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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:47 AM   #1801
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by orfgab View Post
Hello, I found this on the net. It's an old article. I don't remember reading it before. Sorry if it has been already posted.

http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/1...10231819.shtml

Corriere della Sera

-L' ADDIO . L' argentina lascia l' attivita' a soli 26 anni: atteso per domani a New York l' annuncio TITOLO: Gabriela dice basta: si ritira la piu' bella del tennis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E stata "la bella Gaby" e le attribuirono flirt di ogni tipo, da quello con un tennista italiano (vai col refrain del latin lover) di aspetto gradevole ma di racchetta mediocre, a, perfino, quello con una biondina, fatto che fece infuriare, fino al limite dell' aggressione fisica, el senor Osvaldo, ingegnere della General Motors in pensione. E ancora bella Gaby, a 26 anni, nel fiore degli anni, come si diceva una volta, ma non per il tennis. Domani, a New York, Gabriela dovrebbe annunciare il suo ritiro, previsto dopo il Masters femminile a novembre, se le daranno una wild card, visto che ora, sebbene abbia vinto due volte il torneo (1988 94), e' precipatata al numero 29 del ranking mondiale: lo ha detto una portavoce della WTA, il sindacato femminile che perde probabilmente la tennista piu' amata del circuito. Ha vinto l' ultimo torneo nel gennaio 1995 a Sydney, quest' anno non si era presentata ne' a Parigi, ne' a Wimbledon, sofferente di malanni muscolari che ormai le impedivano di giocare il suo tennis per cui si era distinta dalle altre grazie a una migliore predisposizione per il gioco a rete. Gabriela, nata a Buenos Aires da una famiglia benestante, resa miliardaria, ha doppia residenza: villa a Key Biscayne e ranch nella Pampa. Piu' di tutte, riuniva i gusti del pubblico, sia maschile sia femminile. Roma era diventata Gabylandia, in onore delle sue 4 vittorie al Foro. Piaceva a tutti, perche' aveva nel suo aspetto una certa mascolinita' che, pero' , non schiacciava mai la femminilita' . Piaceva a tutti perche' e' stata, dal 1989 al 1993 una numero 3, fuori dai dualismi Graf Navratilova prima, Graf Seles poi. In fondo una tennista fragile, spesso zavorrata, oltre le lacune tecniche, dalla paura. E stata campionessa del mondo jr a 14 anni, nel 1984: da allora, alternando alle invenzioni nei campi a quelle di profumi e linee di moda, Gaby ha vinto 27 tornei, il piu' importante a New York nel ' 90, l' unico Slam. Aveva percorso, fino a quel momento, quando si creo' un gioco a rete per superare Steffi Graf, la strada di un tennis sicuro, regolare, quasi sempre imposto dai genitori preoccupati di proteggere le loro figlie come quelli che ordinano: "torna alle 11, non piu' tardi". Ora la sua storia sportiva e' finita e, in un ' 96 non certo esaltante per il tennis mondiale, dove ormai scarseggiano i tennisti di valore, fa male al cuore assistere al lungo addio di Gabriela Sabatini e Stefan Edberg.

Perrone Roberto


Thanks.

I've already read this article. 1996 was an awful year for me. My favourites players (Sabatini and Edberg) both retired.
About "Don Osvaldo", I remember that an italian journalist made some insinuations about Gabriela and this mysterious blonde girl (always the same bad taste gossip based on nothing ..... in Italy we say "the mother of the idiot is always pregnant") which became very angry Mr. Osvaldo. Right!
About "italian latin lover" was called Eugenio Rossi, a roman guy, a little brain and a mediocre tennis player (I knew him because he was associated to the same tennis club frequented my father and sometimes I met him). Who knows why Gabriela liked him so much. He was certainly a nice guy .... but that imbecile. The usual "Pariolino" ...
However, once it was not a silly gossip. Both of them Gaby and Rossi (obviuosly!) confirmed that they had attended for a while even though he described this relationship as a platonic friendship and, like a perfect italian latin lover, after a while he become tired of her (that idiot!). I never realized why these people speaks publicly of private matters, It's not so kind say things like that about a girl: "visto che non me la dai ti mollo" (I can't translate it). Seduced and abandoned, poor Gaby

So it was confirmed the usual cliche of itlaian macho.....shit!

