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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a great idea to start this topic...
I shall dedicate this thread to the player who made me notice tennis and follow it eversince I saw her play.....

Steffi Graf!
:bounce: :bounce:

9,514 Posts
A great interview, starting with her wry observation that the record should last six or seven years and ending with the "I have never known that I was capable of playing that kind of [really bad] tennis" quote.

An interview with STEFFI GRAF
May 13, 1996

DEBBIE EDWARDS: Today, Steffi Graf breaks the alltime record for career weeks as world No. 1. As of today, Steffi's total of 332 weeks surpasses Martina Navratilova's record of 331. Graf also holds the alltime consecutive weeks at No. 1 at 187 which she compiled from August 17, 1987 through March 10, 1991.

Steffi, thanks very much for joining our teleconference today from the German Open in Berlin. Why don't we open it up for questions.

Q: My question is related to just the idea of thinking about records like this, it just seems to me that you probably either don't care about them or are not going to dwell on them that much, but it is kind of one that should be pretty historical. It should last a long time.

STEFFI GRAF: Definitely another couple of six, seven years. Yeah, I think, like you said before, I don't go really or drive for records, but that is one of them, I think, will always stand out, by far, and surely, I wouldn't have realized it. I always realized that I have been No. 1 for an extremely long time, but I have never really was the kind of person who counted the weeks, or the years, but to hear the number, it is pretty amazing and knowing that no one has ever achieved something like that, that is extremely special to me because I kind of know how difficult it is to stay there for such a long time.

Q: One other question, relating to now preparing for the French. I know it takes a little while to get adjusted to the clay, but it also seems that - and I don't think you would ever admit this - but there seems to be a little less pressure once you have lost a match in an early warmup event. Do you feel that way? Do you think it is easier or you don't ever want--

STEFFI GRAF: Well, the things I mean, I expect or, at least, other people don't expect, I expect that things like that happen, and I think I really haven't really had a lot of time off in the last few weeks and I was flying around quite a bit and I only had five days of practice on the clay and I knew it wasn't very much, but for me, what was unfortunate is, I get a couple of matches in and I did badly, but it is something that I accepted. It didn't really hurt that much because I am trying to play well at the French Open and that is why I think that is what my main goal will be.

Q: I am interested in something you said in Rome. "I wasn't worried about her. I was worried about myself. There are things beyond the court I am fighting myself." You used to say that in this last year that the court was your great refuge from the distractions and problems in your life. I am wondering if everything is starting to now intrude on the tennis court and you are not finding the peace and the solace that you used to find on the court?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I have to say that I have played, these three matches that I have had in Rome, probably the worst tennis of many, many years, so it is a little bit difficult to try to tell from that week because I have I felt like I had no control of any shots and so I think I really I didn't really believe in myself out there. I mean, it is a bit difficult and I am not always, you know, I won't be always 100 percent on the court. I find it helpful to go to tournaments in the moment that I am enjoying myself because it gets me like I said, it gets me away from a lot of things, but I know that I won't always be 100 percent on the court -- not every time. I try as hard as I can, but with problems or without problems, it will be, obviously, difficult.

Q: How is the foot?

STEFFI GRAF: The foot is perfect.

Q: Any other things bothering you now?

STEFFI GRAF: Back is not too bad either, so physically, I am not too bad. I think for my standards physically I think I can't be much better.

Q: What about mentally?

STEFFI GRAF: Mentally I think I am doing sort of okay. I am doing fine. I am preparing for the French, so I am getting there.

Q: Are you in a position or have you evolved to a place now where you start looking at just the big tournaments and I guess there's peaks in your year -- I hear other players say the same thing, you know, like I am only because like at the beginning of your career you were looking to win any match and any tournament

STEFFI GRAF: I am still the same -- don't worry. I am still the same. But I think I am doing a few things that maybe, I don't know, a few years I wouldn't have done. Like I don't think I would have played a Rome tournament with only a couple of days of practice, but because I am aiming for the French and I have had no time to play on clay because of the Federation Cup on hard court in Japan and so I didn't really have any time to practice on the clay. So I knew I had to get on it as soon as possible, and that is why, I think I would have not played Rome usually, but because I know I am going to have a couple of tournaments before the French, and it was something that I kind of had to do because of the French and the Grand Slams are just getting a little bit more important than maybe a few years ago.

Q: Your game on clay, is there any particular part of your game, your stroke production that becomes more key to you on this surface, or is it more of a mental adjustment?

