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Old Aug 11th, 2013, 10:52 PM   #2806
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I posted some French Open articles and two Steffi-as-an-up-and-comer pieces in the "1986" thread.
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Old Aug 13th, 2013, 03:48 PM   #2807
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Another August 13th. (Where/when is the time going?) An interesting one by Charles Bricker, if only because it documents just how much Steffi mystified or was misunderstood by some of the media. I'm not sure why they thought having many moods was somehow puzzling. Bricker is also totally mistaken about the Hingis stuff. And as for Steffi "announcing" that it was her last Wimbledon and thus ruining Davenport's day, he absolutely ignores that Steffi had been barraged with "When are you retiring? Is this your last Wimbledon? Will you be back next year?" from almost the moment the tournament started. I mean, "Will you be back next year?" is almost the first thing out of Bud Collins' mouth in both the NBC post-match interview and in the press conference. She tries the "I don't want to talk about it right now" and "Can we talk about today?" lines, but once again, the media ain't letting go of it and refuses to admit that maybe they were the ones who misplayed it. As for what more she could have done for women's tennis, I find it amazing that no one can ever give a specific example of what more they wanted her to do. So here's to Steffi -- good on ya for getting out, leaving it behind, and living your life!

Graf Was Proud Champion Until The End
Sun Sentinel
August 15, 1999
CHARLES BRICKER

Your favorite image of Steffi Graf? I guess that's personal, isn't it? And anyone who has followed her career for 17 years (yes, that's more than half her life) has one of those special moments that won't easily vanish from mind.

She could laugh. Not a deep belly laugh, but a throw-back-your-head laugh that usually didn't last long. She could cry. She did that when she was asked about her jailed father after she won the U.S. Open in 1995.

She could seem incredulous, as she did after winning the French Open this year. She could be introspective, deep and profound. She could also be tiresomely boring.

Graf had a million moods and will never be fully understood except by those close to her. And it's a crapshoot that even her most intimate friends know what is on her mind, because above all else Graf has been a private tennis player over the years.

She dropped the other tennis shoe Friday. Everyone knew it was coming. It was simply a matter of whether she would play the U.S. Open and retire or do it now. She did it now. Her timing on the court was fabulous. Her timing off the court was never good.

When she said after her loss to Lindsay Davenport in the Wimbledon final that that was her last Wimbledon, she took the spotlight away from Davenport. She should have shut up for a few days, then made an announcement. But that's Steffi. She doesn't like publicity machines and so had no one to advise her.

What Steffi did for tennis is hard to calculate. One hundred seven championships and 22 Grand Slam titles. More than $21 million in prize money and untold millions more in endorsement money. She was No. 1 for a record 374 weeks.

And beyond that, one of the great sportswomen of her time. No one, to my knowledge, has ever heard Steffi Graf belittle an opponent. She has glowered at chair umpires and questioned calls. But she has never thrown her racket and always carried herself like the champion she was.

She had a fault, though perhaps one she could not help. As much as she did for women's tennis, there was so much more she could have done. The privacy she demanded often put her at odds with WTA Tour officials who wanted her to do television spots or more public appearances.

When her father went into prison in Germany for tax evasion, she became more than private. She became morose at times. But her personal emotional strength never broke. She continued to win Grand Slam titles.

The debate will start right away over whether she is the greatest female player. I'm sure she has no interest in anyone's view on that. She played for the love of the game and for her personal pride.

That, I believe, is what drove her back from the succession of injuries in 1997 and 1998. She would never say it, but she was insulted by Martina Hingis' thoughtless comments which paid Graf no respect. Calling her too old to be good any longer, too beaten up ever to win another Grand Slam.

I'm No. 1, Hingis told the world. Steffi's day is past. When Graf fought back from injury and whipped Hingis in the French Open final, sending Hingis fleeing from the court, briefly, in tears, was there anyone outside the Hingis party who wasn't overjoyed at Graf's greatest triumph?

After the loss in the Wimbledon final she went to San Diego, feeling uninspired and believing that all her tennis motivation was at last used up. She went anyway, to see whether it would be rekindled once she was on court. It didn't, and she pulled a hamstring muscle. Again.

That was enough.

"I can't let my life be governed by therapies and treatments,'' she said a few weeks earlier. Maybe that's why she finally called it quits. But more likely it's because she had what she wanted.

