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Old May 2nd, 2014, 09:44 PM   #3526
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

More harumphing about Grafzilla/the Grafinator.

No Seles, Too Much Graf Robbing Women's Tennis
MIKE DOWNEY
May 2, 1994
Los Angeles Times

Never, never, never would I poke fun at someone who was stabbed in the back.

But dammit, Monica Seles, get over it. Start playing tennis.

We need you, kiddo. Women's tennis is a disaster. Steffi Graf beats everybody. The whole tour is Steffi Graf and 97 sisters named Maleeva. The end of Martina Navratilova is at hand. Jennifer Capriati is busy at the mall. Pam Shriver worries more about Camden Yards than Flushing Meadow. That pretty much leaves us with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario or pray for rain. Gaby Sabatini wins the big one about as often as the Buffalo Bills and nobody knows Helena Sukova from Helena Rubenstein.

Resurface, Monica.

We know you got cut. We can't imagine such trauma. But the time has come to come back. Monica, it didn't take the Santa Monica Freeway this long to get repaired. This is one of those falling-off-the-horse things. Get back up. This monster who attacked you, who wanted you out of tennis? If you stay out, he wins. Don't let the bad guy win.

We just marked the anniversary of the attack that drove Seles out of tennis. Her wound was superficial. It was the emotional pain that ran deep. Everyone sympathized and told Monica to take her time about returning. Trouble is, the longer she sits, the longer it lingers. You sit around long enough, all you will do is think about it. And talk about it. And agonize over it.

Months later, Seles sat on the sideline of the U.S. Open and said she was close to playing again. But suddenly we are closer to the next U.S. Open than the last one.

And we already know who will win.

Just as we already know who will win Wimbledon, who will win the French Open. Only three opponents can stop Steffi Graf, and their names are Puffy Knee, Stiffy Neck and Iffy Elbow. Oh, once in a blue moon, the Grafinator turns human and gets beaten, the way she was Sunday by peppy little Sanchez Vicario. But for 50 weeks a year, the only time Graf gets feet of clay is when she plays Roland Garros. She still stomps all over opponents, leaving footprints like a dinosaur's.

Meanwhile, women's tennis suffers. Hey, you can only watch Claudia Kohde-Kilsch reach the quarterfinals so many times. Sure, everybody tries hard. Yes, everybody plays excellent tennis. But how can you enjoy a match when you know, you absolutely know, that whatever Conchita Martinez does, she is not going to beat Steffi Graf. That on the best day of her life, Amanda Coetzer is going to finish second. That try as she might, Mary Pierce is looking at 2-6, 0-6.

Postcard to Monica:

Having a dull time in Paris and London. Wish you were here.

We miss your ground strokes and ground grunts. We miss that I eee-arrrggg yell of yours that scared the birds. We miss your hair of many colors. We miss the gossip mongers wondering whether you're skipping Wimbledon because you're off doing the town with Donald Trump. And mostly, we miss your game. You versus Graf was like an episode of European Gladiators. Two wonder women, the toughest on Earth.

Nobody can blame you much for being reluctant. Back in Germany recently, even Graf got threats. Tennis doesn't need to tighten security so much as seal it. Pretty soon they are going to have to throw a net over the whole crowd. I have two words of advice for the professional players' association: One of them is metal and the other is detectors.

As a human being, my heart goes out to Seles. As a realist, my inclination is to advise her to get back to her career, the sooner the better. You can only mourn or whine for so long. You have to move on.

Women's tennis was so close to being competitive. There were two young super-strokers (Seles, Graf) and at least one grande dame of the Grand Slams who still had some bounce in her sneakers (Navratilova) and a couple of up- and-comers who seemed a lesson or two away from leaping to the head of the class (Sanchez Vicario, Sabatini, Capriati).

Instead, what we have now is a CBS special, "Steffi and Friends."

Tennis will miss Navratilova, who has been queen of the hops for so long. Young or old, there wasn't a day in her life when there existed an opponent she couldn't beat. Navratilova is about to retire. I predict she will either become a prosperous businesswoman or backup quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

Chris Evert, well, she's busy having babies and speed-walking down the highway with Kathy Smith. Women's tennis has too many bit players. It needs stars. It needs one of those Fernandez or Maleeva women to take her game up a notch. It needs Capriati to be as good at 18 as she was at 14. It needs somebody who can beat anybody.

It needs Seles.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 12:37 AM   #3527
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
More harumphing about Grafzilla/the Grafinator.

No Seles, Too Much Graf Robbing Women's Tennis
MIKE DOWNEY
May 2, 1994
Los Angeles Times

Never, never, never would I poke fun at someone who was stabbed in the back.

But dammit, Monica Seles, get over it. Start playing tennis.

