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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone explain to me how Hana's career ended?

Let me clarify.

I started watching tennis in 1987. I became a big fan virtually instantly. One of my earlier memories is of around 88 or so and Hana became an aussie.

It was good for me because the commentators were talking about how Hana had won the 87 Aussie Open etc and would now be playing for australia and I was happy as I thought we'd finally have something to cheer about - no offense intended to Diane Balestrat lol.

So Hana came back from her hiatus.. and i kept waiting for her to have some good results but they never came..

Can someone explain why they think she never reached her former level>? How long was she out for? Was it off court stuff?

Will it ruin her book Im reading by having this explained to me before I read the book? lol
 

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She injury problems with her back and was gone from the game in 1990 at the age of 28.
 

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All I can remember from the time is her saying she felt like a squeezed-up orange.
 

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I think several things worked against her from mid 1986 to mid 1988.

1) Hana dealt with her recurring back injury which caused another change in her service motion - and her technique started to break down under pressure. Her serve was sporadic at best, even during the 1987 Aussie Open win. At one point in 1988, her confidence was so low that she had several matches in a row where she couldn't get above 30% of her first serves in. In early 1989 during the Aussie hardcourt season, Hana was putting up Kournikova-like double fault numbers.

2) She had the hamstring injury at Fed Cup 87 which lingered for a year and hampered her movement.

3) She had an abortion that caused her to miss Wimbledon 87. Even early on in her career, Hana talked about wanting kids more than titles. We now know that Hana tried unsuccessfully several times to conceive throughout the 90's. It wasn't until 2001 that she was finally able to have children.

4) The injuries lead to a lot of edginess and personal unhappiness which lead her to a lot of bickering with officials and on court incidents at the 1986 YEC, 1987 LA vs. Fendick, 1987 US Open meltdown vs. Kohde, and almost decapitating a linesperson at the 1988 Lipton tournament.

5) Graf not only caught up to her before she could catch Martina and Chris, but she surpassed Hana. After toiling in the shadows of the big two, it looked as if Hana was about to take her turn. But it wasn't meant to be.

6) She got divorced in 1988.

7) The ITF turned down Australia's bid to have Hana instated in time to represent them in the 1988 Olympics. She stated as early as 1987 that she wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and be an Olympian. She even went as far as to say that she wanted to retire after those Olympics to have children.

8) She basically burned out in early 1988. But she made herself continue on through Wimbledon because she missed it the year before.

When Hana returned to the tour in 1989, people remarked about how visibly happy she was. But they also noticed that she wasn't as focused or competitive. She seemed to accept her situation and struggled to produce good tennis, even though Mike Estep said her practices were phenomenal.

And when she lost to Martina so easily in the 4th round of the 89 Wimbledon, I think she realized that she'd never win Wimbledon - which was her only real purpose in coming back to the tour. She played here and there so she could play W one last time in 1990. And by then it was obvious that she just didn't have the confidence to be the feared player that she used to be. Instead, she became a big name scalp for several mid to lower level players.

The story of Hana's career seems to be bad timing. But it's always important to remember that she had a lot of rare peaks to go along with the valleys.
 

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I remember she had some awful results in early 1988 at the Hopman Cup, Hana really seemed burnt out, losing to bad players 06 16.

Still, she had a good 1989 which was her last complete year, it was just that she wasn't seeted anymore so she had to play Navratilova, Evert or Seles in early rounds. She won the US Open doubles in 1989.
 

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I would've loved to see that Indian Wells win over Evert in the 1st round. Though Evert was well past her prime, Hana must've pulled out some magic one more time to beat Chrissie. I wish she could've kept it going long enough to win a nice title, but showed that it was over when she went down to Ann Hendricksson or Anne Minter or someone like that.
 

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HanaFanGA said:
I think several things worked against her from mid 1986 to mid 1988.

1) Hana dealt with her recurring back injury which caused another change in her service motion - and her technique started to break down under pressure. Her serve was sporadic at best, even during the 1987 Aussie Open win. At one point in 1988, her confidence was so low that she had several matches in a row where she couldn't get above 30% of her first serves in. In early 1989 during the Aussie hardcourt season, Hana was putting up Kournikova-like double fault numbers.

2) She had the hamstring injury at Fed Cup 87 which lingered for a year and hampered her movement.

3) She had an abortion that caused her to miss Wimbledon 87. Even early on in her career, Hana talked about wanting kids more than titles. We now know that Hana tried unsuccessfully several times to conceive throughout the 90's. It wasn't until 2001 that she was finally able to have children.

4) The injuries lead to a lot of edginess and personal unhappiness which lead her to a lot of bickering with officials and on court incidents at the 1986 YEC, 1987 LA vs. Fendick, 1987 US Open meltdown vs. Kohde, and almost decapitating a linesperson at the 1988 Lipton tournament.

5) Graf not only caught up to her before she could catch Martina and Chris, but she surpassed Hana. After toiling in the shadows of the big two, it looked as if Hana was about to take her turn. But it wasn't meant to be.