STEFFI GRAF: It is just a mental approach. I think my game is suited for a lot of surfaces and also on clay, but the only thing that I have got to -- got to promise my game a little bit differently is with my patience and I am really not known for a lot of patience, so it is a little bit of an adjustment for me and I am also I tend to like, for example, in Rome when things don't go the right way, and if I am not mentally 100 percent, and I am not feeling up, it is difficult to push myself to be more positive and but these are the two things that I have to work a little bit more on when I get to clay.

Q: It is the same year after year? You know you know it, but you go through the same--

STEFFI GRAF: The same like I said before, the tennis that I played in Rome I only played once in my life probably before and that was in Paris, I think two, three years ago or three, four years ago when I lost to Arantxa 6-2, 6-Love; that is the same kind of tennis that I played there and that was without any confidence, without any patience.

Q: So even after all these years you can go out--?

STEFFI GRAF: It is still a struggle for me.

Q: When you look at the French Open field, who and why would you say are looking to pose significant threats there and also, specifically, re-adding Monica to the mix of ingredients this year; how does that affect you?

STEFFI GRAF: I think there are quite a few names you can throw out and I had think Conchita Martinez will be, for me, one of the tough ones or the top one. Obviously, Monica is always difficult to judge. She will actually, she will probably be usually in front of Conchita, but I haven't seen her play for a long time and it is going to be difficult to come in again with only one tournament of clay and not having played for so many weeks, so it is also difficult to judge, you know, on her performance. So I think Conchita, Monica and always, Arantxa, she has been playing very well at the French, probably Anke Huber will be the main threat.

Q: How about the little girl that beat you in Rome; is she not quite ready to go the distance?

STEFFI GRAF: No. Absolutely not.

Q: What do you expect when you are playing here in Germany tomorrow for the first time since two years? Is it a special feeling for you?

STEFFI GRAF: Sure, it is. I mean, I haven't, like you mentioned, I haven't played for a long time here and, obviously, with all the fans that I have had and they always say, "why are you not playing more here" and with all my physical problems and everything, it was always difficult to play the last two years. The tournament, obviously, I am excited to play here again.

Q: Do you feel some pressure playing here in Berlin because you won the tournament eight times or do you think that this year this tournament, you could consider it more as a practice session for the French?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, honestly, when was it, on Friday, I said I am going to take a few days; I am not going to play Berlin because I felt, you know, I felt it has been a lot the last few weeks and I needed a rest and I was ready for a rest, but then again, I talked to Heinz and a few friends and we discussed what will be the best thing, looking at the French Open, and that was obviously to play here, and to get a few more matches in to maybe get a little bit more confidence back from what I have lost, maybe, a little bit in the last few days and to prepare yourself a little bit better for the French Open and that is my main goal.

Q: You started the season late last year with two great wins in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne; then you lost two matches. How do you feel about? Do you feel good because you won these two tournaments or do you feel bad because you lost these two matches?

STEFFI GRAF: Actually, I am not feeling too bad about the two matches that I lost because Date, she played a great match. I mean, both times I think, I didn't play great, but also I don't know. I was a little nervous. I just didn't play as I am used to playing, so actually I haven't been upset about the losses that I have had. I was really surprised about the two wins that I have had -- starting the year late and winning two tournaments, again, is something that I showed last year already a few times, but the thing is that, no, it is the middle of May; I have only played three tournaments and that is pretty difficult to always get into the tournaments pretty cold and with no match practice, so I wish I just would have played a little bit more. That is all.

Q: In the spectrum of Grand Slams how fond are you of the French Open and why?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, it is the first Grand Slam that I have ever won, so that is why, in a way, it is always special to me. On the other hand, it is the least favorite surface of mine, so I go in maybe not looking it as much as the other Grand Slams, but on the other hand, it is also a challenge to play somewhere where you know you have to raise your game; you have to raise your mental approach and everything that comes to it to do well, so I think I don't like the "Love/hate" sentence, but it is a little bit like it, just that the hate is not as strong.

Q: On the Hingis match, I didn't get a chance to see any reports on that. You won the first set, but then you looks like you lost what was the score? 2 and 3 in the second and third set. Was it a matter of her playing well, or--?

STEFFI GRAF: I think you have never saw me play like that. I think I made so many mistakes and so many errors right from the first point on, I think I have never known that I was capable of playing that kind of tennis obviously and she played fine. She played steady, but like way too many mistakes on my part - like easy, easy mistakes.

DEBBIE EDWARDS: I think Steffi has to go to a television interview. Thank you very much, Steffi.

STEFFI GRAF: All right. Bye bye.

DEBBIE EDWARDS: Thanks again.