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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 10:01 AM   #1802
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

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Originally Posted by Aldebaran View Post

So it was confirmed the usual cliche of italian macho.....shit!
That's why she chose a german guy the next time.
I remember reading a few lines about that man in Tennis Magazine. They used it to explain her defeat in Wimbledon 1989. But Gaby denied having a relationship with him. "Just a friend", like Perez-Roldan and the others. What struck me in the article was the reference to Gaby's father. He always looked so quiet (probably very nervous inside, you could see it), I have a hard time imagining him becoming so agressive. But of course, he had to protect his daughter. It's a different thing than screaming around the tennis court because the other player is winning.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:39 PM   #1803
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

[quote=orfgab;15246158] That's why she chose a german guy the next time.
I remember reading a few lines about that man in Tennis Magazine. They used it to explain her defeat in Wimbledon 1989. But Gaby denied having a relationship with him. "Just a friend", like Perez-Roldan and the others.



That nonsense. Gaby wouldn't have never lost for such stupid reason.....Eugenio Rossi, impossible!

Of course, usually journalists tend to exasperate some facts. Gaby comes out with a guy a couple of times and suddenly this fact is on a newspaper and immediately journalists say she has a new boyfriend, even if nothing happened....

And about german boy, he wasn't so better than Rossi. I don't want defend Rossi, he was a stupid guy, but this german guy (called Frank...If I remember well) once was interviewed by a german newspaper and he has said things quite unpleasant about Gaby. Not a gentleman! I've read this article on a board once and I became furious

Rossi was a little less rude, he said that they had seen only few times, always in the presence of Gaby's coach, brother or father (was this girl continuously monitored?) And only once they were left alone for going to the cinema. But as the relationship was platonic and nothing ever happened (.....) in the end he was tired and no longer seen her. Obviously this is the version of Rossi. Who knows what really happened. Maybe Gaby has realized that he was really too stupid to continue to waste time with him.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:58 PM   #1804
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

I know, I've read what both of them said. Rossi didn't say anything rude for me. But the german guy, that's another story. Nevertheless, I read once that he denied having spoken about their relationship. So, who knows? Maybe, this is an invention of the tabloids. Or maybe, he spoke with the press and the journalists made her words more rude than they were.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 04:33 PM   #1805
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

The article about Frank was published by The Sun. Talking about credibility.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #1806
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

True or not, it's never pleasant (and with Mewshaw's book some time after, she must have felt really comfortable ). It's not surprising that she makes everything she can to be discreet. She has always been scrutinized from the beginning, and it was hard. I recently read an old article again. It's about her retirement, but also Kimiko Date's retirement ( funny anecdote: Date is making a come-back). The journalist writes about their common traits: their silence and their sportsmanship. And that's it, I think: Gabriela was profoundly unhappy behind those silences: it was not in her nature to respond to the attacks, and she was the kind of person who keeps everything for herself. It was easier to attack someone like her than someone who responds more violently.

I post the article, but I guess every Gaby's fan already knows it.

http://www.tennisserver.com/netgame/..._11_12_96.html

"Adios and Sayonara"


David Higdon

This year, tennis pros Gabriela Sabatini and Kimiko Date both turned 26. Next week, at the Chase Championships of the WTA Tour in New York City, Date will play her final pro event, while Sabatini will be honored there in what organizers are calling "a salute to her outstanding career."

Why retirement? Sabatini, winner of the 1990 U.S. Open and nearly 30 other WTA events, blamed a lack of motivation and interest, suggesting that she had grown weary from the endless pursuit of silver and crystal trophies. Date, who finished 1995 ranked No. 4 in the world, blamed her various ailments and a proposed change in the WTA rankings system which she believes would make it more difficult for her to maintain a top ten ranking.

On the surface, the two women would appear to have little in common. Sabatini, a sculptured and statuesque Argentinean, had topspin strokes as smooth and fluid as any woman who ever played the game. Date, a compact and cute Japanese woman, was a natural lefty forced to play right-handed to conform to what was believed to be normal tennis-playing standards. She even hit the ball flat, as opposed to the topspin strokes of today's game, because that's how the tennis pros did it in her outdated instruction books.

