Tennis: The Centre Court heiresses
Wimbledon 97: Steffi Graf (left), winner of 21 Grand Slam singles titles, seven of them at Wimbledon, is contemplating retirement at the age of 28 after undergoing surgery to her left knee, the latest in a catalogue of injury setbacks. Unable to defend thip this year, Graf spoke to John Roberts about three of the sport's exciting teenagers
Monday 23 June 1997
Martina plays a very intelligent game. She knows exactly what to do. She is very quick, takes the pace from the opponent, plays sharp angles. No matter how hard you play her, she takes your speed and hits with incredible depth. Her down-the-lines are probably the best in tennis.
She also has one of the important things for the young players, a life besides tennis. People say, `Why is she still horse riding, or doing these things?' but you've got to do something. I did skiing when I was 21 or 22, and I broke my finger, but there are some things you have to do because you want to do them. And you know the risk, so it's not like we don't know what we're doing.
On a personal level, it doesn't seem like we're connecting very well. For some reason we are not going far beyond hello, and I don't know why.
GRAF ON ANNA KOURNIKOVA
Anna has a lot of shots and is trying too many things. It seems to me that she's trying to hit it, she's trying to come to the net. She has a lot of shots but she doesn't exactly know how to select them.
She is very different from Martina, who knows exactly. She has these few weapons, and she's using them perfectly. Anna and Venus are raw material at the moment. The next one or two years are going to be crucial for them.
I talk a lot with Anna, sometimes for up to half an hour in the locker- room. She talks very freely and is extremely easy-going. Maybe it's because she has that self-confidence, which I think is good.
What I wish for all the young players is that they have somebody who can show them how to be the best on the court and have fun with that.
GRAF ON VENUS WILLIAMS
With Venus, you just don't know. She's got so much talent, I just wish that she had somebody to guide her how to use it, somebody who would give her some kind of game plan. She has so many shots, but I don't see that she's structuring her points the right way.
She is very quick around the court, especially for her height, but it is very obvious that experience is missing, because she hasn't played enough matches, even as a junior. I do not agree that this was the right way to go about things. Hopefully, she's going to play more tournaments, because that's where she's going to grow in confidence in her shots and what to do on the court.
You can only learn those things by playing. I can practise as much as I want, but until I play a couple of matches, I'm not going to gain the feel for the point. It's just different practising than playing matches.
She would an ideal player for grass. She can really play well at the net. So if she gets a stronger serve, because she has the height for it, and comes in a little bit more, she could be a very good grass court player.
It is not easy to talk with Venus, beyond hello, because she always has her family around her. That doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy herself. Maybe she's grown up differently than others, and maybe she's afraid of approaching other players. It's difficult to judge.
As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity
Savoury patisserie is a thing now
Meet the primary school where every day is National Poetry Day
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience
Latest in Sport
Arsene Wenger 18th anniversary at Arsenal: His WORST signings XI during his time with the Gunners
Arsene Wenger's worst signings XI
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Nani: On loan Sporting Lisbon winger admits he may not return to Manchester United
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client, a prog...
£45 - £50 per day: Randstad Education Group: Job opportunities for SEN Teachin...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers re...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Room Leader PositionI am currently ...