We need you, kiddo. Women's tennis is a disaster. Steffi Graf beats everybody. The whole tour is Steffi Graf and 97 sisters named Maleeva. The end of Martina Navratilova is at hand. Jennifer Capriati is busy at the mall. Pam Shriver worries more about Camden Yards than Flushing Meadow. That pretty much leaves us with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario or pray for rain. Gaby Sabatini wins the big one about as often as the Buffalo Bills and nobody knows Helena Sukova from Helena Rubenstein.

Resurface, Monica.

We know you got cut. We can't imagine such trauma. But the time has come to come back. Monica, it didn't take the Santa Monica Freeway this long to get repaired. This is one of those falling-off-the-horse things. Get back up. This monster who attacked you, who wanted you out of tennis? If you stay out, he wins. Don't let the bad guy win.

We just marked the anniversary of the attack that drove Seles out of tennis. Her wound was superficial. It was the emotional pain that ran deep. Everyone sympathized and told Monica to take her time about returning. Trouble is, the longer she sits, the longer it lingers. You sit around long enough, all you will do is think about it. And talk about it. And agonize over it.

Months later, Seles sat on the sideline of the U.S. Open and said she was close to playing again. But suddenly we are closer to the next U.S. Open than the last one.

And we already know who will win.

Just as we already know who will win Wimbledon, who will win the French Open. Only three opponents can stop Steffi Graf, and their names are Puffy Knee, Stiffy Neck and Iffy Elbow. Oh, once in a blue moon, the Grafinator turns human and gets beaten, the way she was Sunday by peppy little Sanchez Vicario. But for 50 weeks a year, the only time Graf gets feet of clay is when she plays Roland Garros. She still stomps all over opponents, leaving footprints like a dinosaur's.

Meanwhile, women's tennis suffers. Hey, you can only watch Claudia Kohde-Kilsch reach the quarterfinals so many times. Sure, everybody tries hard. Yes, everybody plays excellent tennis. But how can you enjoy a match when you know, you absolutely know, that whatever Conchita Martinez does, she is not going to beat Steffi Graf. That on the best day of her life, Amanda Coetzer is going to finish second. That try as she might, Mary Pierce is looking at 2-6, 0-6.

Postcard to Monica:

Having a dull time in Paris and London. Wish you were here.

We miss your ground strokes and ground grunts. We miss that I eee-arrrggg yell of yours that scared the birds. We miss your hair of many colors. We miss the gossip mongers wondering whether you're skipping Wimbledon because you're off doing the town with Donald Trump. And mostly, we miss your game. You versus Graf was like an episode of European Gladiators. Two wonder women, the toughest on Earth.

Nobody can blame you much for being reluctant. Back in Germany recently, even Graf got threats. Tennis doesn't need to tighten security so much as seal it. Pretty soon they are going to have to throw a net over the whole crowd. I have two words of advice for the professional players' association: One of them is metal and the other is detectors.

As a human being, my heart goes out to Seles. As a realist, my inclination is to advise her to get back to her career, the sooner the better. You can only mourn or whine for so long. You have to move on.

Women's tennis was so close to being competitive. There were two young super-strokers (Seles, Graf) and at least one grande dame of the Grand Slams who still had some bounce in her sneakers (Navratilova) and a couple of up- and-comers who seemed a lesson or two away from leaping to the head of the class (Sanchez Vicario, Sabatini, Capriati).

Instead, what we have now is a CBS special, "Steffi and Friends."

Tennis will miss Navratilova, who has been queen of the hops for so long. Young or old, there wasn't a day in her life when there existed an opponent she couldn't beat. Navratilova is about to retire. I predict she will either become a prosperous businesswoman or backup quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

Chris Evert, well, she's busy having babies and speed-walking down the highway with Kathy Smith. Women's tennis has too many bit players. It needs stars. It needs one of those Fernandez or Maleeva women to take her game up a notch. It needs Capriati to be as good at 18 as she was at 14. It needs somebody who can beat anybody.

It needs Seles.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.
What a horribly piece. Could he make a few more platitudes to over-exaggerate the state of women's tennis? This is a classic case of the media not helping things at all with their regards to the WTA.


As for the Hamburg 94 final, I don't remember the quality being poor. I remember it being a very dramatic and exciting match; not the highest quality, no, but not an ugly match either.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 03:01 PM   #3528
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by Joseosu19 View Post
What a horribly piece. Could he make a few more platitudes to over-exaggerate the state of women's tennis? This is a classic case of the media not helping things at all with their regards to the WTA.
And hilarious in hindsight, with his incredibly wrong forecast for the rest of the year. I would describe the variations of the "tennis is dying/dead" theme in the media as either a kind of follow-the-leader mass hysteria or, when I'm feeling susceptible to conspiracy theories, a deliberate, orchestrated attempt by IMG to further weaken the game in order to help the chances of their WTA takeover bid. "Never let a good crisis go to waste." And if you don't have a good crisis, just make one up.

