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Old Dec 6th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #91
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Re: 1992

More dramatic foreshadowing, with a bit of FCC history and general trivia thrown in...

EVERT: CAPRIATI'S WOES JUST PART OF GROWING UP - COMING FULL CIRCLE - THE FALL OF FRANCE - ETC.
Sun-Sentinel
Sunday, April 5, 1992
JIM SARNI

Chris Evert grew up on the tour during the early '70s, when tennis was not so intense.

''Everything is magnified in this day and age,'' said Evert, an NBC analyst at this weekend's Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head, S.C. ''Tennis was not as big, and the money was not as big when I was growing up. It's twice as tough today.''

Like everyone else, Evert is watching Jennifer Capriati take on her teen-age years in public.

''Jennifer is an outgoing person who treasures her friendships and is yearning for a normal life,'' said Evert, who has known Capriati since she was a young girl growing up in Lauderhill. ''With myself, and Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, we were all more introverted. We had more intensity for our tennis. Tennis was the most important thing and everything else was second. With Jennifer, her private life comes first.''

Evert, who turned pro at 18, said she rebelled at different stages in her life.

''When I was 19, I wanted to travel on the tour alone and my parents let me,'' Evert said. ''Then, it wasn't until I was 28 that I needed to be my own person. I felt trapped in a difficult situation. I postponed my teen-age rebellion until I was older.''

Capriati, in contrast, already is a three-year veteran at 16. She has never been out of the spotlight.

''The public and the press are understanding of what she's going through,'' Evert said. ''People see that this happy-go-lucky person is gone. No one wants to squash that, but all the attention is hurting that side of her. She's a little more cautious because she's a target now. Jennifer is a good person. She has a good heart and good intentions. She's going to come through it. She can only grow from this.''

Life continues to be full of ups and downs for Capriati. She was upset by Veronika Martinek, an unheralded German clay courter, in her first match at the Family Circle Cup , the first tournament following Capriati's stunning victory over Monica Seles at Lipton.

''Jennifer has had a couple of losses this year and people are panicking too much,'' Evert said. ''With Jennifer's power game, she can beat the No. 1 player one week and have a bad loss the next week. Because she has this game, Jennifer is going to win a Grand Slam and possibly become No. 1. Jennifer can't have the perfect game at 16. The power came first, and the consistency and finesse will come later. People expect too much, but that's natural. The expectations on Jennifer are tremendous. Jennifer's problem is that she's beaten the No. 1 player and she beat Martina at Wimbledon, which leads everyone to believe she is ready to take over as No. 1. But that's a great problem to have.''

Capriati doesn't play again until the Italian Open in May. By that time, the school year will be over and she should be able to focus on tennis.

--The Family Circle Cup , which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this weekend in Hilton Head, was the first women's tournament to offer $100,000 in prize money. That was big money two decades ago, when Wimbledon's purse for men and women was only $128,800.

''I wanted to do everything to capture someone's attention,'' said Jack Jones, the Los Angeles promoter who created the event. ''So I offered $100,000 in prize money. This put women on the map as far as prize money went.''

The Family Circle Cup 's prize money is $550,000 this year, putting it at the same level as the Virginia Slims of Florida, Berlin, the Italian Open and the Canadian Open on the Kraft Tour.

Jones got NBC to televise the first tournament in 1973, but only by guaranteeing the advertising at a cost of $1.3 million. Normally, television buys the rights to a telecast. Jones bought time and sold it all. The Family Circle Cup , still the only women's-only tournament on network television, has recorded a profit every year since.

-- The Family Circle Cup deferred to nature, constructing a new temporary stadium in Sea Pines. A concrete stadium was rejected because it would not have fit the surrounding environment of oak and pine trees.

The new stadium, 100 yards east of the old one, has a seating capacity of 9,500 with 1,650 permanent seats. It cost $500,000.

--The champagne has gone flat in France, where the defending Davis Cup champions are history. Switzerland upset France, and Yannick Noah, last year's victorious captain, resigned.

After winning France's first Davis Cup in 59 years, there wasn't much of an encore left for Noah.

Guy Forget and Henri Leconte, last year's heroes against the United States, teamed for a doubles victory, but were replaced in singles by Thierry Champion and Arnaud Boetsch. Leconte was not in shape, and Forget was not prepared to play on clay.

The Swiss press roasted Noah: ''The big loser in this tale was Yannick Noah. In neglecting to chose a fast surface which would have permitted Forget to eventually make the difference... In choosing a clay court, Noah was leading his gladiators to the slaughter.''

The French press was not much kinder: ''It was simply the hangover of a team which soaked up a little too much euphoria of the Cup .''

Perhaps, but it tasted great at the time.

--Monica Seles missed The Family Circle Cup when she sprained her wrist in bicycle accident at her Sarasota home last Saturday. One story had Seles falling off the bike as she answered a cellular phone; another story had Seles hurt when the bicycle fell against her. Another Monica Mystery... Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver won their 79th doubles title last week in San Antonio... Lipton broke ground on its new stadium in Key Biscayne without any fanfare last Wednesday.
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Old Dec 6th, 2012, 03:04 PM   #92
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Re: 1992

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
for these reports Ms A-I love reading them!
Oh, good. I've been a bit afraid of getting a cease and desist order.

Which brings me to a question about mixed gender tournaments (Slams and the Lipton, etc.). As you can imagine, there are a lot of early round articles in which the men's and women's reports are intertwined. I know this forum is for women's tennis, but would stuff with a little bit about the guys-of-yore in it be tolerated?
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:46 PM   #93
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Re: 1992

And now, one of the 1992 tournaments you've all been waiting for: The OTB Open from Schenectady, New York!!!!!

SO MANY PLAYERS, SO FEW SPOTS
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Saturday, August 22, 1992
Buzz Gray

Starting this morning, 64 wannabees from as far away as China to as close as Castleton begin their musical chairs march toward the big time. Only eight will get there.

Just four spots in both the men's and women's main draws of the $255,000 OTB Open tennis tournament are left to be claimed. That makes the two-day qualifying tournament at Central Park a dogfight preceding a wolf attack. And those that survive get to do it all over again, only against tougher competition.

Regardless, this morning's opening matches will feature some of the upcoming talents in the sport, despite an absence of lofty computer rankings. Such past OTB Open champions as Marius Masencamp of South Africa and Anke Huber of Germany have come out of the qualifiers here to win it all.

Then there are former international stars that have fallen on hard times and are now looking for that route back to the top. For example, Andrea Temesvari of Hungary, No. 7 player in the world in February 1984, will be among the 32 female qualifiers today trying to win her way into the main draw, which kicks off Monday and runs through Sunday, Aug.30. Temesvari was in the main draw at the OTB Open last summer but lost a close three-setter in the opening round.

Bettina Fulco-Villela of Argentina is the top seed among the women's qualifiers. Ranked as high as 23 in the world in October 1988, Fulco-Villela was a quarterfinalist at the Italian Open last year and reached the second round of the French Open. A shoulder injury has set back her career, but she appears to have recovered and comes into this tournament a heavy favorite to reach the main draw.

