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(Still hard for me to believe Manuela never made it to the semis of Paris in her career! In 1984 I thought she would win the title there at least once.)
I remember an Australian Tennis Mag interview with Manuela who had recently retired at the time, and she was talking about her love for the French Open and that she felt she could've won the 1990 tournament because she was playing so well. Unfortunately she dropped something like a 4-1 third set lead against Seles in the quarters, who she never was able to beat.
 

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Getting way ahead of ourselves in the 1985 timeline, but is a great example of the vacuum left by Austin, at least in terms of competitive attitude compared with Burned-Out-and-Co-opted Shriver. And a great example of Jaeger's peculiarity. And a great example of how few experts saw Graf a-coming.

ONE DIVIDED BY TWO
NAVRATILOVA, LLOYD PULLING RANK AGAIN

By Lesley Visser
Boston Globe
August 25, 1985

In northern New Jersey last week, Pam Shriver described the state of women's tennis.

"Martina (Navratilova) and Chris (Evert Lloyd) are miles ahead of the rest of us in experience," she said. "And they're pushing each other to get better while we don't even have any real rivalries. We're darn good players, but they're exceptional."

Three-thousand miles away in Los Angeles, Tracy Austin went out after breakfast to hit the ball.

"I'm up to an hour and a half now," she said, "which I alternate with swimming, biking and going to Dr. Robert Kerlan for rehabilitation. I can't say when I'll be back, but I hope it's in the next six or eight months."

What has happened to women's tennis? In 1978, Shriver was the 16-year-old breath of wit and whippet from Baltimore who advanced to the finals of the US Open. A year later, 16-year-old Austin became the youngest player to win the US Open. Since then, Austin won another Open title, Hana Mandlikova won the French in 1980 and the Australian in 1981 - and the rest of the Grand Slam trophies have gone to either Navratilova or Evert Lloyd.

"I was looking at the Virginia Slims computer the other day," said Shriver. "Chris and Martina have something like 188 points and I have 76. And I'm No. 3 in the world. That pretty much sums up the difference."

Shriver has since dropped to No. 4, a single computer point behind Mandlikova, but they are are still a long way, baby, from Navratilova and Evert Lloyd.

What is it that makes them so special? Navratilova, at 28, has won six Wimbledons, two US Opens, two French, two Australians and a gym bag full of doubles and mixed doubles - a total of 34 Grand Slam titles. Evert Lloyd, who usually plays only singles, has 17. At 30, she has beefed up her serve, taken chances at the net and is ranked No. 1 for the ninth time in her legendary career.

"After Chris and Martina, women's tennis is a melting pot," said historian Ted Tinling. "Helena Sukova, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Manuela Maleeva and Shriver are in the pack; even Zina Garrison is better and Gabriela Sabatini and Steffi Graf will come along. But I don't see that extra dimension of personal pride in any of them, that ferociousness of dedication that sets Chris and Martina apart.

"In the 1930s, when Helen Wills Moody kept retiring - which she did on two or three occasions - others temporarily took her place. That's what will happen when Chris and Martina finally retire - a group of five or six women will be ranked No. 1, depending on what week it is. Martina and Chris are simply a class apart."

In the 1970s, Evonne Goolagong and Chris Evert provided one rivalry, with Billie Jean King, Virginia Wade and Navratilova deep in the hunt. Then Navratilova and Austin emerged as the rivalry of the '80s, when Austin was only 17.

In 1981, Austin beat Navratilova for her second US Open title and seemed headed for a place in the Tennis Hall of Fame. But two years later, she was off the tour with recurring sciatica in her back, a stress fracture in her shoulder and a serious case of depression.

"It was hell," she said. "My life had been almost perfect and then, at 20, I knew only adversity. Now I've lived through it and I think I'm better for it. I've made friends with some of the Lakers (who also work out at Dr. Kerlan's facility), I have a boyfriend and I do normal things. Mitch Kupchak gave me a book on motivation and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gave me a set of jump ropes. But I don't think my tennis career is over. I'll be back."

Shriver thinks it will be more difficult than Austin imagines.

"At this point, Tracy's mind is so fried from wondering if she's ever going to do anything in tennis again," said Shriver, "yet it's still fresh enough in her mind to remember what she was - a tremendous, gutty player."

In 1980, Austin was ranked No. 1 in the world, with regular wins over Navratilova and Evert Lloyd. She had an obsession, a fire to succeed that is common to the top players.

"Tracy had a vitriolic attitude toward the ball," said Tinling. "She hit it as though she had a bitterness toward it. I don't want to dampen her hopes, but it's unlikely she could have that very high degree of concentration again."

While marking time until her comeback, Austin has done commentary for NBC, ABC, ESPN and USA. "Commentary is nice," she said, "but I'd rather have someone commenting about me."

Shriver, too, found it necessary to take time off. After the Australian Open last winter, she spent three months working as honorary chairwoman for the Maryland Coalition to Re-elect President Ronald Reagan, restoring a 171- year-old tenant-farmer's house in Baltimore and dating a young man in Dallas.

"I went to the Inaugural Ball, hung around with my friends and never felt bored," said Shriver. "When I look at my life, I see that it's balanced. That may prevent me from doing something tremendous in tennis, but if I had to make a choice, I'm glad I am the way I am."

And part of the way she is, is outspoken, blunt and surprisingly careless.

"Can you believe some of the things that come out of my mouth?" she said.

A number of her outbursts have come after stinging defeats. Four years ago in Toronto, a triumphant Austin danced up to the net to shake the loser's hand. Shriver thought the celebration was amateurish and immature and directed a few expletives toward Austin at the net. Last year at the US Open, when Shriver lost to Wendy Turnbull in the quarterfinals, Shriver claimed that she would have made a better opponent against Navratilova in the semis. Turnbull shrugged it off as a typical Shriver remark.

In July, Shriver said she missed being in Evert Lloyd's half of the draw (she had not played the world's best baseliner in 2 1/2 years). Evert Lloyd responded smartly that she would love to meet Shriver - whom she had beaten in all 15 of their matches. Six weeks later, they met in a final at Newport, R.I., and Evert Lloyd won, 6-4, 6-2.

"That's a perfect example of how I'm sometimes misunderstood," said Shriver. "I was muttering in frustration that I hadn't played Chris in so long, that I hadn't had the chance to test myself against her. I need those opportunities to know where I stand. As for the Turnbull thing, those were ungracious remarks, to say the least. I definitely have to get better at what I say immediately after a match."

The reverse side of Shriver is what makes her one of the most popular players in the game. In Australia last year, she was challenged by Evert Lloyd to go in the men's locker room, which she did - for $200. Another time in Australia, when someone accused her of not knowing anything about their native game of cricket, Shriver stood up at dinner and recited the entire Australian team and the position each man played.

A passionate baseball fan, Shriver has been known to agonize over the Baltimore Orioles, and two years ago she publicly lambasted Robert Irsay for moving the Colts to Indianapolis. A distant cousin of 1972 presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, she has played tennis at Camp David and had dinner at the White House. This week and next, Sports Illustrated will publish a diary of her life on the tour.

After a first-round win at the United Jersey Bank Classic last week, 50th- ranked Jo Durie talked about the elite crossfire between Navratilova and Evert Lloyd and the mad scramble for a place behind them.

"Chris never gives you a point," said Durie, "and she does her homework on you. Martina is simply the best athlete."

Shriver agreed.

"You go out on the court thinking, 'If I do X, Y and Z perfectly, then I have a chance to win.' If you're up, 2-0, 30-0, and miss a first serve, though, that can be the difference. Both of them, especially Chris, will jump on any opening you give them."

Sylvia Hanika said confidence is what distinguishes Navratilova and Evert Lloyd from the other 260 women on the tour.

"They've won so many close matches, so many close points," said Hanika, who is ranked 20th. "They know what to do every time. It is stupid for the rest of us to start a tournament thinking we'll get to the final, but maybe they can."

One player in the Jersey Bank Classic has known the confidence, the shot- making ability and the glamour of being one of the best players in the world. Twenty-year-old Andrea Jaeger, once ranked No. 2 and now out of the rankings after leaving the tour with shoulder, neck and feet ailments, said she was happy just to be back.

"I'm not putting pressure on myself to do anything great," she said after beating qualifier Marie-Christine Calleja of France. "I've got a long way to go."

In the second round against Durie, Jaeger impulsively demanded the microphone during a delay and asked the fans if they were glad to see her back. The startled crowd paused, then responded with hearty applause.

"I said to myself, 'I'm going to find out just how people feel,' " said Jaeger. "It's nice to know they care."

Whether Jaeger or Austin returns to top form or whether the middle of the Top 10 can crack the top two remains to be seen. Still, Shriver has a magical vision of the upcoming US Open, which begins Tuesday at Flushing Meadow, N.Y.

"I'm going out on a limb and predict that two women other than Martina and Chris will be in the final," she said. "I think it's time."

If it isn't time, Shriver has another idea.

"Maybe I'll retire until they retire," she said with a laugh, "and then I'll come back. I know that if I leave this game without winning a US Open or a Wimbledon, I'll feel a void. I came along, unfortunately, with two of the greatest players in the history of the game."

Shriver's hitting coach, 28-year-old Hank Harris, acknowledges the physical and historical accomplishments of Navratilova and Evert Lloyd, but he thinks 23-year-old Shriver can win a major title.

"Pam has the physical strengths to overpower her opponents," said Harris, a former player at the University of Virginia. "What makes Chris and Martina different is psychological. Let's face it - no one can practice being mentally tough."
 

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Putting the "fun" in dysfunctional, tennis' own Holden Caulfield. Even (especially?) if Jaeger's side of the story is entirely a paranoid delusion without a grain of truth, it's obvious a lot of people failed her along the line.

JAEGER IS SERVING LESS, BUT ENJOYING LIFE MORE
The Wichita Eagle
Sunday, February 24, 1985
Joan Ryan, Knight-Ridder News Service

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Andrea Jaeger was talking about killing her first rat. "You're supposed to pick it up by the tail and hit its head on the cement. I hit it, and it was still quivering. I had to hit it seven times before it died."

The rats are to feed the snakes. The snakes are part of the Santa Fe Community College teaching zoo here. The zoo, where Jaeger works as a freshman zoology major, is part of her new life, in which she has traded luxury hotels for a three-room apartment, and international fame for the obscurity of junior college.

Jaeger is 19 years old. She was ranked third in the world on the women's tennis circuit from age 16 until last year, overshadowed only by Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd. Between 1980 and 1984, she earned almost $1.4 million in prize money and hundreds of thousands of dollars more in product endorsements.

NOW SHE works for $3.35 an hour at a doctors' answering service five nights a week. Her best friend, the first best friend she's ever had besides her sister, is Sue Crandall, a zoology major on financial aid. Jaeger picks up her racket these days only when Crandall talks her into an informal lesson.

Her new life began in August. After defaulting in the second round of the '84 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when tennis was instituted as an exhibition sport, she flew home to Largo, Fla., and, two days later, drove her Mercedes 500 SEC down Interstate 75 to Gainesville.

The steel-blue Mercedes parked outside her one-story, cement-block apartment is the only sign of Jaeger's wealth. She walks around campus every day in a baggy sweat suit and tennis shoes. She carries a backpack. She keeps a 10-speed bicycle parked in her living room next to a brown beanbag chair. A Blondie album stands propped on the floor against a wall unit, which she bought, along with a couch and a desk, on her first day in Gainesville.

WHEN THE furniture was delivered, she awoke her next-door neighbor at 8 a.m. to ask how she should arrange the three pieces. "I've lived in hotels all my life. You walk in and the stuff is there," she says. Shower curtains cover the room's only window. A jigsaw puzzle lies half-finished on the kitchen table amid letters and bills and other odds and ends on their way to being put away.

On her bedroom door hangs an "Enter at Your Own Risk" sign and a pennant from Stanford, her sister's alma mater. The room is a caldron of clothes, pictures, books, newspapers, a Nerf football, a soccer ball and few stray tennis balls. It doesn't always look like this, she explains, but she's packing for a visit home. From his place on the bathroom door, Prince glowers.

Jaeger offered something to drink, opened the refrigerator door and giggled. "Well, I've got blue cheese dressing and Aunt Jemima's maple," she said and giggled again. She has never laughed so much as in the past five months. She says she has never enjoyed herself more. She likes studying. She likes baking chocolate chip cookies with Sue and shopping at the mall. She likes her part-time job.

COLLEGE LIFE suits Jaeger. Still, something doesn't quite fit. All her life, she has regarded her peers with equal parts of wonder, confusion and disdain. As a child in Lincolnshire, Ill., Jaeger played soccer and Little League baseball, shunning girls without being fully accepted by the boys.

At 14, she burst onto the international sports scene as the youngest player ever to win a professional tournament. At 15, she reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Suddenly, she was a star. Suddenly, an already shy young girl distrusted anybody outside her family. Her only close friend was her sister, Susy, four years her senior.