Both "The Sorry State Of Tennis" (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...66/1/index.htm ) and "Do Not Disturb" (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...5214/index.htm ) are more classic examples. And this news radio transcript, loaded with factual errors or convenient omissions of facts:

GRAF'S DEFEAT IN CITIZEN'S CUP ENLIVENS WOMEN'S TENNIS
National Public Radio
Saturday, May 7, 1994
WEEKEND EDITION

SUSAN STAMBERG, Host: It's "Weekend Edition". I'm Susan Stamberg. Coming up, an artist gives new depth to cartoons. First, women's tennis star Steffi Graf lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario earlier this week in the final of the Citizen Cup in Hamburg. It's the same tournament where last year Monica Seles was stabbed by a fan. Seles has not played since. This week's loss breaks Graf's streak of 32 straight wins, and ordinarily, a broken streak would seem to be bad news, but Steffi Graf has so dominated the women's game over the past year that tennis lovers were looking for any hint that there might be a new challenger on the horizon. "Weekend Edition"'s sports commentator Ron Rapoport joins us from our studios in Los Angeles. Hi, Ron.

RON RAPOPORT, Reporter: Hi, Susan.

STAMBERG: Why was everybody so concerned about this? There's always one player who dominates the game.

RAPOPORT: Of course.

STAMBERG: It's Billie Jean King, it's Evert, it's Martina, it's you know-- Why do you take away Steffi Graf's glory?

RAPOPORT: Stop the presses! Steffi loses tennis match. News! Clip at 11:00, huh? You see, the thing you have to understand, Susan, is that over the years, women's tennis - and men's tennis, too, for that matter - has always seemed to have not one player at the top, but two. When it was Billie Jean, it wasn't just Billie Jean. It was
Billie Jean and Martina. And then it was Martina and Chris, and now, more recently, it's been Steffi and Monica. So when Seles was stabbed and left competition, the balance of the game was upset actually, and it never really came back. Well, it's been a year since then, as you point out, and I think it's clear that Seles' problems may be as much emotional as physical. I don't think she ever got over the fact that somebody would want to hurt her that way.

STAMBERG: What about that young filly, Jennifer Capriati? She's the one who beat Steffi Graf, right, for the Olympic Gold Medal.

RAPOPORT: Yeah, I was there in Barcelona. I saw Jennifer Capriati, but, Susan, I have this theory about little girl tennis stars, those who reach a level of play when they're 14 or 15, and that's that the American public and, particularly, the American press go absolutely ga-ga over them. And we don't pay attention to the enormous
pressure they're under at a time when they are, after all, just little girls.

STAMBERG: Yeah.

RAPOPORT: So I was really delighted when Jennifer Capriati decided to take some time off and be a teen-ager.

STAMBERG: Is women's tennis seeming stale now, given this sort of Graf explosion, and seeming more acute because women's tennis is accepted as a unique sport, not just a shadow of what men do?

RAPOPORT: Well, there's no question that over the last 15 or 20 years women's tennis has come out of whatever shadow it was, in as far as men's tennis is concerned, but there's no question that it's going through a fallow period right now, with the fact that Seles is gone, that Graf is dominating, that nobody seems to be able to come up and challenge Steffi Graf. But I think that that'll happen. I think more, you know, other players will come up, and who knows? Maybe Steffi will get old like Martina and be 37, herself, sometime and somebody will actually beat her.

STAMBERG: Thank you very much, "Weekend Edition" sports commentator and columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News, Ron Rapoport, speaking from our studio in Los Angeles.

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As for the Hamburg 94 final, I don't remember the quality being poor. I remember it being a very dramatic and exciting match; not the highest quality, no, but not an ugly match either.
Well, maybe not ugly, but I remember thinking "Neither one of them could buy a backhand today!" when I watched the edited bits and pieces (big problem with tennis on TV in the U.S.) of the match.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 06:22 PM   #3529
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
And hilarious in hindsight, with his incredibly wrong forecast for the rest of the year. I would describe the variations of the "tennis is dying/dead" theme in the media as either a kind of follow-the-leader mass hysteria or, when I'm feeling susceptible to conspiracy theories, a deliberate, orchestrated attempt by IMG to further weaken the game in order to help the chances of their WTA takeover bid. "Never let a good crisis go to waste." And if you don't have a good crisis, just make one up.

