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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #2761
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi had her party after Wimbledon, staying out until 3 a.m. Sunday morning or so and then rolling in to do interviews at about 9 a.m. With a doubles match yet to play. The rain delay was likely beneficial for the Graf-Sabatini team.

NEW NET QUEEN AT WIMBLEDON - IT'S STEFFI GRAF'S TURN TO REIGN
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Monday, July 4, 1988
Andrew Warshaw, The Associated Press

Steffi Graf celebrated her first Wimbledon title yesterday as a new era dawned on the grass courts of London.

The sight of someone other than Martina Navratilova lifting the gleaming silver trophy on Centre Court confirmed beyond a doubt that the power in women's tennis has shifted to a new generation of champions.

For six years in a row, Navratilova had been asked at Wimbledon when she thought a player might come along to stop her winning streak and challenge her dominance of the tournament.

After Saturday's 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 defeat by Graf, Navratilova acknowledged that it was time to hand over the reins to the younger generation, even at the place where she had remained invincible for most of the last decade.

''Steffi's No. 1 in the world and has been for over a year, so this is definitely the end of a chapter,'' Navratilova said after failing in her bid for a record ninth Wimbledon women's singles crown.

''This is how it should have happened. If you have to lose, you might as well lose to the better player on the final day and pass the torch, if you can call it that,'' she said.

Navratilova, who beat Graf in last year's championship match and had never previously lost a Wimbledon final, said she didn't know if she had the physical ability to return.

''I don't know if I can come back again,'' she said. ''It's hard for me to think so far ahead right now. We'll see how my body holds up.''

Although Graf has emerged as the natural successor to Navratilova and Chris Evert, other teen-age players such as Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini and Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union are making a strong impact in the game.

Sabatini is the only player this year to beat Graf - and she's done it twice - while Zvereva eliminated Navratilova in the fourth round of the French Open in Paris last month.

Even doubles events are changing shape. In the women's doubles final, Graf and Sabatini were slated to meet Zvereva and Larissa Savchenko.

There was no Navratilova, no Evert, no Pam Shriver.

''The whole complexion of the game is changing,'' said Evert, a three-time Wimbledon champion who lost to Navratilova in the semifinals, their 78th career meeting. ''It really is different because someone has taken over the Wimbledon spot.''

While Graf waited in the rain to play her doubles final, a stream of congratulatory messages poured in from around the world.

''I've had a lot of telexes and phone calls,'' she said.

For a while Saturday, Navratilova exploited Graf's backhand in the same way she had done last year and had the West German in trouble.

But once Graf found her timing, she ripped through her opponent, passing Navratilova - the best volleyer in the women's game - at will. Even at the net, Graf played with the authority of a seasoned grass-courter.

''She hit winners off balls many people wouldn't even get to,'' Navratilova said.

Newspapers in Britain and West Germany hailed Graf, who goes for the Grand Slam at the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 29.

''Once upon a time, it was Martina Navratilova - but now Steffi Graf is the queen of tennis,'' said the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany.

''The signs are clear that a new era of dominance is beginning,'' wrote the London Sunday Times.

Another British paper, the Sunday Telegraph, declared that Navratilova's ''legendary reign . . . is over.''
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #2762
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

That the courtiers and commoners were so quick to embrace the new queen must not have sat so well with Team Navratilova. This is an excerpt from a "Martina Behaving Badly" type of article. (I know it might seem like I am picking on her, but I am being nice to Navratilova in all of this. This is about Steffi's 1988, not 1988 in general, so I am ignoring many of the surly and petty things Martina has been saying and doing.) Now, you might think, "This is Judy Nelson saying this, not Navratilova herself." Yes, but this is an almost word-for-word rehash of things Martina said in 1987. It smacked of resentfulness, giving the impression that Martina would have just as easily complained that she had to start playing tennis at 4 while Steffi had the luxury of starting at 12, if that had been the case.



BAD BLOOD BOILING BETWEEN WORLD'S TOP TWO FEMALE TENNIS PLAYERS
The Deseret News
Sunday, July 3, 1988
Jeff Lenihan, Scripps Howard News Service

[...]

Judy Nelson, who left her husband five years ago to become Martina's constant companion, says Navratilova has nothing against Graf.

"Martina just doesn't think that playing tennis successfully is just a question of taking the money," she says. "Martina admires excellence and great athletes, and Steffi is certainly that. But she needs to show a little maturity.

"The young girls like Steffi have had it easier. Martina feels that very strongly and wishes they would realize it more.

"The one thing Martina resents is the chances that she never had that have come Steffi's way. Steffi started when she was four and has always had the best guidance. She was professional before her 14th birthday, for heaven's sake.