Audra Keller of Memphis, Tenn., is the No.2 women's seed in the qualifiers. She is a former top-ranked junior and tour veteran who climbed to 83rd in the world in November 1990.

Although there are three participants from China and two from Japan in the field, there are none from the Capital District. Amy Tarkelson of Voorheesville, a former top 60 player in the early 1980s, received a wild card but had to withdraw due to an injury.

Camille Benjamin, the 1987 OTB Open women's champion, will also be trying to qualify this weekend. She will face Sarah Loosemore in a first-round match beginning at 9:30a.m.

Travis Boyd of Castleton will be the only area representative in the tournament. He earned a wild card into the men's qualifiers by winning the Bolton Landing Open last weekend. Boyd, a veteran of the USTA satellite tours and former state champion from Columbia High School, will face Marten Renstron of Burlington, Vt., another wild card entry, in a first-round match at 9:30a.m. on the Grandstand Court.

Richard Fromberg of Australia is the top seed in the men's qualifiers. Fromberg made the main draw here last summer, beating Jimmy Arias in the first round before losing to Andrei Cherkasov in the second round. Fromberg will meet Ivan Baron on Court 2 today at 9:30 a.m.

Val Wilder of Westfield, Mass., winner of the first OTB Open 11 years ago and former member of the world's top 100, was a no-show for today's matches. Wilder earned not one but two wild cards into the qualifying tournament by winning the Schenectady County Open in July and a tournament in Utica one week later.

Wilder is presently in Texas and sent word he would not be able to participate due to personal reasons. The 33-year-old's two wild-card spots in the qualifiers were filled by Otis Smith and Shige Kanroji.

World-class players on the OTB Open acceptance list who failed to make the main draw and declined to compete in the qualifiers included Ronald Agenor, Thierry Guadiola, Chris Pridham and Todd Witsken.

Today's second round of matches will not begin before 3 p.m. Those players winning both of their matches will move on to Sunday's competition.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:47 PM   #94
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Re: 1992

STICH STILL RECALLS HIS "ACE"
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Sunday, August 23, 1992
Buzz Gray

Of all the aces produced by Michael Stich around the world, his nearest and dearest remains here. And it just might be one of the key reasons the German returned this summer for the OTB Open tennis tournament.

Stich's easy smile slipped across his face even quicker when reminded Saturday morning of the memorable shot he unloaded here last August. Only it didn't come on the court. Instead, he drove the ball with a club from the 15th tee at nearby Mohawk Country Club. It sailed smartly into the cup for a hole-in-one.

"Would you believe I almost did it again the other day on the same hole," Stich said after finishing his (tennis) practice session at Central Park as two days of qualifiers began in this $255,000 event.

The defending men's champion and top seed is definitely here to play tennis, but won't deny he loves this game of golf with the long sticks, too.

"I try to relax when I'm not playing tennis," said Stich, No. 10 in the world and recent gold-medal winner with doubles partner Boris Becker at the Barcelona Olympics.

By some standards, Stich would be having an off year, but only in comparison to his remarkable run in 1991 when he won Wimbledon and three other championships, all on different surfaces. He participated in 149 singles and doubles matches, most on the IBM/ATP tour and rose to No. 3 in the world.

"I'm not playing bad. In the last six Grand Slams, I've advanced to at least the quarterfinals," Stich said. "Now it's important for me to get ready for the U.S. Open (Aug. 31)."

Stich had little trouble winning last year's OTB Open, breezing to the title without dropping a set. Since the U.S. Open is played on the same kind of hardcourt surface, Schenectady provides an ideal tuneup for the 6-foot-4 right-hander.

While he didn't repeat his Wimbledon singles championship, he did capture the doubles crown with new and unlikely partner John McEnroe.

"We plan to play together again at the U.S. Open and maybe two other tournaments," Stich said of his doubles alliance with McEnroe. "I hope we'll be able to defend our Wimbledon title next year."

Stich said he asked McEnroe to team up at Wimbledon after the two had played together a few weeks earlier.

"It was fun," Stich said of the partnership with his often volatile teammate. "John is one of the best doubles players around and seems to like playing with somebody who serves fast."

Stich certainly fits that classification. His 130 mph rockets at Wimbledon were among the fastest clocked on radar.

Asked to compare his singles championships with the gold medal he won in Barcelona with Becker, Stich said "It's entirely different. There (Olympics) you're with somebody else for somebody else (Germany). It was a great honor, one of the highlights of my career."

Stich will focus on singles in Schenectady. While he was practicing Saturday, 64 qualifiers were struggling to reach the main draw. One of them will face Stich in the first round.

Travis Boyd, the only area player in the qualifying tournament, was beaten in his first-round match Saturday morning. Marten Renstrom of Sweden posted a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 decision over Boyd. Both players had been awarded wild cards into the qualifiers.

Boyd, from Castleton, earned his entry by winning the Bolton Open last weekend. He appeared to have gained the edge on Renstrom with a break for a 3-2 lead in the decisive third set, but it proved to be the last game Boyd would win. Renstrom broke back to tie the set at 3 and then climbed out of an 0-40 hole on his own serve to move ahead 4-3.

Boyd, favoring a sore wrist, never recovered. The Castleton resident was broken again on his next serve and then blown away at love in Renstrom's final service game.

In the women's qualifiers, Andrea Temesvari-Trunkos, at one time No. 4 in the world, was promoted to the eighth seed in qualifiers when Noell Van Lottum pulled out of the tournament with a stomach virus. Teri Whitlinger, who slipped into the qualifying field with Van Lottum's withdrawal, posted a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) upset over No. 2 Audra Keller.

Meanwhile, Tessa Price raised some eyebrows with her 6-0, 6-0 cruise over wild card Divya Merchant, and 1987 OTB champion Camille Benjamin stopped Sarah Loosemore, 6-1, 6-3.

Elna Reinach, who was scheduled to meet Victoria Milvidskaia in a first-round qualifying match, was granted an extension until today. Reinach is still competing in a tournament in Montreal, where she was to face Gigi Fernandez Saturday night. Reinach, who didn't expect to win that duel, plans to arrive in Schenectady in time for her quarterfinal match today.

Saturday's results:

MEN'S QUALIFIERS

First round - Richard Fromberg def. Ivan Baron 4- 6, 6-2, 6-3; Keith Evans def. Derek Farren 6-1, 6-4; Juan Albert Viloca def. Otis Smith 6-1, 3-6, 6-4; Grant Doyle def. Mark Petchey 6-1, 2-6, 6-3; Mikael Stadling def. Jordi Burillo 6-4, 6-3; Marten Renstrom def. Travis Boyd 6-1, 4-6, 6-3; Yevgeny Kafelnikov def. Doug Eisenman 6-3, 6-2; Leander Paes def. Ryuso Tsujino 7-5, 6-3; Jamie Morgan def. P.J. Bosse 6-2, 7-5; Paolo Pambianco def. Paul Kilderry 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Paul Koscielski def. Lou Gloria 6-2, 6-2; Martin Blackman def. Chris Bailey 6-2, 6-4; Lionel Roux def. Ctislav Dosedel 7-5, 6-3; David Nainkin def. Devin Werwie 3-6, 6-1, 6-4; Sergio Casal def. Marius Barnard 6-3, 7-6 (7- 4); Stephane Sansoni def. Shige Kanroji 6-4, 6-3.