Maybe she didn't go out at the top of her game. But she went out on top of Hingis. That was the key.
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Old Aug 13th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #2808
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

14 years(feeling old) !...ago womens tennis died (for me)
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Old Aug 16th, 2013, 01:24 AM   #2809
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Hey guys, I have always wanted to see a lot of Steffi's old matches but I can not find that many. What is the best place to find a large collection of old Steffi matches? I remember there was a channel on youtube a couple of years ago that had alot of them, but I think it got taken down? Any help would be appreciated!
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Old Aug 17th, 2013, 01:01 PM   #2810
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by e.kelly View Post
Hey guys, I have always wanted to see a lot of Steffi's old matches but I can not find that many. What is the best place to find a large collection of old Steffi matches? I remember there was a channel on youtube a couple of years ago that had alot of them, but I think it got taken down? Any help would be appreciated!
There are still some matches on Youtube. But given how many organizations have a claim on the copyrights, there's a big risk of being shut down by somebody, even if the rights holders aren't offering them for sale.

Which brings me to this question: Is there any sort of online petition to get the organizations who actually own the rights to old matches (not just Steffi's) to make a Youtube channel or release them on DVD or license them? The longer these reels/tapes just sit on a shelf the harder it's going to be to preserve them.
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Old Aug 17th, 2013, 01:03 PM   #2811
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Hi e.kelly, Steffi's old matches are all over youtube. But you want to just visit a specific channel, you can go to geeva1979: http://www.youtube.com/user/geeva1979?feature=watch
There used to be a whole lot more there (even some obscure ones like some early rounds 6-0 6-0 win by Steffi) - i think geeva1979 took them down. But there's still quite a lot to watch there. Enjoy!
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Old Aug 20th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #2812
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Even attempts to jinx the Slam bid with the jersey didn't work!

GRAND SLAM WITHIN STEFFI GRAF'S REACH - MAJORS SWEEP HASN'T BEEN DONE IN 18 YEARS
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Saturday, August 20, 1988
The Associated Press

MAHWAH, N.J. (AP) - The Grand Slam has become the grand obsession in tennis.

"It's hard to put out of my mind," said Steffi Graf, who can pull off the first major tournament sweep in 18 years with a victory in the U.S. Open.

"Everybody's thinking and talking about it, so it's hard to forget."

Graf, who is playing a warmup tournament here next week, held a news conference yesterday to talk about the Grand Slam and her life as the world's No. 1 female player.

If she wins the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29 at the National Tennis Center in New York, Graf will become the first player since Margaret Court in 1970 to sweep the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. championships in the same year.

Only three other players have accomplished the feat - Don Budge in 1938, Maureen Connolly in 1953 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.

Martina Navratilova won the major four championships in a row, but the sweep didn't occur in the same calendar year and is therefore not recognized as a Slam by tennis traditionalists.

When Budge, Laver and Court won the Slam, the French was played on clay and the other three majors were grass-court tournaments. Today, the French is still on clay and Wimbledon remains on grass but the Australian and U.S. Opens have switched to hardcourts.

"I think it's harder now to win the Grand Slam," said Graf, who was given a Mets jersey with her name, the No. 1 and Grand Slam written on the back. "You have to be a more complete player."

The 19-year-old West German used to be considered a one-dimensional player, overpowering opponents with her blazing forehand. But her serve, volley and backhand have improved greatly over the last year and she now excels on all surfaces, as shown by her victory over eight-time champion Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in early July.

Graf has played only two events since then, winning in Japan and Germany. But she feels confident heading into the U.S. Open, where she lost to Navratilova in last year's final.

"I have been practicing in Florida and I feel good," Graf said.

Her coach, Pavel Slozil, said Graf has a good chance to win the Open if she stays healthy. She was bothered by the flu at last year's tournament.

"She's a better player than she was last year and she's more experienced," Slozil said. "She's improving all the time."

In addition to beating her opponents, Graf will have to overcome a lot of off-court distractions to win her first U.S. Open. The closer she gets to the Slam, the more attention she gets from fans and the media.

"It's difficult," she said. "When you go on the court, you must concentrate on the match and forget about everything else."

Graf said she expects her toughest competition at the U.S. Open to come from Navratilova, six-time champion Chris Evert and teen-age rival Gabriela Sabatini. However, all three are skipping next week's tournament in New Jersey, where Graf and defending champion Manuela Maleeva are the top seeds.

Following the U.S. Open, Graf will travel to Seoul to compete in the Olympics, where tennis will be a medal sport for the first time since 1924. She won the women's competition at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles when tennis was a demonstration sport.

"I'm very excited about playing in the Olympics," she said. "It will be tough going over there right after the Open, but I'm looking forward to it."
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Old Aug 21st, 2013, 12:47 PM   #2813
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Another demonstration of just how observant, analytical, and collected Steffi was, even as a teenager.