Yet the two shared an increasingly uncommon trait on the pro tour: a strong sense of sportsmanship. Sabatini's grace wasn't limited to her on-court movement and off-court presence. She rarely lost her composure on court, and never tried to embarrass or intimidate an opponent or umpire. When the WTA Tour players were deciding what to do with Monica Seles' rankings upon her return, Sabatini was the lone voice supporting Seles' return to her rightful place at the top. "The most important thing in life is to be caring," she once said, long before Seles was felled by a lunatic with a knife.

Date embodied the Japanese approach to sport, where fairness and composure are as important as victory and success. While Date hid behind her language (she never learned a second language with which to communicate with the international media), it was readily apparent even during three-way conversations with an interpreter present that she held herself up to extremely high standards of moral behavior. She was a role model in her country, and she took this responsibility very seriously.

Sabatini's retirement did not surprise me. She turned pro more than a decade ago at age 14. At the time, her looping, high-bouncing topspin strokes caught everybody off-guard. She upset three top ten players (Zina Garrison, Pam Shriver and Manuela Maleeva) on her way to the finals of the 1985 Hilton Head event, where she lost to Chris Evert. Weeks later, she reached the semifinals of the French Open. Soon, her rivalry with Steffi Graf was touted as the next Chris-Martina and her 1990 victory over Graf at Flushing Meadow was the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work, both physically and mentally.

The new power brokers in the game, however, had her number. Though Sabatini was an impressive-looking athlete, she lacked both the necessary stamina to grind it out with the power baseliners and the strength to outslug them. Her serve was a serious Achilles heel. Players like Monica Seles and Mary Pierce salivated at the prospect of whacking back one of her powderpuff deliveries, making her service games a struggle on any surface. I watched her hold her first service game last summer at a San Diego event despite double-faulting SEVEN times! I think it said as much about her will to win as it did about her weak service and a nervous opponent.

Date's departure took me more by surprise. Fortunately, there's no truth to the rumor that Date retired because she had let me down at this year's U.S. Open. Fresh off a tournament victory the previous week, she showed up in New York saddled with my Net Game prediction that she would reach the finals. She promptly got dismissed in the first round.

Actually, Date retired because the wear and tear of the tour had taken its toll. There wasn't a tournament where Date wasn't sporting some new fashion statement: a green leg wrap here, a taped wrist there. I'm not sure the proposed ranking system, which would encourage players to participate in more events to maintain high rankings, had a lot to do with it, but she certainly wasn't the type of player whose body could take more tennis.

Date, because of the language barrier, and Sabatini, because of her natural shyness, didn't say much in interviews or post-match press conferences over the course of their careers. So I'll keep it short myself: Adios, Gabriela. Sayonara, Kimiko. Your actions spoke volumes about both of you.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #1807
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by orfgab View Post
True or not, it's never pleasant (and with Mewshaw's book some time after, she must have felt really comfortable ). It's not surprising that she makes everything she can to be discreet. She has always been scrutinized from the beginning, and it was hard. I recently read an old article again. It's about her retirement, but also Kimiko Date's retirement ( funny anecdote: Date is making a come-back). The journalist writes about their common traits: their silence and their sportsmanship. And that's it, I think: Gabriela was profoundly unhappy behind those silences: it was not in her nature to respond to the attacks, and she was the kind of person who keeps everything for herself. It was easier to attack someone like her than someone who responds more violently.

I post the article, but I guess every Gaby's fan already knows it.

http://www.tennisserver.com/netgame/..._11_12_96.html

"Adios and Sayonara"


David Higdon

This year, tennis pros Gabriela Sabatini and Kimiko Date both turned 26. Next week, at the Chase Championships of the WTA Tour in New York City, Date will play her final pro event, while Sabatini will be honored there in what organizers are calling "a salute to her outstanding career."

Why retirement? Sabatini, winner of the 1990 U.S. Open and nearly 30 other WTA events, blamed a lack of motivation and interest, suggesting that she had grown weary from the endless pursuit of silver and crystal trophies. Date, who finished 1995 ranked No. 4 in the world, blamed her various ailments and a proposed change in the WTA rankings system which she believes would make it more difficult for her to maintain a top ten ranking.