9,514 Posts
I'm surprised there's no footage of Steffi's match against Chris Evert in 1986 Hilton Head. This was her first tournament win. Anyone can help me out?
It used to be on Youtube, and will probably show up there again. It's a very non-standard Graf match, but a kind of "tactician's delight," as Chrissie runs through her bag of tricks and Steffi counters everything. By the end, Steffi was repeatedly rolling her backhand, and Bud Collins remarked, "The kid believes!"

9,514 Posts
Having Fallen, She's Still Tops
Tennis: Despite loss to 15-year-old, Graf is ranked No. 1 for 332nd week, surpassing record of 331 held by Martina Navratilova.

May 14, 1996
Los Angeles Times

Feeling old at 26 and having only a few days ago endured an embarrassing loss to a 15-year-old, Steffi Graf was grateful for something to celebrate when, on Monday, she set the record for total weeks as the world's No. 1 tennis player.

With the release of this week's rankings, Graf is No. 1 for the 332nd week, surpassing the record of 331 held by Martina Navratilova. The next-longest time spent at No. 1 was by Ivan Lendl, 270 weeks.

Speaking on a conference call from Berlin, where she is playing in the German Open, Graf allowed herself an uncharacteristic moment of self-congratulation.

"I don't really drive for records, but this is one of them that will always stand out, by far," she said.

"I always realized that I have been No. 1 for an extremely long time, but I am not the kind of person who has counted the weeks, or the years. But to hear the number, it is pretty amazing."

Graf also holds the record for consecutive weeks at No. 1, 187, which she compiled from August 17, 1987, through March 10, 1991. Her current streak at No. 1 began 49 weeks ago, on June 12, 1995.

Technically, Graf is still being co-ranked No. 1 with Monica Seles, who will continue with that special consideration until she has played six tournaments. Seles, who has been injured for several weeks, is scheduled to play her sixth tournament beginning May 20 at Madrid.

Graf, too, has been injured much of the early season, but has won two titles and was unbeaten in tournament play going into last week's Italian Open. Graf had not played in that clay court tournament since 1987, when she beat crowd favorite Gabriela Sabatini for the title.

After that match, Graf was referred to in a major Italian newspaper as brutta, or ugly. That, combined with a falling out with the tournament promoter, kept Graf away until this year.

Graf entered the tournament with only five days' preparation on clay and lost in the quarterfinals to 15-year-old Martina Hingis of Switzerland. Graf said Monday that she was appalled by her play during the tournament.

"Those three matches that I had in Rome were probably the worst tennis of many, many years," she said. "I think you have never seen me play like that. I felt like I had no control of any shots. I didn't really believe in myself out there."

Now, Graf returns to the German Open, a tournament she has won eight times but not played in for two [sic] years.

Graf opens play today against American Tami Whitlinger-Jones. The defending French Open champion hopes to hone her clay-court skills in Berlin, but admitted that after the loss to Hingis she considered pulling out.

"I badly need the time off, but I need the practice just as badly," Graf said. "I didn't know I could play as badly as I did in Rome. [I need] to play here, get a few more matches in and maybe get more confidence back from what I have lost and prepare myself for the French Open--that's my main goal."

The French Open begins May 27 in Paris.

9,514 Posts
Graf breaks tennis record for weeks ranked No. 1
The Dallas Morning News
May 14, 1996
Bob Greene, Associated Press

Steffi Graf is No. 1 all alone - sort of.

The German right-hander on Monday was ranked No. 1 for the 332nd week in her career, breaking the record of 331 weeks she shared with Martina Navratilova. Ivan Lendl holds the men's tennis record of 270 weeks at No. 1.

"I realized that I have been No. 1 for an extremely long time, but I never really was the kind of person who counted the weeks or the years," Graf said by telephone from Berlin, where she's playing in the German Open. "But to hear the number, it is pretty amazing.

"And knowing that no one has ever achieved something like that is extremely special to me, because I know how difficult it is to stay there for such a long time."

Because of a special Corel WTA Tour rule, Graf is not alone on top of the weekly rankings. She shares that spot with Monica Seles, who trails far behind in fourth place in the number of weeks - 152 - she has been ranked No. 1 in the world.

Seles was No. 1 when she was stabbed by a spectator during a match in Hamburg, Germany, in April 1993. When she returned to the court last August, the WTA Tour gave her special ranking, naming her co-No. 1 for one year or six tournaments, whichever came first.

Seles' next tournament will be her sixth, when another special ranking consideration will be in effect until she has either played in 14 tournaments or 18 months have passed since her return.

Only six women have captured the top spot since computer rankings began in November 1975: Graf, Seles, Navratilova, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Chris Evert and Tracy Austin.