GRAND TIME FOR GRAF TOP-RANKED WOMEN'S TENNIS PLAYER DEALING WITH GREATNESS AT YOUNG AGE
The Record
Sunday, August 21, 1988
Dave D'Alessandro

Beneath Steffi Graf rages a constant battle among the essential human elements of success, privacy, and acceptance. Never in the history of sports has so much come so quickly to someone so young. But at 19, she is entrapped by the numbing pace of international superstardom, and she deludes herself with the notion that an end to that battle is in sight.

Her match record the last two years (125-4) suggests that she is the most dominant tennis player of this or any other era, but the local yokels of the global village want more. Particularly those in her native West Germany, where she equates the majority of fans and members of the press as a species closely related to the jackal.

A recent post-match fiasco in Hamburg was typical: Graf, stepping to the microphone to accept her trophy after another monotonous 6-0, 6-0 victory against the patsy of the day, was greeted with whistles and demeaning barbs by the so-called fans of her homeland.

"What is it you people want from me?" she said, before the microphone was yanked away.

Call it Chapter 1 in the Life of Graf: How to Endure Greatness. But the intriguing part is that Graf has a future which includes the awesome prospect of being the fifth player to win the Grand Slam of tennis to endure. One wonders whether the future has come too quickly.

"In Germany, it's hard to be good at something. People get bored, I guess," Graf said Friday at Ramapo College, the site of this week's United Jersey Bank Tennis Classic. "They're not [following the sport] the right way. I don't know what they want anymore. But I'm learning to ignore them. I've just got to worry about myself. And the media doesn't know what to write about. Either the matches are too fast, or too slow. Like in Hamburg, someone screamed, `I want my money back.' I just don't know what people want."

Her manner suggests someone extremely uncomfortable with the spotlight, and one who vigorously defends and cherishes her time away from a game that has given her wealth, security, and comfort. It would be easy to feel sorry for Graf if she didn't display such poise and maturity for someone so young. She is not the type to get caught in the eye of her hurricane.

Still, there is enough to become concerned about her emotional health: the 10 months a year she spends away from her home in Bruhl; the constant badgering from media and fans; the fear that her destiny in the next decade is to monopolize a game that only recently has gained acceptance as a viable competitive entity.

She treads a narrow emotional corridor, speaking in the same tone about such unrelated topics as the Grand Slam, her recent vacation in Spain, and a family she rarely gets to see. But it is clear that she believes her love of Germany is often tested.

Her compatriot, Boris Becker, has said that he often thinks he might have been more appreciative had he won Wimbledon past the age of 20, something about too much happening too soon. Graf doesn't admit to having such feelings, partially because only now is she experiencing what Becker has, though on a grander scale.

Plus, they're different. Becker practices an almost promiscuous curiosity with all people. Graf's life is controlled by an almost obsessive reclusion, with good reason. Two years ago, a study revealed that Becker's recognition factor was in the 90th percentile in Germany higher than chancellor Helmut Kohl. Graf's, it is believed, is even higher since her Wimbledon victory.

"Sometimes, I feel like getting away from other people," she said. "I don't have many friends on the tour . . . But sometimes, even if you aren't homesick, you feel there's something missing."

But can it get worse? "It won't," she said, and then she laughed. It was deep and pleasant, not a giggle, but it sounded as though it took some effort. "But that's thinking positively."

"It's perfect now in Florida," she said, referring to her second home in Boca Raton. "Very few people recognize me. When I'm away from Germany, I feel much freer. Much more like myself."

* * *

"Playing tennis is easier than everything around it," she said during lunch, which consisted of a half sandwich and three cookies, all of which she ate one crumb at a time. "The other things make it much tougher."

But Graf makes tennis look easy too easy, some say. The Grand Slam victories in the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open, which begins this month at Flushing Meadow appears to be her inevitable fate.

Or is it curse? Well, no matter. What matters is after steamrolling eight-time champion Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon, Graf has become an undisputed champion in need of a challenger.

Almost every match she plays is a mismatch; the only set she lost at Wimbledon was to Navratilova. Her only defeats in nine tournaments this year have come against her doubles partner, Argentinian Gabriela Sabatini, who at 18 lacks the serve and consistency to beat her regularly.

"The only thing that can stop Steffi," Chris Evert said recently, "is boredom."

That's not likely to happen, even if she wins the Grand Slam. Motivation has never been a problem for Graf.

"I don't think there's ever been anyone who loves the sport more than she does," said her coach, Pavel Slozil, a Czech hired two years ago by Graf's father, a tennis teacher himself. "If there's a day when she's late for practice, I know something's wrong."

Slozil's task: fine-tune a game that is believed to be three to four years away from peaking. For now, Graf's style needs no tinkering. It brings together the three most feared weapons in the women's game today: her unparalleled speed, hard serve, and her signature stroke a cannon forehand.