On the surface, the two women would appear to have little in common. Sabatini, a sculptured and statuesque Argentinean, had topspin strokes as smooth and fluid as any woman who ever played the game. Date, a compact and cute Japanese woman, was a natural lefty forced to play right-handed to conform to what was believed to be normal tennis-playing standards. She even hit the ball flat, as opposed to the topspin strokes of today's game, because that's how the tennis pros did it in her outdated instruction books.

Yet the two shared an increasingly uncommon trait on the pro tour: a strong sense of sportsmanship. Sabatini's grace wasn't limited to her on-court movement and off-court presence. She rarely lost her composure on court, and never tried to embarrass or intimidate an opponent or umpire. When the WTA Tour players were deciding what to do with Monica Seles' rankings upon her return, Sabatini was the lone voice supporting Seles' return to her rightful place at the top. "The most important thing in life is to be caring," she once said, long before Seles was felled by a lunatic with a knife.

Date embodied the Japanese approach to sport, where fairness and composure are as important as victory and success. While Date hid behind her language (she never learned a second language with which to communicate with the international media), it was readily apparent even during three-way conversations with an interpreter present that she held herself up to extremely high standards of moral behavior. She was a role model in her country, and she took this responsibility very seriously.

Sabatini's retirement did not surprise me. She turned pro more than a decade ago at age 14. At the time, her looping, high-bouncing topspin strokes caught everybody off-guard. She upset three top ten players (Zina Garrison, Pam Shriver and Manuela Maleeva) on her way to the finals of the 1985 Hilton Head event, where she lost to Chris Evert. Weeks later, she reached the semifinals of the French Open. Soon, her rivalry with Steffi Graf was touted as the next Chris-Martina and her 1990 victory over Graf at Flushing Meadow was the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work, both physically and mentally.

The new power brokers in the game, however, had her number. Though Sabatini was an impressive-looking athlete, she lacked both the necessary stamina to grind it out with the power baseliners and the strength to outslug them. Her serve was a serious Achilles heel. Players like Monica Seles and Mary Pierce salivated at the prospect of whacking back one of her powderpuff deliveries, making her service games a struggle on any surface. I watched her hold her first service game last summer at a San Diego event despite double-faulting SEVEN times! I think it said as much about her will to win as it did about her weak service and a nervous opponent.

Date's departure took me more by surprise. Fortunately, there's no truth to the rumor that Date retired because she had let me down at this year's U.S. Open. Fresh off a tournament victory the previous week, she showed up in New York saddled with my Net Game prediction that she would reach the finals. She promptly got dismissed in the first round.

Actually, Date retired because the wear and tear of the tour had taken its toll. There wasn't a tournament where Date wasn't sporting some new fashion statement: a green leg wrap here, a taped wrist there. I'm not sure the proposed ranking system, which would encourage players to participate in more events to maintain high rankings, had a lot to do with it, but she certainly wasn't the type of player whose body could take more tennis.

Date, because of the language barrier, and Sabatini, because of her natural shyness, didn't say much in interviews or post-match press conferences over the course of their careers. So I'll keep it short myself: Adios, Gabriela. Sayonara, Kimiko. Your actions spoke volumes about both of you.

Thanks. I've never read it.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #1808
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Thanks. I've never read it.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 01:21 PM   #1809
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

I thought this article was famous amongst her fans. The problem is that we could post so many things and 80% of that would have been posted. And it's not possible to read everything from the beginning of this thread each time to be sure of what has been posted or not. I'm happy to see that we can still discover new things. Like I wrote previously, I find this article interesting because of this mix of silence and sportsmanship, and the sad moments that she lived without complaining. In other articles, they spoke about the tears she shed in the locker room after her last match in Zurich. And that is revealing for me as well, because I think I've never seen her cry on the court. You can see a lot of Steffi Graf's clips where she's crying for example. Steffi is not the only one . Even tennismen do the same. But Gaby was able to keep her tears. This has probably to do with her introverted personality, but to learn that she broke down after the last match means something to me. How much did she suffer in silence?
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #1810
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

This is one of most beautiful interviews to Gaby that I've ever read. Sure. Brief but wonderful. Unfortunately I can't copy it, web site doesn't allow. This is the link:

http://www.revistaintercole.com.ar/a...evista_019.htm

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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #1811
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Thanks. I'll read it now.
I found this article in a Tennis Newgroup. It was written at the time of her retirement by fan. Enjoy!

