Monday, January 30, 2012

Game, Set, Match

Back in my TTM days, I requested autos from 7 professional tennis players. Five out of seven responded and three of them responded on two different occasions. The two holdouts were Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. No surprise there I suppose.

The successes were all women.

Tracy Austin

Tracy has one of the nicest signatures around. Many people probably don't know much about Tracy, but she turned pro in 1978 at the age of 15. She won two U.S. Opens, defeating Chris Evert in 1979 at the young age of 16. She defeated Martina Navaratilova in 1981. She was the number one women's player in 1980. She won a total of 30 singles titles and 5 doubles titles, including the mixed doubles Wimbledon title in 1980 with her brother John. Tracy earned just over $2 million in her career. She officially retired in 1994 after a couple of comeback attempts and can now be seen commentating at many of the Grand Slams. Tracy was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.

Gabriela Sabatini

Gabriela Sabatini was one of the original "hot" girls of tennis. She turned pro in 1985 at the age of 14 and played until 1996. She won 27 singles titles, including the U.S. Open in 1990 where she defeated Steffi Graf. Her highest career rank was #3 in the world in February of 1989. She won 14 doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 1988 with partner Steffi Graf. She earned over $8.7 million in her career. She also won the Silver Medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. She lost to, who else, Steffi Graf. Gabriela was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.

Gabby's people sent back pics two times, but I think they are the autopen type. Both sigs are exactly the same, but they're not pre-printed on the pics. They are at different angles and one is smeared just a bit.

Monica Seles

Monica Seles turned pro in 1989 at the age of 16. She won 53 singles titles in her career, including 9 Grand Slams. She won the Australian Open in 1991, '92, '93 and '96, the French Open in 1990, '91 and '92 and the U.S. Open in 1991 and '92. She also won 6 doubles titles. Monica had over $14.8 million in career earnings. She also won the Bronze Medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Seles was the #1 player in the world in 1991 and 1992, but in a 1993 match in Hamburg, Germany, a crazy Steffi Graf fan jumped on the court between games and stabbed her in the back. She wasn't seriously injured, but the psychological toll would cause her to miss two years on the tour. She did come back and win the Australian Open in 1996, but she never regained the consistent play that made her so special and played her final official match in 2003. Monica Seles is well known as the original grunter on the women's tour. If you've ever watched a women's tennis match and heard the players shriek or grunt loudly during the points, you know what I mean. Seles was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.

Seles was another player that responded to both requests. I've checked and these signatures do match up with others I've seen.

Chris Evert

Chris Evert turned pro in 1972 at the age of 18. She retired in 1989 as one of the greatest women players of all time. She won 157 career titles, including 18 Grand Slams. She won the Australian Open in 1982 and '84, the French Open in 1974, '75, '79, '80, '83, '85 and '86, Wimbledon in 1974, '76 and '81 and the U.S. Open in 1975, '76, '77, '78, '80 and '82. Evert also won 32 doubles titles, including the French Open in 1974 and '75 and Wimbledon in 1976. She had over $8.8 million in career earnings. Her career singles win-loss record of 1,309-146 (89.46%) is the best of any modern era player. Chris Evert was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995.

Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf turned pro in 1982 at the young age of 13. She won 107 career singles titles, including 22 Grand Slams. She won the Australian Open in 1988, '89, '90 and '94, the French Open in 1987, '88, '93, '95, '96 and '99, Wimbledon in 1988, '89, '91, '92, '93, '95 and '96 and the U.S. Open in 1988, '89, '93, '95 and '96. She won 11 career doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 1988. Her career earnings were nearly $22 million. She also won three Olympic medals, gold for singles in 1988, bronze for doubles in 1988 and silver for singles in 1992. Graf was ranked #1 in the world for 377 weeks, a record for any player, man or woman. She retired in 1999 as the #3 ranked player in the world.

Steffi sent back two autos each time.

Steffi married to Andre Agassi.

I'm running out of things to say about Steffi.

She was awesome.

If you read this far, I sincerely thank you!

It feels good to be back. I'll have an actual baseball card post later today.


  1. Chris Evert(-Lloyd at the time) was my very first big time crush. Granted I was probably 10 or 11, but man I loved her. Still do in a remembrance sort of way.

  2. Very nice. Ironically, I do have Connors and McEnroe autos, though they were both in person. I've been meaning to show them on the blog sometime. I guess I'll have to dig them out.

  3. This reminds me, I've got to start seeking out some tennis cards to buy. Or maybe it's all the U.S. Open I've been watching.

  4. No, I really need to start finding more tennis cards. Maybe in 2014 (yeah, right).