''I've never really had a friend I talked with and bummed around with. I never went to dances or parties, and I never really wanted to, because people were just different. Back in high school, all my best friends were teachers. I don't keep in touch with one person from high school, but I keep in touch with my teachers.

''Same thing in junior high. I'd have People and Sports Illustrated and all these reporters coming to school and taking pictures and stuff, and the other kids would all come running and saying they were great friends with me just to get in the picture. So I just said forget it, you know? I just sort of went through school like that. I spent a lot of time by myself.

''Then, on the tour, no one was my age. The closest one was Kathleen (Horvath), and we got to be pretty good friends and traveled a little bit together, but it's just not the same in an individual sport. I'd go to zoos by myself. I always went to movies by myself. I wasn't dependent on friends like that."

IT ISN'T that Jaeger doesn't care about people. She loves to make gifts for her family and for colleagues on the tour. The jigsaw puzzle on her kitchen table is for her agent at International Management Group, which handles her endorsement contracts and makes sure there's always $1,500 in her bank account. Jaeger said she's using the money she earns at her part-time job to buy Susy a gift, "because it will mean more that way." She's known on the circuit for remembering players' anniversaries and birthdays. Yet there's always the distance, the wariness.

Andrea Jaeger and Sue Crandall met the first day of school, when Crandall and another woman were walking behind Jaeger from the apartment complex to class. Jaeger turned around. "Oh, you guys have 8 o'clock classes, too?" Crandall said yes, but the other woman said she was going to a job interview. It turned out Jaeger and Crandall were going to the same math class.

''We couldn't find it. We walked so far we hit the highway," Jaeger said. "We finally find the class, and we're sitting there, and our math teacher was talking, and she tripped, like fell across the room. And we were just laughing so hard. Ever since then we just went to all our classes together."

Crandall, who had never played tennis, didn't realize who Jaeger was until two weeks into the semester.

''Some person came up to me," said Jaeger, "a real smart alec, and says, 'When are you going to play tennis again?' Snapping at me, you know? And Sue was with me and goes, 'Oh, you play tennis? You're the one who plays tennis?' I go, 'Yeah, that's me.' It was so cool. I know Sue's not using me for some ridiculous reason. It's the first time I don't have to put my guard up against a person."

NOW THEY'RE inseparable. Crandall is the only person outside of tennis who Jaeger has ever brought to her parents' home in Largo. They work together at the zoo, where they kill rats, feed snakes, build wooden walkways and give tours for visiting kindergarten classes. Jaeger loves that part, because she always has related well to children. Children never want anything from her. Jaeger's classmates say they treat her just like anybody else. Jaeger says she knows better. She says she knows how to "read" people so she's not fooled by their motives, and she's trying to teach Crandall to be more wary of people. Crandall, though, says she's trying to get Jaeger "to open up and trust more."

''I don't hang out with many people," Jaeger said. "There are just a lot of people who have motives for wanting to get to know me. Like, one girl was walking around saying, 'Yeah, that tennis player is a real ass.' I mean, she didn't even know me. I was here for like a week, and I heard this. And two weeks later I hear she's telling everybody that she's my best friend. I'm just going, well, 'Make up your mind.' "

Jaeger began thinking about leaving the circuit more than a year ago. She was losing. She was unhappy. She was hurting. She says the injuries finally became too much, and she rattles them off like answers to an anatomy exam: torn rotator cuff, bursitis in her right shoulder, pinched nerves in her neck and arms and right foot, a stress fracture in her pelvis. She sees Gainesville chiropractor Michael Faas once a week.

SOME PLAYERS and tour officials say it was more than injuries that pushed Jaeger out of tennis.

They say she was burned out, that her behavior on and off the court bordered on paranoia, that her demanding father - who is also her coach - finally drove her too far. Last February, during a loss to Horvath, Jaeger looked around Madison Square Garden and muttered, "Why is everyone always looking at me?" Last August, the Women's Tennis Association fined her for "unprofessional conduct" after she allegedly shoved a doubles opponent against a locker-room wall. Whenever Jaeger talked about quitting, her father always dissuaded her.

Jaeger hasn't won a tournament since January 1983, when she beat Hana Mandlikova in the final of the Avon Tennis Cup at Marco Island. Her ranking slipped to No.7 last spring. She missed Wimbledon in July because the pinched nerve in her neck and the rotator-cuff injury in her shoulder limited her arm movement. When Jaeger arrived in Los Angeles for the Olympics, she says, her arm was so sore it hurt just to put on a shirt.

THAT'S WHEN she knew it was time to get out. Andrea's father, Roland, a hard-working German immigrant, didn't approve and still doesn't.

''I don't think it was a very smart thing to do at the time she did it," he told a Gainesville reporter. "She can still go to school several years from now and get an education, and she wouldn't lose all the money she's losing. But whatever I think is immaterial. All I know is that in two years of tennis, you can earn about $2 million at the level Andrea was at. A college-educated person working at a normal job wouldn't earn that in a lifetime."

''My dad wants a better life for me than what he had," said Andrea. "He came from Germany and went through hard times and worked really hard, and all of a sudden Andrea's making all this money, and then she throws half of it away to go to school, to get a job that's not going to pay that much.

''I'm sure my dad will never really accept the whole thing, which I can see, because that's his life, too."

Roland teaches tennis at harry Hopman's academy, near Largo, a respected institution for promising young players. One of his students has moved into Andrea's old bedroom in Largo, even though there are two other empty bedrooms in the Jaeger home. "I can see they're trying to have the kid take my place," Andrea says.

She called home one day a few weeks after she started school and told her mother, "Guess what? I'm going to have a surprise for you next week." Jaeger knew what her parents were thinking.

"They're thinking, 'Oh, good, she's going to go back and play.' I call home the next week and my mom asks, 'What's the surprise?' I go, 'I got a job!' There's, like, no answer on the other end. Then my mom goes, 'You what? Andrea, what are you doing?' Nothing now surprises my parents." Jaeger's first paycheck was for $67.

SHE REMAINS angry that players are saying she was burned out . She says nobody, her father included, ever knew how serious her injuries were. She remembers the times when she tried to tell her father, and he wouldn't listen. She'd say, "Dad, I can't walk." He'd tell her she was just out of shape. So she kept playing. Three years ago, when the pain became too much, she had X-rays taken. There was a crack in her pelvis. She couldn't walk for two weeks. She saw doctor after doctor. They found 2- and 3-year-old injuries to her legs and arms.

''People don't believe me that I had all those injuries," Jaeger said. "They were saying I was burned out. They don't understand. Some of the players were saying I was crazy to give up all the endorsement contracts. You know, I could have gone and lost in the first round of every tournament and still collected my contract money. They don't understand that maybe money isn't the first motive in my mind for anything. Tennis is all their lives, which is fine, but it wasn't for me, even when I was on the tour."

JAEGER SURROUNDS herself with photographs of the players she knows best. Collages of Wendy Turnbull and Mary Carillo and Lisa Bonder line her shelves and decorate her walls, but she rarely corresponds with them. She never announced she was leaving the tour, choosing instead to explain her decision in individual letters to five or six players. She says she doesn't want any of her tennis friends to visit her. "I'm proud of the zoo and the school and everything, and I don't want anybody coming here who doesn't want to be here," she said.

It's as if Jaeger couldn't step into her new life without first pulling a door shut behind her. The tennis tour is rife with envy and cliques, gossip and rumors. That, maybe more than the injuries and pressure, was what became too much. For one so young to bear the scrutiny of the international press on one hand and the sometimes harsh judgment of her tennis colleagues on the other, calls perhaps for a thicker skin than Jaeger's. It bothered her that every time her nose itched, it made the news. She couldn't be herself - tomboyish, shy, a loner, a child - without somebody telling her what her problem was, as in, "Your problem is that you just don't trust anybody"; or, "Your problem is you did too much too soon."

A story in "Sports Illustrated" in April 1984 asked, "What's wrong with Andrea Jaeger?" It recounted stories of her barging into Chris and John Lloyd's hotel room and smashing her racket against the wall after hearing that John Lloyd had accused her of intimidating Wendy Turnbull during a mixed-doubles match, and of Jaeger following Turnbull to the airport the next day so she could tell Turnbull she wasn't trying to intimidate her and that the Lloyds were just trying to make her look bad.

Jaeger said some people told lies to the press about her. She said one Women's Tennis Association official told people that Jaeger was like a daughter to her, then told a reporter that Jaeger was lonely and depressed and needed friends and that Jaeger called her at all hours of the night.

Jaeger said the same tour official told the press that she had staged the burglary of her own condominium during a tournament at Marco Island last year to get attention.

"That sort of garbage went on all the time. A lot of people had a big part in what was going on, but I was the one who got the bad press. There are a lot of startling things that go on. People just don't want to know. Now all these stories are going around about me. It was just a bunch of garbage.

"It's really hard for me not to enjoy school when I'm away from these people."

Jaeger knows that people were surprised she chose Sante Fe Community College over more prestigious colleges. It is another judgment with which she must contend. Her sister went to Stanford, so she also was expected to go to a name university. "I didn't want the publicity," she explained. "This is a good school for zoology."

She wanted to blend in, and she couldn't do that with a spotlight tracking her every step. But even with the spotlight turned down to a soft glow, Jaeger doesn't blend in. She shies from parties. She doesn't drink, except for an occasional daiquiri, and she doesn't take drugs. "If somebody passed me something, I wouldn't even know what to do with it. So you're sort of looked at a little different."

On a living-room shelf sits a memento of Jaeger's first drink at her first college party: an empty bottle of Tab with a red ribbon around its neck. Jaeger left the party after 30 minutes. Crandall stayed until 2 a.m. At Halloween, Jaeger chose to go trick-or-treating with a group of children, some of whom play on the soccer team she helps coach, instead of going to a costume party with Crandall. "Getting drunk doesn't enthuse me. My dad used to own a bar, and I saw what happened to people who get drunk," Jaeger says. She'd rather go to movies or to the frozen-yogurt shop or to youth soccer games.

One aspect of the college social scene that jaeger is warming to is dating. Before August, she had never been on a date; she had neither the time nor the interest. Even now she'd rather play soccer or Nerf football than slip into high heels and a dress. She wears no makeup and little jewelry. She walks like a refined cowhand.

"Basically, I'm clueless," Jaeger said, laughing.

During the fall, she said, she accepted an invitation to go to a track meet in Daytona with one of the school's runners. When they arrived he discovered he'd forgotten his wallet, and Jaeger had to pay her own way. On the drive back to Gainesville, they talked about how people use other people. "Do you think I'm using you?" he asked. "You tell me," she replied. He sputtered, "No, I'm not. Really, I just forgot my wallet! I'll pay you back!"

Jaeger can't tell the story without giggling and turning a pale shade of red. She said she almost hit a street sign the first time she saw him. She couldn't remember her telephone number when he asked her for it after class one day. "He told me he was very fussy about women. I'm getting, like, really embarrassed. When a guy this gorgeous tells you he's picky..."

THE NERF footballs and sweat suits soon may go the way of Jaeger's tennis career, shut in the past behind another closed door. Jaeger won't say whether she'll play professionally again. It all depends on her injuries, she says, adding, "If I'm enjoying school, and there's a chance (the injuries) might reoccur, then I doubt I'm going back."

She would like to work with dolphins and has talked about going to Sea World in Orlando as a summer intern. She still has 1 1/2 years left in the zoology program, so there's plenty of time to decide. In the meantime, Andrea Jaeger works for minimum wage and cleans animal cages and writes term papers,

"But, see, I have fun all the time. I go to classes and have fun. Everything's fun for me. It's all so new that it's fun."
 

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1985 was a great year for womens tennis and was when womens tennis began coming to life again. 1982-1984 was really boring, and 1983 was probably the all time low for womens tennis, outside of Martina's amazing brilliance of course. Graf and Sabatini emerging on the scene, even though they werent ready yet at that point, made it even more exciting.

As for Martina, I think Chris and Hana raised their game much more than her dropping hers. It was dropped a tiny bit from 83, but 84 was also below 83 for Martina, but nobody was good enough to compete with her even then. In 85 they were.
 

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CLASS TELLS IN WOMEN'S TENNIS
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Thursday, January 31, 1985
Lowell Cohn

THEY TOLD me Chris Evert Lloyd was doing a promotion for the Virginia Slims of Oakland tennis tournament (Feb. 18-24), and if I wanted to interview her, she would call me on the phone at 11 a.m. Tuesday. They said I could have only 25 minutes of her time because she was conducting several interviews that day.

Ordinarily I would pass on something like that. I don't appreciate feeling like a beggar for time and words, and on the phone, I wouldn't be able to see what Evert did with her face after a tough question, or if she cracked her knuckles or slouched in her chair. But I said OK, because Evert had just beaten Martina Navratilova in a match, and she hadn't done that in more than two years.

