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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 27th, 2004, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Fed Cup 1986 or 1987

I was looking for anything about the Fed Cup. Where Martina went back to Chez...

I was wondering if anyone on the board ever wrote about it here?

If not do you know where I can find something about it?


Thank you
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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You'll be sure to find something in "World of Tennis 1987" unless you want something more detailed from Navratilova's perspective. I remember reading that when the States won the Cup Evert dedicated the win to Navratilova and added that she and the other Americans had wanted to make it a special homecoming for Navratilova.

Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)

Last edited by samn; Aug 28th, 2004 at 05:29 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2004, 11:45 AM
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The Czechs gave Martina an incredibly warm welcome and I it was a very emotionally-charged week both on and off the court, GRene. There is a bit in World of Tennis 87. I'll type it up if you like.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2004, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Andy T. If it wouldn't be to much trouble. I would like that very much.



Thank you.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2004, 12:43 PM
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Here you go GRene,

David Irvine’s report on the Federation Cup in "World of Tennis 1987" (pp 35-6).



“To some – not least the sponsors, NEC, who had to have their arms twisted – it was a gamble. To others it represented well-merited, even overdue, reward and recognition. And to one player in particular it offered a challenge which, in a way, transcended all others she had faced and conquered in a brilliantly distinguished career. Yet at the end of a remarkable, emotional and unforgettable week in Prague it was evident to all, sceptics included, that the I.T.F.’s decision to invite Czechoslovakia, the holders, to host the 1986 Federation Cup had been a master stroke. As Philippe Chatrier, the president, confirmed, ‘It was easily the most terrific event we have ever had.’



Record crowds, the largest entry ever, unprecedented media attention: everything combined to make the championship an overwhelming success. Even the defeat of their team in the final, a result which ended three years of Czech domination, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the knowledgeable Prague public. For though the Czechs lost, it was a Prague-born girl – Martina Navratilova – who contributed more than anyone to the United States’ recovery of the trophy.

After her 11-year absence from her native city, the World Champion’s return could easily have brought one of those awkward, even embarrassing, reunions. For it wasn’t as if Navratilova merely left in 1975; she defected. But no prodigal, surely, could have had a warmer reception or been received, in her moment of triumph, with greater rapture and affection. ‘The whole experience’, she said through tears, ‘was beyond my wildest dreams.’


To house the championship, the first major international event of its kind to be stated in Eastern Europe, the Czechs had created the brand new Stvanice Stadium, with a capacity of 7,000, near the city centre. Every day was a sell-out and including the preliminary matches, more than 60,000 attended. Whether it would have been quite the same without Navratilova, whose only previous appearance in the US side was at santa Clara in 1982, must remain a matter of speculation. She was the catalyst. It was her show from first to last. Knowing how nervous she felt at the prospect of returning, her US colleagues rallied round, and no-one could doubt the heart-felt sincerity of Chris Lloyd when she said: ‘We dedicate the Federation Cup to her.’

That Navratilova should return to Prague, of all places, to lead a successful American mission was not without a certain irony. Particularly as it was shortly after having assisted Czechoslovakia to win the cup for the first time at Aix-en-Provence, in 1975, that she made her momentous decision to leave her birthplace and seek political asylum in the United States. Inevitably this background prompted suggestions that, in retaliation, the Czech authorities had not only expunged her name from the record but, by ignoring her recent outstanding achievements, had erased her from the public’s consciousness. Be that as it may, it was plainly evident that the vast majority of Prague’s tennis enthusiasts not only knew of her but could recite her triumphs chapter and verse.

It was that, above all, that made Navratilova so determined to produce her best tennis every time she stepped on court. ‘They may know about me’, she said, ‘but they haven’t actually seen me – not for a very long time, anyway. I want to show them what I can do.’ Nor did she disappoint. She was brilliant, she was spectacular, she was awesome. Moreover, she was happy, and for that the Czechs loved her. By the end of a momentous week, she was able to carry an unblemished record into her eagerly awaited final confrontation with Hana Mandlikova – the match, fittingly, that was to decide the competition – and won it 75 61.”



The report then goes on to discuss Graf’s bizarre broken toe injury as a result of a stand falling on her foot, Cecchini’s surprise defeat of Evert, who was carrying a knee injury, and Mandlikova’s surprise marriage announcement. After giving a six-line summary of a few early results, it ends,
"…but nothing denied the people of Prague the final they had dreamed about. It was a stunning occasion and one that no-one present will readily forget. In the end the result scarcely seemed to matter. Tennis triumphed and Martina Navratilova knew, without a doubt, that Prague was still her home."