GABRIELA'S CURSE
by Victoria Weiss Burns


Gabriela Sabatini is gone from professional tennis, the
suddenness of her departure overshadowed by irony as she
leaves, and remains, the most beloved and the most widely
panned player of her time. In the wake of her retirement,
the sheer volume of press spent telling us she's not worthy
of the attention is its own kind of oxymoron.


You'll excuse me, I'm sure, if I've tired quickly of the
phrase "only one Grand Slam title" offered by anyone who has
-- and always will have -- none. And the news reports all
dutifully tack on mention of her two victories at the year-
end Championship, just as dutifully leaving alone another 24
titles, as though little more than dead-ends along a greater
quest.


In fact, what Sabatini has achieved on court are not Little
League credits by most standards that apply to professional
tennis. A different set of standards has been applied to
Sabatini, every day of her career and, so far, every day of
her retirement.


Sabatini has been held, not to common standards of success
but, to the standards of common dreams, of desires not her
own, and a level of "potential" manufactured by the media
hype occasioning her rare combination of beauty and talent.
And, for need of some quantifiable measure, she's been held
to a standard invented by -- and achieved only by -- her
extraordinary contemporary, Steffi Graf.


Beyond the false assessments driven by shallow priority, it's
clear Sabatini's place in tennis history is as large as it is
intangible. Sabatini is one of the very best things ever to
happen to professional tennis. Her impact is unprecedented
and unequaled, and unlikely to dissipate or be duplicated any
time soon.


For twelve years now, Sabatini and Graf together have lead
the WTA in forging its current place of prominence in the
sporting world. Graf did her part by winning nearly every
title there is to win, Sabatini hers by winning nearly every
heart that beats. No matter where Sabatini might appear, the
fans, the press, the world's TV cameras appear in droves to
meet her there.


Yet, as she embarks on retirement, Sabatini's enormous
contribution to the phenomenon known as 'women's tennis' has
been boiled down to a simple list of titles she didn't win,
goals she didn't meet, heights she didn't attain. Whether
print or broadcast media, whether professional talkers or
ordinary folk, tennis-correctism demands that Sabatini just
hasn't done enough for us lately.


She's an "underachiever", I hear. Her legacy is "unfulfilled
potential". To sum it up, if she's not a candidate for the
title "Greatest of All Time" there's something illegitimate
in the adoration she evokes. She's wasted her time and ours.


What all this really means is Sabatini didn't do what so many
were certain she would do, nor what they wanted her to do.
It means that press hounds, self-appointed pundits, and their
gullible public take themselves and their own hype much too
seriously. Sabatini isn't what they wanted her to be or what
they tried to make her. And they blame her for it.


If what was declared her "potential" didn't come to pass, so
be it. Failure to act out the predictions of others, or to
achieve another's goals, isn't failure in a meaningful sense.
Neither can anything of Sabatini's career be so categorized
by any but sufferers of chronic sanctimony.


Professional tennis resides in the world of entertainment, no
matter how hard we try to assign it something more noble and
profound. In that, Sabatini is unquestionably one of the
most successful and accomplished in the history of the sport.
She brought immense pleasure to millions in the simple act of
being on court and playing her style of tennis. She makes
people give a serious damn about what is otherwise a mere
ball/racquet game, and so personifies the miracle of fun.


"The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" is the joy of
sport. That phrase has no meaning to bandwagon types. Their
concern is with appearances; with being seen to support the
winner at all times. They refrain from predictions for fear
of being wrong. Their 'analysis' is unfailingly steeped in
hindsight.


Sabatini's are the truest kind of fans -- the kind whose
favorite player is always the same after a tournament as it
is before; whose passion means the desire for victory, but
is never cheapened by dependence on it, and wasn't created by
it in the first place. In 632 of Sabatini's career matches
they were pleased as punch. In the other 189 they loved her
just the same.


It's that invincible fan loyalty that makes Sabatini both
unique and necessary in her sport. No other tennis player
commands the same unconditional devotion from so many. Hers
are the "Stand by the home team, win or lose" folks, so
typical of football, baseball, and the like, whose relative
absence in the tennis world condemns professional tennis to
its place as a secondary spectator sport.


