Finding Stefanie

9Jan

To open our 7th season, we dive into the career of Stefanie Maria Graf, one of the game's most decorated champions and still, somehow, one of its most elusive. Graf's staggering achievements -- beyond the iconic Golden Slam -- are in some ways poorly understood and lost to recent history, likely because she has so determinedly removed herself from the tennis world. Instead of seeing her just as Monica's rival or the goalpost to pass for Grand Slam glory, we look to understand Graf's career as it was, in its own time. What didn't we get about Steffi Graf? What about her game made her the best? Who were her important rivals outside of Monica? What was the state of women's tennis when she arrived, and how did she leave it? What's clear: Steffi was a whole lot more than just "German precision."

 

0:25 Intro and taking aim at the myths and misunderstandings

10:30 So, about those career stats . . .

13:00 Graf as child prodigy - staggering early seasons in 1985-87

18:15 What was the WTA like when Steffi arrived? The Chrissie-Martina duopoly, burnt out child stars, the next Czech generation

23:20 Gaby and Steffi: "glamour" vs "automation"

29:35 Steffi's peerless game: how was her dominance perceived in its day? (1988-89)

36:50 Becker, Graf, German identity, and the question of patriotism: let's talk about history for a minute

48:00 Peter Graf, a dominating and difficult father, but at times a "shield"

53:05 Monica Seles asks the question again and again, and Monica's removal from the game asks even more

65:00 The rest of the 1990s: more Slams, myriad injuries, and the humiliation of a private life becoming tabloid fodder

73:05 What is Steffi's legacy as a player, and as a member of the once highly political WTA?

79:55 Rivalries: Gaby is the dark horse

82:52 Steffi's iconic matches -- too many to mention, but here are a few

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