Andrea Temesvari, a stately blond teen-ager who is the legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, stood at courtside the other day surrounded by a throng of 10-year-old boys. At 5 feet 9, she towered above them. They thrust their programs forward for her imprimatur in that mute ritual so familiar to the famous. It was as if they wanted to be able to say 10 years from now they knew her when.
Temesvari looks so much more mature than her 17 years and has come so far so fast that it is easy to forget that she, too, is a child. Today, it was clear how much growing she has to do as a tennis player.
In the other upset at the U.S. Open today, Temesvari, the ninth seed, lost to Pascale Paradis, the French and Wimbledon junior champion, 6-4, 6-0. Paradis, who comes from the Champagne region of France, said she was going home to drink some champagne.
"I saw she was fairly nervous when she came out for the match," Paradis said. "She just deteriorated when I put the pressure on."
Temesvari, who got only four points in the second set, said, "I'm really sad about it. I was going down and down. I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, she's going to beat me,' and I couldn't do anything about it. I felt like she was steamrollering me."
She was. Paradis, who grew up emulating and admiring Martina Navratilova and Hana Mandlikova, served well (three aces in her first service game) and came in when the opportunity presented itself. She made only six unforced errors to Temesvari's 16 and exposed Temesvari's weakness on the hard-court surface. "I played today like it was clay," Temesvari said. "The court was very fast and I couldn't adjust."
Temesvari's father Otto, a forward on the 1960 Hungarian Olympic basketball team, taught his daughter to play tennis the way Bjorn Borg played it, with topspin. "My dad said my daughter is going to play like a man," she said. "He always watched the men. He said, 'Oh my gosh, they are hitting a new way. I am going to teach you something else than the other women. If you are going to be No. 1, you are going play something else than the other women.' "
She has soared this year, winning the Italian Open and the U.S. Clay Court Championships. Last December, she was ranked 33rd; now she is 10th. "She is our hope," said Lee Jackson, tour referee for the Women's Tennis Association, "for femininity, style, ability. She is our promise."
But it will take some time--two years, her father says--for her to fulfill that promise. On clay, her looping topspin ground strokes are as mellifluous as they are deadly. Sometimes they bounce over an opponent's head. She can pull opponents so wide they land in the petunias.
But it doesn't always work on hard courts, the way it did the other night against Virginia Wade. During one memorable point, she sent a topspin lob over Wade's head, then killed her softly with a topspin drop volley. Temesvari uses the court the way few other women do. Her sense of geometry is exquisite.
But the transformation from clay to hard courts will be harder for her than it was for Chris Evert Lloyd, whose slice and flat ground strokes were more readily adaptable to other surfaces. "She's going to have to change her game," Evert said. "To play on grass, she is going to have to develop some slice."
"On other surfaces, there hasn't been anything to write away about," said Don Candy, Pam Shriver's coach. "There is no reason she can't learn. She is a wow on clay."
At Wimbledon, Temesvari lost to her friend, Carling Bassett, in what Billie Jean King called a battle of the "cutie-pies" on Centre Court. "I think I lost because I didn't try to win the points, I tried to win the match," Temesvari said. "It's not the same thing. I was too much like this. What is that?"
Tense. "Tense. Tennis is an easy sport, you must play it easy."
This summer, during the Federation Cup, she ripped a toenail off her right foot, then had to default during a match with Camille Benjamin at Mahwah last month when she pulled a muscle in her back. She says she is going home this fall to go to school and work on her game, particularly "my volley and serve and my strategy. I'm going to try to improve my hard court game, too, because here I am always late reacting to the ball, and I can't change my game week after week because I'm only used to clay."
She is used to the tumult that seems to follow wherever she goes. Two weeks after she won the Italian Open, Italian admirers were sending flowers to her in Germany. "They told me a lot of things," she said. "Some of them go a little too far."
More often, they want something. "Even when they ask for my sweat pants, I'm going to give it to them," she said. "At Wimbledon, every day, they asked for my sweat pants and my headbands."
She doesn't mind. She remembers her own idols. "I had so many pictures on my wall of Chris Evert I was dreaming I met her, that she was playing me a little bit," Temesvari said. "I was always working. When I had to practice, I said, 'Andrea, you have to practice one more hour. If you do, you are going to meet her.'
"I liked her attitude on the court, her personality. I liked her becauce her dress is always nice, always ironed. Because she is always clean."
"Clean?!" Evert said, laughing.
Temesvari's ambition is not only to be No. 1 but to be No. 1 the way Evert was. "I don't want to have a big nose," she said, the English idiom abandoning her for a moment. "I want to try to stay the same way I was before."
But sometimes it's hard: "When I'm tired and they ask me for autographs or when I lose . . . I have to say, 'Andrea, you have to be the same girl, so don't be stupid.' Also, my father tells me."