Rather, it is keeping people interested that concerns Graf most, and maintaining the credibility of her sport. "It has occurred to me," this notion that she should actually try to make her matches closer, Graf said. "In Berlin, it was so easy and fast, I tried different shots, to make rallies longer. I lost a few games because of it. Nobody was happy about it. So you can't please anyone. In Paris, after winning a match six-love, six-love, people were asking, `Why didn't she give the opponent a game?' "

Don't expect Graf to be so accommodating at Mahwah, Flushing Meadow, or Zurich, her last three tournaments before the Olympics.

"The Grand Slam is important, I guess," she said. "It's the best you can do. I'm sure Martina and the rest will be psyched to beat me in New York because they never acheived it," said Graf, attempting to be the first to win all four Grand Slam events since Margaret Court in 1970. "And I'm sure two years from now, another good player will come up. There will always be a player starting the tour with the same success I've had."

She didn't sound convincing, but what could she say? It's been said that the pinnacle of success is measured by loss of interest in money, compliments, and publicity. Graf is unique; she seemingly has no interest in any of those things, never has.

"Do I have indulgences?" she said, repeating a question, then turned to a Ramapo official and asked him what the word meant. "You mean something special?"

Her face was blank, until a profound thought wrinkled her brow. "No," she said. "Nothing I can think of."

The Grand Slam is an indulgence, of sorts. The trouble is, her own fans may look upon it as nothing more.
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Old Aug 24th, 2013, 05:02 PM   #2814
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The first test of Steffi's patience at Mahwah...

STEFFI'S SHOW MUST GO ON LATER - UJB CLASSIC MATCHES POSTPONED BY RAIN
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, August 24, 1988
Sherry Ross, Record Staff Writer

There are many things that Steffi Graf can control on a tennis court, but the weather isn't one of them.

Graf's eagerly awaited second-round match (she had a first-round bye) in the United Jersey Bank Tennis Classic was interrupted by rain Tuesday night in the second game of the first set, with the match against Arantxa Sanchez just four minutes old.

Sanchez broke Graf to open the match, but Graf was ahead in the next game at 15-40. Then the rains came, soaking the sellout crowd on a chilly evening at Ramapo College.

Also postponed by the weather was the late match between fifth-seeded Katerina Maleeva and Gigi Fernandez.

The Graf-Sanchez match has been rescheduled as today's second match on Center Court. Dianne Balestrat faces sixth-seeded Sylvia Hanika in the first match on the court, beginning at 10 a.m., and the Graf-Sanchez match follows, with the action resuming at the point at which the match was postponed.

The Maleeva-Fernandez match is today's first match on Court One.

(Anyone holding tickets for Tuesday night's matches may exchange their tickets at the UJB box office at Ramapo College for any remaining weekday session. Call the box office at 825-9100 for more information.)

Rain could further scramble the schedule, since more of the wet stuff was predicted for today.

Graf is using the UJB Classic as a tuneup in her bid for a tennis Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29. With a victory at the Open, Graf would complete the sweep, which began with her victories in the Australian and French opens and at Wimbledon. She would become the first woman to complete the Slam since Margaret Court in 1970.

Graf drew an unusually tough early-round opponent. Sanchez, a quarterfinalist in this year's French Open, is ranked 21st on the Women's International Tennis Association computer. She was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over 1983 UJB champion Jo Durie in her opening-round match.

Sanchez comes from a tennis playing family. Her oldest sister, Marisa, plays No. 1 singles for Pepperdine University, and her eldest brother, Emilio, has been ranked in the top 20 in men's tennis. Her younger brother, Julio, was the world's No. 1 ranked junior in 1986.

The full slate of day matches was completed Tuesday, and Larisa Savchenko of the Soviet national contingent became the first seeded player to lose in the tournament. The No. 7 seed was toppled by qualifier Julie Halard, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

Her countrymate, Natalia Zvereva, is scheduled to play tonight against Elna Reinach in a second-round match. Zvereva was runner-up to Gabriela Sabatini in the recently concluded Canadian Open in Montreal. Zvereva, who lost to Graf in the French Open final, is the fourth seed in the UJB Classic.

In other matches, Bettina Fulco defeated Belinda Cordwell, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5; Catarina Lindqvist beat Jana Novotna, 6-3, 6-4; Isabelle Demongeot defeated Judith Wiesner, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; and Nathalie Tauziat downed Etsuko Inoue, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2. Demongeot, a qualifier, meets third-seeded Helena Sukova in a second-round match.
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Old Aug 24th, 2013, 05:08 PM   #2815
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

It will be apparent in tomorrow's installment that Steffi thinks Arantxa is one of the younger players coming up who will challenge her. The men's game will eventually see a couple of players who are capable of dominating.

