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Old 03-27-2008, 11:15 AM   #1
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Default Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat (Clips Added)

Too bad during the time Evans didn't call him a Czechoslovak at least, but Mecir has never been a Czech, apart from that it's not a bad write up.

This is 21 years old, but still informative.

This is a portrait, written in 1987, of a player who was expected to become one of the most successful of his era. But an exceptional talent was cut short at the end of the 1980s by a chronic back problem and failed surgery. Mecir had to content himself with a bit of coaching and the captaincy of the Slovak Davis Cup team.

http://soundoftennis.net/cgi-bin/sou...ewArchive&ID=8

Portrait of Miloslav Mecir
by Richard Evans

It is not every player that gets singled out for praise by that most demanding of critics, John McEnroe, but even before Miloslav Mecir deprived the former world No 1 of a chance to claim his fifth WCT crown by beating him in the Dallas final last month, McEnroe was singing the praises of this complex Czech.

“Mecir is an interesting new personality and the game needs as many as it can get,” said McEnroe realising full well that Mecir is likely to cause him a great deal of frustration and annoyance in the coming months. “We have things in common. He tries to out think players and keep them off balance. His game is good to watch. He doesn’t look like a tennis player and I don’t think I do either.”

McEnroe, as perceptive and generous off court as he can be blockheaded and mean spirited on it, is right. Mecir could become the tour’s resident intellectual. Stylistically he poses questions that are constructed to confuse. Facially his bearded, sharply-chiseled features would make him perfect casting for something out of Chekhov. Dressed in a morning coat he would seem wholly at home, brooding in the Cherry Orchard.

When he first emerged from Czechoslovakia three years ago, Mecir seemed to do a lot of brooding. Slow to smile and obviously bewildered by the brash new world in which he found himself, Mecir stunned New Yorkers at last year’s US Open, where he gave notice of his exceptional talent by reaching the final, when he told them he didn’t like their city and wanted to catch the first flight home.

Ivan Lendl, who only gets homesick for Greenwich, Connecticut these days, found Mecir’s attitude equally perplexing – but not quite as perplexing as he found his tactics when the Big Cat, as he is called on the tour, unraveled Ivan’s game with disdainful ease in the final of the Lipton International Players Championships at Key Biscayne in March.

By then Mecir, who had elected to stay at a cheap little hotel on the island instead of at the official hotel situated amongst the concrete jungle of downtown Miami, was loosening up and beginning to enjoy some aspects of America.

“I have my parents with me and at night we stroll on the beach under the stars,” he told me before he beat Lendl. “It is good.”

Moments of tranquility are important to Mecir whose favourite hobby is to find a good river and fish. As this tit-bit of information is about to as much as the world’s press have managed to find out about this man who gives little away, he is asked about it constantly. In Dallas someone asked him which fish he liked to catch best.

“Lendl,” he replied with a grin. “Big fish.”

If Mecir goes on landing fish the size of Lendl and McEnroe, trout and salmon may temporarily lose their appeal as he swims upstream to the highest source of that tortuous tennis river.

Mats Wilander was suggesting in Dallas that Mecir has the ability to become the No 1 player in the world within two years and, after the way he has been playing in 1987, it would be foolish to bet against such a possibility. Until he arrived, jet-lagged, in Tokyo for the Suntory Japan Open the week after Dallas, Mecir had won four of the six tournaments he had entered since the New Year and only Stefan Edberg, in the Australian Open and the Pilot Penn Classic at Grand Champions, Indian Wells, had beaten him.

But, of course, consistency was not the only impressive addition to the multitude of talents Mecir brings to a tennis court. Although nerves still plagued him when he failed to save Czhechoslovakia from defeat against Israel in the first round of the NEC Davis Cup, Mecir is a far more assured performed now than he was in 1985 when he shocked spectators in Dusseldorf during the World Team Cup matches by suddenly serving underhand during his match with Jimmy Connors.

Even more inexplicably he repeated the performance against Martin Jaite in a second round match of the French Open a couple of weeks later. “I just got so nervous I didn’t think I could get a proper serve in court,” Mecir explained afterwards.

Now his serve, although not a thing of beauty when compared to the classical deliveries of an Edberg or Yannick Noah, is at least deep and players admit to having difficulty with it when he kicks one into the backhand.