Second round - Fromberg def. Evans 6-3, 6-1; Doyle def. Viloca 6-2, 0-6, 6-1; Stadling def. Renstrom 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Blackman def. Koscielski 6-1, 6-2; Kafelnikov def. Paes 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); Morgan def. Pambianco 6-3, 6-3; Casal def. Sansoni 6-2, 3-1 (ret.).

WOMEN'S QUALIFIERS

First round - Bettina Fulco-Villella def. Nathalie Herreman 6-3, 6-4; Miki Yokobori def. Tammy Whittington 7-6 (8-6), 6-2; Clare Wood def. Jodi Yin 6-3, 6-2; Stephane Rottier def. Ilana Berger 6-1, 6-0; Andrea Temesvari-Trunkos def. Ann Henricksson 7-5, 6-4; Miriam Oremans def. Irina Spirlea 6-2, 6-1; Camille Benjamin def. Sarah Loosemore 6-1, 6-3; Kristie Boogert 6-0, 6-1; Fan Li def. Anna Smashnova 6-0, 6-3; Tessa Price def. Divya Merchant 6-0, 6-0; Lindsay Davenport def. Yone Kamio 6-4, 2-6, 6-0; Shi-ting Wang def. Elena Brioukhovets 6-2, 6-1; Nicole Arendt def. Laxmi Poruri 6-4, 7-5; Teri Whitlinger def. Audra Keller 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Ginger Helgeson def. Shannon McCarthy 6-1, 6-3.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:48 PM   #95
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Re: 1992

LOSS PUTS CRAMP IN THE KID'S STYLE
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Tuesday, August 25, 1992
Buzz Gray

She looks like Monica. She talks like Monica. And, yes, she even grunted like Monica Seles, the world's No.1 woman tennis player.

So far, though, Iva Majoli of Croatia has yet to win like Seles. Only because she hasn't had enough time.

Majoli, who turned 15 on Aug. 12, displayed a bankroll of promise Monday before stomach cramps and No. 3 seed Barbara Rittner caught up with her.

"It was a lot closer than the score," Rittner said after posting a 6-3, 6-2 triumph in a first-round match at the OTB Open Monday. "I knew she (Majoli) would be tough. I had never played her, but I have heard about her."

Majoli began competing on the pro tour 10 months ago, soaring from obscurity to 100th in the world in less time than it takes to finish eighth grade.

"I'm happy with what I've done so far," said Majoli, whose career, although brief, exhibits an uncanny parallel to that of Seles.

Both were born and raised in Yugoslavia when it was still Yugoslavia. Both came to the United States to train at Nick Bolletteiri's Academy in Bradenton, Fla. And both prefer to punish opponents from the baseline with unladylike bullets, punctuated by those animal grunts.

"I don't try to copy her (Seles)," Majoli said. "I play my own game."

Which is quite formidable for somebody who is at least a year away from getting a driver's license.

By then, however, she might be able to hire a chauffeur. Majoli beat Lori McNeil in her hometown of Houston in April before dropping a close decision to Zina Garrison.

"Her (Majoli) spin has a lot of pressure and she has good length on her strokes," said Rittner, ranked 27th in the world. "But she does not have much experience. I knew she couldn't keep up that pace that she started."

Majoli needed to call the trainer halfway through the second set.

"My stomach was hurting," she said. "And I made too many mistakes."

After the five-minute stoppage while trainer Dave Casey applied ice and a wet towel to her face and neck, Majoli returned to action. She could have saved her breath. She committed four double faults while losing two service games at love, all on unforced errors.

Not that Rittner backed into the win. She displayed an all-court attack but with special relish for crisp volleys.

"I know I can beat anybody in this draw," Rittner said. "Players between 10 and 20 (world ranking), that's my level. I've already played a lot of players in the Top 10. I lost to (Arantxa) Sanchez in three sets in the Olympics. It's always very close when I play somebody above me."

Only 18, Rittner is already a close third to Steffi Graf and Anke Huber in Germany.

"I started two years ago and didn't expect I'd be where I am now," Rittner said.

She'll face Sandrine Testud in her second-round match. Testud defeated Linda Harvey-Wild 6-4, 6-1 Monday.

Florencia Labat of Argentina posted the only upset Monday. She knocked off the sixth seed, Natalia Medvedeva of the Ukraine, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Five women's qualifier matches were completed Monday. Advancing to the main draw were Stephane Rottier, Miriam Oremans, Shi-ting Wang and Ginger Helgeson.

Helgeson pounced on weary Elna Reinach, who was participating in her sixth three-set match since Thursday.

"I can't walk," Reinach said while nursing blisters.

The South African resident didn't arrive in Schenectady until Sunday afternoon because she was still competing in a tournament in Montreal. Then she played three long qualifying matches here before Helgeson stopped her drive for the main draw.

"There was a drastic change in temperature from Montreal to here," Reinach said. "It was cold up there. It's been quite hot here."

Although Reinach didn't make the singles draw here, she and Nicole Provis are the top-seeded doubles team.

"The blisters should be OK, I hope," Reinach said.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:48 PM   #96
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Re: 1992

SCHULTZ ADDS A LITTLE STYLE TO SUBSTANCE
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Wednesday, August 26, 1992
Bob Croce

Down a trail from Stadium Court, with its radar gun and 3,500 seats, Brenda Schultz struggled Tuesday to prove there was more to her game than a serve swifter than a Roger Clemens fastball.

Just when it appeared the defending OTB Open women's champion would become a first-round statistic on a Central Park surface unceremoniously named Court 6, she deserted her monstrous serve for drop shots and fades.

She fell back, forgot about draping her long arms in defense of the net, pounded out winners off baseline rallies, spun in serves instead of blasting away and survived her near-tennis-death experience.

Schultz, the fastest server on the Kraft Women's Tour, was a complete player while beating Pascale Paradis-Mangon, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The 21-year-old Dutchwoman came back when her serve produced double faults instead of aces; rallied after not only losing the opening act, but after falling behind 4-1 in what could have been the decisive second set.

"I never think that that's it, because I've come back in so many matches in my life. I always have hope; maybe that's why I still pulled it out," said fourth-seeded Schultz, whose win here last August was her first pro tournament victory. "The first set I lost 6-4, and I didn't know what happened. I was tight, my serve wasn't working and I got down and that was
it."