GRAF REIGNS SUPREME IN WOMEN'S GAME
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, August 24, 1988
Mike Celizic

For most tennis players there are opponents. For Steffi Graf, there are only victims.

"I don't know," somebody said Tuesday before rain postponed until today the sacrifice of Arantxa Sanchez to the tennis goddess Graf on a sheet of green asphalt at Ramapo College. "Sanchez is pretty good. She could give Steffi trouble. She could last more than an hour."

Change the names, and the conversation could have taken place anywhere women play tennis and at any time during the last 60 years. From Suzanne Lenglen to Helen Wills Moody to Maureen Connolly to Billie Jean King to Chris Evert to Martina Navratilova to Graf, the line of succession stretches as unbroken as the line of heavyweight boxing champions.

With rare exceptions, there is always one who stands above the rest. Their dominance is so complete that the question is not whether they will win, but whether the opponent of the moment will survive an hour.

Some people find this truth to be depressing. They complain when Graf grinds another opponent to dust, just as they complained when Navratilova did it. Too boring, the critics said. Give us more competition.

Ted Tinling, who first officiated a match for Lenglen 64 years ago and knows more about tennis than Jacques Cousteau knows about the ocean, has seen it all before. Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills Moody were the same, he said. They came not to win, but to destroy.

"The public went to their matches to see the victim writhe," Tinling said as he nibbled at a sandwich under a blue-and-white striped tent on the grounds of the United Jersey Bank Tennis Classic. "Would the victim win two games or three?

"They thought it was a wonderful thing to see such a marvelous display of skills."

Unless you watch Mike Tyson box, Greg Louganis dive, or Graf mash forehands, you can't see athletic domination like that anymore. And only Graf does it week in and week out.

It is no sacrilege to mention Graf in the same breath as Tyson. Though the images of their sports are as different as five-alarm chili and quiche, they are the same. They are not only better than the rest, but also head and shoulders, legs and torso, above the common crush of humanity.

It is a phenomenon that does not apply to many sports. In men's tennis, there have been no champions like Graf and her predecessors.

"There has never been a male player who was that dominating," said Tinling. "Fred Perry tried the most to be supreme," he said, but even Perry could not win a Grand Slam final 6-0, 6-0 in 32 minutes, as Graf did earlier this year when she obliterated Natalia Zvereva at the French Open.

"Once every 10 years in women's tennis, someone comes along who is interested in nothing other than to be supreme," Tinling said.

This goes against the laws of nature. In sports as in life, certain laws of evolution apply. An athletic aberration appears a Babe Ruth, for instance who changes the way a game is played and raises the general level of skill in all others who play it. Once that happens, it becomes virtually impossible for another Babe Ruth to appear. The general level of talent is simply too high to allow such domination.

Ruth's records can fall, but one player will never again hit more home runs in one season than any other single team.

The dynasties are dead. No matter what New York baseball fans think, no team will ever again win nine pennants in 10 years.

It is a hard and fast rule. But in women's tennis and boxing, it doesn't apply.

Lack of depth doesn't explain it. There was plently of depth in boxing before Tyson showed up. The overall level of women's tennis is higher than it ever was. And still Graf dominates.

The nature of the sport has something to do with it. Tennis requires not only great skill, but also incredible concentration. Few people can combine both. For some reason, those who can always seem to be women.

"Women are capable of more concentration than men," Tinling said. "Women have more focused lives."

Graf knew she wanted to play tennis when she was 4. She turned pro at 14. She was in the top 10 at 16. At 18, she was the best in the world.

She's 19 now and in the past two years her record is 125-4. That's just about what Mets fans figure the Mets ought to be.

Five years ago, Navratilova started a two-year run in which she won 164 matches and lost three. Now Navratilova is as helpless before Graf as a college baseball team would be against Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens.

Great as Navratilova was, she never had what Graf has: the calculating, burning compulsion to win every point.

"Martina used to hit the world's most impossible cross-court dinks," said Tinling. She did it just to see if she could. She did it because it was too easy just to put the easy forehand away.

Graf will take the sure winner every time. "She's too practical," Tinling said. "She plays the percentages. Maureen Connolly was like that."

Graf takes the court as if she were renting it by the hour. She plays each point as if she were down match point at Wimbledon.

Like Tyson, Ali, Marciano, and Louis, like Lenglen, Wills, Connolly, King, Evert, and Navratilova, she is the player from another universe.

It is absurd to bewail such dominance. It makes sense only to enjoy it while we can.
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Old Aug 24th, 2013, 10:33 PM   #2816
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
It will be apparent in tomorrow's installment that Steffi thinks Arantxa is one of the younger players coming up who will challenge her. The men's game will eventually see a couple of players who are capable of dominating.