"When Martina started she had a supportive family and that's it. There were no special diets or coaching. It wasn't available to her and it bothers her a lot that she'll never know how much better she might have been."

[...]
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 04:20 PM   #2763
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I just heard during the brief post-match interview of Sabine Lisicki that Steffi Graf apparently sent her a text message before her match to wish her luck. Cool!
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 11:05 PM   #2764
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyk75 View Post
I think that Steffi was at the peak of her powers in that first Wimbledon win over Martina. She basically walked on water in that match. That magical quality to her game pretty much lasted until the end of '89, then came the scandal with her father and the rise of Monica, all leading to her mini-slump (she was still great but definitely not the same). When she came back on time, she was a tactically smarter and a more secure player, but she wasn't as breathtaking explosive as she was in '88 and '89 when she was leaping high into her forehands and crushing topspin backhands as well as she ever would (she'd pretty much stop using this shot regularly once Martina faded).
Totally agree.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 11:45 AM   #2765
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

And amid the cries of "You're doing it wrong!" Steffi and Gaby win the women's doubles...

Stewart, Garrison capture title
Houston Chronicle
Tuesday, JULY 5, 1988
LARRY SIDDONS, Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England - Americans Sherwood Stewart and Zina Garrison won the mixed-doubles championship of Wimbledon on Monday by defeating another U.S. pair, Kelly Jones and Gretchen Magers, 6-1, 7-6.

It capped a busy day for Stewart, from The Woodlands, and Garrison, from Houston, who beat Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Smylie of Australia 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in a semifinal earlier Monday.

Americans Ken Flach and Robert Seguso won the longest of all the rain-postponed matches to retain the men's doubles title.

They beat Anders Jarryd of Sweden and John Fitzgerald of Australia 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, in a match that was spread over three days.

Wimbledon officials said they could find no records of any previous championship match taking three days to finish.

In women's doubles, Steffi Graf added the championship to her women's singles title as she and Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina held off two match points to beat the Soviet pair of Larisa Savchenko and Natalia Zvereva 6-3, 1-6, 12-10.

That match started Sunday but lasted just seven minutes before rain forced it to be held overnight.

Flach and Seguso started their marathon match against Jarryd and Fitzgerald on Saturday evening, taking Centre Court after Graf had beaten Martina Navratilova for the women's crown.

The match was suspended because of darkness with the Americans leading 6-4, 2-6, 5-4. It was supposed to be first up when play resumed Sunday, but all-day rain pushed the schedule back and play did not resume until 6:52 p.m. local time with the match moved to Court No. 1. They played five minutes before rain interrupted play, enough time for the Americans to break Fitzgerald's serve to wrap up the third set and take a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Seguso's serve.

They were back on Court No. 1 Monday, and finished out the match. Flach and Seguso broke Fitzgerald's serve in the eighth game, lost serve in the ninth, and were forced to a tiebreaker, which they won 7-3 on their first match point.

Overall, the match covered 45 hours and 16 minutes. Actual play took 2:06, with play starting four times.

Graf and Sabatini did not take quite as long to beat Zvereva and Savchenko, but they had a tough time before recording their first Grand Slam doubles title of the year.

The Soviets held two match points on Zvereva's serve in the 10th game of the third set, but Graf and Sabatini broke for 5-5. They blew two match points themselves, again on Zvereva's serve, in the 18th game, but finally broke Zvereva for the title on their third match point.

In girls singles, top-seed Brenda Schultz of the Netherlands defeated Emmanuelle Derly of France 7-6, 6-1 for the title, while the boys championship was won by Nicolas Pereira of Venezuela, the sixth seed who defeated Guillaume Raoux of France 7-6, 6-2.

The over-35 singles went to Tom Gullickson, the top seed from the U.S., who beat his brother, Tim Gullickson, the third seed, 6-2, 7-6.

Magers won the Ladies Plate, a competition for first- and second-round women's singles losers, by beating Britain's Sara Gomer. Magers won the first set 6-1 before Gomer quit with a sprained ankle.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 11:48 AM   #2766
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Americans join elite band - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Tuesday, July 5, 1988
Richard Evans

Long before Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini had broken with tradition by having the Duke of Kent present them with the women's doubles trophy out on court two, Ken Flach and Robert Seguso had completed a successful defence of their men's doubles crown with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, victory over John Fitzgerald and Anders Jarryd.

It was an ill-tempered match but, unlike Flushing Meadow a few years ago when controversy surrounded Flach, on this occasion it was Jarryd, the most volatile of the Swedes, who attracted most of the attention as he complained bitterly about the distractions on court one, where ushers seemed in short supply and spectators were allowed to wander in and out.