Schultz was one of four women's seeds to prevail Tuesday as top-seeded Helena Sukova, No. 2 Radka Zrubakova and No. 5 Laura Gildemeister advanced to the round of 16. Gildemeister, the 1989 OTB champion, beat American Susan Sloane-Lundy 6-3, 7-5, and Zrubakova took Barbara Paulus, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, seventh-seeded Nicole Provis of Australia was upset by Meike Babel 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 in what overall is a very weak women`s draw.

Sukova stayed alive with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dominique Monami, who upset the Czech at last year's Australian Open. "That`s the saddest part, she beat me in Australia," said Sukova, who next plays OTB regular Marianne Werdel. The American was a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Stephanie Rottier.

Monami played what Sukova called a frustrating match that didn't allow the Czech to learn the state of her game heading into the second round.

"It was very hard to find out because she was either going for winners or missing the ball," Sukova said. "It was hit or miss."

Schultz, whose only other championship came on grass in Birmingham, this year, next plays American Tami Whitlinger.

Trailing 4-1 in the second set, Schultz won the next seven games to discover herself suddenly up in the second set.

"I was feeling pretty good when I got up 4-1, but then she changed her strategy," Paradis-Mangon said. "She stayed back. We had a very important game at 4-2. I missed two easy volleys and allowed her to come back. She played better."

Schultz recorded important breaks at 5-4 of the second set and in the first game of the decisive set.

"I was playing poorly, but then something clicked. It was like 'OK, stay back,' and then I started winning the rallies with her," Schultz said. "I started to lay my serve in and just played in and won the rallies. I was a little bit lucky that she couldn't change with me."

Schultz said she also got a boost from the crowd of about 300, which lined up to watch behind a fence on a portable set of bleachers next to the court.

"There were some people yelling for me big-time and Pascale isn't that strong mentally," Schultz said. "When she lost her serve at 4-3, she knew I was back again."

Schultz said one fan charged her up more than the rest: a guy who yelled encouragement each time she won a game during her comeback.

"One crazy guy was just pulling for me big-time. That was pretty funny," Schultz said. "If I hadn't won here last year and people didn't know me, I might not have pulled this one out."

Schultz's all-around game suddenly makes her a threat to repeat here. A more complete game makes her serve even more effective, since no one else on the women's tour consistently reaches speeds of 100 mph or more.

"The first two games I just had to get used to it, although she didn't hit it as well as she usually does," said Paradis-Mangon, who also has one of the hardest serves on tour. "But I'm used to it because I practice with men who can hit the ball that hard."
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #97
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Re: 1992

GOING ON THE TOURNEY TRAIL
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Wednesday, August 26, 1992
Laura Vecsey

I'm out walking my dog in Central Park, the usual Tuesday morning romp through the fitness trails near my house, listening to the chirping birds and crickets, when my dog and I are stopped dead in our tracks by an unusual noise.

Thwack.

Thwack, thwack.

Not like the back and forth of the well-intentioned hackers who usually populate the park's tennis courts each morning. These were really hard smacks and thwacks. Gunshots. The kind of crushing hits that quickly eradicate the yellow fuzz from the bouncing balls.

"Gee, Sophie," I wonder out loud to my canine companion. "What's going on here?"

A little deeper into the park, my dog and I happen upon a tree that has, oddly enough, sprouted a color television set. We gaze up the craggy bark, where a Sony has been strapped a little above eye level, and watch two guys in white zigzagging across the serene, green screen. There's no audio emanating from this lonesome tube, but soon enough, an amplified voice pulses, God-like and calmly, through the trees: "Game and first set, Ferreira."

Very unusual.

I tug on my dog's leash and we wander through to a clearing, startled to find ourselves suddenly in the sweaty presence of some of the world's top-ranked tennis players. In fact, a few more steps and we're right up to the fence, watching the world's No. 12 player, Wayne Ferreira, doing away with his opponent in straight sets in front of a couple of dozen tennis fans dressed to kill in K-Swiss and Ellesse court gear.

"Oh, that's right," I say to myself, all the contextual clues clicking into a revelation. "It's time for the OTB Open Tennis Tournament!"

How appropriate that I could sort of just wander into the thick of this $255,000 pro event almost by accident. How telling this low-key, dog-walking entrance is about the tone of this tournament. If you didn't know there were some big names battling for some big bucks on these pastoral city courts, you would never, ever guess. No hordes, no fees, none of the mess usually associated with big-time sports extravaganzas.

The names and accomplishments of the OTB's top seeds belie the neighborhood atmosphere of this tournament, one that has sprouted wildly over the past 11 years from a $3,400 event to its current quarter-million-dollar status.

With the U.S. Open set to start next week in steamy Flushing Meadows, this event in the heart of Schenectady has grown up to be an important, hard-court tune-up for the final Grand Slam.

The OTB tournament has done all of this without losing its grass-roots feeling, mostly because it is free. Free, as in no charge to the public. Free, as in free to wander in by accident or intent. Free, as in free to drift from court to court to watch some of the stars and rising stars on the men's and women's international tennis tour.

There's enough involved to warrant tighter security against absent-minded dog walkers. There's certainly enough star attraction to warrant ticket sales. There's Michael Stich, a guy we've seen doing damage at Grand Slam events. There's Helena Sukova, the woman who has had some of her finer moments against the likes of Martina Navratilova. These top seeds, and the 62 others in the tournament, will try to bolster their annual earnings with a win in the finals Sunday, worth $18,700 for the men and $18,000 (that's $18,700 MINUS $700) for the women.

But the tournament has earned its great reputation because it has remained a "gift" from OTB to the community. Such benevolence and altruism have not been lost on the hundreds of spectators who have in the past queued up for one of the precious few 4,500 stadium seats for finals.

The unique quality of the tournament - the only pro tour prize money event in the world that charges no admission - has not been lost on players like Ferreira, the No. 3 seed.

Ferreira, whose first-round stadium match Tuesday was simulcast to the treed-TVs in Central Park, speaks for almost all the players who come back again and again to Schenectady.

"I like to play here," Ferreira said. "I have fun here because it's so relaxing. It's one of the few times I get to spend outdoors, out in the open, in nature."

Where dog walkers are so freely transformed into tennis gawkers.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #98
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Re: 1992

ZRUBAKOVA NOT TOO SICK TO WIN
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Thursday, August 27, 1992
Buzz Gray

Imagine suffering a fever, sore throat and a cough on a day when the humidity would choke a giraffe. Then imagine trying to go out and play a tennis match.

Radka Zrubakova of Czechoslovakia not only did it, she won it. The No. 2 women's seed at the OTB Open sucked it all up and then blew away Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2 on a sweltering Wednesday afternoon in which many of the players wilted at Central Park.

"Today was the worst," said Zrubakova, who downplayed her discomfort. "I felt real bad. But I got through it somehow."

The Czech right-hander is not only laboring with the flu but also in the shadow of countrywoman and top seed Helena Sukova here.

"That's OK," Zrubakova said. "Once before, in Brussels, Helena was also the No. 1 and I was the No. 2 seed. It worked out good for me. Helena lost in the quarterfinals and I won the tournament."