Both "The Sorry State Of Tennis" (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...66/1/index.htm ) and "Do Not Disturb" (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...5214/index.htm ) are more classic examples. And this news radio transcript, loaded with factual errors or convenient omissions of facts:
I remember in the ceremony for the 94 US Open the presenter said something along the lines of "Now I know you don't like to make excuses, but it was clear that your back was bothering you out there...do you think things could have been different?" to Steffi. It immediately elicited a chorus of boos raining down from the crowd. Poor Steffi wisely (and predictably---she wasn't easily baited) side stepped the question and briskly to the man that she wasn't going to talk about that and that it was about Arantxa playing an excellent match.

That to me, though, is ironic. After all the cries for a challenger to battle Steffi, the WTA finally gets one, and now they want to downplay her biggest victory to date in order to build back up Steffi's aura of dominance. Of course, Steffi was obviously hindered by her back, but nonetheless, at least it wasn't a given that Graf would waltz through a tournament only making news when she lost more than 4 games.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 04:38 PM   #3530
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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I remember in the ceremony for the 94 US Open the presenter said something along the lines of "Now I know you don't like to make excuses, but it was clear that your back was bothering you out there...do you think things could have been different?" to Steffi. It immediately elicited a chorus of boos raining down from the crowd. Poor Steffi wisely (and predictably---she wasn't easily baited) side stepped the question and briskly to the man that she wasn't going to talk about that and that it was about Arantxa playing an excellent match.
And as Steffi pointed out in the press conference, she still had so many chances, even with her back seizing up. There were many other times, before and after, when Steffi was in very bad physical and/or mental shape and still won, even against all-time great caliber opponents. It usually took a herculean effort to pin her, no matter how much duct tape and baling wire were just barely holding her together.

And you hit on a problem in tennis that Sally Jenkins doesn't bring up in her 95 Theses: The presenters/interviewers make it almost impossible for the players not to sound like excuse-mongering crybabies.

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That to me, though, is ironic. After all the cries for a challenger to battle Steffi, the WTA finally gets one, and now they want to downplay her biggest victory to date in order to build back up Steffi's aura of dominance. Of course, Steffi was obviously hindered by her back, but nonetheless, at least it wasn't a given that Graf would waltz through a tournament only making news when she lost more than 4 games.
"People don't know what they want." -- Steffi Graf, 1988.

I guess it was partly because the media and fans wanted to see Steffi lose sometimes, but not because of injuries. It doesn't make for a very satisfying action movie if either the hero or the villain pulls up lame during the final fight sequence.

And it was partly Arantxa not seeming to be the "right" challenger at first. Of course, most people were still clamoring to see Graf vs. Seles, but if Seles was not available, they probably hoped for the so-called next most glamorous/marketable match-ups of Graf vs. Sabatini or Navratilova -- even if Gaby's form was clearly gone with no signs of returning soon and Martina was thirty-freaking-seven-years-old and ready to retire.

You will feel better after I get to Wimbledon 1995 (next year, I'll do Steffi's 1995 the way I did her 1988 -- what am I thinking?). By then, people saw that Arantxa was the "right" foil for Steffi; there is no way Monica could have forced Steffi to use so much of her repertoire. And the greater irony is that Arantxa would have had a much better chance of winning that 1995 USO final against Steffi.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 04:45 PM   #3531
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi can fight off match points, too. Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat is the first known member of the choir that was singing an a cappella arrangement of the main theme from "Jaws" as Martina Hingis served for the 1999 French Open championship.

Four match points fought off...
Tennis: How the 14-year-old Steffi Graf defeated Dianne Fromholtz in Hittfeld

Hamburger Abendblatt
July 6, 1983
ra

Hittfeld -- Steffi Graf, only 14 years old, provided a huge surprise on the second day of the $100,000 women's tennis tournament in Hittfeld. In the first round, she overcame the 26-year-old Australian Dianne Fromholtz, No. 50 in the world rankings, exactly 103 spots ahead of the young girl from Heidelberg, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, in front of 1000 spectators. In the course of this, Steffi Graf had been behind 1-5 in the tie-break in the last set and fought off four match points before she then exploited her own third match point. Her advance to the second round in this field of 32 also brings $1200 of earnings to her. The first round losers also still take home $625.

Frankfurt's Eva Pfaff, seeded fourth at Hittfeld, had it harder than expected against American Jenny Klitch. She had difficulties in the first set, winning 7-5 despite a 5-1 lead. In the second set, she had to catch up from 2-5 behind, until it likewise ended 7-5.

Two more favorites pulled into the round of 16 only with difficulty. Last year's winner Lisa Bonder, a 17-year-old clay court specialist, had a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 struggle over Katerina Skronska (Czechoslovakia), just as the fifth seed, Czechoslovakian Iva Budarova, had to go three sets. The 22-year-old left-hander pulled through against Terry Phelps (USA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In contrast, 17-year-old Kathy Horvath, third seed at Hittfeld, put on a convincing performance. The American, who in Paris was the last player to have won against Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova, beat Claudia Pasquale of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-3.

