Steffi Graf came back to the U.S. Open wearing pumps instead of sneakers, a sleek navy blue dress instead of tennis whites, and a carefree smile that revealed how comfortable she is with her decision to retire.
There may be a time when Graf will miss the game so much that she will change her mind, lace up again and grab her rackets.
"Right now," she said yesterday on the eve of the tournament she won five times, walking away "seems extremely easy. I don't know if that's going to be the case in a few months."
It seems so easy, she said, because she has no regrets. Her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, the French Open in June, was her most emotional and satisfying, completing a journey back from injuries and illnesses that nearly ended her career before she was ready to quit.
"I feel pretty happy about leaving it right now," she said, two weeks after announcing she would skip the Open and retire from the tour. "I know I'm going to miss the competitiveness, without a doubt. The working out. It's different being on a bike or a StairMaster instead of being able to run around and be upset if you miss a shot or be happy if you win it. But right now I'm not missing it. It may sound a little strange, knowing me, but in a way a lot of pressure has gone and it feels good."
Graf spoke at the National Tennis Center on a beautiful, warm afternoon after Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Martina Hingis and Serena Williams and others playfully participated in the annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day.
A sellout crowd of 20,883 helped raise more than $500,000 for charities, including $400,000 that will go to the National Junior Tennis League to help programs for inner-city kids.
BoxingReid Retains WBA TitleDavid Reid won a lopsided decision over Keith Mullings to retain his WBA super welterweight title in Las Vegas. All three judges scored the fight 117-111 in favor of the Reid, a gold medalist in the 1996 Olympics. . . .
After months of haggling, the heavyweight title unification rematch between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield is finally set, according to a spokesman for promoter Don King.
"The fight is a go for Nov. 13," said Greg Fritz, of Don King Productions. The official announcement will be made at a news conference Tuesday.
The fight will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus, and will be the feature attraction of a multifight card to be run by King and casino operator Park Place Entertainment. Each fighter is expected to make about $15 million for the fight. Holyfield and Lewis fought to a controversial draw March 13 in a fight many ringsiders felt was won by Lewis.
Horse RacingLemon Drop Kid Wins Again Lemon Drop Kid proved to be the big horse in a big race for the second time in three months when he won the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
The Belmont Stakes winner won by three-quarters of a length over Vision and Verse.
In the 1 1/2-mile Belmont on June 5, Lemon Drop Kid beat Vision and Verse by a head. Menifee, the 8-5 favorite, was third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Vision and Verse.