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Katerina was predominantly a solid baseliner with a two-handed back-hand who occasionally ventured to the net, especially in her later years. She had accuracy and depth with her ground strokes but without the power of, say, Graf or Seles. However, when she let loose her forehand rivaled any of the other top players.

I've often thought there was a similarity between her style and play and that of M J Fernandez. I also believe she had more fire than either of her sisters, Manuela and Maggie, but was also a bit more prone to mentally wondering off during a match and losing concentration.

She had a very competitive career with Sukova, Shriver, Tauziat and Novotna. She was also the first ever player to complain about Monica Seles grunting!

Although Katerina and Gaby were big junior rivals that didn't really continue on the WTA tour as Gaby was far superior in all of their meetings ( leading 8 wins to 1 ).
 

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Thank you very much Scandic! I am very interested in women's tennis since 1991 (well, I don't care much about current), and yet I saw some matches live since then, it was usually SF or finals of Slam events or YEC or some tournaments where Sabatini use to make it well back then, so there are a number of players I was never able to see, such as Katerina or Zina. We don't have here a classic sports channel as I guess there is in America (I don't know if in Europe there's too), I hope someday I can see those players from the past.
I am aware of Gabriela's superiority in their pro years, as Katerina could only manage to beat Sabatini once and it was when Gaby was not playing well prior to her big win at 1990 US Open. Thanks again!
 

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I hate to admit this but I always found Katerina to be the least interesting of the sisters.

I loved Manuela and Maggie but I had a hard time watching Katerina play tennis if it wasn't against a top player or the one time I saw her play a few games against Maggie.

Something about her game that was just too textbook for me.

And as for Maleeva herself, I think she really got weary quick of the grind and travel of the game and wanted to settle down and start a family which of course she did.
 

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I saw a little of Katerina losing to Tracy Austin at Indian Wells. Austin had absolutely no zing on her groundstrokes, they looked like some recreational player's shots. And to think Austin actually won.

Maleeva had a boring, monotonous style like her older sister. Yet she had patience for days. In her prime, she showed a little more aggression. I found it interesting that she and Robin White made the USO doubles final. She did fall off the radar pretty quickly. But honestly, she had one way to win and to do that she had to be willing to grind out match after match. Maybe it wasn't in her anymore. Plus, as the 90's came into play, there were more and more powerful players.
 

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Steffi Graf will do that to you. She is probably the only who is undefeated against all three Maleevas.
Monica was unbeaten against all 3 Maleevas also. She was 9-0 against Manuela, 2-0 against Katerina and 4-0 against Maggie although the WTA perversely list the match she was stabbed in against Maggie as a defeat.

Katerina basically lost her zest for the game. With her style it took a huge amount of effort for her to get to the top 10 and I think she just found it too hard to maintain the level of work, motivation and concentration that was required. By the end of her career she was having some major yips on her serve, some 1st serves were landing in front of her own service line at times.
 

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Monica was unbeaten against all 3 Maleevas also. She was 9-0 against Manuela, 2-0 against Katerina and 4-0 against Maggie although the WTA perversely list the match she was stabbed in against Maggie as a defeat.

Katerina basically lost her zest for the game. With her style it took a huge amount of effort for her to get to the top 10 and I think she just found it too hard to maintain the level of work, motivation and concentration that was required. By the end of her career she was having some major yips on her serve, some 1st serves were landing in front of her own service line at times.
I think Katerina was one of those players that every top player knew how to deal with because of her predictable style. However, if she was on form then she was a force to be reckoned with. Novotna comended Katerina a few times on her resilience and consistency. Her main competitors recognised Katerina Maleeva as having that solid baseline game with deep, accurate ground strokes.

Although Katerina had her problems towards the end of her career with her serve ( I saw her serve over the baseline a few times against Yone Kamio in the 1R of the Australian Open! ) it was nice to see her become slightly more aggresive. I saw her shouting and screaming at herself during a match with Julie Halard-Decugis in the SF of Paris Open in 1994. It was so odd to see as it was SO not Katerina's normal style.

Overall, Katerina was my favourite Maleeva. I loved her quirky service action, her Rossignol racket and the purple headband she used to wear in the very early nineties. I guess I rooted for her because she received the least attention out of all three sisters. One of my favourite matches was during the 1992 Wimbledon QF against Martina Mavratilova. She lost 6-3 7-6 but she pushed Martina all the way in that second set. And it was nice to see Katerina become the most successful sister at Wimbledon over the years.
 

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I saw a little of Katerina losing to Tracy Austin at Indian Wells. Austin had absolutely no zing on her groundstrokes, they looked like some recreational player's shots. And to think Austin actually won.

Maleeva had a boring, monotonous style like her older sister. Yet she had patience for days. In her prime, she showed a little more aggression. I found it interesting that she and Robin White made the USO doubles final. She did fall off the radar pretty quickly. But honestly, she had one way to win and to do that she had to be willing to grind out match after match. Maybe it wasn't in her anymore. Plus, as the 90's came into play, there were more and more powerful players.

Katerina and Robin White has got to be one of the oddest doubles teams in recent history. Not only did they get to that US Open final, but they are the team that stopped G.Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva from winning the doubles grand slam that year! Of all the possible teams to stop their run, who would've guessed that it would've been that one.

I watched their US Open final, and I would say that Katerina made a good showing for herself. Robin was definitely the better and more experienced doubles player. And she really seemed to be a good partner for Katerina to lean on when things got tight. Nice way for Robin to go out. And it's a credit to Katerina that she was a part of stopping one of the best doubles teams of all time.
 

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More pics of Katerina Maleeva and her sisters...
 

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Pure guesswork on my part-but could Kat's fall from form in 1993-94 be due to following her sister Manuela? Kat's coach was also her boyfriend as early as 1993-(the World of Tennis for the year says "coached by her boyfriend George S...") and she married him in 1994.

I haven't read about any injuries.

Maybe her heart wasn't in it after love entered into things?
 

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I think she missed the summer season of '95 due to a shoulder injury which didn't help her already rapid decline in form. Apart from that, no excuses...
 

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I remember reading that Katerina was also actively involved in the Bulgarian political scene after the fall of Communism. Manuela once said that Katerina was the firebrand in their family and often got into trouble with the authorities for her outspoken views. Perhaps her outside interests also contributed to a loss of motivation along with a decline in her level of play?
I knew I'd read this somewhere - thanks Samm. It's still very hard to believe!!
 

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Actually looking back as early as 1992, I’d say the wheels were falling off then for Katerina. It was quite an unremarkable year for her.
 

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I've always been fascinated by the Maleevas and considered myself a fan. There's a Manuela Maleeva channel on YouTube that has put up many, many Manuela matches. Unfortunately, there's not much of Katerina's career on YouTube, but maybe someone has material waiting to be uploaded.

I think motivation and health may have been big factors contributing to her downfall- just speculation given that top ten players usually did not fall off so much back then without something big taking place.
 

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I've always been fascinated by the Maleevas and considered myself a fan. There's a Manuela Maleeva channel on YouTube that has put up many, many Manuela matches. Unfortunately, there's not much of Katerina's career on YouTube, but maybe someone has material waiting to be uploaded.

I think motivation and health may have been big factors contributing to her downfall- just speculation given that top ten players usually did not fall off so much back then without something big taking place.
I had a look and there are some nice vids of Katerina playing Gabi at the 1991 Finals and also Capriati at the 1991 Toronto finals. A few other clips here or there. If anyone has any footage of the Wimbledon 1992 QF vs Navratilova I’d love to see!
 
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