6) She got divorced in 1988.

7) The ITF turned down Australia's bid to have Hana instated in time to represent them in the 1988 Olympics. She stated as early as 1987 that she wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and be an Olympian. She even went as far as to say that she wanted to retire after those Olympics to have children.

8) She basically burned out in early 1988. But she made herself continue on through Wimbledon because she missed it the year before.

When Hana returned to the tour in 1989, people remarked about how visibly happy she was. But they also noticed that she wasn't as focused or competitive. She seemed to accept her situation and struggled to produce good tennis, even though Mike Estep said her practices were phenomenal.

And when she lost to Martina so easily in the 4th round of the 89 Wimbledon, I think she realized that she'd never win Wimbledon - which was her only real purpose in coming back to the tour. She played here and there so she could play W one last time in 1990. And by then it was obvious that she just didn't have the confidence to be the feared player that she used to be. Instead, she became a big name scalp for several mid to lower level players.

The story of Hana's career seems to be bad timing. But it's always important to remember that she had a lot of rare peaks to go along with the valleys.
:worship: Great post - as always. I regret Hana's decision to go when she did, though, because I do think she still had a shot at the Wimbledon title:

tennis history is full of attackers and all-court players who DID manage to win a major around 30 - Wade and Novotna seem good examples.

Steffi's total dominance of the game 87-early 90 did end.

a planned and well-managed break to allow her injuries time to heal and her body time to settle down could have enabled her to play on for a couple of seasons or so in the early 90s.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
[email protected] Anne Minter.. Now theres a name I havent heard in a while..

HanaFanGA - Thanks for the comprehensive outline.. That was very interesting..

Never knew Hana had an abortion in wimby 1987..

Happy that she has the children now..

Where does she live nowadays?
 

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Andy T said:
:worship: Great post - as always. I regret Hana's decision to go when she did, though, because I do think she still had a shot at the Wimbledon title:

tennis history is full of attackers and all-court players who DID manage to win a major around 30 - Wade and Novotna seem good examples.

Steffi's total dominance of the game 87-early 90 did end.

a planned and well-managed break to allow her injuries time to heal and her body time to settle down could have enabled her to play on for a couple of seasons or so in the early 90s.
Those are some good points Andy. Despite the rumors that did swirl in the summer of 1987, I never really believed the abortion story until she admitted it in the Daily Mail in 2001. Which got me to thinking about what might have happened if she had given birth to the child in 1987? Having a child probably helped Evonne Goolagong in the long run. She played perfectly relaxed tennis to win Wimbledon in 1980. Probably because having a family and already being successful took the pressure off of her.

That's not to criticize Hana's personal choice. And it's also not to suggest that Hana would've won Wimbledon. But it would've forced her away from the tour at a time when she probably needed to get away. Hana's career is amongst the shortest I've ever heard of for a grand slam champion. In hindsight, I just wonder if she might've benefitted from taking the rest of 1987 off after the French instead of playing on until Wimbledon 1988.

And I too feel that she still had the shots to win Wimbledon in 1989. But like with any other serve and volley player (arguably she's an all courter, but I'm talking about grass here), the serve is the hub of her game. If you can't get 50% or better in most of the time, you're not going to be able to hold your serve consistently. That's no way to try and beat Martina and Steffi at Wimbledon where they both backed their own serves up so well.
 

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Czechfan said:
[email protected] Anne Minter.. Now theres a name I havent heard in a while..

HanaFanGA - Thanks for the comprehensive outline.. That was very interesting..

Never knew Hana had an abortion in wimby 1987..

Happy that she has the children now..

Where does she live nowadays?

The last I heard she lives at the Polo Club in Boca Raton where Steffi and Chris have/had homes. Although I did see a reference to a Palm Beach residence somewhere. So I'm not really not sure.

Her parents still live in Prague. So I wonder if she spends any time in Australia?
 

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HanaFanGA said:
That's not to criticize Hana's personal choice. And it's also not to suggest that Hana would've won Wimbledon. But it would've forced her away from the tour at a time when she probably needed to get away. Hana's career is amongst the shortest I've ever heard of for a grand slam champion. In hindsight, I just wonder if she might've benefitted from taking the rest of 1987 off after the French instead of playing on until Wimbledon 1988.
but i also remember an interview with hana where she was saying that looking back, she did not think she had the head for the pressures of the tour, dealing with the media, the pressures of winning & having to keep winning. did you ever see that piece, tripp? i wonder if it was the tennis channel. :scratch: but i assume there was part of that in her decision too....ie, realizing she didnt LIKE the world of pro tennis in her life. Just because you're a great player doesnt mean you like the profession. She just may have felt it wasnt worth it for her.
 

