The Tennis Year, 1998

(from the NY Times, C2, Monday March 9, 1998:)
...Graf burst into tears when the audience burst into applause as she walked onto play her first ... since the 1997 French Open.
"I never imagined that the people would react like that," she said. "It shakes you up, but in a good way. for this new role as a less than invincible competitor ... Graf seemed unworried.
"Let's face it, I haven't been on automatic pilot out there for a long time" ... "But there's no hesitation about being out there, none at all."

Everyone suddenly burst out singing
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark green fields; on; on; and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted,
And beauty came like the setting sun,
My heart was shaken with tears, and horror
Drifted away.... O, but everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

[ - Siegfried Sassoon.]

(P.S: I did not include this because I wished to show off my literarity or add some sloogey sentiment to this moment - but because it was the first thing I read after reading the above - the book of poems just opened itself that way. -But I do wish to add my sense of coincidence and sublimity; it is something to add.)

Analysis of results from Indian Wells (California) (March '98):

Player in question had 4 matches, against Tamasugarn, Sugiyama, Zvereva, and (#2 ranked) Davenport: scores were
6-4 6-1, 6-0 6-1, 6-3 6-0, and 4-6 6-4 2-4. Ratios for these are
240% (everyone makes a slow start after a break), 1200%, 400%, and 86 % . . . (but the last one's ratio was at an even 100% when injury occurred.)
The underlined ratios are typical of a star player in very good condition. The loss to Davenport showed, at the least, proper stamina against a top (2nd in world) ranked opponent.
So it seems obvious that the player in question is once more a contender for a place near or at the top, without question.

(Of course, it isn't all that simple... but this shows that the basic material is there.)

- RH, late March '98

Venus Williams: "Steffi count was a tennis lady ". The forthcoming
resignation of the Bruehlerin does not pass without trace the Top
Spielerinnen: With the tournament in Rome the Williams sisters expressed
their regret: " you a correct tennis lady, was no matter whether she won
or lost ", meant the 17jaehrige Venus. Her two years younger sister
Serena completed: " as the interest appreciably smaller, it provided
again and again with its mad performances for attention. "

-Huh? [laughter] . . . alas, I don't know what they actually said... this is just the comic stuff the translator gave me.

Original [May 5th, off Der Spiegel Online]:
"Sie war eine richtige Tennis-Lady, egal, ob sie gewonnen
oder verloren hat", meinte die 17jährige Venus. Ihre zwei Jahre jüngere
Schwester Serena ergänzte: "Als das Interesse zusehends geringer wurde, hat
sie mit ihren tollen Leistungen immer wieder für Aufsehen gesorgt."

Roland Garros 1998 - commentary/coverage

[Quoting Steffi Graf:*]
"I've had, in the last five or six weeks, absolutely no health problem. That gives me hope that I may continue to do what I like the best: playing Tennis."
- The best of news to anyone concerned... that (-June?) Tennis magazine interview/article was somewhat bothering, the way it began -- the exercise routine described sounded needlessly painful and possibly useless. A relief to hear it's not so.
*[from Der Spiegel Online 03.07.98 19:35:05; my translation of July 19 1998.]

(I recently came across this quote, from the Washington Post, Thurs June 12, 1997, C3:)
... "...confident that I will return to the sport which I love so much - and in good health."
- This confidence is trustworthy. Another lesson, too, that one should always listen . . . -RH, July 16, '98.