It says much for the degree of natural talent Mecir brings to the game that, despite the problems he faced with the serve early in his career, his first taste of success came on grass in Adelaide, as long ago as 1983. With an improved delivery and growing confidence on the volley, Mecir confirmed that he will become an increasing threat on grass in the future by beating Edberg on his way to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year.

As he appears to treat all kinds of surfaces with an equanimity not shared by all his colleagues in the top ten, Wilander’s predictions may have a sounder base than some people imagine. Certainly he has retained a mystery about his game that is starting to become a psychological as well as a technical weapon.

Players on the tour expect to take a little while to work out the particular style and performances of talented newcomer when they first turn pro, but so few have managed to crack the code that disguises many of Mecir’s stately-looking groundstrokes that an element of panic is beginning to set in.

In particular, Wilander and many of his Swedish colleagues find many of Mecir’s shots undecipherable. Largely, the problem seems to lie with the fact that Mecir can combine the very difficult arts of hitting the ball way out in front of his body while at the same time appearing to delay the stroke until the last second. Players talk of being able to hold the ball on the strings and a computer would probably be able to confirm that the ball stays on the Czech’s strings some mini-fraction of a second longer than most players. But it is fractions that make the difference at the highest levels of the game and, as he turns his wrists – just one for the forehand; two for the backhand – on the point of contact his opponent is still waiting to see which way the ball will go.

This, of course, can be catastrophic to a top class player who is accustomed to judging the path of the ball as his opponent shapes up to hit it. Uncertainty seeps into the brain; confusion and frustration set in and Mecir, poker-faced as ever, is well on the way to another victory. There are going to be a great many more in the future and most, I feel sure, will be well worth watching.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1

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Old 03-27-2008, 11:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Indeed he is Slovak. I have seen him as Davis Cup captain here in Skopje last april.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Thanks a lot for that GWH (and for the Lendl article as well, by the way). I can't help feeling that Mecir should have won at least one slam. Damn back injury. If I could change tennis history, the first thing I would do would be giving Lendl a Wimbledon title and then giving Mecir a slam. Ah, one can always dream.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Right, but people hailing from Czechoslovakia where often referred to as Czechs before the country was split into two countries.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaxMisha View Post
Thanks a lot for that GWH (and for the Lendl article as well, by the way). I can't help feeling that Mecir should have won at least one slam. Damn back injury. If I could change tennis history, the first thing I would do would be giving Lendl a Wimbledon title and then giving Mecir a slam. Ah, one can always dream.
Nahh...part of the fun of tennis history is that so few players have completed a calendar year slam. Llendl got so close, Federer got so close. I think it's kind of funny that Agassi is the only post-Laver player to have done it. Especially given that both his 1992 Wimbledon win and his 1999 RG win were totally unexpected.
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Yeah when tennis lost Miloslav to a back injury so early in his career it was a sad loss for the game. That back really did affect his results a lot too over the last couple of years. I remember his last match at Wimbledon against Edberg (who he had almost beat, and should have beaten too just a couple years earlier) in his last match at Wimbledon and it was sad to see. I have no doubt if not for the back injury he would have won slams and could very well as Mats Wilander suggested have gotten to number 1. At least he won his Olympic Gold which I'm sure means as much to him as any Slam win would have.
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Thanks for the article. The final of Seoul Olympic Games in 1988, which Miloš won, was the first tennis match I have ever seen in my life. I was only 4 years old at that time, but despite that I was aware I was witnessing something unusual as it was kind of a big deal in our at that time still united country.
Shaking hands with this man one year ago is one of my best recent memories related to tennis. I have a lot of respect for him. Shame he met the bane of many great players - injuries.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Nice to read this again.

Its a real shame losing the Big Cat so early.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

How old is that article?

I loved to watch Mecir and he was one of my favorites even though he was the Swede-killer. I was hoping the article was about him today. I'd really like to know that he's happy and successful.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Here is an interview with Mecir speaking English but with a German voice over.

It starts 5 mins 45 secs.

