Here's a stroll down memory lane-an account of Hana's 85 US Open win:
A New, Old Story: Mandlikova Upsets Navratilova for Title
The Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, Calif.; Sep 8, 1985; MIKE PENNER;
In a week or two, once Martina Navratilova has recovered from the shock and the staggering disappointment Flushing Meadow
ultimately held for her, she will look back on Hana Mandlikova's victory in the U.S. Open women's final Saturday and recognize it as
a familiar tale of success.
Roll back the calendar to September 1983. Same tournament, same setting:
A young serve-and-volleyer of Czechoslovakian extraction and undeniable physical skills comes to New York, basically, to find
herself. She has never won this tournament, is reminded constantly of it, and is hounded by references to her unpredictability and
inability to fulfill her immense potential.
She uses the next two weeks as the springboard for her breakthrough-finally holding the silver trophy aloft after silencing the
defending champion in the title match.
Martina, Class of '83, meet Hana, Class of '85.
Mandlikova, the latest great enigma of women's tennis, a splendid talent who won two Grand Slam championships before her 20th
birthday and not another since, may have at last earned her degree-a master's in pressure tennis-with her 7-6, 1-6, 7-6 victory over
The prize student with the lousy attitude finally kept her nose in her books long enough to graduate. No more skipping classes once
the semifinals rolled around. No more doodling in the margins during the final exam.
Mandlikova, now 23, won this U.S. Open, and the $187,500 paycheck that goes with with it, by toppling, on successive days, Chris
Evert Lloyd, then Navratilova. How rare a feat is that?
This rare: It was last accomplished in a Grand Slam tournament in 1979 by Tracy Austin, en route to her first U.S. Open title.
"Beating Martina and Chris in the same Grand Slam tournament is a good effort. It's a treat," Mandlikova said.
A good effort? A treat?
This is history, Hana. Mission Impossible. The sweep they said couldn't be done.
Witness what Lloyd said during the early stages of the Open: "If Martina or I are entered in a tournament, there's a 95% chance that
one of us will win it."
The last two days, Mandlikova wrung the maximum out of the 5% chance.
Navratilova was seeded No. 2 here, but she fully expected to win the tournament. She wanted to win it-badly.
It is Navratilova's ambition to leave a lasting mark on the sport, to be regarded as the best female ever to swing a racket. Three
straight U.S. Open titles would have fattened those credentials.
When No. 3 got erased by Mandlikova, Navratilova called the defeat devastating-likening it to her crushing loss to Austin in the 1981
U.S. Open final.
"This is the second time I've won more games and lost the match in the final of the U.S. Open," said Navratilova, who was beaten by
Austin, 1-6, 7-6, 7-6.
She was asked which defeat held greater disappointment for her.
"That's like having two of your children die," Navratilova said, "and asking which is worse."
That might seem a a grossly overwrought comparison-this is, after all, only a game-but that's Navratilova. Winning Wimbledon,
winning the U.S. Open is her life.
That's why her breakthrough at Flushing Meadow in 1983, when she dethroned Lloyd in the final, was so sweet to Navratilova.
And that's why Mandlikova's victory Saturday carried so much significance.
Mandlikova overcame Navratilova's consuming, single-minded determination-and her own history as a shrinking violet in big
matches-to become the first non-American woman to win the U.S. Open since Australian Margaret Court in 1973. (Navratilova, a
native Czech, had earned American citizenship by the time of her 1983 victory.)
"I didn't know that," Mandlikova said when told she had ended 12 years of U.S. dominance. "That's a long time. It is special, for
For Mandlikova, it is special in many ways:
-She opened the match the way Navratilova had opened most of her preliminary matches here-revved into full-blitz mode. Mandlikova
assumed a 5-0 lead in just 17 minutes. "She was just swinging, hitting winners all over the place," Navratilova said. "It didn't matter
what I did. First serve, second serve, stay back, come in-she just kept hitting winners."
-Mandlikova then lost the next five games-here comes the old Hana again-but this time, shifted gears. Mandlikova ground out a
17-minute 11th game, which was at deuce nine times, and finally pulled out the set with a 7-3 tiebreaker.
-After drifting aimlessly through a 1-6 second set, Mandlikova resisted the urge to fade in the third as she extended Navratilova into
another tiebreaker and zipped to a 6-0 lead, en route to a 7-2 win.
At match point, a winning serve and a backhand volley, Mandlikova fell to her knees, then rolled on her back, bowled over by the
Later, as she clutched the championship trophy, Mandlikova offered condolence to Navratilova (`a great champion"), thanked her coach, Betty Stove ("It's very difficult to put up with me") and thanked the crowd.
Surprisingly-and to Navratilova, distressingly-the capacity crowd of 20,000 at Louis Armstrong Stadium was largely for Mandlikova.
There were boos when line calls went against Mandlikova, cheers when Navratilova double-faulted and a standing ovation when Mandlikova prepared to serve with a 6-0 lead in the final tiebreaker.
"It didn't get me down, but it's hard to fight it all the time," Navratilova said. "It is really difficult to try to figure out what to do to get
them on your side. Especially (when they support) somebody that's not American. I mean, I'm not saying I'm that much more American than Hana is, but only in America can that happen."
No offense, Martina, but the people were pulling for the underdog. And-will wonders never cease?-the underdog managed to pull
Mandlikova attributed her victory to a matter of style, comparing her development to Navratilova's in another year.
"I think it took Martina longer to develop because she was a serve-and-volley player," Mandlikova said. "It took me a little longer,
Maybe Mandlikova has at last arrived. Maybe there is hope for women's tennis after all.
"I think this gives women's tennis great credibility," Stove said. "We've seen Hana go up and we've seen Hana go down. Now she's
up again, and we want to keep that plateau pretty high.
"It's healthy for the sport. It's fun to have some competition."
They would probably be dancing in the streets of Prague today, if the match had been televised back to Czechoslovakia. But
because of Navratilova's defection to the United States, the Czech government doesn't like to publicize her successes. Even there, a
Navratilova victory seemed likely.
"It wasn't on TV," Navratilova said, "which is too bad."
Mandlikova: "I wish they could see this over there. It's a pity my folks are not here. But I believe I can show them the tape, and they'll
be very happy."
For the Mandlikova family, that videotape, as they say in America, is a keeper.