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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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An old but interesting interview with Aaron Krickstein, the guy who is sadly know more for losing a match, than any of his wins.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/s...l=1&adxnnlx=1125345285-45Fal0iRz33m0RGKuCeJZg


Krickstein's U.S. Open Scar Remains Visible

WAS that Aaron Krickstein playing in a senior men's event last weekend in Amagansett, N.Y.? Have the years really flown by that fast?

"Just turned 38," he reported recently by telephone. That would make him the same age Jimmy Connors was when Connors began a semifinal run at the 1991 United States Open, best remembered for a 39th-birthday, fourth-round date with Krickstein, a seminal event in modern American tennis.

Fourteen years later, Krickstein prefers not to watch those inevitable rain-delay reruns, when he is eternally 24, hurtling toward tortuous defeat in a fifth-set tie break. He still rues a forehand off a short return he pushed long into the open court while serving for the match at 5-3, and he can't quite pardon Connors for the boorish behavior that intimidated match officials and whipped the New York Labor Day crowd into a Jimbo-crazed frenzy.

"I was pretty good friends with Jimmy, you know, especially when I was a youngster, at 15, 16," Krickstein said. "I was at his house, we traveled together."

The relationship ended - "We lost contact," Krickstein said - when the aging, raging bull beat the young ground-stroking matador in an epic I can still recall watching from the old press box high above Louis Armstrong Stadium, alongside Arthur Ashe.

"During the match, he did some things and said some things that were uncalled for," Krickstein said. "It was a win-at-all-costs attitude, and I wound up losing to a 39-year-old, a guy who was as old as I am now.

"I mean, I wish I could change the result, but I also understand what the match has come to mean. Four years in a row they showed it during the Open, and people were coming up to me in restaurants like I was still playing. They'd say, 'Oh, I was rooting for you that day,' and I'd say: 'Oh, yeah? I didn't hear you or see you.' "

Perpetuity be damned, Krickstein has, understandably, never relished the forever role as Connors's sparring partner. At the senior event in Amagansett, the nice woman on the public-address microphone kept introducing him as the man who lost that match, so before losing the final to John McEnroe, he decided to set her straight.

"I said to her, 'You know, I was a top-10 player,' " Krickstein said.

He prefers to define himself as the 16-year-old from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., who shocked Stefan Edberg and Vitas Gerulaitis at the 1983 Open, who won nine ATP events and almost $4 million in prize money, and who, before being reluctantly cast as the fall guy in the Connors vaudeville act, took apart a 21-year-old Las Vegan, name of Agassi, in the first round.

"For me, looking back, the match against Andre was as big, if not bigger, than the one against Jimmy," Krickstein said.

That's the beauty of hindsight, of selective memory. Rare is the Pete Sampras, who won his 14th and final Grand Slam title, defeated his generational rival, Andre Agassi, in the 2002 Open final, and then walked away from tennis, at 31. Agassi, now 35, has been taking cortisone shots as he chases a fitting farewell, but maybe the best he can hope for as he begins his 20th consecutive Open this week is a day or night like the one Connors had in 1991.

Maybe there is a Krickstein - a young player he shouldn't necessarily beat in draining Open conditions but will - for Agassi somewhere in the second-week draw.

Connors once told me that the Krickstein match was the most fun he'd ever had at the Open, or on any tennis stage. Krickstein just happened to be in the picture for Connors's primal scream of a last hurrah. It wasn't fun. It was just his fate.

"I know it's a famous match, and it wouldn't have been if I had won," Krickstein said. He got on with a career cut short in 1994 by injuries, went into business and returned to the sport five years ago as the director of St. Andrew's Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. He wishes there were more senior events to play, but the tour, started more than a decade ago by Connors, soon to turn 53, fizzled in the United States.

There will be no re-enactment of 1991, no revenge match, but Krickstein can live with that because life has been full of turbulence and twists. Jimmy Connors is no longer his worst Open memory, by a long shot.

A year ago, Krickstein returned to play the senior doubles event. After one match, his wife, Bianca, fell ill, and was found to have a rare ovarian cancer that develops during pregnancy. With their daughter, Jade, not yet a year old, Bianca required immediate surgery to remove cancerous tumors, followed by months of chemotherapy that she has come through, Krickstein said, with a promising prognosis.