GRAF REIGNS SUPREME IN WOMEN'S GAME
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, August 24, 1988
Mike Celizic

For most tennis players there are opponents. For Steffi Graf, there are only victims.

"I don't know," somebody said Tuesday before rain postponed until today the sacrifice of Arantxa Sanchez to the tennis goddess Graf on a sheet of green asphalt at Ramapo College. "Sanchez is pretty good. She could give Steffi trouble. She could last more than an hour."

Change the names, and the conversation could have taken place anywhere women play tennis and at any time during the last 60 years. From Suzanne Lenglen to Helen Wills Moody to Maureen Connolly to Billie Jean King to Chris Evert to Martina Navratilova to Graf, the line of succession stretches as unbroken as the line of heavyweight boxing champions.

With rare exceptions, there is always one who stands above the rest. Their dominance is so complete that the question is not whether they will win, but whether the opponent of the moment will survive an hour.

Some people find this truth to be depressing. They complain when Graf grinds another opponent to dust, just as they complained when Navratilova did it. Too boring, the critics said. Give us more competition.

Ted Tinling, who first officiated a match for Lenglen 64 years ago and knows more about tennis than Jacques Cousteau knows about the ocean, has seen it all before. Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills Moody were the same, he said. They came not to win, but to destroy.

"The public went to their matches to see the victim writhe," Tinling said as he nibbled at a sandwich under a blue-and-white striped tent on the grounds of the United Jersey Bank Tennis Classic. "Would the victim win two games or three?

"They thought it was a wonderful thing to see such a marvelous display of skills."

Unless you watch Mike Tyson box, Greg Louganis dive, or Graf mash forehands, you can't see athletic domination like that anymore. And only Graf does it week in and week out.

It is no sacrilege to mention Graf in the same breath as Tyson. Though the images of their sports are as different as five-alarm chili and quiche, they are the same. They are not only better than the rest, but also head and shoulders, legs and torso, above the common crush of humanity.

It is a phenomenon that does not apply to many sports. In men's tennis, there have been no champions like Graf and her predecessors.

"There has never been a male player who was that dominating," said Tinling. "Fred Perry tried the most to be supreme," he said, but even Perry could not win a Grand Slam final 6-0, 6-0 in 32 minutes, as Graf did earlier this year when she obliterated Natalia Zvereva at the French Open.

"Once every 10 years in women's tennis, someone comes along who is interested in nothing other than to be supreme," Tinling said.

This goes against the laws of nature. In sports as in life, certain laws of evolution apply. An athletic aberration appears a Babe Ruth, for instance who changes the way a game is played and raises the general level of skill in all others who play it. Once that happens, it becomes virtually impossible for another Babe Ruth to appear. The general level of talent is simply too high to allow such domination.

Ruth's records can fall, but one player will never again hit more home runs in one season than any other single team.

The dynasties are dead. No matter what New York baseball fans think, no team will ever again win nine pennants in 10 years.

It is a hard and fast rule. But in women's tennis and boxing, it doesn't apply.

Lack of depth doesn't explain it. There was plently of depth in boxing before Tyson showed up. The overall level of women's tennis is higher than it ever was. And still Graf dominates.

The nature of the sport has something to do with it. Tennis requires not only great skill, but also incredible concentration. Few people can combine both. For some reason, those who can always seem to be women.

"Women are capable of more concentration than men," Tinling said. "Women have more focused lives."

Graf knew she wanted to play tennis when she was 4. She turned pro at 14. She was in the top 10 at 16. At 18, she was the best in the world.

She's 19 now and in the past two years her record is 125-4. That's just about what Mets fans figure the Mets ought to be.

Five years ago, Navratilova started a two-year run in which she won 164 matches and lost three. Now Navratilova is as helpless before Graf as a college baseball team would be against Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens.

Great as Navratilova was, she never had what Graf has: the calculating, burning compulsion to win every point.

"Martina used to hit the world's most impossible cross-court dinks," said Tinling. She did it just to see if she could. She did it because it was too easy just to put the easy forehand away.

Graf will take the sure winner every time. "She's too practical," Tinling said. "She plays the percentages. Maureen Connolly was like that."

Graf takes the court as if she were renting it by the hour. She plays each point as if she were down match point at Wimbledon.

Like Tyson, Ali, Marciano, and Louis, like Lenglen, Wills, Connolly, King, Evert, and Navratilova, she is the player from another universe.

It is absurd to bewail such dominance. It makes sense only to enjoy it while we can.
Thanks, Amy.
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Old Aug 25th, 2013, 12:18 PM   #2817
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Not a bad call on Arantxa's potential. I wonder how many other players would deliver a lose-only-five-points smackdown set but yet still see a future champion.