It could happen here. Zrubakova possesses the talent, and certainly the intestinal fortitude, to beat anyone in the draw. And if she could take out Oremans on a sick day, think what she'll do when she's in top form.

"I have tomorrow (today) off, so that should give me a chance to get better," said Zrubakova, who flew in Sunday from Czechoslovakia.

She is married to Ladidan Karabin, a member of the Czech national hockey team.

"We get to see each other enough," she said. "I usually go home every two or three weeks. That's more than enough. I'm usually ready to leave again by then."

While she was gutting out her victory over Oremans, Sukova had the day off and spent it watching the horses at Saratoga.

Meanwhile, No. 3 Barbara Rittner of Germany and Sandrine Testud of France were just the latest victims in the oven, better known as the Stadium Court.

"Well, I wouldn't want to play it again," said Rittner, who held on for a 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3 triumph. "We played like three hours."

The two looked like wet rag dolls when they trudged off the court.

"My big mistake was I let her play her game," Rittner said.

But Testud saw it differently.

"Those (high lobs) made it difficult for me," Testud said. "I changed my game. My game is to come to the net."

Actually, she did. Yet probably not enough. Testud smacked some beautiful volleys off the lines. In the end, though, she flubbed a sitter on her final service game. It would have given her the game. Rittner eventually broke and the match was over.

"I made big mistakes at bad moments," Testud said.

That clambake was similar to the marathon bake-off at the sizzling Stadium earlier when Helen Kelesi staggered off with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 decision over Meike Babel. Kelesi somehow staved off dehydration to advance to the quarterfinals.

The other two women's singles matches were also grueling three-setters. Last year's finalist, Alexia Dechaume, finally put a stop to qualifier Shi-ting Wang's run. Dechaume eliminated the Taiwan top-spinner, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Wang had raced through three qualifying matches over the weekend and then upset No. 8 seed Rachel McQuillan of Australia in the first round.

In Wednesday's other women's singles affair, Florencia Labat of Argentina survived a stiff challenge from Chanda Rubin of Louisiana, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The women will complete their second round with three matches today. Sukova will face two-time finalist Marianne Werdel of California in the headliner.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #99
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Re: 1992

WERDEL TURNS UP THE HEAT
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Friday, August 28, 1992
Laura Vecsey

Talk about the dog days of summer!

Thursday was just about the doggiest. Heat. Heat. Humidity and more heat. Hot enough to turn the Central Park tennis courts into a place where only the Keebler elves could thrive.

And Marianne Werdel, a Californian who admits her best tennis is played on dog day afternoons.

It was under these prime conditions that the unseeded Werdel picked off the No. 1 seed, Helena Sukova, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the second round of the OTB Open Tennis Tournament.

Not even a yapping and whining German shepherd puppy that someone had leashed to a shady elm proved too distracting to Werdel in her straight set dismissal of Sukova, the world's 15th-ranked player.

The canine commenced crying during warmups, but it wasn't until Werdel took a 2-1 lead in the first set that she decided to take action. The 24-year-old baseliner strolled up to the umpire's chair.

"Can you send someone to shut that dog up?" Werdel inquired.

A ball boy was sent on the silencing mission, which must have proved difficult, since the dog continued to howl as the women played to 4-all.

However, by the time it was 5-all, all was quiet in the sweltering city park. Werdel held serve to go ahead 6-5, then broke Sukova to win the first set.

Werdel, a hard-hitting baseliner, used her penchant for passing shots to keep the towering Sukova from getting to the net. It's there that the 6-foot-2 Czech is capable of doing damage to opponents. On Thursday, Sukova was robbed of her serve-and-volley tactics.

"My shots were off," Sukova said. "I wasn't putting any pressure on her and I needed to get to the net more."

In the second set, Sukova got the first break to go up 3-1. However, she found no other opportunities to pull away from Werdel, who got back to two breaks to make it 6-all.

In the tie-breaker, the women were tied at 3-all when Werdel turned the tables on Sukova and ventured to the net, where she angled a volley winner to take a 4-3 lead.

Deflated, Sukova then committed two unforced errors off her forehand and ended the match on a double fault.

"Half of myself was there and half was not," Sukova said.

The win moved Werdel into today's quarterfinals against 18-year-old Stepahanie Rottier. It also helped continue her pleasant, successful string at the OTB Open. Werdel was a semifinalist last year and a finalist in 1990 and '89.

"I love it here," Werdel said. "I grew up in hot weather and if I look back at the tournaments where I've done well, they're always the hottest places."

This was Werdel's first win over Sukova in three chances.

"If there's a place to play (Sukova), it's here," Werdel said. "These are my favorite conditions - the weather, the court, which is a little slow." Everything went her way, Werdel said, except for that barking dog.

"I thought it was funny because when I practice with my coach on his private court, there's a dog next door that's always barking," Werdel said. "You can block it out when you're playing but between points, it's definitely annoying."

Werdel could be in for a little more annoyance today when she faces Rottier, an 18-year-old Dutchwoman who also sent a top seed packing Thursday.

Rottier, a qualifier in this $255,000 tournament, defeated No. 5 seed Laura Gildemeister (6-4, 6-4) on the grandstand court. It was a well-matched baseline slugfest that turned Rottier's way on the failure of Gildemeister's serve.

At 4-all in the first set, Rottier broke Gildemeister to take a 5-4 lead and served for the set.

In the second set, Gildemeister doubled-faulted on game point to give Rottier a 2-1 lead. The 26-year-old Peruvian broke right back, but again could not hold serve -- double-faulting for a second time to lose her serve.

The trouble continued at 4-all, when Gildemeister double-faulted again to lose the game, allowing Rottier to serve for the match.

"My serve was very bad," Gildemeister said. "It made my very tentative. It seemed like everytime I had a chance, I would double fault."

In the other women's singles match of the day, hard-serving Brenda Schultz was an easy winner. The No. 4 seed plays Helen Kelesi in the first stadium match of the day.

The other two women's quarterfinals pit No. 3 Barbara Rittner against. Alexia Dechaume in a grandstand match, while No. 2 Radka Zrubakova plays Florencia Labat on Court 6.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:54 PM   #100
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Re: 1992

CONFIDENT SCHULTZ BOOMS INTO SEMIS
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Saturday, August 29, 1992
Laura Vecsey

Cocky?

This is definitely not the way Brenda Schultz would describe herself.

If you want to talk about confidence, about being self-assured, well, that's OK. That's a reality for Schultz, the 21-year-old towering Dutchwoman with the booming serve.

One full year after Schultz won her first major tournament on the city tennis courts in Central Park, she appears poised to ace her way to a repeat performance.

Schultz, showing her confidence, blasted her way to victory Friday, defeating Canadian Helen Kelesi 6- 2, 6-3 in a quarterfinal of the OTB Open Tennis Tournament.