The Americans seemed to have their concentration under better control and when Fitzgerald double-faulted to drop serve in the fourth set, the end seemed near. However, Seguso lost his serve two games later and a tie-break was required before the champions were able to join an elite band of doubles pairs in the post-war game.

Since 1946 only Frank Sedgman and Ken MacGregor, John Newcombe and Tony Roche and John McEnroe and Peter Fleming have managed to retain the Wimbledon doubles title.

Larisa Savchenko and Natalia Svereva may have been the only two people at Wimbledon who were not happy to see the rain stop. Graf was threatening to leave for an exhibition match in Tokyo if play had been delayed another day but it proved worth her while to see the match through to its thrilling conclusion.

Graf and Sabatini came through 6-3, 1-6, 12-10, to win their first grand slam doubles title, after losing in the final of the French Open last year. The 38 games played equalled the greatest number seen in a women's doubles final at Wimbledon. The record was set in 1938 and equalled in 1967.

It is unlikely that the Duke of Kent has ever left the confines of the main stadium complex to present a cup to champions at Wimbledon. But with mixed doubles and over-35 matches the back-up on the main show courts, the president of the All England club and its chairman, Buzzer Hadingham, had no hesitation in marching out to court two to make the presentation.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #2767
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Czechoslovakian coach charts Graf's rise to top
USA TODAY
Tuesday, July 5, 1988
Doug Smith

WIMBLEDON, England - Czechoslovakia's Pavel Slozil has played a key role in Steffi Graf's mercurial rise.

Graf's father, Peter, hired Slozil to coach his daughter two years ago, even though Slozil had no previous coaching experience in women's tennis.

"Peter didn't know me at all," Slozil said. "I never knew why he chose me. I know there were many German coaches who questioned why Peter chose a Czech."

Peter Graf chose Slozil because, he said, "I wanted someone who was a good person, not just good in tennis."

Slozil, ranked No. 35 in 1984, works with Graf 40 weeks a year. "Steffi always wants to work," he said. "She is pushing me all the time. She is a quiet girl. I like her very much. The biggest problem is I don't start conversations. I'm not a person who talks so much. It took us six months to get to know each other."

Slozil has a one-year contract that expires in December.

"I want to continue with Steffi," he said, "because I'd like to show that this is not a fluke."
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 11:58 AM   #2768
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

All those roses did cause a little problem in the locker room as the stewards were running out of places to put them. (And good for Evernden, playing with one lung!)

BIG BUCKS TO CONSOLE BORIS BECKER
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, July 5, 1988
Scripps Howard News Service

WIMBLEDON - Don't feel sorry for Boris Becker for not winning his third Wimbledon title Monday and the $288,750 that goes with it.

Becker's endorsement contracts could net him as much or more than he will earn playing tennis this year.

Among his endorsements are a three-year deal with a West German bank worth $1.14 million.

He also has deals with: Coca-Cola (he wears their logo on his shirt), $560,000 annually; Fila Clothes, $560,000 annually; Puma racket, $280,000; Puma shoes, $280,000; Ford Motor Co. (he also wears their logo), $70,000 annually plus bonuses; Puma socks, $70,000.

Becker had a six-year deal with Puma for his own line of clothing canceled after his disappointing 1987 season.

Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini, who form one of the top women's doubles teams, were inundated with flowers Saturday.

Graf received more than 500 roses from various supporters Saturday after defeating Martina Navratilova for the singles title.

Sabatini, meanwhile, received 500 red roses, at a cost of $1,300, from one admirer, American motorcycle racer Kevin Schwantz.

One of the more interesting stories is that of Kelly Evernden of New Zealand. Evernden was hit by a car when he was 16 and his heart stopped twice in five days, once for an entire minute. He had a broken arm, leg and rib, and the rib punctured a lung that later had to be removed.

Now, Evernden is playing doubles with Johann Kriek and appears as fit as anyone.

This was a productive week for Australian Mark Woodforde, the Rod Laver look-alike who almost beat Lendl in a fourth-round match.

Woodforde has been chosen to star in a British TV play about tennis called ''Breakpoint.'' Woodforde won the part after he revealed he had been a Shakespearean actor. The play is a drama, and production is expected to begin next year, possibly using Centre Court.

Count the Duchess of Kent among Graf's well-wishers. After presenting Graf with the championship plate Saturday, the Duchess said: ''You can win the Grand Slam. Good luck.''

Graf needs only to win September's U.S. Open to become the first Grand Slam winner since Margaret Court in 1970. The last man to turn the trick was Rod Laver in 1969.