Also, Evert is special. If there is an athlete in America with more dignity and grace, show me.

So I found myself answering the phone at 11 in the morning. A p.r. person for the tournament said Chris was right next to her, and she was happy to inform me I had a full 10 minutes with the star. I said 10 minutes was hardly enough time to clear my throat.

Evert got on the phone. Apologetic. Understanding. She would do the best she could.

SHE SAID she had decided to devote herself passionately to tennis for one more year and see what happens. At age 30, her motivation for continuing is not to dethrone Navratilova, but to reach her peak. ``Even when I was ranked number one, I hadn't peaked,'' she said.

At her peak, can she beat Navratilova?

''If I peak, that will fall into place.''

Evert said when she was 24, she discovered she no longer believed in the person she had been - the cute little teenage tennis machine. By necessity, she had been single-minded and had filtered out everything but her game. She especially had filtered out other people and their feelings. Her tennis game thrived, but her life was trivial. So she developed more interests, and became a happier person, and suddenly she wasn't the best woman tennis player in the world any more.

Now she wants to be the best - or at least challenge for the title. But here's the rub: How can she improve her game without becoming a tennis zombie?

''That's a tough question,'' Evert said with a shy giggle, and I wished I could have seen her at that moment. ''I must pull back (from people). I know that. I must come off a negative emotion to win. McEnroe and Connors do that. I have to feel hungry, and that doesn't come easily if I'm relaxed or content in my personal life. It's hard to turn that hunger on and off. I hope I won't become a selfish person. It's not like I'll start abusing people. I'll just be very quiet, lost in my thoughts. I'll want to be by myself. Luckily, I have an understanding husband.''

WE WERE now past the 10-minute mark, but Evert gave no sign of wanting to hang up, so I asked what it's like to play Navratilova. She answered the way she plays -- directly. Her voice was firm, pleasant, uncomplicated. ''I never look at Martina,'' she said. ''I must play the ball. Martina is intimidating because she is so aggressive. I just have to forget I'm playing her.''

Does she like Navratilova?

''I don't want to feel warm toward her in a match because I would lose. But for rivals, we get along well. We don't go out to dinner or talk on the phone, because we're together so much during tournaments. We'll be friends after tennis.''

Does she ever resent Navratilova?

''Not really. The only time I feel ambivalent toward her is when she hasn't given me credit. Like two days ago, when she said I beat her because she'd had a bad day at the office. Psychologically, she needs to say that.''

I ASKED Evert who she really is: Chris or Chrissy. sy. ''Chris is the person people read about,'' she replied. ''Chris is public, cold. Chrissy is a much more affectionate name. I'm more fond of it. Chrissy is me.''

We were at the 20-minute point, and I had several more questions - like does she ever feel the urge to throw a fit, like McEnroe? - when she said, ''They're putting a lot of pressure on me to get off the phone.'' Then the p.r. person took the receiver and told me Chris was late for another interview. I said I understood, but all the same, it was too bad. I like talking to Chris Evert Lloyd.
 

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CHRIS EVERT LLOYD: I'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, January 30, 1985
By Mike Celizic, Staff Writer

By most measurements, two years really isn't such a long time. If, however, you are being hit repeatedly over the head with a club, two years can seem slightly longer than eternity.

That is how Chris Evert Lloyd had been passing her days since December 1982. That's when she embarked on a string of 13 consecutive losses to tennis's version of the Russian winter, Martina Navratilova. After a while, the remarkable thing was not that Lloyd continued to get her brains beat in, but that she kept going back for more.

When Lloyd made her annual trip to New York last year to do advance publicity for the Virginia Slims Championships, everyone felt sorry for the former queen of tennis. All she was asked by reporters was when was she going to retire:

"Chris, you're 29 years old and it's clear even to us that you can't beat Martina if they nailed her feet to the baseline. So why don't you save what face you have left and give up?"

Chris would listen patiently, clench her jaw, and say something like, "I feel like I'm playing better than ever. I'm still No. 2."

It was painful to hear, because she was remembered as No. 1. Get out, she was told, before you embarrass yourself. As if being the second greatest women's tennis player on the planet is an embarrassment.

So now it's two months to Virginia Slims time and Lloyd, as gracious and dignified as ever, returned to the Big Apple yesterday to give her spiel. Only this time, she had no occasion to clench her jaw. Indeed, she was smiling so frequently, one would have thought she was auditioning for the Miss America pageant. Some interviewers even forgot to ask her when she was going to pack it in.

As of Sunday everyone stopped feeling sorry for her. On that day in Key Biscayne, Fla., on cement Navratilova's favorite surface Lloyd started repaying favors. She annihilated Navratilova, 6-2, 6-4.

Hey, Chris, what happened?

Basically, Lloyd got mad. Not at Navratilova, but at herself. The turning point, she said, came in September's U.S. Open when she lost in three tough sets to Navratilova.

"She didn't beat me," said Lloyd. "I lost that match.

"I was devastated. When it came to the few big points, I lacked the nerve. My whole career my mental aspect has been the strongest part of my game Chris Evert never choked a match.

"But I was used to being up 13-0 against players, and I was down 0-12," she said, referring to her losing streak against Martina. "It inhibited me so badly that when it came to the big points, I was a nervous wreck."

Lloyd choking is like Jimmy Connors quitting, like John McEnroe kissing babies, like Billie Jean King refusing to take the net. For a decade, she had dominated because of her unshakeable concentration. Suddenly, she realized, she was playing Navratilova like everybody else always had played her scared.

For others, that realization could bring terminal depression. But for Lloyd it brought a new beginning.

Knowing that she had gagged meant that her skills were not at fault. That meant she still could win if she concentrated like the relentless Lloyd of old.

Sunday, she did that, and it was Navratilova who collapsed. Navratilova admitted Sunday that she did not play her best. In fact, since her U.S. Open victory, she has not been playing to win, but rather not to lose. The burden of six straight Grand Slam titles and a record 74-match victory streak became too great in the Australian Open in December. Navratilova lost, to Helena Sukova, for the first time since last January.

The pressure of a losing streak, as Lloyd can attest, is terrible, but the pressure of so many wins may be even greater. Navratilova now has lost two of her last three tournaments.

"For two years, she was brilliant," said Lloyd. "Now she's just great."

Sunday, Lloyd was brilliant, but she knows that her rivalry with Navratilova is not over. Four years ago, when she was dominant, Lloyd pushed her rival to new heights. Navratilova, in the past two years, returned the favor. Now Lloyd, at 30, is playing the best tennis of her illustrious career, and she has her sights set on regaining her throne.

"I'm No. 2 and I have to go after the No. 1 player," she said. "We'll play a lot this year, nine or 10 times."

One of those figures to be March 24 at Madison Square Garden in the Virginia Slims final.

"I really believe that I haven't reached my peak," said Lloyd. "This year, if I keep working, I feel I can reach it. I love to compete. I love perfection. I love to put myself on the line."
 

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Poor Pammy, waiting patiently for Chris & Martina to finish "making history" before starting her turn.

Who will dethrone Chris, Martina? Shriver, Mandlikova, host of young players waiting in wings
THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL-BULLETIN
Saturday, July 20, 1985
MIKE SZOSTAK, Journal-Bulletin Sports Writer

They have been on the top rung of the women's tennis ladder for so long that it's difficult to remember who preceded them or to imagine who will follow.

Chris Evert Lloyd and Martina Navratilova.

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd.

Either way, you have No. 1.

From 1975, when the Women's Tennis Association began its computer rankings, through the Virginia Slims of Newport this week, one or the other has occupied the coveted title of No. 1.

Only Tracy Austin has interrupted the string. She reigned for two months in 1980.

But the Evert Lloyd-Navratilova stranglehold can't last forever. Evert Lloyd is 30. She says she doesn't know when she will stop playing, but she also says she wants to have children. Motherhood would effectively end her career.

Navratilova will be 29 in October. After years of chasing Evert Lloyd, she has dominated the game since 1982. But she, too, has mentioned retirement in the not-too-distant future.

THEIR RECORD against all comers proves that there isn't anybody swinging a racket today capable of dethroning them. So who will ascend to the crown when they abdicate in a few years?

"Pam Shriver and Hana Mandlikova are next in line," Evert Lloyd said this week. "They are mature, experienced and successful."

Shriver, the No. 2 seed in the Slims of Newport, is 23 and has won well over $1 million in her career. She has been ranked in the top 10 in the world since 1980 and as high as No. 3, late last year. She is No. 6 now.

But she is 0-14 against Evert Lloyd and 3-22 against Navratilova.

"Ahead of me in the rankings just happen to be two of the greatest women players of all time," Shriver said, the admiration in her tone unmistakable.

"You can't begrudge that because it's really been quite an experience to see them play and play each other in some of the most unbelievable matches in women's history. But there are the hard sides, like getting far in a Grand Slam tournament because they are so tough to beat. But I'll be patient. My time will come. If not, c'est la vie."

MANDLIKOVA, THE 23-year-old Czech, also has won more than $1 million and has stayed in the top 10 since 1980 with the exception of 1983, when she finished the year at No. 12. She is No. 3 now.

She is 3-16 against Evert Lloyd and 5-14 against Navratilova.

"Someone like Hana has the ability, but I don't know if she or anybody can beat Chris or Martina consistently," Shriver said. "I know when I play my one match, I feel I have a good shot at beating anybody. But day in and day out, year in and year out, I don't know."

Then there are recent arrivals to the top 10. Eighteen-year-old Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria is No. 4 in the world. She beat Evert Lloyd in the 1984 Italian Open final and Mandlikova in the Lion's Cup in Tokyo.

American Zina Garrison, 21, cracked the top 10 last year and is No. 5 now. She has beaten Shriver and Mandlikova.

Czech Helena Sukova, 20, upset Navratilova at the 1984 Australian Open. She is No. 7.

KATHY RINALDI, the 18-year-old Floridian who turned pro four years ago, has climbed to No. 8 in the world. She has defeated Mandlikova.

But the next superstars, the veterans agree, are lurking on the fringe of the top 10. Remember the names Steffi Graf of West Germany and Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina.

Graf is 15 years old and ranked No. 12 in the world. She has been playing the game since she was 4.

Last year she won the Olympic Tennis Demonstration at Los Angeles and was runnerup of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, West Germany.

This year she reached the semifinals of the inaugural Lipton International in Delray Beach, Fla., where she lost to Evert Lloyd. She also lost to Evert Lloyd in the semis at Hilton Head, the finals of the German Open and in the fourth round of the French Open.

Sabatini, also 15, is ranked No. 15. She was the top-ranked junior in the world in 1984. The second-youngest player to play in the U.S. Open and the youngest to win a round, she reached the third round. She has been playing for eight years.

"SABATINI ON clay will be a force as long as her career is around," Shriver said. "We have yet to see how she will adjust to hard courts or grass courts, but she certainly is a brilliant player."

Evert Lloyd isn't worried about Sabatini's ability to adjust. She predicted the next wave of stars will be versatile.

"The era that Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and I came along in was the baseline era," she said. "Then Martina and John McEnroe started the serve-and-volley era. The next group will be well-rounded. They can do everything now. They're just not polished yet."

Evert Lloyd is concerned about the pressure ahead for the Grafs and Sabatinis.

"At 15, there are no pressures. You don't feel anything when you play a superstar," she said. "When I won my first Wimbledon, I was 19 and didn't know what was happening."

She is convinced that those pressures will foster burnout and end the days of players staying atop the game for as long as she and Jimmy Connors have.

"THE STARS will shine brighter, but for a shorter time," she said. "There are so many more opportunities now. When Sabatini is 15, 16 and 17, she'll be making a couple of million, and they (coaches, sponsors, promoters) will work her."

Shriver agreed.

"After five or six years on tour, the financial incentives aren't there," she said.

"The tour is a lot different now," Evert Lloyd said. "We have 35 tournaments. The money is there. The pressure from parents and coaches is there. Sabatini can earn $500,000, and she's only 15. It takes strong, caring parents to say, 'You can play 10-12 tournaments. Pace yourself.' But nobody does that. They throw them out there and those kids play 25 weeks. Before they develop physically. That's how they get injured."

Austin and Andrea Jaeger, whom many experts believed would make room at the top, suffered injuries and burnout and walked away from tennis. Austin is 22, Jaeger 20.

"THAT'S WHAT'S so unbelievable about Chris," Shriver said. "She has not only ability, but also an unbelievable mind. The tougher I realize this is, the more natural it is that I hold people like Chris and Martina in high admiration. They've not only dominated, but handled the pressure. My respect for them grows every day. When they retire, maybe I can take over some of that attitude."

Then Shriver smiled.

"Of course, we may not stay at the top because of a slight difference in ability."
 