Elsewhere in the same publication, Ronald Aitken ends his review of the year with (p13),

"Finally, to the happiest sight of the year: Martina Navratilova going back to her native Prague to compete in the Federation Cup as a member of the United States team. Though officially a non-person following her defection, Martina had clearly not been forgotten by the Czech public, as their emotional and prolonged welcome showed. Even Hana Mandlikova’s attempt to grab a little of the publicity by getting married in Prague during the week failed to dim the lustre of the Prodigal’s return."



John Parsons, in his review of the ITF year (p21), comments,



“It is difficult to pinpoint one particular highlight, although perhaps one of the memories which will linger longest was the wonderfully emotional welcome Martina Navratilova received from the people of Prague when she returned there, for the first time since her defection 11 years earlier, even though it was to wrest from Czechoslovakia the trophy which they had proudly held for three years”

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2004, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you andy for typing that for me.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:48 PM
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You're welcome GRene. Was it what you were looking for?

The thing I found most interesting was not so much the Martina stuff (adoring fan of hers though I am) but the elements that made this Fed Cup so successful as an event: it took place in a capital city with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tennis public, in a country where there were no other opportunities to see the top players in other events, all the top players were present and the home country had a real chance of winning. The international media had several big stories going on to keep it interested as well but that is not something you can plan. I really think that handled properly, the fed Cup could be a great success in its old format as a one-week team competition. It could be limited to the top 16 nations with promotion and relegation, the first round and qf over the best of 3 rubbers (Monday-Wednesday) and the semis (Thurs-Fri) and final (Sat-Sun) over the best of 5. if the venue were fixed a year in advance, there would be time for the host country to advertise and sell the event and players would only have to commit for one week instead of several. Scheduling the event in a "changeover week" between continents/surfaces (e.g. February, April, July or late September) would enable the event to take place at various venues around the world and remove one event from the calendar at the end of the year. Parallel events in the same week could be held for the second and third tiers of 16 countries, plus regional competitions for the weakest countries of all.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 2004, 07:48 AM
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Hana Mandlikova wrote a fair bit about it in her bio. She laughed when the organisers (trying to downplay martina's return) put the USA vs. China 1st rnd match on crt one - whilst Bulgaria played Russia on centre. People crammed into the court and people on centre could see the no. 1 court from there so they all were watching that match, not the centre court one!!

Agree with you Andy re: using the old format. Changing it every year demeans such a great team competition and hosting it on one week throws the players excuse of scheduling out the window somewhat. Previous years at various times, the one week format wasn't supported but putting the event at Belgium etc.... would surely drag a crowd and hopefully the top players.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 2004, 11:38 AM
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There was a super Sports Illustrated article about the 86 Fed Cup as well. Martina deserved all the accolades she got that week, besides winning her matches under what must have been an emotionally draining situation.


Andy: Totally behind you on going back to the old format. I even like the old format of 2 out of 3 matches-as more often ties go to the decider and IMO top players are more likely to play if they know they have onlt one match per tie rather than two.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 2004, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
There was a super Sports Illustrated article about the 86 Fed Cup as well. Martina deserved all the accolades she got that week, besides winning her matches under what must have been an emotionally draining situation.


Andy: Totally behind you on going back to the old format. I even like the old format of 2 out of 3 matches-as more often ties go to the decider and IMO top players are more likely to play if they know they have onlt one match per tie rather than two.
I agree Rollo. It's also true that for teams which have only two strong players, the prospect of playing two singles and one doubles in a semi and a final would be pretty off-putting.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 2004, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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I loved what I read.


I was wondering if you know where I can get World Tennis 1987?


Thanks
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 2004, 10:07 PM
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On-line second hand booksellers (e.g. bookfinder.com) are a good place to start looking, there's e-bay and I know of a couple of specialised tennis bookshops in the UK (The Tennis Bookshop and Tennis Collectables), both of which have websites.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 2004, 11:04 PM
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Wasn't it during Martina's high publicized comeback to Czechoslovakia that Hana suddenly got married the day before and tried to wrestle a bit of the limelight away? I am sure I read that in Martina's book.


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2004, 12:39 PM
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Raquel
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Wasn't it during Martina's high publicized comeback to Czechoslovakia that Hana suddenly got married the day before and tried to wrestle a bit of the limelight away? I am sure I read that in Martina's book.
LOL-I forgot that, but you're right. The Sports Illustrated article said she played ping pong at ther wedding reception-without her husband! In another a reporter asked how she could reserve a place in Prague at such short notice when it took months. "Not if your name is Hana Mandlikova" she shot back.

It was the perfect solution to two problems-how to defect with the least amount of trouble; and how to silence talk about her and Betty Stove. Clever Hana.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2004, 12:42 PM
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Didn't Hana get a little annoyed during the final when the Czech fans started cheering Martina? I also read that the Comminist officails walked out when it became obvious the Americans would win.


Does anyone have (or remember) seeing this on TV?

Another question: When did the Czech papers start printing Martina's name in papers? In the late 70s there was a total ban on her name in newspapers.
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