Evert held the No. 1 spot a total of 262 weeks, Austin 22 weeks and Sanchez Vicario, currently ranked No. 2, 12 weeks.

Behind Lendl on the men's tour, Jimmy Connors was ranked No. 1 for 268 weeks, John McEnroe 170 and Pete Sampras, the current No. 1, for 121 weeks.

Graf first became No. 1 at the age of 18 on Aug. 17, 1987, ending Navratilova's 10-year dominance of women's tennis. She stayed No. 1 for a record 186 consecutive weeks, until March 11, 1991, when Seles took over.

Over the next 26 months, Graf and Seles swapped the top two rankings a total of six times.

From June 7, 1993, through Feb. 6, 1995, Graf was on top alone before Sanchez Vicario took over. The two then traded the No. 1 ranking a record six times in 1995, the last on June 12, 1995, when Graf once again moved to the top.

Since then she has held the No. 1 ranking for 49 consecutive weeks, being co-ranked No. 1 with Seles since Aug. 15, 1995.

That her record came while she was playing in Berlin seems appropriate.

9,514 Posts
SPORTS PEOPLE: TENNIS; Graf Surpasses Navratilova's Reign
The New York Times
May 14, 1996

STEFFI GRAF isn't often impressed by records and rankings, especially her own, but she admitted yesterday from the German Open in Berlin that breaking MARTINA NAVRATILOVA's career record of 331 weeks at No. 1 is a milestone. And a tribute to her tenacity.

"I was never one to count the weeks or years, but to hear those numbers is extra special to me; it's one that will always stand out," said Graf, who has spent a total of 332 weeks at No. 1 since she ended Navratilova's reign in 1987. Navratilova accumulated her record from 1975 to 1987. Currently in her 49th consecutive week at No. 1, Graf also holds the record for consecutive weeks at the top: 187.

Records aside, the eight-time German Open champion remains dissatisfied with her preparations for defending her French Open title later this month. She called her play on clay last week at the Italian Open, where she was beaten by the 15-year-old MARTINA HINGIS, "very unpatient and uncontrolled, the worst tennis in many, many years." Graf traced her problems to lack of practice on her least favorite surface rather than the ongoing distraction caused by her father, Peter, who has been jailed on tax-evasion charges since last August.

9,514 Posts
Graf amazed by run atop tennis charts
Doug Smith
USA Today
May 14, 1996

Like the Energizer bunny, Steffi Graf just keeps going and going.

The 26-year-old German began a record 332nd week as the world's No. 1 women's tennis player Monday, which means she has spent 6 1/2 years of her 13-year career as numero uno.

''I never really was the kind of person who counted the weeks or the years,'' Graf said Monday, ''but to hear the number, it is pretty amazing. And knowing no one has ever achieved something like that, that is extremely special to me because I know how difficult it is to stay there for such a long time.''

She began her reign in August 1987 by ending Martina Navratilova's run at 331. Graf stayed on top for a record 186 consecutive weeks until she was replaced by Monica Seles. Only six women have been No. 1 since the computer rankings began in 1975.

With 18 grand slam titles, Graf is the only player to win each of the four big events four times. She goes for a fifth French Open this month. She considers the clay-court event the game's most demanding.

''It is my least favorite surface, but it is also a challenge to play somewhere where you know you have to raise your game,'' she said. ''You have to raise your mental approach.

''I don't like the love/hate sentence, but it is a little bit like that, just the hate is not as strong.''

9,514 Posts
Graf at the top of the mountain
By Richard Finn
SportsLine USA
May 14, 1996

By the numbers, or by any other way, it became official this week, Steffi Graf has been the dominant player in all of tennis during the past two decades.

This week Graf was ranked No. 1 in the world for the 332nd week, breaking the record of 331 weeks she shared with Martina Navratilova. Ivan Lendl holds the men's record of 270 weeks at No. 1. Notables like John McEnroe (170 weeks), Jimmy Connors (268 weeks) and Pete Sampras (121 weeks) lag far behind Graf.

"Knowing that no one has ever achieved something like that is extremely special to me because I know how difficult it is to stay there for such a long time," Graf said Monday from Berlin, where she is continuing her preparations for the French Open later this month by heading the field at the German Open.

"I realized that I have been No. 1 for an extremely long time, but I never really was the kind of person who counted the weeks or the years," Graf said. "But, to hear the number, it is pretty amazing."

GRAF HAS BEEN PRETTY AMAZING her entire career, from the moment she became an international figure by reaching the German Open final at the age of 15 before losing to Chris Evert.

The German has gone on to win 97 career singles titles, including 18 in Grand Slam events. She has won each of the four Grand Slam singles titles at least four times. In 1988 she completed the Golden Grand Slam, by capturing the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open titles as well as Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal.