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1985 was the year I really began to follow tennis. I remember watching the FO final and rooting so hard for Chrissie. After that, I was hooked, I began to take tennis lessons immediately, began hitting the wall against the back of the house and got a subscription to Tennis Magazine. Chrissie was my Queen. Pam Shriver's book "Passing Shots" gives a fantastic account of 1985, from the rise of Sabatini and Graf, to the decline of the once promising Carling Bassett, to Hana's great U.S. Open.

Though, it was becoming quite clear that the Chrissie clones weren't going to have their day the way most had expected, there were a few bright spots for the young Americans: Stephanie Rehe turned pro at the U.S. Open and then won Utah and Tampa. Rinaldi had a career revival (she was only 18) and made the semis of Wimbledon and won Mahwah. And Mary Joe Fernandez made the R16 at the inaugural Lipton beating Candy Reynold (double bagel!) and Bonnie Gadusek (a top tenner) at 13 years old. Still, it was clear that those results were small potatoes compared to the Grand Slam semifinal showings of Graf and Sabatini.
 

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I think Pam is a very underrated player, and does not get her dues for her career from people that were not around at the time to see her play. I think that she won 25 or 26 singles titles, which is more than many multiple GS winners, and did more than her fair share in winning those doubles slams with Martina. She rarely lost to anyone that she was expected to beat, and scored at least one win against the greats she played.

However, I never thought that she was a potential singles GS winner. Her groundstrokes, particularly the forehand was just too much of a weakness that could be exploited, and her movement was poor. Her victory against Graf in her GS year was probably Pam's best singles win.

Her book is still my favourite tennis book of all time......
 

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Her book is still my favourite tennis book of all time......
Her book is a laugh riot one moment and then poignant at the turn of a dime.

We ought to think about revisiting her book.

And she was "into dudes!":lol:

P. S. Your Pamtastic character is NOT forgotten JakeMan90-93.
 

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There are lots of reasons why we should remember 1985 fondly. The main ones have already been covered. But these were other reasons, at least for me, to cherish that banner year.

1) Catarina Lindqvist made her first serious mark on the tour. Early in the year, she reached the US Indoor Final and showed a CBS (here in the States) audience why her backhand was and still is one of the most beautifully produced and executed one handed backhands in the womens game. Catarina's fine play got her into the top 16 with a win over Hana early on and into a tight 4R match with Martina at the US Open. She was an oustanding player overall with a lot of success on hard courts and indoors, but surprisingly little success on clay. Her grass court achievements would be what most remember about her though reaching the 1986 Wimbledon QF, 1989 Wimbledon SF, and the 1987 Australian SF.

2) Gabriela Sabatini had already made a name for herself by being the youngest player to win a match at the US Open the year before, but it was 1985 when she made her great run at the FCC at Hilton Head Island. She knocked off top 4 player Shriver, the darling of 1984 Manuela Maleeva, and then put up a good fight vs. Chris. She got to the quarters the next week vs. Chris and pushed her into a 3rd set. At one point, the crowd was going nuts for Gaby and on a change over, Chris turned to Mary Carillo who was sitting at court side and said, "Does she think this is the Wimbledon final?" She would go on to the French SF where she would lose to Chris again. And she went on to even bigger and better things.

3) Kathy Rinaldi made the Wimbledon SF. I couldn't believe it. She was a name that I had heard for years and I had been waiting for a break though at the French or the US Open, similar to Carling Bassett. But Wimbledon? Think about this, she beat Sukova, the YEC r/u and stopper of the Martina slam, in the QF in what was her best chance to make a Wimbledon SF. Sukova never got there. But Kathy sure did. It was a straight forward convincing win for Chris. But I didn't care at the time. I was just delighted for Kathy.

4) Khode upset Martina at the Canadian Open. Martina only lost five matches in 1985, but considering that she only lost 3 in the previous two years, it was a surprise. Everyone remembers the two wins each by Chris and Hana, but many forget that it was Claudia that serve and volleyed her right out of Toronto. I read a crazy stat somewhere that Claudia served 80% of her first serves in for the entire match and Martina could not break her when it counted. Claudia actually made the SF at both the French and Australian Opens, playing well at both.

5) Graf's first slam SF came at the US Open. The result of the match didn't matter much. It was the thrilling 3 tiebreak set win over Shriver in the QF that everyone remembers. Steffi had reached the SF at the same Hilton Head tournament that Gaby did so well at, but people pretty much ignored her. She would follow that up with a fine match vs. Chris in the German final. But if anyone had any doubts about the coming of Fraulein Forehand, the 1985 US Open put them to rest.

6) Zina played some darn fine tennis throughout the year. Not only did she beat Hana and Chris for the Amelia Island title, but she also ran right over Hana 6-1, 6-3 in the Zurich final. After which, Hana simply said that Zina played her right off the court and that there was nothing that she could do to stop her. Zina also got to the Wimbledon SF and pushed Hana into a 3rd set in the Australian SF. What was amazing about her play on grass was that she had developed a solid net game to go with the baseline play that served her well at Amelia and the US Clay Courts.

7) Virginia Wade played her last slam at the 85 Australian losing to Hana in the 1R. That match had trouble written all over it, but Virginia rarely troubled Hana at this point in her career. Still, I got to see her play Wimbledon one last time and she gave a good accounting of herself on Center Court vs. Pam.

8) Martina HAD to beat Hana in the Australian SF to keep her #1 ranking. It was that close of a race that year between she and Chris. Hana pushed her to 6-4 in the 3rd set and was hitting enough winners to knock her off. But Martina prevailed on the big points to beat the biggest thorn in her side since BJK, and then defeated Chris is a competitive grass court final.

I was also thrilled to see a mini-resurgence of Andrea Temesvari who won the USCC for the second time in her career. Bettina Bunge also played a tremendous 3R match vs. Martina that no one seems to remember. Bettina hung with her the entire time and played a match that was worthy of its Center Court status. And I think that any recap of 1985 is incomplete without a mention of Jordan and Smylie's great upset of Martina and Pam ending their record streak. It wasn't a fluke either. Kathy's crafty net play and Liz's huge forehand were just too much for the dynamic duo. To add insult to injury, another solid team of Khode and Sukova, the Twin Towers, beat M/P for the US title avenging a loss in one of the greatest womens doubles matches ever in the Virginia Slims Champ. final.

84-87 was kind of a pinnacle of sorts for me. Before then, I watched with great enthusiasm but didn't know enough about the psychology of the game yet. After 1987, I was just so busy being a teenager and playing my own tennis that I wasn't able to follow it as closely. Since I didn't see much of the greats of the 70's, this was and remains my favorite time period for womens tennis. No doubt, partially influenced by the success of Hana.
 

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TRAGEDY OF DALLAS CRASH TOUCHES TOURNEY AT LAVER'S
The Miami Herald
Monday, August 5, 1985
MARK NEWMAN, Herald Sports Writer

The girls came from afar, as Richie Laver had, to test their blossoming tennis games against the best 12-and-under competition in the nation. But while the girls went about their business Sunday in Delray Beach, the boy lay in serious condition at a Dallas hospital.

He and his father, Ian Laver, had been destined for Los Angeles and the USTA Boys' National Championships when their flight from Fort Lauderdale, Delta 191, crashed Friday night in Dallas. Richie suffered burns on the right side of his body and damaged his lungs after inhaling flames, but friends believe he will be released this week.

His father, the 44-year-old cousin of Australian tennis great Rod Laver, perished at the scene.

A flag waved at half-mast Sunday at Laver's International Tennis Resort, which Ian founded in 1977. A moment of silence was observed during opening ceremonies there for the week-long girls' equivalent of Richie's tournament. Then the girls played their first-round matches.

"The children are unaware, really, but the mood of the club and staff is very emotional, very upset," said Jean Mills, tournament director at Laver's. "Ian was dedicated to all levels of tennis. We're still at a point of shock."

The girls will test their abilities and then return home. It won't be as easy for Richie, who is to be a seventh grader this fall at The Potomac School in Boca Raton.

"It's not really going to hit him for another three or four weeks," said Laver's tennis professional John Ingles, who helped Ian coach the boy the last five years. "That's when he'll look for his dad to hit tennis balls, to cook dinner, to do the things a dad does. He'll reflect on those times. They were very close."

The boy's mother, Kerri Laver of Pompano Beach, flew to Dallas Saturday and remained with Richie at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She and Ian were divorced last year. Their other child, Kimberley, 15, attends a boarding school in Australia.

In 1972, Ian moved to the United States from Australia. He decided against trying the pro circuit, and became tennis instructor at the Silver Thatch Racquet Club in Pompano Beach. He then originated Laver's and developed it into one of the top facilities in the nation, and saw his club accommodate the prestigious Lipton International Players Championships in February.

But Ian's chief concern the last months was his son's budding career. Watching the boy play once, he reportedly said, "This is better than the U.S. Open."

Richie, a left-hander, already stood 5-7 (Ian was 6-4 and 230) and was making a name for himself in Florida. He was ranked in the state's top 20.

"Ian and I had taught him to play aggressive, to have that style of game as he grows," Ingles said. "He serves and volleys and knows all the spins."

Father was eager to see how son would fare at the national level. Had it not been for another tennis match, he would be doing just that this week in California.

Ian, who initially had booked a Thursday flight, met Ingles for a friendly match that afternoon in Fort Lauderdale. After the long game, Ian, who needed to cash a check to pay for the trip, rushed with Ingles to the nearest bank.

"Every light was red," Ingles explained. "Then we got to the bank, and the girl was locking the door. Ian explained his situation, but she said the computers were down and she couldn't get any money. I told him we could go somewhere else and cash the check, and he said he'd just catch a flight Friday.

"I watched his condo Friday night, and I had the Yankees-White Sox game on TV. Then came the news flash, and I knew right away what the story was."

Saturday night, Richie learned of his father's death.

Ingles said the boys' burns are not third-degree, and that treatment for his lungs apparently is showing positive results.

"He'll play again," Ingles said.

Ingles is advising friends of the family that some type of funeral service probably will be held in South Florida.

NO UPSETS IN FIRST ROUND

There were no upsets in the first round of the Girls' 12, which runs each day until Saturday's 11 a.m. singles final. Top- seeded Kim Kessaris of Hendersonville, N.C., the winner of the recent Clay Courts Championship in Plantation, breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Becky Kane of Edwardsville, Ill.

Second-seeded Melissa Hernando of Holmdel, N.J., who lost to Kessaris in the Plantation final, opened with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Donna Castillon of Cupertino, Calif.

Boys' 14

Top-seeded Jose Ayala of Sunrise defeated James Quinones of the Bronx, 6-0, 6-1, in Shreveport, La. Third-seeded Jared Palmer of Largo, Fla., trounced Lars Beck of Villanova, Pa., 6-1, 6-2.

Girls' 14

Top-seeded Luanne Spadea of Boca Raton defeated Alicia Leone, 6-1, 6-1, in the first round in Atlanta. Second-seeded Caryn Moss of Pembroke Pines defeated Amy Young, 6-2, 6-0.
 

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Expect the unexpected!

BECKER CREATES AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY
Peter Alfano
The New York Times
August 25, 1985

UNTIL Wimbledon, any talk about the changing face of men's tennis sounded like idle speculation or wishful thinking. Until Boris Becker became the first unseeded player to win the world's most prestigious championship, there wasn't any reason to suspect that John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Mats Wilander would lose their hold on the Grand Slam events. Even in retirement, Bjorn Borg was customarily a bigger topic of conversation at Wimbledon than all but the top-seeded players.

But Becker's youthful enthusiasm and overpowering serve gave the men's game a needed dose of unpredictability. And that alone should add to the appeal of the United States Open, which begins on Tuesday. There are other players the fans may deem worth watching now, all capable of advancement in their field. The big names are still listed at the top of the rankings but their grip is not so firm and upsets may no longer be reported as if they were acts of God.

The same cannot be said for the women. Gabriela Sabatini has captured the imagination of fans this year and other young players such as Zina Garrison, Steffi Graf, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Helena Sukova have made signifcant strides, but the big tournaments still are a showcase for the long-running rivalry between Chris Evert Lloyd, who is seeded first and Martina Navratilova, who is No. 2. Only the enigmatic Hana Mandlikova - who won the French Open in 1981 - has broken their hold on the Grand Slam events in the last five years.

Becker stole the headlines at Wimbledon but Kevin Curren, Anders Jarryd and Henri Leconte were all excellent in supporting roles. In the process, McEnroe, Lendl, Connors and Wilander were eliminated before the final. Wilander did not even make it past the first round.

The odds still favor the big four, especially McEnroe, who has won four Open singles titles and rebounded from his crushing defeat to Curren at Wimbledon by winning championships in Vermont and Montreal on hardcourt surfaces similar to those at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.