Schultz's decisive win moved her into today's semifinals against Argentinian Florencia Labat, who also won her quarterfinal match Friday. Labat knocked off the tournament's highest remaining seed, (No. 2) Radka Zubrakova, in a three-set baseline battle.

Today's other women's singles semifinal will pit Barbara Rittner (No.3) against OTB Open success story Marianne Werdel. Rittner, from Germany, defeated Alexis Dechaume in their quarterfinal match. Werdel, who is unseeded, dispatched 18-year-old qualifier Stephane Rottier, 6-4, 6-4.

Schultz, who had never won a major tournament before her victory in last year's OTB Open, has returned to Schenectady with even more firepower, the kind it will take to produce the first repeat champion in the 11-year history of the event.

Schultz's serve - which has been clocked at 120 mph - remains the fastest on the women's tour.

Kelesi, ranked as high as No. 13 back in 1990, did a good job blocking back many of Schultz's blistering first serves. But after a match in which Schultz produced some very timely aces, Kelesi was the first to admit that Schultz's thunder was too hard to steal against.

"I think she just played really well," Kelesi said. "She gave me no chance to get into rhythm, and her serving so well put so much pressure on my serve."

Since last year, Schultz has shed a few pounds, making it easier to move her 6-foot-2 frame around the court. More important, she has tuned up her play at the net. The improvement was quite evident Friday, when a crushing serve-and-volley game was on display.

"Now, even if I miss my first serve, I'm able to get some good volleys," said Schultz, who said the improvement was a result of playing doubles and her coach Juan Nunez's instruction.

"Before when I would win, I would tell myself it was because 'Yeah, she was playing badly,' " Schultz admitted. "It's just part of your character, I guess. But I would always be on the negative side."

Now, Schultz said, with her game reinforced by hard work, she`s beginning to believe it when her coach says she played well, that she was the better player.

"It took awhile for it to sink in," Schultz said. "But when you win points, you're more confident. I'm starting to believe in it more. Tennis has a lot to do with confidence."

The change of attitude has not gone unnoticed.

"I've had people tell me I'm being cocky," said an amused Schultz. "This is not me, though. I would never tell anybody I`m going to win a tournament. That would be too much pressure to do that. I'd rather see it round for round."

In the next round, Schultz plays Labat, a baseliner who showed patience in her 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Zubrakova. Labat lost a three-set tiebreaker to Schultz on clay at Amelia Island. That experience has bolstered Labat's confidence, too.

"If I can return her serve, I have a chance to win," Labat said.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #101
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Re: 1992

WERDEL RIGHT AT HOME IN SCHENECTADY
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Saturday, August 29, 1992
Joe Layden

If it's Saturday, this must be Schenectady.

And if it's Saturday in Schenectady, in late August, it must be time for the semifinals of the OTB Open tennis tournament, which means Marianne Werdel must be in town.

Right?

"Yup," Werdel said with a broad smile yesterday at Central Park. "Made it again."

If you've spent any time here in recent years (and if you haven't, well, that's your loss), you've come to expect a few things. You expect great tennis without having to pay a penny to watch it. You expect not-so-great food that will cost you as much as you should have paid to watch the tennis. You expect to park a mile away. You expect it to rain. You expect everyone, players included, to comment on what a "nice" little tournament this is.

You also expect Marianne Werdel to cruise through the first three rounds and into the semifinals. No logical explanation for it, really. It just happens. Summer after summer. In a tournament that has never seen a female champion repeat - a tournament whose field changes dramatically each year - Werdel is a constant.

It doesn't matter what sort of year she's had, or what sort of year she will have after she leaves. While in Schenectady, she wins. Not all of her matches, mind you, but most of them. It's been that way since 1989, when she first came to the OTB Open. Werdel was 21 then, barely ranked in the top 100, and yet she reached the finals. The next year she returned. Again she reached the finals, and again she lost. In 1991 she made it to the semis before
losing.

And now, once again, here is Marianne Werdel. Friday afternoon, despite playing a flawed match on Stadium Court, she defeated Stephanie Rottier, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year. Why this has happened is anyone's guess. By her own assessment, Werdel has had an inconsistent year. She did not come into Schenectady on any kind of a roll - in fact, her computer ranking had slipped to 70, well below what it was at
the end of 1991. She has had good weeks and bad weeks, but no great weeks, nothing to indicate she might be on the verge of winning her first tour title. Except, of course, that this is Schenectady, and for some reason Marianne Werdel, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed native of Los Angeles and resident of Palo Alto - in sum, a Californian through to the bone - is rather fond of this little corner of the Northeast.

"I think a lot of it is that this is my favorite surface, and I'm gearing up for (next week's U.S.) Open," Werdel said. "Also, this is the only time of the year that my coach from home can come with me. That really helps." When told of that compliment, the coach seemed genuinely flattered. His name is John Hubbell and he is also the men's coach at San Jose State. Typically, he works with Werdel only when she is home, but in August and September he travels to New York for the U.S. Open and a few other tournaments. On the road, he said, it isn't so much a matter of coaching as lending a sympathetic ear.

"Sometimes a player just needs to hear they're doing something right," Hubbell said.

What Werdel is doing most effectively this week is what she always does: hitting the ball hard. Very hard. As hard as she possibly can. This is a woman who does not believe in volleys or drop shots or artistry. This is a woman who appears to be legitimately angry at the ball.

"Every shot," Rottier said after their match, shaking her head in disbelief. "She hits the ball so hard every shot."

With such baseline battering comes the occasional, even frequent, mistake. Werdel nearly blew a 5-2 second-set lead Friday, but ultimately regained her composure to take her customary spot in the semis.

"It feels good when you haven't played your best but you still manage to find a way to win," Werdel said.

No doubt, because if she does play her best these last two days, she may finally leave Central Park with a championship.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:56 PM   #102
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Re: 1992

POLITE, TALENTED SCHULTZ'S GAME CHANGES, GROWS
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Sunday, August 30, 1992
Joe Layden

For two consecutive summers I've watched Brenda Schultz march through the women's draw in the OTB Internation Tennis Open; watched with a mix of awe and admiration as she overpowered opponents with 110 mph serves and graceful volleys.

She was the champion of this tournament in 1991, and by this afternoon she may well be the champion again. Considering the way she has played this week, it will be something of a surprise if she does not repeat, even though her opponent, Barbara Rittner of Germany, is actually seeded higher.

Schultz is the No. 4 seed, Rittner No. 3, but Schultz, despite an occasional lapse, has been the dominant player in this tournament. Saturday she advanced to the final with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Florencia Labat of Argentina. In that match the many strengths of Schultz were clearly on display: her size and speed, her booming serve and agile net play. Also on display was perhaps the one thing that has prevented her from breaking into the elite of professional tennis: her personality.

Excuse me?

Sorry. That didn't come out right. The truth of the matter is, 21-year-old Schultz is as pleasant and good-natured and genuinely likeable as any of the pros who descended upon Central Park last week. There is, as far as I can tell, none of the tennis brat in her, which may stem from the fact that she learned the game in The Netherlands, and not in the United States, where tennis brats seem to grow like weeds.