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Mecir had a Czech father and Slovak mother, was raised in Slovakia, this at the time of the break up of the nation was interesting in itself.

http://www.iht.com/articles/1993/01/28/dcze.php?page=1

When a New Border Splits a Tennis Team
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 1993

MELBOURNE: Like many former Czechoslovaks, Miloslav Mecir is part of a family tree with varied branches. His mother is a Slovak, his father a Czech. And although he lives in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, and comments on tennis for Slovak television, his wife is a Czech.

"For me," he said sadly, "the border is something I don't like."

The border was created at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1 when Slovakia officially became independent of its more populous and cosmopolitan neighbor.

In the world of sport, the effect of the division is already in evidence at the Australian Open. For the last three decades, Czechoslovakia held a firm place among the world's leading tennis nations as its state-controlled system produced a succession of sensational players, beginning with Jan Kodes in the 1960s and continuing with Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, Hana Mandlikova, Mecir and, most recently, Jana Novotna and Petr Korda.

Navratilova and Lendl fled the communist regime and later became American citizens, but Novotna and Korda have continued to represent their homeland. Now, they find themselves in Melbourne with a new affiliation: the Czech Republic.


"Of course, it's a bit different," said Korda, the No. 7 seed, who reached the quarterfinals here. "But you know, it's very hard to realize this thing has happened because I have a lot of friends in Slovakia, and I don't want to change personally. I don't want to say we are from different countries and now we have to hate each other. All I know is that the politicians choose this way, and I have to follow. I am just a tennis player."

The Czechs and the Slovaks are, of course, merely the latest additions to Europe's expanding list of nationalities. Between the demise of the Soviet Union and war in the Balkans, the tennis honor roll has undergone several revisions. Goran Ivanisevic, formerly of Yugoslavia, began declaring his allegiance to Croatia in 1991. Natalia Zvereva, formerly of the Soviet Union, is now representing her native Belarus. And the list goes on.

"I don't look at this like Goran Ivanisevic, who is really proud to play for Croatia," said Novotna, the ninth-ranked woman in the world. "It makes sense that he feels like that because of the problems there. But in our country, everything went a smooth and easy way. So I will just take it as it is.

"What I don't understand is that in one part of the world, people are trying to make a united Europe, and in the other part, nations are breaking into small countries. What kind of Europe is this? Who knows who is Slovakian or Slovenian? Who knows Czech Republic or Czechland or whatever we call ourselves?"

The Czech half of the country was always the stronger in tennis terms. Of Czechoslovakia's myriad stars, only Mecir could be considered a Slovak. A finalist at the U.S. Open in 1986 and the Olympic gold medalist in 1988, he prematurely ended his career because of a chronic back problem.

"I was always playing for Czechoslovakia, not Slovakia, and I wish I could still be playing for Czechoslovakia these days," he said. "It was a good country. Until three months before the split, I still couldn't believe it could happen. But at the end, nothing could stop it, even though I don't think most of the people wanted it in their heart."

With the division, the once-powerful Czechoslovakian Tennis Federation has ceased to exist. Henceforth, each nation has its own governing body for the sport, although the two countries will field combined squads for one more year in the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup.

The Davis Cup team will be exclusively Czech, because Slovakia's best male player is Karol Kucera, ranked No. 208. But the Federation Cup team should include Radka Zrubokova, a Slovak ranked 30th in the world. Slovakia also has another female player in the top 100: Karina Habsudova.

"The tennis development in Slovakia is still very good," said Andrej Bucko, a tennis writer who is covering the Australian Open for the Bratislava daily Pravda. "We have some girls and boys who are highly ranked in juniors. One of our big problems is courts. We don't have so much as the Czechs, and we don't have a big stadium for tennis. We will have to play Davis Cup in 1994 in a hockey rink because we can't build a new one in just a year."

The lack of good facilities could lead to a talent drain. Ludmila Richterova, a 16-year-old Slovak ranked eighth in the world, has asked for Czech nationality.

"Her coach lives in Prague, and the conditions for training are better there," Bucko said. "We can have some problems in Slovakia with organizing tennis things. We are not very skilled with management and sponsorships because our tennis administrators are not so experienced on the international level. They also don't speak English so well."

The administrators are perhaps more fluent in English at the reorganized Czech Tennis Federation in Prague, but according to Korda, the system is suffering.