It wasn't his first cancer ordeal, having lost his older sister in 2003 to breast cancer. That sister, Kathy Pressel, was the mother of Morgan Pressel, the 17-year-old women's golf prodigy.

"I'm hoping that very soon I'll be more known as Morgan's uncle than I will be as the guy who lost to Connors at the '91 Open," Krickstein said.

That could also partly depend, of course, on the forecast for the Open these next two weeks, and for years to come.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

Thanks for posting the article.

I didn't watch that match, but I've read about it quite a number of times. I feel for Aaron, not because he lost, but because he's best remembered for that loss. He may also be best remembered for that match if he had won, but like he said, many others probably won't remember it as much.

It's also interesting that, for example, Conners is rarely associated with his match against Michael Chang in 1991 RG where he had to be helped off the court. I don't know how long that match lasted before Conners retired due to his back, but I think any relatively close matches on clay against Chang has to be epic. I liked both of them, but I still felt for Conners when I saw him staggering out of the court.

I'm sure it would be totally heartbreaking for any Aaron's fan (or liker) to witness that defeat.
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

Thanks for posting the article.

I didn't watch that match, but I've read about it quite a number of times. I feel for Aaron, not because he lost, but because he's best remembered for that loss. He may also be best remembered for that match if he had won, but like he said, many others probably won't remember it as much.

It's also interesting that, for example, Conners is rarely associated with his match against Michael Chang in 1991 RG where he had to be helped off the court. I don't know how long that match lasted before Conners retired due to his back, but I think any relatively close matches on clay against Chang has to be epic. I liked both of them, but I still felt for Conners when I saw him staggering out of the court.

I'm sure it would be totally heartbreaking for any Aaron's fan (or liker) to witness that defeat.
I only saw parts of the match mainly due to the time differences, but the bits I did see was Connors acting like a boorish arsehole and he was a master manipulator and totally did it in that match and there are some that would say that the ends justify the means when it comes to winning matches.

Definitely didn't feel sorry for Connors under any circumstances.

Krickstein and Arias were the among first kids from the Nick Bollettieri forehand factory. He had a lot of injuries as well, stress fractures in both feet, had his left tibia operated on, plus wrist problems as well.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

He hasn't changed much from his heyday.

 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

I had series tickets for the 1991 US Open, and I saw the Krickstein-Connors match in person. I have to say that it was probably the most exciting, electrifying match I ever attended. Now I watch it during rain delays, and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I was there, because I feel so bad for poor Aaron.

I also watched Aaron beat an overweight, uninterested Agassi earlier in the week. Aaron very quickly won over the crowd, and Andre got booed by some people at the end. He threw one of his used towels into the crowd as he was leaving, and it landed on a middle-aged lady in one of the front boxes, who promptly threw it back to him. :lol: That was a highlight from my week.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

I also watched Aaron beat an overweight, uninterested Agassi earlier in the week. Aaron very quickly won over the crowd, and Andre got booed by some people at the end. He threw one of his used towels into the crowd as he was leaving, and it landed on a middle-aged lady in one of the front boxes, who promptly threw it back to him. :lol: That was a highlight from my week.
OMG, first the Richie interview, and now this lady rejecting Andre's towel. I never thought I'd have read MTF with tears from laughing. But, hey, there was no e-bay back then, or at least she could've sold it for a burger.

I've never really watched Aaron play because he shared an era with some of my best favorites. He'd never been #1 and he hadn't won a Slam, but he's known for his mental toughness and tenacity, a quality not very often seen, a quality adorable. I like him and wish others would have remembered his other more positive achievements, like 1990 Davis Cup, may be?
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

I had series tickets for the 1991 US Open, and I saw the Krickstein-Connors match in person. I have to say that it was probably the most exciting, electrifying match I ever attended. Now I watch it during rain delays, and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I was there, because I feel so bad for poor Aaron.

I also watched Aaron beat an overweight, uninterested Agassi earlier in the week. Aaron very quickly won over the crowd, and Andre got booed by some people at the end. He threw one of his used towels into the crowd as he was leaving, and it landed on a middle-aged lady in one of the front boxes, who promptly threw it back to him. :lol: That was a highlight from my week.
No need to be embarrassed about being a match like that, the only bad thing about the match was that Krickstein lost it.