During the fortnight, Wimbledon fans consumed 23 tons of strawberries, 189,000 sandwiches, 126,000 ice creams and eight tons of fresh and smoked salmon.

A total of 12,000 bottles of champagne and wine will have been swallowed and 78,000 pints of beer consumed.

Local residents have been charging between $17.50 and $35 for allowing Wimbledon visitors to park in their yards or driveways.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 12:23 PM   #2769
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

This really rubbed some people the wrong way at the time, because it was not presented in the context of the
"You have it so much better than I did; when I was a kid, I had to play tennis uphill in the snow both ways, and we didn't know ice cream and french fries made you fat" comments by Navratilova and/or her team. Steffi was surely informed that the griping sniping had resumed and was surely irked that Navratilova would not let go of it. So she publicly diagnoses Martina's problem free of charge, just so that everyone knows: Either come to terms with not being No. 1 or go do something else.

And "Wimble-dome" would become reality.

Hang it up, Graf tells Navratilova
Houston Chronicle
Tuesday, JULY 5, 1988
Scripps Howard News Service

WIMBLEDON, England - Martina Navratilova, vanquished by Steffi Graf in the women's final Saturday, presented Graf with a gold and diamond stickpin Sunday.

In turn, Graf presented Navratilova with some advice: Hang up the racket.

Graf said Navratilova, who had won the previous six Wimbledon titles and eight overall, should retire before her abilities deteriorate.

"If I were Martina I would quit," Graf said. "I think the future is going to be tough for her and I don't think she'll be able to handle being No. 2 for a long period."

Navratilova, who says her future hinges on her health, passed on to Graf a stickpin she had received from boxer Sugar Ray Leonard last year.

"It was very nice of Martina," Graf said. "She said I deserved to win and that I'll win the title many times."

Ever heard of Wimble-dome? Well, chances are you never will.

After five consecutive days of rain delayed play here, the issue of whether a roof could be erected over Centre Court was again raised.

But Professor Bernard Neal, a structural engineer who is a member of the Committee of Management of the championships, says a retractable roof would be the only option, and that probably is not feasible because of problems with storing the roof when it's not in use.

"If they were parked overhead, you'd not be playing in a natural environment," he said. "If you wanted to put a rigid sliding roof over the Centre Court, you'd need to rebuild the columns which support the existing roof a little bit stronger, and you're talking about reconstruction of the entire court and tens of millions of dollars.

"You'd have to have a completely new column supporting a much heavier roof structure, and that clearly is a major undertaking."

Neal said he would be afraid to use a bubble-type roof because heavy wind could cause it to collapse.

One option the committee is considering would be to build a new Centre Court and keep the present Centre Court as the No. 1 court, but Neal said this too would be quite costly.

Stefan Edberg, the newly crowned men's champion, said the biggest problem the rain delays caused him was his inability to adjust his feeding times.

"You never knew when to eat because you never knew when they would call you out there to play," he said. "I was a bit unlucky. I ate a big lunch at 12:30 and then a few minutes later they called me and said get ready to play."
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 06:32 PM   #2770
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyk75 View Post
...but she wasn't as breathtaking explosive as she was in '88 and '89 when she was leaping high into her forehands and crushing topspin backhands as well as she ever would (she'd pretty much stop using this shot regularly once Martina faded).
Her topspin/flat backhand is a real head-scratcher. It's like she would only use it against net-rushers during matches and guys during practice sessions. I remember a few from her match against Zina at the 1994 U.S. Open. Steffi let one backhand rip (I think it was the second point of the second game) during a rally, Zina wasn't even coming in on that point. Maybe it was just a reminder/warning shot to make Zina think twice about going to net. But I remember thinking, "If she would just pretend everybody is a serve-and-volleyer..." People would see her clocking it in practice and ask why she didn't use that much during a match and she'd just shrug. Like she was saying "I don't feel like it" or "I don't know."
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 05:52 PM   #2771
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Found the Graf-Garrison U.S. Open 4th round on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNQuCh-wWMs

The point I remembered starts at 15:23, with a slo-mo replay starting at 15:38. The next point features a sweet backhand return, too. Just a mystery to me why she didn't unload one of those, say, once every other return game against everyone.
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 05:56 PM   #2772
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Slam Is the Next Step for Graf
By Peter Alfano
"New York Times"

Wimbledon, England, July 3 -- The pool of young talent includes Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, Natalya Zvereva of the Soviet Union, Mary Joe Fernandez of the United States and, undoubtedly, a child prodigy who has yet to make her presence felt on the women's tour. Whether anyone can challenge Steffi Graf for the No. 1 ranking in the near future is considered doubtful, with Martina Navratilova -- an old-timer by comparison -- still having the best chance.