How many professional tennis players, for example, would have reacted as Schultz did in the second set Saturday? She had watched a 4-1 lead dissolve to 5-3, and now Labat held a 40-love lead in the ninth game. Labat sent a forehand down the line. The linesman called the ball out. Labat looked to the chair umpire and asked him to overrule. Before he had the chance to make a decision, Schultz walked off the court and took her seat, thus acknowledging that the ball was good and the point and game were Labat's.

The crowd, appropriately enough, responded with a loud ovation.

"I'm very bad at that," Schultz said afterward. "When I don't give the point, I feel so bad I lose the next point anyway."

She tried to downplay the incident by noting that the score was 40-love, and that Labat probably would have won the game anyway. Still, it wasn't like the match was over. That point cut Schultz's lead to just 5-4, and while she did go on to win, it was still a dramatic, noble and admirable gesture on her part.

And, unfortunately, one you don't often see from Top 10 players, which, perhaps, is why they are Top 10 players, and Schultz is ranked 29th.

You give nothing away at that level, even when you should. It's sad, but true. Schultz, for instance, remembers a match with Monica Seles in which Schultz made several calls against herself - calls that benefited her opponent. Later in the match, she said, Seles drilled a ball through the net. Seles knew it. Schultz knew it. But the chair umpire did not. Schultz appealed to Seles' honor, only to have Seles claim that she believed the ball had gone over the net. Schultz lost the point but learned a lesson.

"I guess in this world," she said, "it's no good to be good. I'm much more careful about that now."

And yet, there she was Saturday, walking off the court, giving up a point and a game.

Oh well. Change takes time, right? In other ways, at least, Schultz has developed a world-class game. Repeatedly this week she has demonstrated a versatility that was largely missing a year ago. She still has the biggest serve on the women's tour, but that power has been neatly supplemented. Schultz will throw in the occasional drop shot or slice. If someone starts teeing off on her serve, she will cut back on the pace and concentrate on placement. She also covers more of the court, a direct result, she said, of having cut a few pounds from her 6-foot-2 frame.

"In my mind, it's always been power, power, power," Schultz said. "But I've learned that I can win the point on the second or third shot. It doesn't have to be an ace every time. You have to mix things up."

Strategy, technique, physical ability - Schultz would seem to have designed for herself the perfect blueprint for stardom. Now, if only she could learn to be a little less benevolent.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #103
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Re: 1992

WOMEN SHOW PAIN, POWER
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Sunday, August 30, 1992
Buzz Gray

Two matches, too quick, too bad. That's how the women's semifinals unraveled at the fast-forward OTB Open tennis tournament Saturday.

A pain in the neck ended the first one while a dominating serve controlled the second. Consequently, it will now be Barbara Rittner's turn to try to wrestle the title away from defending champion Brenda Schultz. The two meet in today's final at noon.

"You want to win because you're better. You don't want to win because your opponent is hurt," said third-seeded Rittner after her opponent, Marianne Werdel, was forced to retire after the first set.

"I must have slept on it (neck) the wrong way," Werdel said. "I don't really know what caused it. But I couldn't stretch wide at all."

Werdel made a gutsy effort to participate anyway, hoping to play her way out of the pain. It didn't happen.

"It got stiffer as the match went on," Werdel said. "It was inhibiting my motion."

Rittner sailed through the first set in 24 minutes, winning 6-1 without breaking a sweat.

"From the first practice ball, I could see she wasn't hitting the ball that hard," Rittner said about Werdel. "And she didn't serve well at all."

Werdel, the Californian who has reached the final twice and semifinal once in three previous appearances here, plays almost exclusively a power game. When that was nullified by the stiff neck, she was a sitting duck.

"It's not a good feeling," Werdel said. "But things like that happen. I have had back problems my whole career."

Werdel tried hot packs and stretching earlier Saturday morning in hopes of loosening the muscles in her lower neck and upper back. But the cool, windy conditions on Stadium Court proved to be a factor as much as Rittner.

"It's not as frustrating when you play and lose as when you have to retire with an injury," said Werdel, who has come close but come up short in four consecutive years here.

Rittner, the world's 27th-ranked player from Germany, was aware of Werdel's popularity among the fans and even suggested a linesman's unfavorable call was to help the American.

"I think they thought, 'Well, she really cannot play,' so they wanted to help her a little," Rittner said.

Realistically, line calls played no part in the brief match as Rittner pounced for the quick kill.

"I could see it was worse if she hit a backhand," Rittner said. "So I started to serve kick serves to her backhand side."

In no time, Werdel was cooked. When Rittner served out the lopsided set, Werdel walked to the sidelines and slipped on a jacket, signaling the conclusion of play and already thinking of next year.

So was Schultz on the neighboring Grandstand Court. Although her opponent, Florencia Labat of Argentina, was not injured, she too was feeling pain. This came about because Schultz was crushing the air out of balls with blistering serves and volleys.

"My mind is totally power, power, power," said Schultz, fastest female server in the world. "Ever since I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a big server. I practiced it all the time."

Labat knows it. She tried to return it only to pop up little yellow balloons over the net. Schultz plucked them off like juicy plums on a branch. All was going Schultz's way until halfway through the second set, when Labat began to dial in her timing a little better.

"I stopped waiting until the ball was behind me before trying to hit it," said Labat. "I tried hitting it in front more."

The result was some clean-cut winners that startled Schultz.

"It's hard when you're winning your serve so easily, when there's no pressure, and suddenly it changes," Schultz said. "I got a little tight."

Serving to make it 5-1 in the second set, Schultz lost 10 straight points and found herself in a struggle. That's also about the time when the men's quarterfinal match between Wayne Ferreira and Richard Fromberg on Stadium Court ended.

"Lots of people suddenly came," Schultz said. "I knew I could not be broken again."

She cranked up the master blaster again and won the final game decidedly and fittingly by slamming a volley into the atmosphere.

"I think I finished it up on time," said Schultz, who will now meet Rittner for the second time this year. Rittner beat Schultz at the Australian Open , 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #104
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Re: 1992

GERMAN UNSEATS SCHULTZ
The Times Union
Albany, NY
Monday, August 31, 1992
Bob Croce

Moments after the final forehand smacked wide into the doubles lane, bouncing into the arms of a ballgirl, Barbara Rittner edged toward the Stadium Court bleachers.

Soon as the chair umpire barked game, set and match, the German went searching for the arms of her coach, Jan Kurz, who Sunday sat strategically between a mass of neon orange hats and Ray Bans worn by some midcourt OTB Open fans.

Before she could be presented the women's championship trophy, which looks remarkably like a giant goldfish bowl, Rittner mugged Kurz with a hug, an embrace that thanked him for a year of tennis development; a year during which she went from being a nameless first-round opponent to out-thwacking opponents who turn up regularly in the Top 20.