Last year Graf won the three Grand Slams she played, sweeping the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open, the last coming in a memorable three-set final against Monica Seles.

The recent play of the 26-year-old has been equally spectacular considering the circumstances of her life.

She has been slowed by nagging back and foot injuries. She had foot surgery in December, which forced her to miss this year's Australian Open.

MORE PAINFUL IS KNOWING that her father, Peter, has been locked up in a German jail since last summer on tax-evasion charges. Graf has rarely been allowed to see him, and she has been questioned by authorities, though prosecutors say that she is not a suspect.

"Mentally I think I am doing sort of OK," Graf said.

Graf is playing this week because she is in need of tournament matches before the French Open after being upset by Martina Hingis in the Italian Open quarterfinals. It was Graf's first loss on clay in nearly two years.

"It is the middle of May, and I have only played three tournaments," she said explaining her decision to play this week.

Sampras preps at World Team Cup

Pete Sampras will try to play next week when he leads the U.S. team at the Peugeot World Team Cup event in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Distraught and depressed from the death of his coach Tim Gullikson last week, Sampras had withdrawn from this week's Italian Open. If Sampras plays next week, it will be his only clay-court tournament preparation for the French Open.

That, however, will be one week more than Andre Agassi is getting. Agassi pulled out of last week's German Open and is not playing in either this week's Italian Open or at the World Team Cup. Strange preparation for a Slam.

Joining Sampras next week on the U.S. team is Todd Martin. Other notables playing are Boris Becker of Germany, former two-time French Open champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain and Thomas Enqvist of defending champion Sweden.


A blast from the past came last week when former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, joined with fellow Aussie Patrick Rafter to win the doubles title at the Rolling Rock U.S. Clay Court Championships in Pinehurst, N.C. Cash and Rafter had played together once before, reaching the final a Bermuda last month. Cash was one of the world's top players in the late 1980s but has rarely played in recent years due to a series of injuries. ...

Caught at courtside during the weekend Bulls and Knicks games at Madison Square Garden were John McEnroe and Boris Becker. McEnroe is a regular at the Knicks games. Becker had flown in Saturday morning from Germany to catch the action after once more going down to defeat on the red clay in Hamburg. Just proves how far Becker will go to get away from that red clay. ...

Construction on the much ballyhooed and at the same time criticized new U.S. Open stadium is progressing on schedule to be ready for the 1997 U.S. Open, according to USTA officials. The stadium costs $234 million, which many in the tennis community feels would have been better spent on junior related tennis programs. ...

Here we go again. According to ATP Tour officials, Thomas Muster could regain the No. 1 spot from Sampras depending on the Austrian's results at the Italian Open. He then could slip past Sampras at next week's small clay-court tournament in Austria. ...

Marcelos Rios became the first Chilean in the world top 10 this week. He is the first South American to do so since Martin Jaite of Argentina in 1990. Rios reached the German Open semifinals last week. In the quarterfinals he beat Wayne Ferreira to knock the South African out of the top 10.

In addition to writing this exclusive column for SportsLine USA, Richard Finn is a freelance writer who specializes in tennis.

9,514 Posts
Graf goes for 8
Grand Forks Herald
May 14, 1996
Associated Press

The German Open, an annual playground for top-seeded Steffi Graf, opened Monday with an upset in Berlin.

Russia's Elena Likhovtseva stunned No. 11 Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-2 while two other seeds -- No. 12 Judith Wiesner of Austria and No. 14 Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia -- were pushed to three sets before winning their matches.

But the real action begins today when Graf faces American Tami Whitlinger-Jones, who ousted German Marlene Weingaertner, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Graf, enjoying a record 332nd week as world's No. 1 player, tries to add to her record eight titles at this tournament.

This also was the place where Graf burst onto the tennis scene in 1985 as a gangly 15-year-old, pushing Chris Evert before losing in the finals.

Graf returned the next year to capture her first German Open, defeating Martina Navratilova in straight sets. Since then, she has lost only once, to Monica Seles in the 1990 final.

This year, Graf, 26, is in the same bracket with Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the world's fourth-ranked player, Iva Majoli of Croatia and Swiss teenager Martina Hingis.

Graf, hoping to work on her clay-court game for the upcoming French Open, decided to play the tournament after she was upset last week by Hingis in Rome.

"I badly need the time off, but I need the practice just as badly,'' Graf said.

9,514 Posts
The Buffalo News
May 15, 1996
The Associated Press

Steffi Graf, still stunned by her poor play in Rome, was back to her usual dominance at the German Open in Berlin.