West German reporters, speaking to Graf in her native language during Saturday's postmatch interview, asked whether she felt like Mike Tyson, the unbeaten heavyweight champion who has apparently run out of legitimate opponents, and last week announced his retirement.

Graf laughed at the comparison, answering in English: "I'm not going to talk about retirement. No one would believe it."

Graf's first Wimbledon singles title certified her, at 19, as the top player in the world, a distinction she has already held in the computer rankings since last August. Wimbledon, though, stands apart in the minds of most players.

"I'd rather win Wimbledon than be number one," Navratilova said.

Seeking Slam

If Graf wins the United States Open in September, she will become the first woman since Margaret Court of Australia, in 1970, to win the Grand Slam.

Rod Laver, who won the Slam in 1962 and 1969, thought that Graf had an excellent chance to win the four major events (the Australian, French, and United States Opens and Wimbledon) because her principal adversaries were past their peak. "She's got two great champions in Evert and Navratilova who are getting older," he said. "Steffi is getting better. She also will play her game. You have to have that attitude. You can't fear losing."

Graf said this was the approach she would take to the United States Open. She will take some time off, then play a tournament or two in Europe before crossing the Atlantic to begin her hard-court preparation for the Open.

"Everyone is talking about the Grand Slam," she said, "but I am not going to change anything I do when it comes to Flushing Meadows. I'm not going to be thinking about the Grand Slam when I get to the States."

Talent Plus

In addition to her natural talent -- the signature topspin forehand that is the most feared shot in the game, her improved serve and net play, her speed and quickness -- Graf is mentally strong, virtually unflappable.

She has a no-nonsense approach on the court, never dallying between points, focusing her attention on the matter at hand. When she lost to Navratilova in last year's Wimbledon final, she appeared unnerved after dropping a close first set. When she lost the first set and was down a break in the second on Saturday, she found resolve gained through a year of experience and maturity.

Navratilova said that Graf's potential was still untapped, that she can be as good as she wants to be. "Steffi is better than a year ago," she said. "She has good hands and volleyed well. She can be a serve-and-volleyer if she wants. It depends on what she wants to do.

"She also has incredible spring in her step," Navratilova said. "She is the fastest player out there."

Father Knows Best

Thus far, Graf has been shielded from distractions by her father, Peter Graf. His autocratic manner has put off some people in women's tennis but he has helped her handle the expectations of her countrymen. In West Germany her popularity rivals that of Boris Becker, and a recent poll by a West German magazine disclosed that Graf had a more positive image than Becker.

Essentially, it is because Becker has enjoyed more personal freedom, which meant he would make some mistakes while growing up. Peter Graf has kept his daughter's mind on tennis, although she is a strong-willed individual who gradually should become more independent.

Peter Graf, as is his custom, wagered against his daughter with a few West German journalists, which he does for good luck. He also arrived at the guest seats after the match began, another custom. When it ended, he was seen wiping tears from his eyes.

Overlooked in the attention given a Navratilova-Graf singles final was that Graf and Sabatini were in the women's doubles final, against the team of Zvereva and Larissa Savchenko of the Soviet Union. The partnership between rivals has helped both become more complete players: doubles competition has improved their net games. But it is a marriage of convenience. Graf and Sabatini are friendly, not friends.

Sabatini is still the logical choice to move up and contend with Graf for the No. 1 ranking. She defeated Graf twice earlier this year, but then lost to her at the French Open. Sabatini followed that disappointment with a premature exit here, losing to Zina Garrison in the round of 16.

For the time being, Graf stands alone, with the prospect of a Grand Slam very real. "If she does it, I'd say, 'great job,' " Navratilova said. "It would be an incredible achievement. She's a champion."
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 01:41 AM   #2773
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

After Wimbledon finally came to an end, Steffi did indeed fly to Japan to play in the Gunze exhibition. Operating on little sleep and fighting jet lag, she defeated Nicole Provis in 42 minutes and served 14 aces.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 05:47 PM   #2774
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Posted articles about the 1986 Berlin tournament in the 1986 thread.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 06:06 PM   #2775
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

And in 1988, Steffi defeated Mary Joe Fernandez in the Gunze exhibition in a somewhat sloppy match to reach the final against Manuela Maleeva. Whereupon she was finally over her jet lag and found her form (just in time to get more jet lag going home) and beat Maleeva 6-0, 6-0 in 44 minutes. Adding insult to injury, she noted that Manuela "wasn't good today." Manuela extracted a little revenge by teaming with Tim Mayotte to defeat Steffi and David Pate in the mixed doubles final.
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