Sabatini has been the home team for millions the world over,
for more than a decade. There is no other like her, now or
visible on the horizon, to fill that void. Winning or not,
Grand Slam titles or no, her absence is the worst news for
tennis in a good long time.


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rec.sport.tennis
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #1812
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldebaran View Post
This is one of most beautiful interviews to Gaby that I've ever read. Sure. Brief but wonderful. Unfortunately I can't copy it, web site doesn't allow. This is the link:

http://www.revistaintercole.com.ar/a...evista_019.htm

Great article indeed! Thanks for sharing! So she was always the shy wallflower?? Even now she still has a polite shyness.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #1813
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldebaran View Post
This is one of most beautiful interviews to Gaby that I've ever read. Sure. Brief but wonderful. Unfortunately I can't copy it, web site doesn't allow. This is the link:

http://www.revistaintercole.com.ar/a...evista_019.htm

Thank you, I didn't know this one.
Beautiful words indeed. The passage where she speaks about the respect in Switzerland and Germany made me laugh. No paper in the street. It's funny, we say exactly the same in Belgium. Well, the northern part of the country, where people speak Dutch, is very much like Germany too. And they criticize us, french speakers, because there is not enough respect and our streets are often disgusting. Latin world against germanic world, I guess.
It's also funny to read her words about school. I had already heard about her shyness (TV program), but I didn't imagine her like a child who always moves, who can't sit down and listen to the teacher. She always looked very quiet for me. Even if she says that she was correct (could you imagine her insulting the teacher?), it surprises me. Did her teachers and schoomates speak about her, except in the TV program of 2003 that we could watch on Youtube some time ago? Was she such a bad pupil and student who didn't even try to understand anything? Or is she too modest again? What I don't understand is that she didn't try to finish school when she stopped at 26. Of course, it was not possible for her to continue as a pro-player. An american player can do that, because it's easier, everything is done for it, and a lot of tournaments take place in her country. But, Gaby could have done that at 26. Some players finish school and sometimes go to college after their career. She has probably thought about it before deciding it was not worthy.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #1814
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat75 View Post
Thanks. I'll read it now.
I found this article in a Tennis Newgroup. It was written at the time of her retirement by fan. Enjoy!

GABRIELA'S CURSE
by Victoria Weiss Burns


Gabriela Sabatini is gone from professional tennis, the
suddenness of her departure overshadowed by irony as she
leaves, and remains, the most beloved and the most widely
panned player of her time. In the wake of her retirement,
the sheer volume of press spent telling us she's not worthy
of the attention is its own kind of oxymoron.


You'll excuse me, I'm sure, if I've tired quickly of the
phrase "only one Grand Slam title" offered by anyone who has
-- and always will have -- none. And the news reports all
dutifully tack on mention of her two victories at the year-
end Championship, just as dutifully leaving alone another 24
titles, as though little more than dead-ends along a greater
quest.


In fact, what Sabatini has achieved on court are not Little
League credits by most standards that apply to professional
tennis. A different set of standards has been applied to
Sabatini, every day of her career and, so far, every day of
her retirement.


Sabatini has been held, not to common standards of success
but, to the standards of common dreams, of desires not her
own, and a level of "potential" manufactured by the media
hype occasioning her rare combination of beauty and talent.
And, for need of some quantifiable measure, she's been held
to a standard invented by -- and achieved only by -- her
extraordinary contemporary, Steffi Graf.


Beyond the false assessments driven by shallow priority, it's
clear Sabatini's place in tennis history is as large as it is
intangible. Sabatini is one of the very best things ever to
happen to professional tennis. Her impact is unprecedented
and unequaled, and unlikely to dissipate or be duplicated any
time soon.


For twelve years now, Sabatini and Graf together have lead
the WTA in forging its current place of prominence in the
sporting world. Graf did her part by winning nearly every
title there is to win, Sabatini hers by winning nearly every
heart that beats. No matter where Sabatini might appear, the
fans, the press, the world's TV cameras appear in droves to
meet her there.


Yet, as she embarks on retirement, Sabatini's enormous
contribution to the phenomenon known as 'women's tennis' has
been boiled down to a simple list of titles she didn't win,
goals she didn't meet, heights she didn't attain. Whether
print or broadcast media, whether professional talkers or
ordinary folk, tennis-correctism demands that Sabatini just
hasn't done enough for us lately.