"I think this change is going to hit hard on both sides," Korda said. "The big problem on our side is that everybody who knows how to handle a racket is teaching in Germany and making money for living. We don't have any coaches in my country, and between 16 and 20 years old, we don't have so many young players. It's getting a little better with the young ones at 10, 12 and 14 because they can get sponsors. Money talks, you know."

And it is this attitude that reflects a change even more profound than the new border between the Czechs and the Slovaks. When Korda and Novotna were growing up, tennis was controlled by the state. Since the Velvet Revolutionin 1989, tennis is ruled - like nearly everything else - by the market.

"When we were young, the idea was to play for trophies, to be somebody like Lendl or Navratilova or Mandlikova," Novotna said. "That idea isn't there anymore. Now, the youngsters are starting to play because they see the potential of money. It will be more and more like that, I think.

"In our time our parents would do anything so we could travel, so we could go out and maybe learn something from the West and be a little bit different. Now, the parents pay for the coaching, they pay for the practice time, and soon they're saying, 'That's enough. Send some money home.' I personally am very happy for what happened in 1989, but it's not always pretty, capitalism."

Nor is it always easy to change old habits overnight. Bucko, a supporter of Slovakia's independence, has been waging a personal crusade against political incorrectness since his arrival in Australia.

"Look at this," he says, unfolding an article from The Canberra Times. "They write that Australia will recognize 'the two independent Czech republics.' There is only one Czech Republic. People outside, the people in America or Australia, they don't really understand."

That may be true, but even Bucko has some catching up to do. His Pravda business card still reads: Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:05 AM   #12
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

After he won the Olympics.

THE SEOUL OLYMPICS: TENNIS; Mecir Beats Mayotte for Gold
By PETER ALFANO, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES

It was 64 years between gold medal points, a period that spanned the careers of Bill Tilden, Don Budge, Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, several of the legendary names in tennis. None had the opportunity to accomplish what Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia did today, when he won the Olympic gold medal, defeating Tim Mayotte, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Mecir, 24 years old, is the No. 10 ranked player in the world, a sleepy-eyed player with a whispy beard, nicknamed the Cat for the way he covers the court with deceptively quick, silent strides. Injuries had made this a disappointing year until now, as Mecir's best showing was reaching the Wimbledon semifinals.

In a departure from the expressionless mask he usually wears on the court, Mecir threw his racquet into the air and ran to the net with a smile after Mayotte netted a backhand volley on match point. Several minutes later, Mecir, Mayotte, Brad Gilbert and Stefan Edberg of Sweden took part in the medal ceremony, all appearing to enjoy the Olympic moment that modern-day tennis players never grew up thinking they would have a chance to enjoy. Good Feeling

''It's a very good feeling,'' Mecir said. ''It's difficult to say how this rates, however. I've played in so many tournaments. It is nice, though, to hear people cheering not only because I'm a good player, but because I am playing for them also.''

Mayotte, 28, has been one of the biggest boosters of Olympic tennis the past two weeks, saying it was a welcomed departure from the normal preoccupations of the tennis tour. There was even something worthwhile finishing second today as he left the Olympic park stadium court with a silver medal draped around his neck.

''It's strange because here, the emphasis is on medals instead of 100 percent on winning,'' Mayotte said. ''So there is consolation in getting to the medal group. The ceremony was fantastic, it's such a different way of doing things.''

The tennis, however, did not look any different than it usually does. Mayotte, one of the more accomplished players on the tour, relies on a serve and volley game. Miloslav the Magician may be the most versatile the way he appears like an apparition at the net or along the baseline, hitting tantalizingly soft shots, followed by a ripping backhand or forehand winner.

Mayotte won the first set on the strength of his serve, but he was aware that Mecir, a superbly conditioned player, is a slow starter. Before Mayotte even had time to enjoy his advantage, Mecir broke him in the opening game of the second set, hitting a forehand pass on break point. Dictates Play

Mayotte never recovered. Mecir used an accurate, if not overpowering serve, to put the ball in play, then sat back and pulled the strings, moving Mayotte from side to side, bringing him to the net, putting him on the run with lobs.