And McEnroe is still the best player in the world even if the Association of Tennis Professionals computer placed him second to Lendl last week because it has been programmed to treat each of the last 52 weeks equally rather than placing more emphasis on recent performances. McEnroe defeated Lendl in the finals in Vermont and Montreal, which were the criteria used by the United States Tennis Association when it seeded McEnroe first at the Open. ''I don't see how we cannot give it to him,'' said Randy Gregson, president of the U.S.T.A. ''We'd have a credibility problem.''

There is a suspicion that McEnroe will be especially motivated at the Open. At Wimbledon, he talked about how he has learned there is more to life than tennis and how he understood the pressures that led Borg to quit while in his prime. McEnroe did not try to hide his fondness for the actress Tatum O'Neal and he lamented that he thought he could not have her accompany him to London because of the attention she would have received from the British press.

McEnroe may now come across as more vulnerable, but he is still fiercely competitive and intimidating on a tennis court. He did not enjoy the public humiliation at the hands of Curren's express mail delivery serve. He was beaten but vowed to come back.

The Deco II surface is his favorite. It is among the fastest that cater to the serve-and-volley player. And the bounces on a hard court are higher and truer, which plays to McEnroe's strength - those sharply-angled volleys he hits with a watchmaker's touch.

In McEnroe's half of the draw, Wilander and Becker, seeded third and eighth, offer the stiffest competition. Wilander is one of five Swedish players ranked in the top 16 and opponents have said he has begun to develop the net game needed to win the Open. Wilander won the French Open before his disappointment at Wimbledon and has the talent to excel on all surfaces. Borg was frustrated because he failed to win the Open in 10 attempts but that may have been because he tried to win them from the baseline. Wilander is not so stubborn and has worked - although at a more leisurely pace than Borg did - to develop a serve-and-volley game.

The recognition factor alone will make it difficult for Becker to repeat his Wimbledon success. New Yorkers will be crowding the courts for a look at the 17-year-old who probably won Wimbledon three years before his time. Still, he appeared impervious to pressure at Wimbledon and basked in the applause, waving to the fans after each victory. If the pressure of living up to his advance notices doesn't beat Becker he should advance to the fourth round, where he could meet Joakim Nystrom of Sweden, who is seeded 10th. McEnroe awaits in the quarterfinals.

The bottom half of the draw is more intriguing. Lendl must overcome the stigma of losing in the Grand Slam events. His only victory in a major championship was in the 1984 French Open, when he beat McEnroe in five sets after losing the first two. That was considered a gift. Lendl has had difficulty controlling his temper of late and is sounding shrill. He has played in the final of the last three Opens, which proves he has the game to win. But for now, he is his own worst enemy.

Connors has won five Open titles on three surfaces and although he is beginning to slip, he is a dangerous player who performs especially well in New York, where his street-fighter's style goes over big. But Curren, who is seeded fifth and has two convincing victories against Connors at Wimbledon, may be too big an obstacle no matter how often Connors pumps his fist and points his finger across the net.

Curren is a rare player who will admit his limitations, but playing on a hard court is not one of them. His motivation will be to prove that reaching the Wimbledon final was not attributable only to a scorching serve that did not fail until he met Becker.

Stefan Edberg, seeded 11th and another Swede, is a 19-year-old who has the potential to duplicate Becker's Wimbledon feat in the Open. And improving Americans such as Scott Davis and Tim Mayotte, who are at home on fast surfaces, cannot be overlooked. But this will be McEnroe's opportunity to silence the speculation he may have lost interest in tennis and to return the men's game to its natural order.

Among the women, Wimbledon was Miss Navratilova's revenge against Mrs. Lloyd, who had won the French Open to regain her position as the No. 1 player in the world. Mrs. Lloyd is 30 years old and playing the best tennis of her career but the hard courts at the Open favor Miss Navratilova's more aggressive game.

Mrs. Lloyd's draw includes Miss Kohde-Kilsch, Miss Mandlikova, Miss Sabatini and Miss Sukova, but she has beaten them handily this year. Her biggest obstacle could be an old nemesis, Kathy Jordan, provided that Miss Jordan advances to the semifinals. That doesn't figure to happen.

Miss Navratilova has never especially cared for the atmosphere at Flushing Meadows - the vocal crowds, low-flying aircraft and general commotion - and some of her more disappointing defeats have occurred there at the hands of Miss Mandlikova, Tracy Austin and Pam Shriver. Once again, Miss Shriver, who is seeded fourth, must defeat her doubles partner and friend in order to reach the final and presumably, Mrs. Lloyd. It will be interesting to see what effect the carnival-like doubles match Miss Shriver and Miss Navratilova played against Bobby Riggs and Vitas Gerulaitis Friday night in Atlantic City, will have on their early matches at the Open. It could prove to be an unwanted distraction if the fans and media let the so-called ''Challenge Match of the Sexes'' continue to be a topic of conversation.

But unless Miss Mandlikova finally plays well for two weeks in succession or one of the big hitters such as Miss Kohde-Kilsch or Miss Sukova spring an upset, Mrs. Lloyd and Miss Navratilova will resume their friendly rivalry on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 7, in the women's singles final.
 

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A CARNIVAL FOR STARS, LESSER LIGHTS AND FANS
SUSAN B. ADAMS
The New York Times
August 26, 1985

THE United States Open is a tennis carnival with 13 different competitions taking place over a 13-day period on the 16-acre grounds of the United States Tennis Association's National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow Park.

Everyone knows the headliners in the main events and the stakes: John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Chris Evert Lloyd, Martina Navratilova, Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker begin their quest tomorrow for the men's and women's singles title and the largest portions of a record $3,073,500 in prize money. Their matches usually take place inside 20,662-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium or in the adjacent 6,700-seat grandstand and are witnessed by more than 430,000 fans and a national television audience in the millions.

Far away from the lights, cameras and action of the stadium and the grandstand, on the 25 outside courts, the rest of the Open's 500 competitors pursue their dreams. They, too, play singles, but their chances for a measure of success often rest in the Open's three other championship events: the men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.

Then there are the seven ancillary competitions ranging from junior boys' singles (for those 18 and under) to senior women's doubles (those over 35 who have won a United States national championship), which offer experience to the young and a bittersweet replay of past glories to the not-yet-old. And the Equitable Family Tennis Challenge, the 96-team finals of a nationwide competition in six family combinations (mother-daughter, father-son, father-daughter, mother-son, husband-wife and brother-sister), adds an appropriately populist note to the proceedings.

Playing alongside the pros is ''a thrill for an old fogey, and the chance to see all the excitement through the eyes of my daughter,'' says a father-daughter finalist, John Furlong of Edina, Minn.

Above all, the United States Open is the people's tournament.

''I've always envisioned the U.S. Open as a country fair where people will come to see the action on the outside courts and walk around and have something to eat,'' says W.E. (Slew) Hester. chairman emeritus of the Open. ''One of the big things at the Open is that it gives the average person a place to be a member of the club.''

Unfortunately, the Open's phenomenal growth has undermined Hester's goal. Corporations and sponsors have gobbled up large portions of tickets so that the average fan has found it difficult to obtain individual tickets for a day's play. Most of the tickets are sold through advance sales and multiday plans. A full series of day and night sessions costs $300 for a seat in the upper level.

''The public doesn't understand that we do have to have corporate support,'' said Randy Gregson, the U.S.T.A. president. ''We can't hold tickets back the day of the matches. We're being slugged by our own success. It's a pleasant problem, but one we have to address.''

First-year attendance in 1978 was 275,300; last year the two-week tally was a record 431,067. Both figures include complimentary tickets. This year, 11 of the 13 day sessions are already sold out.

''The fans really get into it,'' says Billie Jean King. ''They're not as in awe of you as they are at Wimbledon. They're New Yorkers, so they'll let you know how they feel. They also know I live here, so they're really friendly.''

''It's a fantastic atmosphere when the stadium is packed, it's totally American,'' says John Newcombe, the last foreigner to win the men's singles title in 1973. ''It's no wonder they've won; it's their country and their conditions: noisy, humid, hard courts.''

''The crowds at Flushing Meadow are so noisy, so friendly, so liberal in their appreciation of good tennis that they make the U.S. Open a very jolly, sociable, Joe Public-type of tournament,'' says Rex Bellamy, the tennis correspondent for The Times of London. ''Europeans are stimulated by it, but they don't really like it. Flushing Meadow is a totally American way of tennis and a totally New York way of life. The place has built up an exciting tradition in a very short time.''

Ah, tradition. When Slew Hester, then the president of the United States Tennis Association, moved the Open from the elegant West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, with its grass courts and clubby confines to the Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow Park, tennis purists gasped. In a game in which tradition had always created a sense of elitism, Hester was throwing the biggest tournament open to the people.

In response to his worried colleagues, Hester placed a sprig of potted ivy at the southeast gate of the Tennis Center before the start of that first 1978 Open. Above the ivy, a jaunty handwritten sign read: ''Watch Tradition Grow!''

The United States Open is the only Grand Slam tournament played in a public facility with a full schedule of night sessions to accommodate the working population. The Open, which has been played on grass for most of its 104-year history, is now played on hard courts, a surface suited to the American style of play and upon which a large percentage of American recreational players have learned the game.

The Open is the only Grand Slam tournament in which the silence usually demanded by players is shattered by the roar of jets, which land at and take off from nearby La Guardia Airport.

''Sure, it's hard for players to adjust to the planes and the lights and the 11 A.M. start, but that's all part of the deal,'' says Mrs. King. ''Our first job is to the fans.''

Not all players treat the rugged conditions with Mrs. King's equanimity. Whether it is the heat or the noise or old-fashioned New York City assertiveness, the Open at Flushing Meadow has also built a rich tradition of unpredictable, sometimes bizarre, performances. In 1979, McEnroe and Ilie Nastase staged a tempestuous early-round duel under the lights in which the chair umpire, Frank Hammond, disqualified Nastase and then was himself disqualified by the tournament referee, Mike Blanchard, who reinstated Nastase and finished umpiring the match himself.

Nastase's temper tantrums (at one point, the Rumanian kicked over the courtside water cooler), McEnroe's razor-sharp retorts, and liberal consumption of liquor in the stands stoked the crowd to a frightening fever pitch before McEnroe finally emerged a four-set winner.

Then there was the humid day in 1980 that Nastase changed his shorts in the runway between the grandstand and the stadium during an early-round match. In 1981, guards bodily removed several disruptive fans from the top of the 116-row stadium as Chris Evert Lloyd and Martina Navratilova, in the third set of a tense semifinal, watched incredulously.

At a tournament in which tradition has taken a backseat to popularizing the sport, it should come as no surprise that Flushing Meadow has also celebrated the coming of age of teen-age champions. In 1978, 16-year-old Pam Shriver became the youngest finalist in the 91-year history of the women's competition; then in 1979, Tracy Austin, also 16, became the youngest champion in the tournament's history. In 1980, 15-year-old Andrea Jaeger was the youngest semifinalist and 20-year-old John McEnroe carried off the men's singles crown, the youngest player to do that in 31 years.

Last year's child of summer was Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini, who won her United States Open debut on Court 22 against Paula Smith to become, at 14, the youngest player ever to win a match in the tournament.

There are those among the Open wandering legions who feel they discovered players like Miss Sabatini and Boris Becker, who made his successful Open debut two years ago at age 15 on Court 5 in the boy's singles, before losing in the quarterfinals.

There is a camaraderie among the fans out on the field courts. After all, it's easy to be generous in spirit when you're still feeling smug about fleeing the stadium hotbox while the top-seeded players are shelling overmatched and overawed opponents. The best matches are often found on Court 3 (1,562 seats), where spectators hang over the railings on the stadium's tiered outer ramps and cause great distractions for those players unlucky enough to play there, or on Court 16 (1,885 seats), where many of the most attractive matches are scheduled. Also, the field courts and the practice courts (there are five in full-time use during the Open: Nos. 9-11, 23 and 24) provide a more intimate experience for spectators.

When the doubles events begin on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the fans have the opportunity to see the players in a more relaxed, jovial mood than they often are in the singles. Moreover, this year the senior divisions are especially inviting to those with any kind of tennis memory at all. In the men's 35 singles, Stan Smith, Ilie Nastase and John Newcombe, the United States Open champions of 1971, '72 and '73, respectively, will be seeking to update their rivalries.

And in ''the old ladies,'' as Billie Jean King calls the senior women's invitational doubles, Mrs. King and Rosie Casals, who won nine United States national doubles titles between them, will take on the challengers of their youth: Maria Bueno and Betty Stove, Virginia Wade and Kerry Reid, Nancy Richey and Karen Susman. All the senior events get under way early in the Open's second week along with the junior boys' and girls' singles and doubles.

To find where, say, Miss Navratilova and Miss Shriver are playing doubles on a given day, a $1 chart of the day's matches is available on the grounds, but to find when they are playing, you must go to the matches-in-progress kiosk in the main courtyard.