Graf overpowered Tami Whitlinger-Jones with her serve and big forehand at the $926,000 tournament, beating the American, 6-1, 6-2, in a second-round match.

Graf admitted she's still not feeling comfortable enough on clay to take risks. "I played a little safer today, but better," said Graf.

The world's top-ranked player said she had been shocked by her play at last week's Italian Open, where she struggled in earlier rounds before falling to Swiss teen-ager Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals.

"For four days there, I didn't know how I was going to keep the ball in play -- you think this can't be normal," Graf said. "The fear is still there, but now I think I'm on the right way."

Graf, seeking her ninth German Open title, was joined in the third round by Hingis and third-seeded Iva Majoli of Croatia.

The 15-year-old Hingis, seeded ninth, recovered from some erratic early play and having her serve broken to rout Jolene Watanabe of La Puenta, Calif., 6-3, 6-0.

Majoli, the world No. 4, needed 1 hour, 49 minutes to win a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 struggle against Sweden's Asa Carlsson.

9,514 Posts
"So ist das, man sollte eigentlich einen Preis bekommen und man heult."

Fans welcome Steffi back home to Berlin
Daily Telegraph
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
May 15, 1996

WORLD No 1 Steffi Graf stepped out in front of an ecstatic home crowd of 6,000 in Berlin for the first time in two years today and quickly erased the memory of last week's upset defeat in the Italian Open.

Making her first home appearance since coming under investigation for tax evasion, Graf sped to a 6-1 6-2 victory over Tami Whitlinger-Jones of the US in just 49 minutes.

She said she had recovered from the quarter-final loss to Swiss wunderkind Martina Hingis in Rome, a defeat which prompted her to enter the Berlin tournament at the last minute.

"In Rome I was still too unsettled and impatient. Today it already looked a lot better," she said, adding that her trainer believed Berlin would be good preparation for the defence of her French Open title later this month.

Graf dissolved in tears when presented with German journalists' award for the World Sports Personality of 1995.

"I can't stop crying. But this recognition for an incredible year means a lot to me," she said.

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Bradtke, McQuillan through in Berlin Open
The Mercury
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
May 15, 1996

AUSTRALIANS Nicole Bradtke and Rachel McQuillan both had comfortable victories in the first round of the German Open tennis in Berlin yesterday.

Bradtke defeated Madagascar's Dally Randriantefy 6-3, 6-3, while McQuillan slipped past Ludmila Richterova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3.

The German Open, which kicked off yesterday with its first upset, is a tournament which top-seeded Steffi Graf has dominated like no other in her eventful career.

No. 11 Ai Sugiyama was the first seed to fall at the $US926,000 ($A1.16 million) tournament, losing 6-3 6-2 to Russia's Elena Likhovtseva.

Two other seeds -- No. 12 Judith Wiesner of Austria and No. 14 Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia -- were pushed to three sets. However, the real action begins today, when Graf faces American Tami Whitlinger-Jones, who ousted German Marlene Weingaertner 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Graf, enjoying a record 332nd week as world No. 1, is trying to add to her record eight titles at the German Open.

She has carried away the winner's trophy more often in Berlin than anywhere else in the world. This was also the place where the German first made her mark on the tennis scene in 1985 as a gangly 15-year-old, when Chris Evert was pushed to 6-4, 7-5 before subduing her in the final.

Graf returned the next year to capture her first German Open, winning a straight-sets final against Martina Navratilova.

Since then, the only one to beat her was Monica Seles in the 1990 final. This year, Graf will be lined-up against Arantxa-Sanchez Vicario, world No. 4 Iva Majoli of Croatia and Swiss teenager Martina Hingis.

Graf, who is trying to polish up her clay game for the upcoming French Open, decided to play the tournament after she was upset by Hingis in Rome last week.

''I badly need the time off, but I need the practice just as badly,'' said Graf, 26. ''I didn't know I could play as badly as I did in Rome.''

Basuki struggled past Poland's Magdalena Grzybowska 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, while Wiesner had to rally to beat Kristie Boogert of The Netherlands, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Wiesner made fewer errors in the decisive final set than Boogert, the tour's newcomer-of-the-year in 1994.

9,514 Posts
Hingis hits the wall in Berlin
Daily Telegraph
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
May 16, 1996

MARTINA Hingis, conqueror of world No 1 Steffi Graf last week on her way to the Italian Open final, came down to earth in the German Open in Berlin today when she was knocked out.

The 15-year-old Swiss player, seeded ninth, fell 6-3 7-5 to Slovakia's Karina Habsudova, 54th in the world.