The two tournament favorites, Andrea Temesvari (Hungary, seeded first) and Claudia Kohde (Saarbrücken, seeded second), who stand in the focal point after the withdrawals of Andrea Jaeger (USA) and Bettina Bunge (Cuxhaven), enter into the happenings today. The Hungarian, No. 13 in the world rankings, plays against Yuk Hee Lee from South Korea. Claudia Kohde, No. 16, plays against Dutchwoman Nanett Schutte.

Hamburg resident Helga Lütten, already out of the singles competition, reached the round of the last eight in the doubles partnering with Schutte with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Henricksen/Suer (USA/France) and secured $950 for herself.

More results, singles: Lisa Benjamin (USA) def. Pilar Vasquez (Peru), 6-1, 2-6, 6-1; Petra Huber (Austria) def. Dana Gilbert, 6-0, 6-2.

*

The favored Jose Higueras of Spain, No. 6 in the world, reached the second round in the $100,000 tournament in Gstaad, 6-4, 6-4 over Jorge Lozano of Mexico.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:02 PM   #3532
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Meanwhile, women's tennis suffers. Hey, you can only watch Claudia Kohde-Kilsch reach the quarterfinals so many times. Sure, everybody tries hard. Yes, everybody plays excellent tennis. But how can you enjoy a match when you know, you absolutely know, that whatever Conchita Martinez does, she is not going to beat Steffi Graf. That on the best day of her life, Amanda Coetzer is going to finish second. That try as she might, Mary Pierce is looking at 2-6, 0-6.



Ahem. Being a huge Mary Pierce fan as well, i couldnt help but smile at that part.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 11:35 PM   #3533
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Meanwhile, women's tennis suffers. Hey, you can only watch Claudia Kohde-Kilsch reach the quarterfinals so many times. Sure, everybody tries hard. Yes, everybody plays excellent tennis. But how can you enjoy a match when you know, you absolutely know, that whatever Conchita Martinez does, she is not going to beat Steffi Graf. That on the best day of her life, Amanda Coetzer is going to finish second. That try as she might, Mary Pierce is looking at 2-6, 0-6.



Ahem. Being a huge Mary Pierce fan as well, i couldnt help but smile at that part.
I felt the same way...the bit about Coetzer was funny as well, knowing well that Amanda would have Steffi's number several times (although, granted, Steffi was far far far from her peak in those matches).

I get that the media wanted someone "marketable" like Gabriela to challenge Steffi...but in reality, was Gabby all that marketable? Outside of her looks, most accounts were that she "vanilla".

Nonetheless, fortunately I didn't pay much attention to anything other than the local media during this time period, as 93-98 were some of my favorite years to watch tennis.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 01:44 AM   #3534
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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I felt the same way...the bit about Coetzer was funny as well, knowing well that Amanda would have Steffi's number several times (although, granted, Steffi was far far far from her peak in those matches).
I remember wondering what the odds were for Steffi to keep running into Amanda in 1997. Even at Strasbourg, a tournament she would not have played in a "normal" year.

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Originally Posted by Joseosu19 View Post
I get that the media wanted someone "marketable" like Gabriela to challenge Steffi...but in reality, was Gabby all that marketable? Outside of her looks, most accounts were that she "vanilla".
So help me, if this turns into a flame war between you and gabybackhand, I shall be quite cross.

"Marketable" can be all over the place. As much as one section of the agents, media, and fans wanted to see "personalities" (sometimes just a euphemism for "assholes," as Martin Amis so memorably wrote), another section of the agents, media, and fans preferred it when the players never displayed anything resembling individuality. Gaby's inoffensiveness plus good looks made her a "safe" choice for many promoters and sponsors.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 01:52 AM   #3535
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

On to Berlin 1994. Between Arantxa's knee not being 100% and the physical and mental effort the Hamburg final took, she lost in the first round of a tournament for the first time since 1990. Told you not to put the quarter in your pocket!

Steffi Graf has not yet overcome the loss in the Hamburg final
A few problems at the start

Berliner Zeitung
May 11, 1994
Klaus Wolf

Steffi Graf had a successful but arduous debut yesterday at the German Open in Berlin. She narrowly defeated Karin Kschwendt 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. How had the world's No. 1 coped with the first loss of the season, suffered a good week ago against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at the Hamburg tournament?

The first appearance of Steffi Graf yesterday at "her" tournament on the Hundekehlesee was subjected to this question. The answer: She apparently hasn't totally tucked it away yet. Her thin skin was also evidenced by the --admittedly strange-- vestige of a question by a journalist colleague. "Of course I'm sorry about your loss, but it was probably good for women's tennis..." Steffi's reaction: "Just keep away from me with that, I've heard it often recently!"