After a year of research and development, what used to be a hand-updated board for matches in progress has been turned into a state-of-art system of 16 television monitors that flash color-coded names and scores of all finished matches or those in progress during a day's competition. ''If something happens and it doesn't work, we'll call it 'a modern sculpture made of steel,' '' says Mike Burns, the Open's executive director, who says the matches-in-progress video arcade is only the most visible sign of $2 million worth of capital improvements the U.S.T.A. has made at the Tennis Center since last year's tournament.

The matches-in-progress technology is courtesy of Sony, one of 25 sponsors who paid a minimum of $50,000 for commercial exposure, plus box seats, tickets and parties at the 1985 Open. All told, the Open's sponsors will pour more than $3 million into the U.S.T.A. coffers this year. When you add more than $5 million in gate receipts and $5 million in broadcast rights, plus a percentage of the food concessions at the Open, you realize what big business the Open has become.

After expenses, maintenance and capital improvements, the Open nets more than $9 million, which helps to fund the U.S.T.A.'s national and sectional programs in junior development, research and tournament programs. The Open provides the U.S.T.A., a nonprofit organization, with 72 percent of its operating income.

The role of sponsors and big business in the Open has become a sore subject to fans. There are only limited tickets available for opening day and Wednesday, Sept. 4, and tickets for the extended Labor Day weekend and finals weekend have been gone since they went on sale in early May. Phil Molite, the tournament's ticket manager, says that there are plenty of tickets left for the 10 night sessions, with the exception of the last one on Thursday, Sept. 5. The night programs begin at 7:30 and feature two matches each in the stadium and the grandstand. Prices range from $8 to $10 for the first four nights to $15-$17 for the last two nights.

The U.S.T.A. has been exploring the possibility of building a new 5,000-seat show court and selling a reduced-price ticket for that court and the grounds only ''to help siphon off the strain,'' as Gregson puts it. However, this proposal has yet to be approved by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, from whom the U.S.T.A. rents, maintains and operates the National Tennis Center in return for exclusive use of the complex for a maximum of 60 days a year.

If the new show court is built in time for next year's Open, as is hoped, Hester insists that a close watch would be kept to make sure overcrowding does not become a problem on the grounds.

''One of the reasons we left Forest Hills was because everybody was shoulder to shoulder and butt to butt. I'd hate to go back to that,'' says Hester. ''But we've got to do something so that everyone who wants to go to the U.S. Open can go.''
 

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VISITING TENNIS PLAYERS FIND TOUCH OF HOME LIFE
JUDY KLEMESRUD
The New York Times
August 30, 1985

The United States Open is on, and all the tennis players are living like kings and queens in fancy hotel suites, enjoying room service and being chauffeured to Flushing Meadow in limousines. Right? Wrong. Just some of them are. Other players are not so well off as the McEnroes and the Navratilovas and are not so well known as the Lendls and the Evert Lloyds. They ''stay privately,'' which in tennis parlance means they are staying in private homes in the metropolitan area.

Some are staying with relatives, others with friends, others with people they are meeting for the first time. Whatever the situation, it is a lot less expensive, and for a lonely young tennis player who spends a lot of time on the road, it's a home away from home.

'A Shoulder to Cry On'

''When you stay in a hotel, you're kind of cooped up in a room,'' said Jennifer Mundel, 23 years old, of South Africa, who is staying for the sixth year with Bruce and Arlene Lieberman in Kings Point, L.I. ''I'm in such a big house you can get lost in it, but you can also have a shoulder to cry on.'' (She was defeated in her first round singles match by Helena Sukova, 6-1, 6-0.) Miss Mundel said she began staying with the Liebermans and their two children when she was 17 and playing in a tournament in Port Washington, L.I. She said her parents worried about her traveling alone and called the tournament sponsors, who arranged for her to stay in private housing.

''I feel very comfortable at the Liebermans,'' she said. ''I raid the refrigerator whenever I want, and Arlene and I go shopping together. We even exchange letters and phone calls throughout the year.''

Burglar Alarm Went Off

Miss Mundel, who has her own front door key to the Liebermans' home, recalled the time she flipped on what she thought was a light switch and set off a burglar alarm. ''The Liebermans arrived at the same time the police car did,'' she said, ''so everything turned out all right.''

According to spokesmen for the Women's Tennis Association and the Association of Tennis Professionals, the men's group, 10 to 20 percent of the players are staying in private homes during the Open. Most of the others are staying at the Essex House, Drake or Summit hotels, which give the players discounts. A few, such as John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Martina Navratilova, Vitas Gerulaitis, Leslie Allen and Barbara Potter, have homes in the area.

Staying privately is a more common practice in tournaments in smaller cities, where the homes are closer to the tournament sites, the spokesmen said. Also, most smaller tournaments have housing committees that arrange for players to stay with families, but the U.S. Open does not.

''Staying privately was very big in the 1960's and the 1970's, but it's not as popular anymore,'' said George Pharr, director of public relations for the men's group. ''One reason is that the players are making a lot more money today.''

''But even with the money,'' he added, ''some guys just enjoy the home atmosphere. They travel 35 weeks a year, and they like to get away, relax and not talk tennis all the time.'' Among the men staying privately in New York, he said, are Steve Meister and Tracy Delatte of the United States and Christo Van Rensburg of South Africa.

Among the women in private homes are Rene Uys of South Africa, who is also staying with the Liebermans; Miss Sukova of Czechoslovakia; Pam Whytcross of Australia; and Michelle Torres, Lea Antonopolis and Anne White of the United States.

Steve Meister, 27, of North Miami Beach, who estimates he spends 90 percent of his time in hotels, is staying in Manhattan with his cousin ''and best friend,'' Dr. Michael Meister, also 27. Dr. Meister, a resident in anesthesiology at New York Hospital, also helps him warm up for his matches at the Open.

''Staying with Mike really saves money,'' said Steve Meister, who estimated that he spends $25,000 to $35,000 a year on travel, food and lodging. So far this year, he has earned $42,048 playing tennis.

''It's also nice to get away from the whole tennis scene,'' he added. ''You're out at the courts all day long, and it's nice to have a quiet place to go to away from all the commotion.''

'Off the Beaten Path'

Anne White, 23, who shocked the Wimbledon tennis establishment this year when she wore a white bodysuit to her first match, is staying in Manhattan with Chuck Pfeifer, 44, a friend she met three years ago at a tournament in Atlanta. He owns a motion picture company that makes television commercials.

''It's nothing romantic,'' she said. ''He's also a good friend of my boyfriend, who lives in California.''

Miss White, of Newport Beach, Calif., said she was especially fond of the apartment's Upper East Side location, ''off the beaten path'' of most of the tennis players.

''It's great - you can get up and cook breakfast in the morning,'' she said. ''The Essex House is just a madhouse of people, and it's kind of nice to get away from all the other players.''

Because of the controversy over her bodysuit, Miss White seems to be one of the most popular players at the Open. She is Miss July in the 1986 Women of Tennis calendar, which the W.T.A. unveiled Monday. She is also endorsing a line of bodysuits, on the order of the one she wore at Wimbledon, called Perfect 10, which Pony will bring out in the fall.

Pam Whytcross, 31, is back for the 10th year with Tim and Sheilah Enos and their three sons, Brandt, 18, Clay, 15, and Luke, 10, of Rye, N.Y. Her parents, who are visiting this country for the first time, are also staying with the Enoses.

''They sort of took me in as their traveling daughter,'' she said. ''I've seen their kids grow up. I'm sort of like the big sister who comes back from college during summer vacation.''

For Some, It's Essential

Miss Whytcross, who has earned less than $10,000 this year and who lost in the final round of the qualifying matches, said private housing was essential for her to remain on the tour. She said Mrs. Enos cooked meals for her and let her stay in an apartment above the garage, where she has her own bedroom, bath and a separate entrance.

Last year, the Enoses accidentally locked her out of the house. ''I'd lost a match and gone into the city with friends and didn't get home until 3 A.M.,'' she recalled. ''So I had to sleep in the car. It wasn't bad, because I'd had pretty much to drink and I went right out.''

Although the players who stay in private housing seem to have many happy memories of their experiences, they also have some negative ones. ''Sometimes you wind up with people who don't understand tennis,'' Miss Mundel said. ''They ask you to teach their 10-year-old child how to play tennis five minutes before you have a match. But you try to put them off diplomatically.''

Only With Close Friends

Mr. Meister said he tried to stay only with close friends. ''Being on the road all the time makes you moody,'' he explained, ''and when you stay with families, you sometimes have to socialize when you don't want to. A lot of times you can't relax.''

Mr. Pharr of the Association of Tennis Professionals said he had heard stories of babies crying at 3 A.M. and keeping players awake when they had matches a few hours later.

The families and individuals who take in players had a few bad memories, too, including family cars being wrecked and players who didn't come home at night. So why do they do it?

''I love tennis, but it's mainly Anne,'' said Mr. Pfeifer of Miss White. ''I just like her as a personality. And I always enjoy having company - I'm just a social animal.''

''I did it mainly for my two kids,'' said Mrs. Lieberman, who has also played host to Kevin Curren and Andrea and Suzie Jaeger. ''I thought it was a good way for them to learn how to get along with people from all over the world.'' ***
 

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YOUNGER PLAYERS BATTLE DOUBTS
Peter Alfano
The New York Times
August 26, 1985

LIKE a majority of Americans, Mike Leach did not have the cold, hard cash to buy a new car. So he went to a bank and applied for a loan, listing ''tennis professional'' as his occupation. The bank officer gave him a puzzled look. ''Where do you teach?'' he asked Leach, who explained that he wasn't a teacher but a player.

''Not like the kind who goes to Wimbledon?'' the bank officer said.

''I told him that, yes, I was exactly like the kind who went to Wimbledon,'' Leach said.

The bank officer wasn't convinced. ''Then why don't I know you?'' he asked Leach.

Mike Leach is 25 years old and a past National Collegiate Athletic Association singles champion. He won the title in 1982 while attending the University of Michigan. He is ranked 33d on the Association of Tennis Professionals computer, 33d among 1,000 ranked players. He has earned more than $61,000 in 1985. He considers himself successful - and why not?

''I'm making a good living, but if you're number 20 or something in the world, that's considered almost laughable,'' Leach said.

''This guy in the bank was even hard-pressed to name number three, four or five, and you know number five could probably walk in and buy the bank.''

The point is that Americans are still obsessed with Number One, whether they are talking about football, basketball, baseball, tennis or laundry detergents. And in recent months there has been a growing concern in the tennis establishment that the United States does not have a future Number One waiting backstage. Boris Becker, the 17-year-old prodigy from West Germany, raised the anxiety level another notch or two when he became the youngest player to win the Wimbledon singles championship.

''With the advent of Boom Boom,'' Leach said, ''everybody is stepping back and wondering where the next great American is. But Becker is one in a million. Look at the Australians. They've been in a panic for the last 15 years trying to replace John Newcombe. We still have a majority in the top 50.''

But the establishment is not comforted by Leach's assessment. ''We're getting our ears pasted now,'' said Randy Gregson, president of the United States Tennis Association. ''Other countries like Sweden, Czechoslovakia and France with state-supported programs are passing us. I think we're embarrassed that, with our numbers, we're not in the forefront.''

''There are no great American players coming along,'' said Gene Scott, a former player and now the tournament director of the Nabisco Masters. ''The U.S.T.A. system develops 100 players but not one great player.''

This kind of talk has upset a nucleus of young American tennis pros who think their accomplishments are being slighted. ''I don't think we're doing that badly,'' said Jimmy Arias, who is ranked 26th and was as high as No. 5 in 1983. ''Where is the paranoia coming from? We have so much depth. Our sheer numbers will always give us good players.''

''I think it's an absolute crime for the U.S.T.A. to think that way about us,'' said Bud Schultz, a first-year pro who is ranked 60th. ''I feel like I've had quite an accomplishment coming up in the rankings.''

There are 19 players born in the United States ranked among the top 50 in the world. There are 21 when Kevin Curren, who is No. 5, and Johan Kriek, who is 14th, are included. The native South Africans are now American citizens. There are 40 Americans among the top 100.

What's more, John McEnroe, who is only 26 years old, is still acknowledged as the best, and Jimmy Connors, who is 32 years old and ranked fourth, is forever feisty and capable of winning tournaments after all these years.

Yet, tennis officials have adopted the glass is ''half-empty'' instead of ''half-filled'' viewpoint. On the eve of the United States Open, which begins tomorrow, it is noted that Connors is not getting any younger and is losing more often and that McEnroe might be losing interest after withstanding the pressures and demands that come with being on top for most of the last four years.

As for the silent majority, Arthur Ashe, the Davis Cup captain, said: ''I don't want to cast aspersions on the ability of solid professional players, but none of them is the next John McEnroe. We'll always produce our share of journeymen in the top 60, but as for a new superstar, I don't see that type around.''

And superstars are the name of any game, whether they are naturals such as McEnroe and Becker or self-made like Connors.

