2230
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Thanks for the insights, alfa. I'll make sure to use the word Latino, especially if I am in the US.

And since it's grass court season, how about reminiscing some Steffi matches on grass? One interesting match is the abandoned final in Birmingham she played against Nathalie Tauziat. I think Nathalie was leading 5-2 when they had to stop because of rain and they didn't resume play anymore. As a Steffi fan, I'm happy the rain came to save the day because it allowed her to keep her perfect record against Tauziat. No sets lost!

The 1998 grass season wasn't very good for Steffi though. Her only losses to Kournikova and Zvereva came in that short period of time.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 09:21 PM   #2231
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Thanks for the insights, alfa. I'll make sure to use the word Latino, especially if I am in the US.

And since it's grass court season, how about reminiscing some Steffi matches on grass? One interesting match is the abandoned final in Birmingham she played against Nathalie Tauziat. I think Nathalie was leading 5-2 when they had to stop because of rain and they didn't resume play anymore. As a Steffi fan, I'm happy the rain came to save the day because it allowed her to keep her perfect record against Tauziat. No sets lost!

The 1998 grass season wasn't very good for Steffi though. Her only losses to Kournikova and Zvereva came in that short period of time.
Speaking of that Kournikova match- back when she was the cover girl all over the world, she was involved in a battle with Steffi at Eastbourne. I'm not making this up- during a changeover, of course the camera was all on Anna sitting there. She had the racquet between her legs while she was fixing her braid. She looked up and saw the camera was on her, and looked directly at the camera, and stroked the handle of the racquet suggestively for a second or two, and cracked a wry smile! I'm not kidding, and I wish someone had a video of this match. It's only a few seconds, but it's unmistakeable. She was a master at a young age of having the world at her feet, and played it for all she could. It didn't hurt that she had a deep voice like Garbo. I'm gay, but in her prime, she was so HOT!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:09 AM   #2232
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

XTN: I think I would like watching Steffi play on any surface- sand, water, a rice paddy- but I think I liked her grass matches the most! Steffi made very fast adjustments that you have to make if you are going to succeed on a surface that has poor bounces and where the ball moves so fast. I was a nervous wreck watching her eke out the 1991 final against Gaby, but I smiled throughout most of her 1992 win over Monica. The matches against Jana had me nervous, but the 1996 QF was a fabulous display. I truly believe that the 1997 title would have been Steffi's, as Jana wasn't mentally or physically tough enough to snatch it and Hingis' play didn't sparkle, but there are no repeats in careers. 1998, then, was disappointing, as Steffi had looked good enough in the first two rounds to be a winner. It wasn't meant to be, as Natasha experienced a late-career boost and Steffi wasn't fully back on track in her comeback until the indoor season (although she had a nice tournament in New Haven). 1999 was bittersweet for me. I saw Steffi's first round match live, and it was the only time in my ten years of following her career that I got to watch her in person. What a place to fit in the experience right before her retirement! I distinctly remember her feet moving VERY quickly and her slice just skimming the net. Sure, her forehand and serve were big, but the feet and the slice stick out in my memory. Some fans have written that they found her final loss to Lindsay somehow fitting; if I remember correctly, some have written that it represents Steffi's lack of an obsession with records and making others (fans!) happy with her decisions. I feel differently. Steffi was such a great grass court player that to end her career with eight Wimbledon singles titles and back-to-back Grand Slam tournament victories would have left me even more satisfied than I am with her career. I also would have liked for her to have capped her record against Lindsay with a win, as Steffi's body broke down a lot against Lindsay in 1998, and Lindsay was very quick to point out that she didn't feel that she received for her wins from Steffi's press conferences. Steffi is such a great athlete that for her to lose to a slow player at Wimbledon didn't (and still doesn't) feel right.

Anyway, since I have had the chance to see some Steffi grass matches (bad word play, I know) ipso facto, I have found her to be just as compelling pre-1990. One of her most impressive displays was surely her 1988 win against Martina. She showed exceptional athleticism and tennis skills.

Regarding the 1998 Eastbourne match against Anna Kournikova: I haven't seen it yet, but I think that most of it is on YouTube (it seems some has been edited out). I think that at the time, Anna's career could have gone in the direction of top 5 in singles, and I agree with those who believe that her thumb injury severely derailed her momentum and confidence. I hope to find the time to watch the match, as it is also noteworthy for Steffi's intense anger over line calls. Maybe Steffi's increased questioning of calls in the last 12 months of her career was a result of feeling like her body and playing level were so shaky and prone to go off that she would not accept a further obstacle in the form of bad calls.

Here's something from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwbSHTvbK74
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:30 AM   #2233
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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...Steffi's body broke down a lot against Lindsay in 1998, and Lindsay was very quick to point out that she didn't feel that she received for her wins from Steffi's press conferences. Steffi is such a great athlete that for her to lose to a slow player at Wimbledon didn't (and still doesn't) feel right...
I only watched that match when it was on TV live. I think what people missed is that Lindsay only missed a handful of first serves in the entire match. Steffi made a great showing, but after really tough battles with then contender Lucic, and taking out Venus in a spectacular display of grass court tennis, Steffi really didn't have much gas left in the tank for the final, and Davenport had a career serving day. It happened. I'd much rather have had a different outcome, but accept the reality of it. I just don't want to see it again.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 09:07 PM   #2234
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Wow lots of thoughts and amazing memories, Grafiati! I think most Graf fans think very fondly of that 88 final against Martina. Personally, her play in the last 13 games of that match was spectacular because (1) her topspin backhand passing shot was absolutely magnificent, and (2) she showed the whole world just how marvelously fast, agile, and athletic she was.

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Some fans have written that they found her final loss to Lindsay somehow fitting; if I remember correctly, some have written that it represents Steffi's lack of an obsession with records and making others (fans!) happy with her decisions. I feel differently. Steffi was such a great grass court player that to end her career with eight Wimbledon singles titles and back-to-back Grand Slam tournament victories would have left me even more satisfied than I am with her career.
I wouldn't say that Graf fans found her loss to Davenport fitting, I am guessing the thought is more along the lines of, if she did have to lose, that was probably the person she should have lost to. I do agree with alfa in that Davenport served amazingly well, one of the best serving matches I've seen her play, and the fact that the Venus and Lucic matches prior to the final left Steffi a bit flat didn't help either. At least she lost to someone who, on the day, played incredibly well.

I remember watching the Lindsay-Venus final the year after and thinking, if only Lindsay in Wimbledon 99 played like Lindsay in Wimbledon 00, Steffi could've won. I thought the level of play in the 99 final was a lot higher than the 00 final, but I also watched the 00 final once so maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 09:11 PM   #2235
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Speaking of that Kournikova match- back when she was the cover girl all over the world, she was involved in a battle with Steffi at Eastbourne. I'm not making this up- during a changeover, of course the camera was all on Anna sitting there. She had the racquet between her legs while she was fixing her braid. She looked up and saw the camera was on her, and looked directly at the camera, and stroked the handle of the racquet suggestively for a second or two, and cracked a wry smile! I'm not kidding, and I wish someone had a video of this match. It's only a few seconds, but it's unmistakeable. She was a master at a young age of having the world at her feet, and played it for all she could. It didn't hurt that she had a deep voice like Garbo. I'm gay, but in her prime, she was so HOT!
LOL maybe there is a video of that somewhere. And yes, Anna did have that X factor. She was just oozing with sex appeal which is why she was the most searched for person in the internet for a while. I remember her Adidas tennis outfit in 99 was similar to Steffi's in terms of design but not in cut LOL.
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