I remember the first time I saw here was in San Diego in 1998 when she was just coming back. The first thing I thought was OH MY GOD those LEGS! Her calves were absolutely amazing. She had beautiful hair too. I got her autograph on a can on tennis balls I bought at Wimbledon. I told her how much I had enjoyed watching her over the years and how great it was to have her back and she said "Thank you" and then said she had to get to practice... I got a front row seat to that practice session. A well known fact is that her practice sessions were INTENSE. It was like she was playing a match. Her and Heinz would hit that ball back and forth so hard. She used her topspin backhand in practice a lot but hardly ever in matches! She had a night match t about 7 so about 6 she came out and practiced on stadium court. As she left I told her good luck and she said thanks again.
That night she defeated Julie Halard Decugis easily and unfortunately she lost the next day to Ai Sugiyama.
The next time I saw her was at Indian Wells. I saw her defeat Ai Sugiyama in about 40 mins. and got her autograph several times on some pictures and a poster. I then saw her play doubles and play and CRUSH Jana Novotna the next day. I can remember after that match she practiced on stadium court because it was the last match of the day and she was SO excited that she had beaten Jana so easily.... I then saw her eek out a match against Chanda Rubin in the SF's.. I got so close to her several times and she was always very nice and always signed autographs but never a normal sized tennis ball!
I saw her again the next year in SD right after she lost in the finals of WImby. Little did I know I would be at her last practice session and last match EVER! I got her autograph AGAIN! And told her how sorry I was that she had lost and she kinda just smiled back. I really feel that if she would have won Wimby she would have continued a little bit more but the loss took EVERYTHING out of her. I also had met Heidi, STeffi's mom online via AOL so I got to meet Heidi to and told her thanks for keeping us Steffi fans updated!
I miss Steffi a lot mainly because of her class and dignity but also her consistency. I love the Williams' but I get sick sometimes of them missing easy shots repeatedly and their "injuries" that continually force them out of events. All I can say is that if Steffi had only played when she was 100 percent she would have completed about 8 matches her entire career!