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daze11 said:
but i also remember an interview with hana where she was saying that looking back, she did not think she had the head for the pressures of the tour, dealing with the media, the pressures of winning & having to keep winning. did you ever see that piece, tripp? i wonder if it was the tennis channel. :scratch: but i assume there was part of that in her decision too....ie, realizing she didnt LIKE the world of pro tennis in her life. Just because you're a great player doesnt mean you like the profession. She just may have felt it wasnt worth it for her.

Thanks Daze, I didn't see that. But I would love to see that piece. And I can see why she would've said something like that. She seemed very slow to accept a lot of the things that come with the life of a vagabond that also included responsibilities to the tour, media, etc. And another thing that makes me think that statement is true is the fact that I think Hana was actually relieved when she retired.

It's really a shame. Because at times she would let the pleasant side of her personality come out. People already enjoyed watching her play tennis. But as I've heard both Virginia Wade and Wendy Turnbull comment on, she sometimes didn't make a great effort to get along with everyone.

In this way, she was similar to Steffi. But Steffi didn't allow anything - even those aspects of tour life that she despised - to keep her from becoming number one. It takes a certain mental toughness to do that. I don't think Hana really had that kind of facility. It's probably the one component that kept her from reaching the status of the Everts, BJK's, etc of tennis history.

I dunno. Maybe its as simple as being born to fill a certain role. And because Hana kept things so private, there's probably more that we won't ever or shouldn't ever know.
 

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Injuries aside, I felt that timing was so against Hana. The late 80s was a period when power hitting was really coming to the fore-and I don't see a Mandlikova or Goolagong type coping with that.

Then of course the Aussies pulled the rug out fron under her (and their other players) by moving from the grass at Kooyong to Flinders Park.
 

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The grass there was considered hard courts. Hana could win it on Hard Court, 1985 US Open.
 

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The grass there was considered hard courts. Hana could win it on Hard Court, 1985 US Open.
Yes, but consider these two things.

A. She won 2 of her 4 slams on Kooyong grass.
B. Put yourself in Hana's shoes in early 1988 (not 1985). Who's #1? Graf. Now, would you rather face Steffi at Kooyong on grass or Flinders Park?
 

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Rollo said:
Yes, but consider these two things.

A. She won 2 of her 4 slams on Kooyong grass.
B. Put yourself in Hana's shoes in early 1988 (not 1985). Who's #1? Graf. Now, would you rather face Steffi at Kooyong on grass or Flinders Park?
I know that Steffi skipped the year before which I think you mentioned that Hana was upset about it. I think if her back held up she could have beaten her in Wimbledon or US. in 1988 because she had a calmer presence. Surface doesn't mean much because when Hana is on, she can play on horse doo-ddo with anybody.
 

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preacherfan said:
I would've loved to see that Indian Wells win over Evert in the 1st round. Though Evert was well past her prime, Hana must've pulled out some magic one more time to beat Chrissie. I wish she could've kept it going long enough to win a nice title, but showed that it was over when she went down to Ann Hendricksson or Anne Minter or someone like that.
Well, Mandlikova was well past her prime, too.
 

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Andy T said:
:worship: Great post - as always. I regret Hana's decision to go when she did, though, because I do think she still had a shot at the Wimbledon title:

tennis history is full of attackers and all-court players who DID manage to win a major around 30 - Wade and Novotna seem good examples.

Steffi's total dominance of the game 87-early 90 did end.

a planned and well-managed break to allow her injuries time to heal and her body time to settle down could have enabled her to play on for a couple of seasons or so in the early 90s.
The new generation came up in 1990, Monica Seles overtook Graf, I really doubt, Hana could have been any kind of threat to Seles. Mandlikova played some good Tennis again in 1989 but was trashed by Seles on fast surfaces, and Seles wasn't even in her prime.
 

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Robert1 said:
The new generation came up in 1990, Monica Seles overtook Graf, I really doubt, Hana could have been any kind of threat to Seles. Mandlikova played some good Tennis again in 1989 but was trashed by Seles on fast surfaces, and Seles wasn't even in her prime.
To be fair, neither was Hana- far from it I'd say. Betty Stove pointed out late in Hana's career that Mandlikova's body wasn't made of iron or steel, that she had a very fragile and injury-prone body. By the time she played Seles, and to some extent Graf, her body was no longer responding with the flexibility it once had, and for that to be in Hana's mind, players who should never have beaten her did.
 

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Robert1 said:
The new generation came up in 1990, Monica Seles overtook Graf, I really doubt, Hana could have been any kind of threat to Seles. Mandlikova played some good Tennis again in 1989 but was trashed by Seles on fast surfaces, and Seles wasn't even in her prime.
......and Hana was in her prime in 1989? I agree with you that even a fully fit and motivated Hana was not likely to be able to consistently outperform or get ranked above Steffi or Monica, Robert1 but I do feel that in a given individual tournament, a fit, motivated and "on" Hana could have come through against either one. It proves nothing, I know, but look at Martina's record against Monica in the early 90s; if a 36-7 year old Martina was able to beat Monica, it seems only reasonable to accept that a 29-30 year old Hana may have had a shot.....
 
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