Superstars fill the arenas and enable the sponsors to offer lucrative prize money. They sell television rights. In the relatively young era of high-stakes professional tennis, the superstars are the game and in great demand all over the world.

But not even everyone in the top 10 can sell tickets, certainly not Anders Jarryd of Sweden, who is No. 6 or Andres Gomez of Ecuador, who is No. 8. Because tennis derives many of its biggest purses and virtually all its television revenue from the United States, it helps when an American player is at the top.

''I think now that tennis is more popular in the rest of the world, there is less dependence on the U.S. sponsors,'' Ashe said. ''But in television, the big three want to know what Americans are playing in a tournament before they purchase the rights. An American presence at the top is important.''

There is more than fan appeal and television ratings involved. Nationalism and ego play a part, too. The U.S.T.A. would like to emulate the tennis federations in Europe, which funnel gifted youngsters into the program where they lead a regimented life with tennis at the center of their universe.

At a committee meeting on Sept. 1 during the United States Open, Gregson, the U.S.T.A. president, will formally propose the concept of an association-run tennis academy that will provide exceptional youngsters with a cost-free opportunity to reach the top.

''We want tennis skills developed,'' Gregson said. ''In Germany, someone was tracking Boris Becker since he was 10 years old. And to produce top-flight players, we may have to forgo their formal education.''

''It will be controversial,'' Gene Scott said. ''An academy may ultimately involve only two or three players who are genetic freaks, but it will have a distorting effect on their lives. Tennis is the toughest sport to learn, and the problem in this country is that Americans have too many distractions.''

There are some people, among them Peter Lawler, a player representative for Advantage International, who think this may be an overreaction to the setbacks suffered in Davis Cup play by the United States team. The Davis Cup team receives corporate backing, and companies usually like to spend their money on a winner.

''Or maybe the U.S.T.A. just doesn't want to have to depend on McEnroe anymore,'' Lawler said. ''There may be no new McEnroe waiting in the wings, and we may be a year or two behind some other countries, but it's not a cause for panic. It's not like all these other guys are bums.''

''They make you feel like you're over the hill at 22,'' said Greg Holmes, a promising player who is 22 years old and ranked 24th in the world. ''I dream of being No. 1 but I wouldn't mind being Connors. I'll take being No. 3 and washed up.''

When the subject was posed to McEnroe at Wimbledon, he said he did not think it was carved in stone that an American always had to be at the top. As for the academy approach, there is already growing disillusionment with the pay-for-play schools run by Nick Bollettieri and Harry Hopman, among others. Aaron Krickstein and Arias, two of Bollettieri's pupils, had a great deal of early success as teen-agers on the tour but then reached a plateau where their games leveled off and they began to lose more often.

''Most of the time it seems the guys who come on the tour at 21 are better in the end,'' Arias said. ''I think you can lose your desire when you come on so young, especially when you're that good at 17. I reached a point where I was stale and sick of tennis and traveling. But I don't think I would have improved as quickly either if I had gone to college instead.''

It is the lure of the fast buck that makes some parents push their youngsters into schools that cost as much as $1,400 a month. ''But for everyone who makes it,'' Mike Leach said, ''there are a hundred thousand kids with ulcers who haven't earned a dime. That's why it's a disservice to parents who have an up-and-coming kid to push for Number One.''

Marshall Happer, administrator of the Men's Pro Council, agrees. ''I would hope that if the U.S.T.A. had an academy, they would also have proper care and counseling,'' he said. ''We don't want to turn out tennis robots. That's in no one's interest.''

Bud Schultz is 26 years old and a graduate of Bates College in Maine. He majored in psychology and played basketball at that Division II school. He is the antithesis of the academy or tennis school concept.

''I think we have an infatuation with the youthful superstar, and I even find a lot of romantic visions in that,'' he said. ''But look at Arias and Krickstein and what's happening to them. I have problems with taking a youth and putting him in a situation where he eats, sleeps and drinks tennis. We should be selling the game, not number one or two.''

Ashe said that Schultz's remarks sound nice but are not realistic. It takes great athletes to popularize a sport, he said. But even sending a talented youngster to a U.S.T.A. academy is no guarantee he or she will become No. 1. What appears then to be the real source of frustration for the tennis establishment is that the game does not attract its share of superior American athletes.

No other country has the competition for athletes that exists in the United States. Football, basketball, track and basketball, Ashe said, all are more appealing to youngsters. And they do not require the financial investment that must be made to pursue a tennis career.

Thus, how can the U.S.T.A. compete with the Swedes and Czechoslovaks when it cannot successfully compete with other sports in this country?

''We have not done enough to sell the sport at the grassroots level,'' Ashe said. ''The typical tennis family profile is upper middle class. If a family doesn't earn at least $35,000 to $40,000, you can almost forget it or find a sugar daddy real fast. There are really good athletes at the lower and middle class level who just can't afford to play tennis.''

The problem is compounded for black athletes, Ashe said, because tennis facilities and instruction in black neighborhoods are even more inferior. ''In essence, a young black has to leave the community and go to a 'white club,' '' he said. ''There aren't enough of them at those clubs for blacks to feel comfortable. And the better they get, the more scarce other black kids will be.''

Chip Hooper is a 26-year-old black player who at one time was considered a likely successor to Ashe as the predominant black American player and, perhaps, predominant black in the world. Hooper is ranked 90th. He has failed thus far to live up to expectations.

''I didn't take tennis seriously until I was 20,'' Hooper said. ''There's no question I could have had success at an earlier age. Athletically, I can play this sport.

''But even so, you don't become a McEnroe out of the blue. He has some serious gifts. And it's hard to get up and want to bust your butt practicing. That's why I wouldn't mind an academy. You practice against two players and have six coaches. They do it in Sweden and the Swedes are real dull. But they worry about developing personality later.''

Hooper attended the University of Arkansas before turning professional. Most of the Americans now in the top 50 are products of a college system that is maligned in tennis. Unlike the all-America football and basketball player, the college tennis star is considered not good enough to have turned professional as a teen-ager.

''The youngsters coming out of college are wonderful, but they are no great stars,'' said Gregson of the U.S.T.A. ''If they haven't made their move by 21 or 22, they're not ever going to.''

Lawler of Advantage International said that kind of thinking hurts the college game and only convinces teen-age players they must turn professional. Even if college players do not complete their educations, he said, they are exposed to a less stressful world among their peers. Socially, there is an opportunity to grow, while the prodigies are sequestered in hotel rooms in unfamiliar cities.

''At Stanford,'' said Scott Davis who is ranked 17th and will have his 23d birthday tomorrow on the opening day at the Open, ''I worked hard at tennis and also learned things off the court. I matured. I think it's possible to come out of college and reach the top when you're a little older.

''If you start at 17 or spend a few years in school, what's the difference anyway? You can only play about 10 years, and that's if you're injury-free.''

In theory, Gregson's academy aproach would be helpful to developing players. For a gifted few from the lower and middle classes, money would no longer be an obstacle. Players at the academy would receive the best schooling available in the world from American coaches and players. Gregson also hopes to instill a feeling of teamwork and patriotism among these youngsters, none of whom would turn his back on the Davis Cup team or throw a racquet in anger.

But in practice, a program such as this may not be well received in a country that celebrates individualism and freedom of choice. The United States has not had a federation-type program in tennis. The sport has not attracted the best athletes. And yet, since 1968, when the open era began, Stan Smith, Ashe, Connors and McEnroe have given this country players who reached the top.

Perhaps tennis is evolving like professional golf, which at one time was dominated by the big three of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Now, any one of a dozen players might win a tournament and no one talks about upset. And this year there are indications that the Europeans are narrowing the Americans' dominance in that sport.

A few years from now, the competition in tennis may be so great that no player - even one who emerges with talent comparable to McEnroe - will be able to sit on top of the rankings for very long. Perhaps in a year or two, tennis fans may be wondering whatever happened to Boris Becker.
 

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If you want a good starting point for when and why American fans generally began to lose interest in tennis, this would be a candidate.

Tennis Fans Poorly Served by a Tax Break
By Jonathan Kwitny
Wall Street Journal
August 30, 1985

The U.S. Tennis Association calls its big tournament, now being played in New York, the U.S. Open. But to some of us, it has become the U.S. Closed. In fact, much of the U.S. sports scene has become closed, as corporations, subsidized by tax deductions, have elbowed out the average fan from the ticket window.

For, oh, 10 years now, I've ordered tickets to the Open and enjoyed seeing some memorable matches. I've usually watched all this from a distance, knowing I was losing out on good tickets to the event's corporate sponsors. The order form comes in April, with a notice that orders postmarked before May 1 won't be accepted. But no matter how early I sent mine in I always wound up in the clouds. Once I stayed up past midnight April 30 to be sure my postmark was among the earliest, but I was assigned to sit in the top few rows anyway, even though I didn't see 19,500 people ahead of me in line at the post office.

Still, during the evening matches, when the corporate ticket holders have gone home for dinner, you could creep down into the better seats, where you'd hear what John McEnroe really says to linesmen that can't be printed in the newspaper. And even on the final weekend, when the house was full and the players were but dots, you'd feel part of history.

This year, though, when the order form came, there were little red crosses in the spaces I used to fill out. The form said that demand for tickets for the final weekend -- the semifinals and finals -- was so strong that tickets were unavailable except as part of a tournament package, the kind corporations (like Dow Jones) usually buy.

I wondered why the individual fan was being shut out. (And I'm not alone. World Tennis magazine, in its September issue, followed up on this same concern.)

When I called the man in charge of the box office, Phil Molite, he was plenty blunt. "We have other commitments for the semis and the finals," he said. "We have commitments to our sponsors and to television, CBS." That basically was the answer: 25 corporate "sponsors" pay the USTA, allegedly to promote their names, and CBS pays for television rights, and yet the price is expected to include those precious tickets that the public used to be able to buy. The sponsors are awarded some tickets, and then are given first crack to buy up lots more.

There is a wall of silence around the details of this arrangement, however. How much does it cost to be a sponsor, or to buy television rights, and how many tickets are provided? "I don't give out that information. . . . That's their business. . . . I'm not going to give out that information either," said Mr. Molite, the man to whom the USTA referred me for answers.

Interviews with officials of various sponsors -- when they would respond at all -- produced only the news that the prices they pay for rights to the tickets I can't buy varies from company to company and is a carefully guarded negotiating secret.

At Bristol-Myers, whose Clairol division is a sponsor, press spokesman Lorna Corbet said she couldn't find anyone who knew the details. Another trail, however, led me to Frank Fellerhoff, director of trade development, who said he didn't know how many tickets Bristol-Myers has, though he said it's in the hundreds; he said he is "just involved in getting people to and fro."

Russell James, vice president for corporate relations of Avis, the car renters, explained: "We use this event as a super time for our New York customer base . . . to give them an outing, to thank them for the business. We sponsor a hospitality tent and invite customers to have dinner with Avis." (These are middle-manager "customers," mind you, not any old Joe who's fond of queuing up at the Avis counter.)

Mr. James then pledged to get all the figures I requested and call back, but, alas, he didn't. Calling him again, I could get only so far as a subordinate, who announced, "I'm sorry, I am not allowed to release any figures on the number of tickets or our investment in the U.S. Open. That was a management decision."

TV critics roasted CBS last year for constantly interrupting its coverage of the Open with shots of CBS executives or entertainers in the stands. It doesn't promise to be any better this year. CBS spokeswoman Susan Kerr told me that the number of tickets CBS gets "is not available to the public." But, she assured me, "We're always short. It's a popular event. People like Dan Rather and Diane Sawyer call us for the tickets."

The reason the corporations are able to buy the seats that my friends and I used to buy is obvious: My friends and I, as taxpayers, are subsidizing the corporations, which write the whole thing off as a business expense. And that's where the policy question comes in. The Reagan administration's tax-revision plans would undermine all that by disallowing the purchase of sports tickets as a tax deduction.

This would affect most major sports. That explains the howls coming from team owners who sell high-priced tickets, and the objections from unions representing players who command gargantuan salaries. The U.S. Open is a bit different, with corporations also paying an undisclosed but obviously premium "sponsorship" sum to achieve a virtual monopoly on tickets. But such arrangements ought to fit the proscriptions in the new proposals.

Said Avis's Mr. James: "If they said this kind of involvement is no longer a business-deductible item, we would continue to do it, but not as we're doing it now." Referring to the American Bar Association's recent convention overseas, he asked, "Would the lawyers still go to London and meet? I doubt it. If it {a new law} said that you no longer were allowed to declare sporting events as a deductible item, then major corporations would not continue to do it as they're doing now."

Mr. Molite, the box-office man, said USTA officials have discussed the problem and decided that the change would mostly affect "food and beverage and hotels and limousine" -- not total ticket sales. "Of course, ticket sales will drop off in some areas," he said, "but we have so many people wanting to buy tickets that we normally would turn away, we would {with a tax revision} be able to take care of some of those people."

