Friday, December 03, 2004

Steffi, will you ..

My memory got kind of refreshed as I stumbled upon this piece of writing about the goddess on the center court, and had a chance to look at the forwarded video clipping.

It goes,

... She is also known for her sense of humour. During a tight Wimbledon semi-final match against Kimiko Date, she was serving when a spectator yelled out "Steffi!". Everyone, including Steffi, burst out laughing. Composing herself, she got ready to serve again, when the fan shouted "Steffi! Will you marry me?" The whole stadium burst into peals of laughter and play was delayed for a couple of minutes. Steffi got ready to serve again, tossed the ball, caught it, then turned to the fan and yelled "How much money do you have?"

I have worshipped Steffi Graf more than all other sportmen/women combined! She remained an undisputable queen of tennis during her tenure. And no one dared to replace her in my mind, not Navratilova, not Seles, not Sanchez-Vicario, not Sabatini and definitely not new comers like Hingis (well, if I call Hingis a newcomer then those Williams, Henin-Hardennes, Myskinas, Sharapovas are definitely kids). Forehands have never looked elegant and fierce at the same time, after she quit. Her game came with a rather gentle service (with ball tossed up higher than normally people would do) and relatively weaker backhands (but she worked very hard to get it strong). But boy, wasn't it a treat to watch! She had great athletic physique and a graceful presence on court. I don't think anyone she defeated would have been humiliated by it, it least I would not have given a chance. As Sir Neville Cardus would have put it, "Even though she is kicking you in ribs, you might think she is helping you getting up." (Apologies, Sir!) Rather it was an honour to play against her. Her opponents who have achieved rare feats of defeating her would certainly cherish those memories for long. I remember crying in disbelief when she had lost in the very first round of Wimbledon. I'd never be able to forgive Lori McNeil for it.

Finally as my friend aptly put it, she is one of those ladies whom you cannot love enough.

Miss you a lot Steffi!

signing off,

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