I'M READY FOR A 4TH US TITLE, SAYS LENDL
August 25, 1988
Sydney Morning Herald

NEW YORK, Thursday: Ivan Lendl gave himself a rave review yesterday after winning the first act of his dress rehearsal for next week's US Open.

Lendl, top seed for the $US190,000 ($A232,500) Hamlet Challenge Cup at Jericho, New York, as he will be at Flushing Meadow, eliminated unseeded Swiss Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland 6-2 6-3 in their first-round match.

"If I'm not ready for the Open now, I never will be," Lendl said after winning in 61 minutes. "I'm playing in the Hamlet here to get more match play on the same type court and with the same type tennis balls we'll have in the Open."

Lendl, winner of the past three US Open titles, has won only three tournaments this year and his world No 1 ranking is under threat.

Australian Tony Roche, the former tennis great who now coaches the Czech, says Lendl has been working hard with him over the past 10 days.

"Ivan is in top shape physically now and he's ready," Roche said. "He's moving better now than ever before. We've worked three to four hours a day in the mornings on certain drills.

"Lendl's serve has always been a big weapon and it's working very well now. Hopefully it will continue in the Open."

Hlasek, ranked 28th in the world, played erratically and was forced into many errors by his opponent's crunching ground strokes.

Lendl, however, complimented Hlasek's service.

"He served well. His second serve had a high kick to it," said Lendl, who now meets eighth-seeded Swede Anders Jarryd. "But I played very quick and this had him off balance too."

In Mahwah, New Jersey, Steffi Graf started the day behind but left no doubt about the outcome by rattling off 12 of the last 13 games to beat Spanish teenager Arantxa Sanchez at the Mahwah Classic.

Graf, the world's No 1 and top seed for next week's US Open, overwhelmed the 16-year-old Sanchez 6-2 6-0 to reach the quarter-finals.

The match had been halted because of rain after Sanchez had broken Graf in the opening game of the match.

"I didn't lose any sleep about being behind when the match was called off," said Graf, who will try to complete the grand slam by winning the women's title at the US Open.

"It was a new match when we started and I felt good. I was able to move into the ball well," added Graf, who said she had no problem concentrating on her matches and "pushing the grand slam out of my mind".

Sanchez, a claycourt specialist, was out of her element on the hardcourt and lost all eight of her service games. She won only five points in the second set.

Graf, 19, predicted Sanchez, who upset Chris Evert in the third round of the French Open, would be a player to be reckoned with in two or three years.

"She will get more experienced and become much stronger physically," said Graf.
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Old Aug 25th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #2818
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf makes quick work of Spaniard
The Toronto Star
Thursday, August 25, 1988
Associated Press

MAHWAH, N.J. (AP) - Top-ranked Steffi Graf needed just 44 minutes yesterday to defeat unseeded 16-year-old Arantxa Sanchez of Spain 6-2, 6-0 in a second-round match at the $200,000 United Jersey Bank Classic.

Graf, the tournament's top seed, now advances to face fellow West German Sylvia Hanika, the sixth seed, in today's quarterfinals.

Rain had postponed the match Tuesday night with Sanchez leading 1-0 in the first set.

"I wasn't worried about being behind because I was able to get into the ball with my shots," Graf said.

Graf lost both her games on service breaks but broke Sanchez's serve seven times and ran off 12 of the last 13 games after Sanchez broke serve Tuesday in the opening game. The Spaniard scored only five points in the second set.

Sanchez, who upset Chris Evert in the third round of the French Open earlier this year, said her first meeting with Graf was "a good experience."

"I'm just learning how to play on hard courts," she said. "She constantly pressured me with her forehand. It was like boom, boom and the point was over."

In other second-round matches, No. 2 seed Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria was upset by Catarina Lindqvist of Sweden 7-5, 6-7, (4-7), 6-3.

Lindqvist cruised to a 5-0 lead in the third set of the match.

"Those five games were the best ones of the match," Lindqvist said. "It was a good victory because I have had a hard time closing out matches against top players."

Third-seeded Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia joined Graf and Lindqvist in the quarters with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over qualifier Isabelle Demongeot of France.

Fourth-seeded Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union defeated South African Elna Reinach, 6-4, 6-0 and No. 8 Stephanie Rehe beat Italian Sandra Cecchini, 7-6, (7-4), 3-6, 6-1.

Hanika defeated unseeded Dianne Balestrat of Australia 6-4, 6-2 and in a first-round match, fifth-seeded Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria beat Gigi Fernandez of Puerto Rico 6-4, 6-2.
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Old Aug 25th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #2819
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf Breezes Past Sanchez
Special to the New York Times
August 25, 1988

MAHWAH, N.J., Aug. 24— Sixteen-year-old Arantxa Sanchez got a good look at the best in women's tennis today, and it's a good thing she didn't blink. Steffi Graf, the No. 1 female player in the world, needed only 39 minutes and some booming forehands to beat the young Spaniard, 6-2, 6-0, today in the second-round of the United Jersey Bank Classic.