Like me.

---

Mr. Kwitny is a reporter in the Journal's New York bureau.

Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc *******
 

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Here's one way into U.S. Open
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Tuesday, August 20, 1985
Elson Irwin

IT may not be too late to pick up one of the tennis packages offered for those who want to attend the U.S. Open over the Labor Day weekend by Aer Travel Inc. At this late date, there's probably not a ticket for the Open available and by latching on to a package deal would assure patrons of not only getting to New York, but having the tickets and a hotel reservations as well. It's a chance to see John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova in defense of their 1984 crowns, along with Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Chris Evert Lloyd and Hana Mandlikova. The official tour escort is Paul Navratil, director of tennis at Rancho Bernardo Tennis College. The entire package goes for $695. For additional information, call 298-9973. The hotel utilized by this package is the New York Penta in Manhattan, which just completed a $30-million facelift. Navratil doesn't claim to be a relative of Navratilova's, but his name is the male derivative of the well-known Czech family name.

OPEN TIDBITS -- And, speaking of the Open, Evert-Lloyd has done just that in the current issue of World Tennis magazine. "The U.S. Open is probably the hardest tournament to win," she says. "It's demanding and difficult. It's hot and humid in New York. There's a lot of traffic to deal with, the crowds are noisier than most, and there's noise from planes flying over the stadium. When you've won that tournament, you feel like you've had to contend with more obstacles than you do anywhere else." Lloyd said that her greatest moments at previous Opens included winning her very first in 1975. "I beat Evonne Goolagong in the final -- it decided who would be No. 1 that year. I remember looking at my mother after I won and she was crying her eyes out. When I saw her sobbing, I just lost it. I got very emotional." Lloyd certainly has her work cut out for her if she plans to add another Open title this year, possibly her last.

Navratilova is not about to give an inch to her longtime foe, despite claims of burnout and interest in other things. Meanwhile, the way McEnroe is playing at the moment, it seems a foregone conclusion that he'll win the Open again this year. He took Ivan Lendl apart in the Canadian Open over the weekend and appears at his peak. Cliff Drysdale, former Friars' coach and commentator for ESPN, still is not quite ready to give "Mac" his just due, saying he still has to prove himself over a longer period of time. Drysdale is a bit old school, of course, and maintains allegiance to some of the players he opposed.

World Tennis magazine also reports that tennis fans are becoming outraged because corporations are snapping up all the Open tickets before they even go on sale to the general public. About 40 percent of the seats are sold on subscription basis to companies or individuals and of the 900 box seats, 95 percent are affiliated with corporations. The USTA says it plans to remedy the situation. It is gearing its ticket policies more to individuals than corporations by offering weekend and evening packages. It has been suggested that the USTA consider a lottery that would allow the general public to bid for a larger percentage of single tickets for each session, particularly on the weekends. Wimbledon has used the lottery successfully at its tournaments.

TENNIS WEEKENDS -- If you like your tennis in the peace and quiet of a first-class Palm Springs resort, you might consider Steve and Monte's "Traveling Tennis Weekends." Steve is Steve Nagelberg, San Diego ATA president, while Monte is Monte Grout, certified USPTA teaching pro, and together they have put together some fun tennis vacation ideas. For a weekend at Indian Wells Racquet Club near Palm Springs (the first of which is Oct. 25-27), contact Nagelberg at 488-1559 or 452-9595 to reserve your spot. Another goodie is a special tennis cruise coming up next April. The group will fly from San Diego to Miami and cruise seven nights in the Caribbean aboard Carnival Cruises Lines "Fun Ships.

CHANG OUTSTANDING -- Little Michael Chang continues to astound the San Diego tennis community with his excellent play and tenacity. The La Costa 14-year-old knocked off an old nemesis, Jared Palmer of Largo, Fla., 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the boys final of the U.S.T.A. National Junior (Sports Goofy) Tournament at Trabuco Canyon over the weekend and thus earns the title of the best in his age group in the U.S. Chang, a scrapper who has learned to charge the net, is intent on being the best wherever he plays, and he still manages to maintain an above-average scholastic standing. There's still no talk of any pro career taking place in the Chang household. "It's still school first, tennis second," according to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Chang. It's hard to convince the rest of the nation's youngsters of this, however.
 

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Order your copy today!

TENNIS AND FREUD : A PERFECT MATCH
The Record
New Jersey
Wednesday, August 21, 1985
MIKE CELIZIC

YOU DIDN'T NEED a calendar watch to know it was mid-August in Manhattan.

Normally hyperactive movers and shakers slogged along the smoldering sidewalks, numb to the reeking odors that festered in the heat, so drained of emotion and energy that when the traffic lights read "Don't Walk", they didn't. Even the three-card monte hustlers dealt in slow motion.

Some say it's the heat. Others say it's the humidity. But those who know say it's because the psychiatrists who give the citizenry the fortitude to race through their lives like gerbils in a wheel are vacationing at the shore.

One of the first lessons new residents of the Big Apple learn is that you don't have a nervous breakdown in August; that finding a shrink in the city during the dog days is not nearly as easy as finding a taxi in a thunderstorm.

Yet, there, in the muggy guts of the Midtown Tennis Club, were enough psychoanalysts to populate Vienna. From the Hamptons and other spas, they snuck into town yesterday, not to analyze, but to join in combat over a tiny black, satin-upholstered psychiatrist's couch surmounted by crossed tennis racquets the hors de combat of the First Annual Sigmund Freud Tennis Tournament.

Though the quality of tennis was something you would not have wanted impressionable children to see, the afternoon was an enormous success. What better way, after all, to publicize a book titled "Sex as a Sublimation for Tennis: From the Secret Writings of Freud" by Theodor Saretsky (Workman Publishing, $4.95), than to enlist the aid of a barn full of head doctors.

As Dr. Lorelle Saretsky, psychoanalyst, teacher, tennis player, and the author's wife, said: "If you can find this many analysts in New York in August, then you realize the importance of this book. "

And important it is. In the bowels (as Sigmund might say) of a summer dominated by strikes and drugs and gambling trials, Saretsky's book arrives like a cool breeze in the horse latitudes; the one requisite piece of sports lunacy no summer should pass without. With the U.S. Open set to begin next week and the barely awaited doubles match pitting Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver against the ancient hustler, Bobby Riggs, and Vitas Gerulaitis looming Friday, the timing is exquisite.

Saretsky says that Freud, who was saddled with Victorian attitudes toward the sexes, was not particularly sanguine about mixed doubles, particularly if one of the other players was his spouse.

"Never play tennis with your wife," Saretsky quotes Freud as saying. "It is questionable whether people in the same family should even have sex with each other, and tennis is no different. "

Lorelle Saretsky said she and her husband follow Freud's first prescription. She would not comment on the latter, although they have been married 23 years and have three grown children.

"They're almost normal," she said of her three daughters, although they do play tennis. "We told them it's okay as long as they do it with someone they love and wear white."

Saretsky said he discovered Freud's hitherto secret writings about tennis in an old trunk he bought at a Sotheby's auction. Freud, he discovered, was fascinated not by sex, but by tennis.

"The truths revealed by my 'Tennis Instinct Theory' are so dangerous, so provocative, that perhaps they should be held back forever," Freud is alleged to have said. Nevertheless, writes Saretsky, "Most authorities agree that if he had not been preoccupied with his other interests, Frued could have been a high intermediate [level player]."

Using Freud's alleged theories, Saretsky has analyzed some modern players. Ilie Nastase, for example, is afflicted with a reverse paranoia "which is characterized by a strong suspicion that one's opponents are making fair line calls."

Jimmy Connors has exhibitionist tendencies. "It's the dread Raincoat Neurosis," Saretsky writes. "It manifests itself primarily in boys who were bathed by their mothers until they were 17."

John McEnroe was separated from his parents at birth and first met them at the French Open when he was six.

Hey, it makes as much sense as any other theory.

The book is replete with letters and papers, many actual if doctored documents penned by Freud, and by insightful footnotes. For example: "See Sex is a Cul-de-Sac (1902). Here Freud elaborates on the theme that women prefer shopping to sex, while men prefer tennis. By 1907 . . . Frued went so far as to claim that tennis could even be enjoyed when the net is down."

Because he is an expert on Freudian psychiatry, Saretsky is faithful to Freud's R-rated style.

"It took me years to research and a month to write," he says of the book, which started out as a lark during a psychiatrist's holiday two Augusts ago in the Hamptons.

Though Saretsky admits an addiction to tennis, his secret passion is baseball: "I would trade everything if I could play second base for the Mets even as a backup. When I was a teen-ager, I wished I was Marilyn Monroe so Joe DiMaggio would love me."

Freud would have loved to have gotten his notebook on that one. Saretsky has no doubt that the master would have known how to interpret that wish, just as he knew how to interpret everything else about his society.

"The only thing that Freud did not understand in his time," Saretsky writes, "was how anyone could stand to eat liver."
 

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Bookshelf: The Girl From Revnice's Gilded Asylum
By Frederick C. Klein
Wall Street Journal
August 28, 1985

Almost all autobiographies of active athletes share a couple of problems. The first is that their authors are young and have spent most of their lives mastering and performing a narrow skill. The other is that the type of imagination that makes for vivid literature is rare among jocks of either sex. It takes a pretty stolid character to sink a putt or turn a double play before thousands of "live" witnesses and millions more at their home tubes.

"Martina" (Knopf, 287 pages, $16.95), the autobiography that tennis star Martina Navratilova wrote with New York Times sportswriter George Vecsey, surmounts at least the first of those difficulties. Ms. Navratilova is only 28 years old, but she has lived. She has been Czech and American, poor and rich, fat and svelte, brunet and blond, also-ran and champ, A/C and D/C. It's a good formula for a best seller, and that's what the book has been for some months now.

There is some inevitable athlete-biography boilerplate in "Martina" in the form of accounts of tennis matches and scores long forgotten, but the book also turns more interesting ground. Martina's story of her childhood in Revnice, Czechoslovakia, is no less than fascinating. It's the sort of average-person look at life under communism that is usually absent from the news stories that shape our views of that system.

Martina writes of being "born to be American," and one wonders how many others chafe because their individuality is stifled by communist regimes. She describes living in her mother's family home across from a grove of apple trees that was seized from the family by the communist government that took power in 1948. She saw the trees as a daily reminder of the family's loss of liberty.

She tells of her first tennis-playing visits to Western countries, and her surprise at the strange customs she found. West German women shaved their armpits and washed their hair almost every day! The word around Revnice was that more-than-weekly hair washings would make you bald.

Martina's decision to defect to the U.S. was made in a New York hotel room in August 1975, after consultation with her American business agent. The issue, she says, wasn't money (she was earning and keeping plenty as a Czech), but her ability to control her life. The Czechs did nothing overt to get her back, but her action wasn't without risk, and it triggered a painful separation from her parents and grandmother that lasted several years. Even today she is unable to visit her homeland and her friends there.

The going hasn't been all smooth on these shores, either. A U.S. citizen since 1981, she wonders bitterly (and rightly) why some people who've had the good fortune to be born here regard her as less of an American than themselves.

As a rich new Yank of not-yet-20 years, Martina was a woman-child in the promised land, gorging on cars, clothes and, most conspicuously, junk food. Her weight zoomed from 145 pounds to nearly 170. She was, as one tennis writer put it, the "Great Wide Hope." How could she pass up Big Macs and fries after a lifetime of drab Czech grub? she asks.

After some fits and starts, and with the help of diverse mentors, she learned to curb her appetites and channel her superior gifts toward becoming the best woman tennis player ever. A good case can be made that she has achieved that goal. This is not a how-to book, so we are spared many of the technical details of the process. Enough is presented, however, to help us appreciate the extent to which sports champions are made, not born.

Much of the bookstore popularity of "Martina" stems from curiosity about her sexual preferences. Yes, she writes, she's really bisexual, but the male side of her ledger seems scanty. It consists mainly of a brief, unhappy fling with a "First Boyfriend" and the confession that she'd like to be a mother some day. She hasn't picked the lucky father yet, but she muses that she and Wayne Gretzky, the hockey star, could put together some terrific genes.

She deals more fully with her much-publicized lesbian liaison with author Rita Mae Brown. Alas, the account is neither titillating nor edifying, and is interspersed with a lot of "Who am I?" meanderings. One suspects that she really doesn't know. There's probably a good deal to be said about homosexuality among athletes, male as well as female, but this book doesn't say much of it.

Unsatisfactory, too, are Martina's sugary sketches of her competitors on the women's tennis tour. This is another fault common to books by active athletes. They don't want to give their foes anything they can hang on their locker doors.

In all, though, "Martina" is well worth reading. It's consistently well-written and an apparently honest attempt to plumb the background and psyche of an accomplished woman who has had almost as many downs as ups. It may even cause you to change your allegiance to Martina from Chrissie.
 
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