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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 2004, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Martina's Million Dollar gift

I was recently leafing through a small book entitled "Tennis's Most Wanted" and found a piece of information in it and was uncertain about its accuracy. In the book, author Floyd Conner states that in the 1980's, the International Tennis Federation offered one-million-dollars for any player who could win the Grand Slam. He then stated that after winning the French in 1984, Martina claimed she won the Slam. "Following much debate", the writer states, "the ITF decided to award Martina the one-million-dollars." Does anyone recall the details surrounding this - is this indeed accurate?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 2004, 11:55 PM
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I think the bonus was initially to be a reward for a traditional Grand Slam, but the ITF announced that when Chris completed 3 in a row at the French in 1983 she'd be eligible for the 1 million. Of course, she didn't do it, but the ITF had no choice but to reward Martina when she did win 4 in a row the following year. I then remember they did away with the bonus.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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It was a big ploy in their drive to resurrect the slams in Australia and Roland Garros and cement their status at the centre of the game.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy T
It was a big ploy in their drive to resurrect the slams in Australia and Roland Garros and cement their status at the centre of the game.
Yes, and Martina did win the million dollar bonus when she pulled off the modern version of the Grand Slam by whipping Chris in the 1984 French final. In 1982-83 Martina was also in the running for another million dollar bonus awarded by Playtex. It was called the Playtex Challenge and a player was awarded $1M if she held the US Pro Indoor (Philadelphia), Family Circle (Hilton Head), Wimbledon, and US Open titles at the same time. Martina won Philly in 1981 and the next two legs in 1982, but she lost to the Lutherville Legend in the Open quarters that year, so she only won $500,000, which was a consolation prize for winning three out of four. Unfortunately for Martina, her toxoplasmosis kept her out long enough that she was forced to miss the 1982 US Indoors, and as luck would have it she ended up winning the next three legs in 1983, so she again had to settle for the $500,000 consolation prize. And that's why Martina calls toxoplasmosis her "million dollar illness"

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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The fact that Playtex bras were sponsoring the prize made for a few jokes....
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
The fact that Playtex bras were sponsoring the prize made for a few jokes....
Navratilova, after losing to PHS in the 1982 Open quarters, to reporters who asked her how disappointed she was to not win the Playtex Challenge: "I can buy a lot of bras even without the Playtex money."

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)
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2004, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the clarifications. Seems that despite not picking up as many endorsements as some of her contemporaries, in a sense she didn't need to, btwn such bonuses, doubles titles, exhibitions, and of course, all those Grand Slam championships
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