He broke Mayotte again in the seventh game, this time whipping a forehand passing shot down the line and closed out the set on his serve with a backhand winner. ''He was keeping me in motion,'' Mayotte said. ''I knew I would have my work cut out for me. He made so many of his first serves, hitting them deep that I couldn't get to the net.''

Mayotte rallied surprisingly well, but this is Mecir's game. He broke Mayotte in the fifth game of the third set, smacking a forehand service return winner at the American's feet. He was barely being challenged on his own serve, winning 28 of 30 points during one stretch. He closed out the set at love, forcing three errors, then placing a soft backhand winner down the line.

For all intents, the match was over. Mecir kept up the pace in the final set, Mayotte reaching back on his serve, looking for an equalizer. He never found it. This was Mecir at his best, when he can beat any player in the world.

''I have to spend some time with my friends to think about how this feels,'' he said. ''It's a great day.''

Judging by the smiles worn by Mayotte and the two bronze medalists, Gilbert and Edberg, it was one of the rare times in tennis when even the losers had something to cheer about.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:06 AM   #13
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

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Originally Posted by PMK is Innocent View Post
Mecir had a Czech father and Slovak mother, was raised in Slovakia, this at the time of the break up of the nation was interesting in itself.

http://www.iht.com/articles/1993/01/28/dcze.php?page=1

When a New Border Splits a Tennis Team
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 1993

MELBOURNE: Like many former Czechoslovaks, Miloslav Mecir is part of a family tree with varied branches. His mother is a Slovak, his father a Czech. And although he lives in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, and comments on tennis for Slovak television, his wife is a Czech.

"For me," he said sadly, "the border is something I don't like."

The border was created at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1 when Slovakia officially became independent of its more populous and cosmopolitan neighbor.

In the world of sport, the effect of the division is already in evidence at the Australian Open. For the last three decades, Czechoslovakia held a firm place among the world's leading tennis nations as its state-controlled system produced a succession of sensational players, beginning with Jan Kodes in the 1960s and continuing with Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, Hana Mandlikova, Mecir and, most recently, Jana Novotna and Petr Korda.

Navratilova and Lendl fled the communist regime and later became American citizens, but Novotna and Korda have continued to represent their homeland. Now, they find themselves in Melbourne with a new affiliation: the Czech Republic.


"Of course, it's a bit different," said Korda, the No. 7 seed, who reached the quarterfinals here. "But you know, it's very hard to realize this thing has happened because I have a lot of friends in Slovakia, and I don't want to change personally. I don't want to say we are from different countries and now we have to hate each other. All I know is that the politicians choose this way, and I have to follow. I am just a tennis player."

The Czechs and the Slovaks are, of course, merely the latest additions to Europe's expanding list of nationalities. Between the demise of the Soviet Union and war in the Balkans, the tennis honor roll has undergone several revisions. Goran Ivanisevic, formerly of Yugoslavia, began declaring his allegiance to Croatia in 1991. Natalia Zvereva, formerly of the Soviet Union, is now representing her native Belarus. And the list goes on.

"I don't look at this like Goran Ivanisevic, who is really proud to play for Croatia," said Novotna, the ninth-ranked woman in the world. "It makes sense that he feels like that because of the problems there. But in our country, everything went a smooth and easy way. So I will just take it as it is.

"What I don't understand is that in one part of the world, people are trying to make a united Europe, and in the other part, nations are breaking into small countries. What kind of Europe is this? Who knows who is Slovakian or Slovenian? Who knows Czech Republic or Czechland or whatever we call ourselves?"

The Czech half of the country was always the stronger in tennis terms. Of Czechoslovakia's myriad stars, only Mecir could be considered a Slovak. A finalist at the U.S. Open in 1986 and the Olympic gold medalist in 1988, he prematurely ended his career because of a chronic back problem.

"I was always playing for Czechoslovakia, not Slovakia, and I wish I could still be playing for Czechoslovakia these days," he said. "It was a good country. Until three months before the split, I still couldn't believe it could happen. But at the end, nothing could stop it, even though I don't think most of the people wanted it in their heart."

With the division, the once-powerful Czechoslovakian Tennis Federation has ceased to exist. Henceforth, each nation has its own governing body for the sport, although the two countries will field combined squads for one more year in the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup.