But the seven-time Berlin champion remained self-critical as always: "I am not very enthusiastic about my performance." But this examined the match only from one side. For the sake of fairness, it must be said that Karin Kschwendt played surpassing well for the conditions. "I wanted to show that I'm on the ball," said the 25-year-old, who was born in Switzerland, once played for Luxembourg, and has been German for scarcely a year.

Steffi Graf, who is operating here under the city designation of Berlin rather than Brühl (it is known that she is a member of the host Rot-Weiß tennis club), above all showed an unusually weak serve. She twice gave away the advantage in the first set -- a rarity.

However, she confessed having more to do here after Hamburg. "I somewhat switched around my training. I'm trying to play more aggressively and attack more." Certainly a conclusion from the loss to Sanchez.

Another -- surprisingly -- is that she has trained too much this year. "After Hamburg, I needed a couple of days of quiet. Now I hope that I find my game again." The hoped-for revenge match after the Hamburg loss against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario cannot happen now: In a sensation, the Spaniard lost her initial match yesterday against the unknown Russian Jelena Makarova in three sets.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 04:06 PM   #3536
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf, Sabatini cruise into quarter-finals
May 12, 1994
The Age
Melbourne, Australia

Berlin, Thursday -- Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini enjoyed routine victories in the German Open here yesterday.

Graf was the first player to reach the quarter-finals when she overcame American Ginger Helgeson 6-2, 6-2 breaking serve twice in each set.

Graf's first breakthrough came in the 10-minute first game when she forced an error and she broke again to love to lead 5-2.

The top seed and defending champion faced only one break point in the first set, but Helgeson sent a backhand long, and one more in the second set when Helgeson put a forehand into the net.

That point would have given Helgeson a 2-0 lead. Instead, Graf broke to lead 3-2 with a fine backhand volley and a winning service return gave her an unassailable lead. The German's power proved too much despite the world No. 1's anxiety about her forehand, which gave her problems in her first-round encounter. "I hope I can solve that problem in the next match," Graf said.

Helgeson is enjoying the best year of her four years as a professional, having climbed to No 35 in the world as well as winning her first title at Auckland in January.

Sabatini, anxious to forget her opening match defeat in Rome last week, defeated Kimberly Po 6-4, 6-0.

The American obliged with a generous number of unforced errors, especially with her forehand, and she also double-faulted twice on break point.

"It feels good to win a match after Rome. It wasn't that tough but I played well," said the No. 4 seed.

"But, in some ways, it's not easy to play someone like that. She doesn't give you much rhythm because she opens up the court well but then misses an easy shot."

Sabatini, the 1990 US Open champion, is seeking to end a drought of two years without a tournament win. Last year she forced Graf, seven-times winner of this tournament, to three sets before losing in the final.

Natalia Zvereva, the sixth seed, was forced by sickness to retire from her match with Ines Gorrochategui of Argentina after losing a first-set tiebreaker.

AT CORAL SPRINGS, Florida, Brazilians Luiz Mattar and Fernando Meligeni battled their way into the quarter-finals of the Red Clay Court championships.

Mattar hit 10 aces as he defeated South African Grant Stafford 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, while Meligeni reached his quarter-final - the first of 1994 - by downing Frenchman Stephane Simian 6-2, 6-2.

Mattar has a 4-0 career record against Stafford, including three victories this year. Stafford won the first set by breaking Mattar at 5-3, but Mattar broke right back to start the second set.

Mattar fired an ace on set point to even the match and then rolled in the third set.

"I thought I was going to lose the match after the first set, the way he was playing," Mattar said.

The 30-year-old has won all six of his titles in Brazil, oddly enough on hard courts. This year he reached the final of a hardcourt tournament in Arizona before losing to Andre Agassi.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 05:53 PM   #3537
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

COURIER DISPATCHED IN ITALIAN OPEN
Press-Telegram
Long Beach, CA
Saturday, May 14, 1994
Associated Press

ROME - Jim Courier's reign in Rome is over.

The two-time defending champion was shocked in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open Friday night by an unheralded Czech opponent who played the match of his life.

In one of the most entertaining matches of the year, Slava Dosedel beat the third-seeded Courier 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 23 minutes on the Foro Italico center court.

Dosedel earned a berth in today's semifinals against top-seeded Pete Sampras. Goran Ivanisevic will meet Boris Becker in the other semifinal.

Sampras, the top seed, served 17 aces as he overpowered Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi 6-3, 7-5.

The fourth-seeded Ivanisevic matched Sampras with 17 aces of his own - including four in a row in the last game - to beat Jacco Eltingh of the Netherlands 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

Becker got through to the semis by default when his German rival, second-seeded Michael Stich, pulled out of the tournament a few hours before the match. Stich cited a back ailment for his withdrawal, but he also had off-court distractions: his wife was stopped by police in Germany this week on suspicion of speeding and drunk driving, and his brother is getting married today.