Love the fact that the lady threw the towel back at Agassi.
 

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If memory serves Connors also handed Kricks a loss at Wimbledon that year. Aaron must have had an urge to drive Connors over with a truck after these defeats.
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Krickstein was poor on grass, but having a break in the 5th set for a guy who was so strong in 5 setters and losing.

It's like Corretja he is more famous for the match he lost.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

Thanks for posting, he was such a decent guy. It is certainly one of the main things that comes to mind about him.
Sort of like how Robby Ginepri will be remembered for his 5 setter against Agassi at the USO I guess.
I know Ginepri really had a look there like he would remain a permanent figure in the top 20, top 30 for sure. Now top 50 is not even such a guarantee is it?
 

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Thanks for posting this. Aaron was one of my favorites when I was young. I grew up in an anti-Connors household and I remember when we were watching this match on TV my mom kept saying things to the TV like "Well....we're rooting for you kiddo- too bad you can't hear us."

Both Aaron and Jimmy Arias were kinda prodigies who sadly never really fulfilled their promise.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

I only saw parts of the match mainly due to the time differences, but the bits I did see was Connors acting like a boorish arsehole and he was a master manipulator and totally did it in that match and there are some that would say that the ends justify the means when it comes to winning matches.

Definitely didn't feel sorry for Connors under any circumstances.

Krickstein and Arias were the among first kids from the Nick Bollettieri forehand factory. He had a lot of injuries as well, stress fractures in both feet, had his left tibia operated on, plus wrist problems as well.
Totally agree with the description, the worst part is the media narrative that turned Connors into a hero. However it must be said that Aaron eventually folded while Courrier crushed Connors easily in the semis, even though Connors attempted to generate the same circus.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

Thanks for posting, he was such a decent guy. It is certainly one of the main things that comes to mind about him.
Sort of like how Robby Ginepri will be remembered for his 5 setter against Agassi at the USO I guess.
That is true but again it is a question of media narrative, in this case Ginepri should be remembered for his 3 5-set wins against Haas, Gasquet and Coria since he should have lost all these matches, yet he won them.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

I had series tickets for the 1991 US Open, and I saw the Krickstein-Connors match in person. I have to say that it was probably the most exciting, electrifying match I ever attended. Now I watch it during rain delays, and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I was there, because I feel so bad for poor Aaron.

I also watched Aaron beat an overweight, uninterested Agassi earlier in the week. Aaron very quickly won over the crowd, and Andre got booed by some people at the end. He threw one of his used towels into the crowd as he was leaving, and it landed on a middle-aged lady in one of the front boxes, who promptly threw it back to him. :lol: That was a highlight from my week.
I was there that day as well. It's always interesting to see a bunch of rich old men and women actually get involved in a tennis match. It was thousands of people against Krickstein's box led by Aaron's stoic dad.

I remember the Andre incident. He was so out of shape that his new Nike shirt was riding up on him and the fat on his love handles was protruding out for everyone to see. Plenty of boos for the effort he put out that day.
 

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I was also one of about 10 million people that attended this match. Probably the best sporting event I've been to, and I've been to a few good ones. I had no voice the next day.

Mert, one point, Krickstein was a decent player, but he was never a tenth of the player Courier was.
 

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aaron krickstein, i wonder if he still swims? it was said that swimming and his forehand went hand in hand.

saw him hit with jimmy arias in flushing meadows(in person); quite a sight.

saw him dominate in the easter bowl(tv).

u mentioned the forehand against connors which cost him; against noah it was an overhead smash which cost him. too easy going he was in a sport dominated by the likes of mcenroe and connors.
 

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Re: Aaron Krickstein speaks about the US Open match with Connors, breast cancer

Totally agree with the description, the worst part is the media narrative that turned Connors into a hero. However it must be said that Aaron eventually folded while Courrier crushed Connors easily in the semis, even though Connors attempted to generate the same circus.
Connors has always been a boorish arsehole, that is why it was funny when he played McEnroe cause of the antics.

Aaron was usually solid in these situations and a guy that comes back from 2 sets down 10 times to win matches, should have been able to finish this, but he could handle the antics.

I mean I hated Courier, but he showed what was necessary to handle the cantankerous old shit.
 
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