She's an "underachiever", I hear. Her legacy is "unfulfilled
potential". To sum it up, if she's not a candidate for the
title "Greatest of All Time" there's something illegitimate
in the adoration she evokes. She's wasted her time and ours.


What all this really means is Sabatini didn't do what so many
were certain she would do, nor what they wanted her to do.
It means that press hounds, self-appointed pundits, and their
gullible public take themselves and their own hype much too
seriously. Sabatini isn't what they wanted her to be or what
they tried to make her. And they blame her for it.


If what was declared her "potential" didn't come to pass, so
be it. Failure to act out the predictions of others, or to
achieve another's goals, isn't failure in a meaningful sense.
Neither can anything of Sabatini's career be so categorized
by any but sufferers of chronic sanctimony.


Professional tennis resides in the world of entertainment, no
matter how hard we try to assign it something more noble and
profound. In that, Sabatini is unquestionably one of the
most successful and accomplished in the history of the sport.
She brought immense pleasure to millions in the simple act of
being on court and playing her style of tennis. She makes
people give a serious damn about what is otherwise a mere
ball/racquet game, and so personifies the miracle of fun.


"The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" is the joy of
sport. That phrase has no meaning to bandwagon types. Their
concern is with appearances; with being seen to support the
winner at all times. They refrain from predictions for fear
of being wrong. Their 'analysis' is unfailingly steeped in
hindsight.


Sabatini's are the truest kind of fans -- the kind whose
favorite player is always the same after a tournament as it
is before; whose passion means the desire for victory, but
is never cheapened by dependence on it, and wasn't created by
it in the first place. In 632 of Sabatini's career matches
they were pleased as punch. In the other 189 they loved her
just the same.


It's that invincible fan loyalty that makes Sabatini both
unique and necessary in her sport. No other tennis player
commands the same unconditional devotion from so many. Hers
are the "Stand by the home team, win or lose" folks, so
typical of football, baseball, and the like, whose relative
absence in the tennis world condemns professional tennis to
its place as a secondary spectator sport.


Sabatini has been the home team for millions the world over,
for more than a decade. There is no other like her, now or
visible on the horizon, to fill that void. Winning or not,
Grand Slam titles or no, her absence is the worst news for
tennis in a good long time.


vwb.110496
rec.sport.tennis


Wonderful article. I think the comparison is really appropriate. Gabriela Sabatini is like your favorite team (no matter if it's a football , baseball, basketball or any other sport team.... every country has its own National sport). The favorite team is always in your heart, for better or worse, when wins and when loses.
Nothing can stop this love, never you could change your favorite team for another. You don't support a team because is the one wins more but because is the only one that has knew how to conquer your heart.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #1815
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Re: The Gabriela Sabatini Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by orfgab View Post
Thank you, I didn't know this one.
Beautiful words indeed. The passage where she speaks about the respect in Switzerland and Germany made me laugh. No paper in the street. It's funny, we say exactly the same in Belgium. Well, the northern part of the country, where people speak Dutch, is very much like Germany too. And they criticize us, french speakers, because there is not enough respect and our streets are often disgusting. Latin world against germanic world, I guess.
It's also funny to read her words about school. I had already heard about her shyness (TV program), but I didn't imagine her like a child who always moves, who can't sit down and listen to the teacher. She always looked very quiet for me. Even if she says that she was correct (could you imagine her insulting the teacher?), it surprises me. Did her teachers and schoomates speak about her, except in the TV program of 2003 that we could watch on Youtube some time ago? Was she such a bad pupil and student who didn't even try to understand anything? Or is she too modest again? What I don't understand is that she didn't try to finish school when she stopped at 26. Of course, it was not possible for her to continue as a pro-player. An american player can do that, because it's easier, everything is done for it, and a lot of tournaments take place in her country. But, Gaby could have done that at 26. Some players finish school and sometimes go to college after their career. She has probably thought about it before deciding it was not worthy.

Maybe Gaby has never been in Austria or Sweden, in an absolute sense they are the most civilians countries where I have ever been. Italians, compared to them, are like barbaric and uncivilized primitive!!!
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