*

FRANCE'S JULIE HALARD battled Steffi Graf at the German Open in Berlin for two hours before her missed volley allowed the world's top-ranked player to escape with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win.

The top-seeded Graf, who has played below par during the tournament, allowed the world's 28th-ranked player to win four straight games in the third set and seize a 5-4 lead.

The 12th-seeded Halard won the first two points against Graf's serve in the next game, but then netted an easy backhand volley. Graf was saved from facing three match points.

It was a miserable performance from Graf, who mixed flashes of brilliance with many unforced errors.

Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic will be Graf's opponent in today's semifinal after she ousted Argentina's Ines Gorrochategui, 6-2, 6-2.

In today's other semifinal, Germany's Anke Huber will meet Brenda Schultz of the Netherlands, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over American Ann Grossman. The 19-year-old Huber beat Russia's Elena Makarova 6-0, 6-1.

*

TOP-SEEDED Amanda Coetzer defeated Austria's Barbara Schett to reach the semifinals of the $100,000 Prague Open women's tennis tournament. Coetzer needed only 1 hour, 15 minutes to beat the eighth-seeded Schett 6-3, 6-1.

*

Mark Woodforde took advantage of a seemingly disinterested Ivan Lendl and defeated the tournament's second-seeded player, 6-3, 6-4, to reach the semifinals of the America's Red Clay Tennis Championships at Coral Springs, Fla.

On match point, Lendl took a wild swing at a second serve and hit the backdrop.

Joining Woodforde in the semifinals were fellow Aussie Jamie Morgan and Brazilians Fernando Meligeni and Luiz Mattar.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 05:59 PM   #3538
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

A German final is possible at the German Open in the Grunewald
Anke Huber advances easily, Steffi Graf with trouble

Berliner Zeitung
May 14, 1994
sid

Berlin -- A German pinnacle is again possible at the women's German Open in Berlin. But while Anke Huber won easily against dark horse Elena Makarova, Steffi Graf needed to fight to the last point against Frenchwoman Julie Halard.

On Sunday, the defending champion will meet the Czech Jana Novotna, who defeated the unseeded Argentine Ines Gorrochategui, 6-2, 6-2. Anke Huber must start against Dutchwoman Brenda Schultz, who beat Ann Grossman of the United States, who had previously seen off Argentine Gabriela Sabatini in a surprise result.

The last all-German final at the German Open was in 1987 between the subsequent champion Steffi Graf and Claudia Kohde-Kilsch.

Steffi Graf made the match against Julie Halard difficult on herself with many unnecessary errors, finally winning 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in front of 4500 spectators on the sold-out Centre Court. Again and again, the 24-year-old from Brühl shook her head in the face of her unusually high error rate. She ended the second set at 4-6 with a double fault.

After a 45 minute rain delay at the beginning of the third set, which began with a break by Steffi Graf, the top-seeded favorite quickly pulled away to 4-1. But Julie Halard fought back to 4-4, and missed an easy volley at a lead of 5-4, 30-15.

Steffi Graf got the decision with a break for 6-5 and converted her first match point for the hard-won shaky victory, after 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Anke Huber had considerably fewer problems and expressed herself optimistic for the semifinal. "I have very good chances for the final. I have already played against both Schultz and Grossman and won against both," said Anke Huber.

One day after the hard-fought three set victory over Bulgarian Katerina Maleeva, the world's No. 11 from Heidelberg had to put down strong resistance from Elena Makarova only at the beginning of the first set. After 58 minutes, the 19-year-old secured her first semifinal in Berlin, 6-0, 6-1.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 06:47 PM   #3539
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseosu19 View Post
I get that the media wanted someone "marketable" like Gabriela to challenge Steffi...but in reality, was Gabby all that marketable? Outside of her looks, most accounts were that she "vanilla".
.
She might had been, but she was beautiful enough to get away with that, don't you think?
And I think you are right, Ms. A, about her combination being safer for sponsors IMHO. But don't worry about Joseosu and me getting in a war, I think we've both come of age by now
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Old May 8th, 2014, 07:53 PM   #3540
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Laughing at the Steffi-Jana dynamic. Steffi is struggling against everyone else from Maleeva at Hamburg onward, but no problems against Novotna.

TENNIS SAMPRAS, BECKER FORGE AHEAD IN ITALIAN
Lexington Herald-Leader
Sunday, May 15, 1994
Associated Press

ROME -- Pete Sampras and Boris Becker in a clay-court final? Improbable, but true.

Sampras has won only one small clay-court event in his career. Becker has never captured a title on clay.

Yet both advanced Saturday to today's championship match of the Italian Open, which serves as the tune-up for the French Open.