The Davis Cup team will be exclusively Czech, because Slovakia's best male player is Karol Kucera, ranked No. 208. But the Federation Cup team should include Radka Zrubokova, a Slovak ranked 30th in the world. Slovakia also has another female player in the top 100: Karina Habsudova.

"The tennis development in Slovakia is still very good," said Andrej Bucko, a tennis writer who is covering the Australian Open for the Bratislava daily Pravda. "We have some girls and boys who are highly ranked in juniors. One of our big problems is courts. We don't have so much as the Czechs, and we don't have a big stadium for tennis. We will have to play Davis Cup in 1994 in a hockey rink because we can't build a new one in just a year."

The lack of good facilities could lead to a talent drain. Ludmila Richterova, a 16-year-old Slovak ranked eighth in the world, has asked for Czech nationality.

"Her coach lives in Prague, and the conditions for training are better there," Bucko said. "We can have some problems in Slovakia with organizing tennis things. We are not very skilled with management and sponsorships because our tennis administrators are not so experienced on the international level. They also don't speak English so well."

The administrators are perhaps more fluent in English at the reorganized Czech Tennis Federation in Prague, but according to Korda, the system is suffering.

"I think this change is going to hit hard on both sides," Korda said. "The big problem on our side is that everybody who knows how to handle a racket is teaching in Germany and making money for living. We don't have any coaches in my country, and between 16 and 20 years old, we don't have so many young players. It's getting a little better with the young ones at 10, 12 and 14 because they can get sponsors. Money talks, you know."

And it is this attitude that reflects a change even more profound than the new border between the Czechs and the Slovaks. When Korda and Novotna were growing up, tennis was controlled by the state. Since the Velvet Revolutionin 1989, tennis is ruled - like nearly everything else - by the market.

"When we were young, the idea was to play for trophies, to be somebody like Lendl or Navratilova or Mandlikova," Novotna said. "That idea isn't there anymore. Now, the youngsters are starting to play because they see the potential of money. It will be more and more like that, I think.

"In our time our parents would do anything so we could travel, so we could go out and maybe learn something from the West and be a little bit different. Now, the parents pay for the coaching, they pay for the practice time, and soon they're saying, 'That's enough. Send some money home.' I personally am very happy for what happened in 1989, but it's not always pretty, capitalism."

Nor is it always easy to change old habits overnight. Bucko, a supporter of Slovakia's independence, has been waging a personal crusade against political incorrectness since his arrival in Australia.

"Look at this," he says, unfolding an article from The Canberra Times. "They write that Australia will recognize 'the two independent Czech republics.' There is only one Czech Republic. People outside, the people in America or Australia, they don't really understand."

That may be true, but even Bucko has some catching up to do. His Pravda business card still reads: Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.

i saw him conduct a clinic against Becker at the U.S Open once. what a graceful athlete for being as tall as he was. he also gave johhny mac fits with his movement.

his 2 losses to Lendl in slam finals were tough.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:14 AM   #14
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

Thanks for the articles, the Big Cat was perhaps the best player ever among those who did not win a slam. A pity we never saw a Chezhoslovakia team of Lendl-Mecir in DC at that time, it would certainly be a decent team.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:19 AM   #15
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Default Re: Article : Portrait of Miloslav Mecir: The Big Cat

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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Thanks for the articles, the Big Cat was perhaps the best player ever among those who did not win a slam. A pity we never saw a Chezhoslovakia team of Lendl-Mecir in DC at that time, it would certainly be a decent team.
They didn't really play that well as a team, though Smid was a quality doubles player. Lendl really didn't believe in the whole Czechoslovakia thing, as he was living in the US quite early in the 80s.

Mecir used to get very nervous and had some big chokes, well he had Edberg on toast at Wimbledon in 88, but his back was really fucking him over and his nerves didn't help either.

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Originally Posted by Clay Death View Post
i saw him conduct a clinic against Becker at the U.S Open once. what a graceful athlete for being as tall as he was. he also gave johhny mac fits with his movement.

his 2 losses to Lendl in slam finals were tough.

I have an old article that I will scan on here, about those 2. Lendl said he hated the way he had to play Mecir, but it was effective.

Mecir's only win over Lendl was worth watching though in Miami, so the timing of this was worth it.
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I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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