The match actually began last night, but was suspended after 5 minutes because of rain and gusting winds. Sanchez was leading, 1-0, in the first set.

But Graf was unchallenged today in the makeshift stadium at Ramapo College. The West German took the first set in 23 minutes, and 5 minutes later had a 3-0 lead in the second set, surrendering only 1 point. Sanchez won only 4 more points.

Wind Affected Serve

''I was tired last night, and the wind was affecting my serves,'' Graf said after the match today. ''But I was very happy with the way I played today.''

''She has more experience than me,'' said Sanchez, who was playing Graf for the first time. ''She plays very hard - boom, boom, boom. I have to practice more, but it was good to play her. I was happy with the way I played.''

Unfortunately for young stars like Sanchez, who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 1987, the top player in women's tennis is 19 years old.

And at age 19, Graf is one tournament away from becoming the fifth player in history - the first since 1970 - to win all four Grand Slam events in a calendar year.

''To win four major tournaments on four different surfaces is the best you can accomplish,'' Graf said. ''There is nothing else you can do.''

Tuneup for the Open

She will begin the final stage of that quest next week at the United States Open at the National Tennis Center in Queens.

With her victory today, Graf moves into the quarterfinals, which for her has become an annual tuneup for the Open. She is scheduled to play again here Thursday night against Sylvia Hanika of West Germany, who beat Dianne Balestrat of Australia, 6-4, 6-2, earlier today.

In another match, Catarina Lindqvist of Sweden upset Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, 7-5, 6-7, 6-3. Maleeva, seeded second in the tournament behind Graf, came from behind to force a second-set tie breaker, which she won, 7-4. But she had peaked, and Lindqvist handled her easily in the final set. The match lasted 2 hours 41 minutes.
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Old Aug 25th, 2013, 12:31 PM   #2820
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

She seems calm, if a trifle flippant. Things will be a little different versus Hanika...

RAINY WEATHER CAN'T DAMPEN GRAF'S GAME TOP SEED BREEZES IN UJB CLASSIC
The Record
New Jersey
Thursday, August 25, 1988
John Brennan, Record Staff Writer

It's not as if Steffi Graf is perfect.

Graf actually lost a game Wednesday to her opponent, Arantxa Sanchez of Spain, before finishing off a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the completion of a match begun Tuesday night before rain halted play in the United Jersey Bank Tennis Classic.

The West German star is to face sixth-seeded countrywoman Sylvia Hanika in a quarterfinal match tonight at Ramapo College, assuming there is no further rain to alter the schedule. Hanika defeated Dianne Balestrat of Australia, 6-4, 6-2, Wednesday.

Sanchez won the first game Tuesday night, breaking Graf's serve, and trailed, 15-40, in the second game when play was stopped around 7:30 p.m.

How much did that bother Graf? She listened to some music before falling asleep by 9 p.m., even before the match was officially called.

"Everyone was wondering, `What is Steffi up to?' " said Graf. "By that time I was already asleep. "

Graf had good reason to rest easy. This is not just a player with an overpowering serve, a steady backhand, or a positive mental outlook. The world's top-ranked woman player, at age 19, holds all the cards, and she knows it.

The other players know it, too. Sanchez is ranked 21st in the world, and at age 16 she figures to climb higher.

But Sanchez noticed Graf jumping all over her second serve, and that made both her serves less effective.

And anytime Sanchez might have entertained thoughts of getting into the match, Graf was at the net to slam an overhead into the fourth row, or pound a forehand past Sanchez into the baseboards behind the court.

By the second set, Sanchez was so rattled and Graf so methodical that Sanchez won just five points in the set. The match took just 44 minutes.

Sanchez's post-match comments were in broken English, but explained the situation perfectly.

"I play my game, but she was `boom, boom, woosh,' " said Sanchez, shaking her head.

Reminded after the match that her serve had been broken twice, Graf smiled and replied, "So what?"

Graf wasn't being smug, just honest. She says she is becoming immune to the Grand Slam mania that surrounds her, and her recent play and her relaxed attitude during Wednesday's interview session supports that contention.

"For my first match playing on hardcourts in such a long time, I'm very happy with the way I played," said Graf, who starting next week looks to add the U.S. Open title to her 1988 Australian, French, and Wimbledon titles.

NOTES If Graf wins the singles title here, the $40,000 first prize will put her past the $1 million mark in earnings this year.

Graf took a 50-2 1988 match record into the tournament, with both losses coming against Gabriela Sabatini.
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