Fourth-seeded Brenda Schultz's final unforced error had supplied the means for third-seeded Barbara Rittner's first major tour championship, and the student would first celebrate with her teacher. "I just said, 'Thank you,' " Rittner said of her conversation with Kurz after beating OTB's defending champion Schultz, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

"It's just a really good feeling," Rittner said. "I played one final last year in St. Petersburg (Russia), but I lost it 6-4 in the third (to Larisa Savchenko). Then you're in the final again, and you really want to win it.

"Then it's a very close match and suddenly it's all over and you've won it ... I'm just really happy," said Rittner, who held her trophy aloft after the presentation and saluted to the four corners of the stadium as if she had done this several times before.

This was the peak of her remarkable last year and a half. Since January of '91, Rittner, 19, has gone from being the 110th-ranked women's player in the world to 27th, where she stood as of Friday.

Along the way she has beaten a batch of Top 50 players, and some in the Top 20, including Leila Meskhi and Julie Halard. She even went three rounds in the U.S. Open.

"I knew from the beginning I could beat everyone here in the tournament and I just tried to go for it," said Rittner, who lost just one set the entire five rounds. "I took every match, match after match. Today I played very good tennis, and I won because I was a little bit better than her today."

Suddenly, Rittner feels she is playing her best tennis ever, a groove that could make her a dangerous opponent for one of the reigning queens of the court at next week's U.S. Open. For starters, she'll play unheralded Czech Andrea Strnadova in the first round.

"For sure it gives me a lot of confidence. If you win a tournament you played in to prepare for the U.S. Open, then it's always a good feeling," Rittner said. "You go on the court more confident than some other players because you know you are in good shape and have just won a tournament by beating a lot of good players."

Schultz, another woman who has enjoyed a meteoric rise the past year - landing at 32nd heading into this tourney - was beaten by a combination of her own loss of poise and Rittner's cool, steady play.

Schultz's renowned serve, the fastest on the women's tour, left the Dutchwoman early in the match and never returned.

"There's no way I can lose my serve that much," said Schultz, who was broken twice in the match. "I wasn't serving the same. My toss wasn't good. My toss has a lot to do with my serve. I guess I wasn't tossing the ball right.

"She returned very well right from the beginning. She was right on my feet. So from the beginning she had a very good feeling on my serve."

And while Schultz's serve was failing, so was her play at the net, particularly on drop shots in the first set, which missed lines most of the time. Overall, Schultz committed 24 unforced errors in the first set.

"It's weird, just so weird. I don't know what to do sometimes when I'm on the court," said Schultz, who had played nearly flawlessly here before Sunday. "It's like, 'What should I do? Should I come in, which is my strongest game? Or should I stay back?' I should have stayed back more today."

Schultz's loss of composure was something for which Rittner waited. She had played and beaten Schultz once before, but had seen her play many times.

"I know Brenda: she can play very, very good points and then, like that game for two-love in the second set, she served two double faults. That's the way she loses these close matches," said Rittner, adding that the possibility Schultz might lose her poise was also planted by the man she thanked first when it was over.

"He always remembers and mentions those things to me, for sure," Rittner said.
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 07:16 PM   #105
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Re: 1992

Articles from a quaint grass-court tournament:

WIMBLEDON GRASS NEEDS BREAKING IN
The Miami Herald
Thursday, June 18, 1992
AMY NIEDZIELKA

This Saturday afternoon, four mature ladies from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club will take Centre Court to play the annual pre- Wimbledon women's doubles match.

The grass on Centre Court, which goes unused except around the time of the tournament, is so crisp that it needs to be broken in. It is a gentle process, really, according to Wimbledon public-relations consultant Sue Youngman, which explains why men are not selected to do it.

"The grass is very young and fresh and needs to be beaten up a bit," Youngman said. "But it doesn't need to be killed."

The women are chosen from among the All England Club's 375 permanent members. They tend to be elderly. The selection process is informal and, if there ever is a debate about who gets to play, "it will be sorted out in some civilized way," Youngman said.

It is not open to the public. Players' names are not released. Ages are not available, but none of the junior members is up for selection. Score is kept, but not for any official record.

"It's not a match, as such," said Judy Miller, who works at the players' desk. "It's just a nice little hit."

Immediately after the tournament, All England Club Chairman John Curry will use Centre Court to play a few men's doubles matches. Once the men are through, the court will be dug up and reseeded for next year's Wimbledon.

**********

Chris Evert is finding her second career as a television analyst challenging. It's difficult being the most inexperienced voice in the booth.

"Mary Carillo puts a lot of pressure on someone like me because she's so good at it," Evert said. "The toughest thing is being a reporter. They want more of that . . . going down to the locker room, getting down and dirty. That sort of goes against my nature.

"It's not tough for me to be critical. I can see that Monica Seles needs to work on her volley, needs to work on her first serve. I'm fine with criticism.

"But they want me, basically, to be a reporter, go into the locker room, talk to players, find out about their lives and tell stories. It has taken time for me to learn about doing that," Evert said during a news conference announcing her Oct. 31-Nov. 1 tournament in Boca Raton, the 1992 Chris Evert/Phar-Mor Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic.

Evert, who will help cover Wimbledon and the Mazda Classic in San Diego for NBC, said she hasn't missed tennis since her son Alex was born eight months ago.

"When I was about seven months pregnant, big, fat and bloated, I watched Martina (Navratilova) and Jimmy (Connors) playing TeamTennis, and Jimmy at the U.S. Open," she said. "And for about three days I thought: 'God, I want to get into shape, play TeamTennis, get those highs back.'

"But as soon as I had the baby, as soon as I saw that new person, that vision quickly diminished. I thought, 'What do I need that for?' "

*********

Monday through Friday, June 22-26: 5-7:30 p.m.; highlights from 7:30-8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to midnight (HBO).

Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28: noon to 3 p.m. (Chs. 4, 5).

Monday, June 29: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and highlights 11:35-11:50 p.m. (Chs. 4, 5); 5-7:30 p.m. and highlights 7:30-8 p.m. (HBO).

Tuesday, June 30: women's quarterfinals 5-7:30 p.m. and highlights 7:30-8 p.m. (HBO); 11:35-11:50 p.m. highlights (Chs. 4, 5).

Wednesday, July 1: men's quarterfinals, 10 a.m. to noon and 11:35-11:50 p.m. highlights (Chs. 4, 5); 5-7:30 p.m. and highlights 7:30-8 p.m. (HBO).

Thursday, July 2: women's semifinals, 1-5 p.m. and highlights from 11:35-11:50 p.m. and 12:50-2:50 a.m. (Chs. 4, 5); 5-7:30 p.m. and highlights 7:30-8 p.m. (HBO).

Friday, July 3: men's semifinals, 1-5 p.m. and highlights
from 11:35 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. (Chs. 4, 5); 5-7:30 p.m. and highlights 7:30-8 p.m. (HBO).

Saturday, July 4: women's final (live), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Chs. 4, 5).

Sunday, July 5: men's final (live), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Chs. 4, 5).
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