But Graf, playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in two years, appeared to have shaken off last week's defeat by marching into the quarters of the clay-court event with an easy 6-2 6-1 win over Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia.

"She's better on quicker surfaces," Graf, eight times champion in Berlin, said. "I didn't always have to play at full stretch and I was calm enough."

Graf's compatriot Anke Huber, ranked five in the world, had to pull out all the stops in her secondround tie against Lindsay Lee.

After winning the first set, 18-year-old Lee was just two points from victory at 5-3 and 30-15 in the second set before Huber turned the tables to win 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Defending champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, the world No 2, cruised in with a 6-3 6-3 defeat of Marianne WerdelWitmeyer of the US.

In a minor upset, Romania's Ruxandra Dragomir put out eighth seed Natasha Zvereva of Belarus 5-7 6-2 7-6.

Australia's Bradtke was dumped out of the Open, losing 6-0 6-0 to Elena Likhovtseva of Russia.

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Steffi Graf - Tennis
The Times
London, England
May 16, 1996
Alix Ramsay

Steffi Graf plays a textbook backhand during her third-round defeat of Yayuk Basuki in the German Open in Berlin, a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win that showed that she has shaken off the shock of her failure in the Italian Open last week.

Graf, the joint-world No1, was detained on court for only 51 minutes by her Indonesian opponent and eased into the event's quarter-finals in what is her first appearance in front of a home crowd for almost two years. However, Martina Hingis, Graf's conquerer in Italy, had a day that she would rather forget, falling in the second round to Karina Habsudova, of Slovakia, 6-3, 7-5 and picking up a caution for racket abuse for her troubles. Habsudova is ranked No54 in the world, 37 places below Hingis, but she has the measure of the young Swiss. They have met three times and Hingis has managed to win only one set.

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Herald Sun
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
May 17, 1996

SADLY, almost obscenely, a crazed Steffi Graf fan has succeeded with his warped plot.

Not only did lathe operator Gunther Parche's attack on Monica Seles hand back the world No. 1 ranking to Graf, it has now enabled her to retain that status for a record period.

Graf is celebrating her 332nd week at the top, surpassing Martina Navratilova to set a new mark of sustained dominance in men's and women's tennis.

It's another decoration in a grand career that shouldn't be but is tarnished by sport's ultimate back-stabbing.

Graf and Seles had already traded the No. 1 ranking six times when the infatuated Parche plunged the kitchen knife into Seles's left shoulder on April 30, 1993.

At the time Seles was undisputed top gun, having denied herself the Grand Slam by skipping Wimbledon the previous year and started 1993 winning a third consecutive Australian singles title.

Potentially, Graf v Seles was an engrossing rivalry that should have galvanised attention on the women's game for all the right reasons through this decade.

Instead the German blonde inherited No. 1 again five weeks after the Hamburg incident after sitting in the Seles shadow for almost two years.

Strangely, Graf has become the innocent victim and has often lamented the absence of a genuine rival to provide credibility to her unchallenged ranking peak.

The 26-year-old right-hander may well have reasserted authority over her left-handed foe in the ensuing period. But she would not have smashed the Navratilova longevity barrier by now.

Despite the Seles pall that lingers over each achievement, Graf has proved her greatness with the strength to reign over nagging injuries and personal distractions.

Her back ailment is worse than she lets on, as evidenced by just four tournament appearances so far this year, and concentration is understandably difficult with her father in jail since August on tax evasion charges.

No one could question if Seles vowed never to chase No. 1 glory again.

It seems more than coincidence that she hasn't played a tournament since being told the week after the Australian Open triumph of the threat against her on the eve of that final.

Even with their mega-millions, Graf and Seles remain tormented souls, the former haunted by her fortune, the latter terrified another Parche is lurking out there.

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The Stuart News
May 18, 1996
Associated Press

ROME -- Stefan Edberg bowed and waved to all corners of the Foro Italico stadium. The 10,200 spectators stood for several minutes in a rousing ovation. Tears streamed down the faces of many fans.

Edberg, playing his 14th and final year on the tour, received an emotional farewell after losing 6-3, 6-3 to Richard Krajicek in the Italian Open quarterfinals Friday.

"In a foreign country. To have an ovation like that was quite amazing," Edberg said. "I expected a nice round of applause, but this was really special."

Even during the match, the crowd repeatedly broke into rhythmic clapping and chants of "Stefan! Stefan!"

"Sometimes I had goosebumps out there," said Edberg, playing for only the third time in Rome. "It was great leaving the court. Even if I lost the match, it didn't matter today."

Krajicek said he felt lonely on the center court.