Top-seed Sampras extended his match winning streak to 26 by routing unseeded Slava Dosedel of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 in barely more than an hour at the Foro Italico.

Eighth-seed Becker outplayed No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) to reach his first clay-court final in three years. He's also the first German to reach the final in Rome.

It's the fourth career clay-court final for Becker and the third for Sampras, who won in Kitzbuhel, Austria, in 1992.

The Italian Open used to be a haven for Latin American and European clay-court specialists, but the red clay has been speeded up to benefit the serve-and-volley and all-court players like Sampras and Becker. It worked.

"The conditions are very quick," Sampras said. "That's good for Boris and me."

Sampras, the world's top-ranked player and winner of the last three Grand Slam tournaments, has grown in confidence with each match this week in his first clay-court event of 1994.

"He's the man to beat right now," Becker said. "He's beating everybody. It doesn't matter whether it's indoors, outdoors, on hard courts or clay. I have to expect the worse and hope for the best. But there's definitely a way to beat him. He's no superman."

Sampras leads Becker 4-3 in career head-to-head meetings, but the two have never played on clay.

"He's never won a clay-court title, and I'm sure he's going to be ready to go," Sampras said. "It seems like Boris is playing with a lot of emotion. That's what Boris needs. It's good to see him playing better."

Becker, now under the tutelage of Andre Agassi's former coach, Nick Bollettieri, said he has discovered the way to win on clay.

"I've played very good clay-court specialists this week," he said. "I didn't have to serve 20 aces each game to win. I won with smart tennis."

Becker breezed through the first set in 33 minutes and moved out to a 3-0 lead in the second. During one stretch, he won seven straight games, 23 of 26 points and 15 consecutive points.

"At 6-2, 3-0, he didn't have a clue what was going on," Becker said.

Sampras had never seen Dosedel play, but that didn't prove to be a handicap.

"I think he was extremely nervous, and it showed with double faults and errors," Sampras said.

Today's final is best of five.

Graf tops $14 million

BERLIN -- Steffi Graf passed the $14 million mark in career prize money and reached the finals of the German Open yesterday by beating No. 3 Jana Novotna 6-2, 6-3.

The top-ranked Graf today faces Brenda Schultz, who ousted Anke Huber 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 behind a powerful serve.

Graf, who has won the tournament seven times, displayed none of the erratic play that plagued her in Friday's quarterfinal against Julie Halard, which Graf was two points away from losing.

Graf broke Novotna's serve to take a 4-3 lead in the second set, setting it up by slamming a forehand return which skidded across the court.

"Today I was just more concentrated and felt better," Graf said. "But I think we've seen here there are some good younger players coming up. I can't automatically expect to reach the final."

Graf, 24, earned $60,000 for reaching today's finals to pass the $14 million mark. She has lost just one match in 1994.

Graf won in just 80 minutes, converting her fourth match point when Novotna's forehand sailed wide. The match provided none of the drama of last year's Wimbledon final, where Novotna collapsed after taking a 5-2 lead in the third set.

Schultz, ranked 27th in the world, reached the finals of a major tourney for the first time in 1994.

During one stretch of the first set, Schultz yielded only four points in five service games. She also managed to slam an ace off a second serve despite the clay surface -- a rarity in women's tennis.

"I play with guys often, but their serves don't compare to that," the 19-year-old Huber said.

Schultz's serve has been timed at 120 mph.

Brazilian In Red Clay Shootout

Despite playing on a slow surface, Luiz Mattar's serving prowess proved too much for Mark Woodforde, putting the Brazilian in the final of the $240,000 America's Red Clay Tennis Championships at Coral Springs, Fla.

Mattar, 30, reached his second final of the year, by edging the eighth-seeded Australian Woodforde, 6-4, 6-4. Mattar plays the winner of Saturday night's semifinal
confrontation between seventh-seeded Jamie Morgan of Australia and fellow Brazilian Fernando Meligeni.

Mattar's first-serve percentage was 72 and he slammed 10 aces, giving him 36 in four matches. Woodforde, known for his returning excellence honed in doubles, was unable to break Mattar's serve, going 0-for-4 on break-point opportunities.

Top Seed Gains Prague Finals

Top-seeded Amanda Coetzer of South Africa defeated Paola Suarez of Argentina 7-5, 6-2 Saturday to reach the finalof the $100,000 Prague Open women's tennis tournament at the Stvanice clay courts stadium in the Czech Republic.

In Sunday's title match, Coetzer will face unseeded Asa Carlsson of Sweden, who breezed past Germany's Silke Frankl 6-2, 6-1. Coetzer needed more than an hour to beat the 17-year-old Suarez in the first set. But in the second, Suarez lost most of her serves and Coetzer won the set in just 30 minutes. Coetzer is ranked 18th in the world, while Suarez is 158th.
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