"My girlfriend and another friend were supporting me," the Dutchman said. "It was like three against 12,000."

In a night match, top-seeded defending champion Thomas Muster powered into the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 7 Marcelo Rios of Chile. Muster needed just over an hour to defeat a player considered one of the rising stars in tennis.

In other quarterfinal matches, sixth-seeded Wayne Ferreira beat No. 14 Andrei Medvedev, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 11 Alberto Costa crushed Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi, 6-2, 6-1.

The Edberg-Krajicek match featured the unusual sight of two men playing classic serve-and-volley tennis on clay. It also included the second-fastest serve ever recorded on the ATP Tour.

In the eighth game of the second set, Krajicek cracked a first serve timed at 136.4 mph -- just a shade below the 137 mph delivery by Britain's Greg Rusedski at San Jose last year. But Krajicek's serve was the fastest of 1996, topping the 134.9 mph by Rusedski at the Australian Open.

Edberg managed to get the serve back in play, but lost the point. After seeing the speed displayed on the courtside monitor, Edberg flexed his bicep to the fans.

"I didn't even look (at the speed clock) because I didn't think it was that fast," Krajicek said. "I won the point. That's the most important thing. It would be terrible to hit a serve like that and lose the point."

But Krajicek had more than a big serve going this day. He played one his best matches on clay, ripping groundstrokes and passing shots that kept Edberg in check.

Krajicek also showed poise in dealing with the pro-Edberg crowd. The fans hooted and shouted "scemo" -- idiot -- when Krajicek argued a line call in the first game of the second set and received a time violation warning.

The outpouring of support for Edberg contrasted with the way the crowd turned against Gaudenzi, who was trying to become the first Italian to reach the semifinals in 18 years. Gaudenzi was jeered in his lackluster performance against Costa.

"That's the Roman crowd," he said. "When you win, you're a legend. But when you lose, they are there to whistle."

Graf wins; Huber, Vicario upset

BERLIN -- Top-seeded Steffi Graf advanced to the semifinals of the German Open on Friday, but second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and No. 5 Anke Huber were upset.

Sanchez Vicario lost to Elena Likhovtseva of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, while Huber was ousted by Karina Habsudova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-4. Graf beat 10th-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France 6-1, 7-5.

Graf's next opponent will be fourth-seeded Iva Majoli of Croatia, who advanced with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 7 Barbara Paulus of Austria.

Sanchez Vicario, the defending champion, had no excuses after losing to Likhovtseva, ranked 47th in the world.

"She was just better than me today," said Sanchez Vicario, who struggled throughout the tournament.

Huber made a lot of unforced errors from the baseline and was sometimes overpowered by Habsudova's punishing backhand.

"I felt hopeless out there," said Huber, an Australian Open finalist this year. "I had to do something else, but I just couldn't. I made it easy for her."

It was Habsudova's third upset victory in the tournament. Earlier, she beat Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce.

"Once you beat these players, you know you can do it. It's nothing new for me now," said Habsudova, ranked 54th in the world.

Graf won her first set in 19 minutes, slamming winners all over the court.

"It was good, but it wasn't perfect -- my first serve wasn't as good as I liked," Graf said.

Graf let two match points slip away at 5-4 in the second set, one a volley that bounced back from the net. She finally converted her fourth match point to win in one hour and 10 minutes.

Graf has regained top form after losing to Hingis in the quarterfinals last week in Rome.

"The tennis I'm playing is a world apart from the tennis I showed in Rome," she said.

Seles sets return for Madrid

MADRID, Spain -- Monica Seles will return to competitive tennis next week in the Madrid Open, and she has asked for wild-card entry to the Eastbourne tournament in England next month.

The Madrid tournament will mark Seles' first competition since February, when she lost to Iva Majoli in the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific tournament in Tokyo.

A month earlier, Seles won her ninth grand slam title at the Australian Open.

For the past three months, Seles has been sidelined with a shoulder injury that forced her to withdraw from a Federation Cup match in Austria last month.

She is co-ranked No. 1 with Steffi Graf by the WTA computer.

The $250,000 Madrid Open, to be played May 21-25, will be Seles' final tuneup for the French Open.

The Eastbourne is played on grass, June 18-22, and is the traditional women's warmup for Wimbledon. It would mark her first English competition in four years.

Seles, who won three consecutive French Open titles from 1990 to 1992, has not participated in the Grand Slam event in Paris since she was stabbed during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, April 30, 1993.

Following the stabbing incident, Seles returned to active play last summer when she won the Canadian Open. In August, she reached the finals of the U.S. Open before losing to Graf.

Graf also is among the 28 entries for the Eastbourne event.
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